That’s What She Said

Really, when one is stuffing sausage, it’s pretty hard to resist making junior high jokes. So why resist?

This was basically Alton Brown’s recipe, except that I forgot the parsley and added paprika and red pepper flake. It was delicious, and surprisingly easy to make, fill, and cook.

Making Sausage (by mharvey75)

I cooked them by poaching them in a splash of water, covered, then removed the lid so the water could cook off, and then seared them. I ended up overstuffing the sausages, so the casings burst during cooking in a few cases, but that was OK, as they held their shape anyway.

Sausage, Made (by mharvey75) Sausage, Delicious (by mharvey75)

That’s What She Said

Pizza Potluck

This is the second year that we’ve participated in the Ledge Ends CSA with our friends Janie and Ken, and the second year that we’ve celebrated the last share of the season with a “well, what’d we get?” pizza potluck. We elected to leave the rutabagas, radishes, and kale off of the pizza, but Ken and I still made four delicious pies using locally grown organic vegetables, and, uh, the bounty of the neighborhood Whole Foods:

Pizza (by mharvey75)

Left: tomato sauce with mozzarella and parmigiano.
Right: sliced heirloom tomato, spinach, garlic, and mozzarella.

More Pizza (by mharvey75)

Left: hot italian sausage, green pepper, red onion, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and parmigiano.
Right: olive oil, garlic, leek, fingerling potato, black forest bacon, chevre, and mozzarella.

Four deeeelicious pizzas. Thanks to Ken and Janie for sharing delicious veggies with us all year long.

Update: Behind-the-scenes photos from Ken here and here.

Pizza Potluck

Girlfriend Vacation Running Journal 2

4:35 AM Got awoken by bad cat who was trying to climb on my bedside table. Normally, only JR is afflicted by them. Kicked both cats out and realized one had knocked my water over onto the carpet.
8:50 AM Cursed my job for conditioning my body to wake up early.
9:15 AM Decided to start my day. But to show my disapproval and reluctance, I’m going to spend the first 2 hours of the day in bed.
11:49 AM After reading a good deal of , Boston.com/globe/sports, and the RSS feed of slashdot.com, I got up to bring Another State of Mind (Netflix) to the mailbox. Instead of leaving it in our mailbox for the mailman to pick, I decided to enjoy the cloudless day and walk it down the street to the box. Hey, that could be all the going outside I do today.
12:05 PM Got back from my walk, so I’m now reading an article about The Birth of the Notebook on MobilePC. Why do I care about the history of mobile computing? One interesting fact is that portable PCs originally referred to the idea of being able to use what we now refer to as desktop computers anywhere.
12:21 PM Finished reading an article on Business 2.0 about how Apple is going to use the iPod and iTunes brand to continue kicking ass in the coming years.
12:42-1:42 PM I spent about an hour looking into discount online brokerage houses. I’m convinced there is an “Online Brokerage Association” that mandates every member must keep their fee schedule murkily confusing and make it difficult for interested investing novices to spend their money. I imagine that through an agreement between Federal Regulators and the OBA, online brokerages stay out of the regulatory spotlight by making a concerted effort to confuse and repel idiotic and impulsive consumers like me. Right now I see myself as a bleeding dolphin in the middle of the ocean. I’m being circled by sharks dressed as discount online brokerage houses. They’re just waiting for me to make a decision so that they can eat me alive with hidden fees and surcharges. Individual sharks keep making a run at me, woosh, there goes an Ameritrade hammerhead, swish, a Scottrade great white. With whom will I invest? I don’t know. But for now I’ve been sufficiently scared off. But I will swim again.
1:46 PM My arcane and indisputably geeky New Year’s resolution was to track every cent I earned and spent this year. In that name I updated my Quicken records.
1:53 PM I need a new password system. I continually forget the passwords on my credit card site.
2:15 PM I Tried to figure out the difference between audio files in MP3 format compared to audio files in AAC format. I think I might have been going about things all wrong for the last year by ripping everything into 128 MP3. I don’t ever really hear a difference, but I guess AAC takes up less space?
3:00 PM Took a shower to prepare for going to the grocery store.
3:34 PM The productivity begins right now. I’m going to throw in a load of laundry, go to the pet store and the grocery store and then clean. Or at least the laundry and stores.
5:22 PM For proof to the old adage don’t go shopping on an empty stomach see AC’s Shopping Trip on the 26th of March, 2005. Talk about bleeding dolphin in the middle of the ocean, I didn’t stand a chance. I bought 3 of everything that I don’t need. I see a sale on things I eat and buy a lot of it. This does keep me from having to go to the grocery store, but did I need 4 pints of Ben and Jerry’s? I still haven’t eaten the Ben and Jerry’s I bought when it was on sale a couple weeks ago.
Let the productivity continue.
6:15 PM Cleaned toilet, bedroom, coffee table. Started working on spreadsheet again. Watched West Virginia totally blow a lead and lose to Louisville and Rick Pitino. I don’t even like the Celtics very much, but I hate Rick Pitino. He wrote a book called “Success is a Choice” and that may be true, but if it is, why the F would you choose anything except success? And if you know it’s a choice why would you make the decision to sign Travis Knight? There’s only one explanation: Rick Pitino chose to fail while coaching the Celtics which makes his tenure here even worse, because he failed on purpose.
8:15 PM Started cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Pasta and chicken in different forms make up the majority of my diet, so I’m making a pound of chicken sausage, a pound of pasta and some sauce. I’ll make several meals out of this that I can bring to work this week. Or else I’ll just leave it on the stove and eat it until JR comes home tomorrow, it’s probably what I should have done yesterday. Up until this point all I’ve eaten today is a banana and some ice cream. I’m pretty hungry.
9:34 PM Finally sated. It didn’t come out as well as I would have hoped, but dinner is finally eaten.
9:38 PM Starting Outfoxed (Netflix).
9:45 PM Decided to work for an hour and paused Outfoxed.
10:45 PM Back on Outfoxed.
12:10 AM Outfoxed is over. It was pretty good. It seemed to me it was the film version of “Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them.”
1:00 AM I’m going to get into bed and watch a little bit of Closer, my second Jude Law movie in two days.
3:15 AM Damn it! I watched the entire thing. What was I thinking? Closer was pretty good, but I happen to hate most movies that were plays first. There is something different about dialogue written for the stage as opposed to the screen. People in plays and movies of plays tend to say stuff you wouldn’t hear in real life and the conversations are almost always between two people only. Also, the timing always seems off, like the characters wait an extra beat before saying anything at all, which is what drives me craziest about this genre of film. Next time you have a conversation, try to get the other person to agree to count to one before responding to anything you say and you’ll know what I mean.

