Sunday, September 30, 2007


I have to write about the brunch we had this morning before we left Traverse City. We stopped at Amical, a French bistro downtown.

G and I ordered omelets, but G had his eye on the French toast so we decided to split it. This has to be one of our all-time favorite breakfasts. We were blown away.

G's potato, bacon and cheddar omelet and my spinach and bacon omelet were served with slices of pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon and a slice of lemon poppyseed bread. The eggs were perfectly cooked, the potatoes were red-skinned and fried up with onions and spices.

The French toast was killer--griddled Challah bread with almond bavarian creme, fresh berries, raspberry romanoff cream & almonds. G said it was like eating the best jelly doughnut ever.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Traverse City

G & I decided to go away for the weekend. We drove about four hours north to Traverse City, set up camp (king bed, cable, wi-fi), and explored northern Michigan's wine country.

Last night we ate dinner at Hanna, a hip, little bistro. G ordered a bottle of sparkling wine. We started with a Camembert Fondue-warm French camembert cheese with a sauce of cream, crushed tomatoes and hard cider, with julienne apples and truffle oil. The fondue was heavenly. G decided that we need to include Camembert in our diet at home.

For our entrees, we both ordered specials--G had the beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and a thyme jus, I had the pan seared scallops in a rich, cream sauce with tasso ham, rice and sauteed spinach. We were speechless. And very full.

Today we drove to both peninsulas, Old Mission and Leelanau, to admire fall scenery and taste wine. Our favorite wineries were L. Mawby (strictly sparkling) and Chateau Fontaine.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bon Voyage

We stopped to say goodbye to our friends Mark & Andrea today. They're moving to New Orleans this weekend and we are going to miss them terribly.

M&A are family to us. During 24 and Battlestar Galactica seasons, we would always expect Mark on our doorstep to watch the latest episode. If I was on my way to the grocery store and Mark called, I would ask, "How much more food do I need to buy? Are you coming over?"

After we said our goodbyes and G & I drove away, I cried like a baby.

Looks like it's time to plan a weekend in New Orleans.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Novel Dilemma

I just finished reading Jack London's The Call of the Wild and now I'm staring at a stack of books on my desk. What should I read next? I need some help deciding. Here are the nominees (descriptions from

Special Topics in Calamity Physics - Marisha Pessl
Structured around a syllabus for a Great Works of Literature class and containing ironic visual aids (drawn by the author), Pessl's debut novel is complex yet compelling, erudite yet accessible. It combines the suspense of Hitchcock, the self-parody of Dave Eggers, and the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt with a dazzling intelligence and wit entirely Pessl's own.

Digging to America - Anne Tyler
In what is perhaps her richest and most deeply searching novel, Anne Tyler gives us a story about what it is to be an American, and about Maryam Yazdan, who after thirty-five years in this country must finally come to terms with her "outsiderness."

Big If - Mark Costello
The Secret Service agents guarding the vice president steel their nerves to a multitude of dangers every day. When he runs for the top spot on the Democratic ticket, however, their personal lives may just be the biggest obstacle to keeping him safe.

Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society.

A Good Year - Peter Mayle
Max Skinner has recently lost his job at a London financial firm and just as recently learned that he has inherited his late uncle’ s vineyard in Provence. On arrival he finds the climate delicious, the food even better, and two of the locals ravishing. Unfortunately, the wine produced on his new property is swill. Why then are so many people interested in it? Enter a beguiling Californian who knows more about wine than Max does– and may have a better claim to the estate. Fizzy with intrigue, bursting with local color and savor, A Good Year is Mayle at his most entertaining.

Straight Up and Dirty: A Memoir - Stephanie Klein
elebrated bloggist, photographer, and freelance writer Stephanie Klein lets it all hang out in this juicy tell-all tracing her jump back into single life following her divorce.

Any suggestions?

Better Late Than Never?

This bumper sticker made me laugh out loud on my way to school today:

I voted for Bush...Twice
I Apologize

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Rufus Honors Judy

I just read that Rufus Wainwright finished his four-city tour in Los Angeles this week. Backed by a 40-piece orchestra, he recreated Judy Garland's legendary 1961 concerts (at Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium, the Hollywood Bowl). The songlists were the same, the staging. Wainwright even left the stage to kiss audience member Debbie Reynolds just as Garland kissed Rock Hudson once upon a time. Check out the identical concert posters.

