And I Can Cook, Too

Friday, April 28, 2006

April 23, 2006

Aloha Oe

Today we scattered the ashes of our dear friend Eileen whom we lost in November of last year. A staunch non-drinker, Eileen had never the less requested that shots of bourbon be drunk on the boat in her honor. For those of you who aren’t up to date the sequence of events that follows drinking bourbon first thing in the morning, let me fill you in: you get off the boat and go directly to brunch where you drink mimosa’s to kill the hour long wait for your food then you decide as a group to spend the rest of the afternoon hanging around the pool finishing the bottle of bourbon and a few more bottles of champagne then you stumble home and sleep for a few hours then you wake up and go downstairs to discover that everyone’s now sitting around your dining room table eating steak and drinking red wine then you go back to bed again then the next day you wake up and blame the dead non-drinker for your hang-over.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

April 22, 2006

Jumpin Jack Flash

It was Earth Day and here in Hawaii that means Jack Johnson’s Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell. Armed with deli sandwiches from Brent’s and spiked bottles of Safeway Diet fizzy water, we set off to join the gang in Waikiki. As dusk fell, we relaxed and watched the park fill up. When we expressed concern to the four drunk people trying to fit in the 12 inch by 12 inch patch of grass in front of us, they immediately responded by assuring us they would make it worth our while and throwing a bag of marijuana at us. Call me wacky, but smoking pot in public with the strange drunk dude who’s got beer down his shirt didn’t strike me as the brightest idea. Now if we’d known the guy…
April 21, 2006

Domo Arigato, Mr. Big Reddo

Upon deciding that viewing their photos of Japan in the living room was simply not good enough, Big Red arranged with our friendly neighborhood astronomer Rob for a slide show at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy Auditorium. Preceding the viewing, it was essential that we gather for an authentic Japanese meal. We arrived at Momomo, and were seated on cushions on the floor around a low table. A large hole under the table provided for ample legroom, games of footsie, and numerous opportunities for erotic retrieval of dropped napkins. The waiter arrived, rounds of sake were ordered, and we were left to peruse the menu.

Dining at Momomo is izikaya style, which roughly translates to Japanese pub food. We each ordered several dishes, and soon we were passing around platters of Chile Shrimp, Beef Tongue in Lemon, Fried Eggplant with Meat Sauce, and Tempura served with Green Tea and Chili Salts. A second bottle of sake arrived along with Maki Sushi, Rainbow Rolls, and fresh Tofu cooked right at the table.

Fully sated, it was time to move on to the slideshow. As we rather noisily clambered to the auditorium, Rob informed us of the many rules we were breaking, and instructed us to immediately blame Kim should we get caught. Knowing that no slideshow in the college auditorium is complete without Korean wine, Gia had cleverly smuggled in a few bottles and cups for all. Over shots of cherry blossoms, sumo wrestling, and monkeys in the snow, I sipped my plum wine and realized how very grateful I was that Big Red was driving.

Monday, April 24, 2006

April 19, 2006

Opportunity Calls

My husband and I were talking in the kitchen when the phone rang. It was Kim calling to tell me that if I happened to be planning on coming over for a gin and tonic, I’d need to bring the tonic. Good old Kim, meeting my needs before I know I have them.
April 18, 2006

Doro Wat??

Memories of Washington D.C. and restaurant Meskerem still fresh in my mind; I came to the unavoidable conclusion that Ethiopian food needed to be made. Quick research provided me with many recipes, and I mixed and matched to create a menu. I was arranging injeera on big round platter when Red, Jen and Kim arrived. It was clear from the get-go that it was going to be a fun night. Over Chicken and Lamb Stews, Farmers Cheese, and Spiced Lentils, Big Red delighted in getting to know Brita through a series of politically incorrect personal questions that caused Joe to repeatedly shout out “Gosh!” Joe’s repeated use of the phrase “Gosh!” aroused Jen to the point of shameless flirtations and assigning him the title of CUUUTE. I’m not sure who spilled the wine on my chairs but I think it was Kim. We ran out of injeera, and Big Red came up with alternate utensil solutions including but not limited to our dishtowels. At some point in the evening, the group decided that Joe and Brita should change their plane tickets and extend their trip. I was fairly certain they were plotting an early escape.

Around the time that Big Red started betting Walter $20 that we didn’t have lids for any of our Tupperware dishes, I realized that I was exhausted, and I was off to bed.

The rest of the gang wandered out to the dock and partied on until the wee hours of the night. At least, they think they did. The only people who actually remember are Joe and Brita and they’re not telling.

