Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Yes, My Dogs Speak English

My dogs were tagged decades ago by YD - decades ago! They took forever with their answers - plus, Wylie wanted a new photo so we had to wait for a good fur day. Quelle the drama! Also, they typed in their answers using their paws; have you ever tried to edit paw-typing? I didn't think so. Well anyway, here are their answers to the meme/tag...

What breed are you?

Wylie: Yorkshire Terrier, obviously.

Marcel: What he said, but without the obviously.

How old are you?
Wylie: I am 4 1/2, but am going on 50. No matter what my parents tell me, I feel the world rests on my shoulders and it clearly ages me. I feel my fur is thinning and I'm wondering about fur plugs.

Marcel: I am 2, but I feel 1 & 3/4 actually.

What is your full name?
Wylie: Wylie "The Floop" Fitzsmudge

Marcel: Marcel Verdel Purcell

Do you have any nicknames?
Wylie: My main nickname is Floop. Others are: The Little, Wi-fi, Floopinator, Floopindigenous.

Marcel: The Triple Little, The Verdel, MVP, Verdellion, Punkin'.

Where do you usually sleep?
Wylie: Under the covers, curled up against my Dad.

Marcel: Under the covers, curled up against my Mom.

What is your favorite thing to do?
Wylie: Fetch, fetch, and fetch. And then also fetch. Although I do like chewing bones. And I like going for walks so I can acquire territory through various bodily functions.

Marcel: Licking nostrils. It's like a drug. Probably better than sex; though I've never had the sex. I do hump a stuffed toy though.

What is something unusual/interesting about you?
Wylie: Excuse me? Um, EVERYTHING about me is unusual and interesting.

Marcel: For only weighing 3 pounds, my manhood is simply ginormous. My Dad, Tony, always says "like father, like son". I don't know what that means.

Who is your best friend?
Wylie: I'm a daddy's boy. But I also love my Mom; I tolerate Marcel. I guess I like him sometimes but not really all that often. I'd rather he didn't know I like him sometimes.

Marcel: My Mom. But I love Dad and Wylie too.

Did you go to obedience school? If yes, were you Top Dog or did you flunk out?
Wylie: I went, I saw, I conquered. I was the smallest dog there, but I rocked the class. My graduation trick was "Touchdown!", which just totally slayed the other mutts. There was a boxer there, a total freak - and he just sat and stared at me the entire time, every class. I don't know if he wanted to kill me or just sniff my butt.

Marcel: Obedience? What is that? Never heard of the thing.

Can you do any tricks?
Wylie: Um, duh. See above answer.

Marcel: Yes! I can pee on carpet just like *that*. Nobody even has to ask me!

Any last comments?
Wylie: Well, even though I was a McCain supporter, I just want to say that I'm excited about a new dog in the big house. I strongly think Obama should consider a yorkie; I mean, we don't have fur, we have hair - therefore, we're clearly the most intelligent choice for a kid with allergies. And for those who always say yorkies are too smart for their own good? I say - jealous much?

Marcel: I don't know what Wylie ever saw in McCain. Paws down, Obama was the clear choice from the get-go. Plus, did you see him on Ellen? That dude can shake what his Mama gave him, a skill every world leader should have. I really do wonder what Presidential-nostril tastes like, sure wish I could get me some.

As usual, I won't tag anyone - but if your pets want to answer a few questions, consider yourself dog-tagged.

Well, what are you up to for New Year's Eve? We are doing shots of Jagermeister until we pass out. That's all. Okay no - we're going out early to a neighborhood joint for sushification. Then, Tony has insisted upon Lava Cakes for dessert later. He is just SO unreasonable and demanding. Guess I'll have to jam a damn Lava Cake into my belly. Sucks being me.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What's For Christmas Eve Dinner?

How about this? Oh yeah, baby. THIS is it.

Seriously, this is all we really want for dinner. This is the Red Velvet Cake that has been in my family for about 50 years. It's the original Red Velvet Cake - none of that cream cheese frosting crap or buttercream nonsense. This is the real thing. The first time I made it for Tony, he pretty much asked me to marry him all over again; it really is that powerful. You could harness the universe with the power of this thing, I venture. Here is my original post about this utterly ridiculous cake. And Abe, if you're reading this? Again, YES, it really IS that good. We aren't pulling your finger on this one.

Okay, so really - what else are we having for tonight's dinner? We are feasting on Lemon Pepper Popovers with a Gruyere bomb in the middle, Smoked Salmon Bisque, and King Crab (yes, again!).

And for dessert? The motherload of all cakes.

Happy Holidays to all! What are you having/did you have for the feast? Do tell!

Go ahead
, lick the screen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mama Grinch Makes Marzipan

I'll admit it, I'm not a fan of the holidays. Make that NOT. In caps. In fact, I almost despise the holidays; there, I said it. I almost feel like I just committed a mortal sin, like I should recite 10 Hail Marys to absolve myself for admitting, in public, that I'm related to the Grinch. Sorry kids. I don't know the Hail Mary.

I'm not sure where it comes from, wholly. I suppose a large part of it is that the older I became, it seemed the stress of the holidays increased proportionately, until it no longer felt worthy of the price attached. More than that though, every year I cannot help but think of the last Christmas we spent with my Mom, when I was 20; we all fully knew it would be her last holiday with us - and Christmas was HER holiday. It was painful and poignant and heavy and sweet and horrid; she died four months later. I didn't want any more Christmases after that; I was done.