I love this! I'm only bummed that I wasn't able to enjoy the fun. I checked Wainwright's website and sure announcement that a CD and DVD of his Judy Garland tributes is coming out in December. Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition) leant his hand to the filming of the concert.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Best Burgers

A couple of years ago, GQ Magazine published a list of the twenty best burgers in America. I'm lucky enough to be near to two of the burger joints here in Michigan. Tonight we had an impromptu stop at Sidetracks and obviously, I ordered the burger deluxe--1/3 pound, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar cheese, cooked to medium. G and our friend Mark always join in, but they mix up the cheeses (American or pepper jack) and they always add bacon.

I haven't made it to the other Michigan location yet, but I have stopped at No. 9, the Parker Meridien in New York City. It's a great find, a tiny (affordable) burger joint behind a big purple curtain in the lobby of the hotel.

20. Hamburger Sandwich
Louis' Lunch
New Haven, CT

19. Our Famous Burger
Sidetrack Bar and Grill
Ypsilanti, MI

18. Hamburger
Poag Mahone's Carvery and Ale House

17. Double Bacon Deluxe with Cheese
Red Mill Burgers

16. Hamburger & Fries
Burger Joint
San Francisco

15. Build Your Own Burger
The Counter
Santa Monica

14. Hamburger
J. G. Melon
New York City

13. Cheeseburger
White Manna
Hackensack, NJ

12. Hamburger
Bobcat Bite
Santa Fe

11. Grilled Bistro Burger
Bistro Don Giovanni
Napa, CA

10. Number Five
Keller's Drive-in

9. Cheeseburger
Burger Joint, le Parker Meridien Hotel
New York City

8. Hamburger
Miller's Bar
23700 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, 48124
Dearborn, MI

7. Buckhorn Burger
San Antonio, NM

6. California Burger
Santa Monica

5. Kobe Sliders
Barclay Prime

4. Rouge Burger

3. Not Just a Burger
Spiced Pear Restaurant at the Chanler Hotel
Newport, RI

2. Luger Burger
Peter Luger Steak House

1. Sirloin Burger
Le Tub
Hollywood, FL

Monday, September 24, 2007


Last week, a portion of 53rd Street at 8th Avenue in New York City was renamed Jerry Orbach Way in honor of the star of stage and screen.

I first fell for Orbach's hangdog looks and smart-aleck delivery when he guest-starred as PI Harry McGraw on Murder, She Wrote. I had no idea until years later that he was a Broadway star, earning a Tony award for Promises, Promises in 1969. In the 90s, he appeared in one of my favorite Woody Allen films, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and he voiced the character of Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast. Then, of course, he found everlasting fame as Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law & Order.

I think Lennie was the best. In fact, I stopped watching Law & Order episodes altogether after Orbach passed away in 2004. I still tune into the reruns on cable though. I can't resist those Lennie one liners:

Suspect: "Should I say how I didn't mean to do it?"
Briscoe: "You mean how you only killed him because he wouldn't give you his watch? Yeah, put that in there, the D.A. would really like that."

Logan: "One of these days I'm going to pack up a Winnebago."
Briscoe: "And go where?"
Logan: "Upstate...New Hampshire."
Briscoe: "Right--I spent a year there one weekend."

Limo dispatcher, being questioned about one of his driver's clients: "This was a model? Good lookin'?"
Briscoe: "Right. Not one of those ugly models."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Go To

Okay, so I know by now it's obvious that I cook A LOT. Most of the time though, I'm always on the lookout for new recipes. All I do is experiment, so when we're hungry for dinner and I didn't plan our menu or I'm too tired to be creative, I get into trouble. We hardly have any "go to" meals; favorite/easy things to throw together that are tried and true.

I was idea-free tonight, so G said, "Hey, why don't I make some grilled cheese with our French bread and you make that tomato soup you made once." At first, I whined, "But I don't feel like chopping vegetables or waiting for the soup to be ready." But grilled cheese and tomato soup sounded good, so I opened up my recipe and realized that the tomato soup was super easy and only took about 15 minutes. Go G!

