Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I blame the drink

Memories of a 45 minute border crossing, mobs of polyester pant wearing shoppers and lines to get into Target, yes I know, are all that are left of last Friday’s black Friday shopping experience.

Luckily, IronGirl still has her sight despite flinging a forkful of Anchor Bar chicken wing BBQ sauce, utensil included, in her own face. We are still not quite sure how she did it, but one second the fork was resting on the wing platter and the next it was flying through the air towards her melon.

At the same dinner, my niece ordered a seafood linguine alfredo. It came in a serving size bowl and all 5 of us could have had it for dinner. The waitress asked if there was anything wrong with it when my niece said she was done. She had fished out and eaten all the seafood but it hardly made a dent in the portion. Such a waste, but no joke, it was a ridiculous amount of food.

I was forced to buy a jacket that I really don’t need. But when it is $80 cheaper in the US and 50% off, how could I resist. Best I just stay out of A&F from now on. My only other purchase, Christmas gifts aside (I’m done!) was a pair of wool dress pants. I found it next to impossible to find pants that aren’t made of polyester, lycra or some blend of synthetic fabric.

Perhaps I'm set in my ways, but I don't like pants that shine. At least in the literal sense.

Back at the hotel, we modeled our purchases and chatted about what else we ‘needed’ to get. My niece asked if I had more shoes, hats, gloves or scarves. Bit of an odd question but I guessed shoes at approximately 16 pairs. I am glad that shoes were not on my shopping list and that I knew none were needed.

Arriving home, just for the sake of it, I took time to actually count them. In my hall closet alone I have 23 pairs! That includes sandals but is not counting my formal dress shoes, cycling shoes, two pairs of rubber boots, ghillie brogues or slippers. And that is following my “one in one out rule”.

I’m no Imelda Marcos, but for man, even a gay one, if you’ll pardon my saying so, that seems to border on the ridiculous. A purge is order indeed. Will those white leather sandals ever be back in fashion? But really, have they ever not been?

My excess of shoes, many from Cole Hann at the military mall, can be blamed on another US phenomenon ~ cheap booze! After a 2 litre bottle of Absolut for $25 and a 1.25 litre of Napoleon brandy for $14, you’ll excuse me if I am a little free with the visa!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Halloween Continues

We are only 3 weeks into November, but I have seen more ghosts, goblins and zombies than I did the entire month of October, including Halloween!

Thanks to the delightful Kitkat and his internet prowess, I am keeping current with my Walking Dead viewing. I am 90% sure I drive him nuts with my ‘predictions’ about what is going to happen. Although I was pretty spot on with, spoiler alert, Otis’ demise.

Kitkat also introduced me to the simply delicious American Horror Story.

I hope between now and the age of 50 I follow in the footsteps of one Dylan McDermott. He is #3 on People’s Sexiest Man Alive list this year and I must say, well earned Mr. McDermott. I personally think you trump Bradley Cooper (forgive me Brad).

The shows creators, the same as those that brought us Glee believe it or not, did a grand job of getting you hooked on Dylan’s torso in the first three episodes but now keep it all covered up. Kitkat and I even talked Fauntleroy into watching it with the promise of a bare-chested McDermott but it’s been a dry couple episodes. Oh well, he’s hooked now and there is no turning back.

Perhaps a Glee cross-over with Darren Criss is in order. Put the two of them together with the outfit in the attic and let’s see what happens. What’s in the attic you ask? You’ll have to tune in to find out…..oh, it’s worth it.

After 50, I want to follow in the footsteps of Jessica Lange and be THAT neighbour, houseguest included. Delicious, but don’t eat her cupcakes!

Closing out the gruesome smorgasbord, is The Killing. Not as supernatural or post-apocalyptic as the other two series, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Mireielle Enos was nominated for, and robbed as she lost, a Golden Globe for her role.

It is a remake of a Swedish, I think, show and will keep you guessing. And if you’re me, pestering Kitkat about what is going to happen next and who did it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Round Two

I would forgive your mind straying, just ever so little, if I said I enjoyed a smooth top and you giggled. However, I will redirect you and your mind away from the gutter’s edge by mentioning I am referring to macaroons rather than a person in said position.

Having my brother as a house guest for the weekend provided an excuse, not that I needed one, to take another crack at baking these meringue treats. Learning from last week, when it came time to fold in the sifted sugar and ground hazelnuts, I folded with a little more vigor. At first I thought more that I should have.

