Friday, February 25, 2011

M.'s Pimm's O'Clock

Talking Heads

"Everyone is trying to get to the bar.
The name of the bar, the bar is called Heaven.
The band in Heaven plays my favorite song.
They play it once again, they play it all night long.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens."

Hello FRIDAY! Hello friends. Hello sunshine and single digit temperatures.

I woke up to blue skies and plans for another weekend away.  J wants to squeeze every last bit of snow out of the dwindling winter so we are hitting our local mountain for the weekend. I love this man so much - we have it going on. Gush gush. We have plans to eat here in Waitsburg, did I tell you I love him? He sent me this link, he knows me. A day of play and then some serious eats and bevies. There is a room in the Jimgermanbar called Heaven named after the Talking Heads song (hense the lyrics). Brilliant. The cocktail menu had me swooning, the menu is simple. I am in love and haven't even stepped foot inside.

Snap. Off I go, swooshing down the mountain, no it all honesty it is more like skreech, wobble, wobble, whooow, splat, skooch, skooch.... I told you I can't sit things out, just like our sweet pup, I am almost always game, except for when I am not, then the couch is a completely reasonable place to spend the day. Not this weekend, I will give it all I have, an entire day outside is time well spent.

Since it is Friday, I happen to be in a chipper mood, I have a cocktail that I am all giddy to share with you.

Meet my new current obsession, Pimm's. It will knock your socks off then proceed to blow wind up your skirt - well if you are into those sorts of things. Classy - I know.

M.'s Pimm's O'Clock

makes one refresher

I used half a Meyer Lemon, 'tis the season!

2oz Pimm's
1oz Gin
Juice from half lemon

club soda

Lemon wedge

In a shaker combine Pimm's, gin and lemon juice with ice. Shake or swirl until well chilled.

Strain into a high ball glass (or your favorite drinkware) and finish with club soda and a lemon wedge.

Enjoy the weekend!

Some fresh new mags are making the weekend adventure just in case.... I get sick of eating s!@t all day. So will Pimm's.

If you are into answering random questions that I came across, drop me a line. Lets chat.

Burning Questions - ONE

I am starting a new series called, Burning Questions. A series about us, the everyday extraordinary people that grace our lives and the questions that often do not get asked.

There is no doubt in my entire being that every person's story is as important as the next, you may be a superstar, an extraordinary athlete, graceful mother, enduring friend or the man of my dreams that shares the bed with me. We are in this together - equally. Your story is incredible, especially after a glass of wine..... no really, you are important.

Every story is worth telling. Each person is a piece of the larger puzzle. People come into our lives as easy as they leave, that is life, at the end of the day it can prove to be rather interesting. Each of us impact one another - it is true, pinkey swear. If you don't think you have had an impression on anyone, you are wrong, if you don't believe me, try harder, go be part of other people's business, get all up in it, ask to come over for dinner (bring dinner and a bottle of wine) or beg them to go for a walk, drag them to a movie or your favorite restaurant.

Here it is, I am digging in, being nosey and asking the questions that most people do not mind answering.

I have a friend, she is family but I don't know exactly how but she is probably the same age as my mother if that is any indicator.  She has been there for me through some of the roughest times of my life. She is there for a lot of people and as it turns out, people are there for her. I am there for her. I think she is an amazing woman, mother, and friend. Jodi opened up to answer a few questions, enjoy!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and some current obsessions:  

I have pretty much lived my life to please others, which is a good thing. However, I am finding at this time in my life I am left wondering "what now." My biggest obsession is being a Mom and My son Luke and anything he is involved in (hockey).  I am the proudest parent that there is.  I have no regrets with how I have raised my son and the time that I have been able to spend with him. I have always put Luke first, not always a good choice as a Mother, but the way I chose.  Scott provided well for us so I was able to always be the one that is there for him when he left for school and there when he got home, and have been there for every hockey practice, doctors appointments, sick days, school presentations, talent shows, play dates, sleepovers, and the rest of his awesome life.  I worked hard so that I could look back on my life with him growing up and later not be able to say "I wish I would have been a better parent." You only have on shot at this and can fuck up a kid in a hurry.   I did it all and am so proud of the job I have done, and the time I have spent with him.   You can never get that back.  I am so so happy on the choices I made with Luke. I look forward to our future, and am getting used to him not leaning on me so much and am allowing him that, but want him to know that I am ALWAYS there for him no matter what. I am anxious for him to start his adult life, and can't wait to see the paths that he chooses. 

