26 December 2010


The plan for today is to sleep in… When JE calls at 10:15am we’re just driving into the parking lot at Blue Line Coffee for what turns out to be a perfect cappuccino—espresso and lots of creamy foam. I suggest that they go ahead with coffee since we’re stopping, and JE laughs and says, “You think we waited on coffee for you to arrive? We’ve been up four hours!” Such is life with a toddler and pre-schooler.

We do lots of lingering today—looking for Waldo and some Yoga poses for laughs and exercise. No one is too motivated until afternoon when we decide that we’ll take the kids to Pump-It-Up to blow off some steam when it opens today at 4:00pm. I also have to re-visit WalMart for compensation for the over $20 worth of groceries that never made it into my shopping cart and car.

Pump-It-Up is a reclusive location—I think they’re all located in small manufacturing strip malls behind non-descript buildings. JA calls it “Monkey Joe’s” and is very excited, but we all agree that MJ’s is bigger and better. Doesn’t matter, the little ones are delighted. It takes awhile for JA to gather all his courage—he climbs and runs from the first, but daddy and mommy have to encourage him a bit to finally slide down the big slide. Once he does, he’s hooked! LE is content for most of the time to climb in and out of the little car, but toward the end of our time there she goes down the slide with daddy and then with mommy, and she’s getting more into climbing and jumping and investigating.

Gigi stays at the house, worried about the cold and especially the ice. She’s right. The parking lots are very icy and treacherous. We walk carefully. Gigi already had a fall this morning in the bathroom. No clear reason, just KERPLUNK! And she was down. She didn’t call out for help, but thankfully JE heard her fall and MA was there to get her up. No bumps, bruises, or sprains—thankfully!

WalMart takes some time, as this IS the day after Christmas and I have to stand in line for Customer Service. No hassels, though. They reimburse me for the left-behind groceries and before too long JE, JA, and I are checking out and heading home. A phone call to CA is required as WalMart is low on fresh produce and we need a shallot and a pound of mushrooms in addition to what we found at WalMart. We’re making coq au vin tonight, and since it’s almost 6:00pm we’ll be eating continental style—about 9:00pm.

As we get into the car, I make the mistake of saying, “It’s stinking cold out!” JA howls with laughter and proceeds to repeat my phrase over and over again. I can’t help laughing… You have to watch every word when you’re with little ones.

CA has done the research and we have three coq au vin recipes to work from—leaning heavily on Emeril’s 2003 version. We’ve decided we won’t add carrots, as it’s not classical and we don’t want this tasting like stew. I peeled the white pearl onions earlier today—Googling for the best and easiest process, which works perfectly.

Our coq au vin will braise for 1-1/2 hours while we enjoy appetizers—fois gras (purchased in Monte Carlo at the Gastronomie event), olive oil from Callas, and sweet gherkins with thin slices of fresh baguette from Panera. YUM! Opening the foie gras is puzzling until I actually Google, “How to open fois gras in a French canning jar.” Yep! There it is on “Yahoo.” Exactly my predicament, with the perfectly illustrated answer. CA opens the lovely rosé we purchased in Les Arcs sur Argens—everyone is dazzled by this pale, peachy light and dry rosé.

Somewhere in there I clean and quarter some golden Idaho potatoes and get them bubbling away on top of the stove. And a bit later, we steam the carrots (JE prepped earlier) with a bit of dill and some salt (I’ll drain them later and add a bit of butter). I’m planning on using JE’s potato ricer, so I haven’t peeled the potatoes. It works perfectly, although you have to stop between each batch to clean the skins and debris from the press. It’s worth it though, as the potatoes don’t get overly starchy, but are light and fluffy.

Dinner is superb! Dinner is divine. Dinner is special and noteworthy. Ah-h-h-h. We’ve had a good day with just the right amount of lingering, lounging, laughing, and feasting.

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