Archive for the ‘family’ Category

road trip yo

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Just in time for my next vacation (Michigan for a whole big Crockett family hoedown), I uploaded the pictures from my last vacation.

This was our route:
Thursday – Drive like hell. Stop in St. Louis. You can see from the picture above that we totes made it.

Somewhere in the middle of Kansas is where I started smelling this whole mess, but somewhere outside of St. Louis is where we discovered it. (Our rear seat heater melted Crockett’s backpack. It was a whole big thing. Thanks, Audi!)

In St. Louis Crockett was pissed about the backpack thing and I was mofo hungry. We were in an Eastern suburb of the city on a Thursday night and I really wanted BBQ, so I tracked down this 17th Street Barbeque place online.

I was both thrilled to be there and exhausted to the point of ridiculousness.

It was about 9 when we got there, and they officially closed at 10.

They were not thrilled to have us.

You know that feeling? When your server just wishes you’d get the hell out already? We sat in the bar, and there were other people there, but the staff were emptying ketchup bottles in plain view and asking ‘anything else’ every second.

They corned their own beef, though, and made a damn good Reuben. Plus, I had my first hushpuppy and found it fabulous. It was totally worth the server hating us.

Friday – We chose not to take the more direct route to our end destination of Buffalo. Instead, we headed a little south and carried on east until we arrived in …

central Kentucky! (Every mile or so I said ‘but BABE, it’s so GREEN’ and Crockett said ‘awww honey’ in that I-sometimes-forget-you-grew-up-in-a-quasi-desert voice.)

Why central Kentucky?

So we could visit someone?

Well, sort of. We were visiting the home of Woodford Reserve.

See, they make something like 98% of all bourbon in that part of KY. (It’s not technically bourbon if it’s not made in America.) Our original plan was to do at least part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, but we underestimated how long it would take us to get the hell out of St. Louis in the morning.

We chose Woodford because it was the only tour that charged ($5) and we figured that meant it had to be awesome.

It was.

The distillery is a whole bunch of buildings that are all over 100 years old, but the distillery building is the oldest – it was built in 1838 and I want to live there like you can’t even know.

This was my favorite part. While these look like little train tracks, they’re actually barrel tracks. As in, the barrels are delivered up the hill and rolled down to the distillery on the tracks. This tourist lady was standing right in the middle of them and I secretly hoped a barrel would come flying down and she’d have to dive out of the way.

Sometimes I’m a bad person.

Inside the distillery was a whole bunch of stuff being distilled. Obviously. There was yeast and stuff in here, I think.

I was far more interested in the building.

How much do I want this to be my great room ceiling?

Hell, how much do I want a great room?

That’s not to say there wasn’t bourbon, though.

There was bourbon forevah.

Crockett could look but he couldn’t touch.

I was mostly picturing this big copper still thingy in my new stone great room.

After the tour there was dessert for Crockett…

and dessert for me. Pecan bourbon balls.

You could buy them in the gift shop, but they had a tray for us to munch on while we sipped our drinks. Crockett drank my drink and I ate his (and everyone else’s) bourbon balls.

Then, of course, we had to sit and eat, because it was wayyyy after lunch and we were in the middle of horse country with no other food prospect in sight.

Crockett ordered us a chicken salad sandwich.

I  love it when chicken salad has almonds and cranberries in it.

See? Horse country.

Friday night was a gigantic mess. I freaked out at about 9:30 and insisted that we GET OUT OF THE CAR RIGHT THEN, despite the fact that we were still two hours from our goal of Erie, PA.

We tried to stop in Mansfield, OH, and in return Mansfield tried to murder us. Several times. There were two seriously creepy motels, there were maps that lied about where we were, there were roads that went nowhere.

It was fucked up, y’all.

We ended up stopping at a Super 8 lord knows where. I just know we got about 20 miles north of Mansfield before we felt safe enough to stop the car. Fortunately, the Super 8 was across the street from a karaoke bar.

I will not post the video of me and Crockett singing Total Eclipse of the Heart. Or the video of Crockett singing Brother Love’s Travelin’ Salvation Show.

Mostly because we don’t want to have to fend off a bunch of record producers, ya know?

Saturday – We made it to Akron, NY, the little town outside of Buffalo that Crockett grew up in.

We were there through the 4th, so we got to see the hometown parade!

There were bands and approximately 17 million fire trucks. Everyone threw candy.

Candy and gum. (Yes, I am a classy lady, thank you for noticing). The two big companies (and by big I mean a couple hundred employees) in Crockett’s hometown are an ice cream factory (Perry’s) and a bubblegum factory (Ford Gum).

I know. He grew up in a Rockwell painting.

His fabulous parents fed us grilled Italian sausage, roasted asparagus, and baked beans made from Crockett’s grandmother Fay’s recipe.

If I’d known in advance how great those beans were, the proportions on this plate would have been a little different.

It’s entirely possible I ate them cold out of the fridge later while no one was watching.

After dinner we wandered around town, holding hands, until the fireworks started. We stopped under the nearest convenient tree to watch the show. Just picture me snuggled in next to Huck Finn up there.

See?

Rockwell painting.

The drive was totally worth it.

 

what my dad wanted to eat for his birthday dinner

Monday, June 13th, 2011

 

 

NFA Brownies – Bittersweet Lime and Sea Salt

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Crockett’s sister lives in a little town in upstate New York. On the finger lakes. Near the Finger Lakes. Something something F/finger L/lakes. (Not having grown up there, I’m not entirely sure if they’re supposed to be capitalized or if you refer to being in the area of them or the region or on them or what. They’re pointy lakes and she lives in a town that is on the coast of one of them.)

There is a teeny fabulous restaurant there called the Stonecat Cafe. When I was there, I had some amazing food (we were in town for 24 hours tops and ate both dinner and brunch there) and also bought a tank top that has their (unofficial?) slogan on the back. The slogan is ‘N.F.A’. You can find it on the website if you look.

N.F.A. You know – no fucking around.

I know. Coolest restaurant ever.

All of this has been a really long lead in to this: I really hate it when people refer to recipes as ‘not being for the faint of heart’.

Is this a terrible picture of a brownie? Yes. Is this brownie pretty damn intense? Yes.

Is it ‘not for the faint of heart’? Dude. I guess, if your heart is really really faint, then perhaps you should limit yourself to one or two of these brownies.

Be aware that with the changes I made, they’re super crumbly. They also keep amazingly well. I’m eating them as I write this on a Tuesday night, and I made them on a Thursday night. That’s five days of being not particularly well stored at room temperature, and they’re still good. They’re also serious business. The lime make them tangy, they aren’t exceptionally sweet, and the sea salt on top is …. NFA.

NFA Brownies with Sea Salt and Lime
Adapted from the Kitchn

5 ounces unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or 3/16 teaspoon table salt)
1 lime, juiced and zested
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 325 F. Generously butter an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.

2) Put the butter and the unsweetened chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring frequently.

3) Combine the sugar, flour, and cocoa in a medium bowl. Add the chocolate butter mixture and combine, then stir in the eggs, vanilla, and kosher salt. When the mixture is pretty cool (cool enough that the chips won’t melt), stir in the lime juice and zest and chips.

4) Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the sea salt on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

sigh

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

I’ve been doing absolutely nothing.

I mean, I’ve been doing homework, and cooking, and stuff.

But nothing very exciting.

And also sometimes I just get lazy about the internet.

My computer sometimes really loudly screams DO YOUR HOMEWORK at me, and I can’t sit down at it, because then the screaming is so loud I can’t concentrate on my blog. Or Cracked.com. It’s all very sad.

My food has been boring me. I mean, even if you’re a big deal, how much damn muesli can you eat?

Even if you make a delicious berry sauce (frozen mixed berries and honey heated up together – I’m so slick) – seriously, you can lose your desire for muesli.

