Saturday, January 31, 2009

Benjamin Buttons

The first time I took this quiz, I got "29." Then next time, I got "27." Check out my current results.

You Act Like You Are 25 Years Old

You are a twenty-something at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.

You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.

The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

Is there need for concern?

Friday, January 30, 2009


There are so many things that I'd love to discuss with y'all but they don't fall within the parameters that I set from day one of this blog. So I'll leave y'all with that. There's a lot of stuff going on. And more than likely, it will unfold itself over food.

That said, I am finally heading to my dad's tomorrow. And I plan to bring food. Like this lovely dish I whipped up tonight. It's Lima Beans with Wild Mushrooms and Chard. Three of my favorite foods brought together.

I'd love to share more but I'm pretty drained at this point. Oh, and sorry for publishing an incomplete post earlier. That just shows where my mind is.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Too much TV?

When I first received the February issue of Bon Appetit, I was not feeling too thrilled about the recipes. This changed last night when I found myself at the hairdresser (Nothing exciting. I have a standing appointment every two weeks.) and realized that I had forgotten to pack reading material into my bag. I rummaged around and came up with the Bon Appetit.

As I leafed through, recipe after recipe called out to me. And it wasn't because I was hungry. Because hello. I went to Arby's for lunch. Then I happened upon the one for Moroccan-Spiced Scallops and Lentils. Quick and easy to make. And perhaps I was in need of something different after three consecutive nights of braised short ribs. I could stop at Andronico's on my way home for ingredients -- and cat food. It was tasty.

More importantly were my thoughts while cooking. I found myself thinking, "Hmmm. Moroccan spices are not that much different from Indian spices." My next thought was, "Oh no! Indian spices and scallops? I've been watching too much Top Chef!" But the dish was tasty.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jealous no more

This morning I happened to be perusing the internet, updating my private wishlist (Things I wish I had and intend to buy for myself one day), when I discovered the Pier One was having a huge clearance sale. And one of the items on my list was something like 75% off. I decided that meant an early lunch. And then I decided to check to see what restaurants were near the store.

Imagine my elation to discover that there was an Arby's nearby. Some of y'all might not understand but sometimes I get real jealous hearing David go on and on about his Arby's feast. See, I thought they were no longer in the area.

I used to be a roast beef sandwich with horsey sauce and curly fries dipped in Arby's sauce kind of girl. Today I ventured out. I tried the jalapeno bites and the loaded potato bites. Next time I'm going to skip the jalapenos and go for a larger order of the potato bites. Now if you're not familiar with those little mouthfuls of loveliness, they are like a small deep-fried hash brown triangle -- that have been stuffed with cheddar cheese and bacon. I think I have found my new fast food favorite.

Oh, and I'm no longer jealous of David, because I can get my Arby's on all the time now.

P, b.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Old friends

First of all, a confession. My energy level is in the toilet these days. I use up all of my energy each week going to work Monday through Friday. By Friday night, I don't want to move off the bed or couch until Monday morning. Seriously. Most weeks I stop off to do grocery shopping Friday evening on my way home. Because the thought of heading out on Saturday or Sunday is just overwhelming at times. So I'm trying baby steps. My limit is about two hours right now and I might need a nap when I get home. I'm really hoping that my trip next month will be enough to break this cycle. Because this crap has been going on since about end of October/beginning of November.

As a result, the cooking has been rather sporadic. Fortunately I had a freezer jam-packed with all kinds of goodies -- like earlier this weekend was leftover coq au Riesling that I had over egg noodles. And I'm starting to see some space in the freezer once more. I'm thinking that my trip will coincide with the point in time at which there will be loads of space available in the freezer.

Tonight I decided to re-visit some past favorites -- braised short ribs, saffron risotto, and green beans with pine nuts and mint.

