Friday, August 31, 2007

Good wine, stinky cheese and a wide mouthed monkey.

shiny happy people. My Shmara had us over for good wine and stinky cheese. Since she couldn't have the wine I was drinking for 2. We Had a great time with everyone. The apartment is beautiful and beyond huge. Next time I will actually bring something. Thank you Shmara and WB.

Do not be alarmed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What is in a Name?

Dad likes to call her "The K". She has also gone by teacher, Mother, confidant, Rabbi's Wife, Kitty Mom, Grammy, Scholar, globe trotter and friend. I am sure I am missing a few. I can't imagine her not being part of my life. I can barely remember a time when she wasn't and very thankful for having her around. Happy Birthday Kitty! I love you!

Re-creating a dish I liked at Edo Squid

I often crave this appetizer from Edo Squid. Great restaurant. Very loud and you wait forever for a table (even with a reservation) but totally worth it. Just go and be patient and wait at the bar with a nice glass of wine. That works for me. The smells coming out of the kitchen are amazing. They have a dish with white beans and arugula , olive oil and garlic and lemon (I think) . This is served with small pieces of grilled bread. Sounds fairly easy. I have never been able to successfully recreate it but I have come close enough to satisfy a quick craving.
Last week after the falafel and fried spinach didn't work out - I was still hungry and so I added some of the spinach in with some arugula I had and made a quick version of my Edo Squid salad. I used a can of navy beans with both greens and drizzled olive oil and lemon and garlic powder on top. I sliced a piece of pita I was going to use for my Falafel and drizzled that with olive oil and baked it for about 12 minutes until it was slightly brown. This wasn't as good as the actual one I had at Edo Squid on Saturday night but it was a nice consolation dinner the night everything else in the kitchen went wonky.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Carson McCullers (1917-1967)


Ethel Waters (1896-1977) Carson McCullers (1917-1967) and Julie Harris (1925 - still alive!! - and 81 years old)

I try to stay away from talking too much about the theatre and theatre related things but this I must share.

Last night we had our first rehearsal for The Member of the Wedding at the Barksdale. It is hard not be excited about being part of this beautiful play. Today I have been researching the play and it's author. I was so moved by last nights reading that I was compelled to find out as much as I could about the life of this extraordinary woman. She just gets more and more fascinating. here is one of the biographies I found on her -

and here is another

Thankfully there is a wealth of information on her and it is hard not to get lost in her beautiful, tragic, and even humorous world.

I suspect I will be writing more about her as the show progresses. I also look forward to highlighting some the remarkable actors in this production. Stay tuned.

I promise I will keep talking about food too!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Little Success (I will try not to let it go to my head)

Last nights dinner - Chicken Parmesan
Photo taken with my phone so it looks blue - trust me it was good and tender and not blue. Yes, it was on a TV tray. (Don't Judge)
The night before the spinach - bone-in strip steak.
Last night I felt I had to try to do a better job in the kitchen than I did the night before. I had confidence that I could turn my kitchen luck around. (even a stopped clock is right twice a day) Also, HNS is off on a bike trip and I wanted to send him off full and happy. I made chicken Parmesan. Simple. I set up the kitchen and laid out everything I needed. Oiled the pan, set out a plate of Italian bread crumbs, flour, a bowl of egg wash, Parmesan cheese, fresh mozzarella, had my meat mallet and cutting board and wax paper, even the Clorox wipes were handy so I don't run the risk of cross contamination. The last thing I do is open the package of chicken.
It smelled a lot like fish.
I even called HNS over to smell it to make sure I wasn't crazy or having a mini stroke or something.
Now HNS will eat things way past their expiration date (much to my dismay) and eat left overs when I want to throw them away. It is his thing. I was sure he would tell me it was fine. I knew asking him to smell it I would be taking that risk. He smelled it and said "it smells like fish".
(Love him!)
He offered to go to the store and buy chicken breasts that wouldn't kill us. The second pack of chicken had no smell at all. The prep work was already done and soon we had tender, yummy chicken Parmesan.
I made a salad with butter lettuce, beats and chick peas to go with it.
I think it is safe to go back in the kitchen.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Blog Suprise!

I don't know if this was inspired by my blog but I came home yesterday and their was a package waiting for me. Once again I racked my brain to remember if I had ordered anything and just forgotten. ...It could happen. I opened the package to find this really cool book:

With this really cool note:

Thank you Robert. It was so nice of you to think of me. Is there no end to your sweetness? I read the forward last night and I can't wait to dive into the rest. It looks delicious. I hope you are having a great time with your friends at the beach this week! HNS and I miss you.

