Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kelley and Mark

It all started with a random message on Facebook from Kelley last week telling us she missed us. Such is the connectivity or lack thereof in Pocohontas County, WV in the dead zone around NRAO that we are relegated to communicate via FB Messenger. Ann and I have been kicking around the idea of meeting both Kelley and Mark at some halfway point between here and there, about Seneca Rocks, and we mentioned that to her as something we had to do in the spring after they get done with their ski season jobs at Snowshoe.

Long story short, Kelley decided that we needed to do this on Monday and so I cleared my calendar for the 2-hour drive, to hike a little and socialize a lot. But then it turned out that this early in the season, Mark had three days off and they decided to come back to NoVa to attend to some family matters. So they came to our house yesterday late afternoon and stayed for dinner en route to NoVa.

The Three Musketeers
I wanted something really simple for dinner and was thinking about tacos, but I wanted something even less work than that so we could visit and catch up rather than work in the kitchen. I hit on the idea of nachos and then the idea of buying a rotisserie chicken and shredding it on the nachos came to me, so I grabbed a chicken, some grated cheese, and a bag of chips from Costco, and from FoodMaxx some fresh jalapeños, cilantro, a jar of nopalitos, and a can each of black beans and pinto beans.

At home, I drained and rinsed the beans, picked the chicken, pulled the cilantro, and sliced the jalapeños so that at dinner time, all we needed to do was fire up the oven and make some nachos.

Ann Decorating Nachos; Mark Filching Nopalitos
In the photo above, note the so-called "pumpkini," a squash of unknown heritage that Kelley brought along. Most squashes and gourds are somewhat edible and if nothing else, you can generally make soup from them, even if they are super stringy. We got into this one today and found that it has about 1" thick bright orange flesh that is not at all stringy, but it doesn't have any flavor either. It is headed for a squash cream sauce for ricotta gnocchi with chanterelles, rabbit confit, and cavolo nero.

We made two sheet trays of nachos, the first with black beans and the second with pinto beans, between rounds of Cards Against Humanity. A little Prosecco and some red wine might have been drunk. During our match, somebody got the "swooping" card, which none of us could recall ever having encountered before and the reference to which none of us got, so of course, we turned to Urban Dictionary, the arbiter of all things Cards Against Humanity, and found the joke was on us. No spoilers here. Go check for yourself.

Chicken and Pinto Bean Nachos with Nopalitos and Jalapeños
We haven't seen Mark and Kelley since we stayed at their house two Aprils ago and it was just a fantastic short visit to catch up. With my schedule giving me only a single day off a week, opportunities to see them, a 7-hour round trip away, are scarce. We miss them terribly.

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