Saturday, November 24, 2007

Wine Notes: Shooting Star Zinfandel 2005

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
This was okay. But I probably won't buy it again. It was a little dry for me. I bought it because I thought I'd had it before and loved it. It turned out what I had before was the Shooting Star Riesling. That just goes to show that one grape from a vinyard can be good, and the other not so much.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. At least, to all the Americans that read this blog. For the rest of you, I give thanks for your friendship and interest in my blog. Every day, really, is a day of giving thanks.

Here is the first installment of food entries for the day. These pies were made by my dear friend Chris last night here in my kitchen. She and her husband have moved to Tennessee and she came "home" for the weekend to pack up the old house and have Thanksgiving with us and our friend Tambri. We hope this will be our new annual family tradition.

I'm more excited about this Thanksgiving than any other since we moved here. I enjoy the day and all the hustle and bustle of nonstop cooking that it entails. We always have someone with us, and every year but one I have hosted. But this year my friends Tambri and Chris are coming and the three of us women will hang in the kitchen and cook together. It's at my house but all three of us are hosting. It'll feel more like a family holiday to me than any other Thanksgiving we've had here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So. Where was I?

Have we gotten to the part in this narrative where Taylor breaks his arm? I guess that was Tuesday afternoon.

I'm not perzactly (to borrow Lis' word) sure how it all happened, but I was on the phone in the driveway with the dog on the leash (poop watch, of course). Freddy came running to tell me that Taylor was hurt. His arm was hurt. No blood. His arm was hurt and he couldn't get over a fence. Since I only outweigh Taylor by 25 pounds, I really didn't see what I could do (especially with my sprained ankle...oh, I guess I never told you that, either), I told Fred to get Nate to help him.

Pretty soon Chris rolled into the driveway and Taylor came out of the house, through the garage, holding his arm and saying he'd broken it. He wanted to go to the hospital.

I've been that route before. I wasn't going for it.

We took him in and wrapped his arm in ice, settled him on the couch, and told him to keep ice on for 20 minutes, then off for 20 minutes, and so on. Gave him Advil. The arm was perfect-looking. Some swelling but not too bad. Chris and Taylor were advocating for urgent care or hospital. I tell them we did that with Nate and all it got us was an x-ray and being sent home with an ace bandage for the night. They sent us to an orthopedist the next day. "Can't put a cast on while it's swollen anyway," they said. So I told them we'd go to the clinic in the morning. For now, chill.

Chris, Tambri and I hung out for the evening. Talking and laughing. Torturing the dog. Letting Nate entertain Chris' daughter Sammy.

So now it's Wednesday. Taylor has a fractured radius, my ankle is swollen to softball size, the car is back home after shelling out $233 for a transmission solenoid pack (whatever that is), and Chris just left after spending another evening here. This time she made homemade noodles and three pies. Tomorrow, T-day.

Here's me signing the cast:

Let me tell you about this week

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
It's been pretty much chaos around here this week. Not even controlled chaos. Just really pretty wild. And for your entertainment, here it all is. I'm not saying this by way of complaining. I just think that, when anyone hears what has transpired, they have to laugh and shake their heads. And so I'm giving you this story, so you can chuckle at our expense.
Monday-it was the great Thanksgiving photo chase. Last week my editor started making noises about wanting something for the front page of this week's paper. The disadvantage of a Wednesday paper is that the deadline is too early to get Thursday holiday activities, and then too late to be of any interest if you run it the following week. Do you follow? If not, don't worry.
Last week I got NO RESPONSES at the school to my request for photo ops for Thanksgiving. It was just too early. So I went to the school first thing Monday morning to troll the halls and harass teachers into giving me something, anything to shoot by 10 a.m. I finally found a Kindergarten teacher who stopped her lesson plan, had all her little nippers put on their Thanksgiving headgear, and pose for this photo:
It turns out that this was to be the most calm part of the day.
I started out to the farm to pick up our turkey for dinner. Got halfway there and found the road closed. No problem...just an inconvenience...there's really only one way to get to the farm, and I had to drive about 10 miles around to get back to the right road. While there I picked up some wonderful beets and carrots and collards as well. As I made my way home I thought about all the wonderful things I was going to do with my largess.
I got about 2 miles from home when the car decided it did not want to shift gears anymore. 3000 rpm...revving and revving...the transmission was being quite obstinate. So I turned around, put on my flashers, and crawled at 20 mph to my ever-faithful mechanic, Derek Patterson at J.P. Auto. I called Nate, who fortunately had just arrive home from school with all the kids, and asked him to come meet me. He was fine with that. But reality crashed down him like a ton of bricks when he asked me, "You have to leave your car here overnight?"
"Yes," I replied.
"How will you get around tomorrow then?" he inquired.
"I will drive my little red car," I said.
I so he was reminded that as a driver he is on the bottom rung of the ladder.
He accepted this reasonably well, but stewed all night about driving home from school the next day. It turns out he's been driving a GIRL home each day. There would not be room if I drove.
So. The day was getting long in the tooth and I was supposed to take supper to my friend Chris and her daughter, but I was getting tired and feeling a bit harassed, so I was going to beg off. Before I could call to do so, Chris called and asked if I still had the spare key to her house. No, I did not. Our friend Rena still had it. And I could not find her. After several phone calls, I narrowed down her whereabouts and her husband brought me the key. So with Chris and Sammy locked out of their house, I had no choice but to go there with the key. They had driven in from Nashville and were dead tired, so I hated to make her come and get it.
The evening ended well as I introduced them to tater tot hot dish, we drank half a bottle of a very good Red Lexia by Alice White, and laughed a lot.
And I'll write about Tuesday later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tagged by buddy and fellow blogger Jenny. She called it right: I'm grumpy about it.

