Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh yeah, I scored BIG!

Sometimes you just have to brag about a particularly fantastic find.  Unfortunately for me, no one in my immediate circle shares in my total thrillation with this particular item, so I am taking it to the masses.

Looky what I found!!:


Hmmm, doesn't seem so exciting huh! But what if I told you I got it for a twenty. Brand new, twenty bucks. 

Oh yeaaahhhhh!

Usually these pans can run between $50 and $100 so finding one (new! in box!) was fricking thrilling I tell you.

No more scorched caramelly jam for me thanks. 

Happy Birthday GPP!!

My dear old Grand-Pa-Pa passed away around this time last year and today would have been his 95th....., no, 96th birthday.

I think.

I am really bad at math and also at remembering dates.

He really wanted to live to see 100. I am not sure why exactly 100 was his goal, but I suppose after 85 your goals start to change. Yep, so 100 - he bought the book and everything. He was on track!

But then last spring and summer he had some health issues and the first thing to go was the 5pm martini. Bad move Gramps. I think that the alcohol was keeping him in a state of pickle. Take away the preservative and *phhhft!* he just shriveled up like a Wicked Witch in a rainstorm.

All joking aside, for all his faults and fabulousnesses I miss the old gizzard tremendously. He was a pretty alright guy and I plan to have a VERY large martini in his honor today.

Who is with me?

Me & Grandpa
a long time ago in a land far, far away...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cluck Cluck!

This weekend I made the roast chicken from Simon Hopkinson's book Roast Chicken and Other Recipes.

I picked this book up during my annual schlep to the New England Mobile Book Fair and while at first I liked it mostly for the lovely pages (ooh shiny paper! ooh pretty illustrations!) I have to confess that I cooked NOTHING out of it until now.


The roast chicken was fantastic. And not just because it came from Diemand Farm. Slathering the birdy with lots of butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a smashed garlic clove is so simple that it almost seems TOO simple to be so delicious, but it really was the best roast chicken I've had in a very long time.

Now I am thinking to try my hand at the chicken cooked in vinegar recipe.

It's interesting to me how I just have to cook one recipe from a book to know whether or not I will ever use it again.

Photos later. Maybe.

Gobble Gobble

Great googly-moogly! I am a bad, bad, blogger! Bad!

Eh, oh well. Sometimes being bad feels pretty good.... I digress.

It is almost turkey bird eating time, although from the displays that having been popping up all over town like union stickers you'd think retailers had forsaken Thanksgiving as the insensitive white man's holiday that, kind of, it is. I suspect however that the more likely scenario is that Thanksgiving doesn't rake in the dough quite like Christmas and its attendant pressie-giving pressures.

Personally I cannot handle Christmas displays before Thanksgiving. It's like having a martini with dinner, not before. Somethings just have to be savored in their appropriate sequence. I cannot get into my visions of sugarplums until I have first blasted at a turkey with ye olde blunderbuss.

As is often the case, someone else has put this conundrum into words better than I ever could - Jim at Suldog has written about this for a few years now (I think... last year for sure anyway) and you can read what he says about it here: Thanksgiving Comes First

I have already ordered my big tasty bird from the fabulous Diemand Farm in Wendell, MA and I resolutely refuse to entertain any Christmassy notions until at least November 27th. 

As they used to say in ye olde days of yore: 

Thanks for the country! 
Sorry about the smallpox!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kitchen antics

Other than popcorn, which I make REALLY well, I haven't cooked for myself much lately. This is mostly due to the fact that I am crawling through the slowest renovation in history.

I get home and change into my joint compound crusted jeans and work for a few hours each night and most weekends. The last thing I want to do is cook. Let's just say that after popcorn, crackers are the second staple of my current diet.

The other thing is that at some point the kitchen will also be renovated so I've got all my pots and pans in boxes and anyway the place is in no state to entertain.

On the nights I literally cannot do anything construction related, I do something fun. Like painting the kitchen chairs bright red (not so fun in the end) and the kitchen table a calming blue (yay the color came out better than I thought!).  This set came from a house my parents had when I was little. I remember that my Meme came from France and brought an orange oil cloth to cover it. On the underside of the table there is still some writing my sister and I put up. Some folks can't abide by painting wood, or keeping it original condition, but in this case the paint was discolored and sticky, so I just did what I wanted.

The chairs were a major pain in the bum to sand, prime, paint, and poly. I cussed pretty much through the entire process. The table was easier. MUCH easier. And I appreciate that blue and red isn't everyone's cuppa tea, but tough titties, I happen to love it.

So here you go, table and chairs.

Once I poly it I will post a better picture. Man, my house is a mess. Oh well.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gobble! Gobble!

Aside from Columbus Day marking the beginning of the demise of the Native American nation as we know it (thanks for the land! sorry about the smallpox!), this weekend is Time to Order The Turkey Weekend!!!

Whoo hoooo!!!!

Every year I get disproportionately excited about ordering a giant dead bird that tastes DELICIOUS!!!

Diemand Farm, I am talking about YOU!!

What I say I eat versus what I in fact eat.

I would like to think that I am the kind of gal who likes to eat steamed veg, baked fish, and plenty of fresh fruit, as a lifestyle choice.

