28 December 2006

from korea, with (fill in the blank)

so today was secret santa day, at long last. my package was from Jelly. it came all the way from korea (!!!). click on the title of this post to go check out her blog dammit.

the package, before i broke the seal.

wot lovely handwriting! mine looks like a serial killer's anymore. i never actually write, see? i type about 65wpm tho.

how'd she know i dig purple toothbrushes?

mmm... choklit.
um, soft smoked squid legs? wot shall i do with these?

the chili oil will definitely get used, tho.
thank you Jelly! hope you're having a great time in japan!

23 December 2006

a holiday meme... on festivus!

yet another ganked meme... this one's from the cranky prof. check out her site @ http://crankyprof.blogspot.com .

anyhoo.. here goes!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Why not both?
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? There is no Santa. I wrap my ass off most of the month of December. I'll post a pic.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Neither. Our electric bill is heinous enough as it is.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? My husband doesn't need shrubbery to kiss me. I'm lucky like that.
5. When do you put your decorations up? The Festivus pole doesn't go up till the 22nd of December.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? I don't make the same thing every year.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The frenzy of unwrapping my presents on XMAS Eve.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?I don't think I ever bought into the whole Santa thing actually.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I told my husband that this year, I'd wait till XMAS to open them. First time ever.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I actually like the XMAS tree. I did a tree last year. I tend to not overdecorate the tree. I don't have any filler ornaments though, so they're all cool. My favorite is a reindeer carved out of wood that I got at Eddie Bauer in Seattle.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I live in California. I think snow is pretty on Mt. Baldy, but other than that, I'll pass.
12. Can you ice skate? Umm.. no?
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I don't think I could ever pick a favorite.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? That it's a mad rush, and then I get to slow down and just hang out with the people I love.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Ice cream made out of the leftover scratch egg nog.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Something that'll never happen again. Mom's no longer with us.*sigh*
17. What tops your tree? I'm gonna have to find a new thingy to put up there next year.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Do I really have to choose?
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Just about anything Nat King Cole ever did.
20. Candy canes: yuck or yum? Yuck, mos def.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? I cannot think of one. I know I suck.
22. What do you leave for Santa? If I believed in Santa, I'd probably leave him an espresso-spiked hot choklit and a spliff.

a festivus for the rest of us!

o yes, today's the day! gather 'round the festivus pole kids, it's time for the airing of grievances and feats of strength!
i swear, one of these years i'm going to have a festivus party, and someone's gonna have to pin me before it ends. maybe next year. i've seen stuff all over the internets the last couple days about a company (http://www.festivuspoles.com) in wisconsin that manufactures and sells a six foot tall festivus pole + attractive collapsing stand for $38. i think next year i'm going to have to get one.
soooo... i gotta go wrap some of the hub's swag. have a happy festivus everyone!

14 December 2006

the aforementioned pics!

the choklit chip cookies

the oatmeal cranberry cookies in progress

if i had a dick...

blogger could suck it.

i just got invited to participate in a group blog, turdmania (click the title of this post), a wicked cool food-related blog. i'm using the beta version of blogger and it's taking a big dump all over my invite.

anyhoo, i'm baking cookies to take to wen'ls office tomorrow and i better get back to it.

pics later!

22 November 2006

A Meme... ganked from the Angry Black Bitch

click the title of this post and go check out her blog!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Wen'l would soooo be doing me if he were here!
2. How much cash do you have on you? I spent my last $5 on breakfast.
3. What’s a word that rhymes with "DOOR?" Floor?
4. Favorite planet? The one I'm living on... hello!
5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone? I've only got 3 peeps on my missed call list right now.
6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? The only one I'm currently using sounds like music from a 70's porno.
7. What shirt are you wearing? A beat up blue t-shirt. I'm currently doing the dessert-making for dinner tomorrow.
8. Do you "label" yourself? Oh, all the time.
9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing? Teva.
10. Bright or Dark Room? Currently, bright.
11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you? I wanna be just like her when I grow up!
12. What does your watch look like? I do not own a watch.
13. What were you doing at midnight last night? Reading the cover story in the new Rolling Stone.
14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say? That my bill had just been paid and my current balance was now $0.
15. Where is your nearest 7-11? Hell if I know... I buy all my booze at BevMo and Trader Joe's.
16. What's a word that you say a lot? I've been known to drop the frequent F-bomb.
17. Who told you he/she loved you last? My husband.
18. Last furry thing you touched? My husband's gang o'pubes. He has a bruise mere millimeters above his swipe and I had to kiss it better.
19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days? Copious amounts of thc, 6 800mg vitamin i and 6 robaxin.
20. How many rolls of film do you need developed? None. We don't have one of those Flinstones cameras anymore.
21. Favorite age you have been so far? I'd say 37 except for the fact that my mom died this year. Other than that, it's been great.
22. Your worst enemy? The hills of San Francisco.
23. What is your current desktop picture? A stone wall covered in color-changing foliage at the Hess Vineyards.
24. What was the last thing you said to someone? Fuck that bruise looks gnarly honey!
25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be? Definitely the money.
26. Do you like someone? I like plenty of people.
27. The last song you listened to? "Who Cares" by Gnarls Barkley.
28. What time of day were you born? 11:50 am.
29. What’s your favorite number? 13
30. Where did you live in 1987? Cerritos, California.
31. Are you jealous of anyone? As if!
32. Is anyone jealous of you? I'm certain someone is... why, I have no idea.
33. Where were you when 9/11 happened? Asleep.
34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Break a toe kicking the &%$#@! thing.
35. Do you consider yourself kind? I'm afraid so.
36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? Someplace right over a bone, so it'd hurt like a bitch. That way, I wouldn't be tempted to get a second.
37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be? Italian.
38. Would you move for the person you loved? Yep.
39. Are you touchy feely? Wen'l sez so.
40. What’s your life motto? To thine own self be true.
41. Name three things that you have on you at all times? Cell phone, a pack of butts and my wedding ring.
42. What’s your favourite town/city? Long Beach, California.
43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash? A breakfast burrito from Harry's.
44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? Sometime in the week or so after my mom died.
45. Can you change the oil on a car? Yes.
46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her? That he's still a shiftless prick and that he's currently living in Hawaii.
47. How far back do you know about your ancestry? Um, I know where my parents were born and that's about it.
48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy? It was all black, a sweater and skirt. Anniversary dinner in Napa.
49. Does anything hurt on your body right now? The sciatica is acting up bigly... been on my feet cooking for 2 days.
50. Have you been burned by love? So bad I'm surprised I didn't need skin grafts... but not by my hub. :)

20 November 2006

mi nombre es...

sienna. it's what color i am and i answered enthusiastically to it the first time my peeps called me that.

i'm taking a nap right now, right at jOoLz's feet. i'm a rambunctious little shit and i need to recharge my batteries quite often. i'm getting better at doing my bidness outside, and my peeps are giving me lots of praise when i do.

wen'l is also trying to teach me to sit, like i don't already know. what i don't know is how to do it when he wants me to, but i'm trying my best to learn.

i like mornings best so far. it's when they fill up the cool life is good bowl they put my food in. plus, after i'm done, someone always takes me for a walk. i'm really liking discovering my neighborhood. when we're done i always have a nice long nap. i think i heard jOoLz laughing at me during my sleep. i've been dreaming about chasing that icky feral cat out of MY backyard a lot lately.

anyhoo, it's time for me to wake up and start bouncing off the walls again. poor jOoLz... she's probably going to lose 5 lbs this week chasing after me.

