I’m baaaack

After a week of family, friends, and general merry-making, I’m back to my traditional existence of food-making and solitude. Rockin’. It was great to have everyone in town traipsing around the house and eating the things I made with gusto. I guess I appreciated knowing that someone besides Chris likes the food I make, since he’s obligated to appreciate everything by virtue of the fact that he has to live with it or starve. Or eat Chipotle for 8-10 weeks at a time, no breaks. Which is no punishment for him, I promise you. Regardless, I’m back.

I’m not back with a vengeance, since it’s leftoverpalooza until I can get my fridge back to a state of emptiness that would make a bachelor proud. (I was going to say “make an Ethiopian proud” but then decided it’d be offensive to someone, somewhere, so I left it out. How mature am I??) But there is good news out of this fog of leftovers; I now know what street gangs eat for Thanksgiving. How, you ask? Simple. I RUN WITH GANGS, and that’s why I do what I WANT, and why I defied “the man” to make Kristie pie just how I wanted to make it.

Originally, I was going to make a pot pie with mashed potatoes on top, but I was then informed that it would then be a shepherd’s pie instead. I didn’t want to make a shepherd’s pie, I wanted to make a pot pie with a potato crust. Lest anyone become confuse, I went outside, ran with my gang some more, and came up with Shepherd’s Pot Pie. A gorgeous concoction of a blind-baked, homemade sage pie crust that had been pressed into the bottom and sides of a gratin casserole dish, topped with a thick layer of garlic mashed potatoes (and then baked again to crust the top of the ‘taters),, and then filled with turkey, amazingly gelatinous turkey stock,
browned mirepoix, cut fresh green beans, diced green peppers, butter, cream, and a dash of sherry vinegar ‘cuz I’m a wild woman like that. Then topped all of THAT with another sage pie crust and baked it again. Then I thought about the name, “Shepherd’s Pot Pie,” and thought about a bunch of shepherds, all bored in their fields herding a bunch of bleating sheep around, stumbling upon a funny looking plant, smoking it and then getting all hungry for pie. I figure, it has to have happened at some point, and I prefer to be original. So now it’s Kristie Pie.

How’d it go? Well, Chris is looking at me with renewed love in his eyes, the cats are sniffing around and yelling at me, and I feel all spunky and rebellious. Unqualified success in my book.

Ah, how I missed you folk.

Oh, BTW, with the exception of cutting a yam in half, covering it with sugar, taking a torch to it, and calling it “yam brulee,” my T-day prep was pretty standard. My turkey cooked in about 1/2 the time that it should have, though it turned out great. That meant I went into full-on crazy-person panic mode, had about 25 minutes to make 5 side dishes and bake off my sourdough rolls (thankfully, they’d been rising already), and collect myself enough to sit down and relax. And I was still sober, which was a little upsetting. This is where some magic happened– I put my gravy in the blender because I like the chunks to stay in and be part of the gravy, and I was in a hurry and overfilled it, and the lid flew off and shot boiling gravy all over my arms and hands and made me cry like a little bitch and turn a violent fuschia. So that was good. I wasn’t very thankful for that, I’m ashamed to admit.

Hot beef

Sometimes, one night of steak just isn’t enough. Sometimes you go to bed having eaten steak, and then you wake up the next morning and you’re like “Hey. I want some steak,” and you can’t exactly deny yourself, because it’s probably something medically important. Like an iron deficiency, or full-blown anemia. Then again, sometimes it’s just disgusting American excess. Regardless, it’s important to always listen to your body, and when your body wants steak, you give it steak.

