Bunker Kitty

Flattering...and yet

Every other week I publish a food column in our free (and locally-owned!) newspaper. This originally started because a columnist failed to turn something in. Looking back, I've been publishing something every other week for about a year now. I get a comment every once in a while ("Lima bean soup? Lima beans taste like ass!"), but, most of the time, no one says anything.

A couple of days ago we got a call in the office - our editorial assistant took the call.

"Yes, erm...you guys ran an article about a year ago with a recipe for artichoke dip - I was wondering if I could get a copy of that issue?"

(All right, for one, we do have archive copies (we're not on-line yet), but you're not going to get a cordial answer from anyone here if we have to go through the boxes.)

We have two food columnists (we switch off), one, a real-live cook and the Agricultural Marketing Director for this county), and me...a home cook with a "for the love of God and sweet baby Jesus would somebody fill this space" columnist. But that one happened to be mine, and it happened to be one of which I am particularly fond.

I put it together a few years ago when I planned to take it to a potluck at another newspaper group (not locally-owned!). When I told one of my friends I was making artichoke dip, he told me that he wouldn't be able to have any since all artichoke dip contained mayonnaise and he hated mayonnaise.

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So, of course I still had the file on my system here and I sent it off to her directly. But still...how strange is it that someone would remember a recipe from a year ago? In a weekly paper? I mean, I probably would, but I'm food-obsessed. I'm very flattered, and I do hope she likes it. If I a teensy bit less mature, I could picture myself chucking the recipe at the poor lady's head and running off, all, "Thanks for the compliment...weirdo."
Bunker Kitty

Christmas madness

I'm awfully glad Christmas is over. It's not that we didn't have a good one, since we certainly did, but it about killed us! What with trying to make it a good one for the kids, and each other, and, as usual, taking on more that probably we should have...I feel today as though I'd been bludgeoned. Without the bruising.

I agreed to do my very first catering gig on Christmas Eve for the staff of a local jewelry store. I planned the menu, ran it by the lady in charge, got it approved, did my shopping, and worked ahead. The night before, I innocently observed to my husband that things were going really smoothly and I was proud of my organized self.

Bad! Really bad!

We work up the next morning to no power. I tried to be calm. I called PG&E and nicely asked what was going on. Apparently 2,000 people in the area were without power. I still don't know why. I was told that the they hoped the power would be restored by 11am. I was supposed to start serving at 11.30! I looked at Don. He looked at me. "Do we have any charcoal?"

My sainted husband, on Christmas Eve, started grilling. And it wasn't easy stuff to grill, either! Meatballs! Little pieces of chicken satay! Did I mention the meatballs?

And it turned out wonderfully. Grilled meatballs are delicious. The power returned at noon (just after I'd loaded to car up to finish the menu at our office). We got everything together by 12.30. Delivered to the store by 1. Celebration and kudos all around. Had a well-deserved glass of wine after, and killed some monsters on Dragon Quest VIII.

Wanna hear the menu? Pepper-crusted steak with horseradish cream on garlic crostini, chicken satay, sweet and sour meatballs, spinach parmesan balls, hot spinach-artichoke dip with bagel chips, smoky ranch dip with assorted crunchy veggies, chocolate dipped coconut macaroons, and a box of buckeyes for the store's owner.

Rumor has it that my friend Peggy, who works at the store, hogged all the leftovers for herself.

A success! And if I can pull that off without power, just imagine what I could do with a working oven.

Grilled meatballs, though. You've gotta try 'em.
Bunker Kitty

(no subject)

Today, I did my very first real catering gig. Sure, I did that thing in April where I made 200 brownies, 100 chocolate chip cookies and 100 buckeyes, but this was the first, real grown-up catering job.

You know, I hate my job. Meaning, I love working for a newspaper and I love having a food column and I love the day-to-day office stuff, but I hate sales. I wanted to be a chef when I grew up. Well, a writer/chef. Sales is what I ended up with. So doing a catering job feels pretty good, really.

Wanna hear the menu? Pepper crusted steak on garlic crostini with horseradish cream, chicken satay, sweet and sour meatballs (that was a request - I don't like meatballs myself at all), spinach-artichoke dip, spinach parmesan balls (what's with all the spinach here?), assorted crudites with smokey ranch dip, and buckeyes and chocolate dipped macarooons.

Pretty failsafe, eh? I even did lots of stuff ahead of time - I've been cooking all week. And then we get up this morning...no power. I stayed in bed a little while thinking about this. "Yes, I paid the power bill. What if it got lost? Would it be worth it to call the power company? I don't want to call the power company - our last bill was late. What if they mention it? What if the power is off because they didn't get that payment? Do my neighbors have power?" I ended up calling the power company...turns out over 2,000 people were without power (reason: unknown(?!?)) and the power would be turned on by 10.50. I was supposed to deliver food at 11.30.

12.15, no power.

Thank God, my darling husband (who already got me a wonderful Christmas present so has got many, many points on this side) leapt to my relief with his grill - the poor man grilled all morning. I suspect that the flavor of everything was much improved by this, but still...jumping to the grill? On Christmas Eve? With no coffee? (I did make some Folgers for him but it's not the same and...ew.....)

We got all the food to the destination in two shifts, and, as far as I can tell, was well-received by all. Was this a sign that I ought to give up my culinary dreams? Nah....

Was it a sign that I need to get my man a gas grill? Probably...

Merry Christmas!
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Baby Basil

Baby Kitty

For kadyg's benefit. But do not be fooled. That is one insane, hallucinating, whacked out baby kitty named Basil.
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Bunker Kitty


For the benefit of my stepdaughter...

Which HP Kid Are You?

Hmmm. Figures. Well, at least it wasn't Hermione.

And, I took this one twice, months apart, to confirm...

You Are Kermit

Hi, ho! Lovable and friendly, you get along well with everyone you know.
You're a big thinker, and sometimes you over think life's problems.
Don't worry - everyone know's it's not easy being green.
Just remember, time's fun when you're having flies!

So I'm whiny AND a pushover.
(and I'm cute, too!)
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Bunker Kitty

(no subject)

Well, I've gone and done it. After making spanakopita by the hundreds the last couple of months, my most requested recipe? Buckeyes.
It's totally not my fault. Well, it totally is my fault. I got my first catering gig (by asking for it - heh) and then proceeded to put off doing anything about it until the night before. I chose something I remembered from childhood, something cheap to make, plentiful, and relatively quick.
And gag-inducingly sweet! This is the list of ingredients: peanut butter, unsalted butter, powdered sugar, mixed up. Chilled. Dipped in melted semi-sweet chocolate chips slicked by a tablespoonful of vegetable oil.
And they were a hit! I had people asking me to put it in the next issue of the paper! So what could I have done? I did it.
I did, however, editorialize in the recipe that if I were to make them again, just for myself, I'd cut the sugar AT LEAST by a third, and use bittersweet chocolate.
Heck, I sent the leftovers home with the kids. Perfectly kid-acceptable stuff.
If you tinged the peanut butter red it'd also be coolio for Halloween.

Oh, and Kady, if you read this - we have cooking club tonight! Lamb for all!

On another note, my husband has, for the first time, let me use his iPod! I am enjoying his song selections. Ooh! David Bowie! Eep! Styx! Huh? Dust in the Wind? Honey, your iPod says this is the Eagles, when everyone knows it's Kansas...I mean...oh...

Moving on.
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