Beef Short Ribs with Coriander and Cardamom

8 5- to 6-ounce 3- to 4-inch long beef short ribs (about 2 3/4 pounds total)
Coarse kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large carrots, peeled, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
l large leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine

Preheat over to 300 F. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over high heat. Add ribs to pot and brown on all sides except bone, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to plate. Add carrots, onion, and leek to pot. Cook until browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2 minutes. Add flour, coriander, and cardamom to pot; stir 1 minute. Stir in wine; bring to boil. Return ribs to pot in a single layer, meat side down. Cover.

Transfer pot to oven; braise ribs until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover; cool. Chill uncovered until cold. Cover; chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spoon fat from sauce. Transfer ribs to 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Bring sauce to boil. Strain into medium bowl, pressing on solids; pour over ribs. Roast until heated through, about 20 minutes.


The last time I made this, it was a two-day affair. This time I just couldn't be bothered so I cooked the ribs in the morning. Then I removed them from the fridge in the evening for the second stage. They were still tasty but I know that they'll be even better tomorrow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

That kind of girl

You Are Boyish Sexy

You're the kind of girl who gets along with all the boys

Whether it's holding your own in a game of touch football...

Or kicking some major butt while playing Xbox.

You hang with the guys easily, while still keeping your girly sexiness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

80s/90s kind of chick

Yeah. I'm a day late on the media post. But yesterday was damned special and deserved something else. So here goes.

I was inspired by Monday's post. Back in the day I was a huge Paula fan. Today I give you some of my favorites of her stuff. But then I remembered something else as well so let's start there.

Ofra Haza is a Yemenite Jew. Musically she has somehow managed to bridge the world between Israel and the Arab countries. She died in 2000 -- possibly from AIDS related complications. I've been in love with her music since the late 80s. Do I know what she is singing? Nope but the melodies are always so infectious (No pun intended.) that the words really don't matter. At least to me. Of course, most of the folks I know will recognize the song as being part of the mix in this song.

But back to the Paula.

I guess if I had to pick a fave from her first album, I'd go with this one. The video was so Fosse.

If you watch carefully, there's one point when you can actually see the wires. I fell in love with this song about the time that the damage to my heart (emotionally speaking) was just setting in. And now I've kind accepted that that damage was so severe that I'll probably be single for life. Because that damage, on top of the familial damage, would take many more years of therapy to repair. And I just don't have that kind of commitment in me currently. One of my favorite quotes is, "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive."

And then in my days with the boys in the Castro, this song came out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's a new day...

I know that I usually don't put up two posts in one day but today I just had to.

Leaving the Zombie household, I was confronted by happy, smiling folks. Yeah, there are usually happy folks on the streets of Berkeley but somehow this was all different. Once I was home, I sat down at the computer trying to find words. And then I remembered this song. This is what I felt in the streets.


I don't know how y'all feel but I think that today is a long time coming. And so this morning I will be joining the Zombie family because that's right. A beyotch is not going into work today.

Now Zombie Mom said that she would be providing the coffee, bagels and orange juice. And the 50" TV. The rest of us were to bring something along. This is my contribution.

Baked Tortilla

Olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
4 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped (I used shallots instead)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
6 oz potato, boiled, peeled and diced
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
6 oz freshly grated cheese (I went with Manchego)
3 tbsp snipped fresh chives (I forgot my shopping list at home so this was not included. Whatever.)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 7x10-inch shallow baking pan with foil and brush with olive oil. Reserve.

Place a little olive oil, the garlic, scallions, and peppers in a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until the scallions are softened but not browned. Let cool, then stir in the potato.

Beat the eggs, sour cream, cheese, and chives together in a large bowl. Stir in the cooled vegetables into the egg mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into the baking sheet and smooth over the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown, puffed and set in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool and set. Run a spatula around the edge, then invert onto a baking sheet, and peel off the foil. If the surface looks a little runny, place it under a medium broiler to dry out.

Let cool completely. Trim edges if necessary, then cut into 48 squares.


Oh yeah. And I also picked up some bubbly. Just in case folks might want a mimosa or something. Because it is time for rejoicing.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What to say?

