Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Of My Favorite Posts.

I just ran across this post: This one right HERE. Mama and Sister Hawthorne, click on the link that says HERE above, or the one right up there, and click on the links to follow. And I must say, It's one of my absolute faves. Peanutbutterjellytime is super. Please enjoy.

Dinner With Glowria And Xmaskatie.

Friday afternoon, Xmaskatie showed up since she was going to be house- and Dixie-sitting while Mr. Hawthorne and I went off on Saturday to visit our respective Mommies. And I fixed a special dinner Friday night for her and Glowria - sauteed scallops on a bed of risotto with parmesan crisps, pesto, and caramelized onions. I've posted about this recipe before, but it bears repeating since it's so good.
First I grated the parmesan cheese (Il Villagio is currently my preferred brand.) and made small, pressed rounds on my baking sheet.
I baked them in a preheated 425 degree oven until browned, 7-12 minutes. How's that for an envelope? 7-12? Whatever it takes. It depends on the oven heat, the type of pan you use, the alignment of the planets, the tides (since I live at the beach), your religious affiliation, your particular state of mind. Whatever. You have to watch these very carefully because you can ruin them in a heartbeat. Also, if you leave them on the sheet too long, they're hard to scrape up. (See small container of parmesan pieces at left and crumbled crisps in the mix. They won't be going to waste.) Next, I started on my risotto preparation.
I always rinse off my spinach and other bagged greens no matter what it says on the bag. I don't care if it says it's been triple-turbo hydro-jet -washed and ready-to-eat. And it does. Don't believe 'em. See here in case you doubt me, not that you would ever doubt me.
I poured boiling water over top of some sun-dried tomatoes to soften them. Let steep for at least 20 minutes.
Then I chopped the spinach and tomatoes and grated more parmesan cheese.
I still had frozen cubes of pesto I'd made last fall, so I took those out and let thaw.
Then I started on the risotto.
I melted butter in the hot pan and cooked a chopped onion for several minutes.
I had taken out a quart of my frozen chicken consomme to thaw out.
After the onions were translucent, I poured in about a cup or so of arborio rice.
And cooked, stirring for a few minutes.
Then I started adding in the chicken consomme, maybe a quarter cup at a time, stirring, until the liquid was absorbed by the rice. I kept adding and stirring until the rice had absorbed the whole quart.
At the end, I added in some Chardonnay, which imparted a nice flavor kick to the rice. Making the risotto probably took 30-40 minutes, but it's well worth the effort.
Spinach went in next.
Along with the sun-dried tomatoes.
And parmesan.
Creamy, flavorful, colorful, risotto. I cut off the heat, covered the rice, and started on the caramelized onions.
I added one sliced onion to melted butter and cooked until slightly browned.
Then I deglazed the pan with white wine.
Covered and set aside. Now, on to the scallops.
I rinsed them well.
And patted dry. For proper sauteing, your scallops must be dry. And by dry, I mean dry both literally and figuratively. Literally, I patted the rinsed scallops until they were dry. Figuratively, the scallops are what we call "dry" scallops, as opposed to "wet" scallops. Wet scallops have been injected with a solution of sodium tripolyphosphate (STP) which helps the scallops maintain their moisture, plumps them up, and gives them a longer shelf life. It adds extra weight to the scallops for which you will be paying. The worst part is the chemical gives the scallops a milky appearance and no matter how hot your pan and oil, you will never be able to brown or sear these scallops because of all the excess moisture. The STP also changes the texture of the scallops (Rubber comes to mind.) and masks the sweetness and delicacy of their flavor. I would never buy wet scallops knowingly. Now, those of you who live in the heartland of the country, please, let me know if you can even get dry scallops. You can usually tell the difference by looking at the scallops. Wet scallops will be soaking in a milky-like liquid. Dry scallop liquid is clear. If you don't know and can't tell, always ask the fishmonger. Here's info on dry vs. wet. Oh, and for heaven's sake - if you're ever going to make a ceviche, don't even think about not using dry.
The only seasoning for my scallops was salt and pepper. I heated my pan to medium-high, added about 3 TB of butter and a squirt of Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil, then placed the scallops, one at a time in the pan, not touching. The addition of the olive oil raises the smoking point of the butter. I can get my butter/oil mixture to a higher temperature than just butter. I don't use solely olive oil because I want the butter flavor. I don't use Extra Virgin Olive Oil because it has a strong flavor that I don't want to interfere with the delicacy of the scallops. And the higher temperature afforded by adding the olive oil to the butter means my scallops sear quicker and brown nicely.
Turned after about a minute, or when nicely browned and caramelized from the natural sugars. And now for the "assembly."
I took one scoop of the risotto
and formed a neat, clean shape on the plate.
A parmesan crisp went on top of the risotta pile.
Seared scallops topped the crisp.
Pesto adorned the scallops.
And caramelized onions crowned the entire construction.
Seconds anyone? I just can't describe how wonderful this is. And I hate using words like "wonderful" and "delicious" because they mean everything and they mean nothing. The risotto is a lovely creamy texture with the spinachy greenness and tomatoey fruitiness flavors working with the sweet onion and sharp parmesan flavors. And the Chardonnay is a very nice presence that just embraces the entirety. The sharp, crisp crunch of the parmesan was a nice complement to the creamy risotto. Top that with verdant pesto (Yeah, shoot me. I know verdant is one of Ray Ray's favorite words.) and sweet, caramelized onions and you have a heavenly combination of aromas, textures, tastes, and flavors. This is so simple and easy to make. And I think it makes a really impressive dish. Everyone always comes back for seconds. Because it is both WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS.

