Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Farewell Peeps, Hasta la Vista Bebe's

I am going to take a few days away from all things electronic/mechanical - aye, even battery operated :::gasp::: (but maybe not AC-DC things), but definitely all cell phones and computers. Okay, I may peek at a portable DVD player or listen to a few very mellow CD's but I refuse to answer the cell or peck at a keyboard.

I shall not give a whit what time nor date it is and I promise I shall not Google anything at all for days and days. Argh! That's the hard part. I love to Google. But, I need a break and a break I shall have.

In the meantime you will need to occupy your time so let me share: I laughed so hard the other night at a 1941 W C Fields film that I am practically embarrassed to admit it. I never much cared for the man or his humor so either I have gotten waaaay old and senile or I was truly blotto or this movie is a hoot for this film was totally hysterical!

"Never Give A Sucker An Even Break"

Catch it if you can, rent it, buy it, download it, whatever. I kid you not, W4D and I were LOLing out loud and totally cracking up. OMG! Maybe we are just really OLD?!? Nahhh! We are still young at heart - this is just really funny stuff! Check out the link above and read the film notes. This movie is LOL funny.

Backatcha after I take my break from technology. Cya soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Aren't I in a good mood! Yee-Haw! My mammogram was quick and painless and all 10 films were clear and dandy. If men had designed those machines and had to place their delicate privates in there to be compressed into pancakes, they would make some medical progress on diagnostic machinery but I digress. I'm just glad all was well. A weight has been lifted!

Afterwards, had to go exchange some Dior Pure Poison that was shooting out like an untapped fire hydrant instead of in a nice fine mist so I did a little shopping at Macy's. Bleccch. I miss Burdines. Burdines supplied my earliest memory of a grand department store on Miami Beach as a kid. I just hate it that Macy's bought out Burdines. Anyway, I exchanged my defective Dior Poison and then went over to Steinmart, which I always enjoy. Never spent a cent! Am I good or what!? I didn't buy ANYTHING and it was only 3:00. Hmmm... Time for Happy Hour at On the Border. Four margaritas plus nachos and an order of their extremely Suuuhh-MOKIN' hot chicken jalapeno poppers later, I am feeling no pain. In fact, I think I need a nap. DH is gathering up supplies for our buying trip. I should help. He says, to shake us up a couple of toonies but I am not sah sire I need tee many moon toonies on top of all those maggritas. Hmmm... what to do, what to do.... Maybe I can talk him into taking me to shoot pool down by the lake at the local jook or on second thought, perhaps, I'll just go take a nap out by the pool. I sure am relieved that I had a good doc's visit today. :::hic::: :::snoooze:::

Monday, April 18, 2005

Field Trips

What a weekend! Not only was it DH's birthday, complete with lots of friends, good food and beverages, it was also the most glorious late spring weekend I can recall. I just heard on the news that it was 40 degrees this morning in the little town next to us. I didn't check the thermometer here this morning but it was plenty chilly. In fact, we all had to have a sweater or at least long sleeves for the last week. Brrrr! If North Florida would stay like this all year long, it would be heavenly.

Yesterday, we took a little Sunday drive and the fields of wildflowers are gorgeous. Here's some Black-Eyed-Susans growing up the road from me.

The fields are just full of color; yellow with the Susans, shockingly hot pink and purple with phlox, rich red with California poppies or riots of colors in patches of mixed flowers.

The other advantage of spring is still downright cheap asparagus! At 88 cents a pound, we are eating it fresh every day. One of my favorite ways with veggies is grilling. It's fast and easy and you don't even have a pot or pan to wash afterwards. Snap your asparagus to the tender part, trim as needed, rinse and pat dry. Put it in a bowl or on a plate and splash it with your best olive oil. Other flavored oils work nicely as well but don't use Wesson oil or Crisco or that other man-made "veggie" oil stuff. Treat yourself to a really good bottle of extra virgin olive oil, it's delish and good for you, too!