Doro Wat (Ethiopian Chicken Stew)

6 Chicken Thighs (bone and skin on)
¼ c. Lemon Juice
6 Eggs
3 c. Sweet Onion, medium diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
1 tsp. Fenugreek
1 tsp. Cardamom Seeds
1tbsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
½ tsp. Nutmeg
½ stick Butter
½-1 c. White Wine (not Chardonnay)

In a bowl, cover chicken with water and add lemon juice. Set aside. Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Uncovered, bring to a boil. As soon as the water boils, remove the eggs from the heat and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes, and cool with cold running water. Peel the hard boiled eggs and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions, and cook over very low heat, stirring often, until they are dark golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes. Add all of the spices and cook for a few minutes more. Add the wine, and deglaze the pan by gently scraping the bottom of it with a spoon. Remove the chicken from the water and add to the onion mixture. If necessary, add a little water or more wine to just cover the chicken. Bring the heat to a simmer. Allow to cook, uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done. Just before serving, add the hard boiled eggs, and allow them to heat through. Serve on injeera or other flat bread.

Friday, April 21, 2006

April 15, 2006

Shrimp Shack, Baby, Shrimp Shack

We were driving through the little town of Waimea, snuggled neatly between the ocean and beautiful Waimea Canyon, when Joe, a recovering vegetarian with a penchant for seafood, suggested we stop at the roadside Shrimp Station. As we approached the order counter, a woman who I presumed to be the owner of the Station announced that she was taking a break, leaving two children whom I presumed to be hers in charge. With some degree of trepidation I gave our order to the 14 year old, who in turn repeated it to the 12-year-old cook. As we waited for our meals I pondered the wisdom of letting the children play with the deep fat fryer.

My fear was completely dispelled a few minutes later when we were presented with platters of crunchy Coconut Shrimp, Thai Shrimp sautéed with lemongrass, basil, and coconut milk, and Shrimp Burgers yummy enough to make a grown man, well, groan. Served up with crispy fries and a ginger-papaya tartar sauce, they were delicious.

I say down with child labor laws.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

April 13, 2006

The Time I Ate The Sea Urchin

I was living in Seattle at the time and my friend Korin and I went out for sushi. The special of the day was Sea Urchin, which I had never seen on a menu before in my entire life. Was I game for this, or what? A brand new taste sensation! What I didn’t know was that Sea Urchin had been the special for...many days without the benefit of fresh deliveries. Suffice it to say, once you’ve had bad Sea Urchin, you don’t go back. You just run like mad to the nearest restroom.
April 13, 2006

The Beautiful Island Of Kauai

Our friends Joe and Brita flew in from Minneapolis, and the four of us set off to the beautiful island of Kauai for a long weekend. Our plane landed shortly before noon, and we decided that the first order of business was lunch.

Upon our arrival at the rental car company, we discovered that the new first order of business was stopping at the DMV to re-new my husbands drivers license. Fortunately, the DMV was located next to a grocery store. While Walter took his eye test and posed for his picture, Joe, Brita, and I looked for sustenance. In addition to milk, eggs, fruit and snacky things, we piled up on Ahi Poke and Sesame Ocean Salad. The moment we arrived at our vacation rental, I dug in.

Mmm, Ahi Poke….

Ahi Poke

8 oz. Ahi (Yellow Fin Tuna) sashimi grade *
2 tbsp. Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
2 tbsp. Sesame Oil
drops Chile Oil (to taste)
2 tbsp. Green onion, chopped, white and green parts included
1 tbsp. Sesame Seeds

Cold Tofu or Steamed Rice, if desired.

Cut the Ahi into a medium (bite-sized) dice. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, adding the chile oil to taste. Add the Ahi, and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Drain the excess liquid, leaving just enough to sop up with cold tofu or steamed rice, if desired.

* This is really important. You don’t want to be eating raw, non-sushi grade fish. You really don’t. Have I mentioned the time I ate the Sea Urchin?
April 10, 2006

Catch the Buzz

Kim arrived at Kailua Beach Park bound and determined to re-introduce her body to the joys of outrigger paddling. Unfortunately for Kim’s body, 40 + days of constant rain had caused a run-off that left the water a lovely shade of greenish-brown, and foamy enough to convince the paddling team that dropping in was not the best idea they’d ever had. Bearing in mind that every closed door leaves another one open, Kim quickly shifted her attention to Buzz’s Steak House, conveniently located across the street from the park. A few phone calls later, and my husband and were seated by her side. A few New York Steaks, Avocado Salads, and glasses of Shiraz later, and we were waxing poetic about the benefits of regular exercise.
April 7, 2006

Of COURSE I didn’t celebrate my husbands birthday with a quiet dinner at home and a few glasses of wine! It was a ruse!