Send Me The Money.

What luck! Another email. My blessings continue to flow freely. Now, I just need to send them that $500,000. Where's my checkbook? My Dear Friend I AM DR JOSEPH KOFI A BRANCH MANAGER WITH THE ICB BANK OF GHANA (ICBG) I AM WRITING YOU THIS LETTER BECAUSE COOL PENNY IS BETTER THAN MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. IT IS BETTER FOR ONE TO LIVE AND DIE A POOR HONEST MAN THAN A RICH DISHONEST ONE,I AND THE CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER (CSO) OF OUR BANK HAVE ARRANGED WITH AN OFFICER IN THE COMPUTER SECTION, ENGINEER JUSTIN TO BRING OUT A THE FUND /INHERITANCE/CONTRACT WE SAW IN YOUR NAMES, TOTAL CONTRACT SUM AMOUNTING TO SEVEN MILLION US DOLLARS. THE REASON WE ACTED THIS WAY, IS THAT, DUE TO THE INFORMATION GATHERED FROM THE BANKS COMPUTER NETWORK SYSTEM, YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR A LONG TIME TO RECEIVE YOUR FUND WITHOUT SUCCESS,I ALSO DISCOVERED THAT YOU HAVE MET ALL THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS OF THE ICB BANK GHANA IN RESPECT OF YOUR PAYMENT, YOUR PROBLEM IS COMING FROM THE INTEREST GROUPS. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN YOUR PAYMENT AND THOSE PEOPLE ARE MERELY DOING PAPER WORKS WITH YOU AND THAT EXPLAINS WHY YOU RECEIVE EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS FROM DIFFERENT PEOPLE EVERYDAY. ALSO WE FOUND OUT THAT SOME OF THE OFFICIALS OF THE PARASTATALS THAT EXTORTED A LOT OF MONEY FROM YOU, WITH THE PRETEXT OF HELPING YOU. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT THIS MAY LAST FOR YEARS YET NOTHING HAPPENS IF, YOU DO NOT GO AWAY WITHTHOSE OFFICERS THAT YOU CALL YOUR PARTNERS, AND FOR SECURITY REASONS, DO NOT TELL ANYONE THAT YOU HAVE YOUR MONEY, UNTIL YOU RECEIVE CASH AT YOUR DOORSTEP. THE MONEY IS IN ONE SECURITY-FUNDPORTFOLIO YESTERDAY WE WENT FOUR COURIER COMPANIES TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS ON HOW TO SHIP THE FUNDPORTFOLIO BY COURIER TO YOU. DHL, EMS, FEDEX, ISA ALL SAID THAT THEY MUST OPEN THE BOX FOR INSPECTION WITH THE COOPERATION OF THE CUSTOMS BEFORE SHIPMENT THIS IS SOMETHING WE WANT TO AVOID BECAUSE THE BOX WERE PADDED WITH MACHINE,WE TOLD THE COURIER COMPANY THAT THE BOX CONTAINS PHOTOGRAPHIC AND FILM MATERIALS AND WHEN OPEN WILL LOOSE ITS EFICACY. WE DID NOT DECLARE MONEY BECAUSE COURIER DOES NOT CARRY MONEY. TODAY A FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS A DIPLOMAT DISCLOSED TO ME THAT THERE SOME DIPLOMATIC EXPERT THAT ALWAYS LIFT FUNDS FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER,IT HAS DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY AND CANNOT BE INSPECTED BY ANY CUSTOMS ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, I WILL MEET WITH THEM AS SOON AS I GET YOUR PERMITION. THE DIPLOMAT WILL HELP US