Tuesday, March 31, 2009

it's coming!

I suppose I should be this excited about Easter but what my mind is really fixated on this week is baseball. Opening day is April 6 and although I am not going and I did not purchase "Extra Innings" this year (so I have no way of watching my beloved Detroit Tigers) I remain rather excited!

Opening Day in Detroit was always a treat despite the less than cooperative weather that Michigan could cook up for Spring. I have not been to Opening Day since we have moved from Detroit. It just doesn't feel right. What I think I miss most of all is going to games in Detroit in May and June when the weather is warm but not too hot. We usually sat in the cheap seats. Almost always we were early enough to watch batting practice and eat our fill of junk food at Johnny Rocket's. I can remember the feel of the sun on my face and the smell of a myriad of pork products wafting down from the concession stands. Then there was the game itself and my passion of keeping score. I have not the words.

Ok, so now I should think about Easter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

alternate morality and chicken with leeks and goat cheese

I am actually still cooking. I mean, a girl does have to eat during Lent. I am off sugar completely and actually not eating any starchy vegetables or any wheat products. I must admit that while I miss the comfort of carbohydrates, I do feel better off of the sugar. The trouble with me and sugar is that the more I eat of it, the more I want to eat of it. This probably means that I actually have a real problem with sugar, yes?

I often think that eating healthy and being "green" have become the new virtues that Americans recognize publicly. I am somehow stuck in the Victorian age where you can indulge in food and not recycle but please don't ever lie, cheat, or steal! I would never think of cheating on my taxes or my spouse but my diet, eh, well who cares?

I recall that two years ago during Lent I was discussing giving up sugar and whatnot with a coworker. I remember that he said, "I have a terrible sweet tooth, so it's best that I just avoid sweets altogether." I thought to myself, "WOW, what a concept! I mean I have a terrible sweet tooth, too but I FEED that baby whatever it wants." I smiled and nodded but honestly, I have never forgotten about that! All humour aside, I know that my decisions about sweets (along with some help from a certain evil medication) have caused me to put on a few pounds in the last year and a half.

All that aside, I made this dish recently. It was most tasty! I got the idea from a magazine that I cannot recall just now. I get a couple of cooking magazines and I must admit that I never actually cook the recipes in the magazines. The magazines remind me or inspire me to cook certain things. Perhaps that does not make sense but that is generally the way it works out for me. I think that is why I love Ina Garten and Nigella Lawson... neither of them present me with difficult recipes but rather a concept of what to cook. Ok, picture and recipe time.

Chicken with leeks and goat cheese

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
10 ounces white mushrooms , wiped clean and sliced thin
2 leeks , white and light green parts only, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup lemon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 goat cheese
2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Cook chicken skin side down until skin is deep brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until second side is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to baking dish and place in the oven while making sauce. Bake chicken is cooked through, maybe 10 minutes. (If, like me, you just cleaned your oven until it was so shiny and clean it was fit to be on Martha Stewart's show, you will probably need to clean it again after cooking this. Chicken legs and thighs render a lot of fat. Just saying.)

Discard the fat in skillet. Melt the butter in the skillet over high heat until it foams . Add the mushrooms and leeks and cook until the mushroom liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook until almost evaporated, about 1 minute more. Add the broth and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in goat cheese and simmer until thickened, another minute. Add cream and simmer until thickened. Don't boil this or the goat cheese may curdle. That's just not pretty.

I served this with asparagus. My husband liked it pretty well and I will probably make this again in the near future.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I didn't give up beagles for Lent

A couple of little tri-colored beagles that I know smelled super funky, so they got a bath yesterday. After they were reasonably dry, I let them out of the kitchen. Huck, the shy one, promptly went upstairs to hide under the bed where he could feel safe from any further torture from his usually loving mistress. Pebbles decided to find a sunbeam to warm her little mass for the afternoon. She managed to locate a particularly good sunbeam that happened to hit a couch cushion for most of the afternoon. Trouble is, in my house, beagles are not allowed on the couch... when I walked over to take her off the couch, I must admit, my resolve about dogs being too nasty for the couch quickly waned.

Very quickly.

Actually, I felt myself changing my party affiliation from "NO DOGS ALLOWED!" to "but gosh, she's so cute on there" in a flash.

Yes, I must register with the "but gosh she's so cute on there" party today.

Can you blame me?

Monday, March 16, 2009

where I have been

Yeah, I gave up all sorts of food for Lent and just for my general health recently, so I don't have much to blog about lately. Not food anyway. I have been making all sorts of crazy little crafty items that I should post pictures of on here but I just haven't done it. Tomorrow is another chance to be perfect. Other than the crafty items, I have been doing some spring cleaning around the old farm house. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

welcome spring

We finally got a good amount (10 inches, I guess?) of snow here on the eastern shore of Maryland. I even got an unexpected day off from work. Oh, it was wonderful... I had a leisurely breakfast with the husband, lounged with the precious beagles, made an Easter present for my mom (more about that later), and had pot roast with mashed potatoes. Sigh...

We are doing this Lenten study at church on classic Christian writers, like St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Rowan Williams, and some other great men who I forget or have never heard of in the first place. Last night was St. Augustine.

Since my husband is teaching the class, we were early. Wicked early. I remembered that I made promises to folks who don't get to see a lot of the white stuff that I would take pictures of the snow for them. I braved the cold with my trusty camera.

What a gorgeous winter afternoon. I saw a cardinal, but he flew away before I could get his picture. Birds fear me.

Hmmm... lovely even with the killer icicles!

I was happy to get back inside to warm up by the fire. The snow is pretty but I am really ready for spring.