Oct 30, 2009

Prawn Stars

I have previously mentioned my extreme adoration of all thing shellfish (and pig, which is why I would make the worst Jewish person ever, at least at keeping kosher-luckily Presbyterians don't worry about dietary restrictions).  So two of my favorite shrimp recipes-

The first one is from Paula Deen & Friends (an excellent cookbook- I suggest you go get buy it immediately).  I like this recipe for a potluck, as an accompaniment to a dinner party when Hubs is grilling meat (especially good with pork tenderloin, nom, nom, nom), and as a main dish for a ladies luncheon, like a shower.  Also- it's a perfect use for leftover cooked shrimp from a shrimp boil.  One last perk is that it is equally delicious hot or cold so it can be served year round.  Okay, spiel over, recipe follows-

Artichoke Rice Salad with Shrimp

6 to 8 (big) servings.

•1 (6.9-ounce) package Rice a Roni, chicken flavor
•1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
•3 to 4 green onions, chopped, white and green parts
•12 to 14 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced
•1 teaspoon curry powder (I love curry, so I do a very heaping teaspoon)
•Salt and pepper
•1 pound small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a skillet sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray, brown the Rice A Roni. Do not add the butter or oil that the package directions suggest. Add the water the package requires and the seasoning packet and prepare according to package directions.

Drain the artichoke hearts and reserve the marinade. In a small bowl, whisk the marinade and the mayonnaise to combine. Add the artichoke hearts, green pepper, green onions, olives, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and mix together.

If serving this recipe cold, cook the shrimp in a small amount of salted water for about 3 to 4 minutes, until firm and cooked through. Test a shrimp to see if it is the texture you like. If you are going to serve this as a hot casserole, just plunge the shrimp into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes and drain. Do not overcook.

Add the artichoke mixture to the rice and pasta mixture. Gently stir in the cooked shrimp. If serving as a salad, chill until ready to serve. If serving as a casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place in a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish and bake for 20 minutes, until heated through.
Next up- Shrimp/Crawfish Etouffee

This is from Bon Appetit, Y'all by Virginia Willis.  It is another wonderful cookbook that you should purchase as soon as you can.  Until then here is a wonderful recipe for a dinner party- I make it for my now annual Mardi Party in February.  Hubs makes Hurricanes.  Lats year was the inaugural year, the etouffee was enjoyed, and we all got very rowdy. So I'll quit rambling and give y'all the info-
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 5 green onions (green parts only) chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 cups fish or shrimp stock
  • 2 pounds cooked crawfish tails, or cooked small shrimp
  • hot sauce for seasoning
  • coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
  • rice to serve
In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven (my Le Cresuet works the best), melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour, stirring slowly and constantly, and cook to a chocolate brown roux, about 30 minutes.  (Okay here I differ- it takes me over 45 minutes- just be patient). 

Add the onions, celery, and bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are wilted and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and green onion tops and stir to combine. Add the garlic and cool until fragrant (about 45-60 seconds).  Add the fish stock and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over very high heat.

Decrease the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced, about 20 minutes.  Add the crawfish or shrimp, and stir to combine.  Cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.  Season with hot sauce.  Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve with rice pilaf.


Oct 29, 2009

Don't Be Fooled by the Rocks that I Got!

Please notice that Skeletor (aka Mr. J. Lo) is having to hold back said  Miss Lo. as she prepares to cut that Kardashian bee-yotch for attempting to steal her look.  Does J. Lo even deign to know who Kim is?  Probably not til this event, when J. Lo had to beat her.  Too bad Marc Anthony held her back.

I'm not worried though.  I remember Jenny who's from the Bronx.  She still knows someone from the block who's not scared.  Fly girls 4-eva!

Oct 28, 2009

What's Next For Me (according to Amazon)

So last night I went to the release party for the Blackberry Farm cookbook.  It was super fun, probably due to the large amount of cured meats there.  I also scored a copy of the book- which means one thing to strike off my Amazon list.  Hubs also informed me a copy of My New Orleans will be arriving at my doorstep this afternoon as a very sweet happy prize.  I am in cookbook heaven!

