Friday, December 12, 2008

Easy, Pleasy, Cheesy

I've missed my Friday dish lately, but I picked a great appetizer to share with you that can be thrown together in less time than it takes to get dressed.

My baked goat cheese is easy, pleasy, and cheesy -- in a good way.

I first had this dish more than ten years ago at a restaurant and was told it was retro, then. I knew immediately that I would be reprising it at home. Their version was a soup bowl filled with red sauce and thick scoop of goat cheese was floating on top, baked-up, browned around the edges. This was served with day-old french bread, toasted in the broiler. The warm cheese was soft and spreadable and slightly tart. The marinara mellows it all out and the bread allows for dipping and licking the bowl clean. Not that I would ever do that when I'm home alone.

I made the Muir Glen version of this dish several times (its on the label.) Until one day, I went to throw it together, but no Muir Glen tomatoes were to be found. But what to my wondering eyes did appear, but a jar of Vodka Sauce...oh, holiday cheer!

2 small logs of goat cheese (about 4 oz each)
1 jar of vodka cream sauce such as Newman's Own

I like to pour the sauce in an 8X8 baking dish (or one that's pretty enough to serve from) and then arrange slices of the goat cheese all over the sauce (and if you figure out how to slice goat cheese let me know.) Usually I end up with little broken balls of goat cheese placed on top of the sauce. Rustic, if you will. Then you bake it in the oven at 350 until everything is hot and bubbly. You can broil it for a minute to make the cheese golden brown, but only if it needs to be fancy. And while you're at it, sprinkle it with something green.

Serve it with toasted baguette slices, pita chips or a hearty cracker. It's too heavy for a wimpy cracker.

I believe goat cheese is probably served in Heaven. Anyone could fall in love with it if exposed to that salad from Ruggles with the goat cheese and apples...know what I'm talkin' about? In case some of you want to make the plain white bread version of this, whipped cream cheese could potentially be substituted.

But that would be like putting cottage cheese in your lasagna or drinking wine from a box -- we've all been there, but look how far we've come. Just make it with goat cheese. It's scrumptious, I promise!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When it Snows in Houston!

When it snows in Houston, its BIG NEWS.

Hey everybody, it's snowing in Houston! This is our reward for the nasty cold drizzle we endured all day. We were playing outside with the neighborhood kids making little snowballs and snow angels and running around with our tongues sticking out. Too bad it was already dark when it started snowing.

Only Child kept picking up snow and tasting it; even off the ground!

I know that snow is no big deal for anyone north of Dallas, but for us, (being this close to the coast) it's a rarity. Only Child is one of four snow babies on our street; they were in utero the last time we saw snow 'round these parts. This evening they were running a muck, giggling and having the time of their little lives.

I made my neighbors take pictures for me because I was too excited to go in and hunt down the camera. I'll see if I can freeload one to post.

Stay Toasty!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slow down Superstar!

No good deed goes unpunished, or so my dad used to say--ruefully. When I was young I thought he was so jaded. And look at me now; I'm twice the cynic he was.

Yesterday was a bad day for me. I am constantly racing around trying to do all the right things. Generally, I like to do the right thing, especially when it involves taking care of people that I love. But, moderation in all things, right?

Yesterday was one of those days...I attempted to get eight different things done, but I really only had time for three (and I knew it! Dammit.) I gutted out six 6 and a half things and didn't do one of them right.

You know those kind of days? I was so angry with myself. Moderation... moderation... why am I such a slow learner? Why do I think that spreading myself painfully thin will make me feel whole? Why do I insist on squeezing blood out of a rock? It doesn't work and it never will.

Deep breath...OK. Yesterday. I got pulled over and I ended up getting five tickets. Yes, five. WTF?!? I didn't think that was possible either, but it is. And I do need a referral for an attorney who handles traffic tickets.

Back to poor, poor, pitiful me. The only way this injustice seems possible (in my mind) is explained by the following theory and true story.

On Sunday, a police officer in Houston was killed when he tried to pull some gang-banger over. The driver ran from the car, hid in some bushes and gunned the officer down.

Maybe this tragedy was going through my police officer's mind when I was getting pulled over. He came upon me so fast and furious that I thought there was an emergency that he desperately needed to get to and I needed to get out of his way. I changed lanes three times trying to get out of his way before I realized I was the emergency.

Stupid of me, I realize. I should get pulled over more often, if only for the practice. But since the guy came flying behind my like a maniac, I thought there was something more serious than nice lady driving too fast.

The officer was spitting fire that I didn't immediately pull over, but took an extra ten seconds to comply. He was probably expecting to find someone more in-your-face than me. But all he got was a petite and polite lady with a car seat in the back...didn't matter, he was so angry he couldn't see straight.

If there was any way he could have arrested me, I am sure he would have. Too bad for him that its not a crime to have enough Capri Sun in the trunk to warrant an "attempt to distribute." So he had to settle for weak citations like "not signaling my lane changes" and "unsafe lane changes" (these are the lane changes I made while he was pulling me over!)

Today is another day and I will have my day in court and I believe in our justice system...OJ finally got his, right?

Let me just say, I'm not a cop-hater and I don't have a problem with authority, but Mr. C E G of HPD, you are a real load!

Yesterday's incident sent me over the edge. I was flustered, angry, overwhelmed. Pissed. Upset. Beside myself.

And why was I rushing around? Just trying to help a little old lady that I love get to the doctor. Like I said, no good deed...

Does anyone remember that I had a premonition in the form of a dream a while back?

We think my dad was possibly clairvoyant. Maybe I've got the shining, too. That and significant stage presence.