Friday, September 30, 2011

Finger Painting

A friend told me about www.picnik.com today & I was reeling to get home to investigate. What fun!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gluten Free Country Fried Steak? Yes, please

My mom makes AH-mazing country fried steak. Once, she was hosting a world renowned French chef... and his mother. What do you cook for the man who has become a legend in his own time?

Country Fried Steak- back in the gravy, of course.

As Philippe consumed more red wine, and his mother did not speak a stick of English, he said with every bite, "Angsh, Angsh- 'dis is so f*ucking good." "Angsh, Angsh- do you know? Si-vous! Si-vous! dis is so f*cking good." "My... oh... my... 'dis is...." you get the idea.

Honest to Betsy.

Losing CFSBITG is a little like losing a grandmother. Comforting, warm, wrinkled-y, and freezes well, this is truly one of the best things she makes.

Until now. I might not have any more grandmothers left, but BY GAWD, I've got CFSBITG.

Allow me to present to you gluten-free readers....

4 cube steaks, cut in half and/or thirds
GF flour blend (I used GF Bisquick and then used Pamela's Products. Two thumbs up on PP)
1 onion
3 tbsp. butter
oil, for frying
s/p/garlic powder
chicken broth
milk
2-3 eggs, beaten

in two separate trays, scramble eggs in one & enough GF flour mixture for breading (start with about 2 cups) sprinkled with salt & pepper.

Dredge steaks in eggs, flip and place in flour. Shake tray with flour and flip steak. Shake again.
Allow to rest for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack before frying.

The jury is out on double breading. Some like it, some don't. If you are a fan of double breading, let sit about five minutes, then quickly dip in egg mixture and repeat with flour- shaking the tray.

Slice onions in ribbons and place in a large skillet with the butter. Sprinkle with s/p/garlic powder to taste. Allow to cook until translucent and soft.

Meanwhile, in a much smaller skillet, pour enough oil to come half-way up the steak (1/4 cup depending on the size of the pan). Let the oil get hot & cook steaks 1-2 minutes a side, allowing the flour to get a nice crust. We are NOT looking to cook the meat here. Remove back to the cooling rack (don't worry, these puppies are going to cook more)

Make a roux with your leftover GF flour, and butter in onion skillet. Allow to cook for about five minutes.* Slowly, SLOWLY add chicken broth, whisking constantly. We're looking for about 2 cups here. That being said, we're gravy lovers in this house and more won't be a bad thing. A little roux goes a long way. As a thick gravy starts to be produced, switch to your milk and add about 1/4 cup (SLOWLY). Season with salt and pepper to taste and add more of the liquids to produce the right taste. You want your gravy a little runny.

You did preheat your oven to 200, right?

Place your steak pieces in the gravy skillet, cover tightly and cook in the oven for at least three hours. If the gravy gets too thick (if there is such a beast)- then thin with a little water.

Serve with rice or taters.

YUM.

*Roux, you ask? A roux is a thickening agent. I've heard it's French, but it is very-very mama's side of the family. Every girl in the family can make a roux with her eyes closed. Google it. That being said, it's some part butter or other fat and some part flour. Get your oil hot/melt butter and start whisking. Sprinkle in your flour and keep whisking. This will make a yellowish paste. KEEP WHISKING. It will start sizzling. KEEP WHISKING. As mama says, "You're cooking the flour, otherwise your dish will taste like flour." So, let your roux cook for about five minutes... whisking constantly.... before moving on to add the liquid.

As you add your liquid, you are going to say to yourself, "This isn't working. She's a moron. Whatever, how can a tablespoon of flour thicken up all this? Seriously, I ought to wri.... well, I'll be damned. Look at that. It's thick."

Trust me. I have not steered ya wrong yet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

9:43

9:03- drop off LMC at school


9:05- start recon for parking spot


9:10- no parking spot, reluctantly relocating to parking meters


9:11- FOUND PARKING SPOT!


9:11:30- illegal u-turn to hold up traffic


9:13- still in the illegal u-turn


9:14- start parallel parking


9:23- still parallel parking


9:24- parked.


9:26- walking at a faster pace than driving

Saturday, September 24, 2011

honest to betsy

I can type with my left pinky... on its side. My right hand will just have to be over used for a few day. This is some kind of stuid.

... yeah, I saw the typo, but cut me some slack, I am not working with a full deck...

Right, the pinky.

Last night, Husband was cooking hamburgers on the grilling pan due to the rain. To keep them warm, he pulled them off our glass top stove and into the oven. He placed my GF bun in the same oven and asked where his was.

They are ight behind you.

where?

Here, I'll get it.

I walk around the corner, stick my leg out to stop LMC from running around the bend and smack into the hot open oven. Leaning over the door, my left hand is extended onto the stove for blance to reach over aforementioned hot oven to grab the buns

that

were

right

behind

husband.

