Archive | December, 2011

3 Days Til Imminent Explosion

13 Dec

Today marks the 26th day of this challenge.  We’re eating out on the 30th day to celebrate.  Argue away, we’re done with this sucker upon waking up Saturday morning.

To celebrate?  Denver Biscuit Company with friends.  Can I tell you how excited we are?  I mean, we found Denver Biscuit Company right before we started this and have been thinking about it ever since.   So very excited.  Maybe abnormally excited.

How could you not want this? Do you hate America?

That and Duffeyroll.  We had a close encounter the past two mornings with Duffeyroll.  It took the sound of my cereal hitting the bowl to shatter the dream for Denny that we’d give up the ghost a few days early and get coffee and Sammies(the actual name of their smaller sandwiches, by the way), and delicious Duffeyrolls.

Look at him, Duffeyroll wants us to come visit, for cryin’ out loud.

 

Not to mention my cravings for Pumpkin Spice Lattes getting in the way.  That’s something I need to tuck away in my little heart for a few days.  I think Denny dies a little bit each time I mention getting coffee and then we have coffee at home, or work, which really damages Denny.

This is the true test time.  We’re so close to the end that it’s a “well, we made it 26 days, we’re not keeping up with the blog, who cares?”  Especially when we have cash on hand.  Cash makes it so much easier to not pay attention.  The financial data doesn’t show up on your bank account, staring you in the face, wagging its ugly little finger in shame at you as it adds on extra zeros and commas.

Also adding to the difficulty is the staggering failure that is the cookbook bought two weeks ago.  Those dutch oven meals?  They’re totally lacking in flavor.   A large part of their failure is garlic.  It lacks garlic.  So I’ve been dosing them up with a healthy 5-7 cloves instead of their skimpy 2 cloves called for.  Obviously we’re not talking organic, fresh from the ground, farmer’s market garlic.  If that were the case, I’d actually follow the directions instead of loading up on weak-sauce garlic.

Once we get comfortable with this cookbook, I think we can modify the recipes enough to make them the taste sensations that we enjoy.  The whole dutch oven thing is so new that we’re scared to change a bit.  Sauces would help a lot, and we’ve learned to take the recipes out earlier than called for or else the meats end up totally dry.  But Denny was pretty darned excited about one pot meals, so I think we should try to make this work.  Not to mention, I love using that dutch oven.  I made a kick-ass cheesy potato soup in it on Sunday with odds and ends from the veggie drawer and it was ha-mazing!  Just like Mom’s.

Can we make it until the bitter end?  Stay tuned to find out.  Maybe we’ll write another blog post before it’s all over.

-M

 

Cheapness has its place, but the kitchen isn’t one of them.

7 Dec

Well, something has finally happened to me that I never thought would happen: I spent a surprisingly large amount of money (for me, anyway) on kitchen accessories.

Around this time every year, the company I work for gives everyone cash gift cards as a holiday gift. This is completely rad, as it’s a fairly decent chunk of money. Until this point, I have always spent the money on random crap for myself like video games, Snuggies (a man’s gotta have a full range of colors, amiright?), or candy corn. One year I went on an 80’s music spending binge. When’s the last time you listened to Walk the Dinosaur by Was (not Was)? It’s aural sex, I promise you.

While my taste in purchases is eclectic when it comes to random holiday gift cards, one thing has always remained constant: I have always purchased inconsequential shit that I immediately regret.

Always, until this weekend, that is.

My special lady friend works in the book industry. A direct correlation to working in the book industry, believe it or not, is being exposed to a lot of books. As such, I usually expect to see a couple new books in our house every few days. Meg especially likes bringing home two genres of books almost exclusively: fantasy books and cookbooks.

Until about 3 weeks ago, I guess both genres could have classified as fantasy in our house.

Anyway, I’d usually quickly thumb through the cookbooks, looking for the token Thai recipes they contained before tossing the tome back on the kitchen table, not to be used except in my uttermost need. Seriously, Frodo could have hidden the Ring of Power in any of our cookbooks and no man would have ever seen it again.

