Tuesday, December 19, 2006

party pics


this picture shows the spread at our party this past weekend. on the menu: a ham; hummus & pita; smoked salmon on toast points with dill cream sauce; variety of cheeses with grapes, crackers, and bread; rugelach; oatmeal raisin cookies; other things other people brought; and the chocolate fountain with various things for dipping, which patty brought as a house-warming gift.

Friday, December 15, 2006

on food and memories

not to go all proust on everyone and all, but i just had one of those moments.

i havent brought lunch to work at all this week because we really dont have anything lunchworthy at the house, so i've been getting take-out (and trying hard not to make too many bad choices, since i'll be a huge pigletti on saturday at our party; except i did cave yesterday and had a reuben, which, along with the BLT, is my favorite sandwich). anyway.

so today i go to Subway because it's close, cheap, and relatively healthy; and lately i have been craving tuna salad (i'm extremelly picky about how tuna salad should be prepared, but Subway's seems to be okay). so i get a tuna sub with "the works" (meaning, every vegetable they have on hand), plus a little vinegar and oil, because that is how i like my tuna salad when i make it at home. so i sit at my desk and take a bite of sandwich. and instantly, the flavor reminded me of my childhood.....

and specifically it was the flavor of tuna and red onion,that transported me back. when i was a kid in france, we would spend the summers at a resort called Le Lavandou which is sorta near Toulon but not really (it's in between Toulon and St Tropez). there's not much there, it's small and has the usual throngs of people in the summers, but without the stupid celebrities and their yachts that seem to plague the once beautiful area surrounding St Tropez. anyway, that's where a lot of members of my mom's family have their summer homes. my great aunt and uncle split their time between there and Marseille, and my great uncle had a boat we used to go out on every day and go to islands and beaches that were either not accessible by car or would take forever to get to by car. one of those places is the beach next to the private resort home of President of France. we'd sneak in and stuff. anyhoo.... we'd go out, like 10 or 15 of us crammed onto my great uncle's small boat, and my great-aunt always brought a lunch which she would unpack and assemble after we all would go out exploring around for sea urchins and octopus. two of the things she always made were a tomato and red onion salad, and tuna and red onion flavored with red wine vinegar sandwiches.

both she and my great uncle are long since gone, and so is the boat. but not the memories of those great lazy summers.

having a party on saturday. since j is at the house a lot these days, i'm putting him to work. he's so bored that he has agreed to do everything i ask of him. horray for bossing boys around!

back to my sandwich and reality.

Monday, November 27, 2006

on being dumb

i'm buying a couple of things from chef's catalog, the nonstick oven liner in particular. the disclaimer on the bottom of the page reads this:

If the oven liner is misused it may cause the death of pet birds.

it took me a few seconds before i realized that people must use these to line their bird cages. for a moment i thought that people were caging their animals in the oven. i thought, Why are people stupid?

duh.

on thanksgiving

Last week I only worked two days, and had the rest of the week off. Which was fine, because I had a lot of cooking to do. On Wednesday, I woke up and began making my cranberry sauce. Last year I found a recipe for a savory cranberry sauce, so I decided to try it; and I’ve since decided that it will be part of our usual Thanksgiving menu. Usually I make it with orange juice and segments, but found a recipe that calls for roasted shallots and cooking the cranberries in a mixture of brown sugar, red wine and port. It’s really delicious. So I woke up early Wednesday and reached into the cupboard on the left side of the stove for a roasting pan. My knee went one way, my foot the other and damn, if that wasn't terrible pain. I have no idea what happened, but my knee seems to be screwed up. I put a knee brace on (the boy always has a few in the house since he has a recurring knee problem and is actually going to have an operation in a few weeks). I’ve been kind of limping around since, although today I feel better. My knee still throbs a bit, but not as much as it did on that first day.



