Thursday, June 30, 2005
I didn't have much to go with steaks except a half pound of fresh mushrooms. Mushrooms are so good for you and they have hardly any calories. Petite Filet Mignons smothered in lots of mushrooms always works for me. I also found two little zucchini in the crisper. Zukes are another low cal veggie that is fast and tasty.
To add some color to a boring brown dinner, I decided to make a Bleu-Blue Salad. First I oiled the greens and put them in the fridge to get the bowl cold. Use high quality extra virgin olive oil and add just enough to make the greens glisten. Toss well and place in the fridge. I usually even leave the utensils in the bowl since I like them icy cold as well.
Crumble up some blue cheese and let it get to room temp. Rinse and pick through some blueberries. I used Rabbiteye Blueberries that my neighbor offered if I would just pick them. Dry the blueberries gently with a paper towel. Get out some walnuts and break them into crumbles. I keep nuts in the freezer so I always have an assortment for cooking or garnish. Keep the greens in the fridge and the other ingredients on the counter. Now your Bleu-Blue salad is ready to assemble in a matter of seconds.
Heat some sweet butter, not too much, just a pat, in a skillet and when the foam subsides, drop in your mushrooms. I like them whole if the serving of meat is large and sliced if the meat serving is small. (proportion, you know) Sautee' on high flame for about two minutes, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and shake and flip until the liquid is evaporated and absorbed. The whole process takes about 4 minutes if you use high heat. I never use a spoon or stir anything I can toss or flip in a pan.
Your grill is sizzling hot and prepared so grill the steaks nicely medium rare or to your liking. (We grilled in the rain yet again last night) Petite filets like these only take about 3 minutes on each side. In the meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté the zucchini sliced lengthwise, flat side down first. On a good hot fire, this will only take a minute until they turn golden brown. Now, I generously sprinkle the zukes with fiery ground red pepper as I like these veggies with a kick. Green side down, add a little salt and turn down the flame to very low while you wait to lift the steaks.
Toss your greens with a little balsamic or raspberry vinegar and put on your salad plates. Add your bleu cheese crumbles, walnuts and the blueberries. Assemble your Bleu Blue Salad so it looks something like this:
Plate the meat and veggies making sure to drizzle all of the au jus from the plate where you lifted the steaks from the grill. I don't fuss. I just get it on the plate quickly for by the time I've cooked it, I am eager for dinner.
While I am making the plates, DH pours the wine. W4D likes to pick out the wine and since I have rarely met a wine I don't like, fine by me! This Napa wine from 2001 was quite nice with undertones of violets, fruit and oak. The Lubricator finds some very nice little California wines and I am always happy when I see him lugging in a case of new finds.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
The other day, I heard DH (AKA "W4D" - What's For Dinner)
refer to himself as WD 40, like the famous oil in the little blue spray can. Ever since, I have taken to thinking of him as "The Lubricator." Actually, that's not so far from the truth, but that's not my point.
About 10 years ago, DH - W4D - The Lubricator, gave my closest girlfriends Festival Gifts. We have a big 1890's Festival in our town every October. There is much preparation, partying, eating, decorating, gift shopping and gift giving on Festival weekend and DH was sweet and thoughtful to give us gals "pre-Festival" gifts on a Friday night at the kick-off party for Festival Weekend. Heck, he shopped in advance and put them together himself. These were really cute fall baskets. We were impressed!
Each of my best girl friends received these cute little corn cob baskets DH had assembled with uncut husks, filled with a pumpkin upon which sat a scarecrow. (Corn is a personal party theme for many years among our clique). Attached to each basket was a computer printed tag that read: "Happy Festival, Love FARNK."
Spelling is not DH's forte, nor is typing.
FARNK typed his name once and copied and pasted it to full a page and then printed, cut and stapled. The man does not proof and at that time, did not automatically spell-check. So, for the last 10 years, we gals all refer to W4D, The Lubricator, as "FARNK."
"What's For Dinner, Farnk" now refers to himself as WD 40.
No wonder I get confused.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
If you use a small wine glass, you can slice the fruit instead of using a whole half. Just make sure you use a truly ripe sweet fruit. Peaches and red wine, delicious!
That reminds me of something that really pops my cork. Mother always taught me never to clank glasses when toasting. I always cringe when I see people clacking my stemware with every person they can reach and standing up to lean over a set table to try to shatter my crystal by making contact with every other glass in the vicinity. How this tacky custom started is beyond me. People, please do not clank your glasses together after a toast! Raising your glasses in a salute is the proper and civilized way to toast and won't crack the Waterford. Save clanking and clacking for the beer bottles.
And one more thing, if someone is toasting you, please don't be so crass as to drink to yourself. Just smile demurely, nod slightly, and hold your glass while the others sip in your honor. One should never drink to themselves. Let's try to have a little decorum, please.
Monday, June 27, 2005
We were watching the Barefoot Contessa Sunday morning on the Food Channel. This was the fourth cooking show we watched yesterday morning and I was getting antsy to cook something since DH had already rustled up some bacon and blueberry pancakes for breakfast and even cleaned up the kitchen.
