Look at that thermometer! It’s 70 degrees! It’s the first time we’ve seen 70 in about two weeks. My sister, Peggy, told me that when they are in Marco they never get up until it is a least 60. They would have spent a lot of time in bed these past two weeks.
As a celebration, today we ate lunch on the back deck. Unfortunately, as you can see in the background, the pool is still covered and way too cold to go into. We will need at least a week’s worth of sunshine for it to heat up. We played tennnis today and it would have been so nice to jump in. Oh well, we shouldn’t be greedy. Maybe tomorrow there will be sitting on lounge chairs. We are taking baby steps away from the cold.
Another picture of food – you know what that means. It is still so, so cold here in Marco Island. Although we are hardy Californians and did play tennis last night (brr) and tennis this morning (double brr), it’s hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm for being outside.
Today in addition to playing women’s doubles from 8AM to 10 AM when it was reeeeaalllyyyy cold, we also stopped at the Marco Island Farmer’s Market. I was the only one there in tennis togs. Everyone else there had on parkas. We bought some Brussels sprouts, half-sour pickles, corn, mushrooms, beets, and pretzel rolls. Oh, yum. pretzel rolls. When we are at home I get them at Esther’s German Bakery in the San Antonio Shopping Center in either Palo Alto or Mountain View. I am sorry to say they were not as good here in Marco Island. They had some off aftertaste.
Earlier we had stopped for scallops at Paradise Seafood Market. Then when we saw the corn we thought, seared scallops with corn, mushrooms and shallots. It was all quite wonderful. John cooked the scallops perfectly, seared nicely and just cooked through inside. The corn mixture was quite delicious and the green beans were lovely. Another great dinner!
Truthfully though, I’d rather be sitting by the pool and paddling about after a vigorous game ot tennis. Cooking is fun but good weather would be pretty fun too.
Happy birthday to Sam who turns one year old today! It is just amazing how much he has learned in this first year – how to roll over, sit up, stand, walk, use his hands, feed himself and understand language. That’s enormous! And he hasn’t even tapped into the internet yet.
Ryan, Jonathan and Nathan have been very good parents and sibling to Sam. It must be why he’s always smiling.
I am sad that we are not in San Jose to celebrate with them but later today we will have a Skype video call so we can sing Happy Birthday and blow out a candle.
Rather than post another picture of what we ate last night (beef stew made in our new highsided saute pan. It turned out really well.), I thought I’d show a decorative item at our house here. My sister, Peggy, who spends more time here than we do has added many Florida inspired decorations. We have lots of shell-, fish- and bird- themed items. Peg especially likes flamingos. We have flamingo statues, pictures and this wall hanging by the pool.
First, the weather got cold. Then it got cold and windy. And now, today, in the final coup de grace, the weather is cold, windy and rainy! I needed our flamingo sign to truly represent how bad the weather is!
After posting the first bit, I thought I’d do a little more work on the flamingo!
We are getting tired of the cold. The houses in Florida, or at least this one, are really not built with temperatures in 30’s and 40’s in mind. The windows are single pane. There’s not a lot of insulation. To warm up, we have started cooking hearty, comfort food.
Granted, neither John nor I grew up with tom yum goong as a staple in our households. John’s mother cooked all the food for the week on Sunday and then reheated all week. By the end of the week there was a mishmash of all sorts of ghastly Judeo-American dishes on the table. My mom was pretty much a straight-forward American cook. Her problem was that she didn’t like to eat so boil some meat and some potatoes, cook some green beans. Voila, dinner.
John pulled a recipe for this spicy Thai shrimp soup from the internet. We went to store to buy Kafir lime leaves, lemongrass and other exotic ingredients. Apparently the good folks of Marco Island are not adventurous eaters. So we ended up with limes, lemons and soy sauce. Nonetheless, John did a great job and the soup was really delicious.
So what do you do in a tropical paradise when the high and low for the day are 57 and 39, respectively? Besides playing tennis in insane conditions and watching television, we cook. A couple of days a go we were watching America’s Test Kitchen and they had on a segment showing how to make “Four Star Stuffed Chicken Breast.” I am always looking for new ways to prepare chicken so we thought we’d give it a go. Although on the program it always looks so easy, this was somewhat more complex than we thought it would be. Also we don’t have our usual cooking utensils, pans or stove. Making it without a proper meat pounder in a really inferior pan on an electric stove was difficult.
But as you can see, it came out fairly presentable. John did a good job on the rolling up and a great job on the sauce. My interior filling was fine except for a little dry and lemony. The yellow rice came out pretty well considering I made it in the microwave. I’ve given up trying to cook rice on the stovetop. The cyclical nature of an electric element means undercooking or burning. The Brussels sprouts came out their usual yummy.
Would we make it again? Probably not. The chicken was a bit dry and the whole thing was a lot of work for a minimal result. What we really need here is for the weather to warm up so we can do what we came here to do, have fun!
John and I are wishing you a happy new year from Marco Island! We flew to Miami on the 29th and are now doing the things that we love here in Marco – playing tennis, jumping in the pool, going to the fish store, watching TV in the comfy chairs (known as Chandler and Joey), and having John be cabana boy serving me drinks by the pool.
The weather here has been great so far. The daytime temperatures are in the 70’s with lots of sun. And although the pool thermometer assures us that the pool is 82, when we jumped in, wow, was it cold. As it turns out, after using our thermapen to test the water, it was only 76.
Our New Year’s Eve celebration consisted of margaritas, fresh shrimp cocktail, Chilean sea bass in a mushroom coating, chipotle sweet potatoes and spinach souffle. John was the fish and margarita man and I did the vegetables. We didn’t make it to midnight, though, we fell asleep in our chairs watching The Thin Man.
Happy New Year!