Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

But I mean, well, GOD! Look at that, would you? We had that for our Christmas dinner and everybody FELL ON THE FLOOR DEAD, it was that good. And the gravy? That was supposed to be au jus but I thickened it? Was the BEST DAMNED GRAVY I have EVER made. I would totally take a bath in that gravy. And lick it all off when I got out.

(Head’s up, this is where the swearing and the all caps starts.)

Oh, ha. Speaking of gravy. Did I ever tell you guys this story? Back when Bill and I first got together – like, the first MONTH we were together, we were making fried chicken for dinner. He asked me if I knew how to make gravy. At that time, I did not. Because:

1. My ex didn’t like gravy (I KNOW, RIGHT);
2. My Grandmother had never taught me because she was the Gravy Maker Extraordinare and Get Thee Hence From My Kitchen You Amateur;
3. I usually stuck with buffalo wings and plates of asparagus when I was single;
4. I was 23 years old. How many 23-year-olds do you know that know how to make gravy from scratch, I ask you?

So. We’re in the kitchen, puzzling until our puzzlers were sore. He looked at me, looked at the drippings, looked at the phone, and visibly came to a decision. As I watched in growing HORROR, he picked up the phone, DIALED HIS EX-WIFE (who wasn’t actually officially “ex” yet, at the time) and ASKED HER HOW TO MAKE GRAVY. I could hear her incredulous, “You’re kidding, right?” from across the kitchen. But, here’s the thing. She told him, step by step, and didn’t include such waylaying ingredients as, oh, say, HEMLOCK. Which was nice. BUT, she told him in a mocking manner that was all, “Oh HO, you’re new pretty little plaything doesn’t know how to do EVERYTHING that makes you happy, does she?” Which was NOT nice. I don’t blame her, but still. Hey now.

(Of course, if I have to teach Bill’s next little chippie how to make my meatloaf, I’m gonna be all, “… and then you add a half-cup of chopped pickled herring… yes really! Trust me…”)

Anyway. He hung up, I beat him about the head and shoulders, and we made a passable gravy. And then, OH AND THEN, BY GOD, I learned how to make fucking gravy. BETTER gravy. Absolutely fucking AWESOME goddamn motherfucking gravy.

(End swearing/all caps zone.)

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New Year’s Eve is upon us. We are foregoing the partying, but probably not foregoing the hangover. Just gonna hang at home and watch movies, and feed whoever shows up. Here’s the planned nosh, in case you need some inspiration for your own festivities:

Bruchetta with toast points
Buffalo Chicken Dip, with tortilla chips and celery
Cheese Enchilada Chowder
– Finger sandwiches (chicken salad, ham, whatnot)
Four Bean Salad
– Chips and pretzels and whatnot

Of course, if you happen to be in the area, you can drop on by! Pajamas are encouraged. Pants are optional.

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For those of you who care.

I decided upon the prime rib, and I’m not gonna lie to you, Marge(*), that shit is EXPENSIVE. Like, $18.99 per pound, expensive (damn AJ’s anyway… but they DO have the best meat). And a four-rib roast is 10-12 pounds. So. Yeah. You do the math. This “counts” as a Christmas present, though, this dinner that we do. Which is why it tends to be lobster or prime-rib expensive.

As a point of interest, I just ran a quote through Maine Lobster Direct’s website, and a half-dozen “large” lobsters (around 1.65 pounds each) would have run us a tad over $160.

Anyway! I’ll probably make mashed potatoes to go with it, though I do love Pioneer Woman’s Crash Hot Potatoes. But I’m too lazy to do both, and Bill likes to dump gravy on stuff, so mashed it is. Maybe I’ll add bacon and cheddar and chives and make loaded mashed.

This is fascinating stuff, isn’t it? Onward!

I’ll probably steam up some asparagus for the veggie, and make either these bacon onion cheddar biscuits, or these cheddar biscuits ala Red Lobster (Bill loves those).

We will, of course, have baked potato soup. It’s tradition.

The family isn’t much into sweets or desserts, but Robert would KEEL ME DED if I didn’t make at least one batch of Magic Cookie Bars. I’ll probably make a batch of Irish Cream Brownies, too. I seem to recall Bill really liking the Walnut Chews I made a few years ago, so maybe those will make an appearance as well.

It all really depends on just how much cooking I feel like doing that week. This weekend I need to make a batch of Killer Fudge to hand out to my co-workers next week (I’m off the week after). I’m the favorite because I do food instead of Christmas cards. Heh.

So. That’s the menu. Who’s comin’ over?

(* Totally stolen from Wil.)

I revealed my uber-embarrassing choice in movies for nothing! Turns out Bill didn’t have the part he needed up in the City of Tubas, so he did a one-day turn around and waltzed in the door at about 6:30. I’d called him twice, in the hour leading up to his waltzing, and he didn’t pick up his phone. Whether he was hoping to surprise me, or catch me in the act of something nefarious, is debatable.

Anyway, the upshot was that I didn’t watch the movie. We *did* watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, though. Linus’ monologue makes me tear up every time.

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Occasionally, I like to peruse the stats over at World Famous Nosh, to see what people are cooking these days. Seems lately folks have a hankerin’ for Steak Dinner with All the Fixin’s, Hershey Kiss Cookies (which would be AWESOME with the caramel kisses, wouldn’t they???), Incredible Crock Pot Meatloaf (and it is), Five Flavor Pork Roast, and Irish Cream Brownies.

The meatloaf recipe has had the most hits of all time (1,212!), followed closely by the World War II Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (972), with the crock pot recipe for Chicago Italian Beef coming in third (736).

I’m probably the only one who finds stuff like this to be kind of interesting.

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Here’s some wicked awesome stuff that has come to my attention in the past week or so:

– A recipe for Apple Cider Sugar Donut Muffins, courtesy of Dlyn, that you can BET YOUR BIPPY I will be making in the near future.

– Sweet Salty gives us permission to suck. Thank God, since I’ve been sucking in an unauthorized manner for all this time!

– Did I share this with you guys? I forget. How to deal with your camera getting lost or stolen. Link shared by Karl over on the Twitter.

– This OH MY FUCKING GOD AWESOMENESS that Heather shared with me:

– This other OH MY FUCKING GOD AWESOMENESS that Blogography Tweeted:

– This video that a co-worker shared with me that made me laugh until I pee’d:

There. You’ve been entertained.

I just kicked my own ass, cleaning our bedroom. Our filthy, filthy bedroom. In which the cats will never be allowed, again. EVER. Also, the ceiling fan. Good lord, the ceiling fan.

Since I’m in the last few days of NaBloPoMo, and I’ll be damned if I’ll fail now when I’ve gone through the whole month without missing a day, I’m going to phone this entry in.

I posted a few new recipes over at World Famous Nosh – Irish Cream Brownies, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (formerly known as THE Pie(TM)), and Whiskey Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.

Also, here’s a rose:

I’m making my first beef stew of the season. I’ve made a few tweaks since posting the original recipe on World Famous Nosh, so I thought I would let you know how I turned this:

Raw Ingredients

Raw Ingredients - sorry for the weird lighting.

Into this:

Beefy Stewey Goodness!

Beefy Stewey Goodness!

Ingredients
– 2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
– 1 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp Worcestershire
– salt and pepper
– 1 bay leaf
– 4 cups low sodium beef broth or stock, divided
– 4 large potatoes or 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch cubes (yukon golds seem to work the best for stew)
– 2 cups (or more or less to your taste) peeled baby carrots, cut into thirds
– 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into chunks (I leave the chunks large so Bill can pick ’em out)
– 2 stalks of celery, sliced thin

– 8-12 oz whole mushrooms, stemmed and sliced to your preference (I leave them thick so Bill can pick them out)
– 2 cloves, or 1 tbsp, minced garlic
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire

– 1/4 cup corn starch, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
– 2 cups frozen baby sweet peas (more or less to taste)

Put the stew meat in the crock pot, add sugar, Worcestershire, bay leaf, and salt (omit if you’re using regular broth instead of low sodium) and pepper to taste. Add one cup of the beef broth, stir to combine, and let that marinate while you’re chopping all the veggies. Peel and chop the potatoes, chop the carrots, cut up the onion, slice the celery. Add all the veggies to the crock pot, stir to combine, and cover with the remaining three cups of beef broth.

