wordplay: (Cooking)
I have just made, I swear, the best strawberry ice cream EVER. I used Ben and Jerry's recipe which is under the cut ) and the strawberries that Marc and the children picked a couple of months ago when the berries were just coming into full gorgeousness here - just as the strawberries we had left from the 20 lbs they'd picked were starting to get soft, I put 3 batches worth of the strawberry/lemon/sugar concoction in freezer bags and froze them flat. Tonight I came home and thawed the strawberries in the micro till they were JUST not frozen anymore; while they thawed I whipped up the base, and then ran it through the maker. God, so amazing - just really wonderful and creamy and it had a lot of strawberry flavor but you could also taste the richness of the cream just under that sweet strawberry note and just YUM. Wonderful, and so summery.

And Marc and I were just talking about this, so.

You know how sometimes you can have this experience with food where, for whatever reason, you eat something that is at that moment the most perfect, amazing thing you could have imagined? And then it sticks with you? And in my experience, these aren't even usually very special dishes - Marc will go on and on about the amazingly wonderful doner he had in Ladenburg years ago, and mine is even stupider - I had these absolutely divine oranges after a meal at some restaurant in Chinatown in NYC almost 15 years ago, and I STILL think about those oranges and wonder why they seemed so perfect. And they were just ORANGES, but god they were gorgeous. Sometimes these make sense - another one of Marc's is a lamb in mushroom sauce that we shared somewhere in the Dingle peninsula 10 years ago, and that makes some kind of sense to me - but just as often they don't - there was a dish at a vegan restaurant on the Drag in Austin called Tofu 98 that I still daydream about. (I mean, bless Veggie Heaven in general, but OMG I will never forget just sitting there one day at lunch and sort of spacing out in the middle of a conversation in worshipful respect of my Tofu 98 and steam bun. ♥)

What makes those meals happen? And how grateful are we for them? Tell me about yours. :D
wordplay: (Summer watermelon)
Interesting NYT article about the tyranny of the chicken finger and what it means for kids' palates. I totally get where he's coming from here. We actually have food policy in our house, and the kids can recite it if pressed: we try everything. Read more... )

And while we're talking about food, here's a review of Harold Dieterle's restaurant, Perilla. Let's go yay! (However, let me just say that I am totally intimidated by the carpaccio rollup thingy. I hate it when food makes me feel like a rube because you would have to destroy that pretty thing to eat it, and that always makes me feel like I've desecrated something. I prefer my food anarchitectural, which probably the rest of the world would call 'unstructured', but there IS something architectural about a carpaccio roll that has to be 'buttressed', I think, so there.)

Also, a list of things that boys should know by the time they become men. Parents - how's that going for you? Men - do you know these things? Additions? Deletions? Hit me, because I'm raising one spectacular guy and I need notes on curriculum!

Yeah, I AM just going to keep adding stuff to this entry! I'm going through my RSS feeds and catching up on the universe. Here's something cool for those of you who have road trips in the US on your agenda for the summer. We're driving between Sacramento and Vancouver in August, so I'm looking extra close at the west coast right now. Neat, eh?
wordplay: (Phoenix Rising)
Home!

I'll make a PR post later this week, and I have phone calls and emails that need returning, but I'm brain dead and tired and blech. For now, then, family recipes that I promised people over meals this week; it was cool to eat this stuff with other people who might not have had much exposure to Cajun or creole food. Note that of the holy trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper), I tend to go light on the bell pepper since I don't particularly care for it.

Crawfish Etouffee )

Crab Marinade )

Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya )
wordplay: (Default)
Have I mentioned recently what a sexy beast my husband is? Last night he was wearing a light blue sweater that makes his hair look really dark and glossy and jeans that make his ass look extra fantastic and he was reading "Sorceror's Stone" to the kids and his Hagrid voice is ridiculous but his Petunia Dursley is such a wretched cow. Is it wrong for me to want to jump him when he's putting the children to bed? Too bad - he is the yummiest. I win. \o/

*****

Too bad I already bought a wedding gift for [livejournal.com profile] jiggery_pokery and [livejournal.com profile] dezzikitty - I wonder if these guys could make one of these for English voltage/plug whatsits.

*****

Cookbook recommendation: I can't think of any of you who might not benefit from this, because who doesn't have trouble getting dinner made before you've given in and snacked your way to full? I've gone on at length about my longstanding love for the CI people; I don't subscribe to the magazine anymore because I just don't have time to read it, but I still get the annual collection of all of them in the pretty green cover and I still really appreciate the way their compulsiveness pays off in very well-developed recipes and techniques. These are not prissy foodies who do things because that's the way they've always been told it's best; they have the depth in their test kitchen to try everything out and trust their own editorial voice to call bullshit on foodie mythology and dogma and I really respect that.

This is a dead handy book. I do a lot of cooking on the weekends to get us through the week but by Thursday we're usually sort of limping through on leftovers and by Friday evening, Marc is picking up fast food with the kids on the way home from the ice rink (which thrills the kids, but I'm way less than pleased). There's a chapter here on double duty cooking and a chapter on slow cookers and it's just generally the way I need to think about cooking to get dinner on the table in a timely fashion every night, especially since I'm the one working later many days.

