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It’s Brigadoon!

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One morning, late last week,  the Hubs asked me what time I would be home from work on Tuesday nite this week. Now we have been married long enough for him to know this is a loaded question for me, fraught with implications and complications…”Don’t know” I harrumphed over the mug of tea I was trying to ingest.

Me: “Depends where I am”

The Hubs:”Well I saw this thing at Mechanics Hall and I think we should go, even though it’s a school nite”

Me: “What thing?”

The Hubs: ” Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Band…..” at the same time Me:” YES!!!!, I’ll be home from work”

Little known fact about me…closet pipe band fan, huge drum corp fan, love a good military march and seriously think the “Stars and Stripes Forever” is a catchy tune.

So we presented ourselves at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, tickets clutched in our grubby little paws and had a pre- event cocktail (I love a venue with a bar that serves decent white wine, Johnny Walker Black and Jameson Irish, and Guinness!) and settled in for the show. 

Such a great event even though they must have felt like they were marching in a bathtub.  Terrific music, marching, a little singing, a little highland fling and sword dance, fetching pith helmets, tartan and argyles ( not the same) and the Executive Officer of the USS Constitution, a certain Lt. Commander Grab a Sandwich was the de facto host for the evening.

This was my favorite number however…the theme from “Last of the Mohicans” …The Daniel Day Lewis ( DDL to his friends) version

Look what we got!

  

Arriving just after new year, my Try the World box from Thailand. The Hubs made excellent beef curry using the curry paste and the recipe card included in the box. The  Jasberry was also excellent, and the coconut orange wafers have been a nice treat with tea. The TomYum soup , not so much…

This changes everything

  
The Hubs and I bought a new range and microwave for a Christmas present to ourselves. It got installed exactly one week before Christmas. On Saturday nite, while innocently roasting vegetables, I changed out a sheet pan, closed the oven door and put my rear end into my chair. Four minutes later, the Hubs and I heard a loud pop, like a big pumpkin had exploded. I got out of the chair thinking it might have been a pepper that popped, but what I found was much worse. The entire inside sheet of glass in the oven door had cracked and shattered. 

Once I regained my composure, barely…I just changed gears for dinner prep while the Hubs left a terse message for the appliance store. Instead of baking potatoes in the oven, I thought innocently, I’ll just do them in my spoony, new convection microwave. Wrong again…after the second time I put the potatoes on a cycle, the microwave just completely shut down. Like a tripped circuit breaker, except not. The interior of the microwave was hot to the touch, the magnet seemed to be glowing, and nothing would work..

So now we are down to stovetop cooking, which is severely limiting for someone who bakes on a regular basis and can’t even reheat a stinkin lean cuisine if needed.

As Charlie Brown would say….ARRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH

We’ll keep you posted.

Oh My Darlin, Oh My Darlin….

 Oh my darlin clementine… 

 

Reveling in Citrus o Rama for the next couple of months, I found a box of clementines procured for the festive season and not really fully taken advantage of, I set out to change that situation. 

  
Remember this dream of perfection that I had in Paris? The restaurant was A Bout de Soufflé, and apart from the foie gras sauce (which I will make someday..) was the little awesomeness of the candied citrus.  The citrus is also piled high at the candy stands in Europe like the one below
  

  So I did some recipe comparisons and came up with the following.

   
    
 I cleaned a nd took the woody little stem of the clementines and cut a shallow X in the non stem end of the fruit. I placed them all stem end down in my big blue pot with 500 g of sugar and 500ml of water boiled into a simple syrup. Then it was just a couple of hours of bobbing for clementines in the simmering syrup. I turned them every twenty minutes or so.

   
   
Once they were really, really soft and looked saturated with syrup and had turned a much darker orange, I stuffed them into canning jars and poured the hot syrup over them till the jars were full. Wipe the rim, settle the lid and ring on, hand tighten and place in a water bath and boil for twenty minutes. For the first time ever I used my pressure cooker for canning. Way less complicated! Got my important “schwump” after I took them out of the bath, so I know the jars sealed.

Can’t wait to try them and I’ll make sure to share results!

Just Another Meatless Monday…

We had really fallen off “ye olde healthy option wagon” while I was home for the two week yoga pant vacation, so in an effort to right the ship, or should I say wagon, I did some cooking over the weekend to get ready for the work week. 

 
Carrots, onions, red lentils, curry, turmeric, cardamom and veggie broth turn into curried lentil soup. Once cooked down, I hit it with my trusty mix stick and add about a tablespoon of cream right before service. You can make as spicy, or not, as you want.

  
I had half of a bag of French green beans, that were about a second away from getting schlammy, so I threw them into another pan with lashings of lemon, red pepper flakes and some olive oil. The Hubs was snacking on them off and on, the ultimate compliment… Would be great with some crumbled feta cheese.

 

  
Lastly, the darling of the “but it could be steak” delusional hoax, currently front and center on every cooking site and recipe list…behold the roasted cauliflower. I’ve made it hundreds of times, and have never had a leftover, but I was inspired by a half hour with Lidia Bastianich, on Saturday afternoon, and ginned together this “bagna cauda” or “hot bath” of a sauce for the cauliflower featuring lemon, olive oil, capers, bottled artichokes, some onions, garlic and basil. I wasn’t  too sure on Saturday, but a couple of days in the fridge got the flavors to settle in nicely.

   
   
 
The little bit of leftover sauce might just get tossed with some rigatoni, arugula salad, Parmesan strips and maybe a few cannelini beans! “Hmmmmm, tastes like steak…”

 

Making Roux…

  
I failed roux on more than one occasion when I was in training…a miserable lead cook would taunt my failures and send me to the cold pantry to make salads and other things I could manage.. But I’m happy to say that in the ensuing 30 years I have gotten much better at it..definitely good enough that I can make bechamel, a mother sauce, that in turn develops into a beautiful cheese sauce for my new creation…Short Rib Canneloni!

  
It all started because of the Canneloni that the Hubs and I had in Barcelona at The Attic restaurant on Las Ramblas. They were cheesy and yummy and I knew with right ingredients, I could recreate them.

   
 
I had some leftover short ribs and roasted butternut squash, so I shredded both in the food processor and mixed with some shredded Gruyere that I won at a recent Yankee Swap with my colleagues. (Yep, I got a hunk o’ cheese…foodies!)

   
 
Then I piped the mixture into some cooked shells and laid them in a pan with the cheese sauce underneath.

  
I topped the with mire sauce and the end of the raclette cheese and stuck in a 375 degree oven until bubbly and a little brown on top! Before serving, I ladled a little of the leftover short rib on top.