ON the hot eye, my hand held the weight of me. My leg in the air and body over the hot oven prevented me from removing it just shy of instntly.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!

My fingers stayed in glass of ice water for the rest of the night.

ouch.

Calling on geniuses

What kind of knife is this? Inez would have been about three. And the marks are attributed to both a jeweler in Brooklyn and a silversmith in NY, if that helps with anything.





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So easy, a monkey could do it.

So... we got the glass for the mirror. How hard could it be? The directions were so clear, there were no words-- just pictures. 


My interpretation was as follows:


Step 1: use a chisel to remove broken glass
Step 2: spray with rubbing alcohol
Step 3: place mirror in frame
Step 4: Reattach


What it should have said:


Step 1: Throw the damn thing out the window
Step 2: Wait for a truck to run over it
Step 3: Know that it would take less time and produce better results than Step 1 of the aforementioned instructions.


Based on this information, Husband & Wife fish around our tool cabinet to remove needle nose pliers, a flat head screwdriver, and a pair of vice grips. Shards in the air, hit the wind and were gone. Tiny little fragments reflecting the sun were not called successes, but rather, a large fail. Creativity striking us in the early afternoon, we step outside the box.


Tossing the tools aside, the bathroom cabinet holds the professional jewelry steamer. 8 ounces of water and a button on the top create a PSHEW of blazing hot steam. After burning husband's fingers more than once, he finally relents to using my lime green with pink polka dot ruffled kitchen gloves. Not exaggerating. They even have bows. Husband in the gloves, wife pressing the button for the PSHEW of wet heat. One-eighth of a half an inch by slow one-eighth of half inch, we make very slow progress. 


Chevrolet should market this glue for straying husbands and hanging chandeliers. 


Finally, half an inch and forty five minutes later,  the LED lights could come out and we were at a loss. The college educated wife and the medical degree husband figured there was just glass and plastic now, so it would make perfect sense to place our mirror and casing in boiling water to loosen the glue.


Don't start- just. don't start.


Husband said, "Do you think this will work?"
Wife replied, "It will either work or it will morph."

For sale: one mirror casing fit for any Who in Who-Ville.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Martha Stewart, eat your heart out

I learned how to iron. Seriously, I’m 30 years old and until recently thought all American Express cards were gold & all gas stations were full service. Cooking is a hobby- not a chore.... and this life of privilege seems anything but.
Ironing? That is why God gave us dry cleaners (and dryers with a wet rag when in a serious pinch). I own an iron. I own an ironing board. I’ve placed a hot iron on clothes, napkins, and the like, but my ironing is always concluded with someone else fixing it. 
Our last trip to Augusta found a new project in my lap. The back bathroom found the Martha in me. Mama & Daddy have all kinds of cool things in boxes and drawers- so, I have taken it upon myself to find homes where these items can be seen and admired. Mama’s linens are nothing short of amazing. The woman who cannot sew a button or a hem inherited the most beautiful whipped stitched bridge clothes, hand something-or-other doilies, and pieces that are nothing short of breathtaking. (which is a bold statement, considering that we are talking about old textiles!)
I pull out the iron.
I pick out the linens.

I buy the frames.
Ironed and in the process of framing, Celeste comes in and says, “Honey- you need to starch those. Is your iron even on?” 
Of course it’s on. It’s hot, ain’t it?
“Honey, it’s not hot enough. Go find your mother’s starch and come right back.”
Starch is the dandiest invention. And, did you know that you need to get the wrinkles wet to get rid of them? I had a spray bottle and learned about something called 'catheads' which am still curious what they are (but a perfectly ironed article has none). And starch that smelled like lavender. I was sweating ironing these little hand stitched white clothes into pieces of firm cardboard. It was lovely.
An hour later, I have had a lesson in ironing & I’m a damn good ironer. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a gold card that pays for my dry cleaning- but I am getting a little more domesticated. 
Martha Stewart would be so proud.






Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've been accused...

Of talking too fast. By my grandfather, "Sugah, just slow down. You're talkin' too damn fast."

I've been accused of not having a Southern accent-- mostly due to my talking too fast.

I have, for the most part, always made myself clear.

LMC and I were at a pre-pre-school play date last week to meet the fellow moms and babes. The moms were discussing Halloween costumes and I made the comment, "Last year, I saw a bride and it gave me the willies."

Deadpan. Nothing. Usually, that comment gets a "Oh, that's weird!" Not this crowd.

A mom said, "You mean like Pitt?"

Me: Hunh? Oh, no.

A different mom said, "How'd they dress up? In silver with a big top?"

A totally different mom said, "A what?"

Me: A bride. It was creepy-- and not like Frankstein's either, like a straight up, normal, bride.

