Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Special Ingredients Added

I always make spaghetti and meatballs when I don't feel like being creative. It is comforting and gets the job done. My brother gave me the "jar" in 1996, for Christmas. I cherish it. Here's the story:

Our family was moving into a house in Yukon, Oklahoma. We had cleaned, unpacked, and it was time for dinner. My oldest sis and I decided to make spaghetti. We didn't have a colander, so when draining the noodles, we held the lid on..so that the water would slowly drain from the pot and into the sink (which we hadn't cleaned yet). Well, the steam hit our arms and we dropped the noodles into the sink. We scooped em up quickly, before anyone saw what happened. We added a few cans of tomatoe sauce, a few shakes of Italian seasoning..and that was it. Hey, I was 12 and she was 16.

My brother was the first to discover a small nail, and then my youngest sis discovered a few matches..and then there were those annoying balls of dried paint. Well, we did end up laughing about it..and I am pretty sure my mom made more spaghetti. I can't make it though, without thinking of the "special ingredients" I once added.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Marlena Replies to Post Comments

> comments are so sweet, and so touching, and have really lifted my
> so much! i'm in new york at jfk waiting for my flight to chicago,
> to check my email, and now feel like a million bucks. so sweet.
> and yes, i do believe that fred's last name is spelled exactly like
> luzzi! he used to raise bees, and put up jars of honey, labeled:
honey by
> fred. my husband still calls him: honey by fred, even though the bees
> long gone.
> fred is such a lovely guy. such a lovely guy. and it makes me happy
> to think that summer--and tomato season--are coming up!
> tomatoes! peaches! blogs, and very nice people! its all just so
> good!
> and i've never been to chicago, am meeting up with a bunch of
> promoting their pasta, tomatoes and olive oil, it should be a lot of
> in that neapolitan southern italian way. then its back to new york,
> with robert seitsma of the village voice which should be a hoot.
> going to queens with a group of hungry young things, destination:
> something ethnic and obscure and savory. i can hardly wait.
> x marlena

[She said it was okay to post her recent email. Thanks Miss Lori Hahn for spreading the news and thanks to all who commented on the interview. You guys made her day..and mine] Mel
Marlena Spieler

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Can't Frickin Bake..and other rants!

Okay...so I can't bake. I can cook, but can't bake. I've tried to bake...like 20 years ago, but it just never worked out for me.

So, today I decided to make a strawberry/rhubarb pie for my husband. I used the recipe from http://www.simplyrecipes.com. Problem #1..I can't make crust..so I bought em. Problem #2...no instant tapioca mix. I used 1/2 cup of flour instead.

I went outside to water my roses and other stuff...and smoke was coming out of my patio doors! The entire inside of the pie was dripping onto the baking sheet and then onto the bottom of my oven! This causes burning and then smoke. I turn down my oven and turn on the fans and open the windows.

Dave comes home and says, "something smells sort of good". The smoke was gone by then. The pie turned into a cobbler...a very "loose" interpretation of a cobbler. Dave said it was delicious..but then he would say that.

Okay, and so I am also disappointed that my interview with Marlena Spieler didn't get any feedback at the Sacramento Food Forums. Hell, she is no slouch..and it took me over a year to get the interview! I see that over 90 people have read it..but not one person has commented on it. BTW...she asks the same thing. "Have you gotten any feedback?"

I am also pissed that I keep trying to get the link for my forums to come up..and it won't! GRRRRRR. I am frustrated. I should never, ever bake! If you want to go to the forums..look over to the left and click on em. The interview is under "chit chat with the professionals". Heck, I am so frustrated I can't even spell.

I am also pissed about the fact the porn-type spam has invaded the forums to the point that I have to "approve" anyone who registers...so that people who find the site and want to see what is happening, have to NOW register to even read the forums.

Okay...I will never bake again. It makes me angry.

Here is another thing that just chaps my ass: Gay partners not being able to marry and access benefits. That is just an outrage! It has nothing to do with not being able to bake...but it is something that I find outrageous. As if heterosexuals have done such a great job at being married. Gays should have as much right to being married, being divorced, and fighting over settlements as much as anyone else! Let's say they do as well as we do at the marriage thing, which ain't saying much...then let their partners recieve the benefits they deserve. I am sick of the religion card being thrown in to defend heterosexual marriages..."the sanctity of marriage". Dave and I are not religious...and we got married so that I could recieve his insurance and pension benefits. No other reason. It should be the same for EVERYONE! It works for us.

