Holiday Treats, Part the First

Hi, everyone. For the second year in a row, I’m afraid my schedule won’t allow for an annual Advent Calendar. (For honestly annual Advent Calendars past, see the 2007 & 2008 installments.) Part of the craziness is just my day job, which always astounds me with its busy-ness — you’d think I’d get used to holiday madness after working for a clothing retailer for 10 years, wouldn’t you? — but also

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I have a photo assignment! I’ll be shooting photos for a cookbook (not my own) starting next weekend!!!! It’s really just a dream come true, as clichéd and silly as that sounds, especially because I’ve toyed with giving up on this blog so many times. But without it I certainly never would have learned enough about photography to even consider doing this for a living. (Just putting it out there, universe…)

Anyway, instead of the Advent Calendar, I’m hoping to squeeze in a few posts on easy-to-make treats that might be nice for the holiday season. These little chocolate & pomegranate nibbles were inspired by something I saw in a comments section somewhere, but I just can’t remember the site. (If they look familiar, please leave a comment and I’ll give credit where it’s due.) Just melt chocolate in a double boiler, add pomegranate arils to achieve a chunky consistency, spoon onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet and top with more arils, then chill until ready to serve. The juicy, tart arils really are a delicious foil to the smooth, bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate of your choice). I used only the two ingredients that were suggested, but I’d imagine they’d be delicious with the addition of chopped nuts, warm spices or a little liqueur.

And a little housecleaning:
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I didn’t make latkes this year for my husband because we’d much rather eat McDonald’s fries than any fried potato that comes out of my kitchen, but we did get the dogs to dress up for another portrait session. (One of the really, truly annual things on this blog. 2009 edition. 2008 edition.) Poor guys.

Happy Hanukkah!

not thrilled with this Hanukkah thing
Otis, rakish

Will there be treats?
Rufus, dubious

Stay tuned for Christmas photos next week.

Better late than never

I’m a week behind, so let’s hear it for Halloween pictures! We should celebrate with leftover candy (assuming it’s lasted this long).

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Rufus begged to wear his Halloween costume to the last farmers’ market of the season. How could we refuse? All I cared about was getting a few veggies and a nice chuck roast for beef bourguignon. As you can see, we both left happy.

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I combined the classic recipe from Julia Child with a couple of Anthony Bourdain’s modifications and tweaked a bit more based on ingredients we had at hand. To say this was the best beef stew I’ve had would be an understatement; I’m sure it was the overdose of demi-glace that did it, but that doesn’t demystify things at all.

recipe and more Ru pics after the jump

Continue reading “Better late than never”

Herbal profusion

The past month’s deluge has been my basil plant’s mortal enemy, but a true friend to my rosemary, thyme and sage plants — they’ve gone into overdrive, growing lush and flavorful from the extended soak. With the herbs spilling from the pot, I’ve been working them into as many dishes as possible. They’ve been a great addition to marinades and add a lot to grilled dishes and salad dressings, but I also revisited an old favorite last weekend and ended up with a delicious jar of rosemary-thyme syrup.

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It’s been wonderful spooned over fresh blueberries (or as an old reliable topping for couche-couche), but I wanted to do a little more with it this time around. Drinks seemed like a natural pairing with the syrup, so I muddled some fresh cherries with it, added a lemon slice, and topped off the glass with cold club soda. (It was too early in the day for Prosecco, but I’ll give it a try for brunch sometime.)

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Inspired by this success, my thoughts turned toward dessert. We had a few bordering-on-overripe peaches in the fridge that, when cooked down with about 1/2 cup of the syrup and frozen in my ice cream machine, became my new go-to sorbet.

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If the sun we’ve had for the past few days holds (fingers crossed!), I may not need to experiment quite so much with my herbs next weekend, but I’m glad I was able to use the dreary weather to my advantage.

Rufus and recipes after the jump

Continue reading “Herbal profusion”

Good news

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Click on the picture to see the full flickr set.

We visited the vet this morning for the first time since Ru’s surgery and things are looking pretty good! Gil posted all of the details over at VM, if you’d like the full update.

But now, we’re getting out of this basement to run errands and pick up something to grill. Yum. More on that later.

Rufus update

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for all of the good wishes for Ru’s speedy recovery. I’m blown away by the support we’ve received over the past few days. Our boy is home and on the mend, and much happier now that his dad is home, too.

Gil posted an update on his site this morning, so check it out. I’ll have more here over the next few days, plus tales of grilling if the weather stays sunny.

Have a great weekend!

new post

Hey, all. I owe you a big wrap-up of our last week or so, but my mind is elsewhere today. Ru was attacked by a neighbor’s dog yesterday on his afternoon stroll with the dog walker and is at the animal hospital awaiting surgery this morning. Gil’s out of town until tomorrow, so I’m just waiting by the phone and cleaning the house from top to bottom to keep busy.

The situation is especially infuriating because this same dog (a husky) broke through his electric fence and attacked another dog just two weeks ago and it seems the owners didn’t do enough to make sure it couldn’t happen again. So our boy has a big chunk of his haunch missing and needs one surgery today to install a rubber drain and another in a month or so to remove the drain and close the wound. (Ru’s vet took plenty of pictures of the wounds and his office notified the police department, so thank goodness that was taken care of before I even got there.)

So I rushed home from work and got to the animal hospital in time to see him before they closed for the evening.

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He was even more pitiful than this when I first saw him, but at least his bed made him comfortable.

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There was some panting, but he was loopy from the pain meds, so he wasn’t in a bad mood at all. I think he enjoyed the dirty t-shirt I brought for him, too.

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But even getting his favorite new toy (John Calamari or Squid Vicious, depending on which one of us you ask) didn’t stop him from accusing me with his eyes when I was ready to go.

a week’s wrap-up after the jump

Continue reading “new post”

… but the troops were dazzled

We bought Rufus a new coat at the craft fair last weekend. The one he wore home from the kennel is nice, but more of a spring/fall coat which wouldn’t be warm enough for the snowy winter we’re expecting. Because we’re indulgent (having no kids to spend money on), this new coat is an extra-special model, complete with a snood.

With snood in place, Ru reminded me of someone, but it took a few minutes before I realized he’s descended from royalty:

So happy together

Gil spent the better part of the week in Atlanta for a conference, so he and Ru are awfully happy to be reunited.

Cute, but I think I’ve just taken the poster shot for NAMDLA.