Sunday, January 30, 2011

Haven't felt up to blogging

Because I was in the ER Friday night... Still not sure what's wrong... Going for more tests tomorrow. Film at 11. Will Blog more when I'm feeling better.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, January 27, 2011

So nice. So rare.

When a client thanks you for going the extra mile for them. It's pretty awesome.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Big Green Egg and a hunk of beef two ways (Part 2 of 2) Chili!

Welcome to part 2!

So we had this beef in the fridge, and since it was a little on the dry side, but it had lots of flavor, we thought it would make good chili.  It sure did!

John slicing the green pepper
Chopping the green pepper
Chopping up the celery
Onions, garlic, celery and pepper ready to go
Sliced beef

Sliced and diced beef ready for the sauteed vegetables

All the meat, spices and veg
Tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and vegetables... everyone in the hot tub to simmer!

So delicious!


The Big Green Egg and a hunk of beef two ways (Part 1 of 2)

Almost two years ago, we decided that instead of putting a large hunk of money into another "disposable" grill from Home Depot, that we would spend a bit more money and have a grill that lasts a lifetime.  We haven't regretted a moment of it.

Last weekend, I had an eye round roast, and had planned on cooking it in the oven, low and slow a la a recipe that an old boss of mine made for Christmas parties.  The beef comes out super tender and rare.  John mentioned that he'd like to try it on the BGE, but I had a little reservations about it, because it can sometimes be difficult for me to keep the BGE very low, which is what this cut needs.  I was fretting about it, and not exactly sure what I should do, or how to go about it, and John said to just get started and it would come to me.  He was at work, and I had this hunk of meat, so here we went...

Nice sized eye round of beef rubbed with our Memphis Rub

We haven't used the BGE in a while, so it took a bit of time to get it prepped and ready, plus I had already soaked some mesquite chunks.  It was going strong

BGE Chugging along
 Ready to throw the meat on after placing the probe thermometer and shielding it from the heat

Done... It ended up being a bit too dry.  It cooked a little higher than I would have liked, and I pulled it at 130 degrees and I probably should have pulled it at 115 degrees especially considering the amount of time that it sat before we ate it.  We ended up chopping it up and putting it on a salad and had it along side of the falafel below.  It was delicious!  Nice pink smoke ring too, which you'll see in dish two.

Needless to say, we had a bunch of meat left, and we've been meaning to make chili with it all week.  We finally got it going today

I think I'm going to make this a two part series :)  Part two coming in a few minutes.



Working for generous people, is always a plus.  What's even better is working for generous people who have generous friends.

Thanks to one of my bosses, this is what we had for dinner last night, gratis... courtesy of him!

Stone crab claws with drawn butter
Fresh rock shrimp from the east coast waters

I picked up some scallops and wrapped them in bacon just to gild the lily :-)

Handmade bacon wrapped scallops with cucumber dill sauce
What a fantastic dinner.  I'm a lucky girl.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Where I proclaim my love for Pettys

Yep, they packed me a ice bucket to chill my bubbly wine on the way home!

My husband can't figure out why I love Pettys Meat Market. Its a gourmet store and more!
Plus they know how to make a girl happy!

Me: Do you have any sweet lightly bubbly sparkling wine - ahem champagne... You do? Is it cold?
Petty's Wine Man: No ma'am but where are you driving... Because I can chill it for you on your drive home with your own personal ice bucket!
Me: Suuuuuuure! Thank you!

What's not to like??


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

Well I dunno about champions, but it really works for me.

I love me some bananas and peanut butter.  So I cut up a banana, and put a dollop of crunchy peanut butter on top.  Consume with fork.  (Pinky out optional).

Crunchy Peter Pan with a perfectly ripe banana!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Doo

I got my hair cut on Saturday.  A little shorter than normal, and shorter layers.  Today is Wednesday, and I'm sure that my bangs are too short, and I'm not sure that the layers are short enough.

