Sunday Afternoon Coffee [forty-five]

Sunday 45 (1)If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you I AM SO EXCITED TO GO TO NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON DC THIS WEEK!!!!!!! The Sexy Master Electrician and I leave on Wednesday to hang out with friends in New York and then catch the train down to DC for my friend Peter’s wedding and will hang out there for a few days as well. TSME has never been to either city so I am trying to make sure we do some cool stuff, he sees the usual sites, and I eat all the food I want to eat. I think I would do nothing but that if I could.

Winston- He doesn't care about the red carpet

Winston- He doesn’t care about the red carpet

K Cherry Dessert

K Cherry Dessert

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you I was slightly disappointed with the Oscars this year.We didn’t have a big party this year. But we did have treats. I made an awesome cherry dessert from my friend K this year.  Either way, Winston and Allie were the best part of the night.

Lingo

Lingo

If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that this years School of Architecture Spring Banquet was a much bigger hit that last year. As a member of the Graduate Advisory Council, I volunteered to help with the new competition we decided to try out. Teams of students were paired with two GC members who worked with them over the course of three weeks to create and object to include in the live auction. The money raised would go to scholarships for the students. The object this time was a lampshade that had to fit in a 10×10″ box. The student were given the same lamp base and bulb to work with and a $75 budget for material and 3D or CDC production. The lamp that sold for the most money would be the winning team. Our team was second by $50, it sold for $550. The GC was not sure what to expect with this competition, but it turned out really well and we raised over a $1000 with three lamps. We will see what next years object will be.

Team three Lamp

Team three Lamp

If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would probably talk about “American Sniper.” TSME and I just went to the matinee today.   Intense is about all I can say about it. 

Eggs Benedict with Avocado & Prosciutto

Eggs ben (1)I have decided that I really like Eggs Benedict. It has become my favorite thing to order for breakfast. I finally decided I should try making it. I hadn’t tried before because I was a little afraid of poaching eggs.

Over the holidays I was going to try it at home, but mom has an egg poacher so I didn’t actually have to make them. The Eggs Benedict was still pretty good via machine, even if it over do them a little bit. When I finally decided to make them one morning for The Sexy Master Electrician and I, I did what everyone does, consulted the internet. It was pretty easy, just moves quickly. Do not be afraid of egg poaching and have everything ready.

My recipe is a variation of this recipe, also where I found the video. Since it was not the day after eating a turkey, and TSME does not like Canadian bacon, we used prosciutto instead. We also added avocado, my favorite thing to include on just about anything. And I did not make the English muffins. Do not care that much, that may shock some, but it is true. I really love the quick way they make the hollandaise sauce in the blender. They highly recommend using pasteurized eggs since you do not cook the sauce. It’s quick and delicious.

That’s all I got. Go make some Eggs Benedict.

Eggs Benedict with Avocado & Prosciutto

Makes 2 serving

For hollandaise sauce:

  • 2 large egg yolks, see note above
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Using a blender, puree the egg yolks together for a few seconds.
  2. Slowly pour in the melted butter, just a little at a time, and turn on the blender (puree setting) and puree for about 10 seconds. Turn off the blender and pour in a little more melted butter and puree again. Repeat until all of the melted butter has been incorporated.
  3. Add in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and salt and puree again for about 8 to 10 seconds.
  4. Taste and adjust any seasoning as needed, puree again and set aside.

For eggs benedict:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 4 eggs, cracked open with whole eggs in individual cups
  • 2 English muffins, split and toasted
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 4-6 slices of prosciutto
  • Red pepper flakes, optional
  1. Using a big pot or large, deep saucepan, heat the water over medium-high heat. As the water begins to heat and you see bubbles forming, add the vinegar and stir with a wooden spoon. Eggs ben (2)
  2. After you have reached a slow boil, turn the heat to medium-low and, using your wooden spoon, make a whirlpool in the center with the water and slowly add your eggs, one at a time, into the whirlpool.
  3. The egg whites should wrap around the yolks. Repeat until all of the eggs are in the pot. Eggs ben (3)
  4. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and let cook for another 4 minutes.
  5. When your egg whites have set and the yolks are still soft, using a slotted spoon, remove each poached egg onto a plate and get ready for assembly.
  6. While waiting for your water boil or eggs to cook, toast your English muffins.
  7. Spread half of the avocado on each muffin and split the prosciutto between the two.  Eggs ben (4)Place two poached eggs on each sandwich and pour your hollandaise sauce over each sandwich. Season with red pepper flakes if desired.

Enjoy!

Eggs ben (5)

 

Snowshoeing to Tower Falls [Yellowstone]

SSYNP TFA few weeks ago,  right when February started feeling like April, The Sexy Master Electrician and I headed down to Yellowstone to see what there was for snow and what we could do with it. We were thinking snowshoeing since it would probably be kind of icy for cross country skiing. And TSME still needs to work on his skiing skills. We drove down to the Mammoth Hot Springs and stopped at the gear shop at the hotel. We talked to the guys who run the gear rental shop. They recommended heading up to Tower Falls, they had some new snow over night, so hopefully it got more than a dusting up there. We figured why not and grabbed some snowshoes on the way out.

