Archive for February, 2010

Good Day Gone Bad…..
February 26, 2010

What's wrong with this picture??

My wallet is missing from my handbag…that’s what’s wrong. And a day that started out so well yesterday(with no snow), went south in a hurry. Here’s how it went down yesterday….I had an early hair appointment, and I don’t need to tell you how important that is. I park on a street in Federal Hill in front of the salon, walk about 20 yards to the parking ticket machine(little rant…can I tell you much I HATE those machines…please bring back parking meters…it’s soooooooo much more trouble!…end of rant), I get my wallet from my purse, but the machine won’t read either credit card(of course), so I get my change purse and stuff the machine with as many quarters as it can eat, and head to the salon. All is well until I go to pay for said highlights….ummmm…I know it’s here somewhere..isn’t it….what the….panic setting in….MY WALLET’S NOT THERE!! You may have experienced this horrifying routine…you look again, and again, but a big, pink Vera Bradley wallet really isn’t something that is easily hidden. It’s ain’t there.

So we search the salon, the street, the car…nuthin’. No pink paisley in sight. So I leave without paying for my appointment  because really I have to way to, as I’m not carrying a checkbook)It’s ok, they know where I can be found). But I have no idea where it’s gone….did I drop it on the street without noticing?  I have no clue.

Hi BOA, I have this little problem......

First stop…Bank of America…cancel the ATM card and get a temporary replacement card, and then start calling people…AMEX, Exxon, Shell, and today I have to get replacement insurance cards. I think I have it covered. And in my immediate future, some  quality time with the MTA…always a thing of joy.

But wait, there’s more….. last night I got a phone call from an unknown number on my cell….it was a woman who was a little difficult to understand at first, but she said she had found some of my credit cards and my license…I asked how she knew to call the cell number, and she said she saw the number on my business card…which she also found, along with an insurance card, and a couple of credit cards. She saw them close to Cross Street market on the curb, stopped and picked them up and called last night.  So….all’s well that ends well? I still have to get a new wallet…and wait for replacement credit cards to come in, but I won’t have to go to the MTA(Wheeeeeeee!), and it’s Friday, so there’s that. Add to that , we didn’t ge walloped with yet another dastardly snow storm, so it’s all good right?  

Pork loin for dinner tonight!

And yes, I’m eating in tonight…I said I would didn’t I?  I took out a pork tenderloin this morning to thaw which I’m gonna wrap in a bit of bacon and roast, along with some sweet potatoes, cubed and tossed with olive oil, salt and cinnamon, and then roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes…maybe less if they’re small cubes…and you don’t want to overcook the pork. Add a field green salad with some Roquefort cheese I got the other day, some nice bread and voila…it’s dinner! I hope you have a lovely weekend…play nice and stay warm and come home safe. We miss you.

The Week of Eating In……
February 23, 2010

Cannellini beans with red peppers and garlic....let's eat in!

That’s right, you heard me….this is the week where we eat in. No take-out. No restaurants….time to get to know your kitchen stove a little better. You buy the groceries and prepare the food….so old school, baby! But thing about the money you’ll be saving….not to mention the calories you’ll be saving, and you’ll feel so accomplished! In fact if you want to get serious about it, you can sign up to take the pledge to eat in this week, February 22-28th, on THe Huffington Post. For me this is no sacrifice, since we eat in usually 5 nights out of 7 anyway….but for those of you who do lots of carry-out…it could be a little more difficult.

I started Friday, cooking pork belly with roasted turnips and carrots. Yes Paul, pork on a Friday. Shoot me. And one reader asked where on earth one gets pork belly and how on earth does one cook it. Well, I get mine at HanAhReum, the Korean supermarket on Rolling Road in Catonsville. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a regular  grocery store, but you could ask the butcher if they can get it in. As to how to cook this most fabulous cut of pork, I will refer you to Jamie Oliver’s pork belly…he is also obsessed with it. His simple but fabulous recipe is a good one. Easy but’ll never look back.

Beef short ever....cook some this week!

