Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Chicken Mamou and excellent bread.

This was a super delicious Sunday Dinner - the sort where everything was perfect and went great. And then the next 3 weeks of Sunday Dinners were all disasters.

Let's talk about this one first - this amazing bread is from
The New Best Recipe and I was so proud of it.
 Look! Artisanal Bakery Perfection.

The pasta was from Guy Fieri's Family Food and was called Chicken Mamou.
It was delicious and made a ton - we ate it for days.

I don't recall dessert - might have just been ice cream?

It was all downhill from there though.

The next Sunday I made a turkey sandwich from the same Guy Fieri book and it wasn't very good.  It had an orange cranberry spread that was too sweet, too sour and too harsh all at the same time.  It overpowered everything else.  Disappointing.

The next Sunday I tried to bounce back with a chicken dish with a creamy sauce.  The sauce was amazing but the chicken was awful - so tough we couldn't chew it.  Everyone was discreetly spitting out wads of partially chewed chicken, as discreetly as one can do that.  I was MAD.  Next Sunday would be different! I vowed.

Well, it was and it wasn't.......
We tried the New York Times version of the Mississippi Roast, but with a sub for roasted peppers instead of pepperoncini, which is fine, but we had kid activities, and then needed to do some shopping, and by the time we got home we were running low on time for cooking.  The roast got the minimum cooking time, but it needed more.  The flavor was nice, but it wasn't very tender.

I don't think I'm a super amazing cook, or anything like that, but 3 less than stellar Sunday Dinners in a row was a kick to the pants, yanno?

Well, back to the grind......

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Book Club - The Gatecrasher by Madeline Wickham

‘Congratulations, young man,’ said Johnny. ‘I despise the game of golf and everything associated with it, but congratulations nevertheless.’

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Club - Counting Back From Nine by Valerie Sherrard

The voices in the back of my brain will not stop.

hinting, probing, whispering words that
cannot be true and do not belong.

I hate them because I know they
are false - must be false and yet
they will not leave me no matter
how many times I
tell them to go.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Club - As Always, Julia

"I am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of work you have all put into this.  Swept off my feet.  Knew before how good the book would be but never felt it quite this way before.  Masterly.  Calm, collected, completely basic, and as exciting as a novel to read.  This can't be just my own reaction because I'm nuts about food - I think many, many people will feel the same way."
Letter to Julia Child from Avis DeVoto, 1954, 7 years before the cookbook would be published.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sunday Dinner - Spinach Lasagna, Foccacia Bread, Brownies

Guys - big news over here. I think I have figured out why I've gained 15 pounds in the last year and a half. It might have something to do with cooking meals like spinach lasagna, foccacia bread, and brownies.  What do you think?  Am I on to something?

The lasagna came from my America's Test Kitchen book and is pretty easy and really tasty.
The foccacia was from Hot Bread Kitchen, which I got as a gift last year and I'm excited to get more into it.  The bread was fine; wouldn't rush to make it again.  
The brownies were from Cook with Jamie, which did not survive its review and return to my bookcase.  They were good brownies, but they were the 
only thing we liked out of the book, so away it goes.

Yup, I'm still doing the Instagram purge of my cookbook collection.  I've reviewed or contemplated 121 books so far, and gotten rid of another.......70? 80?  100?  I didn't keep track as closely as I'd hoped to.  I'm in the "final" stretch now, maybe 40 ish to go.  I'm stalled out on them right now, but I'm hoping to get back into it soon.  I'd like to get it done, not only to be done with cleaning out the books, but to maybe not feel obligated to make spinach lasagna, foccacia, AND brownies all for the same delicious, delicious meal.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dinner at Match

Last month we took The Grandparents out for dinner for their anniversary.  After much discussion and scouting, they chose Match Eatery and Public House at the casino, next to The Buffet, which The Mister and I lunched at a year and a half ago.  We picked it because it seemed family friendly (ie no one would glare at my loud children), it had food that interested The Grandmother, and we had a coupon.