*big slobbery kisses*

19 November 2006

the baker

my honey baked 2 loaves of bread for me today. one to mow on and one to make stuffing with thursday.

i know you're drooling just looking at it so i won't mention how delicious it was. :p

18 November 2006

our new puppy


ain't she a cutie? we got her from the OC pound. haven't thunk up a name for her yet though. naming a puppy is harder than i thought!

any suggestions?

10 November 2006

a (wonderful) change of plans

so... i'm a total pussy. san francisco is lovely, but until i can have a wee surgical procedure on my right knee, it's not my kinda town. it looks flat on a map, yo. i think the only part of town that actually IS flat is the waterfront. plus, there were an assload of USC alums in town. they don't call it the university of spoiled children for nothing, you know. the trojans were in town (well, actually down the road in palo alto) to play stanford. everywhere we turned there they were. i think the prospect of having to wait in line for 2 fucking hours to eat breakfast was what finally made me snap.

i enjoyed my wee stay in SF, had a great dinner with wen'l at a place called brick on friday night. everything is plated to share at brick, which made for a surprisingly romantic meal. i had a meltdown on sutter st., walking back to our hotel from jam-packed union square. we checked out when we got back. we weren't going to go home, but we were going to get outta dodge. we went to fisherman's wharf and had lunch on our way out of town. everything i've ever heard about the place was true... total tourist trap. BUT, everything i've ever heard about dungeness crab is also true. it is just better up there. we had crab cakes and a lovely chowdah for lunch, and watched the fog recede from the golden gate bridge. the crab house had a fantastic view of the bay, and i got chills just looking at alcatraz.

we drove over the golden gate, which was being re-enshrouded (is that a word?) by the fog by the time we got there. wen'l had never driven over the bridge, never been in marin county... we had a lovely drive up to the napa valley. neither one of us had ever been there, and we learned a few interesting things on the way up there. did you know the leaves on grapevines turn colors? i didn't. it's absolutely gorgeous.

we ended up staying at the first place we found, a place called the wine valley inn. my only requirement was that our night's lodging wouldn't break the bank like some places up that way can (ie, the auberge du soleil in rutherford). we relaxed, got settled and started thinking about where we'd eat dinner. it was our anniversary, after all, and dinner had to be somewhere worthy of the occasion. after much discussion, we came up with a place, got ready, and headed on down. we were told that w/o a reservation, we wouldn't be seated till 9:45. i wanted to be about half done with the bottle of 1999 veuve clicquot we'd brought along by that time, though, so we ended up going with what was my husband's first choice, a place called angèle, right on the banks of the napa river. click the title of this post to check out their website.

what a fabulous meal! we picked the *palourdes au basilic*, a ragoût of littleneck clams, prosciutto, white wine and shallots as our appetizer. i'm definitely going to do that at home. wen'l had the *magret de canard*, a duck breast w/ roasted figs, baby turnips and duck jus. i had the *boeuf bourguignon*, something i've been known to do here at home. it was one of the specials that night, and wen'l said he knew when he heard they had it that i'd be ordering it. it was tres delish. they put haricots verts in their version, something i'll definitely be trying out. yum! we each had our own dessert. normally we split one, but i wanted this banana thing with caramel ice cream and an almond crust, and wen'l is not the biggest fan of hot bananas. he had the chocolate fondant. gawd, i'm being very clinical about it, aren't i? we didn't have our camera with us or i'd have taken some pics. angèle is in a restored old boathouse, and it's breathtaking. the ceiling in the main dining room especially. absolutely romantic, and the place left me aching for something like it in our neck of the woods. food like that (rustic french... yum!) and atmosphere like that are something sorely lacking in orange county.

so after dinner we made our way back to room #41 of the wine valley inn and uncorked our champagne. we had veuve clicquot (the nonvintage stuff, which is quite lovely actually) at our reception and we've made it a habit to drink it for all our special occasions since. this year called for something special though. firstly, we were going away for our anniversary. hell, we didn't even have a honeymoon! secondly, we're doing better financially now and spending more than about $40 wasn't going to put us in the poor house. the 1999 was a decent-sized bump up from what we're used to. i think next year we might go whole hog and get la grande dame. i'm mighty curious about it now. the next morning we had breakfast at a place in town and made our way out to the hess winery. we couldn't very well be in napa and not do a tour and tasting, right? even if it was before noon?

here it is:

beautiful, no? and what a lovely day it was! just getting there was a treat. the mountain road leading up to the winery was amazing, and the air smelled alive in a way i don't think i can explain. we toured the grounds and the art gallery housed in the building above. i bought a book about wine, a nifty new corkscrew to replace the rickety one i've been using, and a bottle of their 2003 cabernet sauvignon that we ended up sampling during our tasting. i picked a winner! i'm going to serve it at wen'ls birthday dinner in december. i think it'll go great with the turner new zealand rack of lamb i'm going to do.

we headed back home after our time at hess, and decided the next time we head up to napa that we're going to do it right. start way up in the northern part of it and work our way south. do like 4 or 5 wineries a day. have a wonderful dinner in one of the local restaurants (and we'll remember to make reservations this time!). i'd even recommend a getaway to the napa valley to anyone, whether they were into wine or not, especially in the fall. it was just breathtakingly beautiful and there's plenty to do besides slowly get drunk.

it was a wonderful weekend after all.

02 November 2006


we're gettin out of dodge at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow. saturday is our anniversary. numero dos.

i'll write a big, mushy post when we get back from san francisco.

rented a volvo S60 (kinda diggin it so far... it's a lot different than my usual hooptie tahoe!). stayin at a boutique hotel on nob hill. gonna do a bunch of walking, some shopping, and a whole lot of eating. AND, we're gonna take the scenic route home. wen'l has never seen the central coast.

have a good weekend kids!

