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Showing posts from January, 2010

It's Not You, It's Me

I agree with this guy. Lentils ARE pure f**king evil.

So much for my unfortunate lentil and winter squash tagine, taken from The Produce Bible. Thursday night's dinner became more like Thursday night's disaster. Well, maybe not a total fiasco, but it's rare that I walk away from a plate of food. Me and the Clean Plate Club go waaaaay the hell back, so if I don't finish, you know something is amiss.

I like spices like turmeric, cumin and cinnamon. I like butternut squash. But lentils? I don't think they and I are meant to co-mingle. I think it's a texture thing.

Lentils, I'm sorry, it's not going to work. We're just not compatible.

Random shots from Baltimore/D.C.

I've been making trips to Baltimore-D.C. a lot lately and had a handful of random photos from trips there.

First, there were the chocolate sculptures of the Lincoln Memorial and U.S. Capitol I saw at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel while attending the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting (i.e. conference) earlier this month.

If he wasn't behind glass, ole' Abe would be missing his head. The same goes for the Capitol's dome. : )
And while we're in the area, let's not forgot to honor Natty Bo', otherwise known as National Bohemian Brewery, formerly brewed in Baltimore (now brewed in Eden, NC, but consumed a' plenty in Maryland with crabs). The former brewery is now a mixed-used complex of shops and housing. If I end up moving to Baltimore, I'll make sure to make an empty-can sculpture of some sort, maybe a motif of crab shells and Old Bay cans would be in order. : )
Lastly, I leave you with a non-food item which is fascinating nonetheless:…

How to Peel Shrimp

Erin was kind enough to load these photos, therefore making this post "by Erin." Trust me though, it's Scott writing. Over Thanksgiving at Sullivan's Island, SC, we scored 1 lb. of local brown shrimp by beheading and shelling about 15 lbs. for several shellfish-hungry family members. "Shrimp at Thanksgiving?" you ask. Well ... yes, why not? Actually, we had shrimp the night before, but our Thanksgiving is still heavily South Carolina-influenced to include butter beans and rice.If you grew up landlocked, or coastal-and-lazy, here's my tutorial on peeling shrimp - including NOT wastingtail meat, a crime I've too often witnessed at restaurants, etc.

Step 1Take your right hand (NOTE: If you're a lefty, just apply all directions to that hand) and firmly hold the tail section of the shrimp.
Step 2
Use your left hand to grip the body-section immediately adjacent to the tail-section.
Step 3
Split the body-section from the tail-section, first by moving your h…

Best. Cookies. Ever.

What are these, you might ask?

Just the best freakin' cookies there could be. Chocolate Craisin Oatmeal goodness, these are.

The recipe is a modified Southern Living one from the current February 2010 issue, with dried cranberries substituted for chopped pecans. The oatmeal and cranberries make them somewhat healthy and I used dark chocolate chunks, so antioxidants are all up in these cookies. I don't see how they can possibly be not absolutely awesome.

The taste testers approved.

As one person said, "When they came out of the oven and they were still warm, they were pretty much the best cookies I've ever had."

Yay! This completely makes up for the disastrous Chai Egg Nog Cookies I made for Christmas Cookie Exchange 2009. I don't have a particularly successful record with baked goods, so this gives me hope. And too many reasons to find an excuse to have a milk and cookie moment.

What's that? I need and deserve another cookie? Well, if you insist.


I Like Big Lots and I Cannot Lie

Apologies to Sir Mix-a-Lot for the blog title, though it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Yesterday on my day off I decided to make it a fun bargain shopping extravaganza, hitting up my favorite thrift shop, Music City Thrift on Gallatin Road, and Big Lots. The sheer beauty of this whole experience is that they’re located in the same craptastic strip mall so it’s easy and convenient to hunt for the deals. As it turns out, I’m both cheap AND lazy. Awesome.

