Wednesday, June 30, 2010


from know your meme

Barbecued Shrimp

 Photo from Epicurious

Last week while surfing some of my favorite blogs I stumbled across this recipe from Urban Comfort.   This story that accompanied this post is heartfelt and wonderful, coupled with the fact that this is an easy weekday meal that came together in minutes... oh yes and it is delicious.   Thanks so much for posting it for all of us...

Barbecued Shrimp
Story and recipe from Urban Comfort
(Serves 2)

1 lb of shrimp with shells still on

Seasoning Mix:
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup of clam juice (I used fish stock)
1/4 cup of beer, room temperature
1/4 lb plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I only used one stick, trying to be good)

Rinse the shrimp and drain, set aside.   In a small bowl combine the seasoning mix.  Combine 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) of butter, garlic, Worcestershire and seasoning mix in a large skillet over high heat.   When butter has melted add the shrimp.   Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan (versus stirring).   Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of melted butter and the clam juice; cook and shake the pan for 2 more minutes.   Add the beer and cook and shake the pan 1 minute longer.   Remove from heat.

Serve immediately in bowls with lots of french bread to lap up the sauce with.   YUM.    (PS... it is spicy... with just the perfect amount of kick, but probably too spicy for kids)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 2010 Mixed Tape: Road Trip Edition

This month mixed tape is compiled with a summer road trip in mind, so download these beauties and get on the road!   I am hoping to get out of work early this week so Mac, Mox and I can take a independence day road trip to the Nuevo Mexico for some fireworks and some red chili.  

I am loving the new album from Atlanta Group, The Constellations, especially the song, We're Here to Save the Day... which reminds me of Wolfgang Press (Queer), one of my favorite 90's albums.   Listen to The Constellations, here.

Islands - The XX
Perfect Day - The Constellations
You've Changed - Sia
Jail La La - Dum Dum Girls
Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema
Out of the Blue - Julian Casablancas
Shampain - Marina and the Diamonds
This Love is F***ing right! - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Young & Hungry - The Jane Shermans
Crash Years - The New Pornogrraphers
Time to Wander - Gypsy and the Cat
Animal - Neon Trees
Audience - Cold War Kids
We're Here to Save the Day - The Constellations
Burning Stars - Mimicking Birds
Are You Satisfied? - Marina and the Diamonds
Answer to Yourself - The Soft Pack
Clear Skies - Keane
Baptized by Fire - Spinnerette

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pin it Forward...

The very talented Victoria, of sfgirlbybay (one of my favorite blogs ever) has organized a blog it forward event to introduce a new website called Pinterest.  Some 300 bloggers were organized into a daily blogging event to let each of us take turns expressing, what home means to each of us.

So, for the past month I have been monkeying around with Pinterest -  this site allows you to capture images to store in your own electronic bulletin boards, which you can then tag into categories.  Pinterest also keeps track of the original owner of the photo, so that you will always know where the image originated from.   This site was made for me and I am completely smitten.   The internet (and some of these fantastic bloggers in this event) have provided me with so much visual inspiration over the years and my previous method of organizing these images was to print them off, which is messy, time consuming and not very good for the environment.    Now I have an easy option to store all of the pictures that inspire me and can look at my pretties whenever and wherever I want.

What does home mean to me....

Home is a place to cook and share food 

Home is a place to laugh with your friends and family

Home is a place where you can rest and recharge

Home is a place to dig in the dirt

Home is a place to have parties in the garden

Home is a place to start and continue traditions

Home is a place filled with color

 Home is a place to create

Home is wherever these two are...

The blogger that tagged me to be next was Union Jack Creative.
Follow the progress by checking out tomorrow's blogger, The Hidden List.
One side note, one of my childhood friends and the woman who encouraged me to start my blog - I call her my blog muse - is following me in my blogging group on Wednesday...strange coincidence... I think not ,we are soul sisters.    Stop by and see her because I love her and her blog.

Here's the low down:
  • Victoria's own blog post on what home means to her
  • The entire "pin it forward" schedule and contributors
  • All of the "What Home Means to Me" boards on Pinterest
  • Here are all of my Pinterest boards

    Photo sources can be found on my pinterest boards, here.

      Friday, June 25, 2010

      There are places I remember...

