Valentine’s 2020

One more weekend in the books. Actually I have today off, so it continues to some extent. I doubt I leave the house, so this holiday is of limited use to me. We did actually voyage out the front door on a few occasions this weekend though. Friday, however, was not one of those days. Instead, we invited a few other couples over and hosted a nice Valentine’s dinner. Any day I don’t get off work is not really a holiday in my book, but somebody mentioned “crab legs” and I was all in. Dinner came out reasonably well. We had steak, twice baked potatoes, and king crab. I’ve really struggled with my steak lately. New Years Eve I over-cooked it, and this time around it was a bit on the rare side. I will say, if I am to err on the meat, I prefer it to be towards the rare side of the scale. The cut was filet too; Just not our preference. I’m not complaining though, (too much anyway,) it was a great meal.

Saturday was a fine day, I feel like we got some mileage out of it. The weather was quite nice, in the mid 60’s and sunny, so we put the top down on the car and ventured out a ways to look at some motor homes. We are exploring the idea of a new(er) rig, so we lined up a few candidates and headed out. The drive was great, the motor homes not so much. It really baffles me that people will spend that much money on a coach, then just let it go to the point these were in. I think we looked at four, and all of them were in rough shape. The search continues I guess. For our evening entertainment, we went over to a neighbors house and enjoyed a fancy “vertical” wine tasting. The things Californians come up with for fun… Eh, it WAS fun as a matter of fact. He had four identical wines, but each was a different year. If my bad memory is correct, the years were ’11 through ’14. You have a taste of each and then discuss in detail the unique nuances of the vintages. Lots of swirling and sipping involved. Most importantly, there were some fantastic appetizers.

Sunday wasn’t terribly entertaining, but not a total loss either. It was another nice day, so once again we took the convertible out. The random destination this day was a few parcels of land out in the Sutter Creek area. Not being able to find a house that even remotely interests us, our latest made-up plan is to buy a piece of property and build what we want on it. The downside of this scheme is that we have absolutely no idea how to do that, not to mention a complete lack of funding to get the ball rolling. Those little snags aside, we enjoyed the weather and Sutter Creek is a fun town to visit. For dinner we went over to a friends house for Chinese take-out; Can’t go wrong there.

Champs!

Well I guess that was about the most exciting weekend in recent memory. The Chiefs actually won!??!?! I dvr’d the whole game, I am going to go back and watch it tonight to make sure. Pretty big stuff, especially since everyone out here is a SF fan. (I find that a little odd incidentally, but I’ll spare you that rant. In brief, the bay is 1.5 hours away, how do you claim that as your “home team?” Hmmm, sketchy.) We spent the better part of Saturday prepping for game day. We had grocery shopping to do, decorations to put up (ok not really,) and I made a big pot of bbq gumbo for the event. Actually we took the pups up to a friends house and watched it there. “Neutral Territory,” so to speak. I have to say, I was pretty down after the third quarter. Things looked bleak. Very bleak, as a matter of fact. As I should have learned from the last few games though, that can change in a big hurry. Not good for my elevated blood pressure, for sure. And I am excited that not only did they win the big one, they should contend next year again. Doesn’t look like they’re going to go fire-sale mode like the Royals after their win. I wish I could go to the parade, but it just ain’t gonna happen. A brief glance looks like $1,600 per person. I’m excited, but not THAT excited.

Boring Weekend

Wow I’m really going to struggle for content this week, that was just an uneventful couple of days. No small part of it was spent working; Don’t nobody want to hear about that. Friday night we cooked up a pretty respectable shepherds pie recipe… Lame as it may be, I have to say that was effectively the highlight of the weekend. Next up was Saturday, a.k.a. “creamer in the coffee” day. You are no doubt wondering what that is code for; Obviously some really cool thing we do on Saturdays. Well, no, I’m afraid it is pretty literal. Saturday is the day I put creamer in my coffee. I don’t lead a super-exciting life, I have to look for highlights where I can. After my morning coffee, we got a text from some friends who were at brunch nearby, so we joined them at Selland’s. That worked out great, we had some really good food. On the downside, we were so full we headed back home and glued our butts to the couch for the rest of the day. We actually had some plans for the afternoon, but the gluttony cancelled them all. It happens.

Sunday was similarly low-key. Our entertainment for this day consisted of going up to our friends house to check on their cat. They’re out of town for the week, so we wanted to make sure the feline was getting on ok. Well, the kitty wasn’t super impressed with our visit, she actually never even came out to see us. Cats just aren’t the most social creatures I suppose. We hung out for a few hours anyway though, enjoying the good things in life, like cable TV. After that, well, it was back home. Different couch, same story. We did watch a movie, The Turkey Bowl, but I’m not sure that really qualified as entertainment.

