Monday, February 26, 2007

A bright spot in my day

The first crocus of spring lights up the whole yard for me. It also tells me I've got a lot of work ahead, raking and pruning and whatnot, and I can't wait.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


At Costco I also got a ginormous bunch of asparagus, which I did up my usual way, along with a handful of cipoline onions: marinated in a little olive oil, thyme and salt, then grilled. The healthy accompaniment to the hash, which is made by:

Sauteeing some onions until they're a little browned

Chopping up some corned beef (under careful canine supervision)

Opening a bag of country- or Southern-style frozen hash browns (a real-time saver) ...

... and adding the potatoes, the corned beef, plus some butter, to the onions.
And letting the whole thing cook undisturbed until the bottom is crisp, then turning it once and letting it cook some more.

Finally, fry an egg in the pan after you remove the hash.

VoilĂ !

Saturday, February 24, 2007


I picked up a corned beef brisket at Costco the other day, tossed it in the crockpot last night with some water and low-sodium beef broth. Then I got what I needed to make corned beef hash, which to me is the best way to eat corned beef, unless it's in a really well-made sandwich, and I didn't want to buy a whole loaf of rye, so hash it is.
While I was getting the potatoes, I spotted these turnips, rutabegas and parsnips and thought, hmmmm, I have never cooked those. In fact, the only time I eat rutabegas is at Thanksgiving, mashed, and I like them then. But a lot of people hate them, it seems. They are a kind of biting, almost bitter flavor, very distinctive, which I guess would explain why people don't like them.

Anyway, I brought home one of each. And when the beef was done today I cut them up and tossed them in the broth to cook.

When they were done, I fished them out with a slotted spoon and tossed them in a hot saucepan to dry them out a little, then added a pat of butter and a splash of milk and mashed them with the spoon. Then I tasted them. Eek! Way too salty from the beef broth.
The solution: peel a bunch of regular potatoes and boil those up.
Once those were boiled, I mashed them up plain, then added the salty veg and mashed some more. Oh, and a little more butter and milk. The result? Verrrry tasty mashed potatoes, with just the right amount of salt and a nice flavor kick from the other roots.
Now I have to go back to the store for more potatoes for the hash, but that's OK. I'll make it in the morning. Sunday brunch!

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Outback's great-granddaddy

Ye olde statione wagonne still gets around. I sure have been glad for its Japanese great-grandbaby with all the snow we've had. Plus, baby's got heated seats!

I met the Devil outside Safeway

Those eyes ... a little too glinty. The teeth ... a little too pointy. Click on her face and you'll see the evil that she and her minions have concocted.

Poodle's progress

Miss Sophie's getting more gussied up every day. I brushed her out, trimmed ears and tail (topknot may be next), and finally got rid of those muppet feet. Not the tidiest job, but it'll do.

Unfortunately it also exposed how very long her toenails are, and she hates getting her toenails clipped. I may let one of the vet techs do it. They're better at it, and she already hates them.

Hay Hay!

The new Donna Hay is here!

I had a subscription to this Australian cooking magazine for a couple of years, until suddenly the price went waaaaay up, to $80 for six issues. Buh-bye, Donna.

Then Amazon had it on sale for $33 (thanks, Niki!), and this is the first issue I've gotten. Summer, natch. That's part of its charm for me, the reversed seasons.

Maybe I should emulate all those bloggers who cook something from a particular source every week and document it, like French Laundry at Home. That might be fun to do with Donna Hay.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Water torture

It was supposed to be in the 60s today, so I decided to bathe Sophie, a.k.a. Stinky. She does not enjoy the experience, but she sure likes a good shake in the backyard and the walk (now with leaping!) after.
Bil-Jac before and during, and a nice meaty bone after also ease the trauma.

(Oh, and they lied. It was only in the 40s. But still nice.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wanky the Safety Cat!

I spotted this hilarious DIY project on Make:

"Winky the Cat was a stuffed animal turn-signal sold through catalogs. I wanted Winky for my car, to keep me safe with his soft fluffiness and his acrylon-like fur. Sadly, a victim of teenage peer pressure, I couldn't bring myself to buy Winky. Now, 25 years later, I realize that all is not lost. Yeah, I can't buy Winky, but I can make my own!"

Read the rest of Murilee Martin's story about creating Wanky

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A close shave

Hmmm, looks like I missed a little on her chin. It's hard to do around the lips because she pulls away or sticks her tongue out.

The first time I ever clipped her face, when she was a puppy, I nicked her tongue. I was clipping her in the bathtub, luckily. She proceeded to flick blood all over the place. Lick, lick, lick, splatter, splatter, splatter.

I took her outside and let her run around and it stopped. Whew.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Land of plenty

I don't go to Costco very often because it's far away and it's a big hit to my wallet every time. Yes, you save money over the long run, but it's a lot to shell out up front.

Now they're building one closer. I'll have to work on my essentials-only shopping skills.

One thing I really love about Costco is the food court, and one item in particular: the Mocha Freeze. It's just like a Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks, at a third of the cost.

The other thing I love about Costco is the weird-ass stuff you can buy there. I didn't have time to make a survey today, but this did catch my eye:
There's just something inherently funny about the phrase "complete toilet in a box."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Well, are you?

This billboard has been up for a while, promoting One Book, One Denver's 2006 pick, "The Milagro Beanfield War" by John Nichols. It's cool to see a billboard promoting reading, but I think the message may be a little too obscure, without the full title and requiring that motorists read and remember a Web address just to find out what it's all about.

What I'm reading:
"The Distance Between Us" by Masha Hamilton

War correspondent Caddie Blair is addicted to the adrenaline of getting the stories amidst the dust and violence of the Middle East, but when the violence intrudes on her personal life and steals away the heart of it, she is forced to take a hard look at her motivations and her guilt. "The Distance Between Us" is dramatic, a little uncomfortable, and moving.

Author Masha Hamilton has a new novel coming out, "The Camel Bookmobile," about bringing books to the semi-nomadic people of northern Kenya. The real-life Camel Bookmobile project is also looking for donated books. Read more about it here:

War bowl

I was reminded last night of something I'd forgotten about for a while ... what were we discussing? ... oh yes, wedding cakes and the figures on top of them. Army men were suggested, and I suddenly flashed back to The Conran Shop in NYC a few years ago, where I spotted the War Bowl. It's made by Mosley Meets Wilcox.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Big Mean Kitty

"You've met your match, Poodle Boy, for I am Big Mean Kitty!"
"Go ahead. Whisper sweet nothings in my ear, Poodle Boy."
"Gah .... Mrmphhmpph!"
"I'll teach you to take such liberties! Take that, Poodle Boy!"
"Ha HAH. I swat you."
"You call those teeth?"
"Ow! Er, I mean, tee-hee, that tickles!"
"You see? I am unscathed! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!"
"Tired of trying to best me, Poodle Boy?"
"Sleep then, defeated one, and when you have regained your strength, we shall battle again!"