Imperfect Paradise by Dan Dembiczak - I'm so proud of Dan Dembiczak, whose first novel - Imperfect Paradise - is available for sale in both eBookor Paperback on Amazon.com! The story follows ...
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Last night was the End of the World as We Know It, and I woke up feeling a little tired, but otherwise okay.
To be more specific, it was the TEOTWAWKI themed Memento at Gerald and Robyn's place up in Lynnwood (my old stomping grounds!). Given the types of proteins I anticipated I'd be eating, and the amazing longevity of our first appetizer, there was some reason for concern I might not feel fine this morning. In fact, when I told my boss about the party, he thought it sounded like we must all be trying to kill one another.
Dan & I arrived 30 min early (bad form) because I was worried about traffic. Living on the South side of Downtown Seattle means that any event, however small, completely locks up the freeway between roughly the West Seattle Bridge and Seneca, thanks to I-5 going from 5 lanes to 2. Sporting events, community events, accidents... just about anything causes a major backup. In fact, I'm pretty sure anyone braking at any point in that area leads to a 20 minute delay. But I digress.
Our early arrival, though rude, turned out to be a blessing - as it gave Hilo (who was invited) time to make peace with Bella and Magnus. He eagerly ran into the house before I could stop him, leading to him in the house while Bella and Magnus looked on through the glass back door. This did not lead to happy feelings on the part of Bella, who surely felt her home was being invaded and she wasn't there to protect it. So when she did come in, she and Hilo had a bit of a scrap, with Magnus trying his puppy-best to get in on the action. After quick action by all the doggy parents, we got them under control, calmed down, and reintroduced slowly in the back yard - where growling and snapping turned into running and playing. Crisis averted.
Dan & I loaded in the insane amount of canned goods and gear we brought to serve dessert. I was ready for no power, no light, no running water, no utensils... you know, TEOTWAWKI. Thankfully, our uber-prepared hosts had already foraged up knives, forks and spoons for everyone, and plenty of gas lights - so I was WAY over prepared.
After all the other guests had arrived, we got started.
As is Memento tradition, our hosts kicked us off with an appetizer course. On our plate were two halved eggs - one bright purple, and one more natural in color - along with a couple spigs of lettuce and some shriveled brownish things. The first, "normal" looking egg was a deviled egg made from a hard-boiled egg that Gerald & Robyn rubbed with bacon fat and buried in salt for the past month. You'd never guess it, as it tasted as fresh as any hard-boiled egg I've had. The yolk was spiced up with a little wasabi, and it was garnished with some sesame seeds. It was paired with a pickled egg that included Thai bird chilies in the pickling liquid, and was the spiciest of the three offerings on the plate. (If memory serves, beets lent the egg it's vibrant color.) The shriveled brown things turned out to be smoked Hood Canal oysters, foraged here in the area. Rounding out the spicy trio, they had Sriracha in their marinade. I likened the texture to between beef jerky and pepperoni stick - drier than the latter, but still soft.
Next up, the guests of our hosts served a charcuterie plate with a rabbit terrine, cured meats, cheese, cracker, an olive and some homemade mustard.
The salad course was provided by Marcy & James, featuring greens from their own garden.
SPAM made an appearance on our first entree plate, thanks to Jason & Anna. It accompanied whole smelt, cured lemon peel and greens, garnished by a chive flower, early strawberries, and cherries.
The second entree featured alligator meat, sea beans (a favorite of mine), mushrooms, and potato buds mashed potatoes.
Our dessert (which I failed to photograph), was presented in a pint sized mason jar - a trifle of layered spotted dick cake, devon custard, dulce de leche caramel, treacle sponge cake, blackberries, Hostess Twinkies, and home-canned rhubarb jam. Everything in the trifle came out of cans, with the exception of the Twinkies. The caramel was made by slow cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of boiling water over the gas grill.
To wash down the rich dessert, I made two caffeine free-drinks, non-alcoholic drinks: "Coffee" made of the roots of dandelions (dried and then roasted), and an herbal tea made from dried English Plantain leaves, dried apples, dried pineapple weed flowers, and apple mint. All but the apples were foraged on my street. The tea and coffee were steeped in large glass jugs all day, sitting in a solar oven, and served in little 8 oz jelly jars. I found I really enjoyed the dandelion root coffee, which surprised me (since I don't like coffee). It was smokey but not bitter, as I'd expected it would be. I really should have found a way to filter out the leaves in the tea, as it was off-putting (whereas the dandelion root sank to the bottom of the jug). Reportedly, English Plantain leaves have an anti-inflammatory effect, so perhaps it will help my headaches.
We got the surprise news that Gerald & Robyn are moving to Arizona later this month, as Gerald got a great job offer and Robyn's able to work remotely from the new city. We're all going to miss them terribly.