I also did some beef short ribs this weekend….also bought at the Korean market. For these I tried a new-to-me recipe from Bon Appetit 2006, in which the ribs are seared, and then braised in red wine and vegetables. Those same veges are pureed at the end which makes a gorgeous thick sauce…I loved it, and hopefully so did my next door neighbors who have a new baby, and I thought they could use a dinner. Serve it with some smashed potatoes drizzled with olive oil and, everyone will love you.

Tonight, still eating in…I reheating black-eyed peas I had cooked last week…. with chicken broth, smoked sausage, onion and red peppers(I love red peppers)….and lots of garlic of course. Very healthy, and if you’ve never tried black-eyed peas….you really should. If you cook them from dried, ridiculously inexpensive. Like all beans.

Cubed eggplant ready for roasting....

And one blog reader, Gabrielle, asked about the recipe for roasted eggplant. Oh, Gabby…it’s sooooo easy, and once you start roasting vegetables(I learned from the Silver Palate cookbook), you’ll see there’s really no better way to prepare almost any vege. Eggplant, sweet potatoes, green beans, asparagus, turnips, onions, red peppers…you name it…they’re all enhanced by roasting as it reduces them to their best essence. How to? Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put your cubed(large cubes) of eggplant on the baking dish…drizzle with olive oil and kosher salt and toss, so that they’re all covered. And don’t be too shy with the salt. Make sure it’s a single layer and roast for about 20 minutes. (It will take longer for potatoes and sometimes a touch shorter for green beans or asparagus…check at 15 minutes.) Once its brown and caramelizing on the bottom, give them a flip and put back in for another 5 -8 minutes, and you’re done. Trust me…these are good alone or on a salad, and can be served hot or at room temperature.

The Art of Eating In.....

And if you find you love eating in and all the $$$$ you’re saving….check out the book, The Art of Eating In, by Cathy Erway…it’s by a woman who swore off eating out for two years, get this, in New York City…the biggest restaurant town in the world! “Two years, three apartments, countless food events and some strange restaurant-free “dates” later, she was able to turn eating in into something of an art, rather than mere survival method.” Sounds like a good read…I’m definitely checking it out!

The Lawn Chair War….
February 19, 2010

Mmmmmm...lookin' good!

Well, it’s come to this has it? The Mayor of Baltimore has to issue a directive that goes something like this in feeling…”Come on people! Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we just be good neighbors and trust that others will do the same, and not have to stake out our parking place with unsightly chairs? NO? Ok, get ready for a ticket, buster!”

I drive through areas that are chock-a-block with chairs of all types, presumably something not too valuable…I certainly haven’t seen too many good looking chairs out there. I mean, if someone will steal your parking place that you sweated on, they will for sure grab a nice chair won’t they?

lawn chairs held hostage....set them free!!

I haven’t seen any chairs out in my neighborhood(that doesn’t mean there aren’t any)…and don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I think we all trust each other implicitly. I remember years ago after a different blizzard,  my teenage son came storming through the front door, saying that our then, next door neighbor had parked in the spot he dug out. He was livid!  “I’m going to go over there and tell her to move it!”  I reminded him that maybe…just maybe…she hadn’t thought about who dug it out, and as a single woman with children, maybe she just really really needed it more than him. “Go dig out another one“, we told him. Can I just say that was not well received, but he did it.

No I think the reason people in my hood don’t put out lots of chairs, is we’re afraid of being accused of being tacky…not to our face of course, but you know. People will talk.  And for sure, bedraggled lawn chairs that look like they should have been consigned to bulk trash long ago, decorating the street, are kinda tacky. They just are. So it will be interesting to see if  the Mayor’s plea will fall on deaf ears. Or will the chairs start to disappear, one by one, their tattered remnants marching back to the basement  from whence they cometh. Good riddance. And maybe, if we get to know our neighbors better, there won’t be this lack of good will and lack of trust(though in truth, really getting to know your neighbor might lead to more of both). 

All I know is it’s Friday, and I don’t have anything I have to do tonight! Dinner(pork belly roasted with carrots and turnips), watch some Olympics….bottle of wine…it’s good enough, good enough.

