Most of all, I appreciated the companionship of two people I know so well. I get used to doing things alone. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing--indeed, I love spending time alone with my thoughts and prayers--it's also wonderful to share daily life with others. It was so much fun to show my parents places I frequent as part of my daily life here in Spokane. One morning we walked down to the Little Spokane River. Another morning we visited Le Petit Chat bakery for a loaf of fresh bread and Egger's Meats for a four-pound chuck roast destined to become a Friday evening pot roast supper. Our time together reminded me of this quote from the novel Mrs. Miniver:
"This was the cream of marriage, this nightly turning out of the day's pocketful of memories, this deft habitual sharing of two pairs of eyes, two pairs of ears. It gave you, in a sense, almost a double life: though never, on the other hand, quite a single one.”
The quote refers to marriage, but I believe we can also share this kind of relationship with true friends and beloved family. I certainly experienced it this weekend.
And, of course, this wouldn't be Elizabeth Brink's blog without some detail about the food we ate. (If you're tempted to replace "some" with "incredibly exhaustive," you're probably right.) But don't worry! I have pictures to lend some excitement. :)
Here's the four-pound chuck roast about ready to go in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. I wanted to try making the roast with red wine, so I bought some two-buck Chuck at Trader Joe's. After browning the roast in the pot and moving it to a plate, you pour in a cup of red wine and scrap off the browned bits on the bottom of the pan to flavor the wine. Then you add the roast back in with beef stock, halved onions, and fresh rosemary and thyme. Let me tell you, the gravy from this roast was SO GOOD.
Here's the full meal: rolls stuffed with cheddar and sweet onion, the roast with carrots and onions, mashed potatoes, and the delicious gravy. And below are my parents getting ready to enjoy the meal!
I loved making this big meal for my parents. It fed us Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and I made a whole casserole with the leftover roast meat that I've been eating this week. Plus, the meal was warm and filling and delicious. Just what a meal with beloved family should be.
Since I don't get to spend my dad's birthday with him in April, my mom and I made him his favorite dessert: Lemon Meringue pie. And much to his delight, I sent five pieces home with him on Sunday, so I wouldn't ruin my Lenten fast (no dessert).
To celebrate my birthday (also in April), my parents took me to a restaurant in downtown Spokane called Sante, which is French for health. I've been wanting to try this restaurant for ages because they serve seasonal meals, use locally sourced ingredients where possible, and make their own charcuterie. We ordered a plate of their house-seasoned salami. It came on the plate above with grilled bread, brie, port-soaked raisins, and homemade mustard. This was my favorite part of the meal. The combination of all the ingredients was absolutely delicious. The mustard was wonderfully flavorful. My dad liked it so much he bought a pint of it, so I now have a half-pint in my fridge waiting to be put to a wonderful culinary use.
My mom ordered a delicious bowl of Delicata Squash soup that came drizzled with creme fraiche and local honey and sprinkled with a bit of cayenne pepper.
My dad and I both got delicious sandwiches with side salads. I thought the service was excellent and the staff was friendly and helpful. It inspired me to be creative in the kitchen again and to savor my food. I think I know where I'm going for my actual birthday now, too. :)
Overall, it was a wonderful weekend and now my parents are in southern California visiting their other daughter. Thanks for reading!