Sunday, June 29, 2008

And on Sunday, she rested.....

Not really.

But I didn't have to leave the house and do anything. And for a weekend day, I consider puttering around the kitchen and doing a couple loads of laundry pretty close to resting.

Yesterday was busy, and expensive. Our DVD/VCR combo died on Friday night. When you can hear the thing trying to spin the DVD, it's not good. I knew it was coming and had already been researching our options. On Saturday, I was going to Costco anyway, so the big decision was whether to get the $90 basic one, or the $300 with all the bells and whistles that can also copy things to DVD.

We got the fancy-schmancy one. Or, I should say, I got the fancy-schmancy one, because this weekend was the comic book convention and the man was consumed with all thinks geek this weekend.

After braving Costco yesterday, I also hit Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma (when Crate and Barrel didn't have any biscuit cutters), Staples, the regular grocery store and the produce mart.

One very interesting find at Costco - Maple Leaf Farms roasted half duck. We both love duck, and I make it every New Year's Day, but man, it can be fickle. I was overjoyed at the two pack of these things... all you gotta do is throw them in the oven for 15 minutes and you are rewarded with some nicely done roast duck. It couldn't have been any easier. I might even try to get back to Costco to pick up some for the freezer, just in case these don't make it as a "regular" item.

This morning, it was up early and I made a run to McD's for breakfast. It is usually a tradition of the hubby to eat McD's for breakfast one day during the comic book convention (actually, it's how we "met" the first time before we met for real... a week before we hooked up, he was getting his McMuffin fix during the comic book convention, and I was the one who rang up his order). Pulled into McDs, and there were a bunch of fire engines in the lot. Um, ok?

Don't know what was going on, but the place was crawling with firemen that were obviously doing something, but they were still operating for business.

And, it's a sad day when you're in a fast food place ordering coffee and you have the following conversation...

McDs Dude: How many creams and sugars do you want for your coffee?
Me: Just make it light and sweet.
McDs Dude: Um.... how many creams and sugars do you want for your coffee?

Seriously?? If I was going to be that much of a control freak about it, I'd have just answered the question telling you how many creams and sugars I wanted.

I did make some pickled cherries this afternoon to go along with the duck. They're from the French Laundry Cookbook and are actually served with foie gras in the recipe, but they are also awesome paired with duck. The sweet/vinegar really goes nicely with the richness of duck. Also found two containers of peeled garlic cloves in the fridge in addition to the one I bought yesterday, so I made a load of garlic confit. I know I can use some of it this week.

As far as cooking plans for this week, tomorrow with be the steak/flounder I planned to make yesterday, before the hubby announced he wanted Chinese food. I picked up Gordon Ramsay's "Fast Food" at Costco, and there is a pork chop recipe and a chicken recipe I want to have a go at this week. And that will take us through to the holiday. I do also have to get cooking done for the 4th... the brother-in-law's house is on the opening corner of the parade route, so they usually have people over. Last year they tried a proper brunch-type setup, but between the parade and everyone coming and going, it didn't work so well. So, this year, it's just bagels & coffee cakes and munchie type foods. I'm going to do some mini-quiches and a version of Ina Garten's Easy Cheese Danishes (and I'm also going to do some apricot ones).

Garden is doing well. I actually had to tie down some of the tomato plant branches during the week, they're just going nutbusters. A couple of good sized, but still green, tomatoes on my patio tomato plant, dozens of green tomatoes on the cherry tomato plant, and lots of little green tomatoes on the other two. Yay!

And... while out watering the plants today, I was turning off the house and looked down in to the window well that is right over there... hey, that looks like a frog down there. Holy crap, that is a frog down there! I ran back inside about as quickly as I could. Worked up the courage to go out again in a couple minutes and looked again.... yep. Froggie was likely jumping and didn't figure it was there or didn't figure it was as deep as it is, and you could tell he couldnt' get out. The hubby was "oh, he can get out". I was all "I don't think he can, and I don't want to deal with a DEAD frog in our window well." He ended up putting a long pole down there so Froggie could climb out. Don't know if it's worked. Too chicken to go out there and look or even look thru the basement window. Yeah, I'm a girl. I do not like frogs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Stoopid economy


When we moved to the Chicago 'burb we live in back in 1999, it took us a good six months to find a decent pizza place. And it was even beyond just "decent", it was by far the best delivery pizza we'd ever had (and I am really picky about my pizza - not a deep dish girl, I was raised on thin, crispy crust pizza from a hot brick oven).

