Sunday, February 21, 2010

Recipe #12: So You Think You Can Dance











"Anna, do you wanna go to a dance with me?" Well, it was no prom, but it sure was cute to hear my husband mumble those words! Of course this was prior to his work-injury, so by the time this night rolled around, he for sure was in no shape to twist & shout. Regardless, we had a BALL with our buddy Zach! The rodeo beforehand was entertaining, and sparked memories of Travis' bull-riding days. And the band Good Times, well they indeed provided a GOOD TIME! They played down in the arena, which was fun to kick up a little dirt while their concert included some of our favorite Chris LeDoux songs. To get us in the mood for this cowboy night, I had cooked some lamb chops (from Zach's family) and the cookbook's Rosemary Rack of Lamb. Oh wow, I don't know if I can give this meal any justice with words. Buying the book, is worth this recipe alone! The hazelnut crust gives the lamb a hint of sweetness, a special-occassion-taste that is easy to make. You've gotta give it a try, soooo mouth-watering delicious! And well worth the wild goose chase I went on yesterday to find the lamb rack! Amazingly enough, it took 6 stops to finally get some, with each butcher sending me to a new location & a description of how they've been quickly running out of this delicacy. Did everyone in town have Rack of Lamb last night? If so, good choice, cause it was SUPERB!! This is a recipe that will definately be repeated, its a keeper.
~Rating of Rack of Lamb: 9 scrumptious stars (out of 10). -All three of us easily agreed on this high rating.
~Quote of the day: "Whoa take'er easy there, Pilgrim." -John Wayne.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recipe #11: Indoor Picnic


Happy Belated V-Day! Okay…. So we’re running a bit behind schedule….. But we didn't want this holiday of love & romance to slip by without a little visit from cupid! We’d planned on doing a picnic, but since we didn’t get around to it ‘til after work today when it was all dark & cold outside, we opted to have it in the comfort of snuggly jammies in our livingroom. Not our first picnic in the livingroom, as this is a great place to avoid the wind & bugs. And a big bonus; we were able to watch American Idol, the Winter Olympics, & even play along with the Newlywed Game (Haha, complete with writing our own answers on signs!) as we nibbled items selected from the cookbook’s Extravagant Picnic section. The Mediterranean Olives were pretty tasty with the baked garlic & peppers, and fairly easy to make too. (The Spanish olives were a bit more tart than the Kalamata ones, but hey, you're supposed to pucker up on Valentines Day, aren'tchya?!) Surrounded by all these OLIVES prompted repeated sayings of "olive juice," which gave me the giggles! Remember Juliette Lewis saying that in place of "I love you" in The Other Sister? We heart that adorable movie! After enjoying a little visit from our friend Jamie (During which my hubby pleaded for some Hamburger Helper. Oh olive juice, Travis, olive juice.), we exchanged valentine gifts and had some french bread, pate, water crackers, & sparkling water, as recommended by the book. Also threw in some olive chips, tomato basil crackers, & a selection of cheeses too to make this picnic complete. All in all, despite Travis' humorous grumblings, the snacky food and serenading American Idol hopefuls turned out to be a cozy Valentines Day -and Ash Wednesday. There's a lot going on this week, isn't there? -*Mwah!*-
~Rating of Mediterranean Olives: 6 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of picnic recommendations: We didn't agree on a rating for this, but came pretty close. I gave them a 7 and Travis gave them a 6. He kinda liked the mushroom pate, but didn't like the lobster & salmon pates. (Which wasn't a surprise really, cause last time I snuck them into a New Year's Day feast, he didn't care for them then either.) He also disliked the mineral water, until we splashed a little dessert wine in it.
~Quote of the day: "Love is like playing the piano. First you must learn to play by the rules, then you must forget the rules & play from your heart." -Author Unknown.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Recipe #10: The Fattest Tuesday Ever!? Not quite.


Well, I tried not to make it the fattest Tuesday ever. But the potential was definitely there since today really is FAT TUESDAY! Initially I was gonna make a traditional southern N’awlins’ Mardi Gras meal, but since I was planning on dining solo, I figured one person really doesn't need such a huge supper! So instead, I tried to balance my calories with a Mardi Gras King Cake and the cookbook’s Classic Spinach Salad. Cake & salad?? Sounded good to me! (And a slight improvement over ringing in yesterday’s Chinese New Year with chips, dip, & fixing a clogged sink, ay?) At the last minute, Travis ended up joining me for dinner, but was none too pleased with my peculiar food combination. He played along though, and ended up loving it!! (I think I won him over with my flashy presentation skills.) HAPPY MARDI GRAS, Y’ALL!!
~Rating of Classic Spinach Salad: 8 stars (out of 10). -The dressing was incredible. I totally see why it was featured in Bon Appetit magazine.
~Quote of the day: "The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground." -Author Unknown.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Recipe #9: Spicy Superbowl