Our usual Thanksgiving tradition is to wake up, make coffee, add booze to coffee (complete with whipped cream), and sit in our pajamas in front of the TV watching the Macy Day parade. This year, I was half asleep at 8 am contemplating getting up when I heard a POP and a loud fading whirrrr. And just like that, our power went out! I immediately jumped out of bed to look out the window to see if our electric company was out front shutting us off (for a moment I couldn’t remember if I’d paid the bill or not), and then it occurred to me that the whole neighborhood was out. Damn! And I had planned on making crème brulée and start proofing the bread rolls in the morning. So the boys woke up (j came over late Wednesday and stayed the night) and we went to Waffle House to contemplate our next move. We had planned for the turkey to go in the oven around noon, but what if the power wasn’t on by then? By the time our food arrived, the place filled up, and turns out all the patrons around us all lived in our neighborhood and had come to Waffle House because there was no other place to go for hot coffee and warm breakfast. We got some coffees to go, and when we got home, I doctored them up with some Frangelico and Baileys. By then, the boys decided to take naps because there was nothing better to do. I made a fire in the fireplace and sat in front of it to read cookbooks. At some point, I started thinking. It could have been worse; what if we didn’t have a nice house, or fireplace, or Waffle House nearby? If worse comes to worse, we could always make Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. I shrugged my shoulders. I thought, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. What’s a little power outage? And BANG just at that moment, the power came back on. I hollered at the boys to wake up, and then we all rushed into the kitchen to begin cooking. I thought it was kind of funny that I had just been telling myself that things weren’t so bad and could be infinitely worse, and at that precise moment, the power came back on. Someone up there was watching.



The rest of the weekend was leisurly; i watched the James Bond marathon. i did run a few errands here and there, but i mainly watched Bond and tried to stay off my bad knee.

Monday, November 20, 2006

on public idiocy (no, not mine for once)

friday's traffic on the way home was pure hell. it took me 3 times as long to get from work to the GA 400 onramp, then another 3 times as long to get from our exit to the publix near our house. i had a bunch of errands to run and last minute items to buy so that i could make patty's croquembouche for her birthday.

overheard while staring at the back of a label of blue cheese-stuffed olives:

lady: "Hey! You! Where can i find cranberries?"
grocery clerk: "They're in the produce aisle next to the oranges".
lady, exasperated: "NO, i don't want the REAL ones, i want the FAKE ones in a can".

am i the only one that finds this funny? FAKE ONES IN A CAN! hyuck hyuck.

i went home and had a briny vodka martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives, which turned out to be pretty gross. mental note: next time, stuff the olives myself.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So. um. it's cold here.

30 degrees F.

I don't remember Atlanta being this cold when i lived here before. i spent 5 mn scraping ice off my windshield this morning, and another 5 sitting in the car waiting for it to thaw before heading out. both cars are in the driveway since the garage is full of boxes, and we only have one garage door opener (mental note to find out if i can order another this week), otherwise i would totally park in the garage and be rid of morning car issues altogether..

i spent the entire day yesterday cooking. i made lunch food for the week: an enormous pot of lentils and enough falafel to feed a small village. for dinner last night, i decided to try a different version of roast chicken, and i don't know why i bothered. i have mastered roast chicken; i do not need to make alternate variations of it. i decided to modify a roast turkey recipe, and spent a good deal of time screwing around with shallot and garlic paste only to have the whole dish suck in the end. oh well, you live and learn. i wasnt heart-broken over it; just stashed it away in my What Not To Make Again list. i did make a nice gratin dauphinoise though. can't go wrong with a boatload of heavy cream and potatoes (i just wanted an excuse to use the mandoline).

Friday, November 10, 2006

on being big and gay

i look forward to thanksgiving each year like the comin' of the messiah. okay i exaggerate a bit, but you know. it's a holiday that revolves around FOOD. and other stuff, but you know. Food. not processed crap food, but food made with really fresh ingredients (except those french fried onions, if you use them :) ) and food made love.

this year the boy and i will probably be alone, which is a first for us in a really long time. we usually host a small gathering. we've invited the mcgrady's to come, and they're all for it; but they don't think that either of their cars can make it from maryland. if anyone happens to be in atlanta and is bored and needs a nice, warm, and rather nutty environment to hang out in that day, please swing on by. as usual, we'll have enough food for an army because we love to cook, and we love leftovers even more.

