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Archive for November, 2008

Thankful

I am thankful for:

  • red meat, rare and cold
  • Pinky the Cat, as he never fails to brighten the most dreary of days
  • late night pizza, consumed drunk and without a drop of self consciousness
  • men who do what they say and say what they mean
  • balsamic vinegar and mustard, for they always save the day
  • more friends than anyone really deserves, but all of which enrich my life
  • spellcheck
  • Advil and Gatorade
  • the color pink, black eyeliner, dark nail polish and leopard print
  • a body that always seems to forgive me, no matter what I put it through
  • that I don’t have to go to RI for the holidays
  • the courage to speak my mind…
  • …and a mother that always made me feel like it was okay
  • the existence of Javier Bardem
  • my inability to accept less than what I deserve
  • one perfect, smart, kind and caring little boy
  • Beaujolais and Jack Daniels and Heifeweisen
  • every single person who reads this blog
  • a hard head, for I am continually slamming it in to the wall
  • the smell of gasoline, fresh cut grass, warm bread and rosemary
  • my company tomorrow, Cindarella and AuntLifesaver…two amazing women who challenge, support, love and push me in ways I can never thank them enough for

I will see you Monday. A huge backlog of recipes awaits. Spend tomorrow thankful, stuffed and with people you love.

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Recovery

In high school, I used to pierce my own ears.

I’d bust in to my mother’s sewing kit, burn the needle with a lighter and then dip it in rubbing alcohol (safety first!) and go to town.

It was a practice that annoyed my mother endlessly, but seeing as it was a relatively harmless act of rebellion, she chose to ignore it. If you look closely at my ears, you can still see 6 holes in each lobe that I recklessly punched in.

I also dyed my hair blond.

I wore silver reflective sneakers.

I heavily rimmed my eyes every day with dark black eyeliner.

This all, at the time, seemed like a spectacularly good idea. I was young.  What the hell did I know?

Now, I know better.  The nose may be pierced, but I only have one hole in each ear.  My hair is a normal, natural color.  My shoes are fabulous and my make up…well, you know about me and my makeup.

But I have not learned all of life’s lessons, by a long shot.

A few weeks back I attempted to make a pizza dough…using all whole wheat flour.  Something in the back of my mind told me this was a bad idea, but I forged ahead.

Yeah, it was a mess, a total mess.  I should have known better. The crust crumbled and deteriorated…I was kicking myself for not only screwing it up, but making a rookie mistake.

So, three weeks later, I tackled pizza crust again, and victory was mine. Now, I have made pizza crust before, but it was the “quick” kind. This crust does need more than 35 minutes to rise, but if you have the time, it is worth it.  It is a no knead recipe so it is is painfully easy; there really is no excuse not to try this at least once.  Nothing really beats a pizza straight out of the oven…it is hot, fresh and way cheaper than delivery.  I topped mine with a quick sauce I threw together, mozzarella, parmesan, caramelized onions, chicken sausage and artichoke hearts. I am currently entangled in a torrid love affair with artichokes and  adding them to a pizza is my idea of heaven. Wine and pizza for lunch on my lazy Fridays off? Nothing could be better.

Lesson learned and I am all the better for it.

dscn0872

No Knead Pizza Crust
From Steamy Kitchen

2 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tbl granulated yeast
1 1/2 tbl salt
1 tbl sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Sauce and toppings

1. Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with the water in a 5-qt bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container

2. Mix in the flour without kneading, using a large wooden spoon.

3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature for about 2 hours. I took Jaden’s suggetion (she writes Steamy Kitchen) and let is sit over night in the fridge to let the flavors develop. I took it out the next day, let it come to room temperature and then rolled it out.

4. Preheat oven to 450 and place a cookie sheet in the oven to heat. On a floured surface, roll out dough. Spray sheet with Pam or oil it and prinkle with cornmeal if you have it on hand. Move dough to preheated sheet (it may tear a little; just pinch it together.) Brush with olive oil and add sauce and toppings. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Note: I halved this recipe for one pizza crust…

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Success

I had been trying incredibly hard to be a good kitty. I hadn’t had a cigarette since Halloween and was quite proud of myself.

