Saturday, November 26, 2011

cheese bits

you might remember that at one point in time, i was a highly trained cheese person.  i guess i still am, although not on the cusp of cheese trends or anything like that, but DAMN i still love cheese.  fancy cheese, not fancy cheese, any everything in between.  which is why i always put together the cheese tray at family holidays.  of course, i tend to pick out too many cheeses, and some of them aren't as well-received as others (for whatever reason, i am the only person in my family who likes an aged goat gouda), so what do you do with all those leftover bits? especially if you are a dork and forget to put them away before they start to get hard and weird around the edges?  why, you make the delicious fromage fort.  i like to call it "cheese in a pot," because it most closely resembles those "potted" cheeses you sometimes get in holiday baskets; flavored like port or pimento. want to make some of your own? here's what you do;
  • gather all your leftover cheese bits.  ALL of them.  got weird things with herbs? blues? soft, runny cheeses? some tillamook?  it will all be delicious in this, i promise. if you think that sounds weird, it's because it does, but trust me.  in the last batch i made, i put in feta, herbed goat cheese, aged gouda, smoked cheese, sharp cheddars, and some mystery "sheep" cheese that i'm not really sure was sheep.  guess what? it rocked.  cheeses you think would taste terrible together taste great in this.  
  • some wine, broth, water or milk/cream.  i prefer to make mine with white wine, that's classic.  not a sweet white either; a house white, a chardonnay, something dry and delicious.  if you don't like wine, use some sort of brothy goodness to give it some more flavor.  if you don't have broth, add some water, maybe mixed with some milk or cream.  use what you have.  have some nice sherry? that would be good too.  
  • garlic.  one or two cloves, depending on how much you like garlic or how much cheese you have.  today i used two cloves, and had a whole food processor full of cheese.  remember: you won't be able to taste the garlic at first, and it will get stronger.  so if you think you didn't add enough, wait a day, and taste it again.  
  • pepper. you can grind it, or you can sprinkle it out of the shaker, i'm not going to judge you.  
  • you may need some salt, but personally, i never use it, and haven't needed it.  cheese is pretty salty.  
cut your cheeses into pieces about the same size.  roughly, you're going to blend the hell out of them, so don't fuss over it too much.  put your garlic in the food processor, then pulse it a bit to start chopping it.  add the cheese, in batches if you have a lot (adding softer cheeses nearer to the end), pulsing and mushing and mixing.  add the wine (or broth, or whatever) a bit at a time, getting the cheese mix damp, but not swimming.  you will probably have some chunks, and that is okay.  you can blend it smoother or rougher depending on how you like it, but i enjoy some fat bits of cheese mixed in there.  add as much liquid as will make it smooth-ish without being creamy (because if you mix it too much, it will start to separate and be weird).  when it's done, pack it into jars or pot!  you can eat it right away, but it gets better the longer it sits.  spread it on crackers, toast, or pipe bits into endive spears to be all fancy. dip crudite in it, use it on a sandwich, or eat it on a spoon.  feed it to your friends, make sure you say "fromage" like you mean it, and watch them swoon. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011


we had thanksgiving in our new house today!  it was supposed to be a small event, with just the four of us and my mom and aunt.  then my cousin came, and my sister and her boyfriend, and the in-laws!  it was a fun day, to be honest, and i'm glad everyone got to come over.  our little house was full of people we love, wine, food, and the living room had been vacuumed.  success! 

anyone married to a cook knows this; even if you are not a doof in the kitchen, they will take over and have some prima donna moments, and you will get to cook one, maybe two things if you are lucky.  me, i made the cranberry relish, a few radish roses, and a kick ass cheese tray.  everything else was all D.  he made tiny cornish game hens, stuffed with dressing, a brussels sprout gratin with smoked gouda, mashed potatoes, two kinds of gravy (one plain, one with fancy chanterelle mushrooms, wine and cream), green beans almandine, sweet potatoes with pecans, a giant fruit salad, a ham, and a grape pie.  imagine how tired you are of reading all those words, then eat them, and go take a nap.  whew.  i got fat just thinking about dinner.  needless to say, it was delicious and i loved every bite.  we had champagne with dinner, spiked with a little cherry juice, and afterward ate pumpkin pie my mom brought over.  