I was driving with the sun roof open and noticed the incredibly bright grey hairs that are on top of my head.  Granted I had J at work check for me and she said there are only two, but I dunno... I feel like there are a million now.

Will get the highlights touched up in 8 weeks.  Can't wait.

S... the next time I tell you... just a little more off the bangs... please don't listen to me!  Also... must.get.eyebrows.done !

Also, John and I have this thing where we text each other when we're getting our hair done.  This is the picture I sent to him.  He said I was beautiful.  Reason #854752155 why I love him :)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Limoncello Martini

So if you read my laundry list of stuff I want to blog about down below, you saw that I made myself a fantastic drink when I got home Friday night.  (That reminds me, I REALLY need to do some laundry.)

I wanted something lemony, and I remembered the homemade Limoncello that my wonderful BIL made for us.  It's been in the fridge, so I pulled it out and mixed it up in a shaker with some Ciroc Vodka (My fave), some Grand Marnier and lots of ice.  It was absolutely delicious!

Go get you some!

I just love me a nummy cocktail!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Falafel you say?

I made this for the first time last night, and it was REALLY good!  I've always been a fan of falafel, but this homemade stuff is not only delicious, but the best I've ever had.  I used my cucumber dill sauce for dipping.  It's also fantastic on salmon, but you can use a classic tahini sauce if you prefer.

Falafel – Mark Bittman

Yield 6 to 8 servings

Time 1 hour, plus 24 hours

First, keep the amount of water you use when grinding the beans to an absolute minimum. More water makes grinding easier, but it also virtually guarantees that the batter will fall apart when it hits the hot oil. If this happens, bind the remaining mixture by stirring in a little flour.

The second essential step is to get the oil hot enough: 350 degrees or a little higher. If you don\'t have a thermometer, just wait until the oil shimmers and then add a pinch of the batter. When it sizzles immediately, sinks about halfway to the bottom, then rises to the top, the oil is ready. If it sinks and stays down, the oil is too cold; if it doesn't sink at all, the oil is too hot.


• 1 3/4 cup dried chickpeas

• 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed (I added more like 8)

• 1 small onion, quartered

• 1 teaspoon ground coriander

• 1 tablespoon ground cumin

• Scant teaspoon cayenne, or to taste (I only used a ¼ tsp)

• 1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro leaves

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I used half a lemon)

• Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, for frying


1. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches; they will triple in volume. Soak for 24 hours, adding water if needed to keep beans submerged.

2. Drain beans well (reserve soaking water) and transfer to a food processor. Add remaining ingredients except oil; pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping sides of bowl down; add soaking water if necessary to allow machine to do its work, but no more than 1 or 2 tablespoons. Keep pulsing until mixture comes together. Taste, adding salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice to taste.

3. Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan to a depth of at least 2 inches; more is better. The narrower the saucepan the less oil you need, but the more oil you use the more patties you can cook at a time. Turn heat to medium-high and heat oil to about 350 degrees (a pinch of batter will sizzle immediately).

4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter and shape into balls or small patties. Fry in batches, without crowding, until nicely browned, turning as necessary; total cooking time will be less than 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Cucumber-Dill Sauce:

Comments: This sauce is amazing. I made it with some Salmon the other day and it's so good, I wanted to just eat the sauce when I ran out of fish.

1/3 cup peeled, seeded, cucumber

1/3 cup low fat sour cream

1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dillweed (or more to taste)

1 clove garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Take the cucumber, dillweed, garlic, salt and pepper and process in food processor. Mix in sour cream and plain yogurt. Taste for seasoning. Chill or serve immediately over your favorite meat.

My favorite way to make salmon is to rub it with a little olive oil, garlic salt and cajun seasoning and bake/broil until crispy and done.


Sunday, January 16, 2011


There's a lot of crap in my head right now and I want to get it all out, but I can't seem to get my thoughts together.  Here's a list of some of the stuff I want to blog about, but haven't yet:

1 - Getting pulled over on the way home from work Friday night by a cop by a motherf'er that said that I had road rage and at the same time I was on the phone with OnStar having them contact the cops for me because this guy was freaking me the hell out.

