Monday, May 23, 2011

Bathtub Gin

Alright, I'll admit it - I tampered with the date on this one. I only did it because it's all about yesterday and I don't intend to leave you in a week-long lurch again anytime soon. Aren't I sweet? As proof of my devotion here's a picture of that amazing buttermilk cake that I made for shabbos:
I should really stop commenting on what time I get up and claiming that it's early. Plenty of people with schedules get up earlier than I do. Truth be told - I like getting up early. I'm a morning person - so sue me. For some reason, the work I get accomplished before 10 in the morning feels like it's worth three times as much as what I do over the course of the remainder of the day. I'm weird, I know.

Anyway - I woke up yesterday morning and bummed around. Actually, I was semi-productive and figured out the hours for Bituach Leumi. (They're only open 3 days a week - and by days I mean either from 8:30-12 or from 14-16. Not both and not on the same days. Sunday & Thursday in the morning and Monday in the afternoon. Strange, huh?)

I offered Z leftover carrot kugel for breakfast - which meant that it actually got eaten. (Yeah yeah - not that interesting - but what can I say, it was a pretty boring morning.)

At 2:30 I left the house for Bituach Leumi's offices. I was in, out and back at home in under 1/2 an hour. That's even though there were 6 people ahead of me on line, and I needed to fill out a form which I only got once my number had been called and I got into the 'inner' office. It amazes me how bureaucratic offices in this country outside of Jerusalem are almost a pleasure to go to. Why are they so obnoxious in Jeru? I really don't understand it. (And don't say it's because Jeru is a big city - I went to ma'am and mas hachnasa in Petach Tikva last week...)
I made it Home before Z left for school. On his way out the door he asked if it would be alright for the usual 'game crew' to come over after school to play Settlers. I figured something along the lines of, "I've got pasta - sure, why not?" then told him it was fine.

I then proceeded to bum around until they about an hour before they were due to arrive. For some reason pasta alone just doesn't cut it for me for a dinner (especially for 4 hungry guys.) I decided to make bread. But what kind of decent bread-y thing can be made in an hour that's tasty and will go with pasta? To make things even more complicated - I had to decide what to put on the pasta. Drunken Spaghetti? Pasta with Eggplant? All the 'real' recipes seemed too complicated - so I stuck with the easiest thing I knew how to - I made a nice sized pot of 'chunky tomato sauce' which I stirred into the pasta (to prevent it from drying out and/or sticking.) Since I was going with a classic tomato sauce I figured I could make garlic knots as a side. Then I remembered that our favorite garlic knot recipe take 2 hour and 15 minutes from start to table. So... I brainstormed and decided to play around with my favorite pizza dough recipe.

I mixed up the pizza dough and as it all mixed I sprinkled in some garlic powder, dried parsley, extra kosher salt and some red-chili-flakes. After the dough rose for about 1/2 an hour (more than enough time to clear the drying racks, wash the dishes from by the sink, put together tomato sauce and put up the pasta) I divided it into 32 pieces then proceeded to 'knot' them all. I let them rise for a few minutes on the tray before brushing them with some olive oil and popping them into the oven for 18 minutes. When the timer rang I pulled them out and brushed them again - then I let them cool.

Suffice it to say - when the front door opened and I heard exclamations of, "it smells like a bakery in here!" I smiled.

I served the saucy pasta with Parmesan and Mozzarella on the side, the knots and all of the leftover sliced veggies from Shabbos - because everybody loves the refreshing crunch of vegetables and I like having color on the table.

Finally the game got underway. It was our first time using our very own '5-6 player extension' - and we had 6 at the table. I'm not quite sure how it happened but the board was insane and everyone crowded around 1 corner - except for me. Then lucky numbers kept getting rolled so I cordoned off 1/3 of the board and won the game while everyone else had 4 or less points. How often does that happen? They continued playing (since there were 5 of them left and they all had so few points.) The game took about 3 hours in total and the 2nd place winner was Odelya - it really was a 'girls night' for winning - and for her it was a fun first-time experience. I'm pretty sure she'll be back - though I don't know if the guys will let us play again. It's funny because they always ask me if I want to play and I always decline - I guess now they know I just want them to keep their egos intact. ;) Cause who likes being beaten by a girl at a 'guys game'! (heeheehee!)
The gang left at a little before 2am. I went straight to sleep because there was nothing to clean up - they did it all. I love that people come over and feel so comfortable here. It makes me happy and means that I've done a pretty good job creating the atmosphere I've always wanted in a home. At least - that's the way I figure it.

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