Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Green Slime and Cyanide Cider
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Remember that guy or girl in ninth grade who dumped you for your best friend? It's kinda like that.
Or what about that nice guy you worked with for ten years who turns out to be selling secrets to the Chinese? Kinda like that, too.
Mr. Crip doing a little drive-by in Mr. Blood's 'hood? ....yeah like that.
The prodigal returns...except not in a good way. Not to repair the damaged relationship, but instead to break it some more.
What ever way you look at it--Brett Favre returning to Lambeau Field in a purple jersey is just wrong, wrong, wrong. You know it has to be a wrong of epic proportion if Bob Harlan isn't even going to WATCH the game.
The greatest player ever, the storied Green Bay franchise, the amazing 16 year road, with all its twists and turns....should be adding up to a fairy tale ending, not a bubbling cauldron of hurt and animosity. It didn't have to be this way and there is plenty of blame to go around on all sides. I don't think we'll ever sort out the "who did/said what to whom" part of this drama. The reality is that the NFL is a business--a high-stakes one--run by human beings with big egos, agendas, and plain-old human failings. It is just sad that this is what it has come to.
So, is Brett going to be cheered then boo'ed when he comes out of the tunnel? Boo'ed only? It will be interesting to see what happens. My primary care physician tells the story of when he was a student at Michigan and Bush the Elder came to speak....all the students stood and turned their backs to him. I kind of like that expression of displeasure.
Let's hope the Bad Brett shows up--the one that throws all those interceptions, and not the Good Brett that seems to pull something out at the very last second to save the day.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This is totally embarrassing.....my last post was over a month ago! I swear there is some cosmic phenomena that is deleting hours from the day.
This is the scene in the front window--the pumpkin totem with spiders.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
It's Hatch chile time! I haven't been this excited about a food item for a while. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I use chiles in lots of stuff. The more, the hotter, the better--that's what it's all about here at Fartwood Manor.
It wasn't until our trip to Santa Fe a couple of years ago that we really discovered the awesomeness of green chile. I swear we ate green chile at The Plaza Cafe three of four times while we were there. Sure, we like the chile verde at El Burrito Jr., but there's nothing quite like a bowl of green chile made with Hatch chiles.
Hatch chiles are basically Anaheim chiles (with a little of hybridization over the years) that have been grown in Doña Ana county in New Mexico. Hatch is a town about 40 miles north of Las Cruces and is said to have the best chiles. It is sort of like the appellation of grapes used in wines in France: this grape grown in this area makes this type of wine. And like in France, it is the terrior that provides the magic that makes Hatch-grown chiles the best. So when I saw a post on Chowhound about Hatch chiles being available in SoCal I knew I had to get me some.
A few weeks ago, Bristol Farms had a big Hatch chile promotion sponsored by Melissa's, the specialty produce distributor. They were going to be selling and roasting chiles at the Manhattan Beach store. I know, I know....it doesn't get any more gringo than getting chiles at Bristol Farm in Manhattan Beach, but you do what you have to do....how bad could it be?
The roasting time was from 4-9 pm, so I got there right around 4 and there were a few people already in line. There was an area in front of the store set up with the roasters and tables where they offered some pre-roasted chiles. Melissa's also gave out CDs and recipe cards. Just before I got there, they had fired up the roasters and promptly set off the sprinkler system....DOH! So they had to move the roasters out from under the patio cover and because of that were running a little behind. That was OK with me, it gave me a chance to chit chat with the ladies in front of me who were originally from New Mexico.
The deal was if you wanted to have the fresh-roasted chiles...you had to buy the whole case--which was about 30 pounds. I think it cost around $35. That's a lot of chiles, but what the heck....The roasters were smaller than I thought they would be, but this way one case fit perfectly, so everyone got just what they paid for.
It took about 10 minutes total to roast the chiles. The air smelled so awesome! Kind of made your nose tingle a little bit too. On the way home, the aroma in my car was almost overpowering and lingered about 4 days.
OK...so I have 30 pounds of roasted chiles....now what?!?! "Who will help me peel these chiles said Mary-Wary?" Time to enlist Sous Chef Dale and get on with peeling and seeding. It took us about an hour to get it done. Rubber gloves are a MUST. Oh and don't rub your eyes, nose or ANYTHING--or you will be sorry!
After they were all peeled and seeded (for the most part!) I packed them into recipe-sized portions in Ziplocs and stuck them in the freezer.
We had a little green chile frenzy that weekend. First, I made chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce.
Next was a really great breakfast dish of eggs, chiles, sausage and cheese. Super easy to make and it just gets baked in the oven and voila! Instant yummyness. I love to cook, but I really hate to make breakfast stuff--this one was so good I am definitely going to make it again.
I made some green chile cheeseburgers too, but they got scarfed down so fast I didn't have a chance to take a picture. Somehow, I have a feeling there will be another photo op soon. Once cooler weather arrives I will try to perfect my chile verde recipe and I would like to make a sauce of some kind. I will definitely be exploring some of these links I found on Chowhound: links A links B.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
You have probably heard by now that California is in a world of hurt due to a budget crisis. I don't want to get into a long story about the why or how it happened, but it pretty much boils down to: more money is going out than is coming in. When that happens, you gotta start spending less money.
Terminator billboard on Half Dome
White and Day Death Valley
Fresh Step Kitty Litter presents Will Rogers State Beach
Red-Bull-Wood National Park
Banana Boat Aloe Vera Gel presents Joshua Tree National Monument
The Devil's Post-Fruity-Pebbles-Pile
Zales' Colma Gold Discovery Site at Marshall's Mill
Sucrets Mono Lake
The Southern California Edison Reddy-KiloWatts Towers
Yoplait-semite National Park
Shasta State Park (no name change necessary!)
