Tag: cooking

Early night

Busy day at work today.  Progress on some fronts, but more delays on others.  We stopped at the grocery store after work and picked up a few things, and when we got home, I made my apple, ale and cheddar soup again.  It was good, but not quite as good as the first time.  Too much apple cider this time.  And next time, some chopped apples would be good.

No writing tonight, but I think I have the gist of the first scene fully worked out.  Maybe tomorrow.  I’d been reading Uncertainty, but I no longer need it for where the story is going.  An interesting book, still, but I’m setting it aside of the time being.  I started Jack McDevitt’s Cauldron tonight and got through the first chapter.

Spoke with Mom today.  Also spoke with strausmouse  tonight, who called as promised.

We got our wedding pictures today.  The photographer is mailing us the DVDs, but in the meantime, she made the pictures available to us online.  I looked through some but there’s something like 700.  I’ll look through more when we get the DVDs.

Off to bed now.  I was practically falling asleep on the couch. 

Thanksgiving dinner

Great Thanksgiving dinner at Sarah’s this evening.  Early in the afternoon, I set about making my stuffed mushrooms.  I made two kinds, a spicy, seasoned kind and a more bland kind.  The spicy, seasoned ones came out really good.  I surprised myself.  We headed over to Sarah’s just before 3 PM.

All told, there were nine of us there, Sarah’s family, plus some friends.  We sat around talking, and munching and watching football and finally, eating a huge Thanksgiving feast.  Lots of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, and all kinds of yummy sides to go along with it.  I had 1-1/2 plates full of food.  Afterward there was dessert, and I sampled three of the desserts that were put out.  By the time we headed home, we were both stuffed to the gills.

Jamie’s Apple, Ale and Cheddar Soup

As promised, here is my recipe for Apple, Ale and Cheddar soup.

Part 1

What you need:

1 stick buttter
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup celery

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft (~5 minutes).

Part 2

What you need:

1/2 cup flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ceyene pepper (optional)

Add dry ingredients and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes.

Part 3

What you need:

16 oz chicken broth
4 cups milk
2 cups apple cider
12 oz ale (or your favorite beer)

Gradually stir in liquids.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until soup comes to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.  Do not let boil.

Part 4

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Stir in cheese until melted.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Let soup barely simmer for 10-15 more minutes.  Serve.  Should make about 6 bowls worth.


I did it.  I created my first recipe!  Years ago, I went to dinner at a place in New York City called Dish with he11o_sunshine  and stubiebrother .  I had the best soup I’ve ever had in my life there.  It was an "apple, ale and cheddar" soup and it was delicious!  We tried to go back once and discovered, much to my dismay, that the restaurant no longer existed.  Inspired by strausmouse , who is fearless in his pursuit of recipes he’s tried, I decided to see if I could recreate the soup.  I looked online and there was no matching recipe, but by getting an idea of how to make cheddar beer soup, and doing some improvising, I gave it a shot.

And boy, did I hit a home run with it!

It took me about an hour to prepare it but the soup came out great–just as I remembered it.  I had two heaping bowlfuls of it and then stored the rest to take to lunch during the week.  I was very proud of myself.  Kelly also said it tasted good.  I’ll post my recipe later this week.

And then, later this evening I was craving something sweet and on Kelly’s suggestion, I made brownies!  Yum!

Much colder (and windy) today than yesterday.  Kelly and I went for a walk early this afternoon.  Otherwise, it was a pretty lazy day today.  I have a busy week at work coming up.  Watched True Blood and Entourage tonight.  For some reason, even though it’s 10:45 PM, I feel wide awake.

Today’s reading: NEW SCIENTIST (online, November 8).

Halloween and Taco Salad

Halloween today, but unlike last year, there was no dressing up or Halloween parties this year.  There was work, and then after work, I headed home and started preparing dinner.  AJ and Denisse came over around 7 PM and I made a taco salad using one of strausmouse’s recipes.  I think it came out pretty good, even though I made one mistake.  (The recipe said to slice up a tomato.  Later it said to add the tomato to the food processor.  I didn’t read it carefully and added all the tomato, rather than 1/4 cup.  That’s okay, it still came out pretty good.)

Earlier in the day, I picked up 2 games for the Wii:  Monopoly and Tiger Woods 2009.  When Denisse and AJ were over this evening, we played Monopolyon the Wii.  It was fun, but it took a long time.  Ultimately, AJ was the winner.

I got the January issue of ASIMOV’S in the mail today.


I can’t get this garlic taste out of my mouth

Up at 6:30 AM and into work shortly thereafter.  For some reason, I didn’t feel as productive as usual today.  Work has seemed relatively quiet all week long, but it just seemed to drag a bit today because I couldn’t get the engines firing on all 8 cylinders.