the boy and i have traditions; and if you don't have traditions of your own, i urge you to start some. they're a whole lot of fun and give you something to look forward to for the next year. one of our biggest and gayest traditions is to wake up on thanksgiving morning and drink Nutty Irishmen* and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while still in our pajamas. the parade is kind of gay, but seeing how the boy and i are kind of evil, we like to watch the Broadway skits that they pepper the parade coverage with on television; not because we are theater-going kind of folk but because it's usually colder than hell in new york that day and those actors are freezing their butts off and we think that's kind of funny. i told you we were evil.

another tradition we started last year is to make creme brulee french toast for breakfast. the thing about creme brulee french toast is that it's so decadent that you really can only eat it once or twice a year. last year we had it for christmas breakfast, and this year the boy says that he also wants it for thanksgiving morning. since we don't sit down for the feast until mid-afternoon, we don't mind a little custard-soaked challah and boozy coffee to start our day with.

i love traditions and am always looking for new ones to begin. my best friend in high school, dawn polk, had a really funny tradition for christmas eve. she had 6 sisters and brothers, and every christmas eve that she could ever remember, the kids all went to McDonald's and their parents stayed home and had shrimp cocktail. patty's family goes to Red Lobster every christmas eve. i think this is pretty great.

i'll end this blurb with something i read in the wine newsletter i subscribe to.

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that has similar meaning and style of
celebration no matter what ethnicity. We all pretty much do the same thing.
And statistically, the number one dish most likely to be served? If you said
turkey you're wrong. How about green-bean casserole.

What sort of wines go with green-bean casserole, volcanos of gravy, cranberry
brick, lime chiffon marshmellow mold, and sweet potato scuffle? Actually, none.

Thanksgiving is for lots of things, but if you open fine wines, make sure it is
during the appetizer. But no matter what you open, the most important thing is
who you are with that day.


* Nutty Irishmen: usually one part Frangelico, one part Bailey's Irish Creme, coffee. Top it off with fresh whipped cream, although if you have a canister of it in the door of your fridge that you've been saving to do whippets with, i'll allow you to use that too.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

on nostalgia and dog poo

because i walk my dog at 6:15 am, it's usually pretty damn dark (and these days, cold) out, so i cant really see where my feet are planting down when i walk. true to form, i stepped in dog poo this morning and did not realize it until i got to work and started looking around the office, sniffing, then realized that it was ME who stunk up the place.

sigh.

been in a funky mood the last two days (not a bad mood; just an odd one). attribute it to being nostalgic and reminiscing about places where i used to live.

for instance, yesterday i was telling Patty via IM about one time when i was litte, my grandmother and i were walking in the area where the Louvre is, and it was cold and rainy. we went into a patisserie which had little tables where patrons could sit, and we stopped and ordered some sweet french goodness. i dont remember what i had (it was probably a millefeuille because those were the bomb) but my grammy had a baba au rhum, which is basically a sponge cake soaked in rum. and i remember tasting it and saying, EWWW!

of course, now, i love the damn things. and they were my grammy's favorites, so whenever i think about them or see a recipe for them i instantly think of her and get sweetly nostalgic for carefree days of my childhood.

fall in general reminds me of living in paris. a lot of paris streets are lined with chestnut trees, and the chestnuts would fall and the outer prickly hulls would crack open to reveal the perfectly smooth oddly shaped pod. we'd collect these and have pocketfuls of them. i liked the way they felt when i stuck my hand in my pocket and rubbed my fingers over the smoothness of the outer shell. on the big avenues, vendors would take over a street corner with fires burning in barrels and roast chestnuts, which they'd sell in newspaper cones. i remember buying some with my brother and burning my hands on the shells, trying to pry out the smooshy innards of the hot chestnuts.

okay. now i'm completely nostalgic and there is nothing i can do about it, except drink my lukewarm coffee and hope that i can take the boy to france asap and show him how magical it really is.