And that’s why tonight, after having eaten half a sirloin worth of beef fajitas last night, we had a bitchin’ steak frites. And because I was too lazy to fire up the grill, and too jealously guarding the cleanliness of my stovetop (having just wiped it), I stuck my cast iron fajita skillet into the oven on broil for 15 minutes to get molten-hot, and then slapped the steak on it and closed the door. After about 8 minutes, I took it out and beheld the wonderment and majesty of the maillard reaction. Do you see that brown crust that bejewels the outside of the steak, while the inside is still so red and delicious that it makes Buffy want to slay me? Mmmmmmmm. Fresh cut fries, fried twice for extra crisp, and some pepper ketchup rounded it out nicely. There was a salad, but I honestly can’t remember eating it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t. What’s that you say? You’re concerned about my cholesterol?

Don’t be. Yesterday I started T-day preparations by making my cranberry product. Cranberries hold so well that you can make them up to a week in advance (probably more) without sacrificing any kind of freshness or quality. This year I decided to go totally rogue (“I’m a MAVERICK”) and abandon the traditional cranberry relish like a misbehaving teen at an Omaha hospital. You’ve all read Chris’s position on fresh cranberries (“They have TWIGS IN THEM”). I took sugar, water, and a splash of lemon juice and boiled down a bag of fresh cranberries, a bag of frozen raspberries, and the arils of one full pomegranate (Official Fruit Motto: Harder to get into than a pair of panties at a Christmas pageant!). I then pushed all of it through a chinois (metal colander–I am too poor to use my expendable income on a chinois) and made a lovely crimson jam that tastes remarkably of raspberries, with beautiful undertones of cranberry and fresh pomegranate. This morning, I made a sweet cream oatmeal and then drizzled a ruby red streak of the jam down the middle. The most amazing oatmeal of EVER. So I spent the entire morning with a stampeding hoard of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber marauding through my bodily systems seeking out molecules of cholesterol and bouncing them out, Roadhouse-style. I feel so FRESH.

I also baked a spectacular failure of a cake from the Christmas cover of Bon Appetit. The marshmallow-like frosting was so heavy that by the time I assembled the million layer monster (two kinds of ganache, four layers, four hours of backbreaking work with a whisk and a small fortune’s worth of ingredients) it just cracked in half and toppled down. I had a pretty substantial temper tantrum, bemoaned my failure at pastry, cried like a little woman for a solid ten minutes, and then made another friggin’ cake from my Warren Brown book. He never lets me down. He’s like my cake booty call. Sure, I’ll go to all kinds of effort to try new things, but when they just don’t work out at the end of the night, in comes good ol’ dependable Warren with a reliable cake that I can serve to guests under the guise that it was my original cake and was, in fact, no trouble at all. I’m the biggest liar of a hostess, I swear.

And I bought the three holiday flavors of Hershey’s Kisses, since I can make my family eat them all week. Hot cocoa flavored, mint truffle flavored, and candy cane flavored. Chairman Meow, a real candy cane afficionado (as evidenced by previously posted pictures), has made it quite clear that Hershey’s missed the mark on candy cane flavor, and he wants none of it. I, however, think they taste like peppermint bark and will have to figure out a way to make bulemia convenient for a week or two.

Wiley Thistles

I love the artichoke, but more importantly, I RESPECT the artichoke. It’s the only food I purchase from the grocery store, take home, and then wage epic battles against. It attacks. It draws blood. It makes a big effing mess of fluff, like I’ve been standing alone in my kitchen for hours slaughtering adorable baby ducks. Actually, now that I think about it, I could probably stuff a comforter with the fluff from inside an artichoke. But then it would come out in the middle of the night and kill me, which is why they call it a “choke.” Aggressive little boogers.

They’re a member of the thistle family. Fun fact! But the only thing I’ve ever heard of that eats thistles is Eeyore, and he never looks very happy, does he? I feel pretty happy when I eat artichokes, though that might correlate directly to the amount of butter I can transport to my maw with a single, delicately curved artichoke leaf.

The point is, sometimes I feel like donning my protective armor (bullet-proof vest, doc martens, cycling helmet, skiing goggles, and a trojan just in case it gets any ideas), and sometimes I do not. Tonight, I did not. And I used frozen artichoke heart quarters. And I’m not ashamed. There are a great many convenience foods that are terrible, have caused a nation of overweight, cancerous, lazy people who have no idea that food comes from a series of ingredients to feel completely content in their incapability, and taste like dick. Then there are a few that have made my life AWESOME.

