Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pictures from Cumbria

We got back from England Monday night and we're still in a fog, induced by consuming massive quantities of alcohol and food for two weeks and made worse by 24 hours of time spent in subways, trains, planes and an unexpected 7 extra hours hanging around Heathrow and Dulles airports. Whew.

And absolutely worth it! We had a great time.

Andy's sister Ginny booked a night for 6 of us in a great little B&B in a picture perfect little town in the Lake District called Keswick (pronounced "Kesick". Don't say the w). I can't wait to go back. In addition to the B&B being charming, immaculately clean and serving a kick ass brekkie, the scenery around this part of England is just magical. Huge slate mountains topped with clouds, winding streams and waterfalls tucked everywhere, flocks of sheep everywhere you look, houses made entirely of slate, inviting little pubs with roaring fires and absolutely nothing that looked familiar, which I loved!

London is a hugely fascinating city and one could easily spend a few weeks there and barely scratch the surface of the history and culture, but England is so much more than just London. So if you ever get a chance to tool around the countryside, don't miss it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Secret Agent Kitty

You never know where she may be lurking. She fares well outside, too, because when the landscape is all gray and tan like it is in winter, she is the TPCK (Total Protective Coloration Kitty).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dal Makhani

Mmmmmm, Indian comfort food! Dal Makhani is a creamy, spicy lentil dish that Andy and I just love. It can be served with rice or with Indian bread, like naan.

Some of the ingredients may sound foreign, and they are! But they're easy to find at my favorite Indian grocer, Laxmi Palace. This place is a world of fun for people who like to cook. The array of spices, legumes, breads, rices--you will be dizzied by the selection. Who knew there were a million different kinds of lentils?? And the prices are fantastic. The spices come in large, larger, huge and ginormous sizes. Same with the rice and all the kinds of flour I'd never heard of before, like chickpea flour. In addition to raw materials, they have a huge selection of prepared Indian foods, semi-prepared mixes that you add to meats and veggies, and an especially impressive pick of chutneys and pickles. Oh, and dishes and pots and pans and gadgets and beauty products. I insist that you go.

I found this recipe on a blog called Hooked on Heat. The pictures on the blog were so pretty, I got sucked in. I've made dal makhani before--there are lots of recipes for it all over the internet. This recipe is cooked in a pressure cooker.

Now I'm about to carry on about pressure cookers. For those of you (the unenlightened) who don't have one, I bet your mom does. They must have crested in popularity sometime in the early sixties. My mom had one, and she was anything but a gourmet cook. The deal with pressure cookers is that they cook stuff really fast. I don't know how it works, but it does brilliantly, and it involves pressure and gaskets and jiggly things on the lid. I use it a lot for beans and lentils, because it will take a fraction of the time it takes in a regular pan on the stovetop. For instance, chickpeas take for-frickin-ever to cook on the stove in a regular pot--like 2 hours minimum. In the pressure cooker, about 15 minutes or so. Andy got ours at Target for about 40 bucks, and it's great. I don't cook meat much, but I hear tell you can cook a piece of meat really fast and it comes out extremely tender and moist.

Anyway, here's the link to the recipe:

Ours turned out just like the picture, honest! You'll just have to believe me, because the pix didn't turn out, alas.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm Definitely Keeping My Day Job

This evening, I had what I can only describe as the worst performing night of my life.

I can't begin to figure out why. It was just one of those nights when I simply could not remember a damn thing! Songs I have been walking around singing relentlessly all week. Suddenly, you put me in an evening gown, stick me up on a stage with some lights and a microphone, and I am a deer in the headlights!

I told the kindly gentleman who hired me for the job that I would send him a refund for all the words that never got sung.

Ah well, life goes on. I plan to stock up on Ginkgo Biloba as soon as possible.