To all men: Do not give your wife a garbage disposal for any occasion

In four years of marriage, C and I have had very few disagreements. I can only remember two raise your voice kind of moments. One such disagreement was a couple of months in to the marriage…and I couldn’t tell you for the life of me the reason why. The other, I will NEVER forget.

I have a real problem with garbage disposals. It’s not a new thing. In my single days, I had a handy man on stand by to come to my rescue. James would come over to unclog the drain…no matter what time I called. I think it happened once a week. Clearly I am slow learner on this front. Old habits die hard and I still have a really hard time remembering that not EVERYTHING goes in the disposal…and you can’t just cram it all in. I get it…but sometimes when my mind is somewhere else or I am in a huge hurry, I start to cram. I can hear the sound of the disposal clogging as I write. It’s like finger nails down a chalk board. It starts as a hard charging grind then all of sudden it goes into a numbing mono sound. BZZZZZZZZ. Oh and what a mess it makes.

C. is fairly handy and in the early days would proudly scoot under the sink to fix the clog- doing his husband duty…super C. to the rescue. Keep in mind, James the handy man, whom I paid, was no longer an option because he lived in a different city. So on about the 6th clog in 6 weeks, C. had had enough. This wasn’t funny anymore. He warned me…next time you are doing it.  Oh how I wish I had listened, because on this clog, C. instructed me to put on the yellow gloves and roll my sleeves up. WHAT?  Say it isn’t so. You have got to be kidding me. I screamed. I cried. How could my husband expect me to do this nasty job? It’s a mans work.

Well….he stood his ground and instructed me as I disconnected the pipes and got all of the YUCK out. It really is quite nasty. I think this was a combo of ground egg shells and collard greens. Not a pretty site mixed together. And it goes without saying that I learned to be a garbage disposal pro.  No egg shells, no asparagus stalks, soup in small batches…all in moderation. I don’t really think I ever clogged it again.

So for our fourth anniversary, C. thought it would be “cute” to give me a high powered garbage disposal for the new addition. Though it is top of the line…serious horsepower and dual chambers, it is NOT an appropriate gift for ANY occasion.

Enough said. Men take note.

Do you wonder if I weigh a million pounds?

I just realized that my new thing blog seems to be taking on a food slant…everything seems to come back to food. I do love food. All kinds. I could easily weigh a million pounds, but I am constantly on a diet of sorts. It’s a curse to like everything…and I really do love to cook and eat. oh well. I’ll work on expanding my horizons a bit in the coming week. The problem is that it is too hot to do much else.

So today I decided to try a chocolate bar with a little Asian slant…to continue on my Asian theme. If you remember from “Chocolate Week”, Vosges is my favorite kind of chocolate. My dear mil bought this for me…guess I am not driving her too crazy yet! This dark chocolate bar contained ginger, wasabi and black sesame seed. It didn’t appear to look different from your average joe dark chocolate. It didn’t smell different either…and quite frankly, it didn’t taste very different either. I could definitely taste a hint of the ginger, but not the sesame seeds or wasabi. I was not too excited about the wasabi…couldn’t figure out how that would complement chocolate. I followed the correct chocolate method…to smell, to let it melt on my tongue, to savor. But I have to tell you, this was not one of my favorites. Go for the bacon flavor! It’s to die for.

Boiled peanuts go well with everything

My typical boat picnic is less than gourmet. Sometimes its a soggy turkey sandwich on plain ol’ wheat bread and sometimes its cold fried chicken from a convenient store (which isn’t good hot so imagine it cold-yuck). When C and I first started dating, I would dream up fab picnics- gourmet wraps, a light pasta salad, fresh fruit and homemade cookies. Oh the glory days. It didn’t take long to realize that C was happy with a basic lunch as long as there was sunshine and cold drinks…and some good tunes of course. So I quit putting much adieu into the lunch and let boiled peanuts be the centerpiece of the lunch (really there are some days when the main course is so bad we just eat peanuts!)

But this particular saturday, we had a very special guest joining us- C’s cousin M…who we both adore and don’t get to see nearly enough. I couldn’t possibly subject her to our typical less than stellar lunch. As I was flipping through this month’s Bon Appetite, I found a great sandwich recipe- surely a great complement to a day on the boat catching up. I hoped upon hope that Snag would be there to sell us some of his unbelievable boiled peanuts. No need for dessert…too hard to keep it cool on the boat.

So I stopped at the Fresh Market to pickup the ingredients: Ciabatta bread, black forest ham, oven roasted turkey, genoa salami and provolone cheese. I decided to make the pesto mayo to accompany the delish cold cut assortment. But….they were out of pine nuts. I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $8.00 for pesto when we practically have a basil farm in the back yard. I decided to try a substitute for my pesto. I used raw almonds. It actually turned out pretty well. I don’t think it was as good as my normal recipe, but it is better for you and much less expensive. Pine nuts are really expensive and apparently they easily go rancid.

I mixed a little of the pesto with the mayo for a perfectly delish accompaniment to the sandwich. And Snag didn’t let us down…he was there at the convenient store next to the boat ramp with big ol vat of peanuts. A perfect lunch…a little bit of southern and a little bit of gourmet.

Sin Pots

If you live in Gville, then you know what I am talking about. Sin Pots are an Augusta Road tradition found at the Augusta Grill. Rich warm chocolate cake baked on demand in a little pot (ramekin)…but not fully cooked so that the center is still gooey. Ok so my mouth is watering just thinking about these “sinful” treats. Skip the dinner and head straight for the sin pot.

