Saturday, January 31, 2009

Glorious Pasta

I made up a song parody, to be sung to the tune of "Rawhide":

Rollin', rollin', rollin
Keep that pasta rollin'
Rollin', rollin', rollin'
Let's eeeeeat!

HAAAAA! This is funny only because A) I'm a big, fat nerd, and B) I'm going to be making and rolling out pasta for the very first time tonight. Wheee!

I can't believe I've never tried making pasta before this, considering my undying devotion to that particular foodstuff. But I do kind of have this fear of dough. And also, I've never had a pasta roller of my own. The MiL has one, though. The thing is older than I am, and maybe showing its age a little in the form of rust spots, but still sturdy and still ready for action. So I'm going to be bringing the MiL's pasta roller over to our friends Alyssa and J.'s house tonight, to join forces with Alyssa's mother's pasta roller. Then Alyssa and I, both complete pasta-making novices, will attempt to follow the instructions in Mark Bittman's The Best Recipes in the World and roll out some pasta that is edible and not too mangled.

Obviously, I have high standards.

The menfolk will be sitting in J.'s workshop drinking beer and staring at the fire in the woodstove while we make the pasta. And grunting at each other, I bet. I invited them to help, but they seemed to think that eating the pasta when it's all cooked and slathered in sauce was enough involvement for them. No sense of adventure, those menfolk.

Also there for the pasta eating will be the lovely C. of Constant Catastrophizer, attended by the always-amusing Mark and Arlo the Entertainer. And of course, Alyssa and J.'s small son will be in attendance, possibly helping us roll out pasta, possibly sitting in the workshop with the menfolk. But not drinking beer. We hope.

A good time should be had by all. Assuming we don't completely screw up the pasta.

And you know I'm going to be singing my Rawhide Pasta song. Because THAT is just how I roll. (Geddit? Oh, I slay me.)

Friday, January 30, 2009

You Must Be 21 or Older To Enter This Post

It's Friday! And that means it's all about the liquor today.

Specifically, it's all about a new cocktail I invented. Well, I think I invented it. It's possible that it is well-known among bartenders (or mixologists, if you want to be all irritating and pretentious--which I don't). Except how many bartenders have access to mulberry juice? None. Unless they lost their minds right about the end of June and embarked on a month-long orgy of mulberry picking and juicing, resulting in hideously stained fingers and 11 quarts of mulberry juice canned and stored in the cellar. But really now, what kind of weirdo does that?

Besides me, I mean.

Yes, I am now reaping the rewards of my attack of mulberry-juicing insanity. I've been drinking it two ways: virginally (mixed with seltzer) and . . . whorishly? No. Ummm, skankily? No, that's not right either. Okay, with and without alcohol. The alcohol in this case being vodka, because I bought some to make a pasta sauce, except I'm not making that pasta sauce until Saturday, and now I fear the small bottle of vodka I purchased for this purpose may not last until Saturday. How embarrassing. (Just kidding, friends who are expecting pasta sauce with vodka tomorrow night! I promise I'll bring the pasta sauce! Even if I have to buy another bottle . . .)

So here's the cocktail: vodka, mulberry juice, seltzer, ice. I can't even tell you how good it is. You can't even taste the vodka! Which means you could get completely shit-faced and not even realize it! Be warned.


I really came here today seeking your help. You see, there has been some disagreement amongst the inhabitants of Blackrock as to the name of this new cocktail. The MiL informed me that what I had made was basically a Cosmopolitan, except with mulberry juice instead of cranberry juice. She then said that since the opposite of "cosmopolitan" is "provincial," this new cocktail should be christened "The Provincial."

I said, "Nah. It doesn't speak to me."

Or words to that effect.

Last night, just as I was dropping off to sleep, I woke up and exclaimed to an already-asleep-A., "Hey! I think that drink should be called 'The Country Bumpkin'." (Like the song*--geddit?)

He said, "Clever. Go to sleep."

Or words to that effect.

