It has been an interesting weekend. Daylight savings always feels a bit strange, and as I write, it is pouring outside with 60 mph wind gusts which, earlier, almost blew down our fence. Although, strange as it might be, sitting by the fire with tea by my side feels like the perfect way to round out all of the events that have occurred the last few days.
As promised, let me first start of by talking about our Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday dinner last Tuesday night – amazing! The pancakes were just delicious, and so not your traditional pancake dinner. They were stuffed with apple, roasted hazelnuts, and manchego cheese, and then topped with a sweet and tangy caramelized honey and meyer lemon syrup. We crisped up some Rosemary Maple Bacon, and baked some sweet and spicy kale (had to have something green on the table), and just indulged in true Mardi Gras fashion. I even won myself some beads. 🙂
This week seemed to have flown by, but then it all came to a screeching halt Friday morning around 6:00am. I woke from a half-dreaming state hearing the phone ringing, which I know, even in groggy sleepiness early morning phone calls do not usually lead to positive things (unless it is my sister calling from the east coast just to say hi – it took her a few times to remember the 3-hour time difference). I did not get to the phone in time, and on top of that did not recognize the phone number on the caller ID. Neither did Rob. Looking at him, I could see the reflection of my confusion in his face, and then with the phone still in our hands, it rang again. This time the ID read my parent’s number. Oh no, this is not good.
Right as I said ‘hello,’ my cell phone started beeping text messages, as Rob’s was as well. Within about a 30-40 second period, we had gone from blissfully sleeping to wide awake and scared, obviously knowing something was very wrong. My dad proceeded to tell me about the massive earthquake in Japan, and the fact that the Oregon Coast, especially our area, was on a Tsunami Warning – not watch, warning. The other calls and text messages were school officials notifying me that schools were cancelled (I have heard of, and have had, Snow Days before, and once in California we had a Fire Day due to bad air quality from the infamous wildfires. But I can honestly say, I had never even conjured up the thought of a Tsunami Day).
Driving along the Oregon Coast, there are these big blue and white signs that indicate Tsunami zones. It is a picture of a stick figure running away and looking back at a giant wave about to crush it. Some souvenir shops even sell sweatshirts with a screenprint of the road sign and the caption “Run Like Hell!” We have always laughed at these signs (as they do look quite hilarious), and even considered buying the sweatshirts, but I don’t think we ever considered it would actually happen.
Well, long in short, we were not hurt from the Tsunami, and the extent of damage were broken docks, and heavily damaged boats. The Coast Guard had all helicopters in flight and ready; Rob happened to be oncoming duty that night, so he was not called in for the daytime flights. The whole day, though it was unusually sunny and warm, felt like it had a strange feel about it. And as we watched the news, we felt helpless, just sending up prayers for Japan.
Saturday was a day of trying to get back to normal, and of course, we did this with food. The night before I had shared a wonderful, comforting seafood feast with another Coastie family who are great friends, and I woke up still having the motivation to cook. So, we delighted in a baked omelet – mushrooms, shallots, and swiss chard all held together by runny eggs and lots of cheese. But the yummiest meal of the day was the one right before Killer Bunnies took over.
For dinner we had a beautiful gourmet pizza. I experimented a bit with my usual pizza dough recipe, bulk fermenting it in the fridge for about 3 days. After the first warm wise (of about 2 hours), it rose slowly in the fridge and formed beautiful, yeasty, gassy bubbles, just ready to be popped and stretched into a classic pizza dough. Then, topped with an easy-to-make chili oil, large rounds of mozzarella cheese, sliced red chilies, and basil, the easy, really yummy pizza was done after a short hot time in the oven. We ate quickly, to prepare for the Bunnies.
Killer Bunnies is a game – one that temporarily took our minds off the drastic fury our earth chose to reek on Japan. If you have never heard of it, or played it, go BUY IT now! It is the most ridiculous, hilarious, interesting, and down-right entertaining experience any extreme genocide of furry animals could be. Rebecca and Chris (our Coastie friends mentioned earlier), Rob, and I sat around their table with amazing glasses of wine, cold ice cream with hot chocolate sauce, and handfuls of playing cards, strategizing ways to destroy each other’s bunny cards. We laughed so hard at times, I thought that wine would eventually squirt out of someone’s nose. Really, just go buy the game – it’s totally worth it!
This morning we had another comfort food gut buster with Rosemary Maple Bacon Butties. And now, after a day of cleaning, I’m getting ready to make a roast chicken for Rob and I, another bit of comfort food on this blustery evening. I’m going to try something new and use a cast iron pan to do the roasting, rather than my usual roasting pan, and see what happens. Fingers crossed!!
With everything that went on this weekend, I’m so thankful we have search and rescue operations, and heroes to dive in and help those in need. I wish I could do more for those in Japan, but my prayers and hopes for better times will have to do at the moment.
(Will include the recipe for the Meyer Lemon and Chili Pizza on my Week-Long Easy Recipes page, coming soon!)