Sunday, November 24, 2013

Your favorite tree

Last week we spent some time with a few kids we're quite fond of.  M had the brilliant idea to take them to Chuck E Cheese, something I think he remembered fondly from his childhood.  I have a vague memory of going to a Chuck E. Cheese - I remember, mostly, the horrifying, moth-eaten, jacked-up
animatronics. So, we took our little charges out to Niles to everyone's great excitement.  It was a bizarre place, very similar to Vegas, with little kids running around with small plastic cups full of tokens, like elderly people with those plastic mini-buckets at the slots.  And a lot of the games were like straight-up slot machines only you get a ticket if you "win".  Poor little N put a token in a game and then said, "I just threw my money away."

It was very strange and I'm not entirely sure the girls had a good time, although they later claimed it was amazing.

On the way home we played 20 Questions.  M was the person who had the word.  It started like this:
K: is it a machine?
E: Is it an animal?
K: Is it made of metal?
N: Is it a pipe?
N: Is it your favorite tree?

Eventually N says, "Is it silverware?"
E: Is it a knife?
NO - 17 questions
E: Is it a fork?
NO - 18 questions
N: Is it a SPOON???
19 questions....

20 Questions is actually an amazing game and M & I like playing it in the car ourselves. Although, somehow it's kind of cheating because it's almost like we can read each other's minds.  For example,  I was the next person to have the word next and I thought of "moon".  And what does M ask for his first question but "Is it on planet earth?"   (!!!!)

When I put the girls to bed, they gave me the best compliment, which is that our guest room is the "most amazing room in the universe" (I agree!)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

G's Lentil Soup

There's this little dive of a restaurant in Chicago called The Taste of Lebanon - the food is great but it's a total dive.  Me and my friends used to call it The Smell of Lebanon (BOOM!) Anyway, they have this totes ridick soup that is to die.  My friend G recreated it rather handily, and we've been working on re-creating G's ever since.  We've gotten pretty close.  Here's the recipe, mostly for my own well-being - I keep losing it...

2lb Red Lentils
2 large onions
3 cloves garlic
Cumin (1 tbs? To taste)
Paprika (same)
Hot pepper ( to taste)
Tomato paste ( 1/3 -1/2 a small can?)
Olive oil
Black pepper

"Heat lots of olive oil in a large pot(1/3-1/2 c?). Add onions and caramelize for a while. Add garlic and spices, cook until fragrant. Salt. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring often so it toasts but doesn't burn. Salt. Add lentils and stir to coat them all with the oil and other stuff.  Salt and pepper. Add about 10 cups water and cook until lentils soften and start to break apart, adding more water if soup gets super thick. Add salt and TONS of pepper to taste. I also added a little more olive oil to make it nice and rich, not sure how much, to taste.  Add a dash of lemon juice at the end."

G's like a real cook and everything so she really follows her nose and her heart when she's cooking.  Not like the rest of us schmucks who are like, "Now, what does she mean by 'hot pepper'?"  Truthfully, I do not know.  Just shut up and put something a little spicy in there.