Saturday, August 15, 2009

Insomnia....What a Bitch

What is it with insomnia?  All I know is that it tends to run in my family - on the female side of the family.   We could motor along all day, get bone tired, but as soon as we're prone in the bed, BAM, we're wide awake.  I just don't get it.   I had a quiet Friday night,  hadn't been feeling too well, so I was looking forward to watching some bad TV - yes, I wanted to watch "17 Again" without my 15 year old making fun of my cougarish crush on Zac Efron (it's a car crash, what can I say?).  I snuggled onto the couch with a comfy pillow and a cozy throw, cougared to my hearts content and felt good and sleepy by the end of the flick.   I made my way up to my bedroom:

  • Extremely comfy bed with crisp pink sheets and soft white coverlet - CHECK
  • Neck pillow that looks weird, but keeps me from waking up with a crick in my neck - CHECK
  • Icky new age music that is guaranteed to knock me out - CHECK
  • Small furry cat that does the happy dance whenever he thinks I'm going up to bed now - CHECK
  • Ceiling fan on to make lovely cool breeze over me - CHECK
  • Two "simply sleep" caps to act as a sledgehammer to one's head - CHECK

Outcome?  Two hours of tossing and turning that was so bad that the cat was swatting me to keep still.  I gave up, went downstairs, tried to reenact the cozy couch snuggle - no good.  I felt "dry".  I got up, applied body oil to my entire body and tried again. No dice.  Walked around the house and cried a little - all that did was make me feel stupid, so I found "Immortal Beloved" on ON Demand and watched that...I think Beethoven did the trick because, then, as the light began to peek between the blinds on my sunroom, I drifted off...only to be woken up by some religious zealot knocking on the door wanting to save me at 9:30AM.  Swinging open the door, snarling and  looking like the ugly Medusa sister -  she reeled back, scattering fire and brimstone pamphlets all over my front porch and took off muttering what had to be some either sort of prayer or some sort of curse about why SHE was the one to get all the wackos..... I trudged off to inject caffeine (okay, make a pot of French Press) and try to get started on what is already a waste of a day. I know that come three o'clock in the afternoon I'll drop like a stone and repeat said incident minus Zac Efron and crazy religious zealot (or maybe she'll come back with reinforcements).... Insomnia....what a bitch. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

I helped to stimulate the economy, support artists and local artisans and Meryl Streep, not that she needs it from me.    Saturday, R and I wandered through the Collingswood Arts Festival.  We bought some soaps and essential oils, some great photographs, including this one by Dan Westfall:


Apennine mountain god, Florence Italy

I also bought R some stuff by Ann-Made Art who makes recycled jewelry - a portion of the sale goes to The Alliance For Climate Protection. She got:


and a really cute necklace that unfortunately is not on the website. 

After a quick dinner at home, we went to the movies to see Julie/Julia.   Meryl was simply fantastic.  She chewed the scenery unmercifully, but it was perfect for the part.  R and I laughed out loud through most of it..if she doesn't get a nomination, there is no justice in Hollywood. 

On Sunday, the kids were sick of me (after breakfast at the diner), so I took off for the Garden State Wine Growers Association's Jersey Fresh wine festival - over 20 vineyards and good food.  I talked with my old boss at Amalthea Cellars (I had taken a sabbatical) about going back on a reduced schedule so that I can balance everything.   I forgot how much I missed pouring tastings for customers and doing food pairings.  It was 92 degrees and humid as made for everyone to be slightly loopy and happy...happy enough to buy a case of wine that I didn't need! *lol*

I crashed like a  rock Sunday night..needless to say.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Signs of Life.....

I haven't shut down the blog.  Life just got too overwhelming - rather one life going away got too overwhelming and posting became secondary.   My mom passed away.  She had been declining for some time and yes, there were times when we all wished it would just happen THEN and THERE, but when the time came - she made the decision and went out on her own terms.  My mom was a fighter - anyone who knew her could attest to that.  She took all the considerable crap life through at her and managed through.  She would drive her daughters crazy with her narcissistic side (because she could), but to everyone else, she was life itself, warm, caring, thoughtful and funny....the thoughtful and funny she showed to us many, many times.  Because of her, I became a much stronger woman than she thought she was.  Because of her, my daughter is a confident, lovely, well spoken and caring young woman, because to my mom, she was the sun and moon and stars. 

When it was apparent that Mom was not going pull through this latest bout (broken pelvis and another stroke - girls, take your calcium, I have seen what osteoporosis can do to a woman), the thought of having no control over her body was enough.  My mother made the decision to stop her dialysis and let nature take its course.  That was the hardest thing  to watch and yet it was the most courageous thing I had ever seen.  She looked up and said, "I'm not a chicken, I'm not a chicken" to which the nurse sitting with her began to cry and told her that she was the bravest person on that floor (ICU), she was one of the bravest women she had every met.  My mom had that effect on people.  

During Mom's stay at hospice, the staff was wonderful, they loved her, and most importantly, friends and family, some of whom she had not seen in 10 years came to see her - she was surrounded by love and she died peacefully, and in my arms.

When it came time for the service - Mom requested no service and a simple cremation.  We could not obey the no service part. We knew that she requested that because she thought no one would care enough to come.  She was wrong.  People came and it was a celebration of her life and her love for everyone in that room.  We told stories and laughed and cried.  It was beautiful.  Back at the house, people stayed and stayed.  We all knew there was something special there...and no one was quite ready to let her go.

In the month since that time, we've slowly been distributing her things to people who needed them, she would have wanted it that way.  Everyone was so wonderful and appreciative and I can never thank anyone enough - it brought a distant family back together. I can never thank her enough for what see gave me.  I love you, Mom. I never said it enough, but I will say it more now and continue to say it for the rest of my life.

 Mom and Rachel

Mom and Rachel at Mom's 80th Birthday Party


More regular posts to follow...I promise - for anyone who is still reading this blog....

Monday, June 1, 2009

odds n ends....

Flying to Berlin Germany today - so hearing about the Air France crash was not cool. My flight is horribly overbooked, but Debbie at Newark's President's Club was an angel and nabbed me an aisle seat....if I have to take one gin to a desert island, it would still be Beefeater's...anyone know a decent restaurant in Berlin??? I love mobile blogging.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Director Crush

Do you have a favorite director?  When you see that his/her films are coming out (or on TV), you make time to watch?  My director crush is Sidney Pollack.  Apart from the fact that there is a part of me that found him attractive (that cute intellectual Jewish guy look), I just LOVED his movies.  How could you not - especially if you're into man/woman relationship movies?  For example:

  • The Way We Were
  • Out of Africa
  • Tootsie
  • Bobby Deerfield
  • Sabrina
  • The Electric Horseman
  • The Swimmer
  • Absence of Malice
  • Jeremiah Johnson
  • They Shoot Horses Don't They?
  • The Natural

He was so great....

