Saturday, January 30, 2010


This is what it looked like outside of my house today:

So I did what came naturally. I cooked!

A loaf of good bread with poppy seeds and toasted sesame seeds:

Iceberg wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing and Benton's bacon:

Tony Bourdain's Boeuf Bourguignon with some roasted red potatoes:

Just the perfect, warm, comforting winter night supper!

And it's not supposed to warm up at all tomorrow, so at least one more day of this lovely chilly isolation from the world. We were supposed to have The Child's family birthday celebration tomorrow with cupcakes and ice cream, but no one can get here (including her) - and I am sorry about that. But I can't help my snow lust. I want more of it. A whole week of cooking, eating, reading and organizing my house. I am a homebody and anything that keeps me (and the Mr.) here makes me happy. Plus - it's just pretty!

Tomorrow - BANANA BREAD!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


from an email exchange with the aforementioned Rachel - she had described some lovely little baby language from her small granddaughter:

"Seeeoup. Nooolllas. Bik. (soup. noodles. biscuit.)" Oooh, I just melted into a big puddle of 'when am I gonna be a grandma?' moosh. I LOVE babytalk. When The Child was born, it was not fashionable to indulge in babytalk. You were to speak sensibly to your infant, so as to encourage word recognition. Not us. We babbled and cooed and repeated her own baby vocabulary right back at her - so much so that some of the 'words' are still family sayings. We all three are 'pop-pop' at the end of a meal, rather than full (Mr. Kim actually told a table full of executives that he was pop-pop at the end of a business dinner), when we drive around to view Christmas lights, we enjoin each other to "yook, yook" and Momma remembers that the Child used not to "yike mayoyaisse". I can just hear 'nooolllas' and I think 'Bik' is positively universal! I would very much like to meet the mannerly geese that you describe. The ones that used to be at the park that we went to when The Child was a little girl would wrest the bags of Wonderbread outlet bread from us, then when that ran out, chase us back to the car and honk their ire. We eventually just drove on by when we spotted them among the more peaceable and easily intimidated ducks at the pond.

I do adore babytalk. I indulge in it to a shameful degree - with babies, with Mr. Kim, with any and all animals that I meet - including cows on the side of the road that I haven't been formally introduced to. I do NOT, however, speak babytalk to the old folks that I deal with at the doctor's office. That kind of stuff burns my butt. When I hear some tiresome twit patronizingly refer to a VERY OLD woman as a "young lady", I just want to slap them.

Sorry, small rant.

Momma took the Child to NC to visit my grandparents when she was about 18 months old and Mr. Kim wrote down a toddler glossary:

Moe - more to drink
Binky or Banky - pacifier
Tee - please
No - "I don't want to do this" - also the response to any question you ask
Tay - ok
Tie or Sigh - I want to go outside
Shit - sit down
Goo-Guh - good girl
Ah-wah - I love you (we think)
The-the-the-the-the - (Part of a game) means "You're not gonna get me" - (finger will be shaken at you). She wants you to chase her. The proper response is, "I'm gonna get you"
Ba - bottle
Tek-oo - thank you
Beh or Bay - I want my bear
Uh-oh - I dropped something (probably on purpose)
Caw - telephone or "I want to call someone"

When I read these, I can see her sweet little bow of a mouth saying the words, the frown of concentration as she tried to remember and form the words. Sometimes that little mouth looked so sweet in it's efforts that I'd kiss it right in the middle of a word, drawing an irritated glance for interrupting her.

Oh, how I miss that babygirl. The Child is a solo (I don't like the word 'only' - it sounds forlorn to me; solo sounds brave - MUCH more like her personality!) and when some people heard me say that, they'd say, "You should have another". They didn't get it - I didn't want another baby - I wanted THAT baby back for just a few minutes. To hold and kiss and smell and just BEHOLD before letting her grow up into the gorgeous, heart stoppingly smart and funny woman that she is now. Her birthday is today - she's 26 years old and I worship her smartypants self. I have been blessed with good family and friends and I love LOTS of people. But she is the only soul on earth that I can instantly reference the look, the sound and even the fragrance of at any stage of my knowing her.

