Friday, December 31, 2010

Bunnies! (Dennis Edition)

Dennis is an extremely good bunny and has earned the chance to upgrade his space from an exercise pen to the whole den (minus the 2 feet next to the wall where most of the wires to chew on are...). This arrangement makes it much easier for me to bond with him and much easier to take pictures of his cuteness, so I thought I should post some better pictures of how adorable this guy is...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Portland

I flew back to Portland again this year to spend the holidays with my family. Stanley is back in the States this year, so this was the first time the whole family had been together for Christmas in a few years and it was really nice. As is usually the case with me and my parents, there was quite a bit of cooking going on. We all felt like last year's feast was one of the best we've ever done, but we managed to improve upon it this year with a little help from Thomas Keller.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emily's Chemistry Adventures: Dressed Up Vodka Tonic

It's a stretch to call this an adventure, since it was super-easy and I knew it would work. My actual chemistry adventure was a bit of a failure due to a misinterpretation of an ingredient... but I'll get to that at the end. First, I had this calcium chloride bath sitting around from last week, so I decided to get some nice fruit juice to spherify. I had no luck finding what I wanted (which was guava), so I grabbed a can of mango nectar at H-Mart and made this fun and simple cocktail:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weeks 12 and 13 Bucs Posts: Heartbreaking Losses I Don't Want to Talk About

So, as some of you may have noticed (most likely with some degree of happiness), I haven't been posting about Tampa lately. I'm all kinds of not-feeling-well, and heart-breaking losses are just no fun. I could tell you all the small things that could have gone differently to save the games (a bad pass interference call when we played the Ravens, a questionable interception call against Atlanta, injuries...) but that just sounds downright sad in the end. The fact is Tampa lost. There should be three straight wins coming up (Washington, Detroit, Seattle), but a loss to the Saints in Week 17 would leave Tampa at 10-6 and sitting home watching the playoffs. That's just the way it goes, I guess. I'll feel good about what a huge improvement this team is over the team that went 3-13 last year a few weeks after the season ends... Super Bowl delusions will start again a few months after that (if there even is a 2011 season to be delusional about). But for now... I don't want to talk about it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Emily's Chemistry Adventures: Flourless Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Powder and Frangelico Caviar

I got a big box of chemicals in the mail the other day, and am looking forward to playing with them. My pain issues are making it hard for me to spend 13 hours in the kitchen making fun, elaborate dishes these days, so I thought molecular gastronomy would be a way to keep having fun in the kitchen without spending quite so much time in there. There will probably be a lot of failures to go along with any successes, and I promise to report on both. I'm easing into things by starting with two garnishes for Mini Flourless Chocolate-Hazelnut Cakes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Champagne Dinner

I typically tend to pair champagne only with appetizers, so the Gordon's Annual Champagne Dinner turned out to be an eye-opening experience. Chefs Bryan Roof and Dan Souza from America's Test Kitchen came up with some fantastic food pairings for every wine, and at the end of the night I found myself wondering why I hadn't started exploring the world of champagne pairings earlier. After an aperitif of Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top (a really nice light, slightly fruity chamapgne), the meal got under way with an Amuse of Chatham Oysters with Tobiko Caviar Vinaigrette.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Everyday Yumminess: Turkey Pozole

Last year as I made my turkey stock, I knew I wanted to do something with it other than traditional Thanksgiving-y flavors. I stumbled upon a recipe for Turkey Pozole at Food & Wine and knew it was the perfect thing to do with my homemade stock and leftover turkey. It is now officially part of my tradition.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post-Thanksgiving Sandwiches