There was an episode of the Directors about Sidney and then they showed the Natural - I just had to post.  

Who is your favorite movie director?

Friday, May 8, 2009

An Education

Tonight is one of those wonderful nights where I get to hang with my teenagers and they're not incredibly sullen.   We had a great dinner (lamb steaks in a sherry reduction, yellow rice and sautéed kale), a 2002 Rioja reserve - for me, okay???) and actual conversation.  I dropped my son off to his Spanner meeting and my daughter and I are listening to - it plays songs based upon your selections - tonight we're going from Led Zeppelin to Ricki Lee Jones to Grand Funk to James Taylor to Walter Becker and Dionne Warwick- while chatting about her band.  The neighbor's kids are wandering in and out,their parents may wander over later to help me finish the Rioja.  This is the Friday night I love and crave - relaxed, chatty and fun.   I was a big 70's music fan (having grown up and come of age in the 70s) and sitting here and listening to it with my kids brings a whole new appreciation.  They ask what I was doing when these songs were popular (as overly honest as I am, I do censor a thing or two), and more importantly, where was my head when these songs were all so important.  It actually gives me a little more perspective on their likes, dislikes and challenges.  Sometimes it's a pain in the ass to parent teenagers, sometimes it reminds you why you went down this journey in the first place.  Today is most cool.

Help me!!!

I'm carbbing and I can't give up.... about once a month I go on a bread kick (translates into three slices of bread in a day when I might eat one and a handful of tortilla chips.  How do I avoid this??

Saturday, April 25, 2009

An aching back, sore feet and purple hands....what a wonderful day!

Today we bottled a new Bordeaux blend at Amalthea; Europa VII, 33% Cab Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cab Franc.  This has been in the barrel since 2007 - Licorice,  plum and black cherry on the nose, it will be a powerhouse.  We bottled 130 cases - give or take.   Because we're such a small winery, everything is done by hand. Basically, we form a line, hook up the pump to a dispensing mechanism that fills 4 bottles at a time, and corking machine, (both of which have wonderful French names and writing on them, but don't ask me). The dispenser is calibrated by the bottle size.  One person hands over 4 empty bottles for hooking up on the dispenser, and as they are filled, they are handed to the person manning the corker, then over to the wipers who wipe off any excess wine and pack them in the cases.  I was a wiper today.  By the end of the tasks, my hands were purple! 

It was hot as Hades today and I was glad to be in the cellar where its always cool.  What I really liked best was being part of something that will eventually become a work of art to be enjoyed with friends over a wonderful dinner.  We took turns figuring out what this wine will eventually pair well with. 

BTW - we got a profile in the Newark Star Ledger!1

Upstairs in the tasting room, it's been so much fun to see how the current vintages are evolving.  The Merlot is just perfect, forming nice, spicy notes and a little leather and clove in the bouquet.  The Cab Franc is at the mellow stage, nice balance of spice and strawberry. The Cab Franc Reserve continues to mature into one of the best Francs I've had....tons of strawberry and rhubarb with a slight spice just starting to develop (and this one is still a baby, only two months in the bottle - just wait until next year!).  The Cab Sauvignon is all red raspberry, bright and fruit forward, but subtle.   The Europa IV - 66% Cab Franc and 34% - has turned the corner and is ripening into what will be a wonderful vintage.  

I was so beat when I got home, it was all I could do to throw together dinner, but I managed to grill steaks.  I took Cindy's suggestion at Figs, Lavender and Cheese and put a smoked paprika rub on a couple of T-bones and grilled them, serving them with brown rice and steamed green beans.  I paired it with a 2002 Llewelling Cab...perfect age, and mellow, raspberry, black cherry and tobacco......yum. 

I'm catching up on old movies on TMC - a good night :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lazy Friday Night...and Shrimp Mediterranean

The kids are at their father's, my brain was full from a hectic week from work, so when Friday rolled around, I knew I needed a quiet night and a little cooking to chill me out.   I poured a sherry fino (Thanks to my friend Paul for turning me back on to this wonderful stuff!) and started to make dinner.  I had seen a recipe for Baked Shrimp with Feta on, and knew that was what I had to have.   I opened a lovely Pinot Grigio (small Italian vineyard) and cut a slice of crusty Italian bread - it was heaven!



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Have NOT Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth.....(it just looks that way)

I work in a business that is a quarter by quarter race and our end of quarter was just insane.  This quarter is off with a bang, so the daily pace hasn't slowed a bit.  The winery has been super busy as well - I was in the fields stripping vines, which entails following the winemaker as he prunes the vines and pulling all of the cuttings off the wires so that they can be picked up by the tractor.  If not there, then pouring tastings, stacking glasses and preparing to bottle.  Forget about picking up a golf club, or even getting to the gym. I need a weekend to sleep and better calendar management ;-)

More when I have time...I have LOTS of recipes to share...

Friday, March 20, 2009

I Love Facebook....

Why? Because I can keep in touch in with old friends.  I used to work for the world's greatest research firm - unfortunately it was not a money making model and we got acquired by a much more successful organization.  It's a great gig - believe me. I had to leave and come back to realize it.  Still, the friends that I made at the old company have turned out to be some of the most cherished that I have.  We may only see each other occasionally, but when we do, the years fall away.  

Anyway....back to Facebook - the best part of this is that we stay in touch via Facebook - we were and are, a force of geeks and Facebook works for us.  We can keep tabs on each other...and because of this, I was able to connect with my pal Paul, whom I adore, to let him know that I'll be in his neck of the woods for a business trip.  Paul, because of the ease that Facebook allows, (or they may actually TALK to each other, but I can keep with my train of thought) Paul to reach out to one of my all time favorite guys Slaby, to get together and have dinner at a wonderful Boston tapas place.   Isn't technology a wonderful thing?? This will make my whole trip  :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Weekend Recap

I'm suffering from anti-camera-itis.  Not sure why, I just forget to dig the camera out.  The weekend was pretty quiet. R was due to have a sleep-over Friday night and one of her guests was grounded Friday afternoon, so that shot that.   To make her feel better I made her a special wild mushroom and truffle pizza.  It was gorgeous and tasted great - do you think I remembered to take a picture of it?   NO!!!!!  Simple recipe - roll out some frozen pizza dough (after it's thawed - obviously), brush with a little truffle oil. I buy mine from this local purveyor, JD Gourmet and it's pungent as all get out.  Saute wild mushrooms, shallot  and baby bellas in a little olive oil and butter. Spread over the dough, add shredded mozzarella and drizzle white truffle oil over top. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and you're in heaven. 

