Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cat and fish

Apart from a horrid trip to the vet today for some vaccinations (the vet said our cat had a "short fuse", haha, that pretty much sums it up - they had to take him out of the room for a blood sample, hissing, yowling and growling, it took three people to hold him down) there's not much going on today - it's been raining like crazy!

Yesterday I made a homemade version of the German store-bought frozen fish staple, "Schlemmerfilet à la Bordelaise" (oven baked fish with a garlic-onion-parsley crust). Something every German child grows up with (besides fishsticks). Delicious!


300 g pollock (I used 4 tilapia filets) (thawed or still frozen, if frozen, add a couple minutes to cooking time), 1 tblsp thyme (I used 1/2 tsp dried), 3 tblsp chopped parsley, 1 clove of garlic, 1 small onion, 30 g (2 scant tblsp) breadcrumbs, butter, olive oil, salt, lemon juice.

Peel and finely dice onion and garlic, cook in butter over medium heat until translucent. Mix with herbs, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.

Place fish into oiled baking dish. Press the breadcrumb mix on top of the fish. Bake at 350F for 10-12 mins (longer if fish was frozen). Turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes till the crust is nicely golden brown. Sprinkle with lemon juice - done!
This goes well with either boiled or mashed potatoes or with rice.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

I *heart* my Oleander

Is it wrong to love a plant? After I had to leave my old Oleander tree back in Chicago since it didn't fit in the car any more, I bought a couple of tiny new ones online which slowly withered away during the winter. Then, one lovely day in spring, we were walking through Walmart's plant section and, lo and behold, hubby spotted a huge (3 foot) Oleander! For a mere 12 bucks!

It's been sitting happily on my balcony ever since and has grown huge, with lots of big, pinkish-red blossom heads. It doesn't even mind that I habitually under- and overwater it. Does it possibly love me back? For rescuing it from Walmart's shoddy , smelly and dark indoor plant section? For putting a kitty cat in its shade, which sits there patiently all morning and evening, watching the birdies? For, err, exposing it to noxious grill fumes a few times a week? Wait... forget that one...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

HuHot Part II.

Hah, the ONE thing I forgot to mention in my HuHot entry was actually the reason I wrote all that boring stuff. So it was Father's Day on Sunday, right? Happy, happy families going out to honor their loving dads? Or so you'd think... In the restaurant booth next to ours was one of those doting dads with his son who was about 5. The first thing dad says, no, growls, to his offspring after being seated: "If you don't sit down properly with your legs bent, you'll get a SPANKING!" and then some more muttered threats. And I swear to God, that - apart from ordering their food - was the ONLY thing this guy said to his kid for the next 10 minutes or so (which is when we left). He really looked his part, too - tattooed, gold necklace etc. Yuck. Poor kid.

Monday, June 18, 2007

HuHot

Went to HuHot on Sunday. I've never been to a Mongolian Barbecue before (having heard various reports about ghastly gastrointestinal problems after visiting such places - although I often think that's just from overeating), but Hubby had been there for lunch and said it was good. Nice, colourful, clean interior. You can choose between a single bowl for (I think) $7.50 and the all-you-can-eat for $8.99 for lunch. Since I wanted to try out the place and was kinda hungry, it was a no-brainer what I was going to choose...

So here's how the place works: If you want, you can choose some of the usual appetizers like won-tons off the menu, otherwise you just grab a bowl and start piling up foodstuffs at the various bars.


First the meat bar: On Sunday, the choice was chicken, pork, beef, scallops, shrimp, weird sausage slices and haddock (?). Then there's a choice of three noodles - chinese egg noodles *my favourite*, white pad thai noodles and some buckwheat sobe noodles. Next you get to the veggie station where it starts getting dangerous balancing the pile of stuff in your bowl. My favourite would be the water chestnuts and pea pods here. Then on to the sauces and oils. Oooh, the choices! Each is labeled very clearly and nicely arranged from mild to spicy. On my three *blush* trips to the buffet, I tried the Hoisin sauce *my all-time favourite*, then a rather bland ginger-scallion sauce and then the Hoisin again, with some sesame oil. Perfect!

