Wednesday, September 30

Bring on the chowda... a la butternut squash

Ok. So I know I have been fairly inadequate in keeping this blog humming. I'm in a blog lull, so I'm throwing out a recipe I created for the fall. Not to sound conceited, but it is so delicious. Tested and approved by parents, the in laws, and the tough toddler crowd of the house this chowder is packed full of flavor. My only regret is that I didn't take a picture.

In any case, this was inspired in part by Emeril Lagasse who created a Winter Squash Chowder, but I thought it lacked some flavor [like I have any validation in the fine cuisine department]. So I focused solely on the butternut variety, added carrots and celery and extra herbs.

Butternut Squash Chowder
Serves: 4-6
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 cup sliced leeks, rinsed and drained in colander
1 cup diced red-skin potatoes
1 cup carrots, sliced thin [or shredded]
3 celery stalks, sliced thin
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

In a large soup pot cook bacon slowly to render fat. When bacon is crisp and brown remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain; set aside for garnish.
In bacon fat saute leeks for 3 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, and squash. Cook, stirring, 5-10 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 to 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. I used my immersion blender at this point to thicken the soup a bit, but that's purely optional.
Add cream and herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in bacon bits. To serve, spoon into hollowed-out squash or warmed tureen with crusty sourdough bread.

Bon appetit!

Monday, September 14

Confessions of a stay at home drama queen

Maybe Jason is right.

Maybe I just have way too much time on my hands to just... think. I've always thought of myself as an analytical person, and I would be ashamed of myself if I weren't candidly honest that YES I have always thought way too much, analyzed far too often, and scrutinized the details of my life for as long as I can remember.

Exhibit A would be the collection of ten journals paging through my life since second grade when all I could account for was recess flirting episodes with Jordan. Exhibit B would be the dozen parenting books I've accumulated over the past three years that I don't think my mom acquired in 30 years of raising me and my brother. I guess my hyperanalytical tendencies also reveal my English major in college when I was down right expected to pick everything apart into deep thought.

So what is it this time?

Embarrassingly enough, again it is the damn vampire saga that has its grips on me. Was. Yes, Twilight, books one through four. Over the summer I submersed myself in the writings out of pure curiosity, and was engaged enough to read it at a painstakingly fast pace that emptied my ibprofen bottle to aleviate headaches resulted from reading four-hundred pages a day.

Why then? Why now? I'm addicted to what some have noted as girl porn. Hilarious, right?

Well allow this romance novel phene to elaborate. I was halfway through the third novel this past week when I found myself stealing time away from the kids stacking blocks or going-to-school-to-visit-daddy pretend play so I could return to Edward Cullen's monologues to Bella Swan declaring his chivalrous idealizations.

"You see, Bella, I was always that boy. In my world, I was already a man. I wasn't looking for love-- no, I was far too eager to be a soldier for that; I thought nothing but the idealized glory of the war that they were selling prospective draftees then-- but if I had found... I was going to say if I had found someone, but that won't do. If i had found you, there isn't a doubt in my mind how I would have proceeded. I was that boy who would have-- as soon as I discovered that you were what I was looking for-- gotten down on one knee and endeavored to secure your hand. I would have wanted you for eternity, even when the word didn't have quite the same connotations."

Sigh. Reading this completely fictitious literature from an idyllic character such as Edward Cullen left me phening for more. A modern day Romeo. While reading through this my stepdaughter made mention, as she did this summer, that she and her friends didn't want to date in high school unless the guy was a glimmer of Edward. I was stunned for a moment and absorbed her thought. Edward is the quintessential romantic man comprised of countless alluring attributes so hey, why not pass up the normal warped high school boy until Mr. Edward comes along? Perhaps she had a point.

On the other hand is there a self destructing prophecy here? Are young women deluding themselves with "something with no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate desire” which is what pornography simply is according to the Webster’s dictionary definition? Except the difference here is women are being misled by female escapism, vicariously seeking a romantic fairy tale of our own when in reality fairy tales are fictional. Purely. Are women setting themselves up for failure searching for a new standard of the ideal man?

I'd be lying if I said I wan't stunned by the idea of Edward. I am certainly not alone [as you sit there shaking your head at the computer screen in disagreement]. Really-- there are Facebook pages devoted to people who have unrealistic expections of relationships now as a result of becoming addicted to Twilight [I write that as if FB is quantifying anything]! I mean, this is female escapism on a completely different level, and it's one thing to obscure my own mind with hopes that Jason would one day recite lines of Romeo and Juliet as easily as he normally would recount the first five plays of Penn State's last football game. But he is not Edward and he would not watch R&J with me nor have the knowledge to whisper the lines to me like Edward, a la New Moon. And that's okay... because Jason is a real live man and most men I know don't suck blood either, so I'm fine with that.

I'm not proclaiming chivalry is dead but I am trying to reign in my thoughts a bit about the reality of expectations in relationships, and maybe trying to unveil them to my stepdaughter too.

Okay maybe more to myself.

Just as soon as I finish Breaking Dawn.