Stinger Care Package

I just returned from  a trip to Big Bend with my family, where we hovered on the edges of canyons, picked prickly pear spines out of our hands, and took a guided tour of the constellations. If you’ve seen the photos coming from the Curiosity, you may understand the Big Bend experience. Just think Mars with slightly more vegetation.

My sister is somewhat obsessed with scorpions and other venomous* creatures. She brought a special scorpion-detecting lamp with her. And she bought this fantastic little guide called Spiders and Their Kin at the Big Bend outpost. So when we stopped at our old favorite, the Starlight Theater in Terlingua, Texas, who was she to resist their Stinger Margarita? (Terlingua is the site of a great ghost town, and the Starlight is an old theater that’s been converted into a restaurant and music venue.)

Unfortunately, having lived in Texas so long, most of our taste buds have been burned off by our overconsumption of chipotle peppers. She reported that the Stinger didn’t have much of a sting. The waiter told us that they used to serve them with a copper scorpion at the bottom of the glass, but they weren’t able to get them anymore, since “the border had closed.” (?!?) He also said that you could find a video about how to make them on YouTube. HELLO.

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I was throwing a weeknight dinner party for an old friend (as I am wont to do). And for the end of the meal, I had planned a special cocktail to cap off the evening.

When she showed up at my door, I was nonplussed. I quickly gave my menu a mental review: no soft cheeses, no raw eggs, no lunchmeat. Check, check, check… just in case. But it wasn’t till I saw her rub her belly that I felt safe in asking my question: “Uh, is there something you wanted to tell me?”

Here’s a rule for life: no non-pregnant woman ever rubs her stomach, except maybe if she’s eaten a really large meal, and even then probably not.

And yes, my friend was seven months pregnant, and had not mentioned it. And so my cocktail was out. That’s okay, we just had them later.

I don’t claim to be any kind of mixologist, but I did make up this cocktail especially for my sweet husband Richard, who loves orangey things, and for the novelty factor: it glows in the dark.

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Crêpes for Every Meal

Have you ever done this? It’s hot-hot-HOT here, and crêpes seem like the perfect light meal. (Or maybe I am lying to myself. Whatever.) I stayed up late on Friday night making enough crêpes to get through the weekend. We had crêpes for breakfast, crêpes for lunch, crêpes for dinner, and crêpes for dessert.

What am I saying? There are never enough crêpes to make it through the weekend. But we did get by.

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My Panzanella Novella

There was a time when I thought panzanella a bit revolting. Stale bread, made soggy with oil and vinegar and tomatoes… yum? Last spring a friend from France was visiting and treated us to the 10-course vegetarian tasting menu at the (now defunct) Nana. At least three of the courses were life-changing, but this one was my absolute favorite. It was a deconstructed (I know, pretentious) panzanella with about a half dozen char-grilled bread cubes, lightly dressed, served with roasted tomatoes, pickled onions, and microgreens. (There’s a camera photo of it and a few of the other items on that menu here. Requiescat in pace, Nana!)

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Millions of Peaches

We planted this peach tree about four years ago, but this is the first year that the fruit’s been worth anything. I have to admit I’ve been an agri-poseur of the highest order when it came to this peach tree. Contrary to my normal habits, I did zero research on the tree variety; I picked up a cheap little sapling from Lowe’s. I’ve failed to study how to properly care for the tree, I’ve never fertilized it, nor have I ever taken any pest-prevention measures. This is so not me. Maybe this post will shame me into being a better orchard-keeper, but it seems unlikely.

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