That’s why this morning was motherfuckin’ smoothie time.

Last week, my dad came for dinner. He’s working his butt off lately.

I wanted to make him dinner, and I hoped to be inspired.

Don’t get me wrong. We had a good time. At some point, they were smiling, but I kept yelling “LOOK SADDER, DUDES”!

When I put the food down, my dad couldn’t hold the smiles in any longer. Can you blame him? It was june bowls!

June bowls. I mean, they’re delicious. But…

A couple of my girlfriends came over the night after that (this was like a week ago, so at this point I’m a little unclear about which night I’m talking about).

I made salad.

June bowls and salad.

Where is my creativity?

Because I’m feeling a distinct lack of blah blah blah, I made Crockett make me guacamole for lunch yesterday.

At some point I’m going to have to watch him make this, so I can give you guys the recipe.

Everyone who has ever eaten it declares it the best guac ever.

If I watch him make it, though, then I’ll know how, and I won’t be able to insist that he make it for me anymore.

A distinct lack of blah blah blah.

See? I’m not even motivated enough to figure out what it is that I’m lacking. Fortunately, the guac did temporarily assuage the problem …

Enough so that I made a dual pizza.

Pizza dough: Whole Foods.

Green side: olive oil, blanched spinach, goat cheese, very thin potatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.

Red side: olive oil, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and chopped pine nuts.

Oh, and shaved romano. Afterwards. All over.

It was delicious.

It completely drained my mojo.

Perhaps the fact that we ate it all will replenish said mojo.

I need inspiration.

 

torta rustica (i.e. meat cake)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Crockett’s papa is visiting, and we’ve been mostly gabbing and drinking wine all weekend. I made him a coffee cake (which I’ll post the recipe for later, because it was pretty tasty and is holding up remarkably well), but I also had signed on as a volunteer recipe tester for the ‘your best recipe with fresh ricotta‘ contest. I have had problems with completing my testing on time before, but I happened to have some fresh ricotta in the fridge, and I couldn’t pass up this recipe.

It’s essentially a savory ricotta cheesecake with romano and salami, baked inside a giant sugar cookie.

See? Giant sugar cookie.

Full of cheese and salami.

I kept going – man, this is weird, and then taking another bite.

And then my piece was all gone.

So I started in on the ones I’d cut for Crockett and his dad.

Apparently I liked it.

Since  I was testing it, I was very faithful to the recipe (except that I cut it in half), so I’m not going to reprint it. It’s here, if you feel like making a sweet meat cake of your very own.

That’s not all I ate yesterday, of course.

I had some muesli, to pre-soak up all the nitrates that were undoubtably in the salami.

And some chicken chili, while doing homework.

Apparently the hanta virus isn’t affecting my appetite.

Or my desire to pose goofy with Crockett.

P.S. I don’t really have the hanta virus (probably). I spent a large part of the weekend cleaning out the garage of my condo, and a lot of mice have – ahem – left their mark there. Now I have a fluey chest cold type thing. Draw your own conclusions. Both Crockett and my girlfriend Star have drawn the conclusion that I’m a hypochondriac – which isn’t completely unfair, so jump on that bandwagon, if you’d like.

Sixty

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

My momma turned 60 years old yesterday!

Wait, let’s back up.

I sort of feel like I’ve been all cookies all the time since Valentines day, so yesterday I decided to start off with a nice fruitful smoothie instead.

Mmmm, smoothie. I finally bought Grape Nuts, so I’m back to my yogurt/milk/frozen banana/blueberries/Grape Nuts combination. Crunchy and delicious.

Crockett left last night for two ski trips. It’s all very exciting – first he’s going to Vail with some old friends, and then he’s driving to Crested Butte with some other old friends. All of these friends are men, so if you’re picturing nine days of snowboarding, cigars, and scotch, you’re probably not far off. At least, that’s how I picture it. Perhaps right now they’re sitting around discussing how much they miss their girlfriends. Who knows.

