Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping my New Year's Eve party doesn't head in this direction. Wah, wah, wah.



I wonder who will come as Shelly Winters? Who will be brave enough? Who?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How Do You Share It?

SJP3 more days until Christmas!



I managed to do a whole holiday lesson that culminated with this video. The kids loved it!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Butter Spongecake (ala Julia Child)

I've never been a fan of baking, but since Thanksgiving was around the corner I decided to bake a cake. Every time I say that I want to bake a cake, I feel that I sound like that character, Laura Brown, in The Hours played my Julianne Moore who can't bake a cake. Toni Colette's character, Kitty, tells her, "Anyone can bake a cake." It's second nature to Kitty but it's something that Julianne's character feels she has to do. I didn't feel I had to bake a cake, but I wanted to just try, from scratch.

It was very satisfying separating the egg yolks from the whites, and using the mixer to make "soft peaks" and the "hard peaks". Making the frosting was another story. Let's just say I had to use a mix from a box. Ugh! I know, but I was in a pinch and MSH helped me out by providing the frosting mix. I still had to mix it and beat it to make it soft and creamy.



H
ere's the recipe for Butter Spongecake ala Julia Child:
Preheat oven to 350 degress

Ingredients: A round cake pan, 10" in diameter and 2" deep. ( I used a 9" pan)
Process: Butter and flour the cake pan. Measure out the ingredients.

Ingredients: 4 Tb of butter
Process: Melt the butter and set aside to cool.

Ingredients: A 3-quart mixing bowl, an electric beater or large wire whip (beater is best), 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 4 egg yolks, 2 tsp vanilla extract
Process: Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks, add the vanilla, and continue beating for several minutes until mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms a ribbon when you full the wire whip away from the mixture.

Ingredients: 4 egg whites, pinch of salt, 2 Tb granulated sugar, a rubber spatula, 3/4 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled, page 17), turned into a flour sifter.
Process: Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Scoop 1/4 of the egg whites over the top of the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Sift on 1/4 of the flour, and delicately fold in until partially blended. Then add 1/3 of the remaining egg whites, sift on 1/3 of the remaining flour, fold until partially blended, and repeat with half of each, then the last of each and half of the tepid, melted butter. When partially blended, fold in the rest of the butter but omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter cup. Do not over mix; the egg whites must retain as much volume as possible.

Turn into prepared cake pan, tilting pan to run batter to the rim all around. Set in middle level of preheated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, is light brown, and has just begun to show a faint line of shrinkage from the edges of the pan.

Remove from oven and let stand in the pan for 6 to 8 minutes. It will sink slightly and shrink more from the edges of the pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse on a cake rack, giving the pan a sharp little jerk to dislodge the cake. If cake is not to be iced, immediately reverse it so its puffed side is uppermost. Allow to cool for an hour or so.

If you bake two, you fill stack one on top of the other and filling the middle with your favorite preserve. (Raspberry tastes delicious with this cake)

Friday, November 26, 2010

African- American Friday (Black Friday)

In honor of the biggest shopping day of the year: a GAP Xmas commercial. Plus, it's really cold outside. Brrrrr.

Selma Blair and Rainn Wilson



Four weeks until Christmas!!

Plumber's Crack

I've lived in my house for almost two months now, and I've been complaining that I haven't felt like it's my home yet. However, after a brief consultation with J a s o n and his ideas on how to spruce up my house, I started feeling a tad bit better. Apparently, white curtains make a room feel more homey. They do.

My consultation, unfortunately, did not completely solve my melancholy. To add to my grief, I've also been complaining to MSH about the leak underneath my kitchen sink. Now, while he hasn't been giving me a gruff about it, I'm sure he wishes I would stop whining about it and do something. It's what we, as males, do. We fix things. We want a solution.

So, after much time being fixated on the problem, I finally decided to do something about it. I went out to my neighborhood Home Depot and bought something called plumbers putty, a channel lock wrench and another wrench whose name I can't recall. (Thank you to my brother-in-law Steve for talking me down from my ledge.)

After 2 hours of taking pvc pipes apart and then putting them back together (an enigma unless you've done it before), I ended up with a drain that no longer leaks! NO LEAKS!

Amazing! Pain in the ass, but still amazing!

Here's a picture of the pipes. I fixed the one on the left hand side.

My next project will be that long hose in the background that's leaking water into that Bruno's beer pitcher. It never ends, but, alas, it'll just have to wait for another day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scream 4

video

Is it just me, or does anyone else want to see Hayden Panettiere get the Scream knife!? It would be great if Katherine Heigl were in it too. I would be in heaven.