I came across a recipe recently that I thought sounded very similar to these Augusta Road favorites. To celebrate my MIL’s birthday, I thought we would give it a shot. I was entranced in cooking a gourmet meal, recapping my day with C and enjoying a little Friday cocktail while pulling together the ingredients for this little dessert. In the chaos of the kitchen, I misread the recipe. I thought when I was assembling that it looked a little runny. But hey, I had never made this before and I am not really an experienced baker.

What cooked up were really delicious light fluffy sin pots. Not nearly as dense as  those I had grown to love from the Augusta Grill. But the centers were gooey, rich and delicious. We all agreed this was a keeper recipe. I went to bed thinking about the recipe…dreaming of another sin pot…and I woke up thinking about them. First thing  in the morning I ran down stairs and revisited the recipe. Bingo. I figured out the difference. I had substituted the three egg YOLKS for three egg WHITES!!! Guess I created my own little not so sinful  sin pot recipe! 

Sin Pots
51/2 ounces of really good bittersweet chocolate in small pieces
1/2 cup + 1 TBS butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks (or egg whites!)
1/3 cup of sugar
5 TBS of all purpose flower

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease six small ramekins (pots). Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Allow it to cool a bit. Combine eggs, egg yolks (or egg whites…for less sinful sin pots) and sugar. Beat on medium for 5 minutes. Add flour- beat until combined. Add chocolate. Fill the prepared ramekins half full. Bake 11-12 minutes. Outside edges should be set, but center should shake when ramekin is moved. Be careful NOT to over bake. You want the inside to remain gooey. Dust with confectioners sugar. Serve with strawberries on the side, ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy this little sinful taste of heaven!

Bali Bound

There is a pending southeast asia trip on the horizon. I have been diligently working to convince C to join me on the adventure and to take a few extra days to go somewhere really exotic. This was not in the plans for 2010 and C only follows what is planned. He is very calculated and meticulous in all that he does. Oh and thank God….because I’d be a mess without him. I am not nearly as good at planning and am NOT disciplined at all at saving. So we have this house renovation going on and he is so afraid that we will blow the budget. Every penny is counted and no extra is being spent.

Besides me….there is nothing C loves more than a tropical vaca and a beach bar with cold beer and good tunes (. So, on my quest to convince him that we need to take this little adventure, I have been doing research on where we can go and how much it will cost. Bali. Ah Bali….this seems to be my ticket to adventure. Great beaches, good snorking, a Hilton property (Conrad) and CHEAP. The hardest part of this is getting him to Asia…once there, it’s a no brainer.

So if I have learned one thing in my short 4 years of marriage…there is one way to build the case…through his stomach. C is out of town so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try my hand at cooking up a little Asian/Malaysian/Indonesian dish. I am not really sure how all of the different cuisines are categorized. They seem to run together. I spent the afternoon searching for the perfect recipe. The challenge I found was that most ingredients from the true ethnic sites couldn’t be found in Gville without serious work. But I managed to find a great menu for evening. I invited my friend T over to try it out with me. She doesn’t really cook, so I knew I couldn’t rely on her for guidance, but I knew she would keep me entertained with some good girl talk while I navigated the recipes.

I prepared a Malaysian lime-coconut mahi and coconut rice with mangoes and pistachios. YUMMY – says T! The fish was broiled with the lime coconut sauce- coconut milk, cilantro, lemon grass, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, Thai chili paste, shallots and of course garlic. The sauce was sweet and spicy all al the same time, but when I make it for C I will lessen the fish sauce portion. It was a bit too strong. Quite easy to make. Just combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, pour over the fish, broil and presto- an exotic, light summer dish. The rice was outstanding. I used salt and pepper pistachios (the kind they sell at Costco). They were a perfect juxtaposition to the sweet coconut rice and mango.  To add a little color to the plate, I accompanied the fare with sliced fresh tomatoes and avocado. WOWsers. I felt like a little piece of Bali made its way to my kitchen. Oh and I almost forgot the best accutrement…a fantastic bottle of prosecco. Nothing says vaca better than a little bubbly.

Cheers to a fun night with a great friend!

Food and Wine- another great recipe

With the arrival of the new Food and Wine, I feel inspired to try out new recipes. This month’s issue has a focus on outdoor entertaining and it is filled with beautiful photos of fresh, summer produce. We visited with my mom and dad last week and dad sent us home with fresh tomatoes out of his garden. Dad has always had a garden of sorts and his harvest is always interesting. I remember the summer he grew zucchini and man was it a successful harvest…we had zucchini EVERYTHING!

Anyway- there was an interesting recipe for tomatoes that I thought would be a good side for our baked chicken this evening. The recipe called for a light french style vinaigrette with herbes of provence served with blue cheese crumbles and a garnish of fresh basil (page 93- I ommitted the bacon to save fat and calories but everything tastes better with a little bacon). Very tasty. The tomatoes were sweet and juicy and the vinaigrette paired with the blue cheese gave it a tangy sharp flair. Perfect summer dish. Thanks for the maters dad!

The cry of a baby

Baby crying. It’s 4:30 am. Am I dreaming?  What a startling first. I woke straight up and wondered what was going on. At first I thought it was a nightmare…not ready for a baby. But then I realized it was a real baby. Not my baby…but my sweet niece who is with us for two weeks!

What an interesting first. It’s also a first to come home to a screaming child. Don’t get me wrong, she is very dear…but all the screaming? It’s quite rattling at the end of a 12 hour day and I’m not even the one caring for her- feeding her, bathing her, entertaining her. Yes – my MIL is a saint.

This is definitely a good test…I am failing miserably. Not quite ready for all that comes with a baby.