Friday, December 19, 2008

Woohoo! Surprise package!

I know this will forever ruin my carefully manicured cool image <*shut it, Spork*>, but I love getting packages in the mail. If I get one that I know is coming, life is good. If I get an unexpected package, life becomes almost unbearably great. So imagine my utter joy when I went to the post office to pick up a package that I knew was coming (because I ordered it) and got a bonus package to boot! I ripped into that bad boy so hard that the padding from the enviro-friendly envelope flew out and stuck all over my dark blue shirt. It was worth it, though, because the package contained a new cookbook!

The book was Swedish Cakes and Cookies by Melody Favish, sent to me by Swedish friend, Christina.



I've bugged Christina for Swedish recipes from time to time, so she's well aware of my cookbook habit (addiction just seems like such a harsh word).

The book is filled with pictures and recipes for all sorts of delightful cookies, little pastries, cakes and sweet breads. I've already picked my first experiment, a braided sweet bread made with cottage cheese and orange zest, drizzled with a powdered sugar glaze. Yum!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I think I have finally done it

This is it, cinnamon roll nirvana! Tender, rich, gooey and dripping with frosting. I even managed to get all of the ingredients in this time. Yes, the salt, the raisins and the nuts. It's practically a cooking miracle.

I usually bake my cinnamon rolls on a cookie sheet, but I opted to use a 12" round pan this time and I liked it better. The inner rolls stayed soft, so less crust. Yes, this was definitely a winning batch. I took them to share with my parents, but Spork wouldn't let the leftovers to come home with us. It seemed so wrong to just abandon them like that.




Oh man, look at that! I want another one now!

I'm working on writing up the recipe, since a lot of it exists only in my head. I now have a lot more respect for cookbook writers - it's hard getting every detail written out.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I wondered why my cats were so into the holidays

It's just another part of their nefarious plan for world domination, which will be accomplished through the strategic placement of hairballs.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oops, I lied!

Yesterday when Big John asked if I had cooked anything interesting lately, I said no, but that wasn't exactly true. My mental storage was filled with Thanksgiving food, which while tasty, isn't exactly blog worthy (except the Red Rooster, which is always a hit). Outside of Thanksgiving food, I've been experimenting with sourdough bread leavened entirely from the wild yeast in the sourdough - no yeast added. I became a nutso fan in San Francisco, where everything seems to be served in sourdough bread of some form. I tried to create my own starter a few times, without success, and finally sent off for a dried starter. Carl Griffith's starter, in case anyone else wants to give it a go.

I've made 2 loaves so far, as well as some pancakes and a batch of biscuits. I rated the biscuits as "Meh," but the pancakes were pretty good. The bread, on the other hand, was really good. Both loaves were mighty fine taste-wise, but both of them split along the bottom edge, which made them sub-par in my obsessive-compulsive eyes. I posted a plea for help on a cooking forum and have a couple of tricks to try next time: 1. Slash the loaf deeply right before baking and 2. Add a pan of hot water to the oven during baking, to keep the crust flexible. I'm going to try tip #1 first, since the crust on the last loaf was bread perfection - crispy, crackly and a little carmelized. I don't want to lose that, just keep it from exploding along the bottom.


Pretty side


Split side

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hooked on queso

In my pre-Spork days, I didn't care for queso. I know, I know! What was wrong with me? I have no reasonable explanation to offer. I just didn't like it. I didn't eat fries or potato chips back then, either. Fortunately, Spork helped me to see the light. Unfortunately, I seem to be making up for all those lost calories now by regularly indulging in all my newfound favorite foods.

We had a light frost yesterday morning, causing my pepper plants to shrivel up and die, so it was time to use up the last of the peppers. My entire veggie drawer is now full of poblanos, New Mexican chiles, sweet Italian peppers, pimientos and a new variety I tried this year, Holy Mole. I couldn't fit the 4 pounds or so of jalapenos and serranos in, so I'll be drying them and making chile powder.



However, I decided to use my windfall to indulge in my newfound love of queso and make this recipe from Homesick Texan. I've made it before, so I took the liberty of adding a little breakfast sausage (how could that possibly be bad?) and I used salsa instead of the tomatoes and cilantro. Spork thinks my cavalier attitude towards recipe directions is reckless, but I'm not afraid!