Monday, October 16, 2006

on what i did this weekend

it's eerily quiet in the office today. normally there is some activity (not as much as later in the morning, but there is at least some noise), but today there is none.

maybe it's a holiday and i wasnt informed? i missed the memo?

taste of atlanta was fun, i got there early on saturday to help set up, then worked in the wolfgang puck express booth. later, the boy and i walked around sampling food, and MAN it was crowded. insane amounts of people. most of the restaurants were shlepping ribs of some kind; i guess it's because they are easy to serve; but after the fourth rib taste, i was done with ribs. and i am done with ribs for a long time.

saturday night, we had girls night out and 8 of us (including token gay boi justin) had dinner at taurus. we had the round table in front of the kitchen, which gave me a perfect view to spy on the kitchen and report details back to the boy (whenever we go out, we try to get a seat near the kitchen so that he can see what's going on). we had a really good time; i had duck (YUM) and a couple of glasses of wine. then we turned into a bunch of degenerates and the conversation on my side of the table got loud and graphic. patty, justin, and i discussed justin's possible candidates for rimming. Or actually i should say that patty and justin were discussing rimming in detail and i giggled a lot. i know we were being loud because we were getting That Look from other tables, but you know those people wanted to join in and give their two cents on whether or not they've stuck their tongue in someone's ass. you just know they did.

because i'm a dumbass and had already committed to volunteering my sunday at TOA, i didn't join them at Swinging Richards afterwards, but i dropped off a group of 4 of the degenerates. later, i had trouble sleeping, woke up in the middle of the night several times, and before my alarm rang i decided that TOA was out of the question because my vertigo was back from not having slept all night (YES PATTY I DIDN'T GO). so i ought to have caved in to katherine and patty's pleadings to stay at Swingin' Richards, because i just know that they had a good time; they were already pretty riled up and cantankerous when i dropped them off.

so instead of TOA, i caught up on some much needed chores to be done around the house, finished an entire knitting project i started when we moved here, ran an errand, went grocery shopping with the boy at 9 am (nobody was at the store. it was FABULOUS), started the focaccia for tonight's last wine class, and began shopping for stuff for patty's birthday present. i have to make/get something extra special for patty's birthday because she gave me the most wonderful gift ever for mine. and i have to start it now because we're moving soon (2 1/2 weeks!) and otherwise i'd forget about it until thanksgiving, and ya know, that wouldn't be good. at all.

the boy made dinner last night, pork tenderloin stuffed with an apple-sausage-cornbread concoction which tasted just like fall. it was wonderful. we watched Jaws and i went to bed early.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

on coming back to reality

i'm back. i'm not too thrilled to be back, because we had a lot of fun. but i did miss my dog, so the buttwags which welcomed us home were worth it.

i did come back with a case of landsickness, which, in other words, means that i'm ragingly seasick. we went snorkeling several times, and the day before we left, i got seasick after we got back on shore. that was 4 days ago, and my equilibrium is still shot. i have a doctor's appt tomorrow morning to find out if i have an ear infection or something, although patty has graciously offered to drive me to a doc-in-a-box during lunchtime today. i keep pitching forward and to the left. not all that fun.

we did a whole bunch of lounging around, a bunch of snorkeling, a bunch of eating and drinking. that's the thing with those all-inclusive resorts, you just eat and eat and eat. i ate mostly fish and a boatload of salad, but i also snacked a lot and ate an incredibly hearty breakfast every morning, and i never do that (back to the ol' yogurt once a day for me).

got drunk on fumes at the bacardi distillery, swam with sharks, threw up in the pool at midnite after binge drinking. what more could a girl ask for?

actually, i'm really ashamed of the puking in the pool thing. but what do you expect after feeding me shots of sake, vodka, bourbon, and some disgusting thing called a "sweet tart" (which tasted nothing like the candy i had as a child)?

a good time was had by us, and i would love to go back. just not to nassau next time; it was a bit crowded and i usually prefer places that are a bit more isolated. having a gucci store in downtown nassau might be great for some people, but you can buy gucci at home, so what's the point? not that i would buy gucci.

i realize that this is out of focus, but i can't help but post it. this was one of our more delightful meals in the bahamas. a large piece of grouper encrusted with pistachios with a raspberry sauce.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

on advice

i have a wee bit o advice to share.

dried apricots? soo good. tasty. they are your friend. but please, please read the label and heed their advice about serving size.

because i ate about 2 cups of dried apricots yesterday and passed gas all day and night. both ways.

at least it wasnt worse.