Happy Birthday, Baby Bear! Hope I've embarrassed you sufficiently (still fun after all these years)!

Mutt, Momma

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Desserts for a Graduation party

No time for bloggin’ this weekend! Too much cookin’! Yesterday was the celebration for my SIL’s college graduation and I was asked to make a cake and some fruit tarts. The cake was a three layer sheet cake - two layers of the CI German chocolate and one of plain white cake w/ vanilla bean. The frosting was my Fudgy Chocolate Buttercream – a combination of a fudge frosting and a buttercream. I think that it’s the perfect mixture of deep chocolate flavor and a good consistency for piping. For decorations, I made little mortar boards with mini white Reeses cups, white chocolate squares, Twizzler pull-off tassels and M&Ms all stuck together with melted candy coating. They were really cute, but I’d like to find something better for the tassels and I wish I’d had time to get colored candy coating. The finished cake (I haven't the slightest idea why all of this is underlined and a link to my picture below, but it shouldn't be):


I was really pleased with the cake. The flavor was good, everyone really seemed to love it. My decorating skills are amateur and the evenness of the layers of cake and frosting isn’t great, but it was cute and it was GOOD and I’m happy with that.

The fruit tarts were so easy. I was very lucky to find this recipe, because when she requested fruit tarts, I was envisioning those little pastry tarts, brushed with chocolate, filled with custard, topped with sliced fruit and glazed with jelly. I only got the request on Tuesday, so I had no time and was freaking out a little about being able to do them properly and on time. So when the recipe I used turned up on an internet search, I was so happy!

They start with a shortbread crust that you bake and fill with a mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon zest:

And top with whatever fruit you like:

I chose blackberries and blueberries. Crispy, creamy, tart, sweet. These were wonderful!

Today is getting the Christmas decorations down - at least a good start. I feel so unbelievably trashy with them still up. But we just haven’t had time – we’ve been too busy getting The Child into her house – moving, painting, shopping, etc. BUT we’re having everyone over here next Sunday for cupcakes to celebrate her 26th birthday, so it HAS to be done or I will Die of Embarrassment. I have died of embarrassment many times in the past and it is NOT pretty.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sense Memory

From an email exchange between my pal, Rachel and me, talking about those fragrances that are so evocative:

Sense memory - we studied this in acting class in college. Everyone has it - it's when you smell, see, taste or hear something that evokes memories and an emotional response in you. It's used in acting to allow you to react to something in a play/scene/etc. - you use your actual responses to make your 'acted' responses real. I just got smacked with a big one! We must have a farmer in the office somewhere. I just got a big ole whiff of my Granddaddy. A mix of machine oil, cow manure, hay and cheap cigars: heaven! I saw his crooked grin - the same one that greeted us every time we drove up into the yard, no matter if it was midnight on a Friday night! I am supressing a grin of my own and there are little prickers in the back of my eyes. Sometimes I miss the old reprobate.

You mentioned a 'pouf of Coty...air' from your from your Mammaw's bathroom cabinet! It reminded me of one of Momma's stories. When she was a little girl, she rode from Little Rock to California one summer with Aunt San (Bomo's youngest sister), Pop Denson (San's husband), Momma's grandmother and HER sister, Aunt Wee (Louise, of course). Aunt Wee used Coty loose facepowder and used to fold it up in little squares of wax paper to put in her pockabook. Inevitably, they would leak and so everything in Aunt Wee's purse smelled like L'Aimant. During the trip Grandma asked her sister for a BC and when Aunt Wee gave her a wax paper packet, Grandma said, "Louise, this is face powder". Aunt Wee insisted that it wasn't, that it only smelled like it because everything in her purse did. Grandma took it, reluctantly and suspiciously and for the rest of her life was convinced that she'd downed a packet of Coty's face powder.

