A delicious ode to Julie and Julia
August 11, 2009

Meryl Streep doing a mean Julia Child...

Meryl Streep doing a mean Julia Child...

Yes, I was indeed part of the pack who made it to see Julie and Julia this weekend….Realizing the theatre at Harbor East would be packed with people just like me(Julia/food nuts), we got there just in time to find seats together. The audience was as expected, majority female, but there were plenty of guys there too for this new genre of film…the chick food flick. And we loved it. Meryl Streep pulls off the impossible…playing someone so much part of the public consciousness even as parody….and making the character plausible, and lovable. Just a word of advice…plan to eat something delicious afterward whether you’re eating out or in. Plan something nice. You will be ravenous for something with butter after seeing this ode to all cooking Julia Child. And sharing this movie with my daughter, who is just learning to cook, was such a special treat…I got tears in my eyes at one point….I know…so sentimental.

The ratatouille is coming together!

The ratatouille is coming together!

Our reward when we got home? Some amazing Ratatouille, (the dish, not the movie)compliments of my daughter who is a new convert to Julia Child’s legion of fans, now drawing a whole new generation of people learning the joys of slow food…actual cooking….in the kitchen..with real ingredients. Real butter. Real flour. Real vegetables! Now, there are as many recipes for ratatouille as there are restaurants in Provence, and they’re probably all delicious…here’s one from Epicurious, that uses copious amounts of garlic…(love it!)….but ratatouille is a forgiving recipe…adjust ingredients to your liking.


The ratatouille was finished before we made the afternoon movie…it sat happily on the stove with all it’s luscious ingredients(heirloom tomatoes that I got on sale from the farmer’s market…a large basket of “seconds” for $5 as they were racing decay, but perfect for cooking)melding blissfully into one another, and when we got home I quickly butterflied( not boned!) a chicken so that it would cook in half the time, roasted it  after rubbing it down with some butter mixed with Mediterranean sea salt, chopped some French Bread and put it all on the table with some real butter(Julia would want that). What a feast…I think we all channeled Julia that night as we savored the fresh tomatoey-garlic-eggplant-olive oily goodness…it was great plopped on top of the bread. Bon appetit!!

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Weekend Wrapup….Sweet Treats, Phelps, and Billy Bush
October 6, 2008

The sign should say...Goodies Inside!

The sign should say..."Goodies Inside!"

It was one of those busy, busy weekends, the kind that is fun but when it’s over, you think, I need a day off! My daughter was in for college, her first visit home in a while….as I told you it was mostly for a hair appointment, but she spread some love on her parents too….for which they were grateful.

Saturday morning I trudged over to Sugarbakers in Catonsville, on Frederick Road. I had no idea they existed, until several months ago I had dinner at a restaurant who sells slices of  the multi-fudge layered Smith Island Cakefrom Sugarbakers….and that cake is off the hook. Fabulous. I’ve bought several desserts from there since….and while they’re not inexpensive, they are not terribly pricey….

Tarts, anyone? Anyone?

Tarts, anyone? Anyone?

My Mamma would have said, “What if you have an accident dressed like that? “…but I took the risk and drove to Sugarbakers in flannel jammy pants, Ugg boots, and a sweatshirt…yep, I made quite a picture, but the ladies behind the counter were nonplussed by my appearance and I hope to heaven they didn’t recognize me…and armed with a box of fresh baked cinnamon rolls and sticky buns dripping with caramel under my arm, my daughter woke up happy (hours later, of course).

Saturday night I hated to leave her, and begged her to come with me to Ft. McHenry for the Michael Phelps Star-Spangled Salute  which we broadcast Saturday night….but she is way too savvy for that. It’s funny….when you’re working something..not there as a spectator, but as a participant…and if your family comes along, you really don’t get a chance to see them much and your mind is on other matters. So, no takers to my invitation to tag along….

Say cheese Billy!

Say cheese Billy!

But if you weren’t there, the crowd went absolutely crazy during the recap of  Phelps eight gold medal wins….it was as thought it were happening for the first time right before them. Gorgeous weather, beautiful sunset, fireworks, Michael Phelps and Billy Bush from Access Hollywood. What’s not to like? And Billy Bush, who is a sweetheart  by the way…nice and very funny…had a great idea for Ft. McHenry. As we were waiting to go on, he said to me, ” Donna, they should take one of the rooms at the fort, make it into a beautiful bedroom suite overlooking the harbor, and rent it out to high rollers for five g’s a night…hey, people would pay it! And all the proceeds would go to maintain the fort!” And he’s right…and here’s my idea…have the Wine Market restaurant down the street cater a dinner served on the ramparts overlooking the water for the renters…so romantic. Anyone at Fort McHenry listening?? We got ideas here!!

A late weekend wrapup….my car no longer looks like I live in it!
August 19, 2008

I took my daughter back to school this weekend…she had been home for a couple of weeks now, and she seriously couldn’t wait to get back. Hey, that’s ok….I remember how it feels to want to get back to your real, much more fun life at school and away from boring parents who are always asking you to do stuff for them.