I made dinner again tonight.   This time, it was a caesar salad with a homemade dressing, and linguini and homemade pesto sauce.  Once again, thanks to strausmouse  and spouce for the recipes.  Very garlicy!

I got a $40 check from Washington Gas today.  This is hopefully the end of a ridiculous merry-go-round with the gas company.  The short version is that they said I owed them money.  I called and they said their computers made a mistake and I didn’t owe them money.  Next I heard from them was through a collection agency saying that I owed them money.  So I sighed and sent them a check for the amount they said I owed.  Today, I got that money back.  It cost me nothing, but heaven knows how much money the gas company spent on this debacle.

I watched most of Barack Obama’s 30 minute ad spot tonight.  I am so ready to vote for him and have this election (to say nothing of the executive government of the last 8 years)  over with!  I have no doubt that Obama is going to win–and at least in the electoral college, probably win pretty big.  I just can’t wait for it to be over.

Today’s reading:  NEW SCIENTIST (October 25 issue) and SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (November 2008).

New Scientist

Before the wedding, I subscribed to New Scientist.  When I got back from the honeymoon, the first issue was in the mail.  Unlike SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, New Scientist is a weekly magazine.  The next issue came yesterday.  I didn’t want to fall too far behind and so today, I read last week’s issue cover-to-cover.  And you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The articles are interesting, the commentary is good.  The articles are not as long or quite in depth as SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, but they are well-written, and have a charming U.K. flair to them.  I’m trying to get through as much of this week’s issue as I can before heading off to bed.

I worked from home for part of the day today.  Doug, Rachel, he11o_sunshine  and stubiebrother  got Kelly and I a grill for our wedding.  The grill was delivered today.  It weighs 176 pounds according to the manifest, and the delivery guys wouldn’t bring it up the stairs.  I’ll open the box later in the week and bring the parts up separately so that we can get it put together for the weekend.  I can’t wait to use it!  Speaking of which, I made the arugula and parmesan salad as well as the Hoisin chicken sandwiches for dinner.  It was easy to make and they turned out great!

Spoke to he11o_sunshine  on the phone this evening.  Also spoke to Doug for a little while.  I thanked both of the for the grill.  Still working on thank you notes.  Not as far along as I’d like to be, but I’m hoping to have most of them done by the end of the weekend.

Crazy wind today.  Gusts were up to 40 MPH and the wind is still whipping away outside.  It’s been cold, too.  It didn’t get out of the 40s today.  We used the fireplace for the first time this evening and that was nice.  I sat in front of it for a while, reading my magazine and soaking in the heat.

Cooking immersion

Yesterday, I began a period of "cooking immersion" which I hope will help develop any dormant cooking skills that reside within me.  I planned out our meals for the week, went shopping for everything I needed, and plan to cook 2 dishes each night in order to build up experience.  I’m using the wonderful custom-made cookbook that strausmouse  and rmstraus  gave to us to plan the initial meals (and I’m using the cookbooks that rubysnina  gave to us to fill in details that I’m not familiar with).

Last night, I made us a very good sweet potato soup, followed by a baked macaroni and cheese dish.  Both were essentially made from scratch.  I bought sweet potatoes, diced them, boiled them, added fresh ingredients; I even made use of our food processor for the first time to puree the stuff into a soupy consistency.  The macaroni bake was a little easier to make but took longer to cook.  Kelly liked the result of each, although I think we both liked the soup more than the macaroni.  What impressed me most was that I made both dished simultaneously and was able to get the kitchen cleaned before serving them, so there was almost nothing to clean up afterward.  And there’s plenty of leftovers for lunch!

Tonight, I’m making an arugula and parmesan salad, and Hoisin chicken sandwiches.

Peaceful weekend, part 1

Kelly and I planned for these to be a peaceful weekend–our first one in over a month, since moving to the new house.  And for the most part, today was very peaceful.  I went to bed early last night–by accident.  I got in bed to read, and before I knew it, I just couldn’t focus on the page any longer.  Kelly came to bed later.  I managed to get 10-1/2 hours of sleep, which is remarkable for me.

We were still up before 8 AM.  We lazed around for the first two hours, watching some TV.  Kelly Tivo’d "Rock the Reception" on TLC, which was a lot of fun to watch, and really kind of addicting.  We set the DVR to record it some more whenever it comes on.  I worked on some wedding website stuff for a while.  Finally, just after 10 AM, we headed out for breakfast.  We walked a different route to Shirlington, through Park Fairfax.  It’s a slightly longer walk but I like it much better.  We headed to the Luna Grill for breakfast, where Kelly had eggs Florentine, and I had a bagel and lox.  Then we walked back home.

