Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fish and Chips!

So my buddy fully made dinner tonight. Okay, I did the grocery shopping and the recipe part of it, but he definitely manned the fryer while the fish was cooking...

For a couple of weeks now he has been saving an episode of Tyler Florence on our DVR. It was the episode where Tyler made English style fish 'n chips and a shrimp bisque. The shrimp bisque looked sick. I can't wait to make it, but me thinks it does not belong on the same newspaper as my fried cod!

We sat down and watched it together and of course I was sold immediately. First of all let it be known that i am fully obsessed with fried fish. The Filet o' Fish (extra tartar sauce) from McDonald's is one of my favorites. I try to make it to LJS, Long John Silver's, at least once but no more than two times a year. Chances are if you take me to a restaurant and they offer fish and chips on their menu, I'm ordering it. Meal 1 in Hawaii, fish and chips, every time I go to BJ's, fish and chips. I'm fully obsessed.

So seeing Tyler's crispy, golden brown fish was a no brainer. Then he really started speaking to my soul. Of course he made his own tarter sauce. I'm a condiment person. I'd be willing to bet that a solid 1/3 of the contents of our refrigerator is various condiments of one flavor or another. This sauce was so simple, and looked fantastic. Double sold.

So after leaving work early today to take that paddle-footed one to the vet for her shots, I left her in my buddy's oh, so capable hands to make a trip to the seafood market. I always get it confused, location wise, with my meat market. Without fail I drive 30 blocks north on Western before it dawns on me, okay until I saw Kamp's (meat), Avalon is on May. Unbelievable. I dash (as quickly as one can on Britton at rush hour) over to May, skirt death turning left into the fish market and approach the counter for some cod.

Holy lord in heaven. Cod is not tilapia. Cod is apparently the K.C. strip of the sea. 1 lb. of flesh later (literally and figuratively) this cod, which I affectionately named Bindi, and I head to that semi-mythical place of wonder and glory that is known to some as the Belle Isle Wal-mart. Capers, lemon juice (not a single lemon to be found in the store) and other sundries secured I make my way to the manse.

So, dovetailing is not my strength, nor is picking the appropriate sized vessel for my cooking/serving endeavors and this recipe called for a touch of finesse in both departments. I did my best. Oil on, tartar sauce made and marrying, potatoes sliced and par-fried. That isn't a word, but these were double fried, the first round was a lower temp to cook the insides, the second go around is hotter to put a nice crisp on them. Par-fried, like parboiled-but not. Then came the batter preparation, which included soda water.

Enter buddy. I opted to fry outside on our grill as we have a burner on our super hot new grill and I didn't really want to smell like fried oil for the next 8 weeks, but that means also There is no counter space to speak of. He started as the official batter bowl holder but by the end of it he was fully frying fish and transferring it to the hottish oven to hold while we fried the rest up.

15 minutes and some beauty shots later we were settled at the table, Paddlefoot and the Mexican enjoying the Spring evening, ready to dig in. It was pretty delightful.

Kudos to my buddy for dinner tonight. It was super fab.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best Life Ever

It is my mantra. I say it to myself, as if to will it to be true. And yet, it is a wanton task.

It already is.

Maybe then it is a celebration of what is and what surely is to come.

The inspiration for this fully self-indulgent mess of words: my dining room table.

"My" dining room table, by all rights our, is actually my parent's. It is the table at which I grew up, and once again it resides at the Manse of Glory. Upon our entry to my once, and once again, home my parents gave(?) it to us as we lacked a table and entertained a very formidable and blatantly apparent dining space.

It is not the provenance of said table that incites this monologue, rather the contents, or goods it supports. My buddy's computer, and he at the helm, our address book with the people we love the most and who in turn love us, an unsolicited, though somewhat exciting, magazine entitled "get married," the receipt from my buddy's nephew's b-day shirt, my phone, the watch my father gifted me, the glue I use when I stamp, the last set of cards my mother and I made, today's mail, my keys, a hot robin's egg blue dietsinreview.com shirt, his phone, and his convocation RSVP.

These are the contents of my life. These are the minutiae that make up our day to day.

This-this is the best life ever.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm so not even close to having a baby, despite that Edgar Allen Poe perpetually swinging pendulum-like biological clock that tick-tocks away, and every single day that i don't use them my eggs degrade. Every single day I move one infinitesimally small step away from the perfect baby every mother hopes for. It is that fear that creeps into my head in the small of the night, or the still of the day. Unexpected, unbidden and unwanted... i don't want to be that girl that fears this. I am bigger than this, I am more than this. I need this to not be a part of my life. The fear/worry or the possible reality of this, not for me or anyone.
I hate being Debbie-Downer (no pun intended), I never intended this forum to be a soapbox for my self-indulgent twattle that centers around my self pity. But here it is nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Augustine Spots LIke a Cow

I started this entry, by start I mean I uploaded the picture, several days ago. But, upon that very moment that pictured sad/sweet-eyed creature relieved herself on our floors for the 6,529th time and I had to set down my trusty Mac to clean up after her. When I had finally retired back to my once refuge, the couch, I had nothing but vitriolic feelings for that hound, and as such have left this until this moment.