Arpege is Momma to me, though she hasn't worn it since I was 10 probably. But I can remember her coming to pick me up from my babysitter's house - cold cheeks and a slithery, crinkly coat andsmelling of Arpege and feeling safe and secure for the first time since she'd left that morning.

Momma has a similar kind of memory. She remembers being a little girl and going into Bomo's closet while she was at work and smelling her clothes. It must run in the family. I use Jergen's lotion in my bathroom because Bomo's always did and it reminds me of her. Well, I think that would be a fascinating topic somewhere. You and I certainly have a varied list of sense memories - cologne, lemons, cigars, bubble gum and cow poop!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Who me? Grumpy?

From an email to my dear friend, Rachel. We were talking about being pushovers and much too easygoing for our own good. I have always said that I believe that animals and babies must have something similar to that hobo sign that rail riders used to put on 'easy mark' houses to let subsequent hobos in on a good thing. I obviously have that mark all over me, because I've never had an animal or a child take me seriously.

No, I will never get to curmudgeon, either. I just don't have it in me. I'm a softie. Though, I have noticed (I was thinking about it just this morning on my way to work), that the older I get, the more curmudgeonly I FEEL. I'm getting more and more intolerant of people doing things 'not right'. I'm not talking about great moral errors or even law breaking. I firmly believe that there is a 'right way' to do things and people who veer too far from that way just irritate me profoundly. Since I was small, I've been in love with etiquette books. I don't know why – my family has nice table manners and writes prompt thank you notes and all, but we certainly aren't the type of people who needed to know how to address the pope or the queen of England, but by age 10, I could do both those things (unfortunately, the opportunity never came up). So, I've always been a bit of a snob (NOT about money or position - one can't help those things, but you can help how you act) - my attitude being that there was no excuse for not doing things 'right' - if I looked it up, so could anyone else. Anyway, all that insufferability is just getting worse with age. I don't act on it and when one of my sweet girls in my office shows me another piercing or tattoo or tells me about an unfortunate social decision that they've made, I don't sniff and look down my nose at them. I just smile outwardly and 'carry on' inwardly.Here I am, warts and all. I really am insufferable, I know.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I feel like a bit of an idiot. This blog is not going to be just all my cooking. But I can't seem to find the time to write what I want to write. I have so much stuff tucked here and there - posts from other websites, emails to friends and just random thoughts that I want to record. But until I have more time, meals will fill in!

Dinner on Saturday was a wonderful cheeseburger recommended by a friend at - Cookskorner - a wonderful online cooking/food community that I participate in. The burger is done by the NYTimes method - packed only enough hold together and then cooked with a combination of pan searing and then roasting. I topped it with Saga bleu Brie, bacon and caramelized onions and served it on English muffins. So amazingly good!

Last night was another thing from the same friend - rib eye steaks with a lovely mushroom/ brandy cream sauce, Brussel sprouts sauteed in bacon grease w/ bacon and Boursin potatoes:

Tonight I had a craving as I was leaving work:
Spiced shrimp w/ cocktail sauce, crackers and Boursin

I would love to have a list on the main page of this with links to my favorite websites and blogs. I can't find anything that will tell me how to do that. I can post links within a post, but not something that stays on the side of the blog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dinner 1/13/2010

Dinner the night before last was this:
Roast beef, broccoli with Julia’s blender hollandaise, mashed potatoes w/ Saga bleu Brie, salad and yeast rolls.
So dinner tonight was this:

Salad and hot roast beef sandwiches, mashed potatoes, etc, etc. :-) I even scooped the potatoes in an ice cream scoop and flipped it over for a gravy well. When we lived in Indiana, these sandwiches were called ‘Manhattans’ – either roast beef, pork or turkey with gravy. I’ve never heard them called that anywhere else. Indiana had some interesting food eccentricities – something called a ‘fish tail sandwich’ – I was horrified until I found out that it was just a triangular shaped fish fillet – nothing to do with tails. And whenever we ordered slaw to go with our meal, it was always brought out first – like a salad – and served with a basket of crackers.