I had thought of posting more food from Gregoire but really now. This is supposed to be about my creations and all for the most part. So no Gregoire food. Although the duck was tasty. And the smashed Red Bliss potatoes topped with cheddar cheese? Well, they did manage to mix two of my favorite foods in one dish. Now if they had added bacon to the mix... Ummm yeah. If that had happened, I don't think I would be here. I'd be in a coma somewhere. The overload of serotonin and all.

Meanwhile I'm slogging along. There's stuff I'd love to talk about but not quite yet. Hopefully soon. And yes, I have to work today. But not tomorrow. Because tomorrow should be a national holiday as well. I'm just hoping that the folks in Chocolate City have not lost their minds completely with all this excitement in an extended weekend. What am I saying? It's D.C. Not like it's Oakland. Not to hate on Oakland but folks there tend to get a little bit riled up over the smallest of things. Like losing a spot to the Super Bowl. International Boulevard was on fire that night. Seriously. But I love that my peeps in Oakland feel so passionately about stuff.

This past week I read a really cool article from the New York Times. Go check it out. I'll still be here. Did you read it? Cool, right? So maybe I'll finally really get that dialogue that I've been wanting for the oh past 20 years or so. Because after all of this, if folks are not ready to converse honestly (Notice I did not say "conversate" even though I love my skank TV viewing?), then Nat may just have to get a room ready for me. This is serious stuff, y'all. I don't do winter. But stuff around here over these last few years had had me so freaked out that I might just have to suffer. Because that suffering is better than what we have been through.

Oh and speaking of folks who have had to suffer, check out this post quoting Al Sharpton. Normally I am not down with Al, but then Zombie Mom sent me this same quote -- before it appeared on the blog. I think Al has managed to sum up a lot of frustration quite well.

Oops. I'm not supposed to be discussing politics, am I? Well tomorrow there will be food. And a day later than usual, there will probably be the media day.

But for now I'm going to sit around humming a certain Paula Abdul song.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Because Maddie loves these things

Your result for The What type of MAN turns you on Test...

Exotic Lover

You scored 65% masculine, 41% athletic, 73% exotic, and 56% refined!

You want a man who doesn't need the muscles to be a hottie. You love a sexy, exotic face and someone who takes care of himself. You like a clean look, but very masculine and yummy. Someone like.......Enrique Iglesias. (on the right) But let's face it, the whole point of this was to look at a bunch of hot guys. If you liked what you saw, please rate my test!

Take The What type of MAN turns you on Test
at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The other white meat

I know y'all were expecting to see stuff like you find over on David Dust's on Mondays. (By the way, clicking over might just be NSFW.) But nope, I'm talking about the other stuff.

You thought all I bought was chicken last night, didn't you? You obviously do not understand the wonderfulness of Poulet. First I spotted the spicy eggplant. This time around it was with tofu instead of the usual green beans. Yep. Needed some of that. And then I spotted something new. A stew of pork, tomatoes and mushrooms. Definitely needed some of that. And per usual my folks did not fail me on taste.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Save me

Yes, it has indeed happened. I have become sucked in by the evil that is Facebook. I really must remember to thank my high school "sister" for convincing me to join the fold.

And no, there hasn't been much going on around here with food since this past weekend. I've just been steadily making my way through the goodies in the freezer. I'm hoping by the end of this week, I'll have enough room in the freezer to justify new purchases. And the cooking magazines showed up but they didn't contain anything that screamed, "Must make it now!"

But I did make myself one promise. I would allow myself a meal from Poulet this week. I mean they were on vacation from December 25 through January 4. And then it always takes them a few days to get the new specials for the month posted online. I did call one day last week but whatever the special was did not seem that appealing to me. But Wednesdays, once the new menu was posted online? Oh yeah.

Poulet a la Normande. It involves apples and creme fraiche. All I know is that it was tasty. And it's a good thing that I made my own carrot walnut cupcakes because there still were none to be found at Poulet.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to find some more creativity. If I could just step away from the Facebook.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The perfect pair

When I go out to eat, I think of it as a treat -- and inspiration.