So having updated my list, I perused Amazon's soon to be released recommendations for me:

I love Barbara Kingsolver- The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven are books I could reread over and over.  The Poisonwood Bible especially resonates with me because of the time I spent living in Africa.  Then Prodigal Summer takes place in my own Southern Appalachians.  Needless to say, I am ready for The Lacuna.

Now for some lighter selections- the recently deceased Dominick Dunne's Too Much Money.   I love his well written yet trashy novels chronicling, much like his Vanity Fair column, the lives and crime of the rich and famous.  Scandalous and fun!

Have ya'll read any of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig?  It's chick lit with a PhD in history.  Very cute and delightful reads.  Also, I don't know how the author does it- she was simultaneously getting her JD (law degree) and another degree in English History at Harvard while writing her fist two books.  Um, productive much?

Oooh, I am so excited about this biography of the Queen Mother- I really don't know that much about her, so this Will be an excellent dose of British history and Royals.

The rest of my list includes some more cookbook- I told ya'll I have a problem, and Bethenny Frankel's new Naturally Thin follow up, which Lord knows I need!

More to come on my new cookbooks, and some recipes.

Oct 27, 2009

My So-Called Life Flashback

I was perusing some catalogs this weekend (part of my rest and rejuvenation), and noticed something that placed me right back in 1994-1995.  For example- Urban Outfitters.

Plaid.  Lots of it.  Now when I was 14-15ish and sporting a rocking little bod that I will kill for now, I refused to wear clothes that fit me (as did all my friends), and was in a decidedly Angela Chase-ish phase.  Baggy jeans, plaid shirts, and a hippie/grunge look falling off my less than 100 pound slender frame.  Quelle Horreur!

But I was Angela Chase- as were we all, no?  The older guy that occupied your every thought, changing friendships, insecurities, parental issues.  Such a good show.  However, the clothes. . .need to remain in 1994-1995.  For the love of Buffalo Tom.

The floral rayon dresses (preferably paired with a chunky doc marten boot), has Sharon written all over it.

And then the plaid- I believe the first is from Forever 21, and the lovely vest is Urban Outfitters. 

Yeah- looking good girl- check out that grunge era layering.  I know, it's difficult to remove your eyes from the god propped up against the locker- we're focusing on fashion here ladies!

Rayanne would have sported this over her hippie flowy garb, for a little punk look.  Maybe she borrowed it from Tino.

I had to include this little Forever 21 number- Brenda Walsh meet Angela Chase.  Shudder.

Now, lest you think it's just the trendy teen oriented clothing stores which are jumping on the mid nineties band wagon, I present to you J. Crew, that bastion of all that is preppiness.

Yeah- Rayanne Graff definitely wore that exact outfit.

But then there is this.  From Forever 21.

Which makes me think of this. . .

Hello Jordan Catalano. 

You know a guy is hot when the fact that he can't read makes him more attractive.

Angela, we feel your pain.

I would have failed geometry too.

Oct 26, 2009

New Job, Odds and Ends

I don't really have a new job.  I'm still plugging away, writing contracts and agreements.  I have a new dream job.  This one is slightly more unrealistic than writer for Garden and Gun.

After a SSB Saturday night filled with chocolate cake and repeated What Not to Wear viewings, I have decided that I want to be Stacy London.  She helps people, yet remains a bitchy fashionista with amazing clothes and a perfect counterpart in Clinton.  They are cruel to be kind.  I can so do that!

Unfortunately, I believe that Stacy's editorial and styling experience are much more apt to lead to a hosting gig of a makeover show than my own I-really-like-clothes-and-dressing-people-in-my-own-taste experience.  Still, I would be really good at it.  

In other news, while tweeting last night, Hubs asking me what I was doing.  I said "Messing around on Twitter."  He wanted to know who I was talking to, and I replied "Blogs I read."  Then I threw in, "You know I have a blog, right?"  So I think now he is a little confused between my blogging and my tweeting, but I feel much relieved that I have let the blog out of the secret shame bag.  Whew.

