wordinista: (Bakingfetish)

Note the first:  My husband makes possibly the best guacomole in the world.  I could drown face-down in a bowl of the stuff and die happy. omgsogood.

Note the second:  Was in a bread-bakey mood today, and have decided to try out a recipe I have for challah.  It is in the oven, and the house should be smelling delicious soon.  (If the challah works out, next step is brioche! Which still terrifies me somewhat!) ---Oh, yeah, baby.  Fresh-bread-smell in the house.  Mmmmm :)

Note the third: I keep saying this, and I keep not doing it.  I think it's time to trim ye olde f-list.  If I (a) cannot remember the last time I commented in your journal, (b) cannot remember the last time you commented in my journal, (c) have caught myself skimming your entries without clicking on your LJ-cuts, or (d) cannot remember how I even know you, then you will likely be trimmed.  Let me know if you don't want to be. :)

ETA:  challah bread was not a total crash and burn failure! Slightly overly brown on top, and I totally screwed up the braiding of it, and I am suspecting it ought to have risen higher, but I am eating a piece of it slathered with honey and it tastes good! :D

ETA2: Bread was good, but now I require tea... I think some Earl Gray with bergamot should do the trick nicely.
wordinista: (Bakingfetish)

I managed to create a recipe for a diabetes-friendly chicken pot-pie.  It's not a pie, exactly -- it's more of a casserole, I think (lack of a crust, but with just enough penne to add some carbs and starchy yumminess).  But it's got that distinct comfort-food taste, and even though it's a little work-intensive, it is worth every minute of preparation.

I also used my herbs de Provence, and that just makes me feel culinarily snooty.

OMG YUM.

Also?  ALSO.  I experimented a little bit with a chocolate muffin recipe I have -- over the holidays, I used the batter to make a chocolate mint-chip loaf, which went over very well.  This time, I made the loaf with white wheat flour, and added a bit of fiori di sicilia flavoring, which has a bit of a citrusy taste.  So I basically have something that tastes a whole lot like those dark chocolate oranges, and I am likewise happy.  Granted, it isn't really what you'd call "diabetes-friendly," but George has found that he can have a small slice without throwing his numbers out of whack. 

IN FACT, he had an excellent check-up last week, and his doc was pretty damned impressed with how much progress he's making since his diagnosis.  (He lost weight over the holidays.  LOST WEIGHT.  OVER THE HOLIDAYS.  I told him that's grounds for divorce right there.)

It's been a good day. ^_^
wordinista: (Default)
Butternut Squash Soup
From Williams-Sonoma's "Food Made Fast" Collection: Slow Cooker (Yes, I... see the problem with the title too.)

4 TB unsalted butter
1 Yellow onion, chopped (I like Vidalia)
2-inch (5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Butternut Squash (about 4 lb [2 kg] total weight), peeled and cut into chunks
1 TB brown sugar
Salt and ground white pepper (I used a 5 peppercorn blend, and did not burst into flames of blasphemy)
4 cups (32 fl. oz/ 1 L) vegetable broth
1/2 cup (4 oz/ 125 g) sour cream
Fresh chives or flat leaf parsley

Saute the vegetables
In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until softened -- about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and saute until fragrant,about 1 minute longer.

Cook the soup
Put the squash chunks in the slow cooker and sprinkle with the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Pour the contents of the frying pan over the squash and add the broth. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 3 hours, or the low-heat setting for 6 hours.

Finish the soup
Using a blender or food processor (I got to break out my handy-dandy cordless hand blender for this!), working in batches, process the squash mixture to a smooth puree. Return the soup to the slow-cooker to keep warm until serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with a dollop of the sou cream and the chives, and serve.

(I'll type up the ratatouille recipe a little later...)
wordinista: (Year of the Rabbit)
"Oh, my god, it's like cutting chicken with a light saber."

--Tora-kun

BEST KNIFE EVER OMG.

