Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last night we went for Chipolte and then went to see Balls of Fury. First of all, the dollar theater isn't a dollar anymore. I know, it hasn't been for a long time, but now its up to two dollars on the weekends. I don't think Balls of Fury was worth two dollars. Funny, in parts, all of which were shown in the previews. The main character was just fat and gross and had nappy hair like mine. The love interest was disgustingly skinny and of course they hook up in the end. What is it with the nasty fat guys hooking up with the skinny cute girls? Anyways, War with Jet Li and Jason Statham is playing. Maybe we'll go see that before vacation. I sure as hell won't go see the Mr. Bean movie.....

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Its gotten really chilly this week. I'm not sure if its the cold or if she's feeling sick, but Bailey has been crawling all over me the last couple of days. I had to take a picture because it's so rare. I'm starting to get excited about our trip to Italy and also our dessert party. I sent out invitations today and took another look at the dessert list. I should probably come up with a schedule before we leave for vacation. I have to coordinate when I'm going to make 12 desserts! Nothing else exciting going on here. I'm trying to get back on the wagon before our trip. I never gain weight in Italy. I'll walk enough there to burn off all the gelato and pizza. Oh, gelato. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pumpkin Carving

Well, there was a good turnout for the pumpkin carving, despite some of our regulars not showing. Joey helped me tremendously and we had all the food ready just in time. Chicken tikka masala and wild rice made up our orange and black vittles. We also had samosas, naan, chips and queso. After eating we all washed our pumpkins and then got to cleaning out the guts.

I decided not to actually carve my pumpkin and instead tried the scraping technique. I took my time and ended up being the last one done! Margo did two pumpkins before I had finished my first! Everyone's pumpkins turned out great. It was nice to spend some time outside and the weather was awesome. During the actual carving we started drinking. When I went to get out the bottle of George T. Stagg to celebrate that I had finally finished my pumpkin I knocked over a berries and cream Dr. Pepper can. Damn thing exploded. I think I caught most of the spray on my shirt and jeans. Anyways, I had my bourbon, and everything was all better.

When we were all done we all chomped on caramel apples. I needed something to soak up the alcohol. That caramel is really really tasty. I'm not a caramel fan, but man, that stuff is good. This year it turned out a just right, not runny like last year. We took plenty of photos of the pumpkins, and everyone's looked great.

At the end Tejal and Tim stayed a while. After watching Lazy Sunday I said "I want cupcakes" just like I do every time I see Lazy Sunday. Tim says "Okay, let's make cupcakes!" and we did! We watched some Venture Brothers and after a few failed attemts at setting up American Idol and Tekken Tag on the PS2 we ended up playing Rayman Raving Rabbids. Oh, we laughed so hard! Ross fell asleep on the loveseat. Poor little guy was all worn out.

It was a great day and I'm so glad everyone came. Now its time to make some vacation and Dessert party plans. Everyone was asking about the dessert party, and I think we'll have it before Thanksgiving.

State Fair

Tejal, Ross and I went to the fair last week to try out some of the new fried foods. We got there right at 1 pm, just in time to see the human cannonball. That was just odd, but I'm glad we saw it. Ross took great pictures of the guy flying out of the cannon. After the cannonball we tried the fried guacamole. Wow. It was really good. The batter was crispy and spicy. The filling was warm and tasty. Expensive, but worth it, besides--fair food is always pricey. After the guac we wandered around looking for the belgian waffle stand. After seeing it on TV I just had to have one. It was really crispy, and tasted like an ice cream cone. I had it topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and powdered sugar. I made quite a mess of myself while eating it. After the food we wandered around and saw the car show, butter sculpture, all the normal stuff. Oh, we had a free ice cream cone, and the free part made it taste even better.
Then we went to my favorite part, the baby animals! Oh, there were all the same animals as last year, but still, they were so cute. The baby kangaroo was a little disturbing. We actually got to see it poke it's head out of the pouch, and then climb out. It looked like a chihuahua. It had a little trouble getting out of the pouch and was just standing there with its head still stuck in the pouch. Everyone cringed when it started clawing at the pouch. When it finally came all the way out it was like an alien dog. Skinny and awkward.
We had more fried food. Fried sweet potato pie was just like a fried empanada. Not very special. On the way out Ross and Tejal tried the fried cookie dough. Ross liked it. Tejal wasn't that impressed. The funny part was that we only had 10 tickets, not 12, so the guy let us have it without the silly packaging. He even gave us an extra fried cookie dough ball. Ross was pumped with sugar and became extra crazy. The three hours of walking around in the sun wore me out and afterwards I was super tired. We topped of the day with some food at Cafe Medi, but skipped their awesome tiramisu as we were sugar overloaded.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lamb Korma

Ross loves his lamb, and I decided to give in and make some this week. Man, looking at this blog you'd think that all we eat is cake (I love cake.) and Indian food. Saturday we're having Indian food again--Chicken Tikka Masala. I picked it cause it's orange, and we are having a pumpkin carving party. I buy the boneless leg of lamb at Costco. I cut it up into little pieces and used a third for this recipe and put the rest in two ziplock bags for later. I'll make lamb stew Sunday.