Monday, September 4, 2006

birthday cake


the boy's birthday cake. i put on "desperately seeking susan" on OnDemand to help pass the time while i spent hours making each component of the cake. we never got around to eating that night because we were too full from dinner. at some point in the night, though, a giant elf came and ate a hunk of it.

i sent the rest of it to work with the boy this morning. can't have that hanging around the house.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

fruit, glorious fruit

i have been eating the heck out of some fruit since we moved to georgia. i've been making up for eating all those sour, hard, dried up peaches that show up every year in northern grocery stores. the kind where you see them in spring and think, "Oh i'd so love a good peach!". and then you bring them home and will them to ripen and nothing happens. so you get frustrated and bite into one anyway, and it's so dissappointing and unfulfilling that you end up eating the whole thing out of spite (an action your stomach will thank you for later while you're hitting the porcelain god). i hate those days.

so i've more than made up for past peach actions by eating as many as i can in the past month. fresh georgia peaches are so fucking good, i could cry. i bit into one just now and was rewarded with peach juice gooshing all out and all over my shoes. it's okay, cos i'm wearing new laceless chuck taylors and they need to be broken in. and it's okay because it's the best damn peach i've had since yesterday. this is forgiveable. if it didnt goosh out everywhere i'd send him flying across the sea of cubes, surely to hit one of my engineers dorking away three aisles from mine.

this weekend i saw that cherries were on sale for cheap, which means we've now entered the Golden Two-Week Window when cherries are in season and abundant and cheaper than 7 dollars a pound. this is prime time to grab all the cherries you can lay your hands on. i have yet to buy some, but will. an abundance of cherries in one sitting can send you to the porcelain god as well (dont i know this all too well), so one must be creative and integrate them in small portions throughout the day. such as pitted cherries bobbing around in sangria; THE BEST THING EVER.

Friday, June 16, 2006

the last chapter of the poop and other tales

so i dont know if the Gods are playing tricks on me or what, but the poop i mentioned yesterday? it's gone.

so now i'm beginning to wonder if all my wishes will come true if i write them down. i can write about all kinds of crap, but most of it is best left to grow in the dark in the back of my head and never see the light of day.

i mean, if i can write down that i wish the City would remove the poop from the corner of Ivan Allen Jr Blvd and Peachtree Street, and within 12 hours it actually happens, what else can happen? i can only imagine. and i've got a vivid imagination too.

the possibilities are endless.

emeril's last night was amazing. outstanding service, and the food was fantastic. drink-wise, i started out with a glass of Pommery (mental note to myself to buy some when i'm feeling the need to drop a few bills), then continued on with a half bottle of Siduri Sonoma pinot noir which was so tasty. it went well with both my appetizer (boudin and other delicious sausages) and my entree (grouper with shrimp and other sea creatures in a delicate cream pasta). i ended it with a glass of austrian eiswein, which itself was a dessert in a glass. so unctuous.

i didnt feel silly last night, especially as the boy split part of my half-bottle of wine (he had the seafood chowder and the tenderloin and was pleased), but this morning i'm feeling a bit rough. i kept waking up for no reason at all, and twice i got woken up because Mrs P was leaning on me and chasing rabbits in her sleep.

going to Table 1280 for lunch with the office girls. it's been nominated for best restaurant in atlanta, so we'll have to judge that for ourselves.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

beware: this entry is about poop

every morning and afternoon this week on my way to work and back i've had to encounter the big pile of human feces that rests on the sidewalk on Ivan Allen Blvd.