Still, the rest of the world just will NOT bend to my will - darn miscreants. So, I try to perform little bursts of holiday spirit here and there. For example, I like to sprinkle co-workers' officechair-seats with powdered sugar, to resemble snow. I like giving giftcards that have no monetary value. I like covering all of my Christmas cookies in black frosting. Okay no! I'm just fantasizing. Throwing myself a bone.

Now really, I do participate as best I can. Because we have the office holiday-party at our house, it motivates me to decorate a bit - mostly just a bunch of white string-lights and a teensy tree. And I buy gifts for my nieces and nephew (I love you Ellery and Ari, Grace and Emma, Peyton and Alex!!!); I mean, I'm not heartless (yet). And, Tony and me usually cook a really great meal together over the holiday, which we rarely have time for because he has such a real job. So see? A smattering of holidayness, a smidge. A dusting.

This past weekend, I got it into my head that I ought to try my hand at Marzipan Candy - something you often see more of around the holidays. Why not, thought I? Look at me all embracing the season, pondered Moi. SO impressed by my bad holiday self, exclaimed Thyself.

Oh enough of the internal dialogue...just read on for the Marzipan, if you so desire. Am I the only Grinch here? Do you love the holidays? Tolerate them? Wish you could time-warp past them? What say THEE?

Marzipan Candy

Okay, this recipe looked SO easy, SUCH a breeze! Well, let me warn you - there may be a few times during this recipe where you may think to yourself "Self, this effing sucks it all" - and wonder if you should proceed or chuck the mess in with the rubbish. Of course, it could just be my happy-go-lucky seasonal personality there, no? Nah. The deal is - this dough can be very sticky and difficult to work with. Besides that though, it really IS a simple recipe - and the resulting Marzipan Candy is quite delicious, if you like Marzipan. And many don't. And I still like you for it. What does Marzipan taste like, you ask? Well, it has a definite almond flavor, is sweet (but not cloying), and has a kind of grainy texture.

8 oz. almond paste
2 c. powdered sugar (+ more for rolling out)
1/4 c. corn syrup
food coloring (any color)

Over a medium bowl, break almond paste into small pieces. Add 1 c. of the sugar and work it in with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Add another 3/4 c. sugar and work in very well. Add corn syrup and work until completely incorporated (very sticky here; tried pastry cutter, didn't work). Sprinkle remaining sugar on a work surface and knead the dough until uniform, up to 5 minutes. If dough seems overly sticky, knead in more sugar. Form dough into disc, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.

Sprinkle a work surface with powdered sugar. To color the dough, break off a palm-size piece of dough, add 2-3 drops and knead in the color until consistent; add more color if needed. Then, blend the colored dough into the larger portion you'd like to use for that color and knead until consistent. Continue to add sugar as needed to keep dough from sticking to surface.

Dust surface with sugar and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes (free form cutting or using small cookie cutters) and place on wax paper. You can also hand-shape into "Marzipan Fruits" (apples, bananas etc.) or wreaths or candy canes or whatever; cooking stores often sell Marzipan molds as well. Allow to sit out for 24 hours, to dry. If the candies have extra powdered sugar on their surface after working with them, use a scantly moistened paintbrush or tiny cloth to remove sugar. The amount will depend on what shapes/sizes you make; I ended up with about 40 little candies - about 1.5-inch size. ENJOY!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Abducted By Aliens, I Was!

Oh hi. That's right, I have a blog.

Where le hell have I BEEN, you ask? Or, maybe you're relieved that I've been away. I wanted to say I was abducted by aliens, but upon searching the interwebs - I see this has been done ad nauseam.

To be honest, Thanksgiving unexpectedly blasted upon me - without any warning whatsoever (rude). How did we indulge our gluttonous bellies? Tony made his first turkey, so that was rather fun - we thought it would be difficult, but it was quite easy. I don't eat meat, so I had king crab - it was HEAVEN, it was glorious. For side dishes, we made our insanely delicious garlic mashed potatoes (they have pecorino in them, OH come to MAMA) and stuffed portobello mushrooms. It was the first time we tried the mushroom recipe - and we nearly lost the small amount of sanity we cling to, they were SO FECKIN' GOOD, people! And for dessert later that evening, after we donned our expandable pants: individual molten lava cakes, but of course.

As for the rest of my absentia, I'm hosting our office holiday party at our house this Friday evening - so that has kept me plotting, planning, and stressing abnormally and unneccessarily. We hosted it last year too, so I shouldn't be so nervy about it - but that's my nature. God forbid I should go about this with a relaxed nature. WHO WOULD I BE THEN? WHAT WOULD PEOPLE SAY ABOUT ME?

Well, they'd say that I was abducted by aliens, for crap sake. And now I've come full circle.

So, after the craziness passes - I shall be back with desserts and more nonsense with which to bother you. As alluded to in an earlier post, the dogs will be guest blogging as well. The delay in that venture is because Wylie has a new furcut and he is insisting on a photo shoot for his blog photo, so alas - it is yet another thing on my To Do list. At any rate, I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a merry one, and that all of you are surviving the craziness of the holiday season.