July 30, 2007

What a Great Day!

I felt as lousy today as I have for the past four or so, rather unable to do much other than sit in a reclining chair and look at TV when my blood cooperated enough for my eyes to stay open. Still, I had made arrangements with my tennis pal Amy to start cooking again, and I wanted to give it a shot. The adrenaline that comes with social situations can give me some kick for a while, after all.

I had expressed interest in rehashing the first recipe we ever tried, which has already been discussed on this blog. It was great. We got the same fish from the same place, and with all the vegetables at their prime at this time of year, we really couldn't miss. Best meal ever... well, at least when combined with the fabulous ice cream cones from the Daily Scoop up the road from here. They make good ice cream to be sure, but their cones are the best I've ever had. Super fresh and with optional dark chocolate dip that doesn't reduce the crunch at all. That's some serious coneage™.

I also finished the final installment in the Harry Potter series today, which was the first novel I've been able to read in about two years. What a great book. I really feel like the last four books added so much more substance than the first three, and HP 7 added so many great lessons and inventive angles on life and death that I was not just satisfied, but touched on a meaningful level.

All in all, a great day despite my seriously poor health of late. I may pay tomorrow, but that's alright too.

Posted by Andy at 11:45 PM

April 19, 2006

Killbury Eggs

I just tried to eat a Cadbury Egg (I love 'em), but it tasted faintly like metal. Did one of you plant a lethal egg near me or should I sue? Maybe both!

Posted by Andy at 11:40 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2006

Mmmm, Pizza...

In recent years I have lost my taste for most of your run of the mill, family restaurant-type places, like Fridays, Ruby Tuesday's, and others, but I still love the grease-factory that is Pizza Hut. Give me a pan pizza with sausage, green peppers, maybe onions, occasionally ham, and I'll do ok, even when I have an upset stomach apparently.

I started this post before I went to get some pizza out of the oven, in fact, and am finishing it after eating two rather large pieces of pan pizza with some of the toppings I listed. Upset stomach or no, it was great. The only problem is that we're now out, so I can't repeat this any time soon. Oh well, rarity makes it all the sweeter.

A little secret for those of you who like to reheat pizza. Pizza of all types freezes really well whether you make it at home, get it out, order, whatever, but the important part in getting the most of it is to reheat in an oven, not a microwave. If the pizza you have isn't sloppy, even reheat it right on the rack. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Posted by Andy at 11:01 PM

March 05, 2006

Tired but Happy

I started today much as I have for the past week, tired but resolute, with the noticeable difference being that the burden of "the wait" had been lifted, of course. It is amazing just how much that impacted the last few weeks in a kind of "behind the scenes" sort of way. I did not feel panic, intensive worry or anything along those lines really before yesterday, but everything had a kind of heavier, maybe dark quality and an insidious sense of urgency to it on account of that wait.

Friends Pat and Mei stopped in around 4:30 or so and stuck around until just a few minutes ago. As was the case with Kevin and I a week or so ago, we all were soundly defeated on many levels by a video game, in this case the head-to-head mode of Ratchet and Clank, Up Your Arsenal. I see potential in this game along the lines of that found in Mario Kart Double Dash's battle mode, but wow is it hard! I was able to stave off injury by complaining frequently, but I think Pat is going to need surgery. Fortunately I know a guy.

We eventually headed out to eat at Lista's, where both Mei and I tried mole sauce for the first time. I have to say that I expected a bolder taste, but I really enjoyed the dish when I rolled the chicken into a tortilla with the other usual Mexican "fixins", like pico de gallo and guacamole. Each of the components really played off each other to create a great dish. The fried ice cream dessert didn't hurt things one bit either, and that place makes a killer cherry coke. I think I gained 20 lbs easy.

Upon returning to Rancho Mosmillero, we puttered around in a low-key sort of way, which is just what I'm needing about now. Mei showed me a bunch of interesting sites and set me up with a Google homepage that shows the latest content from many of my frequent web stops. I'm going to use this for a few days and then possibly comment on it further in my Links and Tips category along with a few other handy programs I've picked up over the past year.

All in all, a fantastic day. Thanks for stopping in guys! As soon as I complete this teleporter pad I've been designing, we can do this more often. I'm going to need some guinea pigs to test it out, but once it's done I'll be able to ship people across the State using my patented rent-a-pult™ technology. Any takers?

Posted by Andy at 12:31 AM | Comments (1)

January 17, 2006

Cheshire Evening

Joe and Cat invited me to eat with them and a few other friends tonight at the Cheshire Crab. It was a nice evening, not surprisingly, and now I have some leftovers for tomorrow as well. I also got to blow my big birthday gift certificate finally, which helped pay for my rental tux from Joe's wedding at the same time. My only concern - the menu has been changed a bit, and one of my favorites is now missing. I'll have to rely more heavily on specials and the backup seafood platter now.

Somehow I will survive. Probably.

Posted by Andy at 11:51 PM

January 06, 2006

Home Cookin' 9

We pulled out all the stops today, preparing two, count 'em, two recipes in the same day. (That's right, two.) First up, lentil salad with tomato and dill. Though tart, this salad has a pleasant herb flavor and in my estimation could be served hot or cold.

Our main dish this evening was a cajun-style broiled swordfish, which with a good piece of fish would be quite mild despite the many spices that go into the rub. Our swordfish, however, was quite strong, as it was presumably frozen too long at Trader Joe's before our purchase, so this element of our meal was a disappointment. The swordfish recipe is printed below. I strongly recommend adding salt to the spice mix, and honestly, you could double or even triple the amount for all the spices and do ok.

Cajun-Style Broiled Swordfish

1 t paprika
4 swordfish steaks, 3/4" to 1" thick
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t oregano
1/8 t ground red pepper
1/4 c lemon juice

Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. For seasoning mixture, in shallow dish, stir together spices. Place lemon juice in bowl. Dip steaks in juice, then coat lightly with seasoning mixture. Preheat broiler. Spray unheated rack of pan with nonstick spray. Arrange seasoned fish on rack. Broil 4 inches from heat until fish flakes easily with fork (4 to 6 minutes per 1/2" thickness). Turn once during broiling time.

Posted by Andy at 07:21 PM

January 03, 2006

Cooking Show Music

Why do cooking shows always have funky music playing when they're chopping or seasoning things? Is this the secret to cooking success? Maybe I need to be dropping a beat every time I chop a bell pepper or season a steak in order to get the flavors to turn out right. If any of you have mouth-guitar skills and would care to join in this experiment, just let me know and we'll get something cooking right away.

Posted by Andy at 03:59 PM

December 02, 2005

Home Cookin' 8

We got back into the cooking groove this week with Roasted Rainbow Pepper Soup". In a word, this soup was bad. It tasted something like stewed tomatoes and the texture was unappealing. We had high hopes going in, because roasted pepper soups have the potential to be great, but no luck here. Ah well, there's always next time.

Posted by Andy at 09:38 PM

November 23, 2005

Snack Turkey Day 2005

Amy and Amanda came by today to participate in our second snack turkey creation day in three years. I resurrected this little activity after a few years off, and it's just as fun as it ever was when I was a kid. What the heck is a snack turkey, you ask? These are snack turkeys!

Amanda Snack Turkey Amy Snack Turkey Andy Snack Turkey

Above you may view Amanda's, Amy's, and my snack turkeys, respectively. Each of us can now take our masterpieces with us to Thanksgiving dinners, where they will serve as nice appetizer trays for everyone.

Posted by Andy at 11:19 PM | Comments (2)

November 17, 2005

Mexican Lasagna

We tried a Rachel Ray recipe today for Mexican lasagna, essentially a taco-like concoction that gets baked with tortillas substituted for pasta. It turned out to be really good, and I imagine we'll be trying it again sometime. We decided that more vegetables would enhance the dish a bit, though it had a goodly amount of corn, tomato, onion, and bell pepper already.

Posted by Andy at 08:04 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2005

Birthday Cake

Busy Bee Cake
Uncle Tom's birthday gift arrived today, damaged but intact. It's a Busy Bee Cake from the Dean and Deluca catalogue. We have to let it sit out for 5 hours or some such, so until then we will just stare longingly at its chocolaty exterior. You can do the same by clicking on the image to the left.

Thanks Uncle Tom!

Posted by Andy at 08:39 PM | Comments (2)

September 23, 2005

Home Cookin' 7

It's been a few weeks since our last cooking experience, but we finally got back in action today with Squash and Pear Soup. Unbeknownst to us at the outset, this soup fits best in the smaller amounts suitable for a "soup and salad" lunch or an appetizer for a dinner with friends. We had full bowls of it and it got to be too much, but I would make it again for use as a lighter course. With only 5 ingredients, this soup is really healthy and simple to make as well.

Posted by Andy at 10:32 PM

August 07, 2005

Home Cookin' 6

I had 3 friends down to aid in the preparation of Tuna Tataki, which is another winner. We expected a lot more spice given the copious amounts of ginger called for in the recipe, but this dish turned out very mild and well balanced.

A note to any wishing to try this recipe - you can grate the ginger in a food processor, but be sure to have it cut against the grain. That means you'll want to cut off the little knobs and feed them in the proper direction to avoid stringiness. I can also recommend the frozen fish from Trader Joe's. Though the tuna lacked the brilliant color inherent in the fresh variety, the taste was excellent and we didn't have to search the county looking for fresh tuna. If any of you know a good place to get quality fresh fish, I want to know about it. One more point to note - if you try this recipe, do cook the fish as it recommends, leaving the center red. We were a little worried about trying this, but the fish is much more tender and tastes the same when done this way.

Posted by Andy at 02:48 PM

July 24, 2005

Home Cookin' 5

This week we decided to make a soup so that we might have an easily duplicated meal that could last several days or be frozen. Though we were looking for something somewhat exotic that we handn't tried, this Corn-Acopia Soup ended up tasting surprisingly like minestrone. This is a good recipe, but don't use it expecting something to surprise you.

Posted by Andy at 11:02 PM

July 19, 2005

Home Cookin' 4

Today's recipe: Beef Burgundy. This ranked right up there with the basil and tomato fish recipe from week 1, but were I to repeat, I would season the meat separately and perhaps use a more tender cut. Still, great stuff. I've been wanting to have this again for years.

Posted by Andy at 11:09 PM | Comments (2)

July 13, 2005

Home Cookin' 3

Today's we opted for a scallop and pasta recipe using tomato and mustard seed among other things. This was pretty good, but I didn't feel it was up to the standard set by the other two weeks. Still, I have no regrets preparing this at all.

Posted by Andy at 11:26 PM

July 05, 2005

Home Cookin' 2

Given the success of our first cooking venture, we decided to repeat the process today, this time with taragon chicken. While I wouldn't say this was as great as the fish recipe, it was still quite good and worth repeating. If you plan on using this recipe yourself, I suggest cutting the tarragon by about a third for a milder flavor.

Posted by Andy at 01:03 AM

June 29, 2005

Home Cookin'

My friends Amy and Kate came by today and we all cooked dinner. The recipe called for red snapper, but Anne Arundel Seafood didn't have that, so we substituted grouper instead. It turned out fantastically. The fish was super fresh, and the recipe was excellent as well, especially when we added local corn on the cob to the mix. I am hoping I can duplicate this procedure myself in the future by preparing the tomato mixture ahead and cooking the fish at dinner time. In any case, give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.

Posted by Andy at 11:47 PM

October 15, 2004

Iron Chef Cuttlefish Battle

Wow, cuttlefish! That's second only to squid on the list of crazy Iron Chef themes. I'm a little disappointed that the chef's didn't have to get them out of a tank live, (they were quite dead out of water at the opening), but 2 foot long squiddish creatures are still worth the price of admission if you ask me, especially if they're covered in their own black ink. Mmmm, tasty... or something.

Posted by Andy at 11:15 PM

September 15, 2004

Iron Chef Octopus Battle

I think the octopus battles are perhaps second only to the squid battles or anglerfish battles of Iron Chef fame. In the episode I'm watching now, an octopus has already escaped onto the floor, a beheaded octopus has continued to writhe for at least a good minute, and Iron Chef Kobe has savagely beaten the aforementioned cephalopod with large daikon radishes.

It's only half over folks!

Posted by Andy at 11:31 PM