We actually found this place on my birthday. I wasn't cooking, and I wanted a pizza with shrimp and garlic for dinner. We called several of the places we'd been ordering from and none of them had shrimp that day. We finally decided to try this new place, Chicago Pizza Authority, and we were floored with how good it was. We haven't ordered from another place since 2000.

It's been awhile since we ordered from them, and tonight I got home from work and fell asleep sitting up on the couch (and I'm dealing with a nasty pulled muscle in my neck from freaking out upon when the world's largest centipede jumped out at me in my car bright and early this morning). So, we decided to call the pizza place.

But it's not the same.

Since we last ordered, they moved from their original location (which was in an area that turned into one of the two crappy areas in town) to working out of an Italian place that is only a couple blocks away. And the pizza is not the same. It's a different brand of cheese, the sauce is a little different, and the crust is WAY different. It's got no good "chew" to it.

It's not bad, but it ain't as great.


When we were looking to move out of our craptacular apartment, one of the key deciding factors was still being in the delivery area of this pizza place. This was the pizza we'd order when entertaining. In recent months, they'd been knocking every pizza outta the park with each pizza's fantasticness. I'm really, really sad right now.

Sorry, Chicago Pizza Authority. We did our best to be loyal customers. Heck, I still have 67 "collect 12 for one 50% off pizza PICKUP ONLY" coupons that I was going to try to barter for one stinkin' 50% off delivery pizza. Guess I'm too late.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Tale of 20 Avocados.....

Oh.... but Rhett... avocados.... they're so wonderful and supposedly so good for you... no.... no... not the guacamole! No! No..... YES!!!!

This... is the 20 unripe avocados that I bought last Monday at the produce mart.

Why 20?

Well, sometimes the ones at the produce mart ripen and aren't good. I've learned my lessons. I was asked to bring quacamole to the hubby's nephew's birthday party, and I figured I'd be ultra safe an buy more avocados than I needed, especially since I wanted to make my regular guac and also try Nigella Lawson's Roquamole recipe. Also, at the produce mart, the are dirt cheap. At the major chain grocery store, avocados cost about $1.50. These were 60 cents a piece.

And on Friday... the 20 ripe avocados......

Mmmm.... avocado-y......

When I cut into them, I only had one bad avocado.

I think we're gonna need a bigger bowl...

So, I did the two guacs. My usual guac with a little improvement... I had some garlic confit to use so I used that rather than garlic powder (raw garlic tends to be a little too strong to the majority, although I don't mind it), a couple glugs of salsa, salt, a little lime, and some chili powder. My favorite tool for mixing guac is actually a whisk, and I managed to have a rare stroke of brilliance and actually mixed both in the Kitchen Aid mixer (I love that thing). Did my regular guac first, then the Roquamole.

A former friend of mine ((deleting rant about why she is a former friend and will always be one) once taught me how she was told to make quac while she was an exchange student in Mexico - mash avocados, and then on the big holes of your box grater, grate and onion and a tomato and then mix it up. Nice, but I still like mine better.

And it's likely the store-bought salsa I add, but even my mother in law remarked (since I left the leftover guac from Father's Day with them) that it didn't brown as quickly as other stuff she's had.... but it does tend to "stay" a bit longer. Even when I don't add the lime.

I easily had 4-5 cups of each guac that I made. I basically had lunch just sampling them and figuring out what they needed (the regular quac could have used more salt in the end, my sis in law's chips were not as salty as the Frontera ones I had). The regular guac, other than what I thought was a lack of salt, was one of the better batches I have made. And I've made it alot. Early in my cooking years, my family was impressed with my guac skillz, and from about the age of 12 on, I was always the one who made the guac.

The Roquamole? That stuff is DEADLY if you are a blue cheese person. I just used a good, local-ish blue cheese, and it was knock-outta-the-park (which, apparently, my White Sox cannot do this weekend.... sigh) fantastic. Several people told me I need to figure out how to bottle that (and I wouldn't... because "bottled" usually means a lack of quality and jebus, it's easy enough to make if you're willing to dirty a cutting board). But yeah.... good thing the hubsy don't like stinky cheese. I don't need an excuse to make that often.

The best part?? The Man Of The Hour, the two-year old b-day boy.... they started him out with the regular guac, but soon after he was sitting in a chair right by both of them, and happily dipping in to the Roqamole. Oh yeah. That was awesomness.

