Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hair nets & Jell-O salad

Many moons ago, I worked as a dietary aide at a nursing home.  By many moons I mean right out of high school, circa 1985.  Yes, I'm old enough to be your grandmother.  Let us not mention it again.
I started at the bottom, like everyone else, and for the first few months drew all the weekend shifts, and did an awful lot of bussing tables and sweeping floors, collecting garbage, and taking out the trash. I served questionable deli meats and cheeses to the residents and scooped more cottage cheese than I ever want to see again.  I sweet-talked diabetics into eating ghastly sugar-free ice "milk" for dessert and tried to keep the resident horny old man from grabbing my ass every time I walked by.  It wasn't a hard job, it paid well, and it allowed my 17 y/o self a hell of a lot of freedom. It even paid for my first two years at community college.
After my probation period was up, I was offered a full-time position, which was highly unusual, but they needed someone willing to work 6-2:30 who wouldn't show up staggeringly hungover from the night before and who could be trusted to work the occasional overtime until 7pm without hiding in a closet with a joint and a forty of Miller.  It wasn't that the job drove its employees to getting stoned and wasted; it was the fact that we were all fresh out of high school (and younger) and not exactly supervised by Mormons.  Every weekend, forties were smuggled in and at least one cook showed up with a bag of weed, ready for rolling on the stainless steel tables where we were pouring juice and wrapping bread. I neither drank nor smoked for two reasons: 1) my parents drove me to work and picked me up and I was no fool; and 2) I have always hated the smell of pot, even to this day.  Plus, I grew up drinking the dregs of my dad's beer and he always told me if I wanted one of my own to just ask.
As time went on, I got drafted into doing actual kitchen work involving food.  I learned to make great horking vats of salads: egg, tuna, potato, macaroni, anything that could be stretched with mayonnaise and chopped celery; sliced many pounds of lunchmeats and cheeses, learning to wear my shirt over my face to protect myself from flying pieces of p&p loaf; made about a million sandwiches for Meals on Wheels; sliced and garnished wobbly blocks of nasty gelatin salad (made with cole slaw mix and lemon or lime Jell-O); and roasted and sliced giant mutant turkeys.  I even learned to live with the occasional corpse that needed refrigeration during the warmer months until it could be taken away.  As head aide of the upper two floors, I became a whiz at pureeing everything into a semi-palatable mush for residents who couldn't handle solids.  The 2nd floor included people fresh out of the hospital, just needing time to return to their regular routine; the 3rd housed the residents for whom there was no coming back.  But they got bacon and cheese and pasta and whatever we could run through the food mill or processor; it wasn't aesthetically pleasing but the nutritionist made sure they were given proper food and not living solely on Ensure.
I left the home after several years for a position in a law library downtown.  Better pay and more in line with what I wanted to do with my life.  And I had to admit that I was tired of going home at the end of a long day with bits of food in my hair and reeking of Mulligatawny.  I look back at my years as a dietary aide fondly.  I was never screwed over, my bosses were good to all of us, and I have stories that, while they may not be funny in translation, still make me smile.  While it didn't exactly instill in me a love of cooking (you try mixing a sinkful of tuna salad with your hands) I still think government cheese makes a wonderful grilled sandwich (I use Kraft slices today) and every time I ate a little packet of graham crackers when I was pregnant I remembered how we used to sneak them out of the storeroom for the residents to stash for midnight snacks.

And I must admit that I loved wearing a hair net.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Two quirky girls and a pie

The week before Memorial Day, my local buddy Laura Freed and I were bouncing around ideas about how to include bacon in a dessert, particularly pie.  After very little bouncing (we can justify including bacon in almost anything) we decided that pecan pie would be the pie of choice.  The syrupy sweet filling and inherent butteriness of the pecans would play very nicely with the salty smokiness of the bacon.  But where to put the bacon?  It would be overwhelmed in the filling and we wanted it to be separate, not just a blended ingredient.

