Monday, December 12, 2011

Finnished Yet?

After a ten hour day, I raced home to take Bella to the vet to get her sutures removed from her surgeries two weeks ago. Our friend Dan was over helping T with some heating duct work in our unfinished basement...

...another attempt at getting the house warmer and more heat-efficient for winter. When I arrived, Dan was in the middle of something that T couldn't really help with, so he went with me to the vet.

Much easier with two. And as it turns out, much more amusing.

I needed a witness for this one. Our sweet little kitty cat is actually a vicious raving lunatic. Or perhaps an award-winning drama queen.

Who knew?

Gratefully, her focus seems to be exclusively on evil vet techs who want to hold her down and poke a dull scissors into her belly and paws.

Can you blame her?

The tech took her out of the room for her paws because she realized after much spitting and hissing that she had her hands full. T and I were sitting in the room talking and after about five minutes, we heard the longest, most involved, most blood-curdling yowl I have ever heard in my entire life. You'd have thought she was being disemboweled. Honestly. The bustling vet office with four full exam rooms and a lobby full of people and pets fell completely silent...even the bird in the lobby stopped singing! T and I looked at each other for one deadpan second and then busted out laughing. Our conversation, in between gasps of breath, went something like this...

"Oh sh*! Was that her??!?"

Wiping tears from his eyes, T responds conspiratorially, "Do you think we can duck out the back door and leave her here?"


Chirp, chirp. You could have heard a pin drop. Then suddenly, as if on cue, every breathing entity in the office let out a collective groan and came back to life.

Yep, we're the poor sods with "the cat".

And guess who was the hero for rescuing her from the torture chamber? I wish I had a picture of her lying peacefully on T's lap on the drive home. I bet she was purring.

The nut.

Impressive. It's the only word that sticks. And now I know who I don't want to piss off.


Well. Not nearly enough excitement in this day. So it's no wonder then when we got home at six, I was ready to dive headlong into dinner preparations.


Dan was here and I know how he appreciates a good meal. And since I appreciate his willingness to help us out with things I know nothing about, it was the least I could do.

And I had a ton of fun making a meal I've never made before. Win, win!

Where to start?

Start with the ending, I like to say (actually David Wilcox says's pretty cute) so I began by making dessert...

Finnish Pulla Bread Pudding. The recipe was created by my co-worker Michelle and I've never made it before tonight. OMG, is it fantastic! And so incredibly easy.

Making the custard...

...poured over the cut up Finnish Pulla...

...pressed in the baking dish to soak before baking. In the oven at 350*F for 45 minutes.

This morning before leaving for work, I seared a beef roast in Pino's Press Garlic Gusto olive oil (which we sell at the bakery!) and put it in the crockpot with one quart of beef stock and let it cook on low all day long.

I LOVE crockpot cooking! So easy and so crazy good!

So while my bread pudding was baking, I peeled and boiled some Russet potatoes...

 ...strained them and prepared to mash with 1/2 stick of butter, 3/4 cup of warmed half-and-half, and s+p to taste.

Then, I strained the liquid from the crockpot and made a gravy using the pan I saved from the morning's searing. Gotta save all those tasty tidbits! I melted 4 Tbsp. butter, sprinkled in 1/2 cup flour and made a roux (very similar to Chicken Pot Pie from the other night...), cooked the flour mixture for one minute and then whisked in the reserved beef stock. Lots of pepper, a little salt. Best dang gravy I've ever made.

T opened a 1999 Spanish Rioja Reserva, mostly because he was curious whether it would still be any good. Which it was. Amazingly so.

And just so you know, we picked wine because Santa checked his list twice and said, No beer for you tonight!

Now, who can argue with Santa? You might be feeling so bold, but not this good girl (OK, you can stop laughing really, you can stop). I'm not getting all up in the fat man's grill and drinking a beer when he said no. Maybe in January or February...but not this close the holiday. Not when I'm still hoping for a Smart phone.

Which was fine, because the wine went so good with the final product...

...I couldn't have picked out a better one myself.


We should have been finished, but then there was dessert...

...incredible as well. Served with just a touch of Haagen Dazs Chai ice cream...which must be such a special edition flavor they don't even list it on their website!

Just in case you wanted to know?

Cardamom is the best flavor ever.

Pardon me as I roll myself to bed...//

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