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.