We decided it should go in the crust.  And behold, the Pecan Pie w/Bacon Crust was born.  (Yeah, we didn't give it a fancy name.  I mean, really, it's all about the bacon, anyway.)

The pie was made from scratch, using homemade pie dough as well.  Oscar Mayer was the bacon of choice.

I knew going in that I'd have to adjust the pie dough recipe to allow for the fat from the bacon.  I ended up using 2 1/2 cups flour, 8 Tbsp Crisco, 1/3 cup ice water, and added 5 slices of cooked, undrained bacon.  Undrained meaning I just took it from the baking sheet after it cooled and plopped it into the fridge.  This recipe was only tested this once and it worked out pretty well; however, I have a feeling it will need some tweaking should I attempt this again.  Should you want to try this, I make no guarantees it will work for you.  It will all depend on your particular ingredients; the stars aligned for me that day.  :)

Here is the finished dough:

I used the standard recipe found on the bottle of dark Karo syrup, adding a few tablespoons of bourbon to the batter.  Because I love bourbon.  And pecan pie.  And bacon.  And what could be better than all three together?  Particularly in a pie.

And here is what they morphed into:

I served this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream from Tanner's, a local dairy farm that makes out-of-this-world ice cream.  And this pie deserved it.

The result?  A very good pie.  The filling was as it should be, and the addition of the bourbon was spiky enough without being overwhelming.  The crust tasted very much like a savory scone, and the bacon taste was obvious without being overpowering.  It all worked very well together, salty, sweet, smoky, and the ice cream actually cut through the richness of the dessert nicely.

I enjoyed making this pie and but the most fun was planning the whole concoction with Laura.  So I think we can officially call this Quirky Pecan Pie and not be so damn literal with the name.  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disco dirt

I'd like to post some lovely, updated photos of my garden for you to say "God, more photos AGAIN?!" but, alas, nothing right now.  I've lost everything I started indoors with the exception of one Jimmy Nardello pepper plant to a rabid infestation of fruit flies brought on, I think, by the week's worth of drenching rains.  Then again, I'm not Gil Grissom so who really knows where they all came from.  Suffice to say, yesterday morning I went out back and noticed the soil in each pot was shaking its sweet self to a secret disco medley.  Soil is not supposed to move of its own volition and it was then that I noticed the thick flitty clouds of fruit flies covering everything.  Like Goldie Hawn in "Overboard" I think I swallowed a bug.  Or several thousand, which is the fruit fly equivalent of one regular bug.  Either way, yesterday afternoon, I bagged and hauled everything to the curb. Trust me when I say eww.

Admittedly, I'm angry that this happened, all my hard work taken away by trash men; a fair amount of money and time lost; and what could have been my best crop ever of tomatoes and peppers, really interesting varieties that I was looking forward to sharing.  Gone, just that like, with absolutely no way for me to have prevented it.

But I still have a roof over my head.  My family is still under that roof, my boys have a yard to play in, and we opened the pool, officially starting the summer season.  I'm grateful for all of this and for Mother Nature not wreaking havoc on us.  I'm lucky.  I can afford to replace the pots and the plants (and I did), and I don't rely on my garden for sustenance or financial survival.  What I view as a seasonal hobby others rely on to put food on the table and clothes on their backs.  Do I have a right to be angry?  Sure, who wouldn't be.  But I'm focusing instead on starting anew and being glad I have the means to do so.
You so know I'm foisting more pictures upon you as soon as possible, don't you?  :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soylent green is people

Hard to believe that I started my garden in February and I've got so many gorgeous plants already.  Here are some shots of what's coming up now:

Bloody Butcher tom and some Genovese basil (l); Eva Purple Ball toms (r)

Little Fingers eggplants

Lincoln peas

Peppers, could be Serrano

Toms or peps (l, m), French breakfast radishes (seeds [r])

Strawberries (l), toms, peps, parsley, cilantro (top), radishes (bottom)

Peps (top), lettuces (bottom)

Georgia sweet onions

Georgia sweet onions


Sweet mint

As I'm reading this I realize that I maybe should have marked everything a little more clearly when I brought it outdoors.  However, I can tell the difference between the plants so I'm not overly concerned with specifics.  I'll know what they are when they come in.  I'm so on the ball, aren't I?

