Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weekend Warrior...

It was Little Baby who first alerted us to the threatening weather situation on Saturday.

I looked out the window and noticed that frozen rain had begun to fall.

I checked the weather channel on the television and found that, unfortunately, they were predicting the "Snow Storm of the Century" for all of Kansas. But when I nervously related this fact to Blaine, he casually shrugged it off and said: "No big deal. I was going to grill kabobs on the deck today but I can do it tomorrow."

"Grill kabobs on the deck?" I replied. "Tomorrow?"

"Yeah," he replied nonchalantly. "I've been planning to do them all week. But I'll simply marinate them a little longer and by Sunday they'll be even tastier for grilling."

But I was worried about much more important issues than grilling kabobs on Sunday!

"You idgit," I said. "Grilling is out of the question in this weather. What we need to do is hurry up and get to the grocery store so we can stock up for this storm. The news says it will be a bad one. So we should go to the store NOW--- before the roads ice up and become impassable--- and grab everything we'll need to last us for the entire weekend."

But Blaine wouldn't be swayed from the idea that he was going to "grill on Sunday" , even though he did concede that it would behoove him to make a quick dash to the grocery store.

Blaine can be an obstinate bird, sometimes. Once he gets an idea into his head, he plows towards it like a stubborn mule, no matter WHAT anybody else says, come hell or high water.

And in this case, it looked like high water --- or high snow -- was going to be the problem. Because the freezing rain continued to worsen by the hour. And I fretted until Blaine returned safely from his trip to the grocery store. And he admitted that the store had been completely thronged with frantic crowds who all had exactly the same idea on stocking up on supplies that we had.

And as the weather deteriorated steadily, I couldn't help but to continue pointing out each new development to Blaine while repeating my notion that there was no way in heck that he would be able to grill on the deck come Sunday. In fact, weather conditions looked more and more "un-grill-able" with each passing hour.

"It looks like it might rain for forty days and forty nights...." I quipped.

"Cute," Blaine replied. "But I'm grilling come Sunday...."

Even when I directed his attention to the fact that his precious BBQ-PRO had now iced up to the point where icycles were hanging off of it and it was frozen shut, he never wavered in his determination.

I was really nervous about the ice. Ice storms can bring terrible consequences in Kansas.

"I hope this ice doesn't cause any trees to fall on the power lines," I muttered ominously. "The last thing we need is to lose electricity."

"I don't need electricity to grill on Sunday, " he retorted. "I just need propane..."

And as the day wore on it began sleeting, and soon a fine mist of whitish slush covered the neighborhood. I rather unkindly pulled the curtains open wide so that Blaine could see the harsh circumstances.

"Yep, it's sleetin' so hard out there that we'll be lucky if we don't have to start bringing in animals two-by-two...." I joked.

Then I put on my good ole Bass Pro Shop rubber boots and went outside to find the snow shovel. I had carelessly tossed it somewhere the last time I had tried to clear snow out of the driveway and God only knew where it was. I finally found it, frozen to the deck.

Even when the sleet turned to snow, Blaine wasn't discouraged. But I eyeballed the new development and turned to level a silent, yet meaningful gaze at Blaine.....

"It's only SATURDAY," he stated evenly. "And I told you--- I don't want to grill until SUNDAY."


I tried to entice Blaine into cancelling his grilling plans by making a huge pot of my bad-weather specialty, southern chicken & dumplings. I make my dumplings with Lo-Fat Bisquik, and the leftovers last for two days. But Blaine wouldn't budge in his plans.

By God, he was going to grill on Sunday....

Incidentally (and I don't mean to brag here) but I don't just make good chicken & dumplings --- I make EXCELLENT chicken & dumplings. I boil the chicken all day in the pot, adding lots of sage, chicken boullion, chopped onions, diced carrots, a handful of peas, salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and a can of Cream O'Mushroom soup. When the soup is done, I thicken it a little before plopping in the dollops of dumpling dough. And I don't just mix up the Bisquik with milk to make the dough. I add things to the Bisquick powder first--- like salt, pepper, sage, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder --- thus, making "herbed" dumplings, and THEY ARE GOOOOD.

As my southern grandmother would say about good chicken and dumplings: "It's lairpin'!!"

Anyhoo, by Saturday afternoon a true blizzard had developed, its windy gales blowing layers upon layers of wet snow on the neighborhod--- but idgity Blaine was nonplussed.

"I'm going to grill on Sunday...." was his mantra.

I braved the storm to stomp around outside in my rubber boots, trying to make sure that none of our neighbors had accidentally left their cats or dogs outside--- nobody had --- and I was finally chased back inside when the now gale-force wind got even snowier and the temperature dropped futher.

(Is 'snowier' a word?)

It snowed throughout the evening, and was still going strong when Blaine and I went to bed at about 10:30 pm.

And then....sure enough.....

We woke up on Sunday to find that the snow had stopped.... but the entire neighborhood --- and our back deck --- was buried under at least six inches of snow.