Four Dishes I like to cook (and eat):

1.Bread-I really like to make bread. Mostly I do French bread, but I will veer into other things on occasion. I like to make it because it makes me a superstar in my house. Everyone raves when they see I'm making bread.

2. Fried Eggplant or Roasted Okra-I enjoy the golden brown deliciousness of well-fried eggplant. And the grill lines and smoky sweetness of okra roasted until the slimy-ness is gone. And the eating? Particularly satisfying because I'm the only one that really ADORES this food. So the others will take their required servings and I will eat all the rest. Gorging myself until I'm uncomfortably full.

3. Anything pasta-when I have time I like to putter in the kitchen making my own noodles. But even when I don't have that much time, I always make my own sauce or whatever it is I'm putting in the noodles. I never used jarred sauce unless it's in something like lasagna. Although I will admit that recently I opened 2 jars of Trader Joe's organic marinara and poured it over some pre-cooked and frozen seasoned venison I had done up a few weeks ago. It was simply delicious and a great way to end a day of hard work outside.

4. Pretty much anything I've never made before. I love finding new recipes to try and the more steps they take and the more complicated they are, the happier I am. Putting on some jazz and my apron and hopping about the kitchen setting my mis en place and then assembling in a leisurely manner is my way of busting stress and chasing away headaches.

Four Qualities I Love in People

1. Honesty
2. Integrity
3. Humor
4. Faith

Four Places I've Been

Being a military kid, I could bore you with details of all the exotic locales(ha!) I've hit in my lifetime. So I'm going to go the other way and tell you four of my favorite places to go:

1. Southeastern Minnesota
2. My friend Lis' family cabin in Wisconsin (been there once physically, but in my mind I'm there a little while each day)
3. A beach house in Cherry Grove, S.C.
4. Any friend's kitchen

Four Things in my Bedroom
My bedroom is pretty much unadorned. This will be a stretch

1. A small, wooden carving of a couple embracing. This was a gift from my brother and sister-in-law from their visit to another country (I don't remember where they went)
2. Baseball cards-safely protected in plastic boxes under my bed.
3. A rubber tube that I use for part of my yoga practice
4. My copy of "Is it Hot in Here? Or is it Just Me?"

Four Dirty Words I Like/Tend to Use
I am not proud of this. And this is a family blog. So I'll change this to four idiomatic phrases I tend to use a lot. And I credit my mom, Mary, with the fact that I am a pretty idiomatic person. She is too. I grew up with these and many other colorful phrases.

1. "From pillar to post"
2. "To hell in a handbasket" (do you capitalize 'hell?' Let's not.)
3. "Busier than a one-armed paperhanger"
4. "He/she must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle."

Four objects I will never part with and will leave to someone to inherit when I die
To be honest with you, I'm not really that kind of person. I mean, I like my stuff, and I would miss it if it were gone, but really? I can't think of one thing. Jenny had a very touching item on her blog: a Tiffany bracelet Raymond gave to her when he proposed. Me? Nada.'s one:
1. My organs. I'm an organ donor. I don't intend to part with any (more...I've had to give up a couple so far, but they were unplanned) until I die. Then? Hollow me out and ship me off to parts unknown in myriad pieces. I don't care. Besides, Mom says all my ashes won't fit into a 28-ounce tomato can, so if I can get rid of all the organs before cremation, I figure that increases my chances.

Three more:
2. My All-Clad cookware-I'll probably leave this to Taylor. He likes cooking. And he's good at it. He can have the All-Clad utensils too. It will still all be like brand-new in 60 years anyway...I should leave him a case of Bar Keeper's Friend, too. That's the trick.

3. uh uh uh...I'm absolutely drawing a blank. Wait! I have husband actually saved these, but they have a lot of importance to me too. I have three pieces of paper in my jewelry box on my bedroom dresser (since I have no jewelry to speak of, the box is a good place to put other stuff). On those pieces of paper are the lists of names Mensa Boy and I drew up when we were trying to figure out what to name Taylor. And to further make the lists more special, in the upper right corner of one list, which is actually an index card, is the word "Chagger." That was what then-4-year-old Nate suggested. I will leave these papers to Nate and Taylor.

4. Memories. My husband's memories, actually. I have very little memory. But Mensa Boy remembers everything. In great detail. With great accuracy. I would have a rough time continuing through life without my husband's memories, which are mine too. MB and I will eventually begin a project of preserving those memories (this blog is part of my own contribution), and we will pass them to our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

I'm supposed to tag a couple of people with this. I'll tag Mary, she of Shoe-Dawg-Shoe, because this is just the sort of thing she'd enjoy doing, and Psycho Anita, who also would enjoy doing this if she had time. And Kimberlee of The Buggy Side of the Dog.

The Birds. They Did Not Fall Down

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I stopped to shoot the moon yesterday afternoon and decided to try my hand at a sunset as well. I showed my photos to Chris and said, "I can take the power lines out with Photoshop."

"But then the birds will fall down," she said.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shoot the Moon

Originally uploaded by Food Fanatic
I think I'll be doing a lot more of this in the future.