22 October 2006

i snorted till i choked

President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit the Episcopal Church
outside Washington as part of his campaign to restore his poll
standings. Bush's campaign manager made a visit to the Bishop, and
said to him "We've been getting a lot of bad publicity because of the
president's position on stem cell research, the Iraq war, Katrina, and
the like. We'd gladly make a contribution to the church of $100,000 if
during your sermon you'd say the President is a saint." The Bishop
thought it over for a few moments and finally said, "The Church is in
desperate need of funds and I will agree to do it."

Bush showed up for the sermon and the Bishop began:

"I'd like to speak to you all this morning about our President. George
Bush is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel. He took the
tragedy of September 11 and used it to frighten and manipulate the
American people. He lied about weapons of mass destruction and invaded
Iraq for oil and money, causing the deaths of tens of thousands and
making the United States the most hated country on earth."

"He appointed cronies to positions of power and influence, leading to
widespread death and destruction during Hurricane Katrina. He awarded
contracts and tax cuts to his rich friends so that we now have more
poverty in this country, and a greater gap between rich and poor, than
we've had since the Depression. He instituted illegal wiretaps when
getting a warrant from a secret court would have been a mere
administrative detail, had his henchmen lie to Congress about it, then
claimed he is above the law."

"He has headed the most corrupt, bribe-inducing political party since
Teapot Dome. The national surplus has turned into a staggering
national debt of $7.6 trillion, gas prices are up 85%, and vital
research into global warming and stem cells is stopped cold because
he's afraid to lose votes from some religious kooks. He is the worst
example of a true Christian I've ever known."

"But, compared to Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, George Bush is a saint."

19 October 2006

whoa... i'm the only one

LogoThere is:
person with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

14 October 2006

welcome back bob?

so... my dad took off on a trip about 3 weeks after mom's funeral, to parts east. he was supposed to be back the 27th of last month. he's getting home today, probably around 3 this afternoon.

he spent over $10k on this little adventure, and only paid to put a roof over his head about 5 nights total. i have no idea how he spent so much.

you may be asking how i know how much he's blown. the dork put me in charge of paying his bills in his absence, that's how. in fact, i'll probably keep doing it once he's returned. he's not the most responsible motherfucker in the world, and i don't want to listen to him whine about being foreclosed upon because he forgot to pay his mortgage.

my mom left him in pretty good shape financially. a nicely loaded 401(k), other retirement savings, a portfolio too dependent upon mutual funds (and i have advised him to get out of those at his earliest convenience... i have problems with investment options which reserve the bulk of their earnings for the fund and for the financial *advisor*). life insurance. hell, even his social security benefits will increase.

he's been extremely foolish in re his spending since her death. a new pick'm up truck that he had to put new wheels and tires on and have lowered. he already had 2 cars, and still does actually. a harley-davidson... he had a motorcycle about 15 yrs ago... that he totaled in about 2 weeks. probably looking at some broad's ass and not paying attention to traffic. i would think his reflexes and shit have only diminished in the ensuing years. he has absolutely no business having a motorcycle now, at any rate. southern california traffic is far worse than it was then, and if he thinks he's going to be riding the damn contraption around here... i'm gonna have to put a good hurt on him.

anyhoo, i'm not going to itemize his spending. i haven't even gotten to the truly frightening stuff. suffice it to say, he's quite compulsive. my problem is this: how do i get him to understand that he needs to be thinking how to reduce his expenses, not add to them? i mean, the insurance alone on that stupid motorcycle is almost $1500 a year.

he's 65 years old. his health isn't the greatest, but he's not going to drop dead in a week, or a month, or even a year. he's gonna be destitute, and living under a bridge eating generic dog food if he's not careful though. he was never responsible for the financial shit (that was my mom), and he has absolutely no idea how much it costs to live here, even frugally.

i have no idea how to broach the subject with him. his tendency in matters such as this is to become defensive and accusatory, ie "you're trying to run my life!"

how is it that i tell him i'm worried about him, and his spending habits and make it perfectly clear that "running his life" is a responsibility i neither want nor need? how i'd rather not spend the rest of his life making sure he's not penniless and homeless? how i'd like it very much if he'd grow the fuck up already?

13 October 2006

friday the 13th

Turner New Zealand
650 Anton Blvd

Costa Mesa California 92626
Tel. 714.668.0880

Table 5 People 2
Waiter Richard J


1 Turner Lamb Chops - 19.00
1 Turner Venison Chop - 48.00
1 Turner Lob/Filet 6o - 59.00
1 Chocolate Souffle - 12.00
2 Coffee - 7.00
2 Manhattan - 16.00
1 Lemon Drop - 9.00

Sub-total: 170.00
Sales Tax: 13.18
Total Due: 183.18

Fuck it was good! I left a $50. tip even. Richard J took great care of us.

01 October 2006

meals away from home

hey... been in the midst of some home improvement projects the last week or so. we got granite countertops installed a couple months ago and the yellow paint that was in there looked so nauseating with them that i was finding it hard to muster the inspiration to cook. the countertops are a bit difficult to explain. the background i guess is white. there are gray and black dapples all over it, and the odd blob of taupe. the walls used to be this obnoxiously lemony yellow, which went fairly well with what was there.

because of my culinary difficulties, i decided i had to do something about it. so i bought 2 gallons of ralph lauren paint, a taupe shade called hopsack. perfect name for it btw. it's gonna look pretty damn tight in there when i finally get it finished.

of course, i couldn't just stop with the kitchen. it being all sweet was going to make everything around it look good and shitty, so i had to paint the laundry/mudroom area and the adjoining bathroom as well. all various intensities of the same shade.

anyhoo... i don't know if i've blogged about this restaurant wen'l and i have been going to for lunch the last couple months. it's called turner new zealand and i have been dropping about a bill for lunch + cocktails + tip. it's all organic and free-range and check out the damn website. i dare you to check out their menus. best damn beef, lamb and seafood i've ever had.

i just made a reservation for our first dinner there, for friday the 13th. we're celebrating it. dinner ought to set me back close to $200 and i don't mind a bit. i'm thinking of having the either the lamb porterhouse or the filet mignon and lobster. or perhaps the bouillabaise. who knows?

we've been eating dinner out a lot lately, and getting way too much takeout. it sux.

and... i have to find someplace new to have breakfast on saturdays. we usually go to cerritos and have breakfast at this place called mimi's cafe. it's right by the trader joe's and they have crab cakes benny, which totally rocks. however, i've been going a bit mental there lately, and i think i should avoid the place for awhile. see, it's where wen'l and i would go to take a breather from dealing with my mom, back when she was sick and even more so after we found out she was dying. i was actually crying yesterday morning, and it made me feel like a total ass.

bleh... god i'm rambling and i'm not even hi.

