12 November 2009

on the road

I am nearly done with my most complicated business travel yet: Monday morning pitch in Ft. Collins, Colo., Tuesday meeting with clients in Seattle, and Thursday presentation to clients in Ft. Worth. Fortunately, it has all gone well (knock on wood for the last meeting, which starts shortly!), and I get to go home tonight.

When I was first starting my career, I loved business travel, and thought I was just so cool for getting to jet all over the place. (Especially because my first few trips involved visits to Marine Corps Air Stations Miramar, the former Top Gun and home of the F/A-18 Hornet, and Yuma, home of the harrier jet... along with some lovely military hospitality, and some time in the F/A-18 flight simulator.)

Me with the F/A-18 at Miramar in early 2003

Getting a good look at the Harrier at MCAS Yuma, in late 2003

Lately my business travel has been decidedly less glamorous (geek chic, anyway). And while I don't mind business travel these days, I will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid staying overnight somewhere. I have been known to take 6 a.m. flights (meaning a 4 a.m. wake-up) to avoid flying somewhere the night before a meeting, and arriving home well past midnight to avoid staying over after the meeting.

But this week, it was just unavoidable. Four nights away, in three different hotels.

But before I left for this marathon travel, I decided to get a little house-wifey, and make some food so that Mark would feed himself while I was away. The project: my first homemade lasagna. I'm not usually huge on Italian food, which is why it was my first, but I was excited to try. Secret weapons for added tastiness: homemade sauce with fresh herbs and heirloom tomatoes, an egg in the ricotta mozzarella mix to bind it all together, and fresh mozzarella slices on top.

I spent basically the whole day last Saturday in the kitchen, at least until it was time to see the new TGR ski movie with Ellen and Adam. Here is the progress and the yummy outcome:

Sauteing onions, garlic and carrots for the sauce base

The heirloom tomatoes that made up the bulk of the sauce (with one can of peeled tomatoes for good measure)

The new food mill that let me cook the tomatoes all together without first skinning and seeding them

The sauce starting its long simmer

The finished lasagna, made with Barilla no-boil noodles (In the future, I will allow more room for the noodles to expand, and won't lay them right up to the edge. But it was really delicious, despite the wrinkly appearance.)

I'm pretty sure I don't have to worry about Mark going hungry this week!

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