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Well then

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Behold my rumpled bed and the homework I am trying to do in it between naps. I really hope to be back on schedule with the words tomorrow.

Guest Post–Cognac: A collision of cultures

People have been enjoying cognac for hundreds of years, and this complex tipple is still a hit with drinkers. A type of brandy made in the region surrounding the town of Cognac in France, it must be produced from at least 90 percent ugni blanc, folle blanche or colombard grapes. The remaining ten percent can be made from ten further selected grape varieties. However, most cognac is made solely from ugni blanc grapes. It’s also worth noting that the beverage must be distilled twice in copper pot stills and then aged for at least two and a half years in oak barrels in order to be considered official.

When people think of cognac, they often conjure up images of middle-aged men sitting around the fireplace with a glass in one hand and a cigar in the other. It’s certainly true that the drink has bags of traditional appeal.

However, a younger generation are also now reaching for this iconic brandy. In 2001, hiphop artists Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy released a song entitled Pass the Courvoisier, bringing cognac to the attention of young music fans around the world. Other artists to have mentioned the tipple include Ja Rule, 2 Pac, Snoop Doggy Dogg and LL Cool J.

Both nostalgic and new cocktails are another option making cognac trendy for the younger crowd. For example, by adding the brandy to Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and ice cubes, people can create the delicious Baby Doll. For the best results, the lip of the glass should be sugared. The brandy can also be combined with champagne, bitters and sugar and served in an elegant champagne flute.

Traditionalists tend to sip the beverage from tulip or balloon shaped glasses after warming it up using the heat of their hands. This can help to release the aromas and bring out the full flavor. However, some younger cognacs are specially created to be consumed chilled. But thankfully, there’s no right or wrong way to drink cognac. Given the widespread appeal of cognac and its versatility, it seems likely that it will remain a hit with drinkers of all ages and persuasions for the foreseeable future.

P is for Precious Papers

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N is for Night

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Smiles for May 15

  1. Getting a bunch of internet research done.
  2. Developing a loose plot-line.
  3. Getting my crafty on.
  4. Feeling the burn.
  5. Completing seven basic scrapbook pages, to which I can add details and stories later.  It’s a start on the 10 year backlog.
  6. Broasted veggies and fresh bread for dinner.
  7. Being asked to make more bread for breakfast.
  8. Freeing myself from the obligation to read The Psychiatric Interview
  9. Writing down the daily agenda.  Yeah, finally.  I had to see what worked.

May 2, W is for

Wal-Mart run.  I bought some kitchen things.

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January 27, In Which We Start A Jar of Joy

So, I decided just before the end of 2012 that I would keep a Jar of Joy for 2013, and tonight I put it together. The very fancy jar is the plastic one that held my first purchase of Arborio, which is what I use to make the risotto I have posted pictures of. The lone item inside (for now) is one half of an oyster shell found on Chesapeake Bay *with its matching half* by my friend. He kept one side for his jar and I took the other for mine.

jar of joy

The other thing of note that I did today was to write my first piece of publicly consumable erotica. No, you won’t be seeing it here. Muhahahahahahahaha!

Oh, and wash my kids’ heads with lice shampoo, since it has been 10 days since the first time I did it. God, my hands reek!

January 23, In Which We Make Risotto

So, you probably figured out that I went away for the weekend. I had a wonderful time, and that is all I am going to say about that here for now.

While I was gone, I was taught how to make risotto, and I attempted it alone yesterday. I started 8 chicken thighs with “garlic and parsley salt” in the croc kpot before I went to school. I filled the pot up to the top, because risotto takes a LOT of stock.

chicken in the crockpot

When it was time to cook, I moved the bubbling, steaming crock pot to the other counter (sometimes I am such a forward thinker :P), and removed the chicken to a plate.

cooked chicken

I sauteed a half pound of mushrooms in a third of a stick of butter, and put them in a bowl when they were done.

mushrooms

While the mushrooms were cooking, I sliced 8 green onions and diced 3 shallots. I added another third stick of butter and set these to saute.

onions and scallions

Then I added 3 cups of Arborio rice. And some olive oil. And some more olive oil. And a little more olive oil. You are supposed to coat the rice with the oil, and stir it until it is translucent with a white dot in the center. I think my heat may have been too high, and my delay in comprehending how much oil that was going to take too long, because by the time I got all the rice coated, it had turned opaque again. Just noting that for next time.

rice

Then I started ladling in stock, one ladle-full at a time, stirring almost constantly. I used about 10 cups of stock, I think, but I could have easily added in at least another cup, maybe two. Just before I added the last of the stock, I added the mushrooms and the (now de-boned and chunked) chicken back to the pot.

added back in

And here is what it looked like when it was done. It did need a good deal of salting at the table, but I wasn’t sure how much to use, and erred on the side of caution. It’s much easier to add more than to take some out, right?

finished risotto

It was a big hit here! Most of the kids had seconds, and the neighbor loved it. I had her step in for a bite or two last night, took the leftovers to her tonight since she had surgery today. I will definitely risotto again. Perhaps with tonight’s left over pot roast.