We had some crucial Costco shopping to do before he left, so we ended up nibbling on Costco snacks and eating a late lunch.

We’re still working our way through the Asian Cabbage Casserole from Sunday. I swear to god it’s actually multiplying in the fridge, and now that he’s gone the remaining servings are up to me. Making an appropriate amount of food for two people is proving to be something of a challenge – more than twice what I needed alone, but less than a full family size.

Then, it was BIRTHDAY TIME!


That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My wonderful mother turned 60 years old yesterday.

See her, there towards the right, already getting ready to walk away and welcome more guests?

One of her good friends put together this great party in the back room of The Cactus Wheel in downtown Louisville. There were 30+ people there, and we had margaritas and all sorts of fun. My mom is a competitive sprinter and cyclist, and most of her friends are as well, so this was a room full of athletic fabulousness.

She got all kinds of fun cards and presents.

That’s my hand-drawn hilarity in the top right corner.

In case you were wondering.

Crockett came by to say happy birthday to my mom, before he took off to pick up his friends from the airport. He and my dad had a beer and talked about all the crazy athletes in the room.

I had tilapia tacos, which were great. I think we overwhelmed the Cactus Wheel’s tiny kitchen, because the food came out in fits and spurts and mine took an awfully long time. It’s a small restaurant, and 30 people ordering at once must’ve hit them hard. Everything was good, though.

We had cake (also courtesy of my  mom’s lovely friend Valerie). And then? Things started to get a little goofy.

Like, helium sucking goofy.

I gave my mom a new updo, appropriate for her new age, and, then I went home. You know, sometimes grown ups don’t want their kids around to witness their goofiness.

Happy Birthday Mom!

dear internets

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

There’s nothing like watching your man put the dishes away while he makes coffee and you do your seriously Sunday morning lounging.

After he cleared out, I made smoothies.

Since I was making two and my little smoothie blender has been working awfully hard just to make one lately, I used the food processor.

Ingredients: three handfuls of baby spinach, half cup of lowfat cottage cheese, half a fresh banana, half a frozen banana, milk, and frozen blueberries. Ingredients I forgot: raw oatmeal.

The food processor made the smoothie fluffy.

It was weird.

Properly fortified, we finally got around to taking down the Christmas tree. This is an ornament I made for him in 2009 (I know, you totally couldn’t tell), our first Christmas as a couple.

I know, I’m adorable.

This is my favorite of his ornaments. Even though the shininess of the adjoining ornaments made it impossible to focus on it. It came with him to Colorado from his parents house.

Instead of a star, we had a monkey abducting a nutcracker.

We’re subversive like that.

Also represented, a punching nun.

I have no explanation for this.

The tree looks so much less festive without the decorations.

Also, since it’s late January, so much more seasonally appropriate.

I think we should leave gold garland up year round.

This sap looked like diamonds to my eyes, but not to my camera.

I have photo-learning to do.

We stripped the tree, prior to taking it out the door.

At this point, we seriously considered just leaving it.

Because we’re subversive like that.

I went to my old house to pack up my bathroom (finally – also, why I have so many damn bottles of shampoo I have no idea), and came home to fortify myself with chicken stew and beer.

The stew doesn’t deserve a full recipe. It’s basically chicken thighs, kidney beans, pinto beans, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, salt, and cornmeal. Today I added more salt and a little crushed red pepper, and it’s much better, but it still needs help.

Crockett made some gaucamole for me and his brother, who is here. Crockett makes the world’s best guacamole. I may have previously mentioned that.

Then I shared my beer with a nun. This particular nun really enjoys her Newcastle – a woman after my own heart.

Sunday, man.

Birthday dinner

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Last night we headed out fairly early in the evening to meet my parents for dinner. Because it was my birthday, and I wanted dinner.

I wore my yellow high heels. It was my birthday, and I wanted heels.