After getting the ice cream maker, I was finding it hard to decide what flavor to make first. Then I remembered my deep love of the cardamom gelato at Naia. Over the last year, whenever I have gone in there though, there has been no cardamom. What the hell? Get me hooked on the stuff and then yank it away? So not right. Once that thought entered my brain, there was no turning back.

I have always been partial to custard based ice creams. So I found this recipe and decided that all it needed was some cardamom. I added about two teaspoons. But something else was missing.

Whenever I bought the cardamom gelato, it was usually after buying the carrot walnut cake at Poulet. Guess what? During most of my trips into Poulet over recent months, there has been no carrot cake in sight. This needed to be rectified. If I was going to make cardamom gelato, then I was going to need carrot cake as well. And then I found this twist on the standard. (I also added some walnuts. Because the cake at Poulet has walnuts.) Hmmmm. I use cardamom and ginger together when I cook Indian food so the addition of the ginger in the frosting should be OK. It was more than OK. Sure I don't want to marry it like the pork from Gregoire but I could at least date it.

And thank goodness I really like my conditioning class. If I keep eating like this, I'm thinking that next term I will have to sign up for two hour blocks instead of the one hour block I do right now.

(I also booked my first real vacation in years yesterday. Woohoo!)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Marilyn or Jackie?

I couldn't resist this quiz based upon a question from one my fave shows, "Mad Men."

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Bette!


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.

  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.

  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.

  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.

  • * Give me space to be alone.

  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.

  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.

  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette

  • * being independent and self-reliant

  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on

  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest

  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life

  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me

  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to

  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence

  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it

  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices

  • * putting too much pressure on myself

  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit

  • * are sometimes loners

  • * seize control so they won't be controlled

  • * figure out others' weaknesses

  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked

  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted

  • * are sometimes overprotective

  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Apparently I'm neither of those chicks. But that's OK. I've always liked Bette.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Which first?

My dad is not big on shopping. Before my stepmother's death, I would have to go to Sacramento before Christmas so that I could assist him with his shopping. And yes, that includes his gift to me. For my birthday, I tell him what I want and how much it costs. He then sends me a check for the cost of the item. I had decided after receiving my bonus check that I should buy at least one treat for myself. When I told my dad about my planned purchase, he said that he would be sending the check so that it would be my Christmas gift from him.

And in case you're not sure what it is, it's an ice cream maker. I've been wanting one for many years but decided that I should really hold out for one that has its own compressor. So now the question is what flavor first?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Tonight I actually showed up for the first session of the exercise class I registered for last week. As I told Zombie Mom, it has the benefit of starting just late enough that I can go there straight from work without rushing but early enough that I don't have time for a pit stop at home. The instructor seems knowledgeable and the other folks in the class seem really low-key and cool. In other words, I think I'll continue showing up every Tuesday and Thursday nights over the next ten weeks.

I realized while I was at work this afternoon that I had nothing ready in the fridge for dinner tonight. (Shush. Stop mentioning the freezer.) So I quickly perused the menu at Gregoire and wrote down my selection. Then when I left class, I phoned in my order. Pictured is the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with mustard sauce. If you could marry food, I'd marry this dish. And of course, I got my standard potato puffs. And this month's bread pudding -- vanilla with caramel sauce.

What? No, I am not doing the diet thing. I like to think that I already eat pretty healthy. I'd just like to keep eating like I have.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A red wine kind of night

Silly me thought that I wouldn't have any blog posts after last night's for many days to come. That's what happens when I think.

Yeah, that's my baby. I was making my way across town from work to the freeway when suddenly a woman made a left turn into me. I'm OK. But look at my poor car. And now I have to deal with getting a rental car until it is repaired. Because the cops told me that they thought I should only drive it on the streets. Something about freeway speeds may cause the wheel well to rub the tire and puncture it. So yeah, I had a nice scenic drive home through the streets of East Oakland and other picturesque parts of the East Bay.

