Friday, February 22, 2008

Blend Baby Blend

Yesterday, I had a half hour of time to burn, so I decided to go to one of my favorite stores to buy a few things from our registry. Armed with a gift card, I made a list of what we really needed and set off. Some things alas, this location didn't have, but typical of me I found others that I decided I just couldn't do without. Once such thing was two Quick Blend Shakers. I was unbelievably excited to discover these.

For quite some time, I've been wanting a magic bullet. How wonderful they've seemed. My heart aches a little every time said infomercial comes on. They just call after my heart... Twyla buy me, buy me. don't you want the ability to blend small portion sizes? wouldn't you like to make individual portion size smoothies right in your glass without dirtying a whole blender? wouldn't you like the flexibility of multiple cups to easily switch out and blend different things. "YES!", I say "YES!"

So, when I discovered a cup that you could pop the lid off of and screw onto your blender, I could barely contain my excitement. I'm sure a store employee had to show up after to me to clean up my drool. I picked my husband up from school gushing about my newfound treasured discovery. He laugh and laughed at my delight and said that I just had to blog about this thing.

We arrive home and I got to. I grab my blender and find that I am unable to unscrew its base from the jar. Seeking my husbands help, he manages to get it off. I'm a bit puzzled, b/c my wonderful blender base doesn't look quite like the picture. In fact, it's quite unlike the picture. Unfazed, I take the blade assembly and slip it onto the quick shaker bottle. Sighh... It doesn't work. I have an extra capacity blender with larger than normal blades. My new bottles are now quite an impossibility. How tragic! At least I have a receipt. They're going back this weekend, and maybe just maybe I can find something else to console my broken heart.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Belated Valentine

My wonderful hubby had class on Valentine's Day, so we agreed to postpone our day of love until the day after. We share a car, so I went to the library on the campus where I work until he was able to come pick me up. He showed up shortly after his class with a vase of roses and a box of chocolates. I was sweetly surprised that he was thoughtful to do so despite our agreement.

The next day was my day off. I spend a great deal of it running errands. Since we had already decided upon steak that night, I decided on a simple meal. At the store, I picked up some garlic toasts (James' favorite) and asparagus to cook with the steak and potatoes that evening. It was a very simple meal but yummy meal and only took about 30 minutes to prepare. James kept exclaiming throughout the meal of his surprise at our delicious meal. Being a good wife, lol, I enquired why he thought it might not be so. Diplomatically, he responded that it was not because he had any reason to doubt that I was a good cook, but that it was because he had never had them cooked as I did that evening. What strange and unusual ways did I cook our meal do you ask? After a quick marinade, I pan seared the steaks and threw them in a hot oven to cook to medium rare. The potatoes were scrubbed and cut into one inch pieces, skin intact, to boil in a pot. After a knife easily pierced the flesh, they were drained and put back on the heat to let the remaining water evaporate. Then, I added a couple tablespoons of butter and some garlic pepper seasoning and mixed. Nothing super fancy, but apparently highly unusual. It was all assuredly yummy :-).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy New Year

On Sunday, we invited some friends, Terence and Becky, over our apartment to hang out. My husband wanted to get to know them more and have lots of time to talk. He gave me the challenge of discovering a meal that they could cook with us so we would all have more time together. Stumped for ten minutes or so I decided on hot pot, a traditional Chinese meal similar to a broth-based fondue. Since China just wrung in the New Year, it seemed perfect timing to make my favorite Asian dish. We went out and bought an electric wok and all sorts of yumminess to stick inside. We also invited our guests to bring over anything they wanted to as well. Good thinking b/c they brought stuff we would have never thought to add.

Inspired by a recent trip to Simply Fondue, we also pulled out the stops and made up some Tempura as well. Our good intentions were almost derailed when I discovered I didn't have the egg called for in the batter. I said 'oh,well' and made it without it. To make up for the lack of added moisture, I added a bit more water and some milk. It turned out just fine.

For our main course, we had mostly traditional stuff like rice noodles, sliced beef, carrots, eggplant, greens, and baby bok choy. We also got some non-traditional things to throw in that we thought our friends would like such as snap peas, broccoli, and okra. Our guests were truely inventive though. They brought a couple things that we suggested like chicken breast to slice up and potatoes. However, unencombered by previous expereinces of this traditional fare, they also delighted us with red bell peppers and corn on the cob both of which cook amazingly in the pot. Lesson of the day: Be bold!

For dessert, we enjoyed "Banana Spring Rolls w/ Caramel, Toffee, and Walnuts". YUM! I used plain old Smucker Caramel Topping to make it easy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bowled Over (Sopapillas)

Saturday we invited several friends over to watch the Patriots make history. We were so excited to have them over. We prepared for a yummy meal including James' Famous Chicken Quesadillas, Southwestern Salsa with Tomatoes and Guac, Pizza, and Raspberry Lemonade. It was great. John and Laurie even volunteered to bring (the most amazing :-) fried chicken and surprised us with grapefruit soda (w/ extra grapefruit for good measure). We put our beautiful wedding pictures (curtsey of Tricia who watched with us :-) on slideshow so people could glance at them now and then.

I wandered around the first half of the game chatting w/ people and quite annoyed at the Pats for keeping the game at 3:7 forever. For half time we prepared a sopapilla bar (Recipe in Comments section) w/ Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate Gelato from Central Market. The Pats didn't disappoint in the second half. They soon scored but in the final minutes of the game allowed the Giants to score (due to a terrific pass on their part) and lost 14:17. Alas, not all my guest were as broken hearts as I. Well, history was made indeed. The game will go down as the biggest upset ever, and I can tell my children I watched it.