So, drizzle your best olive oil onto the asparagus and then make sure you have all parts of the stalks oiled. Use your hands and coat those stalks since olive oil makes your hands soft and nice. Heat your outdoor grill really hot and place the asparagus across it. Salt liberally. I like sea salt but any kind of regular ole salt will do. I don't usually pepper the asparagus on the grill since I don't think it needs it but you can if you wish.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit down in the chaise and contemplate how long it will be until you have to ask your husband to mow the grass again. Drink more wine. In about 5 minutes, take your spatula and roll the asparagus 180 degrees. By now, you should see evidence of char-broiling on the stalks as you roll them over. If not, turn up the flame on the grill. Go back to your chair and admire the deep blue sky for about 4 or 5 more minutes and finish your wine.

That's it. Easy as pie. Remove to a platter. Enjoy grilled asparagus that is so very tasty and all the more delicious if you bought it for 88 cents a pound!

Saturday, April 16, 2005

On This Date In History...

April 16, 1947

1947 Lens to provide zoom effects demonstrated (New York NY)
You will need these zoom lens in 58 years!

1947 Massive explosion & fire kills 500 in Texas City TX
1947 Explosions & fire on French ship Grandcamp
1947 Born - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [Lew Alcindor] NBA center
1947 Born - Frank Michael Ciotti [DH, W4D]
Cool Dad, Dandy Husband, He's Hot!

Happy 58th Birthday!

I still think you are a hunk even if you are older than dirt.
PS. You will need your glasses to read the line above.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Same Old, Same Old

I've been thinking about this food rut in which I am wallowing of late. I have come up with a possible explanation. DH, affectionately known as W4D, usually calls or emails about mid-day and asks me that all important question, "What's For Dinner?" It occurs to me that unless I have an answer at the ready, he rolls into Publix on his way home and buys, yes, you guessed it, steak, chicken or seafood. Doh!

Below is a picture of what W4D came toting home yesterday after work. This is a common occurrence in my house for I am married to grocery shopaholic. Personally, I hate grocery shopping but W4D is addicted to it. I can't keep him out of the markets. Little did I realize until now that he is controlling my menus with his insatiable lust for food shopping.

There was a secret message in his purchases yesterday. He's been a little grumpy, nay, almost snarly this week, and whether the result of tax season, spring fever, pending birthday, who knows why, he's definitely irritable. This is easily noted since W4D is usually one of the most good-natured people in the whole world. Anyway, he knows I don't eat NY strip steaks so that's what he bought. I glared at him and he smiled back like a demon-head. I got even though, I put hot sauce in the butter for his corn on the cob. Damned fool, he liked it.

You will note that he selected two yellow veggies. Natch, I only serve one yellow veggie at a time although I could probably really turn some stomachs if I put all yellow food on a yellow plate. Anyway, the first fresh corn of the season was a treat. It was sweet and very tasty. Grown down in Ft. Myers and trucked up here to us in North Florida. Fresh, sweet corn in April. Yum! The wine was good, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Fish, Fontina, Argentina, Whatever

I've decided that our food life is boring. We most often eat a steak, chicken or seafood with a veggie and a salad. I used to cook all kinds of fare but lately, I am in a rut. Beef, seafood, chicken, beef, seafood, chicken. Oh, every week or 10 days, I will toss together some Mexican something-or-other like chimichangas, tacos or enchiladas. I'll also make genuine from scratch Italian food since DH is Italian, and I will roast a pork loin once in a while but I have decided our diet is definitely boring.

Sure, we eat "healthy." We don't eat many processed foods. We eat plenty of fruits and veggies and green things but we mostly eat the same things over and over since we have an empty nest. I guess when there are just two to cook for, I don't fuss as much as I did in the past

Well, boring as can be, here's the salmon from last night, served with a misticanza salad with black olives and Fontina cheese. Heck, I didn't even make a sauce for the fish, just marinated it in lemon for a couple of hours before tossing it on the grill.

DH whipped out a bottle of Santa Florentina Pinot Grigio from La Rioja, Argentina. Where does he find these wines? I am beginning to think he has a secret stash in a dark corner of the barn or something. It was indeed a smooth and flirty, I mean, fruity little wine that went very well with the fish and the Fontina. I like the crazy bird on the label. Ostrich? Gnu?

