{December 28, 2010}   Breaking the Law

I broke the law last night. It was awesome.

You see, I went to my first ever professional football game last night to watch the Falcons play the Saints. I’m not really into football, but when I got free season tickets with my new Kia, I promised G that I would go to at least one game with him. Last night was the night. I was dressing for the game in the appropriate colors and paring my normal purse/wallet down to just an ID, check card, cash and my trusty knife when G mentioned that they pat you down before you enter the stadium. Knives aren’t allowed.

What was I going to do? I couldn’t go in there without protection. That would go against the grain of my very nature. I mean, this was uncharted territory, after all. And then it hit me. I traded out my usual Stiletto for a small, but sharp knife that could fit, quite undetectably, in my bra. It wasn’t ideal, but if push came to shove it would get the job done. Whew. Crisis number one averted.

We got to the stadium, my knife made it through the pat down (see, I told you I broke the law), we found our seats and our first beers were ingested. So far, so good. With thirty minutes to go before kickoff (look at me using football vernacular!) I decided to refill our beers. Leaving G in our seats I navigated my way alllllllllllllll the way around to where the good beer is sold, purchased two and started negotiating my way through the crowded hallway.

Aside: Football fans, it seems, are not the laid back enjoyable, respectful of others’ personal space people that I am used to at Major League Baseball games. Nope. They are a horse of another color entirely. They are loud, raucous, oblivious, assholes (sorry, but it’s true) with no regard for the personal space (or feet or beer or boobs or elbows) of others.

I had almost made it back to our section safely when WHAM! Out of nowhere some dick going in the opposite direction crashes into me, slopping beer from my cups all over the front of my shirt and didn’t even look my way, much less apologize. Shit. I was pissed. (Those with delicate sensibilities avoid the next paragraph)

“Nice one asshole, you just spilled my fucking beer, god damnit!!!” I yelled.

He ignored me. Double shit. It’s ON. I stopped in my tracks, turned and kicked the ever living shit out of his knee. I then walked on to the sounds of “What the fuck?” from the douche bag and “Wow” and “Oh my God did you just see that?!” from several onlookers. Ah, sweet victory. Guess I didn’t need that knife after all.

Moral of the story: Don’t get between a girl and her beer if you want to keep your knees.

G was both shocked and impressed when I returned to our seats with that little tale. Sadly, this was the most exciting part of my night. I can see why some people might find football exciting at times, but it’s really just not for me. I’ll stick to baseball and Turner Field where I can relax and cheer and heckle and speculate til my little heart is content. I miss you baseball season. Come back soon.


{December 20, 2010}   Crazy Christmas Confessions

It’s Christmas week and work is slow and I have no motivation to do any actual work. What does that mean for you? You get to enjoy (or not) the random thoughts whizzing around in my cranium.

1) It’s totally embarrassing, but I want to go see NKOTB when they come in June. I feel like I owe it to my 12 year old self who didn’t get to go back in the day. I’m pretty sure I can still do the New Kids Dance. If not, I can totally fake it…with style.

2) I’m having a fudge making extravaganza at my house tonight with one of my besties Lauren Gilstrap. Top that. (Yeah, I totally just used the word bestie. Suck it).

3) I went to Young Harris College and even though I’m not an involved alumnus, there is something about that school, those people, those moments that will never really leave me. When I think of my time there and the friends I made and have made through those connections over the years my heart is full of laughter, happiness, loss, and bittersweet memories; but it is full none-the-less.

4) I’m going to catalog all of the books I read next year because I’m curious to see how many there are. I wish I had kept track this year. Actually, I wish I had been keeping track since I learned to read, but I guess I didn’t have that kind of forethought as a five year old.

5) Our Christmas Wii has arrived. I like Wii Boxing. It’s fun to hit stuff and it wears me out. I’m not half bad at it, either. I coulda been a contender!

6) I’m glad that my mom taught me manners. Some people just don’t have them and it sucks. For example, my great aunt tried to give me back the Christmas present I got her this year (wine) because she didn’t like it. Rude.

7) As much as I like other people’s dogs I think deep down I’m a cat person. My little Chesbo the Cheetah is getting skinny and I’m obsessing over it.

8) It is my observation that total strangers are more offended when you curse at them at Christmastime than they are regularly. (I’m looking at you man who nearly backed into my grocery cart at Publix yesterday and got an earful of cleverly constructed curses.)

