Friday, February 29, 2008

Comforting the sick

So I have been sick all week with a nasty, nasty sinus infection. I am feeling on the mend but damn does my nose hurt. Can't wait for that to go away. During the worst of my illness I was at home. I tried to go to work a couple times and quickly realized, after a few "what are you doing here you sick girl!!" glances - I get those a lot but this was more than usual, it was a mistake to be there. I kept waking up miserable and thinking "It will go away if I pretend it is not happening." That didn't work.

So I made myself comfort food. All I wanted for about a day and a half were fudge pops, mango sorbet, and matzoh ball soup. Then I wanted something warm and soft like pot pie. I had never made pot pie before but figured how hard could it be? A normal person might have looked up a recipe at this point. I like recipes just fine and sometimes I use them but I always see them as just a starting off point or serving suggestion, if you will. I always do things a little differently than how I am told to. I have always been defiant, just ask my mom.

It was actually similar to the artichoke pie seen on earlier posts. I basically added all the veggies I had in the fridge - squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and carrots. I let everything cook down and then added a can of chicken broth and a little cream. I added some flour until it was a nice consistency. Then I let that all simmer while I took a much needed nap. The last thing I added was the chicken because it was already cooked. This is a great way to get rid of left overs. I also stirred in a little shredded parm for good measure. I poured it into an already made pie crust and put an egg wash on top of the crust. I baked it for about 1 hour on 350. I also cooked some fresh spinach to have on the side.
There are no pictures of the finished product but believe me - it was pretty. I was delirious with fever and forgot to take a final pic, OK?

I ate it up and went back to sleep. Good times.

How I made these kids.

The smallest one

The first born

First born ponders his feelings for Uncle Steve

First of all and completely off the subject (not that I have started a subject yet) I thank my Sissy for the awesome blog post. I am still confused as to how I caught her sinus infection all the way from Florida. I guess it is a sister thang.

OK - so this might come as a shock to some of you but I have, in my almost 40 years of life, produced a couple children. How, you ask? Let me try to explain. Many years ago, during college, a beautiful blond approached me and said hello. I was in the theatre building and not having a good day. She introduced herself and we became fast friends. Not long after that we became roommates. The first time we were roommates was 19...golly, 1988, maybe? weird. (Donna, you were there too - I think you remember) Anyway - we had a great time together but we eventually moved on and lived our lives. Now lets move ahead about 11 or 12 years. I am dating Steve O. and Heather and I subsequently meet up again. Was it at Chuggers? Memory is a funny thing. I become Heathers roommate again. Steve and me introduce Heather to a BF of Steve's. Lets call him Rich, because that is his name. They fall in love. Steve and me break-up a couple years later. Heather and Rich get married. Time passes. We lose touch yet again. Around Christmas time of this past year I get an email from Rich. I am so excited because, while I have been busy over the past 6 years, I have missed them and thought of them often. So they have a Chuggers reunion party which I wrote about on this blog. Then I went to see them a week later and look what I found? Offspring. Since I introduced them aren't I responsible for these kids? Didn't I (kind of) make them?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival According to Chickie Face

Hi, it's me, Chickie Face of andtheeggs. I am Muffin Face's sister, and she is sick with a sinus infection and taking a short break from her blog to take care of herself. In the meantime, she asked me for a guest blog, which I am happy to contribute!

TLMM and I attended the South Beach Food and Wine Festival last weekend. It was a beautiful day, and we set out to see what the much-hyped festival was all about.

First of all, we got a goodie- bag, filled with heavy literature (which we discarded), a wine glass (rigged to hang from neck on ribbon) and some coupons and freebies. At some point, I managed to have both wineglasses, and was tasting freely from each. I was having so much fun, I almost forgot that I had no sense of taste, a sinus infection and a rather high temperature. What happened to TLMM's glass? Looks like that's her problem. Ohhh, stop already- she got it back when she pried it out of my fingers.

We saw all kinds of celebrity chefs, here they are in no particular order:

Tyler Florence (see how you can watch what he's doing in the strategically placed mirrors?)

