Thursday, August 28, 2008


I found one of the doves outside last night and I couldn't interpret what this look meant...

But, I think I know what this one meant....

"You've killed my child, prepare to die..."

Images of the Hitchcock film, The Birds flashed in my mind. I opted to go inside.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


We planted tomatoes this spring and our crop is finally producing mass quantities…we can barely keep up. And, we should have some tomatillos in the next month…perfect for making my Posole. With our recent harvest, I made some good use of my tomatoes. First off I made some Pico de Gallo which I could eat right out of the bowl. For dinner last night, we had Roasted Trout. Summer may not be my favorite season, but it’s my favorite time of year for produce.

Pico de Gallo

1 pound plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
6 tablespoons (packed) chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl; toss to blend well. Drizzle olive oil to taste to add richness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at least 30 minutes for flavors to develop.

Roasted Trout with Tomatoes, Shiitake Mushrooms and Ginger

Nonstick cooking spray
2 whole rainbow trout (about 12 ounces each), cleaned, boned, butterflied

2 green onions, chopped
2 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons Ponzu
2 teaspoons dark roasted sesame oil
Fresh cilantro sprigs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Open fish like a book and arrange, skin side down, on prepared baking sheet.

Mix next 5 ingredients in bowl. Sprinkle mixture over fish, drizzle with the Ponzu and sesame oil, then top with cilantro sprigs. Bake uncovered until fish is opaque in center, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


So this weekend, we headed to my cousin Tina’s house for a BBQ. She lives some 40 miles from me in the foothills of Northern California. For fun, Craig decided to cycle and meet me there. Let me repeat that…

FOR FUN…Craig decided to cycle and meet me there. Whatever...

FOR FUN…I decided to drive there with cocktail ingredients in hand; Absolut Citron,Triple Sec and lemons.

Once I arrived, I immediately took possession of the martini shaker and proceeded to knock out a few drinks. Cocktails happily in hand, we joined the fellas (my cousin’s husband Rick and their friend Larry) in the living room. For some reason, they were watching a 10 year old James Bond movie. You know, the one where Denise Richards was the nuclear physicist named Christmas Snow. Or was it the one with some other hot chick cast as the brainiac. Does it even matter?

As the drinks continued, we made our way to the pool and chatted while the guys cooled off with a swim. At some point, Tina and I headed back to the kitchen to skewer kabobs and make more drinks… Eventually, Larry’s wife Susie showed up and she was promptly handed a martini. She had some catching up to do.

The guys joined us back in the house and we all started to wonder when Craig would make it up here…and then we saw him coming down the hill. So, all of us liquor lubricated nuts made our way outside to jump up and cheer. Kind of a low-rent Tour De France… The guys went up to welcome Craig and commented; “You look so…bicycle-y.”

When we settled down to eat dinner, my 70 year old aunt joined us. And since the rest of us were in such good “spirits”, she quickly picked up on our energy. However, at some point, the topic of sex came up and my aunt made sexual comments about her daughter and son-in-law (Tina and Rick) and then asked some sex question of Rick. And then there were some other gnarly sex words that came out of her mouth but all I could see were her lips moving in slow motion...

(Insert index fingers into ears and shake your head back and forth while chanting, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA”…LOUDLY.)

I looked at my aunt and said calmly, “You need to stop talking now. And no more vodka for you…You have lost your dinner talking privileges.”

If you ever need to sober up…QUICKLY, just have your parents or someone in that age vicinity attempt some sex banter. It’s against the laws of nature…

Friday, August 15, 2008


As many of you know…I have had the sincere pleasure of having Tanya as my cubicle neighbor at work for nearly two years. And in that time, she has become one of my dearest friends; the source of a guaranteed laugh on those rough days. She’s been gunning for a promotional position and was offered and ultimately accepted a promotion to work in a city an hour outside where we live. And although I am totally thrilled that she got the job she wanted, I have been in a bit of denial that she won’t be a part of my “everyday life”. And I have bigger issues than just her lack of presence…

Who is going to partner with me in our utter contempt of Brangelina…okay, mostly just Angelina because we are still on Team Jen (even though we are still confused about the whole John Mayer thing)?