Someone remind me to plant a big ole kiss on Nigella Lawson if I'm ever lucky enough to meet her. Her recipes just rock.

Mexican Cheetos

(I promise, the tale of the avocados will appear tomorrow... I don't have the energy to be creative right now...)

Mexican Cheetos.

And I do know how to set times on electronic devices, it really was noon when I snapped these shots. I was just so excited when I got home from the grocery store.

If you watch the TV Show "30 Rock" you'll understand why I nearly entered a fit of uncontrollable laughter when I saw these at the local produce/ethnic mart.

If you don't watch the show... a running gag in the past season was the main character's addiction to some Mexican, off-brand Cheetos and it led to a false positive pregnancy test in the finale, due to the use of some male bull byproduct being used in the Mexican Cheetos.

I, myself, suffer from a Cheetos addiction problem. In a time of stress at work, I can usually be found in front of the vending machine, plunking in some coins for my sticks of neon orange happiness. I was overjoyed/worried to find out at the new workplace, the vending machine sometimes has jalapeno flavored actual Cheetos. Those are GOOD.

I love it when the grocery store gives me a giggle. Even when it means I gotta spend two bucks on a product I'm really afraid to eat. Thanks, Tina Fey.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why do you turn my kitchen in to a house of lies??


I usually trust Ming Tsai. On his PBS show, East Meets West, everything always looks so good, and he makes it look so easy. Over the weekend, I saw the episode where he makes Grilled Scallop Yakitori, and it looked tasty and a nice, easy, weeknight dinner.


I suffered The Top Chef Curse of Spike and got some totally waterlogged scallops. I still tried, and as soon as I got a skewer done, I picked up the skewer and the scallops fell off, now disected.

Le sigh.

It all just went downhill from there, the sauce was just bad (the lemon seemed all wrong) and I tried to quickly throw together a stir fry/ramen noodle thing, but my noodles got all gloopy and gross and it was awful and we ended up eating McD's cheeseburgers for dinner. It happens. Right now the feral cats outside are having some kind of Cat Standoff to see who gets to eat the scallops I threw out there.

Was busy at work today... coworker in Japan (for vacation) for a week and a half. Which means, of course, there is an emergency project that they think they need done by next Friday and they don't know exactly what they want yet. I hope (fingerscrossedfingerscrossed) that we already kinda have what they want, or can at least not put ALL the information they think they need in a printed guide. I cannot tell ya'll how sick I am of always having to update the same information in at least three different places. No way am I looking to add a fourth.

Totally odd event this morning... was watching the local news, and they had a field reporter who had a voice that sounded really familiar. She was standing out in a flooded area so it was hard to get a clear face view. Then they said the name Lourdes. Holy crap, I think it's one of the gals who lived in the room next to mine freshman year, who we shared a bathroom with? Holy crap, it is!! Color me surprised! (And yes, she's always been that drop-dead good looking. One of the reasons I suspected it was her was the same fantastic facial structure I remember) Very glad for her. I know that is the direction she was headed in when we graduated, glad to see it happening for her.

Stopped at the big mega mart grocery store on my way home, and I might be becoming a convert to the few Dominicks stores that are left (which likely means they won't be around for long). At the farmer's market near my old job last year, I bought some blue cheese from one of the vendors. It was packed in a factory-sealed vacuum package, so I figured it'd be good for awhile. And then I totally forgot about it in the bottom of my meat/cheese drawer. Ooops. No idea if it is still good (it doesn't look green or furry) but I need some blue cheese for a recipe this weekend. I also needed to get some cash since I'm (hopefully, unless the ambiguous project hits) going out for sushi with some coworkers tomorrow, and I know the one produce/ethnic market right by the house doesn't let you get cash back if you use your debit card. So I stopped... and was shocked to find the same maker of cheese as the farmer's market stuff was for sale at the grocer! Sweet! And it was actually quite a bit cheaper than a lot of the other cheeses. Fingers crossed that it's actually good.

But, right now, kicking back enjoying a Miller "Chill"... their chelada style beer. Pretty good, actually. Still don't know if I'm brave enough to try the Budweiser/Clamato one.

And next time, on As The Hausfrau Turns.... what does one do with 20 avocados??

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blue Sceen of Death!

Just got a blue screen of death. Sigh. At least it was when I quickly unplugged my USB mouse and plugged in my off-brand phone cable, so I know why, but those are never a sign of good things.

