delphipsmith: (save the liver)
One of my goals this year was to get out of the usual menu items that we have in regular rotation and try some new things. The best so far have been sweet potato-green onion pancakes with eggs, ham and pepper jam and Smitten Kitchen's crispy broccoli with lemon and garlic. Tonight I thought I'd try roasting some carrots and parsnips tossed with olive oil, sea salt, fresh-ground pepper, and herbs. I was pretty sure I'd had parsnips at some point in my life, and how bad could a root vegetable be?

Nowhere did any of the recipes I consulted warn me that for the first ten minutes roasting parsnips smell like melting plastic. Ugh ugh ugh.

We soldiered on, however, and in the end they...weren't bad. They needed butter (which is unusual, in my experiene, for roasted veg; perhaps I went too light on the olive oil?) and more seasoning. I also grated a little manchego on top because cheese, you know? The first bite was meh but then they rather grew on me, though I admit that could have been the butter, salt and cheese.

So all I can say is that where parsnips are concerned, I remain uncommitted.
delphipsmith: (julia)
The news has really been getting me down lately, all the hyperbole and knee-jerk reactions and frantic pace and depressingly stupid words and actions by that weird guy who's been hanging out in the Oval Office recently. When I get down, one of the things that makes me feel better is cooking, so Friday night I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies (mmmm) which made both me and Mr Psmith very happy.

This morning I got ambitious and decided to try a recipe Mr Psmith found last week: Sweet Potato-Green Onion Pancakes with Poached Eggs, Holiday Ham and Pepper Jam. It sounds rather involved just from the ingredients in the title, but actually wasn't that much work. The most tedious part was grating the sweet potato (those little suckers are dense, man). I didn't bother with poaching the eggs, just rinsed and wiped out the pan I used for the pancakes and fried them over easy, while the pancakes were finishing up in the oven.

The end result was DEFINITELY worth it -- an elegant and satisfying combination of flavors and textures. And pretty to boot!

delphipsmith: (julia)
Made this last night. It is a marbled chocolate peanut butter cake, and yes, it is DELISH. A bit drier than I like -- I made it with gluten-free flour, which in cookies requires a few minutes more baking, so I did the same thing with the cake but I think it was unnecessary. Also, the chocolate glaze called for corn syrup, which I didn't have and would prefer not to use anyway, so I used a mild-flavored honey instead. Very tasty. Sorry I can't shove slices of cake through the screen for you!

Also, I have been replaying Portal. Hence the subject line.

delphipsmith: (grinchmas)
Christmas Day, so once again we made my great-grandmother's egg nog to take to my sister-in-law's. With 4 pints of half-and-half, bourbon rum AND brandy, this is high-calorie and high-test, but oh so very good. I am now having a mug and getting caught up on [ profile] hoggywartyxmas and [ profile] sshg_giftfest -- happy happy joy joy!

Here's hoping that all of you had whatever sort of day you wanted, doing whatever you wanted to do, with the companionship you wanted most. Hugs and happy holidays!

no title
delphipsmith: (GotMilk)
[ profile] mywitch has embarked on 25 days of fan art. Today she picked MY prompt, and gave me half-dressed Lucius. Go. See. Marvel.

Hubba hubba!
delphipsmith: (save the liver)
How many of these terrors of the table do you remember?

The banana ones are particularly nightmare-inducing. But the little igloo meatloaf is kind of cute.

When I was a kid, my mom went through a serious health-food kick. The rule at every meal was "No matter what you think, you have to try at lesat one bite." Then, if you didn't like the brewer's yeast surprise or the kale cookies, you didn't have to eat them.

This rule stood until one morning when my brother barfed his one bite of wheat-germ-scrambled-eggs all over the breakfast table.

What's your scariest childhood food memory?
delphipsmith: (thud)
How can Harrison Ford look so drop-dead sexy at 70-something???

New Star Wars movie posters:

delphipsmith: (busy busy busy)
All that and more, here in this very entry!

A friend of mine has opened an Etsy store to sell her awesome fabric tote bags. My favorite is the Star Wars one. If you need a tote bag, make this your first stop.