If you were stuck in a moment which would you choose? 
Back in time with my horse Cinder in Grandmas barn......Wish I could have Ozzy there too, because I would have two of my best friends together at the same time......Awesome.

Would you tell me a story from childhood? 

I spent a lot of time with your Mom, or at least it seemed like it.  I remember she was so shy, timid and would hide behind your Grandmas legs.  I was always outgoing and tried to push her out and bullied her a lot.  Not so much bullied, but tried to make her realize that most things she was afraid of were not going to hurt her.  I am not sure that was a good thing once we were teenagers, cause I think then, she tried to out do me, perhaps the things she chose to out do me on weren't the best.  Actually your mom and I have stayed very close through out the years and all the drama our family seems to attract.  I feel that she is my "way better than a Sister", if she was mine we wouldn't probably get along as well as we do and be able to say the things we do to each other.....However, I do consider her my Sister, in a way.
I went on a few trips on the Shawmanee and enjoyed the freedom and peace that came with it.   I grew up watching your Grandpa  building that boat and watched it being launched, and still to this day can't believe that boat floated.  I still don't understand.

That wasn't a very specific story, but probably the first most important to me.

The second most important thing from my childhood was my horse.

I had one of my horses since I was 3 and the best horse I had was around 12 years old.  Her name was Cinder, she was my best friend.  Horses are amazing animals.  I can stand here today and say I would not have made it through teenage years without my horse.  I talked to her, cried with her, slept with her and shared some of the best times of my early teens with my horse.  We didn't have the tech stuff there is now, I had a relationship with something that was real, eager to please and a pleasure to care for. Today I still love the smell of a good horse barn and petting a horse 'til your hand is brown with horse soot.   Once I was able to drive, of course I sold my horse to buy a car.  I had her bred and she had a young foal who I sold to a couple in Canada, I used to go see her weekly although she wasn't at the best of places, the foal died, a part of me also died.  I never went back and saw Cinder again.  Regrets, yes. But at know it all. I hope to someday have another horse and a connection like I did with her.  The area we lived in and having a horse was truly the most awesome part of my childhood. I kept the horse at Grandmas and was able to ride down the power line trail (no houses of course) to Lake Padden.  We would swim on our horses in the water, saddles and all. I rode some of the best trails ever, blackberry, huckleberry you name it we rode our horses, picked and ate. The happiest time of my childhood was with my horse Cinder. 

What provides comfort in your everyday?   

The best dog in the world....OZZY.  He is always there, goes everywhere with me, asks for little and is so happy. He is my every day constant comfort.
Occasionally, of course a GOOD glass of wine, a shot of Jaegermeister, or as experience has taught me a good expensive, Vodka. I have learned you get what you pay for as far as booze is considered, money counts.  However, do not share your good booze or wine with people who don't appreciate it, always keep some cheap shit around for the ones who don't care....Keep the good shit for yourself if you appreciate it.

What would be a dream come true? 

To be healthy and pain free.  I know there is something to learn from this, however it is getting old and so am I, there is shit I want to do, pain limits me.  I don't like someone telling me what to do or controlling me, unfortunately, this pain has had the upper hand too long.   I am learning how to better manage the pain but it limits what I can do.  I  just have to learn how to live for the time being between those limits and I am.

Ok can I have one more answer, or you should have asked this question, what would be your perfect job, if money is not an option?
I would have a Ranch with the gentlest horses in the world and have troubled teen girls come for 30-60-90 days or whatever they needed, live, home school and work while taking care of the horses.  It wouldn't be a easy cake walk for these girls, but I know I could help girls through the tough times in the teenage years that really suck.

What is the last great book your read? 
Oh my god, the one you sent me, Nora Ephron's, Why I Feel Bad About my Neck.  I needed the humor, I laughed till I cried.  She was a hoot and I like real people, and loved the book.  I have recommended it to everyone my age, and can't wait to read other of hers.

Jodi and I making my favorite caesar salad before we go to her son's hockey game.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Cookie

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. 
The only consequence is what we do.
  - John Ruskin

I have a few seriously irrational fears.  Some of the fears stem from terrifying reoccurring dreams which have plagued me since childhood the others are just irrational. Mountain sports scare me - totally irrational. 70 year old people ski - I am a fit 20 something, skiing should not intimidate me, but it does.

