New book

For those who don't know, I always buy books by Indian authors when I see them. I don't know what I like about them so much, but they're always such good reads.
And pretty, too!


November 25th...

our Thanksgiving went pretty darn well. It just just Ricky and I, which was really nice, considering that he had to work and wasn't even home until well after 6 pm.
I was up very early making pie crusts, but there are worse things to wake up for.
I took a few pictures. My turkey was beautiful, but I didn't get a good shot. At 6:45 on Thanksgiving before you eat, the last thing you want to do is take photographs of poultry. =)
Bread stuffing...or is it dressing since it's not inside my bird? Sourdough bread, currants, apples, onions, celery, and herbs. Simon and Garfunkel herbs.
-Parsley , sage, rosemary, and thyyyyyyyyyyme-
Turkey, herb gravy, potato and turnip gratin with fontina and thyme, my stuff-dressing, cranberry sauce with cardamom and Meyer lemon zest, and green bean casserole 5.0.
I. Love. Green bean casserole. Yes, the Campbell's soup, French's fried onions, canned cut green beans stuff. Truth.
I didn't, however, want to make it. I wanted to...upgrade it. I sauteed fresh green beans with shiitake mushrooms and thinly sliced scallions, then added some heavy cream and cracked pepper.
Same flavors, less guilt, and just as comforting.
Go me.
I was going to add almonds, but didn't. I didn't think they needed them.
Pecan tart with a little Nicaraguan rum. Just your basic pecan pie recipe with rum added, in a rectangular tart pan instead of a normal pie pan.
This year I made pumpkin pie. From a pumpkin. It was super easy, and tastes nearly exactly the same as using a can of pumpkin puree, but I was very proud nonetheless.
I use half butter and half lard in my pie crusts. That will never change. They're flaky and delicious! Why are people afraid of lard? I don't get it. It has no trans fat, less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more unsaturated fat than an equal amount of butter. Maybe it's just the word... lard. Hmph.
I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!
I partook in my only tradition, watching The Godfather I and II.


forget the risotto

I was going to make my butternut squash and vanilla bean risotto for Thanksgiving dinner.
But it's just Ricky and I.
So screw it. Just potatoes!
Here's to not overdoing it!


Seared sea scallops on tarragon scented beurre blanc with pomegranate seeds and pea shoots.
Broiled black cod with crispy fried potatoes and broccoli.


stroganoff and jambalaya.

Pork stroganoff with buttered noodles. Just pork, onions, and mushrooms in a sauce of chicken broth, white wine, sour cream, garlic, paprika, and dill.
Tonight I made smoky andouille sausage and crab jambalaya. Red bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic, smoked paprika and other spices, scallions, and of course andouille sausage and jumbo lump crab meat. I used jasmine rice in this, and it was amazing. The whole thing took about 25 minutes. Awesome.


best. weekend. ever.

Some things are worth a five hour drive.
Okay, I say that like I did any driving, when in reality my sweet husband drove 5 hours while I slept in the car, because I'm an 18 month old. Seriously, want me to go to sleep? Put me in a moving car. Criminy.
This is where we went! We went to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see the Salvador Dali exhibit. Amazing! You weren't allowed to take pictures (what is this, the Louvre??!) so all I got away with was the shot from the elevator.
Because I'm a stealthy (excited, smiley, grinning like a buffoon, yellow cardigan-wearing) ninja.
The best part! We saw Anthony Bourdain! He is on his No Reservations tour right now, and the closest he was coming was Atlanta. He is my TV boyfriend, so I had to go! It was so awesome. Remember the blog I wrote a while ago about how much I despise certain Food Network personalities? He said almost the exact same things, it was hilarious. Ricky and I had such a great time. We stayed the night in Atlanta and left early the next morning. Ricky had to drive all the way back and then go to work.
...he's a champ.
Alright now, a quick word to all the hipsters, snotty art students, people dressed up like they're going to an opera at the Bourdain show, people asking him crap like, "What's your favorite food, dude?" and so on:
Why can't you just enjoy something? Why can't you just like something without taking it so so seriously?
The man has been to hundreds of countries and he's a classically trained chef. Really? What's his favorite food?
People walking around the museum talking about how Dali felt when he painted the portait of Colonel Jack Warner... come on. You have no idea how he felt. Neither do I. Why not just think (or talk, if you must) about how his work makes you feel.


