Sunday, May 18, 2008

Indian Cooking Lesson

It all began with a fund raiser for our daughters' school. Suzanne and I spied the entry -- a lesson on how to cook an Indian dinner -- hosted by a student's father, Jigish. Being Indian food/curry fans, we were sold. Auction night rolled around and we plotted how to score the winning bid without drawing too much attention. We recruited some interested parties and won the bid!

Two months later, we gathered at the Worsley house to get our cooking lesson. Weeks in advance, Jigish sent us notes on the history of curry (spice trade routes), local dish styles, etc. I also brewed a special batch of German pilsner to complement the food's rich spices. And we all did our part in shopping.

No Power Upon our arrival, the power grid in the neighborhood promptly went out. It's just warming up here in Boise, and with everyone switching from heat to A/C, the older parts of the power grid were taxed. Jigish didn't flinch and said in his own Zen-like way, "It's OK -- we still have the grill." I replied, "And we have cold beer."

Fired Up
Without power, we pushed ahead. About an hour later, and after a few mango/vodka martinis, Idaho Power showed up and got the block back in business.

Great Company
Jigish set the tone for the night with lots of history and background. And he had everyone running in different directions prepping the food, from grilling the salmon and chicken to cutting up the veg and spices. Of course, we were in great company with the Worsleys, Metzgars and Renees.

After four hours, we sat down for a large and delicious meal while the sun was setting in the foothills behind us. The kitchen was a disaster, the beer keg was half-full (nice job) and we were fat and happy. Then it was time for dessert.

The End
I think we all walked away with some valuable cooking tips. And thanks to Jigish's approach to cooking, some of us felt more confident about tossing in the spices we think would go with the dish, vs. following the exact steps and measuring everything in precise amounts.

Of course, I could go on and on about the food preparation, but you'll have to see and hear for yourselves. I posted some photos and videos from the session.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hungover in Reno

It's 7:30 a.m. and I'm in the Reno airport waiting for my flight home to Boise. My head is foggy, my lips are chapped, and after brushing my teeth, my mouth still tastes like a sweaty sock. How else would you conclude a surprise, 18-hour hit-and-run trip for an old friend's 40th birthday party?

Jay Watson and I have been friends since high school. To our best recollection after a few beers, we've been in five bands together -- he on guitar, me on drums. And we've been camping buddies for just as long -- frequently haunting Joshua Tree to hike, climb and chill in the "G 'n T" spot (inside story). Twenty-plus years later, we live in different parts of the West, have families, jobs, businesses to run, etc., but still manage to stay in touch.

Thanks to Laura for inviting me. I got some decent photos, but now realize that I didn't take enough. It was fun catching up with the Watson family, seeing Jay's girls (wow, they're so big!), Todd, Pablo, and finally seeing Jay's new restaurant. Very cool. After such a quick flight between Boise and Reno (45 minutes) I begin to wonder why we don't see each other more often. That will have to change.

The flight's been called and I need to shut down the PC. I'm looking forward to a bottle of water, a 45-minute nap (sorry about the snoring folks) and hope I'm in shape to hit the ground running when I get home.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Family Visitors from Florida

We spent the weekend with my mom, sister and her two kids, Hayden and Cole (the most recent addition to the family in Feb.). It was a nice time spent together. We headed over to Kathryn Albertson park to do a photo shoot of the kids together, which was a little better than our first attempt two years ago (which ended up with the kids crying, chaos, dogs and cats living together, etc.). You can see the rest of the photo album here.

To capture the sights and smells of Idaho, we also spent a day up in Idaho City (an old mining town with lots of original structures from the 1850's). The weather was clear and breezy, and we got in time to throw rocks into a small pond, have lunch and head home the back way through Robie Creek. Near the top of Aldape Summit, Hayden touched snow for the first time. At first, she wasn't sure what to make of it. But in five minutes she was chasing her cousin Rachael around the snow banks.

We also got together with the Frank family (my in-laws) for several dinners. One thing is for certain with the Metzgars and Franks -- when we meet, we eat. I think the last time everyone was together was for Rachael's birth, five years ago.

While we missed not having my dad or brother-in-law, Patrick (both of whom were tending shop at the Reserve Cigar and Wine Bar) we had a memorable time together.