2 - The Lemoncello drop martini that I made myself promptly after getting home Friday.

3 - Still upset/sad/moping/depressed about my ex being pregnant, and I'm not.

4 - Money issues that are pissing me the hell off ~ mmmm probably won't  be blogging about that, but it's on my mind anyway, so there.

5 - Rushing around on Saturday morning and making myself appetizers for breakfast and not being able to eat them because of my lap band.

6 - Why my ex-boss never asked me to make coffee for him again.

7 - How another ex-boss complained about how they have no money and then go on a two week trip to California wine country among other ridiculousness!

8 - The great smoked oyster challenge

9 - Squeak and her food issues.

10 - My first time making falafel from scratch, and the recipe.  WIN!

11 - My hair and the annoyance it causes me on a daily basis, plus the cut I just got on Saturday.

12 - Baby carrots.

13 - Staying in bed until 12:30 on Sunday.

14 - Cooking (drying out) an eye round on the big green egg on Sunday.

15 - A word on religion and did you know that some Jewish temples charge people to go there on the High Holy Days?

16 - Mass mailed resumes and my awesome bosses.

17 - Things to do to fight depression.

18 - How the world is too PC these days and how I want to move to California so I can embrace the "Do what is right for YOU ideal".

19 - How people balance the "Do what is right for YOU" ideal when the whole world thinks they are more important.

20 - How you really SHOULDN'T talk about really personal stuff with your bosses, especially health stuff, because it ALWAYS gets thrown in your face.

21 - How I gave my dad three time out chances last night before I was going to send him home in a cab and he only used 1 1/2 of them.

22 - My thoughts on Breaking the Cardinal Rule in the office.  

23 - How all this crap (and other crap) in my head has me very overwhelmed.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Calling it in today

I found these awesome baby carrots at BJ's today.  I didnt' buy them, because I already have like a million pounds of carrots at home, because I keep saying I'm going to make some Carrot Ginger soup, and then I don't get around to it.

I'd love to get these for when we have guests coming to dinner*.  They'd look so cute on the plate, don't you think?


*If you haven't been invited to my house for dinner in a while it's because I haven't been much of a housekeeper and I'm at the point that sometimes I really don't give a shit.  So that's why I'm being antisocial.  Except for my parents, because my dad gets three time outs and he uses one if he mentions it and then I send his ass home, and my mom loves me and knows me and doesn't give a crap what my house looks like because I'm a kick ass bartender :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blood letting

Why the hell is it that the people who draw blood from you think it is better to move the needle around inside your arm to find the vein they missed instead of just taking it out and trying again?



Thursday, January 13, 2011

My babies

The only ones I have right now.

Right now, Squeak is up on my shoulder loving on me, purring.  They make me so happy.  They know just what I need.


I'm happy for you, I am. I'm just well... I'm just... I just..well..oh God...

My ex-husband is going to be a father.  He and I are friends now, that "stuff" that happened is mostly water under the bridge.  I'm glad he told me.  I am happy for him.

But holy crap, I'm so sad.  I'm really f'ing ... I just don't know.

Right now I feel super depressed... I spent a lot of time with him.  Ten years of my life.  Ten years of wanting to be a mom. Too bad.

Now, who knows what's in store for me.  I just know I'm not a mom.  Don't know if I ever will be.

It's not looking so good.  My birthday is coming up soon and I'm going to be 39... Not such a good age for a mom.

I can remember my mom telling everyone how amazing it was going to be that by the time she was forty all her kids would be grown and out of the house... and she was right, mostly.  Here I am staring down the barrell of 40, and I've not even got a whiff of a baby. 

All I can hear is my grandmother telling me how I had to have children because if I don't I'd never have anyone to take care of me when I get old.  Every time I think of those words I just want to curl into a ball and cry my eyes out.