On to better subjects...

New dish for dinner tonight, Chicken Thighs with Creole Mustard-Orange Sauce. I liked it, hubby at least didn't hate it. It'd be nice to find more ways to use chicken thighs, given food prices today. I had mine over some polenta and I at least made mashed potatoes for the hubby. I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow or Thursday.

Not sure how busy tomorrow is going to be... it's the start of my co-worker's 10 day Japan holiday, so I'm holding down the fort on my own.

The Garden Tour!!

Wooo.... TWO tomatoes. And since I took that picture, my grape tomato plant has gone nuts and there are at least a dozen. In hopes of not having some of the bug problems I had last year, I sprayed them with dipple dust today. Fingers crossed.

The rest of the 'maters. I swear, they all grew a foot with the recent rains. The Wall-O-Waters are still up, I plan to leave them up all season. Hopefully they'll work as advertised and help keep them cool once the weather turns hot so the soil won't fry/dry out as quickly. We'll see. I do like 'em so far.

Herbs. The parsley and chervil/lovage pot. I've been using the chervil pretty much like parsley.

Blurry basil. It's doing much better than a few weeks ago.

Somewhat happier in new location chives. They're at least happier than last week.

The rest of the herbs (and my lilac bush peeking out from off the desk). Other than the already dead tarragon plant, all doing happy. In fact, I harvested some mint and chocolate mint last night to make the mint oil from the French Laundry cookbook. I have no idea what I'm going to actually use it for, but it's there if I can think of a use for it. But I had to cut back that chocolate mint a bit. Just look at it!!

Purple ruffle basil. So pretty.

Still waiting for flowering action from my day lilies out front and in back. My Lamium out front is going absolutely crazy... way more flowers than last year. And I think (fingers crossed) my ornmental grasses have all taken and are growing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Is it Monday yet?

Actually, by the time I'm done typing this... it might be.

Left work early on Friday, very happy for some extra time. I scrapped my plans to go to Ikea since traffic seemed like it was a mess, and opted to go for an all-exciting oil change instead. Oh, the life I lead!

Came home, and found a wonderful letter stating "thank you for completely paying off your college loan" for one of my loans. Of course, not the big one, but exciting none the less. I was happy... even though it was Friday the 13th, it was looking to be a pretty good day!

Of course, it all went to shit then.

Hopped online to check in on what was up with my peeps, and stumbled right upon the real-time frantic situation of some friends trying to find out if the news of a death of one of their friends (I met the guy only once, but I was a fan of his band). Sadly, it was not a Friday the 13th joke, and he had indeed passed away. Friends are kinda (expectedly) a mess right now. And yes, he might have been someone who could have made some better lifestyle choices, but he was a genuinely good guy, and our world is a little worse off not having him in it.

So yeah, despite some great geeky TV between Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica and the new Venture Brothers streaming over the webfeed, but the night was still kinda a downer.

Saturday, running hausfrau-ish errands to replace some kitchen stuff and pick up some aprons, I ran to Ikea. On the way there, noticed a club from my more wild days (that has been closed for ages, but still) was torn down and replaced by a discount grocery store. Wow, that brought me down.

Today wasn't too bad... went over to the parent in-laws and played around with the kids, the brother in-law made some chili and brought it over, I brought over some guac. But, still... it's yet another Father's Day without my dad. And it still stings a little. And the firth Father's Day of the man's cousins and aunt without their dad/hubby. And I know how bad that sucks.

Got home, and it appears one of the files for my login for the computer got currupted, and I spent awhile fixing that problem. Luckily, no data was lost and as far as Windows problems go it wasn't too hard to fix, but still a pain in the ass.

Kinda looking back to getting back to work, back to the mundane.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An Evening in the Case de Hausfrau

Hubby's boss is out this week, so he's been working late to help pick up the slack.

The dinner plan tonight was Avocado Stuffed with Crabmeat Salad. Figured a nice dish for a hot day, and I already had crab in the fridge and a bunch of peppers to use up.

Got home, got right down to chopping the peppers & onions and getting them on the stove. I actually had intended to do that step yesterday, but honestly, I was just having a lazy evening. And I was totally stressing while waiting for the Top Chef finale. I'm not one to get that into reality television programming, but every season the finale of that show, I'm on edge. At least I was happy with the results this year.


