Monday, June 14, 2010

On gifts and ideas

I want you to know that I thought about you today.

The good times... like when we made up dance routines to Wham! songs in the eighties, and the bad... when you accidentally washed my Dr. Pepper chapstick with my Fido Dido Hyper color t-shirt rendering both useless.

No really, I thought about every person I know today. I thought about what I would make them if the occasion called for it, birthday, etc. I have a lot of excellent ideas, but I know myself well enough to know that some ideas pan out and go down in history and others pop loudly and fizzle out quickly like last year's piccolo pete. I wish that I could make you all matching outfits or paint your portraits or both but at this rate of production, I will be lucky to get each of you one good gift in your life times.

I hope that is enough.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Are you tired, run down and listless? Do you poop out at parties?

hello girls...

10 cents for anyone who can name the source of the title of this post. If you can, then we will be best friends forever I am sure of it. But I am the Ethel. I just have to be. Let's get together soon and gossip about Carolyn Applebee.

Next. If you are here looking for some wisdom I managed to scrape some up today totally by accident. Here it is. A long long time ago, or last week. Sharon, fabulous Sharon of Cupcakes and Cutlery, handed me this little book called Substituting Ingredients; The A to Z Kitchen Reference by Beck Sue Epstein. Now, I know what you are thinking... but stop thinking that and pay attention. This is important and here is why...

Today I had a headache. I was tired, run down... see above. This makes doing any task difficult at best. Cook dinner? Wait, what? Any other day I would send my husband through the nearest drive thru and call it good but today there happened to be a 4 and a half pound zucchini on my counter and it needed to be cooked. The giant telephone jokes had run their course and frankly, my husband didn't laugh the first time I held it like a rifle and marched like I was on night watch in the military. I purposely avoided putting googlie eyes on it because it was much too large for that. It was big enough to talk back and I did not want to encourage a personality. But what can I do with zucchini that is not just steamed mish-mash? Wait for it....

I consulted The Joy of Cooking and found a simple recipe for a zucchini casserole. Fine, good, this sounds simple, right? Well I guess, if you have all of the ingredients. But I had no sour cream or ground coriander because I am not an Iron Chef, I am not even a short order cook. No way am I going to leave the house to get this stuff. Nobody combed my hair today and I had a kool aid mustache. So what to do?, insert twiddling thumbs here.

And then I remembered the book...I had thought at the time that I would use it for all of those obscure ingredients that are present in most of the recipes that I tear out of doctor's office magazines. I was not thinking of it's practical everyday substitutions. Here I was with a monster headache and I just needed to make some food, nothing fancy, just simple, fast and tasty.

No sour cream? Well Carole, do you have greek yogurt? Yes, I don't know why, but yes, I do. And no ground corriander? or cilantro? Well how about a little dried parsley and lemon zest? Heck yes. No Monterey Jack? Well cheddar is like a cousin from your mother's side.

Done and done and I didn't even have to leave the house. Score. This book is a wealth of knowledge. Perfect for the thrifty or dare I say lazy (just me ladies, I can say that about me) cook. I was intrigued and saw that there were tons of great substitutions for all kinds of things. Saffron! Have you ever hmmmed and hawwed over a fourteen dollar bottle of saffron? Well, tumeric or marigold petals for color will do just fine in a pinch.

Check this book out, you will not be sorry. Especially if you really dislike going to the store at 5:30pm on a weekday.

p.s. I will be trying this out on a fancy recipe soon.

p.p.s. I love this book.

p.p.p.s. the cheese substitution categories in the book are the greatest. I buy a lot of cheese and I almost never have the correct cheese for a recipe. It is good to know who is related to who in the cheese family.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

First, I must apologize for the radio silence... Many things have happened that are just not funny and I just cannot bring myself to blog about them. I would rather not slather you all with the sticky peanut butter of my situation but as Billy Bragg says you gotta take the crunchy with the smooth when it comes to this life. So that is me lately... Well in a few lines anyway. I purposely left out the fact that I really love coca cola in styrofoam cups. I know! Terrible right? Geez I might as well just go and kick a dolphin while I'm at it. If it makes you feel any better I rarely partake in this guilty pleasure, mostly because only donut shops sell soda in styrofoam and I make it a point to steer clear of all donut shops. There is an excellent reason for this and it involves will power or lack thereof. One day I will tell you how iused to order donuts for imaginary people so as not to look like a piggy. But that is for
another day entirely.

I just wanted to check in and see what the weather was like over here in the sewing circle. Looks sunny. I'll check in when I feel funny which is not a lot lately.
Perhaps I should take into consideration what my father would think of me not
feeling funny. He's always funny... Even right now.

Dear Dad,
thank you for rolling down the stairs in front of all of my friends in high school. You are the funniest man on earth.
Love Carole