07 September 2006

the cat whisperer

that would be my cousin debbie. she came and abducted the feral kittens today. couldn't get mommy kitty just yet tho... she's going to require a dose of feline valium. she's going to be back for her tomorrow hopefully.

she's acting bereft without the babies. they're six weeks old, though, and she's got them practically weaned.

i wish she could understand that her babies will have a much better life this way. they really are quite adorable, and deb won't have any trouble finding them all a good home. i just hope once the mom is caught (and fixed, oh yes), that she will calm down enough to be deprogrammed.

cross yer fingers kids!

04 September 2006

an update on the post below

well well well... that'll be the last time i try to write up a post in word and then copy & paste into blogger! the formatting sucks deep-fried ass on the post below!

least that's the only thing about that post that sucked. the cheesecake rocked our world, yo! i just have a couple tips i wanted to add for anyone contemplating making it. if you don't have a stand mixer, i suppose you could use a hand mixer, but only if it's got a decent amount of power. making this or any cheesecake properly involves a whole lot of mixing, and i'd hate to think of the fatigue and muscle strain a person could suffer tring to mix it by hand. also, scrape down the sides and bottom of your work bowl frequently. the batter, if you will, should be mixed till completely homogenous. lumpy cheesecake would suck the aforementioned deep-fried ass.

and... use the best chocolate you can find/afford. this cheesecake was not cheap to make (it had about $30 worth of crap in it), and i spose it would have been lovely with a decent brand of chocolate chips rather than the perugina chocolate bars i used... thankfully i wasn't in the position where i had to find out. if $30 is a bit spendy for an everyday dessert for you too, save it for a special occasion or for people who will appreciate the effort.

wen'l and i went to my cousin debbie's and her wonderful (gawd i never know wot to call her... girlfriend? wife? shit, they've been together for like 20 yrs and shit!) s.o. nancy's place for dinner last night and took this. they both said it was the best cheesecake they'd ever had. i was quite stoked, to say the least.
sooo... if you make, enjoy and share it with people who deserve it!

03 September 2006

if you like choklit...

and i know you do, or you probably wouldn't be reading this particular blog...

i present to you my latest creation, chocolate cheesecake with a macadamia nut crust, drenched in gooey chocolate ganache:

5 oz (1¼c) roasted macadamia nuts
½ c panko
¼ c sugar
2 T flour
¼ t salt
3 T butter, melted and slightly cooled
pulse nuts in food processor fitted with metal blade till the consistency
of very coarse bread crumbs. combine in bowl with the remainder of
dry ingredients, and pour the butter pretty fairly evenly over the mixture.
stir till well combined and pour into the bottom of a 8½-10" springform pan.
if making for cheesecake, do not blind bake. if making for a pre-cooked filling,
blind bake in a 350° oven for 15-20 min, or until golden brown.

chocolate cheesecake
2½ lb cream cheese, @ room temperature
1½ t vanilla extract
contents of 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 c sugar
3 T flour
1 c mascarpone
8-9 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
3 eggs
in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, vanilla (both
kinds) and sugar till light and fluffy. add the flour and mix on low to incorporate, making
sure to scrape down the sides of the work bowl. add the mascarpone and melted, cooled
chocolate, and mix very well to combine, and again, scrape down the sides and bottom of the
bowl. when it's smooth and homogenous, add the eggs, one at a time, while mixing on low speed.
scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix till very smooth. pour mixture into your prepared crust.
if your springform pan is light in color, bake in a 350° oven for 50 mins to 1 hr and 10 mins. if your
springform pan is dark in color, reduce heat to 325° and bake for the same amount of time.
when the center is almost set, the cheesecake is done. remove to a wire rack and allow to come to
room temperature, then place in fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hrs.

chocolate ganache
this step is not absolutely necessary, but it is a delicious addition to your cheesecake, and it
will hide any cracks that may have developed as your cheesecake cooled.
4¾ oz semisweet chocolate - i used 1½ bars of perugina semisweet - chopped very fine
4 oz heavy cream
place chopped chocolate in a small, heavy bowl. bring the cream just to a boil over medium heat.
pour hot cream into chocolate. allow to sit for a minute or so, and then stir till well combined. spoon over
cheesecake (or whatever else you might like), and spread to evenly cover the top.

06 August 2006

happy birthday mom

she would have been 62 today.

been a weird day, and now i'd like to talk... but my husband is sacked out on the crouton (what we call the futon in our office, don't ask) behind me. he's the world's worst snorer. is that a word?

anyhow, the poor dear.. he left me the biggest pain in my ass piece of cookware we own: the mario batali super deep lasagna pan. the cook's illustrated that arrived on friday says the thing weighs eleven pounds EMPTY. i think my biceps have a nice pump on them at the moment.

i made macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight. best i've ever made i think. anyhoo, w/o further ado, here's the recipe:

5 T unsalted butter
5 T all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t freshly ground nutmeg
¼-½ t cayenne pepper
2 T dry white wine
1 qt half and half (you could use milk... make it whole milk tho)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb pasta (we used fusilli tonight, but anything corkscrewesque or even the old standby, elbows, would work), cooked slightly less than al dente
½ c bread crumbs
2 T butter, cut into small pats

preheat oven to 375°.

in a 4-5 qt deep sauce-type pan or dutch oven, over medium heat, melt the butter. add the garlic, cayenne, and nutmeg and when fragrant, add the flour. stir frequently and allow to cook 2-3 mins. if it starts getting too brown, back off slightly on the heat. you're cooking out the raw taste of the flour. add the wine and whisk. next, add about 1-2 cups of the half and half, and whisk vigorously till incorporated. add the rest of the half and half and whisk well.

raise the heat a skosh, still whisking frequently, till your brand-new bechamel sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. kill the heat and in about 4 batches, add the cheese, whisking to incorporate each batch before adding another.

butter the bottom and sides of a 13x9 or so casserole and pour the pasta into it. add the sauce and stir to combine. scatter the bread crumbs over the top and add the small pieces of butter. bake on the middle rack of your oven for 30-35 mins. if the top isn't brown enough for your liking, turn on the broiler and give it a couple of minutes.

remove from oven and allow to sit 15 min or so before serving.

we had that and a dark green salad for dinner. it was quite lovely.


