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Showing posts from 2008

Recovery imminent. Liver function back to normal.

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I love the holidays because I am naturally pig-out-ish and the only time I am completely unselfconscious about it is when everyone else is also stuffing their faces in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

I am resolved to do two things in Oh-Nine. Well, no, three things.

One: I am going to stick to Weight Watchers. I am not going to eat anything different, I am just going to eat differently. Which means no more cheese pizza topped with Utz's plain potato chips. And no more Duncan Hines devils food with dark chocolate frosting. Because I can't eat either of those two things in moderation. Weight Watchers means eating less of the bad stuff and more of the good stuff. And I cannot eat an 18th of a cake for 4 points. That is torture. That would turn me into Mirandaeating cake out of the trash. Swear to god, true story. But I will still eat pasta and turkey and cookies, but just in Weight Watchers sized portions. Which means that for the next two weeks or so I am goin…

I got nothing.

My life right now consists of writing up my OBG THANK YOU post and uh, sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie sugar cookie

Which is why right now I am sitting down with a bowl of pasta sauteed i…

Final Days for Team Calamity Shazaam

For all the fantastic members of Team Calamity Shazaam: please be sure that you have emailed me your info so that I can post about it.

I've gotten reports back from lots of you and all I can say is WOWZA! Team Calamity Shazaam members have done the team PROUD!

For every single member who has written me saying "I can't bake but..." I would just like to say that you might want to check your pants for fire because you lie! Not one baker has failed the mission and that is going to make Kevin (and his family - because who would want to shower an absent family member with cookies) pretty excited this holiday season.

I am working to get everyone posted by Monday at the latest because I know that due to the weather and the holidays some of you are mailing out a few days late - which is perfectly ok. And if I leave you off the post, please please PLEASE let me know immediately.

Oh and THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Despite every effort to the contrary, I am STILL alive.

It is pretty remarkable to me that I have lived through this entire day.

Firstly this morning I was too lazy to go get allergy meds before starting some baking and as it turns out I REALLY have to take them before going anywhere near flour in raw form.

As a result I spent the afternoon in a lethargic, sniffling, haze. By the time I scrounged up two Benedryl from the back of the cabinet, and had a mini beer I'd already developed a few hives and something that resembled a blister on my bottom lip. HOT!

Then I tripped on the stairs and bonked my knee right in the soft spot. Not so much dramatic as frickin' painful. This is the same knee I fell on with all my weight and a three year old on my shoulders when I stepped into a pothole in the dark. I am not entirely positive how much longer Mr. Righty will put up with my abuse.

And then for dinner I made buccatini with tomato sauce. Seems harmless right? Well let me tell you - I made the sauce with roasted tomatos, onion, and garlic, thro…

On a side note - about Mincemeat

I made mincemeat back in November and it's been sitting in my fridge since then. Occasionally I drag it out and wet it down with a little brandy.

I tried it today and holy CRAPOLA is it delicious.

The beauty of mincemeat is that you can pretty much just invent the filling however you like. I chopped up some raisins and apples and possibly some prunes and who knows what else and then added some spice and brandy and left it to chill out in the fridge.

If you like your fruit to taste like alcohol, and why wouldn't you, then this is the stuff for you!

Plenty of desire, need more motivation.

I have been in my kitchen all day today trying to get sh*t organized and you know what? I am getting NO where. But the desire is certainly there.

Blurg.

Earlier today I made some cookie dough, but I forgot to take an allergy pill and now I feel like garbage.

As it would happen I've developed an allergy to flour over time. I used to work at this amazing local bakery and over time, from dumping fifty pound bags of flour into storage bins, I inhaled lots of flour and wound up becoming really allergic to flour.

Pretty ridiculous huh.

So now when I bake at home, when I am around uncooked flour, I have to take some sort of allergy pill first and keep my inhaler handy. Sounds more dramatic than it is.

However if I don't take anything and expose my bad self to raw flour I really have an ugly reaction. Right now one eye is horribly itchy and weepy and my nose is streaming. The inhaler has at least opened the airways, so I can still breath sort of. Gawd, I am a frickin' delight aren'…

OBG Round Five: Package 3

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Package three to Kevin has been sent courtesy of mpaigew at Paige's Pantry! Another fabulous member of Team Calamity Shazaam!! Thank you!!

She sent a box out on Wednesday that included: Holiday M&M Cookies, Spritz, and Polka Dot Cookie Bars.

Unfortunately she didn't get any photos :( Due to an impending winter storm, she was under the gun to get them to the post office before the roads got too bad.

I say unfortunately because I checked out her blog and all I can say is that she make AMAZING cookies.

Here are a few from her blog. Please be sure to go over and check it out for yourself because she includes recipes AND makes it sound easy!


