Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cooking for Company

Anyone remember the commercial where the woman makes an entire dinner out of boxes and then fluffs flour on her face and spritzes herself with water to look tired as she carries the food out to the family?

I hate that commercial.

A totally amazing dinner, especially one for an occasion, should be presented as if it was totally effortless to produce. I don't want people focusing on how hard I worked on it. I want them focusing on how damn awesome the food is! I think it ruins part of the enjoyment if people think you worked like a one armed carpenter to make them happy. If it's a group cooking effort I think different rules apply, but one or two cooks and several guests? They should be oblivious.

I don't want my guests feeling like they owe it to me to like the food because I worked so hard to make it. If it sucks, I want to know. I'll know as soon as I take a bite anyway, so why not tell me? Now; just after dinner (or at least the first round of eating), or the next day, I'll talk about how hard it was to catch and kill all those jalepeno peppers, and how much the steak was fighting me on the grill. I want your opinion on my food, not your opinion of my work ethic.

One other thing I still do that I need to try to stop, is apologize for my food. Almost every time I make something for company I apologize for something. I cooked the steaks too long, the asparagus isn't quite done yet, the ham is too clovey. It's begging for compliments before anyone even takes a bite, or trying to manage expectations so people are impressed when they nervously bite something and it actually tastes halfway decent.

So, work like a rented mule, but look like someone else made it, and don't apologize for your food...... unless you can't eat it either. (Then just don't put it on the table and surprise everyone with pizza!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Ok, last night was Judo. About 10 minutes into class I kicked someone's ankle and I'm pretty confident that I broke a toe. Finished class after hopping around and whining some, my wife has no pity I swear. About 2/3rds of the way through class I felt a lot better when someone broke their nose. Nothing like a fountain of blood to make you feel better about a wittle bwoken toesy.

On the way out to the van I covered my foot with snow, which felt really nice. And proceeded to get beat on by my wife and step-daughter about what a wuss I am. I have a very low tolerance for pain, it is true, but I think I can operate under extreme levels of pain fairly well.

Hang nail, broken toe, slight fever? Where is the nurse?

Hernia, Appendicitis, 102 degree fever? I'm ok, I just need to get this done first.

Besides, I live in a house full of women, you'd think I could get someone besides the dog to feel sorry for me. I'll see if I can remember to do a pic tonight; this morning it was turning pretty dark blue and black colors.

I've found if I don't get on here at least once or twice a week then I get out of the habit. Assuming that we have any regular readers that is. So occasionally there will be a less than meaty post where I whine about something.

Ohh, and I tried the fermented pinto beans we bought at the winter farmers market... Yum. Kind of weird taste, but very spicy and perfect on my bean burritos last night. Watched Julie and Julia the other night, makes me want to cook things. And DD has entered into a Spice Rack Challenge, which I will put a link to in the side bar as soon as I figure out where it is.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Garlic Rosemary Goat Cheese

Block of goat cheese (3"x3" square)
8 cloves of Garlic
3 TB fresh Rosemary
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Crusty Bread or Crackers

Mince the Garlic; Finely chop the rosemary and add both to the olive oil. Pour this mixture over the cheese and let set for 15 minutes. Serve over crusty bread or crackers.

Update:  Thanks to Woodman for posting for me.  I was out of town and had limited access to the computer.  I knew this would be a tough week to complete the Spice Rack Challenge on time.  The original recipe is above, for the Spice Rack Challenge I tried this with dried rosemary, it is MUCH better with fresh, same for fresh garlic, I used the garlic already chopped and it was not as good.  That said, this is a great recipe either way, I could eat this spread on crackers all day!


It's two degrees right now.

That's all I have to say.

Edit at 8:30 AM, two hours farther into the day.... It's now -2. I almost did a T-9000 impersonation on the way into my office this morning crossing the parking lot. My mustache froze solid walking 50 feet.

I have been out in colder weather, but not recently and not so close to T-Shirt weather for years. These are the kind of winters I remember from when I was a kid. Waiting for a week long ice storm now.

On a totally unrelated note, I love my new Carhartt.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Project.....

The Finished Product
 (I originally wrote this post in November, been waiting for time to add pics.)

Back in the mists of time my dear wife and I were thinking of things to do to the house. We’d just moved in and we went cheap on the carpet since we knew we’d replace it “soon”. Four years and a baby later was last July. The oldest was leaving the country for a month, and it was summer vacation. We decided the 4th of July weekend was the perfect time to put this plan into action.

I am apparently the one who came up with the idea. Though, since we came up with it so long ago I don’t really remember anymore, but it does sound like something I’d come up with. I said, “Let’s stain the concrete!”, “It looks pretty easy to do and the result is pretty damn cool!”

I was half right.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Both Woodman and I got each other cookbooks for Christmas - Woodman calls me a cookbook fiend.  I LOVE them.  I even had two microwave cookbooks and we didn't even have a microwave!  I just can't help myself.  There is just something about them that draws me.  Of course pictures make them even better.  I know, I am a mature adult and should not need pictures but I much prefer a cookbook with pictures.  I can spend hours, and already have, going through them.  Christmas added to my collection "Canning and Preserving with Ashley English" (check out Ashley at, "The Meat Lovers Meatless Cookbook", "The Heart of the Artichoke" and last but not least "Heirloom Cooking with the Brass Sisters".  Woodman and his father both fed my addiction this year!  Which is my favorite?  Really, I have no clue but can't wait to start trying more new things!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mobile Blogging

Ok, I can now blog from my phone, not sure if this is a good thing or not.

Ok, real update on that one, can't put a title in or labels... I guess I'll do that for emergency blogging.... not sure what a blogging emergency would be though.


I am a horrible blogger. I've been meaning to post for weeks now. I actually have one written up that just needs photos attached. One of my resolutions is to blog more regularly.

Please pay no attention to the fact that it took me 2 weeks to post. And don't look at that man behind the curtain either.

We drew a complete blank for the last Can Jam of the year, and frankly ran out of time before we knew it. Christmas was a very busy time in our household this year, and having our neighborhood Thanksgiving celebration the first weekend of December did not help us any.

My wife and I were mildly ill for most of December as well. Sniffles, headache, tired, not conducive to getting things done. We started Judo in November, and missed most of our classes in December. DD is a 2nd degree/dan/something Brown Belt, and I am a lowly white belt. Our oldest daughter is also with us on that and she is a yellow belt. Monday I got my 1st Yellow Tip, which means I learned a few words of Japanese, how to fall, and one throw, not much really but it's a start.

Coming up soon in 2011:

The "What the hell we did to our floor post" only three months after we finished it and a month and a half after I wrote it.
The what to do with 40 pounds of chicken parts post, or "30 days in 30 hours".
The OMG the puppy is huge photo extravaganza.
New cookbooks that we got for each other thoughts.

I hope your holiday season went well and that you got your Christmas lights down during the warm weather we had before winter came back.... unlike some people.