Results: Yum! It was totally worth every single calorie. But now I need to go sleep off my cheese coma.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving just got a little more kick

Woot! I have had an official request to bring Red Rooster to Thanksgiving this year. Red Rooster is much better than the casserole I was asked to bring. The last time I brought it, I ended up with a giant metal palm tree bird feeder.

Here's the recipe, in case anyone else needs to brighten up their holiday:

Red Rooster

Ingredients:
3 Quart(s) cranberry juice cocktail
12 Ounce(s) thawed frozen orange juice concentrate
4 Cup(s) vodka

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients and freeze in a large plastic container for several hours, or until slushy. (It won't be frozen solid.)

Stir and scoop the mixture into punch cups or wine glasses.

Notes: I usually use rum instead of vodka, generally a combo of gold rum and vanilla rum. All I have right now is 151, so I'll be buying some new supplies. I don't want Thanksgiving to be that exciting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Omnivore Meme

This is a a fun meme-you know the routine post this list and bold what you've eaten. Some blogger somewhere decided that these are the 100 things every omnivore should eat before they die. I'm copying Lorie (again) who copied webfrau who thanked jww for this.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn or head cheese - I bought some once, but couldn't make myself taste it!
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - unfortunately!
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar - I skipped the cigar part
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat's milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips - but I don't see the point
61. S'mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs' legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis - no, but I would try it
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost - ick, ick, ick! I think I'd rather try the roadkill
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Har
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Looks like I'm at 59%. Hopefully I'm being graded on a curve.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Get thee to Jason's Deli and order a JB's Best Bagelini

Warning: Shameless plug ahead!

Spork and I ventured out in the rain today to try an awesome new sandwich at Jason's Deli, JB's Best Bagelini. It consists of turkey, provolone, guacamole, pico de gallo and (I think) a spicy aioli, all combined on a bagel and then pressed in a panini grill . It's served with blue corn chips and a really tasty fresh salsa. Yum! I snarfed the whole thing in record time, trying hard not to growl every time someone walked past the table.

Now for the "truth in marketing" disclaimer: My nephew, Jeff, is the mastermind behind this sandwich and it won a Major Award* in a Jason's Deli employee contest and is now on the menu board in all the restaurants. I think it's only available for a limited time, but I'm not sure about that. So just to be safe, you should probably jump in the car and go get one right now!





Footnote:
*If you're not enough of a fan of A Christmas Story to get the Major Award reference, then shame, shame on you...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Coconut cake #1

I've been trying to bake something every Saturday in an effort to:
  1. improve my baking skills
  2. NOT bake (and eat) something on the remaining days of the week
My informal rule is to bake on Saturday and share with others, if possible. Whatever is remaining on Sunday night gets a free ride to the trash can.

I took a cake decorating class last year and while I thought it was fun, I don't actually like decorator frosting, which is composed of shortening, powdered sugar, flavoring and food coloring. I just don't like the taste or texture the shortening gives it. You can make a similar frosting with butter, which tastes a lot better, but it melts too easily to pipe well. Especially for a slow-poke decorating newbie like me. Soooo, my current goal is to be able to make very tasty and (hopefully) pretty cakes with real frosting. From scratch, that is, since I'm not too fond of the mixes I've tried, either.

Sometimes it's hard being so picky having such refined tastes.

I am a coconut fiend, so I decided to start with a coconut cake. I used a basic cake recipe from my 1947 Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book (which I guiltily admit that I bought for my mom as a gift and then ended up keeping). I used half vanilla and half coconut extract for flavoring and since it is apparently assumed that I add booze to everything, I went ahead and boozed this one up. I made a simple syrup from water, sugar and coconut rum and brushed it lightly over both (baked and cooled) layers of the cake before I frosted it. It's what Julia Child would do. Julia is my hero, even if she did get stuck in a chimney once, which is a pretty idiotic thing to do. But I nearly died on a treadmill, so who am I to judge? Stupid margaritas.

I frosted the cake with "Fluffy White Frosting" from the same cookbook, which is just a version of boiled or seven minute frosting. I used coconut extract in the frosting, but I think vanilla would have been a better choice. I then coated the whole thing in toasted coconut. Oh, and I also added some toasted coconut between the layers when I frosted it.

Taste results: I have to say, it was pretty darned good! The cake is very tender and slightly coconut-flavored (I was worried I might have overdone it between the extract and the coconut rum). The frosting is, as the name implies, fluffy and white, but is mild enough to let the coconut shine. Some of these egg-white frostings turn sticky on humid days, but this one remained, well, fluffy and white even a day later. My one complaint is that the cake recipe was intended for 2-8"x2" round cake pans and I have 9" cake pans, so the layers are a little thin. It seems to me that a trip to the restaurant supply store could fix that problem right up!

Finally, here she be, my little coconut cake.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A fun way to waste a few minutes

In case you need to know what the Billboard #1 song was on the day you were born, now you can find out at The #1 Song on This Date in History website.

Sadly, mine "Everything Is Beautiful" by Ray Stevens. If it had to be a Ray Stevens song, I wish it could have been "The Mississippi Squirrel Revival" or maybe "Erik the Awful".

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally, a brush with greatness!

Daisy and I didn't win a major award at the Howl-O-Ween costume contest, but we did get to meet Bill and Star and we got their autographs. And unlike some dogs, Daisy didn't try to attack the celebrity while she was performing!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My first pumpkin pie

I found pie pumpkins at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago and, consumed by a fit of D-I-Y cooking inspiration, I bought one. I finally got around to roasting it last week and made a pie over the weekend.

About midway through the actual pie construction, I realized I didn't have the evaporated milk the recipe called for, so I substituted heavy cream. In my world, all recipes are made better with heavy cream.

For those, like myself, who haven't had a pumpkin (and FYI, that's pronounced PONkin) pie made from fresh pumpkin, it is a fluffier pie than the canned version. The flavor is a little brighter, too. Everyone was convinced that I had added some sort of booze to the recipe, with guesses ranging from whiskey to Bénédictine, but I had not. Sheesh, you sneak in one Jack Daniels pecan pie to Thanksgiving and you get a reputation!

From Food

Here is the recipe I used, from my stained and battered copy of The Southern Living Cookbook:


Ingredients:
2 cups cooked, mashed pumpkin
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 unbaked 10-inch pastry shell


Directions:
Combine pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, egg yolks, spices, and salt in a large mixing bowl; beat until light and fluffy (NOTE: I used a food processor for this). Add evaporated milk; mix just until combined.

Beat egg whites until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until stiff. Fold into potato mixture. Pour filling into pastry shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 45 to 50 minutes or until set.

Cool. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mexican mint marigold is a hit, but what IS this thing?



Earlier this year I planted Mexican mint marigold, which can be grown here in Texas as a replacement for tarragon. It actually does taste fairly close to tarragon, though whenever I plant something experimental there is always a part of me that is absolutely sure that the plant is mislabeled and what I'm growing is actually poisonous, hallucinogenic or something else undesirable. That's the problem with growing your own food, at least for someone who reads too much Dean Koontz and Stephen King.

My MMM is now blooming, so I went out to take some pictures of it's purtiness. It was in full sun at the time and the nectar was obviously flowing, because it was a nectar-feeding-species bonanza. A blooming Golden Corral for insects. There were bees, bee-like things and butterflies, all swarming around. The nectar must have been good stuff because they were willing to let me take pictures. It was Friday afternoon. Maybe they were having happy hour.

Bees

Metallic green bee?

Variegated fritillary, I think

And now, what the heck is this? Is it a bee? A bee fly? Something that managed to sneak in from an alternate universe? What???



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pretty cars

My first car was a 1966 Mustang. A 289 V8 bored out to 302 with a 4 barrel Holley carb and a finicky 4 speed manual transmission. It was Wimbledon White with Dark Ivy Green Shelby stripes and a parchment and white Pony interior. It was a great car, especially for a 16 year old girl. Driving a shiny, growly muscle car gets you a lot of attention from the boys!

My second car was a 1984 ex-Texas DPS highway patrol Mustang. That car was fast! It could also corner like nobody's business. When I first got it, it was painted a drab taupe color (they called it bronze, but that name is definitely too ambitious) and it still had the cop spotlights on the front. It was funny watching people slam on the brakes when they passed me on the highway. My dad had it painted an obnoxious orangey-red (Porsche Guard Red, I believe) and had the spotlights removed. It was a pretty sweet ride. The only weird thing about it was that the rear tires wore out every 5 to 6 months. Never could quite figure that one out... (*scratches head in bemusement*)

Anyway, all of this is to say that I *love* cars. Especially older sports cars. So whenever I hear of a car show nearby, I try to go, which led Spork and I to Lindale over the weekend. It was a beautiful day for a drive in the Triumph and there were quite a few cars there to ogle, around 200 or so. It was billed as a classic car, motorcycle and tractor show, but there were only 2 motorcycles and 2 tractors (Spork felt ripped off! He also felt the British cars were underrepresented.). There were also quite a few modern cars and while I'm sure the owners have put in a lot of work in them, I'm there to see the old cars.

Sadly, my camera batteries died immediately upon arrival, so I had to resort to my cell phone for pictures.

Here is a very nice 1966 Mustang. Want.
From Lindale Classic Car Show


A 1930s something-or-other. I think these cars are pretty, but I'm useless at identifying them.
From Lindale Classic Car Show



The coolest car at the show was a 1926 Rolls-Royce that is still regularly driven today. It was parked by a Ferrari, but no one was paying the Ferrari any attention. Poor Ferrari guy.
From Lindale Classic Car Show

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nothin'

I've felt about as eloquent as an angst-ridden teenager lately. My only response to the question, "What's going on, Ellie May?" has been an unimpressive, "Nothin'" I'm pretty sure I'm sporting the bad posture to go along with the 'tude, but at least I'm not rolling my eyes. Only because I can't actually roll my eyes. I can cross them, but I can't roll them. Someone please explain that to me.

In an effort to combat angst-ridden-teenager syndrome (ARTS), here I am back at the old blog. Let's hope I can think of something to share.

This morning, we went to the weekly brekkie at my parents' house and my niece, Traci, was there with a new friend, Queen Elizabeth.




Queen Elizabeth is only four weeks old, but the mother dog stopped taking care QE and her siblings. Traci's boyfriend, Jeremy, is apparently a soft touch. He took pity on poor little QE and brought her home to care for. They already have one white schnauzer, His Most Supreme Royal Highness Roose, so they'll be a matched set when QE is a little bigger.

Tired Roose


This afternoon, Spork and I took Arlo and Daisy for a power walk through the woods. I was in the lead and since I have a tendency to watch about 9 feet ahead of me while I walk (if you grow up with farm animals - you watch where you step!), I saw something up ahead of me, but it took about 3 more steps before my brain registered "snake, copperhead"! It was a big one, too, between 3 and 4 feet long. Spork and I scared it off the trail and took the dogs home, but when we went back to detach its head from its tail (a headectomy?), we couldn't find the snake. Spork was prepared with a pitchfork and a hoe, but I was armed with the camera in the hopes of getting a picture.

On the way back from the failed snake assassination/photo shoot, I stopped to admire the leaf cutter ants and their new domain.

Taking leaf parts back to the mound

All the sandy spots are part of the ant hill


The ants are big, maybe 1/2-inch long and their colonies are huge. This one is about 12 feet in diameter and they've only been building it since this summer. They used to live on the land behind us, but since we are just so awesome, they moved in with us. That's right, ants dig us.

Finally, even though something has eaten all the foliage off my roses (I suspect deer), Double Delight managed to give us a bloom this week.



See, that was just one day's worth of adventure. Not sure why, "Nothin'" is all that comes to mind lately.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Sporktastic birthday weekend!


Okay boys and girls, be sure to wish Spork a happy birthday this weekend. I will leave out the specifics about exactly what year he was born, but let's just say there sure are lots of reading glasses scattered around the stuga and my childhood pictures are in color!