It was a fab weekend filled with rest, productivity and more rest.  Junior League volunteer shift all Saturday morning at our Tinsel and Treasure shopping fundraiser, followed my some quality time with Hubs, a workout, Tennessee-Bama game watching, then a SSB marathon of Sorority Wars (Lifetime movie- I only like the ones which center around high schoolers or college age females), and as previously mentioned, WNTW. 

Sunday was also refreshingly hangover and exhaustion free- woke up and went to early church, then a skinny vanilla latte fueled me to throw together a ham and bean soup in the pot for dinner.  Then I ran 4 miles!!!!  This exceeded my previously reached distance of 3 miles!  I am doing the Galloway method where you run for 3 minutes, then walk for 1.  I am a slow runner anyway, but my total time for 4 miles plus 1 mile warm up/cool down was 55 minutes!  I think walking does make me faster- who woulda thunk it?

Oct 23, 2009

My Slightly Terrifying New Plan

I am going to run a half-marathon!!!   Currently I can run, mmmm, about 3 miles.  I am huffing and puffing at the end and drenched in sweat.  So now I have 5 months to add 10 miles onto that.  Huh.  And this course seems pretty hilly. Although, everywhere in East Tennessee is hilly so that is unsurprising.

So after making this decision I immediately went to Borders last night, and bought Jeff Galloway's beginner half marathon training book. 's all about run/walks.  Sweet- I like to walk.  Especially after a bout with running.

I am scared.  You lovely marathon-blogging ladies have inspired me.  Now I need your help- keep that inspiration coming over the next five months please.  If any ladies would like to "virtually" train together with this little turtle, please let me know!

Oct 22, 2009

I Heart Martha (and her hair)

So, I have told ya'll about how excited I am for the Blackberry Farm cookbook.  Apparently M. Stew. is pumped too, because she is having our family friend, inn proprietor, and cookbook author Sam Beall on her show tomorrow!

Everyone please look up the times when the show is airing on your local affiliate tomorrow.  Sam is a huge proponent of sustainable eating and the slow food movement.  Blackberry grows the organic food on premises, and makes the most incredible cheese.  Mmmmm.

Sam is also featured in this month's House Beautiful, talking about his Southern heritage, and the cooking predilections of Southern men.  Go buy a copy- it's a great issue otherwise (but that's a post for next week).

So inspired by Martha, here is my recipe (adapted from cdkitchen.com) for "Cinnamon Bun in the Oven Scones"


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for dusting scones
1 stick butter (very chilled)
1 cup packaged cinnamon chips
1 egg, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

In another bowl, combine egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Chill dough in fridge for about 15 minutes.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Handling it as gently as possible - don't use a rolling pin - pat into a 10 inch circle that is 1/2-inch thick and cut into wedges; or, cut with a 2-inch cookie cutter.

 Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet on top of parchment paper. Lightly beat the egg white. Brush tops with the egg white; dust with sugar.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. After 5 minutes, cover loosely with a dishtowel until completely cool.


Oct 21, 2009

Shower (Also, am I the only girl who hates 'em?)

I have to be honest with ya'll.  I despise showers.  Really, they give me the nerve so bad.  I had a surprise lingerie shower at a bar in New Orleans on my bach, and a couples tool shower which was more of a casual engagement party, because I refused to have more.  Because I don't like them.

Now that my rant is out of the way, here's pics from the lovely baby shower we threw this weekend for my friend, ALE who is expecting a baby in December.  One of the other hostesses, Veaz, has a shower in 2 weeks, and is also expecting in December.  It's contagious I suppose.  Maybe I should start wearing a mask.

Here's the delish spread.

I am so impressed with LAM's arrangements- I need to take my Mama's advice and take a flower arranging class.

We had 2 dessert stands of large yummy petit fors.  Tip of the day- if you live near an university, please check with their bakery for good deals- we had 40 of these for $26!!!!

Jules, MC, and MC's mom, CM.  MC is ready to have some boyfriends when these December babies are born.