Argentinean wines are consistently good. I like Australian wines, too. I wonder if Austria produces wines? Maybe I will try tasting wines from all over the world. That could be fun:
Albania, Armenia, Argentina, Australia, Austria...
Nope. not going to drink wine from Afghanistan or Azerbaijan.

Hmmmm. A whole new realm of wines to taste. Just how many countries are there in the world that produce wine? On second thought, I think I will just browse for interesting labels from places I have never been - or places that I have. :::shrug::: Besides, I have no idea what to make for dinner tonight. Beef, seafood, chicken? whatever.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Perfect Martini

There's something about the perfect icy martini before dinner preparation that puts the day into the proper perspective. It's the time I can sit and have a conversation with DH or perhaps just sit out on the deck and watch the sun slide behind the oak trees. Peaceful perfection.

I like all kinds of martini concoctions and we have fun making them of different liquors and additives but our current fave, even better than a Grey Goose Tooni is the Bombay Sapphire Martini.

Bombay Sapphire Gin has the most delicate flavor. I believe it has to be one of the best exports ever to come out of England. Bombay Sapphire declares itself to be from a 1761 recipe and it contains the following twelve special ingredients:
Almonds from Spain, Lemon Peel from Spain, Liquorice from China, Juniper Berries from Italy, Orris Root from Italy, Angelica Root from Saxony, Coriander Seeds from Mexico, Cassia Bark from Indo-China, Cubeb Berries from Java, and Grains of Paradise from West Africa.
No, I don't make this stuff up, I just read the labels.

Cubeb berries have a peppery taste with hints of lavender and camphor. Grains of Paradise are glamorously named berries imported from West Africa where they grow profusely. They look like tiny dark brown nuts and have a peppery taste with hints of lavender and camphor. Angelica Root helps to 'fix' the volatile flavors of the other botanicals and bind them together. The bitter almond is the one used in gin and it is closely related to the peach tree. Lemon peel releases a fragrant oil and Orris Root smells of sweet violets.

Coriander seeds look like mini rugby balls and have a fresh, slightly spicy, ginger, sage and lemon flavor. Cassia bark is the bark of the Acacia tree that grows in Vietnam, China and Madagascar. It resembles cinnamon in flavor but is stronger and more bitter and tastes very like Dentyne chewing gum.

The bittersweet liquorice root brings a light, woody taste and rounds off the flavors. And of course, Juniper Berries are the main botanical ingredient in all gins. The best juniper berries are from Umbrian (Italy) hilltops and from above the tree line in the former Yugoslavia. Different gins use different proportions of juniper in their recipes but its taste is instantly recognizable, bittersweet and oily with hints of pine, lavender and camphor - the taste of the mountains.

I promise you that Bombay Sapphire Gin has the most unique and delicate flavor and it makes the perfect complex Gin Martini. All of those botanicals are infused together into the most delightful spirit and with proper contemplation, you can taste each and every ingredient.

Visit the Bombay Sapphire Site if you are over 21 years of age.

Our current vermouth of choice is Noilly Prat but I also quite like Martini and Rossi Extra Dry. As you may have already noted, I am not a liquor nor wine snob. (I'm a total beer snob but that's another story.)

DH likes Jalapeno Stuffed olives, I prefer Garlic Stuffed, but we both like all kinds including giant Pimento Stuffed, Almond Stuffed, even the occasional Cocktail Onion or Lemon Twist. We tried Bleu Cheese stuffed olives but didn't much care for them... too over-powering for even a vodka martini in our book.

Oh, yes, we also like our martini's shaken, not stirred; up - of course, and dirty. Lightly dirty, please. "Dirty" means a little olive juice. I usually do this by forking the olive and then letting it drip and drain into the martini glass before I pour the tooni. Just a wee puddle of olive juice -a few drops will suffice. And one more thing, we prefer to keep the gin shaker in the freezer with old ice in it. We'll add a few new cubes daily as needed but at least half the ice is saved from the day before. We believe it has absorbed the essence of the Juniper Berries. There's nothing wrong with a little pomp and superstition when it comes to the perfect martini.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Quick Scampi

When I haven't the time or inclination to cook a complicated dinner, I opt for seafood. Seafood is delish and fast and good for you. I usually have shrimp in the freezer and find it easier to peel them when they are still a little frozen. After peeling, rinse them and pat dry with some paper towels.