And, just to break things up, here are pictures of a cherry coffeecake, pecan pie, and a Key lime pie I made for Easter.  These were very, very good.

So maybe I'll see you in, what, July?  ;)

Friday, March 25, 2011


After much conversing with several online friends from Australia I decided to take the plunge and try Vegemite, which I thought was available at my local Wegmans but I was wrong.  So I picked up a jar of Marmite, only to be told that I was not allowed to compare it to Vegemite as it was the equivalent of cheese in a can.  :)

I've posted pics below and, while you don't actually see me consuming the Marmite, know that nobody sees me that early in the morning with my hair in a towel.

This is me, as taken by my son Mark, actively engaged in the Vegemite v. Marmite conversation.  

Lightly buttered white wheat toast, tea, and the Marmite.

The actual Marmite as knifed from the jar, it has the texture of honey and smells exactly like bouillon.

Thinly spread upon the bread as it's not jam or butter.

My big old bite.

As with all my photos, I just use my digital camera as I like the way home food looks as is, without special lighting or circumstances, which means that sometimes things are blurry but you get what I'm talking about.

The verdict:  I like this stuff.  A lot.  It's especially good on a lightly toasted and buttered sesame bagel.  Funnily enough, I think it tastes better when eaten with tea or a glass of juice rather than coffee.  It really smells like a salty, slightly beefy bouillon, and, spread thinly through the butter, it's salty like anchovies but not fishy.  I really can't describe it except to say that I am hooked.

It was pointed out to me that I can buy proper Vegemite here, however, I am to studiously avoid this particular version.  Amazon also sells Vegemite through various marketplace sellers.

Go forth and try it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

We're having rigatoni for lunch, with a red sauce.  Here is a little green for you, courtesy of my ever-exploding garden.

Upgraded cilantro; parlsey; Eva Purple Ball toms; and Striped Cavern toms to new containers

Jimmy Nardello pep; chervil; Bloody Butcher tom and Genovese basil in new pots

This is a Genovese basil I planted last winter, which has flourished nicely

New containers in their natural habitat (the sunroom).  The top center is some kind of tom but I forgot to label it.

Top left is Little Fingers eggplant; top right is Chadwick's Rodan lettuce.

Top and middle left are Lincoln pea plants; bottom is Debarao toms; middle is Tonodoes des Conores toms; bottom middle is Riesenstraube toms; upper right Dwarf Greek and Sweet Thai basil; lower right Santa Fe Grande and Serrano peps

Considering I started this project a month ago, I've seen amazing progress.  On average I planted 3 of each seed and I've seen a good return for my effort.  I still have to get the radishes, bunching onions, and several peppers started but there is still plenty of time.  The Lincoln pea plants continue to amaze me and seem to grow every day.  I used some skewers to stake them for now but they will most definitely need new pots sooner rather than later.

Has anyone else been impatient and started their garden indoors already?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tangled Noodle: Cracking the Shell: Balut Revealed

Some of you who watch food or travel tv may have heard of balut from the likes of Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern. Often it is presented as not so much a food but, rather, as something to be consumed in an attempt to make the person appear brave and dangerous. "Hey, look at me! Look at what I'm eating!" I often find this type of food tv rather irritating as I believe it's mildly insulting to the particular culture that is the topic of the show.

That being said, please check out this excellent post about balut written by Tangled Noodle. She has given a rather delicate subject the respect it deserves, a far cry from how it is usually presented.

Tangled Noodle: Cracking the Shell: Balut Revealed

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Little green things

I planted my first batch of seeds on February 15th and one subsequent batch on the 20th or thereabouts. Today is March 5th and there has been progress, very good progress, if you don't include me upending one or two cups freshly sown seeds.