P.S. Next time I bake, look forward to another rant on the injustice most illegal immigrants are going thru, consumerism, and the evils of high fructose corn syrup.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tyler Florence and his daddy's meatloaf..and sides

I watched Tyler today..his "ultimate meatloaf recipe". I made it exactly as he presented it today on his Food Network show. One thing he screwed up on, IMO, was not telling the audience to let the pepper/onion/tomato mixture 'chill' before adding it to the meat. Before I added the very hot pepper mixture to the beef and pork mixture, I incorporated ice cubes to lower the temp..before adding it to the meatloaf.

I made the beans with the onions and bacon, and I made the Yukon Gold potatoes which were mashed with butter and cream. It was " The Ultimate Meatloaf Dinner"...even though my husband thought there were way too many peppers in the meatloaf. My husband said, "it was so delicious...just fantastic". As he went to bed he said, "I think the peppers overpowered the meatloaf..but I loved the potatoes and green beans with the bacon.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Goan Fish Curry (salmon) & Gobi (cauliflower)

That is the Indian food I prepared. I bought the organic fish curry and the gobi sauce at The Nugget. I marinated the salmon in the goan fish curry for about 2 hours, and cooked the cauliflower in the wok. The added ingredients were; fresh ginger, chopped tomatoes, chopped green chili, and chopped cilantro. I also cooked up some basmati rice..and flavored it with some leftover gobi sauce.

It was delicious. Oh, I baked the salmon (from Taylor's) for 10 minutes at 375 and then broiled it for 5-8 minutes. I hope Shankari will be proud of my efforts.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lab Blues

I spent the night at a sleep center and am dog-tired. I planned on taking a picture of myself, after I was all hooked up..but it was even too frightening for me to look at. I don't know why they call it a sleep lab. I hardly slept.

After I was glued, taped, and 'plugged-in', the tech tells me to relax and go to sleep on my back. I protest.."I never sleep on my back..I sleep on my tummy". He tells me that will not work. I had just watched a video which said, "once you are ready, just sleep like you normally do". Right. So, an hour later I hear this voice that softly says, "okay Miss Koontz, you can turn on your side". Ha! There is a God after all. I turn on my side..move the wires around a bit, pull an extra pillow next to me..and I actually drift off to sleep. 90 minutes later I am barely awake when I hear that same soft voice say, "okay Miss Koontz, try to sleep on your back now please". So, no God after all.

I lay there, with my eyes closed, telling myself to sleep. Here is a brief summary of the dialogue that went on (in my head) for almost 60 minutes, the first time I had to go to sleep:

'Think of pleasant things. I am at the beach, there is a warm breeze and it is about 6pm. The waves go back and forth slowly. Slowly! God, slow down waves. Shit, I can almost feel the water and sand on my face. Some kid hits me with a beach ball. I can barely walk thru the sand. I am going home. Shit, I am stuck in traffic now. I should've stayed to see the sunset. I am too quick to rush into decisions...I could be on the beach enjoying a nice sunset but instead I am stuck in traffic. Mel..think of nice things. You aren't in traffic. You are in a green meadow with lots of wildflowers..it is barely 9 a.m. There is still dew on the leaves and the sun shines like Spackle through the trees. Spackle? That can't be right. That reminds me of those months I spent re-plastering the house on Peck. Jesus..that about killed me. How in the hell did my mom remodel an entire house at that age..she knocked out the walls and everything. Of course, she did have a few heart attacks. No..no..don't go there! Okay, you are in the meadow..laying down looking up at the sky. It's a beautiful day. Chiggers..there are damned chiggers in this grass'. I am already itching all over. Reminds me of the times in Illinois when we'd get bit up by those damned things. (I begin to scratch my legs..and the tech comes in to re-apply one of the electrodes on my leg). I finally turn on my back, and it goes on.

I wonder if what I am thinking makes the EEG go crazy? Okay..imagine if someone breaks thru the door here..they have a knife and begin to run through all of these rooms, randomly stabbing each of us. We are wired for sound but can't move. Oh shit Mel..knock it off. That's crazy. If that did happen though, my cell is in my purse..and besides, I always keep it off and by the time I got it on I'd be dead probably..Dave wouldn't hear the phone anyway. He never does. Well, I should call 911 before I call Dave. I remember that time I called 911 when there was that fight in our old neighborhood..they put me on hold. God those neighbors were a pain..putting off illegal fireworks on the 4th..burned a hole in our roof which we found when Jer and I fixed the place up. God..that was hard work. My back aches just thinking about lifting all of that sheet rock. And painting those damned ceilings...never again. Although, I should paint at least a few walls in our new place..like that one I saw on HGTV that I liked. I think the colors were sort of earth tones..but that is sooooo boring. I wonder what the EEG would do if I thought about sex? God, I hope they can't tell what I am thinking about..exactly. Of course they can't. There was that one guy..Kurt who was so damn fine and the time I gave sexy Dawn a whirl. Both damned great sexual experiences...great bodies. Of course, I had a pretty great body then. Shit,how am I supposed to sleep now? I have let myself go. I need that eye surgery..my lids hang too low. What is wrong with me? Stop it Mel! Don't think like that. You are a wonderful, beautiful, woman. You have a wonderful, gorgeous husband who loves you. You have two gorgeous grand kids. I wish I didn't snore..wish I wasn't here.