Who am I going to obsess with at 8:00 in the morning about our lunch plans? It does after all; take SEVERAL hours to decide what we will do. Because THIS is the most important decision of any day… We once spent the greater part of a day trying to find a restaurant that served authentic German potato dumplings. Doesn’t everyone? (By the way, we are still looking)

Who else other than me thinks that when people are whispering within earshot, they MUST be talking about us? Isn’t it ALWAYS about us?

Who else, other than me believes that every shampoo, hair serum, conditioner, gel, whatever purchased is going to magically turn our natural curly, frizzy hair into that of the “Oh, Great Evil One”…that bitch, Angelina. It never happens, but we continue to purchase our little “bottles of hope” despite our track record. Damn you Angie!!!

Who am I going to share all of my Jerry Lee and Nadine stories and have the other person actually show interest? Most people give me the standard patronizing, “Oh wow, really?” Kind of the same response I give when people tell me stories about their children. Brutal honesty.

And on the topic of children, who else other than me finds it completely reasonable that there be segregation of adults and children for almost every activity (especially Disneyland)? As we have both said, our tubes tie themselves on the first note of a child’s wail. Why pretend? After all, Tanya is my only friend that was selfless enough to not ruin MY social life by having a child. Thank you.

Who else, other than me, wants to kidnap David Duchovny and hold him as our personal sex slave for eternity, or until the novelty wears off…whatever comes first.

Who else, other than me, thinks vodka is a food group? Shut up…yes it is!

Who else other than me thinks the most perfect evening consists of sitting our ass, with our dogs, on the sofa, a TiVo fully loaded with Forensic Files and a cocktail in hand?

Who else other than me can find the humor in almost ever situation and in some situations where perhaps we should not…? Unless the situation is detrimental to us…then, not so funny.

And, there are very few people other than Tanya that can completely relate to my relationship with my dysfunctional parents (especially our contentious relationships with our mothers), always listen, never judge and make me laugh despite the utter seriousness of the situation. She is part of a network of friends that have filled in those family relationship gaps and created a family that is there of choice, not obligation.

So, it is with great sadness that I accept the inevitable…

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This past weekend, my cousin and I got together to goof around and hang out with each other. Her husband, a Boy Scout troop leader was having an 8-hour training meeting at their home, so we needed to find away to occupy ourselves. We decided to head to the town of Folsom and check out their historic district (essentially, the tourist trap). God forbid, we were tourists…But years ago, my cousin and I both worked for my mom when she owned a shop there, so we had some connection to the place.

The main street

After browsing a few shops we made a lunch stop at a Mexican restaurant for fajitas and margaritas.

Hello, lover...

Afterwards, we ended up in the candy shop and spent some time there watching them make fudge and brittle.

And for our patience, we were rewarded with spoonfuls of fudge...

During our wait, we check out the the lovely lady making candy on the other side of the shop. We wondered how much a gig like this paid…how bad can life be surrounded by chocolate?

All and all a fun little outing…as usual with us two!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Well, I have been home sick the last two days and things were definitely beginning to look up and I was feeling so much better. But then, one of the bird fledglings attempted to fly and collided into one of the satellite cables, falling to the ground. Of course, Jerry Lee seized the opportunity. We got Jerry away in time and Craig, with gloved hands, placed the baby back in the nest. An hour later, on my way out to check on the darling, the dogs busted out from behind me and nearly knocked me over. They had seen the bird once again attempt to fly and fall to the ground. This time, we were unable to save him. He passed away in my hands; I felt so awful...we both did. And it is taking everything in my being to not want to knock Jerry Lee in the head with the heaviest cast iron pan I can get my hands on. While all this was going on, the mother bird was sitting on the telephone pole looking on... I felt like I had let her down and have this incredible sadness in my heart. This is the part that I hate when I become attached to any beings...loss.

