Monday, October 31, 2005

my new knife

not for a scary Halloween costume but for cooking!
after watching every single Food Network tv chef use one of these, i finally went out and bought a Santoku knife.

my life now rules. as does Thurston's since i will be using this knife as often as possible and, thus, he will have more homecooked dinners than ever before! and don't even get me started about the meals that will come forth from the slow cooker currently en route to our home (thanks for the idea, Jolie!):

using my new knife i made the recipe below. which is entirely unrelated to Halloween but i made these last night and they a) ruled and b) were of minimal Weight Watchers points value.

Smashed Potatoes with (Turkey) Bacon

1 bag of baby red potatoes (28 oz.)
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
pinch Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth/stock
Pam spray
2 slices turkey bacon (i used Louis Rich)
1 medium shallot, diced

Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add kosher salt and potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.

While the potatoes are in the pot, cook together in a skillet bacon (according to package directions) and shallots. You could also microwave the bacon and just cook the shallots alone, if you want. Once bacon is crispy, remove from heat and shop bacon into small pieces.

Once potatoes are fork-tender, drain them in a colander and return them to the still warm pot. Add the sour cream and chicken broth and mash around with a fork, spoon, spatula, masher, whatever, leaving as many chunks as you like. Near the end of the smashing process, toss in the bacon and shallots and kosher salt. Serves 6.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

oh, look, a drawing of a pumpkin! you all probably think this is a pumpkin i drew in elementary school or something. but you'd be wrong. i drew this right now to decorate our door for Halloween. wow, we have the weakest Halloween decoration ever. i can only hope that people assume a child drew this one. hopefully the Nestlé Crunch bars and Butterfingers we hand out will take the edge off the sad pumpkin attempt.

fingers crossed!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Plantation Mint

well, i'm not on the sunporch of my Georgian estate, but i sure am enjoying me some of that Plantation Mint Tea.
it is freaking cold in my office. it may well be colder in here than it is outside. (and it's not summertime out there either.) this is not good at all as i attempt to recover from the sore throat (cough, cough) that kept me home from work Monday and Tuesday of this week.

this cold/sore throat started out in the guise of a hangover. Friday night was dinner with the ladies and Thurston at Yuca Bar. we were meant to start the night at KGB for a reading by Jen. but i was home late from work and missed the reading timeframe. (lame, i know.) T and i got to dinner first, beating Lillers and Mel by a hair. Melissa showed up next and Ivona and Jen brought up the rear. by the time all had arrived i was already one (or two by then) with the Yucatan Sunrise, which was sangria topped off with frozen margarita. after dinner we headed to Orchid Lounge, where i kept my streak alive. the streak consisting of me drinking myself into a painful next morning with overly sugary drinks* served at Orchid Lounge. two for two, baby.

so i wake up on Saturday convinced i am hungover. but, see, since i stayed sick through Tuesday, clearly i was just starting to fall ill and the booze had nothing to do with it. the lesson i take from this is that i should get right back on the horse. and have it take me to a bar. ASAP!

* my last visit to Orchid Lounge occurred as the second half of the inaugural Girls' Night and consisted of multiple Cosmopolitans, which i had never drank prior to that occasion. (T does not believe this, but it's true.) on that night though, the case of wine consumed prior to Orchid may have also had a hand in the pain. T had just ordered a case of his favorite sancerre. but his timing was terrible! since it was right there in the refrigerator begging to be a part of Girls' Night, what were ten drunk ladies to do? i think we left him a bottle or two, though. see? after all, we're not cruel!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chipotle Renaissance

just in case anyone confused my hating on Chipotle® with my hating on chipotle, let me clarify:
= BAD!


with this in mind, i have been on a chipotle kick these last two nights.
Sunday night:

Shrimp in Chipotle Sauce over whole wheat pasta (adapted from recipe)

1 pound uncooked medium to large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 1/4 cups marinade (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, chopped/minced
2 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies (plus some adobo sauce from can)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Place shrimp in 1 gallon Ziploc bag. Add marinade, squeeze out most of the air, seal
and shake around to coat. Refrigerate between 15-30 minutes. Drain shrimp; discard marinade. Place shrimp in large bowl.

In food processor, add 1.5 tablespoons olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, chipotles + sauce, and dried oregano and process until smooth. Transfer chipotle mixture to bowl with shrimp; toss to coat.

Heat remaining 1.5 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic clove(s) and shallot and sauté approx. 1 minute. Add shrimp with chipotle mixture (dump in everything from the bowl); sauté until shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over whole wheat pasta.

1 12-ounce bottle light-colored beer (i used Amstel)
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (i used lemon)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon powdered chicken bouillon base (i used liquid concentrate)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Let marinade stand 1 hour before using. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover marinade and refrigerate. Rewhisk before using.)

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

next time i might make some extra chipotle mixture and cook that up in a small pot with some seafood or vegetable broth and crushed canned tomatoes to create some extra sauce for the dish. it was HOT but, boy, was it a great meal.

continuing with the theme (and because i had both extra marinade and chipotles left over in the can)--

Monday night

Chipotle Chicken with corn, peppers and shallots

1 lb. or so of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into fingers or approx 1.5" cubes
1 1/4 cups marinade
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 ears of corn, boiled in salted water for approx. 3 minutes
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper (or whatever color you like), chopped
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotles, minced
a few shakes of dried oregano and grill seasoning (i used Tequila lime) a handful of grape/cherry tomatoes cut in halves or thirds
a couple of Tbsps. of fat free chicken broth/stock

Cut chicken into pieces and place in one gallon Ziploc bag. Add marinade, squeeze out excess air, and shake to coat. Refrigerate approx. 1 hour. While the chicken is marinating, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add three ears of corn. Boil for approx. three minutes and remove corn with tongs; set aside corn.