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An open letter to Adrian Taylor, Roller Derby hater

6 Dec Image courtesy of WFTDA's tumblr page

NOTE: This post has nothing to do with cooking.  I apologize, but I have very few outlets for my frustrations regarding dumb people. I hope you all can forgive me for this one day.  -Denny

Hello Adrian,

I was recently referred to your article by a friend on Facebook. Gotta love social networks, eh?  (Note: I have linked to the actual article at the bottom of this post, if you decide he deserves a click)

It was quite the interesting read, to say the least. In case you forgot, I just wanted to remind you that you suggested that roller derby wasn’t really a sport. Quoted:

“As far as I can tell it involves a number of well-built young women in various stages of undress, roller skating with malicious intent. I have no doubt that there is an element of sweaty physicality involved and there might be some tactics employed. But, basically, it looks like an excuse for violence and brutality with a dubious element of perversion thrown in for salacious pleasure.”

I have to say that I completely disagree with your position, because I don’t really think you even had a position. I honestly can’t tell if your article was meant to be satiric, because the only argument you seemed to make against Roller Derby as a sport (written further down in the article) was its rampant use of fishnet stockings.

Man, this would totally be a sport if not for the tights with holes in them! Woo! I think I saw a nip slip!

…Really?

So just to clarify: your definition of a sport is one that only allows certain articles of…clothing?

While it is true that some women are undoubtedly ogled while playing derby, there are people ogled in every sport you listed in your article. Athletes are People love athletes for a reason: people love a perfect figure. I have seen plenty of magazine covers featuring a nearly naked David Beckham, a nearly naked Serena Williams, and a nearly naked Dennis Rodman (with wacky hair colors, to boot!). A two-second Google search even netted me a picture of four rugby players using rugby balls to cover their genitalia. I could send it to you if you like, or you can just do a Google image search for “good looking rugby players.”

Just make sure you’re boss isn’t around. Trust me on this one. I would link to it here, but I’m not interested in getting blocked by NetNanny for the foreseeable future.

In the interest of comparing apples to apples, Adrian, please do another search with the phrase “good looking roller derby players.” Let me know if you find anything as revealing in the latter as you do in the former, won’t you? Because I sure can’t.   Note: In the interest of full disclosure, SafeSearch was set to ‘Moderate’ in both instances.

You know what I do see in these pictures, though? I see women. I see strong women of all shapes and sizes coming together, skating and playing a sport together. They aren’t trying to fight over a man or over a nice pair of shoes, as Sex in the City wants us to believe that all women are hard-wired to do. They are simply playing a sport together, using their guts and their muscle and their brains to try to beat one another for an hour. Then they go have beers together and compare bruises.

I’ll try not to read between the lines too much and assume that a sport dominated by women scares you (then again, I guess I did assume that. Turns out we can all make sweeping generalizations, huh?). Continue reading

Back to the Cooking? I Guess?

5 Dec

So we’re on the downside of this challenge.  It’s Day 18, and we’ve been kicking ass and taking names.  Thank you to our friends who check in with us, make sure we’re behaving, and encourage us by making incredible risotto and chicken while getting drunk with us(and introducing us to grilled romaine!).  We’ve hosted brunches, potlucks, and been invited for dinner.  And I have to say, it’s pretty great.  I really like hanging out in homes rather than restaurants.  I love having our friends visit our house, give us their feedback on the color swatches in our primed kitchen and bathroom, explaining our dog’s neurotic behavior and being introduced to theirs when we visit.  I haven’t even minded the obscene number of dishes we’ve done.

This is the perfect time to be doing this.  Having a few weeks off from derby totally allows us to share time in the kitchen together, which makes it so much easier.  But it makes it easier for me to grasp doing this when I don’t have derby practice, and getting up a little earlier to eat before scrimmages on Sunday.

Denny had more gift cards, and when it’s dumping snow, coffee starts its little manaical chant in the back of both our brains.  We’ve been to coffee shops twice in the past two days, but it’s all been gift card purchases, and both times, we were gleeful on the way there.  I may or may not have felt like Denny was cheating on me due to his response at first sip, but I’ll forgive him if I did.

What I’m starting to take away from this boils down to enjoyment from moderation.

That’s right, America.  Moderation.  That crazy concept that other countries seem to grasp and thrive with.  I will savor going to restaurants on occasion with friends, for food instead of just company, or a quick bite on days that we’re just too busy or something unexpected pops up.  Coffee shops will be the treats they were when I started enjoying coffee, going from the speed driven drink demon that I have been to a coffee-sipping vagrant.

As cheesy as it sounds, I think I’m starting to like, if not love, eating in.