When the Barefoot Contessa started making an Apple Crostata, I gave in to the urge to cook. I was fairly certain I had all the needed ingredients and it was a quick and easy recipe. I forgot that I hate to bake (really!) and started gathering ingredients and utensils. I could toss this little open-face tartlet thingie together in 15 minutes and it would be nice to have for Sunday dinner so I got busy.
Here is the recipe as cooked on the Barefoot Contessa's show. I made a few changes as noted below and I took pictures as I made the recipe.
For the pastry: 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced 2 tablespoons ice water.
For the filling: 1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples (3 large), 1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced.
Note: I used 2 large Granny Smith apples, a cup and a half of fresh Bing cherries, halved and pitted and a splash of lemon juice to keep the apples white.
For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and form into a disk. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to a baking sheet.
Note: I used a 12 inch pizza pan instead of a baking sheet.
For the filling, peel, core, and cut the apples into 8ths. Cut each wedge into 3 chunks. Toss the chunks with the orange zest. Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together. Sprinkle evenly on the apples. Gently fold the border over the apples to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle.
Note: I used freshly grated nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice instead of allspice.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the apples are tender. Allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: I baked mine for 30 minutes and served it at room temp with whipped cream. Loved the addition of the fresh cherries and I didn't think it needed quite so much crumb topping. Yummy!
Here's the actual photo of the Contessa's creation.
Friday, June 24, 2005
This week was sort of quiet. I watched a lot of baseball and am happy to announce that my GATORS won last night and will be playing Texas for the World Championship in the College World Series. Guess I will have to toss together some sort of baseball party. I can't think of a single thing to serve except beer and hot dogs. Perhaps, I can come up with something more original, like Texas Longhorn Beef. ha!
I was watching the credits for Six Feet Under this week when I noticed the director's name, Jeremy Podeswa. I did a double take! "Podeswa?" Who is he trying to kid? I ran his name through www.IMDB.com and checked out his body of work. (now that's a weird expression, body of work, a cadaver of old stuff) Anyway, Mr. Podeswa has a decent list of credits and filmography. It makes me wonder if he just can't spell or if he's trying to be gender-precious. I wonder what his real name is? Of course, Peau de soi is sort of hard to spell but why would you name yourself that by choice and then spell it phonetically? Sometimes, these things just baffle me, especially when W4D is out of town and I have no one else to amuse me.
Speaking of DH, here is a recent display of his thoughtful affection for the cook. I bought him this nice stainless steel grill. We have had it over a year and use it 4 or 5 nights a week. We grill all winter long, we grill in the rain, we grill anything and everything so we can make sure we get our share of char-broiled carcinogens. The grill is a really nice one, expertly insulated and easy to use. Why then, I ask you, did DH suddenly tie this filthy, ragged, tattered towel to the handle that raises the hood? It doesn't get hot so why the towel? And why use a shop towel with no hems and one that has motor oil on it? We really do have lots of nice towels, cheerful red and white woven kitchen towels are abundant at my house as are crisp white hand towels and napkins. Why would anyone decide to use a greasy shop rag and tie it to the grill with old string?
I asked DH/W4D about this strange addition to the grill and he informed me that he thought it would be nice for me not to have to touch the metal (stainless steel, mind you) bar when I open the grill.
"Umm, yes dear, you are so thoughtful. I would much rather touch this disgusting, old greasy towel that you dug up from the rag pile in your work shop."
Thankfully, it doesn't look nearly as awful in the photo as it did in person.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
DH arrived home from Mouse Town, swooshed through the house stowing luggage and parcels, dropped a few gifties (I have a huge collection of jeweled picture frames, thankew!) as well as a king-sized shrimp dinner and some smoked seafood dip for me and promptly headed out the door for the annual Summer GATOR Booster's cook out at The Whitehurst Ranch. All of his buds were going together and they'll be eating boiled peanuts, corn on the cob, BBQ pork, beef and chicken, and plenty of fine Southern veggies including Swamp Cabbage (known as Hearts of Palm in uppity places). The ladies always prepare a load of homecooked desserts and there is a fine and generous bar, a big raffle and dancing. The Fighting Gator Touchdown Club has this cookout twice a year, June and October. I like to attend in October as I am not big on the heat in June. Still, the Whitehurst Ranch is a glorious setting and at sunset, is one of the most beautiful places you could ever wish to be. I hope someone has planned a satellite uplink so the guys can watch the Game in Omaha. If not, all of our fellas took their "rude phones" so they can listen on their walkman radios if needed. I imagine if there isn't a picture, they will have the sound broadcast over the 40 odd acres of the party! Enough sports.
The best blog lines I read this week are
"It's Father's Day and the entire neighborhood smells like bacon."
And referencing spaghetti dinners from Kiss My Bitter Ass:
"How can you go through your whole life and not know the difference between balls and sausage?"
