Monthly Archives: November 2009

What I did this morning…

Well, after my 35 minutes on the Wii Fit, a shower, and getting dressed, I stumbled down to the kitchen. 

First, I got out a slice of homemade bread and toasted it.  When it was a nice carmel color I slathered it with cranberry almond goat cheese.  The cheese warms and gets a little gooey while the cranberries add a pleasant sweet sourness and the almonds retain their crunch for a delicious taste and texture combination. 

After I had polished that off, I began the Thanksgiving Meal (TM) preparations.  I began by cooking some sausage for breakfast casserole because we have to eat on Friday too!  My Dad called while I was doing this and asked if I was making dressing.  Sadly, I wasn’t, but it inspired me to use the leftover sausage grease and bits pan for the dressing. 

So, after scooping the sausage onto papertowel and parchment to weep off any remaining hot grease, I got out a box of chicken stock (I know!  How disappointing that it wasn’t homemade.  Look, I *just* got the deep freeze a few weeks ago and hadn’t had the opportunity to roast a chicken yet ergo no homemade stock.) and used it to deglaze the leftover sausage and fat stickiness.  Then I thought, “Aha!”  I know, I’ll go ahead and sautee the onions, carrots, and celery in this delicious sausage fat/chicken stock reduction.  Once they were nice and tender I set them aside in a mason jar waiting to become the deliciousness that is dressing. 

And no, it is *not* savory bread pudding.  It is dressing.  No further comment.

Using the deglazed sausage pan, I then fried up some chopped bacon.  While that was browning nicely (because bacon never misbehaves!) I began making the cranberry goodness.  I say goodness for lack of a better term (Not because cranberries have some inherenet superiority to bacon.  They don’t.) as I don’t make “jelly” and it isn’t a “salad”  (Because, really, gross, who wants nuts and celery to mess up the orange, cinnamon, sugar, and cranberry concoction?) nor is it “relish”.  Although relish probably comes closest because isn’t a relish any side condiment?  Let’s check. 

rel·ish (rlsh) n. 1. An appetite for something; a strong appreciation or liking: a relish for luxury. 2. a. Hearty enjoyment; zest. b. Something that lends pleasure or zest.3. a. A spicy or savory condiment or appetizer, such as chutney or olives.b. A condiment of chopped sweet pickle. 

Okay, so it isn’t savory or spicy–although I’m going to add some jalepeno to some of it and serve it with cheese and crackers for snacks tomorrow–but I do like the “lends pleasure and zest” part which I think is true.  I mean cranberries are zesty! 

I digress.

Back to the bacon, quick, before it burns!  I removed the bacon to the papertowels to drain and poured most of the grease into a pyrex custard cup (wouldn’t it be a bacon grease cup now?  I don’t think I’ve ever made custard with it.  Pudding, yes.  Custard, no.  But most often I think it holds bacon grease.) but left some in the pan. 

Pan back on the stove, I add chopped onion and a little bit of garlic and let it caramelize.  Then I toss in 2 bags of frozen corn-yellow and white super sweet- and let that heat and brown.  Next I pour in half a pint of cream adding a little salt and a lot of pepper.  Once the mixture is nice bubbling I begin adding chunks of velveeta cheese.  I toss in the remaining shredded extra sharp cheddar from the breakfast casserole.  Once the cheeses have melted and the dish is beginning to coalese into something sinful.  I toss in the pound of bacon crumbles.  Yep.  You read correctly-Cheesy Bacon Corn-is a pound of bacon, cheese, cream, and corn.  

It was so good I wished there was someone home with me that I could turn to, tasting spoon in hand and say, “Wow.  Taste this.” 

But instead I poured the mixture into the casserole dish and put it into the ice box for reheating tomorrow.  The next 24 hours will impart more magic to the dish as the bacon throws off its delicious smokey flavor and absorbs some of the creamy, cheesy moisture.

Looking at the sink of dishes and my favorite pan now coated in a thin layer of cheesy creamy sin I decide that a little bacon grease will prevent the onions I need to sautee for the green bean casserole from sticking and save me from figuring out if I can wash dishes in my bathtub.  So, in goes some bacon grease, onion, and a spoonful of garlic. 

Then the cranberries begin to bubble over.  I used my littlest sauce pan but really should have used a bigger one.  Now I have bits of burned cranberry on my stove.  Gross.  I quickly turn the temp on those off and discover that the onions have begun to brown.

