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February 21, 2010

Marching for Pansies

Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days in the whole wide world here in Porty Pants. A cloudless blue sky with that big bright thing in it and a suspicious lack of moisture in the air. To top it all off, it's that magic time of spring when the flower have started to bloom but the allergy gods have granted me a glorious reprieve. I think I have about three weeks before my face falls off, so I took the mister on a forced march to hunt for flowers. Aren't they pretty?

Oddly enough, our walk led to a very magical garden by the name of Pix. Check out this patch of a unique and exotic flower that the locals call "St Honore":

Adjacent to the St. Honore we found these equally intoxicating specimens lined up all neatly as if they had been planted by the gods:

And then, a giraffe decked out in St. Patty's gear. Don't hate; he's just doing his part to keep Portland weird.

February 16, 2010


I wanted to do something really special for my beloved for what some call the most romantic day of the year: President's Day. I consulted with Taft's ghost for a good long while and came to the conclusion that only one thing would do for such a special occasion. Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon.

I had received Madame Child's chef d'oeuvre Mastering the Art of French Cooking this summer during one of my bouts of selfsame literary obsession (immediately preceded by Marie Antoinette and followed by fundamentalist Mormons), but had yet to try one of her delicious dishes due to rabid fear and self-doubt... and an affinity for my arteries.

But lo, twas time.

I dutifully went to my grocer and picked up the exorbitantly expensive ingredients with nary a complaint. I spent the afternoon reading and rereading the recipe and mentally psyching myself up. When the time came, you better believe I made sure that the beef was dry as a Sahara so as to ensure proper browning. Julia only knows I simmered those pearl onions in their herb bouquet and broth until the liquid had reduced properly. And those mushrooms. Those sinfully buttery mushrooms. Don't worry; I merely browned them lightly, just like Julia wanted.

During a lull in the simmering and stewing and sauteing, I started on a luscious and light dessert suggested to me by my m'ma via that other culinary goddess, Lynnn Rossetto Kasper: honeyed figs with marscapone. I first presented this dish to rave reviews at a pasta party on Friday night, so I knew Julia would approve of its pairing with her boeuf.

Five hours later (I shittake you not), everything was ready. The table was set, the boeuf was bourguignoned, the figs were honeyed and soon to be marscaponed, and I was all Betty Drapered up in my best dress, heels, and a pink and white half apron with Eiffel Towers on it. I even did my hairs all nice!

Taft, Julia, and Lynn would be proud, for the boyf pronounced this the Best Thing I've Ever Made, a distinction he does not give lightly.

And now, with my fears of her tome evaporated like so much Cotes du Rhone, I am ready to plow through it to find even more buttery fulfillment in her pages! March on!

February 12, 2010

Creepy Valentines by Neenuh (TM)

It was a dark and stormy craft night five days before V-day. I had some valentines to make, and I needed to make them clever and I needed to make them creepy (like I like my men). Thankfully my hostess Erin had some Halloween stickers just aching to make me reverse my middle name (Ruth--->Ruthless).