Chicky chicky boom boom....blah.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts are, in a word, mundane.
Boring. A snore.
Alas, sometimes they are the only thing that you thought to pull out of the freezer, thinking that you would come up with something fabulous to do with them.
I never do.
I do, however, always have cute little potatoes on the pantry.
Tonight I made crispy, spicy purple potatoes. I just tossed them with olive oil, aleppo chili flakes, garlic, salt, pepper, and a little smoked paprika and put them in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. The chicken was broiled, and before the last 5 minutes I brushed with with a mixture of plum sauce, ketchup (yup), red pepper flakes, and soy sauce. The veggies are just sauteed zucchini and orange bell pepper.
Not a total bust. Pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.
Tomorrow I'll be posting about my trip to Atlanta to see the Dali exhibit and Anthony Bourdain.
And then a word on the fans of the aforementioned people.



Okay. I am not religious, we all know this. That being said, people who are religious don't bother me.
But really Josh Shimkus? We don't need to worry about global warning because god promised Noah not to destroy the earth?
You have decision making ability?

little ears and cupcaking a cookie

I. Adore. Pasta.
I love all noodles equally. Spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, orzo, couscous...
...but I get a little tired of the same old Barilla noodles in my local grocery store. That's why I was thrilled to see bags of orecchiette (named for their resemblance to little ears) at Publix. Now, at $5.29 for one pound (one freakin' pound!), this isn't something I'll be buying all the time, but I picked some up the other day to see what I could do with it. I ended up putting a teensy little twist on a recipe from Everyday Italian by Giada. Orecchiette with rappini and spicy Italian sausage. I added a lot more red chili flakes, some herbes de provence. That's it. That's my twist.
I wasn't feeling at all creative last night.
Look how lovely! You cook the pasta in the same water that you blanch your rappini, so it comes out this odd, almost green color.

Now to cupcaking a cookie.
A friend of mine who has spent a fair amount of time in South America has been suggesting that I try out this popular Argentinian cookie called alfajores. In Argentina, they are butter cookies with dulce de leche sandwiched between them, then coated with chocolate.
Cookies are boring.
I thought "how can I cupcake this?" and decided to make yellow buttermilk cupcakes filled with dulce de leche and topped with dark chocolate buttercream.
So cute! Why don't I make every cupcake miniature? I should, me thinks.
Everyone at work loved them, and though I've never had an alfajore, I thought they were pretty close. My friend agreed. I even had enough left over batter and frosting to make some unfilled yellow cupcakes (regular sized) with chocolate frosting, which happen to be my dear husband's favorite.
Win win win. ♥


Day off, plans, and foooooooood

I have to day off! A big thank you to Jessica Swann for picking up my hours today! I'm making alfajores style cupcakes, going to the bookstore, making something tasty and pasta-y for dinner, working out, and cleaning house. I also need to make arrangements for boarding Malo and Maggie this weekend, because I'm...
...going to see Anthony Bourdain and the Salvador Dali exhibit in Atlanta! Aack!
But I digress, on to food!
Ricky's london broil, with my brussels sprouts. A team effort, and a delicious dinner. I will one day master the grill, until then it will be up to him to cook beef this perfectly. ♥
Thai tofu curry with green beans, yellow bell pepper, and carrots with red curry, coconut milk, and fish sauce served over jasmine rice.
I worked late (too late!) last night, but I'm off today so it was okay. This morning I actually got to make myself breakfast, which rarely happens. An omelette (two egg, I never do three) filled with mushrooms, thyme, red bell pepper, scallions, and goat cheese, a couple of German-style breakfast sausages, and coffee in my new mug! Love it? Come on, it's a bear, you love it. Go to your local Starbucks and pick one up.


cookies, chicken, cheesecake, and interesting child palates.