I had planned to stop at the grocery store on my way home because I needed cat litter. I was drained and wanted to go straight home at that point. But I didn't. Instead I stopped at the store for the litter. And a bottle of red wine.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dining out

It started Friday night. Dinner with Stacy and her guy at Cesar. There isn't much that we didn't order from the menu. Sorry no photos from that evening. I blame the wine.

Saturday I rehydrated laid low so that I would be ready for tonight. Because tonight was Le Cheval. Haven't been there in years. And the best part is I got to take home the leftovers. If I hadn't, y'all would once more not have a photo. That would be the leftover lemongrass chicken. Tastes better than it may appear in the photo.

I'm thinking tomorrow night should be Gregoire. I had actually meant to go on Saturday but forgot until it was too late. And at some point or another, I really need to work in some Hotel Mac. It's been entirely too long since I've been there.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Looking back

It's a new year and I suppose we're supposed to take a look back. Here's my look.

Your result for The Director Who Films Your Life Test...

Steven Soderbergh

Your film will be 56% romantic, 34% comedy, 43% complex plot, and a $ 18 million budget.

Filmography: Sex Lies and Videotape, Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve, Erin Brockovich, and various other homemade independent films. He may just want to follow you around for a few months and construct a film out of that. Your humor is either dry or non-existant, but your life is somewhat exciting romantically because you're "bad." At least you'll be surrounded by the best-looking people who will be cast as your friends, who in real life are probably just as good-looking. Then when he wins the Academy Award for your film, he won't have to make anymore "Ocean's" films.

Take The Director Who Films Your Life Test
at HelloQuizzy

And what do you know? I got one my fave directors. Well, until recently. But he'll redeem himself with my life story.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The year to come

Being the child of Southerners, there are some superstitions that I have not been able to escape. Many of them center around New Year's Day.

Last night I did not make it to midnight. I was bone tired.

See, when I realized that I was going to have to run all those errands for my mother, I decided that I may as well load the laundry basket into the car. I like to do laundry in El Cerrito so that I can multitask. Throw the clothes in the washer. Walk over to Trader Joe's. Throw the clothes in the dryer. Walk to Lucky. Then there was a stop at Andronico's on the way home. (I needed olives and only their olive bar would do.)

I arrived home with groceries and clean clothes -- and a messy apartment. So I set to cleaning the kitchen. I mean really cleaning. The bathroom didn't require as much work. But the living room? A hot mess. And how I could I put my clean clothes away when there were all these clothes I no longer wear? So in the midst of cleaning, I did a wardrobe purge. Fresh linens for the bed. And by eight, I was able to settle in with my tray of food.

Why all this activity? Because I was determined to wake up today to a clean apartment. My mother told me that whatever you do on New Year's Day sets the tone for the rest of the year. So I was able to get up and dine on leftover crab, salmon, pate, cheeses, and olives. And to watch TV and read books. All the while I didn't have the feeling that I really should be doing something else (like cleaning).

This was the best part of it all. I was adamant when I was apartment hunting years ago that it had to have a tub. I rarely avail myself of this pleasure though. Just always feel too rushed. Too many other things to do. Not today. I used the unscented bubble bath from Body Time and add my personal blend of essential oils to the water -- jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, and musk. I keep the oil blend stored in a cobalt blue glass bottle. Don't ask me for proportions. Years ago I used to measure but now I go by smell. And that reminds me. I must remember to pick up one of those overflow covers from Body Time so that I can put more water in the tub.

The other thing I have not been able to give up is my combination of black eyed peas, greens and pork. (Yeah, I know that most folks have rice and cornbread as well. Guess what? I don't really like rice. And I didn't have any cornmeal around.) There have been years that I have missed out on getting my requisite combo at the start of the year. I try not to remember those years. And although last year had some definite low points, the high points were exceedingly so. Now that things seem to be back on-track, I just don't want to tempt fate.

2009 is already starting to look better.