The thrift store search was fruitful – red pants, a cute black and white checked blouse, and a very cool Haiku purse that happened to have two $1 bills stuffed in one of its crannies. A true thing of economical beauty - the purse retailing for $40 actually cost me $8 with the little hidden cash discount. Now I am sure there’s some kind of ethical question about taking the money, but listen – these are hard times, mmmkay? I say the almighty Thrifting Gods wanted me to have those two dollars.

Now, I know there’s outright suspici…

DC/Baltimore/NC Round Up

Preface: As promised...our food on the road tales of Christmas 2009. Scott will tempt your taste buds soon with a post on our New Mexican treats.

This year, Hungry Times Two's plans for a low-key holiday went completely out the window, down the street, and on to a totally different universe.

Rather than a Nashville-to-Concord, NC route, circumstances sent us this way: Nashville -DC - Baltimore - North Carolina-Nashville-New Mexico. Whew. Between dueling Christmas colds, Scott's budding dental woes, and the sheer exhaustion of the trip, it was quite an affair to remember.

Particularly the nine hours spent in the car through a dead standstill in the aftermath of a historic snowstorm on Virginia's I-81. Exhibit A below: Erin's frozen frustration.

And yet - the silver lining - new foods and restaurants to explore.

DC-wise, we didn't have much time to taste the flavors of our nation's capital. We did, however, visit Ben's Chili Bowl, a.k.a. the place where only Bill …

Easy as 1-2-3

Now that the Nashville Public Library has released it from its annoyingly-long hold/reserve list. I'm presently reading Ratio by Michael Ruhlman.

The book's tag line is "Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking." But what it really should say is "The Math Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking."

Scott and I are both liberal arts graduates, meaning we don't do the math real good. Like, at all. Anytime the two of us discuss something remotely related to science and math, be it why the defroster in my car won't work or how to divvy up the credit card bill this month, we wind up with the foggiest answers. It's hilarious and mildly disconcerting/alarming at the same time.

The first chapter of Ratio delves into the "simple" measurements of making dough: five parts flour, three parts water. I see the words "measurements" and "parts" and I am already worried about having to remember my multiplication tables and long div…

Of Mush and Men

A certain male who posts to this blog unfortunately had dental surgery Tuesday due to an infected abscess and forthcoming root canal. With stitches and swelling, it's not pretty, as Scott does look like he's hoarding nuts for the winter in his right cheek, poor thing.

As a result, grocery shopping on Tuesday eve was a challenge, especially when trying to navigate a Kroger store besieged by Southerners freaking out over the so-called "snowstorm" coming today. (Alas, no freakin' snow. Figures.) The bread and milk supplies were, of course, depleted, but so were the mushrooms and salad greens. Who knew us Dixie types considered the healthy stuff to be essential snow day fare?

In my rush, I neglected to bring my list of "soft foods" that the dentist's assistant recommended, so I had think on my feet as I wheeled around the uber-crowded Kroger. I came up with a couple ideas, which were:

- Scrambled eggs and grits. Breakfast for dinner - one of the ultimate c…

Greens, Greens, and Nothing But Greens*

This just sounds amazing right now. Especially since my daily dose of Dayquil just isn't cutting it.

Oh, Ms. Rossetto Kasper, how I love you so. Seriously. You're the best. Not since this recipe, introduced to me by a good friend who also knows her way around a butternut squash, have I loved the idea of vegetables gussied up and drool-worthy.

*If you know your Sondheim, you know from whence this post title cometh. Yep, showing my inner musical theatre dorkitude.

Resolve This

Scott and I decided while we were in New Mexico for New Years (of which photos and witty travel commentary are coming, I promise!) to...

Go vegetarian in 2010! Or, at the very least, "pescetarian," as we do love our shrimp.

Among the reasons: the obvious environmental impacts, health, wealth (or lack thereof), and a desire for a challenge in our cooking and eating this year.

Any vegheads out there with tips and/or fair warnings, bring it! We're armed with no less than three Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks, a great curry cookbook with lots of veggie recipes given to us at Christmas, and a desire to do something good for ourselves and maybe even the environment while we're at it.

Pass the eggplant and the felafel, will ya?