-OreIda potato steamers (look it up–they’re awesome and un-messed with)
-Aseptically packed chicken stock (when I don’t have time to make my own)
-and basically all frozen vegetables, including artichoke hearts.

Tonight they got fried and served with a spicy mango, green apple, and habanero glaze. Dizzamn, woman! SO GOOD.

Batter of eggs, cream, flour, salt, lemon juice, and an obscene amount of black pepper:

Mixture of panko, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and *ta-da* more pepper.

Freshly cleaned fryer of vegetable oil heated to 375 F.

and then you EAT IT LIKE IT MIGHT ESCAPE. Honestly, it might given its aggressive history.

Oh, and I also made some tequila-lime fajitas with a sweet chipotle marmalade. They were excellent, but sitting next to those artichokes they got the sloppy seconds of my culinary affections.

We then sat in our pajamas with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s apiece watching Grandma’s Boy, and then played Gears of War 2, until a plot twist made me so sad that I was sobbing and we had to stop. It’s like we BOTH had PMS, except neither of us did.

Pi r2

π r2? Naw, bitch. Pi are ROUND.

See? Round as all get out! “Peniiiis, penis butter (and jelly!).” Actually, just peanut butter chocolate whipped cream pie, but good in the way that I thought only candy corn could be. I blind-baked a pie crust, melted some squares of chocolate during the last few minutes of ovenitude (which was cool, because it retained its shape until I touched it.) Then I brushed said chocolate over the crust to seal it, and then filled it with a peanut butter, cream cheese, french cocoa powder, whipped cream, sugar filling. Drool.

And pumpkin pie, with whom I have a very tenuous relationship. We’re in negotiations. I made some killer cinnamon whipped cream to top this little bastard.

And a triple chocolate ganache cake, garishly decorated with orange jellies and chocolate discs (by request, not my fault). I’ve been a busy baking beaver (the second best kind of beaver!)

They ain’t none of ’em pretty, but I’m going through an ugly food phase. I made smoked gouda grilled cheese and a bitchin’ turkey tortilla soup tonight, but it just looked like…soup and sammich, and would have photographed like Average McMediocrity, so i left it out. Tasted like heaven in a spoon, though.

Nelly Fritatta

This was in my Bon Appetit this month, and with some changes it turned into our dinner. It’s a blah blah blah something torta rustica. Or something. I’m excited to eat it, but I can’t because Chris is on the phone talking to a co-worker of his. So my plate is sitting in the warm oven, waiting for me to bite into it. I had an apple, but it wasn’t as crisp as I like ’em, so I’m feeling all disappointed. Like I was getting hot and heavy with the apple, it had already put its hands up my shirt and we were getting the room all steamy, and then when I pulled down its apple pants it was all soft and completely incapable of producing any Calvados. Is all I’m saying.

The end result of this situation is that Chris is making faces at me, my dinner is drying out, and I’m starving from killing so many monsters on G.O.W 2. A warrior needs her sustenance. I’m probably building it up too much in my head, since I’ve got a sneaking suspicion it’s going to have a wet bread component that will throw me into a world class depression.

Step 1: I lined a buttered pie pan with homemade sourdough.

Step 2: I sauteed onion, spinach and roasted red pepper with butter.

Step 3: I chopped up some roasted red peppers.

Step 4: I sauteed some hot turkey sausage.

Step 5: I loaded them all onto the bread.

Step 6: I crumbled a shitload of fontina onto the pile o’ goodness

Step 6: I mixed together 4 eggs, a half cup of cream, a half cup of milk, and some salt and pepper and poured it onto my mixture.