Nightmare on Franklin Street

I want you to look at this box. Do not buy this brand of Falafel. Sorry Manischewitz but your falafel is scary. I was not having a good kitchen night to begin with and after the spinach debacle I just wanted some good old fried chick pea balls. I had this in the cabinet and followed the box instructions. I thought something was wrong right away when the balls didn't really stick together. I cooked them anyway but what I ended up with was a few burnt pieces and the gunk in this pan. At no time did this even slightly resemble falafel. Mmmmm.

This is where it all ended up.

Do not try this at home

Here is a picture of my spinach before the massacre.

OK - so I love spinach and I love fried food. I have even had fried spinach at restaurants. I decided to try and make my own. How hard could it be, right? First I read up on it and took the advice of others who have tried it all to various amounts of success. I was told to use peanut oil since it is so light and doesn't smoke at high temperatures. I was told to watch out because it splatters. (and the word "splatter" doesn't begin to describe what actually happens when it hits the hot oil) I was advised to make sure it was completely dry, to put it in with tongs and take it out with a slotted spoon - seriously, I did my research.
I am not exactly sure what went wrong here but I should warn you the next picture is not for the faint of heart. I must admit that it was crispy - at least at first - but it was too hot to eat. When it cooled off to a temperature safe for consumption it just flaked apart and had little to no taste. It certainly wasn't the taste explosion I was hoping for. The saddest part is, this was not my biggest disappointment of the night. More to come.....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Who dares me?

Fried Spinach

Vegetable oil for deep-frying 3 bunches spinach, well washed, patted dry and stems removed Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat 3 or 4 inches of oil to 350/F. Preheat the oven to very low and put a paper towel-lined roasting pan in it to warm. Standing well away from the top of the pot in case the oil spatters, take a handful of leaves at a time and throw them into the hot oil for about 30 seconds, or until crisp and bright green. Remove with a skimmer or tongs to the towel-lined pan and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Fry the remaining spinach in the same way. (The spinach can be kept at room temperature after frying for up to 2 hours, then reheated in a low oven just before serving.)

Oh - don't think I won't do it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Brunch with 2 1/2 new neighbors!!

Shmara and her WB brought a wonderful dessert made with strawberries and wine. It is french so I won't even try to tell you what it was called. Why I didn't get a picture of it is beyond me. But isn't the pot nice?
Homemade Latkes for Shmara
Egg Souffle
Shmara before eating

Shmara after eating

I see a noticeable difference in the size of that child. I think my latkes are magic.

Finally we had Shmara and her WB over. We had everything pictured above (except Shmara)plus bacon, Mimosas and Shmamosas. There is just something I like about serving bacon and Latkes. It seems so taboo.
We had so much fun. It seems like yesterday I got a call from Shmara saying she was moving back and now she is here!! I know I will be seeing them a lot since they just moved in blocks away from us. I could not be happier about it. Or the certain "blessed event" that will take place in about 4 months. I must revel in the fact that for a few months, at least, Shmara's belly will be bigger than mine!

The gripping conclusion....

My meatloaf twins
Okra gets fried

I am well aware this does not look pretty. Believe me, I know pretty and this ain't it. But it was good. I cut the okra into pieces Friday night and salted it. It sat overnight in the fridge. This stuff was really sticky. Apparently the salt brings out even more stickiness. All I had to do Saturday was toss it with a little flour and corn meal. It was very tasty. HMS and I had my BFF over to eat since he is going away for a week of beach fun. I made my meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Good comfort food is always a good way to kick start a vacation. And they went well with the crispy, salty fried Okra. I definitely would make this again. Maybe HNS would eat spinach if I could find a way to fry it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

But seriously folks...

Okra comes from a large vegetable plant thought to be of African origin, and it was brought to the United States three centuries ago by African slaves. The word, derived from the West African nkruma, was in use by the late 1700s. Grown in tropical and warm temperate climates, it is in the same plant family as hibiscus and cotton.
I needed to look that up because honestly, I had no idea the origin of this food. We never had this growing up. I think my Mom has taken some hits from this blog so I must preface this with the fact that she made many wonderful and nutritious meals for us. However, none of them included Okra. Now anyone that has ever cooked for HNS knows that he is very picky about what vegetables he will eat. Very few come to mind. But low and behold, he loves Okra. Figures, since I don't know how to cook it.
A very nice lady at work grows some in her garden and brought some to me this week to cook. Tonight I will attempt to do just that. Stay tuned. Hopefully it will be easier than when I was trying to spell nutritious a few seconds ago.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fresh from my Sissy's Blog