Shrimp Scampi takes about five minutes to cook and DH likes it over pasta so I start the pasta water to boil before I peel. It takes the water longer to boil that it does to make every other part of this dinner combined. I like to wear a shrimp pin when I cook scampi.

So you've started a large pot of hot water to boil for your pasta. (don't add the salt yet or it will take longer to bring to a boil.) Peel the shrimp, leaving on the fan tail. The tail will be the handle and it's pretty so leave them attached and tear off the shells up to the last break in the shell before the tail.

Assemble near the stove, some sweet cream butter, (I never use salted butter), about 3 large cloves of garlic (not whole heads, just the individual cloves), some good olive oil, some lemon juice, (I usually use "Real Lemon" in a bottle since I go through a ton of lemon juice every week.), some fresh parsley (please use fresh) and some salt and the pepper grinder. Always put all your ingredients out before you start cooking. Don't forget the pasta. I usually plan a quarter of a pound of pasta per person.

Either make a salad now or have someone make it for you. I find that if you pour a guest or your spouse a glass of wine, they are pretty agreeable if you ask them to assist you with preps. At this point, I smash and chop the fresh garlic cloves and coarsely chop the parsley. Cooking is very easy if you have all ingredients at the ready.

As soon as the water starts to boil, add a goodly amount of salt and cover, bringing it to the boil again (takes about a minute). As soon as you drop that pasta into the boiling salted water, you have 8 minutes until your dinner should be served. Set your timer and have your colander in the sink so you can easily drain the pasta when the timer dings.

Heat your favorite skillet moderately hot. (I cook with gas so it only takes a second but if using electric, I guess you'll have to wait on the burner to get hot) Always heat the skillet before adding butter or oil as you'll find that foods don't stick and burn if you do it this way. Once the skillet is hot, add about 2 TBSP of unsalted butter and an equal amount of good oil. I like olive oil but you use whatever floats yer boat. The reason to add oil is that the butter adds flavor but will burn and darken over high heat. The oil has a higher tolerance for heat than butter so you mix them for the best of both worlds. Swirl them together and as soon as the butter foam subsides, you are ready to add the shrimp.

At this point, I turn my burner up very high. I love to cook everything very fast and on a really hot flame. Shrimp cooks very quickly and garlic burns quickly and turns bitter if you cook it too long so this is what I do... Dump in all the shrimp and toss it a bit, coating all with the butter/oil mixture for about a minute. Then, add the cloves of finely chopped, smashed garlic. Toss (or stir) the shrimp, turning it over as needed. Things are cooking nicely, eh? Shrimp is pink and the meat is bright white or nearly there. Now you must deglaze the pan with lemon juice. I just do it to taste and don't measure. I guess maybe a little over a quarter cup of lemon juice to start, give or take. This makes the sauce piquant. Keep cooking until shrimp starts to turn opaque and a nice little lemon butter sauce forms in the pan.

Ready to de-glaze Flaurella's Shrimp

Add the freshly chopped parsley to the shrimp, stir the pasta, check the timer, drink some wine and keep tossing the shrimp in the pan. This all happens quickly! About 4 to 5 minutes should have passed since you placed the shrimp on the heat. Shake the pan again and as soon as the timer dings, if you haven't already, turn off the heat on the shrimp and let sit while you lift the pot of pasta, take it to the sink and drain those delish carbs into your waiting colander. Turn the drained pasta into a large serving bowl and add a little olive oil and salt and pepper. You can also add some Parmesan or Romano cheese if you like. Toss gently. Shake the shrimp in the skillet once more making sure it is all pink and fully cooked, add salt and cracked pepper to taste. Dinner is ready!

Serve some pasta on each plate, top with your shrimp scampi. You can sprinkle with more fresh herbs or even some (more) cheese if you like. Serve with your fave white wine and a nice little salad and enjoy. This is the fastest and easiest dinner ever.

Flaurella's Scampi with Linguini

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Freed from Tax Hell

Free at last! We've finished and e-filed our taxes and now I can relax. I am still thinking about the Nuptials yesterday, wondering how many birds are flying around nekked after the Brit milliners decked out all the ladies in feathers for the wedding. And, who sits and cuts those arrowheads and zigzags into all those feathers? It must be a whole new cottage industry.

