Category Archives: Food

Hannah’s Commentary on My Sunday Lunch, as Evidence of My Rapidly Advancing Age

I happily took a seat in my kitchen with a bowl of Vegetable Barley soup and a handful of cheesy Goldfish crackers. Hannah licked her fingers as she polished off her Kid Cuisine burger and fruit snacks. Then, she stared at me, eyes wide open and totally horrified, as I tasted my first spoonful.

Hannah: Mom?

Me: What’s up, Hannah?

Hannah: You’re starting to get old.

Me: What?! Why are you saying that?

Hannah (getting agitated, because the answer is SO obvious): You’re eating soup.

Me: And that means I’m old?

Hannah (totally exasperated): Old men. Who are sick. Eat soup.

Me: Yes, they do. But sometimes young kids who are healthy eat soup, Hannah. And other people, too.

Hannah (dramatic eyeroll; heavy sigh): Yeah, right.

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Meat Update

It’s trash day, and I just cleaned out my freezer, because for the first time in five years I remembered that I’ve been meaning to do that and I remembered it on trash day.

I found some chicken breasts that expired in 2004.

This begs a question, which you can answer by clicking here:

What? It was frozen!

This has been your meat update.

My Conversation with the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Person

Me (ordering for Sam): I’d like a plain double hamburger with ketchup only, please.

Drive-Thru Guy: I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t make double hamburgers. Do you want to order something else instead?

Me (after a long pause, trying hard not to sound dumbfounded and sarcastic): Could I please have a plain double cheeseburger with ketchup only, hold the cheese?

Drive-Thru Guy: Oh. Okay, we can do that, I guess. Anything else?

Me: No, thanks, that’ll do it.

My Intellectual Contribution (So Far) to Presidential Election ’08

Yesterday, Dave Barry conducted a little live question and answer session, as part of his on-the-scene coverage of the New Hampshire primary. Common themes included voter trends, change, Cheez-Its, change, possible nicknames for Mike Huckabee and Dick Harpootlian (neither of whom need nicknames, since their real names are already so fun to say out loud) and also change. I submitted several questions, which Dave graciously answered, much to my school-girlish delight.

Here’s the intro to the Q&A, as written by a professional-type Miami Herald person and seen on The Herald’s website, followed by my questions and Dave’s responses.

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Dave Barry is running for President of the United States — but because he is a trained journalism professional, he is also sporadically covering the other, lesser candidates. On Jan. 8, 29 and on future dates that he can’t disclose just yet, he’ll be chatting live from 1-2 p.m. here. That’s right, he’ll actually be sitting behind a computer at the very same time as you, the reader, send him questions and comments. Please keep in mind that while Dave will answer as many questions as he can, he will laugh at most of them and delete them. That said, Dave may actually answer a question, and it could be yours.

Q: Dave, I realize that you are vehemently pro-change, but generally, I find that it’s easier to type responses to questions if I’m sitting in front of a computer, rather than behind one. Please explain how you developed this specialized skill, which is impressive, yet disturbing.
KDF, Not Quite as Snowy as NH, but Close 1/08/08

A: .rorrim a gnisu epyt I
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Q: Dave, what is Governor Huckabee’s position on Cheez-Its?
KDF 1/08/08

A: I am sure he views them as a an important nutritional component. FACT: One bag of Cheez-Its supplies 8 percent of your daily requirement of little square things the color of a traffic cone.
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Q: Mr. Barry, I took all of my change to the Coinstar machine and now I just have regular old cash, equivalent mathematically to the amount of coinage I turned in (minus a 9% counting fee, of course.) My question: since “change” is all the kids are talking about these days, and given the fact that change is apparently gaining value by the millisecond, particularly in New Hampshire, can I look forward to a day when the people in charge of the various Coinstar machines in my neighborhood will actively compete for my business and will not only stop charging me this so-called “counting fee,” but will pay me a premium to use their machine above anyone else’s just so that they can post boastful signs claiming that they believe in change and have more than anyone else?
KDF 1/08/08

A: That is a LOT of typing.
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Please pardon my giggling, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to participate in that.

Dave’s entire Q & A, which in my humble opinion, is well worth the click, can be seen by clicking here. You must start at the end and go backwards in order to follow the Q&A in order, but hey, the internets are funny like that.

I Resolve

… to not resolve a single damn thing, except for the stuff that I’m resolving already.

Besides, I already belong to (and go to, even) a gym, I’m nice to my neighbors, I eat green vegetables, drink V8, and I write (almost) every day.

My children won’t be better behaved next year, the bathroom sink will not be shinier, I won’t clear out the clutter littering the basement, and I’m sure there will be even more dust bunnies under my couch.

However, 2008 will be the best year ever. I believe!

This Is No Longer Timely, Nor Is It Topical, But I’m Posting It Anyway

The gingerbread stylings of Hannah, Abby and Sam

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Christmas Eve letter to Santa, as scribed by Abby

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Kids on Christmas morning, awaiting their official release from the hallway. Please note the absence of daylight.

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This Is Why I Exercise

Again, with the soup. I’m sorry, I can’t help it. I blame my grandmothers.

Beef Stew with Herbed Dumplings

This is my favorite version of a winter beef stew, which is, as far as I’m concerned, one of VERY FEW existing saving graces of cold weather (the others are: 2) ice skating, and 3) hot chocolate.) This stew is very easy to make, but takes its sweet time getting cooked. However, the resulting rich, smoky flavor and incredibly tender bites of slow-cooked beef are well worth the time spent within stirring distance.

Making the stew:

3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 TBLS peanut oil
5 thick-sliced bacon strips, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked Center Cut Bacon)
3 cups finely chopped onions (3 or 4 medium onions)
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 or 4 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or finely chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 1/2 cups low-sodium canned beef broth (can sub a cup or two of red wine for some of the broth)
1 14 1/2-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added purée

6 medium carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
3 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 TBSP cornstarch (optional; can be used to thicken stew if necessary)

And then, the dumplings. If you’re in a hurry, you can go the Bisquick route (Bisquick + milk + scallions tossed in the pot,) or skip them altogether, and serve up the stew with a hearty bread, instead.)

2/3 cup whole milk (sorry Bon Appetit, I used lowfat)
2 large eggs
3 TBLS minced chives or 2 scallions (green parts only, chopped)
2 TBSP minced fresh Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I subbed whole wheat flour for about half of the total amount)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Place rack in center of oven; preheat to 325°F.

Sprinkle beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Heat oil in large, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, cook beef until brown, stirring occasionally and scraping up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to bowl.

Add bacon to the same pot. Sauté until crisp, about 5 minutes. (I discarded about 2/3 of the bacon grease after sautéing.) Add onions, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Cover and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Return beef to pot. Add five cups canned beef broth and crushed tomatoes. Cover and bring to a simmer.

Transfer pot to oven. Bake until beef is just tender, stirring occasionally, about one hour. Add carrots and potatoes. Cover; bake until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until beef is very tender, about 25 minutes.

While the stew bakes, prep the dumplings: Whisk milk and eggs in medium bowl. Stir in chives and parsley. Let stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Add milk mixture. Stir just until blended.

(The following step is optional — I didn’t bother.) Whisk remaining 1/2 cup beef broth and cornstarch in small bowl to blend. Bring stew to simmer over medium heat. Stir cornstarch mixture into stew. Return to a simmer, stirring until sauce thickens.

(This part is cool; alert the kids!) Spoon dumpling batter in 12 dollops on top of simmering stew. Cover tightly; simmer until dumplings are puffed and tester inserted into center of dumplings comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Tooooooo delicious.