Man, what a great dinner. We just had some dry-rubbed ribs that I started mid-afternoon, and some hand-cut coleslaw alongside. For some strange reason, I am craving a Coca-Cola, but if I was going to indulge in one I certainly wouldn't do so at 7:30pm. (Not with my sleep issues!) Photos to come tomorrow, most likely.
I meant to get a bunch of stuff done in the kitchen this afternoon, but it didn't happen. Sometimes I feel lethargic and unmotivated. It was a beautiful day outside for once...weird to have temps in the 50s (F) when there's snow on the ground!
I spent an hour this afternoon wrestling with my car...I drive a 2005 Honda Element (the one that looks like a Soviet milk truck) and had yanked out the back seats months ago to make more room for schlepping catering supplies around. Well, my husband is taking the Element to Charleston, WV for a conference next week because he's carting some students along with him, so I figured I'd better get the seats back into the car. It took me over an hour, including a long phone call to the dealer, to figure out how to make it work, but I did get it done (and each of those seats weighs about 35 pounds--not light for a pregnant lady). Now my car appears to have a much smaller capacity, and it's gonna be weird to drive it tomorrow with backseats behind me, but the seats are probably there to stay now that Colin is on the way. I am hoping one of the gifts from this weekend's baby shower will be one of the 2 car seats we registered for, in which case I'll probably go ahead and get it installed at a fire department to be sure it's in there right. I don't know what I'll do for future catering gigs...I can pull out one seat rather than both back seats if needed, so I may try to make that work. Usually we have to do some engineering to make everything fit for a catering job to begin with, though! I don't even want to think about it right now.
I sold my old car, a 5-door VW Golf hatchback, to buy the Element late last summer. The Golf held an awful lot of stuff for such a little car, but it can't compare to the Element's haul capacity. How much stuff I can haul has a huge impact on what kind of job I can take. I didn't realize this until after I did my first big job (a 75-guest wedding), but even if I get to the point where I have enough catering business to start acquiring my own tableware for rent, there's no way I can haul tableware AND all the food, beverages and assorted equipment I already have to take on a job. If I lined up a really big wedding, I'd have to build in the cost of renting a trailer or even a truck to my estimates. In some ways I'm learning as I go along with the catering thing--I've not had a major or even a minor mishap at a job yet, but catering is a huge organizational and logistical puzzle more than it's a cooking challenge for somebody with my skill set. Fortunately, I enjoy tackling those types of problems. Double-fortunately, I don't have any gigs lined up right now, because I find my brain has a hard time wrapping around such problems at this point in my pregnancy.
Speaking of pregnancy brain issues...I have to tell you the Story of the Corned Beef. My mom has this terrific recipe for a sweet-sour corned beef. A few weeks ago, I picked up a raw corned beef from Costco to cook for our dinner. The package said the meat weighed 2.8lbs. Mom's recipe said to simmer the meat with some aromatics for 40min/lb. I could NOT figure out how long to simmer the meat for the longest time! I was resisting writing it down because I normally convert recipes and do time calculations in my head as second nature--I don't even have to think about it before proceeding, I just...do it. (I don't especially enjoy math, but I'm very good at simple arithmetic and normally just do it all in my head.) Finally I figured out that I needed to simmer the meat for about 112 minutes. Then I went to program the timer on my range and realized I couldn't figure out how to program 112 minutes...if you put in "112" that reads as 1 hour, 12 minutes.
Finally I figured it all out and got everything going, but that was a humiliating experience for me overall. It really is true, your brain just goes on vacation when you're pregnant. At least mine has.