Bora Bora Martini

Bora Bora MartiniDon’t look at me – I didn’t name the damn thing.

We frequently amuse the hell out of the waitstaff at restaurants.  When we’re not amusing them, I’m sure we give them cause to wonder if they should be calling for the men in the little white coats.

When we were eating dinner at the House of Blues Friday night, the waiter brought our seriously watered down cocktails in some freakish looking novelty glasses, and said:

“Here – these should keep the undesirables away!”

To which Beloved replied:

“But you’ll be back – right?”

The man is deadly with a one-liner.  (Well, of course he is – my two unconditional requirements for men are that they walk upright and have opposable thumbs have a wicked sense of humor and a brain.)

Anyhoo, while at the Flying Fig Saturday night, we were perusing the cocktail menu as we are wont to do, and I picked out this one.  I don’t remember the name of the cocktail Beloved got, but let’s just say that after one sip of each, we were frantically searching for a scrap of paper and a pen so we could write down the ingredients for each, while the waitstaff looked at us as if we’d lost our minds (it didn’t hurt that I hounded our waiter – poor, humorless soul that he was – for the recipe for the Lemon Ricotta Fritters we had for dessert).  Sunday evening we discovered they weren’t so hard to recreate.

Bora Bora Martini

serves me

2 shots of vanilla vodka

1/2 shot Dissaronno or other amaretto

1/2 shot pineapple juice

splash of cranberry juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a couple of cubes of ice.  Shake vigorously; strain into chilled martini glass and serve.

We’re Booked

Old BooksThere will be no Money in the Bank post today.  My most sincere and abject apologies to Smart Mouth Broad…but did I mention we decided to buy the bookshelves?

For those of you who might have missed it, we have been debating on whether to buy some solid oak, hand-crafted bookshelves from some lovely Amish guy who does stuff like that or a stupidly expensive 200-pound ceramic smoker/grill.

The bookshelves won out.  So, a couple of weekends ago we toddled down to the Amish furniture store and ordered them.  They’ll take 10 – 12 weeks to be completed (these are BIG bookshelves), but that’s okay because it gives us an opportunity to decide which books we’re going to keep in the living room on our pretty new shelves and which will be relegated to the basement on our old, tired and mismatched bookshelves.

Yes, we have that many books.

So, we found ourselves in Half Price Books in Cleveland Saturday afternoon where I bee-lined it to the cookbook section and Beloved bee-lined it to the non-fiction section; I emerged with two of Julia Child’s cookbooks, a cookbook of wok recipes and The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink, a fascinating compilation of articles and essays on just about everything to do with how we eat and drink in the U.S.  Beloved got a book on Oswald, one on Nixon and a couple of other things that I’m sure will put me to sleep in no time flat are equally riveting.  After that we mosied over to the “literature” section where I found both an Anya Seton and a Robert B. Parker Spenser novel I didn’t own (“I didn’t know there were such things,” observed Beloved) and he got more insomnia cures riveting material by Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.

Then we looked up and saw…THEM.  On the top of the shelves, row upon row of classic books, in excellent condition (“I don’t think these were ever opened!” marvels Beloved) and instead of wearing jackets or dust covers, each was ensconced in the niftiest little box/case you ever saw.  We gasped as our eyes widened and we clutched each other.  Then, at the same time, we both said:

“Oh, those would look SO COOL on our new shelves!”

Because we’re nerdish like that.

So we began pulling them down.  Or rather I bellowed squeeled things like “OHMIGOD LOOK AT THAT TWO-VOLUME EDITION OF GONE WITH THE WIND” and “I MUST HAVE THOSE THREE COORDINATING VOLUMES OF ALL THE SHERLOCK HOLMES STORIES” and “HOLY COW THAT COPY OF GRIMMS FAIRY TALES IS GORGEOUS” and Beloved pulled them down, because he’s 6’1″ and I’m only 5′ tall.

All in all, we walked out of there with two huge boxes of books.  And we were just as pleased as punch, because we’re nerdish like that.  Afterward we went and checked into our hotel and then went to go see B.B. King, which was something of an adventure that I’ll write about later.  (Let’s just suffice to say that at 83, the man can still belt out a song.)  And as planned the next day we spent several hours touring the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which was also a great deal of fun (I’ll write more about that later, too).  At one point, we strolled into the museum gift shop.

Where we saw…THEM.

A set of polished bookends made from petrified wood found on the Oregon/Nevada border.  We gasped as our eyes widened and we clutched each other.  Then, at the same time, we both said:

“Oh, those would look SO COOL on our new shelves!”

Because we’re nerdish like that.

So we spent waaaaaaaaay too much money this weekend for me to participate in anything that has to do with actually saving it.

And petrified wood is freaking heavy.

Let the Good Times Roll

B.B. KingToday, we will drop Scooter off at the kennel for the weekend.

Next, we will take The Young One to Cleveland and put him on a plane to Texas for Spring break.

Then we will go raid Half Price Books.

After that, we will check into the Embassy Suites in downtown Cleveland and take a nap cavort wantonly through our two-room suite.

Then, to cap off the day’s festivities, we will stroll two or three blocks to The House of Blues, where we will eat dinner, drink ourselves silly and be entertained by the legendary B.B. King.

Saturday, we are going to spend a large part of the day at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where we can view a cast of Lucy, then perhaps the Cleveland Museum of Art, and then off to dinner at the Flying Fig (they have a “small plate” of chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in bacon, garnished with a roasted red pepper sauce that are to die for).

Let the good times roll.