So I appeal to you, my ultra-clever and often hilariously amusing readers: Give that cocktail a name. You could go down in bartending history! Or you could just remain an obscure commenter on this obscure site, but whatever. I want to hear some creativity! I want to hear some puns! I want to hear a clever name!


* Incidentally, more people have found my site by Googling various phrases from this song than any other search term. I find this a little bit weird. Apparently, there is a dearth of information on the Internet about this song.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Have No Excuse for This

I mean, really. My new hobby? The thing that I spend far too much time thinking about and researching online? Is this.


How do I defend myself from accusations of complete and utter geekiness (not that YOU would accuse me of this, right? RIGHT?) when my new hobby is cooking on my woodstove? Seriously. Last night, it was beef, barley, and mushroom soup (YUM). I've warmed up leftovers for my lunch, cooked eggs, made rice, prepared frozen vegetables, and simmered various things. It's just so . . . satisfying. It's like free cooking! I don't have to pay for the electricity! Found money! And it looks so gosh-dang homey to have a big pot of soup simmering away on top of the woodstove!

I think winter is starting to get to me. Send help.

* Some of you may have been thinking, "What a great Le Creuset pot!" I should tell you it is NOT Le Creuset. It's a Lodge enameled cast iron dutch oven. Just like Le Creuset, but about $100 cheaper. The MiL gave it to me for Christmas, and I love it with a deep and burning passion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Is Getting Repetitive

I'm sure you all remember the first post with snowy photos. And then there was the follow-up post, with more snowy photos. And then, there was the other post that referenced the first post, with the original snowy photos.

I think you all have had ample evidence of the snow around here. So yeah, that. Today. Again. Forever and ever, Amen.

I mean, you'd think it was winter around here or something.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coffee Talk

Hey, did I ever mention that my mom is from New Orleans? Maybe once or twice. Or four times. Whatever. So part of my New Orleans heritage (that I apparently like to trot out with some regularity on this site*) is cafe au lait. That would be coffee with milk for all you non-French speakers (like me--I took Spanish in high school, so that would be cafe con leche). But not just ANY coffee. No, it must be coffee with chicory.

I don't really like coffee. I'll just get that out of the way right now. I was never a coffee drinker. Even in college, when many people pick up the habit of staying up late and then drinking coffee in the morning to get through classes, I never did. The only coffee I ever drank was New Orleans-style coffee with chicory when we visited my grandmother, Duchess, in New Orleans. It's crazy-strong, bitter, and mixed with a lot of milk. And that is still the only coffee I will drink.

Of course, this poses a bit of a problem, since I obviously live nowhere near New Orleans, and our local coffee companies don't seem inclined to indulge my own personal coffee preferences. (I KNOW--don't they know who I AM?) But I got a hook-up. My mom sends me 12 pounds of Community Coffee's New Orleans Blend Coffee and Chicory every year for my birthday. I only drink one cup a day, so you might think 12 pounds is overkill for a year's supply. And it would be, for normal coffee. But this is New Orleans-style coffee. This is the coffee used for cafe au lait. This needs to be some strong, no-pansies-allowed coffee. So to make 8 cups of coffee, I use about three-quarters of a cup of grounds. Maybe more. I don't really measure it.

I suspect that what I'm making is basically like espresso. The coffee is mixed with an equal amount of milk. Now technically, the milk is supposed to be heated separately and then poured into the cup at the same time as the hot coffee. This is all well and good for those who have servants, but in reality, what happens is I pour the coffee, dump in milk, and nuke it for a couple of minutes. Then I add sugar. Because I like sugar.

I also hate making coffee every morning, so I make half a pot at a time and then drink it for the next three days. Some of you may think this is disgusting. To you I say, get away from my coffee, then. I don't want to share, anyway.

I am well aware that coffee preferences are highly personal, so tell me: What's your coffee ritual?