01 August 2006

almost two weeks

since my last post.

i am w/o a doubt the worst blogger ever.

the funeral was last wednesday. mom wanted all the catholic rituals. the rosary the night before the funeral, and the mass and such. i gave the eulogy. we had barely gotten underway and the priest, a *father doug*, called me to the altar. i got about halfway through and choked up like a little bitch. i sucked it up and finished though, and afterward everyone was telling me what a good job i'd done.

i had an amazing mom. having plenty of great shit to say about her made writing the thing easy, but actually getting it out of my mouth was hella hard.

the thing that's got me weirded out the most is that i haven't totally lost my shit yet. i was at the doc (for something totally unrelated) last friday and we talked about what happened. she said sometimes there's a delayed reaction to a death when one has been an active caretaker. that it makes you a little hard, because you have to get a little hard to do what i'd been doing. i shouldn't beat myself up about not dissolving into a puddle of tears so soon afterwards. she wants to see me again in three months, both for the unrelated back problems and to check up on my state of mind. we talked for a good 45 mins.

i heart my doc. our insurance coverage is changing today. different company. first thing wen'l did when he heard about this change (a change due to escalating costs with the original company, something about a 30% increase in premiums, and don't even get me started about THAT shit) was see if we could still have the same doc. luckily for us, she accepts pretty much everything. i would hate to have to start all over with another doc, one who wouldn't give me an hour of uninterrupted time if i needed it.

i'm glad all my mom's family have gone home and are pretty much leaving me alone now. i love em all, but they are so oppressively religious that being around them lately has been a chore i didn't want or need. they were all losing their minds, the ones who think mom's in a better place, and wondering why i wasn't psychotic with grief because i'm an atheist (and they all know it now). i don't think she's in a better place. i think if she could have been healthier, there's no doubt she'd rather still be here. she wasn't in any big hurry to die till she found out she was going to, you know?

anyhow, life is trying to get back to normal. the kitchen floor still needs mopping. the feral cat who calls my backyard home has given birth to a new litter, probably the morning of the funeral. the heatwave has moved eastward. the sun still shines, and i still see my mom in it.

19 July 2006

of all the fucking days to do this, blogger!

my heart is broke
but i have some glue
help me inhale
and mend it with you

"dumb", nirvana

my mom died this morning. she was 61. she went peacefully.

i will write more later.

13 July 2006

life 2 hrs at a time

that's an accurate description of mine lately. my mom's getting soo very close now.. close enough that she's asking how long it's going to take and apologizing for taking so long. talk about having your heart pulled still beating from your chest.

anyway, i'm going to have to go move her in a few. i just wanted to vent or bawl or something. i've got to have it all sucked up by the time i go move her though. it would kill me to have her see it or hear it in my voice that what she's going through is more than i can handle. she needs to be able to let go of this world... the least i can do is not make her worry and think she needs to hang around.

i haven't quite caved under the weight of it yet. i've got a wonderful husband, and my dad and brother and i are rallying around each other and around her. i think it helps. also, there has been help. mom's family is all gone home now, but my dad's sister has really stepped up the plate.

i'm not going to bore you with the details of an impending death. she's knocking, if you know what i mean.

i've asked for it before, and i'll ask for it again. whatever you pray to, if you do, mention my mom...

09 July 2006

beans beans, they're good for yer heart!

i haven't blogged a recipe in like forever, and i know y'all have lots of cookouts left this summer... so here goes!

wen'l is smokin some ribs for dinner. my aunt made some german potato salad. i'm about 20 mins away from taking some glorious baked beans out of the oven.

1 2½-3½ qt bean pot or covered casserole (i use my 3.5 qt le creuset *french* oven)
1 lb beans (such as great northern, but any smallish white bean will work)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ lb salt pork
1 medium onion - peeled and ends cut off
4 T sugar
½ c molasses
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt

soak beans overnight. in the morning, preheat oven to 300°. place the
baking soda in a dutch (or *french*) oven and fill half way with water. bring to a boil
and add the beans. gently boil for 10 minutes. drain beans in a colander and run
cold water through them. set aside.

dice the salt pork (available in the bacon section of the grocery store)
into 1 inch squares. put half of the salt pork on the bottom of the bean
pot, along with the onion. put beans in the pot. put the remaining salt
pork on top of the beans.

mix the sugar, molasses, mustard, salt and pepper with 3 cups of hot water
and pour over the beans. cover pot with lid and place the pot into the
preheated oven. bake for 6-6½ hours. check pot periodically to check the
amount of liquid. add water to the beans slowly as needed to keep them
moist; do not flood them. remove the pot from the oven and serve.

03 July 2006

thank you cee-lo

i packed a few of my belongings
left the life that i was living
just some memories of it
mostly the ones i can't forget
whenever you need me i'll be here
until then my dear
i'm going, i'm going, going, going there
don't ask me to make time
to travel back and forth
let nature take its course
maybe i'm open from all this ocean air
and if it wasn't for you i'd be without
a care setting sail to st. elsewhere

- "st. elsewhere", gnarls barkley

i think i got this cd just in time.

02 July 2006

about #37 below...

the five things i always have with me? keys, bling, etc? a pack of smokes was one of them. i need to replace it with something. anything really.

my mom is laying in a hospital bed set up in her dining room, dying. we got the news i've been dreading for so long now last thursday. her poor body has done all the fighting it's capable of, and now it's time for the shuffling to commence.

o to be tied so temporarily to this mortal coil, knowing one's time is about to be up... and my poor mother is only 61 years old. everyone is on their way to see her. the rest of her siblings (her second oldest sister, a retired nurse, has been here for almost a month doing much of the heavy lifting of taking care of her) are on their respective ways here now.. so much to say and so very little time to say it.

i am luckier than some in that my relationship with my mother hasn't been terribly contentious. nothing beyond the normal teenage shit that lasted about 3 weeks before i came to my senses. it's making it harder for me now, though. i have so much to lose with her death. what am i going to do without my biggest cheerleader? how am i going to hold it together and be of some help to the many who will feel her loss like the keenest kind of knife wound? and how am i going to have anything left for myself? i've lapsed into this surreal pragmatism, and i can't seem to help it.

my mind is on autopilot right now, and it's probably best for me to continue to indulge myself. the losing my shit is inevitable, but it's not going to do anyone, least of all myself, any good for now.

for now, i am comforting myself with the knowledge that, by rights, she should have died 9 years ago when she was first diagnosed with cancer. a cure was not possible because of the circumstances... metastatic lung cancer can be at best managed. it turns out it was always with her. perhaps it took everything she's been through this year to make it rear it's ugly, and lethal, head, but i can't think about that now. it WAS managed, though, and she had 9 more years with us. 9 more years to see her kids become who they were meant to be, 9 years with her husband. 9 years to rediscover her own family, and bond once again with her sisters and brother.

i am so grateful she got to see me meet, fall in love with, and marry my precious wen'l. it gives me great comfort to know she thought him worthy of her firstborn. it breaks my heart too, though, because of the deep love shared by the two of them is making the inevitability of her death so hard for him.

i know you all know i'm an atheist. i also know there's a whole lot of people tonight who could really use a prayer, and if you're of the heart and mind to do that, please say one for all of them. for all of us.