      For the past month I have been pondering the concept: What does home mean to me?   I have also been introduced and allowed to tinker with a new internet site called, Pinterest; and joined a blogging group which asked each of us to use that tool to visually describe - What exactly home means to me...

      So my official Pinterest "What Home Means To Me" day isn't until Monday... but I had a lot to say on this subject so I thought I would make it a two part-er. 

      Now aside from the obvious structures and furnishings that make up a home, home is also a place or a smell or a skyline.  I have lived in many wonderful places and bits and pieces of them have all felt like home to me.... here is tour, in order of course...

       Albuquerque, NM

      Flea Market
      Roasting Green Chili in the fall
      oh... red chili cheese enchiladas
      Smell of rain on hot asphalt

       Farmington, NM

      Smell of Russian Olive Trees
      Smell of the Mall
      Taste of Lotaburger
      Smell of the ballpark

       Roswell, NM

      Smell of Semichrome and Never Dull
      Taste of cafeteria food
      Smell of the mailroom
      Smell of the Sally Port Hotel
      View of the small city skyline while driving into the town after dark

       Houston, TX

      French Onion Soup
      Smell of a Pool Hall
      Shoe Stores

       Washington, DC

      Taste of Chesapeake Bay Seasoning
      Smell of a very old school
      Smell of the Metro
      Row Houses

       San Francisco, CA

      Smell of very ripe strawberries
      Smell of the ocean
      Produce on every corner

       Denver, CO

      Smell of snow
      view of the mountains on a clear day
      the sunsets and thunderstorms

      Wonder where my next stop will be or if there will even be a next stop, but I know where I would like it to be...

      Thursday, June 24, 2010

      Canning: Confiture de vieux garcon or Rumtopf

      Photo from Eating Out Loud

      So I have failed the Can Jam Challenge!   I haven't canned anything since April... boo.   I haven't been very inspired to can... then I came across this recipe: Confiture de vieux garcon on Tigress in a Jam.   Here is how she explains it: confiture de vieux garçon (jam of old boy, or bachelor) is a traditional french method of preserving a season's worth of fruit in alcohol. in certain circles north and east of the siene, it's also known as rumtopf (rum pot).   So basically you layer fruit in a crock covering it with sugar and booze with each addition, you then let it macerate for 3 to 6 months. 

      So I started my crock with some strawberries this weekend.   Hopefully I will get to add some gooseberries from the yard in a few weeks (birds be damned)!

      Rumtopf Info

      Eating out Loud
      Answer bag

      Confiture de vieux garcon Info

      Labelle Cusine
      Ducasse Flavors of France

      Wednesday, June 23, 2010

      Sunday Dinner: World Cup Edition

       To celebrate our household's World Cup obsession over the past few weeks, I made Piri-Piri Chicken from next months Bon Appétit, then  served with some grilled sweet potatoes and fresh corn... YUM.

      Here is what Bon Appetit, has to say about Piri-Piri Chicken:  Piri-piri chicken is a spicy dish with roots in both Africa and Portugal. The dish was created in Angola and Mozambique when Portuguese settlers arrived with chile peppers (known as piri-piri in Swahili).

      Dinner was perfect... once we got to eat it.   Right before we sat down the police knocked on our door, because apparently during a traffic stop the guy got out of the car and started running down the alley jumping backyard fences.   So... police came in and found the guy HIDING IN MY GARAGE... seriously!   Worst part is my trusty watchdog was too busy in the kitchen salivating beneath the butcher block/resting chicken to realized someone was on her turf... oy vey.

      P.S. I am also wondering how I am going to fit both soccer and tennis into my life this week... good thing it is just the early rounds of Wimbledon this week...

      Piri-Piri Chicken
      July, Bon Appetit


      3 tablespoons butter
      3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
      2 garlic cloves, minced
      2 tablespoons piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce
      2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

      1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
      1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
      1 large shallot, peeled, quartered
      3 garlic cloves, peeled
      1/2 cup piri-piri sauce or other hot pepper sauce
      1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
      1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
      1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
      1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      1 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, backbone removed, opened flat

      For glaze:
      Melt butter in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cilantro and garlic; cook until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add piri-piri sauce and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 2 minutes.

