February 17, 2006

weird...

click for the trick

Posted by raven at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2006

stomach turning...

So, G and I were watching the Olympics as a part of our romantic Valentine's Day evening. What can I say, we're an old married couple, it doesn't take much for us. Anyhow, we're watching, we're chatting about various athletes, and of course there is the usual smattering of commercial breaks. One of these commercials actually made my stomach turn. It has these guys, who appear to be either in the military, or who have served in the military. There are clips of footage from various terrorist attacks over the last five or so years. The men are talking about how we need to fight terrorism, and how they would drather we fight it IN IRAQ rather than have to fight it here. It mentioned how wise our current president is, and that he understands that we have to fight in Iraq in order to defeat the terrorists.

Are you fucking kidding me? No really, are you??

It absolutely infuriates me that this sort of propoganda is continuing to be spread. That these outright lies are being spread as thought they are the absolute truth. The freaking attacks that were depicted in this ad were not all even related to each other, much less did any of them have a freaking thing to do with why we are sending our military to Iraq to fight. The war in Iraq is offensive. I hesitate to even call it a war, because the last time the US actually declared a war, the way it is supposed to be declared, was WWII. However, we attacked them. Iraq had nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden, and the trade center attacks. In fact, the US government gave Osama Bin Laden a whole crapload of training, to get help against Iraq. Suddenly, Bush decides that he wants to bomb the shit out of Iraq, for no real valid reason, without the support of the people living there, so he very carefully gets the country to believe we are fighting terrorism. BULLSHIT! I also do not understand how so many people in this country just believe whatever the spin doctors spew out, rather than taking a few minutes to find out the truth. Then, to have people pay for television spots to continue to spew out lies in an effort to try to keep these apathetic people from getting their own information. It gets my blood boiling. To the point that I am afraid my head will actually explode.

Further, so many people bitch about their rights being infringed upon, or paying taxes, or not making enough money....yet they are unwilling to do a darn thing about it. Most people don't even bother to vote. Many that actually do bother to vote, son't inform themselves about what they are voting for. Those that do, bitch that we only get two candidates for office and that the parties are too much alike. Well, then get off your lazy asses and do something about it. Caucuses are coming up. Go to whichever one even remotely resembles your beliefs. Stand up for yourself. Tell your party what you want represented. Write a resolution. Vote for your candidate...you know there are lots of them at this point. Make some change rather than just putting a bunch of useless negative energy out there. People like to say what a great country we are, yet they don't even take advantage of any of the things that make this country great.

Maybe it's good that I saw that ad. Yeah, my blood pressure is probably spiking. However, it reminded me of the people who are only concerned with their agenda, and not what is best for the most people. Just in time to caucus, and fight the lies. Make yourself heard....otherwise, quit yer bitchin'

Posted by raven at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

...the best laid plans...

Since G went all out for Valentine's day last year, it set the bar pretty hight for every Valentine's Day thereafter. At first, I told him he'd better come up with something pretty good if he wanted to keep his romantic reputation polished.

Then, I got a brilliant idea. I told G I would be in charge of our Valentine's evening. Whoo-hoo! The only problem was that my idea wasn't so much an idea as it was a fuzzy thought. it involved something romantic. It involved staying in to save our broke selves some money. It involved me cooking? Ordering take-out? An indoor picnic? I couldn't back out, however. I was in charge! I would pull this off if it killed me! Well...it just could have.

Eventually I decided the plan should be something Frenchy. From there, I needed to figure out a menu. I tried to think of what I should cook. (Yes, I just used "I" and "cook" in the same sentence!) As perfectly French as it would be, duck was out. I could sense the impending disaster. After much brainstorming, I decided I could probably handle a crepe-based entree. So, I blew the dust off my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook. Sure enough, there was a recipe for basic crepes. I decided to go with a chicken filling recipe that involved a swiss cheese sauce. Plus the recipe called for wine...so it had to be good. I figured I could handle all of that. But what else?

(Try to remember that my culinary repertoire is boxed mac & cheese & spaghetti. And that I usually make G prepare those. Meal planning is foreign territory for me.)

"Sallad!" I thought, "There's usually a salad course!"

So, I dusted off my salad cookbook, appropriately titled, "Lettuce in Your Kitchen." Proof that wedding gifts really do get used!! I had no idea where to start. Fortunately the table of contents was there to guide me, and I flipped to the section of fancy-pants salads. Salvation! There was a simple-seeming recipe for a fancy baby greens salad with goat cheese croutons & a vinaigrette dressing. It involved a baguette, so it must be Frenchy! I would make croutons! i would make dressing that involved fresh herbs! I would be a gourmet!

I had entree. I had salad. But soething was missing. So I thought about what made our French dining experiences so amazing. Snails! Er....Escargot!! I even, get this, found a recipe online for said escargot. According to the site, I should be able to get canned snails. BAM!

