A Shiksa on a Mission

Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife
I'm a shiksa on a mission...
It may not be perfection but it's the journey that counts

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pardon My French

Last night's dinner was actually acceptable to the masses! Hizzah!

I like to try new recipes but I also need to please three other eaters who describe their likes as:

Eating Out

But last night I attempted something new and it was pretty much appreciated which in my life feels something akin to a slam dunk. Going for all out approval let alone praise would be aiming for the moon (unless, of course, I make rice which floors the kids every time). I got the girl child on board by explaining that it was French which means fancy to her (hence the Eiffel Tower salt and pepper). I got the boy child off the fence by reminding him that it had arugula which he knows is also called rocket and is, therefore, kind of cool regardless of how it tastes.

Feeling adventurous? Last night's dinner was a Chorizo, Red Pepper and Potato Galette from Sunset magazine. Ready for all the changes I made? You knew it was coming. First of all, I didn't use chorizo. I am a fan but I'm also picky. That's kind of funny to think about considering I've actually eaten those bacon wrapped hot dogs cooked on the streets in Tijuana. I mean I've heard about them because of course I never went to Tijuana. . . . .Uh, right. Chorizo. Since I decided to eat healthier, I'm pickier. And since we're also cutting back a few calories pre-Mexico in May, I used chicken Andouille sausage. The potatoes were red potatoes since that's what we had. And I didn't use a pre-made pie crust since I like mine. It's meat and potatoes in a buttery, flaky crust. . . .duh. But I still had to sell it. And I did.

As you can see by the pictures, the family survived dinner that was not plain, pizza or out. I now feel somewhat safe to journey on to other galettes. This is going to be fun.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Winter Fare

Although we technically had Spring Break last week it was neither Spring-like or anything resembling a Break. As I look outside the window right this second, I can only describe the sky in shades of gray--ashen, putty, stone, steel. And the rain is coming down slightly slanted but with a definite vengeance. The daffodils are fighting for it but spring has simply not sprung. If it did, it sadly drowned. As of today, Portland has not had one day hit the 60s since the beginning of the year. We've tried but we've mostly failed miserably. And the inches of rain are still coming down. Wow. Is it time for bed?

Luckily there are some considerable upsides to all this doom and gloom. Please send your upsides to the Five Cent Farm. . . No, I'm just kidding. It has been a good winter to read. I've spend this month finishing Bram Stoker's Dracula which I was not terribly in love with and moved on to Oscar Wilde to finish out my month of reading Irishly. Also rounding out the Irish month is some Irish dinners. Cold weather can be good for something like tucking in to some hearty comfort food including a night of Bangers and Mash along with sauteed cabbage (with brussel sprouts hidden in them---hidden from Reggie but not the kids). The Oscar Wilde and the sausages all taste good with a little Jameson's too.
Here are some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins to warm the weekend mornings when the sun doesn't come out until sometime after 5pm.
We also enjoyed some Banana Huckleberry Scones that I invented using the Grand Central Bakery Cookbook because I had both bananas and huckleberries to use. Turns out to be a winning combination but then anything with enough butter to make a flaky scone can't be all that bad.
And at the end of this winter, what have we learned?

Eat, Drink and Be Merry because outside is gunmetal gray and the weather doesn't care how we feel about it. And also that summer better involve a lot of activities that burn off the extra butter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cross Your Eyes and Say Aaaaah

I'm guessing this means she likes it. . . .but you never know with the girl child.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Waste Not, Want Not

Here's my newest transformation. . .

Reg was done with this shirt but I love the print.
Flannery was terribly upset that I reconstructed the polka dot dress by getting rid of her favorite part: the puffy sleeves.

I think she'll be pleased. . .
She's a little too tall for it to be a dress but it will certainly look good with her leggings. And the girl knows how to rock a puffed sleeve.

Kosher in Denmark

I finally acquired the Danish Pancake pan I've been lusting after ever since the kids devoured their first plate of these delicious little delicacies at Broder. Was it worth the wait? Oh, yes. These pancakes were so fun and easy to make and the kids attacked them as if they hadn't eaten is days. The recipe came with the pan from Williams/Sonoma but I found another recipe I'm going to try that looks quite similar. I used butter instead of oil and milk instead of buttermilk but I'll try it both ways. I didn't fill the pancakes (the only downside for the kids who kept reminding me that we do have Nutella in the pantry). Instead we ate them with syrup or orange marmalade and a dash of powdered sugar which is apparently not enough sugar to keep them from mentioning the chocolate chips that are also lingering in the pantry but enough tastiness to entice little fingers to snatch them off the plate still too hot to handle.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Cranberries