Friday, August 8, 2008

bird watching

Jerry Lee recently found that we had a dove family living in our crab apple tree. After many "discussions", Jerry Lee has opted to stay away from our feathered friends. Smart boy. Last night I was finally able to capture a shot of mama and her baby.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

carb craving

Monday was my day off and it was devoted to chores and general putzing around. And such inactivity got me craving some carbs... Of course, we still do so with a healthy spin. For pasta we had Eden Foods Kamut Vegetable Spirals. I love these little devils.

Italian Sausage Marinara

6-8 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
1-large sweet yellow onion diced
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1-pound of sweet Italian sausage (not in casings)
1-pound of spicy Italian sausage (not in casings)
1-28 ounce can of Muir Glen chunky tomato sauce
1-6 ounce can of Muir Glen tomato paste
Sweet Marsala wine as needed
Sea salt
Fresh chopped Italian basil (as prefered)
Fresh chopped Italian Parsley (as prefered)
Freshly cooked pasta

(For the thinly sliced garlic…I have this convenient little gadget.)

Over low heat in a 4 quart sauce pan sauté garlic and onion in the olive oil until lightly caramelized. Break up sausage and add to garlic and onion. Cook until just browned. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook over low heat for an hour. If necessary, add Marsala wine one tablespoon at a time if the sauce is too acidic. Remove from heat and add basil and parsley. Before serving, taste and add salt if necessary.

Monday, August 4, 2008


We celebrated Craig's birthday on Sunday. We decided to stay home, make a great meal, consume some wine and not worry about the need for a designated driver. The menu was the birthday boy's choice and he requested halibut. However, since Craig is a master with seafood, I asked that he prepare the house seafood specialty. Normally this preparation is done with salmon or scallops.

Off I went on Sunday morning to pick up the halibut and run a few other errands. First stop was the local natural foods co-op. My plan was to stop at the Japanese food market for the halibut, but laziness started to creep in and I almost bought the halibut at the co-op. I decided to stay with my plan. Good think I did! When I got to Oto's, the halibut was $10.00 off a pound...normally in these parts, fresh wild halibut is $24.00 a pound and I got this for $14.00 a pound...awesome! Since I saved so much on the halibut, I decided to pick up some sashimi grade tuna to make an appetizer that would pair perfectly with a glass of bubbly.

Before Craig headed out on his birthday bike ride, he prepared the halibut. The preparation consists of garlic and ginger put through a garlic press, one thinly sliced dried Thai chili, fresh
basil, lemon zest, kalbi marinade and a sprinkling of brown sugar. We let that rest on the fish until we were ready to grill.

While he was out, I made the appetizer; Tuna Tartartinis with Avocado.

We placed the halibut on a disposable vented aluminum pan and roasted in our gas BBQ on low heat with the middle burner off. The piece of halibut that we had was approximately one and a half pounds and took about 20 minutes to cook. We served it with brown rice...and of course, more wine. All and all, a great birthday!

Tuna-tinis with Avocado

3 tablespoons of Ponzu (citrus soy sauce)
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste
3/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 green onion finely chopped
8 ounces of sashimi grade tuna cut into 1/3 inch cubes
1 avocado, halved, pitted and cut into 1/3 inch cubes
black sesame seeds
green onion stalks

Mix the first five ingredients into a bowl to blend. Add tuna and avocado and gently fold into the dressing to completely coat. This can be done 2 hours ahead. Spoon into serving dishes or chilled martini glasses and garnish with sesame seeds and onion stalks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

friday night

I was reading Debby's blog yesterday and she had prepared a yummy looking dinner that included lamb chops finished with gremolata. And after that, I couldn't get it out of my mind. So after work, I headed to the store to pick up some items for the weekend and the gremolata was in the forefront of my mind. The store had some beautiful sirloins and of course, a few great wine deals. For my gremolata I added some basil from our garden along with the garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. I rubbed the gremolata over the steaks with some olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. The steaks rested at room temperature for an hour before we threw them on the grill. We served the sirloins with grilled corn in the husk and a nice bottle of Cabernet. Craig finished up the meal with his special dessert; the world's best chocolate sorbet finished with honey Greek yogurt, fresh blueberries and toasted coconut. We inhaled it and neglected to take a picture...sorry, next time...I promise. Thanks Debby for our dinner inspiration!