Baby GaGa…..fu-fu-fu-furry face fu-fu furry face
February 17, 2010

Baby GaGa....refusing to even look at me....

You can see in the picture Baby Girl has adopted a certain disdain for me…fewer loving looks, a couple of actual growls when I try to comb her….she hasn’t started doing anything too terrible like peeing in a secret place, but still. And now, she demands to be called Baby GaGa…simply refuses to answer to anything else. Sing it with me now to the tune of Lady GaGa’s song….fu-fu-fu-furry face, fu-fu-furry face….underneath all that fur…nothing but ice.

Spencer...lapping up the good life...

What has happened? I believe she knows about Spencer, my daughter’s new rescue kitty…he’s so cute, so lovey, so well-behaved…could she have heard me talking about him? I know she suspects something…perhaps she has smelled him on me when I come home. The smell of a strange perfume, kitty lipstick on the collar…I’m quite sure she is suspicious, and has grown quite cold.

Cat yoga....hold that pose....

I’ve suggested kitty yoga to her….other cats swear by it and say it has helped them find their equilibrium in troubled times, but so far she won’t even try a downward dog, much less merudandasana! Actually I have trouble with that one too. What will placate baby? Perhaps some of that expensive cat food Spencer gets from his indulgent owner….you know, the 89 cents a tiny can stuff. I’ll get some today, and tell Baby, sorry, Baby GaGa…that she’s the only cat for me, that my time with Spencer meant nothing to me, please forgive me my  dalliance. I’ll let you know if it works.

Suffering from Snopression…..
February 15, 2010

Anyone for a cookout?

Such a sad sight…picnic tables and a grill, surrounded by huge piles of dirty, nasty-looking snow. And this weekend at home, sometime in the night I thought I heard the steady drip drip drip of water coming from the side of the bedroom where there is no water source(oh wait, now there is). Sure enought, early the next morning, I discovered water was dripping in from the top of the window frame. After taping a bucket to the window to catch the drip(pretty high-tech, eh?) and after doing a little reading, it looks like all the “pretty” icicles hanging from the house mean a not so pretty thing. I have a ice damn or some such nonsense at my gutters, forcing melting snow to find a way down. And as you know, water …will… find ….a…. way. It finally stopped yesterday, and I’m kinda afraid to go in the attic and see what’s going on up there. I’m snopressed.

Snowpression is the new word I’ve coined to cover all the snow fatigue we’re all feeling right now. Even the most ardent snow lover must feel a little jaded at the whole thing. I’m tired of it being cold. I’m tired of the traffic being awful everywhere you go. I’m tired of there being no parking when you get there. I’m snopressed!

My Valentine's earrings.....

On the bright side I did get some lovely new earrings for Valentine’s Day, which I’m wearing on the newscast tonight at five. And everyone in the family is well…that’s huge…the wife of one of my co-workers has been in the hospital for a week. That’s a real problem for you. And we have plenty to eat, and heat for the house, and jobs, and all the really  important things are fine. But that doesn’t mean I can’t grouse a little bit about more snow coming this evening.  I think we’re all feeling that malaise…there’s a good word for you….it means an “indefinite feeling of debility”. And that’s how I’d characterize my case of snowpression…nothing is wrong per se,  just a general and indefinite feeling of ….blah. Know what I mean?  Let’s hope things get better soon.

It’s Friday People!! And the reader’s verdict on Bob’s Snowblowing problem….
February 12, 2010

Slow-cooked pork shoulder, with spices and poblano chilis!!

Can I tell you how happy I am it’s Friday…it felt like it should have been yesterday, but….as you and most others know, it was only Thursday. I worked last Saturday on snow coverage, and this has been a really long week, not only for everyone at WBAL, but everyone in the state! We could all….collectively… use a restful weekend, but as you know, there’s much digging to be done still, just about everywhere.

More decisions at 70 just right???