Saturday I had to run errands, get the car fixed and see my mom for a bit.  The kids built my latest addition to the wine rack while I made dinner - can't even remember what it was now...  Watched the Graduate and fell asleep on the couch. 


Sunday, went into the winery and Louis told me I was ready to give tasting's. I did okay, still need to remember a lot more, but it was fun.  The 06 Cabernet Reserve is drinking so well right now - smooth, full with nice berry and some plum, not the least bit's drinking more like a Bordeaux than a straight cab. The 06 Chardonnay has turned the curve, it's getting more golden and is becoming more buttery than ever.  All I can say is WOW.  While we have a loyal following, this place is the best kept secret in NJ!


After we closed, Louis' mom made us some incredible pasta fagiole which we happily paired with the Cab Reserve.  She's a lovely lady and my co-worker and I had a wonderful time eating and laughing with her in the kitchen of the tavern.  A great ending to the day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It never fails to amaze me....

....When I hear from someone that they read my blog.  I don't get a lot of comments, so in my mind, I have maybe a half a dozen pleasant, faithful souls who humor me and read my ramblings, but once in a while, there are a few things that make you realize you are out there far more than you realize.  For example, I logged into my gmail account the the other day and received a lovely email from my favorite wine merchant - Mr David Moore of Moore Brothers wine shop.  I had mentioned that I stopped into Moore Brothers to pick up some Chinon Cab Franc after visiting my mom in the hospital.  Mr. Moore wrote that he appreciated the reference and that their thoughts were with me.  I would recommend Moore Brothers (and have, many, many times) to anyone who loves and appreciates fine wines - but this small note, makes me appreciate them even more. If you are in the Philadelphia metro area, the Wilmington area or in NYC, go immediately to this wine shop - it is an education, an experience and an all around great place to experience wonderful wines that you may not see every day. 

If that email were not enough, I was chatting with my old boss today who mentioned that my blog was enough to make him want to become a chef - and a Facebook comment also mentioned my blog.  It warms the heart - I appreciate all of this so much.  It's my passion and my joy and I'd write it even if no one read it, but  c'mon folks, comment!

Look at what I woke up to this morning


Plotting world dominance, no doubt.......if they ever decide to get up.....

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Discussion of Soups.....

A friend of mine was disheartened to learn that Campbell's Tomato Soup, a favorite since childhood was full of corn syrup. So upset that he Twittered it.  Of course a ton of us responded with well, of course it is - tomato soup isn't sweet...and several of us responded with recipes for a homemade version. I sent a Tuscan version that I loved - found it online somewhere and have been using it for a couple of years now:

2lbs tomatoes – use plum in the winter when the seasonal ones aren’t available (I've even used canned San Marzano tomatoes in a pinch)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (you will need more for serving)

2 large cloves of garlic – minced

6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

Fresh basil leaves shredded for garnish (to taste)

3 cups of stale Italian bread cubed. (if you don’t’ have stale bread – which I always do, we don’t eat it fast enough – toast some in the oven until dry and hard)


Blanch the tomatoes in a large pot of boiling water for 1 minute.  Transfer to a bowl of ice water.  When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and discard skins. Cut cross wise and seed with your thumb.  Place the tomatoes and seed in a sieve and drain.  Scrape the seeds against the sieve to extract as much of the juice as possible.


Heat oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat – add garlic and sauté until just fragrant – don’t let it brown! Add tomatoes and juices and the bread. Sauté until the bread has softened – should take a few minutes.  Add stock, heat until boiling, then reduce to a simmer until the bread breaks down and the soup is thick.  You may have to use a hand blender to smooth it all the way out.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and add basil and drizzle with olive oil. 


This got me looking at soups - I want to avoid the processed stuff as much as possible and besides, for the most part, canned soup is awful. To me, any weather is soup weather, but when it gets warmer, I look to lighter soups - a good thing too, because the weather here is starting to lighten up. I'm letting the kitties back out on the porch, which makes them happy as clams. 





This past Saturday, I decided to make a lighter version of minestrone soup that I found in Alice Water's The Art of Simple Food (If you don't own it, You won't be sorry).  It's not that heavy gloppy soup that minestrone's often become; she had recipes for every season and because it was a warm day I chose the lighter option.  It is such a simple and soothing soup.  Yes, it took some work, chopping the veggies to a similar size, but the outcome was well worth it.  




Alice Waters' Minestrone Soup


I c. Cannellini beans (Alice, being Alice recommended fresh which had to be soaked overnight and cooked separately - I didn't have any, and so I used canned organic - worked just fine)

1/4 c. olive oil (don't skimp here, it's critical to the richness and the lightness of the soup)

1 large onion finely chopped

2 carrots peeled and finely chopped (I also threw in a good sized parsnip too)

2 celery stalks, diced.

4 garlic cloves coarsely chopped

5 thyme sprigs (leave whole)

1 bay leaf

2 tsp of salt (again, don't skimp here)

3 cups of water (because I added extra veggies, I used 3 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of vegetable stock - you may need more - use your eyes to gauge it)

1 small leek diced (I had a medium/large leek and love leek, so I used it)

2 medium zucchini (I used a milder form of zucchini - I'm not a fan of the green zucchini)

2 medium tomatoes peeled seeded and chopped (I used the equivalent of grape tomatoes which I sliced - no peeling or seeding)

2 cups spinach coarsely chopped (left this out, too - the cupboard was bare!)



Heat the oil over medium heat, then add the onion, carrots, celery - cook for 15 minutes until tender - don't be tempted to do this over higher heat to speed up the process, you want to really sweat the vegetables.


Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and salt and cook for another five minutes.  Then add the stock/water and bring to a boil - I added the 3 cups and realized I needed more, so added about 1 1/2 cups of water.  When the liquid is boiling, add the leeks.  Cook for five minutes, then add the zucchini and the tomato. Taste for salt.


Drain the beans  and rinse if you are using canned then add to the soup.   I also cooked about a cup of whole wheat pasta separately and added that too.  Simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  Add a ladle or two of the pasta water if you need more liquid. 