Happy birthday Spork!



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I don't like Ike

Ike passed right over us this past weekend at tropical storm strength. The original prediction called for a category 1 hurricane level when it hit our neck of the woods, so we were happy with a tropical storm. Here at the stuga, we lost a few trees, one of which took out our power pole and landed on Spork's tractor. I think I'll leave that story for Spork to tell. We all know how he feels about his tractor.

Since we were without power, we spent a few nights crashing at the homes of others. I'm grateful for the hospitality, but I'm also glad to be back in my own world of Tivo and teh innernets.

Overall we were very fortunate. I've been without news since Saturday, but I know Galveston and parts of Houston are in pretty bad shape. I can't imagine what the people from there are going through.



A smote hickory tree.
From Miscellaneous

Poor Tilly the Tractor.
From Miscellaneous

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bragging on my raspberries

The raspberries we planted last spring are doing great and are producing about a cup (or more) of raspberries a day right now. Yesterday we had so many that I wondered what we should do with them. For about one-tenth of a second I thought, "We should share these." Then I came to my senses and thought, "I should bake something!" As further inspiration, Spork's sister, Becky, sent me an email that it was national eat a second piece of dessert day. That sealed it. I did some googling and the first recipe I found was Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler. Yep, that did it.


From Food


Results: I would call this a crisp, not a cobbler. Not that there's anything wrong with the crisp, it's just not a cobbler. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips for the chocolate and added 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar to the raspberries. It was still a bit on the tart side for me (I might try 1/4 cup of sugar next time), but Spork liked it tart. The semi-sweet chocolate and raspberries were a fabulous combination, though, and I would definitely try it again, but probably not if I had to buy the raspberries at grocery store prices. I would use that money to buy raspberry plants!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ellie May's animal-filled Labor Day weekend

Late Sunday afternoon, I let Daisy out to survey her domain and I stood looking through the window so I wouldn't end up doing something productive on accident. After a few minutes, I realized I was staring at a deer and that Daisy, with her superior canine senses, hadn't noticed at all. I went and got Spork so he could see, too, and when we returned to the window, there was an adult and twin fawns. Spork ran to get the camera, but by they time he returned, only one of the Bambis was still in view.


Yesterday morning we took Arlo and Daisy for their daily walk and when we finished, we found out we had been followed home by two dogs. At first we assumed that they were neighbor dogs out for an adventure, but now we're pretty sure they were abandoned. They have that haunted look that homeless dogs get and even though it's been raining all night, they are still sitting outside our door.



The black and white dog is a neutered male of undetermined pedigree. The other dog is a female golden retriever and appears to be fairly old. They are both really sweet and submissive, to the point that Arlo intimidates them.

I understand that sometimes circumstances can force someone to find a new home for an animal, but I have no sympathy for the slimy kind of person that just tosses them out to fend for themselves. I've been taking care of their discards all my life and I am beginning to get bitter about it.

And yes, we fed them. How could we not?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Good food, no proof


I tried round 2 of Taco-fication this weekend, but I completely failed at capturing photographic evidence ($#@% margaritas!). My sister, Mary, was offended that she had not been invited for the original taco-fication, so we invited her over to make amends. We had chicken tacos, topped with cabbage and cilantro (tossed with lime juice), homemade taco shells (deep fried and puffy) and I even went all out and made a batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. But I have not a shred of evidence to offer. Oh wait, I do have a picture of Mary (not taken on taco night). Hopefully that will suffice.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The opposite of doves

Who needs a stinkin' bird of peace when you have hummingbirds? This is much more interesting!


video

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some things to like about August

For August, the weather has been fairly pleasant so far. We've had a few really hot days, but today for instance, it's just after noon and a chilly (by Texas summer standards) 73F. I could get used to this. Unfortunately, it is August and I'm in Texas, so I know it won't last.

There are a few good things about August in Texas, however. First, the hummingbirds that will migrate further south for the winter are gathering here to fatten up for the trip. Right now we have about a dozen fighting over our two feeders. I have put out between four to eight cups of sugar water a day for the last few weeks. I love these little monsters. They are the terriers of the sky!