After almost one hour is up, chop up peppers, shallot, and garlic. Cut corn kernels off the cob and set aside ina small bowl. Remove chicken from fridge, drain and mix in a bowl with chipotles, oregano and grill seasoning.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med heat and add peppers, shallot and garlic. Cook these until slightly softened (a couple of minutes). Add chicken + mixture to pan. After chicken cooks for a minute or two, add broth (whatever amount seems right to just over the bottom of the pan in a thin layer). Cook until chicken is almost cooked through (over medium or med-high heat) and toss in tomatoes and corn kernels. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve alone or over rice.

Serves 2 hungry people or 4 not-so-hungry people.

this dinner was also awesome and a little less spicy. i must have used less chipotle than the shrimp recipe, which is fine by me as the shrimp recipe had my mouth ¡en fuego! but in a good way.

all in all, i love chipotle and wonder why i have not used it more often in my kitchen lately. in any event, it's back in a big way, and it rules!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

i dare it to rain

that's because i am the proud, new owner of these:


i fondly remember my last pair of galoshes. it was 1993 and i saw them in the Ralph Lauren store. they were navy blue boots, almost to the knee, with a minor heel. i wanted them so very much, despite my mother's insistence that they were "ridiculous looking" and "overpriced." no matter-- i had to have these boots! and have them i did...
that Fall, i took to wearing them with pants akin to riding jodphurs and a pink or navy sweater. i really think i deluded myself into thinking i looked as if i fell out of a Town & Country shoot. apparently, when i conjured up this image, i managed to "nevermind" the bangs and dark lipstick* that i was all about in those days:

Lovey + some guy from a mixer, at a bowling alley as i recall, circa '94

Lovey + (pre)California sister circa '93

well, i now recognize that the Long Island in me greatly overpowered my Town & Country dreams. but i still love me some galoshes. and i won't be sad when next it rains.

* and let's not get started on the belt/bag.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

isn't it ironic?

or just plain old sad?
the powers that be (in this case egreetings and other holiday-inventors, i'm sure) have created a day to celebrate Native American heritage.

Happy Native American Day!!

why not take a day off to celebrate and multi-task by honoring the man who essentially made your lives miserable?
so, while i'm at it,

Happy Columbus Day!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Meet Me In St. Louis, Louis

well, actually don't. because i'm not there anymore. but i was this last weekend. Thurston was a groomsman (first time ever) in the Cuban's wedding to Midwestern Kate. the wedding was incredibly wonderful. Kate was the picture perfect bride and a grand time was had by all. although T and i did not visit the Arch, we did visit near the Arch, and were able to memorialize that near-visit in the picture below:

this is the scenic parking lot near the Landing, where we had lunch.

obviously, the highlight of the weekend was the wedding, but the second most amazing part of the weekend was something i ate. behold, toasted ravioli:

if you ever go to St. Louis, or if i ever get around to buying a deep fryer and invite you over, you must must must try toasted ravioli. it's like cheese sticks, but better. wow, i miss this ravioli.

is it normal to obsess about wrapping gifts?
i sure hope so, since i actually do research on bows before i give a gift. the one pictured above was for a first birthday. i do wonder however if a trip to the ribbon store isn't wasted on a baby gift. no matter, i will wrap on.

UPDATE: the link to the bows seems to not work. try this one. otherwise, just go to Martha Stewart Living and go to Crafts --> Wraps & Bows. and if *anyone* can decipher the blueprint for "Martha's Perfect Bow" for me, i'll be indebted for life.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Skee Blue Balls

well, this weekend qualified as more socially eventful than most weekends of late. T and i went out both weekend nights. which is even more remarkable when you factor in our two day weekend gym attendance. we are just so awesome, no?

Friday night was the Yankees/Sox game at some NYU-esque sports bar.

chosen by me, actually, so i oughtn't to complain, but since complain is what i do second best (after my #1 skill, napping), complain i will. truthfully, the bar wasn't so bad. but the music sure was. it was like 1998-era club jamz played at a deafening volume. this made no sense at all, since every person in the bar appeared not to be grinding to drums-n-bass but rather watching the all-important baseball game. with multiple large screen tvs i thought the bar could figure out its purpose but it got confused. i had seasoned waffle fries (i got flex points, yo) and was, thus, happy overall.

Saturday afternoon we showed incredible restraint and hit the gym instead of the penultimate street fair of the season outside our building (the last one is November 12th, in case any of you were planning on going, by the way).
post-gym my fabulously amazing hairdresser cut Thurston's hair in a style befitting a would-be-shipwrecked-millionaire.

much later that night, we met up with the California Sister, my brother, the Bean, Targs, T's brother + gf, and sundry others at Ace Bar.

i was informed that Ace Bar now has skee-ball machines. i was, appropriately, psychotically excited about this, as was the Bean.

well, it was all for naught.
let me be the first to tellyou that Ace's skee-ball machines suck. a) they cost $1 per game. which is a rip off; b) the machines are right next to a bench where people sit, thereby limiting one's ability to wind up; and c) NO TICKETS. that's right, you can have a kickass game and walk away with nothing to show for it. i call shenanigans.