just for fun

Thursday, July 31, 2008

benedictine isn't just for monks anymore

this past spring, in preparation for our kentucky derby party, andrew and i went in search of traditional kentucky recipes. i wanted the official recipes for mint julips, hot browns, and derby pie. i found the recipes for several of those and more. my search reminded me of forgotten friends like fried green tomatoes, baked grits, burgoo, and chocolate gravy. and i discovered new wonderful treasures. for example, i had no idea that the brown hotel used to sell both hot browns and cold browns, but no one ever really liked cold browns, so we all only know about hot browns. over the next couple of weeks, i want to tell you more about some of these wonderful traditional kentucky recipes, starting with a new discovery: the benedictine.

Jennie Carter Benedict was a caterer and restaurant owner in Louisville, KY. she opened up shop in 1893, and served a delightful sandwich spread made from cucumbers. it can also be used as a condiment or chip dip. i liked this best as a chip dip and did have a hard time stopping eating it once i'd gotten started. its kind of like a ranch or french onion, but without the badbreath afterwards.

Benedictine Spread:

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely grated
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese (do not use nonfat)
2 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill (optional)

it was kind of odd grating cucumber and onion. i suppose you could coursely chop and then use a food processor, just don't get it quite to the point of puree. combine ingredients and chill before serving. enjoy!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

summer reading list

this summer i've enjoyed several nice books and muddled through a few horid books.

i was delighted to discover jasper fforde's thursday next series. i read the first two books (the eyre affair and lost in a good book) in the series and have been waiting patiently for andrew to finish the third book (the well of lost plots). i am afraid, however, that as the series continues, it make take more and more work on my part to suspend disbelief. its all getting more and more far fetched, but in a terribly wonderfully creative way.

i adore most anything by neil gaiman and recently read one of his newer books 'interworld.' i enjoyed it thoroughly despite its brevity. also in the scifi/fantacy genre, i read 'andromeda strain.' i read it about two weeks before i heard about the A&E miniseries. the only thing i regretted about the book was that i didn't get to read it about thirty years ago. science has just changed so much since it was written. publishing must be like driving a new car off the lot. its instantly a used car or dated technology. however, if you've never read 'ender's game,' you really should. it was also written about thirty years ago but i swear, you'd never know it. though i suspect that will only be true for about another five years.

i've joined a murder/mystery book club at one of the local libraries.

oh, oh! as a side note, i've never lived in a town with so many library branches! and everytime i'm in one of them, i'm so happy to see so many other people. of all the places that i ever dreamed might support a great library system, las vegas was not at the top of that list. las vegas was not even on the list.

well, last month with the book club, we read one of kathy reichs' bones books. the bones tv show is based on the leading lady of this book series, but with a lot of adjustments to the setting and other characters. 'bones to ashes' was in the middle of the series but i still very much enjoyed it. it was hard to figure out a couple of things, but only because it was in the middle. if you'd read all the previous books then you would have known more about so many of the people/backgrounds in the book.

but the book club is a bit hit or miss. the book bofore bones was mostly ok. the next book is dorothy sayers' 'clouds of witness.' published in 1927, its a smidge out of date. there is nothing particularly wrong with it, its just really dry and long winded.

i picked up a couple of books from the thrift store for a quarter and just could not finish them. 'mist of prophecy' was one. i thought it was going to be a historical mystery with a smidge of romance. i suppose if i'd read any reviews of it, i wouldn't have bought it. but since i paid twenty five cents, i guess i got my monies worth.

i also bought 'dashing through the mall' which was actually three christmas oriented love stories. couples meet, they overcome odds, and fall in love. however, since the story only has about a hundred pages, it was kind of like a disney movie. it ends right at the falling in love point, and therefore never has those tedious getting to know you parts, or discovering you are human beings with bad breath or gas parts, or that maybe love was hard work parts. i didn't know it was three in one when i bought it. i finished the first story and may eventually read all three, but only on vacation or in an airport. not for serious reading or real entertainment.

i'm somewhat burnt out on patricia cornwell at the moment. i read 'black notice' which is about the sixth or seventh book in the kay scarpetta series. and i started 'the last precinct' but the series has just derailed so much. i may not be able to finish this one either.

and i'm currently about to finish a fairly trashy novel, 'head over heels.' i didn't realize it was going to be so trashy when i selected it. one of the groups i'm a memeber of did a book exchange. i think i gave up books much better than i took home, but that's just my opinion. anyway, 'head over heels' has a bit of mystery. or at least there is a murder to solve. and lots of people fall into lust. maybe be the end it will be into love, who knows for sure. i've got about a hundred pages left, anything could happen.

and andrew is reading a book about the cold war. i keep meaning to read something that will teach me something but, well, i'm done with school, and i guess just looking for something fun nowadays.

what are you reading right now?

Friday, July 25, 2008

thinking outside the box

our third anniversary passed about a month ago, late june. you may know that each anniversary has an associated gift. its actually two gifts. there is a traditional gift suggestion and a modern. first year is paper and clocks. second is cotton and china. third is leather and then crystal. the suggestions are a fun idea, but i don't really want to buy china and crystal for andrew.

so instead, we've both been thinking quite outside the box. while he was in iraq, i mailed him origami flowers and a countdown clock. it looked kind of like a pager and kept track of the weeks, days, hours until he came home. last year, i bought him a transformer toy that was made in china-so far no lead poisoning issues. this year, i took him to the movies. i scanned through the credits online until i found a movie that had at least one person named crystal - with any variation on the spelling. but i think he really trumped my ideas this year. he found the cutest cupcake pan (i adore cupcakes) and some rock crystal candy to decorate my cupcakes.


my 3rd anniversary model train cupcakes complete with crystal candy smoke:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

zoe has some anger management issues

the sweater monkey cat toy has been looking a bit worse for wear for a while...but look at what i found this morning!

Friday, July 04, 2008


i was going for a sort of dr seuss feel with these 4th of july cupcakes. each one has three layers: strawberry, blueberry, and vanilla.