Anyway, then you hand your bowl to a grim *possibly meant to be Mongolian?* looking chef who proceeds to emptying your stuff over a huge hot stone where it gets fried for a couple of minutes, and then hands it back to you on a plate. Now you can go back to your table where a bowl of hot white rice is awaiting you, and start enjoying.

Verdict? I liked it. Not enough to go back there every week, but I was very happy with the stuff on my plate(s) *to my defense, I have to say that I only had very SMALL portions in my bowl each time!*. The scallops smelled a bit *fishy* but were edible, I preferred the chicken though. Oh yes, they had tofu as well, which didn't look too bad, next time I'll try that.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Am I an Optimist or a Pessimist?

You Are a Realist

You don't see the glass as half empty or half full. You see what's exactly in the glass.
You never try to make a bad situation seem better than it is...
But you also never sabotage any good things you have going on.
You are brutally honest in your assessments of situations - and this always seems to help you cope.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Speaking of steak...

We've been grilling like crazy on our brand new, collapsible, shiny red (and totally rad) Coleman Road Trip grill. Pork chops, brats, marinated chicken, hamburgers with rub, without rub, zucchini slices, corn on the cob (YUM!). Next we'll tackle fish. And kebabs. Fortunately, what did I find in my mailbox today? The July/August issue of Everyday Food magazine (titled "All-American Grilling")! No idea how it got there since I'm not a subscriber any more. Thank you, Grill Gods! It's full of good ideas and lots of basics *like "how to make the perfect burger* so I guess there'll be plenty more for us to try out!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Salad days

Hmmh is there anything better than a nice fresh green salad? Well, yes - a nice fresh green salad with cannellini beans (for protein). And a big juicy steak. That would be perfect, thank you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Booze cruise to Weston, MO

We took a little day trip to Weston, Missouri yesterday. The weather was amazing - 70s, blue sky, low humidity. It was like the last reminder of how beautiful it can be here (before it'll get muggy, hot and overcast during the summer). Weston is home to two wineries as well as the McCormick distillery and a brewery. First we hit the McCormick Country Store where we got samples of their flavoured liquor and vodka for a quarter apiece (maximum two per person, dang!). Whew, that apple vodka was good! Also good that you can buy the stuff in small 200ml bottles.


Afterwards we browsed through the little, country-style antique and gift stores along Main Street. "Quaint" being the adjective of choice here. In between there were some more design oriented shops as well, so I was in heaven. Hubby had fun playing with a kitty outside while I hit a really delightful candle store called 5B&Co. Lots and lots of votive candles with scent names like "Smelly Cat" or "Monkey Farts" for just 1.75 each, very colorfully arranged, and a very nice woman selling them. The place even had wallpaper with little bees on it (because of the beeswax candles, duh!). Soo cute, will be back!


After a very tasty lunch at the Avalon Cafe (grilled portobello sandwich, hmmmh!) situated in an old white antebellum home (needs some restauration on the outside, very nice on the inside though) we visited Pirtle Winery for some wine tasting. The store is located in a former German Lutheran Church with some very tall and steep stairs leading up to it (across the street, some people, apparently residents, sat on their stoop, keeping an amused and somewhat hopeful eye on the tipsy customers leaving the winery who had a hard time getting down those stairs!). Anyway, we had a good time sampling some wines. The mead (wine with honey mixed in) and the fruit wines were very tasty, if a bit too sweet for me. We decided on the Mellow Red, very fruity and good.


Oof, that was enough alcohol and shopping for one day. On our way back we stopped at Weston Bend State Park, enjoying a nice scenic view over the Missouri river and an increasingly hectic walk along one of the trails (the mosquitos were getting to us). Perfect day!


We'll definitely be back later in summer to have a look at the other winery, the brewery, and the farm stores we saw along the way. I saw a "Peaches for Sale" sign and I'm a huge fan of peaches. Also, the landscape was incredibly beautiful; soft, green, rolling hills with some very nice and wealthy looking farm houses set among them. Ah, to buy a house out there! But then again, I bet the nearest Target store would be many miles away...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lounging...


and keepin' an eye on the flies...