Got the pepper mixture cooked, threw it in the food processor, and was just mixing it with some store-bought reduced fat mayo when around 6:30....

Ring ring.

Hello? Oh, hi babe. Are you STILL at the office? Well, I was just throwing together stuff for some crabmeat/avocado salad.... How late are you gonna be? Yeah, I'll just go out and pick up dinner for me, you grab something on the way home.


At least I hadn't yet busted open any of the avocados or the crab meat. So, the sauce I had mixed just went in to the fridge, and I was off to find dinner.

The sauce was tasty though. Two thumbs up!

Thought about hitting a BBQ place I want to try, but it's not exactly close (close to work, kinda further than I wanted to travel from home). So, I ended up just going to Cosi, and despite swearing as I walked thru the door that I'd play it healthy, I ended up getting a flatbread pizza. Hey, how many other chances am I ever gonna have to go there for dinner when they have them? Came home, plopped myself on the couch, and ate half of it right out of the takeout box. Glamorous. CLASSY.

After that, cleaned up the kitchen, checked out the wood color samples I got from They have a 2-inch wood blind that matches pretty much perfectly to our front door, but I am hoping that when my 1-inch samples come in the next couple days, there is also a decent match. We'll see.

Hubby got home after 8 carrying a McD's bag and went upstairs, all grumbly. But, apparently on wrestling "they're bringing in Dragongate guys" which made him a much happier camper.

Don't know what I'll do with the crabmeat or the sauce at this point in time. I stick to my "no cooking on Friday" rule, more so I can actually have one day a week where I nap when I get home from work, so I won't use it tomorrow. The sauce ain't gonna go bad, but my avocados may. Oh well.

Oh, and I was more than slightly insulted today. In the mail, there was an envelope from my work that turned out to be an invite to the company picnic. But it was addressed to "Mr & Mrs. Husband's Full Name." Um, dude? I know I filled out all that information when I started so they know his name, but I am a very modern gal and at my own work, I like to be known as myself. Not Mrs. anything, thankyouverymuch. I know, I know, it's the proper way to address an invite, but since when do workplaces care that much?

And, the invite mentioned, among the many "fun"activities available at the picnic... CLOWNS. Wow. I was thinking about going, but no way now. I despise clowns. It's not a fear of clowns... it's more just a general thought that they are downright creepy (maybe this is what happens when you were raised a couple neighborhoods over from site of the John Wayne Gacy house with parents who were right around the ages of the victims). I even tried doing some "clown outreach" thing in high school where we had to dress up as clowns and go to kid's classrooms and after one meeting and one outing, I was only further creeped out by clowns and the people behind the masks and just everything about it. Shudder.

Oh, and tomorrow is "Employee Appreciation" night at my work. Casino night. Yep, just like The Office episode. I declined my invite... a night at home watching Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica seems like it will be a lot more fun, and some fake casino fun is NOT going to help the deep jones I have right now to get back to Vegas. And on the chance they'd have a fake "Let It Ride" table set up, I might have a hard time explaining my uncontrollable laughter.

Also, since it is being held at the big boss's country club, there is a dress code. I like the hubby's way of putting it.... "Wait a minute. So I'd have to come home in my casual Friday clothes, and then change in to something like 'rest of the week workclothes' to go hang out with people from work? No 'effin way."

Yeah. I'm really not much of a "joiner". I suppose at the age of 29 + 3, I shouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Recipe deal breakers???

Michael Ruhlman recently addressed a New York Times article (that had an awesome comment by the author of French Laundry at Home... who also happens to have an interview with Ruhlman up this week) that addressed "recipe deal breakers". Those things that you run across, when going thru a recipe, that make you go "uh-uh, no way, moving on....."

Now, I can see an ingredient being a deal breaker for people who don't know how to do substitutions (like my own relationship with cilantro in pretty much anything but Thai food). If it is something you know you don't like, well yeah, the recipe is obviously not going to appeal to you. Or, a recipe that calls for cooking equipment that you don't have, or ingredients you can't find where you live. It happens.

But, the article (and the comments on the NYT site) seemed to focus more on people finding things too difficult or restrictive or stuffy. And there is part of me that doesn't get that.

Sure, I'm not going to plan on making some grand, labor-intensive thing for "everyday", weeknight cooking. It's just not going to happen. But there is something fun about having something that is a little challenging and even a bit intimidating, and taking the time to tackle it a destroy the mystique and realize it's not that hard.