Well, a huge platter of fried Gulf shrimp, French fries, hush puppies and slaw is calling my name. Time to settle in and cheer on my GATORS. Y'all have a fine evening. By tomorrow, I should be in a better mood. I'm planning on serving up some dish to DH later tonight that he cannot resist.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Some months later, W4D got transferred to Miami and I had businesses in Tampa and Largo so he moved and I stayed. That didn't last for long. I got tired of flying down there for weekends and W4D was putting too many miles on the 912 driving upstate when I couldn't get downstate. I was also worried that he might not be eating solely at my table, if you get my drift, so I caved and decided marriage might not be so terrifying as I had anticipated after successfully avoiding any permanent commitment for the previous years. We got married in the fall of 1974 but not before the copycat struck again and sold the Porsche.
You know where this is going, don't you?
We moved to Miami Lakes directly after the honeymoon and here is what was parked in front of our first abode... Yep. That's DH's Benz on the left.
So that's our pre-marriage car history. I'll promise not to bore you with the next 31 years. Remember, the 1976 Corvette is still with us. Why do I have such a hard time thinking about parting with that car? Because I wish I still owned every single car from my past.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
ASU and Nebraska are almost as fun to watch as my GATORS.
What an exciting game! Collegiate Sports are so much better than Pro Sports. College athletes keep getting better and better and the coaching is amazing and I swear, I am never watching Pro sports again! (not that I watched them much before).
I've cooked some fresh asparagus with garlic and herb butter, made fresh fruit salad and picked up a Boston Market meatloaf dinner for supper. Good meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food but there is no point in making it for just one. I've just poured myself a triple Sapphire martini to go with the pouring rain outside. I am still bored.
Speaking of Sapphire, check out the cool free screensavers here:
I love the one with the orange fish and the itty bitty cranberry schools but of course, I am totally nuts for anything with an aquarium theme.
I worked hard all day on a vintage plastic update that should be completed tomorrow. I did my packaging and went to the post office. I took The Bubba on a drive down to the south side of the lake and we spent 45 minutes total in the car. Poor little fella isn't feeling well today and I couldn't bear to leave him alone. He's looking more chipper after his car ride. Has anyone ever known a dog that didn't love to go in the car?
I'm watching the College World Series and it doesn't look like my friend's Huskers are going to make it past the elimination round. Too bad for I wanted my GATORS to beat them again. ::evil grin::: Sorry, Jim. :::ducking::: Two wins at the CWS still wouldn't make up for the Fiesta Bowl anyway. Wait! Base hit! It could happen! Now, A Walk! Woo-hoo! ASU is not happy!
Golly, baseball and martini's isn't half bad. Still, I promise I will be back to my usual bubbling and obnoxious self soon. Maybe real soon if I have another triple Sapphire!
WOW!! Base hit and SCORE!! GO Huskers! 5-4 ASU now. I think I'll go pour some Schnapps and Balsamic vinegar into my fruit salad.
Damn. Double play. I better keep watching. I'll add some links later. I added tons of links to yesterday's entry and they all poofed. I don't think Blogger likes to add more than one link at a time and it surely doesn't seem to like blank target links. Maybe I should quit doing this stuff in HTML. Phhhhhhllllllllbbbbbbbbt.
OMG!!!! Home Run!!! Nebraska is gonna win this puppy!! AWESOME GAME! Oh, yes! There's a guy in a corn hat. I want a corn hat. Corn hats are hot. Well, after we beat them, I want a corn hat. Then corn hats will be hot. :::grin::: 7-5, Nebraska! One out. Better go make another toonie. Another HIT! What a 9th inning rally! :::hick::: Great Game. Now ASU is up, bottom of the 9th and all hayell is breaking loose. I hope DH is watching from the cocktail lounge at Universal. :::glare::: Just remember Sweetie, my toonies are better than your toonies. My food is better than your food. Go watch the game.
Don't call, me. I'll call you.
Monday, June 20, 2005
W4D (aka Dadder) was gifted with his favorite things, we had a fun time in/by the pool and grill and it didn't even rain. Dinner was excellent and I was pleased to see everyone had huge appetites.
Kaitlin baked a cake. This is a good thing for The Twerp likes to bake and I abhor baking for the most part. It just isn't fun to have to measure ingredients. Baking stifles my creativity. I don't like anyone telling me how to cook or how much baking powder to use. Baking is too methodical for my creative spirit. Decorating baked goods or finding new ways to present baked goods is fun but all that measuring, stirring and waiting is not my forte. Thank goodness, Kaitlin takes after her grandmothers.
I loved the combination of yellow cake, chocolate icing and fresh blueberries. Yummy!
Very creative, Kaitlin. Thank you!
Speaking of grandmothers, I am going to be a Gram! Michael, one of our two, previously confirmed middle-aged, bachelor sons, and his lovely fiancee' Leslie, are getting married on September 24th. She has an adorable toddler, two and a half year old Andrew, so I get a ready-made grandson! He's smart as a whip, very well-behaved and a delight. Plus, since both Mike and Leslie are 35, they are eager to add a new baby to their new family so this time next year, I will likely have two grandbabies. How exciting is that? Wow!
DH is in Orlando again this week. I forgot to ask if he is giving or receiving meetings this trip. I have promised myself to be good, walk a lot on the treadmill, work hard and get lots of updates done in his absence. It's balmy and breezy here and not at all hot this afternoon I think I might be able to bear summer after all if it never got above 82 degrees and the cool breeze like today always blew out of the north.