So my sister's partner said "I thought Jews didn't dress up on Easter?"
We had to tell her that this was just a regular school day. I know it looks like we both have casts on our legs but those are just socks. And yes, I am wearing orthopedic shoes. This is just sad.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

At last, my natural hair color revealed

Here is also proof that I have always had a poochie belly. I am diggin the shades though. When I first saw this picture I thought I was doing some sort of John Travolta ala Saturday night Fever tribute dance but at closer glance it seems I am holding something. And sadly, it would be a few more years until that movie came out. Does anyone know what this is I found?
Did sissy's brain fall out of her ear and after hours of searching it was finally spotted?
Is it the crayon Yoni used to write "this is junk" on Sissy's ink blotter?
(My tushy still hurts from the memory of that potching. )
Who knows? The first one to answer correctly wins.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A visit from Sparki and Dean Thrasher

Sparki and DT
The bunch at Karsen's

Robert brought over dessert
sacked out after eating dessert
Finally got the picture I have thought about for years.
Now I am complete.

I was so excited to see these guys on Saturday. They came in town to see Into The Woods and HNS and I joined them at the Saturday Matinee. Awesome show, again. Even better the second time. So proud of my BFF.

We went out to dinner after the show and since no one else had been there yet I suggested Karsen's. It was great food and wine once again. Then my BFF headed back to the theatre for the second show. (Ugg!) and the rest of us headed to our pad for dessert and catching up.

Many years have passed since the night Sparki was helping me get ready for my senior prom and mom was heard saying .." Is there a BOY in your room?" We laughed and just weren't sure how to best answer her question.

I am so glad we are still such good friends.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Suprise for HNS

HNS has been collecting pins from the Hard Rocks around the world for some time. He puts them all on a hat. I wish I had a picture of that to show you. Words just don't do it justice. The hat must be heavy so I doubt he actually wears it but knowing HNS... hard to say.

One day last week there was a package for HNS from Florida. Inside were these pins to add to his collection from my sister's partner, Beth.

When we were all in NY together this year we had to visit Hard Rock so he could add to his collection and she must have made a mental note. How sweet is that?! He was so excited he wanted to show off his new gifts to the blog world.

They are probably on the hat by now.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Or Better yet....

Muffin Face Simpson in the kitchen!

HNS and me - Simpsonized!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Science is everywhere

The rise and fall of my egg souffle. Or as the Alexander's call it my butter, cheese, butter, more cheese and a little egg souffle. Has anyone ever made a souffle that didn't fall? Is there such a thing? Just wondering.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The River or the Beach?

When you live in Virginia you usually don't have to make a decision like that since you get them both. I was hoping it would be the same in NC and I was right. The top picture was were I spent most of Saturday ( Friday was rainy and would have been a great day to watch Cape Fear, oh well - I just have to let that go) and the bottom picture was my view from the terrace. When I wasn't out exploring the area I was usually sitting out on the terrace and reading or eating or drinking wine. It was beautiful.

The second night I was in the mood for a steak but had little money to spend. Roslyn suggested this tapas restaurant near the beach called Boca. It was perfect. Once again I brought Harry Potter as my date.

I started with a cheese and olive plate and then ordered steak au poivre. The steak came with a shredded potato cake and some fresh veggies. It melted in my mouth and was a bargain since it was tapas. Tapas portions are what I usually eat anyway so they are the perfect size meal for me and I like variety so with tapas you can order a lot of different things and still not look like a huge pig!
Harry Potter was great company but I didn't take him everywhere. I didn't want to be in this beautiful place with my head in a book the whole time so, even though I am loving this last book, I made sure to leave him behind some of the time.

My view at dinner

As soon as I got to my destination I went directly to dinner. I ate at a restaurant called The George in the historic section of Wilmington, NC - also called Cape Fear which I was so excited to see. Anyone who knows me knows I love scary movies and both the original and remake of Cape Fear were great. I was wishing I had brought a copy of one so I could watch Cape Fear while actually in Cape Fear. Yes, I am that nerdy.

Dinner was OK - but the view was beautiful and the weather that night was perfect for sitting outside. I brought Harry Potter as my date and he did not disappoint. He didn't pick up the check though (pity with all that gold his parents left him and everything)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I am a Lucky Fish

Once in a while everyone needs to just get away from it all.

I have had a rough week. I am going to an undisclosed spot far south of where I live. My phone is not broken - I am just not answering it for a few days.

Thank you to Barry and Roslyn.
Thank you to HNS for helping me you were anxious to get rid of me or something? :)