White Dog whispered, "You know YoYoMa and dad shopped at the Growers' Market for a VERY special menu that we are going to make just for you today." "Really?" I asked secretly delighted. "Why?" and then I realized that might have sounded ungrateful. "I mean, how very wonderful and totally undeserved." WD knew I had slipped but chose to ignore my gaffe. "You are going to love what everyone has in mind. Let's just hope the wind and rain die down a bit. We kind of wanted to grill and eat outside."
The wind did NOT hear her or the rest of the White Dog Army's pleas to stop its bluster and howl; the rain was unpredictable in it confident appearance for a few minutes and then its disappearance until the next round. The WDA and Steve huddled. A new plan was formed leaving the menu intact but changing the picnic to the living room.
Yesterday, I saw Steve and YoYoMa haul in a local bleu cheese wedge, some small overwintered onions, crispy whole wheat kaiser rolls, peppers, beets, tiny potatoes, and brussel sprouts. And from the grocery this morning he carried home lemons and ground steak.
Steve has gout so we do not eat much red meat in our house. For most times, I am fine with that but every so often my cave woman comes out and the idea of bloody red beef is overwhelming. (I hope my vegetarian and vegan friends will understand we all do not walk the same path).
White Dog glanced into the kitchen where the team of chefs and supervisors were already working on aspects of the meal. "You are SO lucky!" she hinted. I tried not to be too attentive so the surprise would be genuine but already I had kind of figured parts out...not that I would give it away.
The White Dogs and Steve filled the kitchen with smoke using the broiler to replicate what the outdoor grill should have done but the results were stupendous.
A steak burger thick and rare and mottled with bleu cheese sat triumphantly on a roll dripping with a bleu cheese based sauce and smothered in fried onions. It was the most beautiful sight. I got a bit emotional when I realized that they had done this for me...and they were having the same burger, one for Steve and meatball sized ones without onions for the Army...only made of ground turkey. Next to the swoon-burger was a mound of sauteed vegetables ("We were going to cook them on the grill," Bella confessed) spiced with the tiniest touch of fresh chile pepper...the perfect counterpoint to the bleu cheese.
I laughed when Benson hit the stereo's "play" button and "Bye Bye Miss American Pie" came flooding into the room. We ate to a selection of American classics..."like from a jukebox," Benson explained.
The finale was a three layer tall lemon cake with lemon custard between the layers...it was a promise that these windy cold days were numbered and Summer WAS coming. I called everyone to attention to thank them for the special fussing and to let them know how truly wonderful the meal...and my family was.
"And now, a nap," suggested C.A.Stormer as Pearl belched and everyone sank to comfy positions. If we wore belts, I believe we would have all leaned back and loosened them.