Don't even think about it, dog. You are mine for life.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Don't even think about it, dog. You are mine for life.
Friday, October 22, 2010
a) Sleeping ten (okay, really eleven, but I don't want to brag) hours a night for the last three nights. It's weeks like this I'm glad my children look like this:
so when they wake up in the middle of the night, all I have to do is be very still and not open my eyes and they will go back to sleep.
It's also weeks like this when I am grateful I work from home most of the week and to start my day at 8:30 I need to wake up at 8:25, allowing myself time to find my glasses and fix my coffee. Or, even better, Hugh's home on Friday and I wake up at 8:35 to my coffee and glasses and Nexium waiting for me at my desk with my computer already logged in. Have I mentioned that I adore him?
b) This meal plan. While I have some modifications I will make next week (yes, we are soldiering on with the detox eating plan), I will say I am sleeping better, feeling more energized, and eating more vegetables than I have in a long time. The looseness of my pants is a side benefit, really. But this (the meal plan, not the looseness) calls for a whole separate post, so stay tuned for that this weekend.
And, let us not forget that it is Friday! Weekend plans include:
- The new Martha Stewart (Thanksgiving edition, my favorite!) and House Beautiful waiting for me, unopened, in the living room. Saturday morning, I have a date with the couch, the magazines, and several cups of coffee.
- Cleaning the house. I know this is a chore and most people dread it. But here's my dirty little secret: I. love. to. clean. It's an obsession really. I vacuum at least twice a week. When I was little, I would mess up my room just so I could clean and reorganize it. We had a plumbing crisis on Monday, and when the plumber was leaving, he said he wanted to submit us to a local magazine as the cleanest house in the city. I think only Hugh would realize how happy that made me. Call me crazy, but nothing peps me up like a freshly cleaned house.
- Blogging. I have a backlog of things I want to share with you, sweet readers, so I will be typing away this weekend to keep you entertained in the coming weeks. I know you are excited.
- Soaking up what is sure to be the last warm and sunny weekend by playing in the yard with the world's best dog and composting the remains of my summer garden.
- Relaxing. Starting next weekend, we will be going basically non-stop through the holidays with trips, company, parties, work, and tests, so I will be taking full advantage of this calm before the storm.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Then I met Hugh and I realized the beauty of dinners cooked together in our kitchen at the end of the day, or multiple-course lingering nights out at restaurants, or Saturday lunch dates when we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. And breakfast, well, it faded from its spot as the best of the day's meals.
Weekday breakfasts are a quick attempt at starting the day off on a healthful note - smoothies, cereal, maybe an English muffin. Weekend breakfasts are usually an afterthought, something to tide us over until we can go out for lunch - grits, cheese toast, a slice of cold pizza. Or, rarely, they are a brunch affair when we have company in town (or when I wake up feeling domestic) - waffles, french toast casserole, baked eggs, pancakes, or the perfect bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (world's best hangover remedy, btw). Tasty and they get the job done, but breakfast is no lunch or dinner.
However, I do have a perfect breakfast. It's one that's easy enough to warrant making even if Hugh isn't in the mood to eat. It's substantial enough to sate me until lunch but light enough that I don't feel like the day has been blown before I even make it to noon.
It's a runny-yolked egg and a hunk of toasted sourdough bread. This is where I want to say something clever about the simplest things being the most perfect, but nothing is jumping to mind. Shoot.
Until recently, the egg has been soft-boiled. But for an easy breakfast, I find these to be kind of tedious with the peeling of the shell and all. So a few Saturdays ago I tried my hand at the poached egg, and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to drop a cracked egg in some simmering water. Perfection:
Large egg(s) (the fresher it is, the prettier it will look)
2 tablespoons white vinegar (this keeps the yolks from spreading)
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
3" piece sourdough baguette, halved and toasted for 3 - 4 minutes in a 350° oven
Heat 2 1/2" water to a gentle simmer in a wide-bottom saucepan. Add vinegar and salt.
Crack egg(s) into individual ramekins or teacups. Gently pour egg(s) into simmering water with ramekin as close to the surface of the water as possible. The more gently you add the egg(s), the less the white will spread. Cook three minutes, or until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon. Drain briefly on a paper towel. Plate and top with black pepper to test.
Serve with sourdough toast for sopping.
Monday, October 18, 2010
So, I'll be back later this week with a full recap, because this weekend deserves a detailed post. In the meantime, I'll leave you with an image of my oldest and dearest:
I'll be back soon with the details! Until then, I'll be drinking lots of fluids and popping vitamin C, even though Hugh thinks my homeopathic treatments are fake. Whatever, Hugh. Get back to me when you're a doctor.