* I don't think I've even mentioned that my father is from Wisconsin. I should get all nostalgic and maudlin in the presence of bratwurst and cheese, too, but somehow, those don't seem to have the same effect on me as red beans and rice. Sorry, Dad.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Random--Now with Photos!

The muffler on Big Red just fell right off yesterday due to the cancerous rust that is spreading slowly but inexorably throughout the body of the truck. The lack of muffler is just one more step on Big Red's road to being the quintessential woodchuck-mobile. As if gaping holes in the body and the homemade wooden livestock rack built onto the bed weren't enough, this will just push it right over the edge. And A. drives to work in this. He drives to his law office, in his suit, in this. I find this hilarious. I don't think he's quite so amused.

However, since it's Monday, and that can be depressing enough, I will not show you the photo I took of A. groveling and cussing on the icy ground while he cut off the remaining part of the muffler with a hack saw. Because that's not very fun. No, instead I will show you this.

Hitchin' a ride

For some reason, Leda loves Big Red. She jumps on the tailgate at every opportunity, and hops in the cab whenever the door is open. You have to admit, that's pretty cute. If that can't bring a smile to your face on a dreary Monday in January, then you have a heart made of flint and ice and there is nothing I can do for you, for you are dead inside. DEAD!


Also for your viewing pleasure today, I would like to show you why it is that our house is like a bed and breakfast in the summer, with guests coming in a constant stream from June to August, and yet, in the winter, no one seems to want to visit us. And why is that? Because of this:

Care to take a dip? No? WUSS.

Yeah, we don't fool ourselves that the pleasure of our company is the reason for all the visits. No, guests come for the beach. And somehow, the beach loses its appeal when it's covered in 20 feet of anchor ice and icy slush extends another 20 feet into the lake. Plus, there's the godawful wind, which you can't see in this photo, of course, but which I assure you was threatening to turn my hands into shriveled, frost-bitten claws in the two seconds it took me to take this photo without gloves on.

So there. Didn't that cheer you up? Happy Monday everyone! Now go forth and pay the cheer forward. Show your co-workers how much you love them. Hugs for all! Peace, love, and unity throughout the workplace! Smile on your brother! Everybody get together and try to love one another right now!

I think I'd better be going now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Get Ready for Random

In lieu of anything more interesting or topical this morning, let's have a list, shall we?

1) Yesterday, while stacking wood, I smacked my shin really hard against one huge log and kicked another one that was frozen to the ground. This resulted in a very attractive bruise, which no one will ever see because my legs will not be bared for many months yet, and further injury to the big toe on my right foot that is already not in top condition. Small injuries like this are very common when you do a lot of manual labor, but still. I would like some sympathy for my boo-boos, please.

2) I can't seem to keep the little webby parts between my fingers from drying out and flaking. I spend all day washing my hands and putting on lotion, and I rub 100% shea butter into my hands at night, but still--dry and flaky between my fingers. Boo. But this does make me thankful for modern hand creams, because it would be gross to try to moisturize my hands with bear tallow or something.

3) The chickens were all excited about going outside the coop when it got warm (34 degrees--break out the bathing suits!) and played about happily. That lasted about two days. Now it's cold again, they're stuck in their coop again, and they're starting to get cranky. I can tell when chickens are getting cranky. Who is this person I've become?

4) Speaking of chickens, we had a roasted chicken for dinner last night (not one of ours--a stranger). It's really funny how chicken has become a big treat for us. We have so much beef, lamb, and venison, we hardly ever have chicken any more. So whenever the MiL brings home a chicken, we all react like we're getting prime rib for dinner, when in fact, prime rib is a much more likely meal for us than a chicken. This is weird, I know.

5) There is still (STILL) a purple cabbage from the garden hanging in a net bag in the cellar. I should really cook that pretty soon.

6) We're down to two and a half boxes of potatoes. This seems like a small amount to me, despite the fact that we're still talking about a hundred pounds of potatoes. My potato perspective has changed dramatically.

7) I'm tired of writing this list now, and I imagine you're tired of reading it, so I'm done.