Wednesday, June 17, 2009

So Sushi!

This may surprise everyone who reads this, but I need to get it off my chest. I LOVE SUSHI! Those who know me are aware of my intense distaste for anything from the ocean in general. Some things should not be eaten, plain and simple. But over the past twenty-four months, I have grown to absolutely love raw fish surrounded by flavorless rice and scum-of-the-water seaweed. It blows my mind to think what I have been missing all these years by crossing my arms and refusing to try anything that at one time had fins and swam happily along in salt water.

Perhaps I need to be more specific. I don't enjoy all forms of sushi. But I have come to passionately love one type in particular...shrimp tempura. Ok, ok. I realize shrimp tempura is cooked and does not contain fish. But for me to even try it a few years ago what miraculous! And I haven't regretted it since! There is a wonderful place near my sister's house called Pan Asia, which is a Chinese fusion and sushi restaurant. It was the same establishment we took my parents to for their first encounter with sushi about a month ago when they were in town for graduation. I found my favorite sushi roll then and was able to get it yesterday during lunch with my brother, Jeff, and my sister, T'liese.

Avocado. Cream cheese. Seaweed. Shrimp tempura. Fish eggs. Despite the last ingredient, this sushi roll is incredible! To top it all off with some great crunchy texture, they put Japanese bread crumbs, (or something I can't identify and probably am better off not knowing). I declare, this stuff just melts in my mouth. The only thing wrong with it is that it never seems to be a big enough portion! I take five bites and am done! Mix a little wasabi in some soy sauce for a dip, and I am in heaven! I have found out the hard way that there is such a bad thing as nasty sushi. If it smells like fish, it isn't going to taste good because that means it isn't fresh. I am a trooper and will try anything, but I usually go back to my faithful "Lisa Lisa" roll. Holy cow, I could go for some sushi right now. Luckily, I just found an ounce of self-control and will probably muster through the day without fulfilling my sushi craving. There is always tomorrow!

Basketball John

WARNING: When sneaking in pictures of one's husband playing basketball, there is a good chance the pictures won't turn out as one would like. However, that may be better than the alternative: embarrassing him by laying on the floor near the end of the court, just like the professionals do. Though I like to pretend at times, I am far from a professional photographer, and I also am very adamant about not getting run over by a bunch of running men. Call me crazy, but it's just something I feel strongly about. So, rather than making an idiot out of myself and getting closer to the action, I secretly shot these pictures zoomed in. Hence the stalker-ish look to them.

John always surprises the masses by how incredibly good he is at basketball. He doesn't have an agile look about him during his normal daily existence, but put a ball in his hands and some painted wood underneath his feet and watch the master take form! He is really good. I am not just saying that because I am his biased wife and think he is good at everything (and he is). Though these pictures don't give him justice, he is quite the good baller. Makes me proud. And, since I am the only spectator at these games, I get to cheer the loudest as a result of him playing so well. I also think he could pull off a stint as an NBA commentator because he knows so much about the game. When we watch games together, he will "coach" the players and tell them what they should be doing. A few seconds later, the commentators will repeat what John just said should be happening! He is always one step ahead of the game. Smart kid!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Humility in the Works

Pilots are, by their very nature, timid and reclusive creatures. The majority of pilots avoid talking about themselves and never brag. They can rarely be seen in their natural habitats engaging in "loud talk" and boisterous activity pronouncing their abilities. When in a "Pilot's Lounge," a natural gathering place for such pilots, the conversations never turn to what the pilots fly and how awesome they are for doing it, unless that information is absolutely dragged from them by their peers, despite their best efforts to retain such information from others. It is common knowledge that the public accepts...pilots are very humble creatures and the last to "toot their own horns," so to speak.

Being a pilot myself, (and a darn good one at that), it is foreign for me to talk about something I did that was just amazing. But when I say that I made an incredible dinner last night, I mean it.