If it weren't for Turkey Pozole and the brilliance of Turkey, Cranberry, Arugula, and Brie Sandwiches, I don't know that I'd bother making Thanksgiving dinner. For me, this is what it's all about:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Everyday Yumminess: Mini Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Dessert-baking is tricky for the solo diner. You can only scale things back so far, and then you'd better hope it freezes well so you don't have to eat the dessert twice a day for a week. This was my conundrum at Thanksgiving. I had my eye on this Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe at Epicurious, but what am I going to do with a whole cheesecake? Luckily, I found these awesome mini-cheesecake pans and my problem was solved. Look how adorable:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not even a sinus infection and my oven's decision to spontaneously break while I cooked my turkey could ruin the awesome Thanksgiving Feast I threw together. (Recipes and more pictures can be found on my mostly-defunct recipe blog here.)My turkey was perfect: super-crispy skin, super-moist white meat, and super-delicious everything...
Dry-brining is definitely the way to go. Also, despite not being that into baking, I made the world's most adorable (and delicious) holiday dessert: Mini Bourbon-Pumpkin Cheesecakes.(These little cheesecakes are about 2 inches in diameter and an inch and a quarter high, so they're perfect after a big meal.) Not bad for a sicky without the proper working appliances... I hope everyone else enjoyed Thanksgiving at least as much as I did... (but hopefully more than I did, since presumably you were not sick and your oven didn't break...)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 11 Bucs Post (@ San Francisco, W 21 - 0)

This game wasn't always fun to watch, but it was definitely reassuring. This is the best our run defense has looked all year, despite the fact that Frank Gore is no joke. The rest of the defense was solid, as well, with the front four picking up 6 sacks and Old Man Barber getting his 40th career interception, making Barber the first player in NFL history with 40 picks and 25 sacks. Love him.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I Don't Cook

Back in February, I jumped on the bandwagon of a brief internet meme and wrote about Why I Cook. As Emily's Culinary Adventures has yet again morphed into Emily Writes about The Bucs and Bunnies, I figured I should go ahead and post about why I don't cook when I don't. I try to minimize the amount of time I spend talking about medical issues here, but sometimes that's difficult when they are acting as the dominant factor in my life. I bought the world's most awesome portable wheelchair a few months ago, much like the one pictured below except in red (Go Bucs!)...It's been pretty life-changingly awesome from the moment I got it, and became more so about a month ago when I started using it at work every day. Unfortunately, sometimes that's not enough. I feel like I'm sort of perpetually chasing some bus (where in this metaphor the bus is "not having to deal with pain all the time") but each time I get near the door the bus pulls away and drives off down the street again.
When I first opted to have my cyborg parts installed, the amount of pain management they could provide would have solved a lot of problems. By the time (a year later) that they were working properly and not causing debilitating back pain, they weren't enough anymore. It was a few months later that I started using my wheelchair on a regular basis, and it felt again like it was too little too late. It helps SO much (as do the cyborg parts), and yet not enough. I couldn't even have attended the conference I went to last week without my chair, but I was still dealing with more pain than my cyborg parts can mask and more than I can handle gracefully just from minor things (e.g. walking from my bed to the sink to get a glass of water) where it wouldn't have been easy to use my chair. Which... yeah, brings me back to the cooking thing. I have a fantastic cooking stool that I got in Australia, which is the perfect height for sitting during basic prep. I think the primary problem is adjusting to using it during my cooking routine. When I'm in a rhythm in the kitchen, I don't have the time or inclination to move a stool around... but it's become increasingly clear that I need to do just that if I want to continue cooking elaborately fun things without making it hard to make it through the next day...

So... I'm planning on a pretty cool Thanksgiving spread, during which I will practice using the cooking stool, and I've got a couple awesome cookbook recipes scheduled in the following weeks (plus, perhaps, a couple science experiments in the kitchen). Hopefully I can get better at using the cooking stool and get back in the kitchen more often. It's certainly not that I don't want to be there... I just don't always know how to get there.

Anyway... That's why there have been so many Bucs and Bunnies lately. I'm working on it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bunny Bonding!

I got back from a week in Orlando yesterday afternoon, and decided I'd better get serious about getting my guys bonded. Thursday is the one-year anniversary of the day I brought Charley home, which shows how silly I was to hope it would only take a few weeks to get them all bonded... Luckily, this is the best session we've had in a long time...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Rabbits Are the Wrong Size...

Don't get me wrong. I think Rico, Charley, and Pedro are the best trio of bunnies on the planet... It's just that sometimes, as I peruse bunny pictures around the interwebs, I realize that my guys are totally the wrong size to optimize cuteness. I mean, look at Charley and Pedro:They are reasonably cute, sure... but they could be so much cuter if they were this size:
... or this size:
They are simultaneously too big and too small. Sigh. I guess it's a good thing they are so very very handsome and cranky (Rico), cute and adorably crazy (Charley), and beautiful and sweet (Pedro)...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 10 Bucs Post (vs. Carolina, W 31 - 16) (Also, I was there...)