In addition to working long and hard ::sigh:: this week, I will also be watching the College World Series Baseball finals. GATORS everywhere and especially in here Gainesville are so excited about the possibilites. It's our very own Field of Dreams in Omaha.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
I should have taken a sleeping pill before bed but I had been getting six hours of sleep a night for several days. This is a long night's sleep for me. Five hours is my average, six hours, even with waking up 3 or 4 times is a really good night's sleep. Three hours of interrupted sleep does NOT suffice. I was tired. At least, I would sleep well Friday night.
I gave up at 6:00 AM and got up for good. I debated whether I should wash my hair since I had a hair appointment at 9:00. How dumb is that? I really wanted to wash my head but it did seem stupid to have it washed twice within 3 hours.
I was so scruffy, had to get a haircut. I made an appointment with a new, local hairdresser since my regular guy moved and the salon where he used to work canceled my next appointment, with the owner no less, with no advance notice and no voiced reason. That ticked me off so I decided not to go back. Hey, it's only hair. How bad could it be to try someone new?
It is so hot and humid this year now that summer has set in after our unusually long, mild spring, that I requested something short and perky. My new hairdresser was happy to oblige. I left the salon looking like Brigitte Nielson, my hair teased up tall and straight up top, sides slicked back. It wasn't spiked on top, thank Gawd! but all and totally erect, standing on end. I looked like a middle aged woman trying to go punk. I am a big hair, messy, softly wavy sort of gal and I rarely if ever use hairspray. My hair was so stiff it could have withstood a gale force wind. Came home and tried to brush it all out, softened it up a bit, eased down the hair standing at attention, swooshed it to the side and it wasn't so bad after all. It's Saturday morning and I have washed all of the product out of my hair and am somewhat back to normal.
Been prepping and pre-cooking foods for our Father's Day cookout tomorrow. It's DH's day and he got to pick whatever he wanted to eat. Redskin and dill potato salad is done, beans are baked, corn is shucked and ready to boil, two huge slabs of ribs are rubbed and chillin' with secret spices and ready to go. Bread is sliced, buttered, garlicked, herbed and in foil packets, BBQ sauce is made, ice tea is chilling, beer, wine and sodas in the coolers on ice. Kaitlin is baking and bringing a cake. Everything is done (!!) so tomorrow, all we will need to do is cook the ribs. I hope it doesn't rain.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Ahh, the beautiful wheels! I loved that car. DBF, soon to be DH, actually liked my 450SL a lot and wasn't at all jealous. You would think the story ends here in the late spring of 1973 but it doesn't. I'll fill you in next week sometime. This is what happens when you have a car-crazy woman and a soon to be husband who is compulsively car competitive.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that all Mercedes are better than all Porsches. I am just saying that my 450SL was a lot better than DH's old 912. Bwahahaahaa.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
He stewed. He pouted. And one day, he came home driving this little white 356 Porsche. That car was such a piece of crap and looked like it was going to fall apart at any second, collapsing into a pile of dust and nuts and bolts. I am thinking it was a '58. I remember I could see the road through the floorboard. LOL!
If we had spent a few grand and a couple of years, that 356 would have looked just like this one. As it happened, DH kept that car for about 6 hours until I talked him into taking it back to the private seller who kindly gave DH his money back. This was not a car for driving to work. It was a car for a serious classic enthusiast who wanted to restore that baby and who had major mechanical talents.
That 912 had a black leather interior that got so hot in the Tampa summer heat that it would burn your legs and it was down and dirty on the road, a rough ride. She looked good but she rattled your gizzard and it took a few minutes after you reached your destination for your eyeballs to stop jiggling around in your head. It was uncomfortable as hell but she was fast and hot damn! DH looked fine driving that yellow Porsche.
DH (at that time still, DBF), was at peace and he thought he had a hotter car than his adorable, car fiend girlfriend, for once...
But not for long!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I was thinking about "Welcome Back, Kotter," so I looked it up at www.imdb.com, the internet database for all things film and TV, and I see that Kotter didn't even air until 1975 - 1979. DH would have to have been the Head of the Drafting Dept. and I would have been the senior faculty wife that hung with Marcia Strassman, who played Mr. Kotter's perky wife. Does anyone else think she was the DNA of the clone of Jan Smithers, who played "Bailey Quarters" on "WKRP in Cincinnati?" By '78, Travolta and Gabe Kaplan weren't even there, having bolted before the show jumped the shark the following season.
Did you know that Debralee Scott, who played Hotsy Totsy on Kotter, passed away earlier this year not far from here in Amelia Island, Florida? No cause of death was given in our papers.
I've enjoyed two lovely vodka martinis with garlic and pimento olives while writing this and I am feeling a bit more cheerful so I guess I will go start dinner. What I am going to cook is still a mystery but I will rustle up something. It's so dang hot that all I want to eat is fruit. Thank goodness, there is an abundance of huge sweet blueberries, juicy strawberries, the sweetest pineapples, fragrant melons and delish Bing cherries right now. When fruit is so sweet and perfect and inexpensive, why eat anything else? BTW, I consider olives a fruit, too.
Monday, June 13, 2005
This is the first brand new car I ever bought. I think I bought my red MGB II in the fall of 1971. I must be getting senile for I can't remember the exact date I bought it but I can remember what I paid for it - $3500 cash, including fees, tags and taxes, right off the showroom floor. I kept it for just over one year and then I bought my 914 Porsche. The Porsche dealer would only give me $1800 trade-in allowance on a new car that was just one year old and in perfect condition and I was ticked. I worked on them for several days but I was hot for that car and they wouldn't budge. Finally, I told them if they didn't sell the car to DH (who was then DBF since we were not yet married), that I would not buy the Porsche. So, DH got my MGB for exactly what they gave me for the trade. They didn't even wash it, just transfered the title over to him when I went to pick up my 914. This pic was taken in March of 1973. Click it to see it in all its full sized glory.
Doesn't DH look like he should have been a teacher in that Brooklyn classroom next door to Mr. Kotter? DH would have taught shop or drafting and had Vinnie Barbarino in his class. Speaking of Vinnie Barbarino, John Travolta lives not very far from us. Anyway, check out those snazzy polyester, flared pants and that wide, poly tie. And what's that in yer pocket, dear? Were you packin' or were you just glad to see me? :::bat:::bat:::bat:::
I have always loved to haggle with car salesmen. When we bought DH's little commuter RAV last year, the salesman called daily and begged DH to come in and close the deal by himself. Ha! Fat chance! I beat that poor sales kid down and down and down over 3 1/2 weeks and refused to sign the papers until the last day of the month. They were so glad not to have to deal with me any more that they kept giving me discounts. I got over 20% off the sticker price and they were glad to give it to me just to get me out of there, once and for all.
Saturday, June 11, 2005
We were glad to see Afleet Alex, a Florida-bred win. We live smack in the middle of horse country and we always cheer for our Florida-bred or locally trained ponies. I missed seeing/hearing them sing, "New York, New York." That's okay for it is not nearly as emotional as "My Old Kentucky Home." Nothing compares to the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness is okay, the Belmont is so-so, but the Kentucky Derby reins supreme when it comes to horse racing.
So before our GATORS come on in the NCAA World Series Playoff, (and I don't yet dare talk about how excited we are about that since it might jinx it!), DH goes to read my blog. He reads softly out loud which really irriates me but I know he's doing it so that I will know he is taking time to read my blog.
"Herma.... Hermitta..... Hermit..."
I called from the other room, "Hermaphroditic."
DH tentatively pronounced it correctly,
"Good," said I. "Do you know what it means?"
"Nope" said DH.
"Okay, think hermaphodite. You know what hermaphrodite means."
"Oh, yeah, That's one of those cute little crabs with the shell on his back, right?"
After I picked myself up off the floor and caught my breath from laughing so hard, I explained what an hermaphrodite is. DH looked doubtful of the whole story and informed me, "My brain is full. I don't think it can hold anymore but I always thought hermit crabs were cute"
Check out these beautiful undersea pictures where I found the hermit crab pic!
It's the bottom of the first inning and my GATORS are looking mighty fine. Can'[t jinx it but anytime UF plays FSU, it is a major rivalry. We would so love our GATORS to make it to the final 8 of the World Series. Miami already lost, taken out by Nebraska earlier this afternoon. By this evening, only one Florida team will be left and I sure hope it is us. This state likes college baseball. All three of our major state universities were in the top 16 in the country and our AA teams were right in there, too. If we win tonight, I am going to teach DH a new word or two.
I still have classic cars on the brain. Perhaps, I'll pick up where I left off next week. For today, I thought you would be much more interested in the hermaphroditic dinner we had last night.
Did you know that scallops have both male and female sex organs? Apparently they are having quite a party inside those pretty, fan-shaped shells. Scallops can swim (Clams got legs!) by snapping their shells and the muscles that they use, the adductor muscles, are the part of the scallop we eat. Picture those scallops clapping their shells together, swooshing and scooting along the floor of the sea, having a party inside with their self contained male and female sex organs. Scallops make me smile and they are delicious, too.
So I had a pound plus of shucked bay scallops in the freezer and didn't have the right ingredients for anything special. There was plenty of summer squash, 3/4 of a green bell pepper, half a Vidalia onion, fresh lemon and lime in the fridge. I would have to come up with something.
First, I trimmed down the squash to just the outer flesh and skin since it was such a pretty color and the squash was so large and seedy that I didn't want the center part anyway. I cut it into triangles. Seeded and trimmed up the pepper and did the same. Finely chopped the Vidalia onion. Found a few cherry tomatoes in the back of the fridge. Slipped out in the rain pinched off some fresh basil from my plants. Slivered six large leaves with scissors and saved some more for garnish. Is there anything that smells better than fresh basil?
I found some linguini in the pantry and plopped a hank (about a half pound) into some boiling, salted water.
Then, I melted a big pat of butter and some olive oil and sautéed all the veggies with some garlic, just for a little while, a couple of minutes max. Added the little cherry tomatoes whole. At the last minute, I tossed in half of the basil whispies. Deglazed the pan with lemon juice and hot sauce, tossed it all and then removed it to a warm bowl.