Crockett and I had a couple of stops to make prior to dinner – primarily a visit to a local electronics store where I was all ‘hey babe I should totally make jewelry out of resistors’ and he was all ‘hey babe, I love that you’re queen of the nerds and all, but can you shush while I concentrate?’. When we arrived at Southern Sun, Mom and Dad were both waiting for us.

Very seriously waiting for us.

Southern (and Mountain) Sun is a Boulder fixture. They brew their own delicious beer and have lots of burgers, great grilled cheese, and a lot of vegetarian options. The staff all rotates through the kitchen and the bar and the the floor, which makes for a unique experience.

Since we had to wait for a table, Crockett ran up to the bar and got me a beer. Annapurna Amber, in this case. Barley and a little hoppy – not something I would have gotten myself. It was good. Sometimes you have to branch out, ya know? Even if it is your birthday and you don’t necessarily wanna.

Beer for everyone.

Yes, there were lots of healthy choices (probably). I didn’t see them, because I zoomed directly into the Junk Burger and did not pass go. Junk burger: bacon, cheese, sautéed mushrooms and onions, roasted garlic mayo on a tasty tasty burger. I got Swiss, cheese wise. I love this burger, y’all. It’s squishy where it should be squishy, crispy where it should be crispy, salty where it should be salty, and just generally everything you want in every bite.

Dad: identical plate. We didn’t plan it this way, we just have excellent taste.

Crockett: this was a reuben except where you might expect corned beef, you instead found turkey. Who knows. He liked it though.

Then we retired to my dad’s place for cake.

This cake is a tradition in my family. It was a tradition for my brother and I, but he’s vegan now, so I’m carrying on alone. My mom makes it.

Layer 1: Chocolate cake
Layer 2: Chocolate chips (added post baking, so they don’t get melted)
Layer 3: Chocolate pudding
Layer 4: Whipped cream
Layer 5: Flaked coconut
Layer 6: Maraschino cherries

I look forward to it all year. Seriously. Leftovers are currently in the fridge, and I’m considering making Wednesday ‘Emma eats only chocolate cake’ day.

resolve

Friday, December 31st, 2010

In 2011 I resolve not to get so far behind that I end up with 400 pictures and ten posts worth of happenings.

I resolve to continue to eat more vegetables.

To really truly educate myself on the science behind South Beach and do what’s good for my heart.

To try new and interesting things with oatmeal. Perhaps, shockingly, not involving pumpkin.

To ignore the South Beach insistence that bananas are bad. Fuck that, yo. Bananas are good – incontrovertible fact.

Perhaps if I do all these things, I will live to be 102. The woman who built this tiny city lives in my Grandma’s building, and she’s 102. I didn’t ask her if she eats lots of bananas, but I’m sure she does.

Speaking of my Grandma and her building, this is the first Christmas  after she sold the house she’s lived in since well before I was born. We usually caroled in her neighborhood, but without a home base that became complicated. We invited the residents in her building that were around to join us in a common room, and we got our carol on there. My mom and I were particularly festive – please note the spinning and the elf hat. We had about 25 folks join us, which was absolutely wonderful. We sang. They sang. Fun and merriment abounded.

Mom, dad, Grandma, Uncle Phil… and of course me, in the purple.

I was lucky enough to get to spend Christmas day with members of my family and quite a bit of Crockett’s, shown here. It was lovely.

Later in the day some friends joined us. All told there were 19 people in the house.

I take really good care of my clothes, can’t you tell? Chocolate shirt and Kelley, queen of the photobomb.

Friends can be family too, you know? The morning after Christmas two of my Denver darlings came up to Boulder to join me for brunch at Salt, followed by cans of champagne and shopping.

Yeah, cans of champagne. They were a gift for me, and I’m fairly sure were made with me, specifically, in mind.

Basically, Christmas rocked. Obviously I’m missing quite a bit here, but I think these were the high points. How was your holiday?

you look like a million bucks

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Crockett got up early to take his dad to the airport (spoiler alert: he made it home), and I dragged my butt out of bed to get the food started.