But the truth is I am more likely to have chowder, tea, and a KitKat for lunch. Like I did today. And probably having popcorn for dinner last night wasn't the ideal healthy dinner, but it was freaking delicious.


I am not likely to ever be a skinny minny, although on the bright side I am not terribly likely to ever be cranky from hunger pangs!

Ah well.... Oooh here are some pretty pictures I took on my walk to and from work yesterday to distract you...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I eat here.

Quite possibly Maria, Nick, and Jose at the Hidden Kitchen are the nicest people in the food business.

And it is worth the trip for the chicken parm alone.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Win it on a Wednesday

If you go over to the Harvard Common Press blog (HCP Dishes) and check out the most recent post for BBQ week, you can leave a comment for a chance to win a BBQ cookbook.

I know that we are going into the cooler months and maybe BBQ isn't the first thing on your mind, but frankly BBQ is a great way to warm up the house in the winter. I've often made a very slow cooked BBQ recipe that I got from a neighbor when I first moved in that I will occasionally make on the weekends and let me tell you there is NOTHING better in this world than a slow cooked BBQ on a cold and snowy winter day.

You can even cook it overnight with a pot of beans. Ooh delicious!! I am still struggling with the fact that I won't have another beach weekend for a few months but this train of thought is giving me something to look forward to!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Delicious North End dinner - made at home!

After wandering around the Local Food Fest on Saturday with Tammy, we wandered over to the North End where our last stop - after Bova's, Polcari's, and gelato - was DePasquale's on Cross Street.

I just could not resist the insistent tug of the ravioli and wound up going home with two kinds: roasted garlic, and mushroom. I also picked up a pint of their ragu alla bolognese and chunk of cheese for grating.

Most of the time I don't love bolognese, usually it's far to wet and tomatoey for my tastes, and made with hamburger. The stuff I got at DePasquale's was just right - dry, meaty, and delicious.

Much to the horror of Italians everywhere I am sure, I had it over the garlic raviolis last night for dinner and  it was so good. So, SO good.

I guess that means mushroom raviolis are on tap for tonight!

Shazaamrag: What REALLY makes me bats

Ok you know what, I can live with the folks who pay for the $10 truffled fries, and the $15 aperitif, and the Uggs, and the Longchamp bags, and the pale pink manicures because sometimes that is me, sad but true.

But what I cannot handle are the ladies who wear Hunter wellington boots. I have never ever wanted to smack someone so silly for conspicuous consumption so badly in my life as I do when I see a woman sporting a pair of Hunters.

If you don't know about Hunters, let me tell you that they are very expensive rubber boots.

A pair of green wellies with the Hunter tag will set you back about $100 unless they are knock offs. And just so that everyone knows that you are wearing Hunters you have to wear them with your pants tucked in just so or you have to wear a skirt. But to look reasonably ok with tucked in pants, you have to make sure they are form fitting and frankly who wants to wear a skirt on a day you have to wear wellies?

These are the kind of boot that tall, blonde, actresses/models wear to music festivals in England. Along with Barbour coats and Range Rovers, Hunters only serve to tell the world that the wearer is NOT a tall blonde actress or model but rather someone who spent a hundred smackaroos on rubber boots.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Two things I am bad at. Like, REALLY, bad.

I cannot order a sandwich freestyle and I cannot make a good salad. 

Everytime I stand in front of a sandwich menu I lose my mind a little. "Oooh pickles, I like pickles! And onions, ooh and smoked turkey, ahh yes I also like ham, olives - why not? Mustard? Chutney? Delicious! Add some provolone and cheddar please! Oh yes, toast it too!"


This is why sandwiches disappointment me A LOT. Like today I ordered a roast beef with mustard, mayo, lettuce, onions, on a toasted bulkie roll. While that doesn't sound bad, let me tell you the toasted bulkie was all kinds of wrong wrapped around cold, rare meat.  Blech!

I have a similar approach to salads: a little bit of everything, only nothing that goes together. Just stuff I know that I like -  hard boiled eggs and dried cranberries and cottage cheese and beans and chicken and cold pasta and sliced beets and feta cheese and chickpeas and shredded carrots and broccoli florets. 

Then I panic because it's a salad bar and I don't have any lettuce on my salad. So I will lump some chopped romaine on top which I will later just push to the side to get to the olives and the croutons and bacon bits and sunflower seeds.

I know that this says something deep about my psyche but I don't care. I am pretty sure that I can get by on only knowing how to make a peanut butter & Fluff sandwich and as for salads, well as everyone knows, you don't win friends with salad!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh hello!

Yes, it is true, if this blog was a child I would be in jail right now.

I am the most neglectful blogger.

Eh, really it can't be helped though. So much has happened in the past year or so that has really changed my life in unexpected ways, all for the better so far.

One big thing has been that I have been renovating my house which eats into most of my free time. I totally underestimated how long and how much this project was going to take, but when it's done it will be awesome. I just know it.

Because of all of this, I am merging Shamrag and Calamity Shazaam into one and this too will be awesome. I just cannot manage both but I don't really want to give either up because I am funny and I eat and I think I can do both all in one place.

Perhaps I will call this Calamity Shazaamrag In the Kitchen....