Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Really, Ikea?

It's September 25.

Granted, I have actually purchased a few Christmas presents already, so I can't be all, "Blah, blah, blah holidays blah," now can I?  BUT STILL.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Papa!

My Papa turned 89 years old today, and we celebrated him at my aunt's house last night. He is a truly remarkable man, and I am blessed to have had him in my life as long as I have. 

 Harvey and his three great-granddaughters

And then, just for fun, here is my brother and his newborn daughter, Haley.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Quick and Easy Quesadillas

Mike wanted a quesadilla and I had never made one.  But because I buy rotisserie chickens all the damn time, I had some shredded chicken laying about.  I made a few guesses and threw things in a frying pan. It all worked out, and lunch was on the table in just minutes.


1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
shredded cheese - amount chosen by YOU
2 whole wheat tortillas
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add olive oil to a cool frying pan and turn the heat to medium-high.  Assemble the tortillas on  a plate - tortilla, cheese, chicken, cheese, tortilla.  Slide the assembled tortilla into the pan.  Place a sheet of wax paper on top of the tortillas and weigh it down with a heavy bowl or pot. Fry for a minute or two (the cheese should be melted) and flip using the largest spatula in your culinary collection.  Add the wax paper and weight and fry for a minute more.

Slide onto a plate and cut into wedges.  I used a pizza cutter!

This is the specific quesadilla that I made for Mike - he likes things simple.  But nothing is stopping you from adding all manner of items, so have at it!

Friday, September 14, 2012

All Water Is Not Created Equal(ly)

Did you come here today for some state-of-the-art inane rambling?  Well, that's what you're going to get!  Hurray!

There are many different brands of bottled water, right?  Can you tell the difference between them?  Like, if there someone hosted a taste test of Aquafina versus Ice Mountain, would you be able to tell?

I can.

Mike thinks that I am utterly ridiculous.  There is no way that there is a difference - it's water.  He says.  Just drink the damn water, he says.  Stop bitching about the Aquafina and try not to talk because the football is on, he says.

Well, Mike, there most certainly IS a difference in taste.

Dasani and Aquafina?  Distributed by Coke and Pepsi, respectively.  Basically, this is the shitty water that doesn't get turned into pop - which also makes me wonder why I continue to drink Coke at all.  


(Seriously, Coke is amazing.  Stomach ache?  Coke.  Hangover?  Definitely Coke.  Headache?  COCA COLA.  Always the answer.)

Anyway, I am partial to Ice Mountain and Nestle.  They don't have the metallic taste like Dasani and Aquafina, which is disgusting and if you drink those then you are disgusting.  That's right.

And there is your rambling idiocy for the day.  YOU'RE WELCOME.

Look at my paint skillz!

Friday, September 07, 2012

The Night Strangers

I made the mistake of going to Barnes and Noble the other day.  "I'm just going to browse," I told myself.  "Just going to get an idea of the books I want to read so that I can borrow them from the library," I said.

Yeah, it didn't go so well. 

First of all, I spend WAY too much time in bookstores.  I definitely DO judge a book by its cover (and its title, if I'm being honest), and have a hard time leaving books on the shelves once I become attached.

In the end, it wasn't really all that bad.  I bought a novel and two logic puzzle books.  I lurve logic puzzles.  LURVE.

I also purchased The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian.  Mainly because of the description, but also because of the cover.  I thought that it was scary.

Half original story and half derivative bullshit, Strangers had a bit of a hook, I guess: the protagonist,  Chip Linton, was a pilot forced to land a commercial plane on Lake Champlain after hitting a flock of birds shortly after takeoff.   If this sounds familiar, it is, and Bohjalian makes no secret of this.  He even names Captain Sullenberger by name and references the Miracle on the Hudson more than a few times.  That miracle was everything that his landing was not.  Captain Sully not only maneuvered the plane perfectly, but the conditions of the water, the speed of the wind, and the angle at which he touched down were also perfect.  Everyone survived.  