Catch-up (not Katsup)

3 Dec

Playing catch up so this is short and sweet.  Denny makes great waffles.  I don’t even like that type of breakfast and it was good.   We’ve been cooking enough during the week that weekends, when we hit ultimate lazy levels, we’re able to just scrounge off those.  I also freaked out around 9 needing to get out of the house, but alas, were unable to find comrades, and so we went out to the store, bought cookies from the freezer section and watched OSS: 117, Cairo: Nest of Spies .  The French solution to James Bond, and highly recommended if you like Naked Gun flicks.

Work to eat: 0, Be Lazy as All Hell: 1

Score!

-Meg

Crock Pot, Saver of Marriages

2 Dec

In the annals of history, I don’t think there will ever be a kitchen invention that will be more revered than the crock pot. It’s cheap, its easy to use, and you don’t have to think. You just throw some shit in there, put on the lid, and select one of two settings: ‘low’ or ‘high.’ For a complete lazy asshole like me, there is no better use of time and effort than the crockpot. I look like I worked hard on dinner, when in reality I read 250 pages of Calvin and Hobbes while drinking Session.

It uses less energy than a lightbulb (it’s scary to think that an incandescent bulb could potentially cook your food) and it makes your house smell like a french…um…cook…house. Seriously. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day in the salt mines and smelling braised beef stew coming from every nook and cranny. Is there anything the crock pot can’t do?

Well, there are a couple things I would like to see in a crock pot. I’m sure they make one with the features I am about to list, but it’s hard for me to justify a whole new purchase when I already have a perfectly functional crock pot, but this is my blog post, so I’ll say whatever the hell I want, and you have to accept it. Or I guess you could just stop reading, but where’s the fun in that?

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Denver, Your Grocery Stores Suck

1 Dec
Fan-fuckin’-tastic

Lemon Garlic Fava Beans with Crimini Mushrooms.  Eat it.  Here’s the link so it’s so easy you could keel over from, well, ease.

http://www.theppk.com/2011/04/lemon-garlic-fava-beans-mushrooms/

This is seriously some of the most delicious shit we’ve eaten all week.  Everything was really meaty, without any meat at all, and one helping was super filling.  We used a quinoa rice blend instead of straight wild rice.  I also don’t recommend a Foreman grill for tempeh, but that’s what we have to work with after forgetting, shame of shames, our grill in Durango.  I had a friend recommend Isa Chandra’s recipes, so when I stumbled onto the Post Punk Kitchen site, and noticed her name on the recipes, figured it was worth a shot.  And so glad we did, despite having to go to two grocery stores for the ingredients simply because tempeh is apparently a specialty item.

I went to a grocery store I knew had tempeh, and figured, hey, they have weird shit, so they likely have everything I need, right?  Nope.  Got my tempeh, but could I find crimini mushrooms?  No.  I couldn’t even find regular old white button mushrooms, so back over to King Soopers I went.

Denver, your grocery stores suck.   I grew up here, and my parents took care of the cooking, so I never noticed growing up, but criminy.  Rinky-dink Durango can kick your ass any day over quality and availability of ingredients, unless you’re Korean.  Then you’re screwed, like my favorite derby villain, Kim Jen ‘Illin, who has to coerce some poor soul into carrying ox tail in a cooler for her down to Durango whenever they visit Denver and can hit up the Asian supermarkets.  I thought it was outrageous once when I had to visit 3 grocery stores in Durango for lemongrass, but really, Denver?  I need to go to a specialty store for tempeh?   I hate to say it, but when my pocketbook can afford it, Whole Foods is the way to go, period.  Bulk items, good produce, and those pesky non-meat things that are usually buried in the egg section of King Soopers, laying flat, and near expiration.

I particularly enjoyed that when I did manage to find some vegetarian sausage for the biscuits and gravy last weekend, it had egg whites in it.  All of it.  The store had one brand of vegetarian meats, which uses egg whites, hence negating my entire trip to the store to get sausage our vegan friend could eat the next morning.  Thanks, King Soopers.  Thanks.

This particular friend and I agree on this point of grocery store failure here in the Denver area.  She’s from Michigan.  MICHIGAN, people, and her grocery stores were still better there.  Denver is supposed to be a diverse city, right?  I call to end the segregation of foods!  Bring in the vegan sausage, the strange cuts of meat for the Koreans, the kaffir lime leaves! Let’s make our grocery stores a better place, one food at a time.

-M