G made the grilled cheese (he makes them perfectly; sharp cheddar for him, provolone for me) and I threw together this tomato soup and voila! A delicious little go to supper was born. The soup is easy and much tastier than out of the can. It's a recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis:

Quick and Spicy Tomato Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce (I use Newman's Own sauces)
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta; I use ditalini)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, onion, and garlic and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the jar of marinara sauce, chicken broth, cannellini beans, red pepper flakes, pasta, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Food Memories

Do you have food memories? Just recently I was at a grocery store and saw a box of Boo Berry cereal, which I had to buy. It was one of my favorites from childhood. I didn't know they still made Boo Berry (and Franken Berry). Count Chocula proved to be the one with staying power.

My mom gave me a bag of assorted jelly bellies this weekend. Jelly bellies always put a smile on my face. When I was little, my grandpa used to take me to the candy store and I'd get to choose whatever I wanted. Jelly bellies were big back then (I think President Reagan loved them) and I wasn't a big fan of chocolate, so I'd always wander over to the side of store where the clear plastic bins of jelly bellies were, every color and flavor imaginable. Root beer, coconut, buttered popcorn, cantaloupe, bubble gum. My favorites were cotton candy, green apple, lemon-lime, and watermelon (dark green on the outside and pink on the inside.)

There was a good period of time when I had to part from my jelly belly fix. Years of braces on my teeth did not bode well for anything like jelly beans. So it was fun to sit down today with my bag of jelly bellies and figure out the flavors. I did find some green apple ones and they're still my favorite.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brunch with Mom

Mom & I decided to make a fancy brunch for ourselves. I drove up to her place and we stopped at a few grocery stores to pick up some ingredients. We don't get to see each other much when I have classes so we talked so much we barely came up for air.

There's a fancy schmancy market in her town that we always find an excuse to visit. As we looked at the chicken sausage with feta and spinach, at the homemade slabs of mac and cheese, Mom said, "Do we need anything here?" Me: "No, I just like being here. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside."

The market sells Zingerman's bread and pastries so I treated us to a couple of cookies and a palmier especially for Mom.

We finally sat down for our brunch around two o'clock. Mushroom and shallot quiche with Swiss cheese, lemon raspberry French toast strata, and sauteed apples and bacon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

U-M Gladiator?

I just heard that Russell Crowe was in town last week to support the Wolverines. How did I miss that? I watched the game against Notre Dame. No mention of Crowe on the sidelines. Check this out from the Detroit Free Press:

Hollywood star Russell Crowe cheers friend Carr, U-M
September 16, 2007
By Mark Snyder
Free Press Sports Writer

When most football coaches are under fire, they turn to their family and staff. Lloyd Carr received a different kind of support.

Movie star Russell Crowe, whom Carr befriended after splicing "Cinderella Man" movie clips into last season's game preparation, flew in from Washington with a few friends to attend Saturday's game and watch from the U-M sideline.
"Just because of the way the season started, I could sense through what I was watching on TV that my friend was in pain," Crowe said when meeting with the media after Saturday's game. "I just thought I would take his mind off things and I started teasing him about it and he said 'Get up here.' "

Crowe owns a rugby team in Australia called the South Sydney Rabbitohs and had Carr come down to Sydney to give his coach and players a few lessons of leadership in May.

On Saturday, the movie star had a chance to return the favor, speaking to the Wolverines before the game.
"It was an incredible privilege to be part of being here today and the atmosphere," Crowe said. "I think that's the largest sporting event I've ever attended in terms of numbers in the crowd. I had a little chat with the boys to start with and the response was pretty good. I could hear a click. They were dead serious they were going to do something different this week than they did last week."

Carr brought Crowe, who was wearing a U-M hat, to his postgame news conference and shared the podium with him, smiling and laughing with every story Crowe told.

"He said, 'You need a rabbit,' " Carr said.

Crowe said rugby and football have similarities and, asked if he'd prefer Mike Hart or Shawn Crable, he went off the board. "I want Jake," he said of Jake Long, U-M's 6-foot-7, 313-pound offensive tackle.

