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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

I started to make these muffins yesterday, and finished them today.  No, it was not my plan for this recipe to be a two-day process.

My gas oven, however, had other plans.  It didn't feel like heating up yesterday.  I was gathering my ingredients, snapping my blog pictures, starting to combine my ingredients, oblivious to the fact that my oven was not preheating.

Just before I combined the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients I realized that not only hadn't my oven beeped to let me know it was preheated, it hadn't even ignited (being gas, I can hear a "whoosh" when it ignites and then a soft purr from the flame).

I'd have to get my oven repaired.

What to do with all the ingredients?  I had the bowl of wet ingredients, the bowl of dry ingredients, the bowl with the berries tossed with flour, and the "buttermilk" that I made with milk and lemon juice.  I didn't want to toss everything.  But I was in a frustrated state of mind and wasn't thrilled at the thought of finishing the preparations, freezing the batter in the muffin tin to be thawed and baked at a later date when I had an oven that was operational.

So instead, I entered a state of denial and decided that if I covered and refrigerated everything and waited until the morning, I would have just-baked (instead of merely reheated) muffins for breakfast if my oven would only magically decide to work this morning.

And it did.

I'm still going to call my handy repairman tomorrow (who used to be a lot more at-hand when he lived around the corner; I didn't even have to pick up the phone to call him if I timed it right and caught him as he was walking his pugs, Dunkin' and Donut, past my house).  

Until it's repaired, I'm not going to plan on cooking anything that needs to be cooked in the oven.  I'm just grateful that I was able to get one last gasp from the dying ignition and finish baking these muffins!

Daily doggy photos:

Gus runs to the back door because he hears the gate on our deck open and close (it was windy).  He's excited because he thinks we have a visitor.  Clyde follows him, because he copies everything Gus does.

Gus gets tired waiting for the non-existent visitor to show up, so he lies down.  Clyde lies down as well, because he copies everything Gus does.  Then he notices that I am there, with something in my hand (the camera)...


and decides to investigate, ending the photo session.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crock Pot Boneless Beef Short Ribs

The inspiration for this recipe came about as I was wandering through Whole Foods.  It was Friday afternoon, just as the snow from our latest storm was starting to fall, and I was making one last trip to the market before I got snowed in.

Yeah, THAT storm.  Here's a picture of my dogs on Saturday morning, as they woke up to more snow than they have ever seen before.  We dug tunnels across the deck and through the yard so they could get around.

Gus was having a good gosh-darn time for himself.  He stuck to the pathways.  Clyde, not so much.  He started to leap through uncharted territories........

...and ended up "swimming" through the snow.

He was happy to come back in, dry off and warm up.

We were snowed in for a couple of days, which was not a problem at all since I had bought enough food for a week's worth of snowed-in meals.  First on the list were the boneless beef ribs in today's post--boy did my house smell good with these ribs simmering in the slow cooker while the snow was falling!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writing Imaginary Blogposts....and Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana


Every day I write a blogpost in my mind.

It just doesn't make it onto the blog.

A few days ago, I wrote "Boston-Speak."  (Yeah, I even give TITLES to the imaginary posts.  Is that a problem?)

You see, we were gathered at my sister-in-law's house, and someone mentioned a new reality series that is set here in Boston, and then someone else said that it was ridiculous that they used subtitles, "as if people can't understand English when it's spoken with a Boston accent."  And I had to speak up (I am the only non-Boston/non-Massachusetts native in the family)...."I had trouble understanding the Boston accent for at least a year when I first came up here."

And as the looks of "really?" "are you serious?" "for real?" crossed their faces, I wrote the blogpost in my mind.

I remembered my first night here, when a girl in my dorm said, "We need to find a paahty" and I pointed her to the bathroom as I'm thinking how strange it is that an 18-year-old still calls a toilet a potty.  And when she questioned, "in the bahhhthroom?  It cahhhn't be in there" (hint: bahhthroom rhymes with "mothroom", and cahhhn't rhymes with "want") I said, "where else would it be?"

And she looked at me as if I'd lost my mind and I looked at her as if she was speaking in tongues (which she WAS) and then at the same time that I realized that she meant "party," she realized that I thought that she meant "potty."

And that was just the beginning of my navigation of the Boston lexicon.  There were many misunderstandings (on my part) back then.  About a year after I came here, I started dating my husband, and he said something that I didn't understand (I can't recall what it was), and I unleashed my pent-up frustration, "For crying out loud, when you were in first grade and your teacher was teaching your class how to sound out the alphabet, did she say, 'oh, don't worry about that one, you don't ever have to pronounce it' when she taught you the letter 'R'? "

Well I think I will stop right here, because after 31 years in Boston I have a lot of accent stories to tell and I will save them for another time.  The point of my rambling is that yes, there might have been a lot of people watching that Boston reality show that needed those subtitles in order to understand what was being said.

Another imaginary blogpost that I wrote a few days ago was "Ode To Gayle."  Like Oprah, I have a friend named Gayle.  You DO know that Oprah has a friend, Gayle, right?  Anytime I watched her show, Oprah was always talking about Gayle: Gayle this, Gayle that........well, I am blessed to have amazing friends and my friend Gayle is right at the top of that heap.

Last week, Gayle was feeling guilty about not having room in her schedule to help someone and as I was telling her that she had no reason to feel guilty, I was mentally writing my Ode To Gayle blogpost, thinking about how many times she has managed things for me, during the 4 1/2 years of my daughter's illness there were many hospitalizations when Gayle made sure that my family had meals and my kids had rides and she sent out countless emails and regularly communicated status and health updates to my family and friends.  If it's possible to bank karma through good deeds, Gayle has several lifetime's worth!

Today's recipe is the soup I prepared when Gayle was over for lunch last week.  It's from the book "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur (seen in my past post for Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken).

And before I forget...here's the usual gratuitous doggy photo:

Clyde is getting so big!  I can't believe he's already four months old.

Before long, he will be bigger than Gus.