Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunny Southern California?

Yesterday morning at 7 a.m., it was 38 degrees outside and 56 inside.  I was horrified!  It never gets that cold "at the beach."  A worse shock came when Richie read me the weather and it was colder in Palm Springs than it was at the beach!  I mentioned this near-freeze to anyone who would listen to me, such was my shock and horror.

Until I read the thermometer this morning - at 7 a.m. it was 37 outside and 55 inside.

Now curious, I pulled up a statistical site which informed me that:

February 28, 1923 it was 21 degrees.  At the beach.

January, 1949 - San Pedro had the largest snow fall reported for this area!

That January is traditionally our coldest month.  I thought of all those Cold State people, looking longingly at the sunshine that usually accompanies the Rose Bowl Paraqde.  Poor things - imaginging warmth and sunshine when reality is an average of 65 days; 44 nights.

August is our warmest month with averages of 78 and 61, nights.

So far the South Bay, as this area is called, got the most rain ever -- 32.8 inches -- in 1983.  I seem to remember that it rained every day and night for literally 40 days.

By the way, this Thursday, we're being told, it will be 70 degrees.   If we don't freeze to death first, that is.  

But at least wintery weather inspires comfort food; preferably either served very hot or else heavily seasoned.  I got to thinking about winter lunches in Kansas City, Mo., where I grew up.  Our grade school didn't have a cafeteria (but people did know how to cook by then.)  It wasn't until high school that we had the luxury of NOT walking home for lunch and then back again to school.  

One of my other's stand-bys was tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich.  This is a combo that is dear to a lot of people so how could I -- inspired by complicated-sounding dishes with such as lemon beurre blanc or a Port au jus -- update it chicly?

Then this idea popped in and took a chair:  heat the soup and make the croutons from a slice of toasted, grilledd bread.

Would it be better to swirl a chunk Velveeta around in the bowl of boiling-hot soup or would it make more sense to toast a slice of bread, put cheese on the topside and grill the bread?  I decided that cheese-coated grilled pieces would make a showier dish, so that's what I did.  It worked out okay, but it didn't attain the perfection I was seeking.  Next time the cheese goes in the soup.  A nice dramatic swirl of yellow in the crimson soup!

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