9) Smacking is the worst thing in the world. I mean it. If I have to sit and listen to another person smack all freaking day I am going to lose it. I’ll be like Steve Buscemi in Billy Madison lying on my couch making a list of people to kill. UGH. If you have children, please for the love of all things holy (you know, like vodka and chocolate and kittens) teach them to chew with their tiny little mouths closed.

10) I think our sense of smell is wicked cool. Particularly scent memories. It’s probably my favorite thing ever.

What kind of random stuff is in your head today? Go on, entertain me.

{December 12, 2010}   33 Years in the Kitchen – Week 24

Tonight heralded yet another successful meeting of the gay-straight alliance (aka dinner with Lauren and Melissa). Lauren and I planned a decadent feast earlier in the week: Gouda Fritters (recipe from South City Kitchen below), Turkey Meatloaf (man I wish I could remember where this recipe came from, but I’ve had it forever also below), Potato-Mushroom Pie (thanks Martha Stewart), mixed salad, Salted Caramel Ice Cream (the ever present Cooking Light) and wine wine wine. I know these recipes sound intense and labor intensive, but you can make all of them ahead of time!

I made the ice cream and turkey meatloaf (up to the point of baking) on Saturday. Saturday was a wasted day anyway, as I felt like poop on a stick. The Gouda fritter dough and mushroom pie were put together Sunday morning which meant all we had to do when our guests were here was bake and fry and drink wine!

Everything was completely delicious. We are all stuffed like pigs and totally content. I hope you try some of these recipes. The meatloaf is one of my winter staples and I’ve enjoyed the Gouda fritters for years at South City Kitchen. Thanks to their Linger and Learn program I can now have them in my very own home!!

Stone-Ground Grit and Gouda Fritters

1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Gouda cheese, shredded
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup cooked grits

1) Mix milk and eggs together, add grits and mix until smooth.
2) Mix dry ingredients and toss in cheese to coat.
3) Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until thick and smooth.
4) Let rest at least one hour, but ideal several hours in the fridge.
5) Heat oil to 350 (in a deep fryer or a cast iron skillet)
6) Drop batter in by spoonfuls and fry until golden brown.

Best Turkey Meatloaf

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 lb portobello mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped in a food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
1/3 cup 1% milk
1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 lb ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)
1/3 cup parmesan

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.

Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey, parmesan and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)

Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.

Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. I really, really did. And, there’s nothing like Salted Caramel Ice Cream to really finish off a meal.

{December 10, 2010}   33 Years In the Kitchen – Week 23

You guys already know that I like cheese. You already know that I have THE BOMB book club. You also already know that I am borderline obsessed with Cooking Light. What happens when these three things are combined? No, not Captain Planet. Deliciousness. That’s what happens. Let me give you a little rundown from last night (and the links to several awesome recipes):

Last night was our combined November/December Holiday Potluck Book Club meeting. Now, normally I abhor potlucks. You know, all of those strangers with unwashed hands and dirty kitchens and Hepatitis and god knows what else, ew gross count me out. But this is different. I know these girls. They are clean. They wash their hands. AND…they can cook! Famous in her own right Rouxbarb had the awesome idea to enable my addiction by suggesting that everyone make a new recipe out of cooking light for our meeting. Here’s what our menu looked like:

Oh, and don’t forget the hooch: white wine, champagne and decaf coffee with irish cream and butterscotch schnapps!

All of the dishes were fabulous and we ate and drank and told stories and chatted until our hearts were content. There was a bit of book talk and a new book was chosen and as we merrily traipsed out the door it really, truly felt like the holidays!

A few weeks ago I found a lovely surprise in the envelope of my credit card statement (I know, I know, that sounds counter-intuitive) – a booklet saying I had a ton of credit card points and a link to a site where I could redeem them. Sweet! I didn’t even know I had credit card points.

While browsing through the online catalog I kept returning to the same entry over and over again: the 1 1/2 quart Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Hrm…ice cream, eh? I DO love ice cream. I DID grow up eating homemade ice cream. This might just be the thing for me. So I ordered it, it arrived, I made ice cream and boy am I happy!

I figured plain old vanilla would be the best for a first experiment (and my folks were coming over and Dad is partial to vanilla) so I Googled “Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe.” I’m not sure where I found this one, but it was super easy and quick and way delicious.

Simple Vanilla Ice cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/8 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Mix milk and sugar on low speed with a hand mixer. Add in the cream and vanilla and mix briefly. Pour mix into ice cream maker and voila, ice cream.

Mom, Dad, G and I all enjoyed this simple treat and I will SO be making ice cream more often. I’ve already spied some lovely recipes on the Cooking Light website, so get ready for some frosty deliciousness in the future.

et cetera