62 Questions.. ganked from... (click this title)

1. How old do you wish you were? The age I am, even with current circumstances.
2. Where were you when 9/11 happened? Asleep when the first plane hit, not when the second one did. Then I was staring at the tv in total disbelief in the family room.
3. What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Kick them.
4. Do you consider yourself kind? Yes, and what's going on right now has only made me kinder.
5. If you had to get a tattoo, where and what would it be? It would be a design I saw in the liner notes of a Temple of the Dog cd, around my left ankle. It would detract from a scar I have there.
6. If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be? I'd like to be fluent in Spanish again. Dreaming in another language is way cool.
7. Do you know your neighbors? Yes... on the west is a sweet older Japanese woman who lost her husband a few years back. On the east is the best example of poor white trash I've ever laid eyes on.
8. What do you consider a vacation? An afternoon out of the house at this point.
9. Do you follow your horoscope? I read it. I don't follow it.
10. Would you move for the person you loved? Of course, but he likes it here too.
11. Are you touchy feely? With the right person, perhaps too much so.

12. Do you believe that opposites attract? They might, but the more you have in common the better your chances.
13. Dream job? Host of a highly-rated show on Food Network and bestselling cookbook author.
14. Favorite channels? Food Network, HBO
15. Favorite place to go on a weekend? Out to breakfast with my husband.
16. Showers or Bath? Showers. Baths take way too much time.
17. Do you paint your nails? Yes. I've been known to paint both sets. I think my nails look better naked though.
18. Do you trust people easily? Um, no.
19. What are your phobias? No phobias.

20. Do you want kids? No.
21. Do you keep a handwritten journal? Since I got my first computer, I can barely use a pen. What do you think?
22. Where would you rather be right now? On the porch having our nightly cocktail and conversation. More about the ritual in my next entry.
23. What makes you feel warm and safe? A big hug from my Wen'l.
24. Heavy or light sleep? That depends on how medicated I am.
25. Are you paranoid? Not usually.
26. Are you impatient? I think I invented impatience.

27. Who can you relate to? My husband.
28. How do you feel about interracial couples? I am going to quote the Tense Teacher... "You love whom you love".
29. Have you been burned by love? So many times I'm surprised I wasn't scorched for life.
30. What's your life motto? May the road rise with you.
31. What's your main ringtone on your mobile? I have different rings for different people.
32. What were you doing at midnight last night? Wen'l and I were indulging ourselves with some very maudlin conversation.
33. Who was your last text message from? I don't text.
34. Whose bed did you sleep in last night? My own.
35. What color shirt are you wearing? Baby blue. It's my jammies.
36. Most recent movie you watched? "An Inconvenient Truth"
37. Name five things you have with you at all times? Purse, keys, cell phone, a pack of smokes, and my wedding ring.
38. What color are your bed sheets? Right now, they're navy blue and white gingham.
39. How much cash do you have on you right now? Less than $10. Major purchase today.
40. What is your favorite part of chicken? The wing.
41. What's your favorite town/city? Long Beach, CA.
42. I can't wait till... so many things, but mostly, till my mom's suffering ends.

43. Who got you to join MySpace? Julianne, my best pal/stepcousin.
44. What did you have for dinner last night? Chicken fajitas.
45. How tall are you barefoot? 6 feet.
46. Have you ever smoked crack? Hell to the no!
47. Do you own a gun? Um, I think they should be illegal. Does that answer your question?
48. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? An icy-cold Coca-Cola.
49. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? My big brain. Or my culinary skills. I haven't decided yet.
50. Do you have A.D.D.? Um, no? My dad has that market cornered in my family.

51. What time did you wake up today? 8:00 am.
52. Current worry? That my mom is going to linger and suffer.
53. Current hate? Too many to mention.
54. Favorite place to be? Wherever my Wen'l is.
55. Where would you like to travel? Spain, Italy.. fuck it, ALL of Europe. Australia. New Zealand. And, there's a whole bunch of this country I've never seen. I'd like to fix that.
56. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? Parentless, but still with Wen'l. Living in Long Beach.
57. Last thing you ate? A Niman Ranch hot dog. It was the bomb. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area, check em out!
58. What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't sing in the shower. My own ears couldn't take it.
59. Last person that made you laugh? The DigitSlut!
60. Worst injury you've ever had? I was thrown through the windshield of a moving vehicle and landed face-first on the 91 Freeway. Massive head trauma. I still have headaches from it.
61. Does someone have a crush on you? Does my husband count?
62. What is your favorite candy? Michelle's Handmade Marshmallows.

26 May 2006

and a couple links

i saw this on http://dailykos.com and thot i'd share for my vast reading audience.

i just got high not too long ago. sobered me up considerably.

click on the title of this post and check it out.

a quote...

"haven't had a bowel movement in two days?
feel the joementum!"

- wen'l

21 May 2006

feast or famine

another in one day.. and so soon thereafter!

wen'l is making pizza for dinner. yay! every pizza i have is the best one i ever had. i'd post his recipes, but i have no idea what they are. he makes the best damn crust though, and as we all know, the success or failure of a pie depends on the crust. his sauce is wicked good too. i know he uses a big can of san marzano tomatoes and separates the fruit from the juice so he can reduce the juice to a lovely almost syrup.

lots of fresh herbs, some garlic... i'm sitting here drooling thinking about it. i'm having pepperoni, sausage, onions and garlic on mine. my breath is gonna be so sexy!

k.. once a week turned into 11 days

but here i am anyway. i have a bit of a buzz going, and i'm listening to green day. "minority" to be exact.

i want to be the minority
i don't need your authority
down with the moral majority
'cause i want to be the minority

well, i think i'm actually the majority these days, whether i want to be or not. our dear leader's poll numbers are hovering in the low-30's, no? that's the kool-aid drinkers. i so want to ask one of them what particular flavor it is. they scare me to death. how exactly is it that this small percentage of the actual population is so able to advance its agenda? they get the republicans in congress talking about all sorts of bullshit, near and dear only to them? gay marriage/adoption/who knows what else next. abortion. immigration.

the image of us abroad is that we're nosy, racist, insufferable pricks who like to wage unnecessary and unethical wars. i know i am none of those things. i couldn't think of denying someone the ability to have what i have, and i think being married is the most wonderful thing in the world. my marriage is not threatened by anything outside of it, and certainly not by a same-sex couple being married. as far as immigration goes, we are fucking here because of immigrants. i suppose since we don't need italian masons to build our churches and the sons of irishmen to patrol our streets anymore that we won't take whoever comes here, in droves.

i love my country and i am shamed by it. i am shamed by the fact that the busybodies who feel they have to repress every *wicked* sexual urge they have; who have to keep my favorite intoxicant illegal because they have no idea how to use anything without binging on it; who are afraid to live and afraid to die are the ones who get to set this country's course.

and how they think they're any damn different than the theocracies in the middle east is completely beyond me.

