Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Shoes

Changing the picture on my blog profile to one of our wedding photos turned out to be more work than I thought. I guess it's like getting that amazing pair of shoes that require a whole new wardrobe to match them. Thus the new look.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moving Forward...

We recently made the decision to let the Bagel back into our life. Permanently if the Bagel shows no objections. The boss of the Bagel Shop in Moscow espied enough promise in Paden's Bagelling skills that he has invited him back with wide open arms. With those open arms, he offers the opportunity to delve deeper into the lesser known components that are so vital to the art of Bagelling. This new move will not only tender us Bagel savvy, but will portend to a satisfactory future of Bagel inoculation

It will be up to us to change the world. One. Bagel. At. A. Time.

So goodbye Manhattan, KS and hello again Moscow, ID.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

From Bottles to Boxes

At the end of the month I look through our spendings and categorize everything in order to see where the money flows. It is a great way to see where your priorities really lie. As a general rule we keep within our budget, but a few things stick out... well, one thing in particular: the alcohol budget.

For the past year or so we have been attempting to bungle our way into cultivating some kind of taste and appreciation for good wine. It's been fun, but perhaps we should have waited a few more years to do that when our budget would actually allow for it.  Part of the problem is that wine just isn't as cheap in Kansas as it was in Idaho. There is no Safeway with their "buy six bottles to get 10% off entire wine purchase if you show your Safeway card" deals. Plus they don't sell wine in the grocery stores (nor any alcohol on Sundays altogether). Since we are not made of money quite yet, we decided something must be done about this. Giving up wine did not seem like a good option since those health experts are always telling us that people who drink wine in moderation will live longer than those who refrain. So we looked into boxed wines.

We asked the guy at the store (who I'm afraid may be at risk of recognizing us) which boxed wine would be the best choice. He recommended two and we picked the cheaper one. When you calculate the difference, the amount you are saving is actually quite astonishing. Instead of spending $12 on a bottle of Lindeman's Australian Cabernet Sauvignon (one of our fav's for the price), you get a little over 6 1/2 bottles of a Californian Almaden Cabernet Sauvignon for just $17.99. That's a saving of $9 per bottle. We bought our first boxed wine.

Both of us were determined to make this cheaper alternative work, so after the first taste we merely pursed our lips, squinted our eyes, and nodded solemnly like those posh wine tasters do on TV. One of us then made the suggestion that food would probably enhance the flavor, making it noticeably more palatable. Fortunately that proved to be quite true. In fact, by the time the box was emptied, we even enjoyed it. One can only hope our wine taste buds aren't slowly being silenced into the grave. However, the choice was not difficult to make. Although breaking up is never easy, we just can't take the toll of this affair with the bottle. After we've had a little space and time, we can hope for a joyous reunion; for now we look for consolation in the box.

We wine connoisseur wannabes are giving up the bottle and embracing the box.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On a Saturday morning...

We made eggs benedict on Saturday.

Actually, it was Paden's project, not mine; and to be honest there was a lot more 'trying' than actual 'doing.'

Since The Chef Cafe is a thing of the past, we are both at home Saturday mornings for the first time. So Friday Paden checked the pantry for ingredients and I stopped by the store on the way home from work . Little did we know what we were in for.

When making Eggs Benedict, one of the most important things is getting the thickness right. The melting of the butter went smoothly. (You really don't want to know how much butter is in that stuff!) I assume the mixing of the other ingredients went well also, but I was busy over the coffee pot so I missed that part. The first tricky part came pouring the butter into the other mixture. This is where reading ahead would have helped us out a little and perhaps have even saved the dish. (Although I must say it is a great improvement on following a recipe from Paden's first attempt at making cookies a month or so ago. He wasn't aware you had read the directions and just mixed all the ingredients for fudge filled cookies together all at once and baked them. They tasted alright... but they weren't cookies.) Back to the Eggs Benedict. The butter must be poured in as slowly as possible. So I poured a tiny little itsy bitsy teeny weeny little stream into the butter while Paden whisked and whisked and I poured and poured. Once all the butter was poured and the mixture was whisked very thoroughly, it came to our attention that it was much too soupy. I grabbed for my coffee. I was needing it by now. Then I read the recipe and saw that you were supposed to watch as you poured in the butter in case it got too thin.

So Paden got ready to cook some more egg yolk to thicken the mixture. This is where things went really wrong. I'm pretty sure it happened somewhere around the time I was holding the bowl with my left over the boiling water to keep it hot while Paden separated the egg yolks and whites. I made the horrible mistake of stopping the whisk for about three seconds. The butter was separated.

It ought to have looked like this.

Instead it looked a lot more like this. Except waaaay worse. Imagine those little chunks are much bigger and that there are a lot more of them.

The recipe assured us that if we were newbies, a quick whiz through the blender would solve our problems. It didn't. But we had the ham prepared and the English Muffins toasted and the eggs poached and I was about to pass out from hunger, so we sat down at the table and cautiously put the "Hollandaise sauce" on top.

Yeah. It didn't taste so great. Too much lemon for one. And the recipe wasn't exaggerating when it said separating was a chef's worst nightmare. It just meant we had to drink more coffee.

But it was a great learning experience on so many levels. If you know me when I'm hungry, you can probably guess that patience wasn't in surplus. So there we were. Struggling through a recipe that wasn't working. Desperately rushing back and forth trying to save the sauce, meanwhile the clock ticking the hour away, and our tummies, which are not used to waiting more than fifteen minutes to eat, are getting hollower.

 I'd like to say the lesson I learned was about patience and how to get over how hungry I am while helping my amazing husband make this new breakfast he's wanted to try for quite sometime. But I'm afraid it only reinforced an old, dear and ever-true lesson I learnt four years ago: in a tight spot that caffeinated, warm, appetite suppressing, comforting drink will always be there to keep out chaos.