That was the weekend that was. On Friday, takaza and I went out after work for a quick trip to Sam’s Club to price out some shelves that he had his eye on so we could bring some order to our garage (and hopefully other areas of the house as well). We didn’t buy anything while we were there, but we had some better numbers to work with. On the way home, we decided to try one of the family restaurants in Grayslake, the Hillside Restaurant. While Dan’s meal was pretty blah, my Reuben was excellent, with some of the better corned beef that I’ve had in a while. Afterwards, we stopped by the Prairie Croissant Cafe and picked up some coffee beans (they get theirs from Metropolis Coffee in Chicago, my second-favorite roastery there 🙂
On Saturday, Dan had to go over to his mom’s place to hook up her new DVD recorder and show her how to use it. I struck off on my own and joined roho, genet, feren, lady_curmudgeon, and colliedoc for brunch at Las Vegas Restaurant in Antioch. Afterwards we walked around downtown a bit to fight off the inevitable food coma and we were joined by linnaeus. The lot of us headed north to Brightonwood Orchard, home of Aeppeltreow Winery. We sampled some of the new wines for 2007, but I wound up buying a bottle of the very tasty Appley Doux sweet sparkling cider and a bottle of Pommeaux apple dessert wine (fortified with apple eau de vie). Then it was over to the apple barn where we checked out some of the wonderful heirloom varieties. My favorite, Northern Spy, wasn’t in yet, but I picked up some Northern Greening and Gravenstein apples.
After returning from the orchard, Straif and I headed south and picked up Dan, then stopped at Garden Fresh to get some dinner fixins before returning to Antioch. Roho grilled up some delicious burgers and sausages from Antioch Packing House, then I went to work on the grill, test-grilling a couple of different things to see how they might work for the upcoming picnic. The verdicts:
Grilled Butternut Squash: Delicious, very potatoe-y when grilled. This begs the question, though, why not just grill potatoes, which are easier to deal with in quantity?
Grilled Honeydew Melon: The grilling didn’t really add much to the flavor. Maybe good for a garnish in a salad? Probably won’t pursue this for the picnic.
Grilled Honey Crisp Apples: Excellent! Nicely caramelized, very tasty. Might be a bit too expensive, though (there’s a reason the orchard nicknames them “Money Crisp” apples)
Grilled Nectarines: No verdict, since the coals were dying and I never succeeded in doing much more than warming the nectarines.
Sunday got a lot crazier than expected. First, we were surprised by a call from our landlord wanting to come in and change the furnace filter (read: “I want to come by and make sure you guys aren’t destroying my place.”) That’s cool, though – this was the first time he’s been out since we moved and, and I can understand his concern. Fortunately, we’re good tenants and he seemed happy with what he saw. We also talked about re-upping our lease and he seemed very amenable to that, so we’re covered for next year, it appears (thank heavens!). After he left, we drove back to Sam’s Club and bought the shelves we had looked at on Friday. We rearranged some of the stuff in the garage and put the shelves together, then Dan started replacing the various boxes on the shelves. Dan’s mom showed up to start work on a slipcover for our sofa, and I went to work in the kitchen making the aforementioned Apple Slab Pie. That sucker took seven pounds of apples and four pie crusts, but it came out well and I’m very happy with the results. In the midst of the chaos, luckytheevildog showed up and Dan helped him install a new hard drive on his computer. I whipped up dinner for everyone, a simple fettuccine with a modified pesto consisting of olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs (basil, oregano, and parsley), and Parmesan cheese. I cooked up some Italian sausages to serve on the side, and I was very happy with the results. The pie definitely passed muster; I’ll be posting the recipe in the next few days, since Dan’s mom wants a copy.
The alarm went off far too early this morning, and I’m dragging a bit now. Coming up this week…um, beats me. I know I have a lot of work to do for Midwest FurFest, though, so that will probably be my primary non-work focus. For now, though, I’m going in search of caffeine!