Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Carla’s Birthday

I woke up and went downstairs after Jake had left for work. I got a cup of coffee and gave Carla my card. We sat out in the screen porch (the mornings are the only time it is cool enough to enjoy sitting outside).

We putzed around and watched the news for a while. Then we got dressed.

I took her (LOL! “I took her” – not! She drove me) to a new fast food restaurant called Cook Out for her “real” birthday lunch. It is a small regional chain that started in North Carolina. Jake said the food there was much better compared to most fast food restaurants.

And, it was. You can make your own “combo” meals. I got two hot dogs and onion rings. Carla got a cheeseburger (made her way) with fries. Each combo costs only $4.95.

Sidebar: I told Carla that she was a cheap date!

I made the fatal mistake of thinking, “Yeah, iced tea sounds good” and ordered that along with it. You get 32 ounces of drink and one sip of the “tea” sent my poor old white northern Type 2 diabetic ass bouncing off the wall!!!

Sidebar: If you have never had southern “sweetened tea”, I will share the recipe with you. You take a gallon of iced tea and add five pounds of sugar.

Carla said they had unsweetened tea up there, so I went back, dumped the sweetened tea into the catch basin (I hope there’s a real drain) and got plain iced tea instead.

My hot dogs were great, for skinless dogs, and the onion rings were really onion rings and really good. Carla said her burger was good and the fries were excellent (I know they were because I tried her fries and she had one of my onion rings).

Back home, we changed and then got busy. Carla made a simple pasta dough and then we let it rest for an hour while we prepped dinner. I cut a zucchini and a yellow squash at her request into julienne (matchsticks) while she prepped chanterelle mushrooms and sliced up a shallot. I fine diced some chives and oregano.

Then we watched daytime TV. It is one of our guilty pleasures, watching Judge Judy or Maury and making fun of the people on the show while Jake is at work.

Note: Maury uses DNA testing to prove who is or isn’t the father of a child, in case you are wondering. There is a lot of drama, yelling and just carrying on.

I had to laugh. One of the Maury people was a young white woman, who claimed a young black man was the father of her little boy.

Sidebar: I have often been accused of using race as a discriminator on this Blog, but sometimes (most times) it matters, okay? How else would you explain this?

So, they put a picture of the kid and the (maybe) dad up, side by side. Maury was interviewing the “potential” father and he said, “Look at him! He ain’t even black. He’s Puerto Rican!”

I can’t wait to tell Vicky about this, LOL!!!

Sidebar: He was NOT the father, BTW. Somewhere, there’s a horny Puerto Rican, I guess…

But, it was time to get back to the pasta.

Now one of the many birthday gifts Carla got was a pasta-making set of attachments for her Kitchen Aid mixer. So, after some trial and error, (mostly error) we began to make pasta.


I must admit, I bought an Italian hand crank pasta maker five year ago. I used it one or two times and decided it wasn’t worth the effort and I think I gave it to the Goodwill or something.

However, this worked! We took turns doing the various steps, so we both “got” it. And we started filling up the drying rack with fresh fettucine. 

She had to divide the dough into eight pieces. Carla went through six of them and then decided to switch to spaghetti.  We are going to have to work on that as every strand stuck together. Carla did better than I did, BTW. She caught the spaghetti on her forearm (I grabbed it by my hand) and it seemed to separate better for her.

But, we both agreed, homemade spaghetti was a pain in the ass.

Jake came home about that time. We took a break and chilled for a bit after cleaning up the mess.

After a while, we began dinner. Jake peeled and deveined a few shrimp. Carla put them in some homemade pesto to marinade. She fried them to almost done and then pulled them. Then I sautéed the veggies in the pesto oil as a pot of salted water came to a boil.

I got the veggies to cooked, but still crunchy and then Carla took over. She added some chicken stock and then some mascarpone cheese. We cooked the fresh fettucine for about two minutes (that’s all it takes).

Finally, everything got mixed together and the shrimp was put on top.

Sidebar: Carla wanted to keep the shrimp separate until the end so the flavor wouldn’t overpower the dish. It worked!

It was fantastic!!!

That was probably the best pasta dish I ever ate. And, I helped make it!

Then we watched another of Carla’s favorite movies: Driving in car’s with boys.  It was the reverse of “Up,” funny as hell in the beginning, but heavy at the end.

Then we went to bed because we had to get up early.


  1. “Sidebar: I have often been accused of using race as a discriminator on this Blog, but sometimes (most times) it matters, okay? How else would you explain this?”

    Since there’s only one human race, you explain it like this:

    One of the Maury people was a woman, who claimed a man was the father of her little boy.

  2. @ Jyl: That would be very hard to explain why he said the baby wasn't black, but Puerto Rican...

  3. I had a blast making pasta with you Dad! If nothing else we can be business partners in the pasta game :)

  4. My guess would be he said that, in part, because we don’t invest enough money in reality-based educations in this country. I feel sorry for him.

  5. @ Carla: Sounds like a retirement gold mine!!!