How to freak out your Handyman:
1. After he arrives and knocks, make him wait out there while your dog pukes right inside the front door.
2. Giggle uncomfortably and try to explain (by yelling through said door) why you can't open it.
3. Finally welcome him in and give him a nice smile with copious raspberry seeds in your teeth (from having just drunk this).
4. Forget that there is dried zit cream on your chin.
5. When you do remember, draw even more attention to it. You could even say something like, "What's up, zit cream!?!" and point at it vigorously until he needs to avert his eyes with discomfort.
6. Lay on the floor and do awkward back stretches. And when he has to walk around you, make conversation that is even more awkward and ideally rhetorical (i.e., "Remember that time last year when Lena got wet paint on her tail?! That was crazy!")
7. Let him walk in on you singing the man part in Master of the House from Les Misérables.
8. Forget he's there and then let him scare you half to death when he pokes his head into the room to ask you a question. Let your terror result in a freaky dance that would scare anyone back.
9. Let him walk in on you standing on chairs taking pictures of soup.
Tomato Fennel Soup with Gremolata
adapted from Bon Appétit
This soup is so bright and delicious! And a quick snap to make. The fennel mellows out the tomato and the lemon juice perks everything up. Adding the gremolata, too, adds so much flavor and spunk. Don't omit it. A fantastic accompaniment would be grilled cheese sammies. Also, it is easily made vegan by swapping the butter out for more olive oil and the chicken broth for vegetable.
2 T butter
1 T olive oil
2 cups chopped fennel (reserve fronds)
1 28oz. can chopped tomatoes (strain and reserve excess liquid)
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 T minced Italian parsley
2 T minced fennel fronds
2 t minced garlic
1 1/2 t lemon zest
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, add the fennel and cook until soft and translucent, even browning a tiny bit, about 7 minutes. Add the strained tomatoes and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the stock, reserved tomato liquid and lemon juice. Cover and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer in batches to a blender or use an immersion blender right in the pot. Taste for salt and pepper.
To make the gremolata, mince all the ingredients and combine in a small bowl.
Serve the soup piping hot with a spoonful of gremolata on top, and more on the side if anyone is so inclined.