Mary Alice, Geof and Duff (MuffinFace hearts Geof)

Ted Allen! (Sparki hearts Ted Allen)

The food was also varied and beautiful. I don't know how it tasted since I COULDN'T TASTE. Okay, maybe I am a little bitter, but anyone who knows how much I love food would know that not being able to actually taste the wine and food at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was a little bit like being in Hell.

Despite that minor detail, it was a rather fun day. No really, the event was on the beach in the sand, so you couldn't ask for a better venue. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their life, which might have had something to do with the millions of gallons of free wine, liquor, champagne and beer. We ate and drank for hours upon hours, and when everything is the size of a sample, including the beverages, that doesn't count towards calories- does it? That's what my sissy told me, anyway.

If any of you would like to join us next year, the more the merrier! Leave MuffinFace a comment here and she'll put you on her list, and then when tickets go on sale next fall, she'll e-mail ya'll and see who still wants to come. Tickets for the day, which include everything we did and much, much more, are under $200 apiece, so squirrel a little tiny bit away every paycheck. You can crash at our house for free! Road trip in February to Miami!!!! See you all then!

Friday, February 22, 2008

My eventful Tuesday

Talking to my class.

Tuesday morning was the Coffee and Conversations Critic's talk back. I served as moderator at this event that took place at the Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn. The critics on the panel were Dave Timberline, Mary Burres (both from Style Weekly) and Susan Haubenstock (RTD).

I had never met Susan before and she was a delight. Her answers were straight forward with no pretence. This lady keeps it real. I don't always agree with what she writes (especially her review for The Lark - which confuses me to this day - seriously, Susan, if you ever run across this blog and want to discuss that review I would love it) but after talking with her I certainly have a greater respect for who she is and what she does. Of course, Dave Timberline is my favorite critic. I also agree and disagree with him but I have been reading everything he writes for such a long time now I must say I agree much more than I disagree. I am definitely a fan. And he is smart and fun and interesting to talk with. The newest edition to the mix is Mary Burres. She added a lot to the talk back. She was refreshingly honest, once even mentioning that she is definitely not a journalist - or something to that effect. She is a lover of theatre and willing to express her opinion about what she sees.

I had so much fun moderating. I have done a few talk backs as an actress and it was so nice not to be in the "hot seat" this time. I thought they handled my questions beautifully and bravely. The audience had some great questions and I wish it could have gone on even longer. Once those talk backs get started they seem to fly by. I appreciate Chase at Barksdale asking me to moderate. I had a blast.

That evening I taught a class for Richmond Shakespeare (You might have seen one of the gazillion plugs for it on my blog). I was worried about my energy level at the end of a day that was already full. The class was on playing multiple characters. It was so much fun. I hope the students got as much out of it as I did. It has been a while since I taught a class for adults and these students were great. From the looks of their mini performances at the end of the class I would definitely call it a success. I am only sorry that my friend, Andrew (Director of Training at Richmond Shakespeare) had to rest his voice and could not participate. I will get you next time Andrew! Thanks for taking the great pics, though.

By the way, Andrew is getting lots of praise and love for his performance (multi-character) in Measure for Measure playing in the chapel theatre at 2nd Presbyterian. Go to for more info.

So last Tuesday was a long but very fun day. Between the talk back, working at LVA and teaching the class - I was feeling pretty lucky.

Back to basics

my made up creamed spinach recipe.
Fresh shrimp.
sizzling ribeyes
Lately I have been showing pics of food from restaurants but not from home. Here is a recent meal I made at home. It was quick and easy and as good as if I had gone to a fancy steak house. The ribeyes were the last thing to cook, of course. First I cut some bacon and sliced a big yellow onion and chopped some fresh garlic. That all went in a pot and as soon as the Bacon got crispy I added fresh spinach that I had chopped up. Once the spinach started to cook down I added the cream. Everything simmered for a while. I added shredded parm in the last couple minutes.
Quick story. After I picked the fresh shrimp at the seafood counter the gentleman asked me if I wanted him to steam it. I looked at him like he was nuts and said "What is the fun of that? I just got a bunch of raw shrimp - I want to shell it and cook it myself thank you."

whatever. I didn't say it was an interesting story.