i have to say, i have a lot to be grateful for this year.  a happy, healthy little family; a new house; a cat that likes to nap with me; kids who get my stupid jokes and make their own; a job that pays me like a grown up, and all my friends and family.  speaking of, we're going to get a little bigger next year; my sister is having another baby!  i just found out yesterday, and i will admit, i have a bit of a baby high going on right now.  (and maybe a buzz from all the good food and love and knowing i have another three days off to knit and lounge!)  i hope everyone had an equally boss day (boss is my new favorite word, which i guess means i'm a boy from 1972), and thanks for stopping by!  maybe next year you can come over and help us eat some of this food...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

while catching up on blogs

i came upon a shout-on over at sarah's blog!  she very kindly called me a versatile blogger, which is awesome, and came at just the right time because honestly, i feel super boring lately.  a blog is primarily a "hey this is what's going on in my head" kind of endeavor, but none of us would blog if we didn't enjoy having readers, right?  essentially it boils down to this; yes, a lot of what i write is just ho-hum, i did this today and blah blah blah, not a big deal, but i like having readers.  what makes this blog different from a regular paper journal/diary is that i get feedback from people.  some of them i know in real life, some i don't.  either way, it feels enormously good to hear, "yeah, i feel that way too," or "i get it."  in one way or another, isn't almost every comment a "yeah, me too" sort of comment?  the satisfaction that comes from writing something, explaining an emotion/day/scenario in a way that makes someone else recognize the same in their own life is one of my favorite things.  which is a long-winded way of saying, oh sarah! thank you.  and now on to five little known facts about me,
  1. until earlier this week, i honestly thought my cat just had one hole to do all her business out of.  which, for someone who studied animals in college, has had a cat for more than a few years, and is normally not a retard, is pretty embarrassing to admit.  i think part of me did not want to think about my cat having lady parts, and part of me just only ever saw kitten butthole.  after i said that out loud, as in, "what? doesn't lulu only have the one hole?" i immediately knew i was wrong. and now the boychik and D call everything they think is a dumb a "one hole."  for a smart girl, sometimes i am really dense.
  2. i stayed out way past my curfew once with a boyfriend in high school, and when i got home, my dad was furious and accused me of "losing my cherry."  OUT LOUD.  i was 15, and had no idea what "cherry" meant, but was humiliated and freaked out nonetheless.  for one thing, i had never had a curfew before he stopped going out to sea, and whenever i'd been super late before, mom always waited until the next morning to yell at me, and so the whole situation was seriously bizarre.  what makes this worse is that sometimes when i miss my dad so much i feel like my ribs are going to cave in and suffocate me, i think about that, and it makes me feel better.  secretly (or not so secretly now) this makes me feel like a bad daughter, but as much as i loved my pop, it helps to remember the times when he was kind of a dick.  
  3. i feel uncomfortable around "real" indians because i'm just a half-breed (even less than that!) and not indian enough.  as much as i enjoy going to the rez and hanging out with my cousins, i don't mention being native out loud to a lot of people because i don't feel nearly indian enough.  i have a weird relationship with my ethnicity, and vacillate between being proud and/or indignant, and afraid to say it out loud because i look like a nice italian girl.  you know, even though i'm not even remotely italian. 
  4. until i met D, i was super embarrassed about my feet.  i was convinced they were the ugliest feet on earth, and no amount of googling photos of "hammertoe" made me feel better.  but D thought they were adorable and in some way he made me feel better.  i can't tell you exactly how he did it, but one day i was in the shower and i thought, "he might be right, they might not be hideously deformed."  what a nice thing he did, without even trying.  
  5. i have very, very mild eczema in a few places, but every patch i get i worry and pick at until it's the grossest thing on earth.  to whit; my belly button has been weirdly dry and crusty for over a year, because the moment it almost heals all the way, i get back in there and pick some more.  i'm like sarah with scabs, only a million times worse.  my belly button is so gross!  no one would drink champagne out of it.  D even said that once, and while it made me sad, i understood.  me and my dry skin are not good friends.  
i don't think all of my "little known" facts needed to be so gross and shameful, but there you go!  i'm supposed to pass this on to other bloggers, but truth be told, being so honest made me sleepy, so i'll get to that part later.  go to bed!  what are you doing up so late? are you busy losing your cherry?!  i'll kick that boy's ass if i find him....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

these pretzels are making me thirsty

oh wait, no; this job training is making me thirsty. for beer.  so much information, coming at me from all directions, in all forms, in one small, window-less room that vacillates between sahara hot and icebox cold.

