Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gotta Run

I can't stay and chat this morning, because A. is making crepes for breakfast. He does not deign to do this very often, so I intend to be there when the crepes are ready for me to cover in sour cream and strawberry jam. I also intend to eat too many and then waddle off to the dump.

As you can see, I got big plans. So please, excuse me. I can hear the crepes calling my name.

Friday, January 23, 2009


I was all set to eat The Final Tomato yesterday. I was also all set to report back to you on whether I felt invincible or ready for last rites.

But the irritating, spastic barn cat known as Belle got to it first. I found her batting it around on the kitchen floor. It was all dirty and perforated from her claws. So I decided not to eat it. And now we'll NEVER KNOW whether the ever-lasting tomato was a force for good or evil. I hope Belle is proud of what she's done. Stupid cat.

Can you tell I'm not a cat fancier?

But for those of you who are thinking, "Thank GOD we don't have to hear any more about these ridiculous tomatoes until summer," your relief will be short-lived. The MiL and I are planning to sit down and put together our seed order next weekend, so before you know it, there will be tomato seeds sprouting in the bathroom (warmest room in the house, ya know) and the tomato craziness will begin anew. Wheee!

And with THAT pleasant thought, I wish you all a happy Friday and a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wanna See My Rack?

My dishrack, I mean. What did you think I was talking about?

First there were the raptures over the new dishpan. Then I got a wee bit worked up about my new garden tote. And now . . . Well, now we have a new dishrack, and I'm so excited, I just can't hide it.

Our old dishrack, much like the old dishpan that I despised so much, was a plastic-covered wire piece of shit from the grocery store. It was cheap, but only in quality. Price-wise, not so cheap. Not cheap enough for how crappy it was, anyway. So the MiL took it upon herself to replace the old one. After trolling all the offerings for dishracks on, she decided on this kind from Simple Human. It arrived yesterday, and immediately made the old dishrack look like a shitty, worn out has-been. Which it is.

Beauty and the Beast

In addition to being larger and sturdier in every way, as well as not rusted and gross-looking, the new dishrack has several nifty features. This dishrack is tricked out. It has a bamboo knife rack! And flip-up cup holders! I mean, come on. Who wouldn't get excited about flip-up cup holders?

My favorite part of this whole thing, though, was the statement on the front of the box that reads "The steel frame dishrack has an elegant solid steel frame that matches the aesthetic of upscale kitchen appliances . . ." That's a wonderful selling point for people that HAVE upscale kitchen appliances. I do not think, however, that our bottom-of-the-line white refrigerator and the 30-year-old stove we snagged from the neighbors when they were re-doing their kitchen really qualify as "upscale."

No matter! We have an upscale dishrack now. We're movin' on up, y'all! And I will not apologize for my excitement. If you did as many damn dishes as we do, you'd be excited, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The X Interview

I've mentioned once or twice that I am not fond of memes and don't like to do them. In fact, I hate the very word meme and will not use it again.

However, I did sign up for this one particular, um, Internet thingie offered by X of Starts with an X. If you've never been to X's site, you should go there, because she's really funny. But be prepared to blush while you're laughing, because she does not edit herself. Well, not her content, anyway. The grammar and spelling are excellent.


The way this particular Internet thingie worked was, I agreed to be interviewed by X. She wrote five questions for me to answer. This being X, who is totally off the charts uninhibited (in contrast to me, who is totally off the charts prudish), I had some reservations. I figured she would ask at least one question that would make me blush. She did not disappoint.

Y'all ready for this? Here we go . . .

1. What is the nastiest chore you've had to perform since moving to the country?

So many to choose from . . . The nastiest one-time chore was cleaning up some dog vomit in the back hall that consisted of chunks of a decomposing animal the dog had eaten in the woods. It smelled and looked so disgusting, I almost threw up myself. And I don't throw up very easily.

Sorry you asked?

2. Is it possible to be in love with more than one person at once? Why or why not?

CHEATER. That's two more questions. But I'll let it slide . . . So, to be in love? I suspect it might be, though I never have been. The level of intimacy required to be in love would be difficult to maintain with more than one person.

3. Before the age of 18, what was your favorite age and why?

X, you're a sneaky one, with these combo two-questions-in-one. I'm going to say nine. I was very confident and happy at about that age, before we moved again and I entered the misery known as middle school.

4. What's a question you hate being asked?

Any variation on, "So, when are you gonna have kids?"

5. If you were a stripper, what would your stage name be and what song would you have played when you were announced?

And there it is. The blushing question. Coulda been worse though. Okay . . .

My name? Coco Belle. Coco being the name of one of our sheep, Belle one of our cats. And me being a complete nerd and choosing a stripper name from among pet names. Good lord.

And my song? What else but Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman"?

Wanna play, too? Here's the deal:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.” (And realize I might take a while to get back to you.)

2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. Update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.

4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you ask them five questions.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Fellow Americans

In honor of today's inauguration, I give you . . . french fries.

WHAT? I bet soon-to-be President Obama LOVES french fries. And no, I will not call them freedom fries. That's lame.

So here's the method for making kick-ass french fries suitable for delicious chili cheese fries. Or just shoveling in your mouth plain, because they're so damned good. I originally picked this method up from a cookbook put out by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA if you want to sound like a pro . . . which I'm not) called "Cooking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America." What an original title. It was, in general, a pretty useless cookbook, but I was intrigued by the french fry recipe, because it does not involve throwing cold potatoes in hot oil, thereby sending hissing, burning oil all over the stove and my arms. No, it does not. And Alleluia for that.

Here's what it does involve.

1) Grow your potatoes. Preferably Bake Kings.