So... After about 13 years of being a die-hard Bucs fan, I finally made it down to Raymond James for a game. It was, in a word, awesome. Here is photographic evidence that I (or, at least, the top of my head in my complimentary visor) was there:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 9 Bucs Post (@ Atlanta, L 21-27)

I'm not sure which feels worse: getting blown out or coming up a yard short of victory.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Michael Psilakis's Chicken Souvlaki

Food cravings can be a funny thing. I'm pretty sure I'd never had souvlaki before last night (since gyros are typically on the menu at places that make good souvlaki, and I always go the gyro route...), but as I was planning meals last week I had a deep, inexplicable craving for chicken souvlaki. I knew immediately which cookbook to turn to, and the finished product was just as advertised in Michael Psilakis's recipe: "Messy and great."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 8 Bucs Post (@ Arizona, W 38-35)

Wow. Apparently the Bucs were hell-bent on giving me a heart attack on Sunday, but at least they were able to pull out yet another 4th-quarter comeback. (Quite frankly, though, I wish they hadn't given up 21 points in just over 6 minutes of game time to necessitate said comeback...)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bunnies!

I haven't been doing much picture-taking lately. Rico remains happy (if rather camera-shy), but I had to do a quick post when saw this snuggle this morning:
Pedro seems healthier and healthier every day. I think the hardest thing to see when he was so sick was the way Charley didn't want to go near him. Once Pedro started to get healthier, though, the snuggles were back in full force. Toothless lop love... Things just don't get much sweeter.

Random Ramblings

I took Stanley to the airport at 4am on Wednesday and have been recovering ever since... It was a really fantastic visit, during which we managed to break our all-time record of Consecutive Days Spent Together Without Driving One Another Crazy, but an introvert like me needs a good chunk of alone-time to recover after 3 weeks of being around people (even awesome people) all the time. Due to budget considerations, it was a pretty chill visit... Lots of sitting on the patio with a glass of scotch discussing politics and the world... a bit of me kicking Stanley's ass at Bananagrams (an awesome game Lisa and Will introduced me to)... a trip out to Cape Ann for some chowder and gorgeous views... and, of course some yummy home cooking. It had been too long since I'd had quality time with my brother, though, so I'll take a good discussion with Stanley while sipping scotch on the porch over hectic activities any day... Here are a few pictures from Cape Ann. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, and the water was ridiculously blue.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Week 7 Bucs Post (vs. St. Louis, W 18-17)

So, that could have gone better. I saw this game as an easy win, but it took some last-second heroics from Josh Freeman and company to get the job done.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mini Bunnies(!) Post

Everyday Yumminess: Fresh Flour Tortillas

I've always felt like somewhat of a failure due to the fact that I could only make fresh corn tortillas, not fresh flour tortillas. Granted, I had never tried to make flour tortillas, but the prospect seemed intimidating for some reason. When I made my awesome carnitas, though, I came to realize that I needed to add flour-tortilla-making to my skill set. Thus, I turned to my friend J (and through her to her awesome mom, whose kick-ass horchata recipe I had already fallen in love with) for help finding the best recipe to start with.

Week 6 Bucs Post (vs. New Orleans, L 6 - 31)

Well... That was horribly disheartening...No silver linings. No bright sides. Just wretched, spirit-crushing badness... I don't want to talk about it.

Sigh.

Everyday Yumminess: Perfect Margaritas

As part of a Mexican feast last weekend, Stanley and I took it upon ourselves to make the perfect margarita, and we succeeded quite impressively (if I do say so myself)...

Cookbook Adventures: World's Greatest Hamburgers

Stanley is staying with me for a few weeks, and I thought it was a great opportunity to make a recipe that's been calling to me for a while: Thomas Keller's perfect hamburgers from the Ad Hoc at Home Cookbook.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Interesting (and Delicious) Scotch-Pairing Dinner

I headed over to Gordon's with Joe on Thursday to check out their Compass Box Whiskey-Pairing Dinner.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Week 5 Bucs Post (@ Cincy, W 24 - 21)

Coming off of the bye week, I was a little worried about this Cincy game. The Bengals are not a bad team, and after getting embarrassed by the Steelers I wasn't sure the Bucs would be up to the task. A little luck and a lot of poise later, these guys came from behind for the improbable win at the last moment of regulation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Great Show...