Upper: Sweet Thai basil (l), Greek dwarf basil (r)
Lower: Bloody Butcher tomato (top), Genovese basil (bottom) 

Little fingers eggplant (l), Jimmy Nardello peppers (r)

Thessoloniki tomatoes

Debarao toms (lower left), Striped Cavern toms (upper left)
Lincoln peas (big green plants in middle), Chervil (above peas)
Eva Purple Ball toms (yellow cup), Cilantro (orange cup)
Parsley (cup at bottom right)
Serrano peps (square container, upper right)

I'm really pleased with how everything has grown thus far and I must say that the Miracle Gro organic potting soil is superior to the little peatlets I usually start with.  Far less expensive, too.  The other containers have oregano, Mexican mint marigold, and Riesenstraube and Tonodose des Conores toms.  I think there's some peppers in one of the square salads as well but I forgot to mark it so we'll see.

I've also started some Chadwick's Ronan lettuce but that's just a box of soil right now and you don't need a photo to know what that looks like.  Once I empty out the container of spinach I'm going to try some radishes.  The Radish Saxa II are supposed to yield in 30 days and I'm intrigued to see if I can do that indoors.  I am going to have to separate the pea plants and give them good, solid containers sooner rather than later.  I've never grown them before and I'm very excited to see what/if I can harvest anything from them this year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest post: Response to Bittman post

Jen McCleary and I worked together some years ago at a publishing company, when I was a struggling vegetarian and she was (and still is) a dedicated vegan.  I have since returned to a diet that includes meat and poultry.  Below is a comment she left on my Mark Bittman post and I think it's too valuable to be buried beneath my rant.  Thanks, Jen.

Interesting post...I agree with some of what you said. Of course I hate hate hate the idea of Big Brother looking over everyone's soup pot to make sure you haven't put too much salt. But what frightens me more (and seems a more realistic threat at the moment) is gigantic food companies that adhere to the philosophy of good ol' "profit no matter the costs." Without some sort of governmental regulation you end up with melamine in the baby formula and sugar water labeled as juice, and these companies laughing all the way to the bank. Sadly these entities have been hugely influential in directing the food policies of the nation (just look up the history of the food pyramid), and quite successful in persuading the American public that cooking is a horrible, difficult, time-consuming task and why bother when you can buy their products?

It's a matter of balance between a number of forces (corporate food interests, government, individuals), and I think it's missing an opportunity to just throw up our hands and leave it up to "personal responsibility." Yes, people need to take responsibility for their own lives and choices, but what happens when the social structure is not there to support responsible choices? Just how much choice does someone have who has no proper grocery store within accessible distance? This is not about "forcing" anyone to do anything. This is not about banning potato chips and soda. This is about making sure people have access to good information (not just advertising and corporate manipulation) and access to good food (not just nutritionally dubious crap priced much lower than it should be due to subsidies).

Bittman et al. are reactionaries against a food system that has clearly gone off the rails, and the loudest, most out-there voices always get the most press. There IS something horribly elitist about a lot of what they have to say, given the realities that so many Americans have to live with. It IS ridiculous to suggest that everyone should take up the home cultivation of heirloom microgreens, or eat only bread made from grains you have ground yourself, or eat only meat from animals that you personally befriended on the local farm (a particularly psychopathic attitude in my mind, but that's another story). (If Bittman makes you stabby then don't read Alice Waters!) But I think that despite all that, it's still a discussion worth having and I'm glad Bittman et al. are calling attention to these issues. Hopefully the pendulum will eventually swing toward somewhere in the middle.

No, what makes me stabby is knowing there are children living in the richest country on Earth waking up hungry with no prospect of a decent meal. Knowing that people HAVE to work two or three jobs to make ends meet while companies are making billions in profit on feeding them crap food that is detrimental to their health. Knowing that the government would rather spend billions on ridiculous military interventions in foreign countries than use that money to ensure that every American has access to healthy food and the information to make good choices for themselves and their families. No, stabby isn't even the word. Bittman-style elitism is just a minor irritant in a morass of injustice and poor policy.

