Sunday, November 26, 2006

Maggie and Kat

Yesterday was Maggie's birthday. She's four years old now. For her birthday, we celebrated with a mammoth bone (think of a 10 + pound femur and you'll get the idea). She was quite excited. So was Kat. At least Maggie's not possessive of her chewies, so she didn't mind Kat licking on one end while she was gnawing away at the other end. Eventually, Maggie relinquished it to Kat and then pouted.

Our Christmas card will show a cut off picture of Kat and Maggie. Getting the two of them to pose at the same time has proven to be extremely difficult. Maggie lays around while Kat runs around. And neither of them ever looks extremely pretty. But, Tony has managed to get some pictures of the two of them.

Last Friday, they did get baths. I was going to just give Kat one, but Maggie heard the magic word and ran into the shower to wait her turn. Great! Kat doesn't enjoy it, but Maggie could spend an hour in the shower eating water. I don't particularly enjoy it either.

Aren't our babies cute?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Laura's Spicy Tomato Soup

This is really, really yummy. Think about this with grilled cheese sandwiches. We were talking about soup and grilled cheese sandwich day in December up at Sharkeys. I will not be bringing this though since I have grilled cheese "duty." Think: Goat cheese, prosciutto, sour dough bread with some basil oil.

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 cups chicken broth
One 29 oz. can tomato sauce
One 29 oz. can diced tomatos, with juice
2 dashes of hot sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
Homemade croutons

1. In 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt half of the butter. When melted, whisk in the flour and stir until very smooth. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until very thick and smooth.
2. In a small skillet, melt the remaining butter. Saute the onion and garlic over low heat until the onion is translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the flour mixture and combine. Slowly add the chicken broth, about 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition and allowing the soup to thicken slightly before adding more broth. When all the broth is added, begin adding the tomato sauce and the diced tomatoes, about 1 cup at a time, stirring well, then allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more. When all the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes have been added, season the soup with the hot sauce, honey, dill weed, pepper, chili power and basil. Turn off the heat, let cool, and refrigerate until party time.
3. The day of the party, reheat the soup over very low heat for about 45 minutes so that the flavors can blend. Stir frequently, as the soup will stick to the bottom of the pot. Garnish with croutons.

Laura's note: I only use the butter to make the roux, which means half as much butter is used. I carmelize the onions before I add them to the roux. Just sweat them in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil for about 25 minutes. Add a dash of salt to pull the moisture out as the onions cook down. I use fire-roasted diced tomatoes and organic beef broth instead of chicken broth. I serve this with a dash of grated parmesan on top.

This, by the way, is from Paula Deen & Friends cookbook. Have to give credit where it is due!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sharkey's Fourth Annual Golf Tournament

Thanks to Andy's planning and Sharkey's bar crew's awesome help, on Saturday the 4th Annual Golf Tournament was held at Los Rios Golf Club. Much was said about the team I put together: me, Tom, Jason and Pete. Guys I play with at Woodbridge. Tom and Jason were with me on the team that won the Third Annual Sharkey's Golf Tournament (and when everyone first started joking about my "ringer team").

The tournament began with the sad news about Ron Blackburn -- it looked like he wasn't going to make it through the day after liver and kidney failure. We said a prayer and promised to think about him throughout the day. I remembered playing with Ron in the First or Second Sharkey's Golf Tournament. Wasn't great, but was a lot of fun to play with. Now that I remember, I wasn't really sure where to stand that day when playing with them! But, that's what we love about Sharkey's. The stories, the people, the interaction amongst us.

So it's a bit anticlimactic to say who the winner was: My team. We came in at 13 under. Second was 8 under. Steve, Randy, Scott, and ? came in Dead Ass Last (last past the all girl team of Glenda, Rosie, Julie and Dawn -- you go girls!). Our goal was to be at least 18 under, but a few pars didn't help. Kelley won the closest to the pin -- and said that it was almost a hole-in-one.

Now we have bragging rights for the next year. And Sharkey's golf windshirts (courtesy of Sharkey's and CooperStepp) to flaunt our victory.

On a sad note, Ron passed away while we were on the course. I know our thoughts were with him and his thoughts were with all of us as we celebrated his life. And raised money for a great cause: TEAM (Steve Anderson's charity).