Sprinkle Cookies & Brandy Balls


Peanut Butter Bars

OBG Round Five - Packages 1 & 2

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Packages 1 & 2 have been sent, thanks to Evil Twin and Gazooki!

Gazooki and my sister (Evil Twin) have been friends since college. I can definitely say that I will always have a soft spot for Gazooki because she never seems to mind how our family has always butchered up her real name, occasionally on purpose. And also because she is a completely lovely person inside and out, genuinely at that. The lovely Gazooki sent: Chocolate Krackle Cookies, Coconut Macaroons, Alton Brown's Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. All of them cookies that I myself would devour in about 2.2 seconds. Add a second for a glass of milk.

The Evil Twin is my sister. We are technically not twins (some people will argue us on this point) and she is definitely NOT evil, well not until you try to take the last bite of molten chocolate cake, then watch out! ET and I have always had different strengths and weaknesses. I am barely ever lost, and she needs directions to everything. She can do long division and I const…

Why I must immediately go to Venice.

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This is why.

These are Venetian gondoliers having breakfast while the piazzas flood. It would appear that they are enjoying a breakfast of croissants and Grande Dame.

Now that is what I call civilized.

The next snow day we get, it's croissants and champagne for breakfast. Please bring jam.

(Reuters photo. Click for larger)

Operation Baking GALS Round Five Is Underway

And it STILL is not too late to sign up!

I am working on an OBG surprise and when I am done I will post all about it here.

Hopefully Team Calamity Shazaam members will send me their photos and I will also post them here too.

Because I know we are all a little cookie curious!

Let it snow.

Two things are on my mind today.

One - last night I was at the Trident Bookstore & Cafe for trivia and this is the second time I've been there and have wanted the deep fried smores and they were out! What a disappointment.

But we won at trivia, so you know, slap & tickle.

Two - I went to Russo's this afternoon and I truly do not think that there is ever a good time to go to Russo's. I hate that I love it so much. I really do. And worse is that I went and was sort of distracted so I don't really even know what I was thinking with some of the stuff I bought. I keep thinking it's going to be a good day for cooking tomorrow, but then I wanted to get stuff for lunches next week. And I have chicken thighs in the freezer...

I think I am going to have a nap and then think about it.

Two Year Old Black Cake

Back in 2006 I made a black cake to hold over to see how it would age. In that time I have kept it wrapped in a few layers of wax paper and then one layer of foil.

It's been in and out of the fridge depending on storage needs, it's been kept in a drawer, it's been left on the shelf, it has pretty much been abused.

I always meant to rewrap it but I honestly never quite got around to actually doing it.

Until yesterday.

I was sort of afraid at first because the foil had corroded away in spots, but to my complete amazement the wax paper layers were completely intact!

And it was perfectly perfect! So I popped into a pan and doused it with rum and let that soak in. Then I rewrapped the whole kaboodle and now I have a gorgeously aged black cake for Christmas.

(And yes, I did take a little sliver off for investigative purposes and I am delighted to report that it tasted exactly like black gold!)

Huzzah for Black Cake!

OBG Round 5 - Last Call

Attention all bakers, baker wannabees, and slice & bakerz!!!

I am still recruiting for Operation Baking GALS and I want YOU to join! Team Calamity Shazaam is currently seeking new recruits and guess what? No experience necessary!

All you need to be able to do is fill a box with cookies and mail it off to Kevin, who is currently serving over in Afghanistan.

You can make fancy cookies from scratch, you can make Grandma's spice drops, you can make cookies you simply slice and bake. It's whatever you are comfortable with.

Because in the end, there is someone who is going to be really happy that you did.

All you have to do is go to the www.BakingGals.com and register with Team Calamity Shazaam.

You'll be glad you did. :)

Post Thanksgiving Deliciousness

I made a really delicious turkey stock today and have been eating all the carrots out of the pot and out of the strainer.

It is going to make even more delicious soup with a little rice and some diced carrots and a few drops of lemon juice.

Turkey Shoot & Thanksgiving Photos!

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Turkey "Shoot" at Diemand Farm is followed by a trip to The Old Mill.


The Old Mill is famous for such things as their corn fritters and their pecan rolls.


Thanksgiving loot!


The Thanksgiving table. This year we were 14 people.


I forgot to get centerpieces so I improvised with crab apples, quince, and Baldwin apples from Westward Farm.


And this is the only food shot I got. :(
Two pumpkin pies and an apple cider pie at the bottom.

But in case you were wondering, here is the Thanksgiving 2008 menu:

- Gougeres with smoked cheddar from Smith Country Cheese
- Shredded sweet potato with brown butter and sage (NYT recipe)
- Brussels sprouts with shallots
- Four Onion Gratin (epicurious.com)
- Sage & Sausage Stuffing (my own recipe)
- Roast Turkey
- Turkey gravy
- Cranberry sauce
- Pecan pie x 2
- Pumpkin pie x 2
- One apple cider pie

And from what I recall, it was delicious! But frankly the food coma struck early and mostly it was a blur of forks and elbows.