Pistachio Cardamom Sugar Cookies. I used a teeny bit of rosewater in the dough. The combination of rosewater and pistachio reminds me of desserts at Indian restaurants, and that makes me happy.

Dinner last night was quick and simple. Rigatoni with chicken and broccoli in a garlic and white wine sauce. I made some garlic bread and that was that.
Dinner tonight! Ricky invited his friend Bobbie and her son Brandon over for dinner. I had no idea what to make, so I went with chicken. Chicken breasts (bone in, skin on) crisped in a cast iron skillet and then finished in the oven, seasoned with just salt and pepper. I also made wild mushroom risotto, green beans, and an arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette. I swiped some balsamic vinegar reduction on the plate, and it was perfect with the chicken. To drink we had Gewurztraminer, the peppery notes were lovely with the arugula and the earthiness of the risotto.
My first cheesecake! Not the prettiest thing I've ever seen, but I'm proud of it.
Vanilla bean cheesecake with a little clementine zest. I love vanilla bean paste, and I use it in pretty much anything that calls for vanilla extract.
With melted chocolate on top, for Brandon. He's six. He ate everything on his plate at dinner, green beans and all. This was the only part of dinner he didn't like. Go figure!
For mine I dotted on some of the balsamic vinegar reduction. It was divine. I don't know what prompted me to eat my cheesecake with vinegar, but I'm glad I did.
I'm off to work out for the second time today (I skipped it yesterday) and go to bed. I open in the morning at work.
Oh! I got my hair cut today and I love it! My head feels about 2 pounds lighter.


I missed my kitchen

Leek and potato soup with bacon and goat cheese.
Coconut cupcakes filled with...
...saffron pastry cream. Topped with coconut cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut.
Pretty much the most delicious cupcake ever. They're on display on the lovely three tiered cake stand that Chantal and her daughter gave me for my birthday. I love it!
Pork cutlets with mustard and mushroom sauce, served over spaetzle. On the side I made Brussels Sprouts, but I shredded them and cooked them in red wine and cider vinegar with some garlic and caraway seed. Awesome, and rather German tasting.
Chicken curry. I swear, we eat this at least twice a month.
Skirt steak with pepita salsa and homemade guacamole. Also, I'm playing around with different settings on my camera. I like this one!


is this weird?

I am not pregnant.
Petunia Pickle Bottom had a sale, and they brought back a few items in discontinued patterns. My favorite is Afternoon in Katmandu, and they had this Cross Town Clutch in the pattern.
So I bought it.
I own a diaper bag, and am babyless.
Nesting much?
Look how pretty it is though!


A really big centipede. I love bugs! Except dragonflies, as we all know.
so many monkeys!
Baby two toed sloth. It looks like a baby Yoda.
Whassa matta?
I don't know how many of you know this, but sloths are my favorite animals of all time. You couldn't hold the three toed guys, but this little two toed sloth was wrapped up in a blanket and she was perfectly content to lay in your arms and look around.Sloths are amazing animals. They're prehistoric, and there are only 6 varieties. They have no close relatives, and the next closest critters to them are armadillos and anteaters. Pretty fascinating, read about them here.
A hollow tree trunk in the rainforest at Cahuita National Park. How cool that there is a new plant growing inside?
Almond trees were everywhere, and so gorgeous
Almonds! I'd never seen them like this, so cool!
Me holding a very large grasshopper. I also ate a termite, at the suggestion of our guide, but I don't have a picture of that. I'm fun on trips. =)
Crab eating raccoon!
One of my favorite lizards, the Basilisk. They run on water, giving them the nickname "Jesus Lizard."
We're back in Florida, where it finally feels like Autumn. It's nice to be home, and to have our pets back. I miss CR already though, and I can't wait to go back!