Friday, September 29, 2006

They say the teeth are the first thing to go.
Actually, they might not say that at all, but this year for my 25th birthday, the first signs of old age set in. My teeth rebelled against me. Stupid teeth. A day after getting a bridge where my front 4 teeth should be (those front teeth had been looking to jump ship ever since I took a face plant and nearly knocked them out when I was 10) I was struck with the worst mouth pain of my entire life. It was terrible. I was like that crazy woman in labor who grabs the doctor by the throat and demands more drugs...only I demanded them via the phone, and my pain was in my mouth, so my annunciation probably wasn't as good. Anywhoo, after my face swelled up like a balloon just in time for my Elvis-themed birthday party I seem to be pretty much back to normal. I am just here to confess that my lack of cooking-goodness is all due to the fact that I have been drugged up for the past two weeks on pain meds. Anything I did try to cook probably wouldn't go so well...and writing about what I cooked...well that would have been impossible and probably incoherent.
Some good things came out of my fiasco of a birthday:
Al Dressed like Elvis. John and Corrine gave me an Elvis wine bottle holder. And we made a new addition to my kitchen gadget family.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Roasted Red Pepper Tart
Khan I have some more?

It sucks to grow up in a semi-small suburb just 45 minutes north of Hollywood. It's like having fun so close, but just out of your reach. Any good Camarillo parent won't let their kid go to "the city" that often...and if they let you go, they never let you go at night. Living just outside LA is like being "almost cool." After junior college, I vowed to never live there again. Now I only want to live in the places that sounded glamorous to me as a child, but which turn out to not actually be that glamarous.
I will say one thing for Camarillo, they have two things that are better there than anywhere else...sushi and Mongolian BBQ. How can it be? I don't know. It's a mystery. There are plenty of other sushi and Mongolian BBQ places in the world, but it seems like the ones I grew up next to happen to be the best. This could just be a silly sentimental thing.
On a recent trip to visit my parents I demanded that we go BBQ it. It was delicious.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Peach and Ricotta Tart

Okay, so sometimes I don't exactly follow recipes. I got this recipe from Epicurious, but I didn't have any plums, I only had peaches. I thought it turned out pretty well, considering that in my brilliance, and laziness, I decided to make a graham cracker and pecan crust instead, only to realize that I didn't have enought graham crackers to make an entire shell, and really it was just more of a flat base on which to pile cheese and fruit. It tasted good though, and it looked pretty, and really, that's all that matters.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Grocery Store....
Most people hate going to the grocery store. They dread it. The lines, the people, the elevator music, the screaming children. I am the complete opposite. I love the grocery store. Some people do yoga, some clean, but for me, there is nothing that clears my mind like a good trip to the grocery store. Grocery shopping for me can be broken into two distinct categories:
1. I have my coupons and I am ready to take you for all you are worth, store! This has become very limited lately, since everyone in California besides Ralphs did away with double coupons. Damn them. Now I go to the Ralph's on Lincoln. Which one, you might ask, since there are three in a row? Well, there is a "fresh fair" meaning the high-end one, then there is a ghetto one by the bowling alley, and the middle of the road one. I go to the middle of the road one. Not to many haughty housewives buying Pinot at 1 in the afternoon and sipping coffee from the built-in Coffee Bean, but not too many children running up and down the aisles and disturbing my zen-like time with Kenny G. It is perfect. Young professionals, college kids, the occasional beach bum, and me. Double coupons are my life. I plan, I save, and I attack. I love it when Al and I go coupon shopping together. It truly takes me back to the hunter-gatherer days. I meander down the aisles slowly, comparing my savings on this to my savings on that and I get to send Al out on the "expeditions" for the things I know we need. "Here is a coupon for toilet paper. Make sure you get the 12-pack. That is the only one the coupon is good for." While I tend the cart he hunts down the Charmin 12-pack and brings it back triumphantly. When we finally make our way to the check-out, we hold our breath in anticipation of the savings. I hand the checker my large pile of coupons. The game is to see if I can save more than I spend. I usually win. It's my little way of getting back at the man. It is supversion and anarchy of the most benign kind...and really, that's all I'm up for. Peace rallys and marches aren't really my thing...but sticking it to the supermarket, that's the stuff.
2. The second kind of shopping is the truly relaxing kind. I walk in the door, open a soda, grab a snack, and walk aimlessly up and down the aisles. "Oh, I love this song." "I don't think I've had cauliflower in ages." "I wonder what these crackers taste like." "Which shampoo smells better." This kind of shopping serves as a reward for a hard week of work. I don't take any coupons, I buy what I want, and the trip itself can take up to 3 hours. What can I say, I love food, I love elevator music, you put the two together and you have just about the perfect combination for me.