Thanksgiving Eve

So here I am, sitting in my parents dining room, waiting to put the last of the pies in the oven and thinking.

Radiohead is playing and this particular tune is totally reminding me of the music to Bladerunner - one of my all time favorite films ever. And because it is a mix up of songs, occasionally some CSN&Y will come on, or Pinback, or Beck.

I am very contented right now. My life is pretty good, if I do say so myself. Luckily I am friends with really wonderful people who are smart and funny and goofy and honest. I have a family that I enjoy hanging about with. I like where I live, I like my things, I like my life. I am fortunate that I have such an easy life, and I appreciate it very much when I actually stop to think about it.
Some people don't have it so easy.

Some people have it wicked hard. So hard that sometimes they go hungry. Sometime their kids go hungry. And I've seen a hungry kid whose parent is trying to make the ends meet and can't give their kid enough to …

Thanksgiving 2008 Part One

Don't worry, I have plenty of photos to post. However I am the opposite of a technical wizard so until I find the doohickey that I need to transfer the photos from camera to computer, this post will be like a dry piece of toast with no butter.

So Thanksgiving is kind of a big deal for me personally. It is the one thing I can do to give something back to the people I love in my life. I put all my heart into the meal that I make and I thoroughly enjoy myself in the process, so pretty much everyone wins.

Typically Thanksgiving starts in October for me when I put in my turkey order at Diemand Farm. In case you have been asleep through this entire blog, I am obsessed with Diemand Farm. It is an obsession that I try very hard to keep under control, especially when I am at the farm. I am 100% the Diemands think I am a nutball.

Whatever. So long as I get my turkey, right.

Then usually the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Grandpa and I load up the blunderbuss and head out for Turkey Shoot Sunday. …

Ok, I am just going to go ahead and say it.

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What is with "Prize-winning noodle kugel"?

Because it has been emailed A LOT from the Boston.com website.

To the point where I kind of want to make it. Although see the post below which explains why I won't, for the next few days anyway.

In the past hour (about 11pm to 12am ish) it was emailed a total of 32 times. That is a lot of people making noodle kugel out there.


But then in the past month it was emailed a total of 4762 times! Holy crap! That is 158 people a day, or so, getting revved up for kugel.



I feel like everyone is at a party and I am sitting at home wondering where everyone is.

As soon as Monsieur Le Virusse is done with his little holiday in my intestine I am totally all about the "Prize-winning noodle kugel".

I have met my match.

I think that the ultimate injury someone like me can suffer is a virus in the gut.

Seriously, I feel like I am being punished or something. After three days of unmentionable gastric distress I FINALLY went to the doctor.

Let me just say that I have the best doctor. I love her. She is no-nonsense, very matter of fact, and always willing to go with less medicine rather than more. I can't say enough nice things about her.

Anyway, Doc said that I ought to stick with the B.R.A.T. diet for a few days and take some Kaopectate.

If you don't know what the B.R.A.T. diet is, let me enlighten you. It is the Boring, Repetitious, And Tedious diet.

No, no, I am kidding. It's the I-hate-my-life-right-now-diet. In other words it is the Banana, Rice, Applesauce, Toast diet. I feel like a toddler.

It hasn't had much affect yet. Last night I had some rice and applesauce. And today I was very B.R.A.T. virtuous until about lunchtime when I went out with the Evil Twin for her Happy Birthday lunch…

It must have been something I ate....

And that's a frickin' long list over the past few days.

I am sick, sort of. I have somehow poisoned myself and now my body is purging itself in the most vile way. Every 20-30 minutes I have to dash to the loo and the lovely roast chicken I made for supper is now lounging in the fridge because I ate two bites and that was two bites too many.

Which is weird because I am not at all nauseous, but the stomach cramps are fierce and just when I think they've dissipated and I can eat something, they come right back.

I did eat breakfast this morning and had some french fries with my buddy Ennairda this afternoon. But then the cramps came back full blast and so I ate an apple and had some cider because according to La Maman the pectin is a binder. Oh brother. I feel awful and now my stomach is getting more and more puffed up. Blurg.

Anyway, as I mentioned, it must have been something I ate.

Anyone have any remedy for this?

Soup for sick people

The Evil Twin is sick, and I've got something going on myself. So yesterday I made soup.

It was invented soup.

First I oven-roasted a bag of carrots, a bag of parsnips, a few cloves of garlic, a butternut squash, and four whole beets until they were nice and soft.

Then I sauteed two onions and a leek in a large pot.

Once the onions were nice and limp, I added in about 6 cups of water, a generous pinch of the Maine sea salt I got yesterday, and all the roasted veg, cutting up the beets into chunks. I let that simmer for a while.