Ladle into bowls and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese over top. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Let the Pairings Begin...

I have been given a task to start building tasting menus for Louis to begin pitching our wine/dinner pairings.  This clues me in a a couple of things. 

1. I have to build up my cellar a bit

2. I have to invite people over for dinner as I begin to plan pairings.

Before that can happen, I have to do some homework - which I started this week.  I'm working on the triangulations of flavors.  Those that know me well may scratch their heads and think, "Hmmm, now I've NEVER heard that word come out of Margo's mouth", and they'd be right. I don't mean to make this sound complicated - because I always believe that one should go with your gut, but I need to have the gut feel in the back pocket and the next level of more subtle matches.  For example - I love duck with plum sauce.  Cabernet Sauvignon is a natural blend with duck - both are hearty, but plums are a better match with merlot (and its plummy flavors)than a cab, which will overwhelm the plum.  Duck L'Orange will stand up to a Cab, but a berry or a plum sauce won't.  Hence triangulations. 

I've been putting flavor mixes and trying to come up with matches, specifically, matches with Amalthea's wines.   As I build my stores, I will put together more recipes, but to hone my taste, I'm working with both Amalthea wines and what I have in house.  For example - tonight, after a long week(lots of work, ex giving my daughter a hard time about a band rehearsal, mom in the nursing home, etc),  I decide to treat myself to dinner.

I didn't want to eat out, I'd been working in my sweats all day with a baseball hat on my head and wasn't motivated enough to change. So I decided to leverage the vegetables in the freezer.  I've been pouring over Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food, and decided to make her version of Mushroom Ragu.  Most ragu's that I've seen are very heavy on the tomato; Waters' recipe is more like a mushroom bolognese.  It's a simple (pardon the pun) recipe and incredibly rich and delicious.  Waters calls for heavy creme or creme fraiche, but I substituted half and half - it didn't hurt it at all.  it was fabulous.  I had also picked up some broccoli rabe and some beets at the market - I parboiled the rabe and the beet greens, then did a light saute with some garlic, olive oil and beef stock.  It was wonderful and hearty - I put a dollop of greens on top of the dish. It was comforting and not too heavy.  


I paired the dish with a cabernet sauvignon -



in this case, a Chilean cab that came in my wine club selection. The heartiness of the cab, marries well with the earthiness of the mushrooms and cuts through the creaminess that is the background of the sauce.  A great way to spend a  Friday evening. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day....

We spent the day, not so snowed in.  Yes, we got a good 8 inches of snow, and because of that it was a lazyish sort of day. The teens in their sweats watching bad TV, and me in my sweats working in the living room.   I go the kids to shovel most of the walkway (if not my car).  After the kids shoveled the walk and the drive, I made hot chocolate (cinnamon, hint of chili pepper) and lunch. Back to work for a few hours.  Made a chicken shepherd's pie with carrots, turnips and bacon ( I will NEVER be a size 6 again, hell, 8 is a distant memory). This was a total throw together and it turned out great!   For the real job, I managed to push out the outline for a webinar, answer a bunch of inquiries and started to outline a speech for March.  I love this job - the wine is a love thaaang.  If I could make money from the "mistress" my life would shift...;-)  

I've been reading up on viticulture and starting to figure out my pairing menus.  I'm starting to set up tasting  nights. I'm lucky enough to have a pretty extensive cellar right now and can start tasting. I think I'll invite a few friends over for a more formal testing to take notes and start working out some pairings. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Labor of Love.....




I started working today at Amalthea Cellars vineyard.  I've visited the place many times and always left wishing I could work there - and I finally got my wish.  Today, I was in observation mode;  I listened to Debbie (another wine lover) and Louis (the owner) take customers through tasting and a cellar tour, got to discuss future potential food pairings and the upcoming festivals.  All I can say is that I was one happy camper - it was just slow enough today (impending snow keep the traffic light) to really ask questions and compare wines.   I think I'm gonna LOVE this job!

I was starving by the time I got home, so I whipped up some pasta carbonara for myself and the kids, now we're settling in to watch W....good day :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What Color Is Your Rainbow?

I got this from Debra at

Your rainbow is shaded white and green.

What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. People depend on you to make them feel secure. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.

Find the colors of your rainbow at
">Your rainbow is shaded white and green.       What is says about you: You are a contemplative person. You feel strong ties to nature and your mood changes with its cycles. People depend on you to make them feel secure. Those around you admire your fresh outlook and vitality.Find the colors of your rainbow at'>Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Look Me, No Sandra Dee....I'm a...


What.A.Dump. (wild gesturing with a cigarette)

You Are a Bette!


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.   
  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.   
  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.    
  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.   
  • * Give me space to be alone.  
  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.   
  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.  
  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette  

  • * being independent and self-reliant   
  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on   
  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest   
  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life   
  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me   
  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette  

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to   (I sometimes forget there's a tact button)
  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence   
  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it   (all.the.time)
  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices   
  • * putting too much pressure on myself    (all.the.time)
  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often   

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit    (I was the feisty one)
  • * are sometimes loners   
  • * seize control so they won't be controlled  
  • * figure out others' weaknesses   
  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked   
  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents  

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted  
  • * are sometimes overprotective    (vigorous head shaking)
  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid (my kids laughed at that one)

Monday, February 23, 2009


Mom is still in the hospital. She's passing blood - something that had happened before several years ago, but this is different - without getting too graphic, it's not a blood and *use your imagination*, it's blood and mucus.  Not good.  The CAT scan showing some inflammation, so today they are going to follow up with a colonoscopy.  I spent yesterday with her, bathing her and just holding her hand.  She'll be 81 in a few weeks and it just seems as though her body is breaking down.  This is a long drawn out affair, tough on everyone, but I can't even imagine how hard it is on her - for years my sister and I always said that my mother is childish and completely narcissistic.  She is, but she is also far tougher than I ever imagined.  We were talking about next steps and she just talked about how she would handle whatever treatment or surgery came up.  It never occurs to her to just let go.  I've always thought that if in her shoes, when I got to a certain point, I would just want to concentrate on the time I had left and to love my family as much as I could before I went.  My mom doesn't feel that way. As long as there is a breath in her, she will fight. 

