Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jamaica, Fat Americans, Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce



God, I suck suck suck at posting and this picture does not do this meal justice. I’ve actually been keeping a mental log of all the things I need to post about. I can’t figure it out – am I busier now than I was a few years ago, do I not have as much to say? That can’t be it, I’m always spouting my mouth off. I don’t know what it is.




Here is what I do know. Jamaica is full of fat white people. Chris and I just got back from a quick trip to Jamaica. We had never been and didn’t know what to expect. It was great. We splurged a little and had a concierge room which means that among other things we had a stocked bar with rum, gin, vodka, whiskey and red wine – and a fridge stocked with sparkling wine, white wine, soda, juice red stripe, etc. So, if you think that I didn’t wake up every morning and rehydrate after my morning run with a crisp and refreshing mimosa – you’d be wrong. Chris on the other hand waited until the respectable hour of 10:00 to order his first drink, which was always a mudslide. I think he was trying to convince himself it was a brown just slightly unhealthy smoothie. It’s a milkshake Chris, with alcohol in it.




So, back to my original thought, Jamaica is full of fat white people. Wait, drunk, fat, white people. 




Every year we go to the Caribbean and every year I fret for months about what I am going to look like in a bathing suit, and then I get to the beach and think – I am the skinniest bitch on this beach. Have these people been here a month or more eating this all inclusive food – does no one else worry about what they look like in a two piece? Apparently not.  When will I learn?




And another thing, it doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist to figure out how to put on sunblock. Why do I see so many people with the patchwork sunburn look? I actually saw a guy whose entire chest area was bright red said for a smeared hand print across his right boob. Seriously, how does that happen? You put the lotion in your hand felt yourself up for a fraction of a second and thought – “good enough!” Or maybe he was like me, but instead of a mimosa at 9:00 am he went straight for the whiskey and figured he wasn’t going to feel any pain on the entire vacation anyways so who gives a fuck.




I don’ know, I don’t know.




What I do know is that this recipe rocked!


Here is where I got it.

Rating: Damn Good
 

Monday, January 06, 2014

When does the magic die & White Bean Escarole Soup


Chris and I have been married for 9 years, this past Christmas was our 12 Christmas together. Every year Chris has always put an immense amount of thought into my Christmas gifts - really thoughtful gifts that show how much he knows me and thinks about me. 

This year Chris gave me a dish towel (yes, just one, not even a pair), a knife (with sharpener) and a set of enormous soup bowls that look like they are a perfect size for the Mad Hatters dinner. This my friends is the year the magic died. He might as well have given me a chalkboard with "Get Yer Bitch Ass Back In The Kitchen" scribbled across it.

I won't go on about what I got him. Wait, yes I will. I had portraits taken of the dog and had them framed. See below.

A new outfit from Banana Republic, an $80 bottle of single malt scotch, new dress socks, timberland iphone gloves, stocking stuffers, etc etc, the list goes on.

So, all I have to say is my birthday is in two months - start buying shit now!

Hey - its fucking cold outside, let's have a soup party!
I made a bunch of soup this weekend, for all I care Chris can eat soup until my birthday. I'm kidding. Not.

No, but really, its cold out, and there is nothing better than holding a nice warm bowl of soup on a cold night. The soup in the forefront is the WW Zero Point Asian Soup which I have blogged about in the past. The one in the back is a nice White Bean and Escarole Soup (low fat). Chris and I are heading to Jamaica in a few weeks, so we are both on the bikini diet for a few weeks and nothing helps with filling you up like soup. 

The recipe is from cooking light.

Ingredients


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion 
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth (I used 4 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained 
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried)
  • 1 (1 1/2-ounce) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind
  • 8 cups chopped escarole (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot 
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Preparation 

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add vegetable broth and the next 5 ingredients (through cheese rind); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and carrot; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is tender. Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove and discard rind; sprinkle soup with shaved cheese.

 Rating = Damn Good




Friday, August 23, 2013

What to do when you are assaulted by cucumbers: Refrigerator Pickles

I've already mentioned that I have been a horrible urban farmer this summer. Really, this is the worst I have ever treated the garden - I vow next year to not be such an asshole and take some time with the garden. There is a bigger conversation lurking here about mindfullness and slowing down and enjoying life and not always being on the go - that is something I will have to tackle in the winter, when I'm dreaming of having my garden and smacking my forehead over and over again about the fact that I had a backyard full of herbs that I completely ignored for three months.

I know this scenario will play itself out more than once, most likely all winter.

I did however have one great afternoon where I was home to enjoy the cucumber porn that was playing out in the back yard. I decided to play with the cucumber and see what different combinations I could make for cucumber pickles. I took a basic brine recipe which was about 4 cups of white vinegar and 3/4 of sugar. I combined the two and boiled over medium heat just until the sigar dissolved - with the brine ready I began to think about different combinations to put in the jars, trying to utilize my fresh herbs.

