I'm assuming that wherever you are sitting right now, it's probably sweltering outside your door. This is just a good guess, since more than half the United States is caught up in a disgusting, humid, sweaty armpit making heat wave. I hate this kind of heat. It's like trying to breathe through a damp sponge. I sweat the minute I step outside to water my plants. Even the shade is warm. The dog just lays on the deck and pants. The slight breeze barely blows my hair around and I get summer cabin fever. Yeah, it's hot. So we've been staying inside as much as possible lately. Which isn't normally that big of a deal, except we had out of town visitors this weekend. And did we venture outside with them? Barely.
Joe's cousin Dave and his friend Alex are on the homeward stretch of a nearly six week US road trip and stopped in KC for a day or two. But did they see much of KC? Not really. Instead we kept these recent college graduates well-hydrated, well-ventilated and heavily sedated with movies, baked goods, Mexican food and KC bbq. Instead of venturing to the lovely Plaza or Union Station, or a Royals game, Worlds of Fun or the zoo, we hunkered down in the A/C for their brief visit and ensured that they each gained about five pounds.
They arrived Saturday night, and after climbing out of the car and relaxing after their drive down from Madison, we headed to our traditional "take our out of town guest, right around the corner" Mexican favorite, Guadalajara Cafe. The owner was in residence that night, so he gave his usual speech about authentic Mexican food, the "no yellow cheese, no ground beef" dissertation, proceeded to order for the table and surprised us with a mystery appetizer. The food was outstanding as usual, especially the ricotta cheesecake chimichanga covered with fresh mango sauce. The owner hates "chimichanga" but done his way, it was light, flaky and fresh.
After dinner we headed back to our house, after a liquor store run (these are college kids visiting after all) and crashed on the couch to watch It's Kind of a Funny Story. We all loved this movie and agreed that it was kind of a teenage version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, minus the lobotomy and evil Nurse Ratched. I'm a sucker for mental hospital movies anyway. (One of my odd quirks.)
Blueberry Boy Bait since I've seen multiple friends make it over the last few weeks. It was a big hit. Light and buttery with a slightly crispy cinnamon sugar top. But I still think I'll stick with my traditional Blueberry Buckle. I like struesel topping and the Boy Bait was almost too buttery for me. But still counts as one of my 52 new recipes for the year! And each of the boys had a double serving, so that name is the truth.
The guys headed out to milk some goats, while Joe and I tackled some chores and errands. I was in a baking mood, and with my dad and stepmom Kristy, joining us for dinner that night to celebrate Kristy's birthday, I decided to make a little dessert. Let me just say right up front, these brownies are to die for. Chocolate and caramel combined with a little salt equals brownie heaven. Joe gets to take credit for sending me this recipe. I have an entire special folder in my gmail account just to hold all the recipes that that man forwards to me during any given week.
And this was one of them. Salted Caramel Brownies combine all of my favorite things into one. Though there are lots of little steps in this recipe it's not particularly complicated. Whip up homemade caramel sauce, melt chocolate, mix up brownie batter, layer, bake, cool, top with vanilla ice cream and left over caramel sauce, then keel over from deliciousness overload. Oh, and share, you must share, because this makes a lot of brownie. Combined with the spectacular homemade pulled bbq pork and beef that Kristy made for our dinner, this was an excellent meal.
We watched the women's World Cup game, we ate a tasty meal, and then enjoyed a Gary Busey marathon of the last half of Point Break and Under Siege ("I'm just a lowly cook.") followed up by the 6th Harry Potter movie. We talked too. And ate some more, and the guys had some classic local Boulevard and Freestate brews. And we just hung out. Top priority, keep guests cool, fed and entertained, I think we succeeded.
I'm in a cooking mood lately, so tonight we are going with one of these two, I haven't decided which yet, either: Pasta with shrimp and cucumber or Pioneer Woman's grilled chicken salad with feta, fresh corn and blueberries. So stay tuned, I let you know how they turn out.