On a lighter note - I stopped at Moore Brothers wine company on the way home from the hospital. It is my all time favorite wine store and I rarely get to go.  I selected two Chinon Cab Francs and an Alsatian Pinot Blanc (mind you I have and was in the middle of a tasting when my phone rang.  It was the owner of Amalthea Cellars vineyard and he wants me to start working there on weekends!  I have precious little time, but I really want to do this.  I think my next career will be associated with wine - if I were ever to be in a position to follow this dream.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here We Go Again......

Friday morning I received a phone mom's blood pressure was all over the place and they couldn't get it stabilized.  Long story short, they took Mom to the hospital and when they found that her hemoglobin was dangerously low, they had to transfer her to another hospital for transfusions and dialysis.  It seems she's bleeding internally - again.  This happened a couple of years ago - no cause was found and after a week or so, it went away.  It's just that the maladies are coming closer and closer - you just learn to hold your breath day after day, wondering what will happen next. 

I also had an small hiccup at work - I wasn't selected for a job - and I think the way I presented myself to the client had a lot to do with it. I was trying to help and challenge the customer to do the right thing, but I could have been a little less "Jersey" about it.  All I can say is that it was a real learning lesson and I will approach these things in a much different manner from now on. 

I had a little break this week. A very good friend came into town and we got to spend some time together.  It was a life saver...:)

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Secret is In the Sauce.....

What sauce?  What is the secret? Can anyone help me out here?  I recently signed onto the SITS blog roll, I visit some of the blogs on the follower list and have found some really great blogs, Such as Words of Wisdom From a Smart Mouthed Broad, Like Sand in an Hourglass and of course A Devonshire Design.  So, my question is "Now What?"  I'd like to create more visibility for my blog - any ideas?  Just what is the secret in said sauce?  Any help is greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adding a New Cookbook to My Top Ten List

I'm a devoted reader of the Amateur Gourmet.  His recipes are, for the most part, spot on, and his restaurant reviews are great.  Adam often receives cookbooks and recommends several a year.  He has a new sidebar on his blog that has a recommendation list and the other day, I noticed "All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Food" by Molly Stevens.  His review was very positive so I jumped over to and checked it out, and every review on the site was superlative.  That was it, I had to get it. 

Today, the book arrived and after leafing through it for a few minutes, I could see why everyone is so high on this book.  It's incredibly well written, the pictures are beautiful.  I turned to one of the recipes, Braised Leeks and Halibut and decided to give it a try.  I had thick filets of Steelhead Trout in the fridge and a few leeks left that I hadn't figured out what to do with. So I decided to give this recipe a try.  In keeping with the recipe, I prepared the leeks by splitting them in half and chopping the halves into nice sized chunks:


Molly advises you to rinse twice and I followed that - I've had gritty leeks before and that is NOT a pleasant experience.

While the leeks were soaking, I minced two cloves of garlic and about 1 1/2 TBS. of fresh thyme.  After rinsing and draining the leeks, put a small braising pan (or small saute pan that has a lid) on the stove and heat using medium heat.  Add a 1-2 glug of olive oil, then add the leeks, garlic and thyme and stir to coat with the oil.  Season with salt and pepper and continue to saute until the leeks are glossy.  Add a half cup of dry white wine (or dry vermouth) and bring to a boil.  Cover the mixture with a piece of parchment paper that has been greased with a little butter.


Place a lid on the braising pan  and put into a 350 degree oven on the center rack and braise for 45-50 minutes or until tender, you may have to add a little additional wine if the leeks are dry. 

When the leeks are tender, remove from the oven and add about 1/4 C. of heavy cream (I used half n half, I would change it to light cream to make it a little creamier but keep the calories down) to the mixture and stir until smooth and creamy (I didn't measure the cream, I just eyeballed it).


I pan fried the trout and steamed some baby zucchini:


Excellent!  Leeks, when slow cooked become mellow and almost sweet.  R, who is not an onion fan, scarfed them right up!

Adam Roberts is sooo right about Molly Stevens.

Now that I have all of these wonderful cookbooks - I really have to get it together and make a weekly menu to make my shopping more efficient. 

What was your favorite dish this week?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Weekend Ramblings....

It's been a wonderful and weird weekend.  I talked about my loverly Friday night in my previous post. Saturday, Devonshire and her hubby came down to a wine tasting at the vineyard where I may start working in the spring.  As she mentioned in her post, not your typical Jersey wines (sweet fruit wines, yuck)  - lovely varieties made in the Bordeaux and Napa styles.  We came back after each buying several bottles and made an antipasto of Tuscan white bean salad, sliced red peppers, sopresatta and olives with sliced crusty seeded baguette.  It was a great afternoon, watching golf and picnicking in my den.  

After they left to to play chauffeur to their son, I got ready for a dinner party (already fooded out, mind you). I had invited a friend of mine who recently lost her husband and another friend to dinner.  I made Tunisian Chicken with Olives, a basmati pilaf and arugula salad with blood orange and mint.  We had Green Dragon Chardonnay and Clos D Bois Pinot Noir.  It was a lovely dinner and we sat around chatting - except my widowed friend kept jumping up and either running out to pet the cats who were sleeping in the sun room, to the bathroom or to answer her phone which rang repeated through out dinner. We had good conversation, but I found that the repeated exits and entrances disturbing. I didn't say anything (I realize that she feels very alone and is almost neurotic about missing a call), but it really bothered me.  Would you have said anything?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Quiet Friday Night......

Tomorrow and Sunday are full days...meeting friends for a wine tasting in the afternoon, hosting a dinner party tomorrow night (not everyone buys into that junk- my sweetie and I call it St. Hallmark's day - romance is a more spontaneous thing), and Sunday I am taking my mom out for brunch and giggling.  But tonight.....tonight is a quiet night all of my own.  It's been a God-awful week; the company had a RIF and several good, good friends/associates (emphasis on the FRIEND part) were let go; we had to plan how to make money in a tough economy and the usual jam packed stuff that comes with the work week. I swear I worked in pajamas three days this week because I got started at 7 - the evils of working at home - and didn't look up until 4PM. 

But tonight... I packed the kids off to their various activities and their dad and step-mom and settled in for a relaxing evening.  On Demand is showing "Two Lovers"  - mutual theater/cable release (it's mostly art movies, which is great - my local art house movie theater got bought out and turned into a showcase -bleccchhh) ....


It was a stunningly good film - makes you angry that Joaquin has gone off the deep end to focus on bad white boy hip hop.   I followed that up with Six Degrees of Separation - I've never seen it all the way through (which I found interesting but a little over the top).

