Musing on food and cooking ...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seeking Name for New Car

Yesterday, with the help of Rosen Honda, I purchased a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid in a dark dove grey color. I got a great deal and am already getting 12 mpg more than I did with the Eggplant.

Ah, the Eggplant. Farewell and good riddance, o Eggplant!

The new car needs a name. My first car was named NED. I have also had the Rollerskate as well as the aforementioned Eggplant. So, I am soliciting name suggestions.

What I know about the car thus far: when I sit in it, it seems like it is masculine, except for its horn, which is decidedly soprano. It doesn't seem to have any personality quirks. It is a dark grew color that sparkles in the sun. It is very futuristic looking.

Suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why Do You Make Things So Hard?

Dear Readers will remember our last year problems with the purchasing of a new stove and frig from Sears - what with the major delivery problems and cancellation problems etc ad naseum. Anyway, things were finally delivered and I pay every month via the Sears online bill center. Or I did until this month.

I went to log in to pay my bill and was informed that the service no longer exists for my account.

Say what?

So I sent a note to customer service, who wrote back and said call a specific number and we will help you out. I call and I get a very nice Indian woman who tells me I have to call the number on the back of the actual card instead.

Um, you told me to call this number.

She gets very flustered and transfers me to a customer service specialist. Where I get the most amazing explanation for why my online bill pay is no longer in service.

Seems Sears sent me a new credit card, without my approval, and unless I activate that card, I can no longer pay my bill online. Despite the fact that I have been paying online since last year.

Since I do not want to activate the card, I now have three choices:

1. Pay via mail. This is a dicey prospect as sometimes I don't get the bill until three days before it is due. And mailing anything from Chicago is always problematic in terms of timing.
2. I can pay via phone. Which costs $15 extra, natch.
3. I can troop to the Sears store and pay in person every damn month.

So insane. And yet another reminder of why I will never, ever do business with Sears ever again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

For Brave Sir Robin

Because, yeah, people should just get over Twilight already, and Buffy kicks ass.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

White Ratatouille

1 quart canned light-colored tomatoes

1 large sweet onion, rough chopped
1 yellow sweet pepper, rough chopped
3 T olive oil

1 large eggplant, rough chopped
1 large yellow summer squash, rough chopped

salt and pepper to taste

If using home canned maters, put them in a pan and boil for 15 minutes as a safety precaution. Set to the side.

Saute the onion and sweet pepper in the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Pour in the maters and add the eggplant and summer squash. Cook at a fast simmer until everything is soft and melded together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Excellent with some crusty bread and butter or over brown rice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No Pasta Salad for You!

I was supposed to make pasta salad for dinner last night, but I had forgotten to cook the pasta the day before, and the tofu smelled funky, and well, I just didn't want to cook. So, no pasta salad! Instead, we had a leftovers night. I ended up cooking a steak, eating a leftover ear of corn on the cob, and making parmesan and black pepper pasta. This is a take on a traditional Italian dish. Whatever you do with it, just don't dump all your whole peppercorns into the pan, like I did. Opps.

Parmesan and Black Pepper Pasta (for one)

1/2 T good fruity olive oil
1/2 T butter, unsalted
1 cup whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
A goodly amount of fresh ground black pepper, to your taste.
1-2 T of grated parmesan cheese
1 T flat leaf parsley, chiffoned

Place fat in a small frying pan over medium heat. As soon as it is melted, throw in your pasta. I use whole wheat because it gives the dish a yummy, nutty flavor. Cook until the pasta is warmed through. Then add your black pepper and turn off the heat. Put in your serving dish and add cheese and parsley. Toss to make sure the pasta is coated evenly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe for a Happy Anniversary

So, this weekend, Boxer and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. Go us! We celebrated by going to one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago: Big Jones. Big Jones is a coastal, low-country, southern style place in Andersonville. We both ended up having the prix fixe dinner. Man, was it good!

For our anniversary, Big Jones picked up our drinks. Boxer had a "black pearl," which was blackstrap rum, egg, and grand marnier. I had a spring sangria which was a rose wine with seltzer and spring fruits.

First course was a shrimp mousse with fennel, pickled onion, and a crispy wafer. This was our least favorite part of the meal. It was slightly salty.

Second course was a pea tendril and frisee salad with a lemon vinaigrette. I had mine with bacon; Boxer had his without. It was accompanied by fresh Sally Lunn bread with honey butter. So crisp and refreshing. Just a really lovely intro to spring.

Main course was a sea bass with garlic spinach, a fried rice cake, and an herbed creme. Again, very delicious - nice and light, not too oily, and the fish was perfectly cooked.

Dessert was a strawberry shortcake with a homemade biscuit and orange dreamscicle ice cream. Sublime. Juicy, sweet, the berries were perfectly ripe and the biscuit was incredible.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer Tuna Salad

1 pound pasta, such as rotini, bow tie, elbow mac
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cans tuna, drained
2 cups canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 T Penzy's pizza spice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup liquid from the artichoke hearts

Prepare pasta according to label directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Place tuna, chopped onion, pizza spice, and artichoke hearts in the bottom of a serving bowl. Toss thoroughly. Add in olive oil and artichoke heart liquid. Pour the pasta over the other ingredients and toss to coat everything nicely. Chill several hours before serving, to allow the flavors to get happy together.

Note: This may be a bit dry for some. If you find it so, feel free to increase the olive oil and liquid mixture, keeping the proportions equal. This may be a very good thing to do if you have leftovers, as the pasta will soak up the liquid.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Broccoli-Stilton Soup

1 large onion, diced
1 large or two medium leeks, finely sliced
2 T butter
1 16 oz package of frozen broccoli
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
2 1/2 cups stock
1 1/2 cup milk
3 T cream
1 T black pepper, fresh ground
4 oz Stilton, crumbled

Place butter in a soup pan and add onion and leeks. Cook on medium heat until just tender but not browned. Add potato, broccoli. and stock and cook at a low boil until potato is just tender. Take of heat and allow to cool. Using an immersion blender or food processor, blend the broccoli mixture until it is fairly smooth. Add the milk and cream. Return to a low heat and heat until the soup is at the temperature you desire for eating. DO NOT BOIL. Boiling leads to the yuck. Add in the black pepper (more or less to your taste. I found that a good dose made the soup delicious). Just before serving, add the Stilton and stir until it has melted. Salt to taste. Serve with a hearty, nutty bread.

Blog Note: I am going to try and get back to what this blog is supposed to be about - food and cooking. To help, I will be posting a "recipe of the day." Enjoy!