Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm not tryin to be rouxde.

Dear 28,
R. Kelly shows up a lot on this blog. (Here. Here. and here again.)  Today is Mardi Gras- the fattest of Tuesdays. And to properly celebrate, I made a gumbo. (and pimento cheese. and a very pilsbury version of a kings cake.) I also decided tonight I'd like to illustrate an R. Kelly themed cookbook. Our Kelly can perform at the book release.
 I searched the interwebs for a just-right gumbo recipe, even browsing the comments of several recipes (seriously- read the comments. so helpful). Most of the comments from actual New Orleanians (1. is that what the people of NOLA are called? 2. I am only assuming the anonymous comments are from true New Orleaners) point out that "real gumbo is tomato-less" or that "this would never be served in my Louisiana kitchen" and other such criticisms. So I googled "authentic gumbo recipe." That lead me to an ultra-informative gumbo hub. I chose to make the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo and prayed to the MardiGods that I could master the roux (after reading this incredibly helpful how-roux)
The many stages of the roux.
Several things were learned in this gumbo making process. Now I shall list them.
1. I need a heavy bottomed pot. (which immediately makes me think of this song and giggle) I have an old pasta pot that Mar and Den gave me that is in great shape, but is intended to boil pasta and steam veggies, not hold a swirly roux for 35 minutes. The roux is simply flour and oil that's stirred for a looooong time until it magically gets smooth and dark like a deeply brown peanut butter.
Maybe I'll purge the pasta pot and invest in a dutch oven. I think most people get those from wedding registries or something because whew they are pricey.
2. Roux is the perfect word for wordplay.
3. Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning is the only way to go (thanks Nick) and also tastes delicious sprinkled on cottage cheese if you get hungry while making gumbo.
4. I tend to get flour on my face and cannot avoid crying while cutting onions. Oh and I really dislike the smell of Tabasco sauce.
5. A wooden spatula type utensil is really your best bet when stirring the roux. It covers a lot of surface in the pot (whether fat bottomed or otherwise) and helps the roux not to burn.
The Trinity. Amen.
6. Celery + Green Peppers + Onions are called the Trinity.
7. Making your own chicken stock is so easy. Not only do you control the salt content (see I'm sticking to your diet too Mr.), but that pasta pot with the colander in it works perfectly for chickenbone+celery+onion+carrot+wholepeppercorn boiling. A sense of accomplishment follows submerging a chicken carcass with aromatic and flavorful veggies. (that is sick)

So much was learned in a 3 hour gumbo makin' adventure!

Tonight I'll actually eat the gumbo, now referred to as "I'm not tryin to be rouxde Gumbo," so a full flavor report will have to come later. A few bites last night were pretty tasty, but the real test is this evening when it's served over rice while Cajun tunes fill the stoop.
I can't decide if I'm more excited about the completed gumbo or the hand drawn recipe card with a clever R. Kelly title...

Monday, February 20, 2012

A hot mess.

Dear 28,
I'm a collector, but not much of a nester.
At least that's what I like to think of it as. Really I just have a whole bunch of stuff. In 28 years I've amassed so much stuff, too much stuff. I mean really-- Look at all this stuff? It's everywhere. Piles of stuff. I'm beginning to feel weighed down by the stuff.
I have a dresser full of craft- a dresser that sat in my sister Kate's baby room back in 1989. I have a closet filled (over filled honestly) with just winter clothes. There are things I haven't touched in months (a sewing machine specially designed for paper, you know, that I just had to have), heaps of belts and scarves, bins loaded with clutches (one to match each dress if I tried), and a sweater I wore in 2006 (or about 5 sweaters).
I considered doing this Whole Living cleanse back in January to kick off 2012 in a new and refreshed way. But I couldn't get past step one: Set Goals. I love lists, but "setting goals" for a cleanse seemed silly. Obviously I want to feel healthier or lighter or have smaller thighs or something like that... but "life goals" to motivate me through a cleanse? Psh.
I can't avoid caffeine, alcohol and sweets for 21 days... (I'm sorry Caeli if you're reading this)... but I CAN cleanse the stoop of junk. Same premise. Different space. Organizing is surely not my strength and I'm a sentimental hoarder (oh a ticket stub from a movie in 2001? oh I remember that horrible movie I went to see when I still wore tall socks and sneakers and smiled at the football kicker. must. keep. that.), so purging my home of stuff won't been easy. 
But let the spacial cleanse commence.
Any tips on keeping a small space decluttered?

ps- since initially writing this post I've cleared out the dresser of craft. I can't dump all this great stuff into the trash-- so you want a bag of craft? let me know. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

If I'm being honest about the whole thing.

Dear 28,
The blog and I are going through some issues. At first it was a love affair founded in adventure, and words, and fulfillment, and lists. We documented funny stories and saw new places. We took photos and posted them, even if no one really cared to see what I did on a Thursday afternoon. The blog and I- we had an unbreakable bond.
But now, we just can't seem to connect.
Remember how much fun we used to have? Sigh.
I'm living a rather "domestic" life currently (not my word of choice, but it has been described this way by others.) I get up at 7am on Saturdays and make jam. I spend time browsing cookbooks (like way too much time) and get home from work excited to tie on the red-polka-dotted waist apron and dance about the kitchen with my IKEA microplane while Brian Williams serenades me with today's news. I have recently gone to bed at 8pm on a Friday. (Please don't repeat that) The last photo I took was (gasp) on my blackberry and of a Electromyography machine. (The nerves appear to be better. So all is good under the skull hood.) I get pumped up about manicures and winning scratch tickets.
Look. Look what we've become.
There's still hope for the blog. I still live a semi-interesting life and, as my friend Adrienne does so well, I could go on an adventure everyday. I've got a whole list to conquer. I could be training for a 5k (for real this time). I have several books to read (ok it's time I become a reader again. Watching One Tree Hill has taught me nothing. Reading is a good alternative to Dan Scott.) I could tell you all about the food I'm obsessed with cooking. There's lots ways to reconnect.
So if I'm being honest about the whole thing, the blog and I are going through some stuff-- trying to redefine our relationship and all. But we'll work it out. We've gone through too much together to give it up now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

For the Lovers.

Dear 28,
A holiday based around hearts and love notes and secret admirers and flowers...sigh. Valentine's Day is one of my favorites. Last year I spent it on the couch with gatorade and medication, this year I'll spend it aw-ing over hearts and love notes and secret admirers and flowers. Sigh.
Sending love. And singing this. All day.


Monday, February 6, 2012

In a drought.

Dear 28,
My creativity has been bottled up and left unwritten about over the last few weeks. How people blog daily is beyond me. I'm going to (yet again) apologize (mostly to myself, and Jen) for the blog drought and get back in the habit of writing. I mean there's all this to do in February:
- Craft a tip for Danny's awesome project.
- Get these RecycleMe Iowa postcards out the door.
- Celebrate Valentines day.
- Make my 22nd grocery list. (I'm obsessed with cooking lately. obsessed.)
- And then there's that big list.
- A bunch of movies still need to be seen (Although not 10, still need to cross off #3)
Still can't believe we're already into month two of twenty-twelve. February is full of plans.
Like my plan to not buy coffee unless I have a meeting there, or my plan to send mail everyday, or my plan to wear my glasses more, or my plan to host a dinner party. So many plans worth blogging about.
Next post coming sooner than later.