His expectation for birthday acknowledgement met, I was free to spend my day planning the real party: a whopping celebrity roast that was sure to blow the roof off the clubhouse.

For reasons on which none of us are clear but we indulge anyway, my husband is fond of foods that begin with the letter “P”. I prepped Pot Roast with Onion Gravy, Pea Salad, roasted Potatoes and Pecan Pie and was off to decorate. While Kim mucked about with her computer to set up the web cam for the night’s mystery guest, I placed tablecloths, top hats, and martini and wine glasses on the tables. After Kim hung her projector screen for viewing our web guest and we created a nice big stage area, we were ready for the birthday boy.

My husband arrived home looking forward to the weekend and “Jens Japanese meal.” As we walked out the door, I casually mentioned that Big Red had asked me to stop in the clubhouse and pick up something he’d left in the fridge there. My husband never saw the surprise coming.

He giggled himself silly as the gang sang “Happy Birthday” and greeted him with hugs and laughter. I would have loved to let the party proceed naturally from there, but we had some roasting to do!

Hawaii’s improv comedy troupe Loose Screws took the stage to the ball rolling. An invocation was needed to warm us up. We were asked to name something that my husband always wants. “Scotch!” came the answer from somewhere in the room (I think it was Lora). The invocation began:

Walter Walter Walter Walter Wants Wants Wants Wants Scotch Scotch Scotch Scotch Walter Wants Walter Wants Scotch Scotch Scotch Scotch Walter Wants Scotch Scotch Walter Wants Scotch Scotch Walter Wants Scotch!

…until there wasn’t a person in the room who wasn’t drooling for a single malt. The Screws screwed on with Party Quirks, in which one of them had to guess that Sandra Bullock, Fart Man, and the Boy Who Would Not Eat Leftovers were guests at his birthday party. They concluded with First Date, where they tried (rather successfully I might add) to tie abandoning a movie, eating fondue, and getting mistaken for the dog into a nice romantic evening.

Feeling well screwed and ready to roast, I introduced Kim as our first roaster of the evening. In typical Kim style, she’d put off writing her roast until the last minute, and instead had to substitute a lecture she’d used for her computer science course. Originally entitled: A situational interpretation of lyrical aesthetics under a pan-pacific cultural imperative, Kim had re-named the lecture: Some poems about Walter. She started with Haiku - noted for the 5-7-5 syllabic structure, the underlying Zen philosophy and the obligatory seasonal reference.

“Cherry blossoms bloom
Johnson Van Bodegraven
Tax return - 04.”

(which we have not yet filed)

In her closing, Kim referenced a well-known nursery rhyme:

“The Itsy Bitsy Walter Moved Off To D.C.
Out Came the Boss who said “Dude, You’re Stuck With Me.”
Back came poor Walter and made the Boss more sane
And the Itsy Bitsy Walter packed for D.C. again.”

Big Red followed Kim with a speech about the many admirable traits about Walter. He noted Walters’s devotion to acting and his refusal to sell out on his true calling (Walter is in upper management for a high-tech firm).

He commented that when Walter does act, he devotes his talents to philanthropy and the betterment of mankind (Walter has worked for McDonalds, Campbell’s Soup, and Baywatch).

He talked about Walters’s devotion to physical fitness and he many athletic accomplishments. (Walter has starting training for 4 marathons and never run a single one of them. He recently spent $1000.00 on fancy fencing equipment and promptly quit going to lessons. He has cancelled 4 out of 5 training sessions scheduled at the gym in the last year.)

Lastly, Big Red touched on Walter’s reliability, and that no matter what happened in life he could count on Walter always being right next door. (‘nuff said.)

Finally, it was time for our special mystery guest. Walter’s brother Kevin, life via web-cam, joined the party to share some of the many lessons he’d learned from his brother. Life lessons he could take well into his old age. Lessons including, but not limited to: Never join in when the only foreign kids in town decide steal flags from the neighbors yards, and, when rebuked for asking to be excused from the dinner table, don’t ask your father if he would rather you piss on your plate.

Our roast concluded, it was time for dinner, dancing, and revelry. Ok, there was no dancing, but there might have been had there been more wine. Alright there was plenty of wine, but Walter doesn’t dance. Actually he did dance later in the evening but I was already in bed and didn’t see it.

I think everyone had a really good time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

April 6, 2006

Happy Birthday Dear Husband

Knowing that my head would explode if I continued to think about our move/not move crisis, I decided to focus on a more important issue at hand: my husbands birthday. Our money and partying resources depleted in DC, I decided simply to have a quiet dinner at home, followed by a few glasses of wine with friends. I dug through the freezer and pulled out a rack of veal and a bag of shelled edamame. A quick trip to the Safeway yielded potatoes and a couple of bottles of wine, and I was set.

I rubbed the veal with a paste of Dijon, breadcrumbs, parmesan, olive oil, and parsley. The potatoes got a bath of garlic, salt and pepper, and I plopped the edamame into a pot of salted water. It was all over but the shouting.

My husband arrived home, and while he changed out of his work clothes I poured martinis. We sipped and talked about our day. He sweetly understood when I explained that, between moving back in and jetting off to the mainland and trying to find a new house and jetting back and finding out we’d gone for no reason, I hadn’t time to find him a gift.

Fun conversation continued through dinner, and at 8 o’clock Kim, Big Red, and Jen arrived with more wine and gifts from their recent trip to Japan. Wine was quickly replaced with Sake, and conversation with “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” over photos of Tokyo. Jen proudly announced her intention to treat us to an authentic Japanese dinner the following night.

Anxious to catch up with each other after weeks apart, my husband and our friends stayed up well past my bedtime, and kept the fun going until the wee hours of the morning.

I think he had a really nice time.

Dijon Parmesan Crusted Roasted Rack of Veal

1 Rack of Veal, Frenched
½ c. Dijon Mustard
½ c. Parmesan Cheese, shredded
¼ c. Breadcrumbs, unseasoned
2-4 tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400.

Rinse the rack of veal and pat dry. In a bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients except the olive oil. The mixture will be dry and tight. Add the olive oil, one tbsp. at a time, until the mixture is both spreadable and will cling to the veal. Coat the veal rack with the Dijon mixture, leaving the bones clean. Wrap the bone section in aluminum foil.

On a roasting rack, cook the veal for 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 135. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve and enjoy.
April 4, 2006

“L” is for “Limbo”

My husband went to work the day after returning from D.C. to discover that there’d been a change of his bosses heart. His boss had decided that moving to D.C. was the worst thing my husband could do for the company. Then he decided that moving to D.C. was the best thing my husband could do for the company, but not for a year or two. Then he decided that my husband could move to D.C. as originally planned, but he would get fired in six months. Then he decided that my husband should move to D.C. sort of as originally planned, but not really, and certainly not until he, the boss, felt really good about it.

My husband came home from work to talk to the wife to whom the move had been announced as a done deal, whether she liked it or not. The wife who had started packing, acquired quotes from movers, consulted with real estate agents to determine the best date to put her house on the market, and been giving her things away to Goodwill.

Did I mention this is the same wife with whom he had very very recently reconciled after a lengthy separation?

Cocktails and therapy, anyone?
April 2, 2006

Brother, Can You Spare Ten Million Dimes?

Sunday. Open House Day across America. Fully caffeinated and the paper in hand, we put on our best marching shoes and went off to find a house.

Five hours later were crawled into Tunnicliffs, desperate for a beer and hot wings. I cursed Horst Helbig under my breath.

I’d thought for sure we’d find a house out there for under a million bucks.
April 1, 2006

No Joke

My husband and I woke up somewhat amazed that we had made it to our 6th wedding anniversary. Somehow the previous years jokes about the date seemed highly inappropriate. We made them anyway.

One of my sisters and her kids had driven down from Pennsylvania to spend the day with us, so we were off for brunch at Kramer Books and Afterwards. While we waited for our table we browsed the bookstore and chatted idly about recent reads. Just as our 10-year old nephew was exclaiming shock over our recommendation of Sex Tips For a Straight Woman From A Gay Man, we were called to our table.

We caught up on our lives over Tomato-Avocado Benedict, Mixed Vegetable Frittata, Hanger Steak and Eggs, and Waffles with Ice Cream. The food and the conversation were the perfect way to start the day, and the mysterious disappearance of our waiter halfway through the meal resulted in a complimentary round of mimosas. They made for a lovely anniversary gift.

