I know I should be writing more. I never finished talking about my vacation. I didn't talk about going downtown for the 4th of July this year, or seeing "The Seven Year Itch" at the old time theatre downtown a couple weeks ago, or describing the way work has pretty much consumed me for the past couple months.
When not working, I've been trying to cook, which has been frustrating, and can be summed up by two problems:
1) I cannot find Sterno for my fondue pot.
My mom is slowly cleaning out the house, and now that I have a semi-permanent home I am laying claim to things and taking them with me. When I was home on vacation I was down in the basement collecting some cake pans that Mom doesn't use anymore and we were both shocked to discover a complete fondue set, still in the box and never used.
"You want that, too?"
I like cheese. Just today, my grocery list included five different kinds of cheese for various purposes. What could be better, then, than a pot of hot, bubbling cheese just waiting for you to dip things into it? Somehow, in my head, the fondue pot ran on a tea light, rather than a can of Sterno. This may have been because I didn't bother reading the instructions in the box before I went to get cheese and cubed a loaf of bread, but that's just one possibility of many. I ended up making fondue anyway, on the stove, but still, I want the full fondue pot experience.
My only experience with Sterno is that drinking it kills the Andromeda Strain, but a search online revealed that it can be purchased at K-Mart, so I went to my local K-Mart, right around the corner, and tried to find it myself. Unable to do so, I asked for help.
"Do you have Sterno?"
Blank stare. "Ster....no?"
"It comes in a little can? You burn it? I need it for my fondue pot."
Blink. Blink. "Fondue pots are in housewares."
"I already have a fondue pot. I need Sterno. For the pot."
"Pots are in housewares. I don't think we carry any by Sterno."
I left K-Mart without Sterno. Maybe I'll have better luck at Wal-Mart.
2) I cannot perfect my recipe for an olive and feta cheese tart.
I don't remember what put this tart idea into my head, but it was probably inspired by something I saw in "Martha Stewart Living". Somehow, many months ago, I got it into my head that this would be savory and delicious, if I could just work out how to make one. How hard can it be, after all, to come up with a recipe for something? I see people on the Food Network all the time in the challenges talking about how they came up with the recipe for this or that and perfected it in their kitchen right there at home.
I will never be one of those people.
I have tried using just the olives and feta. I have tried a variety of olives. I have tried herbed feta. I've mixed in red pesto. I've stirred in finely diced tomatoes. I've left the olives whole. I've diced the olives. I've pasted the olives. I've cubed the feta. I've sprinkled it with basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and chopped sun dried tomatoes. I've crumbled the feta. I've left the tart open faced. I've closed it up like a pot pie. I've prebaked the shell. I've baked it all at the same time.
It has yet to come out the way I think it should.
I tried again today, and it's closer, but it's still not there. I only try it about once a month because I have a food budget, and can't be splurging on good olives and feta cheese all the time. I'm not giving up, but I might take a little break. I have this idea for a blue cheese and bacon pasta that I want to try.
How hard can that be?