10 May 2006

i so suck

been a nasty couple months, kids. mom's home from the hospital but taking care of her and sundry are eating up a significant chunk of my time. what little time i've had to actually have a life, i've tried to have one. my husband has been an absolute rock during this whole mess.

she's getting better, but slowly. i think her improvement was more impressive when she was still at the rehab hospital. she was doing pt and had knowledgable staff round the clock. i feel like we're all winging it in a way out here in the real world. i was sort of put in charge of providing her food (no surprise, eh?). it's been basic but healthy fare, good protein and plenty of vitamins, etc. also, i've had to keep a pretty sharp eye on her sodium intake, because of the chf. i've kinda figured out how to give her a bit of a splurge once in awhile even.

i've been doing an italian feast every sunday night, for the sopranos. the stuffed shells with arrabbiata have been my favorite thus far, and i'll post the recipe for that soon.

i'm gonna feel like a total old lady for saying this, but.. i have sciatica. it's made taking care of ma and doing all this standing up cooking a real fuckin treat, lemme tell ya. i really do need to get serious about doing my p.t. i've got a very understanding doc, and she's made sure i'll have a steady stream of meds. i also need to get real about getting rid of some girth. cooking all healthy for mom has at the very least knocked off close to 10, but there's a whole lot more i could be doing.

ppl are telling me i need to work out just so i'll have the pep to do what i need to. perhaps i should. i have an mp3 player and i could squeak outta momsitting for an hour i'm sure.

and, i am going to make it a habit to post at least once a week. this 2 months away shit sucks balls.

16 March 2006

heh... i'm a couple hrs early

well well well kids... by the time you're reading this, it's st. patrick's day, the one day of the year we all get to be irish.

i don't know what your plans are for the day, but i know mine don't include making corned beef and cabbage. it's not irish! if you want to have an authentic irish dinner, i suggest having a liquid meal of several pints of guinness. :)

mom's in a rehab hospital out in orange now. she's doing a lot better. she's getting occupational and physical therapy, and i'm very impressed with the facility and its staff. thanks for all the good thoughts, gentle readers. it's been a tough couple weeks for all of us, but she's out of the woods now and your support has meant the world to me.

anyhoo, i'll write more later. after i've had my *authentic* irish dinner. *snort*

12 March 2006


after a 21 month long absence, they're back!

i'm cooking a big meal for the occasion, lasagne alla napoletana. lotta steps involved in making it, but omg, it's sooooo worth it.

so, w/o further ado:

ragu napoletano

¼ c olive oil
1 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into chunks
1 lb beef chuck, cut into chunks
salt and pepper
1 red onion, finely chopped
¾ c dry red wine
2 28 oz cans san marzano tomatoes, with their juices, passed thru a food mill
8 oz sweet italian sausage
pinch hot red pepper flakes

in large dutch oven, heat olive oik over medium heat till smoking. season the pork and beef with salt and pepper and sear in batches till dark golden brown. transfer to a plate.

add the onion to the pot and saute, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits, until golden brown and very soft, about 10mins. add the wine and browned meat chunks, tomatoes, sausages and red pepper flakes and bring just to a boil. reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2½ to 3 hrs. remove from heat, remove the meats and sausages, and set aside. adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and allow to cool.

polpette alla napoletana

3 c day old bread, cut into 1" cubes
1¼ lb ground beef
3 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ c freshly grated pecorino romano
¼ c finely chopped italian parsley
¼ c pignolias, toasted
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ c olive oil

in a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in water to cover for 20 mins. drain the bread cubes ans squeeze out the excess moisture.
in a large bowl, combine the beef, bread, eggs, pecorino, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper and mix until just blended. with wet hands, form the mixture into 12-15 large meatballs.
in a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the olive oil over med-hi heat until almost smoking. add the meatballs, working in batches, and cook, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 mins per batch.

lasagne alla napoletana

1 lb dried lasagna, cooked and cooled enough to handle
2 T olive oil
RAGU NAPOLETANO, sausages sliced ¼-½" thick, meats reserved for another use
3 c ricotta (whole milk please!)
POLPETTE, cut in half
1 c freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 lb mozzarella di bufala campagna, cut into ½" dice
preheat oven to 350°. assemble lasagne in 9x13x4" dish. spread ½ c ragu over the bottom of the dish, then top with a layer of pasta, a layer of ricotta, a layer of polpette and sausage, and a layer of parmigiano. continue thusly till you run out of ingredients. top with the mozzarella.
bake 1 hr and 15 mins. let rest 15-30 mins before serving.

09 March 2006


i've made some decent food lately. i'll have an assload of recipes to post here as soon as i get em typed up.

i'm even cooking tonight. some lovely clam chowdah cuz it's all icky and gray and fixing to rain, but my mind's not really on it, and my heart is certainly not in it.

my mom's in the hospital with a host of problems... supraventricular tachycardia, congestive heart failure, and a bedsore so heinous it's going to require surgery. she's been in a week, and none of those problems have been brought under control thus far.

back in january she had a heart attack, complete with cardiac arrest. she was having chest pains. they came and went. she had my dad take her to the emergency room, only to turn him around when they let up. they were back before they got there though, so my dad turned around and headed back to the e.r. she infarcted in triage.

what's scary is she looked a lot better the night she had the heart attack than she does right now. she's gotten much weaker and she looks like she's given up hope. i don't think she's had more than an hour of sleep in one stretch in the week she's been there.

i feel helpless in a way i didn't know was possible. i don't work outside the home, and there's only so much housework and laundry and errands to do in a day. i have way too much time on my hands to worry about her. i'd like to go upside the head of her doctor... not for what's going on with her heart, they're doing everything they can for her, and their options are somewhat limited by her poor health. it's that someone allegedly ordered an air mattress for her 4 days ago, for the bedsore, and it's yet to show up.

i don't have an m.d. but i do know she'd be better off if she could get some fucking sleep! i've bitched at the appropriate parties and NOTHING has changed.

if you, gentle reader, are the praying kind, say one for my mom? i know i don't *believe*, but she does.