*****

There is this weird MySpace confluence going on in the 30s-40s these days. Marc randomly added me as a MySpace friend yesterday, which was hysterical. Then I saw a post that David Hewlett has a page over there now, joining the Firefly people and sort of rounding out the geek rolecall. And then another person in their 30s (who will remain nameless to protect her flock) posted a poll about the age of people currently jumping on board. This was all yesterday. Uh, did something happen? It still makes me insane, although apparently I have two different MySpace accounts. I don't know, the interface feels really clunky and junky to me.
wordplay: (Default)
When I was in high school I spent a couple of summers in Mexico and Guatemala. We stayed in small towns and took accommodation and meals in small, cheap, family-run establishments. We snacked on triscuits and peanut butter and canned cheese that we'd brought from home and most of our restaurant meals were built around Zucaritas, jarritos and cokes (poured out of small glass bottles into plastic sandwich bags with a straw for drinking), and a lot of scrambled eggs, frijoles, and tortillas (both corn and wheat flour). And then I went to college and was broke, so by the time I finished my first year as an undergrad those trips, combined with having lived in Texas for my entire life, meant that I never wanted to eat a meal built around just beans and tortillas ever again.

I'm so, so over it. My mom's here and she brought fresh flour tortillas from Texas, so for the last two days I've been eating pinto beans and hot, buttered tortillas for lunch. GOD, THEY'RE SO GOOD, and it's a pity I've not been able to enjoy them more for the last 15 years. My kids are addicted to pinto beans so I make them pretty often, but it's the combination of the two that I haven't been able to face and have newly recovered.

Rambling about pinto beans in a vaguely recipeish way )

Anyway. I've never made flour tortillas because I've always lived somewhere where every supermarket has their own in-store tortilleria and they're always fresh and very tasty. There's a restaurant here that has v. good inhouse tortillas, but I don't make it by to pick some up all the time. I think it's time to start making my own. Anybody ever made them before or have a good recipe to share?

There are many, many things I don't miss about Texas but one thing I do miss is the food - especially in east Texas, we're caught between the influence of the Cajun and Creole cooking traditions and traditional southwestern cooking, and we have our own style of cooking and food and it's important to us. One of my colleagues is another Texan transplant and she and I are scouring DC together for the right chili, passable barbecue, and workable Tex-Mex. One of my favorite food blogs, Homesick Texan, is from a woman in NYC talking about the food she grew up with. (And [livejournal.com profile] jlh, that photo at the top ought to look familiar - I'm pretty sure that's the place we stopped for barbecue when we were driving to Austin a few years back.) So, you know, it's an odd sort of comfort to be able to enjoy that most basic of hearty meals again, especially when it's so cold here.
wordplay: (Default)
I actually read the last forty or so entries of my own LJ last night, something I don't do v. often, and WOW I do kind of suck, don't I? I'm sorry. There are so many things I was supposed to respond to, but didn't. Consider this the official catchup post.

(1) Shoe website: Zappos

(2) Couscous recipe )


(3) YSI Link to I Used to Play the Euphonium by Born Again Floozies. I think that format should be OK; let me know if there are problems and I'll fiddle with it.

(4) Clio's fabulous chicken salad )

There's more stuff I was supposed to put up here (not counting memes *hides* but really, still working on it!) but I can't remember what off the top of my head. If I said I'd get you something and I've obviously forgotten, will you please remind me?

---

Thinking of [livejournal.com profile] didi75, who I'm SURE has had that baby by now! Waiting for the call, D! Also thinking of [livejournal.com profile] slytherincess, who I was supposed to talk to this weekend, but I missed pings and screwed that up completely. I know neither of us are really phone people, but can you call me? It might just make things easier, b/c I'm back and forth and all over the place this week btw meetings and classes and doctor's appointments and weird schedules due to weather. ♥

---

Snow day for county schools; must have been a lot more snow upcounty b/c we just got, I don't know, maybe an inch? here. A still has her school, though, and O's afterschool program is just getting a late start, so I'm dashing out into this bright, snowy day. Best to you guys! ♥
wordplay: (Food Porn!)
I feel like I spent all day in the kitchen and OMG so full. I'll spare you breakfast and lunch, but here are the last few hours.

FOOOOOOD )

It's been a good day - I drank, I ate, I cooked, I danced barefoot in the kitchen to two CDs I used to love-love-love but haven't listened to in forever. I feel very relaxed, and only a teeeeensy bit of that is about the wine. :D

Tonight: finishing the wine while we wrap birthday presents for O.
Tomorrow: raking. Raking and raking and OMG more raking. Oh, and a 7th birthday party, too!
wordplay: (Birthday cake)
My mom's been here this weekend and we've all been eating a lot of pinto beans which, omg, yum. I figured out why my mom's are better than mine - she uses about twice as much bacon drippings as I do. I am country enough to always keep bacon drippings (because, yeah, that vege period? SO OVER in my life!) on hand and use them for things like cooking beans and for my cornbread, which is pretty damned good even if I AM a city girl and use all-clad instead of cast iron. I'm pretty conscious of fat; it's an important part of a lot of flavor profiles and so I'm not exactly scared of it but I do think that whatever you use should do a lot of work for flavor, and bacon drippings are amazing for this. So, you know, no wonder hers are better than mine - I'm more conservative with both fat and salt and she's just NOT.

Today is my daughter's fourth birthday. She's such a wonderful girl - she's smart as a whip and has such a sunny disposition and such a kind heart. I know it's sappy as hell but she's special in a way I never have been and never could be, and she has a gift for making the people around her feel better, lighter, happier, just by being there. I have no idea where it came from, this lovely spirit she has, but I cling to it and dread its loss. She had a nice party today, and there will be another one at her school tomorrow. Her birthday marks the beginning of fall for us and so from here to the end of the year things will be busy in the best way, with all kinds of wonderful things to look forward to. I'm just insane enough to look forward to all of it, even though I know we'll be exhausted by January.

(P.S. One of the dads at her birthday party was wearing a Pastafarian t-shirt. Joy joy joy.)

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