Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Mouth to Feed

Welcome home (sort of) Bode Burns

Okay, so when your husband comes home and says, "Let's get a dog," and he's THIS cute, and so is your husband, AND you have a 2 1/2 year old son, try your very hardest to look past the puppy's droopy eyes, the extra skin, the mammoth paws, and the puppy breath.  The shit is HARD.  There ain't two ways around it.  The feeding is the least of our responsibilities, and frankly, my main squeeze is doing most of the dirty work, but, and there's a HUGE but...when said hubby is employed out of the state, even worse, in HAWAII, that's when the hard work and regret sets in.  Well, work is work, so my man packed up his surf board and headed off for an 8 day job in Oahu, working 2, surfing 6.  Now, I know these are first world problems, but I had family visiting, no preschool for Henry, our nanny on vacation, pink eye on the kid, and a 3 month old puppy.  As my people say, "oy vey."  At one point, on the phone with Jere in Hawaii, in the midst of bathing, chasing, and feeding in the evening, he says to his bartender, "Could I get another chunk of pineapple, please?"  Really?  Needless to say, when my tanned, rested hubby came home and picked up mucho household slack, for a full day at least, I was haggard.  In my kooky stupor, I could have sworn I heard him sigh deeply when having to take Bode for a walk in the rain.  I figured, here's my opening:

Int.  Kitchen.  Day. 
Honey, are you regretting this decision?
What decision?
Oh, I thought you were really frustrated with Bode, and if you are...
What are you talking about?
I don't know, if you think we got a dog too soon...
Well, there are ways to rectify the situation if we maybe jumped the gun, with Henry being so young and all...
(Long pause)  Are you asking me if I could get rid of a member of our family?!
What?  No, no way, I just thought... Never mind.  Me too, ME TOO!  Bode and Henry are totally brothers!

Listen, I'm embarrassed I could have such thoughts.  I consider myself an extreme dog-loving person.  A person who has lived with many dogs, and lost them all eventually, obviously, and I wouldn't trade those relationships for anything.  But in a moment when your house feels like it's swallowing you whole, you're slipping in dog pee every five minutes, and all you want is to be alone with your son, bathing him, all eyes on him, you kind of lose your mind.  At least I did.

Right now Bode is lying on my lap, dreaming of chasing something, and it feels amazing.  I know my son and he will have an incredible relationship for a good, long time, and yes, so will Bode and I.  Like Jere said, a member of our family.
My rain-loving boys

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Whole Latke Love!

I may have a devil child.  "Loving," isn't exactly how the evening started out.  I was busy fryin' up the latkes, (recipe later, oy, they were delish!), when all of a sudden I see my friend, Jill's, face drop as she witnesses Henry raise his plastic bus up high, and strike her son, Jack, on the head with it.  Not a bonk, not a tap, a full-forced blow to the noggin.  There was blood...and a bump, and a whole latke embarrassment on my part.  I felt horrible, who IS this child?!  These boys have been SO loving with one another since they met a year and a half ago, you can imagine my mortification.
Better days between Henry and Jack
Jack was crying, Henry started crying, Jill and I started crying, (thank you, Liv, for not joining in on the tears with us!), and, needless to say, this wasn't how I remembered the first night of Hannukah....  BUT we got through it,  (thanks mostly to the calm Daddy's present), the O'Brien's stayed, no emergency room visit necessary, but I'm pretty sure Jack's afraid of our house now.  (Our new puppy terrorized him last time.)  Remarkably, the night turned around quite nicely, after Henry was allowed out of his room, hugged Jack, and said he was sorry.  Oy, the tsuris.  Had the latkes not been divine, the whole evening might have been a bust.
From the amazing cookbook my friend, Marla, swears by:  Jewish Home Cooking, by Arthur Schwartz.
1 pound of russet (baking) potatoes
2 eggs
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 to 1/3 cup matzo meal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Peanut, corn, or canola oil for frying

(I doubled this recipe, so I was at the stove for quite a while, but there were VERY few leftover, thank you very much!)

Peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks and place them in a bowl with cold water.  This keeps them from browning, but don't leave them there for longer than 2 hours.
Beat the eggs.  Throw the onions into a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade, pulse until very finely chopped, almost a puree.  Scrape the onions into the bowl with the eggs and mix.
Drain the potatoes, then set a strainer over a bowl.  In the same processor, (no need to clean it), process the potatoes until very finely chopped, but still with some texture.  Immediately scrape them into the strainer.  With the back of a big, wooden spoon or something, press out the moisture so it drains into the catch bowl.  Immediately stir the potatoes into the egg mixture.  Throw away the lovely juices.  Add matzo meal, salt, pepper and cream of tartar.  Stir well and let stand while the oil is heating.
Heat about 1/8 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.  But not so hot that it splatters wildly.  Spoon out the batter for each pancake, about a 1/4 cup or less.  The batter should sizzle as soon as it hits, if the edges of the batter separate, the oil it too hot, and if if there are just slight bubbles, the oil is not yet hot enough.
Fry the latkes for about 4 minutes on the first side, watch the edges get nice and brown, and slightly less time on the second side.  They should be pretty darn brown before flipping them, 'cause you only want to flip 'em once.  I set out paper towel to put them on, let them drain some of the oil out after cooking.  I also cover them with a towel to keep them warm, but you'll want to serve them as soon as possible.
You know the drill from there, apple sauce and sour cream, I dare you to eat just one.
Happy Hannukah!