Chuck (7-8 CST, NBC)
It’s the last season of Chuck! I’m afraid I’m still behind, somewhere in season 4, but Claire is not the lazy fan that I am and emailed me yesterday about the first episode:
Eh, it was OK. Zac looks handsome, but the whole twist from the end of the last season (which I won’t spoil for you), kind of made it a bit disappointing so far. But I have a feeling it will pick up. If nothing else, it’s good to look at Zac – LOL!
I have confidence they’ll turn it around and go out on a high note.
[I relinquished control of the kitchen last night to my sous chef and mother, Laurie, so she could make us a lovely cozy dinner while I was still frantically putting together as many dishes as I could ahead of time for tonight's big dinner.]
Our Xmas Eve Eve dinner was my responsibility this year and I made an Apple-Scented Fondue, after seeing Rachael Ray make it recently. I prefer to think of this meal as a visit to Switzerland, rather than a visit to my past (actually I never had fondue in the 60′s). I was amazed at the price of the Gruyere cheese (I don’t usually pay that much for meat!), so when I make it again, I may try to substitute something for that, or do a little price comparing before I just buy the first one that comes to hand. (For a market in a small town, we have a pretty good cheese case, but you have to pay what they are asking, as there’s no other option.) The liquid base into which the cheese is melted is white wine and calvados (apple brandy) and that adds a nice tanginess to to the melted cheese. Anyway, it turned out great and we scarfed it down pretty quickly!
For dipping we used toasted pieces of baguette bread, Bosc pears, and crispy apples. Anne’s dad and I also had sauteed pieces of Polish sausages. All in all, I thought it was pretty yummy and I’d make it again. Maybe it will become our Xmas Eve Eve tradition!
Today I’m resuming my position as sous chef to Anne’s head chef, and have practiced saying “Yes, Chef,” “Right away, Chef.” She has another amazing menu planned for our traditional Xmas Eve dinner. Our cooking marathons are the highlight of the Rumery family’s Xmas holiday. To paraphrase Paula Deen, “Happy Holidays and Season’s Eatings from our house to yers!”
[Wondering what to do with the rest of that calvados? How about a tasty, tasty Applejack rabbit cocktail (also, appropriately enough, from the 60s)? You'll have to trust me on this one - I made it at Thanksgiving and when I offered my mom one, she looked disgusted. Until she tried mine. I've since added bartender to my role in the kitchen here.]
[Man, this is the life! Dinner and drinks made for me!]
[Look at her - taking the time to garnish it so beautifully!]
Anne said she’d never made a proper risotto before, so with it being one of my favourite recipes, I just had to share the risotto love. So tonight I made a roasted tomato risotto with spinach and mozzarella. And it was yummy (well, I thought it was, anyway). [It was VERY yummy! I can't wait to take leftovers for lunch this week. Silly Claire.] The cherry tomatoes were roasted with garlic and balsamic vinegar which made them super sweet – a nice contrast to the richness of the cheese.
I also made lemon shake-ups earlier in the day, to reminisce about our firework experience. It’s basically a lemon sugar syrup mixed with ice and water – so simple, but, boy, it was tasty! I didn’t quite have the “shake shake shake” of the purchased variety, but that could be perfected with a cocktail shaker or similar piece of equipment. The lemon syrup was even good with an included shot of tequila (almost a margarita). I didn’t take a photo at the time, but maybe tomorrow!
Shortly after my 42 hour journey to arrive here, I was introduced to Anne’s kitchen. And her kitchenaid mixer.
And in my jet-lag-and-flu stupor on Tuesday, I decided that I could not wait any longer to test out the kitchen and kitchenaid mixer. After rummaging through Anne’s pantry and fridge for ingredients, I made vanilla thumbprint cookies, with a distinct 4th of July theme. Some had strawberry jam in their indentation, the others made friends with either red, white or blue coloured chocolate melts (hence the 4th of July theme).
The kitchenaid worked a treat (and now I would like must have one). The cookies worked a treat too, as a late-afternoon or even post-cheesy-fries-at-the-baseball-palate-cleanser snack.
The recipe claimed it made 24 cookies. But when I was half-way through rolling out the cookie dough, and already at 30 cookies, I came to conclusion that their number-of-cookie estimates were not entirely accurate. So the extra half are all prepared but frozen, ready to bake at a moments notice for unannounced visitors or my grumbly mid-afternoon tummy.
I bid you adieu, until my next kitchen adventure!
Claire has been my travelling partner for the last few weeks (she’s the one in the pictures who isn’t me). We met in 2003 working at Pax and she was the evil genius behind the Rock to Reef tour that Debby, Louisa, and I did in
Australia in 2006. She recently declared that she wanted to do a blog post of her own, so I thought this evening would be a good opportunity to turn the reins over to her. Take it away, Claire!
Up until this point on the trip my contribution has been purely witty interjections as Anne types. I have been both lacking motivation to post to my own neglected blog and lacking the highly mobile technology that is Anne’s iPod, Edward. And it is pure coincidence that my guest post corresponds with our boozy night out in Edinburgh. CO-IN-CI-DENCE.
Several pints, several shots and several pubs later… “is that jello?”, Anne declares as she scrutinizes my drink choice. No Anne, it’s a squashed frog.
The latest addition to the menu tonight is a “flat liner”. Tequila, sambuca and tabasco. Yes, go back and read that again.
We’re now home, with just enough buzz, a belly full of hot fat chip shop chips with salt and vinegar, and relieved of all our cash.