I wonder if sleep will ever come tonight...


Hello and Thank YOU!

I just wanted to say hello to anyone who's wandering over here from Ramblings of a GreenYogurt!  Green was very kind to answer my questions and she mentioned my blog in her post, which was very kind.

So Hi to y'all, hope you make yourselves at home!

"Waving Madly" image borrowed from artpunk's photostream on Flickr

I'm in the process of transferring over a bunch of my old blog archives from two other blogs.  If you want to get notified whenever something new shows up over here, you can sign up to "follow me" over on the right side of the screen there --------->

THANK YOU to Green for being so sweet and kind and FUNNY!  If you didn't get here from there, you should go over there and read her blog too and follow her, because she's adorable, sweet, funny and good people!


PS - Thanks to you Green, I found that for the first time I had a reason to make a label called "Friends" ... thank you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


My second dad.

I'm so happy John's dad is in town.  It's been so wonderful seeing so much of him.  We'll be sad when he goes back to NY.

That's a couple of handsome looking men there.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Malaysian Black Pepper Shrimp

Completed Dish

This is the recipe, I switched shrimp for the clams (John rightly decided to do the Shrimp shell off, and that was brilliant. We get the ones from publix that are ez peel and peel them off easy). It is absolutely freaking awesome and REALLY easy!

I added extra pepper, a little red pepper flake, a little extra water and extra butter when I made it this time so I got more sauce.



Malaysian black pepper clams or shrimp

With this endlessly variable formula and technique, you can be a shellfish genius in minutes
Francis Lam

Clams are the strong, silent type of shellfish. They're not sexy like oysters and they're not dying to be everybody's friend like scallops. (And, believe me, when seared scallops are your pride and joy, it's hard to feel cheaper than the moment you realize that a one-armed monkey can make them as delicious as you can.) But what clams lack in scallops' melodic sweetness and oysters' ringing finesse, they make up for in rich, earthy minerality and bass-drum brininess. They're versatile, great on their own and pairing beautifully with both subtle and blockbusting flavors.

And as a bonus, they're about the easiest things on the planet to cook: They take just minutes, they tell you when they're done, they make their own broth, and you can dress them up or down. And if you just remember a basic framework, you can make them in any number of variations.

Below is a phenomenal recipe, clams hot and fragrant with more black pepper than you ever thought possible, rounded out with a touch of sugar and Chinese oyster sauce. It's a presentation inspired by a traditional Malaysian way to serve crab, a dish I learned from Susan Feniger and Kajsa Alger, the chefs of Los Angeles' wonderful, globally inspired restaurant Street.

But the lesson of this recipe is in its basic elements: fat, aromatics, liquid, acid and fresh herbs, each of which does its own trick with the saline, earthy flavor of clams. The fat rounds the edges of the saltiness, the aromatics give fragrance and context, the liquid creates steam to cook the clams and dilutes their salty brine, the acid cuts through the heavy earthiness, and the herbs give the dish freshness, a brightness that lifts the flavor. In this case, we're using oil and butter for fat, garlic and black pepper for aromatics, water for steam, lime juice for acid, and cilantro for the herbal note.

But you can sub in whatever ingredients you want. A classic Italian way to steam clams, for instance, is to go with olive oil (fat), garlic (aromatic), white wine (liquid and acid), parsley (freshness), and sometimes a touch of hot chilies for more of the fresh, elevating effect. The dishes taste continents apart, but both follow the same basic principles. Once you read through (and, I hope, make!) the recipe below, you can pretty much make amazing steamed clams however you want, using this framework.
One last note about flavor: Like any bivalve, clams will taste different depending on where they're from, how much rain there's been, how they've been purged of sand after harvest, etc. One batch might be very mild and another very salty. So, while I usually believe in adding a little salt all through the cooking process, with clams I try to keep as much salt out of the dish until after they've given up their liquid and I know how salty it's going to be. If "Cuisine or Death" is the chef's motto, "taste and fix" is the cook's.