Second, the raspberry plants are putting out their fall crop. Honestly, I'm a little confused by this, since technically seven of the nine original plants are supposed to be spring-bearing only. I'm eating a few raspberries every day, though, so you won't hear me complain. About the raspberries, at least.



Third, since we have had rain recently, some of my roses are blooming again. This is Flutterbye, which is a relatively recent introduction that never shows up for sale in nurseries. I really don't understand that because it is a cast iron rose, very disease-resistant and drought-tolerant. The blooms start out yellow and turns an orangey-pink. In the spring it is absolutely covered with blooms for weeks on end. Mine is still young, but I'm hoping that it puts on an equally impressive fall show.



And fourth... Well, it may be stretching a bit to say I count this in my "good things about August" list, but it did amuse me. I found this green lynx spider in the blooms when trying to photograph Flutterbye. He became really irritated with my attempts to get a good macro focus on him. This wasn't the best shot to showcase his hairy legs, but it does show his green color better than the others.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Taco-fication

A couple weeks ago, while grocery shopping, I noticed a package of meat labeled carne picada. It appeared to be shaved steak of some sort, so I wrote the name down and googled it when I got home. I didn't really find much, so I decided it was up to me to do the experimentin'.

Since Spork and I both like going to taquerias, I wanted something along those lines. My goal was more Mexican than Tex-Mex.

Since I was in a lazy experimentin' mood, I started by marinating the beef in Goya Mojo Criolla marinade. I saw some guy on tv use it for fajitas. No, it wasn't a cooking show, it was a home improvement show, but one of the guys on the crew did all the cooking and it looked gooooooood.



We have a lot of peppers ripening in the garden right now, so I sliced up the sweet ones, along with an onion, and pan-fried them in butter with a little fajita seasoning. Normally I would use Goya Adobo with Pepper for the seasoning, but there appears to be some boycott in this town on that particular spice mix. Who doesn't like adobo seasoning?



For adornment purposes, I had limes, avocodo and cilantro. I also made a little batch of pico de gallo to go with it.



I gave the tortillas a good blistering. Can't stands 'em raw!



Then I fried the meat in batches (and an absurd amount of butter), cooking it pretty hot until the marinade steamed off and the meat took on a nice char. I made sure to spill some on the stove, too. Have to leave something for the sous-chef to clean up.







Time to eat, baby!


Spork made himself a little princess taco. See how it's all dainty and cute? It's okay, though, he made up for it by having several princess tacos.



I, on the other hand, overserved myself. I stuffed mine so full I had to force it closed with my fork. And yes, I did exactly the same on the second one.



Overall, I was pleased with the way the tacos turned out, however inauthentic they may be. Next time I'll either buy a smaller package of meat or divide it up into smaller quantities. Two and a half pounds of shredded beef is a lot to cook at once*.

*Spork did not feel that the quantity was a problem.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Time for some whine: it's hot!

The temperature has reached 100F here the last few days, which forced me to make ice cream. Originally, I was thinking coconut, but I happened to mention an Irish coffee ice cream recipe to Spork and that pretty much ended the discussion. It turned out pretty darned good, too.




Usually when it gets this hot, the roses take a siesta and save up energy for a fall bloom. However, this pretty guy surprised me with a bloom yesterday. I guess his name is appropriate, considering how well he has adapted to the heat. Here, let me introduce you to Charles Darwin, aka Chuck. :-) It's a nice Austin rose with a wonderful scent and pretty, cupped apricot blooms.



Are there any hummingbird experts out there? This one, a female ruby-throated showed up last summer. She will perch to drink, then go limp, with her wings and tail splayed. Her head will loll to the side or sometimes will flop all the way back, bill open and tongue hanging out. Other hummingbirds will buzz her, trying to get her off the feeder, but she is oblivious. After a few minutes, she shakes herself off and flies away. I was amazed when she showed up again this year. I was sure she wouldn't survive the migration.





Any theories?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My worst test score ever

Hmmm, I guess it's a good thing I didn't live in the 1930s because apparently I would have been a pretty crummy spouse.

18

As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Poor (Failure)

Take the test!