Soft voice says, "Miss Koontz, do you need to use the restroom?" There is a God!

They say I slept about 5-6 hours total..hard to believe. I don't think I ever reached past REM to deep sleep..but I'll find out in a few days. I am going to wash the glue out of my hair and take a nap..and think of pleasant things..and sleep in my normal position. Sweet dreams.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My Mans Dagwood

Dave takes his lunch to work. I made him his favorite sandwich which includes:

Sour Dough Loaf cut in half
Ball park mustard on the bottom half
Miracle Whip on the top half
Crunchy lettuce on top and bottom
Two kinds of salami
Deli ham
Deli turkey
Sliced red onions
Pepperocini slices
Kraft swiss and cheddar cheese (he likes ONLY those two cheeses on his Dagwood)

I cut it into 4 smaller sandwiches..and he eats salad with it (he claims). He has lunch for 4 days!

Lounging Rib Roast

I just salt and peppered it..then seared it in a smoking hot pan (due to it's smallish size) and then roasted slow for about 80 minutes at 325. It was medium rare..perfect.

I served some local Revolution Wine, pinot grigio (I know..should have been a red). It wasn't as good as Santa Margharita, but then it was 1/3 the cost!

We enjoyed mashed potatoes and gravy, a nice micro-green salad, and a Greek pasta salad. You can see what was left after our little "spring has sprung" party...which should have been the last picture posted but, oh well.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I have sage, thyme, oregano, roses ready to bloom, and lemons..and rosemary. My lavender looks great. I absolutely love going outside to cut stuff for cooking, for eye-candy, and for the great smells. There is nothing like it! I'll have a huge bouquet of pink and yellow roses tomorrow...and I always give the first one to my MIL. We have rhubarb to plant tomorrow...which reminds me of my childhood. Seems we always had tons of it growing in the back yard...sprinkle a bit of salt on those warm,ruby red stems..it was heaven. We love it in a pie..with strawberries.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Having Fun--Portland Style (click on pics to enlarge)

We all headed to Fir Farms Saturday morning (very cold) for their plant sale and farmers market. We bought MEAT from Gartner's! Elaina enjoyed the mud puddles and the Nut House. Later, my son Mike, took me to lunch in downtown Portland and we stopped by his favorite photography shop. We asked some 'sushi-eating-looking-type people' in the Pearl District where we should go for a decent sushi lunch. (I wanted to eat at Alberta Street Oyster Bar..but like many other spots, it was not open for lunch). Sushi Takahashi, near 7th and Broadway was recommended...which was open till 3pm on Saturday. It's in a very kitchy downtown neighborhood. It was fun! We ordered up lots of sushi..the bill came to 23 bucks with tip! It wasn't as good as Akebono in Sacramento, but very decent indeed. It gets mixed revieews at yelp.

On Friday, I took my DIL and grandkids to see 'Go Dog Go' at Northwest Children's Theatre. We all loved it, even little Ethan! We rode The MAX (lightrail) around downtown..it's free in the downtown area, which is so nice. Elaina loved riding it. We had a fun and very decent lunch at 'Rock Bottom'...a very busy spot downtown. Both kids were happy all day long! Well, Jenn and I were as well.

Today, Sunday, we went to 'The Rose Quarter' and saw the Circus Gatti. I do believe the entire family makes up the entire circus! They seemed to do everything from painting faces to impressive high wire acts. Just the names changed. Loved the cool motorcycles going very fast sideways in the round thingee. We drove most of the way and then took MAX down to the venue. We came back to our car on the Trolley. Elaina was thrilled..with the balloons, the motorcycles, and the public transportation. It was rainy and cold on the way to...but sunshine on the way from. The Blazers were playing next door...so one would think it would be impossible to get there and back..but we did. No problemo.

Enjoy the photos! They are not in order, much like this post, so just figure it out.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008