Archive for the ‘food’ Category

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and I’ve got to say my latest guilty pleasure is the Magic series by Ilona Andrews. Just finished the latest book and they are well- written, fast-paced, kick ass protag, and have interesting world building. Two thumbs up, highly recommended. Reminds me of what Anita Blake could have been before she became a magic-induced nymphomaniac without principles.

The Year of Magical Thinking is pretty fantastic. I thought about picking it up for ages and finally did. Didion’s memoir of the year after her husband’s death will resonate with anyone who’s lost a loved one. This bit especially:

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shck. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able to even get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and the meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absecne that follows the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness.

I also finished the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is precisely as good as you’ve heard it is.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman is a recent release and it’s beautiful and touching and wrenching and honest. Love her work.

All the recipes I’ve been making lately come from Dana Jacobi’s The Essential Best Foods Cookbook. Unlike Rachael Ray, they don’t promise you’ll be done in 30 minutes but I haven’t run into anything that takes much longer. The food HAS been fantastic, including the Salmon with Coconut Curry Chutney that I served for dinner on Friday. P.S. Cookbooks on the kindle are THE WHIP.  Easiest way to ever shop for groceries. I’ve also discovered that the rice which cooks perfectly at 10,000 feet is Basmati, properly soaked.

I also read the latest Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs – she’s a consistently good storyteller, period.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it previously but I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s one of those books whose cover design grabbed me but I didn’t pick it up. Finally got it on the kindle and it’s great. An interesting mystery with compelling characters, and a dose of social commentary thrown in. I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

I keep finding free books for the kindle, so I’ve got a mess of things in the TBR list. Probably I will not do much reading while Mom is in town and I’ve been keeping track of the books as I finish them on my facebook page. I believe I’m in the high 30s so far, which means hitting 50 by year’s end shouldn’t be tough.


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There were no real house projects (I re-stained part of a bench). I didn’t do any homework. Spouse and I drove into Frisco for the BBQ Challenge – Big Hoss had the best sauce, fyi. I started to rain as we were leaving, so we came home and couched watching movies.

The Wrestler was good, as predicted. I think the creepiest part about it is that Mickey Roarke’s own career has to feel very much like the character, making it less like acting and more like voyeurism. We also caught most of the latest X-files movie on cable. It was… strange. Good strange but not really what I was expecting. Spouse likened it to a much longer X-files episode. Pretty accurate and ultimately satisfying. One can never have too much Scully.

I was unsuccesful seeing The Proposal. In fact, I completely forgot about it until we were halfway over the mountain. I think the plan is to make it part of Spouse’s vacation week.

Tomorrow, life returns to normal. Work, then homework. Rinse and repeat for Monday.

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Making dinner. Watching the NCIS – Abbycentric marathon on USAHD.  Listening to Spouse banging on wood outside.

Mostly in that order.

Dinner is actually in the oven, so it’s almost done (Turkey-Spinach mini meatloaves). I’m half-watching the marathon since I’m websurfing. The noise from outside is unavoidable.

The EMT coursework is going well, but I haven’t spent as much time on it this week as I should have. That situation gets resolved this weekend.

Status of the house:

Deck out front = done

Paint in kitchen/dining room = done

Deck out back = 98% done. Needs to be stained, Spouse is building a bar for the deck to cover hideous dog door scar (hence the banging outside)

Our other projects (more painting, me custom framing some posters) are on hold for a bit yet. Alas, blogging STILL not back to normal. Also, Dreamwidth NOT having their cross-platform posting up. Grr.

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I’ve successfully made reservations for our anniversary dinner. It’s going to require a trip over to Vail, but 40 minutes isn’t a bad drive for good food. Not only that, but we’re in the off-season so we’ll be able to take advantage of some pretty sweet deals.

I’m waiting for Spouse’s new phone to arrive and then running some errands before he’s done wth work.

Have pretty much finalized house painting colors and a decorating plan for the basement. We’ll need an area rug for the kitchen but all in all we’re in good shape. The new sliding door arrives this weekend and I’ve just got to contact my guy to put it in. We’re inordinately excited about it for reasons I’ll elaborate later.

Our anniversary gifts are working out fantatsically and I’m going to update with some more Santa Fe details later.

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I don’t have any photos because during the cleaning/straightening on Saturday, my camera cord has gone AWOL. While some of our food on Saturday was premade (tikka masala and korma), I made the samosas and chutney myself.

The chutney recipe has been difficult because the recipes I’ve found online aren’t that similar to the fantastic chutney they had at our local restaurant in Michigan. So I tweak.

I started with this recipe. Rather than precise measures, I used an entire  package of mint (the small plastic container from the grocery store) and roughly twice as much cilantro. My pepper of choice is serrano, but a jalepeno might be milder. I left out the onion, garlic, and cumin. I added two small containers of Greek yogurt and about a half a cup of skim milk. I used a drizzle of oil and then added sugar to taste. The result was tangy, sweet, and a little hot. Pretty close to perfect. It even approximated the consistency of the Kabob and Curry House chutney.

The site also has a really good recipe for samosas, if you want to try your own. Again, I tweaked it a little but it’s a really good place to start. Your mileage may vary, but I find it easier to boil the potatoes whole, let them cool, and then skin and chop them. It makes it easier for me to control the consistency of the potato (not too hard, not too soft).

Next batch of samosas will get homemade dough, so I’ll update with how that works out.

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Apparently I’m not the only one

Someone else out there is missing pączkis today! I bet I could make a mint shipping to former Michiganders all over the country! When I was talking about paczkis yesterday at work, people looked at me like I was nuts. Clearly Hamtramck has stamped its influence on even the grocery stores in Michigan, but in a way that hasn’t bled south. Too bad. Maybe if we got news coverage about it out here…

I should note that I’m not a TRUE fan because I don’t like the ones with fruit/jelly in them. I’m all cream/custard, all the way. It’s entirely possible that I should have taken Carly up on her offer to mail me some. ;)

Paczkis are clearly not part of the Colorado tradition and there’s not really anything that’s going to QUITE satisfy my craving this morning. Probably I’ll let Doc’s take a shot at it with french toast anyhow.

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High Altitude Cornbread

First attempt and it turned out pretty well. I kind of bastardized a recipe from somewhere else, but here’s what I did:

1 c all-purpose flour

2 c corn meal

1 c creamed corn

1tsp salt

2.5 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

2 T sugar

1.5 c milk

Baked at 425 for 35 minutes in a 9×9 pan.


It baked up really well, good texture and color. Next time I’ll add more sugar but that’s all I’d change.

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