Them: A what?

Me: A bride. You know, white dress, veil, flowers...

Them: OH! A bride. I [we] thought you said BRAD.

It appears that I am not from around here.

Catholic, not Gypsy

Husband and I were born 12 days apart. We both have brown hair and, while I claim 5’4, he claims 5’8- but we are really more like 5’3 and 5’6. When I buy him sunglasses, I put them on my face first to see if they will fit him. We share socks and t-shirts. Long story short, we look alike. Especially now that my hair is pulling out some curls.
It is really nothing that crosses our mind- it is, simply, what it is. There have been some oddities though, especially now that we have a very tow-headed baby. Going to the hospital for an induction, Husband was not with me initially as he had call an hour away.  My mom was with me. When Husband showed up the next day, the comments started...
“What a close family you have, Mrs. Cagle. To have your brother here with you while your mom is in the waiting room...”
seriously? 
-OR-
“Are y’all brother & sister?”
Catholic. Neither gypsy nor royalty. This blood line ain’t blue.
-Wish I was exaggerating-
“Dr. Cagle, you and your sister look just alike. It’s uncanny.”
I’m sorry? This is my wife.... giving birth.
God Bless people. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wait, Birdy! Wait!

My family has a beach house that my grandfather bought in the early 1940s. It is where my parents went on their honeymoon, where Husband stopped being Boyfriend and became Fiance. It was two separate apartments with a garage and is now two large apartments with two large kitchens and four bathrooms. It is where my father taught me how to cross the street (three times, look left, right, left. It’s clear. Cross). It is where life changes and chapters started anew. It is a lovely cottage that we call home and, as a family, make memories. Ford calls it “Woo-D’s beach house.” Martha calls it a girl’s weekend. I call it a memory.
For the past four years our beach cottage has been living in my mind with a husband too busy to take a weekend for ourselves- but rather, sacrificing for the family and spending time either together or with either set of parents accomplishing any much needed project around the house. My pea pod walls, 1950s stove, awesome folk art and white hospital bed have only been tokens of the past. 
Now that we have time (that word being used loosely) we lack convenience- 1513 is a lengthy 8 hours away; it might be 6, either way- the point is, it ain’t a weekend trip. Putting our beach cottage on a shelf, we move forward and work to make DC home, complete with vacations. 
What a difference 10 miles can make in a vacation. 10 miles north of Bethany is OCMD-- where the drunk fall & the stupid prevail. 10 miles south of OCMD is Bethany Beach, where the restaurants have high chairs, no one offers jell-o shots with waffles, and families are awake before noon. 
LMC was in love with our rental-- the Bikini Bottom. The Bikini has two stories. Bikini Top (top floor) and Bikini Bottom (bottom floor) broke ground in the early 40s with yellow asbestos tile, an outdoor shower and an instant feeling of home. No dishwasher, one tiny bathroom, and windows throughout- we walked in and knew this is where we will call “home” away from our “home” when we need to get away from the city. 
Sand in our toes and wind in our hair, the Cagle girls set out to find the birdies. Unbeknownst to the elder Cagle girl, LMC had pocketed small rocks in her Georgia pocketbook. As we quietly snuck up on the seagulls, readying to pounce, they heard LMC giggle and put their wings in motion.
“Wait, Birdy! Wait! I feed you! I feed you!” 
She had pulled the rocks from her pocketbook and was trying to feed the birdies with them. Hot in pursuit, the wings gave them a slight advantage over the running two year old.
We built sandcastles as she was more afraid of the water than she has been of her shadows. Having conquered the shadows-- quack quacks we call them now-- I scooped up the ‘fraidy cat and was determined she would love the water as much as her mother by trips end. 
Toes in.
Toes out.
Toeeessss in. OUT!
Toes in.
pause.
Toes out.
Toes in. 
Longerrrrrr pauseeeeeee.
TOES OUT!
Twenty minutes later, only a mother has patience like this, she did not want to leave the freezing waves and gleefully screamed with each crash, “Ma-MEE! Wook! Wook! LODER! Fun!”
Yes, baby, it is fun. 
We collected rocks as seashells are not as prevalent on the Delaware coast and LMC surprised me with a rock in the shape of a heart. Husband said, “E- tell her what you told me.”
“Hap-pee, Ma-Mee. Love.”
Sweet potato, I’m happy too.
Lunch and dinner on the screened in porch, two daily trips to the beach-- one with a cooler and one without, seafood on the grill, and a sleepy sandy baby tucked in each night, it reminded me why I love the sticky salt air.
Every day as we crossed the street, LMC hopped with great gusto off each step in any number of bikinis and coverups. I held her hand and said, “Okay, LMC, we’re crossing the street. Remember- three times. Look left, look right, and back to the left. It’s clear. Cross.”