Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I was out in the blogosphere the other day, looking for inspiration from web sites and blogs dedicated to cooking and entertaining, and in the process I stumbled on the Noble Pig. And when I say that I stumbled on it I mean that I used the website referral service stumbleupon.com and found it. The very first page that I hit on this site brought me face to face with a creation called "Pasta Pie". This recipe, from the fertile imagination of Martha Stewart, is essentially an upright Baked Ziti made in a spring form pan and sliced like a cake to serve. Clearly, from the snaps above, my pictures of this savory cake came out pretty lame, so if you want to see a nicer version of what it should look like and get the recipe, go here - http://noblepig.com/2009/03/18/when-the-moon-hits-the-sky.aspx
By comparison to the level of theater that this brings to the table, it was ridiculously easy to make. It's one of those recipes that I approached with the expectation of failure. But it was actually very easy to make and after spicing up the meat sauce recipe with fresh basil, parsley, dried oregano and a little extra salt it was very well suited to our tastes. Imagine my surprise when I unmolded it and it actually stayed together. The presentation was a huge hit with the kids and I was very protective of its perfection. As soon as I saw Dave make a play for the knife I swept in with a pincer motion and cut him right off. There was no way that I was going to let him hack into my masterpiece before getting a perfect slice to set aside for pics. To top off this yummy dinner, I made the Butterscotch Pudding recipe from last month's gourmet magazine (http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2009/02/butterscotch-pudding ). It is undoubtedly the easiest and best tasting pudding that I have ever had. The recipe is simple, even bullet proof as I have varied the type of milk used and doubled the recipe with identical success in each case. As tonight was earth hour, my daughter kept turning out the lights while I tried to photograph my pudding. I was reduced to grabbing a snap or two by the light of the refrigerator, which Dave caught me doing, making me feel like a complete dork. He snuck up like the ninja that he is and got behind me, mimicking my hunch into the fridge . When I stood up and saw his visage by the narrow slice of light let out from the closing door, I almost jumped out of my skin. Good luck with all the jarred sauce and boxed mac and cheese that you'll be eating when you put me in the hospital with a heart attack sweetie.
I was working from home today and as such was a little time crunched and could not dedicate the time to proper photos. The dismal truth is that the pictures above are actually the best of the bunch that I took (?!). However, even though today's pictures look like hell, the subjects tasted like heaven. This little piggy is noble indeed.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
In every game, there are winners and there are losers. In the game of cookies, my kids are big winners as they are the recipients of a second batch of homemade cookies this week. Chocolate chocolate chip this time. A win that is the result of my taking one more day off work this week than I had planned. The reason that I took the extra day off is that my friends are coming over this weekend for a poker game and I want to get the house in order and bake something special for them. I don't care if win or lose at poker, but if I can get my house clean and spend some time with my friends, it's a total windfall for me!
On the losing side this morning is my husband. Since the sun came up, he's been running behind the dog with a plastic bag on one hand and a wonton soup container in the other questing for a dropping from a performance-shy dog. As long as he is hovering over her, plastic army at the ready, she's not giving it up. My daughter caught a glimpse of him out the kitchen window and asked why he'd want to put a poop in tupperware. I made it clear to her that the purpose of this collection is for Brownie's annual physical at the vet. It's extra important to make that clear in this public forum as I don't want to get solicitation e-mails from the "Dog Poop Lovers of America" or any other deviant hobbyist group. Think I'm crazy? Just spend an afternoon on the Internet and you'll find that there is a fan base for every peculiar behavior that you can imagine (and some that you could never fathom). And while on the subject of bodily functions, my friend and soon to be poker buddy Marianne sent me this link this morning. It is for a (how should I say this?) personal gas filter. Someone will get rich off this I am sure. I can just imagine the phone lines jamming with calls from girlfriends and wives the world over, desparate to be free from the oppression of a dutchoven-loving dude. Ideally, this device would eliminate "Pull my finger" from the american lexicon. http://www.thrillist.com/los-angeles/subtle-butt
At the completion of this entry the oven will be set to self-clean and I will be off to clean baseboards and moldings. One might think that this is the activity of a loser, but to have these items clean, I will ultimately feel like a winner. And at least I didn't pull poop patrol.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
I don't know where it came from, but boom, there it was - fourteen inches of snow! Schools were closed, the orthodontist called to cancel Joey's appointment and I set up shop to work at home. I got up around 5:45 and looked out the front door across the white expanse. They hadn't even attempted to plow the streets yet as the snow was still falling at a rapid clip. What does one do when such snowy weather confines them to the indoors? I don't know about you, but I bake cinnamon rolls. And not just any cinnamon rolls, three inch high gooey cinnamon rolls that are tender and buttery enough to put those mall monstrosities to shame ( you know who you are, you rhyme with Finnabon).
OK, the truth is, that I am quite inept at yeast doughs, so when these puppies actually rose, I was nothing short of astonished. The fact that they came out delicious and tender, a mere stroke of luck. I have thrown out more yeast risen items than I have served, though lately I have had a better track record. I guess I have learned the hard way that yeast can't be expired or bloomed in water that's too hot or mishandled in any way or it will let you and your rolls down. There's nothing more disappointing than putting a loaf of bread in the oven and taking a cement discus out. I could probably build a bomb shelter with all of my failed bread. But not today! Today I have retrieved golden and delicious sweet dough roulades from the oven and savored every crumb of their gooey goodness. As over-confident as I am right now, I am sure that my remaining packet of yeast will result in a sourdough disaster that my kids can ride down an icy hill. Quick, to the kitchen before the snow melts!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The one problem that we have with Brownie is that she does not like the vacuum. She barks at it and bites at it as soon as it starts moving. Certainly makes cleaning a challenge. I have tried to calm her by giving her treats and praise if she sits still while I vacuum, but she can't help herself. The vacuum is her mortal enemy and she will not rest until she has slayed it. Given this hatred for air suction devices, we should have anticipated her reaction to Kenny's nail gun. It was like she went on full alert as soon as he started up the compressor. The hair on her back raised up like a Mohawk and she ran to his side to attack the offending creature. As Kenny blasted nails into the wall she wedged her nose in to get at the evil air compression devil. She was snout to snout with it and he couldn't stop her. She was crazed and fully determined to fell her enemy. We panicked every time he fired that thing up, knowing that this could be the time that she eats a nail. How do you explain that particular brand of bad pet parenting to the vet? It's certainly the kind of thing to get "Dog Protective Services" at your door or at the very least, to get hate mail from PETA. Eventually we got smart and put her outside when nailing time came.
Nail gun maneuvers were not the least of Kenny's problems with his new found doggie friend. One day he was spackling the ceiling and he saw something moving outside the window from the corner of his eye. It was Brownie out in front of the house. She had managed to open the front storm door and escape into the street. He quickly turned to run down and get her and in the process, dropped his Spackle knife on his head, point first. Dave came home from a Home Depot run to find Kenny in the kitchen with a bag of peas on his head. Note to self - you really need to remember to fill the ice trays.
All in all, I think he liked being with her as much as she liked being with him, even if she did get under his feet and bite his nail gun and cause him to lose a hunk of flesh from his forehead. I even think that after he finished the job, that she pined a little bit for him. I think the same thing about Dave, it's like he's had a playmate for the last six weeks and now he's back to the empty house and the sound of his own voice. He's even mentioned something about redoing the kitchen, which we have never discussed before. With two kids in braces and college educations to be saved for, it will be a couple of years before we can actually do that. But I am sure that it will be a welcome project for Dave and for Brownie. Come on nail gun, Brownie is ready for whatever you've got!