SO WE DO NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEM, WE HAVE CONCLUDED THAT YOU MUST COMPENSATE US WITH FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVE YOUR MONEY. TO THIS EFFECT, YOU WILL SEND US A PROMISSORY NOTE FOR FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLAR ALONG WITH YOUR MAILING ADDRESS FOR SENDING THE BOX BY DIPLOMATIC,PLEASE I URGE YOU TO MAINTAIN TOPMOST SECRECY TO AVOID PROBLEMS,DO NOT DISCLOSE THIS TRANSACTION TO ANYONE UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR FUNDPORTFOLIO. I SHALL NEED YOUR DATA FOR EASY COMMUNICATION WITH THE DIPLOMATS 1) YOUR ACTIVE MOBILE NUMBER.... 2)PHYSICAL ADDRESS ........ 3)AGE ........... 4)OCCUPATION AND POSITION ........ ONCE I CONFIRM YOUR READINESS TOWARDS RECEIVING THE DIPLOMAT , WITHIN 24HOURS THE CONSIGNMENT WILL BE IN YOUR COUNTRY AIR PORT FOR CLEARANCE . I WANT TO HELP YOU BECAUSE SOMETHING IN ME IS TELLING ME THAT, YOU ARE AN HONEST PERSON,WE SINCERELY HOPE THAT YOU WILL FULFIL YOUR PROMISE AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF THIS TRANSACTION. WE SHALL THEN HELP YOU TO SHIP THE FINAL PART OF YOUR FUND TO YOU, GOD IS WITH US AS WE WAIT FOR YOUR REPLY THROUGH THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS YOURS FAITHFULLY, DR JOSEPH KOFI.

Monday, March 30, 2009

More E-Mail Offers.

I could be multi-lingual in 10 days.
Pimsleur Language System

In Four Easy Installments.

My email offers keep getting better and better. Just check it out at ShamWow. Ummm ... Kathy? I just threw more on the perv pile. Going to check MY FeedJit now.

Easter Bunnies.

Mr. Hawthorne and I drove back home today and passed by this yard again. Poor little bunnies. They were all little pools of deflated plastic. Mr. Hawthorne wouldn't stop so I could get the after picture. I'm happy I got the before picture. And, Kathy, the gauntlet is down. I see your porn tubes and raise you deflated pools of bunnies.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

'cause Nothing Celebrates The Resurrection Like Inflatable Bunnies.

Some of my regular readers may remember this post from the Hawthornes' December trip to Danville. On Highway 86, there's a yard which is decorated to the teeth for every season. Here it is for Christmas: Mama Hawthorne, click to enlarge to take in the full glory of the display. And yesterday,when Mr. Hawthorne and I drove by, I made him stop so I could get some pictures of their Easter display.
I wonder where this stuff is stored the rest of the year. Because these people don't miss a holiday. I'm guessing they have a lot of time on their hands. Me? I'm happy if I get the Christmas tree decorated by Christmas Eve and the front porch lights down by Easter.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Send Me The Money. And The BMW!

