Too Bad No One Was There to Witness It
October 22, 2007
Listened to the show Saturday night and it was not bad. The kids were in Owatonna spending a good portion of the MEA weekend with their grandma, and Mr. Sundberg spent much of the weekend in the city giving motivational talks at the teachers' convention. He spoke on Stress in the Classroom, Making the Teachers' Lounge a Happy Place, and Scrapbooking, Golf and a Walk in the Park: Soon to Retire, and Then What?
I think I've alluded now and again to my occasional joy in being alone. I didn't waste any time cleaning the house Friday morning so I could run the kids to Owatonna and get home in time to say goodbye to Mr. Sundberg and get on with things. I spent most of Friday evening on the couch watching Phantom of the Opera, eating popcorn, and trying to stand on my head. I used to be so much more limber than I am, or maybe I was simply more of a risk-taker, because after a few cautious tries I said, To heck with it, and it happened. I was standing on my head, and maintained it for a good minute or two before I tipped and lay there sucking in oxygen. Too bad no one was there to witness it.
That and everything else. Saturday afternoon, following a good four-hour grocery run, I lined up on the kitchen counter 3 pounds of butter, 3 large bowls, and every spice in the house. Cranked up the radio, opened a bottle of Riesling, and went to town. By 11 p.m., the butter and wine were gone, most of the windows were open, and spread out on the kitchen island were the fruits of my labor. Two loaves of banana bread, 9 dozen pumpkin-shaped, almond extract flavored cutout cookies, an apple pie, and a pan of fudge (little craving I got as the show finished). Not to mention the batter for colon blow bran muffins and a bowl of orange frosting in the fridge.
The piece de resistance, however, was my new creation, the result of a late delivery and no beef at the store for the meal I'd planned for Sunday. So I improvised. I picked up some ground chuck and made my own version of the famous recipe: Hamburger Wellington. I just browned up the burger and drained it well, and made little pastry-covered meat bombs. I added a chunk or two of cheese before I sealed each one, and as there were a lot of them, I threw in a piece of asparagus here and a wad of mashed potato there.
I don't recall much of that last hour in the kitchen on Saturday night. I do know I was worn out and a bit on the tipsy side and giddy from such lovely time to myself. Which is what I told Mr. Sundberg and the kids over dinner on Sunday. See, things got a bit unsettling as we ate. They loved the corn casserole and the salad, and the first round of what is now called Hamburger Wellington Surprise. The surprise came with round two. The kids cut into their Wellingtons and one of them gasped. There was a pickle tucked in with the burger. Another held a marshmallow, and the third, a brown mellow crème pilgrim. Mr. Sundberg opened his, and pulled out, with his fork, a large wrinkly purplish blob. He looked at me, perplexed. It's a prune, I told him. Surprise!
Peel and slice up 10-12 apples. Go for a mix of tart and sweet if you like, or all one kind. Put 'em in a 9 x 13 buttered pan. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup sugar and 1-2 T cinnamon.
Now for the topping, there are two ways to go:
Doughy and sweet:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 t cinnamon, 1/4 t salt
Mix and sprinkle over apples.
Oaty and spicy:
Mix 11 T butter
1 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 t cinnamon
1 t allspice
1/4 t salt
Sprinkle desired topping over.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until light brown. Serve with ice cream. Or whipped cream. Enjoy!