Jar 1: Lemon Thyme, Sage, Peppercorn, Mustard Seeds
Jar 2: Rosemary Tarragon, Lemon, Peppercorn Mustard Seeds
Jar 3" Dill, Peppercorn, Pickling Spices
Jar 4: Cinnamon Stick, Star Anise, Allspice Berries and Clove

I filled the jars with quartered cucumbers and then the fillings, poured the hot brine over the cucumber to the top of the jar, sealed then and stuck em in the fridge and basically forgot about them unti a couple weeks ago when I tried Jar #3 and you know what. THEY WERE AWESOME.

I haven't tried the other jars, but I do plan on trying them soon - so stay tuned.

If you have a favorite refrigerator pickle recipe, please share it - cucumber, asparagus, beans, what ya got?

Jules

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Farm to Table - Rat-at-too-eeeee

I'm lucky this year. I've been treating this garden worse than if it was a red headed stepchild. Said stepchild must be stubborn as all get out becuase even with the miserable treatment it is turning out vegetables left and right. Tasty gorgeous vegetables. Maybe even too many vegetables considering I got this from Chris last night.

"Do you know I'm eating on average a cucumber a day?"

I hadn't noticed, probably due to the fact that he's been getting the same treatment as the garden as of late.

Last night was the first night in I have no fucking idea how long that I was actually home, not exhausted and had the urge to get in the garden and make something for dinner. Why haven't I been doing this all summer? The answer to that probably lies somewhere between too much work and way too much wine. Way too much wine. And then some more wine.

So last night I grabed 5 or 6 of the heirloom tomatoes, a couple of the eggplants, a few zucchini and an assortment of herbs and just had at it with them. I didn't follow a recipe, I just winged it, which I am enjoying more and more. Here's what happened.

Pot
Olive Oil
2 Onions - diced, sauteed until translucent
2 Eggplants - chopped - added to the onions when they were translucent
2 Zucchini - copped - added to the eggplant soon after
Vegetable broth - I added about a cup at this point cuz things were starting to stick to the bottom of the pan
5-6 Heirloom Tomatoes - chopped - added to the pot
Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Oregano, Thyme, Parsely - all chopped and added to the pot

I let it get all bubbly and aromatic then added a little grated Parm cheese and then served it over tiny little pasta balls.

It was good. Very good. I know this because at the first bite Chris pushed his bowl over to my side of the table and said. "This is good, try it."

And then, at the conclusion of his third bowl he said "Fuck, that shits good."

Rating = Damn Good

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fishing+ZucchiniPorn+Pasta

So, you take this.

And then your garden does this.


And you get this.

I didn't have time for a recipe, so I just to the garden grabbed a bunch of things, pulled the fish from the fridge, and boiled some pasta. This is pretty much how it went.

1/4 red onion
crushed garlic
those got all ovey dovey in a little bit of olive oil and buttah.

then I tossed in
1 zucchini cut on a bias
2 heirloom tomatoes cut into big chunks
2 bass filets cut into big chunks
1 sprig of fresh tarragon chopped
a few splashes of rice vinegar
a few hearty splashes of white wine

When that got a smelly and beautiful and created it's own juice I topped it off with fresh chopped parsely and another sprig of fresh tarragon chopped, and some grated Parmesan cheese.

I mixed it with whole wheat pasta.

In the middle of eating Chris stated. "this sauce is awesome". And it was, so much so that I think he did in fact go back for thirds, the first two helpings were eaten in a civilized manner, out of a bowl, the third helping he just moseyed on over to the stove and ate straight out of the saute pan. Caveman.

Damn Good!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sooo... Whatcha Doin

I thought it only fair to write a little "what the fuck I've been up to" post. Since I went all AWOL on everyone for nearly a year and a half.

So here goes.

Went here twice. The only thing that sucks about Aruba in February is putting your pastey (sp?) white ass into a bikini, even worse when you're Irish because soon your pastey white ass will be pastey in some areas and red and burned to shit in others. I do suggest that you try the Aruba Ariba drink - but perhaps not four of them in an hour on your first day - that wasn't bright.  
Also went to Monterey by the Sea, Carmel and Paso Robles Wine Tasting. This is us getting our buzz on, I mean having lunch at Justin Winery which is awesome. A bit of advice though if you are going to make the trip from Carmel to Paso, you will experience about a 50 degree chance in temperature. It was about 50 when we left Carmel and about 100 when we got to Paso.

We also went to London. I've been dying to go to the Tower of London ever since I read The Other Boleyn Girl (and then every other Phillipa Gregory book ever written). This was our first major trip in which we drank more beer than wine. Here is us at the Tower with the Tower Bridge in the background.

Oh, and can't forget this lovely fellow. Everyone loves a little crack with their beer.

In sad news, we lost our first boy. He was such an amazing cat, pet, friend. The house is just not the same without him. We love you Vladimir.

In good news we rescued this amazing guy from Indiana. He has been such a great addition to our family, he's no Vladimir, but Royce has a personality all his own and we just asolutely friggin love him.

And in even bigger news. I became an aunt again, and helped bring this little one into the world. If by helping you mean, acted as a comedian the entire time my sister was in labor, and then nearly shit my pants while she had an emergency ceasarian, then yes, I was a tremendous help in this effort. Where is my aunt of the year award?

So much more has happened, but these were the hightlights. Recipes soon. I promise.
Jules