Celebrating the big dance between the Saints & the Colts obviously required a little hearty food on such a cold day. And since New Orleans is called "The Big Easy" I opted to make an EASY SOUTHERN DISH in the crockpot. JAMBALAYA! Very delicious with the shrimp, deer sausage, & chicken in it. Oh and, let's not forget our cajun seasoning. With a name like "Slap Yo Mama," you know that jamalaya had a kick to it! To cool down our tastebuds, I baked Chico's Montana Snowball Cookies. These bite-size little goodies were as popular as Porter's superbowl haircut! And as we ended up with very full bellies, the Saints came marching home with a 31-17 victory. Oh to be on Bourbon Street right now. Eruptions of spirited fans, beads, & lots of "Who Dat" that will last well into next week's Mardi Gras I'm sure!!
~Rating of Montana Snowball Cookies: 7 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "The lotus is a flower that grows in the mud. The thicker & deeper the mud, the more beautiful the lotus blooms." -from the Buddhist chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo in the movie What's Love Got To Do With It: The Ike & Tina Turner Story
~Music while cooking: Celebrity Rehab (I'm "addicted" to this series), & What's Love Got To Do With It: The Ike & Tina Turner Story (an outstanding movie of COURAGE!)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Recipe #8: Dinner in the snow? Sure, why not.


After swinging in to "Freezin' For A Reason" (Haiti earthquake fundraiser), we continued with the FREEZING theme by playing in the snow piled high in our backyard. And ya know what? It really is cold out! But after my dad made a "mountain" a few days ago (complete with a flag at the top) I was very enthusiastic about making my own snow creation! So I persuaded Travis to help me build a fun little igloo. Yes, an IGLOO!! Ha! Haven't done that since my dad & I made one when I was in elementary school. Also, the ice-cold snow was a great place to chill our Oysters Rockefeller! We love oysters, and these were incredibly good. In fact, they received our highest rating in the cookbook so far. The only bad part with these succulent hors d'oeuvres is how they took a long time to prepare, and a very short time to consume! The hollandaise sauce, especially, was very intricate. It not only required the butter foam to be removed, but to be an exact temperature as well! (Good thing Travis worked on that cause I'm pretty notorious for skipping the "unnecessary" parts.) We slurped those puppies down with a little pinot grigio & framboise lindemans, so we were in seventh heaven...... Aaaaah, yes. I love easy breezy Saturday afternoons. And now, we're heading to the Ramona Quimby play at Venture Theater. -A brilliant ending to a light-hearted day!
~Rating of Oysters Rockefeller: 8 stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." -Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
~Music while cooking: Bellydance Superstars Vol IV (in lieu of the belly dance performance Jamie & I went to last night -shimmy shimmy, sway, swing, roll!!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recipes #6 & #7: Easy does it.

Especially in the dead of winter, there's nothing better than coming home from a long day at work to an easy dinner. Even better when its in the crockpot! That's what we did yesterday since there was a small window between the job & scrapbooking class. We made a yummy dinner by adapting a "crock pot baked beans with kielbasa" recipe from the Mommy Diaries blog of my college friend Esther. We used deer sausage and the cookbook's Baked Bean recipe, which was a great combo. Delicious, convenient, & made the house smell good. I love walking in the front door to the aroma of something cooking all day. Mmmm.....
The previous night we had another easy meal; deer steaks and the cookbook's Green Beans with Toasted Almonds. Simple & tasty. Travis was feeling a bit Emerill-esque (yep, I made up that word) as he experimented with baking the steaks in green pepper, minced garlic, onion, white wine, & a red wine vinegar. BAM! It turned out great! No cooking for us tonight, as Travis is at his second job and I ate baked Cornflake Chicken & veggies at my parents' house. My mom was interviewed by Q2's news anchor yesterday to discuss her recent heart attack on "Health Watch." This segment focuses on health research, medical issues, and "shares inspiring stories of people who have found ways to handle difficult health problems." We look forward to when it airs! And also in relation to TV, we of course are super jazzed for next week's Survivor Season Premiere! :)
~Rating of Baked Beans: 6 stars (out of 10)
~Rating of Green Beans with Toasted Almonds: 6 strong stars (out of 10)
~Quote of the day: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." -Robert Brault.
~Music while cooking: Funk Volume 2, & Weezer's Pinkerton -until Travis surprisingly replaced it with The Dixie Chicks' Fly.