Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Dancing

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Dem & Elliot Update

For those who don't know, Demaree and Elliot are in Italy for a couple months this summer. Demaree is performing Suzuki in "Madama Butterfly" and we thought it wise that Elliot accompany her (you know, new experiences, expanding the mind, and whatnot.) They've been there about ten days and all is well. In the beginning, Elliot wasn't a big fan of the transcontinental flight and the drastic time change (eight hours), but he's fine now. Demaree hit the ground running, and performs in two weeks. Apparently, Elliot has made a number of fans in Italy. One elderly Italian woman dubbed him "a little piece of chocolate," which I will assure you is actually pretty racially sensitive for Italians. I'll keep you informed as time goes on.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Veggie Update

Well, I'm almost two weeks into my vegetarian-for-a-month experiment and all is well. I have intaken no meat. It's not really as hard as I thought. All I do is take what I ate before and add a protein substitute. This means I eat more eggs and tofu. It's good.

One aspect of vegetarian eating deserves special mention at this point: boca products. These are faux meat products made of vegetable pieces and parts. They taste, oh, how shall I say, like a cardboard steak rolled in dog crap. They are amalgams of fiber and proteins so lifeless and devoid of flavor Amnesty International considers their forced consumption state-sponsored torture. But like any other food not worth the calories expended eating it (celery anyone?), boca products can be made edible by adding other stuff. In the case of boca chicken patties, I suggest the following:

Ingredients

1 boca chicken patty

1 bun

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 onion sliced
1/4 anaheim chile sliced
1/8 fennel bulb sliced
4 slices tomato

1 tablespoon mayonnaise
horseradish (to taste)
2 squirts worcestershire sauce
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)

Directions

Place mayonnaise horseradish, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper into small bowl and combine. Let stand while you prepare everything else.

Place olive oil in sautee pan over medium high heat. Add onion, anaheim chile, and fennel and sautee for 5-7 minutes.

In another small sautee pan, place boca chicken patty over medium high heat. Turn ever two minutes until cooked through and there is some browning on the oustide. The patty should finish approximately the same time the vegetables finish.

Slather mayonnaise mixutre onto both sides of bun, and assemble in the following ingredients on the bun from bottom to topy in this order: (1) two tomato slices, (2) the boca chicken patty, (3) vegetables, (4) last two tomato slices.

The result is actually pretty good. It would be tastier with a real deep fried paillard of veal or chicken, but we'll leave that for next month ;)

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Journey Begins

Demaree, Elliot, and my mother left for Italy yesterday. Well, they left for Denver, actually. Today, they hopped a plane from Denver to Toronto, then Toronto to Dublin. They'll stay there a night before heading to Venice, and finally taking a train to Novafeltria, located in the Marche region of Italy.

Saying goodbye was tough -- I almost cried. I'll miss my little guy (and wife), but it's a great opportunity for him to experience new things. The reunion will be sweet.

I'll keep you posted as reports come in.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 1: First Day Without

Okay, so this is actually my second day without meat, but whatever. Today was the first day I felt I actually missed meat. At lunch I ate at a Cafe Rio knockoff called Costa Vida. Since my junior year of college, I've order the pork salad, and only the pork salad. I dig it so much I developed a copy-cat recipe. Anyway, today I had the vegetarian salad. Must admit, not quite the same. Without the sweet pork, there was no real flavor contrast and the dish was less delectable than normal. It's okay though, some things take getting used to.

Another thing I noticed today is without the protein in meat, I get hungry more often. I'll have to find a way to increase protein and fiber intake to make up the difference.

And here was dinner: yam and carrot risotto. Didn't miss the meat all all with this dish.

Ingredients

1.5 pounds yam, diced (about 2 yams)
1 large carrot, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups vegetable stock
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer. In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions, yams, and carrots on medium heat for 7 to 9 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add Parmesan. Mix well and serve.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Going Vegetarian - For a Month

So, I've decided to not eat meat for a month. (Stop laughing; I'm serious.) A number of factors converged to facilitate this experiment, to wit: (1) Demaree and Elliot leaving for Italy; (2) desire for a new challenge; (3) Shelley Denison, whom I tease incessantly for her quasi-militaristic vegetarianism (see, I just did it again; I can't help myself); and (4) desire to explore a new culinary paradigm. I'll blog about the experience, recipes included, throughout.

Let's lay some simple ground rules:

(1) no meat, including seafood; and
(2) foodstuffs derived from animals -- e.g., dairy, lipids, eggs, etc. -- are okay (This means if I want to render bacon, I can drink the fat but not eat the meat. Hey, I didn't say this was a principled experiment).

This experiment will end 12.00 a.m. July 10, 2009. Wish me luck.

P.S.: Don't worry. This does not somehow signal a change in worldview or political persuasion. I'll still be the same loveable, sardonic conservative on July 10 that I am now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Water Weekend

We couldn't go anywhere this weekend because Dem and Elliot are leaving for Utah Tuesday, so we hung at home. One of Elliot's favorite activities is to splash around at a public, local water park (a very small one). Last time we went, he soaked through all his clothes, so, being the learners we are, we stripped him down to his skivvies this time.

Here are some other pics depicting his other water park exploits. As you can tell, water slapping occurred.
As did water stomping.

And then he found a random ball, which he threw at the water, ostensibly for getting him wet.
And that was our Saturday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wow, It's Been a Long Time

Sorry about the time off. We lost our camera on a trip to Utah, and then had many other things happen. But enough excuses; here are two videos of Elliot to assuage your anger.

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