In retrospect, it was my pretentious movie night - and I loved it. Opened a great Spanish red, Navarra Azaratura Tempranillo, built a fire and sliced a little cheese and ate it with crackers and just relaxed.   Life is wonderful when the little things make you smile.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reconciling the Two Halves of My Brain....

I'm writing this while listening to my team meeting for my job.  I am an analyst with an IT  industry research and advisory firm.  I help companies save millions of dollars in software investments, better allocate their resources, and improve the quality of their applications.  This job allows me to exercise the right side of my brain - thinking through big problems, forecast trends in the industry, write research, speak at conferences etc.  If you're not in IT or software, what I do doesn't make a lot sense to many people, but if you're in IT, you know that working with companies like mine can help you save your job. 

The left side of my brain is what I bring to this blog; my recipes, my thoughts on wine, life and politics.  If there are a few folks who get something from this, that makes me happy.   

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Risotto for Lazy People

I love risotto, but like many people, I generally made it for a dinner party or when I had time to stand over the stove.   One night as I was setting up the rice cooker whilst making dinner, I wondered by a rice cooker couldn't play a positive role in bringing risotto into the mix as a regular player in the weeknight dinner mix. 

With a little online research, I found that one could make risotto in a rice maker; the reviews were pretty good, so I figured, why not? Give it a try. I opted for a simple mushroom risotto to use as a baseline. 

First, I gathered the ingredients:

I small white onion - chopped fine

1 cup of arborio rice

1 lemon ( for zest)

Dry white wine (use about 1/4 cup (give or take)

a few shitake mushrooms - I have two GREAT Asian markets near me so my choices in this area are just fabulous

Chicken Stock/Broth


I set the cooker to cook white rice and heated a little olive oil, then sauteed the onion


once the onion is translucent, add the rice and saute until the rice is translucent


Meanwhile, warm the stock until it is going at a good simmer on the stove. Regular rice mix for a rice cooker is one cup of rice to liquid at level 1 in the cooker - it's approx 1.5 C liquid to 1 c. rice.  For risotto, use a 2:1 or even a 2.25:2 mixture...heat extra stock and add as needed.


And saute the mushrooms lightly with a little salt and pepper ( I forgot to rake a picture of that).   Add the wine and the stock to the rice and close the lid to cook (make sure the white rice indicator is still on and is cooking)


Stir halfway through ...check if you need more stock, add an 1/8 cup at a time if needed


And add the sauteed mushrooms

When the rice cooker clicks to warm (it's an automatic thing - I can't give you times)



When everything is absorbed, pop open the lid and shave in some parmesan into the rice and stir until creamy.    I served this with a mixed green, Kalamata olive and pecorino salad and Hawaiian butterfish with tomato coulis:


This will go well with a Sauvignion Blanc or a Pinot Gris as a cut to the creaminess of the dish; or, a Chablis or a steel fermented  Chard if you want to highlight the fish a bit more. Yummy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Finding My Way Back to Recipe Time

I've been craving Indian food, but I have two kids who have very different tastes in food.  My son loves clean, bright tastes that are pretty identifiable and he hates spicy food.  My daughter loves spicy food and unusual presentations.  M loves Japanese and Italian food and salads, R loves Indian and French food and won't touch anything raw. The only cuisines they both agree on are pub/diner food (read: hamburgers) and Mexican.  So, when I'm craving an ethnic or vegetarian dish that is off the beaten path, if I'm not going out with friends, I usually have to get creative and make a variant of it at home so that I can reach a happy middle ground for both. 

Tonight was that night.  I was in the mood for Indian flavors, but not up for my usual Chicken Tikka Masala.  So, I dug out my copy of "Indian Food without the Fat" and went to work.  


Me getting ready to cook

Here are the ingredients:

Chicken - I used skinless thighs because they have flavor but less fat without the skin.


I crosshatched the thighs and rubbed in lemon juice and salt


While the chicken sat, I mixed the following into a blender

Pureed garlic (1 Tbsp)


1 Tbsp of pureed ginger, 1 Tbsp chile powder, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp of cumin and 1 Tbsp of turmeric, 1 small onion, coarsely chopped and 3/4 c. of plain Greek yogurt.



Puree in a blender until well mixed and pourable because you will be pouring it over the chicken to marinate. Some recipes call for marinating overnight; others call for two to six hours.  I marinated for an hour (because I was busy on conference calls and got a late start).   


Meanwhile I started rice in the rice in the rice cooker and preheated the oven to 500. Now this looks more yellow than other tandoori's, I've seen - I'm chalking it up to the turmeric.  If color is a bother to you, up the paprika and cut back on the turmeric. Once the oven is ready, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on the sheet.  Coat with a healthy spritz of cooking oil and put into the oven to heat (about 5 minutes). Remove the thighs from the marinade and shake off excess. Place on rack and cook for 10 minutes, then flip over for another 5-10 minutes (I flipped after six minutes).  Turn the oven up to broil - Hi and broil just until the edges brown and char a little.

For a vegetable, I decided to make spiced green beans and carrots.  Toast 1 T. of black sesame seeds and 1 T. of white sesame seeds until the white seeds are light brown.  Pour into a mortar (or a coffee grinder reserved for spices) and crush slightly




Chop two cloves of garlic.  Heat a little oil in a saute pan and add garlic with 1 1/2 tsp chile powder, 1/2 tsp of paprika, and a 1/4 tsp of turmeric.  If you want additional spice, add a 1 tsp. of mustard seeds before adding the garlic, add the garlic when the seeds start to pop.


Add a bag of string beans and carrots (I used Green Giant) and saute until crisp/tender.  Sprinkle seeds over the veggies and toss. 



Voila!!  Tandoori  Chicken with Spiced vegetables:


Monday, February 9, 2009

Needing a Little Relaxation....

It's been a stressful day - the economy has affected us at work, and I'm bidding farewell to a few longtime friends. So now, settled into my chair with a nice glass of Bordeaux, some cheese, a hunk of bread and some olives, I'm reading cookbooks.  I read cookbooks like some people read novels.  I love the notes and anecdotes that surround recipes, ooh and ahh over the beautiful photos and sometimes dog ear and make notes in the columns.  I'm reading through "The Food You Crave" and "Spain - A Food Travelogue".  I'm also reading a memoir of Julia Child's  - "My Life in France" (along with A Traitor to His Class about FDR).   So I've decided to start a Meme - see if anyone still reads this blog */;-)* - Name your top 10 cookbooks. I'll offer up mine:

1. The Barefoot Contessa Goes to Paris - simple, hearty French influenced meals showcasing straightforward ingredients.  Roast chicken, beef tenderloin are stand-by's in my kitchen.