Girlfriend Vacation Running Journal 2

Thanksgiving

Ah, November!

I love the fall. It’s absolutely my favorite season. I like gray days with a nip in the air. Autumn is my best season, sartorially speaking. I have skinny legs, so shorts aren’t particularly flattering; give me short-sleeve shirts with long pants, and then I can add sweaters, sweatshirts, button-downs, pullovers, jackets…

Where was I going with this? Anyway, autumn. I love apple cider, hot, with a cinnamon stick. I love wreaths with Indian corn. (Wait—Can I say “Indian corn?” Is there a more sensitive name I should be using?) I love deciduous trees, leaves on and off.

Ok, I should probably revise that. This was my first fall owning a house with a yard that needed raking. Our lawn was completely covered with a 3 inch coating of dead leaves, that got rained, snowed, and rained on. Raking was a treat, let me tell you, and especially bagging. We filled nineteen plastic garbage bags full of leaves, and schlepped them to the curb. I know, I know, plastic bags are bad, we should be using paper lawn bags. Well, my better half went to every store in a five mile radius, and they were out of them, so we used what we had. Believe me, I’d have rather used the paper bags, they hold more than the plastic ones, and it would have made for less schlepping.

Anyway, imagine my surprise and delight when we came home the next to day to find that the leaves hadn’t been taken with the trash; rather each bag had a small green sticker reading “Leaves must be in PAPER BAGS only!”

“Noooooooooooooooooo!”

Thanks very much, City of Providence, how did you know I wanted to spend the Sunday after Thanksgiving moving sixty cubic feet of wet leaves from one bag to another? Bastards.

Ah, but autumn, and Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s really my family’s only big family holiday. Oh, sure, when we were younger we had Chanukah. Ah, Chanukah. Every year mom would put out a pile of presents for each of us, and my siblings and I would begin the careful rationing to make sure we had something good to open on the later nights. (“And believe it or not, that little pile of presents, only enough for one night, lasted for eight whole nights. And that’s why we light the candles for eight nights every year.”) There was more to Chanukah than presents, of course. I have warm memories of lighting the menorah as a family – and when I say warm memories, I mean it literally. I have two sisters and a brother, and we each had to have our own menorah, plus mom had to light one, and that one’s my favorite, can I light two this year? Suffice it to say by the fifth night or so, we had to take the batteries out of the smoke detector.

