Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Piqued Pinterest

Okay, so when I first starting hearing about Pinterest, I pretty much ignored it.  Like so many people, my initial attitude was "Uhff,  I'm so busy as it is.  I don't need another internet "thing."  Then, I kept hearing about it, so I started asking questions.  Most of the time, I heard things like "it's a great way to get cute ideas" or "so many ideas!"  I started thinking, "So, this is some internet think tank where people are just batting around 'ideas' all the time?"  Finally, I just looked it up and requested an "invite" so I could check it out for myself.  (Isn't it interesting how the word invitation has been replaced by the simple invite?)

I received my official credentials and secret handshake instructions relatively quickly and began checking it out. 
I admit.  At first I thought it was way stupid.  So much visual clutter.  Seeing as how I am absolutely NO Martha Stewart, I knew a bunch of "cute" crafty ideas weren't going to benefit me. But, I told myself to shut up and keep my mind open.  Spent a few days looking, watching, reading, digesting.  And, I'm glad I listened to myself.  As I continue to learn how it works and have jumped in and started participating, I am really diggin' it.  In fact, I think my husband would love it, but twice I've brought it up and tried to explain it, only to be met with "Uhff,  I'm so busy as it is.  I don't need another internet "thing."  Oh well.

I'm still learning and figuring it all out, but I have to tell you, I love this damn site.  It's a crazy, brilliant platform.  And yes, I have seen some "cute ideas" that even I could pull off.  But, most importantly, I'm getting tons of cooking ideas and leads to other food blogs and websites that interest me.  The last few days, I've been almost obsessed by this site that I learned about via Pinterest, courtesy of my friend Ellen, "A year of slow cooking: 2008." This woman has some fortitude, to say the least!  

365 days of using her crockpot without repeating a single dish! And, as I've been scrolling through her dishes, I'm just overjoyed at all the "great ideas" I've gotten.  Crockpot cooking is awesome, especially when you learn to make something other than "stew."  I mean, that can mean any old mushy, soupy stuff, right?

The moral of this story is this: Pinterest is cool.  It is social media in a totally new way.  I love Facebook too.  And just fyi, I LOATHE Twitter.  

I use it because I have to since so many people like it and that's how you reach them.  I don't get their obsession with it.  I think it sucks.  I also hate LinkedIn.  I have a LinkedIn account, but I don't use it.  If you send me a LinkedIn request, I'll ignore it.  I'm not ignoring you.  I just hate LinkedIn.  Actually, I hate it more than Twitter.  So, if you want to interact with me, these are the best ways:  call me, email me, FB me, Pinterest me, or just invite me out for a drink.  

Wow, that was quite a tangent, huh?  And have you noticed my fondness for "quotation marks" today?  Anyway, if you haven't checked out Pinterest yet, I recommend you do.  If you need an "invite" let me know and I'll hook you up.  And as far as the "great ideas" I've gotten so far, I'm dying to make the bacon sour cream crockpot chicken recipe that I found on someone's Pinterest board.  Once I do, I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Girl Scout Cookies are Rollin' into Town!

Yes, it's that time again.  This is the Vivver's first year as a Daisy Scout, so it's our first experience selling Girl Scout cookies.  I'm proud of her (as usual).  She set a goal to sell 100 boxes; she sold 130.  I told how to approach people and what to say when they opened the door; she did.  This weekend, our troop will receive our cookies and begin delivery.

Caramel Delites, Peanut Butter Patties & Lemonades

It got me thinking...what is it about Girl Scout cookies that everybody loves?  Is it actually the cookie?  Is it the philosophy of helping young girls gain self-confidence and business sense?  Is it seeing the girls in their uniforms that have become so iconic?  Is it just the fact that it's become a piece of Americana?  I mean, the cookies are good.  But it's not like they are the most spectacular cookie on Earth, but we love them more than any other cookie I think.  I believe it's all of the above.  I don't think I've ever met a person who has said, "Man, I hate Girl Scout cookies."  No, in fact, when they go on sale, people practically dance in the streets.  We buy from mulitiple Girl Scouts.  And during the rest of the year, we ask, "When is it Girl Scout cookie time?"  And , we ALL say, this time I'm going to buy a lot so I can put them in the freezer.  Yeah, right.  We all know, no matter how many boxes you buy, they never make it to the freezer.  Never.

So, this weekend Viv and I will be busy delivering our orders.  Thanks to all of you who helped her meet and exceed her goal.  She's one proud little Daisy Scout indeed!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chicken: back en vogue

Well, my funky chicken funk seems to have lifted.  Thank goodness because I have a freezer full of it and it's probably the most versatile meat on Earth.  I took a chicken break and focused on other proteins for a week or so.  This little mini-vacation from our fine-feathered friends did this wanna-be some good.

On Monday, I took out a package of chicken to defrost.  (Luckily, I did myself a favor when I bought this last batch and trimmed all the yuckiness off before I packaged them in twos and sent them to their chilly waiting room. I HATE trimming chicken, but it must be done!) What I forgot about was that these last chicken breasts that Aldi had on sale were from the largest chickens on the planet.  I grilled them both but only used about 2/3 of one of them for my ham & chicken penne.  