2. Tyler Florence's Ultimate - Everything in this book is just great - not a bad recipe in sight. Roast chicken, paella, chicken wings, steak - just eat the book, it's that good.

3. The Open House Cookbook -Sarah Lee Chase -  Classic cookbook, I think it was one of the first foodie cookbooks (1984) worth finding just for the Rainwater Chili, Provencal Lamb Chops and the June Havoc chicken legs.

4. Bistro Cooking - Patricia Wells - I actually bought this at a book store in Epcot (I'm secure enough to admit it), and loved loved loved it.  Fish recipes, potato recipes and tart recipes to die for.  This book (and Open House) turned me from a fumbler to a foodie in the kitchen.

5. The Way to Cook - Julia Child - Many of the recipes are straightforward and many are not.  Read it for the technique and do NOT be intimidated.  Yes, Julia knew more than anyone.

6. Julia and Jacques: Cooking At Home - Jacques' burger recipes are killer, as are the recipes for Veal Blanquette, Beef Borguignone and pate.  I received the book when I first started to really cook and I have to admit that I had to put it away for a couple of years until I became more confident in the kitchen and now it's one of my go to books.  The step by step is great.

7. The Art of Simple Food - Alice Waters - I'm including this even though it's one of my newer books.  It's just such a wonderful read and her dedication to fresh products is what has made me become a farmer's market devotee.

8. Field of Greens - Anne Somerville - It's a vegetarian cookbook that will appeal to carnivores.  The side dishes are simply gorgeous and the main dishes won't have you missing a chop or filet.  My favorite recipe is Fettuccine with Swiss Chard, Walnuts, Currants and Brown Butter - it is a perfect fall dish.  Risotto is another wonderful dish.

9. Nick Stellino's Mediterranean Flavors - Before there was Food Network, there was  PBS and Nick Stellino was a popular cook.  This book is very straightforward and produces great, flavorful dishes. Devonshire was addicted to the Eggplant Caviar for a while and my sister loves the Tunisian Chicken Tagine with Olives. 

10. The New Moosewood Cookbook - Molly Katzen - The original Moosewood is dog eared and stained. I love it with the nostalgia that you feel for an old lover, but the new and improved version is quickly becoming the one that I go to, because I like the lightening of the recipes that don't sacrifice flavor, the hearty dishes and the addition of fish dishes that are just flat out good.  ZuCanoes are a family favorite.

That being said, I do look online for many recipes and I keep my Gourmet, Bon Appetite and other cooking magazines around for far too long, but when I'm planning a meal, nothing beats looking through a stack of cookbooks to plan a menu.  What are your favorite books?  I'm tagging  Deb from Devonshire Design, Cindy from Figs Lavender and Cheese and Cathy from Noble Pig to offer up their favorites!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Whew...we have finally relocated Mom to assisted living. It's taken me three weeks of moving, cleaning, decorating and spending money to get Mom in and situated.  Many, many thanks to Devonshire and her family in helping me to get Mom set up. But we've finally done it.  The place is cute, she's got a lovely, private bedroom and she shares a kitchen and living room with her roommate.  Mom likes it, but we all understand it will take some getting used to.   What I've noticed is that with Mom gone, even though I'm making dinner each night for the teens, I'm starting to eat a lot less and imbibe less too...I can feel the stress lifting.

I've started yoga again and while I'm not doing it as regularly as I want, I am still making the effort to make it a regular activity.  I've decided to focus on being healthy, versus stressing over a body image that is probably not going to change dramatically.  I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, I want to enjoy myself responsibly now. I'm beginning to clean out years of garbage, emotionally and physically - it feels good - I'll keep you posted as I go along - I'm dipping my toes back into my life.

On another front, I am keeping my fingers crossed. I love wine - to drink it, to pair it with food, to cook with it, to give as gifts and to serve it to my friends.   Living in NJ, you'd think that unless I like blueberry wine, my only chance for decent wine is to drive to my local wine purveyor and buy the global best.  A few years ago I would have heartily agreed, but that is starting to change.  There are a few gems popping up here and there that are producing some really great wines and I, hopefully, will be pouring for one as well as doing food and wine pairings during the tasting.  I don't want to say more - no jinx, but keep your fingers crossed :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Facts About Me

I was tagged by my friend LF (who does not have a blog, but luckily reads my blog), so I had to think long and hard about this.  As those who know me know that I analyze everything but me.  They may have impact on me, but me myself? I'm the great deluder (as opposed to the decider....).  So, here goes....