Lamb Korma

2 pounds lamb or beef if you prefer
6 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. comino
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yoghurt

3 c. sliced onion
2 Tbl. oil
2 Tbl. butter
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
dash of cardamom
2 tsp. minced ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 tsp. ground fennel
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. water
1 tsp. fresh lemon (or lime) juice

1. Mix spices and sour cream. Stir in meat and marinate at least 30 minutes.
2. Fry onions in oil and butter until soft.
3. Add remaining spices and fry 1-2 minutes.
4. Cook meat with onions and spices until meat is browned.
5. Add fennel,coconut milk, salt and water.
6. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
7. Simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water if gravy becomes too thick.
8. Stir in lemon juice, add salt to taste.

This is the basic recipe. I can't remember where I got it. I rarely use a full two pounds of meat or 3 full cups of onions (I just cut up one or two onions).....but I always use the full amount of spices. It turned out all right last night. If you use chicken you don't have to cook it the full 45 mins, but for lamb and beef you need to so that the meat becomes tender. The onion naan added just the right amount of saltiness, and the samosas that I found in the freezer were the super spicy ones. I'll be having leftovers for lunch.

4 Day Weekend

4 Day Weekend is the name of the comedy/improvisation group that we went to see on Friday. It was pretty funny. I think the funniest line was that Montessori is an old latin word meaning "no black kids in this school." To boot, the guy was singing the line. I love to make up words to songs. They were pretty good at that, until it came to the word ostomy. I mean, some medical student must have put that word in the bin. Poor guys didn't know what it meant. The audience was mostly engineers. I'm not sure if they knew what it meant either....At the end they figured it out...
There were two times when audience members were singled out (that doesn't count all the times they made fun of people for text messaging, or getting up during the show--that was funny.) The second guy they singled out was being a real jerk. Well, in the end they made so much fun of him that they were laughing themselves (actually, the guys laughed uncontrollably at their own jokes...not endearing.) The audience was cheering on the mockery of the jerk. It was great.
It was a funny show, and the fact that we got free tickets (courtesy the sound and lighting guy) made it even better. It's not something I'd go to every weekend though. Once a year maybe.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I keep forgetting to post about this dvd that we rented last weekend. It was unexpectly really good. I wasn't too hopeful. The last foreign action film I picked out turned out terribly. We only watched the first ten minutes it was so bad. Anyways, the name of the film is Nomad the Warrior. A pretty good story. Good action. Tonight we are going to a comedy club. I haven't been to a comedy club since Austin. No update on the Gin book. I have no idea where it is! It might be in the back of the car. I should check. I've been reading my issues of Bon Apetit instead. Well, I'd better get back to that pizza dough.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yellow Cake, Take 2

I searched for another yellow cake recipe to try, even though the last blunder was my doing, and didn't have much to do with the recipe. This time the cake has a more refined texture and is more like a store bought pound cake (but not quite as heavy.) The batter was tasty, pretty rich, with all those eggs. I think next time I will add a little more milk. Maybe it would be better if I used whole milk, but I always have skim in the house...

Yellow Cake Second Take

1 c butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c. sugar
9 egg yolks
3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. cake flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Grease and flour two cake pans. (I also put parchment paper in the bottom, but I don't think it's really necessary.)
3. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy.
5. Beat in yolks one at a time.
6. Mix in vanilla.
7. Add the milk and flour mixture alternatively in thirds, beating after each addtion. (Here I sifted in the flour, to get an extra sift in.)
8. Mix until just incorporated.
9. Pour batter into pans.
10. Cook for 25-30 mins. (I'm not sure how long I cooked it, the timer went off and I didn't hear it.)

I put some cream cheese frosting in between the layers, just to have something to separate them. I think this is a good recipe. I think I'll just be tweaking it from now on...I'll try adding more milk first. My dad said that yellow cakes can be colored with saffron tea, but this cake is yellow enough I think.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Saag Paneer

You have probably noticed by now that I don't really measure when I cook. I'll try to give measurements for this one. I bought onion naan at the indian store and I always buy paneer there in the frozen section. The paneer I buy is already cut and toasted, so that saves me some time.