I took the turkey out of the brine and rinsed it off, and put it in a slow oven (~300) breast down. My intention was to flip it after a couple of hours so the top would color, but when I checked on it at 10:15 (two hours later), it was done. Done. In two hours. It was only twelve pounds but still, yo, 2 hours is unheard of. Thank goodness I had a thermometer, otherwise I would probably have left it in for another hour. Sadly, that meant the breast skin never got all roasty toasty.

While the turkey did its thing, I started the vegetables for the stuffing (up at the top) and the spices for the sweet potatoes. I made the stuffing exactly as written, but this is the second time I’ve made these sweet potatoes and I took some liberties. The banana, sweet potato, coconut, and coconut milk are all naturally sweet, so I left out the brown sugar. Without the sugar it’s more suitable as a side dish; with the sugar it would be more appropriate as a dessert. That’s lime zest, ginger, and a mashed banana sauteing in butter in the images above.

Pause for smoothies.

The sweet potato pudding with all the ingredients added, getting its thickening self on.

I got the sweet potatoes and stuffing into their baking dishes, hopped in the shower, and got the appetizers on the table as our first guests walked in the door.

  • Spanikopita -a contribution from my mother, purchased at Costco. If you shop at Costco and you see the frozen spanikopita, purchase it immediately. Do not hesitate. Just do it. Does it sound like I’m kidding. No, I didn’t think so.
  • Walnuts – I pan roasted them with a couple of tablespoons of butter, half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper, half a tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary, a quarter cup of brown sugar, and half a teaspoon of kosher salt. The red pepper didn’t really come through, but I was worried about it being overwhelming for my grandma.
  • Cheese platter – brie (cause with the yum), sliced fresh sourdough, a vanilla fresh fig jam that I’ve completely forgotton how I made, and…. the stinky cheese of death.

I bought it at Costco. It’s called Morbier, which doesn’t technically mean ‘death’, but it sort of sounds like it, no? When I opened the package I may have thrown up a little in my mouth. Seriously. However, I am not one to tell other people what’s delicious, so I put it on the plate anyway. No one ate it.

My volunteer bean snappers whining about the smell and kicking ass at snapping.

We had a three phase Thanksgiving. Phase 1: My dad (left), mom (middle), and Crockett’s brother (right), his family, and my grandma. Phase 2: Crockett’s brother + fam left. Phase 3: Everyone left and Crockett and I went to a friends house to rejoin his brother and have dessert.

Four ladies (and three generations) on one couch. Kim may not be related to us, but she fits in nicely, don’t you think?

We got the table set up and hugged the Phase 1ers goodbye.

Looks tasty, no?

As we were at Crockett’s house and it was his first time hosting Thanksgiving, he sat at the head of the table.

Cheers.

Also a responsibility of the host? Turkey carving. I think he’s doing it wrong. (Please note how pale it looked once I put it breast up. Sad.)

However. Inside? Juicy. Delicious. Perfect.

It got a little slippery, so Grandma and I each grabbed a leg. Fortunately we both kept all of our fingers.

A representative dark meat lovers plate (my dads).

A representative white meat lovers plate (mine). I like dark meat too, but on the actual day I’m white with gravy all the way. Clockwise from the top: cranberry jelly from a can (don’t judge, you know it’s delicious), cranberry chutney, turkey with gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, roasted squash and pomegranate salad (mom), green beans with almonds, and jalapeño corn bread (dad).

This is the point at which the plate started to best me. I had too many spanikopita.

Fortunately, we ate slowly and I got a second wind. Who has two thumbs and belongs to the clean plate club? This girl.

My dad brought cinnamon orange rice pudding, but we all only managed  a few bites. I refused to let him take the rest of mine away, because it’s going to make the best breakfast ever. EVER.

I am so glad that I was able to host this year. I have so much to be thankful for.

These girls.

These ladies.

This guy.

And, of course, this guy.

I hope you have a lot to be thankful for too. MUAH.