I don't like to go fast. Nope - slow and steady is my game. This is completely opposite from  my J, we are very different people - he can also eat his weight in cookies, I can't.

Skiing has never appealed to me, it actually scares me to even think about it. A handful of years ago I tried to ski and crashed on the first run, my body will never recover from that fall. I am mentally trying to overcome the fear that settled deep into my being from the experience. I am not one to live in the past, I am moving on, I moved on.

I overcame my snow fear this weekend on a ski trip to Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. This is one hell of a big deal in my little book.

See we go on ski trips, J wants to move back to a simple mountain town. I must get with snow program, he wants skiing to be part of his life and I cannot be scared for the rest of my days. Nearly all my friends get out there, play and enjoy the snow and I am not one to sit on the side lines regardless of my speed or abilities, I want to go play!

I did it. I survived two days of snowboarding, loved it, no broken body parts, no tears, humbled. I crashed, tumbled, slid into little kids, got passed by even smaller kids, fell getting off the chair lift every time, face planted off the chair lift in front of J, went home sore and tired.

I comforted my sore body with homemade chocolate chip cookies and beer. Totally worth it.

I like goals and accomplishments even more. Snow sports were on my "must do" list, I had to do it, it is done. I have several other goals that include physical feats that I yearn to tick off. Life is about striving balance and I do not feel that achieving these physical adventures without pushing the limits in all aspects of my life would leave me satisfied. I strive to be well rounded, not everyone wants to talk about outdoor adventures, sometimes even I want to geek out about baking bread and the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I can tell you that I find satisfaction in cookies as well as the latest epic ride.

Meet my new favorite cookie - the chocolate chip cookie - we are friends. I like them BIG, I only need one, you may need more, the size is engineered (did I really admit that I engineered something... gag) for textural differences, crispy on the outside with a chewy center, the few flakes of salt provide an unusual and welcomed zing.

I challenge you to do something you have been wanting to do, something that scares something that will be satisfying. Tell me about it and reward yourself with cookies because life is too short to be afraid and to pass up cookies. I know all to well about fear and passing up cookies - just do it already!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: The New York Times

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meyer Lemon and Cinnamon Scented Flan

I have this friend, even better folks - she is family, she is sweet like sugar, yep - she is mother - in - law, Mama B.

See Mama B. is a very passionate person. I love it. She is about as passionate as she is energetic, I enjoy spending time with her, she will run circles around me all day long then give me a massage after which she will sing you a song while playing her new ukulele. That really happens.

She is as talented as the day is long.

Mama B lives on a big ranch in the big 'ole state of Texas, I imagine she chases dogs, probably gets tussled by a few mutts and I hope she watches the sun set on the big open country sky.

She is fueled by her many passions which include....... none other but a deep and wide soft spot for caramel. She probably tastes like caramel if you lick her. Don't go lickin' her now!

Someday I will feature her secret technique for making caramel, I promise next time I am in the Lone Star State I will feature Mama B.'s special sauce.

The lady is gaga for the timeless sweet treat. GAGA. I can't look at anything that has caramel in it and not think of her. This makes it hard passing up caramel when it is around, just thinking about her getting excited about it makes me want to share in the enjoyment.

I made this flan for J and I. I wish I could have shared it with Mama B. the caramel would make her dance.

Besides caramel there is the subtle scent of cinnamon and lemon. J loves cinnamon, I love Meyer lemons. It works out.

The J and I both don't care for sugary treats late ate night, I will take a good night sleep instead.  Usually, we save desserts for the morning hours.

Flan happened this morning. Just sayin' - what did you have for breakfast?  Betcha not flan....

Since this flan is neither sweet nor heavy - I am going to go out on a limb and say flan is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Healthy eggs, whole milk, a little bit of sugar. Brain fuel. Just trust me on this one. It is a serious treat paired with coffee. Breakfast flan - I can see/smell the wheels turning! It is the next big breakfast rave because, honestly if I read about poached eggs on toast or toast with spinach and poached egg.... well there are plenty of good uses for eggs....