But I slept in my own bed last night….which was so nice. And hey, for all of us who stayed at the Cross Keys Radisson….all the chatter was about the Sleep Number Bed! “What was your number?” , “how did you like it?”. And I did like the bed, though it does seem like a lot of decisions to be made at bedtime. Set it 100….65….45? Too soft? Too firm? Just right? I think  I like the higher number setting, which means a firmer mattress, but I’m not sure.

The Piano I took to the hotel, and it's good!

A few people who already own the Sleep Number Bed were truly in heaven…just like being home I guess. But a little shout out 🙂 to the staff at the Radisson…they had put up workers to make the hotel run smoothly, which it did… and everyone was so nice. They had a great breakfast(loved the big pot of oatmeal, with bowls of brown sugar and raspberries), and to Brett who emailed asking “Were the other two TV hill tv stations in the same Hotel?“….I know one was, because I saw people I knew(it was a pretty lively bar scene for sure), but I guess other hotels were involved too. Not sure where.

And it’s Valentine’s Day Weekend ♥♥! I’m feeling a bit of a yawn over that, alas, after such a crazy week. I just want to curl up in the cave, get a good fire going, and have something delicious to eat. And don’t forget the Olympics start tonight…watching the torch runners this morning, it reminded me of my torch run, maybe 10 years ago, as it came thru Baltimore. I’ll never forget it, but as I’m not a runner, I was secretly concerned I couldn’t make my tiny piece of the run, and the thing is, the torch is kind of heavy, so you’re not just running but also holding something heavy that has to be held high for everyone to see. Yikes! I was panting like mad by the end but I made it. Nice memory.

As for Bob’s snowblowing dilemma…the consensus seemed to be…do your best and forget the rest…..a few samples..from Sandy….”We have a small snow thrower and my husband and son spent MANY hours clearing our driveway and sidewalks and those of our neighbors. We wouldn’t even think of asking for anything in return. It’s part of being a good neighbor/Christian. (And it doesn’t hurt that the snow thrower is one of those not often used big boy toys!) But when the second round hit, the novelty wore off, the snowblower needed help and the husband and son were sore and tired. So they only did our elderly next door neighbors.”

From Bonnie: “Donna, I agree that there is no obligation to help everyone just because you are someone who is prepared to take care of yourself. If the neighbors have never offered to take care of things when you are on vacation or help you at any other time, I say they can shovel their own driveway or PAY someone else to do it.”  Right on, sister.

From Stephanie: “Donna Every neighborhood has participants and watchers. There are those who are out shoveling (in summer, mowing) not only their yard/street/sidewalk/driveway but someone else’s. Then there are those who sit back and watch and complain why did they not do mine. Human nature is what it is.'” Sad Steph, but true. I’ve seen a little of that in my own hood.

From Carol: ” Bob relax. You have done enough. I am a recipient of similar kindness from my neighbors. I deeply appreciate the help. I also don’t take it for granted. I am thankful I gave them a restaurant gift card for Christmas. Any suggestions on what else I can do for them?”  Where is that case of beer??

I put a boneless pork shoulder roast in the crock pot this morning(as seen in the photo above)with lots of garlic, a little wine, cumin, thyme,  roasted poblanos and coriander… was smelling delish by the time I left, along with the scent of roasted eggplant as a side dish….this girl cannot wait for dinner. It’s Friday night people!!!!!!

Snowblowing quandary…..and tv snow camp breaks up…
February 11, 2010

My Uggs, pillow and Vera Bradley, packed to go home.....

Well, that great old gang of mine is breaking up….probably just in the nick of time. It’s been fun :), and a lot of work…but honestly people are just a little fatigued, and I suspect our tolerance for each other’s company might, ummmm… be wearing  just  a smidge thin? You know what I’m saying. No doubt many of you are harboring the same dark feelings  about family members….”If you ask what’s for lunch one more time…”…yeah.   

OK, since everyone is trying to dig out today, here’s a timely question for you, and I ‘m not sure what the answer is either….this is Bob’s philosophical snowblowing quandary: 

 ” Donna, about this neighbor helping neighbors I have a question. I have a snow blower that I paid nearly $1k (wow, Bob, look at you shellin’ out the big bucks!) for a few years ago. The reason I bought it was because as I am getting older it has become harder for me to clear my driveway with a shovel. Of course after I bought it we didn’t get much snow until this year. From sitting around the belts went bad so I had to pay to have them replaced. I live in a development and have many neighbors many who drive better cars then me and whose houses are much nicer then my little rancher. I always have made an effort to help our across the street neighbors with snow removal even back in the shovel days. I never ask for anything in return but they always bring something over. Last week she brought a case of Coors Light over which is probably enough beer to last me until this summer. These neighbors are the only ones that I help. Not because I don’t like my neighbors but because I am limited by my ability to do much more. When I finish my property and my neighbor I am totally wiped. So does that make me a bad neighbor to the rest? Where do you stop if you go to the next house to help? I can’t do the whole development and no one ever offers to help me because even with a snow blower there is some shoveling required. So please give me your opinion how do us that have snow blowers determine who we help and where do we stop? “ 

Bob, I have a neighbor who is probably in the same situation….who do you help and where do you stop? (That reminds me I REALLY need to pick up a case of beer for him!!) My feeling…If you’re wiped after you do those two properties, then you’ve done enough. And if your neighbors don’t come out and help shovel, no matter how nice their cars or houses are, then unfortunately they may be the kind of people who would look out and see the snow blown away and just think, “Great!! Just what we needed!”, and never think about who did it or at what cost.  Snowblowers run on gasoline and sweat equity. I say do you’re doing and forget about it….you’re already a nominee for sainthood. Maybe other will feel differently. Readers? 


I love the boots!!

Oh and this is the coolest snow outfit I’ve seen today…love the olive and check out the boots!! 

What snow viewers are saying and what they’re cooking!!
February 10, 2010

view from my hotel room early am...Williams Sonoma store on right.

Thought I’d post a little addendum to snow camp post while I have a little “down” time…this from Trish…” As much as I love a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed, it sounds like the tv snow camp at the station is much more fun! Thanks to the WBAL staff for being on the air and keeping us updated. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the last big one for this winter!” (I’m with you Trish.)

And I’m not the only serious snow foodie out there…this from Amy…”I’m cooking: Breakfast: Potato O’Brien, egg and sausage casserole, fruit and juice….Lunch: Hoisin Shrimp, Seasme Tahini battered Chicken, Tabbouleh, salad…..Dinner: Just for Rob Roblin: Sausage Jambablaya with saffron rice, cornbread and don’t forget the hot sauce!!  Oh, and we’re baking cupcakes! Let the cooking games begin!!! I win!!! ”  (Holy hot skillet batman, I’m coming to your house, girl!)

From Thomas T…..” Donna,  We’re making the best out of the storm. we’ve made love a dozen times and now we’re cooking up some pot brownies. It’s tough times out there.. But here in Dundalk we know how to make the best out of the worst situations.. I mean, Christ.. We live in Dundalk. Life sucks when it’s 80 and sunny. Love your coverage.” (Hey I don’t make this stuff up….)

Assistant News Director's "kiddie" kamp-out kompound

This from ……Kathy C… “very cool I’m on my computer watching you all broadcast on TV. I had to check out the snow camp.”

And from Marge…”you go girl …I am so proud of your girl power, you and the rest of staff deserve special thanks …” Thanks from all of us Marge)

And from Brenda(who feels a little differently than some of you)..and I can dig your point of view Brenda…” Enough of the blah!blah! blah…. Having lived in Vermont for over twenty years, this is just the way it is. I understand your need to broadcast emergency information, but the 24-7 reporting is a little much. You tell people to “stay in” and then continue to interview/show people who have gone out, sending a mixed message. Report the NEWS – including the world news. There is more to life than Baltimore!” (Brenda, as H.L. Mencken  used to reply to his critics, of which there were plenty….You may be right…)

Note the camping shorts...he's ready for anything..