I took being able to more or less pour the batter into the piping bag as a sign that I had not achieved the correct texture. My hopes were somewhat buoyed when the mixture held its shape as it landed on the parchment paper. Smooth tops where achieved and a slight skinned formed as they rested.

Not 100% sure they were going to turn out, and of course not wanting to go without dessert, I knocked together an apple pie while the roons rested. IronGirl would arrive later with cupcakes in tow so there ended up being plenty o’ sweet treats.

IronMan was less than impressed that I felt it necessary to wash out the piping bag for a future use. I pointed out that “a dollar is a dollar” and he pointed out that the bags were actually two for a dollar. Still, waste not, want not I say.

My fears, as it turns out, were unfounded and not only did I get macaroons with a smooth surface, I also got what many recipes refer to as ‘legs’, a little crusty ring around the base.

Having not been a huge fan of the dark chocolate ganache, I opted instead for a butter cream filling and they were delicious!

Next weekend, if the addition of some colour is a success, I think these will become a regular during the Christmas season.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not A Bad First Go

For the first weekend in a long time, I found myself with time on my hands. No costume to make, no footloaf to mold, no farmer’s market (sadly closed for the season) to visit, no con-ed brother and no shopping to do.

Admittedly, I am rather like a duck to water when it comes to sitting down to a nice pot of tea, or a Pimm’s or two depending on the season, and getting lost in a good book. Two hours can be spent in such a manner and I am perfectly content. Make it lying on the couch on a dull Sunday afternoon with a fur blanket tucked in around me and you can make it three hours. Add a fourth for a nap.

But give me a weekend without a task and I must admit I get a little anxious. My mind frequently wanders to my yet-to-be-realized summer house and all the wonderful things I could get up to. Alas, with what it costs to break a mortgage these days, that little dream will have to wait until next spring.

My postage stamp of a garden in order, urns put away, fountain drained and weather stripping checked I found my idle hands itching for something to do. Not wanting to do the devil’s work, as the saying goes, I turned my attention to the kitchen.

Never having made macaroons before, and knowing how fond IronMan is of them, I set to work assembling a makeshift piping bag (thanks to Kitkat for that little tip) and whipping my egg whites.

I watched several demonstrations on Youtube and think, for a first go, the results achieved were rather good. A little more profiterole looking that I would have liked, but they were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

The puff, rather than smooth top, seems to have occurred due to a lack of folding when the hazelnuts and sugar were folded into the egg mixture. I need to let it collapse a little more before the piping begin.

None-the-less, I am having jolly fun trying different fillings. There was a chocolate ganache from the recipe itself and I have also tried some leftover icing (I’m sure fresh would serve the same purpose), jam, nutella and peanut butter. I don’t recommend that last one though.

By next weekend, I hope to have eaten the 60 sandwiches I made today and come down off what is sure to be a wicked sugar high. I will attempt to perfect the shaping process and add a bit of colour, red and green are in order I think, to get ready for the holidays!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

We're baaaaaack! Again.

Once again, we ruled Church St. on all Hallow’s Eve. Thanks to CJ’s organizational prowess, Gomez, Morticia, Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Lurch and Thing hit the town and were stalked like Lindsay Lohan. Kitkat’s warbler outfit gained him a loyal following and a run in with a Cheerio and one Sue Sylvester. I am still not sure if the wielder of the pom-poms was a boy or a girl (or a little bit of both), either way, rockin’ costume.

Hilton’s delightful, and handmade I might add, Louis XIV (did I get that right?) needed a “Hello My Name Is” badge as most people thought he was Mozart. Many also had the nerve to speak to him before being spoken to; very unseemly.We also had Kerouac’s worker bee fending of the groups, and applying make-up, with his assortment of plastic tools. The hammer was a most effective method for blending around ones jaw line.

And dear Papi, poor think almost dehydrated in his Def Leppard rocker-T and head banger wig. Just look at that tiny beer he had. We should take up a collection to get him a proper one.
The Voice, not that I’ve ever heard him sing, was a man of the cloth with a secret. As my mom reads this, enough said for the moment.

The bar has been set – 3 years running we have been the bells of the ball. Oh dear, what shall we do next year? Time will tell……