"There are notes between notes, you know." -- Sarah Vaughan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving recap: Recipes

I never laid out my menu for you so you could see what a bad azz I am in the kitchen. LOL!

But really, here are a couple of the dishes we had that our guests loved.

I brine my turkey -- which is always fresh, never frozen! -- then cook it breast down in a roasting bag. Turn it over during the last 30 minutes and split the bag open so that it can brown. Baste it well. Add a chopped onion, some celery, some garlic cloves, fresh thyme, rosemary and sage to the inside.

You can find brine recipes all over, but here's one a chef/food writer friend of mine recommends (video and recipe). You can also go to Williams-Sonoma and get a brine as well. I've done both of them and got rave reviews on my turkeys each time.

This year I did a couple of new (to me) dishes: oyster stuffing and pumpkin pie. I don't like pumpkin pie, but Mr. SLS has been asking me to make him one for two years so this year I decided to try it. I found this recipe for a pumpkin gingersnap pie in the O Magazine that seemed simple enough to pull off and it was easy, though I did make some variations because I cook by instinct more than following recipes by the letter. This was a winner. My brother-in-law wanted to take the whole thing home and told my husband, he "had it good" and thanked him for marrying me. LOL!

As for the oyster stuffing, my aunt makes this and I hadn't tried it before, but thought I would switch up this year. It was a hit as well. I can't really share the recipe for what I made, because I didn't follow it to the letter either, as I decided to try a twist on the breading and added some other stuff. But, the google will give you plenty of recipes. I'll probably be making this every year.

Mr. SLS made an au gratin, using gruyere, cream, nutmeg, white pepper, shitake, crimini and oyster mushroom. It's easy to make and a regular crowd pleaser.

Finally, our guests brought this dish, which was a winner with me and Mr. SLS: brussel sprouts with bacon and figs (video and recipe).
Happy cooking!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night as I baked my pies (pumpkin and sweet potato), made my cake and prepped my ham, greens, beans and other stuff so I could get them cooked in an efficient manner today, I talked to my two grandmothers. They like to "help" me when I'm doing big meals.

Grandma wants to make sure I washed the greens good and got the smoked turkey to season them with while they are cooking. She reminds me that fresh turkeys can taste gamey and walks me through her secret for fixing that.

Granny likes to give me little tips when I'm baking. "Cut it with a little butter and it will taste better." "I know it said a 1/2 cup, but add an extra 2 tsps."

For my grandmothers, cooking a big meal right (right to them means folks can't stop talking about how good it is, eat seconds and thirds, leave with plates and call making requests for specific dishes -- so far, so good) is evidence that they trained me up right in being a good wife and homemaker.

My mother -- who is very NON-homemakerish -- taught me about being independent and strong. To speak my mind.

My dad taught me to "control those things I can control."

And for all that and much, much more, I am thankful. Have a great day!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I don't normally do this...

Cause y'all know for the most part I'm incognegro on this blog, however, this is a video from the debut performance of the new orchestra Mr. SLS is playing with now and the music is great so I'm sharing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What is it that's supposed to be so good about pizza?

I've never understood the seemingly universal love for pizza. I do.not.get.it!

So you out there in blogland, I want you to explain to me how a piece of flat bread with some red sauce, veggies and cheese all swimming in orange grease from pepperoni is GOOD to eat. Yes, I know the pepperoni is optional but, it's nasty with or without.

How is this something that people want to eat all of the time? I'm flummoxed by this!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


So the house situation seems like it's about to be worked out soon. This means everything is moving along on schedule.

I like that.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You're working my nerves

I call them "sick and tired" days as in "I'm sick and tired of working."

You know what I'm talking about, right? Those days you spend just doing whatever you want to. A decompress day. And it needs to be a WORK DAY when most people are at work and therefore not in the museums or at the movies or in the spas or at the mall. Or calling you on the phone. Or in the damn way. Cause they are at work sitting in endless meetings.

Since I was out for 6 weeks, I haven't been taking my "sick and tired" days. I need one. NOW. They make me a more pleasant employee and coworker.

Do you need mental health days?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good towels, clawfoot tubs and other aimless ramblings

My husband's house was a true bachelor pad when I met him. His living room was filled with instruments, cds, records, sheet music, music stands and bicycles. Don't get me wrong, it was clean, but it was junky as hell in here. My house was comfortable and even today people prefer my house over his house.

But one thing that stood out to me is he had some good damn towels. Nice and thick. Fluffy. Smelling good.

Now that our linens are combined we have more towels than we know what to do with and no room for storing them.

In fact we are bursting out of this house and wish things would move a little faster with my house so that we can move forward on buying a bigger house together.

We've found one we like that fits the budget we have set and it's on a great street. It would need some work and that's cool, too, cause then I can get the kitchen and bathroom I want with all the trimmings. I hate all the granite-covered bathrooms that are en vogue today. I like beadboard and clawfoot tubs. Subway tiles. Something along the lines of this:

I also sort of like this kitchen, though I wonder how do you keep something like that clean??????

Friday, November 6, 2009

Speak no evil

I have a friend who has hit a rough patch in her marriage. I feel certain that they will work their way through it, but I'm watching how they get through so that I can learn ways to navigate us through trouble if/when it comes.

My parents argued a lot. Yelling and screaming and door slamming and all types of dramatics. Nobody bit their tongue and they would say anything to each other. I was glad when they split because it was finally peaceful.

But (and parents, take note of this) what I learned from them, I modeled in my relationships. I would say anything cause my perception was that if you're a man you can and will take it. Man up biyatch!

I don't do that now. Mr. SLS and I talk about a lot of stuff to try to keep things from festering. We've agreed that we will seek counseling if we need to in the future.

It hasn't been hard not to fight dirty. Mr. SLS doesn't do much that makes me 198 degrees hot enough to fly off the handle and talk greasy.

I know that I don't want the kind of marriage my parents had. They were ill-matched and their marriage collapsed. I want to be and stay happily married. That takes work and conscious effort.

My friend has a strong marriage and that's why I have no doubts they will get reconnected. In the interim I'll just watch, take notes and learn.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"The night. The Lights. Went out. In GEORjah!" -- Julia Sugarbaker

This will always, always, always be my most favorite Julia Sugarbaker speech. She was a live wire, but managed to stay classy at the same time -- something to aspire to for sure.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"American Gothic"

Me and Mr. SLS lay in the bed most of the day on Sunday eating Halloween candy, crackers, cheese and watching this show we had never seen before that wasn't so bad. Take a peek at a couple of the episodes, they were entertaining.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nathan Fillion's "Castle" and "Firefly"

I really love this guy (not more than Idris, don't get it twisted). He's goodlooking and funny. Over on Hulu.com they have some of the episodes and if you have a chance, you should check them out. Dude is funny, seriously.