Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday's Leftover Thoughts

The crazy work hours are finally settling down a bit meaning I might actually get into the kitchen this upcoming week before I head off for my next round of business travel. In fact, this week I only worked 45 hours down from the average of 60+ the past few weeks.

I've had some technical difficulties this week with my digital camera. Last week while I was trying to upload some pictures I had taken for a certain post (yet to be posted because the pictures are vital to the post), my camera just quit. I thought it was the cable but I've since gotten the new cable and the thing is still not working. I had been wanting a new digital camera for a bit so now it looks like I've been forced into the market for one. Visiting a Best Buy over the weekend will be tops on my list, along with a stop at a gardening center or two.

My landlord has given me permission to use the containers he has in the barn to make a garden on my deck so I've been busy planning what I'm going to plant all spring. Of course, since I've been working like I have, I haven't been able to plant anything yet. Which is too bad because the spring first greens season is just about over. Hopefully the monsoons we are currently having will be gone by tomorrow so I can get a little time on Sunday playing in the dirt.

All this leisure time this week hasn't gone wasted in regards to my kitchen either. Besides actually fixing myself something besides cold cereal or a stop at Subway for a 6" turkey on whole wheat on the way home (I know, I know...but a girl's got to eat!), I made a delicious crab dip for the first "Girls with G&Ts" evening of the season on Wednesday night that was a hit with the ladies. I even managed to get my first mosquito bite of the season sitting by the lovely stream as dusk set in!

Tuesday night I served a strawberry rhubarb tart I made from the last of the frozen rhubarb in my freezer at a new neighbor's open house. I got to use my new French tart pan I received as a special present from a friend and make another batch of my go to all purpose pie/tart crust, Alice Water's simple tart crust. I know I've sung the virtues of this crust here before but let me hit the high notes about it again. I have never had better success with a pie crust than with this one. The recipe makes enough for two 10" tarts and after pressing the dough into the pan and then trimming off the edges I had enough scraps to make a little strawberry emblem for the center.

Last night it was a fun filled night of caviar dreams and champagne wishes because I attended a champagne tasting courtesy of the gentleman I've begun to see as they say in polite Connecticut horse country, "socially". The purpose of the tasting, hosted by a very well known champagne house, was to show that champagne can be paired with even the most pedestrian of foods. There were mini hamburgers, buffalo wings, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even Chicago and NYC style hotdogs at the party. What surprised me the most was how good the pink champagne was with a grilled braut! I always think of pink champagne as a dessert drink or as part of my favorite cocktails to order when I'm feeling like Deborah Kerr in a 1950's high society barn burner. OK, I've also been known to buy a bottle of $4.99 Cook's and clean house while drinking it straight from the bottle with a straw but that is another story. After last night, I'm pretty sure that when I have my friends over for the first grilling of the season, there will be a bottle or two of champagne in the cooler right next to the beer. I'm just going to make sure it isn't a school night because after all that champagne last night I had a bit of a champagne headache this morning!

Wednesday night was also the first night I've watched "Top Chef" real time in weeks. I'm pretty sure I saw my Tivo having the DTs while I was watching the Wedding Wars episode. I have to say of all the seasons this season is kind of like watching a lead balloon try to gain altitude. First, I think we need to change the name of the season to "Top Whiner" or "Top Set Dresser with Hefty Products". Am I the only one who thinks all the gratuitous shots of Glad Ware, Anheuser Bush products in the "stew room" (yes, that "high quality" wine and beer they are drinking back there are all brands owned by AB), and the wonderful prizes offered by the sponsors versus the opportunities to cook with the guest judges has taken away from the idea that this concept was suppose to be a launching pad for yet unknown talent? The only reason I kept my cable subscription this spring was to watch the end of Project Runway and Top Chef. If this season is any indication of what Season 5 has in store for us and with Project Runway moving to Lifetime Television and LA (hmm, I'm seeing lots more soap opera and lots less fashion in PR's future. What will Tim Gunn wake up and realize it was all a dream?), I'm going to cancel cable and increase my Netflix subscription.

While we are still on Top Chef, if anyone who is producing over there at Bravo happens to read this, since you are in the process of casting this week for Season 5, how about we have a few less catering challenges and few more real cooking challenges. Oh, and one more idea for you, how about instead of introducing us to the already selected chefs the first episode, how about you show us a "whittle down to 16" relay race ala this past episode's Quickfire Challenge for the first episode. I love the relay race (remember Hung's lightening fast chicken dismemberment last season and Step sure whipped that mayo this season) not to mention Tom Colicchio's facial expressions as he watches the tasks over the shoulders of the contestants are hysterical.

Finally, when I woke up this morning, the only dinner plans I had for tonight was some home made Wonton Soup I've been drooling over since I saw them over at Sher's What Did You Eat yesterday, a bottle of wine and a good long chat with my soulmate in Kamloops to dish about food, our lives and get snarky about a thing or two. Unfortunately, Sara has been roped into some type of work thing that had already altered our plans for a blabfest by 24 hours. Which is probably a good thing considering about an hour ago my cellphone rang and Mr. Thirty-Two Foot Sailboat informed me his dinner plans with two business partners also fell through.

Looks like this Cinderella needs to go get out of her cleaning rags and put that ball gown on because she has seats to stare at Patrick Stewart for a few hours and listen to some of the scariest words ever spoken backstage (you know it's bad luck to say Macbeth backstage right?) followed by after theater drinks and dinner somewhere he isn't telling me. All I've been told is bring my dancing shoes.

I hope he doesn't mean my disco shoes...