      For chicken:
      Finely chop cilantro, ginger, shallot, and garlic in processor. Add piri-piri sauce, 1/4 cup oil, lemon juice, coarse salt, and pepper; process marinade to blend.
      Place chicken, skin side up, on work surface. Using palm of hand, press on breastbone to flatten chicken. Tuck wing tips under. Pour half of marinade into 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Open chicken like book; place skin side down in single layer in dish. Pour remaining marinade over. Cover; chill at least 4 hours or overnight, turning chicken occasionally.
      Remove top rack from barbecue. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). If using 2-burner gas grill, light 1 burner. If using 3-burner gas grill, do not light center burner. If using charcoal grill, light briquettes in chimney and pour onto 1 side of lower grill rack. Place disposable aluminum pan on unlit part of grill. Place upper grill rack on barbecue; brush with oil.
      Remove chicken from marinade. Arrange skin side up on grill rack above drip pan. Cover barbecue; grill until skin is browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, turning often, about 40 minutes. Transfer to platter. Pour warm glaze over.

      Tuesday, June 22, 2010

      Hey Ladies...

      Yes, indeed... your prayers have been answered...Here is your chance to pee standing up with the P-style!  

      If you really want one... get it here along with usage instructions... eeewww!  Don't forget to call me and let me know if you peed on yourself...Good luck.

      Happy Birthday Jess... hope you enjoy it!   Tee hee hee hee


      EDITED: Suze brought up a valid point... "like, what do you do: carry it around in your purse after you use it?"

      Monday, June 21, 2010

      Design Files: Mac's Home Upgrades

      So for a few weeks I have collected some photos for some inspiration for doing some upgrades to Mac's house.   Problem is... he has wood cabinets with a golden honey stain on them and we want to put some wood floors in the kitchen... what's the problem you might ask?   Well... contemplating design using multiple wood tones makes me want to crawl into a ball and rock in a corner.   Ergo, I have been collecting photos using multiple wood tones in kitchens... here they are... (there are also some that are using tile that are also included)

      What do you all think about use of multiple wood tones in a room?   Let me know if you all stumble upon any more "inspiration" pictures...

      All photos from Luxe Source

      What do you think Mac?

      Friday, June 18, 2010

      House of Turquoise

       Picture from House of Turquoise - home of one of her readers named Tracy

      I found a soul sister a few days ago when I stumbled upon the blog, House of Turquoise.    I appreciate her utter devotion to the color and wish that I could be that focused on my blog... alas you poor folks have to read daily about my constant shifts in interests.   I really should rename my blog... The Daily Ramblings of a Woman who can't Commit and has Zero Focus.   I will now be accepting submissions to rename my crazy blog.

      Brooke, played by Doug the Dog.

      Thursday, June 17, 2010

      Argentinian churrasco

      After my raiding of the meat counter at Edwards on Saturday morning... I wanted to try out a recipe in the new Cooks Illustrated, which demonstrates how to produce your own brand of smoky charred churrasco—even without the aid of a wood-burning Argentine grill...using just charcoal, wood bits and a Weber.  Oh... I am in!   (Yes Sara, your Weber and I are still in love)

      So Sunday afternoon, Mac and I lovingly rubbed cornstarch into our strip steaks and hesitantly stuck them in the freezer (yes the freezer).   I then passed off the cooking duties to Mac, we then followed it up with an argument because I don't think that he monitors cooking times and temperatures accurately enough... all he heard was:  Everything he grills tastes like shoe leather.     I am fully convinced that all couples fight over how long the meat is on the grill.   Some summers ago, while single and hanging out with my favorite married couple: Jon and Randie, I used to wonder why they always had spats over the grilling... well Mac and I now do it too.

      What followed is a delicious steak with a fantastic smoky flavor, don't forget to use a thermometer... because after a rest 120 degrees is actually medium rare.   Oh yes chimichurri was good too!!

      Charcoal-Grilled Argentine Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce
      Adapted from Cook's Illustrated.  

