Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So I felt like making a roast beef with roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding for dinner. My recipe called for a 3-rib standing rib roast (about 6 pounds). Well, a 3-rib roast ended up being 4.5 pounds and a whole lot of money. Geez, it's no wonder I don't often cook any beef other than ground - it's expensive. But, I bit the bullet and made an awesomely delicious dinner. The whole house smelled of beef and the fat on the outside of the roast formed a crust almost as delicious as pork crackling. Also, I'd never had Yorkshire pudding before and it was quite tasty, perfect for mopping up the wine and beef reduction sauce. Yummy!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I have to say....the book was better. I'm actually kind of surprised at how cheesy the movie was. Now, the book had some cheesy lines and a lot of lovey-dovey narration, but at least there was some depth to the characters. The movie version of Bella was not very likable (but her character in the books was). But, the thing that bothered me the most was the soundtrack and the filming style. Personally the whole movie felt low-budget (which it probably was) and very much like a poorly made B-movie. It's like the director tried to "camp-up" the vampire element to a humurous extreme (hence the baseball scene). I only hope that because of the vast amounts of money this movie is making, the sequel will have a bigger and better budget (though I also think it should have another director). Overall, read the books before (if ever) watching the movie.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The Asia market here is mainly Vietnamese, and they have this great assortment of desserts/snacks on display right at the entrance. I always like to get a small assortment of new treats, along with old favorites. This time, there were quite a few that I hadn't seen before so I snatched them up. One was this delicious steamed banana cake (Banh Chuoi Hap) with a dipping sauce. The cake was gelatinous and sweet with good banana flavor while the dipping sauce was coconut based, salty, with tapioca pearls and sliced green onions. It was an interesting combination that wasn't unpleasant but also didin't leave me licking the last drops of dipping sauce out of the container. Another interesting dessert was a mochi-like item (Banh Xu Xe). It has a pandan leaf flavored tapioca "wrapper" surrounding a sweet mung bean filling (very much like red bean paste filling). The tapioca was very chewy while the mung bean paste was smooth and very sweet. Overall quite tasty. It's always an adventure with Asian desserts.
I'm at an annoying phase right now. I'm not pregnant enough to be obvious, but enough to need a larger waistband. Plus, I'm not yet big enough to wear maternity clothes. So I went and bought some elastic-waist pants that will allow me to get large enough until I need to really buy some maternity clothes. I basically just look like a have a potbelly now. Great for one's self-esteem.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Yes, I got a speeding ticket in September and finally got around to taking the defensive driving course online (so that I can avoid adding any penalties to my insurance). It was my first ticket ever. The course alone is enough to make you stop speeding, despite the ticket fee. I took the course online and it requires you to take a certain amount of time for each lesson - you are penalized for going fast, even if you get the right answers! It took up my whole Saturday, sniffle.
I made two exquisite roast chickens (recipe from Thomas Keller's book Bouchon). They were brined for about 8 hours and roasted at a really high temperature for about 50 minutes. I have never had such a well-browned chicken, nor a chicken with such exquisitely moist breast meat. A definite winner! To go along with the birds, I also made Thomas Keller's potato gratin (excellent) and Cooks Illustrated version of a better green bean casserole (also excellent). Then, I made two pumpkin pies with homemade crust and a brandy whipped cream. Along with this, my friends brought an delicious butternut squash soup and tasty pasta salad. Overall, a good spread. No one missed the turkey.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Seth went sailing with a co-worker and somehow managed to slip and fall in such a way as to give his shin the biggest welt I have ever seen - without breaking anything, thank goodness. It's been swollen for over three days, though not as large. Plus, it has a rather nasty shade of blue, purple, and red.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I got this great quick pickling book on Saturday and just couldn't wait to start pickling. The pickles in the strip are dill cucumber pickles and they pack a punch, but are extremely addictive. I have also made some "supercharged" black olives pickled in oil, and a red grape and jicama pickle. Yes, a fruit pickle. I've never had a fruit pickle before, so far they seem tasty, but I haven't really had a chance to taste them. The book is called "Quick Pickles" and it has some really intriguing pickles that I can't wait to try. Ones like pickled mango with scorched mustard, pineapple and cranberry pickle, and wine-barrel pickles. It also has some very convincing kimchee recipes that I look forward to making. I actually attempted a real kimchee recipe last year, but got so freaked out by it after the month it sat in the cupboard that I only tasted a bit and threw the rest out for fear of food poisoning. It had raw oysters in it! I think I had a right to be concerned. But the recipes in the book seem much less risky and I am excited. But first I have to finish the pickles I have ^_^.
So, I didn't get to make a reservation. But the lady on the phone was really nice and gave me hope that despite the restaurant being the best in America, little 'ole me could actually make a reservation. Next Chicage trip I plan is going to revolve around Alinea.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Apparently, making your friends some Halloween costumes can pay off in more ways than one. My friend Ryan loves to cook and has purchased a large selection of awesome cookbooks for me as a Thank You. I got the first two books this weekend, and have read through both already ^_^
Is that when you do lose your balance, you tend to increase your chances of falling even more as you try to stabalize yourself. It took me about all of 30 seconds to make a complete fool of myself in the grocery parking lot, though I did manage to cover quite a bit of distance which I'm sure confused a few onlookers who probably didn't realize I had wheels on my shoes. Also, I bruised my one knee fairly bad and managed to rip one of my "green" bags. But, this is only fall two since I've had the Heelys, so I still think they are awesome!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Here is a picture of The Monarch's costume. When I get pictures of the rest, I will post them as well. But, since I felt particularly proud of the Monarch's costume, I actually took a photo before we were all assembled together. Obviously, he does not have his insane eyebrows or beard in this shot. You can see them later.
As for the construction: His costume is made mainly of fleece with quilt batting to give it form. The wings are a mixture of black fleece and orange broadcloth over quilt batting, the vest is just fleece over batting, and his boots are just fleece (they wrap over his sneakers). The wristbands are fleece over 1/2 inch upholstery foam, as are his shoulder pads. The skullcap was sewn of sporty/stretchy material and the ears were sewn on and stuffed with fluff. His crown is just craft foam that he wears like a party hat. I did not make the body suit, that was purchased in two pieces from the local Wal-Mart.
I'm flattered by all the requests, but I don't own the costume anymore, I don't have the time to make another, and I don't have any patterns to offer. Although, if you'd like any tips or an explanation of the construction of any one piece I can answer those questions. Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
For those of you who don't know, we went as The Monarch and his henchmen from the cartoon The Venture Brothers (photo). Seth was henchman number 21 (and we really did have a light saber that we bought downtown on Halloween night) and I was a random henchman. Our friend Chris was The Monarch (because he was the only one with the proper build, and he did an awesome job getting into character). Ryan was henchman number 24, and had his voice down perfectly. And Robert was another henchman, but due to time constraints, he didn't get any wings. The only costumes I didn't make were the women. Amanda (Chris's girlfriend) was Dr. Girlfriend. And Jennifer (Ryan's wife) was Triana. Needless to say we had a great time. And you may be able to find photos of us online because we had to pose about a thousand times on 6th street in Austin. All the hard work of sewing was well worth it!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sorry for such an incredible lack of posting (one whole month, I think). I actually had a bunch of posts done early in the month, but then my computer's power supply died. Then, I was incredibly busy for the next few weeks and just didn't put posting on the top of my priority list. But, I will get back into the swing of things. Plus, I had an awesome Halloween and am eager to post up some photos and strips soon (I have to wait on the photos from our friends). I promise, more posts to come tomorrow and I will be back to a more regular posting schedule from now on. (I am also running low on inking supplies and need to make a trip to the art store). If you managed to stick with me, thanks a bunch! I will continue the postings ^_^