lookingforlissa

Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Foodblogging’

Who knew that the back of a wine bottle sounds a lot like porn?

Posted by Lissa on August 10, 2010

We had LilBro1 over for dinner last night — lasagna rolls (I added 93% lean ground beef), steamed broccoli and cream puffs (packaged, not baked) — and Mike was describing the composition of our dinner wine:

MIKE: “Produced on the Esporão estate from local Aragones, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet grape varieties.”

LISSA: “That sounds an awful lot like French porn.” (LilBro1 laughs.) “Seriously though, doesn’t it?”

MIKE (lowering his voice an octave): “InTENSE, DEEP RED color with a perfumed AROMA of RED BERRY FRUITS and . . . SPICY — AMERICAN — OAK.”

LISSA: (Busts out laughing. Is very glad she didn’t take a sip of wine, as it would have been shot across the dinner table. Through her nose.)

MIKE: “SILKY TEXTURED on the PALATE” (Lissa and LilBro1 are practically rolling on the ground by now) with layers of fruit contributing RICHNESS, balance and COMPLEXITY.” (waits for Lissa and LilBro1 to catch their breath) “Oh, and the final line? It’s about . . . a PHOTOGRAPHER.” (Lissa and LilBro1 completely lose it again)

So. Portuguese wine = French bordello. Any questions?

I added spinach to the bottom two; that's why they're greener.

****************************************************************************

This post over at Borepatch’s reminded me of myself in my most arrogant, I-know-everything days.  (Oh — you thought that was now?  Oh no, I was much worse, I really was.)  I remember haughtily opining, one Christmas break, that democracy didn’t work particularly well because most people were too stupid and uneducated to vote the way they *should*.

It’s a miracle and a mercy my family didn’t just give me a beatdown and save themselves the trouble of listening.  They’re really good people, and I guess they really love me 😉

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I spent the July 4th weekend barefoot and in the kitchen.

Posted by Lissa on July 8, 2010

But not pregnant! In case y’all were wondering. 🙂

My lovely in-laws asked Mike what my greedy little heart desired for my birthday and then graced me with a gift certificate to Yuppie Kitchen Nirvana.  Because it was a birthday present, I was morally compelled to spend it on things that were impractical, kitschy, gadget-y, or just plain fun.

Like a brownie pan that turns out chocolate-bar-looking brownies!  (We ate two to make sure they tasted okay, but sent the rest home with my mom for her picnic.  Apparently they were a hit!)

Like an ebelsk . . . elbow . . . eblow . . . a filled-pancake pan!  (This was a little tough to master, but eventually I got the hang of it.  Did it taste better than regular pancakes?  Not particularly.  Did I have an absolute blast filling them with diced strawberries, diced pineapples, chocolate chips, or jam?  You betcha!  BTW, everything was great except the pineapples.  They didn’t do much for either of us.)

Sizzle, little pancake balls! SIZZLE!

Flip!

Mmmm, melty chocolate chips inside a crispy pancake ball

Like a pan for pizza sticks!  Yes, we already have pizza stones.  Yes, I consider them messy and thought this would be more fun.  Yes, I was seduced by the idea of each person decorating their own sticks.

The Rajah keeps my rising dough company in the sunshine. I halved the recipe, deciding that 3 sticks for Mike and 2 for me was plenty. I was right.

Decorated! The top 3 are Mikes - pesto and fresh mozzarella, pepperoni and mushrooms. The bottom two are mine; the pesto-one uses feta instead of fresh mozz and has no meat.

I *told* Mike he went a little overboard with the cheese. Luckily I parked a cookie sheet underneath the pan as it baked, so the cheese didn't drop everywhere. If I hadn't put the cookie sheet there though -- do I even need to say it?

Ta-da!!!!

MIKE: “Asparagus?  That seems a little random, like it doesn’t quite go.”

LISSA:  “Of COURSE it goes!  It’s all long pointy shapes!  DUH.”

I also found out while the dough was rising that I was having a dinner guest Tuesday night.  I used the hour-and-a-half to frantically prep chicken adobo and whip up a batch of PB-tartlets.  The fact that, with no prior planning, I could provide dinner AND a home-baked dessert for a guest made me feel like a totally capable adult for all of ten minutes.

Then I went back to playing Cooking Dash.

I hope your weekend was as fun as mine!

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I am the most awesome chef alive!!!!

Posted by Lissa on June 23, 2010

I didn’t always think so, of course.  There’s a whole tag of “Domestication FAIL” over there in the sidebar.  I always considered myself a good basic cook who was trying to branch out into becoming a better cook.

But now I know better!  Now I know that I’m simply awesome and amazing and fabulous!

Why?

Because I have never — not even ONCE — cut skirt steak into strips, charred it to a crisp, and then cut bleedin’ FIG NEWTONS into flippers to make it a STEAK TURTLE.

Nor have I ever mixed STRAWBERRY CORNFLAKES with GROUND MEAT to make HAMBURGERS.