Next, pour in a half pint of cream, lots of pepper, a little nutmeg, a little salt.  Once that is at a low boil I add in the cream of mushroom soup.  Whisking to combine the aroma is heaven.  Once the creamy oniony sauce has married the cream of mushroom soup I toss in the 2 bags of frozen green beans.  The mixture is thick because I know the green beans will toss off water as it bakes tomorrow.  I’m okay with that.  I don’t like soupy green bean casserole.  I don’t like green bean casserole that has to be sliced to serve.  I think I’ll have it just right. 

As the beans warm I toss in half the large size can of fried onions.  I let those sit for a minute and once I see bubbles on the edge of the pan I stir and stir.  Then I turn the eye off and slide the mass of goo and fat and vegetable into my blue lidded casserole dish my mother gave me when I got my first apartment.  It feels good to use this dish to make a family tradition that I will serve to my family on a day we give thanks for our blessings.  Where was I?  Oh, yes, the remaining onions get sprinkled over the top.

Then I decided a Kroger run would be necessary to procure more fried onions–I did use 2 bags of green beans after all!  I also need to get garlic, or pimento, or jalepeno stuffed olives for the apres-dinner martinis.  Truely, what a wonderful day!  Cheese, crackers, and martinis for snack, followed by cola turkey, greenbean casserole, cheesy bacon corn, cranberry goodness, dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle.  AND THEN PIE! 

Wholly cow, I love my life! 

Upon this revelation I remembered that I still need to dry the homemade bread for the dressing and write out what I wanted to go on the salad. 

At this point I’m thinking- lettuce, celery, carrots, thin sliced onion, dried cranberries…Dad is calling…running all over the house because he hung up on my cell and then called at home…he says we ought to get the flowers in water.  I am confused.  He says flowers were delivered at 1pm.  I say, no.  I go to the door and check.  Yes!  There are flowers on my front step!  So, now I must go put them in water…

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

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New Orleans…Before and After…

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Ambivalence

Anyway, I feel completely ambivalent about getting pregnant again. I loved being pregnant when I was pregnant.

Looking back though it was just awful–I was tired, I became anxious and cried hysterically about once a week, I had diarrhea, I vomited regularly, I couldn’t concentrate on work, following through on tasks was almost impossible. So I’m not eager to jump back into that.

We’d like to have good sized family. We’ve talked about having 4. I’m 32. I’d like to be able to have 2 years between babies. I’d also like to not press the statistical likelihood of having complications/special needs arise because of being over 40. So in that way, we need to be on the getting knocked up train again.

But then I think that I like my life the way it is. I like having money and traveling, and working. I like sleeping. I like spur of the moment going away for the night. I like eating popcorn for dinner or not getting out of bed until a decidely decadent time because everything I need is within arms reach–glass of water, internet, and a good book.

But I love kids and want to have a family that includes kids so bad it makes me ache. I see the freaking Disney World commercials and think about the wonder and excitement of being with a 3 year old *there*! I get the list of special story times at the book store and daydream about holding DH hand with my right hand and my cup of tea with the other as we watch our children listen to the store owner read to the group. For goodness sake, I think about how happy my *dog* is around babies and kids. How she literally grins from ear to ear.

I have read several women’s blogs who had late term losses or still births and how they have taken on the stories of women who had early term losses and are reluctant to test in case the pregnancy doesn’t stick. I think I’m just opposite in that I knew about the risks of first trimester loss and was sort of prepared for that to be a possibility but didn’t have still birth or late term loss on my radar. Now, I think I have added that to my anxiety repertoire.

And I wonder what being pregnant a second time will be like. I am imagining something similar to what I experienced before bone-tiredness, upset stomach, emotional wreck with the added anxiety of loss, and wanting to be happy and excited but being leery about whether it would last/take/work out in the end.  In my imagination it is an awful nightmare that no one would willing enter. In my mind the idea that at *no* time can you think that you will actually have a child at the end would make it even worse.
But I ordered new fertility monitor test strips this morning that should be here Tuesday. I fished my thermometer out from under the bathroom sink. I’m ready to take these steps. I’m not sure though that I want to pursue fertility treatment yet though. But then I think, well, without that you aren’t getting pregnant so despite how things may appear you aren’t taking the steps necessary to achieve your voiced goal.
Pay no attention to what people say. Pay only attention to what they do.
If I don’t get the treatment I must not really want it…
I just don’t know…
I hate not knowing…

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Happy Anniversary! New Orleans!

Okay, okay, that may be a bit misleading…

It wasn’t *New Orleans* anniversary it was Mr. T’s and my anniversary!

We left for New Orleans on Sunday afternoon.  We arrived just in time for dinner.

Poor us…hungry and in New Orleans…that’s almost as bad as hungry in Paris!

We checked into our hotel, the illustrious Renaissance Pere Marquette, and into a Parisian sized room.  One could not even open the closet door all the way the room was so small without having to move the nightstand out of the way.  It was nicely decorated though and on a corner.  It was also quite a bargain via priceline.

