Monday, March 30, 2009
Lots of thoughts about figure skating.
Lots of work to catch up on. (boo!)
Lots of sleep to catch up on as well.
And if all that weren't enough, 94 new entries awaiting me in Google Reader!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Staples Center will be hosting the World Figure Skating Championships this week. As I usually do when I attend major competition, I will be meeting up with a group of skating fans that I met online many years ago. In fact, the first competition we all attended together was the 2002 U.S. National Championship, which was also at Staples Center.
I bought my tickets and booked my hotel last year. Planning ahead has its privileges; we have fantastic seats. *squeal*
The biggest perk of buying an all-event package is getting a practice pass. Many times the practices foreshadow what will happen during the actual competition. Practices also give you insight into how people train, how they deal with mistakes or criticism and whether they are catty towards other competitors. The end of practice sessions are also a good time to say hello or get an autograph from skaters. And since most practice sessions are usually only attended by coaches, commentators, skating icons and die-hard uber fans, the sessions are THE best place to get all the latest gossip. And the skating world always has a lot of gossip. Things can be quite interesting behind all the sequins and sparkly makeup.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The lecture's topics were centered around the themes and concepts contained within Abraham's most recent release, Cutting for Stone. This is his third book, but first novel, which was eight years in the making. Abraham really amazes me with his intelligence, creativity and compassion. Not to mention that I think he is a total rock star for being able to balance medicine, writing and family life. Having read Cutting for Stone, as well as My Own Country, I feel like these personal qualities are carried over into his characters and descriptions. With regard to Cutting for Stone, I easily got swept away into the story and its characters. It is really a wonderful novel and I'm not just saying that because he is "family"!
After the lecture there was an opportunity to have books signed.
Dorkiness personifed: Here I am introducing myself and explaining to Abraham how I know him. I'm really not good at stuff like this.
After the event, Weezermonkey and I headed to the The Restaurant at The Standard. It was a dim for picture taking, although Weezermonkey did teach me how to change my ISO settings. It was a great evening all around, with great company!
More pictures and thoughts available here.
Friday, March 20, 2009
But alas, I had already order a brie, avocado and apple panini. It was good, although I think I could have managed with a bit less avocado and a little more apple.
Cole Haan Aurora Slingbacks in black patent:
ACT II: Our guests are invited upstairs to their own table. Act II includes an appetizer, followed by a fish, fowl or light meat, and then a salad course. You are then invited to enjoy “intermission” – take a walk, relax on the patios or visit the kitchen to speak with the chefs.
ACT III: Ten to fifteen minutes later you are invited to return to your reset table for Act III. A flavorful sorbet is next as a palate-cleanser. The main entrée is served complete with accompanying vegetables. Dessert arrives next, always available with an after dinner list of coffee drinks, liqueurs and fine cognacs.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
February was much more successful that January. I think I'm still a little behind the pace, however, depsite the fact I did engage in some re-reads.
What I read:
- Social Crimes by Jane Stanton Hitchcock
- 4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell
- Baby Proof by Emily Giffin (Note: This book is about a 30ish couple who views on having children brings them together, but also drives them apart. I was amazed at how many people actually asked me about the state of my own marriage after inquiring about what I was reading. Seriously?)
- Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
- Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
Six down, forty-four to go!
Monday, March 2, 2009
I used the recipe provided to our class as a model, but halved it and made a few other changes to account for our preferences.
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 lb. chicken breast (cut into pieces)
- 1 lb. andouille sausage (cut into pieces)
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 bunch chopped green onions
- Big Kevin's Bayou Blend seasoning
- File (ground sassafras leaves used for flavor and thickening after cooking. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per serving is the recommended amount)
- Cooked rice
Here is how I did it:
- Heat the oil over moderate heat in a saucepan. Add in the flour and make a roux to the desired color. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps from forming. I took my roux to a light chocolate shade; it took approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. My roux is in the ramekin below.
- In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon of oil over moderate heat. Add the chicken, season. Brown the chicken. Add the sausage and briefly saute with the chicken. Remove both from the pot.
- Add the onions, celery, green bell pepper, garlic and roux into the pot. Mix well and stir very frequently. After the vegetables start to become tender, return the chicken and sausage to the pot. Combine well with the vegetables, stirring often. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for approximately an hour. Season to taste with Bayou Blend.
Here it is, simmering away:
Approximately 10 minutes before serving, add in the green onions. Serve gumbo over rice, adding file and additional Bayou Blend if desired.
This was a lot of work, but was SO delicious! Even Eddie had nothing but compliments, which was a suprise to me since he has become quite picky when it comes to gumbo. I think I aced the exam. :-)