And last but not least….for those of you who didn’t believe me about the guy who wears shorts to work every day, no matter what …here’s what our monster truck caveman(and I say that with all fondness), wore today in a blizzard…told ‘ya.

WELCOME to tv snow camp…..
February 10, 2010

have crockpot will travel....

When it gets really really really bad outside…like it’s going to get tonight and tomorrow and tomorrow night…and you really really really have to get to work, like I do, and like everyone with whom I work does, you head to tv camp. Now this camp can take two different forms…one is roughing it tv camp. That’s when people camp out at the tv station.  You see the evidence of that in the pics…crock pots, sleeping bags, blowup mattresses(no dolls), tons of  chips, drinks, breakfast stuff, boots, extra clothes, 3 bottles of nice wine(for one discerning wo-worker), chicken pot pies, blankies, pillows(one does want one’s own pillow)…you name it’s probably here.

my drive home from work last night...'nuff said...

And for others, there is a nearby hotel with actual beds! I shall be going there for the night, but I too have lots of crap to take with me. My laptop(hotel has wifi thank goodness), my Ipod and speakers(love my sleep music by Don Slepian), my yoga mat(forget that), some cookies, makeup, clothing, hair accoutrements, face accoutrements, you know…my stuff. Oh yeah, and my pillow. Those of us there will ferry over and back…that way they know where people are, and how to get to them. I made the huge mistake of not taking my things WITH ME yesterday morning so I had to drive home last evening to get them. A 15 minute drive only took me an hour! But got the stuff, and the hubbster kindly drove me to the hotel. I overlook the parking lot and a warm, lovely looking Williams Sonoma.

There’s an almost festive atmosphere…people running on coffee, granola bars and adreneline….that will wear a little thin later on …but right now, it’s a good spirit here, as everyone

Snow weekend wrapup…shovels, bread pudding and cats….
February 8, 2010

A lonely, but lovely drive home....the big storm had just begun...

This is what my drive home Friday night looked like….kinda lonely. Most people were off the roads, thank goodness, by 6:30 Friday evening. But this morning coming to work? OMG…cars parked in the street, people walking in the street, drivers who SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING IN THE SNOW BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW HOW, and miles of snow and ice alleys, made for ummmmmm…a breathtaking commute. But I made it…I made it. Now we just get ready for another 6 inches, right?

It was an “interesting ” weekend in my neighborhood, as I’m sure it was in yours. A couple neighbors own fairly sizeable snow blowers, and Mike, who lives two doors up from me, is so generous with his time and snow-blowing ability. He helped all of us get our cars ready for a Monday commute…he must have been exhausted.  But not everyone has that kind of neighbor. A guy here at work who lives in Federal Hill, says he has a neighbor who also has a snowblower, and isn’t so generous…..he did his little area around his own car….and ok, I’m finished. Thanks pal. Good neighbor time!!

And a Humvee ambulance got stuck in our hood(as did a snowplow…for 24 hours) and a neighbor’s Mother was inside on her way to the hospital. So 25 or so people came out from their warm houses and dug the Humvee out. The snowplow had to be pulled out by something even bigger than it was.

I do love bread pudding....even when it's squishy...

Sunday, I did make the croissant bread pudding, and while it was good…the croissants were just too soft for my taste, even though I toasted them first. Day old French bread would have had more body…but it still tasted good(come on..croissants with cream butter sugar and eggs?), and made a killer caramel sauce to go with it , by boiling a stick of butter with a half cup of heavy cream and a half cup each brown sugar and regular sugar, and a dash of salt. Yummy.

Oh, and an update on my daughter’s new rescue cat Spencer…he’s even more chillaxed, if that’s possible.

Spencer is extremely worried about unplowed streets....not.

He now realizes that he has fallen into a pot of honey, and has decided to make the best of it. He refused to eat until we bought him some of the super-expensive fancy little tiny cans of cat food(the ones that are $.89 per teeny can!)…and he’s slowly being weaned on to more affordable stuff. Lucky kitty-cat. Hope all of you had a safe, if digging-out weekend. And keep that snow shovel handy….sounds like you’ll need it soon.