Saturday, January 31, 2009

15 hours and counting

I am very excited to embark on my future cruise excursion, but I still need to update about my other Texas adventures.

Yesterday we went to Blue Heron Farm. My mom met Lisa at the Bayou City Farmers Market. The farm is owned/operated by Christian and Lisa, ex-urbanites turned dairy goat farmers located about an hour outside of Houston. They were gracious enough to give us a tour and meet their crew.





blue heron farm

blue heron farm

blue heron farm

blue heron farm


Of course we then had to go buy some cheese at the market.


see how much she had left?
blue heron farm

And it's not like she came to the market empty handed. With just a small haul of cheese, they sold over 30 pounds in one hour.

It turns out their cheese is REALLY good. I gather that someone like Erin who doesn't particularly like goat cheese would even like it... it has little to no goat flavor at all, and is insanely creamy. Apparently people at the farmers market recognize how good it is, too.

Fortunately, she had samples and we bought some feta.

Friday, January 30, 2009


In attempts to travel lightly, I only brought my most versatile lens. This is painful for me because my 50mm 1.4 is my baby. But I wanted more zoomability while traveling... This lens isn't nearly as sharp, but still gets the job done

It's good to change things up a bit. I haven't been taking picture of "still life" forever, since it's so hard to get motivated to go out in -20 degree weather (not to mention, not very good for the camera)



We're going to the goat farm this afternoon. One of their goats was supposed to kid one of these days, and I'm secretly hoping she popped it out last night. Nothing like some baby goat to get your heart melting! Pictures to come...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dinner, Houston style

Tonight we had salted Roast Chicken from the Zuni Cafe cookbook. I'd post the recipe, but I promise you my dad did NOT follow it. It was salted for many days, but there were other spices involved that were not called for in the recipe.

Cauliflower ala mom is something I grew up loving. Essentially: cauliflower, mayo, yellow mustard and topped with shredded cheddar. Delicious. I believe she was inspired by a good old friend of hers (Tim Brian). Being people who like to live a "less refined flour and sugar than nomral...aka, South Beach Diet" lifestyle, we both subscribe to Kalyns Kitchen. This recipe reminded my mom of her famous Cauliflower dish, which was a perfect accompaniment to the chicken and salad.

Mom, preparing the cauliflower

Houston 2009

We wouldn't be Newberrys if we didn't have a soapbox to stand on

Houston 2009

Mom, and her fat cat Purrkins.

Houston 2009

The men just want to EAT : "damn these women and their cameras and other such distractions"

Houston 2009

Cauliflower: perfection
Houston 2009

Delicious and easy salad (I promise I'll post the easy "mom" (apparently Martha's) recipe for the dressing at another time:
Houston 2009

I call this "Chicken, on a plate"

Houston 2009

Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan (courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen)
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe adapted from Broccoli Gratin recipe in A Pinch of Salt Lake.

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized flowerets
1 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese (I have made with with low-fat and regular sharp cheddar and both were fine)
4 T mayo (or light mayo, but not fat free)
4 T light sour cream
1 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375F/190C/ Cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces. (To avoid the little broken pieces of cauliflower all over the cutting board, cut through cauliflower stem, then pull apart the flower end.) Put cauliflower in a small pot, add water to cover by a few inches, then bring to boil and cook 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is just starting to get tender. Drain into a colander placed in the sink.

While cauliflower cooks, whisk together mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and black pepper. Stir in finely grated sharp cheddar.

Spray a glass or crockery baking dish with olive oil or non-stick spray, then pour the well-drained cauliflower into the dish and spread out evenly. Use a rubber scraper to spread gratin mixture over the top of the cauliflower. (This is not a sauce that completely covers the cauliflower, more like a topping.) Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, then bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until cauliflower is bubbling and lightly browned. Serve hot.

The return of POTD, Texas version

Once upon a time my mom told me that once all of the kids had graduated college we'd all go on a fun adult family trip. My oldest brother is still in school (getting his PhD) and my younger brother graduated from the U 2 years ago... based on how terrible last winter was, I knew I'd have to have a warm get away this year, or heads would roll. I reminded my mom of this commitment earlier in 2008 and Voila! We're going on a cruise (leaving in 3 days). A real bona fide vacation!

The great thing about vacation (if you do it right) is that you can concentrate on doing the things you don't get to do when you're at home on a day to day basis. For me, that includes working out, cooking, reading and of course, taking pictures. I've been at my parents house for 2 hours, and already got up and went to shoot. I am dedicating myself to shooting every day that I'm on vacation, but since internet is insanely expensive on the cruise I'm about to partake in, I will only be posting from Texas. I'm only going to be IN Texas about 4 days, but I promise I'll shoot while on the ship and on our excursions.

