Saturday, February 19, 2011


Pat and David greet the Box on its resting pad.
Sometimes the Box doesn't even have to leave the driveway to have a good time. Today our little silver friend just sat there waiting. Finally a big ol' Dodge vehicle pulled into the driveway, delivering our old/new friends Pat and David Raffel of Kansas City, Missouri.

We ran into each other on Facebook a couple of years ago and keep in touch regularly through our posts.

David lived in Susquehanna Twp. as a kid, and he was in one of my French classes at the high school in the early 70s. He was a nice kid then -- one who had an opinion on everything -- and he's a nice man now. And a smart one -- he picked his wife Pat (or maybe she picked him), from southeastern Pennsylvania.

That is why they come to Pennsylvania -- to see friends and relatives here and to enjoy those old Pennsylvania treats they cannot get out west. Things like hoagies, Tastykakes, Utz potato chips, and a favorite restaurant in Hershey. I was a little taken aback that the whoopie pie was not on their list. Ok, so they are nice -- and really smart -- but they have yet to discover the joys of the whoopie pie.

Well, David invited us out for breakfast, which we had done on a previous visit, but we invited them here instead. I knew Susanne could whip up a great breakfast. What I didn't know was that she would not be returning from babysitting at Sarah's house until tomorrow!

French breakfast muffins
But, undaunted, I sprang into action. Online, I found a recipe for a cheese/mushroom/tomato quiche using a professionally prepared (read "frozen") crust. I read up on peeling a tomato, and soon found myself boiling a bowl of water in the microwave. When the bubbles started, I plunged a nice plump tomato into the hellish cauldron. After 40 seconds, I removed it and immediately sank it deep into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking. I cut the ends off, carved an X on the side, and then slipped off the skin and cut up the tomato in some sort of chopper gizmo we have.

The gizmo performed on the mushrooms, too, but the results for the cheese were mixed.

I also found the recipe for French breakfast muffins, which have a light nutmeg flavor. Susanne used to make these on Christmas morning many moons ago. The most fun is plucking them from the pan, dipping the tops into melted butter, and rolling them in cinnamon sugar.

I also dug deep into the freezer and came up with tater tots! Oh, don't snicker. Do you think it's easy to tell how many tots is four servings? And then, having to line them up 1/2 inch apart! Good grief!

I think all things you bake ought to be formulated for one temperature -- say, 350 degrees. Then you can put everything in the oven x minutes before you need it and everything's done at once! We have two ovens, and they still did not take care of the 350 and 450 degree settings with different time requirements.

Nonetheless, everything came out pretty well and almost at the same time. Add orange juice and coffee, oh, and some tasty red grapes, and we had a breakfast!

Pat, David V. and David R.
Since Susanne was not here to join in the conversation, I invited our long-time friend David Volkman to join us. The three of us were all teachers at Susquehanna Twp. when we were young. I knew that the two Davids would know many of the same people and would enjoy meeting each other. Because Pat and David V. are both from the Philly area, they had much in common, too. And it looks like we all have much the same political views. It was a regular conversational lovefest!

Too soon, it was time for David and Pat to get underway. They were headed to Summerdale, across the wide Susquehanna, to meet a cousin from York at the famous Summerdale Diner. Mr. V. was off to visit his mom. And I headed into the kitchen to clean up. After all, Susanne is coming home tomorrow, and I'd like to live a bit longer.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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