Chip was not so lucky, however, and thirty-nine people died on his plane.

The family needs a new start, clearly, and they relocate to upstate New York.

The new townspeople are strange.  They all have greenhouses.  They call themselves "herbalists."  They are all completely enraptured that the Lintons has twin daughters and are deliriously obsessed with them.  "Did you see the twins?" they constantly ask each other.  And also, "OMFG!!!!!1!!!! TWINS!"

Also, in case I haven't mentioned it, there are twins and they are clearly important.  Incredibly important.  Nefariously important.  


Once the Lintons settle - in a house that wouldn't sell, by the way, due to UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS IN THE PAST - they attempt to rebuild their lives.  Emily easily finds a job in a family law firm, the girls start school, and Chip?  Well, Chip starts seeing and hearing ghosts in the house.

And when he discovers a small door in the unfinished basement - a door bolted shut with thirty-nine railroad ties - things really begin to unravel.

What bothered me about the book is that the "villains" are pretty obvious from the get-go.  There's also a level of comfort between the herbalists that is just a little off.  Just a little too comfortable.  Those things alone were huge white flags, but what really bummed me out was that the story just felt lazy.  

There were a few good moments, and the twins (TWINS?!??!) were very well written and their characters were nicely developed.  

That said, this was the first book I read by Bohjalian.  I don't know that it has inspired me to read another.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Spanish Omelette

After taking my mom to an incredible tapas restaurant for her birthday, I have been craving a version of the Spanish omelette we devoured.   CRAVING.  But I couldn't do it!

I couldn't do it because I didn't have a pan that could move from the stovetop to the oven, and I was afraid that even if I covered the handles in foil, they would melt and stink up the house to high heaven.  So I waited.  And craved.

And then I got a 30% coupon to Kohl's and decided that ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH GODDAMMIT.  I bought a cast iron skillet, because I didn't have one and always wanted one, and HOLY SHIT do you know how much work goes into those damn things?  This one was pre-seasoned, which sounds ridiculous and high maintenance, but I had to re-season it anyway because I washed it when I got home. Apparently that is a huge no-no, but I couldn't be fucked to read the fine print so whatever.

Traditionally, Spanish omelettes are made with olive oil, eggs, onions, and potatoes.  You'd think that it would be boring, but it so is not.  In fact, it really doesn't need much else.  I added a few herbs this time around, but only because they were growing on my terrace and were nice and fresh.

(Ha ha!  The wikipedia article says that a variation would be "without onions." Who in the hell would do that?!??!)

Spanish Omelette

6 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
fresh thyme and rosemary, chopped (optional)
potatoes - peeled, quartered, and sliced lengthwise
1 large yellow onion
olive oil - and lots of it

Heat 3/4 cup of olive oil in pan.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender - about ten minutes. Add the onions and cook until almost tender/translucent.  Beat the eggs and add the chopped herbs, salt, and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir once.  Leave on heat for about a minute, then transfer to the oven.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a plate to cut and serve.  Can be served hot or cold, by the way.  Both are equally awesome.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What About the Other 49?

I just used this graphite powder product to fix a lock for a professor.  It was pretty neat, and worked like a charm.


But what does it meeeeean?  What about the other states?  What do they think?  Am I okay because I live in Michigan?  If I lived in California would I now have cancer?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Balsamic Pasta

It was one of those days... I just wanted something fresh and simple, and I didn't want to spend an hour cooking. This dish combines so many things that I love, and when you add them all together, it's magic.  MAGIC.

angel hair pasta
grape tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
fresh basil leaves
pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Toast the pine nuts.

Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add the shallot and saute for a few minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and keep things moving so that the garlic doesn't burn.  Toss in some salt and pepper, to taste.  Throw in the tomatoes.  Press down on them gently to release the juices.

Add the pasta directly from the pot - if a little water gets in, that's okay. The starch from the pasta in that water will actually help thicken the light sauce.

Plate the pasta and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over.  Tear the basil leaves and sprinkle on top.  Finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts.