Saturday, July 26, 2008

bird x-ing

Yesterday morning I left for work, with my carpool buddy Jeannie. We’re not really trying to save the planet or anything. Jeannie and her husband only have one car, and I’m going to work anyway, so I drive and she gives me gas money. On the way in, we and the other three lanes of traffic had to stop for some geese:


This is not unexpected on that part of the road. There’s even a sign with a picture of birds crossing the road on it, but still someone behind us felt the need to lay on the horn for the entire two minutes we were waiting. What did he want us to do? Hit the geese? I drive a bug. It only has four inches of road clearance.

A goose wouldn’t fit under it even if I wanted to murder one.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


What I did in staff meeting:

staff meeting

Other than pay close attention to every discussion, I mean.

But seriously, I drew this during the part that had nothing to do with me or my area.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mac and Cheese

I still haven't figured out that damn olive tart, but I did master the blue cheese and bacon mac and cheese that I was thinking about:

blue cheese and bacon mac and cheese

It's delicious. The cheese is a little tangy, and the bacon is a little salty, and together the two of them were just drool worthy. Most of the recipes I have for oven baked mac and cheese call for a sauce, but the blue cheese doesn't melt smoothly, so the sauce kept being clumpy. I found a recipe under a "less creamy" variation, and it worked out pretty well once I got done playing with it. My friend RA asked how to make it when I mentioned that I was giving it a try, so here's the recipe I adapted:

1/2 pound dried pasta (I used penne)
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
2 and 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded or grated
1 cup milk
5 eight inch pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)

1) Heat oven to 350 F, and grease a casserole dish.
2) Cook the pasta in salted water, drain, and put in a large bowl. Add butter and pepper to taste. (I think I gave the grinder five or six shots.) Add the egg, and mix it all together so everything gets coated.
3) Add the cheese and bacon, and mix again. Pour it into the baking dish, and then pour the milk on top.
4) Bake for 45 minutes.

It's a really rich dish. The monterey jack cheese cuts the flavor of the blue cheese a little, so it's not overwhelming, but it's still not for people who don't like blue cheese.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No, I'm not dead, but my idea for that tart almost is

I know I should be writing more. I never finished talking about my vacation. I didn't talk about going downtown for the 4th of July this year, or seeing "The Seven Year Itch" at the old time theatre downtown a couple weeks ago, or describing the way work has pretty much consumed me for the past couple months.

When not working, I've been trying to cook, which has been frustrating, and can be summed up by two problems:

1) I cannot find Sterno for my fondue pot.

My mom is slowly cleaning out the house, and now that I have a semi-permanent home I am laying claim to things and taking them with me. When I was home on vacation I was down in the basement collecting some cake pans that Mom doesn't use anymore and we were both shocked to discover a complete fondue set, still in the box and never used.

"You want that, too?"


I like cheese. Just today, my grocery list included five different kinds of cheese for various purposes. What could be better, then, than a pot of hot, bubbling cheese just waiting for you to dip things into it? Somehow, in my head, the fondue pot ran on a tea light, rather than a can of Sterno. This may have been because I didn't bother reading the instructions in the box before I went to get cheese and cubed a loaf of bread, but that's just one possibility of many. I ended up making fondue anyway, on the stove, but still, I want the full fondue pot experience.

My only experience with Sterno is that drinking it kills the Andromeda Strain, but a search online revealed that it can be purchased at K-Mart, so I went to my local K-Mart, right around the corner, and tried to find it myself. Unable to do so, I asked for help.

"Do you have Sterno?"

Blank stare. ""

"It comes in a little can? You burn it? I need it for my fondue pot."

Blink. Blink. "Fondue pots are in housewares."

"I already have a fondue pot. I need Sterno. For the pot."

"Pots are in housewares. I don't think we carry any by Sterno."

I left K-Mart without Sterno. Maybe I'll have better luck at Wal-Mart.

2) I cannot perfect my recipe for an olive and feta cheese tart.

I don't remember what put this tart idea into my head, but it was probably inspired by something I saw in "Martha Stewart Living". Somehow, many months ago, I got it into my head that this would be savory and delicious, if I could just work out how to make one. How hard can it be, after all, to come up with a recipe for something? I see people on the Food Network all the time in the challenges talking about how they came up with the recipe for this or that and perfected it in their kitchen right there at home.

I will never be one of those people.

I have tried using just the olives and feta. I have tried a variety of olives. I have tried herbed feta. I've mixed in red pesto. I've stirred in finely diced tomatoes. I've left the olives whole. I've diced the olives. I've pasted the olives. I've cubed the feta. I've sprinkled it with basil, oregano, balsamic vinegar, and chopped sun dried tomatoes. I've crumbled the feta. I've left the tart open faced. I've closed it up like a pot pie. I've prebaked the shell. I've baked it all at the same time.

It has yet to come out the way I think it should.

I tried again today, and it's closer, but it's still not there. I only try it about once a month because I have a food budget, and can't be splurging on good olives and feta cheese all the time. I'm not giving up, but I might take a little break. I have this idea for a blue cheese and bacon pasta that I want to try.

How hard can that be?