Monday, August 10, 2015

A Weekend with Goo

Less than 12 hours after putting Gommie on her train, the kids' uncle, Goo, came for the weekend.  Being a doctor, he doesn't often get full weekends off, but he did and elected to spend it with us.

Playing video games.

Almost from the moment he showed up to the moment he left, he was playing Splatoon, Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, Infinity or some other game with the kids.  They even played a few traditional board games, including one based on the comic book Mouse Guard.  And they had a blast!  They particularly liked playing Splatoon, which was having a special Splatfest this weekend--a contest between marshmallow and hot dog lovers.  We were on the marshmallow team.  And so they played and played and played, taking turns between the three of them, with Goo giving them strategic advice.  Mama and I even went to bed early on Saturday while they stayed up til midnight playing.  I did play a few rounds of MarioKart ("not last! not last!"), but not the super-fast 200cc races they started to play.

We did break for meals, though not so much for cooking.  We had Vietnamese take-out on Friday, Thai take-out on Saturday, and Peruvian take-out on Sunday.  Goo did bring a delicious strawberry pie and then taught Bud, who loved it, how to make it.  I include the recipe from Serious Eats below.  

We also went to the opening of a local lighthouse, a once-in-many-decades opportunity.  Apparently, the Coast Guard, who owns and operates the light, expected about 400 people; they got close to 3000.  We didn't opt for the 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 hour wait that some people did, instead just walked around the 19th-century light and took a few pictures.  The view is gorgeous.  And, as we left, we heard an officer say they were now seriously considering opening it twice a year.  (Pop, I also checked with the CG--if you want to rent a boat and operate it in CT, you're going to have to take their class and test.)

Oh, and we did spend a part of Sunday morning making little polymer clay creations.  Goo had introduced me to the art of Sculpey some 18 or so years ago.  He's great at making itty bitty things.  This time, a four-layer cake.  Sis made her own cake, caramel-chocolate with pink frosting. Bud made a penguin.  And I made a tiny hedgehog and a tiny Baymax from Big Hero Six.  

We had considered putting up the tent and sleeping outside on Saturday night, but opted instead for the lower maintenance no-tent scenario.  Perhaps come fall.

The kids wiped out last night; no doubt Goo did, too.  Our cats, however, were glad to have the house just to us and themselves for the first time since July.

And today?  Well, Bud continued the video game marathon by starting geeky video game camp.


Summer Strawberry Pie (No Bake)
For the Crust:
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, using more if needed
14 ounces graham crackers (about 24 crackers), crushed into fine crumbs in a food processor or blender
For the Strawberry Filling:
3 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled, divided
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
Pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon juice from 1 lemon (optional; see note above)
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

  • For the Crust: In a medium bowl, stir butter into graham cracker crumbs until evenly incorporated. Firmly press into an even layer lining the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate; it helps to use the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten bottom of crust evenly. Refrigerate until ready to fill.
  • For the Strawberry Filling: Place 12 ounces of strawberries in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth puree. You should have about 3/4 cup puree (it's okay to have up to a cup ).Transfer to a 2-cup liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  • Cut remaining strawberries into 3/4-inch slices, transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the sugar. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until berries release about 3/4 cup liquid, about 1 hour. Measure out enough macerating liquid to combine with strawberry puree for 1 1/2 cups total. Drain macerated berries of any extra liquid; reserve extra liquid for another use or discard.
  • Place 2 tablespoons water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin evenly on top and let stand 5 minutes. Microwave gelatin mixture in 10-second intervals until gelatin is melted and hot, about 10 seconds.
  • Scrape melted gelatin into a large bowl, then gradually whisk in strawberry puree mixture until well combined. Whisk in salt.

  • Add drained macerated strawberry chunks and stir to combine. Adjust taste with lemon juice, if desired, then immediately pour into the prepared pie crust. Turn the berries on top skin side up for best presentation. Refrigerate until set, 4 to 6 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

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