  1. I am a natural redhead - who helps it along because the grays are coming in fast and furious.  My grandmother had a glorious head of white hair at a relatively young age, my hair is similar, but it's coming in too slowly to let it go natural. 
  2. My eldest is autistic.  He's 18 now.  There is so much information available now for parents, but my ex and I had to figure out more than we should have on our own.  I always feel like I've made far too many mistakes.
  3. When I was a teenager I was a very preppy kid - I still have a strong preppy streak (DD calls me CT. Housewife), but the older I get the more left wing hippy I become - albeit a left wing hippy with a good job and a love of personal hygiene.
  4. I'm a good cook - a really good one, if I do say so myself.  My big sister is a chef, and I've learned a lot from her, but I've done pretty well on my own, too.
  5. I'm passive-aggressive when it comes to grown up activities. As for my small handful of readers or lurkers may know, I have had a lot on my plate the last few years.  Caring for a sick parent, single parenthood (see #6) to teenagers - one with issues - a stressful career fills up the glass to the top.  As a result, I let little stupid things go, like letting my EZ Pass get revoked, or forget to pick up dry cleaning for months, or let bills go sometimes.  I hate that about myself because its extended to health issues and I need to change it.
  6. I like my ex-husband more now than when we were married.  Mostly because I don't have to live with him - I've learned what issues in our marriage were totally my fault and what traits of his are the reason we drifted apart, but we've been on the same page as parents since day one, and as a result, our kids are very happy and very secure in their distributed family.
  7. I met my bestest when we were both 19 or 20, but neither of us remember it.  We met again about 10 years later and have been tight ever since.
  8. I have a secret crush on Keith Olbermann on MSNBC
  9. I hate to listen to music in the car - unless I'm on vacation. Otherwise, it's NPR all the time.  I love Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air.
  10. I like bold art - little pastels of flowers, impressionists or poker playing dogs don't appeal to me.  I also like black and white photography. Let's just say I'm running out of wall space.
  11. My mother was a model in the 50's.  She looked like Kim Novak.  I look like Mickey Rooney, imagine our relationship.
  12. I like the taste of liquor - now before you start thinking I'm a perfect candidate for AA, I mean I like classic cocktails where the spirit isn't masked by sugary sweet stuff.
  13. My favorite food is Spanish - I love the fresh seafood grills, paella and tapas.
  14. I love red wine - goes well with #13.
  15. I used to love a good cigar, especially when I was skinnier and wore CFM shoes  - it was a look! I pretty much abstain, but every once in a while DD's hubby can talk me into having one after one of their long dinners. I love it, but I sound like I should be working in phone sex the next day.
  16. I'm addicted to MSNBC
  17. I've had relations in unusual locations - and that's all I'm going to say.
  18. I got stuck in an elevator and to this day get a little nervous when the door shuts.
  19. I am great company whilst traveling, but dumb things often happen. I was chased down the Rock of Gibraltar (that's right kids, THE rock) by the RAF because I (along with a bunch of dumb American friends) was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I spent the better part of a night in a Roman police station when my room was robbed and because of translation problems, they were starting to think that I was the criminal.  We finally figured it out.  I called the police in Key West, insisting that my car was stolen. After a couple of hours, we finally realized that I just forgot where I parked it (easy to do in Key West).  Many years ago, I had a budding Texan politician (not THAT one) declare undying love for me in New Orleans.  I had jumped on the last ferry for Algiers' Point while he was standing on the dock. We had met much earlier in the evening at Pat O'Brien's in the French Quarter. We were drinking margaritas. I leaned over to blow a kiss and dumped the entire contents of my handbag into the Mississippi.  Good thing I had my credit card and my license in the pocket of my pants. I never saw him again - I don't remember his name, but he was handsome :-)   Traveling with me is fun, but do it at your own risk.
  20. I love my job and had to leave it to realize it.
  21. I met the love of my life.
  22. I always wear one large silver ring - I have several of them and always wear one of them.
  23. I. CANNOT.SING. but I think I can...when I'm alone.
  24. I purge.  Not eating disorder (one look at me and you can tell), but to get rid of stuff. I accumulate, then when it gets to me, I have to throw everything that I haven't looked at for six months out.
  25. I'm on an unending search for the perfect mascara and perfect lipstick. I'm half convinced that the day I find them I will drop dead.....just kidding.

OK Devonshire, you're it.....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Conservatives Everywhere Are Throwing Up Their Hands......

Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and a million hopeful people singing "This Land Is Your Land" on the mall in DC..... It's the dawn of a new day.....  :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

When The Mundane is Beautiful

Today was mundane.  In a beautiful way.  Oil changes, buying a dish rack and a pan, going to the Asian market, and, laundry.  Today was my first day absolutely alone since before Christmas; I forgot my phone when I left in the house and I reveled in the fact that no one could reach me for a whole afternoon.   When I returned home I did talk to a couple of folks, but other than that, no contact.  I needed this day to be with myself.  I didn't listen to the radio,  I tuned out as much as I could.  The silence was nourishing - I felt my soul be restored by listening to my own rhythms, drifting to my own tune.

After my errands, I returned home and made dinner from the bounty purchased at the Asian market.  Of course my camera wasn't charged, so there aren't pictures to share.   They had wonderful mushrooms at the market, lemon grass and clementines.  I chopped up Chinese eggplant, green onion and garlic, grated fresh ginger, sliced shitake, crimini and enoki mushrooms, then cubed tofu, leftover pork tenderloin.  I made a stir-fry with soy sauce, mirin and a little fish sauce and red curry paste. 

Speaking of the pan, I have to spread the news.  I was walking through Macy's and meandered into the kitchen department (I love the kitchen department).  Macy's is discounting everything.  Now, I have a well stocked kitchen and do not need a thing, but I had been reading about the green pans and was interested in them. I looked at the clearance rack (which I love to do) and found a stack of Martha Stewart green pans. This isn't a Martha pan, but it looks similar:


Well, I have to say that I'm in love with this pan.  I did a whole stirfry with less than 2 T of canola and there was no sticking; in fact the pan looked clean - it just  did a great job.  I will definitely look forward to using this pan in the future!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009






No, it's not the number of posts in my blog.  It's my car crash movie.  I LOVE 300.  Something about incredible abs and loincloths and slow motion blood spilling.  "This Is Sparta!" can make me positively dreamy.  Gerard Butler is hot in this movie, I don't care if there's more CGI than crunches at the gym.  I share this secret love with my daughter.  Not just for the man candy that is this movie, but also because it's so much fun to make fun of...or the little known facts about the movie.  The sleazy politician was played by Dominic West who was so good in "The Wire" on HBO, and Xerxes, the big Persian god with the piercings who is "kind" played the kind and quiet Karl in Love Actually (and that is one of the ultimate chick flicks - another all time favorite).  tonight, 300 was on HBO's On of course we had to watch.

image    image

Anyway, we love to make up dialogue as we watch (usually about their briefs, the abs, pointy beards and the like), cracking on the dialogue that is just a little over the top....toward the end of the movie, after they've gone through horrible battles, one son gets decapitated and one guy (the narrator) loses an eye...Gerard Butler's character turns to the one eyed guy and says......Are you ready?  and one eyed guy says of course sire....Gerard:...Good, because you have one talent that no other Spartan has....... which R interjected....."you can sing...."

Morning Joe......

I am an insomniac....ever since I turned 40, unaided sleep is a dream.  Evidently, this runs in my family (another story for another time).  Because of this, getting up in the morning has always been a struggle for me.  Kids help, obviously, I need to get them out the door.   I hate morning TV, but having the thing blaring in the background gets me going.  During the elections, my sister got me hooked on Morning Joe on MSNBC.  Now, it's a love-hate thing. I cannot STAND Joe Scarborough, he's a pompous, conservative ass, but I just love when people prove him wrong. Like a couple of weeks back:

Delayed....But I've been Tagged!!

Deb over at Devonshire Design tagged me with bringing up the fourth photo in the fourth photo folder on my, here it is:



I don't know why it's sideways here, but I can't get it fixed.  Basically, it's a photo that I sent to my sister explaining a new lamp purchase.  How exciting, huh?  Well, folks, it's a newer laptop and I've been so busy with work, I haven't uploaded many pictures lately.  It's so lame, I can't even tag anyone.......