What was that huge sparkling horse shoe thang hanging from the ribbon on the right wrist of Camilla? I surely hope that wasn't her wedding present from Charles.

Prince WM is gonna be bald by the time he's 25. What is that in his pocket? A can of snuff? A tennis ball? (photo by JD McHugh)

I am wondering why none of the ladies took off their coats inside? Why did Joan Rivers wear white (or was that cream)? I was taught it was a no-no to wear white or near-white if you were a wedding guest. However, Joan did take off her red coat when no one else removed their outerwear and she did know to carry her gloves in hand with the fingers toward her. My mother was always a stickler about that. I have just dated myself by admitting that I used to wear gloves. Well, we were right proper young ladies.

Mr Bean was a wedding guest. (tee-hee)

Sweet wedding bouquet. (photo by Toby Melville)

I thought it a nicely understated second wedding.
OMG, we are all older than dirt and our hands show it.
So do our faces. Bummer.

Okay, off to celebrate filed taxes. Shall we go out for Sunday dinner or should I make scampi?

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Neigh, A Wedding

Yes, I watched it. Couldn't resist.
Charles and Camilla look truly happy and I'm glad they followed their hearts. I am also glad they can't produce children.

I remain fascinated by British millinery. There were some of the weirdest hats I could imagine at that wedding. The Brits really like those odd concoctions of little tumbleweeds of feathers and beribboned pancakes and wheat fields sprouting on their heads.

I was saddened to learn that the Danish royal couple Prince Joachim and his wife, Princess Alexandra have finalized their divorce. They made a beautiful couple as does Joachim's brother and heir to the Danish throne, Crown Prince Frederik and his Crown Princess Mary.
HRH Mary is a delightful and spirited commoner from Australia. I much prefer watching Danish royalty to British. I think the British have married their own cousins for too many centuries.

Beautiful Royals
The Danish Monarchy
The Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark
Exquisite Royal Jewels
Jewels You Can Afford

And no, I am not doing much cooking this week. After taxes, we'll talk.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Taxes Give Me Hives

As usual. we have waited as long as possible to work on our 2004 taxes. DH is working on Turbo-Tax and I am searching for and recording all the expenses and deductions I neglected to tally last year. I am real good about keeping receipts and records but not very good at posting them in the ledgers. We are busy bees and we haven't yet resorted to name-calling, cursing or fisticuffs. Good on us.

Speaking of bees, did you know that each hive of bees must visit about 2 million flowers and travel over 55,000 miles to produce a single pound of honey? The average worker bee only makes about 1/12th of a TEASPOON of honey in his lifetime. And you thought that you were worked to death.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard my father declare honey was "the perfect food," I'd be a rich old lady. Hmmm, after consideration and some quick math since there are calculators all about me, I would have a couple of extra grand and still not be an old lady since I will never think of myself as an old lady but as usual, I digress. DH works for the State so he's a worker bee. I am self employed so that makes me the Queen Bee, and I have a tiara to prove it. Feel free to bring me honey or buy yerself a tiara.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Happy Birthday, Twinkie

Tomorrow is the 75th Anniversarty of the Twinkie. Did you know that people actually make recipes and create menu items from Twinkies and Ding Dongs? I hear they are deep frying Twinkies at the State Fair. I can't even imagine what a fried Twinkie tastes like. Bleccch! Aren't the Twinkie people the same folks who bring us Wonder Bread? Go visit Planet Twinkie. I don't remember often eating Twinkies as a kid. To me, they always tasted like chemicals on cardboard. How about some Twinkie Sushi?
Compliments of Hostess
My DH thinks "Tasty Cake" products are the ultimate sweet lunch box snack. To me, they are right down there with Twinkies but then I don't know much about them since we didn't have them in the south when I was growing up.
Official Little Debbie Logo
I like Little Debbie products. They've been around about 45 years but what we ate mostly as kids was Moonpies. Surely you have heard of Moonpies and an RC Cola. That was really and truly our afternoon snack as kids. RC Cola had more bite than a Co'Cola or a Pepsi and it cost less, too. A few years ago, I went to a VFCJ convention in Atlanta and on the pillow of the bed was a Moonpie and an RC Cola. That's hospitality! We also spend time in a friend's cabin in NC that is named "Moonpie" so Moonpies are dear to my heart for several reasons. I was going to tell you some Moonpie stories but I just discovered that a lot of people have beaten me to the punch.