Then I pureed the whole thing with some olive oil and let me just say that not only is it delicious, it is the most gorgeous color too.

I might make some tofu croƻtons to go with it.

Hooray for soup!

What's with the surliness?

Twice this week I've had pretty surly service at places I thought would be least likely to have cranky pants waitstaff.

The first was at Tremont 647 where the waiter was either annoyed that we were friendly with the owner, or perhaps just didn't like the looks of us.

The second was today at the Beehive where the waitress was annoyed with us, or just annoyed in general to have to be at work.

I just don't get that at all. I am not likely now to go back to either place as a first choice. No place is that good that I would brave an aggravated waitperson for the food alone. And I am like the easiest patron ever - easy going and good tipper. If you forget to put in my order, or drop a drink on my lap, I am pretty unlikely to cause a scene because I have faith that it was unintentional and can be sorted out. Both these things, and worse, have happened so I know what my reaction would be.

But the one deal breaker for me is someone who hates their job that day for whatever reason. Don&…

I hate that I love Russo's so much

Dagnabbit all. Seriously, if you haven't been to Russo's you don't have any idea of the kind of hate/love I am talking about.

Every time I plan a trip out there I dread it. It's always a parking frenzy and jammers once you finally get in there. The aisles are just a tiny bit too narrow to navigate and the mean old ladies who shop there are spiteful of anyone under 80 and ram their carts straight into your backside whenever possible.

And of course you can't ram them back because, well, they are olllllllllllllld.

*sigh*

I am ALWAYS looking for a reason to not go there.

But the fact that I can buy twice the amount of stuff for the same price as I would spend at Whole Foods means that I can't quite do it.

I have had the best luck with all the produce I've ever bought, the fresh pasta make me happy, and they carry enough local stuff to keep me happy. And face it, the lines are always long, but they do move fast.

However today I almost had my chance to break away. Almos…

Oh dear.

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I have discovered a new love.

It is apple smoked sea salt from Maine and I am in love.

I've been eating it out of the jar, a few grains of smoky deliciousness at a time. It's a very good thing that I have blood pressure on the lower side!

Operation Baking Gals: Round Five

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FINALLY!!! I get to be a OBG hostess. I am so excited!

As you may have read here before I have been a baker for rounds 1 - 4 because the military folks I know are all safely back in the good old U.S. of A.

However, I got to talking to Lisa, one of the officers who comes in to our office occasionally for business. Truth be told I met her mostly because I was making her nuts (for various reasons outside my control, I swear!) and she came in to straighten things out.

We go to talking and I found out that she'd done a two year tour in Iraq and that her husband had been shipped over and that he'd be coming back for like a minute, before turning around and heading back out for Afghanistan. Phew!

So anyway, turns out that Lisa is a really nice person and now I have a big soft spot for her because that's a big sacrifice and this is a teeny weeny way to acknowledge that.

Without further ado, let me introduce Kevin! (At least I hope that's Kevin! Lisa sent me the pic and said "H…

A Simple Sunday Supper

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My friend the Spruce Goose is one of the finest cooks I know. We met because he was a neighbor of my parents and one birthday of mine he showed up with a massive pink cake studded all over with imported crystallized violets.

Love at first sight.

So then last night I went over for what he calls a simple Sunday night supper. Let me just say that my idea of a simple Sunday night supper involves Saltines, beer, pate, butter and cornichons.

Which is why Spruce is Spruce and I still eat stuff out of the can, sometimes.

Also, let me just say that he lives in my dream house. I need to do something about that.

Here is his kitchen:

Ok, well that's just a part of the kitchen. But really it's the important part!


He made us chicken with white wine and mushrooms.


And salsify with parsnips and dried cranberries. The other side dish was dried Amish corn pudding with prosciutto and Parmesan.

Then for dessert he made a sort of Tarte Tatine with Winesap apples:

First he cooked the apples with a little su…

Lazing on a lazy afternoon

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Soooooooooooooo I've been lazy today. It was gray day which made all the leaves saturated in their own color and that was pretty distracting.



I tried pretty hard to clean up the house and that went well enough until I gave up entirely to go get pho and beer. On the way I stopped at LiquorLand because for some reason I really wanted a cold beer with the pho.

And look what I found!



Locally distilled vodka and Miller High Life teenys!


Then I decided to make Concord grape jelly and also some apple butter. I really should drink less beer and eat more fruit, but until then I'll just cook it before it really rots.


I had about half a container of grapes in the fridge. I stemmed them, rinsed them, weighed them, then put them in a pot with 3/4 weight of sugar. And a few squirts of lemon.

Then I cooked them over medium-ish heat, stirring and popping the grapes against the side of the pot. I have to say that it smelled gorgeous, but then again I love the smell of grapes.

After about 25 minutes o…