Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Potlucks and Rain....

It's turned into the type of evening where you just want to curl up inside, watching the rain fall heavily outside while your air conditioner fights the mugginess outside.

All day, it's been threatening us with a storm, coming over cloudy and blocking out the hot sun. It passed over all day. I got home from work and faced the reality that I really, really needed to mow my lawn. Just as I was getting the mower out, I noticed the sky was threatening a storm, once again. It's amazing how one side of the sky can be blue with puffy white clouds and the other side can be grey and ominous.

I managed to get my back lawn mowed with only a few tiny raindrops. The rain stopped and I went to the front lawn. It started to rain just enough to leave dobbles on my t-shirt but not enough to actually make anything wet.

Then, as I came inside to shower after getting all hot, sweaty and grass-covered, it started to really rain. It's been raining heavily on and off since then and it's the type of rain that makes you glad to be indoors.

Still, the rain held off for the barbecue at work which was...good?

I say that somewhat fasciously because they ended up setting up all the food in our kitchen/break room. This is on the second floor. They had the grill downstairs in our parking lot where there is a picnic table and carried the burgers and hot dogs upstairs for us to eat. Then we had to sit outside in the parking lot. There were plenty of chairs to sit. However, it was very, very hot and muggy and sitting there sweating while you eat is not the most pleasant experience.

The barbecue ended up being shorter than any I remember. The food was...interesting. It seems that I am a little out of sync with my coworkers as far as cooking goes. I made my pesto with a Mario Batali recipe and my zucchini salad from Giada de Laurentis. The caprese was just me knowing what makes up a caprese salad and putting it together. It seems that the cook du jour in the office is Paula Deen.

Now, I have nothing against Ms. Deen. I find her immensely likeable. She's a sweet, funny, blunt southern lady who loves to cook. She uses a lot of butter. I mean A LOT of butter. I've seen her cook and, well, I have to say, she's not for me though I'm sure, for her audience, she's perfect.

I once watched her make omelettes in a ziploc bag by putting a lot of beaten egg and a ton of meat and veggies in the bag and then boiling it. It came out looking like aeroplane food. Since then, I admit, I'm a wee bit dubious of her recipes.

Today, however, Paula Deen was all over the picnic in the desserts and the macaroni and cheese.

I love macaroni and cheese. I like the box kind but I like to 'gourmet' it up by putting in some herbs, adding some cheese to the top and then baking it in the oven. Ms. Deen uses sour cream in her mac and cheese.

I don't like sour cream. I've tried. It just does not please my palette very much.

Of course, I am not being a snob and saying the food was terrible because it was wasn't. Sure, I still have to get used to the idea of Strawberry Pretzel Cake which I think is strawberry pudding and/or jello, whipped cream and pretzels. It doesn't taste bad, it's just..weird. It's like something you'd see in a Quickfire Challenge on Top Chef when the contestents had a mystery box containing four unaligned ingredients and they have to make a dish.

I know, I know...Top Chef again. I can't help it. Tom Colicchio is still in my head.

No, the food wasn't bad. It was just a mishmash. That's the thing with potlucks. You never know what's going to show up. It was an interesting array today with only one crock pot- very rare for a midwestern potluck. More than anything, it made me feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb with my high falutin' Italian salad trio. I should have gone less Batali, more Paula Deen.On the plus side, at least I wasn't the only Food Network inspired cook. Also, the chicken pesto and the caprese went over well even if I wasn't terribly pleased with the marinaded zucchini. It wasn't my best dish and it would have put me at risk for elimination on Top Chef. Eek gads.

Still, at least I didn't attempt to make dessert.

Because we all know on Top Chef, when you make dessert, you most often end up going home.

Happy Wednesday!

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