Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What's Cooking

We really have been busy, which is why, I guess, that I have not been keeping the blog up to date. We were at the beach one day and we've been doing more to move-in. I repaired my sewing machine. I went to Josie's birthday party, which I briefly alluded to, but have not even begun to describe (it was awesome.) And we have been enjoying the company of our ohana, and what else? Well, there's always laundry, cooking, yearbook meetings, changing diapers, feeding the cats, killing ants, answering the phone, and driving.

So, with all that's been going on, you might not think I would dare to make chile rellenos. Chile rellenos which are delicious and by far one of the most time consuming recipes in my repertoire... right up there with bourbon pecan cakes and tamales. I don't know what possesses me sometimes. For added challenge I made them without a sous-chef, but with Maria, while photo-documenting the process.

Has anyone ever sliced in to a bell pepper that was full of baby peppers? It looked quite alien and made me wonder about genetically engineered food... cue Twilight Zone music.

There are a lot of steps in making chile rellenos.

I always like to pause between phases and make a quick assessment... I pee, check the phone for messages, change Maria's diaper, wipe my brow, scrub and recommence. (Geoff says, "don't say 'pee' when writing about food. He doesn't know that this is a legitimate function that must be addressed when committing to a 4-5 hour cooking project.)

There are some things, like whipping the egg whites, that are an absolute commitment to the next step in the recipe. After the whites are fluffy I have to proceed immediately to dipping the peppers and then frying them.

It would be bad news if I got stopped or derailed at this point, and I have to say Maria was a dream through the whole relleno process. She sat on her special stool and played with stickers and crumbled her piece of cheese.

In the end the hard work, the anxious moments, and the sink full of dishes, pays off. Geoff loves chile rellenos. Love. Love. I made 34 chiles, stuffed with cheese and sitting in a rich and savory broth yesterday. They have been sitting in our refrigerator until tonight, because they taste even better the next day. Mmmmm. Beans are simmering. Beer's cold. What are you doing for dinner?

Ruth and Corm came with me to pick Alex and Max up from school. My Hawaii in-laws were visiting New Mexico and Arizona, looking for new places to enjoy their retirement years. If they have to leave their beautiful Island home, I hope they find some place closer than N.M. to live.

Back from school and Max sits down to play with the typewriter we found last summer. He is transcribing the puppet play he and Geoff wrote.

One of my favorite ways to spend time is around the kitchen table with family. Max and his Tutu played Othello. Grampa Corm sliced grapes for Maria. Geoff was home early (!!) We were joined by Holly, Nick and Izzy.

It's so nice to be in the company of extended family. We laughed, talked, remembered, and shared. Simple, pleasant, easy, good.

Alex treated us to his strawberry muffins. Here he is with his cousin Nick.

Max did such a good job of teaching his grandmother how to play Othello, she won. Othello is a fun game.

After dinner we enjoyed fresh strawberries and the muffins Alex baked.

Here is Ruth with her Izzy girl. Holly saw Izzy walk earlier in the day, and I had the very special honor of seeing her take a 5 step jog... really, she didn't walk, she sort of jogged. She's fast!

Oooh! The beans are smelling good. Geoff is hovering, asking about the rellenos. Maria is playing every loud instrument in the house, Alex is telling me his homework is weird... I think I am done posting... too many distractions... this may be why I have better luck posting at 2:30 in the morning, when the locals are asleep.


Tarie said...

Can I invite myself over for dinner? I've never tasted chile relleno and I've never played Othello. Fresh strawberries with strawberry muffins topped with cream cheese looks good. =9 That bell pepper full of baby bell peppers inside gave me goosebumps. Freaked me out. Hahaha!

Natalie said...

Yes, the pepper was freaky, and yes, you should come for dinner. It's a long flight; we'll whip up fresh batches of everything and anything just for you!

Natalie said...

Oh, and I never did explain "MNO," but if you *click* the label link at the bottom of the post you will find a treasure trove of MNO history.

Janece said...

I like that a throwback thursday is more than just a photo... linking to the blog post - full of photos, words and stories... wonderful!!