Signups are ongoing over at [ profile] sshg_giftfest -- there's still space for both authors and artists/crafters so hop on over! I'm thrilled that we have lots of people returning from last year as well as some new faces. Also signups are open at [ profile] hoggywartyxmas, so start thinking xmassy thoughts!

This past weekend Mr Psmith and I went to the State Fair where we saw, among other things: llamas, sheep, goats (why are their testicles so enormous? why???), adorable baby piglets and monstrous full-grown pigs, and many many flavors of dairy cow including an adorable Jersey calf being raffled off. I wanted to enter but sanity in the form of Mr Psmith prevailed. As always, the food on offer ranged from standard to startling, the latter including a "Gators and Taters" food booth, kangaroo spiedies, and Shark-on-a-Stick. Sadly, we did not get to see the draft horses -- Percherons, Belgians, Friesians, etc. -- which was our main reason for going, as the barn was closed for some reason, drat the luck. But we did get to see the arts and crafts building (quilts! cross-stitch! handmade lace! paintings on sawblades! tiny model rooms!) and the sand sculpture, which is always amazing. One side showed a train going into a tunnel watched by some woodland creatures, including a very alarmed-looking beaver.

My life continues to be far too busy, and sometime between now and the end of September, we have to pack up our entire house. Eek.
delphipsmith: (grinchmas)
There are many family tales about this egg nog, from the time my grandmother's minister stopped by on Christmas Day and nobody noticed his nine-year-old son was slurping down mug after mug, to the story of my great-grandfather and his friends going caroling round the neighborhood with a massive jug of the stuff to fortify themselves, getting more and more festive as they went. For the last several years I've made it Christmas Eve after we get home from celebrating with one half of Mr Psmith's family, and we take it with us the next morning when we go celebrate with the other half.

This is the noggiest damn nog you will ever find, and it's AWESOME:


6 eggs, separated
2 c sugar
1-1/2 c. bourbon
3/4 c. rum
3/4 c. brandy
3 pints heavy cream
1 pint milk

Beat egg yolks until pale and lemony. Add sugar slowly, beating well. Add booze gradually, continuing to beat slowly. You will need to scrape the bottom of the bowl several times, since sugar doesn't melt well in cold stuff. Finally, add the cream and milk slowly, continuing to stir (I usually do this last bit by hand rather than with a mixer). Pour into a large pot with a lid and place in the freezer for at least 12 hrs.

Shortly before serving, beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold gently into the egg/cream/booze mixture. Ladle into mugs, sprinkle with cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and enjoy (but be wary!).
delphipsmith: (julia)
So, Thanksgiving was awesome this year. We hosted it, as we have for the past six or seven years, so the house was full of food, family, yummy smells, conversation, etc. Ten people, with three of them age nine or younger and one older one hard of hearing, made for a rather high volume, but a good time was had by all. And I'm getting better and better at doing things ahead of time -- this year I was actually able to sit down and watch some of the Macy's parade, go me!

We had a bit of drama over the turkey, though. Mr Psmith had suggested we get a heritage turkey this year, having read wonderful things about them, so we ordered one in early November. It was supposed to arrive Tuesday via Fed Ex. Late Tuesday morning we get a call from the turkey people saying that our turkey had flown the coop: Fed Ex couldn't find it. So they were sending out another one that would arrive on Wednesday, but that it might be a little bigger since they were out of the size we ordered.

So all day Wednesday while I'm cooking, I'm alternating between Nightmare A, in which the replacement turkey never arrives and I have to venture out and scrounge a stunt turkey, and Nightmare B, in which the replacement arrives and is a 30-lb monstrosity that won't fit in my oven and will take six hours to cook.

Happily, Fed Ex rang our doorbell at 2:47 pm with a 17.6-lb bird, so tragedy was averted. Interestingly, it was a noticeably different shape, lacking the enormous breasts of the standard Broad-Breasted White (what most stores carry) and with much larger thighs. The more equal white-to-dark-meat ratio means it cooks slightly faster and more evenly. And WOW did it turn out amazing! They recommend a very simple preparation since heritage turkeys are very juicy and flavorful, so I rubbed butter and herbs under the skin which I've never tried before (this video was very helpful). The meat-eaters in the group voted it highly tasty, and I got FOUR CUPS of juice out of it for gravy. Normally I get one, if I'm lucky.

Mr Psmith's youngest brother brought his girlfriend E. who is a vegetarian, so there were two of us at the table this year. Since I'm a vegetarian, everything in the meal except for the turkey itself and Mr Psmith's Grandma N's giblet stuffing is meat-free, and E. kept saying how nice it was to have so much she could eat :) Also, she shares my aversion to an empty wine glass which makes her a girl after my own heart. She's been around for a year now and we have hopes that she may be a keeper!

Here is a partial transcript of my five-year-old nephew's conversation:

11:33am: "Can we have pie now?"
11:52am: "Where's the pie?"
12:10pm: "Is it time for pie yet?"
12:30pm: "Pie?"
12:36pm (as I'm taking the turkey out of the oven): "Wow, that's a really big chicken!!"

He also got hold of a pack of post-its and amused himself writing notes and sticking them on his chest: PINCH ME, POKE ME, KICK ME. My favorite was HUG ME.

There were some tough moments, since it was the first big holiday for us without Mr Psmith's brother, and sister-in-law A cried a bit, but it was good to all be together.

On another traditional note: I'll be doing my Christmas bookshelf-weeding and giveaway again this year. I'm compiling the list now and will post it probably this weekend. I do enjoy doing this -- it's such fun to send books to good homes :)
delphipsmith: (ooooo)
Yes, apparently the first Friday in June is National Donut Day (fooled you, didn't I? You thought I meant the other D-Day).

Neither of which are to be confused with National DoUGHnut Day* which is in November. Because donuts are so awesome they need two celebratory days, I guess.

* Until I wrote that I never realized that "doughnut" has the word "ugh" in it. Which is just ridiculous, right? Because NOMZ.
delphipsmith: (cheesy goodness)
"The next day he had almost forgotten about Gandalf. He did not remember things very well, unless he put them down on his Engagement Tablet: like this: Gandalf Tea Wednesday. Yesterday he had been too flustered to do anything of the kind..."

Check out Food in Tolkien's The Hobbit, on It provides historical context (the Shire as Victorian England?) plus recipes for seedcake, etc. so that "we can faithfully recreate that same Tea Party that Bilbo, Gandalf and the Dwarves so enjoyed."
delphipsmith: (cheesy goodness)
We've been getting a bit bored with the same old meals (except for the homemade linguine with clam sauce, we still luuuuuuuurv that) so we've been trying to find some new recipes to try out in the Psmith Test Kitchen. This week we had two solid hits, one vegan and both vegetarian. I am sad to say I took no photos, but I can still share the recipes.

The first was
Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries
. This came from a co-worker of mine who says it's the only way they get their son to eat vegetables and they are indeed finger-lickin' good. Instead of parm we used Manchego, which is a Spanish sheep cheese that we've become ferociously addicted to, and we baked them for 20 minutes instead of the 10-15. We followed the suggestion of finishing them off with 2 min under the broiler. I have to say that they never did really get crispy, but the flavor was fabulous. I think you'd have to bake them for about 30 min to actually get them crispy/crunchy. Next time I would toss them with a tiny bit of olive oil so that the cheese and seasoning mix sticks to the beans better (that might also make them crisp up). Best part: those little crispy bits of cheese "lace" on the tinfoil after all the beans were gone :)

The second was a recipe Mr Psmith found: Sweet potato quinoa cakes with avocado-lime dressing. He doesn't often suggest recipes so I was determined to make them to encourage more such activity :) And WOW were they a knockout! I baked the sweet potatoes the night before (because AN HOUR IN THE OVEN OMG), but everything else was pretty quick to put together. The mixture is kind of like falafel, very soft when you pat them into shape and they don't change much when you bake them. I baked them 25 minutes because 10-15 really only warmed them through, then I finished them off with 2 min under the broiler. Even with the extra baking time they were still fairly soft when done, but soooooo yummy!! Next time I might try broiling for 2 min, then flipping them and broiling another 2 so the other side gets a bit more toasted; you could probably also fry them in a little olive oil as you can with falafel patties. Maybe if I'd made the quinoa the night before so it had a chance to cool/dry a bit they might have been firmer? The avocado-lime dressing was fantastic -- I didn't bother using a blender since the avocado was really ripe, just minced the cilantro really tiny and then mushed everything up together with a fork. Also I didn't have any tahini, so intead of 1 T olive oil I used 1 T toasted sesame oil.

Oh, and a note on quinoa: you've probably been cooking it wrong. You get much better results with a 1:1 quinoa/liquid ratio instead of the 2:1 that most packages tell you. Bring it to a boil, put a tight lid on it, turn it down to low, and let it sit for 20 min then fluff with a fork.

Also, why do they sell cilantro in such ENORMOUS bundles? What am I to do with all the rest of it?

And tomorrow our favorite restaurant is doing a vegetarian dinner with wine pairings, so instead of the usual Friday pizza we will have major foodie goodness!!
delphipsmith: (live live live)
As my mom says, "Well, you're another year older, but at least you're still on the right side of the grass!"

Thanks to everyone who has sent birthday greetings, birthday wishes, and birthday prezzies, most especially [ profile] rivertempest who sent me a mug with some gorgeous Severus art and the most incredible selection of teas I have ever seen, based on Supernatural, complete with special thingy for steeping!


Bobby Singer's blend has actual gunpowder in it. I'm a little worried about that one :O

And my dear Mr Psmith, who took me out to a NOMZ dinner and bought me the most lovely roses ever which currently have pride of place on the piano:

delphipsmith: (cheesy goodness)
...and having amazing food. Again.

Merchants Pub & Plate

White bean and kale griddle cakes, potato-truffle-leek soup, risotto/corn arancini, roasted brussels sprouts with toasted pecans and maple syrup, fresh bread with a mustard/ale butter.

And thirty, count 'em thirty, microbrews on tap.

delphipsmith: (cheesy goodness)
In Philadelphia on a business trip. Went to Talula's Garden for dinner.

In the words of George Takei: "Oh, my."

Among other things they are famous for their cheese plates*, so I had the World Traveler:

Cana de Cabra (Goat, Spain)
Handmade Sheep’s Milk Feta (Sheep, Greece)
Clyde Weaver Vintage Quebec Cheddar (Cow, Canada)
Vintage Gouda (Cow, Holland)
Chimay (Cow, Belgium)
Délice de Bourgogne (Cow, France)
Scharfe Maxx (Cow, Switzerland)
Neal’s Yard Daily Aged Stilton (Cow, England)**

::dies of cheesy ecstasy::

Then there was potato-broccoli soup and baked bluefish with gnocchi. Plus it's one of those places where every so often they bring you little surprise presents from the kitchen -- amuse bouches I believe they're called -- so I'm slurping my soup, trying to stifle my moans of culinary ecstasy in case I disturb the people at the other table, and suddenly at my elbow appears a plate with two little tiny warm doughnut/cream-puff things with pumpkin-cinnamon butter. NOMZ!!!

I am as full as a tick...

* but I have to say, the word "cheesemonger" totally makes me larf
** No, there was no Venezuelan beaver cheese. I checked.
delphipsmith: (waka waka bang splat)
So I'm sure everyone is aware of the kerfuffle over the NSA logging phone numbers, call durations, email, chat, etc., yes?  Today I went to view a document I needed to review that was posted on Google Docs, and I see this:


Has anyone else ever seen this message?  I've been looking at/working with files on Google Docs for the last 18 months or so due to a couple of international committees I'm on, and I don't recall ever seeing this before. Coincidence?  I THINK NOT... (cue ominous music)

In other news, our kitchen remodel is done -- new countertops! new cabinets!! freshly polished/finished floors!!! -- so I can start cooking again, and we can have proper popcorn instead of Boom Chicka Pop out of a bag (it's very tasty, but it doesn't beat the hot fresh popped item).  So yay for all that.  Also we get to go behind-the-scenes with wolves on Thursday at the zoo (v. cool).  Ooh, and the first trailer for the next installation of The Hobbit is out, complete with Mirkwood, a red-haired elf, and SMAUG'S HEAD! Yesssss...  I'm selfishly pleased that it's coming out in December, as that will distract me from my annual Christmas "Why are there no more Harry Potter movies?" mopage/whinage.  We likes it, precious, yes we do :)
delphipsmith: (PIcard face-palm) the mighty have fallen. But it's nice to know you have a sense of humor :)

delphipsmith: (snoopydance)
Much goodness this weekend!

Goodness the first: Friday night Mr Psmith and I saw The Marriage of Figaro -- a great performance, not just well sung but well acted with lots of physical comedy. I kept thinking how much it reminded me of the old screwball comedies from the 1940s and 1950s. Figaro was a riot in his facial expressions and movements and had a fabulous bass-baritone voice, and I even liked the sopranos, which usually I don't, finding them too screechy. Countess Almaviva in particular was lovely, very smooth and lyrical. I was a little thrown by the fact that Cherubino was played by a female; I know that minor "page-boy" parts were often played by women but it was a little odd to hear her singing about her infatuation with the Countess. And everyone else. Bonus: The venue has changed its policy and now allows you to take drinks into the performance hall, meaning you don't have to slam your intermission merlot. Sweet!

Goodness the second: Saturday was a stunningly gorgeous day so Mr Psmith and I decided to venture downtown for dinner. We chose a brew-pub we hadn't eaten at in a long time; it was the first day that their outdoor seating area was open, and lo, we got a table! Mr Psmith had an elk-burger with Black Magic Stout and I had a catfish burrito with a nice peppery merlot, all eaten outdoors in the sun and the breeze while people-watching (some very funny) and car-watching (some very posh!). And the waitress had some amazing ink, an octopus that twined two-thirds of the way down her arm. I do love seeing good ink, although I have none of my own.

Goodness the third: Today was also a stunningly gorgeous day so we opened all the windows and doors, chasing out the winter staleness and making me feel as though I were outside even though I had to work (after helping Mr Psmith put up the trellises -- trelli, trellorum? -- for the clematis, of course). I completed an editing project for client and then rewarded myself by (finally!) taking the time to write up a long-overdue response to a friend's excellent novel manuscript. It's a classic space mystery/adventure with wonderful characters and many twisty plot strands, all cleverly integrated in a highly satisfying ending, so I really enjoyed writing a nice long meaty feedback/critique. I hope she sends it off to a publisher, because it's as good as anything I've read and better than many.

Now, off to grade some student projects and then (since the kitchen is still a war zone) wash dishes in the bathtub and order pizza for dinner. Nomz.
delphipsmith: (magick)
I've been madly trying to get caught up on fest reading ([ profile] sshg_exchange, [ profile] hoggywartyxmas, [ profile] hp_holidaygen, [ profile] mini_fest, whew!!). I'm doing fairly well, though I still have a long way to go on [ profile] mini_fest, but I have also on occasion been seduced into other channels.

The most surprising and fascinating was Seven for a Secret (AO3). I have no recollection of how I found it, because I was following links upon links upon links (you know, like you do) and the trail is long gone cold, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that these are marvelous, dark reimaginings of seven fairy/Disney princess tales. Jasmine finds out the punishment for stealing in a Middle Eastern country; Belle witnesses the French Revolution; Sleeping Beauty awakes only to find everyone around her falling into a new kind of sleep, and more. They are disturbing, yes, but so creative and so beautifully, vividly told -- as good as Angela Carter's The Bloody Tower, or Tanith Lee's Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer. Luckily they're short-shorts (the total word count is only 6390) so you can get through them all during, oh, tea-and-a-cookie-or-two.

Speaking of cookies, I got a couple of Barnes and Noble gift cards for Xmas and promptly ran out and bought the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. IT IS FABULOUS. Tons of new recipes that aren't on the website, gorgeous photos, and it really does lie flat on the counter when it's open, just like advertised. Much cooking will ensue in the New Year!!


delphipsmith: (Default)

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