That reminds me, DH bought me some GooGoo Clusters the other day. GooGoo Supremes are one of my fave snacks. The label reads, "An American Institution since 1912." Supremes are made of milk chocolate, pecans, caramel and marshmallow. They weigh 1.5 ounces and are sort of a cross between a Moonpie and a "turtle" candy.

Delish! Time for a snack!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Spring Victuals

This time of year when asparagus is plentiful and inexpensive, we eat it three or four times a week. Asparagus means spring! So do strawberries. We start getting the first Florida strawberries in early February and by April, they are downright cheap so we eat them every day. Fresh mushrooms are nice this time of year, too.

With an abundance of produce, how could I forget to pick up tomatoes? This is what I do when I forget tomatoes and have a fridge full of fresh strawberries. Top some red leaf lettuce with some big, sliced, fresh berries. Make a little raspberry vinaigrette with some raspberry balsamic vinegar and some good olive oil. Drizzle with your dressing and don't forget to lightly salt and crack some fresh peppercorns when serving. Looks good, tastes like spring.

Snap off the tough ends of asparagus. You'll know where to the tough part starts since that is where the stalk will easily snap. Rinse well and trim the snapped end if you like the stalks really neat. Use a 12 inch skillet and boil an inch of two of water, just enough to cover the asparagus. After the water reaches a gentle boil, add some salt, drop in the asparagus, put a lid on the skillet and gently boil about 5 or 6 minutes. The stalks should be crisply al dente, not cooked to mush. You can fork them to tell how done the stalks are and remember that they will continue to cook for about 30 seconds after you drain them so don't over cook. Drain and then return to the still warm pan, dot with some sweet cream butter and sprinkle with lemon juice. No heat needed, just cover and they should stay nicely warm for long enough to set up your plates. Serve with a nice little filet mignon hot off the grill and since life is short, go for the baked potato, too.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Fresh, Nutty, Wild and Crazy

I don't usually admit this but there is rarely a wine I don't enjoy. To prove it, I buy Carlo Rossi, 3 liter bottles, by the case. I happen to enjoy Carlo Rossi so right there, you know that I am no wine snob. I also enjoy fine wines and I don't mind paying for them. It's hard for me to make the acquaintance of a wine I don't like. Cheap wine can be fun. Excellent wine is very much appreciated. Everything in between will be enjoyed as well. Give it to Flaurella, she'll drink anything!

That said, it was a weekend of disappointing wines. Friday night, we forced ourselves to drink the second bottle of Italian Bottaro. We bought two bottles back at the end of December since they were cute Italian basket bottles with wavy necks and we just knew our daughter would love them as tall candle stick holders on the table in her soon-to-be new apartment. :::insert flashback here of college days, first apartments, romantic, inexpensive mood lighting with candles stuck in basketed Italian wine bottles, candle wax drizzled down the sides in colorful patterns, oh! Those were the days, but I digress::: Anyway, we just knew DD would like these bottles and really, how bad could the wine be?

We opened a bottle in January to go with a nice little stuffed shell dinner. Yowza! Pucker power! The Bottaro tasted like it had just been bottled a couple of weeks ago - the nouveau-beau of The Boot. Yikes! We went ahead and forced it down with the pasta and tomato gravy. It's a young wine, that's all. It's supposed to be tart, ummm, let's call it fresh, really, really fresh.

So, here it is April and we have yet to drink the other bottle. DD still needs romantic apartment lighting. She's visiting later in the weekend so we have to drink the other bottle of Bottaro. The kidlet needs her Boho set of candle holders. We are brave and kind parents. We suffered through it. I don't recommend that you do so unless you need cute empty bottles for your drippy candles.