01 March 2006

re: *cranking a blaster*

Freethinker said: Your blog should have "Smell-o-vision" installed ... but NOT for this post!
12:04 PM

yes, my blog SHOULD have smell-o-vision... but then y'all would have my weight problem too. i eat like royalty and have the figure to prove it. *lol*

Eden said: you should know I come and look at this photo a little too often
2:31 PM

umm... that's kinda scary Eden. i know your feelings about the shrub are similar to mine, and, well... i don't think i ever need to look at that pic again. not only cuz it's fairly obvious that chimpy is rippin a fluffy one, but because of the look on his cunty wife's face. i always suspected laura was a bitch, but when i first saw that pic, i knew the rigamarole about men wanting to marry mommy might be true.

i have something scary of my own to add, however. one night, after eating like royalty, i was sitting out on the porch with Wen'l having a smoke. needing to fart in the worst way. sooo... i did the guy thing and lifted an ass cheek and out it came!

that's not the scary part tho. the scary part is that i felt like i'd been cheated. that the whole lifting one side of one's ass trick was handed down from fathers to sons, and to hell with the daughters. somehow we had it in our heads that they were making a big production out of their flatulence, and we suffered needlessly in our ignorance.

last night i was having another smoke on the porch with Wen'l, and i said this: "if i ever had a daughter, i'd teach her the fart trick." and i would, just as soon as she was able to comprehend.

28 February 2006


Associated Press
Updated 5:50 p.m. ET Feb. 28, 2006

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Boondocks, the black comic-strip family living in white suburbia, are going on vacation.

Aaron McGruder, the cartoonist behind the strip syndicated in about 350 American newspapers, said Tuesday he would take about six months off beginning in March.

wtF? he's going on vacation?!?

26 February 2006

forever roasted pork...

... courtesy of michael chiarello and mario batali.

the lasagna pan on the left is the part courtesy of mario batali, and you can find it @

the recipe is the part courtesy of michael chiarello. don't it look too scrumptious for words? my husband cooked it. i only dealt with the sides tonight. i just wanted to share because pork shoulder is a very economical piece of meat, and if it's cooked properly, it is the most succulent, delicious thing you'll ever eat.

anyone from the south who's had pulled pork knows what i'm talking about.

anyhow, you could serve this with any sort of green veg and just about any kind of starchy side dish... polenta, gnocchi, roasted potatoes... you name it, it would probably work well with this pork.

so, without further ado, here's the recipe:

4 pounds pork shoulder, butt end, boneless (have your butcher bone it for you if you're not sure of your butchering skills)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1½ t finely chopped fresh sage leaves
gray salt and freshly ground black pepper
about ¼ c fennel spice, recipe follows

bring pork to room temperature by removing it from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before cooking.
preheat the oven to 275°F.

heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. add the onions, cover pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until light brown. be patient, and don't turn up the heat. add the sage and season with salt and pepper. cook until the onions cease throwing off water, about 3 minutes. remove from heat, allow to cool on plate.

open up the pork roast and spread a good amount of the fennel spice and add the onions directly to the middle of the roast. fold the roast back over the onions and tie closed with kitchen string. season well all over with the remaining fennel spice.

arrange the meat in the lasagna pan, drizzle with more olive oil and cook until the meat is very tender, about 8 hours. it is ready when it pulls away easily if picked at with a pair of tongs. it is often easiest to cook the meat overnight, or put it in the oven in the morning and let it cook all day. it does not need to be attended. you'll want to, because it will smell so good you won't be able to keep your face out of it, but it really requires no more work at this point.

fennel spice rub:

1 c fennel seeds
3 T coriander seeds
2 T white peppercorns
3 T kosher salt

put the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a heavy pan over medium heat. watch carefully, tossing frequently so the seeds toast evenly. when light brown and fragrant, pour the seeds onto a plate to cool. they must be cool before grinding, or they will gum up the blades if you use a coffee grinder. if you're truly patient though, you could use a mortar and pestle.
pour the seeds into the coffee grinder and add the salt. grind to a fine powder, shaking the grinder occasionally to redistribute the seeds. store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.
yield: about 1¼ cups

22 February 2006

i suck, yo!

4 slices bacon, cut into ¾" pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 T unsalted butter
2 t ground cumin
3 T all-purpose flour
4 c chicken stock
1 large potato, peeled and cut into ¼" dice
½ c heavy cream
10 oz package frozen corn kernels
½ lb sharp cheddar, grated
pepper and salt (if necessary)

cook bacon in a 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

add onion and butter to fat in pan and cook, stirring, until onion is softened. add cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute. add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. whisk in broth and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. add potato and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 minutes. stir in cream and corn and return to a simmer. add cheddar, stirring just until cheese is melted (do not let boil), and season generously with pepper.

serve topped with bacon.

i'm serving with grilled cheese sandwiches... extra sharp cheddar on english muffin bread from trader joe's.
should be yummy. :)

14 February 2006

happy valentine's day kids!

so... tom cruise, of jump the couch infamy, and katie holmes have allegedly bitten the dust.

she remembered which louis vuitton or kooba bag she stashed her brain in, i say.

anyhoo, i sit here @ 3:14 pm with lunch for my husband's entire office in the oven. well, the entire office minus the owner, who had back surgery last week. asian-style braised short ribs (recipe to follow), jasmine rice, and assorted asian-style veggies in a soy sauce-based glaze.

i have to do the short ribs in shifts.

here's the recipe:

5 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 4-ounce portions
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
6+ cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (i usually put in about 9)
1 (5-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved and smashed (be careful and use a very sharp knife)
1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 quart water
1/2 cup sliced green onion bottoms, white part only
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup fresh blood orange juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated blood orange zest, for serving (you DO have a microplane, no?)
sliced green onion tops, optional for garnish

preheat the oven to 350°. in a wide stockpot or dutch oven, combine the short ribs, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, water, green onion bottoms, crushed red pepper, and ¼ c of the orange juice. make sure that the stockpot is deep enough so that the short ribs are submerged in the liquid. bake the short ribs, covered, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones.

remove the short ribs from the braising liquid and cover to keep warm. increase the oven temperature to 425°. drain the fat off of the cooking liquid and discard. place the remaining braising juices in a medium saucepan with ¼ cup of the hoisin sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. reduce the liquid until only about 1¼ cups remain. strain through a fine-meshed strainer, discarding the solids.

stir in the remaining 2 T of orange juice and the lemon juice. return the short ribs and the reduced sauce to the stockpot or dutch oven, coating the short ribs well with the sauce. bake for 15 minutes, until the short ribs are heated through and slightly glazed.

serve hot over jasmine rice. season each portion with the orange zest and garnish with the green onions if desired.

and remember... guns don't shoot people... vice presidents shoot people!