January 4, 2009

January 4, 2009

Posted in entertaining, food tagged , , , , , at 11:32 am by allisonwonder

I’m having such a hard time getting used to writing/ typing “2009” instead of “2008”. It always takes me a while to adjust- good thing I don’t write a lot of cheques…

Wehad our company over for supper last night, and (if I may say so), the food was great.  We had Greek-Style Lemon Roast Chicken (recipe courtesy of Kraft Kitchens- bless them!) with rice, spinach “salad” (OK, fresh spinach leaves with dressing, but so good) and home-made bread. It was tasty, but I was mainly pleased with the timing of everything. I never know exactly when AJ will be home from work- if he’s supposed to be done at 5:00, he could be home any time between 5 and 6:15 (and he’d better call if he’s going to be later than that!). The guys came in at 5:55, and supper was ready at 6:10- no cold food last night. Also, I managed to have everything ready at the same time, which has always been a challenge for me. Having a consistent oven makes a big difference- when you know how long the chicken’s going to take to cook, it’s a lot easier to figure out when the rice needs to go on. Hooray for properly-functioning appliances!

I DO need a meat thermometer, though- that would make things easier. I used to have one, but it didn’t last long- I don’t even know how I killed it.

OH- and I was a good girl and did whatever dishes I could while I was working, so doing the plates and pots and stuff afterward wasn’t TOO bad.I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: it’s a lot easier to get the dishes done when there’s a nice window to look out while you’re doing them, rather than a blank wall. Been there, done thet (twice, actually).

Was the house perfect? Nope. Did P. care? Definitely not.

As an afterthought, I decided to have a look at what Ms. Lillian Eichler of “The New Book of Etiquette” had to say on the subject. Apparently people didn’t have just one or two people over for meals in the ’20s or the ’30s- just dinner parties, luncheons, and tea, any of which could be formal or informal, each with its own rules. The closest thing I found was actually the “Sunday-Night Supper.”    “As a rule there is no maid service, the hostess taking this opportunity to show what she can do in the way of cooking and serving…with modern electrical appliances to help her, the hostess whould be able to entertain eight to ten friends at Sunday-night supper very easily, without scrambling from kitchen to dining room.” Lil, I don’t have ROOM for eight to ten friends, and I get to show off my cooking and serving skills (such as they may be) every damn night. At least the cooking didn’t have to be too fancy- “creamed chicken on toast is an excellent supper dish that can be prepared on a table grill… Some hostesses like to serve waffles for Sunday-night supper…”

I get the idea that maybe this book was written for a class of people I just don’t belong to- or were things just that different back then*? I certainly don’t know anyone who would consider cooking for 8-10 friends a novelty, what with the maid having the night off and all.

*Speaking of “back then,” here’s an interesting blog/ project I’ve just started reading: My Decade Year follows the adventures of a modern woman as she spends 100 days living as a ’50s housewife, 100 days in the 60s, 100 in the 70s and 65 days in the 80s.  It’s been interesting so far…

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December 4, 2008

YARR, This Chicken Be Salty, Says I

Posted in food tagged , , , at 3:38 pm by allisonwonder

Last night’s supper was almost completely successful. I’d been planning to make quiche, until AJ informed me that he doesn’t like quiche. I’m still going to make it another night (because Simon will actually eat “egg pie”), but I changed our plan for yesterday to baked chicken, etc.

The “etc.” would normally involve either potatoes (boiled or mashed) or rice, both of which require a stovetop, which I still don’t have. Instead, I made cornbread muffins in the toaster oven, using this recipe from Home Ec 101. The baked chicken would normally be Shake n’ Baked, but a walk down to the grocery store left us S&B-less (though I did get a nice raspberry vinegarette for the spinach salad). I coated the chicken in some flour plus whatever herbs I had in the cupboard and stuck it in the fridge while the cornbread wsas cooking.

The cornbread was good, though it got a little too brown on top. The chicken, however, met with disaster  while I was busy making the muffins. I had just finished pouring the batter into the muffin tray (since I don’t have a cake pan) when I turned around…

…and saw Simon with the fridge door open, dumping a box of table salt on the chicken. The nicely seasoned chicken breasts I’d prepared looked like the foothills of tiny ski slopes, covered in mountains of salt. “SIMON! No, no, no, no, no!” was all I could think of to say as I grabbed the chicken and tried to brush as much of the salt off as I could. Simon didn’t see anything wrong with his additional seasoning. “I help mommy koonkin’? Mommy koonkin de chinken?” he asked, all wide-eyed innocence.

It’s a damn good thing he’s cute- especially after he got up at 3:15 in the morning. AAARGH. When Andre came home, I said, “I’ve always wondered why hamsters sometimes eat their babies. Today, I think I found out the answer…”

We survived. I cooked the chicken, which ranged from “very good” (AJ’s piece) to “not worth finishing” (mine) to “Dear GOD, that’s salty!” (Simon’s un-touched meal). The cornbread was great, though, and AJ surprised me by actually eating his spinach. Hooray!

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Good news! Sears just called, and the range is ready to be picked up. Christmas baking, here we come!

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Today’s To Do:

-walk to post office and mail Christmas cards

-downstairs play time with boys (and try to get through some boxes while we’re down there)

-sweep and vacuum… probably several times, like most days

-menu planning for next week

-ironing

November 27, 2008

One Down, Six To Go

Posted in food tagged , , , , at 8:00 pm by allisonwonder

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been… well, shoot, I’ve never actually been to confession before, but that’s how it goes in the movies…

I’m sure most of us have been guilty at one time or another of most (if not all) of the “Seven Deadly Sins.” I’m not going to share exactly where I fall in that range these days, but I WILL confess to one that’s highly relevant to this site: gluttony. Oooh, that sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? Sad, but true- while our American neighbours are stuffing themselves silly on turkey and sweet potatoes (talk about gluttony!), I’ve been enjoying an epic feast of scallops.

Mmmmm… scallops. Sweet, tender, buttery scallops. The truly gluttonous part of tonight’s meal was that I didn’t have to share with anyone. AJ’s at work, and even if he was home, he wouldn’t have wanted them, anyway, the big crazy-head! I had a $4 package of frozen bay scallops stashed in the teeny-weenie freezer of the mini-fridge, and I broke that sucker out tonight- you know, to make more room. *ahem*

So we have the scallops, thawed in cold water. We have 4 tablespoons of melted butter, and we have a ziploc sandwich bag with 5 or 6 crushed Ritz crackers in it (not having any bread crumbs handy, I improvised). Preheat the toaster oven to 375 degrees, put the scallops in a wee baking pan, drizzle 1/2 of the butter on ’em, top with cracker crumbs and the rest of the butter, and bake for about 15 minutes.

To be quite honest, they probably didn’t even need the crumbs. Next time I might just do the butter, and then squirt some lemon juice on those suckers while they’re still hot from the oven.

Yes, I ate them all. I offered to let Simon have some, but he took one look and said, “Nooooooo!”  His loss!

I’m too full of seafoody goodness now. It’ll serve me right if I get food poisoning or something, but I will regret nothing. NOTHING!