Added some more butter and olive oil, waited until the foam subsided and placed half of the washed and patted dry scallops, a little more garlic in there for about 2 minutes, tossing and shaking. Be careful not to overcook scallops. They only take a minute or two and if you don't place too many in the pan at once, you can better control the degree of doneness. I removed those scallops and added some more butter oil, very hot pan, added the rest of the scallops and more garlic. This time, after about a minute and a half, I deglazed the pan again with lots of lemon juice and many sprinkles of hot sauce. I prefer Tabasco but any kind will do. We like hot but if you don't, just use a little bit.
By this time, about 6 minutes had passed so I tested the pasta which needed another minute, then I drained the linguini and plated it, tossed the scallops and my cooked veggie mix that looked like confetti, and added it atop the pasta, making sure to get all the juices onto the pasta as well. Then, I sprinkled the plates with the rest of the fresh slivered basil leaves and garnished. Very tasty! Sometimes the best meals come from the depths of the fridge when you have no idea what to cook. It sure is fun trying to come up with some creative way to use what you have on hand.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Quickie entry today as I am going off to be pampered, painted and buffed. My own chassis needs a little work.
Here's a pic of my Porsche 914 with the engine behind the seat. Bought it brand new in 1970 or 1971. Gosh, I can't remember, will have to ask DH. We weren't married yet but he was already copying my taste in cars and I will discuss that later. Anyway, the pic was taken at the Sebring race track, the day before the race started. I think that was the year I sneaked onto the track when the race was over and ran around it once before they caught me and threatened to arrest me. Back then, I could talk my way out of just about anything.
This was back in the good old days when Sebring was the hot racing venue of the year in Florida for formula cars, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, all the hot European cars plus the the "made in America" Corvettes. The International Grand Prix drivers came to East Podunk to drive in the 12 hour Sebring Endurance race. It was a always great fun to watch the running start of the drivers who raced on foot to get into and start their cars. We used to take a tent and camp in the infield. The sound and the dirt the excitement of it all was exhilarating! It was so cool to meet Mario Andretti and to hang out in the Porsche Coral, Corvette Coral or best yet, to have Pit Passes. Oh, to be young again...
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Since Sanne lusts for a Corvette (in addition to her Opal GT), here is a picture of mine. Bought it new in 1976. Still have it. Need to sell it to an appreciative new owner. This picture was taken in the early 80's one day when DH and I were tooling along the north Florida Atlantic coast. I used to stay tanned but I haven't been in the sun in years. Not good for the skin.
Some ancient history: Two weeks after we bought the Corvette in September of 1976, we took off on a road trip to Pike's Peak in Colorado. I loved it when we were younger and got a wild hair and just did whatever, whenever without worrying about the details. Just watch me when we retire! But, as usual, my mind is wandering.
You are supposed to break a new car in nice and easy. :::rolling eyes::: Well, that didn't happen and we loved driving that car so much we drove for 2 days straight, taking turns, fighting over who got to drive and for how long, with no sleep. At the time, we lived in West Palm Beach and by the time we got up into the USA heartland, I must have been sort of loopy for I missed a left turn towards Colorado and next thing I noticed was a road sign that read, Joliet, Ilinois, 30 miles. Ack!
I am usually an ace navigator but as I recall, I was making hors d'oeuvres in the front seat and juggling a little cooler of beverages when I should have been watching for road signs. Anyway, we missed the turn to Kansas and instead had to go back. When we got to Saint Louis, the sun was on the Arch and it was all orange and on fire and just spectacular! Everything happens for a reason. I can't remember whether it was sunrise or sunset but that was the time I decided we needed to stop driving and get some sleep.
I also remember fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see in flat, flat Kansas. (And I thought South Florida was flat!) Of course, S FLA is like a jungle and so many trees and flora abounds that you can't see more than to the corner unless you are standing in a field but Kansas was glorious with all of those huge, tall sunflowers as far as the eye could see in any direction.
At just past the Kansas state line, I could see these little black bumps on the western horizon. I watched that black thing most of the way across Kansas until it dawned on me that it was the Rocky Mountains. I just could not imagine being able to see that far. I grew up boating in the Atlantic and you sure can't see very far from a 16 foot boat. Kansas was a unique surprise and I loved it.
That 1976 road trip was a blast and my first trip out west. We still love going out west but as usual, I have gotten off subject and I need to look for more old pictures to share. In the meantime, here's a pic of DH with dark hair in the mid-late 70's. When we lived in Miami and were between boats, on the weekends we would pop down to the Florida Keys to go fishing. There are drawbridges to go from the Atlantic to the Gulf and the traffic stops and you wait on the boat traffic to go under the raised bridge. Waiting was never a bad thing when you were on your way to go fishing if the sun was shining and you had a cooler full of cold ones. You can see how we used to tie the salt water poles to the T Top bar with a bandana.
1976 Corvette, Florida Keys
Click the picture to enlarge
Foofoo Lamarr suggests that in my quest for palpitations, I look at a mid-engine cars. Been there, done that, pix tomorrow. For now, DH arrived home from Orlando and immediately dashed off to a Land and Zoning Planning Council meeting for which he sits on the Board. I hope it's quick. I am hungry. I'll hook up these links later tonight. I need to get dinner on the table.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
We need to haul our 76 Corvette out of the barn and sell her. It's a waste to let her sit there and deteriorate. Now that was a fun car to drive.
