Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Next Time She Asks If There Is Anything Liquid, Fragile, or Hazardous, I Think I'll Shyly Wink and Say "Maybe"

What a happy morning: sun is finally out, my adopted son, Buster/Murray (depending on who you ask), dreaming of a collar with LT's phone number engraved on the side, his vagabond in crime, Marrowbone Rooster (I'm currently accepting suggestions for names), just chillin' on my cilantro. This makes me laugh. As do the 684 commas in that sentence.

I have greater appreciation for Cumberland County with each passing day. But, this devotion is particularly amplified on those days that I have to make my way to Lexington for one reason or another; AND, especially on those purposely rare and invariably dreaded mornings that I have to patron a post office in Lexington. I've noticed that regardless if I have to speak with a post office worker about buying stamps or mailing a package or setting up a post office box, I will likely waste a good 30 minutes fidgeting in line, lost in thought of super important things like why the woman behind me insists on standing so close. It never fails that someone who has apparently never used the postal service before will be in front of me, that the frustratingly patient and laid-back post office worker will be completely unaffected by the 13 people waiting in line, that said customers in waiting will cuss under their breath or pilfer through available literature about not mailing bomb materials until they, like the other 12, finally settle for a sigh of submission. But then I get my magazines...:)

From the most recent Real Simple:
A) $2: THE AMOUNT IT TAKES TO SAVE TWO CHILDREN FROM MALARIA through MassiveGood, a global-initiative movement launched by former president Bill Clinton with the United Nationals Millennium Foundation. Head to to donate directly. Or if you're booking a summer getaway, you can simply add the amount to your purchase. I checked this out and it seems completely legitimate. I understand the importance (and ultimately, the NECESSITY) of long-term sustainable solutions, but short-term relief is valuable as well. If you are a frequent travelocity user, keep this in mind.

B) HOW HEALTH-CARE REFORM AFFECTS YOU: Although some provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won't be enacted until 2014, such as a ban on charging women more than men for the same insurance policy, a number of crucial changes become law this year. Here's what you need to know.
*More services will be paid in full. Going forward, policies will be required to cover checkups, immunizations, and preventative tests, such as cancer screenings. You won't be charged co-pays or out-of-pocket costs, and the services are covered in full, regardless of any deductible you haven't met, says Kathleen Stoll, a spokesperson for Families USA, a nonprofit advocacy group.
*Lifetime limits are history. Insurers will be prohibited from capping what they pay out.
*Your children can remain on your policy until age 26. Previously, kids in some states were on their own at age 18.
*Kids with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage. However, it's not yet clear whether companies can charge higher premiums for children with poor health issues.
*Insurers have to spend more money on care. Starting in 2011, if they break the rules, the federal government can direct them to give you a rebate.

C) Life Lessons
* Hold hands while you hash it out.
* Pay attention to anyone who wears a tool belt. (watch carefully, ask questions, and do it yourself next time)
* ...or a uniform. (take time to "thank" waiters, sanitation workers, maids, etc.)
* You can never have enough "baggies."
* You can't go wrong with Clint. [Eastwood]
* Don't belittle the annual sack race. (Really be present during family time)
* For Pete's sake, stop worrying. Just fix it.
* Carry a hankie.
* No one's smarter than you. Don't be afraid to ask questions... "they" probably don't know either.
* You will want kids.
From Food & Wine:
Grilled Glazed Salmon
20 minutes; 4 servings
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 c. prepared horseradish, drained
2 tbsp. honey
4 six-ounce skinless salmon fillets
Vegetable oil, for rubbing
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Light a grill. In small bowl, mix the mustard, horseradish and honey. Rub the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the salmon over moderate heat, skinned side down, until lightly browned (about 3 minutes). Turn and grill for 3 minutes longer, until the salmon is almost cooked through. Turn the salmon again and spread each fillet with 1 tbsp. of the horseradish glaze. Turn and grill until glazed, about 30 seconds. Serve the remaining on the the side.
From Martha Stewart Living:
Herbed Flatbread (try with the dips below or with Lindsey's guacamole recipe!)
30 minutes; Yields 16
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. active dry yeast
3 c. all purpose flour
3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 tsp. sugar
1 large egg, whisked with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash
Sea salt
1/4 c. fresh rosemary or thyme (or a combination; probably not some a rooster has walked across)

Place water in medium bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, 2 tsp. coarse salt, and the sugar. Stir until dough forms. Turn out dough onto lightly-floured surface; knead with floured hands about 2 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit about 1 hour (double in size). Preheat oven to 350. Divide dough into 16 even pieces; cover with plastic wrap. Roll out 1 piece to roughly 4X10" on a floured surface and transfer to parchment-lined sheet. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with herbs and salt. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until crisp (18-22 minutes). Let cool on a wire rack.