Peg, my workout buddy, and myself.  Do you notice how I look like a deer in headlights?  Thank goodness for adrenaline.

MOH and me.  She was feeling my pain herself.  However, as she was just hungover, and not a hostess, she left early.  I'm not jealous or bitter at all.

The beautiful mama to be, ALE, opening gifts.

ALE and Veaz with their big ole bellies.  Folks, I am not ready for this quite yet.

The shower was a great time though, even for a very serious shower-hater.  It was beautiful, and everyone loved the scones!  If anyone wants the recipe, let me know!

Oct 20, 2009

Why I am Suffering Still from Exhaustion

I just wanted to show ya'll how much I love my J. Crew Pixie pant (please excuse Cousin It hair, lack of makeup and simian facial expression here).  For the all of the guests of the wedding's party Friday night, it was a Southern feast replete with a bluegrass band and name tags that said "Hey Ya'll, I'm _______"   Hee.  My friend's now-wife grew up in Switzerland and there were people from over two dozen countries at the wedding.

After a quick fashion show with AK (conveniently my neighbor), we decided my charcoal cashmere cowl neck, although cozy, was not festive enough.  So I changed into this-

Paired with a warm gold scarf- I was ready to go.  The party was fun, and I stayed up way too late. 

The next day was dedicated to scone baking, and therefore involved an early morning.  Blergh.

Forty scones made, baked, packaged and ready to go.  Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. 

Problem- it was about 45 degrees, and I'm headed to an outdoor wedding.  Our clothing was all a little random.  It was too cold to take my hands out of my gloves for pictures, so this is what I have:

ERJ, MOH and Me.  I'm making that weird face because smoke from the fire pit in front of us is blowing directly into my eyes.  The wedding was gorgeous though, and so much fun.  However, my red wine consumption was intense, as it was my main plan for staying warm. This in turn led to getting rowdy with old friends until, hmmmm, after 2 o'clock.  Great plan, especially since I had to teach Sunday school.

I'll be back with baby shower pictures, as it was just darling.


Just recieved this pic from my friend Dan.  Me and Lise, ERJ, and MOH.  At the bar.  At 1:45-ish.  I look rather purple-smiled, no?

Oct 19, 2009


Such a fun weekend.  Wonderful wedding, lots of time with old friends, baby shower went well, scones were fab, children were entertaining in Sunday School.  But I am still about to fall out, so your recap post shall arrives later this evening.  Or maybe tomorrow.  Just too tired right now.

Oct 16, 2009

Trivia Question

So last night I stopped by a local watering hole to meet Hubs and the guys, who play trivia there every Thursday.  I was immediately sucked in, because I love trivia of all sorts.  So here's the question which I fought tooth and nail for my answer for the team (and got right)

What prescription medication did the U.S. government bribe Afghan Warlords with in the recent conflict there?

More Hate Mail

Yay!  It's Boss's Day!!  Overslept so no breakfast.  however, the kitchen is overflowing with delish treats from our staff!!  Hurrah!!

This eased the pain when I had yet another voicemail from the ex-client's crazy son in law.  He was in a bar, drunk.  Awesome. 

However, his threats now extend to one of our partners (who Crazy thinks is a different lawyer with the same last name).  This is a good thing.  Said partner has done several Ironmans, and keeps a gun safe in his office.  He sat and listened to Crazy's message which at one point stated "Tell Partner that if he has the balls to call me back, here's my number and my address. . ."   Ouch.  Insulting Partner's manhood did not go over well.  I think Partner's exact words were "If he comes up here, I'm going to kick his ass."  Eloquent, no?

After hearing a drunk Crazy say that he does not care to go to jail for violating a protective order, (which scares the bejesus out of me, ya'll) I'm all for a little ass kicking!

Oct 15, 2009

Hmmmppppphhhh, Help Needed, and Hate from Crazies

So my week has already been pretty poor.  Residual tiredness from UT-UGA game, and the constant rain.  Plus I had Opera Board meeting and a Junior League meeting earlier this week, Intro Knox today, a wedding party Friday night, wedding Saturday, teaching Sunday School, then hosting a baby shower Sunday afternoon.  Whew!  Add in never ending rain, and you have got yourself one grumpy girl.

