Grapefruit cocktail


Mostly so I don’t have to find it again. 

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Happy π day

I heartily endorse this Beef and Guinness Pie recipe.

mmmm... pie

mmmm… pie

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Roasted winter veggie pasta

Made this last night.


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I made magic

It’s finally raining here in California. I’ve been making comfort food.

Today was chili. I just tasted it and it’s amazing.

Ingredients were pretty simple.
1 pound of fresh chorizo. 2 1/2 pounds of beef chuck cut into small cubes. 1 1/2 onions chopped. 3 poblano peppers, roasted and peeled. Lots of fresh garlic, some cumin, chili powder, Mexican oregano, ancho chili powder and salt. A small can of tomato paste, a large can of pureed tomatoes, a large can of fire roasted tomatoes and some flat winterbock.

I fried the chorizo and pulled it from the pan. Then I browned the beef in the chorizo fat, and pulled that from the pan. Then I added a bit of oil, the chopped onion and garlic. I sautéed the onion until it was translucent then added the chopped roasted peppers.

I pulled the veggies from the pan, then added a little more oil and caramelized the tomato paste. When the tomato paste was fragrant, I added the spices and let them cook in the tomatoes. I added a cup or two of beer to loosen the paste and hydrate the spices.

All of the meat and veggies went back into the pan, with the two cans of tomatoes and enough beer too make it look “right.”

I cooked it for 2 hours or so.

I plan on serving it it with tomatillo salsa verde, guacamole, corn chips and grated cheese.

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Vaguely italian style soup

It’s been warm and dry here in Northern California. This makes me sad not just because we’re in a major drought that’s going to affect multiple California industries but also because it means I have no incentive or desire to cook winter food. Tonight, I decide I’m going to cook winter food even if the weather isn’t going to cooperate. Enter the random bean, greens and sausage soup.

First I took 2 pork, basil and garlic sausages from Whole Foods, pulled them out of their skins and rolled them into little meatballs. Then I browned them in one of our dutch ovens. While they were browning, I chopped a cup of carrots, one celery stick and a leek. When the sausage was brown (and there was nice fond on the pot) I pulled it out and set it aside. I added the veggies, and a little dry vermouth to deglaze the pan. Once stuff was cooking, I added 3 garlic cloves.

When the veggies were translucent, I added 1.5 quarts of chicken stock, greens from 2 beets, a can of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans and the sausage. I also added half a dried arbol chile. I cooked for an hour or so, added a lot of pepper and some salt. About 30 minutes before serving I added a bit of parmesan rind (I should have added it earlier, but I forgot).

I served with some toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and dressed with olive oil and salt.

Om. Nom. Nom.

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The mighty hunter

6 or so years ago, just about this time of year, a skinny, sad tomcat showed up on our back fence. He was very loud, extremely skinny and seemed to have decided our backyard was the right place to starve to death. Being the people we are, I was not going to let him starve to death in the back yard. We started feeding him, and discovered he was not feral. He was quite content to be petted and quickly moved into the house.

He’s never been much of a hunter, his nearly starving to death as an outside cat made that clear. But, he’s brought us animals on very rare occasions. There was the baby opossum he brought us more than once (we got to watch the poor thing grow up, almost…)

This morning he brought us … a squirrel.

Coincidentally, we had a vet appointment this afternoon to recheck him after an ear infection. We took him in because his balance was off and the vet found a possible infection. 2 weeks of antibiotics and he’s much better.

How much better? HE CAUGHT A SQUIRREL!

Time to get a bell for the cat.

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Green chili enchiladas

Total cheat tonight, using a packaged enchilada sauce from Frontera.

I poached the last of the chicken bits (2 legs and 2 wings) in some of the stock I had leftover from yesterday. I added some oregano, an ancho chili and cumin to the stock. When the bits were cooked I pulled them and let them cool. Then I softened some onions, garlic and sweet peppers in butter. Again with the ancho, this time some powder, and cumin. I also added a handful of frozen corn.

I let the veggies cook until they were soft. Then I added some flour. Once the flour was cooked, I added a little of the stock and made a light gravy. Then I mixed in a handful of cheddar and made a cheesy, chicken sauce. Note to self: try this in a soup at some point with chicken and green chilies.