Step 7: I baked it at 375 F for as long as it took to beat level 5, including the part where Chris kept dying because he was rolling into the razorhail, blithely ignoring the fact that, uh, hi? It’s razorhail. Razorhail KILLS YOUR SHIT.

Step 8: I sliced it into gooey, oozy goodness (and lamented the stuffing-esque texture of the sourdough “crust.”

Step 9: I put it all into the oven so some guy can argue with Chris about whether or not he has depression, even though he called Chris to complain about being depressed. Lord almighty. Get some Wellbutrin, go for a jog, eat some chocolate, and call me in the morning. Preferably after breakfast.

Sorry, Ms. Dorie

See? Butt-shit ugly.

I totally forgot to post this picture or explanation yesterday, even though I was clearly supposed to.

Tuesdays with Dorie this week was arborio rice pudding (chocolate or vanilla flavor or both). I went with both. It was weak-ass. The pudding never thickened, despite the starchy goodness of arborio rice, so it was just basically sweet milk with rice in it. Meh. I put ground chocolate in half of it. Still meh. I put in some dried strawberries I’ve had soaking in sugar and vodka for a month. Still meh. Though the strawberries were good, if you like eating fruit with an extremely high proof. Overall I’d give the recipe an F- for how unsuccessful it turned out.

Then again, there is no rice pudding better than parboiled rice mixed with sweetened condensed milk to finish cooking, and then liberally flavored with cinnamon and vanilla. I’m telling you. Nothing like it.

Now, for your entertainment, I present you with some pictures of my pets doing weird shit over the past week. And no, none of these were staged. Although the pills were out because Chris was taking pictures of random pills for the medical website he’s building. We’re not sickies, or anything.The first step was getting her to admit she has a problem

Intimidating nobody in particular with a menacing smile and a display of “deez nutz”

It’s a wild cow-cat, the last of his kind, in his natural habitat–the dryer.”

Sundays with Kristie, Tuesdays with Dorie

I’m mobile-ish now. Did you know that? I can put weight on my legs, sometimes for entire seconds at a time, before scanning the room frantically for a chair. This morning I went to the gym and did 10 minutes on the bike and 10 on the elliptical just to try and take a role-call of which body parts were present and accounted for.

Me: Quadricep?
Quad: *weakly* Here…
Me: Gluteals?
Glutes: Present (of course they are. They’re ALWAYS present).
Me: Knee?
Me: Knee?
Calves: Um…they went to the nurse’s office. Should we take them their homework?

It was good, though, because it loosened everything up. It stayed loose until I got to school and had to sit through 8 hours of incompetence from a teacher who is worse at teaching than Helen Keller, because at least she taught tolerance. Our current teacher is a fool. The only thing I’ve enjoyed about this block so far is watching the students revolt every time she opens her mouth and says another stupid thing. But I digress.

I ACTUALLY wanted to offer a quick synopsis of the marathon, since I’ve only offered a cursory list spewed from an addled brain.

4:45 a.m.–Awake to discover that San Antonio is 36 degrees F, even though it’s still been in the upper 80s every day. Put on sweatpants and sweatshirt over my running gear. Eat a Luna bar and put on my awesome temporary tattoos that show me the pace/time markers on my very own arm. Feel disgruntled that my bib doesn’t match my running outfit for shit.

5:10 a.m.–Discover that the lone hot chocolate that I tried to order from Starbucks is actually a mocha. Become irate and call the manager, only to become more irate that they aren’t taking your anger very seriously. ALL I WANT IS A FUCKING HOT CHOCOLATE!!! Feel misunderstood.

5:15 a.m.–Stop yelling at the phone and redirect my attention back to being nervous. Determine that, despite living in the outer suburbs of the seventh largest city in the US, and despite the fact that the race is all the way downtown, that if I were to run from my suburb home to the center of the city, it would be less than 26.2 miles. Feel depressed.