We headed to dinner over at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse.  We had a nice short walk around the block and across Canal Street into the French Quarter.  We found Dickie Brennan’s after a few moments of floundering nearby due to poor GPS directions we found the restaurant.

Since we had a reservation we were seated immediately.  The restaurant is actually down stairs, as if in a basement, although I do not believe we were underground.  The waiter said that the parking garage was locate up above us and why it was occasionally noisy.  We were shown to one of the outer banquets.  The hostess actually moved the entire table out so we could sit.  Much more lady like for the customer to sit rather than scoot around to the correct spot.  Then she placed napkins in each of our laps.

We started with some warm bread–I wished it was a bit more crusty but Joe liked it just fine.  Then had appetizers of steakhouse salad–romaine lettuce, cheese, bacon, croutons, and a creamy garlic dressing–and shrimp cocktail.  Joe had iced tea and I had a Ketel One martini extra dry, extra dirty.  It was a fantastic martini!

Then for dinner we split a New York strip done perfectly medium.  It was probably 3 inches thick with a great buttery crust seared into it.  Every bite just melted.  I don’t think there were any spices, aside from salt, on the crust.  Ours came with hollandaise sauce and ketchup.  I didn’t use more than 1/8 tsp of ketchup.  The steak was so buttery and flavorful that it was perfect.  The hollandaise just amplified the buttery flavor of the meat.

As side dishes we had creamed mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.  The mashed potatoes required a tad bit of salt to be superior.  You know how when you make mashed potatoes at home sometimes you have pieces of potato that won’t boil soft therefore they will not mash well and you wind up with hard little lumps?  Yeah, not a problem for Dickie Brennan evidently.  His creamed mashed potatoes were smooth and rich.  The spinach was simply divine as is.  It was neither to thick nor to soupy.  It tasted neither overly green (Ruth’s Chris’ creamed spinach tastes like grass!) nor overly pasty and floury which can happen as well.  It was, simply, perfect creamed spinach.

For dessert we had a delicious pecan pie slice.  It was rich and flavorful.  It had a sweet, nutty, and buttery taste.  Unlike the gelatinous blob you may know as pecan pie only decorated with pecans, this pie was thick with pecans not filler.  It was probably the best pecan pie I have had.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to assemble a reasonable facsimile for our Thanksgiving feast.

Following our dinner we walked through the French Quarter down to Bourbon Street.  Mr. T. hadn’t seen the like!  Sex, booze, vomit, hordes of people–the Saints had played at home and won there 8th straight victory–yelling “Who dat!”, dancing, stripping, and bon temps.  We didn’t do anything but walk down the street but by the time we got back to the room we both felt as if we needed showers to wash off the filth!

It was only then, after walking, eating, watching the merriment, and then showering, did we discover that our bed was tilted at, what,  in other circumstances would have been considered a jaunty angle, but in a bed is a decidedly uncomfortable slope.  Due to our exhaustion we declined to move rooms immediately.  This laziness resulted in an miserable night of sleeping crossways on the bed and rolling, rolling, rolling.

Thankfully, the hotel was not too busy and we were able to be relocated.  When I mentioned it was our anniversary the hotel clerk offered to move us to a larger room which we gladly accepted.  I was tempted to say that we couldn’t be moved to smaller one, that’s for sure!  Good manners insisted that I hold my tongue, however, and instead say thank you.

We breakfasted at Cafe Du Monde on hot, sugary, light as air beignets, chickory coffee, and hot chocolate.  The powdered sugar dusting our fingers, cheeks, and clothes as we dined.  We were expecting a hurricane any moment and were thankful that neither the wind nor the rain had begun.

After eating we walked down to the french market.  We looked at the trinkets and artwork but didn’t buy anything.  When we got to the end of the market I noticed the cable car and so we decided to take a ride out to City Park.  At City Park we walked down to Cemetery No. 1

I was a little shy about walking too far into the cemetery due to robbery.  I was also a little shy about walking behind the tour group since we hadn’t signed up for the tour.  Mr. T had no such qualm but under my complaining relented.  Perhaps on a future trip we can actually take a cemetery tour.  I did the last time I was in NO and it was great.  Of course, it was of the Lafayette cemetery and not No. 1 so I’d like to do that.

We then took the cable car down to Afogato’s creamery but unfortunately they were closed.  We ate, instead, at a pizza place.  It wasn’t great.  We took the cable car down to the St. Charles line and went out to the Garden district and beyond.

(I’m not done but the movie is over…I’ll finish tomorrow or the day after…)

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