...



I'm such a food geek, sob.
wordinista: (Caketastrophe)
Hmm.

Do I cave and buy the Wusthof Santoku on sale at Williams-Sonoma that is on a ridiculous clearance, the price of which is made even more awesometastic if I apply an as-yet-unused WS giftcard? Or do I wait until Thanksgiving's a little closer, and apply said giftcard to Thanksgivingy supplies?

...

That said, a proper knife would be worth its weight in gold on Thanksgiving.

Looks like I've got my answer.


WHY DID I SEE THIS AFTER I SPLURGED ON KAT VON D LIPSTICK.
wordinista: (Shigure ~ Okay!)
Am trying Smart Dogs for lunch.

Am... undecided.  The taste is all right (maybe a bit too smoky?) but the consistency takes some getting used to.  We're also out of mustard, which I imagine would make a lot of difference.

All in all, they're... not bad?  Then, I am not a terribly picky eater, unlike some husbands I could mention.  Mostly I wanted an easy, remotely healthy option for lunch that did not require a lot of forethought.  This fits the bill.

...Needs mustard.
wordinista: (Darcy Lizzie - OTP!)

I like being busy. I do. But MY GOD I would just love one day where I could do absolutely nothing, with no interruptions.  Last week went by so fast, because EVERY DAY there was some project I had to start/continue/finish.  I got part of my homework done, but not all of it, and so I'm chained to my desk this morning, determined to finish my assignments in a manner that will not require me to work right up to the very last second before leaving for class.

Yeah, I know. Updating my LJ is not the best way to that goal.

First and foremost, HUGE HUGS AND CONGRATULATIONS to [livejournal.com profile] everstar3.  She knows why.  <3

Second -- our living room is now painted.  It's gorgeous and I LOVE IT.  Two walls are a dark green (think British racing green) and the other two are more of a sage green color.  We rearranged a few things and got a new area rug (omgsomuchlove), and it just.  I love it.  This place is slowly ceasing to look like the rental I've been bitching about for two or three years.  Foyer is done, living room is done -- next up?  The kitchen!  I'd really love to get the cabinets refaced, but I don't think the landlord will go for that, so I'm going to prime and paint them.  I'm thinking about maybe doing a faux finish on the cabinets -- an antique crackle effect, maybe.  I don't know for sure.  I need to decide on a color scheme first.

Also knocked off of the "TO PAINT" list is our bathroom!  Oy vey, Mom and I started renovating the bathroom in October.  But then she got sick, then I got sick, then stuff happened, and things had to get done in a very piecemeal manner, and now FINALLY the walls are painted.  Actually, wait.  That sounds really bad.  It did not take nearly a year to paint the bathroom.  No, we took out the sliding shower door, ripped out the vanity, took down the wallpaper, removed the godawful ugly ceramic towel holder thingies, patched up the holes, repaired some water damage, installed a new showerhead and dial, AND painted.  There, that sounds better.  Now Mom is going to put up a new... bullnose?  Basically a new tile border for the shower.  And we have a new lighting fixture to install, and then the new vanity goes in and OH MY GOD WE'RE GETTING OUR MASTER BATHROOM BACK. 

Tora's brother and his girlfriend are coming to spend Labor Day weekend here, so that should be fun.  He told Tora that he did NOT tell their parents that they'd be in town, because, and I quote, "We don't need the drama."

And in closing, Tora made dinner for me last night.  After another day of painting and inhaling fumes (and oh, my god, my hand is so stiff today), he made grilled Salmon filets with fennel and coriander, and a grilled salad (yes, grilled) of radicchio, romaine, and red leaf lettuce in a dijon-honey-balsamic vinegar dressing.  (Bon Appetit magazine, you are my new best friend.) 

I have. The best. Husband. Ever.

wordinista: (Mayu: Why me?)
(Have been in a weird, hermity mood for the past week or so.  I think it's passing.  Nothing personal, honest.)