We lazed around some more.  Later in the afternoon, Kelly and I put together the new "kitty bathroom" that she ordered.  I did a little reading and then we headed out to Pentagon City to do some shopping.  We got some groceries for the dinner I was planning to prepare.  We also got some bike stuff.  We got a new tube for Kelly’s rear tire, and I got a new helmet and a mirror.

Back home and I started to prepare dinner.  I planned on making Chicken Marsala with a side of Italian Pasta Salad.  I prepared the pasta salad first, making the dressing, chopping up lots of veggies, and then refrigerating the whole thing.  Then I started on the chicken.  We used our new dishes and napkins and sat down to eat right around 7 PM.  And guess what?  For a wonder, it came out really good!  The chicken wasn’t overcooked, the Marsala sauce was just right, and the pasta salad was great!  This time, I cooked the chicken on a lower flame, but for a longer time than the cookbook said.  I was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing!

After dinner, we booked the final excursion for our honeymoon cruise (this one, at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, takes us to some caverns and then some waterfalls), and then headed off to the gym.  I got in a decent lower body workout.

Got the most recent issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today.  Actually, it was delivered to a neighbor, but they kindly brought it by.  It’s a special issue on privacy and looks like a good one.  I’m somewhere around 220 pages through Old Man’s War, and expect to finish tonight or tomorrow.

Spoke briefly with stubiebrother  today.  Also with Mom and Dad.

I do feel relaxed.

Last night’s dinner

I cooked dinner last night. I mean, really cooked. I used one of the cookbooks that Mom & Dad got us. We defrosted some free range (or as Kelly likes to call them “happy”) chicken breast. Then when I got home from work, I made us “ranch chicken”. In addition, I made a side of stir-fried green beans and peppers. I probably cooked the chicken with too much heat, but it still came out pretty good. I liked it and so did Kelly. The vegetables, in particular, came out really well.

We did a bunch of thank you notes after dinner and then went to the gym after and did half an hour of cardio.

More “Cooking with Jamie and Kelly”

It rained quite a bit yesterday and neither Kelly nor I felt much like going our for food after work. We’d already planned to make Rice Krispy Treats, but we also decided to make dinner too. We kept it simple this time: whole wheat pasta, pasta sauce, and sliced up carrots. After that we made the Rice Krispy Treats. They were pretty easy to do, although I don’t think we used enough butter. I thought my arm was going to fall off from all of the mixing, but they turned out pretty darn good. I even ended up having a few this morning.

I got a little more work done on the revisions to “The Golden Watch” while waiting for Kelly to get home from work yesterday. I’m halfway through the manuscript. I should get the rest done in the next couple of days. Then I need to read through it and make sure the changes I’m making work.

I’m about 85 pages through Up the Line. I’m going to push hard to finish that up tonight or tomorrow. I’d like to squeeze in 2 Rob Sawyer books before April begins and I start my annual re-reading of Isaac Asimov’s autobiographies. (I’m really looking forward to that, as I always do.)

Kitchen juggling and other miscellaneous stuff

Happy March!

Last night I prepared the most complex meal I’ve ever done so far. It was not complex in terms of ingredients or anything light that. I made ravioli with pasta sauce, and steamed broccoli, which I suppose is fairly simple. But I had three burners on the stove going at the same time, and managed to plan it well enough so that all three finished cooking at about the same time. (And while doing this, I was also checking some work email.) It was the perfect amount of ravioli, enough for a bowl full for me and for Kelly. And the sauce was a spicy sauce with just a bit of a kick to it. It was very good, and I was pleased with my ability to juggle multiple tasks in the kitchen.

For the second time in a couple of weeks, I accidentally texted he11o_sunshine in response to a text from someone at work. I’m not exactly sure how I manage to do this. I can only suppose that so much of my concentration is taken up by other things that I simply don’t pay attention to what I’m doing. Fortunately, Jen has been through this before and takes it patiently and with good humor.

We watched The Martian Child on DVD last night. The movie (starring John Cusack) is based on David Gerrold’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning novelette of the same title. We both enjoyed it, despite it being sad at times.

This evening we are heading over to A.J. and Denisse’s for a Peruvian dinner, which should be fun. We’ll probably end up playing some games too. Denisse asked me to bring Apples to Apples with me for that very purpose.

I have to work tomorrow. Since I am a fast writer, I agreed to write a significant portion of the user documentation for an application that we’ve been developing for a while and is close to a beta release. It will probably take me several hours tomorrow afternoon, but at least I can do it from home.