There wasn’t much new snow up at the trail, but it was a beautiful day for a hike. The trail is on the main road that they close for the winter. It’s about two and a half miles up to the falls, and it’s a steady climb the entire way up. We both started out with our snowshoes on, but someone may have tripped and might have thrown a bit of a fit and removed his about a quarter of the way up.

A fit capture via TSME's GoPro  (I spared you the image by image)

A fit capture via TSME’s GoPro (I spared you the image by image)

You really didn’t need them, they added a bit of traction, but that’s it. There was no worry of sinking through the snow on the trail. I eventually took mine off towards the top after stopping to admire the canyon.

snowshoeingThe whole hike was gorgeous. The views were wonderful and the falls were frozen over. You could just see the water moving below the ice.

It was so awesome to be at the falls with no one else around. We passed several people on the trail, but no one was there when we arrived. Last time we were there in the summer, the parking lot was completely full and the viewpoint was overrun with people. This time it was completely silent, everything shut down. We sat at the empty picnic tables and enjoyed lunch before heading back down.

SSYNP TF3On the way back we kept a lookout for the wolf tracks we had seen on the way up and realized they were following the trail for quite awhile. We should have been up early  to see them. Or not. Other than that we only saw some bison and elk off the trail and on the road.

And then we finished the day off the best way possible. At the Boiling River.

TSME's GopPro catching my true feeling stepping into boiling or freezing water.

TSME’s GoPro catching my true feeling stepping into boiling or freezing water- once we found our spot we stayed for over an hour.

Approaching the river via TSME

Approaching the river via TSME

 

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View from Jackson Creek

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would say sorry for ignoring you. It’s been so nice out, like spring, that I have been playing outside, not in snow. And a little in snow too at Yellowstone. This weekend is another one with The Sexy Master Electrician dog sitting in Jackson Creek. It’s so lovely to pretend I have a house 10 times bigger than my apartment with a real bathtub that doesn’t scare you.

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TSME with two of his charges

 

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Dirty Girl

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that 14 North has a really good happy hour that we should start taking advantage of more. Plus they have this drink called a Dirty Girl that had bourbon, root beer and I thought cream. Or it’s the recipe in the link. Sounds terrible. Tastes amazing.

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If we were having coffee this afternoon I would show you my new running shoes. Once I put them on, I realized that my old ones were in worse shape than I thought. I really wanted to get the same ones as my old ones because I loved them but Adidas seemed to be phasing them out so I got these instead. Also amazing. My feet have been doing happy dances at the gym.

If we were having coffee this afternoon I would ask you if you read this article about the guy who defied search and rescue algorithms and actually forced them to reevaluate how they search. It’s amazing he even survived, via Bldgblog.

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Downtown Livingston

 

If were having coffee this afternoon I would ask how Valentine’s Day was. Normally I am one to hang out with my friends and avoid over crowded restaurants. This year wasn’t much different, except I  was hanging out with TSME instead of friends. We ran over to Livingston to his favorite wine and cheese shop and to grab lunch at Gil’s. Otherwise we stayed at the house and hung out in the hot tub, enjoying my gift of cheese and his of beer.

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The Gourmet Cellar

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If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I finally finished reading The Goldfinch. It was really good, perhaps a bit drug out form me, but that might be because it was always on hold at the library so it took a couple returns the the library and having waiting to get it back. It is wonderfully written, I will have to check out her other books. I am now on to something a bit less long, though perhaps not less heavy, Everythings I Never Told You. I’ll let you know how it is.

IMG_3068If were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that TSME and I tried making pizza with a cauliflower crust. I didn’t mind it and he loved it. I decided that I just prefer my crust to be the bread variety. He thought it was great substitute. The next pizza crust is TBD.

I Made Cauliflower Soup and I LOVE it.

Prepare to be amazed

Prepare to be amazed

So perhaps I should give a tiny bit of background here. I was not really a fan of cauliflower. It’s never been a vegetable I used or purchased. Occasionally I would eat a raw piece off a veggie platter but that’s about it. To completely kill my interest in cooking it, I was at an event and they had some sort or cheesy cauliflower dish that smelled so atrocious and exactly like something I will not mention to spare you all, (it has to do with animals), that I couldn’t believe other people were eating it. The smell made me want to vomit. So cooking cauliflower not high on my list.

But, lately, almost 10 years later, my mom has been doing some cooking with cauliflower as a substitute for carbs and other not-so-healthy-things and The Sexy Master Electrician has made a few things that have been pretty good. None of these have had a smell that has caused the upchuck reaction. After getting too much cauliflower to try it as a rice substitute, I needed to make something else. I was craving soup so I decided to try this Cauliflower Soup with Chrispy Chorizo Breadcrumbs.

IT WAS AMAZING. I was in love with this soup. TSME is sick of me telling him how much I love this soup. I made it again this week and I rarely repeat recipes that quick. It was good the first night, it was good the 3rd night. I didn’t make it with chorizo, I made the mistake of looking at the ingredients and put it back. I picked up a ground pork burger with andouille seasoning instead. I also added some Tony’s seasoning to it. I also added some other herbs, and  I didn’t really measure, so the amounts below are a bit of guess. Either way all an awesome idea. I’m just saying, give it a try.

