Monday, August 06, 2007

Where I've Been

Sorry for the silence guys! I was having all kinds of crazy things happen with me personally and then I took off for my cabin.

The first new order of business was to find me a new job. Cube life had been draining on me and all of the fun crew that I used to go out with all the time had already left the company. (Except for Jimmy K - who continues to rock it old school style.)

So, I picked up my pencils and left. I'm headed to a new company right across the street - this one has a keg in the office at all times. I think this new place my suit me just fine. Week before last, I was spending all my time either interviewing or worrying. There was almost no good food to speak of and if pressed for information I might have to cop to eating Ramen more than once.

Almost immediately after I got the job, I went on vacation. Nothing says two week notice like taking most of the time off. We went back up to my cabin where there was much good food and laughs. I tried to take some pictures, but haven't been able to get them off of my stupid phone. I'll try to post some on here if I can get that thing to work.

Oh, the food.... And you know that cabin time means nothing but sitting, eating, reading and occasionally swimming. We have this kick ass sauna, too, so many nights were spent sweating out the booze from the night before, before restocking the bloodstream for another go around. The first night we cooked it up to 180 and sat there for as long as we could take it before dashing out and flinging ourselves into the cool lake waters. My mom stopped short causing a sweaty and rather unpleasant pileup at the end of the dock. "Look!" she gasped. There was a low slung, nearly full moon grazing the tree tops, completely red. It wasn't a fading pink or straight scarlet, but it was definitely red. I've never in my life seen a moon like this! We ran into the lake, whooshing and splashing, until settled and cool, we floated on our backs and watched the moon.

The cabin is located in Britt, MN which is right next to the middle of no where. The lake it's on is quiet and the cabin itself is impressive. It was built in 1910 by my great grandparents on my mother's side. It's still all logs and bricks, barely anything has been updated since then save a dishwasher that was added in the 40's and a gas range that was just put in this year. This place is OOOOOOOLLLLD. Most of us stay down in the boat house that used to be an actual boat house, but has now been converted into bedrooms. Every year we wonder, is this the weekend where it tumbles into the sea? Luckily, it wasn't this one. Matt & I took the yellow bedroom. The top two bedrooms are the best spots in the cabins. There's the Aloha room (named for the curtains with the dancing ladies) that is big, spacious and gorgeous with a closet, dresser and even two bedside tables. Next to it is the yellow room, small, cramped with a double bed that leans to one side where if one is not careful and one is rather drunk and tired from a super hot sauna, it is possible that one could roll off the bed in the night causing a terrific crash and one's hip to ache for days like an old lady. I'm just saying that it's possible. And I hate the yellow room.

But, because I am the bigger person and because it was her birthday I was generous enough to concede the Aloha room to my younger, smaller, single, not having to sleep with the chaos that is Matt sister. I'm sure she appreciates why she'll hear about this for the rest of the year.

The food highlights were the porketta, Fraboni's meat products and the potato pancakes. We actually bought the proketta, which was odd for me because I usually make it from scratch. It's not a common product around these parts and places that do make it usually cover it in MSG and other crap you don't need. Corn Syrup. Why? Why? WHY do people put that in everything!? It's horrible. We were going to get the Fraboni's one, but it was about fifteen thousand dollars, so we just got the Super One generic one. It was one tasty hunk of meat. We cooked it on the grill - slow and low, probably about two hours. There was a gorgeous little smoke ring and all these crispy hunks of charred fat that was a little slice of porkey, fatty perfection. We had sandwiches for days!

The next morning my mom made us potato pancakes for breakfast. They were delicious. I whipped up a little Greek yogurt/jalapeno sauce and my mom made a fresh raspberry syrup. I love that the recipe was written in my Dad's slanted scrawl. It was good to have a little bit of his presence there. The recipe is incredibly simple. We just used Simply Potatoes, flour, baking soda, salt and pepper. I really think that's all there was. They took forever to fry, in the steamy hot kitchen, but Mom was a real trouper. We had plenty to eat. She served them with some of the Fraboni's bacon. Now, you might think I'm a little insane over this stuff, but you would be wrong. I swoon for their products. My love affair with their meat started simply enough. A couple of years ago, while visiting my grandma in Virgina, we happened upon some breakfast sausages of theirs. They had a really porky flavor - which is a simplistic way to describe the sweet and fresh flavor. They tasted like well treated meat, sage and real maple syrup. Then there were the porketta sausages and the wild rice, last time we got the Italian and they were all delicious!! A pack of Fraboni's bacon is thick sliced, chewy, meaty and salty like my Grandma Aggie's disposition. A full pack is only $5! Life on the range might not be easy. It's tough to get a job that pays much and the winters can be brutal. But dayum, if ya'll don't have some tasty pork products!

We also had a T-bone steak that was so freakishly thick that my sister couldn't believe it was only one cut of meat and my mom was nervous about how long to cook it. (For perspective: my mom's cooking abilities could put those wonks on Top Chef to shame.) That was incredible. Mom and I took turns sucking the marrow out of the bone. When we finished our faces were shiny and dotted specks of pepper and char. Ahhhhhhh.

Another night I did a large antipasto platter for us to graze on. And I'm only mentioning it here because although it was tasty - it was not spectacular. But it was very, very pretty! And I have a picture! On that goddamn phone!!!! Hopefully here: is where I'll post that.

Update: (Not the best picture, but here you have it.)

It was olives, rosemary and onion bread, chiabatta, melon wrapped in Capoccollo, the ripest, berry best tomato ever, fresh picked blueberries, leftover steak and porketta. We were drinking Crinzana Temperanillo - which I think was probably an old bottle. Mountain Iron might not be big on the temperanillos, but still it was good.

Wednesday, we were trying to temper the images on the TV with the fact that it was Julie's birthday. For dinner we grilled cheddar brats and my mom had gotten her angel food cake:

After we ate cake drizzled with hot fudge and raspberry sauce, we turned up the boombox and danced to Ricky Nelson and Sam Cooke. Julie does a fantastic jitterbug.

It was so hard to leave the place. But, to paraphrase the Big Chill, how much food, fun and love can you handle in just one week? So, Matt and I packed our cooler with leftovers and freed the nightcrawlers. We had a big party to get to back in the cities.


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