The pub is split into 2 sections - a lounge area at the front, and a more "restaurant" area at the back, where you can take kids.  We were there on a weekend so it was busy and loud.  Between the people and the 400 tv's the volume level of my kids was nothing to worry about.  The thing to worry about was the Ultimate Fighting show that was on all of the 400 tvs - if you took your eyes off your plate there was someone getting kicked in the face, and blood everywhere.  Considering we were in the "family" area of the place and none of the other tables (which included other families with grandparents and kids, and friends gathered for birthday parties) seemed to be watching the fighting, we wondered why it needed to be shown in the part of the restaurant.  All the cheering and clapping was coming from that front lounge area; we didn't appear to have any UFC enthusiasts sitting among us in the back.

Our server was lovely and helpful, and at the end of the meal he brought my parents a free dessert to celebrate their anniversary.  Here's some photos I snapped while trying to keep the kids from watching the fights, lest they get any ideas to try at home:

We started with the pretzel appetizer because we love them.  The pretzel was good, but the mustard sauce was too harsh.

I had a steak sandwich.  It was good, but the fries were dry and flavorless.

The Mister had the chicken and waffle sandwich, and it was very good.  

The Boy had fish and chips and The Girl had mac and cheese, both off the kids menu.
The Grandmother had salmon,and The Grandfather had a steak that he liked very much.

I've heard mixed reviews on this place from others - I know a couple of people who go here on a regular basis and love it; I've also heard from a few who didn't enjoy it at all and don't plan to go back.  All I know is I'll be checking the sports schedules if we ever plan to return.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tiny Happy Tuesday

Hillary  wants us to share some happy parts of our days.  Here's mine this week.

My Fam surprising me at work to bring me a mid-morning pick-me-up of  kisses, ice tea, and a plant for my window ledge.

Cinnamon Sugar toast on Sunday morning.

My yoga mat at work means there is a class in my future.......

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Book Club - Everything Is Perfect When You're a Liar by Kelly Oxford

"I realize I'm on a goddamn Las Vegas stage with a full bladder beside THE David Copperfield, and he's just asked me to pick up a scorpion."

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

practice any art

The full text, supposedly, from the above quote -"What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow."

I have always been the most least artistic person around.  No talent for drawing or painting or anything like that. My Father is a very talented artist, and The Mister is pretty good at it too, and he comes from it honestly - his Grandmother was a very accomplished painter.  Talent all around me!  We've been trying to encourage The Boy to work on his art skills lately, just for fun.  
And I've been working on mine too.
I've taken 2 "Paint Night" classes in the past couple of months, one with My Boo (my BFF) and one with The Mister, and while I will not be showing you my work here, it was pretty fun, 
and I was pleased with my work.  From me.
It's made me want to play more, try some painting with watercolors, and  My Boo and I are contemplating trying our hand at pottery too, and I'm a little excited about it.

“Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.” ~Duane Hanson

Sunday, April 02, 2017

A Tale of Two Cakes

The Mister had a birthday recently, and I accidentally left the cake planning to the last minute.  Whoops.  
I found 2 delicious cake recipes on the internet that I thought were good; 
one was an interesting sounding chocolate cake, and the other was a pumpkin cake.  
I was really leaning towards the chocolate cake because it sounded fudgy and 
delicious, but I knew that he would really rather have the pumpkin cake, as he 
is a fan of all things pumpkin, PLUS, I had a can of 
pumpkin puree, so problem solved.

I ran to the little store by my work and spent a ridiculous and painful 
amount of money on some butter and cream cheese, and that night 
after dinner I went to make the cake except - where was the can of pumpkin?????  
I tore the kitchen apart but didn't find it.  So Plan B, chocolate cake.

I did not need to butter and crumb the pan all the way to the top, apparently.
The cake was easy to make and was pretty tasty - rich and delicious.  A little went a long way.
The Mister enjoyed it, but he was sad about the pumpkin cake, 
so that weekend I bought a can of pumpkin puree and made the pumpkin cake.
What.  A.  Cake.
Moist, tender, perfectly spiced, delicious.
(I skipped the brown butter icing in the recipe and made some cream cheese frosting instead.)

Both were great and I would make them again, but The Mister was especially 
in love with the pumpkin one.  Can't blame him a bit.

Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing