Monday, June 4, 2012

Mixed Plate: Keep Calm and Bake a Crostata

No offense to May, there were some really fantastic things going on, like fun restaurant meetups, mixing art and food, and yes, even a television appearance! But I have to say, May, I'm through with you. I'm dumping all your stuff out of that extra drawer and you'd better take that prized anthology of Police Academy DVDs with you on your way out. Thankfully it has nothing to do with food or restaurants, it's just the tough, sinewy gristle of Life that really made for some extra drama that nobody needs. So All Hail June, and may you be boring and drama-free!

Even the crostata couldn't keep itself from falling apart from all the craziness afoot - Photo by Wasabi Prime
May started out quietly enough, but it brought the hammer down with a couple of Whammies about midway through, when we had a total freak accident happen to the house, and then we took the dog, aka Miss Indiana Jones, for a routine teeth cleaning that got all Bat Country on us. One sandtrap at a time, I know -- as to the house, or the garage to be more specific, it kind of had the opposite of an organ prolapse. As in, hey lookie - the outsides are now on the inside! It was an accident, plain and simple, but a big industrial lawn mower went out of control and sorta crashed into our garage -- with the door still closed. It felt like a meteor hit the house, everything shook. The force of the impact blew the lower half of the garage outside-in, which is rather impressive considering the door is attached with springs that have enough torque to take your head off if you were messing with them. The mower is about the size of a small car, and luckily neither of our cars were damaged -- Brock was at work and mine was miraculously shielded by a support beam, which got Streetfighter-smackdowned by the mower. Ouch. 

What your garage should not look like, fyi - Photos by Wasabi Prime
I totally expected the Mayhem character from the Allstate ads to show up in his bedraggled black suit, covered in band-aids and do a little jig amid the chaos of spinning blades and wet grass spattered everywhere. The main thing is, no one was hurt, the landscape company that we've been with for years and are very good, were equally very good about taking care of things. Sometimes poop happens.  I admit, my brain was in a haze for a while and it was hard to focus that week, trying to deal with getting that sorted along with the daily work. End-of-day cocktails were a must, and I imbibed with gusto and unholy passion.

Don't mess with the Cone of Shame - Photos by Wasabi Prime
Our next doozy was Indy-related. She's getting older -- she's over 7 years, which is semi-ancient in dog years -- so that means dental care is more of a priority. It's not like we're shoving candy bars and ice cream her way, not that she'd complain, but plaque builds up and dogs can't brush and floss on their own; once teeth go bad, it's like with people -- it's painful and you're more prone to infection. We scheduled Indy's teeth cleaning, which means they have to put the animal under anesthesia. Knowing we're having to pay for the total knock-out, we got other stuff taken care of -- surgical shopping spree! She had a tiny, benign little bump on the edge of her eyelid that had the potential to grow and bother her eye later, so we had it removed. This is all with good intentions of course -- professional teeth cleaning, weirdo growth removals -- but we wind up looking like total dog owner monsters because I brought home a completely stoned Indy with a shaved eye, having to wear The Cone of Shame for two weeks until her eye could heal and the stitch was removed. She looked like a really crappy pirate, minus the eye patch. And the Cone only added insult to injury. We "leveled up" her hard plastic Cone of Shame with a soft but sturdy nylon version, which was easier to get on and off with velcro. This led to Indy being velcroed to the carpet a few times after a nap, which I admit, is kinda funny. Zero peripheral vision, a much wider turn radius, and many collisions with furniture and our legs, it's been an awesome couple of weeks.

Stay calm, Cone Dog, dessert is on the way - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Which finally leads me to the food part -- sure, they say it's not healthy to cushion the sting of whatever emotional slings and arrows with food, but dessert sure helps. I had a frozen pie crust at the ready, which I think everyone should have in their freezers -- there's no evil that can't be undone with a fresh baked pie. The CSA delivery brought us fresh strawberries and rhubarb, and making a crostata, a rustic, flat version of a pie, is probably one of the best things you can do in a pinch. You can fill this flat pie with anything, really -- sweet and savory alike. I actually cushioned those emotional slings and arrows with several different foods, but this dessert is one that can be made in record time, if you have the basics at hand. And even if you don't, store bought pie dough works in a pinch. It's a crisis man, we require dessert triage! Let the blog title ring true, when trouble sets in, simply keep calm and bake a crostata.

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