Feb 24, 2007

The Manuscript and the Goat

It's a been a big week.

I finally submitted my manuscript and application materials for the MFA in Creative Nonfiction. I FedExed it on Wednesday, two days before the deadline, just as I had planned not to do, of course. I had to tinker with things for a while, but mostly I procrastinated about editing the personal statement, which my writing group had suggested I revise because I was "selling myself short." In the end I didn't even change it that much, mainly because I just didn't think it was worth the agonizing. I wash my hands of the matter now. I'll hear in early April as to whether I got in. The day I turned it in I "celebrated" by going to bed at 9:30. Please, no one let me apply to any more graduate programs in my life.

Then the next day I had to prepare a dinner for nine: my immediate family and my Dad, his lady friend visiting from Seattle, my brother, his girlfriend, and her two-year-old. It was a school night, but it couldn't really be helped. This had been planned for a couple of months, and of course I thought I'd have the application turned in a week before, ha ha. Part of me just wanted to punt and buy prepared food, but another part of me wanted to experiment aggressively with a quirky menu.

So that's what I did. I made a goat stew from meat I had gotten months earlier from the CSA, on a whim. You can use goat in almost any recipe that calls for lamb, so I made a stew from my mother's Spanish cookbook Delicioso! by Penelope Casas. When I started to smell it cooking it seemed a little strong, and I had misgivings, but in the end it turned out delicioso indeed. The cubed meat was cooked in red wine and a little vinegar, and I crushed six cloves of garlic, onion, and red bell pepper to make a paste. That was added in the last 30 mins. of cooking. The stew looked really scant at the end so I served it on couscous. Thank God for couscous, the Divine Extender.

I also made a salad of my own devising from baby spinach, arugula, blood orange sections, and red onions, with a dressing of olive oil, lime juice, and cumin. I bought some Manchego cheese and a fresh ciabatta; that's a rectangular flat rustic bread. We had a red Spanish wine that had been recommended to us by the all-knowing wine guys at Moore Bros. in Wilmington, our new wine mecca. For dessert? Also from the Spanish cookbook, an almond potato cake. It had two cups of almonds and a potato in it, and no other fat other than the oil already in the almonds. Six eggs, though.

Although I didn't pander to anyone's tastes for this meal other than my own, almost to an obnoxious degree, the food received raves. I believe it awakened everyone from their gastronomic torpor. Even the kids seemed happy, with the carbs anyway, if nothing else. (Now I'm all about Spanish cooking, and even got a serious mortar and pestle for the pastes with garlic and herbs.)

Next post: After making hundred of loaves of bread, our 12-year-old bread machine committed suicide, and I have only myself to blame.


Phantom Scribbler said...

Ack! I have a deeply atavistic desire to make some sort of anti-evil-eye sign upon hearing of a dead bread machine. R.I.P.

Scrivener said...

Congrats on getting the app mailed off. And I understand the desire to never apply to another grad program ever again.

Your meal sounds wonderful--that dessert sounds especially interesting. I have never heard of such a thing as an almond potato cake.

Lilian said...

I can't wait to hear about the suicide bread machine -- it sounds hilarious already.

WOW, your dinner must have been amazing (I'm a vegetarian, though :( ) And Ciabatta bread is one of my favorite breads, yum!!!

jo(e) said...

Congrats on getting your application in! That itself is an accomplishment.

M-j said...

Congrats on getting the app in!!! I am salivating reading about that dinner. I have to agree, goat did not sound appetizing at first, but it sounded good at the end!

susan said...

Sounds like a good day's work: good on the application, and good on the meal. Yum!

BOSSY said...

"I made a goat stew from meat I had gotten months earlier from..."

At first this sentence worried Bossy, as she pictured the whole huntress scene, but then she realized CSA must be something far more civilized. And so she looked it up. Canadian Standards Association? No. Cambridge Scientific Abstracts? No. Certified Senior Advisors? Eh-eh. Community Supported Agriculture? A definite maybe.

Sugarmama said...

I'm sure you're relieved to have gotten your application sent away. I hope you hear good news soon.

Oh, and goat! Yummy goat! I had goat for the first time on my honeymoon in a stew at a Haitian restaurant in Miami. It was rich and delicious and unforgettable. I haven't tried to cook goat myself, though. A Spanish cookbook, huh...?