Ugh, sorry for the rant. I should just get my own damn food blog. Very interested in your thoughts on this though!

I cannot argue with any of this.  Why, then, do I feel stabby towards Bittman et al.?  Because, as Jen pointed out, they are reactionaries.  In my opinion, they have a personal agenda and believe that their way is the only way.

I have always believed that everyone should be taught by somebody, somewhere, basic cooking skills.  Home ec in schools would be a great way to start.  It's not just cooking, there's reading, math and science involved, too, a whole spectrum of skills that can be put to good use.  Plus, it can be fun.

I fully believe in government regulations to keep food in the proper condition to be consumed. However, I am firmly against taxing foods that the government has deemed improper for consumption, simply because they don't want to put together a proper system of checks and balances.  This whole "let's tax junk food so people won't eat it" is ridiculous and won't work anyway.  Case in point: cigarettes.  Five bucks a pack and people still buy them by the carton.

The two people I think can most bring about change right now are Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver.  They "get" people and understand that there is room for moderation and that it's more important to get fresh vegetables and fruit into the diet be it organic or conventional.  They are both very hands-on in their approach without resorting to hammering people into guilt trips over what they eat.  They know that working with people on a level they can understand, without finger-pointing and badgering, will be far more effective in the long run than constantly telling people that what they are doing is wrong.

Finally, I think Alice Waters has lost all touch with reality.  Good intentions but I think she's barmy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Why Mark Bittman makes me stabby

Mark Bittman, author of "The Minimalist" series of cookbooks has been around forever, teaching people how to cook and cook well.  You can read all about him here.  While I've never gotten his appeal, he has a legion of devoted followers, many of whom take his word as gospel.

Bittman is now preaching his word in a new column in the NYT.  And boy is he ever preaching.  In the vein of Michael Pollan and others, Bittman is ranting about the current state of the American diet and calling for more government intervention in an attempt to prevent future generations from becoming even more obese and unhealthy than the current.  He advocates taxing unhealthy foods such as fast food, junk food, and sodas; ending subsidies for corn and soy farmers; creating subsidies for organic farmers, etc.  He firmly believes everyone has time to prepare foods from scratch, plant and harvest their own home garden, and the money to afford organic fruits and vegetables.  I believe you can see where I'm starting to feel stabby.

I have said time and again that we as a nation do not need the government in our kitchens.  We don't need them constantly haranguing us to eat less and exercise more.  We especially do not need Bittman and his ilk and their condescension should we choose to eat at McDonald's or gorge ourselves stupid on potato chips and ice cream and soda.  It's called personal responsibility and, last I checked, the government wasn't listening to me when I said they shouldn't be blowing billions of dollars on wars we shouldn't be fighting.

Bittman has the luxury to eat however he chooses; he has the funds and the lifestyle which allow him to have a fully organic diet and the time to prepare everything from scratch.  He can easily nurture and harvest his own garden and, in a pinch, pay someone to do the work for him.  This whole notion that people need to grow their own food is ludicrous.  Not everyone has the time or the means to do this, let alone the space.  Does he really believe that people working two, maybe three jobs just to make rent and buy generic-label food have the time or the inclination to spend on a garden, no matter how small?  So they should sacrifice valuable time spent with their children doing homework, or trying to put a meal together, or--dare I say it?--relaxing worrying whether the lettuce will grow or the tomatoes will come in?  And gardening is not cheap.  Good seeds that are not genetically modified can be pricey; then there is the investment in potting soil (organic, of course), containers, the constant attention, and, sometimes, the crushing disappointment when it all fails and you have nothing to show for all your labor except maybe one weepy tomato and half a pot of basil.  That could easily amount to a small fortune for a struggling family, a small fortune that could have bought groceries or been put into the bank.  It's this elitist attitude, this whole "look, I can do it and so can you" thought process that is so damn insulting it makes me scream.