I'm shooting only in RAW, so I hopefully won't overfill my 8GB worth of memory in any given day (god help my family if I'm shooting that much)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for

POTD Day 1: Ornamental Ginger

Ornamental Ginger

Sunday, January 25, 2009

is this a political blog or what

This is for Nick, a new guy at my store. We had a great talk about Obama today during lunch. It's always weird for me to talk politics at work.... unless they come clean about their bleeding hearts before I do ;) Anyway. I'm sure Nick doesn't read my blog, because I don't even know his last name yet (sorry Nick!) but this is exactly what we were talking about. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk! Shit like this makes me emotional these days :)

Beware of the Debs!

I make a fair amount of Typos, and I'm not a very good proof reader. I do think, though, that if I were getting paid to do something that involved type, I would be fairly meticulous about making sure there were no errors....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mort's Deli: Review

Twin Cities Eats had a pretty scathing review of Mort's Delicatessen earlier this week. They mostly were upset about the portion sizes, but they also didn't include any pictures. So I took matters into my own hands

I was interested in going to Mort's when I read about it a few months ago on the Hot Dish, and since Kyle and I were headed to Maple Grove for some Costco action (we needed new lightbulbs) and we needed breakfast, Mort's was a good choice.

The food was good.... not necessarily something I'd look to eat ANY morning, but since Kyle and I had a little bit to drink last night, the grease and large portions were great for those who had over-imbibed a little.

I'm in love with anywhere that has Tongue on their specials board:

They bring a carafe of coffee to your table and leave it there. I love this, because I hate it when my servers warm up my coffee when it's only 1/2 gone... I mostly hate it because I put things IN my coffee (cream and sweetener) and "warming it up" just gives me a bad ratio of condiments to coffee.


The coffee was pretty damn nutty. So nutty in fact, that those who don't like flavored coffee might not like it. Just a hint of hazelnut

They brought out latkes for us right after we ordered. They were awesome AND served with apple sauce and sour cream as an option. Fabulous


The interior was much nicer than I expected it to be. I know NOTHING about Golden Valley, so I have no idea if this place just popped out of no-where or used to be something else. It was pretty spacious, warm enough (but not too warm) and while it wasn't too busy, it didn't seem like it would get too loud.


Nothing like having a picture of you taken mid-bite


We both ordered the Bubby's Egg's Benedict. I realize that that means we're an old boring married couple... but I love eggs benedict SO much... and corned beef is so much better than ham anyway. The eggs were cooked perfectly, the hash browns were crisp (but needed a little salt) and the hollandaise wasn't ladled on too heavily. Not to mention the fact that it was served on an egg bagel.

Yes, the bagel was hard to cut, even with a steak knife, but it was a delicious combination.

And no, I didn't finish my portion. If I hadn't had the latke's I probably would have finished my hash browns, but I think i only let about 1/8th of a potato go to waste. We did bring the other half of my bagel, meat and egg home, and who knows if we'll eat it, but we have the option at least. Kyle did clean his plate like a big boy. If drinks weren't involved the night before, I would probably recommend splitting a plate with your dining partner

All in all, I might not make the trip unless I was in the neighborhood (or going to Maple Grove) but it was an overall enjoyable experience.

PS These are all iphone pics, so don't judge me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's okay, Mom

Being in love with the president of the USA is okay. It's a really great feeling actually. One I've never felt before (there having been only 4 other presidents in my good 26 years).


I got in a TINY squabble with my mom yesterday about the presidency. She still wishes Pres Obama (he wouldn't mind if I called him Barack, right? I'll call him that. We're buds) was a lady. Not just any lady. Hilary, to be exact. And while Hilary has obviously gotten over it, my mom hasn't.

And I get it! I TOTALLY get it!

My mom is a strong woman.

One of the strongest, maybe. She has done so many unconventional things in her life to prove it. I can only hope to make her proud in the decisions I make in my life. I also hope that she can be proud of me for loving Barak Obama, not because he was the democratic candidate, but because I believe him to be the best person for the job. Not necesarily because of his experiences, but because of his ability to inspire.

I want to make America a country I am PROUD to tell people I am from while travelling in foreign lands. Too many breaths have been wasted defending America. It shouldn't need defense. It should demand respect. Respect is something I believe Barack has for this country, and for you, your black sheep of a brother, and me. He believes that this country is formed by individuals that make a whole, and that we collectively need to be responsible for this land of ours.

That's why I like Obama Mom! If he was a woman, I would be just as excited! No more, no less.

And yes, women have had a SHITTY time in the past 10,000 years, and in many parts of the world continue to.

But so has the black man.

People STILL look at black people and immediately pass judgement for no reason but the color of their skin. I don't think that happens as much to women. Maybe on a corporate or management level, but much more rarely when a woman enters a room, store or rounds a street corner. And over 10,000 years, which "minority" was elected as a president in the US first, well. Isn't a competition. A few years here or there in the grand scheme of things, isn't that big of a deal.

So it's okay, Mom. Because I feel hope! Hope so strong that it swells up deeply inside me and my eyes overflow. I didn't know what that was like until now! And I know deep inside, that is what you want for me. In a time of increasing unemployment, debt and economic downturn, hope is a damn good thing to have. Instead of the great depression, maybe we can be called the time of the great inspiration!