Now for dessert. G loves tiramisu. Nope, Italian. Ummmmm....Creme Brulee? See earlier comments re: duck. Fortunately, Martha Stewart saved me. My last Issue of Living had all her most popular desserts. There it was, a beautiful devil's food cake, with chocolate frosting. Three chocolatey layers. The French love choclate, right? Besides, I know G loves chocolate cake, so we had a winner.

So, I would convince G we were going out, and surprise him with dinner at home! I decided I would fold our dining room table down as small as it would go to create a French bistro feeling, light some candles, and would greet G at the door, all dressed up, and take him to the tabe where some beautiful escargot would await.

It would be perfect...

WEll, the first mistake I made was doing my shopping on the 14th. There really wasn't a way around it, though. My work schedule makes such things tricky. Plus all of these fancy ingredients kicking around our house would definitely arouse suspicion. The problem lies in the weird pseudo-insomniac state I've been in. I slept until about 1. This left me with only about 4 hours to get everything done. i threw on some yoga pants and darted out to SuperTarget (don't worry, I've already kicked my own ass), figuring they would surely have everything I would need, including the cake pans for my Martha endeavor. Okay, everything but snails and shallots. Time crunch...but, after the liquor store 9tell me again why grocers in MN can't sell alcohol? Major pain in my ass!) I could swing by the co-op. Surely they would have the missing items. After all, they saved me during the great Thanksgiving vanilla bean hunt of '04. No snails. By this time the desk-workers of the Twin Cities were out en masse. Mucho time crunch. I prayed to the gods that Kowalski's might save me. I maneuvered through the crowded parking lot, where fortunately someone was leaving. I eased into the vacant space and ran into the bustling store. I found a shallot--YAY! I also spied a package of reay-to-go crepes...should I? NO, I was a gourmet! I ducked through the state fair-like mass of people to the canned goods. Snails? Everything but.I checked the fish counter. Nada. Hmmm...what would the closest thing to snails be? As I tried to think, I found the answer in frozen foods. A ready to bake escargot appetizer. I was dissappointed that I wouldn't truly get to make the escargot from scratch (and later would realize that the only reason I would need the shallot was for the escargot). However, no time to mourn that loss...I had dinner to make! I looked like hell! Time was of the essence!

I pulled up in front of our home, and managed to get everything in one trip. Since the cake had to bake and cool, I started with that. I managed through all the steps, dirtying at least half of the bowls and measuring equipment we owned. I got the cake in the oven and set the table. I looked at the clock. YIKES! G was due home any minute. I quickly tried to hide as much evidence as possible, then jumped in the shower. G arrived home as I was about to dry my hair. Well, there went my visions of Doris Day. I went to the door, hair in a towel. I told him--SURPRISE! We're staying in. (I decided to save him the trouble of changing into a shirt and tie.)

We exchanged gifts. I gave him a Batman Begins tee and a recipe book of shots. I received the BRAND NEW, RELEASED THAT DAY Tori Amos DVD video collection. (He'd been planning that for at least a month, it wasn't his fault it was only released that day.)

G then settled on the sofa, while I continued with dinner. had I been able to get everything at Target, I would have been golden. I managed to figure out what to multi task, and how to plan the order of food. We started dinner with some Sauvignon Blanc (a favorite of G's) and escargot with baguette slices. This was followed timely by the salad. I had enought time to slice the rest of the baguette, and bring the entrees out at the perfect time. They were even garnished!!

So, I managed to pull all of that off, including the use of fresh herbs and dirtying every dish that could be appropriated for use in mixing, cooling, or baking.

Time for the snafu. Somehow I missed the part of the frosting recipe where it noted the 35 minute cook time and the TWO HOUR stirring and setting time. So, instead we had a heaping pile of monkey love, and there was a beautiful three-layer cake sitting in the microwave the day after. (I didn't have a cake dome to protect it from our beasties.) This did work out, though. G and I didn't know what we wanted to do last night. So, at roughly 2 in the afternoon, I called him and told him we should have people over to help us eat the cake. He made phone calls, and I cleaned up the house, and six people were able to come by. Only half the cake was eaten, so the rest went to work with Geoff today. I was told by our guest that the cake was well worth the pain in the ass.

While I am dissappointed that the execution was nowhere near flawless, i am proud that I made (escepting the damn ecargot) everything from scratch. While it was later than I planned, i did manage to time everything right. I mentioned several times that we needed a larger kitchen and more measuring cups. G responde, "For all those four course meals you make?" Point taken. Still, maybe if we had the kitchen, and the measuring cups, I could make such meals all the time!

Or we could stick with boxed macaroni and spaghetti.

All-in-all, we did manage to have a fantastic Valentine's Day. But next year, G is in charge again!

Posted by raven at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)