Wait, what was I talking about? Thanksgiving.

My family has spent it together every year for as long as I can remember. If Chanukah coincided with college breaks, great, we’d be there, but we always came home for Thanksgiving. Most importantly, at least since our mom died, my sister and I have done all of the cooking. We’re good at it now, but I have to believe it was a bit of a leap of faith for my dad the first year. Especially since we won’t allow anyone in the kitchen while we’re cooking. (We like our space.)

I almost decided not to go home for Thanksgiving this year, but my sister was aghast. And she’s right, we have some traditions that we can’t miss. Every year, there’s the phone conversation where we “decide on the menu.”

Me: “Oh man, I saw the greatest stuffing recipe on [insert name of Food Network show]. We should totally make our own stuffing this year.”

Li’l Sis: “I don’t know…”

Me: “It’ll be so good! Dried cranberries, and sausage, and sage…”

Li’l Sis: “But Stove Top is so delicious!”

Me: “Stove Top?! C’mon, just once we should make our own stuffing.”

Li’l Sis: “Sooooo deliciousss…”

Me: “But– But– Sigh. Fine.”

And so, every year, I come home to find the big red box of Stove Top stuffing, and every year it’s delicious. Every year we make our secret garlic mashed potatoes, the details of which I am sworn not to reveal. Every year there’s some kind of sweet potato, homemade cranberry sauce, and assorted other odds and ends. The turkey is a whole ‘nother thing. My sister and I have a pretty basic turkey recipe which we augment slightly every year (brining overnight, roasting on a bed of aromatic veggies, herbed butter under the skin, baste with orange juice), but the key tradition is the “argument” over who has to reach up the turkey’s ass and pull out the bag of innards.

I wimp out every year.

(Oh man, I just remembered. I don’t know if anyone else saw the Food Network All-Star Thanksgiving special. Seven of their stars, each contributing a dish, with my man Alton Brown bringing the turkey. The food was cool, sure, but the highlight for me was the end, when they’re all sitting around the table eating, and Emeril and Tyler Florence are piling food onto Giada de Laurentiis’s plate, saying “You’re too thin, you’re the thinnest one here, you have to eat!” and the camera cuts to Rachael Ray whose facial expression is clearly saying, “Are you calling me fat?” Priceless.)

Last year, actually, was an aberration. Every year my dad talks about frying a turkey, and every year we assert our dominion over the preparation of the meal. Well, the year before we’d run out of ideas for presents for him (what do you get for the man who wants everything?) so we bought him – wait for it – a turkey fryer. Yeah, I don’t know what we were expecting would happen at Thanksgiving other than that we’d agree to let him fry a turkey. (Of course, he bought a Cajun-seasoned turkey, because if there’s one thing my dad’s all about, it’s gilding the lily).

Drunk with power, he topped himself by also mail-ordering a turducken. C’mon, you’ve heard of this gastronomic monstrosity: it’s a boneless chicken, stuffed in a boneless duck, stuffed in a boneless turkey, with two different kinds of stuffing in there. We had Thanksgiving dinner two nights in a row, and I’m still full just thinking about it. This year we put our foot down, and dad agreed: back to regular turkey.

So I’m going home. Look, I’ve done the air travel bit, and you all know traveling on Thanksgiving weekend sucks, but I have to go. My sister and I have to pitch a fit that everyone’s in the kitchen while we’re trying to cook. We have to have our last-minute panic that the turkey’s not going to be done, and kick everyone out of the kitchen while we scramble to assemble an aluminum foil shield to prevent the breast from burning. We have to re-remember which one of our siblings doesn’t like pumpkin pie. We have to be patiently smile and nod as we’re reminded for the seven millionth time to make a separate dish of potatoes for Grandma, because Grandma doesn’t eat butter. (Doesn’t eat butter – wrap your brain around that one.) We have to tell our dad that we’ll call him when it’s time to carve the turkey, and until then, could he please get the hell out of the kitchen?

Family.

I don’t really have a point I’m coming to here, except that I’m glad to be going home. So, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. And please, for my sanity and your safety, please, please get the hell out of my kitchen.

Thanksgiving