Just imagine my excitement
when I opened my email today
and found that I have won
more money and a BMW to boot!

The BMW Automobile Company, Congratulate you
as one of our Ten(10) Star Prize Winner.
You won (750,000.00GBP) and a new BMW X6Drive Car.
Contact claims 
director Mr. Williams Jackson
with the following.
Full name/Contact 
address/Sex/Tel/Occupation/Age/Country.
Name: Mr. Williams Jackson
E-mail: bmwpromodepartment@j-mail.info
Phone No:+44 7035931848
Regards, Mrs.J. M.Canon Lopez

But wait.
It gets better!
Another email arrived soon after the first.
Godt nytår til dig,

Det er hr. Wallis Marvin Microsoft
hævder agent fra Microsoft Lotteri
Boardi har deponeret din
vindende check af 500000,00 pund
for levering
siden banken og har nægtet
at kontakte dig for levering,
jeg har tilbage til
Afrika (Nigeria) for nogle seminar,
så jeg har deponeret en Confirmable Bank
Udkast til 500000,00 Pounds med
Fed Ex Courier Plc til levering jeg har
også betales for leveringen.
Jeg har ventet på dig da til at kontakte
mig for Deres Confirmable
Bank Draft af 500000,00 Pund, men jeg har
ikke hørt fra du sincethat tid.
Så jeg gik hen og deponeres udkastet
med FED EX COURRIER
SERVICE, Abuja, Nigeria,
inden jeg rejste ud af landet for en 3
Måneder Coursein Nigeria,
og jeg vil ikke vende tilbage til november 2009.
Hvad  du skal gøre nu er at
kontakte FED EX kurertjeneste med din
oplysninger nedenfor:

Fulde navn:
TELEFON:
POSTADRESSE:
CITY:
TILSTAND:
LAND:
ERHVERV:R

Så hurtigt som muligt at vide,
hvornår de vil levere din pakke til
dig  på grund af den udløbende dato.
Til din information, jeg har betalt
for  levere Debiter,
Forsikrings-præmie og Clearance Certificate
Gebyrskategori af  Check viser,
at det ikke er en Drug Money
eller menes at sponsorere Terrorisme 
angreb i dit land.

De eneste penge,
du vil sende til FED EX
kurertjeneste at levere din
Udkast til direkte til din
postadresse i dit land (120 Euro)
eneste, der Security Keeping
Gebyrskategori af Courier Company hidtil. Igen,
ikke blive snydt af et organ
til at betale alle andre penge
undtagen (120 euro).
Jeg skulle have betalt,
men de sagde nej,
fordi de ikke ved, hvornår youwill
kontakte dem, og i tilfælde af overliggetid.
Du er nødt til at
kontakte FED EX
Kurertjeneste nu til levering
af din Udkast med denne
Oplysningerne nedenfor;

Owen RICHARD
Email: register_fedexunit@yahoo.com.hk
Telefon: +2348077622197

Endelig skal du sørge for
at bekræfte din postadresse og Direct
telefonnummer til dem igen
for at undgå enhver misforståelse om
levering og
bede dem om at give
dig den tracking nummer,
så du spore pakken over
der og vide, hvornår det
vil komme til din adresse.
Lad mig gentage igen, så prøv
My excitement is palpable. I know I've won something magnificent. I just don't know what it is. (Although I am wondering about the references to "drug money" and "terrorism.")

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rosie Makes Semolina Pasta.