OR BOILED VEGETABLES FOR HOURS, BLENDED THEM INTO MUSH AND ADDED FROZEN MEATBALLS AND SLICES OF CHEESE.

Welcome to “Inedible to Incredible“!  It’s basically What Not to Wear for cooks.  Mike and I watched two episodes last night and now I know that I’m the most awesome chef that ever lived.

I’m so proud of myself.

Happy Wednesday, all!

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A Mouthful of Ashes and Dust

Posted by Lissa on April 21, 2010

Or, Adventures In Supplements!

As regular readers know, Mike and I have been trying to increase our level of fitness here at the Kitty Den.  Since I gained weight while Mike was in Charlotte, I’m also trying to eat a bit healthier; “no lard butts in bikinis,” that’s the motto!  So far so good on the exercise; Mike’s getting used to his FiveFingers (and thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice!) and we haven’t once had to donate to the as-yet-unspecified charity.  (I still think PETA is the best choice — especially since most people who haven’t dug into the nasty side of PETA think it’s a wonderful organization, and EXACTLY the kind of org I would normally support — but I’m just not sure Mike can stomach it.)

I’ve also started tracking my food intake (thank you, free “sparkpeople” app!).  Trying to calorie-ize every bite of food that goes into my mouth led me to three results:

1) I bought a food scale

2) I realized I snack more than I thought I did

3) I decided to try and get more protein into my diet.

In line with 3), I went ahead and bought this:

I figured that I could replace my normal afternoon snack of reduced-fat string cheese and fat-free yogurt with a protein-rich snack, which would make it easier to last until dinner without chewing on my fingers.  Or the cat.  (Though cat-ears are HIGHLY nommable and protein-rich, for the record.)

Nom my ears. You know you want to.

The package arrived Monday and I optimistically chose the Mocha Cappuccino flavor, poured it into a cup of coffee and mixed it with a mini-mixer I’d bought especially for the occasion.  It foamed beautifully, looking exactly like an expensive cappuccino machine had lovingly whipped it into a frothy lather purely for my delectation.

I took a sip.

Ack!  Chalk!  Gack!

Okay, well, I expected it to be a bit chalky.  Powder shakes often are, especially protein-rich ones.

I took a bigger sip.

I chewed and swallowed.

Holy crap!  Grits!  Muck!  Drinking sand!

The whey stuff CONGEALED and after the first three sips I was trying to choke down pea-sized nuggets of powder.

I think I managed to down about six sips before the rest went down the drain.

Folks, any ideas?  Shall I mix it with oatmeal or grits and eat it with a spoon???

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Range Report: SB’s guns, continued!

Posted by Lissa on March 23, 2010

[My computer refused to connect to the Internet yesterday, leaving me with a half-finished post and no way of saving it.  It’s behaving better today, so I’ll finish it up!]

Good morning all!  On a side note, I’m exhausted; I helped a friend by editing a paper, and as a result I was stricken with college nightmares.  You know — dreams of papers overdue, of roommate and dorm issues, of irate chemistry professors, stuff like that.  I feel unrested and stressed despite the fact that I’m not in college anymore!!!

Anyway, let’s revel in the fact that I’m an adult and look at more guns!

While playing with the AR-15 and .22, some nice guys the next berm over offered to let us shoot their .22.  It was a Savage Mark 2 BTBS with a lovely lovely stock:

To be honest, I don’t know whether I hit the target with the Savage; their paper was pretty well perforated and the scope wasn’t THAT good.  But Mike seemed to like it!

Shoothouse Barbie was thrilled to break in her birthday-Garand:

(I’ve had a date with a Garand — remember? — and so declined to make this one’s acquaintance.)

After much hopping up and down and pleading by Lissa, we brought out the shotties!  This shiny gun is a Winchester Model 1300 —

— and here Vanna Dr. Boyfriend shows off the Remington 870:

Is this a good excuse to post the shottie video again?  Oh, surely it’s a good enough excuse:

(And of course I wanted the shiny gun for the video! I did shoot both though.)

As you can tell by watching me fly backwards, buckshot is a WHOLE DIFFERENT GAME than birdshot!!  I was hunkered low for stability and bracing my feet and still got slammed about.

Memento of two shotguns' delicate caresses

The last thing we shot was an FAL .308 (which I believe is specifically verboten by our good friend Martha Coakley):

It took me a little wiggling to get the magazine in — it loads weird, and I’m always afraid to break other peoples’ stuff — but it was a hoot to light off.  It had a real smooth trigger pull; the recoil was not insubstantial but it was fairly quick and easy to get the red dot sight back on target.

I don’t have any pictures, but we used the fading light to scoot over to the pistol range and play with Glocks and Steyrs and Sigs (they have a Siguette!) and removed the center of many targets.  A good time was had by all!

Shoothouse Barbie and Dr. Boyfriend, thanks so much for taking us shooting!  We had a fabulous time!

And as a bonus, I finally, FINALLY learned how to make a moist pork loin!  Apparently the secret is to sear all four sides in a cast-iron skillet before popping it into the oven with a meat thermometer.  Hooray!