I've been trying to get my mind around it.... trust me, I know half-assed-ness and laziness in "everday" cooking. I used a seasoning packet for taco meat tonight, for Escoffier's sake. After 8 plus hours in a mentally challenging job, my mind can become cheese whiz and I do not have the mental energy to tackle something challenging. But, there is so much fulfillment from doing something ambitious... and either mastering it, or at least knowing you tried and knowing what you might do differently next time, or just understanding your own limits. Even just trying something different. Man (or woman) does not live by boneless, skinless chicken breasts alone.

Where does it come from? Are people just that scared of cooking? Do they not realize that the pizza man is still only a phone call away after a horrendous kitchen disaster? That the disasters are what you learn from?? Is it fear? Is it hate? Is it just not understanding the pride of something well accomplished??

And ya'll.... what are your recipe deal breakers? Right now, mine are pretty much ingredients I know the hubby won't deal with (I'm more willing to explore things I think I hate than he is), or a lack of equipment that I can't work around (no roasting pan, I can deal with.... I have a big-ass cast iron skillet and I don't mind some smoke from the oven).

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Garden tour and some Molto Love....

The first tomato has appeared! Yay!! I always get way too excited about the first tomato.

Rest of the tomato plants are looking good. I swear, with the rain we've had the past week, they've grown a foot.

Other happy plants. That white pot is my chocolate mint. It's just gone crazy since I planted it, it's at least triple the size.

Happy herbs. Well, mostly happy herbs. My chives aren't digging it over there in the planter on the left side. I moved them right after I took the picture. They haven't died, but they just haven't flourished. Hopefully they'll be happier in the new spot.

So sorry, little Tarragon 2. I don't know why you went south. Your sister, Tarragon 1, is thriving in the next pot over. I'm hoping I might still be able to save it... as long as the roots are happy, I might get it to sprout again.

Yesterday I went to Half-Priced Books to trade in a couple of cookbooks. I did plan on also walking out with the copy of the Babbo cookbook (Mario Batali) that I saw on my last visit. I did. And I also picked up Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. Fun.

This little cookbook buying excursion was slightly different than normal, though. My dad is who I got my love of cooking (and cookbooks) and food from. In the years before he passed in 2004, his birthday and Father's Day became days where I'd usually get him some new cookbook. I enjoyed shopping for them as much as I enjoyed getting cookbooks for me, so after he died, I just decided that for those holidays, I'd go out and get the cookbook I'd likely have gotten him. And I know he'd have been crazy-stupid in love with the Babbo cookbook.

Now I just gotta work up the nerve to try the octopus recipe.....

I planned to make a steak for the hubby for dinner tonight, and some salmon for me. Color me somewhat surprised at the Babbo cookbook for Salmon with Favetta, Radishes and Lemon Celery Citronette. Basically, peel fava beans processed with some olive oil and thyme, and little lemon-olive oil-dijon vinaigrette.

Here is the favetta - fava beans processed with a little thyme and oil. Puuuurrrrty.....

The "favetta" was good on its own, the vinaigrette was good on its own, but with the salmon and some thinly sliced radishes (and I totally forgot to get celery on my run to the grocery store, oops) it was wonderful. Always good when the first thing you try out of a cookbook works out well.

I should probably do some laundry tonight, but why do laundry that can be put off until tomorrow.

Cooking for the week... um, yeah, had a plan but I'm not recalling much now. I know lunches, at least... gonna buttermilk-brine (I have a couple cups of buttermilk left from last week's chicken disaster) some bone-in chicken breasts and throw those in the crockpot tomorrow so I can morph them in to some wraps for the week, and tonight I wanted t mix up some tuna salad (ala my favorite, the recipe outta the Bouchon cookbook). Apparently the hot, humid and stormy weather we've had the past few days ain't going anywhere, so I do plan on relying on the grill for some cooking this week. Burgers, pork chops, and other things I can't recall right now but I was at least smart enough to jot down on my Palm (but I'm too lazy to go dig it outta my purse right now).

And the neighbors continue to be annoying... for some reason, someone that we can only assume was a cranky neighbor with a stick up their butt about something came knocking on our door at 11:30 last night. Yeah, we didn't answer. If it was a relative, they'd have called first, and if it's not the authoritative knock of a fireman, we're not bothing to answer the door that late. Complaints are only taken during normal business hours.