Mise en Place
Chopped Cilantro

Malaysian black pepper clams or shrimp

Serves 2 as a main course with steamed rice or noodles

1 - 1 1/2 lbs peeled, deveined shrimp or 2-2¼ pounds small clams, like little necks (If you're using little necks, that's about 2 dozen)

4 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly and finely ground. Measure after grinding. Yes, it's a workout

½ cup water

1 tablespoon sugar (palm sugar is great, if you have it)

2 teaspoons oyster sauce (usually available wherever you get soy sauce)

1 lime, halved

1 tablespoon butter, cold, cut into 2 pieces

4 sprigs cilantro, roughly chopped

1½ tablespoons vegetable oil

Sauteed Zucchini

Shrimp, garlic and ginger (an embellishment) sauteeing, next time I'll pull the Zuch before this step and add it later.

Saucing it up and finishing it off with the cilantro
1. First, clean the clams: OK, so after I did my best on selling you on clams, I have to tell you that I live in constant fear of biting into one and finding sand. It's harrowing. Luckily, most commercially harvested clams these days are already purged of grit, so you can forget all those bits of advice like soaking them with cornmeal. But there will likely still be grit on the shells; soak the clams in cold fresh water for a few minutes, scrub or rub them with your fingers to get them clean, and pour off the water. Rinse a few times, and drain.  If you're using shrimp, add about 3T salt and 3T sugar to a bowl of cold water and add the shrimp and let them sit while you get everything else ready to go.  Drain before adding to the pan.

2. Choose a heavy pan with a snug-fitting lid, wide enough to fit most of the clams in one layer. In it, heat the oil over the highest heat until it's shimmery and nearly smoking-hot. Add the garlic and stir or toss. As soon as it gets golden, which will happen in a few seconds, add the pepper, stir to release its flavor to the oil, and right away add the clams or shrimp. The water clinging to the shells may sputter for a moment, but be brave and toss the clams until they are all coated and glistening with oil.

3. Add the water; it should sizzle and come to a boil very quickly. Add the sugar and the oyster sauce. Cover with the lid and shake the pan. Give the clams about two minutes in their sauna, uncover and remove any wide-opened clams to a separate bowl; they're cooked, and letting them steam further would turn them rubbery. (If they are just barely open, give them a little more time until they really pop.) Cover the pan and give it a shake, which helps the shells open wide. Uncover again after 30 seconds and repeat until all the clams are opened. If there are any really stubborn ones, like, the rest are done and these are just straight loungin' in the steam for minutes, throw them out; they probably died before you started cooking, and aren't safe to eat.

4. Turn off the heat, squeeze half a lime into the sauce, and stir in the butter, giving the sauce a nice sheen. Give it a taste. How is it? Delicious? A bit heavy? Squeeze in more lime. Too salty? Try a little more butter or dilute it with a little water, or add a touch more sugar. You want a sauce that tastes balanced, where no one flavor dominates the others, with a seawater note and a lingering, warming burn of pepper. When it's ready, add the clams back in and stir to sauce them up. Finish with the cilantro and serve with plenty of steamed rice or noodles.


I tried Sauteing Zucchini in the oil before the shrimp. It was good but next time after the Zuch gets tender I’ll pull them out and then add them back in at the end with the cilantro, otherwise they get too well done and fall apart.

My Cheat Sheet:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Catria, Cat-Tree-Uh

So here's our little cutie pie Catria.  As beautiful as she is, you would think she would be photogenic, but she is not... really... It's hard to keep her still enough, and she really hates the flash on the camera phone.  I have some awesome pictures of her with the good camera, but well I'm having a hard time getting the 3456 GB of pictures off the camera card(S) and into picasa.  Gosh that is such a PITA.  Anyway, for your viewing enjoyment, here is the beautiful Catria:

This is Catria being patient while I snap 536 pictures of her with the flash.

Action shot of her cleaning her paw, which will then clean her ear...

And then she will be verrrry tired!