Tuesday, November 28, 2006

the story of a turkey

My dad's got a lot of aggression to take out - so why not something that's already dead. That's how I think of it at least. One minute he's cuddling with the grandkids, the next - he's violating the turkey like nobody's business.

Let's begin the discussion with a quick understanding of how much soap was used to disinfect the kitchen before and after the turkey came out. Wait, maybe I can't, though. It might reveal the depths of his germaphobia.

And really this isn't about my father; it's about the turkey. Who lived his life with pride as a heritage turkey grown on Tantre Farm, in Chelsea, Michigan - which as far as I can tell is the best gosh darn place on the face of God's green earth. (Hey, it's not the best website in the world, but that's why they're farmers not computer science majors. )
But what these farmers tell us is that the bird who has been ... shall we say, terminated... only two days prior to pick up, will need to be rinsed several times to be sure that any remaining blood is removed.

And next, we'll need to stuff the bird. There's so much discussion in the genre of lame women's cooking magazine - do I stuff or do I not stuff. I say "Stuff it! And put some in the turkey cavity too." Stuffing the bird must be done with great force as you can see here. This is no dainty business.

And so it goes...After a cheesecloth application -

Here's the final product. Juicy and delicious.

(this post sat as a draft in my blog folder for an embarrasingly long time. so i'm going to publish this without editing it. please forgive me.)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

best waiter ever

So I've already brought Zingerman's roadhouse up before. However, I wanted to report that the fam and I had possibly the best waiter ever there last time we went.

Here's how I quantify that:
  • brings refills on iced tea and iced coffee before the glass is empty. This means you never even have to think "gosh darn it. I'm still thirsty. I'll need to find my ridiculously vacant waiter and wait another 10 minutes before I get more iced tea." Obviously this happens to me a lot.
  • brings extra ice when he notices that my iced coffee ice is melting.
  • brings the kids meals out early, but not too early - to reduce the antsiness in their pantsiness.
  • offers my sister more home made blue cheese salad dressing when she's halfway done with her salad and he notices that there's too much green showing. He kind of looked at her in the eyes and said "You need more dressing don't you." Offering sis more cheese - extra points to be sure!
  • offers mayo with confidence upon bringing the cheeseburger to my dear sister (yes, my 100 lb sister loves cheese and mayo and can get away with it too. Grrrr). How did he know that she was a mayo on a burger kind of gal? Well somehow he did, and it was remarkable.
  • knows when to back off when he's brought the dinner so we can enjoy in peace.

This was a few days ago, so I've forgotten a few more bullet points. But you can be sure that if you're ever in Ann Arbor and happen to stumble upon Terry at ZR then you've got the best foodie of a waiter ever.

Left 25% gratuity. Which for me is saying something.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


So, here's what my craaazy sister and I have been working on the past few days. Check it out while it's still a private deal. Because once we open this up to the public, some shit's gonna hit the fan. Or maybe just the can.


Leave me a comment.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

mother *$&$#

What?! Mother vinegar. This is what I found this morning when I innocently walked into the kitchen and peered at my pear vinegar. That's what I get for buying kitschy vinegar at W Foods.

However, upon researching I find that this is something that people actually buy to make their own vinegar. Can homemade vinegar really be that much better? I doubt it.

I'm scared to use this. What if I turn into a mother of a mother. Could be dangerous.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

herbivores beware

I just got back from a dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse (if you live within driving distance - I figure 4 or 5 hours - you must partake in somepart of the Zingerman's empire at some point, but I digress) where they hosted Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch. He's got a new cookbook, which I previewed and it was FABulous. The first 2/3 of it is text about his mission, farmers, and about the livestock that they raise. The latter part is filled with recipes from establishments that use beef, pork or lamb under the Niman label. A very creative way to fill the book. Interesting to know the chefs who use this top quality meat.

Overall impression of the tasting menu was that it was wonderfully executed as usual. What stands out most, however, is the salad "Beef short ribs with watercress and local strawberries". My mother and I weren't really expecting beef even on our salads, but this was the most outstanding short rib I have ever tasted especially and possibly as a result of the fact that I have never tasted one that has been only seared. When I make short ribs, however infrequently it may be, although I start with a sear, I always braise them. These were only browned while the inside was left rare. And let me explain that the center of the meat tasted like pudding, not in a disgusting way, but in an almost sexy smoothness. The marbling in these bites was partially melted into the beef, and wow, I can't even explain how good this was. Couldn't get enough of the flavor and the combination. This "salad" was a mixture of tastes that I would not have put together on my own.

If you have a few minutes, please take the time to check out their website, and heck, order some to see how wonderful their product is.

Friday, May 19, 2006

paula deen with unami

Just got done making the most excellent mushroom soup in the entire world. This isn't lowfat - I couldn't control myself so I went ahead and made the full fat version. And man, am I glad. Here's the recipe link: Smoky Portabello Soup adapted from Paula Deen. Seriously even if you don't like mushrooms, get someone to make this soup for you because ever after you will declare yourself a mushroom fan.

But here's how I simplified it. First of all the written part of the recipe totally confused me. Secondly I'm not sure why she (or the food network kitchen staff) decided to roast half of the mushrooms first in the oven. In my mind that's just another dirty pan. Why in the world would we do this to ourselves. So first roughly chop the eight medium portabello and about 6 or 8 shallots (instead of onions). Saute them with 4 whole garlic cloves in the olive oil and liquid smoke for 20 minutes.

While this is happening, make the rue in a pan large enough to eventually hold the cream. After 8-10 minutes add the heavy cream to the rue. Whisk til incorporated. Keep warm but do not bring to a boil.

When the vegetable mixture has sauteed down, add the chicken broth and wine (optional). Using a stick blender, totally puree this mixture.

Add the cream thickened by the rue into the pureed mushroom broth. Taste & season. Simmer at medium heat for 20 minutes. Do not let this come to a rolling boil.

Finish with the slightest touch of cayenne pepper. It's a gorgeous, gorgeous thing.

This soup will totally make you understand the concept "unami". Interested? Read something about it.




Thursday, May 11, 2006


toasted marshmallows. ymmm. okay, here's how I love to do it. put the marshmallow on the stick. quickly dip in and out of the fire for maybe 30 second or so - constantly rotating the stick. DON'T let it catch on fire. Here's the most important part, as I reaffirmed a few nights ago when my husband and I had a nice fire in the crisp spring air. Peel the whole toasted skin off the marshmallow by slipping it off the top. Pop that sucker in your drooling mouth and enjoy while re-toasting the second layer of the very same marshmallow. delish.

a little hershey's and graham crackers don't hurt either.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Don't know why the previous post has the wrong date, but oh well.

So remember I was away relaxing with my husband and suckler. NO, siree. It's sooo much better than that. For my 30th birthday, not only was I at what seems to be the most fabulous place in the world, but my closest friends and family showed up AS A SURPRISE to celebrate it with me. Generally I'm not one to be gullible enough to be surprised, but this?!? I was totally shocked and amazed. Still am. What amazing friends I have. Bet you wish you had them.

It was all in all literally beyond my imagination. I was so relaxed when I got home. Now I totally understand those commercials for a cruise line where the people are so forlorn that only yesterday tea was brought to their rooms promptly at 4 p.m. and only yesterday roses were brought to their room, etc. That's what I felt like when I returned. I tried to say "charge it to the room" at the supermarket, but they thought I'd lost my mind. Haven't had such fun in quite a while.

To bring this back to theme of food and consuming all things good, the food at the resort was fantastic, from the southwestern breakfasts, to the poolside smoothies and southwestern caesar salads (mmm), to the outstanding restaurant LaTilla (who knew smoked antelope would taste so good). Wishing there was a link for you to see the menu. My entree there was fabulous, butter poached Lobster nestled into a cauliflower "risotto" (they added the quotes). Even haters of cauliflower would have loved this mash of cauliflower and peas and a whole lot of cheesy goodness. Made my tongue sing; happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday from my t to my c, happy birthday to me. Explaining that one will have to be yet another post.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

life caught up

Wasn't able to write in a while because my life caught up with me and I suddenly had no free time to sit for more than a minute. Now I'm catching up at the Boulders in Carefree, Arizona for a birthday celebration with my husband (and still suckling child). It's magnificently peaceful. Think I might retire here one day, or at least esacpe from winters here. So sweet.