As we headed over to Friday’s Blogger Happy Hour, I looked at Arjewtino and informed him I would not be smoking. He looked at me, laughed, and said, “We’ll see…”

Fast forward about two and a half hours. I am standing on the sidewalk, sans jacket, talking to Arjewtino. I looked over at my hand and yell, “Holy shit, I am smoking!”

I am a weak soul. I am sorry you all had to see my personal failure.

But, it seems, that was the only failure of the night. The evening was a resounding success and I am so pleased with the turnout. I am sorry I couldn’t spend more time with all of you…the place was packed and my voice was horse from screaming but it was worth it.

My two cohosts, the aforementioned Arjewtino in a dashing suit, and Roosh, who doesn’t need a suit to get noticed by the ladies, and I had a great time and were so happy to meet you all.

hosts

To all of you that came out, thank you.  Especially if this was your first happy hour, I want to give you an extra special slap on the ass for being brave and showing your face. I know it isn’t easy, but I hope we made it a little easier for you.

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Bells On

bourbon

You. I am looking at you.

I know you are shy. Maybe a bit nervous? You want to come out and meet some new people but it seems a little overwhelming?

I get it. I was you last year. I didn’t know a blogging soul. I was a blogger without a country.

But I came out! And I met people! And now I spend every day harassing the internet and my friends who live inside of it!

So, please do come out tonight…if you are a blogger, a commenter, or a lurker. We will be downstairs at Bourbon at 8.

Because you? I want to meet you.

Just look for Roosh, Arjewtino or me…we promise to be gentle.

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Final Call

So, it is a week away, that holiday that we shall not speak of.

The panicked talk of coworkers and desperate emails I have received tell me y’all are a little nervous.

There is nothing to fear, my little lambs. With enough wine and Papa John’s on your speed dial, everything will be fine. Isn’t Thanksgiving about gluttony, football and lazy afternoon naps anyway? At least that is the way it is in my world. In this perfect universe, the good times roll, the boys always call, you always get the promotion you rightfully deserve and the turkey is always moist. Stop stressing so much. Even a perfect meal won’t make your mom refrain from asking for grandbabies, so you might as well let go of some of the stress.

But just in case, here are a few final thoughts…

Don’t know where to start? Check out last week’s epic Thanksgiving post

Scared to carve the turkey? No worries, watch this:

Not into my cornbread stuffing? A friend had a ton of success with this sourdough mushroom stuffing this weekend. (He added bacon, because apparently, that is the thing to do…)

Don’t want your cranberry out of a can (which is WRONG)? This cranberry sauce made with port could almost make me turn my nose to my beloved canned jelly.

Absolutely HAVE to have marshmallows on your sweet potatoes? Fine. If you must, these looks pretty good.

Your family insisting on the classics? Well, nothing is more classic than a green bean casserole.

Still don’t know what to serve that pesky vegetarian? This vegetable and cheese strata looks tasty and can be prepared the day ahead.

Wanna feel toasty while getting toasty? Mulled wine will make the day much more manageable.

Want something pumpkin that isn’t pie? Mmmmm…pumpkin whoopie pies!

Don’t want a pie at all this Thanksgiving? This Apple Cranberry Bourbon Cake from the always AMAZING Joy the Baker looks like the bee’s knees.

And this is all I have to give. I am tapped out. Taking any and all questions below. Also, tell me below what you are grateful for. I have always hated this exercise, but more and more I realize how much I have and that I am a lucky girl. Take a minute and remind yourself.

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Holy Trinity

A new friend recently espoused some deep wisdom.

“Men”, she said, “need three things: sex, praise and food”.

Could this be it? This is all it takes? Not loyalty or companionship or even love?  I felt the key to life was in my hands.  But then I started to worry…

As a virgin, I became fearful. (Shut up… ALL OF YOU.)

As a life long ball buster, I knew I was screwed.

But, I can cook. That counts for something. Perhaps not all is lost.

He did seem to like this though.  A lot.  Maybe you just need food?

Mustard. Herbs. Garlic. Not quite the trifecta of sex, praise and food, but at least a third of the way there. I just eyeballed everything in the marinade, but these are pretty decent estimates of the proportions. Just stick your finger in to check the flavors and take a taste before dumping it on the pork. Don’t be afraid.

