Friday, April 25, 2008

Why Does Peter Pan Make Me Cry??

The theatre company I work for opened "Peter Pan" this morning to about 550 kids from area elementary schools, their teachers, and their parents. It was kind of a crazy morning, but I loved it. Being able to greet the excited little ones and see how jazzed they are about the show and listen to them carry on and rave about it afterwards--this is the kind of morning I love. It firmly reminds me that I work for a company that I am so freakin' proud to be a part of.

So if you see me sitting in the audience with crocodile tears streaming down my face, it's not because I have PMS. It's because I just well up with extreme pride, like I did today, when I sit and watch the combined talents of this amazing group of people that I work with. From the performers to the set and costume and lighting designers to the director to the choreographer to who knows who I am forgetting to list. These people make magic. They create an experience that is indelibly printed into the memories of all who watch it. How cool is that? I can't help bawling like Miss America. By the end of the show today, my Kleenex was a tear and snot soaked mess!

I encourage you all--all 6 of my readers--to please go see Peter Pan! You will feel like you are 7 years old and when it's time to clap if you believe in fairies, you will applaud until your hands bleed! Just leave your adult brain at the door and let yourself be sucked in--you will be so glad you did!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Love My Boss.

I really do. I'm not being facetious. He is one of the best guys I know, and I have deep respect and genuine affection for him.

We have this funny dance we do regarding his voicemail, which he does not like to check. It goes something like this:

I check his messages and write them down.
I then type them up in a word document.
I then email the document to my boss.
I then call him to tell him I have emailed his voicemails to him.

Now I think that's funny!

On another note, I have not cooked in ages. I'm mired in rehearsals right now. Any guest posts are welcome!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Grocery Store Music and Really Old Cougars

I was waiting my turn in line at Ukrop's on Saturday and I heard "My Cherie Amour" by Stevie Wonder come on as the background music. Of course, I begin to absent-mindedly sing along with Stevie, being the child of the sixties and Motown that I am. I'm patiently waiting, and maybe starting to tap my feet a little, maybe a little hip action going on--I'm swept up in the moment but not really aware of it. Then the checkout lady in the neighboring station turns around and shouts, "Who's singing?" And to my surprise, my checkout lady, plus the bagger guy, and I all answer at once, "I am!"

I still maintain that Food Lion has better music. I think all the FL stores must subscribe to the same music selection, because every time I'm in a FL, some old song from the eighties comes on and I have to sing along just a little too loudly as I stroll through the aisles.

Abrupt change of subject--I'm watching a trashy report of Ivana Trump's umpteenth wedding on ET. Wow, she is so tragic. First of all, she is botoxed and collagenized within an inch of her life. And then she is marrying some hot but very cheesy European guy who looks young enough to be her son's best friend. And she's having this gigantic, outrageously expensive wedding with more bridesmaids than there are plural wives in Texas. I guess money can't buy taste.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spicy Peanut Stew

I made a dee-licious African-inspired spicy peanut stew today. I found the recipe on the Fat-Free Vegan website, but I added lots of fat back in and changed some of the vegetables. I deviated so far from it that I am just going to post what I did instead.

First, I cooked up a batch of this gorgeous brown basmati and wild rice. I like to put it in the rice steamer and prepare everything else while it's cooking because brown rice takes a good hour to cook. It's worth the wait, though. I like its texture and nuttiness a lot better than white rice.

I heated peanut oil in the beauteous enameled dutch oven, then added a chopped onion. While that was getting soft and translucent, I minced about 5 cloves of garlic, a 1" piece of fresh ginger root, and 3 fresh jalapenos. After that had sauteed for about 3 minutes, I added a dry spice mix of 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons red chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried chili flakes. Meanwhile Andy was dry-roasting a tablespoon each of coriander and cumin seeds. He then ground them to a powder and I added that to the mix.

Let me just briefly digress. Dry roasting your spices in a hot dry frying pan for just a minute or so--until you can smell their aroma explode, but not long enough to burn them--will intensify those flavors like you wouldn't believe. You should try it.

I added a big can (I think 29 oz.) of diced tomatoes and about 3 cups of vegetable broth. While that was simmering, I diced up and added 2 carrots and 2 potatoes. Then in went about 3/4 lb. of fresh green beans cut in 1" lengths and 1/2 cup of frozen lima beans.

Finally, I added 1/2 cup of all natural creamy peanut butter and stirred gently until the peanut butter was incorporated throughout. Then I just let the stew simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables were all tender. The PB and starch in the taties make a nice thick broth.

At the very last, we needed to tweak just a little. I added about a tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a squirt of sriracha, the asian chili sauce that no kitchen should be without.

We ate it most enthusiastically, served with the lovely rice and sprinkled with crushed peanut. I thought a cilantro garnish would have been yummy, but alas, I had no cilantro.