I used to shop at Vons, back when they were cool and had double coupons. I used to shop at the one in Camarillo with my parents too, but my dad broke me of that habit the day he decided to pretent that an innocent summer squash was a grenade. He bit the top off, looked at me and said, "uh-oh," then he spit the top at me, threw the rest of the squash across the produce department and dove under one of the bins of apples. Then he yelled for everyone to hit the deck. Needless to say that my enthusiasm to go back to that store waned after that day. But thus far nothing has ruined my wonderful Ralphs on Linconln for me. I can only pray it stays that way.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Michael and I are going to hell

It all started innocently enough. My father and I set off to go to the nursery by this house. On the way back he decided to "take a short cut" through the fields by his house. There we saw row after row of beautiful red peppers. Before I knew what was happening we had a car full fo red peppers.

Thankfully my mom had just returned from church. I hope she remembered to pray for us.
The best month of the year has arrived. We can all start mentally preparing to celebrate my birthday on the 22nd. I know I already started.
In celebration of me, I took myself to Sur La Table and bought some fun kitchen stuff.

1. another loaf pan....because really, who can live with only one loaf pan? Almost every recipe I have seen for bread makes to loaves. My single loaf pan was getting awfully lonely.
2. A French Press. My coffe maker took a dive. Instead of buying another one, I decided to be very European about the whole thing. Coffee will be better from now on.
3. A biscuit ring. I could use this someday. Not today. In fact, I have never made biscuts before in my life.
4. A wine stopper. Because putting the cork back in is for barbarians.

I also took myself to ther Farmer's market by the Promenade.

Then I did something that no one would have ever expected. I bought myself a pair of shorts. I don't think I have voluntarily worn shorts since 1998, but everyone was on to my game of wearing nothing but pants. Time to shake things up a little. Whoops, I almost type "shank" things up a little...which is either a lamb joke or a prison joke.

Somone surprised me at work on Friday with these lovely flowers. What a wonderful surprise. Sometimes nice surprises turn out to be bribes. Saturday I agreed with Al that we should start shopping for big screen T.V.'s. This agreement was clearly the result of the skid-greasing done by those flowers. Damn it! I am such a sucker.
Thankfully, our search for a big screen took us to of wonderful frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt, or "fro-yo" as the cool kids like to call it, is something of an obsession of mine. I am in love with it. It is easily the most justifiable treat, as most forms of fro-yo tout themselves as "fat-free" or "sugar-free" or "low-carb." My suspicion is that, like they proved on Seinfeld, most of these claims are false, but as long as the signs that claim these things still stand, then I can claim ignorance.
I am always in search of the perfect fro-yo texture. Some are too icy, some are too runny. Very few places can capture the perfectly lightly whipped texture that I believe fro-yo was meant to have. My brother and I once had a 30 minute conversation about perfect fro-yo texture. We concluded that any two people who could talk for so long about fro-yo were clearly fatties.
Costco has achieved perfect fro-yo texture. While Al was distracted by the big-screens I seized the opportunity to eat a big cup of it all by myself. Who's the sucker now?????