This pork could be a vital part to your romantic happiness.  No pressure.

PS: Don’t forget to check out So Good. I am taking next week off, so go get your fix.

dscn0850

Herb and Mustard Pork Loin with Onions

1 pork loin

3 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 tablespoon honey

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped (or about half this amount dried)

1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme (or half this amount dried)

Salt and pepper

1 red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix together mustard, herbs, honey, garlic and salt and pepper. Place pork in a bag or bowl and cover pork with marinade. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes. Bring pork to room temperature (about 30 minutes out of the fridge). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add oil to oven proof saute pan over medium heat and cook onions for about 8 minutes, until softened. Add pork loin to pan and brown on each side for about 3 minutes per side. (It should cook for about 10-12 minutes) Place pan in oven and cook for additional 12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow pork to sit for about 10 minutes. Slice (it will be pink in the middle) and serve.

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Smartitude

I often kick myself in the ass when I look around my apartment, full of hand-me-downs and cheap Ikea furniture. You see, when I left the ex two and a half years ago, I left behind a whole lot of material possessions. Two couches, bookshelves, a bed, coffee tables and even a brand new entertainment center we had bought in an attempt to ignore our problems…they were all abandoned by me. (Yes, I know. We did the urban equivalent of having a baby to solve our issues.) Yet, sometimes when I wish for those couches or those tables I am quickly reminded that while he may have a full apartment, I escaped with my dignity in tact. I think that is a pretty fair trade.

I have always been really proud of how I handled the dissolution of that relationship; there was no break-up sex or pathetic, drunk, late night calls. I made no promises to remain friends, for I always find that an impossible feat to accomplish. The chord was cut and it was over. To this day, I have no idea where this strength or resolve came from, but I found it somewhere. I grieved the end of that relationship fiercely, but there isn’t a shred of doubt in my mind as to whether it was the right thing to do; life is infinitely better now.

I think when you are with someone as long as we were together, there is never really a reason. It is a series of events and childhood issues and dramas and pain that cause things to slowly unravel. We talked briefly for the first time in over six months the other night–messaging for less than 5 minutes about a shared topic of interest–and I was quickly reminded why we couldn’t work. He doesn’t think I am very smart and treated me as such.

Now, I have some guesses as to why he feels the need to lord his perceived intellectual superiority over me, but I am no longer in anyway interested in getting to the bottom of this riddle. Also, it would be unfair to place all the blame on him; I certainly was acting out something in our little charade.  But as he condescended to me, questioned my vocabulary and told me “I don’t even understand what you are trying to say”, I was taken back to how he used to make me feel. This has always been a sensitive topic for me. I was reminded of every time he made fun of me, pretending he was joking but cutting to the core. The time he called my writing “actually pretty okay”, as it were the best compliment he could bestow upon me, came flooding back.  Quickly, though, I just felt a twinge of sadness for him.  Where I have moved on, he is stuck in the same place, treating me the same way and thinking it can still effect me.  Luckily, instead of trying to prove how smart I am or screaming to make myself heard, I just let him act like a huge ass.  He became more agitated when I refused to kowtow to him and eventually he, a 33-year-old man, spouted off and “e-hung up” on me.

It was lovely and glorious and more than a little vindicating.  I sat there after our interaction, not shocked or angry or hurt, but proud of myself. While I would have felt the need to email him in the past and set the record straight, I moved on pretty quickly.  Things, for me, are better…and there is no point of asking him how he likes these damn apples.

dscn0851

(Note: This is almost a cop out of a recipe, but it goes really well with tomorrow’s meal so there is a method to my madness.  Also, someone told me recently that I assume too much…so, if you are offended by the simplicity of this recipe, blame it on him.)

Sauteed Apples

1 tablespoon butter

2 Gala Apples (or apple of your choosing), peeled, cored and sliced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

pinch nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon corn starch

Handful soaked raisins (I left them out for a guest with raisin aversions…)

Add butter to preheated saute pan over medium heat. Add apples tp pan and cook about 5 minutes, until softened to liking. Dissolve cornstarch in water and add tp pan along with sugar, raisins, and spices. Cook for additional 5 minutes. Serve along side pork, chicken or on pancakes….

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