Thursday, February 21, 2008

Birthdays...and Leftovers

Dave's birthday was yesterday. For a guy who's generally amazingly patient, tolerant of all sorts of shenanigans and chaos around him, and surprisingly sweet for such a big 'tough guy' -- well, I just had to do SOMETHING for him. The girlies both agreed to meet us for a birthday supper at the local steak restaurant...a feat in itself. (They both have different jobs -- Jess is in school full-time -- and their schedules rarely coincide.)

So...we get there. Supper was great. (At Black Angus - don't miss the "2for" specials, which are a terrific deal if you order the most expensive appetizer and dessert. By the time you're done, you've paid less than $22 for steak and all the fixings, plus appetizer and dessert. Almost unheard of nowadays.)

And, after waddling through the appetizer and part of the meal, knowing dessert was coming, I put half of the entree and fixings away. (So did Dave. The girlies, being thinner and younger -- 19 and 21 -- shoveled in nearly everything, but took doggie boxes home, too.)

Dave wanted a Sachertorte (a chocolate Austrian cake) for his birthday. But the girlies couldn't drive back home with us to light the candles and have some cake there. So I packed up the cake in the back of the Jeep. There we all were, the girls & me trying to light the candles on the cake in the parking lot -- a brisk wind fighting us all the way. And Dave laughing at his silly women!

We finally got it -- and Dave blew the candles out a few seconds later. (And then we promptly packed the cake BACK in the Jeep, and took off for home!) And it was one of the few moments in my life when I knew that an action that made me look both eccentric & silly also told my husband how deeply I loved him...and he knew it. Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.

This morning showed that the combined contents of our doggie boxes could make two extra meals! First, the baked potatoes, leftover veggies and the lesser quality steak were cubed, some onion added, and the whole shebang fried in a few tablespoons of olive oil. The result: Steak Hash. (And delicious.)

I have one more half-steak left -- enough to slice thinly and flavor a pot of potato soup. With cheese and sour cream added, it becomes Steak and Baked Potato soup...yum. It could also be sliced thin and layered on a whole-grain roll, with a slather of mustard, for a steak sandwich. (Ooh, I shouldn't have written that...)

One thing I've learned: never leave ANYTHING on your plate at a restaurant. (Even kale garnish makes a terrific soup when combined with chicken broth, chopped onion & potato, and slices of bratwurst.) Even if it's only a cupful of something, that food can often be added to or expanded into another meal. And because you've already paid for it, it's a free one!

Are these leftovers great at lunch, as well as supper? You bet. I found this discussion of 'lunch at the office' full of leftover ideas...

Now that the fun's over, I'm back to work. Did some appraising this morning -- now on to finishing up some reports (sigh) and doing some promo work for CRAZY QUILTS. (Which is still doing amazingly well.) At least it's gray skies again, so I don't feel like going out and wandering around...

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