      Chimichurri Sauce
      1/4 cup hot water
      1 tablespoon of fresh oregano
      2 teaspoons kosher salt 
      1 and 1/3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
      2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
      6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
      1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
      1/4 cup red wine vinegar
      1/2 cup olive oil 
      1 tablespoon cornstarch
      2 tablespoons kosher salt
      4 boneless strip steaks , 1 1/2 inches thick (about 1 pound each) (see note)
      4 (2-inch) unsoaked wood chunks (I used oak)

      Ground black pepper


      1.  FOR THE SAUCE: Combine hot water, oregano, and salt in small bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften oregano. Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Add water mixture and vinegar and pulse briefly to combine. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour (if preparing sauce in advance, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).
      2. FOR THE STEAK: Combine cornstarch and salt in small bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Rub entire surface of steaks with cornstarch mixture and place steaks, uncovered, in freezer until very firm, about 30 minutes.
      3. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange coals in single layer over entire surface of grill and, using tongs, place wood chunks directly on top of coals, spacing them evenly around perimeter of grill. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).
      4. Season steaks with pepper. Place steaks on grill, cover, and cook until steaks begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover grill, flip steaks, and cook on second side until beginning to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip again and cook first side until well charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip 1 last time and continue to cook until second side is well charred and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 115 degrees for rare, about 2 minutes, or 120 degrees for medium-rare, about 4 minutes. Transfer to large plate and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice and serve, passing chimichurri sauce separately.


      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      Waivin the Flag...

      This video, the song and WC are so addictive... maybe it is just the excitement in the crowds or maybe I am awe struck at these people running non-stop for 90 plus minutes.   Where I, on the other hand, am literally using all my Obi Wan Kenobi powers to force the thirty minute tick to pass on the treadmill...

      Best Butcher in Denver...

      Ok... I am always on the hunt for new local businesses to buy my goods from, especially meat.   It is always difficult when you try out recipes to get the exact cuts you want; it is also difficult leaving most area meat counters without feeling like you just lost your shorts.  Well I am here to tell you people I have found the meat mecca of the Rocky Mountain Region... may I present... Edwards Meats

      My friends you can buy ANYTHING here... Quail, Pheasant, German Sausage, Picnic Cut to smoke, already smoked Pork butt, Colorado Lamb, Gyro meat, Rocky Mountain Oysters... just in case you like to eat cow balls.   I had heart palpitations in this store... Cherry wood smoked bacon... are you kiddling me...running around throwing the freezer doors open; worried I was going to miss some corner of meat nirvana.

      It is a bit out of the way unless of course, you live in Golden, but it is well worth the drive.

      Tuesday, June 15, 2010

      Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks


      For this recipe I have to thank my friend Randie, she bought me this cookbook ages ago and I haven't really put it to great use, no seriously and I am ashamed.   But, I bought some thighs on sale last week and put this on the menu for friday night.   Ok, I wouldn't suggest this as a weekday summer meal... as we sat down for dinner I was hot (from standing over the stove in JUNE) and I was hungry (this meal is quite a lot of work)!   Yes people I am an idiot... I guess it is called Sunday Suppers, for a reason!   So, I didn't really enjoy this meal to its fullest... until I had leftovers... wow-zah...   I will be making this again, however it will be on a weekend and it will be cooler outside and in my house.

      Devil’s Chicken Thighs with Braised Leeks and Dijon Mustard
      from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
      12 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess skin and fat
      1 cup thinly sliced onion
      3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
      2 chiles de arbol, thinly sliced on the diagonal
      2 fresh bay leaves, thinly sliced, or 2 dried leaves, crumbled
      3/4 cup dry vermouth
      2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
      5 tablespoons unsalted butter
      2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
      1/2 cup finely diced shallots
      1/2 cup dijon mustard
      1 extra-large egg
      2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
      2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      3/4 cup chicken stock
      Braised leeks (recipe below)
      kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

      Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl with the sliced onion, 2 tablespoons thyme, chiles, bay leaves, and 1/4 cup vermouth. Using your hands, toss to coat the chicken well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
      Place the breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Heat large saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 3 tablespoons butter, and cook until it’s brown and smells nutty. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the brown butter over the breadcrumbs. Wait 1 minute, and then toss well with the parsley and 1 tablespoon thyme.
      Preheat the oven to 375°F.
      Return the saute pan to medium heat for 1 minute. Swirl in the remaining tablespoons butter, and when it foams, add the shallots and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Saute about 2 minutes, until the shallots are translucent. Add the remaining 1/2 cup vermouth and reduce by half. Transfer to a bowl and let cool a few minutes. Whisk in the mustard, egg, chopped tarragon, and a pinch of black pepper.
      Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to bring it to room temperature. Discard the seasonings, and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. After 15 minutes, season the thighs well on both sides with salt and pepper.
      Return the same saute pan to high heat for about 2 minutes. Swirl in the olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, until the skin is a deep golden brown. Turn the thighs over and cook a minute or two on the other side. Place the chicken on the braised leeks. Turn off the heat and discard the fat. Add the chicken stock to the pan, and scrape with a wooden spoon to release the crispy bits stuck to the bottom. Pour the chicken stock over the braised leeks.
      Toss the chicken thighs in the bowl with the mustard mixture, slathering them completely, and then rearrange them over the braised leeks. Spoon any remaining mustard mixture over the chicken thighs. Top each thigh with breadcrumbs, patting with your hands to make sure they get nicely coated. (You want lots of mustard mixture and lots of breadcrumbs.) Bake about 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. To check for doneness, piece the meat near the bone with a paring knife; when ready, the juices from the chicken will run clear.
      Turn the oven up to 475°F and cook the chicken thighs another 10 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
      Serve in the baking dish, or transfer to a large warm platter.

