Thursday, October 29, 2009

Food, glorious food!

I like to cook. I don't mean the flinging together something quick between sports practices cook. I mean, finding nice ingredients, thoughtful preparation, get creative kind of cook.

I'm not all that good a cook, in the technical sense. I make a lot of mistakes. My family can attest to the underdone poultry, the overdone rice, the experimental dishes (mock paella!) that just didn't pan out.

I rarely follow recipes. I often look at recipes, and maybe even several different ones for a similar dish, but I rarely follow one to the letter. I make modifications based on what is in my pantry, personal tastes of my family, or what is in season.

Food is glorious. As an artistic medium it is very forgiving, and has universal appeal. It brings people together and open minds.

I enjoy food so much. Won't you enjoy some with me?

I love to grill. I can make an entire dinner on the grill - even the bread. Here we have steaks, onions, mushrooms and asparagus. So yummy!
I even like to do broccoli on the grill. The trick is to give it a head start in a baggie in the microwave.

Aidan isn't into food quite as much as the rest of the family. I sneak food to him on the pool deck at swim meets.

Talk about ingredients! I grew this chard. It was one of the few successes of my garden. It was delicious.

More marvelous ingredients. This amazing piece of meet was something like a 2lb bone-in rib-eye, often called a cowboy steak. Notice there is just one. It feeds all of us, with roasted green beans, smashed potatoes and (brace yourself) a creamy sauce made from triple cream bleu cheese and lump crab meat. Oh my!
I also like to make cakes. Well, sort of. It's something I started years ago with the classic Barbie princess cake, and my kids have moved on from Barbie. Yet they still expect a "creation" each year on their birthday. This is from when Bridget asked for a cake "with zebras and monkeys!" Ray made the monkey. I "marbled" the cake so when you cut into it, it sort of had zebra stripes.

Then, there was that time where Bridget's birthday party was a night at the movies. She designed her own "red carpet" invitation and insisted the cake match. Now, before you start oohing and aaahhhing over these things, you must know that fondant is incredibly easy to work with. You just need to try. These cakes weren't that hard.

I also like the challenge of "omigawsh, the so-and-so's just invited us for dinner and I should bring something!" We don't live all that close to a grocery store. I have to pull this stuff out of my ass pantry sometimes. This is a leek and feta tart. I always keep puff pastry, phyllo dough and frozen pie crusts in my freezer. Very handy for producing something quickly that might look a little impressive.

Alas, most of my cooking falls into the cook-it-quick-the-family-are-starving category and I'm always on the lookout for fast, nutritous meals that will satisfy my picky son, foodie daughter and meat-and-potatoes husband. Any good ideas out there?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time for a New Post

My blogging, twittering & FaceBook update activity has taken a serious nosedive!

So far, only one person has seemed to notice.

I was thinking the other day about a blog post that would read something like:

  • Drive east on 1171, pick up Aidan from school
  • Drive west on 1171, drop him at home
  • Drive east on 1171, pick up Bridget from UIL
  • Drive west on 1171, drop her at home
  • Drive east on 1171 to get Aidan to his swim carpool
  • Drive west on 1171 to get back home
  • Drive east on 1171 to take Bridget to her music lesson
  • Drive west on 1171 to go back home
  • Drive east on 1171 to pick Aidan up from his swim carpool
  • Drive west on 1171 to bring him back home

Pretty boring. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bored - I get plenty of time in the car to talk to my kids (in one direction) and to be alone with my thoughts (in the other direction). But it doesn't leave a lot of room for interesting things to write about. Or time.

So, I'll see what's on the camera - maybe that'll amuse you.

This is Engineer Aidan. He loves to take apart old/broken electronics so Ray found a really great kit where he can actually learn about resistors, capacitors, circuitry, etc.

And this is Junior Taylor Swift - trying to teach herself to play the guitar so she can be like Taylor. Seriously, most of her songs are only about 3 chords, so I think she'll get there and be another self-taught guitarist like Daddy.
This photo was recently taken of Aidan at the bone doctor's office. Yes, that is a lime-green cast on his arm. Yes, it's water-proof. Yes, this kind of (ONLY kind of!) puts a crimp in his training. We are trying not to dwell on that and keep the end-goal in sight - state championship meet in March. He'll be out of the cast mid-November.

So, other than a broken finger, like has been pretty normal and uneventful. We are very much looking forward to a whirl-wind visit from Kelli later this week and are hopeful that the rains will abate for her stay.
Fall is here and the trees are beginning to turn, which is just lovely. I know I will hunger for the sight of green growing things come February, but I will embrace and enjoy the changing landscape as much as I can.
My garden was a failure learning experience. I am still getting a few tomatoes - Sugary and Amish Paste. Both varieties are smaller than I expected. Mr. Stripey never panned out, Lemon Boy only gave me a few. The beans & cucumbers didn't get enough sun to do much. The root vegetables didn't like the heat, and my 2nd planting hasn't really taken off yet. The chard did pretty well, next time I'll plant more. Next year I will move one of the beds to the sunny side of the house. I am still contemplating starting bees this winter.
Now I must go empty the dishwasher, clean my bathroom, move the laundry along, and hit the grocery store. Exciting stuff - see why I haven't written much lately?
Life is good.