Archive for August, 2012

Sake 101….
August 28, 2012

It was a stormy afternoon outside Pabu at Harbor East,
but inside, it was all smooth sake….

Yeah, what I know about sake would fill a thimble. Seriously. So the idea of going to sake school(Sake 101 they call it) at Pabu at the Four Seasons at Harbor East, to learn how sake is made, how to tell good sake from bad(oh there is bad my friend), how it’s (properly)served, the history of the beverage was interesting enough. But when you get to taste sake throughout the class? I’m all in.

These are the sakes we tried….no I cannot
read the labels. But so pretty…I wanted the center one for a vase!

Lesson number one: Sake is not hot battery acid you drink at 3AM  with bad sushi. This was quite a revelation to most of us, as that’s exactly what we’ve done in the past.

Lesson #2: Sake is not rice wine. It’s also not a beer or a spirit. What?? Sake is unique unto itself…(however it is brewed like beer soooo…..just sayin’).

Here is your sake professor..a.k.a. The Sake Lady….she know all!

Ok, I love edamame, but this fire roasted soy coated thingies
were just AMAZING….I want some right now.

No we did not just drink…we also ate. Delectable goodies like fire roasted edamame, and squid salad….really yummy stuff….

Beautiful, no? And we got to devour it!

I wish I could tell you that I am now a sake expert, and can order with aplomb from the extensive sake menu at Pabu….but that’s not be true. But no matter….I know tons more about sake now than I did before, which brings us to Lesson #3: Sake is served cold. COLD!

Oh, and there are two more Sake 101 classes(9-08 & 10-13) at Pabu, about which you can read details here. For only $25…it’s fun hour…and you learn something too. Win-win in my book. Here’s sake in your eye….

Sista-hood..and making the gumbo….
August 14, 2012

This was the 3 sistas in Uganda this spring….we look a little tired, and I think we were!

When my sisters and I get together…even if we haven’t seen each other for months…it’s like we were together yesterday. I know those who don’t get along with their sisters…it’s more like they’re competitors, who just happen to have grown up together and share the same parents. I can never understand that, just because I are so close, and we always have been really. I can’t even remember being in a real argument with them…maybe a little tiff when we were younger, but today…never.

This crew is familiar with seafood, but not cracking crabs, Maryland
style…

So when the sisters, my niece and her daughter came for a visit, it was a whole houseload of female…plus my daughter came over to spend a couple of nights with us too….yeah…girls. Lots. We had an amazing crab feast on the back patio, with corn, wine(no beer, sorry)…a lovely, …girlie evening.

I did a pretty good job on these but we had 6 leftover crabs.
They were not wasted…

And some of the leftover crabs came in handy….But that leads me to a cookbook my sister brought me…

Crazy Sista Cooking….great gumbo recipe inside!!

My older sister Audrey(she hates it when I call her that…older sister) brought me Lucy Buffett’s new book…Lulu, as she is known, is the sister of the famous Margaritaville singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet…she has a well-known seafood restaurant in Gulf Shores. First stop at the stove: gumbo!!

Lucy’s Summer Gumbo…

Lulu says it takes courage to take the roux to the color of mahogany, and yet not burn it(’cause if you do you just have to start over)….no likee.

Just keep stirring until your arm falls off….

Honestly I didn’t get there. I chickened out right at the end, and figured  it was dark enough, at least a light mahogany.

Add the chopped onions(and later the green and red peppers) and
saute in the roux. MORE stirring.

The recipe doesn’t call for chicken…but gumbo is what you make of it…

these are chopped chicken pieces….

And to me, it’s not gumbo without some sausage…andouille or kielbasa…

Note the queen made vegetables underneath the sausage!

Fat and Juicy…good stuff….

One does need some refreshment during the day long process of gumbo…Lulu suggest bloodies…I concur. And Fat and Juicy-here…is amazing…smokey, horseradish…yum.

Getting ready to add the chicken and sausage….the shrimp
right at the end….And

And…the finished product.

Sorry this isn’t my picture, but I forgot! (bloody Mary’s??)

Just in case you want to make this amazing gumbo for yourself…here’s the recipe from Alabama food. Really, I think it was the best gumbo I’ve ever made…and that’s saying something. Piece of advice…get a couple of sous chefs(husbands, daughters, friends) to help do the chopping and sauteeing…makes it so much easier.

Fifty Shades of Gray…..and more.
August 1, 2012

Here it is before…Chinese red…with dove grey fixtures….

OK, I have a small powder room on the first floor of my house(I say small, it’s actually tiny-there is only room for one person at a time in there, but then when are there ever 2 people in a powder room, right?)….and years ago I painted it a Chinese red. And while I’ve loved the red, it really needed  repainting and I decided to shake it up a little and use a shade of gray. I’m kind of obsessed with gray.

Holy Gray cow….that’s a lot of choices(and there were many, many more)

But I quickly realized at Lowe’s how many shades of gray there are….many more than fifty, ok? Stone Harbor, Coastal Fog, Silver Fox, Smoke Embers….all so…evocative…so gray. But I knew I wanted something on the lighter side….and many grays are have quite a bit of blue in them. Coastal Fog was the final choice.

Thrifty, no??

At first I thought….hey, why not take all the sample cans I paid a dear $5.99 for when I was picking a gray for the kitchen, and mix them all togetherand voila, free paint! But after I painstakingly mixed them …and they were pretty…..

Truly a customized shade of gray….that could never be recreated.
Hmmmmm.

I decided to save that gray for a smaller, specialized project…maybe a piece of furniture… or something. And I grabbed a gallon of Coastal Fog.  Enter Mr Lawson, my painter, who I’ve discovered is….wait for it…. 87 years old.  I know. I flt so guilty hiring someone who is 87 years old!!!!!! I said,”Are you sure you want to do this? Please don’t feel like you have to.”  He assured me he did still do small jobs like this one(tiny bathroom, remember?). But I’ve got to get that man’s youth potion. You’d swear he was …maybe 65?

Anyway, he did a lovely job, as always…and here is the finished result…

Tah-dah!!! I love it.

The room is definitely brighter, and I love the monochromatic look of the gray walls and fixtures. Only Baby Girl is unimpressed by all the hubbub…

Baby Girl hates change….loves life just the way it is. All about her.