Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I think I hate people

Well not all people, but a lot of people.

I have been working since I was 15; my first job was a ‘checker’ at a local grocery store. I worked at the grocery store until I was 19. It was there that I started losing my faith in humanity. My next two jobs were at banks, where again being exposed to the general public made me rethink the idea that ‘people are truly good inside.’ My last two jobs (including my current one) had me working with an older population, which can sometimes be trying. At my current job one of duties is putting together a weekly newsletter in both a paper form and in an email form that is then sent to something around 400 people. This is one of the worst parts of my job. Some people have nothing better to do than to search this newsletter, front and back, and look for mistakes. Grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, anything. I’ll be the first to admit that I make mistakes frequently, but the level of attention that some of these minor mistakes get is ridiculous. Often I get curt little emails from these jerky people explain how I left out their child’s birthday from the birthday list or how I didn’t capitalize a name in a engagement announcement. I silently curse these people while gritting my teeth and writing back “of course I’ll add a correction in this week’s copy.” These are the kind of people I hope develop painful boils in uncomfortable places.

Sigh. At least it’s Wednesday and there is a long weekend coming up…

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte

Strawberry ice cream + chocolate ganache = love

This week's delicious frozen concoction was chosen by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. Raw eggs kind of scare me but I decided to be brave. The picture in the cookbook is so nice, perfect layers of dark pink ice cream and chocolaty gananche. I let my husband choose what flavor ice cream, I thought the raspberry sounded great but he's not a fan of raspberry so I gave him the decision. He chose strawberry ice cream, I could have gotten vanilla and mixed in the strawberries like Dorie did with the raspberries but I am lazy so I did not. Instead I bought pre-made Edy's Strawberry Ice Cream. By the way, Edy's has shrunken their containers and are charging more, I paid $4.99, eh gads! I know prices have been going up lately but I've really noticed it on things I by every week but man $5.00 for less ice cream?

Anyway, after I recovered from ice cream sticker shock I picked up some pasteurized eggs from the dairy section. This lessened my fear of raw eggs slightly. Putting together the ganache was not difficult, I did end up only using 7 eggs instead of 8 because I had exactly 8 left and one of the 8 turned out to be cracked on the bottom so I took a chance on just 7. While I was making the ganache I put the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften up since I omitted the alcohol. I left out the alcohol because all we had besides wine was Peppermint Schnapps, Maker's Mark and Coconut Rum and I wasn't sure any of those would taste very good with strawberry ice cream. I used a non-stick springform pan but I still oiled it just in case. The first layer of ganache firmed up very quickly, less than 30 minutes. But all the layers after took at least 45 minutes. I was afraid of running out of ganache but did not, I had just the right amount for the final layer. I let it sit up in the freezer for almost 6 hours. I used the hot dish towel method instead of the hair dryer and it came out fairly easily. Next time I'll try to remember to use a circle of parchment paper on the bottom though because it's almost impossible to get the entire torte from the bottom of the pan.
It's a wonderful dessert, my husband said he keeps forgetting what his favorite 'Tuesday' dessert is because they've all been so good and I have to agree. They just keep getting better! Next week we're making Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters chosen by Stefany of Proceed with Caution.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


This past week I've felt like I was in 'impending crisis mode' and I'm not sure why. Everything seems fine? Regardless, I felt the need to escape and I needed a change of scenery and some alone time. I decided to take a little road trip to Oxford to see William Faulkner's home, Rowan Oak, and to wander around the town for a bit. It rained practically the entire day. Not a downpour, but a light steady rain.

I got to Oxford in less than an hour and a half, long enough to listen to a Death Cab for Cutie album one and a half times. When I first got off of the interstate I turned right instead of left and ended up going 15 minutes off course before I realized my mistake and turned around. Then I actually drove past Rowan Oak twice before I saw it. I'll admit there was a slightly creepy quality to walking around there all alone with steady rain.

After I toured the house I drove around and found a place to eat. I picked the wrong Saturday to visit town because it is the weekend before school starts on Monday at Ole Miss. Every eatery and coffee shop in town with packed with frat boys discussing various ways they would be attempting alcohol poisoning last night. But I was still able to enjoy my BLT, greasy fries and grape Crush (in a bottle!). After I ate I drove around the Square several times before I found a place to park. The Square is there 'main drag' and its where the bookstore and the coffee shop I wanted to go to was. Square Books was packed too but I found a autographed copy of "A Dangerous Age" by Ellen Gilchrist, who is my favorite writer.

I went to a coffee shop and sat and knit and drank a mocha and people watched again. I left about 4:00 and got home around 5:30ish. It was a good day despite the rain, I felt like I cleared my head a little.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Granola Grabbers

Another Tuesday and another baking adventure. This week's selection was the Granola Grabber cookies chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking. When I looked over the recipe I wondered how these cookies would turn out because there seemed to be a lot of dry ingredients but not many wet ones. I made no changes to the recipe, I did use granola with coconut and almonds already in it instead of adding them separately. This cookies turned out really well, the batter was kind of lumpy and I didn't try to smooth out the dough scoops but I think it added to the rustic look. They were very tasty, the sweetness of the raisins contrasted nicely with the saltiness of the peanuts. It was a nice chunky cookies, the kind you almost have to to serve with milk.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Recent Obsessions