We had a lovely setting:
We spent a lot of dinner talking about Haiti. Poor Haiti. They have so little and now this. Mr. Kim has a coworker who went there awhile back and came back in love with the people. I wish that I still had the piece that she wrote about her experiences. The people were amazing and the experience life changing for her. We are trying to figure out what organization is the best to contribute through.

Merry Christmas - not early, but LATE!

I seem to have done Christmas backwards this year. I was late getting everything done and was so rushed in December. I am usually so prepared- shopping and wrapping done early and that leaves November for cooking for the freezer and decorating. By December, I am just doing some last minute things and I am left with time to do my Christmas 'inner' preparations - I love to sit in my 'big chair' beside the lit tree and read my collection of holiday books, both adult and children's stories. I almost always re-read A Christmas Carol. We watch the specials on TV and the ones we've collected on DVD - White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, etc. This quiet activity brings me to the season, somehow. I am brought to the realization, once again, what family and faith and home means.

I don't know that I've ever really realized it, but not doing it this year I noticed that I seemed to 'miss' Christmas - the significance, the peace. So, on the theory that it's never too late, I have been reading my books, serving dinner beside the still lit tree (we've been moving The Child to her new house and haven't gotten de-decorated yet) and trying to find my Christmas. I've discovered, like the Grinch, that Christmas comes of itself - "without ribbons...without tags...without packages, boxes or bags." It isn't too late and I'm so glad that I decided to try. I thought I'd post a few pictures of Christmas at our house.

Our Stockings

Our Tree

The lovely Christmas snow we got this year.

I have figured out how to post pictures, but not how to maneuver them within my post. I can't seem to move them around at all, so they are not in the order that I want them in - copy and paste doesn't work here. -sigh- It's already happening. Well, Merry Christmas - a little late but with real FEELING!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I cannot believe that I'm sitting here rooting for the Cowboys (over the Eagles). But, like Jessie says, "The Cowboys may be douchebags, but they didn't kill any puppies".

Inauguration Day

I am a wannabe writer, artist, gourmet cook, and homemaker. I am an actual dabbler in all those arts. Instead of writing, I read wonderful books and blogs. Instead of being an artist, I craft and wrap really pretty gifts. Instead of being a chef, I'm a dedicated and obsessed home cook and instead of being a homemaker, I work at anordinary job and fit my family and interests and LIFE around that reality.

About this blog: If you don't know me, this blog probably won't interest you. If you DO know me, much of this blog probably won't interest you. Of course, I have no idea what this will turn into, but the initial plan is for a place to do a virtual family scrapbook, kitchen/travel journal and random/weird thought depository.

Before entering: adjust your, lower....lower....a little more...Ok, that's good. I am NOT a writer. As I said before, this is really just for me and for anyone who is interested in what's going on with my family and what I'm cooking and thinking about on any given, utterly random topic. It will not be the kind of blog that you read and wonder why these people don't have a book contract and a spot on Oprah. If that's what you want, please visit Rachel at or . I am also not a photographer - all the pictures are just what I've taken on my run of the mill camera to aid my flagging memory. I also won't be airing any tirades about my husband, family, friends, etc. (you gone yet?) - but gentle, ironic nudges may occur to me from time to time. And celebrities (including internet celebrities) are, of course, fair game. But since I don't recognize anyone on SNL or in People magazine anymore, you probably won't be able to recognize who I'm talking about. I tend to refer to them by their hair/tattoo stylesor do some version of the Kevin Bacon game, "You know, the guy who was in that movie with the girl who played Jennifer Anniston’s sister in that movie that had that guy that was in that Jack Nicholson/Diane Keeton movie". My parents are more culturally aware than I am - from watching 'Dancing with the Stars"!!! I ramble and stammer and need to have a thesaurus chip inserted in my brain. I'm not trying to discourage anyone – I’m just being upfront.
I also may go for long periods in between posts. I have good intentions but life gets in the way.