      Braised Leeks
      from Sunday Suppers at Lucques
      6 large leeks
      About 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (though I always skimp and use less)
      1 cup sliced shallots
      1 tablespoon thyme leaves
      1/2 cup dry white wine
      1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
      kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

      Preheat the oven to 400°F.
      Remove any bruised outer layers from the leeks. Trim off to the roots, leaving the root end intact. Trim the tops of the leeks on the diagonal, leaving 2 inches of the green part attached. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise, and submerge in a large bowl of cold water to clean them. Shake the leeks well to dislodge the dirt stuck inside. Let them sit a few minutes, to allow any grit inside the layers to fall to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat the process until the water is clean. Place the leeks, cut side down, on a towel and pat dry completely.
      Turn the leeks over so their cut sides are facing up, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grindings of black pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, and wait 1 minute. Place the leeks in the pan, cut side down, being careful not to crowd them. (you will probably need to saute them in batches or in two pans. Add more olive oil to the pan as needed, for each batch.) Sear them 4 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown. Season the backs of the leeks with salt and pepper, and turn them over to cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them to a large gratin dish, lining them up, cut sides facing up. (Choose a baking dish or gratin dish that can go from oven to table and that will accommodate all the leeks and chick thighs, or use two smaller dishes.) Pour 1/4 cup olive oil into the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shallots are just beginning to color. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Add 1 1/2 cups stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the liquid over the leeks. The stock should not quite cover them; add more stock if necessary.
      Braise in the oven 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced.

      Monday, June 14, 2010

      I saw it and I GASPED...

      A Turquoise Chesterfield, velvet no less!!!!   Oh my precious....


      This couch and its pictures belong to the lucky Mabel and Violet

      Saturday, June 12, 2010

      tee pee building...

      I hope to be erecting a tee-pee this summer.

      Picture by

      You can make one too... tutorial can be found on the blog Smile and Wave or in this excellent book...

      Friday, June 11, 2010

      For Sara...

      I have been reading the Savory Baking cookbook by Mary Cech, and I think it is an excellent cookbook.  I haven't had a chance to try anything out but it all looks mighty tasty.   However, one recipe caught my eye, but we must first clear the confusion that this book caused.   See those little puffs above... well Ms. Cech calls them profiteroles but I always thought profiteroles were sweet and gougeres were savory, if that is true why are these buggers  in a book called savory baking?    I figured I must be uninformed and of course I was disappointed because I had finally mastered the pronunciation of the goo-jair.   So I hit up Google and found out that I am correct.  

      Profiterole = Sweet Pate choux
      Gougeres = Savory Pate choux
      Cream Puff = Profiterole for Americans

      Ok... enough with  I am right and you are wrong lesson for the day and back to the reason for this entire post.   Sara, I saw this recipe in this cookbook and immediately thought of you and it is genius and I can't believe we didn't think of it.  

      Profiteroles stuffed with caprese salad

      No recipe really needed here.   Whip up your favorite gougeres (ours is Ina Garten's from her Barefoot in Paris Cookbook), let them cool, crack them open and fill them with a chopped up caprese salad, like this one by our favorite Smitten Kitchen, although the bean thing is a little weird for me.  Here is another one published in the Washington Post

      Thursday, June 10, 2010

      ahhh summer

      Summer is finally here in Denver... I am ready for some garden parties and picnics!

      picture from maryruffle on tumblr

       Photo from Urban Comfort

       Photo from Livingetc.

      photo from Kathryn Ireland