I feel like your slave!”, cried my daughter. And in all honesty, I have been using her shamelessly as my personal assistant (now I want one), to do all the things that I just don’t seem to get to. Taking clothes to cleaners, taking broken jewelry to repair, taking shoes to repair shop, taking cats to vets, doing laundry, emptying the dishwasher, picking up food for dinner, changing the sheets on the beds (this particularly irked her), and other flotsam and jetsam chores. Now…. before you feel sorry for her….remember this. She didn’t have a job this summer, and we are paying her bills. That entitles me, I think, to a little “free” labor. And I got it, baby.

So, back to school she went….her, in one car stuffed to the gills, and us in another car (my car) stuffed to the gills. And this is the car I’ve been driving for two weeks now….”Please Mom, don’t make me carry all that stuff  into the house, I’ll just have to carry it back to the car soon.”  So I took pity ( see? I have a heart.), and have been driving around with it and all its stuff inside. Not even room for a passenger. A couple of people I don’t know, but was talking to at Clipper Mill after the broadcast of the Ozone program, glanced in my car and asked, “Do you live out of your car?” I think they were kidding. Anyway, my car in now deliciously empty. But so is my house.

Gerry Sandusky put his daughter on a plane for her first year at school this weekend. He admitted it was pretty intense at the airport, and that he already misses her so much. I admitted something to him….”I go and open the door to her room, and it smells like her…all perfumey. Isn’t that strange?” He admitted he had done the same thing a couple of times since his baby girl left. Sob. But there it is. (I told my daughter of sniffing her room, and she said, “that’s a little creepy…”)

Bye-bye Zodiac!!

Bye-bye Zodiac!!

And here’s another sad leaving I witnessed this weekend….ah, the price of progress. One of my favorite haunts when I go to the Charles TheatreThe Zodiac Restaurant, is now closed. They said the road work, which you see going on in front of their spot….discouraged customers over the summer and they have hung it up. Now that is a loss. I have had some really fine meals there, and I love the interior of the place. But I always felt that if you didn’t know that the Zodiac was a great place, just glancing at it from the outside would make you a little nervous about going in, like… a place for serial killers or something. Dark, almost looked closed, with big bars across the windows….its “curb appeal” probably discouraged new and  uninitiated customers. Anyway, it’s done now. But I’ll miss the joint…best desserts, and let me tell you, anyone who can make a vegan dessert taste like that, is a talented chef…R.I.P. Zodiac.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite…
July 31, 2008

look out, sucker!

look out, sucker!

My daughter is home from college for a few weeks after taking a summer course. The house in which she sublet a room this summer, is supposedly very nice, in a nice neighborhood, though any house can only be so nice, when it’s occupied by college students. She had told me earlier in the summer, there were bugs in the house, and she was getting bug bites. I asked if there was any chance they had bedbugs..she of course, has no idea what a bedbug is, but said one exterminator had said no. I didn’t think too much more about it.

But she got a phone call from Heidi…(you remember Heidi, she reads my blog, can be quite critical of it on occasion, all in (?)good fun)…and Heidi said tearfully….”There are bedbugs in the house…it’s infested with them!” Thank goodness my daughter has already moved out…..but WHAT IF SHE BROUGHT THEM HOME ???? That’s what I’m talking about.

And did you know bedbugs are on the rise once again in this country?  Experts think it’s because of so much more world wide travel…a little souvenier just for you ! Ever see how the little devils operate? Take a look.

How horrifying is that ??? They don’t hurt you really, just leave itchy bites, but according to the Mayo Clinic website, bedbugs are the source of much psychic stress….like mine right now. I mean really, what’s so disturbing about thinking there are lots of little tiny bugs in your mattress waiting for you to sleep, so they can suck your blood? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Anything  my daughter brought home is outside in a plastic bag in the sun….heat kills them…and we’re washing all her bedding (that’s still in her car trunk) in hot water, and keeping a watchful eye on things. And vacuuming…lots and lots of vacuuming. They never have bedbugs on Gossip Girl  or Greek !

Brunch and a Movie…..
January 21, 2008

0120081247.jpgOK, it’s Monday…most of you are at home enjoying the MLK holiday and rightly so….me, I’m at work, but that’s fine because my daughter is home safely from her minimester trip to London, and I had a great weekend, enjoying her company.
Went to brunch at one of my favorites, though I had not been there in a while.
The Ambassador, right off University Blvd., is such a wonderful, romantic restaurant. Not for nothing is it usually one of the favorites for dinner in all the lists and such, but most people don’t know they serve Sunday brunch.
Don’t go expecting eggs or French toast or bacon…if you do you will be sadly disappointed….BUT if you love Indian cuisine like I do, you’ll be in heaven. A long table with hot dishes of Tikka Masala chicken, Lamb curry, vegetable cuddy, fabulous spinach, salads…all for you.
0120081301a.jpgOver on a side table, the makings for mimosas (and this time, a new addition)….A big bottle of Grey Goose on ice alongside the champagne, with bloody mary mix in a glass pitcher….you mix your own, as strong or virgin as you like, and you may have as many as you dare, all included in the price.
You can sit in their old world dining room which you see above, or you can also sit out on a glass enclosed patio area, which overlooks a beautiful garden. And the price is about 18 bucks a person for adults. A bargain!

0121081201.jpgThen, we saw 27 DRESSES starring the gorgeous Katherine Heigl. Funny, cute, romantic….we all gave it a solid B. Totally enjoyable. And who hasn’t had some bridesmaid dresses that you thought just for a moment, “If I cut that off maybe I could wear it again.” Yeah, sure.