Cover and cook on LOW for 10 hours. Add additional broth if things look a little dry.

Raw ingredients in the crock pot.

Raw ingredients in the crock pot.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the cooking time, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and sautee for thirty seconds. Add the mushrooms and Worcestershire, toss to combine, and sautee until mushrooms are tender, about five minutes. Add mushrooms to the crock pot.

Shrooms!

Shrooms!

Combine the corn starch and water and stir until smooth. Add to the crock pot and stir to combine, this will thicken the stew. Add peas to taste (they can be thrown in in their frozen state), or keep them out of the pot and add them to individual bowls (this is what we do because Bill doesn’t like peas).

Dish it up in huge bowls, and serve with potato rolls or crusty bread. We really like these.

I’m working on a new project for UpTake, which involves creating “playlists” for vacation destinations. It’s a really neat, really FUN concept. Check out my first one, “One Day in Portland, Maine“.

I’ll be on vacation next week… well, from AcronymCo, anyway. I’ll be working on these playlists throughout next week, as the editors would like as many as possible completed by early December. But they’re so fun to do that it doesn’t seem like work. Wish ALL of my gainful employment worked out that way.

Thanksgiving plans worked themselves out. Bill and I will be headed to his sister Karen’s, and I will only be obligated to provide supplementary food items. We haven’t hashed out the menu details yet, but I’m going to suggest that I bring Connoisseurs Vegetable Casserole, THE Pie(tm), and this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Pie provided by the lovely and talented Pioneer Woman.

I have something REALLY REALLY cool to share but it will have to wait until I can scan some pictures. In the meantime, I will amuse you by telling you that Bill got drunk the other night and ordered one of these. When queried, he retorted, “No, it does NOT light up.”

Oh, the humanity.

Monday

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Food, Home, pets, work
Tags: , ,

I’m sitting on the bed with my laptop, working away. I have locked both bedroom doors to keep the cats out (they have been full of misbehavior lately and have been banned from the bedroom). Oz is currently hollering his fool head off at the hallway door, while Zoe is meowing politely at the bathroom door. And then they switch, with Oz banging at the bathroom door and Zoe sticking her nose under the hallway door. Their consolidated efforts to wear me down will FAIL. Dammit.

It’s 9:15 in the morning and I’m having a Trader Joe’s salad for breakfast. I could have had something more breakfasty, but I wanted this salad and there’s no law that states that you can’t have salad for breakfast. So tell me, what is the most non-traditional breakfast food you’ve ever indulged in? And don’t say cold pizza, because that is the MOST traditional of breakfast foods.

I have to compose a last-minute presentation to give to some muckety-mucks tomorrow. I can’t even remember the last time I had to use PowerPoint. It used to be a daily occurrence, but the program seems to have fallen out of vogue in our little corner of AcronymCo. We tend to be more fond of Excel, or JuMP. Numbers over words. Charts over verbiage.

I had to get a “rebuild” a couple of weeks ago, which entails turning in my work laptop so that they can transfer the data to a refurbished laptop of the same type. Something was wonky with my old laptop that they couldn’t easily figure out – I think they gave up to soon, but eh. I didn’t have a queue of fifteen annoyed AcronymCo employees glaring at me to hurry up. My new laptop is clearly NOT, in that the keys are quite worn, the screen is scratched, and the spacebar only works about half the time. I get to flying along, and notice that most of the words in the sentence havebeenruntogetherlikethis, so then I have to backspace like a mofo. Since I got one of the newer models of the last PC refresh, I’m at the bottom of the list for the next PC refresh. So I’m stuck with this thing until Q4 of 2011. Glory.