Though Crowe insists he'll be back for another game, he wasn't sure how long he'd stay in Ann Arbor.

"I want to have a couple of beers with Lloyd," he said.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tonight We Dine in Hell!

This is how I feel in butchery class.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Once I became a foodie, I did what I do with every other interest of mine. I started buying books about it. When we moved into our house, we had room in a kitchen corner to place a four-shelf bookcase, just for cookbooks.

As a culinary student, now books like Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen and David Kamp's The United States of Arugula sit beside the Barefoot Contessa and Betty Crocker. I'm discovering some great books recommended by the school's chefs. This summer, I checked out Madeleine Kamman's The Making of a Cook and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything from the library and have subsequently added them to my collection.

I know that the Joy of Cooking is a popular book, but I've never had the chance to peruse it. I picked up the seventy-fifth anniversary edition at the library yesterday and have already created a spreadsheet listing the recipes I need to try.

I think I might need a bigger bookcase. Or better yet, a bigger kitchen?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Congratulations 30 Rock!

30 Rock was named Best Comedy at the Emmy Awards last night and I couldn't be happier. When accepting the award, creator/writer/star Tina Fey joked about the show's low ratings by thanking its "dozens and dozens of viewers." I tell everyone I know about this show. Season two premieres Thursday, October 4th at 8:30pm on NBC.

Some of my favorite dialogue from season one:

Liz Lemon: Why are you wearing a tux?
Jack: It's after 6. What am I, a farmer?

Jenna: That guy wanted to buy you a drink!
Liz: Really? But I already have a drink. Do you think he'd buy me mozzarella sticks?

Tracy: The Black Crusaders are a secret group of powerful Black Americans. Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey are the chief majors, but Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell and Gordon from Sesame Street, they're members, too, and they meet four times a year in the skull of the Statue of Liberty. You can read about that on the Interweb.
Liz: Ah, well, it must be true if it's on the "Interweb."

Tracy: I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?
Jack: I've got two ears and a heart, don't I?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmy Night

I've been an awards show junkie since I was a kid. So tonight I will be glued to the TV watching the Emmy awards. Some nominees:

Outstanding Comedy
30 Rock
The Office
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty

My pick: My personal favorite is The Office, but I'll cheer for any one of these except Two and a Half Men.

Outstanding Drama
Boston Legal
Grey's Anatomy
The Sopranos

My pick: I don't watch any of these shows. The Sopranos will probably win since it was the final season.

My picks for the acting awards:

Leads in a Comedy
Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock
America Ferrara for Ugly Betty

Rainn Wilson for The Office
Jaime Pressly for My Name is Earl

Leads in a Drama
Hugh Laurie for House
Minnie Driver for The Riches

Terry O'Quinn for Lost
Rachel Griffiths for Brothers & Sisters

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I'm Fall-ing

briskmornings apples footballgames
cidermills newcorduroys pumpkins
cinnamon sweaters harvests hayrides
bonfires cobblers crunchyfallenleaves
cornhusks crimsonsandorangesandgolds
schoolsupplies acorns newtvshows mums
chestnuts apples cornmazes squash
Oscarworthymovies hottoddies marchingbands
turkeysintheoven fireplaces shorterdays
soupsandstews cloves moreapples homecomings

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jane Wyman

Jane Wyman passed away earlier this week at age 93. For many, she was known as Ronald Reagan's first wife or just the matriarch on 80s soap, Falcon Crest. When I was a kid, I knew her as the meanie from Disney's Pollyanna. But once upon a time, she was a classic movie star.

Turner Classic Movies showed a marathon of Wyman's films today, including The Lost Weekend and Johnny Belinda (for which she won a Best Actress Oscar). My all-time favorites are the films she made with Rock Hudson in the mid-1950s, All That Heaven Allows and Magnificent Obsession. Directed by Douglas Sirk, both films are lush and beautifully melodramatic.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kim Richey Concert

Singer/songwriter Kim Richey is on tour promoting her latest CD, Chinese Boxes. We caught her show last night at The Ark in Ann Arbor.