Morton Salton Sea
Burger King's Canyon National Park
KCBS-TV Channel 2 Islands
Kraft Catalina Salad Dressing Island
Manzanar, presented by Toyota
Rio Honda Park (no name change necessary)
Malibu Barbie State Beach presented by Mattel
San Onofre State Beach presented by the NRC
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Forty years ago today, I sat at a picnic table at Potawatomi State Park in Wisconsin and watched as Neil Armstrong left the lunar module and made the first human footprint on the moon's surface.
My family left Milwaukee that morning on a two-week camping trip around Wisconsin. My folks felt it was too important of an event to miss, so we brought along our portable tee-vee so we could watch the moon walk.
I grew up in a pretty "Space Race/New Frontier" sort of atmosphere: my birth year coincided with Sputnik's launch. The silver-y snow suit I wore as a toddler was a "space suit". I remember watching John Glenn's orbit and asking my mom a typical six-year-old's question: "How do they go to the bathroom?" (Answer: "They take a pill"....good one, Mom!). Many years later, I remember sneaking out of work, to a co-worker's van, in order to watch the first Space Shuttle liftoff. Even now, I find it exciting to hear the sonic boom of the Shuttle when it makes a landing at Edwards AFB.
Dale grew up in a aerospace family--his dad was on the team that designed and built the AESEP and ALSEP modules for the Apollo program, as well as taking part in the development of the Lunar Rover used in later Apollo missions.
How exciting that must have been, to be involved in such an historic endeavor? The South Bay (that's what the area where I live is called) is home to a number of aerospace companies. Sunday's Daily Breeze had a good article on what it was like back then, working on these early space programs. Everyone felt such a sense of duty and excitement.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Check out these awesome carrots I got at the Torrance Farmers' Market! I was so excited to get them home and prepare them. I thought it would be best to keep it simple, so I would be able to tell if there was any flavor difference between the three colors. All I did was toss them with olive oil, sea salt and some avocado honey (dark and robust) and roast them in the oven for 30 minutes. If you've never roasted carrots--please try it. You will love the deep, sweet, carrot-y flavor.
They were pretty good as carrots go, but I couldn't really taste any difference between the colors. The red carrot was only red at the surface--the inside was a dark orange.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Since the meats are all sold by the pound, you can just order what you want, in the quantities you want. I chose a pork rib, some brisket and a sausage. Since this was stop number one, I didn't want to get too overloaded. Rounded out with a little coleslaw and a devilled egg.
Everything was really good. The sausage was not fatty at all. Texas BBQ differs from other types of BBQ like Carolina or St. Louis style in that it is not served with a sauce. Most places have some sauce, but you have to add it yourself. It is all about the smoke and the meat in Texas.
Yes, Virginia, there really IS a jackalope.
Lockhart is the county seat of Caldwell County and boasts this ornate courthouse on the square in the heart of the city.
Next stop--Luling, home of the world-famous Watermelon Thump as well as home to City Market, another great stop on the BBQ trail.
City Market was a little different than Black's in that you actually entered the smokehouse to order your meat. Not as many side dishes either. No frills....the food comes on butcher paper and I had to go ask for a fork. Again, I had pork ribs and brisket--both good.
My dining companions finally perked up and had some good looking pork ribs too.
A local Luling artist transforms these pump jacks into works of art. There are something like 20 of them throughout the town. This one honors the Watermelon Thump.
This jack was in the back of a Dairy Queen.
Next stop--San Antonio....and The Alamo!
I've been a big fan of "King of the Hill" for many years. One of the recurring themes is that of The Alamo and how important it is to Texans. One episode, Hank Hill did an Battle of the Alamo re-enactment, and last season, Hank even made a backyard bar in the shape of the Alamo.
San Antonio's big event is called "Fiesta" and it was going on while we were there. That meant there were many events going on around town, including one that afternoon at The Alamo put on by The Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Because of this the visiting hours were shortened and we only got to spend a short time inside. Dang...I really wanted to see if there was a basement! We met one of the Sons of the Republic of Texas and chit-chatted with him for awhile. He sure knew everything there was to know about The Alamo and Texas in general. When we came back later that evening, we saw they had presented these wreaths, which were still on display.
The Riverwalk was pretty neat, but it too was the site of a Fiesta event, so we couldn't really experience it like we wanted to. That evening was one of the main Fiesta events--a Boat Parade-- and all the walkways were lined with reserved seating. One restaurant was selling a seat at a table for $75! We came by later and got to see a little of the parade from atop a bridge.
Since we couldn't hang out on The Riverwalk, we hopped a bus and went to El Mercado. This was another open air place with restaurants and shops and here too, was another Fiesta event...there were three stages with live music going on and the place was packed. We were pretty hungry by this time so we stopped at Mi Tierra Cafe. This place looked like a total tourist trap and I wasn't expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised with the nice dinner we had. This photo is only a tiny glimpse of the over-the-top decor going on inside.
When I go travelling, I like to stay in historic hotels, if I can. We chose The Menger for our stay in San Antonio. It has a great location-- "across the alley from The Alamo" and it was built in 1859. The lobby is gorgeous.
Here is a neat sign.
We had to head out back to Austin the next morning and we were all just too "touristed-out" to make any stops along the way. I had planned on stopping in New Braunfels for more BBQ and I guess Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum will have to wait for my next trip. San Antonio has a lot more to explore--we only scratched the surface.
We kept hearing "Y'all come back" and I'm sure we will!