Tag Archives: babble

2010, a better year

Egads. Where on earth did 2009 slip to? I mean, I know I had a lot going on in my life, but that was no reason to let everyone think that The Wannabe Gourmet had hung up his apron and decided to survive solely on take-away foods. No! In fact, once i had the kitchen totally overhauled in January 2009, things took a turn for the strange. The best thing is that I came out of it all a stronger, hopefully wiser person. My goal is to start back up again, slowly, of course, and see how it all goes now.

This week is going to be a “seafood week” at Jonathan’s house. Last night, Shrimp and Roasted Asparagus Pasta. Tonight, Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallops au gratin). Tomorrow night, Sesame crusted Tuna Steaks. Thursday, Crab Cakes. Who knows what Friday will bring?

What have you all been up to (my two faithful readers who keep popping by to see if I’ve updated)?


Spring has sprung and…

…well, I haven’t managed to update the blog as I had wished. There’s been housing renovations, job issues (fortuantely, not my own, but with others, in this economy), and of course, a lot of cooking going on behind the scenes.

How has your 2009 been? Have you seen the “Change” that you’ve expected to? Chances are, you haven’t. And that’s fine.

Here’s a question for anyone who might still be a reader, however:

What do you listen to when you cook? The television, some music? Let me know!


In the morning, when the madness has faded…

Now that the elections are over, it’s time to get back to cooking, enjoying life, and looking forward to the future.

Whether or not the person you voted for was elected, you can look at the situation as the opportunity to make the best. When life hands you lemons, make meringue pie, limoncello, and chicken piccata. After all, why limit your output, right?

I, myself, am looking to an end of this 70 hour work week that I’ve put in, so that I can spend some time behind my stove, making bread, soups, and other foodies to get me through the cooler weather. Besides, I am owner of a few new baking dishes that are crying out to have tarts, cakes, and pies baked in them.

What’s your favourite cold(er) weather dish? Do you crave fresh baked bread? Roasted turkey? Soups? Stews? Or do you long for warmer weather where nothing but grilled veggies, steak, and Bloody Marys rule?

The important thing, to me, is to enjoy each and every season as it comes. It’s almost time for eggnog. Peppermint tea. White Chocolate Snow Caps (I didn’t come up with that recipe — I saw it years ago on the Discovery Channel, though I try to make it once a year or so, because it makes me feel good, even though it’s hideous in fat!). Stuffed bread (Pano alla Nunzia, I tend to call it because of who invented the recipe). Something called Hot Virginia Dip that I picked up out of another sampler, this one from the Junior League of Virginia. Guaranteed to harden your arteries, raise your blood pressure, yet make you smile from the taste.

Here comes the weekend. Don’t just anticipate it. Relish it!


Happy Halloween!

It’s a day where kids get trucked into neighbourhoods where they don’t belong, to obtain sugared treats that mom and pop are going to toss in the trash and give a “safe” bag of candy to.

Do I sound curmudgeonly? Damn right I do. When I was younger, we used to go around our neighbourhood, but we NEVER got taken to other neighbourhoods to beg for candy. Of course, unwrapped treats were off limits, as were candied apples, caramel apples, and popcorn balls.

These days? Kids (and I use that phrase LOOSELY) of all ages come and bang on your door — even if you don’t have your porch light on. Just the thing you want — kids of 17 or 18, looking over your shoulder to case your house and come back at a later time to steal your canned goods and your stereo.

No, really, I’m not paranoid. But in this day and age — there are FOUR children under the age of 12 that live in this neighbourhood. If you count five streets in each direction, you may have a total of 20 kids. I’ve stood, in the dark, and counted at least 60 kids going up and down the streets, as mom & pop, in a minivan, watch as they go from house to house.

With the economy being in a downturn, even buying treats from the Dollar store to hand out was more than I was willing to front. Of course, in the last 11 years, I’ve not given candy out once — simply because I work with a number of parents and the did all confirm what I mentioned above — they take the little plastic pumpkins or treat bags, and dispose of them once the kids are home, giving them a bag filled with treats that they bought themselves, just to make sure that no one has slipped poison, drugs, razor blades, or needles into the candies.  It’s a shame that our culture has come to this, isn’t it?

Moving past that, however, have a Happy Halloween. Go to a party, throw a party, BE the party. Turn the lights all on (after trick or treating hours are over, obviously) and dance like there’s no tomorrow. Drink wine from the bottle. Call up an old friend and tell them how much you miss them.

Most importantly, however, celebrate life. It’s another day that you’ve woken up alive, and if it’s worth living, it’s worth living WELL.


Getting the cold shoulder…

After having a year with basically no winter to speak of, Mother Nature has decided that it is well beyond time for those in my part of the world to “chill out”, as it were, and conveniently dropped the temperatures a good 40 degrees F from where we were just last week.

Mind you, I rather fancy the cooler weather, and since it’s almost November, it’s only right that the skies turn grey, that the flurries start to fly, and the frost comes on the pumpkin.

Speaking of pumpkin, however, brings back to mind those absolutely horrid supermarket pies that are overspiced, over cooked, and feel like you have a mouth of mush if you were so inclined to eat them. Myself? I’d rather take my chances and make a pumpkin ravioli. Or a soup. Something where the vegetable (fruit? Yes, a pumpkin is actually a fruit!) shines and not the spice cabinet. Think of it much like squash or sweet potatoes (which, also, common to popular misconceptions, are NOT “yams”. A yam is a different vegetable all together).

To-may-to, to-mah-to. The improtant thing to remember is to put some colour in your diet, and to eat what you like. Take it easy on the fats, and get your veggies in. (Say what you will, but there’s some correlation — I’ve been losing weight, and increasing my intake of veggies, and my eyes have IMPROVED as I have gotten older. Granted, I’m still nearsighted, but it’s not anywhere near as bad as it once was (in fact, it is over a full point improvement in each eye).

Also… take time each day, even if only 30 seconds, to close your eyes and focus on something that brings you a great deal of joy. There’s really no better medicine for the spirit.