Saturday, October 31, 2009

Haberdashery

You thought I was going to talk about hat making, didn't you? Nope. I don't know anything at all about haberdashery. It's just a great word, don't you think?

Some words are meant to be spoken not just read. Pituitary, ginormous, and lackadaisical. Love to say them. I don't get a lot of opportunities to throw them in, however, so one must be creative.

Me: "I've made a ginormous decision. Instead of being lackadaisical I plan to really use my pituitary today."

Chief: "OK, whatever. Just don't forget the matches and the power steering fluid when you go to Wal-Mart."

Well, okie dokie then.

Anyway some words are just good words. Replenish, particularly, solicitous. Oh, and telecommunication, libertarian, gleek, and resuscitate.

Others, on the other hand, not so much. Lump, desolate, plastic. And who likes to say thigh, scale, weigh (there might be a theme here) or colonoscopy? Not me. No siree.

I would much rather say evidently, juxtaposition, or endoscopic.

Persnickity is a particularly good one. I feel particularly persnickity. Yes, this is excellent. I'm going to say that to someone today. I must choose the right time and place. Probably not here at Rainbow Car Wash where I am currently waiting for my extremely overpriced oil change and car wash to be completed. No, I definitely don't see anyone here that looks like they might appreciate that being said to them at this time.

Or ever.

I should wait.

Lu

Monday, October 26, 2009

You Can't Sneak Up on a Donkey



I realize this isn't a donkey. This is a cow. An unpleasant cow. This cow is a descendent of one of the most ornery Longhorn bulls in history. But this isn't about a cow, it's about a donkey.
Getting a picture of a donkey isn't easy. A cow was as close as I could get for a visual. You really can't sneak up on a donkey.


I'm telling you - don't try it.



Recently when we were at the farm (I know it's a ranch, but I call it the farm) Chief called me from the barn to announce that the donkey was in the road, and that I needed to figure out how to get him back in the pasture. Well fine. Never mind that I was barely awake, and certainly not dressed for donkey chasing. I took a gander outside, and yep, sure enough, the donkey was in the road. I dashed (well, I think I had to put on my livestock-herding shoes first) outside and realized that to get the donkey back where he was supposed to be I would have to sneak around and behind him. This would require climbing through no less than six barbed wire fences over the course of about one-quarter mile.

I should mention here that in the last three years or so all of the fences have been expertly repaired by the Chief so that the wires are as tight as guitar strings. Not easy to squeeze the hips through anymore.

I started on my way. It was muddy. Very muddy. Within several hundred feet I had about 5 lbs. of red clay stuck to each shoe. That really didn't help. At this point, the Chief also decided to assist me by yelling across the road something about this all being my fault since I was the one that wanted the donkey in the first place. True, yes, but not real helpful. He also "encouraged" me by shouting suggestions that I could not hear because by this time the dog had decided to join the cause and was barking wildly and trying to run the donkey in EXACTLY the wrong direction. Again, not helpful. Meanwhile the donkey was taking all this in with the aid of his two satellite dish shaped ears that rotated and twitched, tracking every motion and sound with radar-like precision.


All chaos ensued.


The process did not go well. Suffice it to say that the donkey somehow, eventually, mysteriously (Thank you, God) went through an open gate into the pasture.


This weekend when we got to the farm we noticed that the donkey was in a totally different pasture. I can't guess how this happened..


I'm just glad I wasn't involved.



Today, as a salute to livestock everywhere, here's a beef recipe!


Really Good (and REALLY easy) Chuck Roast

A 3-4 lb. chuck roast
1 packet Beefy Onion Soup dry mix
1 can Golden Mushroom soup
salt and pepper
water
flour
About 3 T. veg. oil

Let the roast sit out of the fridge for a while to take the chill off. Generously salt and pepper the roast, and then cover it with flour on all sides. Brown the roast in a dutch oven in a little vegetable oil. Make sure it gets browned on all sides (yes, even the skinny ends). Put a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil in a 13 x 9 baking pan. Place the browned roast on the foil and sprinkle the soup mix on top. Rub the mix around on the roast. Pour the soup on top and spread out evenly with a spoon. Pour a little water (about 1/4 c. over the top). Tightly seal the foil around the roast.
Bake at 325 for about 2 1/2 hours.

So Good!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mirror, mirror...


Last year my husband bought me a magnifying make-up mirror.