Apparently I didn’t take many pictures of us doing nothing all weekend, so I’m a little light in that department also, but I have a few. The first one, our friends we share the motor home with sent us on the first night of their week-long trip. Looks like things are off to a rough start. Well, at least they don’t have to worry about their cat.

Happy New Year!

Why the “Happy New Year?” Because people are still telling me that and it’s borderline annoying. The bug guy came this morning and made it a point to knock on the door and wish me a happy new year. It’s the 20th. The year is now old and stale like the rest. Bah. Unwanted holiday greetings aside, we had a nice little weekend. And, I am off today so it continues. We kicked off Friday by making a pot of ramen. A friend made it for dinner quite some time ago, and I’ve been wanting to make it myself ever since. I found a recipe I thought sounded good and bookmarked it, but never got around to making it. The weather has been pretty cold lately so we decided it would make a nice dinner. Our friend Alaina came over and joined us, and we just ramened away. Came out pretty good, it hit the “make again” list for sure. After dinner Alaina and Donette worked on a birthday cake for her hubby, and that took up the rest of the evening. (He turned 30 over the weekend. Good grief I am old.)

Saturday was somewhat marred by having to work all night. I declare that to be a young man’s game. I couldn’t even start my work until 9:00, which is at least 30 minutes past my bedtime. What can ‘ya do. While I waited for that ridiculous hour of the night to arrive, we ran some errands and had a great lunch at the Purple Place. Throw in a nap, and a pot of ham and beans for dinner, and we managed to kill the day.

Sunday was, of course, the big game. WAY too much excitement for me. I found that far more stressful than it probably should have been. Hey, all’s well that ends well I suppose. I am not sure what to think about the 49’ers subsequent victory. Everyone around here is fired up for the big game, and there will certainly be no shortage of parties to attend… But at this point I am leaning towards just staying home and watching it here. Don’t want to be around a bunch of riff-raff. Granted, a lot of people out here are pulling for the Chiefs, but I have a feeling that will change come game time. I am worried they will put Madison Bumgarner in and he will wreak havoc again. After football, we headed down to Brickyard and went to surprise birthday party for our friend Michael. We pulled it off, he was thoroughly surprised. Had a delicious burger for dinner to help him celebrate his big milestone. Thirty. Wow I am old.

Chicken Ramen

I found this recipe about a year ago, after eating ramen over at a friend’s house. Finally got around to making it. You can find a lot fancier recipes out there, but I decided to keep it simple with this one. Came out pretty darn good! I added some shrimp the last five minutes, and used the cheap-o dry ramen noodles, ’cause I’m just that cheap. I did make the eggs, and they were a great addition. Might add another minute to the boil time if I make them again. I also might get some low sodium soy sauce as it calls for… Just a bit on the salty side. From the Fox and Briar site.

Ingredients

For The Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
  • 4 garlic cloves pressed or finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms stems removed and sliced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 pounds baby bok choy sliced into quarters lengthwise
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 packages fresh yakisoba noodles* one package is about 7 ounces. Use two packages if you like lots of noodles. Fresh noodles are usually found in the produce section of the grocery store

For The Ramen Egg

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water

Additional Toppings (Optional)

  • sliced green onion
  • cilantro
  • chili garlic sauce
  • sesame seeds
  • lime wedges

Instructions

To Prepare The Ramen Egg:

  • Whisk together the 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of rice vinegar and 3/4 cup water, set aside.
  • Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and water.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil (make sure there is enough water to cover the eggs). When boiling, carefully lower the eggs into the water using a slotted spoon or spider. Reduce heat if necessary to keep the water just barely boiling. Cook for 7 minutes, then remove from pot and place eggs in the ice bath. Leave in the ice bath for 3 minutes. Remove from ice bath and gently peel (egg will be soft). Place peeled eggs in the marinade and make sure they are completely covered with the marinade. Leave in the marinade for several hours or overnight. If keeping longer, discard the marinade and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat the egg in the ramen broth (don’t leave in the broth very long before serving or the egg will overcook).

To Prepare The Noodles:

  • If using fresh noodles:
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add the noodles and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water. Toss with just a little oil if necessary to keep them from sticking (mine already had a little oil on them, so I didn’t need to). Set aside.
  • (If using another type of noodle, follow package instructions) <– This was me! I added a little sesame oil after cooking them.

To Prepare The Soup:

  • Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant so that they don’t burn. Add the chicken broth and 1 cup of water, soy sauce, rice vinegar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, chili garlic sauce, stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer.
  • When broth reaches a simmer, add the chicken thighs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and reaches a temperature of 165°F.
  • Remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Add it back to the broth along with the bok choy and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

To Serve The Ramen:

  • In a bowl, place a serving of noodles, then pour the soup over them. Top soup with ramen egg, sliced green onions, cilantro and sesame seeds if desired.