Chinese Boxes is Richey's fifth CD and her first release in five years. I first became a fan in 1995 and have followed her career ever since. Her record producers have included Richard Bennett, Angelo, Hugh Padgham, Bill Bottrell, and Giles Martin. Richey's work was initally considered alt-country, but nowadays the music lands firmly in the pop/rock category. No matter what she sings or writes, her crystalline voice delivers.

She and her four-man band were fantastic live. They performed all ten songs from the new CD and included a great sampling of older songs. A couple of the songs were arranged in an intimate jazzy/combo style which was a big hit with the crowd. The only cover was the closing tune, a beautiful version of What a Wonderful World.

Concert playlist:
Those Words We Said
Girl in a Car
Jack and Jill
Chinese Boxes
Come Around
The Absence of Your Company
Turn Me
Not a Love Like This
Something to Say
I Will Follow
Circus Song (Can't Let Go)
Reel Me In
I'm Alright
I Know
Every River
Another Day
A Place Called Home
Pretty Picture
What a Wonderful World

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New CD: Gretchen Peters

I've been enjoying Burnt Toast and Offerings, the new CD by Gretchen Peters. She's an award-winning songwriter whose had hit songs recorded by Martina McBride (Independence Day) , Trisha Yearwood (On a Bus to St. Cloud), and Faith Hill (The Secret of Life). As a whole, her solo work isn't country though. Her eponymous second release is definitely more pop/rock and remains my most played Peters disc.

Burnt Toast and Offerings is her fourth U.S. release. This track is a new favorite of mine (special shoutout to my mom who is the queen of figuring out lyrics.):

Sunday Morning (Up and Down My Street)

There's a dog a-barking
There's no Sunday parking
No stabbing on the news

And the air is breezy
And the day breaks easy
And the traffic hums a tune

There's a Sunday paper
And a sleepy neighbor
And a cat curled at your feet
There's a breakfast frying
And a baby crying
And your smile is all I need

And we're talking
And we're laughing
And we're taking time and making love so sweet
And the birds sing
And the bells ring
And it's Sunday morning up and down my street

Where the sidewalk's broken
There's a cafe open
People spilling out the door

And you're softly humming
And the day is coming
When we won't be sad no more

And we're talking
And we're laughing
And we're taking time and making love so sweet
And the birds sing
And the bells ring
And it's Sunday morning up and down my street

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Butchery Class

The chef gave us a brief lecture today at the start of class. Different cuts of beef, USDA/grading information, marbling, etc. Then it was time to get the gloves on.

Some students worked on shrimp, some worked on scallops, some worked on tuna. I cut up three chickens today. Chicken number one: bone-in, skinless thighs, boneless, skinless breasts. I still left some meat on the bones when carving. There's this small piece of meat at the backbone (the chefs call it the oyster). Ideally, when I carve the legs and thighs from the carcass, that small "oyster" meat needs to be carved off as well.

Chicken number two: Frenched wings, breast with skin remaining on the cage, boneless, skinless, thighs. Again, I missed the oyster.

Chicken number three: Aha! I left the oyster intact. I grabbed the chicken's leg and walked over to the chef's desk.

"Chef? What do you think?"

He looked, smiled, and responded, "You're going to make me cry."

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Horror Story

I just finished reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale for the first time. Last month I read The Ruins, considered to be "the best horror story of the twenty-first century" by none other than Stephen King. The Ruins was a great read and very scary, but The Handmaid's Tale was profoundly more frightening.

A plot synopsis from
In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood explores the consequences of a reversal of women’s rights. In the novel’s nightmare world of Gilead, a group of conservative religious extremists has taken power and turned the sexual revolution on its head. Feminists argued for liberation from traditional gender roles, but Gilead is a society founded on a “return to traditional values” and gender roles, and on the subjugation of women by men. What feminists considered the great triumphs of the 1970s—namely, widespread access to contraception, the legalization of abortion, and the increasing political influence of female voters—have all been undone. Women in Gilead are not only forbidden to vote, they are forbidden to read or write. Atwood’s novel also paints a picture of a world undone by pollution and infertility, reflecting 1980s fears about declining birthrates, the dangers of nuclear power, and environmental degradation.

