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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elle pool story

The kids and I went to the pool this afternoon. It has been rainy and "cold" (60 degrees or so) here the last week or so and the pool is not heated other than by the sun, so it was FREEZING! (felt straight out of a hose... which would be fine if it was super hot, but it was probably mid 70's and windy) Elle didn't mind and still wanted to swim, since she missed it from a week of it being too rainy and cold. So the kids played in the water for a while and Elle pretended that there were sharks and I was the "protector" and saved them from the "sharks". After about 5 minutes and everybody was shivering and bright red (from the cold) with purple lips we went to lay on the warm lounge chairs to warm up.

I saw Elle holding my empty water bottle heading toward the pool, so I say, "Elle, where you going?"
Elle: "I'm thirsty."
Me: "Where are you going to get water from?"
Elle: "I'm just going to get it from the pool."
Me: "No, you can't drink the pool water, it has chemicals in it."
Elle...stops, looks at me, looks at the pool very carefully and back at me....with concern in her voice, "How many legs do "chemicals" have?"
HA! =)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gobble Gobble

We made turkeys! Elle made Christians a Jamacian turkey with beads on his feathers. =) And Elle's is 4 "fingered" (she is still getting the hang of using scissors to cut on the line) and 3 legged... They had a lot of fun (well, Elle anyway, Christian just kept trying to eat the glue and suck on the feathers...). We talked about how when we were back at the farm we'd raise some heritage turkey's. Elle is really excited. Happy Thanksgiving month! =) We are so thankful for our family to be all together.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The New Critter

Well, we didn't even make it two weeks and we have a new little critter. We got the kids a hamster. Elle named her "Betty." She is a sweet little hamster that so far has been extremely active and great entertainment for the kids...and us...not to mention MUCH less work and "overhead" than our other beloved farm animals.

I really do think that children need animals...And let's be honest, they are wonderful "baby siters". =)

Cast Iron Skillet Steak

I never think food pictures look nearly as good as real life....maybe it's because you can't smell a photo...

I want to preface this post with the statement that I do not consider myself a very good cook. I haven't done it enough, I have always tended to just do what I knew and not really branch out much. I don't know the "rules" of cooking or the basic "ideas" or anything like that...I was just never taught it and haven't taken the time to learn them. But it is one of the things I am working on here in Miami... and tonight... tonight I really out did myself! =) The most incredible steak I have EVER had, sauteed mushrooms, and mashed potatoes/carrots.
I got the long wanted cast iron skillet here and have loved cooking with it... feels sort of old fashioned for some reason... I couldn't find a broiler pan at any store here (odd?! Target-no, Walmart-no, grocery store-no...) and we aren't allowed to have a BBQ at our condo so I had to figure out how to cook steak in my cast iron skillet. I looked at a number of websites and a couple food chat forums. There seemed to be quite a dispute between salting your steak first or not salting it first, but everyone agreed that upon removing it from the fridge, it needs to sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. (I never knew this). I decided to just salt my salt a little- with Coarse Kosher salt.- there was a consensus that table salt should NOT be used. I heated the oven to 500 degrees with the cast iron skillet in it. This oven here takes FOREVER to pre-heat so this took the full 40 minutes. In the mean time I cooked bacon until it was crispy and sliced some Monterrey Jack cheese.
 I also started the mushrooms. I used about 2 Tablespoons of butter, 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil, 1/2 teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegaret (sp?), 2 cloved of garlic minced and 1/4 of an onion sliced, then added the mushrooms- about a Cup and a half... wasn't quite enough for 2 adults, I would do at least 2 Cups next time. I had these is a fry pan on the stove between medium and low- a little closer to medium.
Once the oven was preheated and that skillet was, literally, smoken hot- I brought it out and put it on an already HOT burner (burner on high, turned on about 2 minutes before putting pan on it) on the stove top and put the meat on there (by the way, this was new york strip steak, but I'm sure the same method would work with T bones or other kinds of steak). Everything I read told me not to move it once it was placed on there, the point is to sear the outside to hold the juices in. So after about 2 minutes (my steak was about an inch and a half thick) I flipped the steak and did another 2 minutes on the other side. Then I put the oven on Broil 500 degrees. (It was already so hot from heating the pan it didn't take any time to pre-heat) and put the pan with meat in the oven. I cooked EACH SIDE for about 4-5 minutes and this gave me a little more than medium well done... you would have to adjust your time based on how you like your meat and how thick your steak is. As soon as I pulled it out of the oven (and cut in to it to check that it was done to my liken) I put the slices of Monterry Jack cheese and bacon peices (that I had cooked and cut up earlier) on top so the cheese would melt. It was INCREDIBLE. I honestly do not have too much to compare it to, I don't normally order steak at resturants or anything, but it was JUICEY, not chewy, flavorful and in my humble opinion, tasted DELICIOUS.
The mushrooms were also remarkable, although I must admit I have only had sauteed mushrooms one other time in life and they were soggy, I liked these with a little firm texture still to them. (they took about 20 minutes on the stove top). REVISSION: I have had sauteed mushrooms another time... Shantrel mushrooms our friend, John, made us... THOSE were incredible... a completely different playing field, so they didn't even occur to me in thought about this... he sells to the local stores in Olympia, and all over Western Washington and does cooking samples for them... incredible...