I agree wholeheartedly that many, many people are coming apart at the seams.  But insisting that organics and grass-fed and vegan or vegetarian diets are the path to salvation is, again, insulting. Americans on the whole are not stupid. Yes, there are many who are too lazy to do anything except roll up to a drive-thru and get the value meal; however, let's give credit where credit is due. Change doesn't happen overnight. People do know enjoying everything in moderation, daily exercise, plenty of water, and a good night's sleep can do wonders both physically and mentally. But beating people over the head with so many negative messages only makes them defiant and can lead to a "fuck you, I'll do what I want" attitude that has just the opposite effect.

Finally, I'm getting really, really sick of the word "manifesto."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last frost? What's that?

While on Twitter today, I had a great conversation with Elle and Heather about starting our seeds for this year's gardens.  If you have followed me for the last two years you know that, once I get my seeds started indoors, I pretty much ramble on about them, post many unnecessary photos of them, and basically work very hard at boring everyone to tears.  This year I promise 173% more boring photos!

I got my seeds this year from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Johnny's Selected Seeds. As I do every year, I purchased way more than I have room to grow out back; however, I don't really care so it's a moot point.  Like I told Elle and Heather, I am my father's daughter; I buy the seeds, stick them in the dirt, and wait and see what happens.  There is absolutely no planning and much running amoking.

From Baker Creek:

Herbs:  Chervil, Wild Zaatar Oregano, Oregano Vulgare, Genovese Basil, Greek Dwarf Basil, Sweet Thai Basil, Cilantro, and Parsley

Root veg:  Crimson Forest Bunching onion, Radish Saxa II, French Breakfast Radish

Greens: Little Gem lettuce, Chadwick's Rodan lettuce, Arugula

Pepps:  Santa Fe Grande, Jimmy Nardello Italian, Serrano, Coban Red Pimiento, Large Sweet Antigua

Toms:  Thessaloniki, Riesentraube, Tonodoes des Conores, Bloody Butcher

Little Fingers Eggplant

From Johnny's Selected:

Toms: Debarao, Eva Purple Ball, Striped Cavern

Hungarian Wax Peppers

Herbs:  Mexican Mint Marigold, Wild Bergamot, Orange Thyme, Chickweed

Started this initial batch on February 15:

Using salad bar containers, applesauce and pudding cups plus terracotta pots

Genovese basil has started sprouting

Lincoln pea sprout

Yogurt cups with tomato, parsley, chervil, and cilantro

Heather had a great idea of using cardboard egg crates to start seeds as they can be planted right into the soil; she also mentioned using the toilet paper rolls to help carrots grow straight.  If I ever get around to doing more root veggies than radishes I'm going to do this.  

As in years past, we have numerous critters who like to trespass in our yard (a black cat, rabbits under the shed, the occasional possum or fox), which means I still have to do everything in pots, even though I'd love to make the investment of a raised bed.  The squirrels still manage to have a good rummage now and again but they don't do too much damage.  I like using those giant tool carriers from Home Depot or Lowe's for my tomatoes and they were great last yard when I grew chard.  I'm going to invest in a few more of those but I think I have enough pots floating around to give everything a home.  

I'm also very much looking forward to growing strawberries again.  Those were amazing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Julie & Julia, a belated, very brief review

Just finished watching the movie "Julie & Julia", which, it seems, many people--particularly on Twitter--caught up with on Encore this week.  I'll be brief because 1) I don't like writing movie reviews and 2) I'm actually only reviewing half the movie.  Going into this please note that I am not a fan of Julia Child herself.  However, this does not mean that I am blind or disrespectful of her enormous impact on the culinary world.  It just means that, in the flesh, hers is not a personality I enjoy watching on tv.