OH ALL RIGHT. You can use store potatoes if you HAVE to. Use a baking variety, a.k.a. russet or Idaho potatoes. Plan on about one potato per eater. Unless they're those mutant, freakishly huge potatoes. Then you might be able to get by with half a potato per eater. Unless that eater is me, and then you should plan on one mutant for me, and half for everyone else.

2) Edited to add: Right about here I should have said to peel the potatoes. So, yeah. Do that. Cut into french-fry-shaped pieces. This method works best with thicker fries, like steak fries. And don't ask me how thick those are, because I don't do numbers. Just cut 'em pretty thick.

3) Now here's where it gets weird. Put the cut-up potatoes in a skillet big enough to hold them all with some clearance at the top. Then pour in canola oil right on top to just barely cover. If a little bit of potato is sticking out the top of the oil, that's okay. Stir a little to make sure the oil is under the potatoes and the potatoes are covered by the oil as much as possible.

You will have noted that I have said nothing about heating the oil first. That's because you heat the potatoes and oil together. I KNOW. WEIRD. But I swear on my mother's big toe these will not be greasy and gross. Well, of course they'll be a little greasy, because they're fried potatoes, but not gross. Definitely not gross.

4) NOW turn the burner on to medium. Cook at this temperature for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the potatoes don't stick. And for the love of Patrick Swayze, don't stir too hard and break the potatoes all up into mush. Be gentle.

5) Now turn the heat to high and cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir (GENTLY) sometimes to prevent sticking, and hover over that stove for the last little bit, because they will go from golden brown and perfect to overdone in the time it takes you to stoke the woodstove. Or whatever.

6) When they've reached golden perfection, take them out with a spatula and plop them on a plate covered in a whole buncha paper towels. Salt as you wish and serve as fast as possible. They'll hold a few minutes in a warm oven, but not for too long.

Now go forth and fry some potatoes. It's the patriotic thing to do.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I know you've all been coming here every day, reading about frozen pillows and chili cheese fries and freakish tomatoes and thinking, "God, is she ever going to just shut up and SHOW US THE MONEY?" (I may be the only person in America who still quotes that totally overused line from "Jerry Maguire"--and then laughs.)

First, let me say I was just tickled that many people commented for the first time. Who knew I had a reader in Saskatchewan? Have I ever mentioned that A. is fond of remarking that someday, we'll leave all this behind and go live on a potato farm in Saskatchewan? Yeah. Makes Blackrock seem pretty good in comparison.

Second, let me say that I actually used the random number generator thingie. I even read the excessively long and needlessly complicated Introduction at the random number generator thingie. Not that I understood a damn thing in the Introduction, except that numbers appear to be randomly generated by lightning. Who knew? Or maybe I just thought that because I saw a nice photo of lightning somewhere in the Introduction but skipped the text around it.


So I used the random number thingie (and yes, Sweet Bird, I DID enter you, even though you were late, because I'm nice like that), which is pretty techie for me. I'm not techie enough to figure out how to capture a screen shot of the randomly generated number, however, so you're all going to have to trust that it was all fair and aboveboard.

And now! For the WINNAH! Finally . . .

The number generator generated number 15, and that was . . .


Congratulations, RLS! I have no idea who you are, Mystery Woman, since you refuse to have a blog of your own and instead lurk on other people's blogs. Like mine. So thanks for lurking! And if you e-mail me at, I'll e-mail you back your $25 Amazon certificate. And then you have to tell us what you spent it on. Unless you're going to buy something personal, like appliances for your private moments, and then you should definitely keep that to yourself.

Thanks for playing, y'all! And thanks for coming here and reading all these hundreds of posts and thousands of words. Peace, love, unity, and doggie kisses from all of us here at Blackrock to all of you in the great wide Internet.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

When It All Comes Together

First, for those of you who would like to read an explanation of the forces that converge to result in my pillow freezing to the wall, go to the previous post. My brilliant and very thorough husband, A., has left his first ever comment just to explain it to you. Probably his last comment, as well.

And now, on with the show!

Sometimes it happens that I'll be sitting around with my mouth open, staring ahead vacantly and pondering what to make for dinner, and I'll realize I have EXACTLY the ingredients I need to make a certain special thing. It's a happy coincidence, when Fate steps in to do my meal planning for me.

Fate stepped in last night and decreed we should have chili cheese fries. It must have been Fate who planted the insidious little seed of an idea into my head, because I've never even HAD chili cheese fries. Ever. Anywhere.

But who am I to argue with Fate? I mean, I did have all that extra Cincinnati-style chili in the refrigerator that I was unsure what to do with. Apparently, it's often used for chili dogs, but I find the thought of covering a hot dog in meat sauce a little repellent. Too much meat there for me. And I did have that tarp full of french fries sitting in boxes in the cellar. And of course, I had cheese. Because we always have cheese.

So I made the french fries (sometime I'll have to share with you my super-weird yet absolutely perfect method for frying french fries--but let's not get distracted right now), heaped on the chili, threw on the grated cheese (A. and the MiL added raw onion too, but I hate raw onion) and abandoned myself to feeding like a hog at the trough.

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.

It was about as good as you would expect french fries covered in meat sauce and cheese to be. That is, nutritionally indefensible, but fantastic. A. couldn't believe his luck. He talked about those chili cheese fries for HOURS afterwards. He said a great sense of comfort was radiating from his belly all night long. I suspect that was the fat clogging his arteries, but man, he would have died happy.

So next time you have homemade chili meat sauce and feel like making some french fries, make this. Forget Fate--I'm telling you to do it. You won't be sorry.

P.S. Last day to enter for the $25 Amazon gift certificate. Just comment on this post by midnight EST.