On Thursday night, Stanley and I hit the Royale Nightclub in Boston for an awesome show from The Walkmen. AA Bondy were the main opening act and were pretty kick-ass, but The Walkmen were fan-freaking-tastic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Kick-Ass Week in California

I can't believe it's already Thursday and I'm just now sitting down to post about the fantastic time I had in California with some of my very favorite people last week. Here's a quick (though somehow incredibly long) run-down including the good, the bad, and lots of awesome food and wine...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dinner at The French Laundry

As part of a reunion vacation with Steph, Jenn, and Mel, we headed over to The French Laundry on Monday night for the meal of a lifetime...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week 3 Bucs Post (vs. Pittsburg, L 13-38)

Well, that could have gone better...And I can't even whine that we had to use our second-string safety due to Tanard Jackson being a giant idiot, because it was the Steelers' fourth-string quarterback who was abusing our second-string safety. I don't want to talk about it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pedro is a Dork.

Pedro? He is a giant dork. I don't really know what goes on in his tiny little brain. His latest weirdness comes in the form of his new napping position, in which he sits outside of his cage and shoves his nose between the bars. Behold:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blog Note

Just wanted to post a quick note that the blog won't be regressing into a Bucs & Bunnies theme, even though that is not at all obvious from the last 3 posts... I was planning to cook something awesome from one of my favorite cookbooks last Saturday, but I was still recovering from food poisoning (from Oklahoma of all places... sigh...) when I did my grocery shopping and I was having a hard time finding anything remotely appetizing. I'm doing much better now, and will soon be hanging out with friends in California, which (knowing these friends) will include fun times in the kitchen, great food, and great wine... and on Monday it will also include dinner at The French Laundry. (Woot!)

Week 2 Bucs Post (@ Carolina, W 20 - 7)

How ‘bout them Bucs? I know it’s just the Browns and the Panthers, but these were must-win games for a team trying to break out of the culture of losing that settled in early last year. After a shaky start against Cleveland last week, there was no question who the hero on offense was on Sunday:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 1 Bucs Post (vs. Cleveland, W 17-14)

As a massive change of pace from last season, the Bucs went ahead and opened this season up with a W.

Bunnies! (aka Charley!!!)

Charley. He is killing me lately. Every time I walk into the kitchen, he immediately runs up to the top of the big cage and stares at me, waiting for the treats he knows I'll give in and provide him with...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Peas and Carrots

The NFL season (finally) starts next week, which means I will no longer have Sundays to putz around in the kitchen. I'll still try to do some crazy stuff on Saturdays, but these recipes that take two days aren't going to be happening. In honor of my last free weekend, I decided to turn to the French Laundry Cookbook and try Thomas Keller's spectacular recipe for a dish that he playfully refers to as "Peas and Carrots."
For those of you who don't have the book, the peas in "Peas and Carrots" are represented by a pea shoot salad that finishes the dish... The carrot appears in a ginger-carrot emulsion that is so delicious it almost makes you weep... Finally, the garnish to your peas and your carrots is a savory crepe stuffed with perfectly seasoned lobster. I don't have words for how amazing this dish was.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Cookbook Adventures: Faux Gras

One of the recipes that has very much intrigued me since I first looked through Happy in the Kitchen is the Faux Gras, which Michel Richard claims tastes ridiculously similar to foie gras. It definitely does have a very foie quality to it, and even if you don't believe that you should believe that it is the most elegant chicken liver pâté you will ever taste...

Bonus Bunnies!

Apologies for the consecutive bunny posts, but the kitchen bunnies are absurdly cute. Let's start with a nice snuggling picture. As I've mentioned before, when Charley wants to snuggle he pretty much tries to force the other bunny to snuggle with him. Pedro is a sweetheart for accepting Charley's forced snuggles...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bunnies!

Mostly sleepy bunnies in this post... The toothless lops seriously know how to nap. I get sleepy just looking at them: