The extended holiday weekend gave me an opportunity to catch up with old friends.

On Wednesday, Andrew and Joann joined us for dinner. In August, they hosted us for a couple of nights during our trip to San Francisco; we were happy to return the hospitality. We decided to fix them a swell new dish: beef tenderloin stuffed with pine nuts and monterey jack cheese. Unfortunately, the dish was swell only in theory.

That’s right — we committed an entertainment faux pas by attempting to impress company with a meal we’d never tried before. We could have served Caprial’s beef tenderloin with pepper and port sauce, a dish we’ve made many times, a dish that we can nail, a dish that never fails to impress. But we got cocky and went for something new. The results were disastrous. Though we followed directions, the meat was bland and undercooked. I thought the balsamic vinegar clashed terribly with the other ingredients. It was a mess. We should have surrendered and ordered pizza, but we stuck it out, finishing the steaks. Andrew and Joann get gold stars for that.

After dinner, I preached the glory of the Wii. We had fun with Wii Sports, but when it came time to play something else, I realized I don’t have any other good multiplayer games yet. We tried to play the Monkeyball party games, but it was an exercise in frustration. None of them made any sense. And I hadn’t unlocked enough of the Rayman multiplayer games for it to be any fun. My top priority for this machine is to get another fun multiplayer game so that my evangelism can carry more weight.

My weekend food endeavors weren’t all bad. I made some yummy mashed potatoes for family Thanksgiving on Thursday. On Saturday, I surprised myself by mixing up a batch of damn good bean soup. It was easy! Here’s what I did:

J.D.’s Impromptu Bean Soup
Soak 2-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 13-bean blend for six hours. Rinse. Add 2 quarts water. Bring to boil over high heat. While waiting for the boil, add the other ingredients as they become ready: 3 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Bean Soup Seasoning, 1 teaspoon hickory smoke salt, 1 yellow onion (diced), 3-5 cloves garlic (minced), 1 can tomato sauce, and about 1 pound of the pork product of your choice. (I used ham because we had some in the freezer. Bacon works. Fresh ham works.) Cook for about two hours, until beans are done to your liking. Remove from heat. For best flavor, store overnight in fridge.

It’s good stuff, I tell you — good stuff!

Yesterday we met up with Nicole Lindroos and her husband, Chris Pramas, for brunch at Wild Abandon in southeast Portland. Paul and Amy Jo joined us. I love to go out for breakfast. It’s a treat I don’t get very often because it’s Kris’ least favorite meal. It was an adjustment for me to order a breakfast with limited sugar. Normally I’d devour a huge stack of pancakes and then slather them in syrup. Yesterday I ordered a ham-and-cheese omelet with fried potatoes. The only real sugar came from ketchup and from a small blueberry scone. Still, the meal was good.

I should join Paul and Amy Jo for breakfast more often.

2 Replies to “You Win Some, You Lose Some”

  1. Amy Jo says:

    Anytime JD, anytime. We’ve been wanting to whisk you two off to Simpatica Dining Hall some Sunday morning. If we go late morning, as we did at Wild Abandon, Kris can order lunch.

  2. Paul says:

    I share your holiday meal pain. I made a buffet of food that was all new to me. My expectations were high and the food did not produce. Though the guests were fine and probably enjoyed themselves and the food, I was disappointed. My guests probably loved it because they didn’t have to cook for 3-days prior and didn’t have to do the dishes. The important thing to remember is your friends will most likely be your friends even after a sub-par meal.

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