5:45 a.m.–Arrive at shuttle station and immediately have to go to the bathroom from all the hydrating I have been doing. Enter a Port-A-Potty voluntarily, despite my vows not to do so. Ever. Board a bus with other marathoners and half-marathoners and contemplate my future. Feel apprehensive.

6:50 a.m.–Arrive at race start. See TONS of people milling about like ants. Very fit ants. Realize that this is a very dangerous concentration of athleticism smack-dab in the center of the most obese city in the U.S. Feel concerned that there might be a rip in the time-space continuum.

7:00 a.m.–Wait in my corrale with other runners. Wonder how some of them will physically be able to run either a half- or a full-marathon. Remember the stories about how American Indians used to trick buffalo into stampeding towards a cliff. Look around for American Indians. Do not see any, although DO see someone dressed as a gladiator. Wonder if the gladiator is actually a matador, which would also explain the sheer size of the competitors. Realize that there is a weight class for really heavy runners. The men are called “clydesdales” and the women are called “athenas.” Wonder why the women are named after a goddess and the men are named after a stocky-ass horse. Feel a-feared of becoming an athena someday.

7:30 a.m.–The race begins. Remain in place waiting for your corrale to be released. Feel antsy.

8:20 a.m.–Finally begin running. Sprint the first four or five miles, weaving around people and shedding layers of clothing. Feel joyful, gleeful, and graceful, leaping like a gazelle past crowds of cheering fans that must be cheering only for me. On account of my grace and speed and all.

8:50 a.m.–Realize that I have 22.2 miles left to run and am already tiring. Also realize that I am not particularly graceful, and also my nose is running a lot. Feel tired.

9:30 a.m.–Have to pee again. Find a Bill Miller BBQ restaurant and dash into their facilities, hoping nobody will see you. There is a line of other runners. Decide to blame any potential slowness in the race on this phenomenon. Feel like I have to pee.

10:10 a.m.–The race course splits, with half-marathoners veering to the left and full-marathoners to the right. Mood is lonelier, given that only 20% of the runners are doing the marathon, and that most of them are much faster than I am, leaving the crowd sparse and joyless. Am excited to be halfway done, since I’m so tired. Realize that I have 13.1 miles left to run. Feel suicidal.


12:00 p.m.–Am approximately at mile 20, and am becoming very emotional. Am holding it together when a girl about my age runs in front of me (speedy bitch) wearing an AHA shirt. The shirt has a picture of her and her dad on it with an “In Memory Of” caption and the words “for daddy’s girls everywhere.” Become hysterical with grief, making my throat close a little and making running even more difficult. (In fairness to myself, my dad passed from a heart attack 4 years ago, so I would have been emotional in the grocery store if I saw that.) Feel beside myself.

1:00 p.m.–Still running. Legs are clearly about to give out. Incredible stomach cramps. Quadriceps audibly detaching from my skeleton. Knees have left the building entirely, leaving what feels like a collection of those lame-ass samurai knives that pasty, overweight computer gamers tend to have lining their rooms. Next to their blanket with the unicorn on it. Begin a verbal cadence of “I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t.” Chris rescues me (again) but giving me a kiss and telling me that he’s so proud and I can do it and I’m doing great and we’re almost there. Realize that he is probably lying, since we’ve been on mile 22 for close to 6 miles. Feel almost certain that I will die any minute from pain or despair.

1:25 p.m.–See mile marker 26 in the horizon. Pick up the pace again, gritting my teeth and ignoring my body’s pleas to stop, threats to give out, and stabbing reminders of my plight.

1:30 p.m.–Pass mile marker 26, with a cheering crowd on either side. There is a bend in the road, on the other side of which is the finish line. Feel absolutely elated with relief. Also feel somewhat disoriented with dehydration.

1:31 p.m.–Turn the corner to see…a very, very, very steep uphill of .2 miles, littered with the crushed dreams of the people who got to that point and threw up (I’ve heard there were many). Curse the person who designed a course that is designed to completely demoralize and destroy you at the very end, just when you think you can stop, by putting the hardest hill in the last .2 miles. Ass-hat. Stop praying for death and start actually fearing it.

