Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday and So

I was going to go to bed, but young M is leaving for Baltimore in the middle of the night and we have ascertained that there is apparently no way to keep the music that's already on his used iPod there and also add new music to it. By no way I mean that I tried my utmost for about 40 minutes and gave up frustrated. I suppose it is possible. Barely. But considering that he was asking me this yesterday while I was making food for the big Capricorn birthday party at the QOBs and simultaneously scrubbing the bathroom, it didn't happen. That is why I am now sitting here importing all his CDs into his very own iTunes. I am not a big iTunes or iPod fan, actually, at the moment for while I love my iPod, I have also noticed that it flat refuses to play all my old MP3s and I am angry. That is a whole nother story.

Meanwhile, my stepcousin O is here. She is extremely awesome and, just as I had feared, far more glamorous than me. That is okay. It is not, after all, much of a stretch to be more glamorous than me and she manages it with total aplomb and also she is completely cool and very fun and even smokes cigarettes and wickedly disapproves of the American edicts against smoking inside. In short: I like her enormously. So we have had big fun and even took the QOB to Earthfare where we discovered this great natural makeup that O likes which led to all of us giving ourselves fabulous tester makeovers in the Earthfare cosmetics and vitamin aisle. This is good times.

The party was a hit and everyone had a wonderful time. The Greek potroast was even better than usual - it's a recipe I've had forever. No, we're not even remotely Greek (I got it out of some random cookbook Mom gave me years ago) but I will put the recipe at the end of this post because it really is good - and my attempt at my mom's potatoes was less of a failure (she used a whole stick of butter for each batch. I can't, somehow, bring myself to that so I used a half stick. It was not, of course, as good. But jesus.) than usual. So the food was good, the company was great and O showed a film she edited together of a bunch of Deia old super-8 movies. That was beautiful and thoroughly amazing and I'll put it up on Youtube just as soon as I possibly can.

A lot of you who read this blog may not know the history behind this. You see, my aunt, my mother's sister, the QOB is a brilliant painter who spent the majority of her life as an expatriate in a small artists' colony on the island of Mallorca called Deia. When I was in the middle of a bunch of utterly predictable teenage trouble - drugs and wildly unsuitable boyfriends, hee - my parents gave up on me and shipped me off to live with the QOB in Deia. I lived there from, pretty much, age 16 through age 18. Then I came home and sort of promptly got pregnant but that's yet another damn story. Anyway, Deia is an amazing place and many many brilliant people have lived there over the years making a lot of amazingly brilliant art and, to tie it to the real world, the one who more or less began it all was Robert Graves. Yeah, I Claudius Robert Graves. At any rate I lived there as a teenager and had massive adventures which I will at some point chronicle and etc., etc. There is a lot to chronicle. Through the QOB and O I am suddenly re-meeting and reconnecting with a whole bunch of people I knew as a teenager when, by the way, I had changed my name to Lisa. Okay, okay - but I was 16 and found Felicity not only unwieldy but hideously reminiscent of my parents who, of course man, did not at all exist because I was on my own in Spain.

O is a Deia child through and through and she has put together this wonderful film of all the Deia people at different times. And I am in it, which I didn't expect. Yeah, there I am, my face painted all up with glitter and a third eye, holding my friend Sylvie's baby, Shaman, and looking stoned and 17 entirely. Also, fuck, gorgeous. Yes, gorgeous and it stunned me a bit and made me step back. I mean, damn. Amazing what 30 years can do. It's been great having O here - the QOB has been so happy - and also we've had big fun. And then, too, it reminds you that your life isn't disparate episodes but one connected whole. Do you know, some of my old friends and boyfriends from those years are on, god help us, Facebook? Eeeep. Small world gets smaller. It's okay - hell, it's good like Greek potroast.

Greek Potroast
4-5 lbs beef roast (I used eye round last time but I've made it with whatever's on sale.)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions quartered
5 cloves garlic, smushed
3 stalks celery, chunked
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice (actually I never have ground allspice so I just use the whole thing, about 8 of them or whatever)
4 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick broken in half
28 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
Sprinkle roast with salt and pepper or, shit, use Montreal Steak. Tons of it. That's what I do. And then brown it in 2 tbsp of the butter in a big heavy pot. When it's brown pull it out and theoretically you're supposed to drain the fat but depending on the meat there may not be any or much. Anyway then put the rest of the butter and the olive oil in the pan and then saute all the veg and the spices. It will smell fantastic. When it starts to look sort of soft and all, put the meat back in, pour the tomatoes & the wine & the water over it, cover, bring to a boil, take down to a simmer and then let it go for about 2 - 3 hours. Depending on the size of your pot you may need to add more water or some tomato sauce or something.

When the meat is done, pull it out and put it on a platter. Take the sauce and veg that is left and put about half of it, heavy on the veg, through the food processor. Mind the cinnamon stick; it can fuck up your motor. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a cast iron pan and then add 2 tbsp flour and get a nice roux going. Add the pureed liquid bit by bit to make the sauce/gravy. If you use all the sauce increase the roux and so on.

This is very delicious. You can also toss in some feta cheese towards the end for even more yumzers factor.


MB said...

Robert Graves. Yeah, I Claudius Robert Graves.

I stand in awe. Damn.

Oh, and the recipe looks great -- into my c/p recipe file.

haskell said...

I have the "I, Claudius" DVD set if you want to borrow it (for yourself or the QOB). Then again, the library may have it too.


You are still beautiful. Oh and btw you are a talented artist/intellectual and a fabulous cook.

Anonymous said...

I've had the same problems with ipods - they don't like switching to different itunes. Try this: use Sharepod ( to copy the songs on the ipod off first to a separate directory, then tell itunes about that directory and any other new ones.
There are prob other ways...