I cooked a nice little pork loin roast the next day. Rummaged through the wine rack and came up with Pinot Grigio della Venezie. On a glorious spring day, a little Pinot Grigio would be dandy for dinner. Even the color was like springtime but, the vino was not what I was expecting. I was thinking fruity and fresh. I sipped. Puzzled, I sipped again. Nutty. Not fruity, purely and totally nutty, like ground pistachio nuts. I wasn't at all expecting nutty. I drank it anyway but unless you like your Pinot Grigio to taste like nuts, you can skip this one.

I think I'll drink some Rossi Paisano with supper tonight.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

You Wanted to Know

Today, I'll answer a couple of the email queries generated by my blog.

Q: "I faithfully read your blog every day. I have a lot of questions, however, about what are mesclun greens, etc. I am not a food-oriented person and sometimes do not understand."

A: Mesclun is a mix of tender, young, frou-frou yuppie greens that usually includes various tender red and green looseleaf and oakleaf lettuces, baby spinach, arugula, and smooth as well as curly endive. It can include any mix or blend of edible, young salad greens or flowers such as dandelions, chervil, chicory or raddichio. To be cool, be sure to pronounce "endive" as "Ahhhhnn-DEEEVE", and never as "ENNNNNN-Dive" or people will think you just fell off the turnip truck. To be lazy, just do as I do and buy it at the wholesale market, pre-washed and pre-packaged. In Italian, mesclun baby mixed greens are called, "misticanza." (That's "Miss-tee-CAHN-zah") It's easy to grow your own blend of mesclun greens
in the winter or early spring in Florida. You need cold nights and cool days. Harvest the tender greens daily and don't let them grow large.

Most importantly, Do not confuse Mesclun with Mesculin. Mesculin is what those rabble-rousing Hippies ingested to get high in the 60's and early 70's. As I have been told, Mesculin was a Native American, cactus hallucinogen of some sort... but of course, my memory of that time is very foggy and blurred.

Q: "What the heck is raspberry chipotle' sauce?"

A: Raspberry chipotle' sauce is a sauce I make from raspberries and chipotle sauce. Chipotle sauce is made of very hot, charred peppers. I would give you the recipe of sweetened and reduced raspberries and bottled chipotle sauce but it's a top secret recipe of mine. I use the bottled, el cheapo "Bufalo (not a typo - only one F in Bufalo) Chipotle Mexican Hot Sauce - Very Hot." The label proclaims it is a product of MEHHH- hee-cohh. I mix de berries with de chipotle sauce and stir it all up. Please do not share this complicated secret recipe with others. Ever.

I found a graphic of Hoopy in Gulden's Mustard bronze.
I'll never know why she was named that but
this is what our first SUV looked like:

Friday, April 01, 2005

Something in the Air...

I've been nostalgic all day. It's something in the air I think, that triggered this big swoosh of nostalgia. Perhaps, it is the mix of spring fragrance or maybe it is as simple as the return of humidity. Yep. My hair is frizzy today. That's the trigger -- humidity. I hate humidity.

So, I was looking outside at all the green, fanning my frizzy hair and staring at my car. I love my "Carmela" but I'll save that discussion for another day. Anyway, I am staring at Carm thinking how fine she looks and the vision of the first car I can remember popped right into my head, plain as day.

It was our family car and I can still smell it in my mind, still feel how huge it was and how I couldn't see outside unless I stood up on the back seat which was about the size of a twin bed. This was long before car seats or booster seats, mind you. We grew up without seatbelts. I am not sure we needed them because no one drove very fast and we didn't yet have interstate highways. The cars of my youth were heavy and solid. They felt safe, not like these new vehicles with sides you can dent with your knees and plastic bumpers and tacky PVC interiors.

So, I have this clear picture in my mind of our old Chevy Woody. I googled and found a graphic of the exact car but not quite the right color.

I remember ours as being sort of a bronze color all over and the wood was darker and more highly varnished than the one shown above, but other than that, it's the same car. The Woody's name was "Hoopy." I don't recall why but after that, we had "Hoopy II." The original Hoopy was a '48. Hoopy #2 was a '52 Chevy Bellaire, sea foam green. Man, they sure don't make cars the way they used to...

DH drives a cute little young thing. I drive a solid, older classic.
Yep, sorta like our marriage.