Andoulille Cauliflower Soup with Pork Breadcrumbs

Make 5 servings  as a main dish

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp  dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp Tony’s Creole seasoning
  • 1 medium heads of cauliflower (3 3/4 pounds), cut into 2-inch florets
  • 3.25 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces ground pork, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup panko
  1. In a large soup pot, melt the butter. Add the diced onion, crushed garlic cloves, thyme rosemary, and oregano. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets, Tony’s, and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the cauliflower is very tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  3. While the cauliflower cooks, prepare the pork breadcrumbs. In a medium skillet, cook the chopped pork over moderate heat until it is almost crisp, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the panko and cook, stirring frequently, until the crumbs are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl.
  5. Once the cauliflower is done, carefully puree it in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Pour the soup into the pot and set it over low heat.
  6. Stir in the half and half and season the cauliflower soup with salt and black pepper.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and serve at once, before the bread crumbs get soggy.

Side note: I kept the soup and crumbs separate storing them as leftovers. I also warmed them up individually and sprinkled the crumbs on top like they were fresh.

Enjoy!

Sunday Afternoon Coffee [forty-four]

Sunday 44 (5)If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you that I was sad, but not too surprised, to hear that Architecture for Humanity was filing for bankruptcy and closing. The good news is that the chapters will continue on with the mission of the organization. In New York, I spent several years volunteering for the local chapter, first as a project coordinator and then on the board of directors. When I moved and stepped down from the board, I knew I was leaving a great team behind that could handle anything and I am sure they will take this in stride and come out brilliantly. I wish all the chapters out there luck and great success.

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I think we would talk about the crazy warm weather lately. It’s made it into the 50’s and sustained the low 40’s lately. This all just means all the snow in the valley is melting and ice ends up taking over since it rains and then freezes at night. Yesterday a friend and I decided to try hiking the M. We made it over the icy trail until  it split for the easy or hard way, about 3/4 the way up. We decided we might be able to make it up, but going down might be more on our butts than feet. Since I already took a slight fall, we did some off trailing to get back down past the worst parts. It was fun, even if it was icy.

A lot of scrubbing...

A lot of scrubbing…

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you my hands are a bit sore from scrubbing rust from the cast iron skillets I found at my grandma’s. I knew you used steel wool and I found a complete little guide to restoring cast iron here. What I didn’t know is that I would be scrubbing for close to an hour. The one flat skillet may not have had rust, but had some sort of build up on it that made it impossible to clean off or keep things from sticking to the pan. I might have to do one more round in the future, but I think it is good enough for now. Hopefully.

Birthday hats and weights

Birthday hats and weights

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I actually wore a birthday hat for my entire bodypump class last Monday. It was the instructors birthday and she brought us hats to wear and tootsie rolls to eat. I was more excited about the tootsie rolls, but since I like her, I wore the hat as requested.

The sleeping giant

The sleeping giant

If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you about my trip to Great Falls for work last week. It is a beautiful drive, and I hope this summer The Sexy Master Electrician and I explore the area between Helena and Great Falls, but it is a long drive. Especially driving up and back in one day. At least we had a very productive meeting. Hopefully we won’t have too many more up and back trips in the near future…

Changing your Taste

The first weekend of January, some collage friends were back in town visiting and another invited ups up to his family’s Big Sky condo to hang out. I was all too willing to accept, even if I wasn’t going to be skiing, a mini get away with old friends is always fun. One of my friends brought Miracle Berries, the true reason for this post.

I had heard about these taste- altering berries awhile ago and was exited to give them a try.  They are a naturally occurring thing from West Africa that make sour things taste sweeter. The kind that we tried was Miracle Frooties. It was a tablet that you let sit on your tongue until it dissolves and then your taste will be altered for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour or so. I guess it just depends on how you react to it.

MF (2)We tried some pretty sour stuff that tasted amazing. My favorite was the Kiwi. We had some pretty unripe ones that tasted so good to me. Robin was in love with the lime and ate so much it made her stomach hurt. I thought it was good, but it was almost too tart & sweet tasting to eat to much. Lemon was okay and kumquats were yummy. We also tried sour cream, which was rumored to taste like cheesecake. I think it just made it edible without anything else, but not like cheese cake. I didn’t think the sour patch kids were that sour to begin with, (am I crazy?), so they didn’t really do it for me, but others really liked them. The prosecco, already sweet, was way to sweet to drink while the berry was working. The last thing we tried was some super salty taco chips that lost their saltiness.

Some of the random things we tried. Minus the buns, they were just in the way.

Some of the random things we tried. Minus the buns, they were just in the way.

All in all it was a pretty fun little thing to do. I would love to try it with grapefruit, mango, tart apples, and goat cheese. I’m sure there are other things I also need to try it with, but that was a good start, and this would be a good follow up. Anyone else out there tried them?