Meyer Lemon and Cinnamon Scented Flan
Adapted from Food and Wine
Makes 4 medium sized ramekins. Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for 2 days.
2 1/2 cups whole milk
Peel of  a Meyer Lemon
3 medium cinnamon sticks, broken
1 cup sugar 
1/4 cup water
5 large eggs 

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Set 4 ramekins or custard cups in a medium baking pan. 
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, lemon peel and cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes; discard the lemon peel and cinnamon stick pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook 1/2 cup of the sugar with the water over moderately high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat to moderate and let the sugar syrup simmer, without stirring, until a deep amber caramel forms, about 15 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into the ramekins, tilting them as necessary to evenly coat the bottoms.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, then strain through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup or a bowl. Pour the custard into the ramekins. Pour enough hot water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into a flan comes out clean. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let the flans cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the flans for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, run a thin knife around each flan. Top each flan with an inverted dessert plate and unmold, letting the caramel run over the flans. Serve at once.

 There you have it folks, breakfast eggs. Just brilliant eggs in sugar and milk! FLAN. Check out Kitchen Play for other great breakfasts featuring eggs and thank you American Egg Board for the idea!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creating Stories - Negroni - LOVE

This is not a Valentines story. I want to be very clear about this. I am extremely loved and taken care of on a daily basis. I want to keep it that way.

This, my friends, is a story about love, friendship, courtship and a long caring relationship that creates countless stories.

Oh yeah and a love potion - a cocktail  recipe like no other.

This is our anniversary.

The proximity to Valentines Day, was unintentional. Our wedding was in the middle of a road trip, on a Mexican beach, barefoot, with family surrounding us. It was simple, it was perfect. We were living out of "Goldie" the van, climbing and biking our way across North America with our trusty side kick of a dog.  His ring was purchased from a sweet little Mexican street vendor and my beautifully simple dress was found at a beach shop in a perfect little beach town.  It was love not fuss. It was a party, not once was it stressful. It was beautiful and I watched J cry and knew this is for real. 

These past few years have been amazing, full and meaningful. These past few years we have created wonderfully wild stories that we will tell our kids and then grandchildren. These stories will explain why we most likely will limp, have creaky joints, numerous scares and sun spots. Our bookshelves will be lined with first edition climbing guides and pictures of forest, oceans and trails. With relatively few married years that we have together our stories are deep and rich and I look forward to many more that lay ahead of us.  I have a new sparkly ring that sits next to the one given to me on the beach.  It signifies where we started and where we are going.
Love for me comes in the form of a red bearded, Irish Pop Eye, southern gentleman who can do ANYTHING.  I am inspired by his zest for the outdoors and his natural yearning to play outside. I try to keep up and I learn so much in the process. Our lives together has made me a better person and naturally a better athlete. He has learned patience because I like to move like a sloth while he darts around like a hummingbird. We work it out.

Our adventures, love, future plans that include more wild adventures are the things that make our lives meaningful together. We don't let things gather dust, continue to make exciting plans, and weekly dates as we battle through hardships and challenges but come out on top at the end of the day (or at least by the end of the week). We talk about having little ones some day.

Our love comes in the form of longing gazes across a crowded room, a passing kiss while moving about the house, faith and trust in each other and space to be ourselves.

We are a team.

We have it all. We have each other.

This is my love potion served as a small sip to start an evening.

Start with Campari, the bottle is sexy enough alone being Italian and all, a perfect ingredient for a love potion. Campari is considered bitters, which is a refreshingly simple infusion of fruits and herbs that is deep red in color. Campari is then mixed with gin and sweet vermouth at which point you get a Negroni, love potion. The Negroni is considered an apéritif, a pre-dinner cocktail intended to stimulate the appetite and/or love.


makes one cocktail

One part Gin
One part sweet vermouth
One part Campri

orange peel garnish
Combine ingredients in an iced filled shaker, shake until well chilled and strain into you favorite cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Go ahead and be stimulated for whatever comes your way and have a wonderful evening!

Shared with the Monthly Mingle hosted by Paulchen's Foodblog

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Cookies

So I made you some cookies.

Sometimes a girl needs chocolate - lots of chocolate. And cookies. This is the truth. I made the cookies for me but plan on sharing the simply brilliant recipe with you and sending the rest off to some of my favorite people.

Some times my brain hurts, it gets tired and needs fuel, I usually try to reach for some almonds or some green tea but today I reached for the cookies. First the batter, then an unfrosted cookie, some melted chocolate, then the final product. My brain needed chocolate cookie fuel, not health food.

It has been a long time since I have worked. Worked at a real job, one that gives you W-2's and that sort of thing. Time just seems to be slipping away. I have a sweet little life in which I do the things I love on a regular basis. I have my routines and it works, until it doesn't. At this point I usually make cookies for breakfast. Normal right?

Sometimes life throws sticks in my spokes and I crash. It is cool because I am learning how to properly crash, shake it off and get right back up, pedaling at full speed.

What do I have to show for all my time off? A new found love of writing, lots of time with the dog, bike rides, hikes, new recipes, books read.... good stuff. I haven't gone on any magnificent trips, learned how to salsa dance or took classes on photography or cooking or this self defense class that I have to take to fight back. Am I wasting my precious time or am I just truly being me? Am I getting soft?

It is one of those days, the point of rapture, I come up from my little bubble floating on a cloud and ask what it is exactly that I am doing. What do I have to show for myself?

Where is the line? At what point do we throw out our everything that we previously held to be true and try something totally different. Well, I am not a drastic person and this will never happen, so what do I change? I suddenly and slightly overwhelmingly feeling that I am going in the right direction but not at the right speed. The direction is nice, soft, pleasant and easy. I am one for things that make me feel good and satisfied, my life is wonderful right now but how could it be better?

Am I pushing myself to the fullest potential?

Do I just have the baby fever?

What do I do?

Here is the cookie recipe because now I probably made your brain hurt too.

It is Friday, have fun, eat a cookie or two, have a glass of champagne, be in love with something and someone, figure out my life, then lets talk.

Chocolate Covered Chocolate Cookies

Inspired by Joy the Baker

The dough needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours. This is science. It tastes better and is much easier to work with. I put mine in the fridge for 48 hours. The taste is spot on, between 2 and 48 hours will work. I formed the first batch into a log and sliced off disks. I would totally recommend rolling this dough out nice and thin (1/4 inch) and use a cutter of your choice.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 large egg

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, molasses and sugars until combined. Add the egg.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whip it, Whip it good!

Stop mixer and add the dry ingredients all at once.  Mix on low speed until all of the flour is incorporated, do not over mix.

Scrape the batter into a large Ziploc bag. Close the bag, leaving a, inch opening, smash the dough flat until it fills the bag. Seal the bag and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Once chilled, cut the bag off the dough, forming two flat rectangles. Place one half on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out cookies and place dough on prepared baking sheet. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven, allow to rest on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Melt chocolate in microwave until smooth, drizzle over cookies. Allow chocolate to harden before storing. Lick the chocolate spoon and cup clean.

Cookies will last, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to five days.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What you are COLD?

I have this bumper sticker on my fridge that says nice weather is for wimps - right next to my favorite picture in the entire world in my very favorite spot in the entire norther hemisphere that I have been to, also taken by one of my closest friends. This picture is a fixture in my life.

The picture represents everything healthy and positive in life.

CBS, my sister-in-law gave us the bumper sticker, it bears the county in which she lives. South Park County, CO. For real. A town in which I will probably never live in, they get snow in September, not that cool in  my book. The picture was taken on a birthday trip for my sweet friend B, we all went to Squamish, B.C. and spent they day playing on rocks. Back in the day when Squamish was still small enough, before the winter Olympics ravaged Whistler.

This is not a story about Squamish, I will save that rant.

This story's setting is east of the Cascades, a place where they hoard the sun from those west of the Cascades. For arguments sake, Washington is not the wettest state, I found the sunshine while still residing in the Evergreen State, needless to say, I gave up the whole evergreen tree thing.

I got up this morning with the greatest of intentions, a bike ride in the mentioned abundance of sunshine. If I am going to try and ride 200 miles in a day this summer I better get on my bike, according to my ubber athlete friend Steve, who has done it in a day and my squeeze (he would have to comfort the tears if I had to suffer two days). Well, this is what I thought as I peeled open a book and sipped on coffee this morning.

A bike ride, huh... sip sip sip.

*door bell*

Fully decked out in my riding clothes I received a package from the cute little UPS delivery man. I love packages and the UPS man. He shivered as I signed the little hand held something or other. I saw white pillows as he exhaled. I was going to go ride my bike, I had my proper attire on. He must just be a wimp.... I have a race to train for and there is blue sky - what is so bad!?!