in a lot of ways day two was better; less nerves, more doing stuff, but in other ways it was just as frustrating. still lots of computer problems, one person who never ever ever shuts their mouth, weird downtime followed by briefs spurts of remember-this-OMG-this-is-important-stuff.

what made me feel a million times better was our trainer saying to us today, "my third day i just went home and cried, and was convinced that i would never get all of this, feeling like the stupidest person on earth, and now i've been here for 7 years." yeah. i know it's going to get better and all the technical snafu's will get worked out and soon i'll be pining for the times i spent these past two days getting to know my classmates/co-workers, but right now i just need a beer and to go to bed early.

Monday, November 07, 2011

only six more weeks of training

first day of work under my belt and the verdict (so far) is good.  it's a very nice office, with super nice people working in it, and there are coffee pots every three feet; what more can you ask for in a work place?  i already like not dealing with patients who have three teeth, smell like wet dog and cigarettes and spend most of their time with me trying to get me to write them a script for xanax.  i like wearing grown up clothes.  getting up this morning and spending five minutes more on my face didn't feel like a waste of time.  i wore a dress and i looked cute.  moreover, i felt cute.  it was nice.

in every class i've ever taken, every school, every training, there's always one person who just cannot shut up, and today that person sat in front of me all day long.  every question was prefaced with an "i don't mean to interrupt..." which just drove me more crazy because OMG you totally do mean to interrupt and when butt kissing becomes distracting, i think it loses its charm.  at the end of the day, i just really wanted this person to shut up, but i think that's normal for any (and every) first day doing anything, be it work, class, volunteering, etc.

i'm excited about actually getting to train; today was the sort of day when nice people from HR tell you a lot of stuff that doesn't make sense right away, you fill out more paperwork, try to figure out your computer and find the bathrooms.  good, but ultimately boring and when it's not boring, frustrating.  there's something that feels so good about getting that first day out of the way, though, am i right?  it's a hurdle, a test you pass and the rest of the week is just easier because it's not that first day.  whew.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

first day jitters

it's a good thing i didn't make a list, because honestly, this week i got very little done.  i finished the boychik's bedroom curtains, unpacked a few boxes, bought some new work clothes, and did some laundry.  that is about the sum total of stuff i did over this week.  well, that and knit some tiny mushrooms and take naps.  the xmas gifts i was going to work on, the needle felting i was going to try, the bedroom i was going to paint...all of that most definitely did not happen.  ah well, it's not often you get a whole seven days to just blow.  i did make it out once to see a friend for a beer, and made a few good dinners, so it wasn't a complete waste of time. 

tonight my plan is to try to not worry too much, pick out my outfit, get breakfast ready to go, and paint my nails some ridiculous, you-can't-see-it-but-i-know-it's-there color.  i like a very neutral nail color, is that weird? for a girl who is drawn to bright orange and red and sparkly, it surprises even me.  i suppose i should also figure out what to make for dinner, and get on that.  i love love love that today was the day we "fell back," because it means i got up "early" and got more done today than ever!  hee hee...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

this week is flying by

i am really glad i took some time off in between jobs, but somehow it's already wednesday, and i feel like i'm not getting enough done.  although i did get two more boxes all the way unpacked, and for someone who will gladly live with random boxes for as long as i can, that was kind of a big deal.  still throwing stuff away, wondering why i move so much crap every time i move, trying to figure out which weirdo toys to keep.  that is the one thing that i think my husband and i don't see eye to eye on; i like being surrounded by oddball toys and knick knacks and tchotchkes, and he would rather not be. i know living with someone means a certain amount of compromise, but for him that means giving me a room and letting me do what i want with it.  that's a nice idea, but i don't just live in one room.  i've toned it down quite a bit since moving in with him, but i can't help if i think an army of plastic squirrels on the mantle in the living room is the best idea ever.  remember, i'm part bowerbird

that being said, this week i'm going to do my hardest to organize the kitchen, make the downstairs a bit more livable, and clean out my closet.  there are lots of other things i want to do as well, but those three are on the top of my list.