Now that she has mastered the art of ringing a bell to be let outside, though not yet the connection between needing to do so before she attends to her bodily functions, and is safely (?) running amok betwixt the far too tall shade grass and fallen pecans, I have a free moment to address all that is Augustine Spots Like a Cow Rowe.

Once the imminency of Two Socks' all too soon end was made horrifically and sorrowfully apparent we finalized the installation of our newest four-legged. Being the impulsive creature that I am, any number or type of canine could have found sanctuary at the Manse at the close of that nasty business if it had not been for our plans.

My buddy had decided that he wanted a Basset Hound and had found a breeder in Webber's Falls, a small town in Northeastern Oklahoma. All that was left was to wait for a new litter to be born as we needed, apparently, first choice. My compulsive checking of the website resulted in us being the first to respond to the, at that time, latest posting of a litter, born February 14th. We originally picked the cutest of the two boys, but as the weeks passed we opted for a little lady to fill the proverbial shoes of our Red Dog.

Enter Augustine. The breeder (Okie Dokie Bassets) was really great at putting up pictures every couple of weeks of the litter, and as they grew so too did our giddy anticipation. After 7 weeks of waiting, one of the world's most horrendous drives (Steak n' Shake you are no friend of mine) and nearly meeting our end ala Deliverance via our misguided turns into random eastern Oklahoman private drives we arrived at our destination. Greeted roundly by the baying, barking, whining and general commotion that is assuredly to be assigned to packs of Bassets, Linda, heretofore known as "the breeder," brought out a sack of potatoes. That is to say she brought out our little, lumpy, dead weight rectangular prism of fur.

The rabbit soft fur and soulful eyes disarmed me immediately. The puppy breath was like a Mike Tyson hit. I was done.

She was the picture of perfection night one. Sleeping soundly, giving skunky kisses, and liberating her bladder on grass or dirt only.

Little liar.

That was not to be the case in subsequent days and all too short nights. Our veterinarian (Classen View= amazing) summed it up prophetically: "there's a reason they are so cute..." You could set footage of this little one to a two-note symphony, think Roy Scheider 1975, and feel the hairs on the back of your neck rise as your immediate misfortune was suddenly realized.

She is a monster.

At her unveiling to my very disapproving and more that a little judgmental father, she did the most unholy thing on his hardwood floors. Terrible in every way.

That said, she has learned to ring the bell, climb up and down the stairs to the couch, plays with our little Mexican, and is still soft like a rabbit.

I love her. I'm mildly obsessed with her. At 4:40 when she wakes me up I am glad to pull her from crate to bed; and am instantly soothed by the sound of her breath, the rise and fall of her chest and luxuriously soft coat that rests on me as I quickly fall back into a deep and restful sleep.

I'm still not to sure about this corn-chip scented breed in general, but this little paddle-footed lady is just about the cutest thing I've met.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Amish" Friendship Bread

I got a bag of "Amish" Friendship Bread starter, note the quotations...the recipe calls for a box of vanilla instant pudding, me thinks that is not super Amish.

Regardless, I was super excited to play with my living starter-and super nervous. I found a blog all about the bread with loads and loads of questions that the moderator answered. 4 years worth of questions about this bread!

I was really interested in finding a savory version of the recipe, I'm not a huge cakey-sweet eater, and was super amped to find a cheesy option! Basically you subbed out the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla for cheddar and some more flour. Served with marinara sauce= yum!

I did a great job keeping my starter alive, squishing my bag, feeding it mid-week and de-airing my bag. Tonight however was baking night. EEK! I'm a horrendous baker. Like terrible. I have actually made inedible break-n-bake cookies. How does that even work? Part of my problem is my inherent inability to follow instructions. With cooking it isn't that big of a deal, but in baking, that is a no-no.

So I did two things that were not on the recipe. 1) I used applesauce instead of oil. It called for 1 CUP of oil. Sweet dear baby Jesus, no sir. The blog said that the applesauce switch was perfectly fine. We'll see. 2) I did not use 2 loaf pans. I don't have 2 loaf pans. Instead I used a bundt pan. As a result I had my bread in the oven for almost 2 hours instead of the one...

SO nervous. I don't mess up many things when I'm cooking. I had an incident with some shrimp I didn't devein, some fried chicken that was super salty and then my disastrous attempt at ravioli; but overall I'm a pretty decent cook. Baking however is not my forte (pronounced fort or four NOT for-tay) and I'm wicked nervous about this.

We'll know how it went in 5 minutes. It'll be time to slice and taste. Fingers crossed.