On Tuesday, I looked in the fridge and the proverbial lightbulb went off.  Right there on the shelf was the rest of the grilled chicken and a Tupperware of spaghetti noodles.  Oh yeah...we're going back to the 50's.  You guessed it; chicken Tetrazzini.  I can't even remember the last time I had this dish.  I'm not even sure if my mom ever even cooked it for us as kids.  Hmmm, have I even eaten this before?  Well, it didn't matter 'cuz I was making it.

Shazam! You know when you just feel like having a hot, creamy, gooey casserole?  This is it.  It starts with a roux, as all good sauces do.  Then, broth and wine.  Can't ever <EVER> go wrong with wine.  Onions and mushrooms.  I added peas.  Noodles. Hot oven.  As Gordon Ramsay would say, "Chicken Tetrazzini:  Done!"

It was, in a word, fantastic.  I put the mushrooms in for Neil, which he greatly appreciated. I do like the flavor they impart, just not actually eating them.  The wine not only flavored the sauce, but perfumed it.  The peas added a little splash of color and sweetness.  I was just so delighted with how well it turned out.  And, it was a perfect use for leftover chicken and noodles.  So, the lesson is this...next time you're grilling chicken, grill a little extra.  When you're making spaghetti, cook extra noodles.  Then whip up a Tetrazzini and wow your fans!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do "Bodacious" and "Brussels Sprouts" belong in the same sentence?

Why, yes.  Yes, they do.  I recently discovered this.  And I feel compelled to share it with you.

I didn't grow up eating Brussels sprouts.  Now, why is it that anyone doesn't grow up eating something?  It's because your mom doesn't like it, therefore...  So, years later I met Neil and he introduced me to these little trial-sized cabbages.  I love 'em.  I've gone from simply steaming them to an elegant salad with spicy candied pecans and blue cheese.  They are way more versatile than most people realize, I bet.  

So I had a bag of them in the fridge the other day and was thinking all day about what to do with them.  So far, I haven't been real successful getting the Vivver to eat them and like them.  Finally, I ended up on www.MyRecipes.com. I scrolled through all the recipes and ended up at the bottom of the page where the "Community Recipes" appear.  These are ones submitted by regular ol' people like you and me. And there it was.  "Bodacious Brussels Sprouts."  I had to click on that and read on...

Long story short, the creator of this preparation wasn't kidding.  In short, they were incredible.  Roasting them gave them that rich, nutty flavor while the sauce just added the extra pizzazz.  Bodacious author, my hat's off to you lady.  I am forever grateful for finding this recipe.  This will definitely be my regular Brussels sprouts recipe.  I've been craving them ever since!  As for the Vivver, well, we'll keep trying.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hungry Ladies Who Lunch

I had the great pleasure recently to meet up with my food-lovin' blogger friend Laura, -aka- The Hungry Lady. Laura is significantly younger than me, but she tolerated a lunch date with me nonetheless!  It was great to spend some face-to-face time talking about restaurants, her New Year's resolution to start cooking, and other food/wine stuff.  But, more importantly, I got to know more about her besides her love of food.  If you haven't read her blog, do yourself a favor and check it out. 

So, on to the food.

We met at MoMo's Bistro on Devine Street.  I had not been to MoMo's in years and never for lunch.  This was Laura's first time there ever.  The lunch menu was impressive.  Upscale sandwiches, deliciously described salads, a lobster quesadilla.  Laura chose the fish tacos and I opted for the French dip.  I'll start with Laura's...

Let me start with a familial aside.  My father hates tilapia.  I mean, HATES it.  He's sick of hearing the name, sick of seeing it on every flippin' menu, sick.of.it.  So, I couldn't wait to report back to my dad that MoMo's fish tacos are made with a real fish...Grouper.  When the plate arrived, all that I could utter was "wow, how pretty." 

The Hungry Lady sez "Yum Yum"
 It was a fantastic presentation.  Bright purple cabbage, beautifully grilled fish, bright green lime.  While I didn't taste, Laura said these were some of her favorite fish tacos and that the fish was cooking to perfection.  Thumbs up.

My choice sounds as boring as they come.  But, this sandwich will change your mind. What really caught my eye and convinced me that a French dip was in order was that it's made not with sliced roast beef, but with POT ROAST.  Hello?  Is this mike on?  Can you hear me in the back?  POT ROAST.  I have never seen this nor has it ever occurred to me to use this type of roast beef on a sandwich such as a F.D.  Sheer brilliance!  The meat was tender, juicy, flavorful...in a word, perfect.  But that's not all.  It was topped not with a food service-grade bland provolone or swiss. No, no.  MoMo's tops this baby with gruyere.  As it arrived at the table, it just looked dreamy with this soft, fresh hoagie roll with gooey, melty cheese cascading over that awesome meat.  And wait, there's more.  The French dip always comes "au jus."  For those of you who didn't major in French, this means "with juice."  (Ha Ha...I bet you figured that out when you were about 6, right?).  Well, it's been my experience that usually the jus is a sidecar filled with some run-of-the-mill beef broth.  This jus blew the doors off any French dip I've ever had.  Seriously.  Rich, deep flavor that just added that ideal finishing touch to this beautiful sandwich.  

I forgot to mention the fries..homemade and awesome!

So, folks, the bottom line is this.  I really like MoMo's for lunch!  I had a great meal, I got to learn more about a bloggie-friend who I really admire and I got to spread the word to you fine people.  Make a lunch date and enjoy!
Momo's Bistro on Urbanspoon
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