Saturday, December 12, 2009

I believe I ordered the LARGE cappuccino

Today was a quarterly event - we went to Costco. In theory, I hate everything these warehouse stores stand for - I mean, who needs 144 of anything at once? Or even 12, really. I hardly have room to store a few extra rolls of toilet paper, let alone 48. This is essentially why my garage is a huge storage pit while we park our two cars in the driveway and scrape off the frost and/or snow every morning (or burn in the summertime). If I had a basement for storage, I wouldn't complain. But then, I like to complain anyway.

Going to Costco on a Saturday afternoon would be about 2,467th on my list of things I'd enjoy doing - it's like Black Friday. Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving encompasses everything I hate about shopping... times 5,000. Yet, here we were - the Husba3000(TM), Boy2 and me... filling a double-wide cart full of diapers, wipes and whole load o'dairy products. I was able to keep everyone (somewhat) in line with a shopping list, but I think invariably everyone ends up with more than they expected at Costco. Like the enormous roll of wrapping paper (justified for the dozen or so gifts I'll need to wrap). Or the 5lb. jar of "fancy" mixed nuts (not so justified - I was hungry). Maybe I'll make some brittle or toffee for gifts this year.

I hate this place.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Milwaukee Fish Fry

I am so excited. Not only is it Friday (and a paycheck week-thankyouverymuch), but it is a balmy 6 degrees outside right now (not including wind chill)... and for us, that means a Fish Fry tonight. You may ask yourself "what's a fish fry"? And 5 years ago, I would have asked that very same question... it's big here. Really big. It happens all year 'round, but my personal opinion is that most people go when it's cold and dark - and during Lent. Nevertheless, we have a few favorite places around town but tonight it's Benno's in West Allis. Standard fare for most fish fries is battered cod or a battered/breaded lake perch or walleye pike - always served with potato pancakes or fries, applesauce & a slice of marble rye. I love Benno's because they serve a mean blackened salmon - that doesn't always make it to the "Specials" blackboard. So I'm crossing my fingers. They also offer a baked potato that's clearly on the Husba3000's (TM) radar.

Plus, Benno's has a serious beer lineup - both on tap & bottles. I like that they carry Scrimshaw Pilsner from North Coast in bottles... not sure if I'll be in a light or dark mood. I could really go for an Alaskan Amber or Bridgeport IPA these days. Too bad we can't get them around here. Wah. Double Wah.

Updates later!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feed Me Seymour

Wednesday night was chicken cacciatore (that's a chicken thigh you see there). Not because I planned to make it, but it was the last day I could possibly stand to leave that chicken in the fridge before it went bad. I pulled it from the freezer oh, Saturday morning? It was originally intended to be a whole, roasted chicken - but I didn't have time for that. So, me + chicken + dull chef's knife and no sharpener around = 20 long minutes and a huge mess while I chased Boy2 around the house. I think I need to invest in a cleaver when we go to Chinatown in a few weeks (NY- to visit my family for the holidays). In any case, it was delicious. Plus, I had a green pepper and some olives to use up.

The 'Husba3000'(TM), as I like to call him, decided we had to eat off my parents' wedding china set - which is nice! Boy2 had his usual "cafeteria-style-segmented-swansons-tv-dinner-style-unbreakable-melamine-with-alien-designs" plate from Target. Because we've learned how many fragments a particular style bowl or plate will shatter into when thrown from the table. And we've learned that allowing food to mingle on the plate creates a shreik (NO NO NO NO NO!) from Boy2 that even the hibernating neighbors can hear. Frankly, the pasta is served separately not because of Boy2... but because of the Husba3000(TM). [see previous post]

I also decided that I should break open a bottle of wine I bought the other day (Erath Pinot Gris - one of my favorites from Oregon). Mind you, this is not how we usually eat. No, really. I'm serious.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keep out of direct sunlight

So it starts like this - we just emerged from a "Winter Weather Advisory" in SE Wisconsin which apparently equates to 18" of snow in some areas. Talk about an understatement. (I will admit that the parking lot outside my office has a mere 2-3" of wet slush dripping off the cars, but that's not the point.) It's not so much the lack of sunlight after 4pm (years of Seattle winters with plenty of full-spectrum lightbulbs cured that), but rather the sheer dread of fall passing into winter (read: September) and the promise of months of sub-zero temperatures to come that makes me insane. Milwaukee certainly hibernates during this period - I don't expect to see my neighbors until April.

Which may be a good thing.

I've been here for about 5 years now and I still can't understand why people would choose to live in a climate like this. I know, I know... those crazy Norwegians & Germans who came to the U.S. were just looking for what was familiar. But come on, why not say, "Hey, you know what? I'm sick of having to preserve my fish in lye! I'm tired of potatoes and cabbage in the winter! Go South, young man... go south!" But no. I'm still wrapping my head around the concept that people actually like this weather. I'm not sold on it just yet.

I expect my musings to be more about food and my family's sheer refusal to try new things. Before I met my husband, I ate everything. And I still do, but to a lesser extent. Now, when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Weird stuff, ethnic stuff, French stuff, grey stuff, meats, soy, and everything in-between. I loved it all - and I am a really, really good cook. But now I find myself hiding all sorts of lovely vegetables in sauces (puree!) and mincing onions, garlic and other aromatics to death so as to become completely unrecognizable in the final product. It's exhausting and I hate that I can't find my food in the food. My husband is the worst of the culprits - and is leaving his legacy to Boy1 (9 years old). I have yet to get through a meal where at least a portion of the ingredients aren't segregated to a lonely corner of the plate. Boy2 (2 years old) is young enough to happily eat most of what I serve (when he's not being a "standard issue" toddler), so I have hope for him yet. The one good thing is that I can go to our local winter farmer's market and load up on chantrelles, aged goat cheese, buckwheat pancake mix and guanciale... and not a single finger will touch any of it. Not a one. I feel an amatriciana coming on...