CONFESSIONS OF A PANTRY RAT

BOOKS GLORIOUS BOOKS

In my intro, I mentioned my deep rooted love affair with books.  Who knows, I may publish my very own sometime in the future, but for now here is my blog, hoping countless readers avail themselves of my recipes, read my chronicles and allow their culinary creativity to soar.  I find there is nothing quite like ruffling through a book from your culinary shelf. Indeed, that very book that’s singled out from countless others because you know how each stain was obtained; those are Coq au Vin and stains and then comes the Ratatouille page proudly sporting spatters of the Bordeaux consumed that evening.

COUNTRY MUSIC

I am a lover of all things music, although I will admit heavy metal and rap are not in my go to repertoire.  I used to compete with a Country Western dancing group and that’s when my Country music journey began.  Those days are long gone, but I still love everything country.

COUNTRY GIRL AT HEART

As m much as I have been a city girl, having lived in some amazing cities around the world, I’m a country girl at heart. I love horses. Let me rephrase that. I adore them. Magnificent creatures with such melancholy eyes and lashes to be envied!  One of my good friends in AZ competes in Barrel Races and I have been to many a rodeo to watch her win her trophies.

MUSIC CONCERTS – COUNTRY WESTERN OF COURSE!

Having lived in Vegas and attending Country concerts, the CMA’s is a must!  Being a local, I had the privilege of getting many a backstage pass and meeting many of my favorite artists.  Yes, Blake Sheldon and Brad Paisley.  One of my favorite and definitely exciting venues is Route 91 Harvest – a 3-day concert-palooza where you get the privilege of picking when to attend your favorite artist’s concert.

REVISION – My heartiest condolences to all the people that lost loved ones in the horrific and needless massacre that occurred in October 2, 2017 at Route 91.  My heart is still in shock an disbelief – I have been there so many, many times.

DOGS

I also adore pooches – of very size and every breed. They love unconditionally.

DEFINITELY A CUP OF TEA AT 3PM

I love my tea.  With a splash ½ and ½ and a tiny bit of honey.  I suppose it remains a steadfast influence from my early years around the Brits.  Sorry, I don’t eat crumpets.

 SOUPY GIRL

Soups have a very special place in my heart.  From stews to hearty, warm your toes kind of soups! HEAVEN!

SEASON

Most definitely Autumn.  There is nothing quite as shockingly beautiful as the changing colors of the Fall, although I really love the winter and snow.

FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR

Christmas.  I know, I know.  I am a part of the millions that have it earmarked it as their favorite.  I try to ignore the perpetually annoying commerciality which we are bombarded with every year.  It starts even before Halloween candy has been distributed?   Xmas is literaly shoved down our throats and black Friday sales happen 2 weeks before Turkey day.  Holiday music and décor are decking halls sooner rather than later, even before the season is upon us, making it difficult to endear oneself with Christmas at all.  But no matter how material, it is still the Magic of Christmas.   I do get a bit maudlin after the holidays – everything has flashed by at warp speed and before you know it, it’s over.

CROCKPOT

I am not a crockpot devote, since I am more of a purist and not much of an advocate of the slow cooker – although I will admit it has its merits.  I’ve used it on occasion, with the end result invariably being a dish receiving raving accolades.  Even so, I just feel this brilliant small appliance is for those that don’t really have the time or the inclination to inject artistry into their cooking.  Which is perfectly fine for those aficionados of the “Fix it and Forget It” method of cooking.  Hey, I am not knocking it, but this is my confessional after all!

HERBATIOUS

I do love all fresh herbs.  Each has its own spectacular appeal and use depending on recipes.  For me, hands down, Sweet Basil.  I love the lemony smell and try to incorporate it as much as possible into my cooking.

2ND HERBATIOUS

Mint.  The summer’s coolest herb and not to mention, super versatile in the herbatious kingdom.  It has such a refreshing flavor and its medicinal properties are utterly phenomenal (try mint tea when you have an upset stomach).

ANCHOVY BREADCRUMBS

Gosh, I love me some anchovy breadcrumbs on top of seafood dishes – soups and pastas.  You will be flummoxed at the incredible flavor bomb they impart to the dish.    IF you want to be diabolical, make them for any of the folks that you know are total anchovy haters.  They will roll their eyes and they will be celebrating the symphony of flavors in their mouth.   Watch their expressions when you casually drop the bomb that the crispy bits they were singing accolades to, were exactly that: anchovy breadcrumbs!  Hey now, unless someone is deathly allergic, I think that is an awesome way to reform any haters into non-haters.  There are way too many of those around.

GOOD OL’ BLACK AND WHITE MOVIES

Can I say, curl up on the couch watching Gable and Harlow; Hepburn and Tracey or Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. **SIGH**.  When I watch TV, which isn’t often,  I am guilty of watching TCM, www.tcm.com undoubtedly the best vehicle for old classics.  Give me some Ginger and Fred, Stanwick and Fonda anytime.  You guessed it – I am total die hard romantic.  No matter the attempt nowadays, absolutely nothing can compare to musicals such as Show Boat and South Pacific.

EARTHQUAKE

The 6.9 San Francisco earthquake of 1989 just before the World Series and the Nimitz freeway pancaked onto the lower level, killing hundreds.  I lived in California at the time, and was alone at home.  The longest 19 seconds ever.  I remember dashing under the kitchen table and watching glass shatter all around, cracks forming along the walls, ceiling fans and lights crashing to the ground.  No power for 3 weeks.  Half the garage collapsed and the front door came off the hinges. Yeah, that was quite spine chilling.

HURRICANE

Irma – September 2017.  That was my first Cat 4 hurricane and makes for living in FL rather unnerving.  Since I call this home now, Irma will not be my last.  Still, we can count ourselves lucky; at least we get hurricane warnings – with earthquakes and tornados you’re a goner.

ROADTRIP

My solo journey driving from the West to the East coast – CA to FL.  Good ol’ GPS, Siri and my Jeep got me from West to East unscathed!  A few recipes in this blog are samples from my cross-country adventures (Check out my cod cake post).  In hindsight, I wish I had taken more time to enjoy the journey and not be so eager to arrive at my destination.  Being alone, I wanted to reach my destination safely and I have promised myself to return to the south to taste some good ol’ southern cookin’!!!!!

FAVE BUBBLE-ISCIOUS WATER

By definition, not all bubblies are created equal.  My call is for Pellegrino with lime, refreshing and utterly, up your nose sparkly-iscious.  When I gravitate to flavored it is hands down La Croix’s Cucumber-Cherry.

MINERAL WATER

Voss.  The same applies here – not all mineral waters are created equal and to the water aficionado, all taste vastly different.  I love the soft and earthy aftertaste and not because it has fallen on the list of most expensive or its fancy bottle either.

ERA

You have to ask? The 30’s and 40’s.  I know I was born in the wrong time.   My obsession with the age of Hollywood glamour, black and while films; women perfectly coiffed with bright red lipstick and men in tuxedos with top hats.  Ladies sporting ermine trimmed collars, (yeah, I am sure the animal activists are going to hate me there!) snazzy hats and sexy, long elbow gloves.  Evening gowns encrusted with real jewels and swanky super clubs with swinging jazz bands.  Ziegfeld Follies and Broadway musicals.  And yes, the era where empty milk bottles were left on your doorstep to be picked up by the milkman to be refilled.  “Gee, that was swell”!

B17 – FLYING FORTRESS

Hands down the coolest aircraft in history, not because of the looks but because of the of the legendary history behind it.  The Memphis Belle, has got to be one of the most heroic and gripping true stories of the many B52’s that flew countless missions in WW2 and was able to retire without being shot down.

TV SERIES – BAND OF BROTHERS

It has got to be the most realistic, not to mention graphic HBO series to date.  Based on the true story of Easy Company and their harrowing experiences of extraordinary bravery , as they traversed Nazi occupied Europe during WW2. www.hbo/band-of-brothers.com

TRADER JOE’S

I am a lover of Trader Joe’s.  If you are blessed to have a TJ’s near you, you don’t realize how fortunate you are!  For you guys that have had the pleasure of enjoying forays at the grocer’s chain, you know some branded staples are singularly amazing at a very reasonable price point.  I know folks that make a two-hour drive twice or three times a month to stock up their pantry.  Yeah, you should know a good thing when you see it, and TJ’s is a very, very good thing!

Pantry Rat
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