Saag Paneer

3 9oz bags of prewashed spinach
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 Tbl. oil
2 tsp. tumeric
2 Tbl. coriander
1 Tbl. comino
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. yoghurt (I love cascade fresh)
1 lb. paneer, cut into cubes and toasted
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook spinach in large covered pot over high heat with about 1/4 c. water until completely wilted (about 7 minutes).
2. While spinach is cooking dice onion and garlic and saute with oil over medium high heat until browned.
3. Add spices to onion mix and saute another 2 minutes.
4. When spinach is cooked puree in food processor until smooth.
5. Add spinach to onion mix.
6. Stir in yoghurt.
7. Add paneer cubes.
8. Simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occaisonally until spinach darkens.
9. Add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Serve with naan and samosa.

If the mixture is too thick, add a little more yoghurt or some milk. I added some half and half today just because I had some. I added salt at the table because I forgot to add it when cooking. The onion naan was tasty, and the samosas were somehow better than last time (came out of the same bag.)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bran Muffins

I wanted muffins for breakfast this weekend, but I wanted something other than the flax muffins. I found a recipe online and modified it. My modifications worked much better than my "changes" to the yellow cake recipe. I found another yellow cake recipe. Maybe I'll try it next week.

Ginger Oat Bran Muffins

1 c. all purpose flower
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. oat bran
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 c. brown sugar
3 Tbl. flax meal
1 Tbl. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. molasses
2 c. buttermilk
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter muffin tins.
3. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.
4. Stir in molasses, buttermilk and egg.
5. Spoon batter into muffin pans to fill to 2/3.
6. Bake for 20 mins.

This recipe amazingly made a full 24 muffins. I made half of the muffins with chocolate chips and the other half with raisins. I ate one right out of the oven with butter on top. Milk. Yummy.

Smoked Cheese Pizza

With leftover smoked provolone from the mac and cheese and some smoked mozzerella we made smoked cheese pizza tonight. I thawed some pizza dough and rolled it out while Ross shredded the cheese. We used 4 cheese pasta sauce and turkey pepperoni. Ross loaded so much cheese on the pizza that it melted and overflowed in the oven. It was very tasty. The cheese was just browned and very yummy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mac Redeemed

I mixed some leftover chili with the dried up mac and cheese. It made a really tasty chili mac. So I guess the overcooked smoked mac and cheese was salvaged. I need to work out today, so I can have some Roadhouse Tea. And lots of Logan's rolls. Oooh yeah.

Smoky Comfort Food

Inspired by a recipe in bon apetit and a hankering for mac and cheese I decided to make a smoked mac and cheese. I used smoked provolone, smoked cheddar, smoked gouda, and sharp cheddar. Again, yesterday I was upset and distracted. It looked great going into the oven, looked terrible coming out. I cooked it too long and it jut became mac and cheese grains. It was creamy when I put it in....I'll try it again next week, and just cook it for like 15 mins or something. This week we are going to try smoked pizza. Hopefully that will turn out better than yesterdays adventures.

Smoked Mac and Cheese

smoked provolone
smoked edam
smoked cheddar
sharp cheddar

noodles (I use barilla plus)

1. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Shred or finely slice about half a cup of each cheese.
4. In a small saucepan melt 3 tablespoons butter.
5. Add 2 spoonfulls of flour to butter.
6. Whisk flour and butter over medium heat until flour is browned.
7. While whisking furiously, add milk (about a cup and a half to two cups).
8. Over medium heat keep whisking as you add the cheeses, one at a time whisking after each addition until cheese is melted.
9. Pour pasta into oven safe baking dish. (I just used a cast iron pan)
10. Pour cheese sauce over the pasta.
11. Stir to coat.
12. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 mins. Just to brown the top.

(non)Joy of Cooking Yellow Cake

I had a little mishap yesterday trying to cook the yellow cake. I was upset, in a hurry, and distracted. When I read the recipe I decided to change the order that the ingredients are mixed together. Unfortunately I added flour first instead of sugar, and so I couldn't really cream the butter and sugar. The batter was lumpy, so I beat it for a long time. The result was a cake that is both a little sticky and crumbly. I had two layers of plain yellow cake, and wasn't planning on making frosting. I decided to make some whipped cream and put it between the two layers. A little sugar, a lot of brandy, and a lot of whipping later I had a filler. It's a little strong. I'm going to attempt the cake again. Maybe I should follow the recipe. I'll definitely pay more attention to flour vs. sugar. At least I got the right amounts in, even if I did add them in the wrong order.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Madam Geneva

On the trip to NYC I did start reading the Gin book that I bought a while ago. It's the history of gin in England. I really like it. Apparently most of England was sloshed throughout the 1700s. It's very fascinating to me. They make gin manufacturing sound so easy and appealing. It really makes me want to make my own gin. I think at some point I'll set up a still so I can compound gin myself. In the meantime I'll have a few gin and tonics and try to finish the book. Tomorrow I'm going to embark into yellow cake territory. I'll post the results.