I spent much of yesterday morning thinking about and putting together the e-mail you saw in the entry before this one. (It took that long in part because my program crashed when I was just about to send it and didn't save a copy so I had to reconstruct, dang and blast.) I'm excited about this project; I think it has the potential to grow to be very big and useful to the field -- and hey, it should look nice on my c.v. too. Mary Anne Mohanraj, Director, Famous Literary Arts Organization. Sounds very nice, doesn't it? :-)
Around lunchtime, I stopped at Whole Foods (oh, they have yummy stuff), and then went to pick up my mother. She was feeling kind of tired; they're doing construction at my sister's apartment, so the workmen started making noise very early and woke her up. So we just came back here and lounged around in front of the tv for a few hours, chatting. She's so much mellower than she was when I was growing up; it's nice. Around 5, we got up and started cooking, and let me tell you, even when she's tired, she can still chop onions, ginger and garlic finer and much faster than I can! Mirna arrived not long after, and then Kevin, and then the four of us proceeded to make a fine mess in my kitchen (I did *try* to keep up with the dishes as we went, but it proved impossible in the end) cooking fancy dishes from Ming Tsai's excellent Blue Ginger cookbook.
Mirna made the carrot-ginger soup, garnished with curry-fried potatoes and chives -- it was just as delectable as the last time she made it, though we strongly recommend using the blender rather than the food-processor to puree it at the end, unless you *like* sopping up lots of broth off your counters. Kevin made prosciutto-pear maki (they're adorable, cut to look a little like sushi) with a reduced vinegar dressing, incredibly tasty and simple to make, if a little time-consuming in the rolling process.
I made grilled shrimp with a basil-mint-peanut pesto -- this was probably the easiest dish, since you just dump all the pesto ingredients in the food processor and blend, then take five minutes to grill the shrimp, lay them out on some chiffonaded baby romaine leaves, and drizzle the pesto over. Literally fifteen minutes or so, start to finish -- this would be a beautifully impressive and tasty lunch dish. I also made roast pork loin over gingered sweet potatoes (which I forgot to salt, duh!) with five-spice apples (incredibly yum, and you can make the apples ahead). And then Kevin finished us off with a classic creme brulee -- made a day ahead and just finished in five minutes of caramelizing. We ate way too much, and it was all quite hectic, but also a lot of fun. And a much better way of letting Kevin and my mom interact a little than all sitting around a restaurant dinner table, I think.
They left around 9:30, and then Kevin and I watched an old re-run of West Wing, curled up on the couch together. Felt blissful. Maybe it was just the release of tension -- getting through another day of this visit with everyone getting along and no explosions (when I was growing up, my family was pretty prone to explosions, and I hate them, I do). Or maybe it was starting to actually feel like Kevin could someday get along well with my family; that they could all take each other for granted and be comfortable together. That's still a ways off, I think, but I'm finally starting to see what that might look like.
It looks good.