Move In My Direction

After 365 days and all these:

4301 Morris Pl.,

704 E. Jefferson Park,

527 Jefferson St. (Anne Frank may have lived upstairs),

4413 Ellen St.,

231 Riverdale Dr.,

10 Karen Ct.,

289 Brooklyn Ave.,

131 Brooklyn Ave.(contender #2 at one point),

200 Anthony Ave. (contender #1- still up for sale),

638 Gelpi Ave.,

539 Carol Ave.,

540 Carol Ave., 537 Carol Ave.,

4451 Markham Ave.,

4700 Hackberry Dr.,

3800 Alfred Place,

305 Central Ave.,

and

3800 Alfred Pl.,

I finally bought this house one month ago today:


Thanks to my wonderfully, patient realtor, Angela (a.k.a. Miss Daisy - she knows why) for helping me find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. It's true what they say about location, location, location.

A BIGGER thanks goes out to MSH for listening to all my fears, doubts, complaints, and craziness. He always knows how to put everything into perspective.

It's been a stressful, fun, and educational year that I will never forget every time the 1st of the month comes around. No matter what, though, it's all mine. All mine.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GAP Commercial Thursday

My apologies for missing it on Tuesday. I was busy buying my house! Yay!!!

Here's a blast from the GAP past.



I like the Daft Punk song, and Ms. Lewis looks like she's kind of having fun. Kinda.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Nate

I think I want a pocket Nate Berkus to put in my shirt pocket to advise me on all things decorative, or one to just display on my bookshelf in my new house.

I'll have to see if he is available.




I was watching his show this evening and he disappointed me just a little.

He misspelled the word you're. He spelled it - your'e.

He looked so proud holding his little post-it up to the camera, and giving us his come hither look. However, I just kept looking at the apostrophe in the wrong place.

A little love for Nate died today. *sniffle*

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gap Commercial Tuesday - Raoul Bova Part 2

I had such a crappy day, and seeing my boyfriend and posting this video have been the two things I've been looking forward to all evening.

Enjoy his tush!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Monday - The Radio Dept.

"Pulling Our Weight" - First heard this song back in 2007. I love the hypnotic sound of the guitar always repeating.



Here's a bonus track.

"I Don't Like It Like This"

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Gap Commercial Tuesday - Raoul Bova

This was my introduction to Raoul. Isn't he a hottie??

Those arms.

Those legs.

Ah!




My apologies for skipping Music Monday, but, strangely enough, I was busy on Labor Day drinking and seeing boobage at the movies. -->Pirahna - 3D!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Creamed Cucumbers with Mushrooms (ala Julia Child)

Guess who won 1st place with the following recipe?

Me!

Yay!


(not my picture- Deb has the picture from dinner)


Here's the recipe. Bon Appetit!

Creamed Cucumbers with Mushrooms (ala Julia Child)
Note: Baked cucumbers go with roast, broiled, or sauteed chicken, roast veal, veal chops, or scallops, and, get this, sauteed brains or sweetbreads. (yum)

Ingredients only for the cucumbers:


6 cucumbers about 8 inches long

2 Tb wine vinegar
1.5 tsp salt
1/8 tsp sugar

a 2 1/2 quart bowl a baking dish 12 inches in diameter and 1.5 inches deep
3Tb melted butter (or spread)

1/2 tsp dill or basil (I like basil)

3-4 Tb minced green onions
1/8 tsp pepper


1.Peel the cucumbers. Cut in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Cut into lengthwise strips about 3/8 inch wide. Cut the strips into 2-inch pieces.
2. Toss the cucumbers in a bowl with the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Let stand for at least 30 minutes or several hours. Drain. Pat dry in a towel.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Toss the cucumbers in the baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions, and pepper. Set uncovered in the middle level of the preheated oven for about an hour, tossing every 20 min. until cucumbers are tender but still have a suggestion of crispness and texture. They will barely color during the cooking.

5. Prepare the creamed mushrooms 15 minutes before you take the cucumbers out of the oven.

See below to prepare mushrooms.


Ingredients for the creamed mushrooms:


1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
A skillet
1 cup whipping cream (half and half seemed less fatty)

1 cup cornstarch mixed with 1tsp water

Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tb minced parsley (chives are even better)


1. Trim, wash, and quarter the mushrooms. Dry in a towel.
2. Set them in a dry skillet and toss over moderately low heat for 5 minutes or so.

3. Pour in the cream and cornstarch mixture; boil slowly for 5 minutes or so, until cream has reduced and thickened.

4. Stir in salt and pepper, simmer a moment and check seasoning.

5. Fold into the hot baked cucumbers, sprinkle with parsley (chives), and serve.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Music Monday

This is my #1 favorite Toni Braxton song. It conjures memories of 1996 when all things gay were new to me. :-)



This is my #2 favorite Toni Braxton song. I love that Toni called Robin Givens up and said, "Hey, gurl, need a job?"


"He Wasn't Man Enough"

Monday, August 23, 2010

Music Monday

La Meme Histoire by Feist

Here's the curtain call at the end of Paris, je t'aime. It doesn't give anything away.It's WAY better than New York, I Love You.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Music Monday

LOVE this remix that has recently come to my attention.

Ladies and gentlemen, Sade singing "By Your Side" (Neptunes Remix)

If anyone finds the actual video of her singing the remix, let me know.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Class of '89

This was almost my class song. It got voted down for Kenny Rogers' "Through the Years". Not my personal choice.

New Music Sunday (for me)

Florence + The Machine - "Dog Days are Over"

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Time's Up


It's time to go back to work.

Yuck!

I'm looking forward to lunch with friends afterward though.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia ala Breezy

This is Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, but I made a few changes.

Cook the --Regular not pearl. Pearl onions take too long to peal. Cut roughly.--onions, mushrooms (pre-cut), and carrots (baby carrots) separately AND before you cook the meat. Let them sit while you take care of the beef and the bacon.

REMEMBER, dry the beef before you cook it so it will brown. It makes it so much more tastier.

My favorite moment of this cooking process is when you add the wine and slightly cover the beef. The aroma that floats up as the steam leaves the pot is unforgettable. Don't overdo it with the wine because it will taste too winey (?) if you can imagine tasting that.

DON'T worry about the tomato paste. It tastes great without it.

Finally, while butter makes just about everything taste fantastic, try using cooking spray. You'll have less fat to skim as you go along. Really.

Happy cooking!

    • 1 6-ounce chunk of bacon
    • 1 9- to 10-inch fireproof casserole 3 inches deep
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil or cooking oil
    • 1 slotted spoon
    • 3 pounds lean stewing beef cut into 2-inch cubes
    • 1 sliced carrot
    • 1 sliced onion
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as one of those suggested for serving or a Chianti
    • 2-3 cups brown beef stock or canned beef bouillon
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 2 cloves mashed garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
    • a crumbled bay leaf
    • the blanched bacon rind
    • 18-24 small white onions (brown-braised in stock)
    • 1 pound quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter
    • parsley sprigs

Directions

As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavor when reheated.

VEGETABLE AND WINE SUGGESTIONS

Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bourdeaux-St. Emilion or Burgundy.

--------

Remove rind and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches long). Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Saute the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you saute the beef.

Dry the beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Saute it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sauteing fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in the wine and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set them aside until needed.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan. Wash out the casserole and return the beef and bacon to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Skim fat off the sauce. Simmer sauce for a minute or two, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 21/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons of stock or canned bouillon. Taste carefully for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.

(*) Recipe may be completed in advance to this point.

FOR IMMEDIATE SERVING

Cover the casserole and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times. Serve in its casserole, or arrange the stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

FOR LATER SERVING

When cold, cover and refrigerate. About 15 to 20 minutes before serving, bring to the simmer, cover and simmer very slowly for 10 minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.

Aveeno

May I recommend something? Alright, I'd like to recommend a face wash that will leave your face feeling clean, but it doesn't feel like you are scouring your face with sand.I'd like to introduce you to the Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Facial Cleanser:

What I find great about it is that it doesn't overly dry your skin and it reduces redness. Try it and see. I bet you'll like it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

January Jones


Love this picture of January. Watch Mad Men's season premiere Sunday, July 25, 2010.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hey Bra!

Tonight I had a wonderful time listening to David Sedaris reading to me for almost two hours. I found him, at times, funny and abstruse. I left not quite knowing how to feel except maybe slightly satisfied.

Afterward, MSH and I dropped two Jasons off at their respective homes, and then drove to the local Walgreens to look for cold medicine for MSH. Overall, the whole Walgreens experience was uneventful except for always seeing the never ending traffic there is in its parking lot. Is it because they're always open? Are they selling crack at half price? What already? Believe it or not, someone's done some research into the Walgreens parking lot problem. Here's a link. (Look on p. 7)

As MSH was checking out in the endless line, I glanced beyond him and I noticed a sign. It said: $10.99 ea. - BRA'S.

First of all, I couldn't even begin to tell you what a good bra looks like, but I'm sure $10.99 bras cannot be top of the line. Correct?

Second of all, and really the first thing that caught my eye was that darned apostrophe! Why is there an apostrophe there? It's called apostrophe abuse and it must stop. Something must be done. (Till then, here's a spot with more abuses of the apostrophe: http://www.apostropheabuse.com/)

Finally, what the hell is Walgreens doing selling bras? Who buys their bras at Walgreens? I'll have to ask some women at work how they feel about my new discovery because it perturbs me.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Where the Wild Saints Are

Have you seen my recent purchase thanks to MSH?

I. Die.

Damned Wireless Router

After two hopeless hours of trying to connect a wireless router to my computer, I've decided to stop and cook instead.

Since my fridge is looking like a bachelor's cliche', I've decided to make due with what I have which are tomatoes and a slew of herbs and spices.

For my menu tonight, I'll be having Tomates a la Provencale.

What is that you ask?

It's tomatoes stuffed with bread crumbs, herbs and garlic. Yum!

I'll take a picture and post it here when I'm all done. I figure cooking will help me focus and not dwell on a stupid NETGEAR router model WGR614 v.6! As you can see it's very difficult for me to let go of things, much less quit.

Here's to my cooking going better than my technical skills!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hello, Senator!

Republican Senator Scott Brown who won Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts Senate seat. Hello!