Smashed Chickpea, Basil, and Radish Dip
15 minutes; Serves 12
2 cans (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
8 radishes, chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

Lightly mash chickpeas, oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a bowl until creamy but still chunky. Stir in basil, radishes, garlic, and lemon juice. Stir in reserved chickpea liquid, 1 tbsp. at a time, until dip holds together. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
From: The Kitchen of Caroline Dale Kraft
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
2 c. finely diced tropical fruit (mango, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, etc)
2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4" dice
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Gently toss in bowl.
And back by popular demand...LINDSEY AND HER AVOCADO!!
Okay, students open up your Trapper Keepers and sharpen your free pencil from Ms. Macy –class is in session. I know some of you are an Avocado newbie, so below I have included the very basics of choosing and preparing an avocado. Jackie, I hope this information will help your first avocado experience to be a positive one.

Basic Avocado Rules (
How to know your avocado is ripe:
The best way to tell a ripe avocado is by feel. Just simply give it a gentle squeeze. An unripe avocado feels like a stone. A nearly ripe avocado will yield slightly under the pressure, like a ripe tomato. A truly ripe one is as soft as the padded palm of your hand. Avoid ones that feel loose in their skin--these are overripe. Store avocados at room temperature, once ripe you can store them in the refrigerator.
How to cut your avocado:
To cut an avocado, hold it in your hand and slice to the pit all the way around, lengthwise. Twist each half in opposite directions to separate them and use a spoon to scoop out the pit.

Lindsey’s Basic Guacamole
1-2 Avocados
1-2 limes
To taste:
Minced garlic or garlic powder
Tabasco sauce, Red Hot, or a salsa of your choice
Sea salt

Cut your avocado in half and spoon into a bowl. Add your freshly squeezed lime juice (roll your lime on your countertop firmly before cutting; this makes it easier to juice). Add the juice of at least ½ lime per avocado. Slightly mash the avocado and juice together with a fork. Add the remaining ingredients; amounts will depend on your taste. Keep the chips handy and sample as you go!

Of course, since it is my guacamole I am biased to this recipe. Nonetheless,
Lindsey’s Basic Guacamole gets 5 out of 5 avocados on my avocado yummy scale. Congratulations Guacamole!!!![Back to Liza for a minute: This absolutely, 100%, cracks me up]

This week create your own guacamole, try a new “nontraditional” chip, pour yourself frosty beverage (my favorite-Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew) and party on!!!


  1. Is that a real, honest-to-God rooster on your porch!? He's magnificent! What a great photo-- especially the oblivious pup in the background. Liza, if you have an affinity for magazines, I have your dream job. I'm half-time in the classroom this year and half-time librarian, and one of my library duties is to "process" the 60 weekly/monthly magazines that we have. I have to catalog, barcode, and prepare each magazine for display and then shelve the old copies, so a lot of magazines cross my desk. I don't have much time to browse, but I do have to reinforce the cover and, in doing so, I get a peek at the table of contents and the last page. It's amazing what I can learn from just those two pages!

    Lindsey, thanks so much for the instructions on how to cut the avocado. I purchased two perfectly ripe ones yesterday and I wondered about the correct way to go about getting into them! I knew there had to be a correct protocol.

  2. While I think that Buster and Murray are both spectacular names for this pooch, I'm sure you know why I think Murray is more fitting.
    You must let me know if you decide to officially adopt this little one :)

  3. Melissa,
    That is most definitely an actual rooster:) I'm not sure where he comes from, but I see him walking around my back yard fairly often. I wanted to step outside to take the picture, but I loved how the two neighborhood hobos were so peacefully hanging out together on my shed porch...was afraid opening the door might disturb them:)

    And yes, you do in fact have my ideal job. What are you favorite magazines? Any recommendations? (And I completely agree that a sense of the magazine's direction and style can be garnered by a mere two pages!)

    Bought my first avocado today. Thanks to your comment last week, I tested several to see which felt most like my nose:)

  4. Pediacoccus BunhopperMay 20, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    Post Office! Hah! Why is it no one ever knows what to do in that place?

  5. Mom raved about your flat bread and hummus- I really do need to live closer to you!!

  6. PBhopper - Because there's no justice in this world.

    Lindsey - Just forget about your husband and move here for the summer...we'll make tons of breads and avocado hummus mixes for 2 months straight.:)

  7. No worries- Devin can visit on weekends!! Sign me up!! :)