Today was a fucking epic rockstar day.
1) I slept. Not a ton, but it was good sleep and I got up feeling well-rested.
2) I did every single thing on my to-do list plus two things I had forgotten to list, and every part of the day that was about timing went like clockwork.
3) I bought plane tickets for the London trip!
4) I went to lunch with zia_narratora, and ate spicy curry, and my ear unblocked! And the curry was yummy and the conversation was too. Tea is such a lovely person.
5) I had exactly enough time for a haircut between lunch and workout, and Yelp led me to a great barbershop. My head is finally fuzzy again! Five weeks between haircuts is really way too long.
6) At my workout I did PUSH-UPS. And TRICEPS DIPS. And they felt so good that I did them again. And I still had enough arm afterwards to high-five Chelsea, the awesome trainer I've been working with. (I also had a less fun moment when I was doing a lot of core work, which means tensing my abs--those very same abs that I have carefully taught myself to deliberately relax as an antidote to panic attacks--while leaning against a balance ball. Being literally wobbly amplified the emotional wobbly and I had to take a breather. Chelsea was lovely and brought me water and then stepped out of the room so I could center myself. I sat there and thought, Well, I have paid $85 to have this studio for an hour, and if I want to spend 20 minutes of that hour crying I can do that. But I don't think that's how I want or need to spend that money and time, so let's keep going. We did and it was just fine. So I call that a net win.) Chelsea even gave me homework, so I can keep working out my arms in between sessions. I cannot even explain how exciting this all is. I never thought I would do another push-up, ever. Today I did thirty of them! From the waist, not full-plank, but still. Tremendous.
7) I edited 4000 words of the book I'm working on.
8) "At some point I must try Julia Child's chicken waterzooi," I said, and tonight I did, since J and X and I were dining with friends who weren't interested in fish. The creaminess of it reminded me of many years ago when Mi Cucina on Hudson & Jane was a good restaurant and served utterly sublime pollo y rajas con crema with wonderful crispy cubes of potato (if there's a name for those in Spanish, I don't know it), so crispy potatoes became our side dish. We drank Thomas Henry chardonnay, with which I promptly fell in love--glorious notes of caramel!--and sopped our bowls with French bread and it was very, very good.
Crispy potatoes, based on this recipe:
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
3 russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saute pan with a lid, heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the potato cubes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the water, stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the potatoes until the water evaporates, about 3 or 4 more minutes. (Every 1 to 2 minutes, open the lid long enough to stir the potatoes so they don't stick.) Lower the heat to medium, and saute another 1 to 2 minutes until all traces of water are gone and potatoes are cooked through. Toss in the 1 tbsp oil and stir to coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp and browned to your liking, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how dark you want them. Serve immediately.
Chicken waterzooi, based on this recipe:
3 large carrots, cut into 1/4" x 2" matchsticks
6 celery ribs/sticks, cut into 1/4" x 2" matchsticks [the original recipe calls for leeks and onion, which we omitted because two of the diners dislike onions, so there's extra celery to compensate]
1 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
1 lb skinless boneless chicken (white or dark), cut into bite-size chunks
1 cup extra dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
3 threads saffron
1/2 cup cashew cream
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp cornstarch
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. Add tarragon, a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, and vegetables. Sauté about 5 minutes until colors brighten; do not brown. Add chicken, vermouth, broth, and saffron, and stir to mix. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, simmer covered about 30 minutes until vegetables are tender but not mushy and chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Whisk cream, egg yolks, and cornstarch. While whisking, slowly drizzle in 1 cup hot broth from the pot. When yolk mixture is hot, pour it into the pot and stir to integrate. Briefly and gently heat just enough to make a bubble or two appear at the edge of the broth. Serve immediately.
Both recipes supposedly serve four, so we doubled them. They just barely served six. Fortunately the waterzooi is intensely rich and we had bread as well as potatoes, so no one went hungry.
(recipes crossposted to omnomnom)
Afterwards we went out for gelato. I am so full, my goodness.
Many thanks to our hosts d_aulnoy (who shopped) and schrodingersgnu (who helped with cooking) and our dining companion vschanoes (who cleaned), all of whom made delightful conversation as we stuffed ourselves. What a marvelous evening.
9) I briefly entertained the Gnubaby and felt only somewhat awkward and at a loss. This is an improvement over my usual interactions with babies. I am not a native speaker of baby, but X is planning to have one in a couple of years, so I'm taking every opportunity to learn. (This is an extra reason why I'm really looking forward to hanging out with my friends in London who are parents, and especially the poly parents.) The Gnubaby was getting a bit tired-cranky, but I distracted him by tapping his shoulders in waltz time, which worked very well. d_aulnoy says we can come over and practice baby anytime we like, and I think we may take her up on it once X is out of crunch mode at work and J and I are done traveling.
10) On the way home, J and X helped me sort out some of my feelings about charging for advice. More on that in another post.
11) I brushed the cats and now they are all sleek and soft. Well, Sam was already soft, but now she's softer. Java's getting lazy and arthritic in his old age and he doesn't always crane his neck all the way around to lick his back, so he gets mats there sometimes, and I like to brush them out. He tolerates it. Sam doesn't need the brushing, but she loves it and boofs the brush and purrs like a Harley and is all cuddly after. They are such good kitties.
And now I have stayed up far too late reading the archives of "Scandinavia and the World" because I sent the link to schrodingersgnu, so I will feed the kitties and pass the out.