For the enchiladas I rolled some of the poached chicken (now off the bone and chopped into bite size pieces) and some of the cheesy vegetables in flour tortillas. Into our little baking dish the rolls went, to be topped by the green chili sauce and a lot of cheddar.

They’re in the oven now. We’ll pull them out when they’re bubbly.

Here’s hoping they’re tasty.

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Sick Grover inspired pot pie

It’s not a big deal, but he seems to have an ear infection that has severely messed up his balance. He’s staggering around, listing to the right and falls over whenever he shakes his head. The vet found fluid in his ear and bacteria and yeast on the smear. He’s on antibiotics and I’m sure he’ll be feeling better soon. But he’s really not feeling good right now.

To make it worse we are putting drops in his ear, feeding him something in a syringe that smells like bubble gum but that he is convinced tastes like poo and we won’t let him go outside. He’s unhappy and stressed. I’m unhappy and stressed.

What happens when I’m unhappy and stressed? I cook comfort food.

Tonight is chicken pot pie loosely based on this Bobby Flay recipe.

I pieced a chicken and put the carcass, wingtips and organs (minus the liver) with carrots, onions, garlic, celery, herbs and a little vinegar in some cold water. It’s been simmering most of the day and the house smells wonderful. I just want to drink the stock, forget any of the actual pot pie.

I made a butter and suet crust pastry loosely based on this recipe and the pastry recipe from Bobby Flay.

1/2 cup of beef suet, 1/2 cup of butter pulsed with  2 1/2 cups of flour + black pepper and fresh herbs. Then water until it forms a ball and chill.

I’ll strain the stock in a little while, and poach the chicken breasts in the stock, slice and layer in a dish. Then I’ll cook some random veggies in the stock and add them to a dish. Then I’ll fry up some onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter, use those as the base for a chicken gravy. We have fresh thyme so I’ll use that as a flavoring and season with stuff.

Once the filling is assembled, I’ll top it with the pastry and bake. Then. Dinner. Probably with one of our good whites from Bonny Doon.

Aaah. Comfort food. Not just in the eating but also in the making.

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Happy New Year

2013 was a year full of changes and challenges.

The first half of the year was spent dealing mostly with family stuff and the repeated trips to the UK just seemed to make the first few months fly by.

Then after that we started looking at business growth, improvements and changes. This is paying off a little now, but should really pay off in coming years.

On a personal level, it was a year of growth. I did meet my running goals, and then promptly got lazy. I’m setting monthly running goals for 2014 because it seems that if I have goals set I actually meet them. But if I don’t actually write them down, they’re not real so I don’t.

I don’t really do resolutions, but I do set goals. Last year was mostly business related, and I managed them. Working for yourself it’s always a challenge to stay focused and not just goof off and every year I set goals to be more focused and “work harder.” I’m pleased to say that I have made improvements and progress again this year. Next year I hope to keep doing this. Business-wise I want to get some more reference docs / white papers out. I also want to be a bit more consistent with blogging than I was last year. Yes, I’ve written 1200+ posts over 5 years, but last year blogging got put off more often than I’d like.

Personally, I want to keep running and have a 200 mile year. I’m want to continue the grand decluttering project. I want to get our financial house in order. I’d want to have more of a social life. I’m not really sure what that looks like, though – it may be finding some shared working space to force us out of the house regularly, it may be monthly get togethers. Still working on the details. But now it’s out there so I can’t just blow it off.

Happy new year everyone. May 2014 bring you everything you want. Here’s hoping it’s a better year than 2013.


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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

We had a quiet, low key Christmas day, just the two of us.

Steve mulled cider from our new favorite recipe. Then we played an adventure game together. The apple TV makes it so easy to stream to the TV we could sit on the couch and use a wireless touchpad and just play on the big screen.

Then we cooked our prime rib. Yummy! We just crusted it with a little salt, pepper and mustard powder. Then roast to medium rare. Sides included roast potatoes, roast carrots, creamy roast leeks (based on this recipe), mushrooms (based on this recipe) and steamed green beans.

After dinner we had Christmas pudding with custard. We managed to find beef suet at Dittmer’s and made the pudding over the weekend.

Then we watched The Avengers (Marvel version) which was a fun action flick.

A quiet, relaxing holiday.

Hope yours was as happy and fulfilling!

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