I made it exactly 19 minutes.... total.  I turned around at 10 minutes - which means I was in a hurry to get home. I was freezing -it was the sunniest day I have seen in the last week, hence the urgency of a bike ride but I was cold, freezing, pulling out of our parking lot. What ever happened to my better judgement in dressing myself with the pile of winter weather clothes that I just hauled from Bellingham?

I pulled a huge U-turn, mid road, and pointed to home with the intent of putting on 15 more layers and making the most of the entire day. I got home and needed more clothes, hot tea with caffeine, then a snack, 19 minutes of riding on a flat desert road  might have burned all of 5 calories and I was hungry. Geez, I had breakfast like 1.5 hours ago. I had lunch, then polished off the bag of tortilla chips and fell asleep on the floor - in my bike clothes. I had a spare tube in my back pocket that made sleeping on my back a problem, so I laid on the floor face down. Thank goodness J didn't pop in, there I lay, asleep on the floor, face down, kitchen a mess, bike in the entrance. It happens every now and again.

I woke, rested and ready to - um - go experience the richness of the Tri Cities by wine tasting in warm little estate vineyard tasting rooms not ride my bike. I went to the kitchen for the 100th time that day for a little after nap snack. I might not need to ride my bike because I could consider the trips to my kitchen a work out in its self.

Then I saw it - that damn bumper sticker, reminding me that weather cannot run my life. Then I thought about a recent conversation about the total bliss of being outside and playing, that I had with a new friend, then I thought about an old friend and that at one time I decided to take another woman up on the offer to climb Mount Stewart in a day. I thought of sleeping with my feet in a back pack while laying on a climbing rope for insulation because a day was, well, a day.

I was afraid of a cold road bike ride - really?

I put on those extra layers and put my bike back on the pavement and rode off into the daylight.

For goodness sake, "nice weather is for hairspray and careful shoes."

May you always have blue skies in your minds eye.

Can you spot my open mouth breathing and big ears? B's squint? Bry's attentive glaze? Sam's easy attitude? J's amazing biceps?  I love these people.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Spend a few hours with my dad and you will understand that he is a meat eater, he has discovered cooking, uses fresh herbs, grows beautiful flowers, decided to get a gym membership, and is a changed man. Is presence is strong but increadibly gentle and he can put a smile on your face if you are keen to his sence of humor.

We love my dad. I will tell you more about him someday, he is living proof that people can and do change for the better. He is a good man with a powerful story. I am glad to know that he is 1,000,000% more likely to be around to play with his grand kids someday.

Dad makes me seafood every time I visit, he has kind of picked up on the fact that even though I am of his blood (and married to a Texan), I don't like meat - except for seafood in which case I will probably be the first one to the table to eat, the last one to leave and consume more than everyone. It is kind of freaky.

Give me shellfish, salmon, halibut, squid..... and watch me get excited. Now that we live 300 miles from my parents house on the sea, I hold out for seafood until I am home and my dad has something fresh waiting for me. Our last dinner together we had salmon, fresh clams and clam chowder.

On my last trip to my home town my dad and I made a couple dozen crab stuffed mushrooms. Honestly, he made them, I took pictures. Things work out like that. Earlier in the week he used this same recipe to make crab cakes, with just a few tweaks, the crab mixture made good friends with the mushrooms.

 Crab Cakes

The crab mixture is better if it rests in the fridge for a couple hours. You could make the crab mixture up to a day in advance.

12 large mushrooms, stems removed 
olive oil to coat

1 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt  
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons grated Romano cheese 
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 cups crab meat

Toast 1 cup of bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy pan. Let cool. This step can be done in advance as well.

Turn the oven's broiler on. 
Clean 12 large mushrooms and remove the stems. Coat the the clean mushrooms lightly in olive oil, about 2 tablespoons. Place the mushrooms stem side up under the broiler for a couple of minutes until they are juicy with liquid pooled up, about 7 minutes.

Drain the mushrooms on a paper towel or cooling rack. Turn the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl mix all ingredients together (besides the olive oil coated mushrooms - you are making stuffed mushrooms!) see head note. Place the drained mushrooms back on the baking sheet. Divide the crab mixture between the 12 mushroom caps. Pile high! Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over each stuffed mushroom.

Bake for about 25 minutes, the bread crumbs should brown ever so slightly.

Get 'em before they are gone!