Just wanted to comment on Top Chef. Though it's similar to other reality shows where certain people are pigeon-holed into characters by the video editing, I'm kind of a sucker and get pulled in to the drama. If you haven't seen it, you'd better check it out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

a half pound of butter

This morning I attempted to make blueberry pudding cake, a recipe from Gourmet 2005. An old favorite; made it several times last summer with our overabundance of Michigan blueberries.

But this time I had two of my three little ones tottling around my feet. "Please can I help. Please can I help. Please can I help." and "da da da da da da da da da". I try regardless. But I should have known not to try something like mentally doubling the recipe while I was mommy-ing. 1/4 x 2= 1/2, 1 tsp. x 2= 2 tsp etc. - not great at the multiplying to begin with. You wouldn't think it's that hard, but alas, 'tis. Here's when I hit a speed bump. The phone rings. Caller ID reads MY MOTHER. I picked it up anyway. So now not only do I hear "Please can I help. Please can I help. Please can I help." and "da da da da da da", but "Aunt Renie said this and Aunt Renie said that." Then there's my second grade teacher in my head saying "1/8 tsp. salt x 2 = 1/4 tsp salt." Meanwhile, I'm trying to measure flour while the butter melts in the microwave. I'm mixing the wet ingredients, whisking the dry, taking the fruit off the heat, assembling the whole mess (which interestingly enough is the batter first in the baking dish, fruit on top - and the blueberries sink during the cooking process.)

So happy that I'm able to accomplish this task, I begin to cleanup, pick up the baby crawling around my feet, think about contructing some lunch for the three year old angel. Ten minutes pass and I need to use the microwave, (who's following along to this point and can guess what mistake I made?) so I open it up. Yep, a half pound of NOW MELTED butter still hanging out in there . Great! I wasn't even making this for myself. This was supposed to be a gift for an unsuspecting friend.

Don't know what you would have done. I actually consider pouring the butter over the top and mixing it all together real fast. But I've done this sort of thing lately and it's backfired. Like the time I forgot baking soda from a orange chicken batter and tried to sprinkle it on the top after the fact. P.S. Don't try that at home. Every third or fourth bite the family got a suspiciously funky tasting chicken bite. Just pretended like I had no idea why. "Huh. That's funny. It takes like a chemistry experiment? Huh."

I decide to let it bake all the way through, peering in every few minutes to see how its turning out. Maybe it'll be salvagable. Timer dings. I take the sucker out. It actually looks okay. But can I really give this to a friend without knowing if it tastes nasty? No, sir. Sheepishly, I cut out a corner and taste it. Pretty good. Whew. Not only does it taste okay, but I've created a new lowfat recipe for my arsenal. If only there weren't two eggs in it, I could call it fat free.

Now I must explain to my friend why a corner is missing from her cake. >Sigh< At least she's also a victim of mommy brain. She'll understand.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

a foodie on a diet

Three and a half pounds dissolved, 24 to go. This is not a happy picture for one who thinks, dreams, drools about the next meal. Gotta loose the baby fat though, or else I'll end up looking like Ina. Just looking at that woman you know she is such an amazing chef.

On the other hand, I'd like to know if Giada has an eating disorder. I think I would feel better if she did. Seriously. Because if not, I definitely have issues with her. Perhaps all she eats every day are the two tasting bites of each dish she prepares. If she's able to eat all of her food and still have that kind of boob-waist ratio, then she needs to be burned at the stake. Just like all of the other "women" in this world who wear size zero. Zero is not a size; it's the symbol of nothingness.

In the light of this health consciousness, I tried a recipe from The best of light recipes (love the original best of - it's tattered like a chef's best friend). Lowfat peanut butter cookies. Weren't bad right out of the oven, but by the time they cooled they tasted nasty. The big flaw of that recipe was substituting brown sugar for peanut butter. Bad move. What are peanut butter cookies if not high calorie bites that leave your mouth full of sexy goodness. mmm... peanut butter... will you please excuse me? there's a tablespoon calling my name.

Friday, April 07, 2006

the beginning of the end

So here I go, joining the ranks of the crazy bloggers who think that other people want to know what they're thinking. Sounds nuts, but I think people really do want to know what's in this crazy head. ;)

Mom, this is a lame first post.

Don't worry, bella. There's much more to come.