And Mom, what's even better than any of this, is that I can say for the first time in my life, I love my President.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Corn Refiners be damned

So, I realize I'm a little late in the game talking about this, but the new High Fructose Corn Syrup ain't so bad for you are TOTALLY bunk. Here is some "startling" evidence:

Check out those resources. The Center for Disease Control and the American Obesity Association.

Now, if you check out you may realize that it's funded by those whose lively hood is making corn syrup... ie, the people who don't care if you get fat as long as they can line their pockets doing it.

I liken these ads to the "smoking isn't bad for you" mentality of big tobacco. Corn isn't big business, it's HUGE business. Just think about that the next time you're reaching for a sip of your coke (and wishing you could lose those last 5 pounds).

Do I think there are deeper reasons for American Obesity? Yes. Do I think it's possible to live without HFCS in your diet. Absolutely.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back in the saddle

Okay, I actually planned out a recipe and cooked. Seeing as how busy I have been for oh... the past 10 months, cooking hasn't taken the fore front. That doesn't mean I've lost my love for doing it. Never fear! I have a wicked sore throat, and Kyle was going to a friends to watch BSG (if you don't know, don't ask) tonight, so I decided I'd whip up a good old fashioned split pea soup. I was in the Lyndale/Franklin area for yoga yesterday, so I was even able to pick up the ingredients I needed (TJ's doesn't carry everything sadly...) Alas, a beautifully prepared soup, that couldn't be more ugly when it's done:

Oh wait, Teaser alert! Kyle made cookies first


Gorgeous carrots







the aromatics (a good basis for any soup)


"gosh, this is pretty. I bet the final result will be gorgeous"

"hmm, the beauty seems to be fading, some how"

While waiting the 2 hours for the soup to finish, Tallulah invented a new meaning to the term "bad cat"
We're so proud...

"Alright! I picked the ham off the hocks, chopped it up and threw it in. Can't wait to see what it looks like!!"


Well, at least it tastes great.

I didn't use a recipe for this one, rather I consulted about 5 different recipes and made it my own. I cut up 3 pretty small carrots, 3 celery hearts (and I'm talking hearts, the only 3 stalks left) and one large white onion. Heat about 1/4c of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and let those aromatics schvitz! about 10 minutes. Throw in some ham hocks!*

I had 4, because that was the smallest bag the wedge had in its freezer, so 4 went in. Add 1 pound of peas (for some reason, I did actually weigh how many peas I put in. My meticulousness is pretty random I guess) Cover with some water. I filled my 2 1/2 qt pot with water, maybe an inch from the top... so just under 2 qts of water? Lets just say 2 qts, that's easier. Add 4 packets of reduced sodium chicken broth concentrate from Trader Joe's. Yes, I used a flavor enhancer. No, I didn't kill the neighbors next door chicken, boil the hell out of it, strain it and then use the left overs to flavor my soup. I used 4 little red packages of deliciousness. No MSG (not that that matters ANYWAY), reduced sodium (no that that matters EITHER) and big flavor.
Cook to hell for 2 hours

Remove hocks, pick off the meat, chop it up and throw it back in. Stir it up. Enjoy

Gosh, I'm so eloquent when I'm sick.

*ham hocks are essentially... the pigs calf. It's too fatty to be an ankle (unless it's an italian pig... sorry, inside joke), and pigs have kinda stumpy legs. They have lots of flavor, but not a ton of meat, so you definitely want to try to keep the hocks pretty stagnant in the soup while it's simmering so you can take them out all in one lovely piece.

I believe this

Picture 1

has to do with the sore throat I am getting tested at 10:50 this morning to make sure I don't have strep.


Monday, January 12, 2009


I have a thing for commercials these days

Winter fun in NE

I pretty much hate all things winter. I do NOT like being cold, which pretty much puts a bit of a damper on 4-5 months of my life every year. Things I do like about winter: winter coats, cute hats, boots, tights and skirts, rosie cheeks, roasted vegetables and an excuse to eat Fat (I have even more reason now) and now I can add progressive dinners to that list.

Here was the Itinerary:

Brooke and Peter's : 3pm
Amanda and Kaylie's: 4:30pm
Becky's: 6pm
Katrina's: 7:30pm
Kate and Kyle's: 9pm
Chuck and D's: 10:30pm

We did a good job of sticking to the itinerary and were actually ahead of schedule, though I think we got home at 12:30am. I don't really remember as after 6 stops you are forced into a food coma and a bit of a drunken haze. I also realized on the way to Brooke and Peter's that I had forgotten to bring my camera. But Amanda didn't'!



I had to get a few shots when we were at our house for dessert: A double layer cardamom banana cake with mascarpone frosting and caramel drizzle:
and of course some coffee.

I think our expressions do justice for how we were feeling after 6 hours of food and spirits:

The coffee gave us a revitalization and we headed to Chuck and Di's for a game of writey, drawey, foldy, some mimosas (or were they bellinis?) and some laughs.