I know exactly what you're saying. "Why on earth would a smart man (and he is) buy his wife a magnifying make-up mirror? Does he not understand that the absolute last thing on earth I want to look at is my face x10? Are the wrinkles, sags and glaring imperfections not obvious enough at their normal everyday size? Just what the heck is the man trying to say here anyway?"

I said the same thing, until I remembered that I had ASKED for one.

So I suppose he's off the hook for this one.

I had reached the point that in order to apply my eye makeup (and actually get it on my eyes) I had to wear my reading glasses. Do you know how hard that is to do? Do you realize the sleight -of -hand, the dexterity, the mental and physical concentration required to make that happen?
Well, it's hard. And messy. And a pain.
So I figured it was time for a magnifying mirror.

I am absolutely sure that I could not possibly find the words to adequately describe the shock and horror I experienced the first time I actually saw my face magnified 10 times. Absolutely sure.

So let's just fast forward to this morning when I realized that NOW not only must I use the magnifying mirror to apply the makeup, I must also wear my reading glasses while looking into that mirror. How sadly ironic is that?

Long story short... I've been depressed all day, and I'll admit, I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about donuts. I can be prone to do this when depressed.

SO ANYHOO - although I have made yeast- risen homemade donuts from scratch before, (just once mind you) I won't share a donut recipe, but one for something that's quicker and just as good if well- covered in melted butter and syrup!

Enjoy!

Lu



Lu's World Famous Pancakes (I named them myself!)

2 c. flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt*
2 T. sugar
2 large eggs (I use brown)
2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil

Combine the first 5 ingredients and stir well. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. (Lumps are OK!) Cook on a lightly greased griddle until bubbles form, flip, and finish cooking.
Enjoy with lots of butter and syrup.

* Do not skimp on the salt - it will change the taste dramatically...









Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Restaurant Quality"...High Praise from The Chief!

My husband (I like to call him Chief) has eaten at some great restaurants all over the world. Whenever he'd call me from Paris or London, Africa or Sweden, I'd always ask where and what he'd eaten lately. He would tell me about the great steak in London at Gaucho Grill or the lutefisk (OK, so he wasn't a big fan) in Norway, or the odd offerings at one of the little places in Equatorial Guinea. While I listened to his tales of culinary adventure, I was many times on a adventure of mine own- in my kitchen staring at the pantry wondering what on earth I could eat that required absolutely no more energy to prepare than the tearing open of a bag. Why cook when the Chief isn't here to eat? I am not above eating the last remnants of a bag of chocolate chips or the dregs left in the bottom of the Cheese Nips package for dinner. I have made many a meal with a jar of Nutella and a banana, or some stale crackers and peanut butter. By the way-a bit of advice- DO NOT buy the big humongous jars of peanut butter at Sam's if you are the only person in your house who eats it. By the time you've eaten about 1/3 of it, the rest has gone rancid. Rancid peanut butter does nothing to improve the taste of stale crackers. Just sayin'... By all this I mean the Chief has been around the block when it comes to good food and high quality restaurants, even if my culinary background is less "international" and more "pantry". That's why when he puts his stamp of approval on something I create it must be pretty darn tasty. So I figured while my head was still fairly inflated from his compliment, I would share the recipe with you. Throw out the peanut butter people, this is gonna be good!

Lu's Crawfish Etouffee

1 stick butter (I know, I know, this is awful)
1/2 c. flour
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1 c. chopped bell pepper (I use a combination of red, yellow, and orange)*
1 lb. peeled crawfish tails (just buy them in a bag in the frozen food section)
2 bay leaves (fresh is best)**
2-3 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. Better than Bouillon Chicken flavor (I love this stuff!)***
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. chopped green onions.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the flour and cook until the roux is about the color of the peanut butter I told you to throw out earlier. This could take 10-20 minutes. Stir constantly. Do not take a break from stirring and burn your roux. This is a sin in Louisiana. Add the onion, celery and bell pepper and saute until soft. About 10 minutes.
Add the crawfish and the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally about 10-12 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and the Better than Bouillon and season with salt and the cayenne to your taste. Stir until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes. Add the green onions and cook about 2 or 3 more minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.

*I am not a big fan of green bell peppers- use whatever color floats your boat.

**I had a bay laurel bush in the backyard at my old house, and forgot to take a cutting when we moved. Since I doubt the current owner would appreciate me stopping by to pick a few leaves, I used dried ones from the store.

***Find this great stuff on the soup aisle!