I've been having a hankering for some time now to make my own pasta. And I finally did yesterday.
2 cups semolina flour 2 cups flour 2 eggs, well-beaten 1/2 cup cold water 1 TB olive oil salt
I beat the eggs and added a tablespoon of Extra Light Bertolli Olive Oil to the mix. Extra Light Bertolli is my go-to olive oil. It has no over-powering flavor like an extra virgin olive oil and it doesn't taste like turpentine. It's just a behind-the-scene olive oil that lends itself to whatever I want to do. I use the butter for flavor and the olive oil to bring up the smoke temperature. It's a nice symbiotic relationship.
I added 1/2 cup cold water to the mix.
I mixed the two flours and the salt and made a well, into which I gradually poured the eggs and worked the flour.
Working and pouring.
And kept adding the liquid and working it.
Pouring and working.
Almost another 1/2 cup of cold water was added to work the dough.
Along with flour, as needed.
I kneaded and kneaded for about 15 minutes, adding flour and water as needed until I got this lovely dough.
I floured it and covered it up with a plastic wrap while I fixed the fixin's.
I used maybe 1/3-2/3 of the semolina pasta dough for last night's dinner.
I started working the dough through my pasta machine at the lowest setting.
Folded it over and ran it through again. And again and again through the different settings, getting thinner and thinner.
Then I piped my sweet potato filling down the center. Recipe to follow.
I squished the pockets apart.
Crimped the edges.
Check this out. I have 7 settings on my pasta machine. I'm comfortable getting to number 5. Number 6 is tough. Never gotten to number 7.
This is the pasta on Number 6 setting.
Piping out the sweet potato filling.
Crimping.
Separating.
Here's the next type of ravioli I made. Mascarpone and ricotta cheeses, blanched asparagus and FROZEN green peas.
Now here's the sweet potato filling.
I peeled, diced and cooked the taters in salted water until tender.
Added buttah.
Salt and pepper.
Bit of squab spice.
Next I fried some sage leaves for topping.
And blanched some sage leaves for the sauce.
Sage leaves get plunged into ice water bath to stop cooking and set the color.
Drain on paper towels.
Next filling: asparagus.
Dice.
1/2 cup each diced asparagus and FROZEN peas.
Blanch for about 90 seconds.
Then into ice water bath.
My ingredients: blanched asparagus and peas mascarpone ricotta butter parsley parmesan Next is the topping for the asparagus and pea raviolis.
I put two Roma tomatoes in boiling water for about 20 seconds so I could easily peel them.
Peel, seed, and juice tomatoes.
Chopped onions, tomatoes, and parsley.
Melt butter in saucepan and add onions.
And tomatoes.
And parsley.
Cook, then add a bit of heavy cream. Sauce for the asparagus and pea ravioli is done. Now, the sauce for the sweet potato agnolotti.
First, I made a beurre monte. And what is beurre monte, you ask. Regular butter, in its solid state, is an emulsification of 3 components: butter fat water milk solids. When you melt butter, these 3 components separate. By boiling a tablespoon of water, then whisking in a tablespoon of butter at a time, over gentle and consistent heat, you can melt the butter and at the same time, maintain the emulsification.
Then I added some heavy cream.
A little buttermilk.
Salt and pepper and Dijon mustard.
I processed the blanched sage leaves, then poured in the beurre monte mixture.
And added a bit of lemon juice at the end. Sauce done. And it's delicious.
I tossed a few of the sweet potato agnolotti and the asparagus/pea ravioli (What's the difference between agnolotti and ravioli?) into boiling water for about 4-5 minutes.
On the left, my asparagus/pea concoction with a tomato basil/parsley sauce. Did I forget to mention I put some chopped fresh basil in there? On the right, sweet potato agnolotti with sage cream sauce.
And on top of the sweet potato agnolotti with the sage sauce, I added fried sage leaves which sends it to a whole 'nother spectrum.
Mascarpone and ricotta cheese with blanched asparagus and green peas, with a tomato/onion/parsley/basil/cream sauce.
With a sweet potato stuffed pasta with a sage/beurre monte/cream/mustard sauce topped with fried sage leaves which are to die for.
Sage pasta.
Asparagus/pea pasta with tomato cream sauce. Now, while I was making semolina pasta, creating the stuffings, and making the sauces, Mr. Hawthorne was thawing out his crab cakes, which means, I told him where to find the crab cakes in the freezer and he left them on the counter and I went back to my work, while he hied to the sofa with the remote control and watched another stupid movie.
Melted some butter in a pan. Added the crab cakes.
Browned one side and turned over.
Served with tomato cream sauce and remoulade sauce (recipe from Lucky 12 Tavern), and lemon.
No filler. All crab. Delish. You will not find any of these dishes in a restaurant.