A late start day is just begging for baked goods so I made Grand Central Bakery's Cranberry Orange Bread. If you are like me, cranberry season triggers the hoarder deep down inside. I buy cranberries on every trip to the store to keep in the freezer and make cranberry season last just that much longer. I used most of the other ones for Cranberry Clementine Marmalade but I did keep some for breads and muffins.
So glad I did. This bread was so soft and tart and worthy of a late start morning. I left out the nuts simply so I didn't have to hear the kids complain or pick up little pieces of bread covered nuts. Instead, they inhaled this bread without a single peep of negativity.
If you live in Portland, you know about Grand Central Bakery. If you've hesitated to buy this book, I can tell you that the recipes always come out just like the Bakery. They are large recipes but they are perfect.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Lucky Am I?

I got this card in the mail from my friend, Sharla. And I love her little yarn four leaf clover. Might have to steal that idea.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Matter of Taste

I heard this interview on Fresh Air the other day and I didn't want to get out of the car when I arrived at my destination. How inspiring is that? It was with a chef who was diagnosed with tongue cancer and subsequently lost his ability to taste. O'Henry story? No, it's a true story.

Grant Achatz is an advant garde chef who is on the cutting edge of food. He's a leader in molecular gastronomy. What does that even mean? He makes food like you've never seen. As I listened to the beginning of the interview, I was definitely thinking weirdo. But as he talked about food, I was transformed. Not that I want to make burning oak leaf shish kebabs or sorbet of celery or sweet potato gelee. I'm not sure I even want to eat it. I was, however, captivated by the way he talked about food telling a story. His restaurant has no menu which means you eat what he's serving--all 23 courses over 3 hours. It's a food experience. Still weird but maybe worth the experience.

And then he had tongue cancer and the ensuing treatment actually melted his taste buds right off of his tongue. Even more amazing is that he's pretty sure he's regained his sense of taste almost completely and he's still doing his food magic.

Take a listen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's a Girl Thing

Have I mentioned how excited I am to become an aunt? A little excited. . . .so I made a few gifts for my future niece. I got some white onesies and dyed them with a little help from the girl child. Then I had to think about what this young lady might need.

A little skirt.
A pinch of salt.
Something to wear with her boots.
Okay, I didn't make this but I wholly endorse the message.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On My Mind

I wanted to share a few things I just love to pieces.

This kick by Wayne Rooney. Watch the whole clip to see the amazing bicycle kick goal. It has everything I adore: soccer, Brits, amazing feats of strength.

This clip is from All About Eve which is tied with Citizen Kane as one of my most favorite movies ever to exist. It contains the famous line: "Buckle your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." It is the way I think movies should be. And I want to live in that apartment. I also once bought a cocktail dress mostly because it had pockets like the one Bette Davis rocks in this party scene. She is nothing if not amazing and Margo Channing will forever be one of the most amazing characters.

My bitchin' leg warmers given to me by my friend for my birthday. Wearing a skirt is the winter is now functional and fabulous. When I wore them yesterday, a woman commented, "those are tight." Yes, they are. Tight.

And this song by Franz Ferdinand. It's not high art but it is fun. And so reminiscent of the 80s. . . I can dance to it while wearing my leg warmers.

What do you love right now?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top O' the March

It's March and I'm thinking I'm not alone in saying goodbye to February, you short and sometimes gloomiest of months. Of course, we're hearing it's all rain rain rain for the first half but that's what makes Portland so much like Portland.

In honor of March I'm spending the month reading Irishly which does not mean with a bottle of Jameson's. Okay, maybe it does. Actually I'm thinking Irish authors. And I'm starting with Dracula by Bram Stoker. Did you know he was Irish? Yup. He was born Abraham Stoker in Dublin, Ireland in 1847. This is also my inaugural book on the new Kindle. I'm already a little unsure since there are no page numbers but it does tell me what percentage I have read. That's a little daunting to be constantly reminded that you are but a mere 4% into your book. Since it's just this month, I'm not suggesting I jump headlong into Ulysses by James Joyce. Even on my best years, I've always fallen short with that damn book. Nor do I want to attempt Tristram Shandy again because it's amusing but way too intense especially if March looks anything like the end of February. One wrong step and I could become homicidal. It's a little difficult to find the lighter side of Irish fiction. Actually, does it exist?

Oh, yes. Oscar Wilde would be a good addition if only because he said one of my favorite quotes ever. When asked upon entering the United States if he had anything to declare, he responded I have nothing to declare but my own genius. Yeah, top that.

Now I just need to move into contemporary Irish fiction.
If you have an Irish suggestions, let me hear them.
And while you're thinking about it, here's a little mood music.