Monday, April 10, 2006

March 31, 2006

Out of Africa

Washington D.C. has more Ethiopians than anyplace in the world other than Ethiopia. It stands to reason that where there are so many Ethiopians, there will be Ethiopian food. Noting that Ethiopia was the place where children would starve if we didn’t clean our plates as a children, and amusing ourselves with jokes in poor taste, my husband and I eagerly met a few friends at Meskerem, and prepared for dinner on a pancake.

We were seated on wicker stools surrounding a low round table. There were no place settings at the table: dinner would be eaten with our fingers from a shared plate. We ordered the Meskerem Messob, a combination platter of chicken, beef, lamb, and lentils. Because I liked saying it so much, we tossed in an order of Gored Gored, rare lean beef dipped in “awaze”, a sauce of milled pepper thickened with honey wine, butter and spices. A bottle of Ethiopian honey wine was ordered to wash it all down. Our order arrived in the form of a big round plate topped with Injeera; the spongy flat bread that would be used to scoop up our food. On top of the injeera sat the entrees. Leaning forward to avoid massive drippage we tore off bits of the injeera and dug in. Much to my delight, the chicken was served with whole hard-boiled eggs and a lovely brown sauce studded with onions and ginger. The beef was stewed with carrots and onions, and was very reminiscent of a European style beef stew. The lentils were deliciously vinegary. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, my favorite was the spicy Gored Gored. So rare it was practically a tartar, the slightly sweet and peppery sauce woke up every single one of my taste buds. The honey wine, much maligned before its arrival at the table, was the perfect beverage to handle the variety of flavors on the plate. It was surprisingly refreshing, and not remotely too sweet.

Our final delight of the evening was the sauce soaked injeera that remained on the plate after we polished off everything else. We made quick work of it, and waddled back to our room.

Life is beautiful.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

March 29, 2006

Think of Nora, Laugh, Don’t Cry

The reward for enduring a day with Horst Helbig was dinner at Nora’s. One of D.C.’s most reputable chefs, Nora’s menu features locally grown, organic products turned into such delightful dishes as Morel and Celeriac Soup, Roasted Red and Golden Beet Salad over Micro-Greens and topped with Roquefort, and Amish Pork Roast with White Bean Sundried Tomato Scallion Ragout, Baby Carrots, Swiss Chard, and Mustard Sauce.

Seated at a cozy booth in the bar, my husband enjoyed Pepper Crusted New York Strip with Mushroom Ragout, and Roasted Fingerlings with Zinfandel Sauce, while I munched happily away at Truffled Duck Liver Pate with Kumquat Marmalade on Crostini. Add the James Bond Martinis, and we were in hog heaven.

Locally grown, organic, hog heaven.

James Bond Martini (shaking’s got nothing to do with it)

1-1/2 oz each: Grey Goose Vodka
Bombay Sapphire Gin
Dash Lillet
Twist Lime

In a shaker filled with ice, combine the vodka, gin, and lillet. Allow to sit a moment to thoroughly chill. Drain into a martini glass and add the twist

Saturday, April 08, 2006

March 28, 2006

Looking A Gift Horst In The Mouth

My husband and I met a with a real estate agent with the unfortunate yet infinitely amusing name of Horst Helbig. Our plan was to spend an afternoon exploring a few of the neighborhoods we had chosen through our endless online searches of the DC area. We were ushered into his posh Georgetown office, and promptly handed ten thousand documents detailing Horsts expertise and how fortunate we were to have him as our agent. A few moments later, my husband received a business call, and excused himself to take it. I was immediately presented the exclusivity agreement that was the sole condition under which Horst was willing to work. Chuckling to myself at his attempt to trick the little woman, I tossed my cocktail in his fat face. No, I didn’t. I didn’t have a cocktail. And if I had, I wouldn’t have abused it. Instead, I calmly explained that, given as we had been in the city fewer than 24 hours, signing anything committing us to anything was a bit premature. With a look I could only assume meant that I was making the biggest mistake of my life; he reluctantly agreed to allow for a 24-hour exclusivity agreement. If we bought a house we saw that day, we had to go through him. In signing this, I was certain I had nothing to fear. I couldn’t have been more right.

My husband and I had detailed to Horst the types of properties we were and were not interested in viewing. We did not want Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. We did want Dupont or Capitol Hill. We did not want a condo. We did want a 3 bedroom single family home. We did not want a fixer upper. We did want a gourmet kitchen. Perimeters in place, we set off for our first look at D.C. real estate.

We were trapped Horsts car for four hours. Our only escape was to look at a one-bedroom condo in Georgetown with a 1970’s galley kitchen. The other 3 hours and 45 minutes were spent viewing the exteriors of properties Horst had previously bought, and getting treated to the details of how he managed to pull fast ones on all the sellers. By the time he suggested stopping for beer and hot wings, we needed the drink.

We stopped in at Tunnicliffs, a popular pub near the Eastern Market in Capitol Hill. Beers and hot wings ordered, we proceed to cleverly dodge questions about any future business dealings. We were more than ready to leave when Horst asked, “Should we get another order of hot wings?” “No!” my husband and I shouted, and quickly exchanged “was I too loud?” looks. Horst promptly ordered another round of wings. We promptly ordered another round of drinks. I’m not sure which happened first when my husband picked up the tab, Horst saying he would get it, or me socking my husband in the arm hard enough to make him drop the bill back on the table.

After repeated assurances that we would contact Horst within 24 hours if we decided to make a bid on anything we’d seen, we were at last returned to our hotel. The day would have been a complete waste, had the hot wings not been so good.

Buffalo Wings
12 Chicken Wings or Drummettes
1 c. Hot Sauce, divided
1 stick Butter
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
White Pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying

Marinate the wings in ¼ cup of the hot sauce for at least an hour. In a saucepot, combine with remaining hot sauce, butter, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, and white pepper, heat though.

Heat the oil to about 350 degrees. Fry the wings for 10 minutes, turning once. Place the wings in a baking dish, and coat with the hot sauce mixture. Place under a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbly.

Serve with Blue Cheese dressing. Do not even consider using Ranch, or I will send Horst to get you.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

March 27, 2006

What Happens in Washington, Stays in Washington

Once getting settled in at our hotel, my husband and I went on a date to a fabulous little French restaurant called Bistrot du Coin. After a brief conversation about how it was almost April anyway, we surrendered to a bottle of the house Cote du Rhone. Despite our jet lag we managed to thoroughly enjoy Roquefort Salad, Gruyere and Ham with Béchamel on Toast, Tournedos de Boeuf with Peppercorn Sauce, and melt-in-your-mouth Steak Tartar. I could say that we talked about the virtues of city vs. rural living, the excitement of being someplace vibrant and cutting edge, and the anticipation of finding the perfect new house. But we didn’t because our mouths were too full.

Gruyere with Ham and Béchamel on Toast, Kristin’s Way

For the Béchamel
2 tbsp. Butter, unsalted
2 tbsp. Flour
1 c. Milk
1 Onion, very small, studded with 2 Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
dash Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it is just below a boil. Do not allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat. In a second saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk, 3 or 4 minutes, until the flour is incorporated. Add the heated milk to the flour/butter mixture, whisking to avoid lumps. Add the onion and bay leaf. Simmer, careful not to bring to a boil, for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Pour through a strainer. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

For the sandwich:
(Amounts here vary depending on how many sandwich you want)

Sandwich Bread, sliced ¾” thick, Toasted
Ham, high quality, preferably French, thinly sliced
Gruyere Cheese, grated

Pre-heat the broiler
Spread 1 – 2 tbsp. of the béchamel onto each slice of the toasted bread. Top with 2 slices of the ham. Top with the grated Gruyere until the ham is covered. Place under the broiler and heat until the cheese is bubbly and just turning brown. Serve hot.
March 26, 2006

A Simply Capitol Plan

With our move to the east coast looming in the not-so-distant future, my husband and I are heading to D.C. for a week of real estate hunting. Not so far in the back of my mind are the numerous fantastic restaurants Washington has to offer. I’ve got 15 hours of travel time to consult my Lonely Planet.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

March 24, 2006

Reunited (and it feels so good)

I don’t know if it was message of the radio show, or working together and remembering that we’re both talented and funny, or the months of counseling, or the time apart to analyze what matters in life, or WHAT. And frankly, I don’t care. However we got there, my husband and I have decided to move back in together, and that’s all that matters.

So there.

Billecart Salmon Brut Rose is my favorite thing to celebrate with.

That and my husband.


I don’t really need the Billecart.

Ok yes I do.

Monday, April 03, 2006

March 20, 2006

Turn the Radio On

My husband and I were both cast in a radio play being taped at Hawaii Public Radio. We’ll be spending more time together this week than we have in months. In the play, there is an unhappily married woman (not played by me); an elderly happily married couple (not played by us), and a disgruntled older sister (played by me). In a nutshell, the story is about putting your own needs second, taking the good with the bad, and doing what’s right in your relationships. Hmmm.