"It'll melt," Blaine declared before I even had a chance to say "I told you so".

"Maybe we should send a dove to fly out and see if there's any land which isn't buried under snow..." I remarked.

"You know, the Noah's Ark jokes are getting old," Blaine replied smartly. "And besides, Noah was in a FLOOD, not a blizzard..."

Stung, I briefly considered making a sarcastic crack about Donner Pass but thought better of it, since that would be in poor taste.

Get it? "Poor taste"?

I know, I know.... pretend I never said it......

Throughout the morning, as I sat knitting on my "Mystery Project" with a bemused expression on my face, Blaine proceeded to methodically lay out his ingredients for the kabobs--- the container of meat marinating in Blaine's own marinade mixed with "secret ingredients" (that he won't even tell his own mother), and a stack of pita breads to "wrap" the kabob meats with. Even when he asked me to chop up some onions and tomatoes for the "relish", I didn't comment--- but my smirk said it all.

And then , as Blaine waited patiently, staring out the window with an expectant look until about 4:30 pm.....

...suddenly, like magic.....

...the dadgum snow began to melt.

"But the BBQ-PRO is still iced shut and you'll never get that propane to flow," I reminded him, thinking a little snottily to myself that he was STILL foiled in his grilling intentions.

"No matter," he replied, unconcerned, whistling to himself.....

(I think it was the tune to "Day-O" by Harry Belafonte......)

Puzzled, I stared at him as he cheerfully whistled his way down the steps to the basement....

...and then returned with a bag of charcoal which --- after he daintily, and with a dandy wrist flourish, brushed the snow off a little appliance I had forgotten about --- he triumphantly proceeded to open --- and then began plopping charcoal chunks, one by one, into his portable table-top Weber charcoal grill....while loudly whistling the tune to "Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is" .....

... and danged if Blaine didn't proceed to GRILL ON SUNDAY.

(You know, those dang kabobs were lairpin'....)



Duckie23 said...

ah-ha ha ha haa! This post is great Bo!

I wouldn't think that Kansas would get bad winter storms, but the weather probably hovers just around the freezing/melting temperature, perfect for loads of ice! Yuck!

Carol in WI said...

I loved your blog on the snowstorm! I hadn't really paid any attention to the weather in Kansas. What's funny is I have an uncle (by marriage to my now deceased aunt) who lives in Overland Park. If you get a chance, I'd love to have a more definitive recipe for your chicken n dumplings, i.e. what kind of chicken, etc. Sure sounded good.

Hope by today, your snow is all gone.

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

I know it's no fun for you, but why does all that snow have to look so incredibly beautiful?!

Bo... said...

Thanks you guys! I'll try my best to tell you the recipe here (it's one of those recipes that I've always just tossed together without a written-down formula):

I put the chicken meat in the pot--- I use boneless/skinless meat. (If I have a whole chicken, or quarters, I boil it all and then take all the meat off---then put the meat into the pot.)

Cover the chicken meat in water in the pot, and then start simmering it. I add about 4 cubes of chicken boullion, 1/2 cup of diced carrots and about a handful of frozen peas. I add about 2 T of onion powder (lots), about 1 tsp of garlic powder, salt and pepper, (a little heavy on the black pepper), and 1 tsp sage. I also throw in one can of cream of mushroom soup.

Later on, when I'm ready to put the dumplings in, I take out about a half cup of the juice and thicken it with some flour---then put it back in to the pot in order to thicken the whole pot a little bit. It has to be thick, not watery.

I make the dumplings like the recipe on the side of the box of Bisquik---but before mixing in the milk, I add to the Bisquik powder a few generous "shakes" of sage, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper---and another tsp of sage. I also throw in one T of dried parsley. (Then toss it around with a fork.) Then I mix in the milk to make the dough, and it's "right" when its a somewhat thick/sticky dough that can be dropped by big spoonfuls into the simmering chicken stew.

While the stew simmers, I drop in the big spoonfuls of dough. Then it has to cook with the top off for 30 min. Then put the top ON and simmer another 30 min.

When you're finished eating and you want to put the leftovers in the refrigerator, take out the leftover dumplings and put them in a separate plastic container. When you reheat everything the next day, you can put the dumplings in again. (You just can't store them together because the dumplings will soak up too much more liquid.)

I hope I explained this halfway decently---and all the powdered spices are "adjustable" in their amounts. I tend to be really generous with the sage---for some reason that spice just makes it taste better. It's how my family has made this recipe for umpteen generations!

Maggie said...

Man, give the guy credit, he did grill, despite all you and Ma nature tried to dump on him...I am glad the kabobs were worth all the work you both went through...you knitting and calling up the storm and Blaine trying to find ways around it...

Warrior Knitter said...

Love the post!!

We got hardly any snow, just ICE! ICE! Baby. The roads were clear and dry by 11 with ice melting off the trees in the sunshine. By 2 it was all gone except for patches in deep shade on the north sides of things.