I keep looking out the french doors in my bedroom, out into the back yard. The weather here has been downright AWESOME, and the sun is shining, and I want to be Out In It. Alas, the aforementioned work requires that I stay (somewhat) dedicated to the task at hand. The lawn is quite dead – the landscaper killed in on purpose (i.e. turned off the sprinklers) in order to prepare for planting a winter lawn. Which seems kind of off-kilter to me, that you would kill off perfectly good grass in order to grow some other grass. Anyway. This will be the first year that we’ve planted a winter lawn, and I look forward to its startling emerald quality (winter grass is so much GREENER than summer grass) instead of dead-looking tan and brown. I cleaned off the patio like I said I would, and also drained and cleaned and re-filled the hot tub, which we took full advantage of both Saturday and Sunday night. Once the new grass starts growing, the back yard will be a lovely hang-out. If I could just convince Bill to let us get some new patio furniture. We have none at the moment, mostly because we can’t keep the dogs off of whatever we put out there. Ah, well, there’s always camp chairs. Throw a beer in there and we could be camping!

The nice weather is trying to trick me into thinking that I want to take up jogging. YEAH RIGHT. I’ll stick to the elliptical and open a window or something. Nobody wants to encounter my jiggly ass stumbling along the road.

Aaaand Oz is back at the hallway door. Freak. I’m going to go run him off, then take care of doodie duty before the landscaper gets here, and THEN (“No ‘and then’!”) get on that presentation. My Monday work-from-home days prevent me from loathing this first day of the work-week, as most traditional nine-to-fivers do. I may complain about my job – I’m only human – but I do love working for AcronymCo.

Feel Like Writing

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Food, Headspace, Video

Today, I feel like writing. Not about anything specific, I’m just in the mood for words.

Simply because you’re near me.

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I am struggling with an ongoing debacle between Amazon and Adobe. See, about two and a half years ago I purchased Photoshop CS3 from an Amazon Merchant. I’ve been using it quite happily since then – used the provided serial number to unlock the software, and I’ve been merrily post-processing away. Now, I’m ready to upgrade to CS5 (in part because I have to – the Canon 7D’s RAW files can’t be read by CS3). So I purchased the upgrade (to the tune of under $200, as opposed to over $600 for the full version). Except that the serial number for CS3 is coming up as invalid, which disallows me from installing and activating the upgrade.

I contacted Adobe customer support. They told me that since I didn’t purchase the software directly from them, I’m out of luck, too bad, so sorry. I pushed it with their on-line chat tech, who instructed me to send them a Proof of Purchase. I did so (after a bit of a rigmarole – I couldn’t access the invoice on-line and had to have Amazon – who has been supremely helpful this far – fax me one). Now I am in a holding pattern until Adobe figures out what they want to do next.

Amazon is willing to accept the return of the upgrade, if Adobe won’t unlock it for me. I’d just hate to drop nearly seven bones for software I should be able to upgrade for under two. And so I shall Fight On. Because if they aren’t nice to me, the Internet shall hear about it.

I’m not above using my powers for personal gain. Heh.

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I cooked quite a bit this weekend. I made, and posted, this new recipe on World Famous Nosh. You should make it. And you should make this to go with it. I did and I didn’t regret it.

What I do regret is making a batch of these. I’m the only one that eats them, and eating them I am. Have been. Are. Whatever. The point is, one should not consume so very much butter in one weekend. Yarg.

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Suffice it to say, I’m re-starting my diet and exercise regime. Tomorrow. Maybe the next day. I’ll get right on it. Swears.

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Speaking of exercise, the impending descent of local temperatures into realms not unbearable (read: we’re gonna be in the mid-90’s this week – woo! fall’s right around the corner!) has re-inspired me to research biking and hiking trails. I just want to do more exploring this fall/winter. Get out there, get active, move this sluggish slothful body of mine, and drag Bill along with me. We’ve been hibernating and lolling around the house on the weekends for WEEKS now. The lack of movement has aided in our natural tendency to get all bluesy and depressed. It’s time to break the cycle of despair.

“Where am I?” “The Pit of Despair. Don’t even think (ur-HURM!)… Don’t even think about trying to escape.”

Nobody withstands The Machine.

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Sorry. Feeling a bit random at the moment.

