Friday, June 11, 2010
Retirement and recipes
Well, it's the last day of school for the summer and I'm usually very excited to get home for a few weeks, take some naps, get some projects done, have friends come visit, sit at the beach with a book, do the laundry in the daytime, have dinner - real dinners, not quick sandwich things - but this year is very sad and I'm not looking forward to the end of today. We have 6 of our staff retiring and they have all been very good friends over the years. These are good, strong, loving people and I'm going to really miss them. These are people who literally held me up, walked me from my car and into the building and kept me going when we hit large bumps in the road and I hadn't the emotional energy to continue on. These are people who I've laughed till I've cried with. People who I've shared books, recipes, grandchildren photos, lunches and hugs with. These are people who have been a part of my everyday life for 13 years, people who I've seen more than my own children these past 13 years. These are not typical co-workers.
I'm excited for them and stand like I'm looking in a shop window, wondering how that dress would fit if I were to put it on. It looks great on them but the buttons wouldn't quite close around my middle so here I stay. Not quite old enough or financially able enough to join them. Patient Husband and I talk a lot about retirement as we make that long drive everyday to come to work. We both admit we still have too much energy to give up yet. Even though by evening we're both dragging ourselves from exhaustion off to bed. If we retire and have to 'find something to do' then why not continue doing what we really enjoy for a bit longer? People who have taken the plunge, have bought the dress, all say they love it and wouldn't look back. Some, though, are bored and are 'looking for something to do.'
So, today as the last school bus pulls away from the curb, there will be many tearful hugs goodbye to very good friends. I wish them the very best, the best of health, love and a yellow brick road to their new life.
Here is the potato leek dish I served at the End of the Year Party. It's a winner.
5 TBSP butter
4 lb. leeks, white and light green parts cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt (or any good salt)
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated
3 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
3 lb. russet potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices
In a 12' non stick pan melt 4 TBSP butter over medium heat. Add leeks and salt, stir to coat leeks in butter. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender, about 20 minutes. Add thyme, nutmeg, pepper and cream. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool. Wipe out pan and grease with 1 TBSP butter.
Preheat over 400 degrees. In a bowl combine cheeses. Layer one third of potatoes in the frying pan or a casserole dish. Spread one third of the leek mixture on top. Sprinkle with one third of cheese mixture. Repeat layers two more times. Cover and put in oven for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake until potatoes are tender and top in golden brown - about 30 more minutes. Serves 8-10. Easily doubled and the leftovers are really good.
I will be in computer limbo after today. Home computer problems abound and until they get worked out I'll be a bit out of touch. I hope I can come back to play with you all as soon as Monday but we'll have to see. Keep fingers crossed, I love playing with all of you.