On the corner of Ivan Allen and Peachtree is Mayor's Park, which is probably about 40 feet by 40 feet. the local homeless use this park as their haven. i walk past it every day, and at 7 am there are about 20 people in various stages of sleep curled up or stretched out in there. one of them took it upon himself to drop trow and dump in the middle of the sidewalk in an area that's not even protected or hidden. every day as i sidestep The Poop i wonder when or if the City will clean it up. i doubt it. every day, The Poop gets flatter and flatter. it looks as though it's been run over by many a biker or runner. the thought makes me want to vomit. i've stepped in my fair share (and more) of dog shit when i lived in France (the French arent big pooper scoopers; and somehow this shouldnt surprise anyone), but there's nothing worse than the smell of human feces that's been left to rot and bake in the summer Southern sun. I could walk down the other side of the street, but frankly, until today i usually have tried very hard to forget The Poop almost as soon as I see it. i try not to take that mental image with me as i go on about my day. except for today, where i've just about had it with the stench.

every day i see one particular homeless man, and i recognize him immediately because he's in such a state of visible decay that i believe he's been in his condition for too many years. he wears a dirty leather biker jacket. his pants are ripped down the back in such a manner that you can see everything... and i mean, everything.. the family jewels all the way up to the Grand Canyon. he watches me as i walk by. one day on my way back from work, i saw him standing on the edge of Mayor's Park, rather catatonic-like except that he was swaying side to side. the next morning on my way to Marta, he was still standing there, swaying. he didnt look as if he'd budged all night. he seemed in a trance.

Friday, June 2, 2006

in atlanta

so we've embarked on a tour of restaurants in atlanta, starting with last night when we walked up the street to Spice. overall, we gave it a C+. our waitress was fantastic, the booze was good, and the food was okay. just okay. we think the chef is bored. although we're probably going to go back for drinks at the bar (and i need to bring some friends for bottomless wine and hors d'oeuvres from 6 to 8 on thursdays) because they have an open kitchen. the boy hates working in open kitchens, but he's aching to watch them in action and see what they can do. we both thought our food was adequate, but not worth the price.

i'm going to One Midtown Kitchen tomorrow night with a bunch of people from work and some of patty's friends, and afterwards we're going to a gay strip club (Swingin' Richards) to stare at some gay booty. j is coming over today to spend the weekend at "Club Med", as he likes to call our place. i guess if i lived with my sister in a condo surrounded by cats and cat pee and had DIAL UP internet access, coming over to our gated Eden would seem Club Med-ish.

Monday, May 8, 2006

i'm having sushi for breakfast. it's leftover dinner from yin yankee last night, and while the consistency isnt as great as it could be, i'm still happy about eating sushi for breakfast.

i don't feel so hot today because i didnt sleep well. as i was unable to sleep, i did the thing i ought to not do, and that is to worry about work. which only keeps me awake even more. so i worried about work all night, and brought that baggage in this morning. and now i'm really tired and a little behind at work. and eating sushi for breakfast.

mental note: sushi and coffee dont go so well together.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

annapolis

last night i had sushi for dinner at joss. it was good, but it wasnt as good as yin yankee. tonight i'm going to get sushi from yin yankee. i am fuckin craving it. i am also going there because it may be one of my last times galavanting around annapolis and i need to bribe someone who works there with a crisp ben franklin for the house of yang crab soup recipe.

we totally forgot that the volvo race is in town, and had a crappy time finding a place to park yesterday. today we're going earlier, as in the minute i get off of work. last night was fun, good people watching. i had a beer and some sake, but being designated driver, that was it for me. driving home was not fun because some tard figured that the best time to repave 97 is when the volvo races is in town and at 10 pm there are only a few thousand cars on the road trying to inch their way home. we got backed up for fucking 5 miles because THE IDIOTS IN THIS STATE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MERGE FROM TWO LANES TO ONE. there is merge etiquette and they were failing miserably at it.

i dont really have much to say except that i'm craving sushi like mad, and i need to go wash my hair after my conference call. yeah, i'm dull as anything.

Friday, April 21, 2006

i am going to miss Pork Roll.

but - i'll have other perks. like being able to buy wine and beer in a grocery store. like White Lily brand flour. like Publix supermarkets and their big n gay ads around the holidays. like camping in the North Georgia mountains.

i have to remind myself of these things when i start to get nostalgic.

i'll miss annapolis more than anything.