The recipe I followed from the Food Network was created by Tyler Florence, one of my favorites. I added some extra goodies to his already-great creation, and hence we indulged in the Best Enchiladas Ever Seen On The Face Of The Earth. In addition, I made homemade salsa (I do every week since my husband is a salsa-eating machine). Homemade guacamole also made a successful appearance on our dinner table, which makes my knees weak just thinking about it. I didn't make the sour cream, but I probably would have if a cow existed in my backyard. At least I know I have areas to improve. Everything else about the meal was dern-near perfect.

John ate an entire pan of my chicken enchiladas. I think he concurs with my humble statement that I made a pretty mind-blowing dish. Luckily, because of my very involvement in life as a pilot, I avoided the spotlight and praise that naturally came from making heaven on a fork. Sometimes I wish I could be more confident about my accomplishments, but this is not the time to be "cocky," as we jokingly say in the pilot world.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cupcake Queen for a Day

It's hard to admit this, but I don't think I have ever made cupcakes. I occasionally make a cake, constantly make brownies, and love making cookies. But cupcakes have always been mysterious objects escaping my chocolate-smeared fingers. Last week, I got a box from Amazon, more than likely because I ordered from them. I excitedly ripped it open to confirm the contents...two new cookbooks that I have really been wanting for months! Luckily, talking on the phone to my sister convinced me that I CAN treat myself to something nice every once in a while! So I made a few clicks with my mouse, and then waited outside by the mailbox for a week until my package arrived. Believe me, it didn't disappoint.

One of the books is called Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, From Cupcakes and Cobblers to Custards and Cookies, by Carole Bloom. Though it takes three full breaths to say, the title provides a good description of the book contents. What more would you possibly want from a book? I read it cover to cover as soon as I got it, and most of the pages are now ruined from my drooling over the gorgeous pictures of over ninety desserts. For some reason, her biography picture on the back page shows a very skinny person. I don't believe it. Must be a stunt-double. Anyone who creates and tests desserts for a living cannot weigh one-hundred pounds! That's actually a law in seventeen states. I've already picked out some things I will be making in the next few weeks for various events. How can one go wrong with names like "Wicked Brownie Bites" and "Peek-A-Boo Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies." She uses quality ingredients to make insane goodies, and I can't wait to try them all! I have this obsession with mini things anyway, so this is just aiding my addiction.

As if it couldn't get any better, I picked up the next book and felt as giddy as a little girl! I think I squealed in delight! I found this book several months ago at TJ Maxx but haven't allowed myself to get it. In order to get free shipping from Amazon, I had to spend a certain amount (spend money to save, I fell for it again!). So I casually looked up the title of this book as well to see if they had it. Not only was it there staring me in the face, but it was ON SALE! I don't ignore fate, so with just a few hurried clicks with shaking hands, it was also in my online shopping cart.

This book was created by a magazine, Real Simple, with which I have fallen in love. The title is Celebrations, Easy Entertaining for Every Occasion and is filled to the brim of exactly how I love doing things! They broke it down into categories, like entertaining for the holidays, summer barbecues, showers, and yes, even cheese parties. Until now, I had no idea how badly I have been wanting to throw a cheese party! Who knew?! Each chapter includes everything from invitation ideas to menu lists to suggestions for party activities. I couldn't put the book down and have actually read it twice already! My very patient husband even looked at pictures with me because I was too excited to sleep. I am in heaven!

I finally whittled John down to let me try one of the recipes in the book. So, on Sunday afternoon, I made vanilla bean yellow cupcakes with vanilla sour cream frosting. I then shaved some Hershey bar chocolate over the top, just to make them look pretty. We can call my first cupcake attempt a success. John devoured them while he watched the NBA game, and I kept clapping my hands and jumping up and down because I was enjoying myself so much. I really do love cooking, but making cute, edible things is even better!

It was a splurge to get two new books, but my cup(cake) hath overrunneth with joy ever since they arrived. Some things in life are too good to pass by.

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