Side note: The photo above is borrowed from facebook. I would put up one of my own photos, but here's the thing: during the ceremony on Saturday, someone went into the locker room at the Country Club, took my camera out of my bag, and stole the memory card. The memory card that contained six hundred photos of the previous two and half days of celebrating Brittany and Dave. To say I was furious and devastated would be accurate. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I have a very long to do list today. It includes folding the seven (!) loads of laundry that are currently serving as a resting spot for Henry on the guest bed; taking Fletcher, who gets sick every. single. time. we board him, to the vet for a tummy check; packing for Savannah; packing for a hometown wedding extravaganza; and on and on. But, instead of checking things off, I'm writing you a little post. You can thank me after you cook this chicken.
During the week, I am all about light, healthful cooking packed with vegetables and lean protein and fruit and fiber and all of the other things we are supposed to be eating three times per day. And then on Friday and Saturday, we loosen the reins a bit and indulge in homemade pizza or grilled burgers or restaurant dinners.
But Sunday Dinner is a category all its own. It is neither a time for calorie-counting nor a time for complete indulgence. If I could sum it up perfectly, I'd say it's a time for Roast Chicken. I love to cook this meal. Partially because it makes the whole house smell amazing, partially because I feel like a fifties housewife (and have been known to don an apron) whilst making it, and partially because it is Hugh's favorite dinner and I think he loves me a little bit more every time I make it.
Roasting a chicken is said to be a trait by which you can measure yourself as a cook. If that's the case, then I have to say I might just pass the test. This chicken is really, really delicious. And really, really simple.
Now, this is the point where I insert a photo of my gloriously browned, perfectly roasted chicken - the photo that makes you want to jump up and crank your oven to 425°. Except, when this chicken comes out of the oven, it has to rest for twenty minutes. And by that point it has been perfuming the house for an hour and fifteen minutes. So when the timer finally beeps and you holler for your husband to get in here and start carving, you are really ready to eat. So ready that you might stand over your chicken carver's shoulder picking choice pieces off the serving platter and eating them. You might do this so predictably that by now your chicken carver just sets the choice pieces on a plate for you to eat while you wait for the carving to end.
And then, you might be sitting down, eating your chicken and macaroni & cheese (a recipe for another day, friends) and sauteed spinach (so you can feel better about yourself), and you'll think, "Hell's bells! I forgot to take a picture of my perfect chicken for the blog."
Sorry about that. But, this is what the chicken looks like while it's resting under foil (a peek at its perfection, if you will):
Perfect Roast Chicken
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa
- 1 (4 - 4 1/2 pound) roasting chicken
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, softened
- 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Rub the butter on the outside of the chicken and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Spread the onion slices on the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted between the breast and the thigh registers 160° and the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and onions to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the onions and pan drippings.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
So we changed directions and somehow, because Hugh spoils me so, we ended up drinking my new favorite drink instead. The French 75:
This drink is the perfect combination of tart effervescence with a barely-there hint of sweet. I mean, gin + champagne + lemon? You can't go wrong. But a word to the wise: this drink is essentially a gin martini topped off with a half glass of champagne, so practice restraint in your drinking speed. Especially if you still have a birthday dinner to cook.
adapted from Bon Appetit
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Yesterday was the perfect day of relaxed fun. We started off with cards and coffee and presents and breakfast (Bagel Melts, a White Hot favorite):
The birthday dinner menu:
- Southern Burgers (Grilled burger topped with Pimento Cheese, Bacon, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Bread-and-Butter Pickles). I came up with this burger idea on a whim and whipped up the Pimento Cheese off-the-cuff. And the whole creation was f'ing delicious. Like so delicious that if I wasn't worried about my heart health I would eat the leftover one in the fridge right now, for breakfast.
- Onion Rings (Loosely based on this recipe, and I emphasize loosely - I doubled the beer, added cornmeal, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder and more flour.).
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake - Should Hugh ever doubt my love for him, he can look back and remember when I made him this cake. I really do not like to bake (Except for pies. I love to bake pies.). As I told my Mom this morning, Hugh is probably the only person for whom I am happy to create baked goods. And I use the word happy loosely. Perhaps a better substitution would be willing. But, it was worth it because he dubbed this labor of love the Best Cake He Had Ever Eaten. Success.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Back and back,