Friday, January 11, 2008

Finally a post!!

Oh I am so bad at updating. So very bad. I just don’t usually feel like writing when I get home and don’t have much time at work lately. (Plus they monitor internet so…)

The New Year started with a whimper more or less. The boy had to work until 11:30 so that made for a real grumpy start to the New Year. (The restaurant was out of nearly everything but still open. It was a bit of a mess.) At least I got New Year’s day off and got some stuff done.
I’ve been using most of my new toys like mad. (Still haven’t got around to the sewing machine yet. But I think I will this weekend.) I got a mandoline slicer and have made waffle fries, potatoes au gratin, and today I will make French fries. Oh I do love this thing. Plus I got tons of cast iron and well, it’s been nice knowing a lot of my other pans. Cast Iron rocks!

Our household has been obsessing a bit over Anthony Bourdain recently. We both watch No Reservations whenever we can. Plus A Cook’s Tour is being re-broadcast on the Food Network. (Bourdain left the FN when they wanted him to tone it down a bit. His sarcasm and cynicism are what make the show IMO.) I’ve read all but one of his food-related books. (Got a copy of Nasty Bits for Giftmas. He’s also written a bunch of spy novels too!) The boy got me a bunch of cookbooks for Giftmas too- Bourdain’s Les Halles cookbook included. Now that’s a cookbook to actually read. He’s voice is ever present. Bourdain just has a great sense of humor and a love of food. I think he’d be a blast to travel with. I would kill to go to Vietnam with him. Oh that stuff looked so good.

In other food news, I’ve been experimenting with the slow cooker and pot roast. I made a beef pot roast a few weeks ago. It was good but needed something acidic. I used a chuck roast, sliced onions, carrots, garlic, a bit of Worcestershire sauce, and a can of cream of mushroom soup. (salt and pepper too. Always.) It tasted good overall but really just needed something. We both thought paprika would be nice. Plus a lot of recipes add in an onion soup mix. So yesterday I tried one with a pork butt. Ohhh it turned out so very yummy. I used the same ingredients but added a packet of onion soup mix and paprika. That made such a difference. (Cooked for about 6-7 hours on low.) The meat was falling apart. I made mashed potatoes to go with it and made a roux and thickened the gravy up. (The amount of liquid that ends up in the pot is pretty amazing.) It’s definitely an easy thing to do. I really don’t like using the processed food stuff but it’s made a big difference so far. I plan to experiment much more with other items for the crock pot. It is rather nice to come home to a dinner that’s ready to serve.

Then there are the kitties. Pumpkin is, well her aloof self. She only seeks people when she wants food or attention. But she does like Alex. Ah Alex. He is a riot. He loves his snuggling. He also will eat anything and everything. I’ve caught him so many times on the counters trying to steal food that has been left open. So far he’s eaten bacon, chicken, pasta, potatoes, and some frosting off of a cake. (Boy did he have a sugar high after that. I put the plate down to go the bathroom and next thing I know he was there.) He’s a little sneaky thing.

On Saturday, as it was mid-70s outside and gorgeous, I decided that he’s old enough to go outside now. He’s been begging for a bit as he’s watched Punk go out. (We set the kitty door to one way so Punk could get in but not easily get out. Of course, smart girl she is, she figured out how to open it on the locked side.) He had a blast exploring the yard and playing with leaves and things. Punk kept an eye on him for the most part. The only problem to this is that he is absolutely TERRIFIED of the kitty door. Unless it is held open for him, he will not use it. I think the noise and the swinging scare him. But I am not going to be opening doors to let him in and out all day long. Plus they are outside when there is no one home- who’s going to open the door for him then? So, he’s stuck inside until he can get over it. He wants to go out. He begs, he whines, he runs to the door. But until he can use the kitty door, not happening. He’s watches Punk do it. I’ve sat there and tried to nudge him through, but he cowers and mews. Poor little baby. He’ll learn eventually if he really wants to go outside.