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I am aware that I owe you guys the final couple of Maine recap entries, as well as an Indy recap. I found myself not particularly feeling like getting going on those at the moment, which in turn causes me to be stymied over writing anything else. When I feel like I have an obligation, I tend to lean towards feeling guilty for not meeting it, and therefore not writing anything; as opposed to just shelving the obligation for a bit, writing what comes to me, and naturally working through the blockage.

It’s an organic process.

See?

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Finally, if you’re not following me on Twitter (and WHY NOT, I ask you?), you missed this:

Tonight’s menu

Posted: July 21, 2010 in Food, Maine, photography, vacation
Oysters Rockefeller

Oysters Rockefeller

Tonight's menu

Steamed clams, fried clams, ahi tuna, snow crab legs, local microbrews.

Randomocity

Posted: April 15, 2010 in Food, Music, photography, vacation, Warm Fuzzy, WTF

It’s things like this that make me wonder just exactly how much our government is keeping from us.

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This morning I was fussing at myself in the bedroom mirror when Bill walked in. He walked over to me and gave me a kiss and said he was leaving for work. Then he paused, looked me up and down, and said, “Behave yourself today.”

I responded with, “I always behave myself!” He grunted an uh-huh at me, and turned to leave. I called after him, “Thanks!” “For what?” he says. “Well,” quoth I, “the only time you tell me to behave myself is when you think I’m looking particularly attractive.” He grinned and was all, “Nuh-uh!”

Heh. I take my compliments where I can get ’em.

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I’m pretty sure I mentioned (but am too lazy to go check) that I will be borrowing a macro lens from Pro Photo Rental the week after next, when I’m on vacation. I’m going to make a light box and then play around with taking macro pictures.

I’m looking for some recommendations for what to take pictures of. I’ll be doing flowers, of course, but other than that, what kinds of subjects do you guys think would make for interesting macro pictures?

Speaking of which, this has got to be the neatest example of a macro photo that I’ve ever seen. Pioneer Woman has been featuring macro photography on her site this week and I’ve been getting a lot of ideas from over there.

Still, I want to hear from you guys on some subject ideas!

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Speaking of vacation, I KNOW I said I wasn’t going to plan it to the umpteenth detail… but come on, you guys. You KNOW how much I love lists! Plus Bill will be in Chicago for the week and I need some structure to occupy my time. Here’s what I plan on doing:

– Get a manicure and pedicure.
– Go see the Ansel Adams Exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.
– Make things for dinner that don’t get made when the family is around because they don’t like ’em – like this and this and maybe even this or this and darnit, it’s too early in the season for rhubarb or I would totally make this. Of course, for the most part I’ll probably just stick to those pre-made salads from Trader Joe’s. I mean, why cook when I don’t really have to? Except I like to. Ah, fuck it. I’ll see what I feel like doing when the time comes.
– Give Gadget and Gypsy baths. Duuude, they smell like DEATH.
– Spend time luxuriating in the hot tub. Not as fun without Bill, but still quite lovely.
– Probably do useful things like cleaning and laundry and crap like that. That stuff is unavoidable, I’m afraid.
– Go to the library, like, every day.
– Save up episodes of Glee and Supernatural and House and Medium and Stargate Universe and Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I’m still hanging in there) so I can watch them mock-free.
– Rent non Bill-friendly movies. Like romantic comedies. And I might even get drunk one night and watch New Moon. Not that I’ll ever admit it here. Oh, wait…
– Daily workouts, which have been going quite well over the past two weeks and I hope to continue the trend.
– A wee bit of clothes shopping. I need summer-weight shirts, and I also need shoes. I plan on checking out Kohl’s and DSW.
– I feel the urge to go CD-shopping. It’s been a while since we’ve added to our music collection. I could order from Amazon but then I’d be missing out on the whole record store experience, browsing the isles, flipping through cases, digging through the discount bin. Anyway, any music recommendations you guys would care to share would be appreciated!
– Play with a new photo editing program that was recently gifted to me.
– Possibly blog, but DEFINITELY NOT work (other than the aforementioned photography stuff which will surely end up as BMP entries, and I’ll probably write a museum entry for UpTake at some point).

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On that note:

Happy Thursday!