Wednesday, October 31, 2007

pumpkin... pie?

My neighbor Mrs B sent me this. It's right up my alley of big-n-gayness.

Hope everyone has a happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

a big pot of chili

it was 43 degrees outside when i woke up this morning (62 in the house). actually, when i first woke up i couldn't move because Mrs. P had hopped up on the bed and was so smooshed up against me that she had pinned down the blankets, and i felt like i was in a cocoon.

mental note to switch out blankets tonight; on goes the down comforter.

i'm pleased that this cooler weather has us making comforting dishes. i did end up making french onion soup on sunday (used a Julia Child recipe), and we will be dining on that tonight along with sandwiches. when i walked through the door last night after an especially long Monday at work, i was greeted with this.

this is a wendy's chili knock-off recipe, which the boy added chopped jalapeno, garlic powder, and tabasco sauce to. i made the cornbread when i got home, and normally i do make it from scratch. but last night i just grabbed one of those jiffy box mixes and followed the recipe plus added a few tablespoons of sugar and let the mix set for a few minutes before putting in the oven to bake. say what you want, but those jiffy cornbread mixes are cheap and handy to keep around. and the added sugar? that's a northern thing (i think). the boy prefers his cornbread that way.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

on pumpkins and pumpkin pie

When i was 20, i was a nanny to a high-strung 5 year old child i'll call DiDi. DiDi's mom ran a male modeling agency in Paris. she asked me to meet her at her office for my interview, and I showed up and giggled my way through it, what with all the eye candy standing around posing and trying to get their schedules from her. Lord knows why she gave me the job in the first place, because I acted like a total dweeb when I met her.

DiDi clung to me like glue. She was high-strung because her mom was always working or at work-related fashion functions and her dad was a male model and never around (the parents weren't together. the mother, a lesbian, made what i'm sure was a very expensive arrangement with one of the most attractive gay models at her agency. Needless to say, DiDi was a gorgeous kid). Sometimes when DiDi was having one of her tantrums, i'd pop a movie in the VCR and sit her in front of it, and she'd sit there completely mesmerized. one of the movies we watched the most was Disney's Alice in Wonderland, and i will say now that it happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. i love nonsense (one of my favorite authors is Edward Lear, who wrote my all-time favorite poem The Owl and the Pussycat). i own a copy of Alice in Wonderland on tape someplace, although i can't watch it because we gave our VCR away when we last moved to Atlanta. (Dear Boy, this is a less-than-subtle hint to please find a copy of said movie for me in your broad innernet travels and burn it. thank you, love Me).

anyhoo - so i love AiW, and for a while when i lived in Savannah my answering machine message played the sound bite of the cheshire cat saying, "Can you stand on your head?". I love the cheshire cat, i think he's the bomb; and when i found a pumpkin carving pattern of him on the good ol' web, i couldn't resist.

I meant to take pictures of lit pumpkins last night, but forgot. We were busy roasting pumpkin seeds at the time. and my carving doesn't remotely look like the cheshire cat, more like the Grinch. who's another favorite of mine, so i'm not all that sad about it.

We have now entered into my absolutely favorite season of all time. I get really excited at the beginning of fall and spring because of the weather change, the colors, the smells, and the new and fresh culinary options available. Which reminds me that I want to make soup today, although I’ve no idea what kind. I’ll probably wind up making French onion soup, which will give me an opportunity to use up some of that beef stock I made last month.

The boy informed me yesterday, when we were out and about in our travels (running errands) that he really wanted pumpkin pie, which made me very excited, because I had just caught up on blog reading and was drooling over pictures of Joe Pastry’s pumpkin squares. I didn’t use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe as I don’t have that book (but am adding it promptly to my wish list), so I used the recipe on the site and added rum, as Joe suggested. I also took Joe’s advice on using my baking stone to cook the pie on.

I’m still kind of new to pie making, although it’s not scary anymore (once you’ve figured out how to make pie dough and go through those motions, all will be right with the world). And I loved the silky texture of the pie and the fact that it wasn’t ridiculously sweet, which is my problem with all holiday pies. Pecan pie is so good, but the kind my dad makes calls for an entire cup or so of corn syrup. foul, evil stuff. When I make this again, I will definitely make some sweetened and/or booze-laden whipped cream to serve alongside.

I also think I rolled the dough out too thinly. The boy said he would have liked more crispiness in his crust, so I think it’s a combination of the dough being too thin and I probably didn’t pre-bake it enough.

Another reason I wanted to make this is because we’re going to visit my folks in San Francisco for Christmas, and I want to help make some good food. this is part 1 of me trying to perfect my pie skills before i head out there. I think this pie would please my mom for the fact that it’s not overly sweet.

then again, watch me not make pie while i' m out there.

Happy Halloween to you all.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

and what did we do with the leftovers?

well, i'm eating mine for breakfast this morning.

not the healthiest thing in the world to eat for breakfast, but who cares? sometimes you just gotta have a meatloaf sandwich. and it's not like i'm filling up on hashbrown casserole from cracker barrel.

Friday, October 19, 2007

in honor of National Meatloaf Appreciation Day

so yesterday, i tried to catch up on some food blog reading and noticed, via the Serious Eats website, that it was National Meatloaf Appreciation Day. which prompted me to text message the boy.

me: Today is Nat'l Meatloaf Appreciation Day

15 minutes go by.

me: And then monkeys flew outta my butt

which prompted him to call me.

him: "So what are you trying to tell me? are we supposed to have meatloaf tonight?"
me: "Well, it was just a thought. But I wont be home until late". (i had an appointment with my hairdresser later).
him: "It'll take too long. Let's make something else".
me: "Okay lets just have big salads with grilled chicken".
him: "Sure thing".

I fully anticipated coming home to grilled chicken salad. But to my surprise, the boy made meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I guess he got the taste in his mouth for some meatloaf and nothing but meatloaf would do. he's good, my boy.

Years ago when i lived in Savannah, my buddies and I would go eat at Paula Deen's restaurant, because it was cheap and there was a buffet. which means that poor college students could go there and fill up to their hearts content. it was long before Miz Deen became popular on the Food Network. i had her first cookbook back then, and i've used the basic meatloaf recipe ever since. Say what you will about her (and God knows i do), but her food is no frills and sometimes that's exactly what you want and need.

I never had meatloaf growing up. Sure, i had the French versions all the time (pâté is more or less a meatloaf, if you want to get technical). but i never ever had meatloaf for dinner until i was 17 and went to visit my American grandmother in Florida. the first night the boy met my mom (poor boy), she parked his butt in a chair across from her and proceeded to interrogate him like the Catholic inquisition until he was sweating. she asked him pointedly about his "intentions" (we were engaged by that time), direct and indiscreet questions about his family, about his political views, about why he liked working with food. the poor boy, who'd only heard about Mothra through my dad, my brother and I, held up well. during that conversation, he mentioned that i did a fair amount of cooking as well. Mothra said, "Oh yes? she cooks? No. she doesn't cook". He replied, "No, she really does cook well. Sometimes we have meatloaf...", and before he could proceed any further, she cut him off. "Meatloaf ? Mais, what ees that? Meatloaf?". Then stared at my dad, accusingly, as if it was his fault, being American, that i cooked this atrocity. "We never eat that een thees family. Where deed you learn about meatloaf? Mais, c'est pas bon, ça!".

I've heard of people using the Joy of Cooking's meatloaf recipe and replacing the liquid in the recipe with Guinness. This is something that i will eventually try. because Guinness? so good. i definitely have to be in the mood for one, and now that it's truly fall, at least it certainly feels like it today (this is a happy, good thing), i'm jonesin' for one. well, maybe for later. it's still early morning here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

barbecue and stuff

I have to make this kind of snappy because i'm at New Big Corporate and i'm not sure what their rules are regarding surfin' around and bloggin' and stuff. however, i am severely behind on all blogging, as you can tell. i'm also severely behind on all blog reading. i have no idea what's been going on out there in the world of the innernets. we just watched the finale of Top Chef on Tuesday night (this past tuesday night - yes), so until we watched it, i couldn't permit myself to lurk on anyone else's blog because then that would have spoiled all the fun, wouldnt it have? and how come Dale didn't win? he ought to have won just from the lamb recipe alone. lamb cooked in duck fat, jesus h. christ. he will coast to heaven on a rickshaw pulled by cabana boys in hot pants, much to saint peter's shock.

so even though i've been behind on all things blog, i actually haven't been cooking of late. the New Big Corporate has me working odd hours, such as coming in late and staying late. i am an early person; i used to be at work at Old Big Corporate no later than 7 am. this Coming In Late thing, i dont know what to make of it yet. my usual routine is shot. i haven't been kickboxing, and i most certainly haven't been cooking. in fact, i called the boy yesterday while stuck on 285 East while trying to merge on GA 400 North and asked him to order a pizza because i was starving and about to eat my steering wheel.

But i ate this in Raleigh.

oh sweet jebus, barbecue is good. This picture shows a tub o' Noth Cahrolanah style barbecue, a tub of Brunswick stew, and a tub of baked beans. I've had my fair share of Brunswick stew from Carey Hilliards when i lived in Savannah, but i'd never tried NC barbecue before. there is no sauce, not a touch of red in there (except for the spice). the meat is seasoned with a fair amount of vinegar. i'm all about that. i ate the hell out of this while there, then brought some home for the boy to try.

i like sauce, though, so i don't think that NC barbecue is my favorite kind, but i wouldn't kick it out of bed.

anyway, back to the ol' grind.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

on what i've been up to

can you believe it's october already? i have no idea where the month of september went. and i do apologize for my lack of posts. you'd think since i'm currently in between jobs that i'd be blogging like crazy. not so. last week was busy, and i actually have a new job (!) which starts next monday. not bad for a girl who was hungover during the interview (in my defense, i had no idea i'd be interviewing that day; i got the call for the interview that morning. which prompted me to lift up my eye mask, scrutinize the caller ID, and groan, "You've got to be kidding me". so i go from one Big Corporate to another Big Corporate - go figure. i just got back from peeing in a cup for said new job. i've never been drug tested for a job before, so this was a new experience for me. and i giggled a lot. why? who the hell knows? it just seemed like the thing to do. "here - go pee in this cup. when you're done, do not flush or wash, just walk out here and hand me the cup. then you can go flush and wash". isn't that a riot? well. i thought so.

so since i only have this week off before i have to Start Dressing and Acting Like an Adult Again, i'm off to Raleigh tomorrow to visit the in-laws for a couple of days. i haven't seen them since new year's, and my sister in law and i are pretty great friends and i do miss her a lot.

i was going to bake something to bring along, like cookies or a smooshy cake, but i just don't have it in me today (again, i'm hungover - i've been awake since 5:15 am sporting a good sized headache). it was all i could do to run to the grocery store, trader joe's for dried fruit for the sister-in-law, and the pee in a cup thing. i'm actually contemplating a short nap here in my immediate future, before i get up and pack up the car and figure out the best driving route to get to NC.

i'll blog in depth about some of these things later, but i just wanted to show you what i've been up to the past three weeks.

preserved lemons.

a 10-pound roast chicken, which i brined first. the boy said that this was the best roast chicken he's ever had. :)

southern style cornbread with bacon (this went with the big pot of texas style chili i made).

beef stock.

three kinds of chicken wings. we ate these on our anniversary, which is why there are glasses of bubbly up front.

anyway - this girl needs a nap. i've a dog moaning from the top of the stairs wanting some attention, so i better get to it. nothing like falling asleep with your arms around a big smooshy dog. see you all when i get back from raleigh in a few days.