I think you could substitute like crazy with this recipe, depending on what you love or have on hand. For instance:
Chickpeas instead of lima beans
Okra instead of green beans
Sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes
You get the picture.

This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings and I bet it tastes even better the next day! I'll let you know...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh. My. Hell.

There was a faint stale smell in the kitchen on Tuesday. Before I scurried off to work, I emptied the garbage, wiped out the microwave, ground some lemon rind in the disposal. That smell would be all gone by the time I got home that night.

It wasn't. In fact it was a little bit worse. I kind of chose the path of avoidance behavior last night and just didn't deal with it.

Now, this morning, it was getting serious. I knew I was going to have to launch a real investigation. But I had to get to work, and then rehearsal. That brings us to 9:00 p.m. when I got home.

Bloody hell. I was at the crossroads. Do I actually find what is stinking to high heaven, or do I just set the house on fire and run and never look back? This had to be dealt with, and it couldn't wait another moment. I started peeking into all the nooks and crannies in the kitchen. Did I drop a blob of cat food between the cabinets? Did a piece of food fall down behind the washing machine? And all the time I'm thinking please in the name of all that is mighty let me find this before I have to move the refrigerator.

But I've looked everywhere and I still smell the smell. I screw up my courage, because I can be brave when I have no choice, and I slowly slide the fridge away from the wall. There, all crumpled and tucked in the corner are the remains of (gag a bit) a LITTLE. BROWN. BUNNY. As soon as the bunny remains are exposed, Maggie the cat comes darting into the kitchen and makes a beeline for the dead bunny, ever so happy to be reunited with her lost toy.

I won't go into the gory details of the cleanup. Let's just say the smell is gone and I will be changed forever.

Greater Tuna!

No, I am not going to post about my latest tuna dish. I actually hate all fruits of the sea. I'm a certifiable piscaphobe! Or is it pescaphobe?

But I am going to encourage all of you get off yer butts and see Greater Tuna at Barksdale Theatre at Hanover Tavern! I went to yesterday's matinee after a positively frustrating morning at work from which I was in a very sour mood. There is no nerve pill that can restore you like a good laugh, that's for sure.

Joe Inscoe and David Clark are absolutely brilliant playing the myriad of insane characters who populate the town of Tuna, Texas--a gun totin', book burnin', bible thumpin', KKK lovin' town. The show is expertly directed by my neighbor, Joseph Pabst, and the quick costume changes alone kind of made my head spin.

So I command you to get up to Hanover and see this little gem of a show. You will love it!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Crepe Fear

Crepes are something I've always been a little intimidated to try. I'm going to attempt a savory crepe for our dinner tonight. I'll probably screw up the first couple of crepes, because I'm told that's what happens.

I'm making a recipe I found on the World Wide Web. It's on a blog called Nola Cuisine, which I just discovered today, when I should have been working. Here's a link to it. I'm going to substitute the scallions with some dill.

But fiddle-dee-dee, whatever shall I fill them with? I will never go hungry again. Tomorrow is another day. Why am I turning into Scarlett O'Hara?

I'm stealing the filling idea from someplace else. I found another recipe on the World Wide Web for asparagus crepes with a delicate lemony sauce, which looks suspiciously like a hollandaise sauce to me. Yet another thing that's really easy to ruin. I like to live life on the edge, Baby.

They turned out to be really easy! I didn't have to throw any of them out. Probably because Andy did the actual cooking of the crepes. He was doing that thing where you flip the crepe by picking up the pan and tossing it just so. Show-off! If I tried that, the thing would probably land on my head like a beret.

I just sauteed the asparagus spears in a little butter until they were very tender, enveloped them in the crepes and doused in the lovely sauce.

The sauce was very easy to make. It was, as I suspected, very much like hollandaise, but with the addition of water to the egg yolks, it was slower to thicken and a little more fool-proof.

Andy's mom made crepes for us last time we visited. She served them very simply, and I could have eaten a mountain of them. We just dusted them with sugar, squeezed a little bit of fresh orange juice over them, and gobbled them up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Many of my friends know that I am a somnambulist. I haven't had an episode that I am aware of in a really long time. The trouble is, when I have had an episode, the only way I can tell is by the evidence that is before me the next morning. It's possible that I have somnambulated (now that is just plain fun to say) many times and have awakened blissfully unaware.
Here are some examples of things I have awakened to discover:

Very large pieces of furniture moved
Brand new towels neatly cut into 2" wide strips
My nightgown on the lawn in the back yard (that's Robyn's favorite)
A lamp overturned and a very large bruise on my arm
The smell of pasta burning to black embers in a frying pan in a smoke-filled house

Now why can't I do something fantastic in my sleep? Do a 1000-calorie burning workout. Mow the lawn. Clean the house and do laundry.

Sometimes I wake up after an 8 or 9-hour night of sleep and I feel exhausted. Have I been up all night, running around my back yard naked? I'll never know.