So, I made dinner tonight, and it was a fun, spicy mushroom pasta, which let me delve into my huge bag of dried red chili peppers, which I really don't get to use often enough.  So, I crumbled one small dried chili pepper, and thought nothing more of it.

Flash forward, oh, about an hour or so:

I'm sitting here at the PC, working on my portion of a project for Managerial Accounting, and... my lips start burning.  Which, you know, is weird.  Because, as everyone knows, "Flaming Lips" is supposed to mean "Funkytown."  Now, something I do when I'm deep in thought and concentrating really hard?  Prop my elbow on the desk and press my hand over my mouth.  (It's a posture like... I'm resting my head in my hand, but my hand happens to be pressed against my mouth.  This keeps me from doing a lot of other annoying things while I'm concentrating.  Like chewing my nails or gnawing on my thumb.  I know -- orally fixated much?)

And, being the right-dominated person I am, it's the right hand that's being rubbed all over my face.

And then I realized -- chili pepper?  Crumbled in my right hand. 

*sigh*

In other news, I managed to replace the loaded with bad karma iPod Tora's parents gave me for Christmas.  The new iPod is black and shiny, named Crowley, and engraved with the following:  "It is said the Devil has all the best tunes."  The first iPod had been white and named Aziraphale.  It seemed only appropriate I take this route.

One of the first things I saved on that bad boy: Queen's Greatest Hits.

Yes, really.  XD

Back to work!
wordinista: (Kyou Fortitude)

I have such a wild crush on Tyler Florence, y'all don't even know.  A good-looking man who can cook?  Hoomama.

I just tried his Tom Yum Goong recipe today, because I'd had it once at Old Town Thai in Alexandria, like, six years ago, and couldn't remember what it was called. I do remember that, when I first had it, I'd been nursing a cold, and nothing had ever, ever made me feel so good.  (No, wait.  I lie.  I had quite possibly the best Kung Pao Chicken evar at a place called The Opium Den in Oxford.  Again, I was sick, and it was exactly what I needed. Haven't found a place since that does it that well.)  Anyway, thanks to teh intarwebz, I discovered a site where the menu was scanned in, and I could start looking for TYG recipes.  Because, really.  Chicken soup's got nothing on a hot and sour soup when it comes to clearing out the sinuses.

So, I found the recipe, printed it out, and went tromping around town for ingredients.  I'd nearly given up on the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, until I tried our local Asian market even though I didn't remember them carrying produce -- guess what?  They do!  The little old lady who runs the shop (or, at least, I'm pretty sure she does, as she's ALWAYS in there when I go in) asked if I had the recipe with me.  I didn't, but she happened to have a little Thai cookbook hidden behind the counter, and when she whipped it out, I was relieved to see that the recipes were nearly identical.  She also informed me that she carries galangal, but I'd already bought fresh ginger, so I figure I'll try the recipe next time with galangal instead.

And now I am basking in the joy of spicy, lemongrassy, soupy goodness.  And my sinuses are omg, so happy.  And it tastes exactly how I remember it tasting when I had it at Old Town Thai, which I consider to be an excellent sign.

...I think I have a new comfort food.  Right up there with made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese. :)

wordinista: (Erika & Largo)
Okay.  I've heard from the catering manager and found out that, yes, if we do the roast pig (!) then we can opt out of some or all of the other entree options and substitute them for more side dishes, which is good.  However, I'm unsure of something.  When you have 30 lbs of pig (!), should you even offer a second entree option? 

I say yes.  Mom says no. 

Now, bear in mind that there are no vegetarians on the guest list, and there's no one for whom pork is a dietary restriction.  The pig (!) is an a la carte item and is meant to be incorporated into the other catering "packages."  Mom's opinion is that the pig (!) is practically an attraction in itself, and it's silly to have a second option at all.  My opinion is, I'd be pissed off if I went to a party where the only food option is a meat I positively despise.  I don't know if anyone on the list has strong feelings against pork -- though, with as small as the guest list is, I suppose I could call around and find out.  I mean, it won't cost anything extra to offer, say, teriyaki chicken alongside the pork.  I'm not falling into that "trying to please everyone" mentality, but I also don't want to be rigid and unflexible.

And I've already decided that if anyone (*cough*like Mom*cough*) gives me crap about my final decision, there will be no catered dinner -- like I said at the start of this odyssey -- and there will be a post-ceremony caravan to Whataburger.

Yeah, you just think I'm kidding.

Of course, they're willing to brew the mango iced tea and bring it, and for that alone I may make certain concessions.  Because, damn.  That was good tea.

Anyway, let's try the poll option, shall we?

[Poll #745630]
wordinista: (ded of tired)
*yawn*

I'm completely knackered, but can't go to bed just yet.  See, we left to go to dinner about about 4:30, which meant crating Darwin.  We got home around 10:00, which means five and a half hours in the crate.  What does this mean?  It means I'd feel guilty as hell for shoving him BACK in the crate so soon after letting him out.

So, we went to the Kahuna Grill tonight, and were not disappointed.

First of all, their mango iced tea pwns all.  (It's not mango "flavored," but rather a black tea with dried bits of mango in it -- I bought one similar from a tea shop and loved it then.  This was excellent.)

For an appetizer, we got pan-seared poke and pepper/ginger encrusted seared Ahi, both of which were to die for.  OMG.  No kidding -- sit me down with a plate of seared tuna, and I'm a happy girl.

Then, Tora-kun got a ribeye, encrusted with peppercorns, I got mahi-mahi with a crab cream sauce, and Mom got kalua pork.  Mom was disappointed in her dish, though I was a fan of it.  George wasn't impressed either, but again I say -- I liked it quite a bit (sooo tender).  My fish was very good (again, nice and tender), and the steak was also very tasty.  No complaints at all.  The service was phenomenal.  Totally worth the trip. I'm not sure if we'd drive out to Orlando specifically to go there, but if we happen to find ourselves in Orlando, and in need of a place to go eat, we'd totally go back.

However, dinner did have an interesting outcome.

Apparently, rather than having them drop off the food, we're having it fully catered.  This is actually quite funny, because when I started down this road of wedding-planning, I was all, "Very simple reception -- cake and champagne and maybe coffee and that's it."

Then it became, "Hmm, maybe some finger-foods."

Then:  "Huh, some BBQ might not be so bad."

Then:  "Nah.  Let's do Polynesian.  Something simple that they can drop off and we can set up."

Now:  "OMGWTF ROAST PIG!"

Yeah, this place's claim to fame is that they're the only place in Central Florida who'll do a roast pig.  You know -- luau style.  Yes, really. 

And, provided certain conditions work out, we'll be doing this. 

Now, I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, they bring the stuff, cook it on-site, and serve it; they bring their own linens, plates, silverware, etc; they clean up after they're done.  They bring their own decorations.  (I am unclear as to whether they only decorate the buffet area, or if it's an all-encompassing decorating thang.)

To me, this means:  No paper plates for me to buy, no tablecloths to buy, no clean up, and potentially no decorations for me to buy.  Did I mention the no clean-up?  All good things, right?

However, it ... kind of means that the whole "Chinese zodiac" theme is... sort of out of place now, if it's a whole luau thing.  I'm actually a little bummed about that, because -- well, because I thought it was cute and cool and I was looking forward to it.  And if they're going to decorate with a Hawaiian theme (even if it's just the buffet area), then zodiac stuff might not work with the rest of it.  I've got to get a better idea of what encompasses "decorations" for this thing.  I may be getting bent out of shape prematurely.  Our waitress mentioned that they bring along a lot of the tropical flowers they use around the restaurant, so I may still be able to do the zodiac stuff.  Hopefully.  We'll have to wait and see.  What do y'all think?

*yawn*  My god.  So. Tired.
wordinista: (AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!)
I'm getting married in 22 days.  OMGWTFBBQAAAAAAHHH!!

Last night Tora-kun and I picked out rings.  He got a hard lesson in the price of jewelry, yes, even for a nice plain band.  My engagement ring (which had been my grandmother's) is platinum.  Ergo, the rings are going to be platinum.

Yeah.  That was fun.

Anyway, we found a pair that we like, and thankfully neither of us are very "frilly" people.  (There is, actually a "ring guard" that goes with my grandmother's engagement ring, but I have seen it, and I fear its overpowering sparkle.  I would be terrified to wear it.  Not only is there the fear of getting mugged, but also the fear of accidentally signaling UFO's should the light catch it just right.)  So, rings are... uh... sort of taken care of.  Kind of. They're picked out, at least.

And Tora-kun's outfit is slowly but surely being resolved.  I swear to you, the conversation last night went around and around like this for a good twenty minutes, no joke:

"What do you want me to wear?"
"Well, what do you want to wear?"
"I want to wear what you'd like me to wear."
"I'd like you to wear something comfortable."
"Okay, so what do you want me to wear?"

I have a feeling [livejournal.com profile] everstar3 is laughing the hardest because she's heard these conversations firsthand.  I finally convinced him that, yes, a polo shirt and nice pair of cargo pants (or even shorts, should he prefer) is FINE.  That I'm wearing a sundress and do not care at all what he wears, as long as it's clean and hole-free.

Decorations:  still a thorn in my side.  Am going to have to hunker down with Mom and make a final decision on a few things.  We're going to visit R and C again this weekend (and we're bringing the camera so we can catch Darwin's pool frolicking for posterity), and I'm going to see if we can take a peek inside the clubhouse.  I'll have a better idea of what kind of decorations I'd like after I get a good look at the inside.  (I've been inside before, but it was too long ago, and it's been a while since I even peeked through the windows.)

I'm thinking lots and lots of balloons, because ... well, because I like balloons, and I'm a kid at heart who never gets tired of people altering their voices with helium.  So, balloons and paper lantern party lights, which... okay, may or may not get along very well with the balloons.  Hmm.  This wants thought.

Going to Kahuna's tonight -- full report to follow.

...

And I need to do laundry. 
wordinista: (Lit H0R!)
Well, we got back from Amelia Island last night, around eight'ish.  I was absolutely dead and went to bed around ten, but I'm feeling more human today. 

Day One! )

Day Two! )

Dinner at the Beech Street Grill )

Day Three! )

And now we're home, and the kitties are like, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN OMG?!?!!?11?"
wordinista: (sleepy kitty)
So, my Ren prof cancelled class today, and I'm so very thankful for that. We have to have Machiavelli's The Prince finished by Tuesday, which really is no problem at all, except for the fact that I'm about as motivated as mud right now. I thought I'd take today and try and get the office squared away so it's less of a mess, but all I really feel like doing is curling up on the couch and watching the 3rd IY movie (again), which Evvie sent me as part of a birfday prezzie.

I also think quite a bit about working some on ch 51, even if it's only a passing thought. I may not write for fun again until classes are completely over -- and they nearly are. I have a stack of essays to my left that I have to read, and I totally don't feel like it. But then, that's nothing new, is it?

Hmm. Maybe I'll get a shower and work a bit on the office, and then break and watch the IY movie. Again. On the new TV. *melty sigh*

Crap. I have to go to the post office today. Blargh. Hmm... maybe I'll snag Mom and make a bit of a day of it, taking a detour out to our favorite produce market. I wonder if they'll have Asian pears... or some nice peaches... oooh, or some grapes! Oooh -- fresh asparagus!! And maybe I'll get some baby spinach!

Of course, I have to get my shower first...

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