So I shell the shrimp and saute them in a little butter and olive oil. This goes quick but always reminds me of a Benny Hanna's and I wish I had the skills to flip the shrimp onto my head and chop them super fast and stuff like that. So then it was time to put the steaks on a screaming hot pan. I don't usually put any flavoring on the meat so the real flavor of the ribeye can be the star. Since I was pan frying them I had to be very careful not to over cook them. I used to be famous for over cooking my meat.
Before I ate I crumbled some more bacon on top of the spinach.
I served this with mashed potatoes. Simple. Easy. Delicious.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Queen of the Do-Nut Dinette

Fried green tomatoes that I am definetly ordering on my next trip.
Breakfast of Champions.
a hungry bunch

The Do-Nut Dinette is located in Norfolk near Ghent. My Sissy used to eat breakfast at this place everyday. It is as good a diner as you will find anywhere. The food is fantastic. They have made homemade donuts since they opened but if you sleep in you will miss them. That is what happened to us on our last visit. Jenn and Beth were visiting for Pop's big Birthday and we all decided to hit the Do-nut Dinette for breakfast on our way out of town. It is just a one room diner. If you need to go to the bathroom they give you a key and you carefully make your way to a door outside the small building. It isn't pretty but it has always been that way. I highly suggest you do whatever you need to at home before you go.

I ordered scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and rye toast. It was scruptious. My Sissy hit the jackpot when she ordered the fried green tomatos. They are hard to find made with batter and not corn meal. It was a nostalgic trip for my Sissy. At one point, years ago, she was crowned Queen of the Do-nut Dinette. You may wonder what that entails. For starters she ate a meal there every day and she was given a sash and a septer. As people came in or out she would tap them on the head with her septer and bestowed "Do-Nut Blessings" upon them. I am sure they were all thankful. For a while there was picture of her all dressed up as the Queen that hung on the wall. I kind of thought that I might be treated as a celebrity walking in there with her but her reign is long over and, although people were very nice to us, the paparazzi were no where to be seen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One of my favorite days EVER! ...and a butt load of pics from it.

The art work that Beth bought for Jenn. Sydney signed the back with a special message for them.
Talking shop.
I coined the phrase "rock and roll folk art" to describe his work.

Thing 5 was fascinated with Pop's facial hair.

My Sissy was taking notes for her food blog. We learned so much that day!
Celebrating with a toast.
This was the best brie I had ever tasted and it was made in America!

Zanville the pretty good with a friend.
A gift to Sydney from my parents hangs in the entrance way to the restaurant.
Another piece of Rock and Roll folk art.
Sissy is still taking notes.
Kissing the Birthday Boy!

This Salmon winked at me, I swear.
3 potato salad.
Thing one dancing with thing 4.
Sissy and Sydney.

I know I tend to exaggerate, trust me, I come by it honestly, but this Sunday was really one of the best times I have ever had. I got to do all of my favorite things (well, almost).
It started out with a drive to the trendy SONO area of Port Norfolk. Very close to were I grew up. My father wanted his birthday celebration at Sydney’s newest restaurant. Sydney is probably the most brilliant chef I have ever gotten to talk to. I would almost call him a mad genius. He is not mad like “crazy” but mad like his brain must work in a different way than average. He is a true culinary and visual artist. If you loved food and art like I do you would be amazed to hear him talk, see his art and taste his food.
His newest restaurant is called STOVE. It is on 2622 Detroit Street in Portsmouth.
It is inventive and delicious.

Lunch on Sunday (he opened the restaurant on Sunday just for my Dad and his friends) was a smorgasbord of smoked tenderloin, asparagus, huge shrimp (is that an oxymoron?) salad, salmon, pimento cheese, a potato salad that included purple, white and orange potatoes and homemade bread that might have been the absolute best bread I have ever tasted. There was more but I can’t remember everything right now.

Sydney used to own a restaurant in Norfolk called the Dumb Waiter. I believe that is were he met my Sister and my Father. Due their instant respect for his talent they all became close friend’s and remain so to this day. Sydney likes intimate restaurants where the clientele are foodies that can appreciate his menu choices. For this reason he enjoys having a small space. His prices are amazingly low for the food quality and restaurant size.

After everyone left the party Sydney hung out with us and talked about wine and pork and cheese and art. We sampled things and asked questions got to relax with him. It was an amazing day. I can’t wait to go back to eat off the regular menu. I know it will be great.