This novel will haunt me for a long time.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Top Ten Movie Songs (21st Century)

In no particular order, here's a list of my favorite cuts from soundtracks so far this century:

Just Like Honey/Jesus & Mary Chain
Lost in Translation
A beautiful love song for an unrequited love affair.

Let Go/Frou Frou
Garden State
Zach Braff sure knows how to compile a soundtrack (hear also: The Last Kiss)

America (**** Yeah)
Team America: World Police
Oh so bad. Oh so hilarious.

Long Ride Home/Patty Griffin
Classic Patty Griffin--pure and haunting.

The Blower's Daughter/Damien Rice
Stark and poignant and full of longing...just like the film.

A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow/Mitch & Mickey (Eugene Levy & Catherine O'Hara)
A Mighty Wind
A great folk song that's the centerpiece of the film.

Once Soundtrack/Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
All of the songs were written and performed by the two leads. This is why indie movies rule.

Oompa Loompa Songs/Danny Elfman
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Goofy and the most memorable parts of the film.

And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going/Jennifer Hudson
A star-making turn that gave me goose bumps in the movie theater.

Across the Universe/Rufus Wainwright
I Am Sam
I've heard several covers of this song since, but Rufus still rules.

Friday, September 7, 2007


My first rotation fall semester is Butchery. Now I knew that this probably wouldn't be my favorite cooking class. I did have a brief stint of vegetarianism in my twenties after all. Between the intensity of the class (nonstop, on-your-feet for three and a half hours) and the degree of difficulty, I am already longing for my next rotation. I am not what you would call a gifted butchery student. The whole time I tried to trim a rack of lamb I muttered obscenities under my breath. I'm pretty sure that I was the last student to complete the task.

One of my classmates mentioned to me, "I've talked to three second-year students and they all said that butchery was their favorite class."

My response: "Why?"

Everything that we produce in class is used by other classes as well as the restaurant at school. All of the chefs place their "orders" with my chef instructor. Essentially the students are free labor.

In just three classes we:

stuffed and trussed chickens
broke down chickens into boneless breasts and skinless, boneless thighs
chopped turkey into stew meat
skinned redfish fillets
filleted salmon
deveined shrimp
trimmed turkey and brisket of fat
trimmed a lamb rack and cut it into chops

I now have a constant reverence for butchers everywhere.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Michigan Salad

It's been a challenging week. My butchery class is...well, I'll write about that tomorrow.

G took me into town for a relaxing dinner. I had a Michigan salad. I had never heard of these salads until, yes, I moved to Michigan. What a delicious discovery.

Michigan Salad

Mixed greens
Toasted pecans
Crumbled blue cheese
Dried cherries

Served with a raspberry vinaigrette. Occasionally I'll see walnuts used instead of pecans and gorgonzola substituted for the blue cheese. Also, I top the salad with a grilled chicken breast for a heartier dish.

Here's a recipe for the vinaigrette from

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raspberry wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, oregano, and pepper. Shake well.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Hot Dog Bar

For our first tailgate-at-home, we served some stadium snacks: nachos, peanuts, popcorn. The big hit of the day was the hot dog bar.

G grilled up some dawgs and I provided the condiment bar. Homemade chili, spicy jalapeno cheese sauce, chopped onion, sauerkraut, along with the typical mustard and relish.

This was our friend Mark's creation.

Our team's loss was demoralizing, but the hot dog bar seemed to make everyone happy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When the Cat's Away

G's on a business trip so I spent the last day of my summer vacation solo, doing precisely what I wanted.

I slept in. I watched the Golden Girls while I enjoyed an English muffin. The Golden Girls just kill me. They're like a precursor to Sex and the City, a senior version of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte. With pure 80s ridiculousness.

I read a little. I started Thunderstruck by Erik Larson last week. I've had some trouble concentrating on it (I've certainly not been swept away) so I alternated between reading the book and watching a marathon of HGTV's Design Star. I guess shades of green are "in" right now. They painted a lot of green walls.

After an afternoon of sitting on the couch, I decided that I wasn't in the mood to cook dinner. What was I in the mood for? Chocolate chip cookies and milk.