I used Rendezvous dry rub all over the outside and served it with pan-roasted brussel sprouts. Nom nom nom!

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Brisket = Food of the gods!

Posted by Lissa on March 11, 2010

Good morning all!  Did you know that brisket is super-powered?  No seriously!  You take a slab of meat roughly the size of your torso and, by a mysterious process of alchemy, transform it into meat gold.

Dr. Boyfriend diligently carved and trimmed and seasoned the beef on Friday night and tenderly laid it in the smoker.  By making the painful (but admirable!) choice of choosing food over sleep, he was able to tend it periodically through the night before popping it into the oven to finish at 200 degrees.  When it was finally ready to eat, I took a bite and my eyes rolled back in my head.  Flavorful, tender, savory, juicy meat-gold, y’all. I think I went into a food stupor and was unable to talk until I’d had two helpings.

(We didn’t starve Friday night, mind you; we feasted on pork loin.  And remember, I don’t usually like pork; I have very poor luck having it retain even a drop of moisture.  Apparently the secret is to pan-sear it all over in a cast-iron skillet and then pop the skillet directly into the oven.  I think it might have been finished on the stovetop too?  Supremely moist and tender!)

Elektra Blu was MOST helpful, offering to dispose of any unwanted bits and pieces.  (Well, she also offered to dispose of the whole damn thing, but she had very good food-manners; she begged less than my cat does, and without the little vocalized “Mew!”s.  Which is good, ’cause that would have been weird.)

Shoothouse Barbie was kind enough to let me feed her the first night to cement my identity as a member of the pack.  Sooooo cute — you get the cup of food and walk over to her dish, then instruct her to sit.  The first time she sat for me, she did so with her nose in her bowl; I sternly “Hey!“d her and she sat bolt upright.  Then you pour the food in the dish and she has to wait until you say “Okay!”  Even though she’d barely known me for a couple of hours she obeyed.  Such a good puppy!  Such good doggie manners!  Which is a good thing, because I fear my ideas of pet enrichment may be rubbing off on SB . . .

"Save me, Obe-Dog Kanobe, you're my only hope!"

I fell just a little in love with this puppy.  I mean, she was SUCH a sweetie!  She loves attention and occasionally “pets” you with her paw and gives hugs by snuggling her head between your legs and — well, just LOOK at her!

Shoothouse Barbie and Dr. Boyfriend are fabulous hosts, by the way.  They fed us gourmet food until we lolled around in gluttonous stupor and let me walk the dog and even put a pitcher of water and two clean glasses in our room and were just the most thoughtful and polite folks ever.  And oh, the conversations we had!  Everything from chemistry to engagement rings to puppies and kitties to family to politics to the caliber wars to meth dens to AR-15 triggers to spin classes and gym mixes to the proper composition of a breakfast taco to digital cameras to crock pot recipes to retirement savings to cargo pants to Johnny Depp to dove hunting to lots of other stuff.

So, the friends (furry and otherwise) and food component of this mini-vacation were an A-plus.  Tomorrow — our trip to the range!

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A perfect day

Posted by Lissa on February 17, 2010

It was, really.  I complain enough about my bad days that I should share my wonderful days, no?  So let me tell you about this past Sunday . . .

  • Woke up to smell the roses.  No really, I brought home a vase of beautiful roses that a Certain Someone sent me at work:
  • Played at the shelter with some fabulous kitties!  We’ve had a great start to 2010 for adoptions, but as soon as we free up space, more come in.  It just so happens that the current batch are almost all sweet and friendly — a rarity!
  • In fact, the only trouble was with one little girl named Cherie.  A five-month old black female weighing perhaps five pounds, she FLEW at me when I opened the cage!  Seriously, the door was only open about four inches when she LAUNCHED herself at my shoulder.  She bounced off and I caught her halfway to the floor while involuntarily shrieking “OH MY GOD!”  But all she wanted was a snuggle, so I wrapped her up in my shirt and held her with one hand while tidying with the other.  Want want want!!!
  • Came home to sip delicious coffee and nibble bakery pastries with my sweetie.
  • Had a good day at the range!  My double-taps are still problematic — I can drill the first shot, but following it quickly with a second shot tends me to make me veer off to the right — but still, I’m getting better, and that’s fun!
  • Humiliated my cat (always something to make one’s day!)
  • Got all gussied up and headed off to town for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner!

    We went to a lovely little place called Bistro du Midi — the food is fabulous! And the portions are small, so you can try more things and not feel horribly guilty about it 🙂  For appetisers, we had fried artichoke hearts with aioli, as well as prawns provencale (with dried-tomato butter and fresh pesto):

    For our entrees, Mike selected venison with roasted chestnuts and I feasted on beef filet; we shared our dishes as well as the ratatouille (not served by a rat, sorry) and a side dish of mushrooms and chestnuts.  Everything was absolute divine!
  • And as for what we did for the rest of the night . . . well, that’s just none of your business 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetie!  Thanks for making mine perfect!

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