  • The Twilight Series. I have to admit I kind of avoided this series because it’s so popular. I did the same thing with Harry Potter, I didn’t even start reading the books or seeing the movies until after “The Half Blood Prince” book came out.I think in my snobby way that I’m not going to give in to the ‘hype’ of a movie/book.Then I manage to read something and I get hooked.Which is totally what happened with the Twilight book. A few weeks ago Doug and I saw an interview with Stephenie Meyer, the author, on CBS Sunday Morning.Then I saw the movie preview and thought it looked fun, so on a whim I bought the Twilight book on Amazon to take with me on vacation.On Day 2 of sitting on the beach I put my knitting down and decided to pick up the book and see what all the hype was about it.I finished it the next afternoon and then promptly ordered the other two books from Amazon.(The fourth came out two weeks ago but I didn’t order it – yet)I had a *huge* obsession with Anne Rice’s vampire series as a 14/15 year old so this kind of reminded me of that, but in a different way.So hopefully no one will make fun of me for reading books that are considered in the ‘Young Adult’ category.I got a nice surprise when I got home today and found that the USPS had delivered my two books from Amazon.I know reading those books will seriously cut into my knitting time this week but I’m okay with that.
  • Death Cab for Cutie and Imogen Heap. I don’t know why these people were off of my radar but they were until the other day. I heard “When Soul Meets Body” on the radio just like everyone else and thought it was catchy but didn’t do much more investigating of the band. I happened to hear another one of their songs “I Will Follow You into the Dark” and went back and bought their last two CD’s on iTunes. Great music. I stumbled upon Imogen Heap on the Six Feet Under soundtrack and then heard “Hide and Seek” and now I can’t stop playing it on my iPod.
  • Nic’s Sticks from OPI. Nail polish in a little tube with a brush applicator – genius. Especially for people like me who are constantly knocking over bottles of polish on their hard, white tile floors. I’ve been nibbling my nails again recently so I’ve only used the clear polish so far.
  • Tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. My dinner obsession since my tomatoes have started to come in. Nothing is tastier than a fresh tomato, some fresh basil, mozzarella and a little sea salt.
  • Making my own fonts. I haven't really researched this very far but I've been doodling in the sketch pad. I'm sure a few Google searches will direct me on how I can actually make a real font.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

As it turns out my blueberries were more like blackberries. I was not really feeling blueberries this week so I thought I could get a similar color from the blackberries and it would be a slightly different change of pace. This week's selection was chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity.

I've only had my ice cream maker for a few weeks so I was excited to get to try out again. And with as hot as it's been here ice cream was a welcome cold treat. It was a fairly simple recipe to put together.
I washed the blackberries and then threw them into the saucepan with the other items and let them simmer away for a few minutes. The color while they were simmering was so nice I couldn't wait to see it when the ice cream was finished. After they had cooked I put them in the blender, gave it a few whirls and then added the sour cream and heavy cream and just a little bit more sugar. Very easy. I let it cool for about 1 1/2 hours and then put it in the machine and let it run. It did turn a beautiful color. I left it in the freezer overnight before serving it the next day. Everyone that tasted it enjoyed it, you could taste the sour cream but I didn't find it super overpowering, I thought it complimented the berries really well. I'm sure it's just as good when you use actual blueberries too so maybe I'll try it again with them.

Another great selection! Next week will be Granola Grabbers chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden - Week 18ish

Mainly pictures, as I am too lazy to type much else.

Cherokee Purple tomato almost ripe

Purple Ruffle Basil

Butternut squash

Countdown to vacation: 2 days! Of course I'm looking at the weather forecast and there's a chance of thunderstorms every day we're there...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Black & White Banana Loaf

Delicious. This is my most favorite Dorie dish to date. It was fabulous, moist banana cake with a thick ribbon of chocolate running through it. I wish I had a better macro setting on my camera so you could see the texture and how dense and moist it looks.

The Black and White Banana Loaf was chosen by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen and I can't say enough good things about it. I make banana bread a lot, usually I use a Cooking Light recipe so I don't feel so guilty about eating it. As much as I love Dorie's recipe it will have to be a 'luxury' banana bread. The recipe has a stick of butter and four eggs in it, eh gads my waistline.

This recipe was moderate on the scale on hard/easy to assemble. I did forget the lemon and I didn't have dark rum so I used regular rum but it still came out wonderfully. It smelled so good while it was baking. Since my oven has a tendency to run hot I tented the loaf pan with foil while it baking and took it off during the last 45 minutes it was in the oven. It was perfect, not hard or chewy on the outside, just cakey and moist. I think some people commented on the TWD there was some trouble with it baking through but luckily I didn't run into that issue.

Again, this is my favorite selection thus far, mine turned out to be more like a cake than traditional banana bread but that was just fine with me. Next week's selection is Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, a great selection for our recent 105+ temps.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • I went to the Farmer’s Market early Saturday morning and bought a ton of little heirloom tomatoes. They are such pretty colors. I made a big bowl of pasta with them yesterday and I still have a lot. Doug is not a fan of tomatoes so I’m having to gnaw my way through them alone. I also bought some little Japanese eggplant and had grand plans for grilling it. Well, I grilled alright, I grilled it right into oblivion. RIP little eggplants.
  • I just cast on for my first pair of socks. The needles are so tiny and the yarn is so thin. I hope I don't screw up.

  • We leave for Florida in 7.5 days. I am going to look like a beluga in my swimsuit. *sob*