I want something different to drive and I don't know what. I'd love to find another car just like my first car, a 1959 Met, the first American compact car. I loved that car with it's little jump seats, the red and white wall tires and the darling wheel on the back. It makes me smile to think of it. I wish I still owned it.
Monday, June 06, 2005
DH is down in Orlando at something called the ASTD Conference. I am not sure exactly what that is but it sounds like they are discussing sexually transmitted diseases. No, that couldn't be right. I just checked out the web site for ASTD and this conference will apparently assist DH in "achieving his strategic goals and attaining excellence promoting workplace learning and performance in his organization." (borrrr-RINGGGG!)
I have a feeling that some conventioneers may have the "strategic goal" of visiting DisneyWorld, Universal Studios or any of the other delightful entertainments Orlando has to offer. DH and I have eaten our way through EPCOT, Disney and most of the Orlando attractions many times so that isn't a big draw for us. DH was much more excited about networking with other corporate trainers and picking up new ideas to share with his team than battling la tourista at attractions. (or so he says)
Former Mayor Rudy Giulliani was the scheduled leadership speaker this morning and DH was eager to get a seat up front so he said he was going to get to the convention center an hour early. If I had gone along, I would have spent the days alone shopping and lounging about eating bon bons but I needed to stay home with the wee Dirty Harry who is too old to go to the kennel. He has good days and not so good days and I will not leave him with anyone else. He's kept me company for 15 years so I shall be by his side as needed. Poor guy gets frantic without at least one his humans to attend him.
Last night, I just had a salad for dinner. Well, a salad and many glasses of wine. I didn't need to cook or play wifey and it was dreary and rainy so no need to go anywhere. I like a good salad and DH, in W4D mode, turns up his nose at just a salad for dinner. When the cat's away, the mice will play and for me, that means eating a big ole salad if I wish.
I love a good spinach salad. they are really easy to make if you have the ingredients on hand. For my basic spinach salad you need:
-- about 5 large mushrooms per person
-- one hard boiled chopped egg per person
-- two rashers of crispy cooked bacon per person
---- ( a "rasher" is a strip of bacon)
-- about 2 cups of loosely packed, freshly washed and dried spinach
Slice it all up nicely as shown below. Sometimes I will add a purple onion or herbs but I really like best, a salad just as listed above. However, feel free to personalize your own plate.
The secret of a good salad is the dressing. For spinach salad, I like a good basic French vinaigrette. Everyone raves about my basic vinaigrette and I have no idea why for it is the basic recipe that I probably scarfed from Julia's cookbook thirty odd years ago when I became interested in cooking. This is how I make it:
Combine 2 TBSP good wine vinegar with 1 tsp of prepared, quality Dijon mustard. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of freshly grated pepper (please do not use canned pepper, yuck!) all in a non metallic bowl. Trust me on the bowl part and use glass or ceramic. Stir it up and then whip it, whip it good, with your small kitchen whisk. If you don't own a cute little whisk, use a fork with long tines.
Once you have made a nice blend of all the above ingredients, you are going to slowly, very sloooow-ly, add 1/2 cup of the best olive oil you can find. (Don't buy cheap olive oil or try to use that salad oil crap. Always buy the best virgin olive oil that you can find and afford. Quality ingredients make quality food.) Back to the recipe... add the olive oil in a tiny, thin stream beating with the whisk until it makes a creamy emulsion as you add the oil. This should take several minutes if you do it right. If the dressing starts to separate, you are adding oil too fast. My recipe for basic vinaigrette makes a piquant, creamy dressing that is much better than shaking the ingredients in a bottle. Sheesh. Whisk, drink some wine, enjoy the creation. Do not shake!
Let the dressing sit for at least 30 minutes before you use it. I like to add some very finely minced garlic to my dressing for spinach salad. If you wish to vary my recipe, try adding lemon juice for all or part of the vinegar, or 1/2 tsp of curry powder, or a tsp of very finely grated sweet onion, or a couple of anchovy filets that have been pushed through a sieve or even a couple of hard boiled, sieved eggs if your salad does not have eggs already in it.
One last tip for spinach salad, I always dress the greens separately from the toppings. I think that's a personal choice since I don't like wet eggs or soggy bacon.
There you have my Sauce Vinaigrette that everyone raves about. You can adjust the recipe to include sesame oil and ginger, or hot sauce, or Worcestershire, but the basic recipe is the springboard. Start with it and your friends will always ask you to bring a salad.
Here's a photo of my finished spinach salad.
Originally uploaded by flaurella.
No doubt DH wishes he had one of my salads than the rubber convention chicken, gray veggies and cardboard bread he had last night but we all must make sacrifices. Should he bring home anything other than STD reports or STD training tools, no doubt you will read about his demise and my conviction in the papers and this blog will be history.
Friday, June 03, 2005
We've been seeing TV ads for birth control pills and female contraception for years. I just don't see what the problem is with advertising condoms, especially as a way to prevent HIV.
Sometimes, I wonder how this world we live in got so coarse and base. My generation of Baby Boomers was going to change everything and live in this utopian world where we ended war and all peoples were equal and free. What the hell happened?
On a much nicer note, the magnolias are blooming beautifully this year. The earliest trees started blooming in February and by the end of June, most of the huge flowers will be gone. I love the big leathery blossoms of the magnolia. They only last a short while before they turn brown but they are spectacular. This time of year it is so nice to look out the windows and see these beautiful plate-sized flowers. After the flowers drop, the center goes on to become a large seed pod with bright red seeds that drop off in the fall.
Feel free to leave a comment or, you can email me at flaurella at alltel dot net.
Enjoy your weekend.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Eggplant is one of our favorite foods and I make it often since it is fast and easy. First, you should determine the sex of the eggplant you plan to buy. I prefer to buy male eggplants since they have less seeds. I know, I know. You are wondering how to sex an eggplant and I shall share the secret here. First, send all the kiddies from the room. I'll wait.
To determine the sex of an eggplant, you will need to look at the bulbous end. Check out the "navel" there on the fat end. If the scar indentation is round, it is a female eggplant. If it is oblong, it is male. Since male eggplants have less seeds, always try to buy the manly veggie.
Wash and pat dry your male eggplant. Slice off the sexy end and then slice the eggplant into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Beat one extra large or two medium eggs in a bowl. Heat a skillet with about 1/4 inch of your favorite cooking oil. Canola oil or peanut oil works great. You can use Wesson or other vegetable oil if you must. Dip the eggplant slices in beaten egg, flip and coat both sides. Drop into your oiled frying pan at medium high heat. Salt and pepper the slices, turning them over to brown nicely both sides. Remove and repeat until all your eggplant is browned and ready to bake.
At this point, take your baking dish and add some spaghetti sauce to the bottom, smearing it around all over with your spoon. Not too much sauce but you want the eggplant to be sitting on a light layer of tomato sauce. You can make your special home-made sauce or even use canned spaghetti sauce, whatever floats yer boat. Place all the eggplant into the baking dish in a single layer and put a spoonful of your seasoned tomato sauce atop each slice. Sprinkle with parmesan, locatelli, romano or your fave spaghetti cheese combination, then top generously with grated mozzarella cheese as shown.
Place the pan or baking dish of eggplant into a heated over at about 375 for about 20 - 25 minutes. Since the eggplant is already cooked, you just need to heat everything through and have the cheese melt.
I will admit that I used to flour the eggplant and then dip it in eggs and flour again and add all these Italian herbs like my mother-in-law taught me but honestly, it is just as good fixed this way and it is fast and easy. W4D likes it served with stuffed pasta shells (as shown), a salad and some crusty Italian bread. Since I am such a perfect wife (and since I happen to adore eggplant), I gladly obilige. Mangia, mangia!
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Today would have been my father's 106th birthday. He was born in 1899 so you might expect me to be about 80 years old. Actually, I was the child of a mother and father with a 28 year age difference. Now it is fashionable to have an older parent. Back when I was coming up, it was not. One good thing about having a father who was the youngest of all his siblings was that there were lots of interesting stories shared about all my older aunts and uncles and grandparents. My paternal grandmother was born during the Civil War and she died in 1901. Daddy was raised by his sister, my beloved Aunt Belle who was born in 1888 and a real character. I grew up around old people.
I didn't have to go back very far to get right into the thick of American history. In recent years, I found that my paternal great grandmother and Lucille Ball's maternal great grandmother were sisters. Dang! Wish I had know about Cousin Lucy in high school. Instead, the only famous relative I knew of was great-great aunt Betsy Ross, on my mother's side. Mother was very proud of the Betsy Ross connection. I am far more tickled to be related to Lucy. (Mother is surely glaring down at me for that comment.)
Today is the start of hurricane season. After taking four hits within six weeks from hurricanes last year, we Floridians are weather weary. We currently have a tax free purchase period wherein we can purchase hurricane supplies. I figure I can not only save $50 in sales tax but also insure that no hurricanes come within 50 miles of me personally if I just purchase a gas powered generator. $700 is pretty cheap hurricane insurance. I know if I sink money into a generator, no hurricane will dare to come near said power source until W4D has fouled it up and it no longer will crank. With luck, that will take W4D, my mechanical genius, about 6 months if we leave it boxed and don't have to actually use it. If we should need to use the generator, it will be good for one 3 day period until he breaks it. Still, insurance is insurance and I am debating buying one.
Speaking of my esteemed and talented DH, I just answered his cell phone, which he forgot to take with him this morning and absent mindedly left charging on the table in the kitchen. There is only one cell phone with that phone number and it belongs to DH (aka W4D).
I got up from the computer, whisked into the kitchen and flipped open the phone.
"Yes?" said I
"Hi, what are you doing?" asked DH.
"Nothing much," I answered.
No more time for niceties.
"Do you have my cell phone?" inquired DH.
Ginning large with a voice sweet as sugar I asked,
"What number did you dial?"
"I have spent the last 20 minutes looking for my cell phone.
How did you get it?"
I think the cell phone should become ransom for my missing mixer beaters.