Now, at this point, Chris grabbed my hand and we ran the rest of the way. I stared at the ground and tried to detach from my physical body just long enough to reach the finish. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to have him there with me. He’s capable of running much faster, but he has never left me behind on a run, nor has he even admitted that he could outrun me if he chose to do so. I’m lucky.

We had friends down from Austin, the female half of which I went to high school with and was BFF with for years. She was there when I was 13 and got drunk for the first time at my parents new years party, and she was the one who helped me hide the trivial pursuit game that I threw up on (although I’m also pretty sure she was the one who dared me to eat a dog biscuit right before the vomiting occurred). After a girl-skirmish over things in and out of my control, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have her around again. Anyway, she was there with her lovely husband taking pictures as we crossed, despite having run herself. She ran the half-marathon in 1:48, which is ridiculously fast, and then had to wait for HOURS while Chris and I ran the other course. So I have photos of those last few minutes, and will post the finish-medal ones when they’re posted. My friend, Kristen, and a blonde vampire of unknown identity. The sun was bright; I’m not really an albino.

Chris and me, freezing our asses off pre-race. Notice all the clothes? They were shed in the first mile.

The walk to the starting line. If we had only known…

Our run to the finish line. I look almost like I’m going to collapse, ironman-gatorade-commercial-style.

Our butts as we pass. Only about 100 feet to go!

So that’s my big thank you to my peeps. And thanks to all of you guys who cared enough to check my blog to see if there were signs of life. As you can see, I’m feeling very lovey-dovey about things now that I’m healing.

As for post race, well, I don’t remember much. They gave me a metal blanket that was silver inside and yellow outside. The yellow side attracted bees, which pissed me off. I remember that. Then they gave me a medal and took my picture with Chris. There was a line with some food winding its way back to the reunion area. I got some fruit snacks and a banana for sure. Then some other stuff. And a smoothie that I wouldn’t drink because it had 200 calories and wasn’t going to be very tasty (sounds anorexic, but I was holding out for a burger, and even runner-girls have to make choices now and then). I did get my burger, though, when the four of us went for lunch. It was awesome.

So that was the big day. I was slow, but I finished, and I’ve got the limp to prove it. I wore my finisher’s shirt to school yesterday as a dare to anyone who wanted to challenge me for not going “business casual.”
So I’m slow, I guess. And my remedy for this is as follows: I’m running another one in less than 3 months. It’s a REALLY hilly course, so I may not improve my time, but I’ll keep running until I do. Mostly because I love carbo-loading.

42000-Number of runners in the marathon/half-marathon
10000-Number of runners who did the full marathon
1234–Times I prayed for death
256–Number of “kill the cheerleader” fantasies I entertained while getting yelled at by adolescents in mismatched cheer costumes from underfunded schools.
55–Shitty bands that were supposed to play us cheerful music along the route as we ran.
10–Number of actual shitty bands that were on the route, few playing music, most standing around idly fondling their guitars and playing mildly less shitty music on crackling speakers during their “break.” (An aside: Dude. If I can run for over five hours, you can sure as shit play your guitar for 10 extra minutes so I have something to listen to besides the sound of my leg muscles shredding into the consistency of barbacoa, only more decomposed).
10–My current pain ranking on a scale of 1-10
6–Packets of GU I ate along the path
2–Number of legs I had when I began the race
1–Number of legs I will have after the amputation that is imminent
1–Number of knees that are so mangled that they would have been rejected by the ARC people
1–Medal I got when I crossed the finish line after running 26.2 miles
1/10th of 1%–Number of Americans who will complete a marathon in their lifetime.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go continue dying. I’ll post more later when it hurts less to sit up.