Our front door has a little half-circle window type thing at the top, but whoever was out there didn't bother (or wasn't tall enough) to peek thru that, and we don't have a peephole in the door so we could't see who was out there, and frankly didn't care.

But, today I went out trying to see if I could find some sheer curtains or something for it, with no luck. I guess we've been lucky for two years that people around here seemed to respect your personal space, but not so much anymore. I am eyeing some wood blinds that we could attach to the door to totally close people out. People don't need to be able to see lights to think it's alright to bother us at all hours (even if we are up all hours). Waiting for some wood color samples from to see if they have a color that already matches the door. I like getting the light that comes thru the window, but it just felt like a serious intrusion on our personal space to have someone knocking on the door at that hour and I gotta do something.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

15 Minute Meals

Hi, I'm the Suburban Hausfrau, and on this blog, I make 15 minute meals.....

Wait a sec. That's not right.

Try again.

Hey. Suburban Hausfrau here. Sometimes I'm lazy, too lazy to even go to a drive thru, but I like to eat. I also like to clear out all the junk that I have in my fridge and freezer. Here is how you can throw together dinner in fifteen minutes while also filing your nails, reading the new issue of Bon Appetite and watching old Molto Mario episodes on Fine Living.

Mis en place....

This includes chili I took out of the freezer a couple days ago, hot dogs bought over Memorial Day weekend that were not coooked, half an onion, and shredded cheese. The jalepeno mustard in back isn't involved. It just likes hanging with the cool kids sometimes.

I'm from Chicago.... and in Chicago, we boil hot dogs (sometimes, at least). I plop them in a saucepan with some water, and bring it just to a boil until the hot dogs start spinning. Then you let them sit in the hot water for five minutes (or until you go wake up your husband to tell him dinner is ready).

Next, nuke your chili. Man, can you remember back to life without the microwave? I kinda can. And I'm so glad we have them now.


Chop your onion. Doesn't matter if it's small or big pieces - it's your preference - sometimes I even just throw it in the mini chopper. I actually busted out the knife and cutting board and did it in about a minute tonight.

Open your cheese. I seriously hope you don't need directions or photos to figure out how to do that.

Lay out everything attractively on your counter, and wake up the hubby and tell him to come down and eat dinner.

Like my counterscape? The french vanilla coffee mix, cake flour, Prego, red pepper flakes, bottle of Strawberry Crush, chip clip, expensive balsamic vinegar, honey, cider vinegar, ketchup, cheap balsamic vinegar, cayenne pepper, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, already seen Jalepeno mustard and out-of-season glass have nothing to do with tonight's dinner. It's just all crap that either hasn't been opened and therefore found a place in the fridge, or stays on the counter, or just can stay on the counter until I really feel like organizing.

Been an uneventful week. Tried a buttermilk-brined chicken breast recipe that was a total bust. Overcooked some SpagBacParm until the lovely carbonara sauce curdled. Ooops.

Hopefully, next week will be more exciting.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I think we're gonna need a bigger bowl......

Mmmm. Filling for spring rolls.

I hate it when the biggest bowl you have ends up being too small for something. Such was the case yesterday when I was making a version of rice paper rolls to take to a party. That big bowl had shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, grated daikon radish, and grated carrot. That and some shrimp went in to moistened sheets of rice paper. Packed them, spaced apart so the rice paper wasn't touching because it tends to stick, between sheets of moistened paper towel and brought them to the party. Very much a hit, and very nice since yesterday really seemed like the first hot, steamy day we've had in the area.

I was having a Bad Makeup Day yesterday... one of those days where you spend more time fixing mistakes than you spend putting the actual makeup on. I think Homer Simpson's "makeup shotgun" would have worked better than my own hands.

And then, I forgot to take off my eye makeup before going to bed, and had the return of the mysterious puffy eyelid that I had about two weeks ago. And this time, it wasn't just one eyelid, it was both the upper and lower eyelid on both eyes. GREAT.

So, I decided to keep my mutant self away from the inside world today. Loaded up on Benedryl and then of course spent half the day passed out cold because of the meds. Chinese food for dinner, and it wil also be my lunch tomorrow.

Might head to the grocery store tomorrow night to pick up a few things, and then come home and whip up a quick dinner (right now, thinking the usual steak for him/fish for me with some steamed veg and baked potatoes).

But right now, looking very much forward to the season premier episode of The Venture Brothers tonight (even though we watched the online premier of it on Friday night) and not looking forward to being back at work tomorrow.