Have a lovely weekend, y’all.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry MuffinI have found over the last year that my wails of “I don’t know what to blog about!!” are mostly met with indifference; it’s the price I pay for living with things with penises, I suppose.  (I’ve decided to mention penises as often as possible from here forward; I get the most hilarious spam comments by people who don’t speak English very well when I do.)  Although I can’t complain too much about the dog – he may have a penis but he still sits on my feet while I’m clacking away on my laptop.  The critter is the embodiment of the word “loyal” and  I love him to penis pieces.

Anyhoo, since it’s been at least 3 days since I posted a recipe – egads! – I decided it was about time I posted another one.

Lucky y’all.

And since we’re all hailing the coming of Spring (those of us who actually have to live through winter unlike some people who are good friends of mine such as this person and this person), I thought I’d make good use of one of the most beautiful and tasty of all Spring fruits:

Blueberries.

I love me some blueberries.  When I was growing up, the only time I encountered blueberries is when my mother bought one of those muffin mixes that came with the blueberries in a can; it wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I really discovered this tasty little fruit packed with all sorts of anti-oxidant goodness.  Now I’m just thrilled that I can find them at reasonably decent prices almost all year long, although they are cheapest (and tastiest) in the spring and early summer.

It’s enough to make you want to visit Maine.  Well, that and the fact Stephen King lives there.

So go make some muffins; they’re good stuff, Maynard.

Blueberry Muffins

makes 12

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

a dash or two of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Grease a standard 12-muffin tin well or line with paper cups.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg thoroughly in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, butter and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened – the batter should NOT be smooth (over-mixing will give you a tough, rubbery muffin with an uneven shape).  Fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Mix the tablespoon of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the muffin batter.  Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan.  If not serving hot let cool on a rack, but serve as soon as possible – preferably within a few hours of baking.

There’s a Method To My Madness…

Goldfish SharkThe Young One happened to glance at the title of this post, and said:

“Uh…no – there isn’t.”

I will accept any and all praise you care to shower upon me regarding the fact I have not killed this child yet.

At any rate, the subject of this week’s Spin Cycle is “quirks.”  Not quarks, as I had originally read it and, frankly, rejoiced – writing about sub-atomic particles phases me not a bit.  But quirks?  My quirks?  Ye gods – how much time do you have?

For somewhere there is a therapist’s couch with my name on it.  I may never repose upon it, but that doesn’t matter:  it’s there.  Waiting.  Knowing I have stories to tell that will get its owner not only published in prestigious psychoanalysis journals, but garner them a sweet movie-of-the-week deal, as well.

If my kids start blabbing, that couch’s owner may find himself paired up with Oprah several times a month.

Anyhoo…quirks.  My quirks.  Oh, there are a few of them, but for brevity’s sake I’ll narrow it down to one.  Yes, I know you’re all exceedingly grateful; I’ll let you know where you can send donations later.  As for my offspring and spouse:  anyone who decides to use the comments section to expound, expand, illuminate or enumerate on or about this topic in any manner other than one that is completely and irrevocably favorable will find themselves the subject of The Wrath of Mom.  And you really don’t want that, do you?

I didn’t think so.

So.  Anyhoo.  I think it’s fair to say that I am not an organized person.  In fact, saying I am not an organized person is a bit of an understatement.  I don’t know why and after 46 years it’s pretty obvious there isn’t anything I can really do about it.  Both of my sons have inherited this trait (sorry, boys).  Perhaps it skips a generation; my mother was incredibly organized and so is Darling Daughter.  Hmmmm…now that I think about it, that’s not the only character trait they share.  Wow – there’s a post lurking in there somewhere.

I am, however, very methodical.  To the point of being OCD methodical.  If you teach me to do something in a certain order, I will do it that way until doomsday (or I have to stop doing it, which ever comes first).  It will irritate me if I cannot, for whatever reason, do that task in that order – and it will irritate me if YOU don’t do that task in that order.  Driving is a good example – once I drive somewhere, I will take the same route to get there for the rest of, well, forever.  It’ll get to the point to where I get in the car and say to myself, “Okay – going to work.  Yes.  Good.”  Then I go completely on auto-pilot – I’m so used to driving to work using the same route I’ll often pull up in the parking lot with absolutely no memory of driving there.  I drive that same route so often that I don’t have to think about it, so I think about blogging cooking sex just about anything else.

Beloved, on the other hand (who is, yes, a member of the Organized Tribe) never drives the same route twice if he can help it.  Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know, although if forced to speculate I’d say it’s because he has a penis and is compelled by that completely male desire to shave 3/10 of a second off of his driving time so he can claim he truly knows the shortest route to Home Depot.  This is bad for me in more ways than one:  it completely foozles me because I also have an absolutely non-existent sense of direction.  I never learn how to get from point A to point B by driving somewhere with Beloved.

Another good example is turning on my computer.  I have applications I use, without fail, every day – most notably my email client, my web browser, QuickBooks, Photoshop and Dreamweaver.  When my computer is booted up, I open these applictions in the order I just listed them, and they stay open in that order until I turn my computer off.  If one of these applications crashes and I have to open it up again, it irritates me that it is not open in the place it should be, and I have to fight off an impulse to save all of my work, close all of the other applications and then reopen them in the “correct” order (sometimes the impulse wins).

I could go on and on – this quirk of mine really takes over in the kitchen and I could write entire essays about which pan is used to cook which dish, but I’ll spare you the details.  Let’s just say no one f@%!$ with my omelet/crepe pan and if you’re going to fry bacon in my house you’d better bigod know how to go about it.  Nor will we go into (in any detail, anyway) my incredibly anal grocery shopping habits; not only must I shop each aisle in a certain order, but in a certain direction as well.

So there you go.  Courtesy of Sprite’s Keeper, you now know what a complete nutjob I really am.

Not that you didn’t have a pretty good idea already.