You say potato, I say awesome

I have to be brief tonight, but thought I should share something so carb-y, so cheese-y, so white trash-y that it would shame me if it weren’t so damned spectacular. You see, everyone’s been all about these things in their blogs lately (starch, cheese, and white trashiness), and I am a big, fat follower with no original ideas, so… wait. What’s that you say? That this has never been done?? That I’m completely OG, and possibly too legit to quit, as well(hey-heeeeeey)?

That’s right. Crispy-skinned baked potato with pepper and onion beef sausage, topped with a sauce made from some leftover bechamel, a wedge of Walzerstoltz cheese and an aged Cantal. And some mustard powder and grated nutmeg, ‘cuz DUH.

Mmmmmmmm. Philly cheese baked potato, you my only friend.


I spent all afternoon today wandering around pushing a shopping cart and eating free scraps of food and muttering to myself. No, I haven’t finally cracked and joined the she-hobo population, I was shopping at Central Market: Home of the Free Sample. I love grocery stores that give out lots of samples. And I love when they’re busy enough that I can wander past the pfeffernusse sample bowl like, seven times, always acting like “Oh my, what are these? Maybe I shall taste one and see” to fellow shoppers. I’m totally shameless.

I ended up purchasing a case of wine, which was a big step for me. I’ve never purchased an entire case of wine, unless by “case” you’re referring to “box,” in which case I’ve purchased so many cases that I’m basically a collector by now. Anyway, I was impressed. I got to sample 3 different wines by two different vintners. The first was called “Mad Hawg” or something like that. It’s not Texan, surprisingly, but Californian. It was a cabernet sauvignon, and was deeeee-licious. $99/case down from $167, so that was solid. I hemmed and hawed and ended up just getting a bottle of it to try before committing to a case. Then, at the front of the store, they had both a chardonnay and a merlot by a winery called “Double Dog Dare,” I think. I tried them, agreed that they were wine, and then agreed to purchase a case. Honestly, I was kind of buzzed off of German cookies and Mad Hawg samples at that point, so I would have agreed to purchase a black market baby, as long as they either frosted it or bottled it.

Peter (I’ve learned to link!) always blogs about wines by saying that “it wants another couple of years to age” or “it begs to be served with lamb.” This wine? It wants to be poured down the drain and never spoken of again. But I’m-a drink all of it, and then I’m-a wear my bra on my head, and then likely die. And I’ll appreciate all of this, because at under $4/bottle when purchased by the case, it actually is cheaper than WildVines, and will taste amazing as long as it’s always my second bottle of the night. So…yeah.

Didn’t drink any of it tonight, since I was doing a lot of things with the deep fryer, and it’s been pointed out to me by many of you that frying things may be dangerous. Here are two reasons I love tempura:

Sweet onion rings made with a pumpkin beer tempura batter, and a side of spicy cranberry mustard for dippin’
We had leftover pumpkin beer from taking Mike’s
recommendation, and buying a beer that he openly claimed wasn’t very special for drinking. It made damned-fine onion rings, though. And the mustard was made by mixing Beaver sweet-hot mustard (it’s too easy, so I’m not even going to comment) and leftover homemade cranberry relish. I think it should be moved to the top of Chris’s “Why I Love My Fiance” list. Right above “because she’s kind of a badass at Gears of War 2, already.”


Tempura chicken thighs over spicy peanut soba noodles, served with a sweet chili cucumber-cabbage “slaw.” Woot!

Now, I will leave you with two fun facts.

1-I had an awesome Fuji late harvest apple today. It has what’s called a “honey-core.” The golden pockets you see here are not soft spots or visible oxidization, but are actually concentrated streaks of apple-produced sugar. The apple is sweet and crisp and texturally perfect, and it was the best apple I’ve ever had. Sure, I may have my loyalties to honeycrisp as my apple of choice, but my bit on the side is TOTALLY the late harvest Fuji.

2-Chairman Meow has now taken a shine to punking the dog for his food. Willie does nothing, Mao eats what he wants, and then usually goes and gags up a little bit of the food on something, just to be spiteful. I love that cat.