That being said, like many people, I found the "Julie" part of the movie cringe-worthy, unwatchable, unbearable, you name it.  So I cheated and fast-forwarded it once I got through the initial introductory scenes. The scenes where Julie dons pearls, and Julie makes pie, and Julie this and Julie that.  It was never really about the food, it was all about Julie!  Like Jan Brady screeching "It's always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" it was always "Look! I'm Julie, Julie, Julie!"  Which made me want to throw a puppy down a well.  Save the puppies!  

However, the "Julia" part was wonderful.  Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Jane Lynch were just amazing to watch and I found myself wishing over and over again that the whole movie had been about them.  Watching Streep was a dream and she and Tucci worked so well together that I would love to see them in some sort of comedic whodunit, each trying to one-up the other, tripping over corpses, falling in love.  But maybe that's just how my mind works.  Either way, their love story (both with each other and with the French) was beautiful and sweet and utterly charming, three things you will almost never hear me say about anything.  Throw Jane Lynch into the mix as Child's sister and you have a win-win-win situation.  The scene where Dorothy (Lynch) first arrives in France and is taken to lunch by the Childs is genius: She is eating brie with gusto--with her fingers!--chatting up a storm, bringing the scene to a most incredible life. I didn't want it to end.  From what I gleaned, it was always about life and food and love; Child never made it about herself.  She had a true desire to learn for herself, not so people would look at her and fawn over her, but so that she could teach people what she had learned and enjoyed.  Which is pretty much what I have always thought and heard about her.

So yes, I thoroughly enjoyed half of this movie.  And I could easily watch that half again.

Like I said, a very brief review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


A shout-out to one of my very favorite blogs, The Caked Crusader, and a hearty congrats to her for being featured in the February issue of olive magazine.

Check out the link here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Welcome to 2011.  I’ve got nothing on my plate, no resolutions, no dietary restrictions, no promises to be entertaining or insightful.  However, I did finally find my old copybook that I’ve been writing half-assed recipes in for eons and I may actually try to decipher what I’ve put on paper to see if they are actual recipes or just the mad scribblings of a lunatic who should not be allowed near an open flame.  My fridge is loaded for bear with bacon, sausage, all kinds of cheeses from faraway lands (you know, like France and Wales), mass quantities of produce, and the odd bottle of beer.  Or several.  Bass, Harp, and Samuel Adams spring to mind.  So we’re off to a good start.  I can feed myself and my family.  I’ve also got pasta in the cupboard and ran amok at Wegmans the other day, purchasing fresh new jars of red curry paste, hoisin sauce, duck sauce and the like in the hopes that I rekindle my love of cooking Asian fare.  Here’s hoping the jars don’t sit in the fridge and get funky.
I’ve got a slew of new cookbooks, titles from Ching He-Huang, Laura Calder, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and kitschy volumes from Henry Hill and Bitchin’ Kitchen, any or all of which I may review this month.  I may even live dangerously and actually make something from each.  Gasp.  Sit yourself back down, now.  I think I may also have a title on order from Amazon UK, an Anjum Anand book of curries but I’m not sure and I’m too lazy to actually check my account.  I do so love a curry and mine were sorely lacking last year so this, hopefully, will provide some much-needed assistance.
My cooktop is down to two burners now, both of course on one side, which means it’s a royal pain to use two big pans at the same time.  It is the first time since getting rid of the microwave that I kinda sorta wish I had one.  But next month hopefully will see me with a shiny new one, even though it makes me extraordinarily tetchy that the price of a simple cooktop is often more than a full stove.  Go figure.  But it will be nice to have a new, sealed model, one that doesn’t let all the bits of pasta and nuts and everything else that flies out of the pan down into the bottom.  It’s vile having to clean that up and I do believe a wee bit dangerous.  You know, pilot lights and gas and such.
That’s it, I guess, for now.  :)

And, once again, the Libra rears her indecisive head

Blergh.  WordPress didn't work for me.  Can't quite put my finger on it but I just found it to be too much work to post there and I couldn't quite get the designs to work for me.  So I'm back here and I hope you all will find the patience to follow me back here.

Many thanks.