So for the shower I am making my signature artichoke dip, and adorable favors inspired by the ladies over at The Plan. 

So I am making "Cinnamon-Bun-in-the Oven Scones".  For which I need cinnamon chips.  No problem.  I have seen them in Kroger tons of times.  Apparently not.  Everywhere in Knoxville was out of these darn cinnamon chips.  The lady on the phone at Super Target was super helpful and suggested this baker's supply place.  Jackpot- except no.  They did not have them.  So google to the rescue.  I find some random message board that says you can get the chips at this Amish country market about an hour away.

So I leave work, and head up to Bull's Gap, Tennessee to buy me some cinnamon chips.  Once I got there I also got some good ham for beans/soup, some spicy pimento cheese, and a blackberry jam cake.  I will be back.

Oh yeah- it's an Amish market.

So I get home last night, and start scone making and baking.  Tra, la, la.  The scones taste delicious! 


They spread all over the cookie sheet!  Dripping down to the floor of the oven, which made my smoke detector freak out.  This is turn made me freak out- frantically clawing at the thing in a short girl's attempt to bang the battery out?

So bakers- was my butter not cold enough?  What's the problem?  I blame my oven.  It's gas.  I love a gas cook top, but gas ovens bring the lameness.

So I had a spread-y cinnamon scone this morning for brekkie.  It was a yummy crumbly disaster.  Hmmmppph.

P.S. To top it all off, I had a message waiting for me this morning from an ex-client's son in-law.  He is insane and not supposed to be calling me.  His increasingly crazy/threatening messages were the reason I resigned from representing his mother in law.  Crazy ended his angry message with "Have a heart attack!  Bye!"


Oct 14, 2009

I was mean to a Boy Scout

So ya'll know those times when you are really tired, make-up free, wearing a strange combo of sweats and flip flops, and can't (or do not desire to) form a sentence to save your life?

That was me Sunday night.  It was a very fun, but tiring weekend.  I didn't want to talk.  I wanted to eat a grilled cheese, tomato soup and watch Curb and Mad Men.  This, by the way, is what I want to do pretty much every Sunday night during football season. 

So Hubs and I walk into our small local grocery to get some cheese for me, and some junk for him.
Outside are very persistent Boy Scouts selling their popcorn.  Or requesting orders for popcorn which comes in a month or whatever.  I lied.  To the Boy Scouts.  I said that I bought some from people at work.  Due to the mental fog, and the fact that I was lying to Boy Scouts, I stumbled over this explanation.  Badly.  The Scouts were staring at me, and then proceeded to tell me that they accept donations as well.  Which go to the troops, or some other noble thing.  I was trying to get away, and didn't really listen.  Hence my response-

"Okay!  Thanks!"

In a slightly dismissive, bitchy tone.  Obviously, unintentional.  Also, my response makes zero sense.  I had no cash and wanted to get away.  Hubs luckily gave them a couple bucks, and restrained himself from laughing aloud at me.  He did tell me they said "Mister, your wife's a bitch!", which of course they did not.

Here's the thing- I don't like that stupid popcorn.  I don't like sweet popcorn, their regular is disgusting with trans-fat fake butter, and their light popcorn is blah. I always buy it, and have to get through ten thousand bags of popcorn I don't like in order to go to the grocery store and purchase yummy popcorn which I do in fact enjoy.

Get a unique product!  Girl Scouts sell a unique type of cookie, which cannot be replicated.*  They sell outside a grocery store because those customers are obviously interested in purchasing food stuffs.  However, you cannot purchase their product in the grocery store.  Stupid Boy Scout popcorn can in fact be purchased in a superior form in the grocery store.  It tastes better and costs less.  This means I can't buy popcorn til the Boy Scout popcorn sale is done, and they abandon their grocery store ambush technique.
Unique product- then I'll buy, kiddos.

*I was indeed a Girl Scout and I sold mad amounts of cookies, yo.