Posts Tagged ‘family’

New Adventures: 12 of 30 – Learn how to braise a huge delicious monster hunk of beef.

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I love meat. I’m actually currently on a quest to eat my way through the animal kingdom. I particularly love red meat. Beef. The meat of kings, heros and champions. (Although, I don’t actually have any real proof to back that up…) Unfortunately I suck at cooking beef. I can grill a steak up pretty decently, but Devon doesn’t eat meat other than poultry and fish, so I really don’t have a ton of opportunities to cook up some fileted cow. But oh my christ do I love eating that rich juicy goodness. So it’s been a goal of mine to learn how to braise beef. I love how, if done correctly, it just melts in your mouth, and hell, if I feel so passionate about the deliciousness of braised beef, then learning how to recreate that myself is a very important life skill that I ought to learn.

Luckily my big bro, Seth is a super awesome chef, who is totally experienced at this sort of thing. I provide a kitchen and raw ingredients, and he teaches me how to make magic happen. First things first. You gotta have a huge fricking hunk of meat. We went with a cut of brisket. Brisket is perfect for this type of cooking. Generally pretty tough, but breaks down nicely when braised. Lots of fat (FLAVOR!!!) and one of the most reasonably priced cuts of meat out there (without getting into the freaky-deaky offals).

Season liberally with salt and pepper. Then sear the meat on a super hot nonstick pan until crisp and golden brown on the outsides.

You’ll know that you’re doing it right when you smoke out your kitchen and make the smoke detector in your kitchen start screaching. (FYI: its at this point when your kitchen will start smelling like “OMFG beefy-delicious get-in-my-face-now!!!”)

After the meat is done being seared on both sides, take them off the heat to let them rest. In the same cooking pan start sauteeing a mixture of mirepoix. Then throw in some fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, parsley, bay leaves, etc…

Then add some red wine and a bunch of of beef stock, and add back in the seared brisket. Pour yourself a glass of wine (because not only is it crucial to the cooking process, but also -hey!- you deserve it!) and pose for a picture.

Bring meat to a low simmer and then throw it in the oven for an hour or 2. Drink more wine. When you take it out of the oven it should look like this:

Take out about half of the liquid, and boil it down in a sauce pan (as shown). Try to reduce it by about half. Let the meat rest, but always keep it in the cooking liquid and veggies, because the beef will get dry out and get tough if its not kept happy in liquid. While you’re boiling down the sauce, you can roast an assortment of root veggies in the oven, and whip up some blue cheese mashed potatoes. You know, easy peasy. And slice up the brisket, slicing against the grain, and of course returning the meat to the cooking liquid to keep it moist and happy.

Put a pile of mashed ‘taters on a plate, top with a few sliced of the braised beef, throw on some roasted root veggies, and sauce liberally with some of the reduced juices, sprinkle some fresh herbs on top and BAM!!! The delicious, delicious result!

I ate so much that night, it was just obscene. But oh man, was this one of the best meals of my life, and now I (and you!) know how to recreate this magical meal of beefy goodness!

You can tell from my hair color (that has changed about 4 times since these pictures), that this all took place a few months ago.  But it’s still winter, and a fantastic time to make a great warm filling meal like this. Thanks to my big bro for just being awesome in general, and also, for being a really super chef, and sharing a few tricks of the trade with me.

12 of 30 completed!

 

New Adventures: 10 of 30 – Visit a new continent.

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I’m part homebody, part nomad. I get itchy, twitchy and bitchy and yearn to travel if I’m home for longer than 2 months. (And then I’m generally ready to be back home after 2 to 3 weeks.) A decent portion of my friends are pretty vocal about their hatred of modern air travel and they generally try to avoid it whenever possible, but honestly if I could get somewhere interesting by flying cargo with donkeys and chickens or whatever with 30 layovers, I’d totally do it, no ifs, ands or buts. Sometimes airplanes suck, but the amazing experiences that they make possible have always made up for a few hours of discomfort.

This year my parents totally spoiled us & decided to take us to South Africa for our family vacation as our Birthday and Christmas presents for the next 127 years.. . I guess the nomadic thing kinda runs in the family. My parents visited the country last year, had a totally amazing time and thought that we would love it as well. Luckily I’m related to these awesome generous people so I was in for the trip of a lifetime!

So in September (I know I’m WAY behind in updating this blog) after about 36 hours of air travel, layovers in multiple countries, and car travel, we ended up in a swanky guest house in Marloth Park on the Southern edge of Kruger National Park, and Northeast-ish region of the country.We stayed in an awesome house/lodge? called Kahya Umdami that was owned by some super friendly people from Cape Town. There was a ton of wildlife that roamed the area & could come around looking for handouts. Guinea fowl (who looked like they would make delicious hot wings!), kudu (only try to feed the young ones, fyi) ,warthogs (omg, so cute!!!), giraffes, bushbabies (the itty-bitty tweaked-out speed freaks of the animal kingdom), hoards of banded mongeese, and tons of crazy looking colorful birds were just some of our regular visitors.

Luckily we had brought a huge crate of fresh papaya or papaw, so the critters loved us, and we got to hand feed a ton of warthogs and kudu. I actually ended up with the nickname Angelina Jolie for threatening to smuggle/adopt half of the visiting warthogs.

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New Adventures: 4 of 30 – NASCAR!!!

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Every month, my family tries to get together for a family dinner or activity. I’m not exactly sure how we all agreed to it, but the Turnbaugh’s activity for the month of July was going to a NASCAR race!! Now, I’m not particularly into car racing, however I am into activities where I can veer full throttle into white trash territory, so as soon as we bought our tickets and  before you could say “redneck”, I had started planning my outfit for the day.

Since NASCAR is about as quintessentially American as it gets, I decided to go the high class route with a stars and stripes themed ensemble. I found a delightful belly shirt crop-top with a distressed American flag print, that was accented with some rhinestones (hand stitched, I’m sure) that highlighted the stars, and showed off just enough of my gut midriff to be striking but not entirely trashy. I then paired the shirt with some jean ghetto-booty-hot-pants  cut-off shorts with peek-a-boo linear patterned front pockets and a star pattern on my ass the rear. Topped off with a hunter’s camo print ball-cap accented with American flags, I was ready to roll. Behold, the classiest family portrait ever.
IMG_1197So some things that I learned…..

IMG_1200NASCAR is big…. Like really big. Bigger than Jesus, or the Beatles for that matter. The race, Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, took place at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which is largest venue for any type of sport in the whole general area…. Which is kinda insane to think about. Over 100,000 people jam packed into a huge outdoor grandstand. It’s in the boonies of NH Loudon, NH, so there’s no public transit of any sort and everyone has to drive there & park, which leads to kinda a logistical driving and parking nightmare. There are seas of car and RV parking lots. The picture on the left is a pic that I took of maybe a tenth of all of the RVs that had camped out there for the weekend, and that’s not even including cars/SUVs/trucks etc…  And there’s only 1 major road in and out of there… So after the race ends plan on some post-game tailgating, for a while, cuz it’s going to be at least 2-3 hours before you can even get your car out of the parking lot (on top of the 45 minutes that it will take you to walk back to your car)…. Unless you’re awesome like us and drive through some bushes and find a semi-illegal unpaved back road out.

Things to bring, because there won’t be any, or it will run out fast: Toilet paper, Water (crucial on a 95 degree day), Food (the food stands and vendors seriously ran out of food & water halfway through the race!?!?!?!), sunscreen, ear protection.

IMG_1207NASCAR is white trash. Like, really, for-serious white trash. Not like this is ground breaking news or anything, but going to see the race in person just reminded me of what I already knew. Half of the dudes there were shirtless. Now don’t get me wrong. I love me some sexy shirtless man action. However the guys here were bearing their man-boobies regardless of if anyone would even want to see that horror show. And of the men that were wearing shirts, most were wearing shirts with the sleeves ripped off. (Along a similar vein, when did tramp stamps of Disney characters on DUDES become socially acceptable?!?) As seen on the right, the lemur decided to get in on the NASCAR fashion & root for his favorite race car driver.

The women weren’t any better. I had been a bit nervous that my outfit would stand out for being too over the top and/or trashy. Luckily I fit right in with the chicks walking around in bras, pregnant women smoking (I shit you not.) and ladies (and I use that term very loosely) with race car number arm sleeve tattoos. Yeah. It was a scene. A scene that I just don’t really get… But hey, if you’re into that, you go on with your bad self. Fashion is one thing, but manners and friendliness are another. And boy, were those fans friendly. The row behind us shared a ton of their spilled beer with us….. and their cigarette ash. That was pretty cool. In fact all the chain smokers in our section made sure that I got my daily dosage of second hand smoke, so that was incredibly helpful.  Other than that, people were generally pretty happy and friendly, and I got a couple salutes, hand shakes and toasts in honor of my outfit by some fellow fans of America.

IMG_1204All in all, it was quite impressive. The cars are sooo loud and beefy sounding that even a non-gear head like myself found it to be a thing of beauty. The cars go sooo fast. It’s hard to really get how fast they’re going if you just watch it on TV. I’ve always been like “Oh, yup. Moving cars…. That turn left……. For hours… And this is fascinating why ?”. But those little buggers fly & it’s pretty jaw dropping.

Even in the oppressive heat of mid-day July the fans really got into it, and stayed into it for the entire whole 4 hours. And it’s really hard to not get into the spirit of the moment when you’re surrounded by super enthusiastic fans who are cheering & standing up to wave every time their favorite driver goes by or passes someone or takes the lead, or if another car crashes, spins out or catches on fire. Cool stuff.  Not sure if I’d want to go to another NASCAR event, but it was definitely unlike anything that I’ve ever experienced before and I’m glad to have had the opportunity.

 

What’s Dank or Not in Las Vegas, 2009.

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

So, in September, my mom took my aunt and I on a exciting “Girl’s Gone Wild” weekend in Las Vegas.  We packed a whole hell of alot into 2 and a half days, and I wanted to share what I thought was dank.

Our Hotel: Planet Hollywood. Dank, but crowded.

It was in the middle of the strip. Great if you’re into hoards of annoying/drunk uber-tourists, but not so awesome if you’re into a little more of a chill scene. We had a nice room on a high floor with a great view of the strip and a super gigantic bathroom, which was great since we had 3 ladies getting ready at the same time. The room’s decor was nice & modern with some vintage movie props. There is a gigantic mall built around the hotel which had some super amazing shopping and there were about 20 dining options to choose from. I think that if we had been bigger into the club scene & staying up late thing, we would have enjoyed it more, but in all honesty, I never got used to the swarms of people.

Activity: Stripper 101. Dank pole skills.

Every wondered how the girls on “Rock of Love” work the pole as well as they do? Take this class and have new appreciation for their skills. Learn the how-to’s of giving a sexy lapdance. Then learn the basics of working the pole. A week and a half later and I still have the bruises on my legs to prove how much of an earnest learner I was. :) Add in a free photo of you working the pole, and an alcoholic drink to get your inhibitions lowered…. How can you afford to NOT take this class? :) Although, It was awesome to have some bonding time with my mom and aunt, I would probably recommend others to not do  the same as I did. It’s kinda awkward to be straddling a chair while learning how to “get paid” next to your blood relatives. :)

Show: The Thunder From Down Under. Dinki-di Dank!

Hot guys with buff bods and Australian accents, who do choreographed dance routines with fireman themes? Please, and thank you! Maybe not the most polished dancing from males on the strip, but it was obviously clear from their moves that most of the guys were into chicks. Also, 3 jello shots for $5 was a saweet drink special. I enjoyed watching the show. I was really glad that I wasn’t at the table that one dancer climbed and then poured a drink all over himself (ala Flashdance), but it was totally awesome/hilarious to watch.  Also, it was totally worth the $20 to get my picture taken on a couch with 6 of the dancers. (who were all very friendly and chatty & totally dug my hair, bracelet and shoes…….. wait a sec… I may have to rethink my previous stance on how straight the majority of them were….) All in all, though, I totally dug the show, and would probably go again if I got the chance.

Show: Jubilee! 9 out of 10 show choir members would vote it Dank.

Picture this. Naked high school show choir on crack. That’s Jubilee!  Amazing outfits with tons of feathers and sequins. Gigantic 2 story props with smoke and fire, and they move! And nudity! What’s not to love (if you’re an ex-show choir member)? Book the show in advance to make sure that you get seats close to the stage, like we did, and you’ll be so close that you can read the names of the dancers off the bottoms of their shoes. Shout out to Colette! Nice moves :)

Restaurant: Koi - Dank Japanese food

Beautiful venue, beautifully presented food. The vibe was very hip and modern. I ordered the Seaweed Medley, which was amazing. I’m a big fan of seaweed salads, and this one went above and beyond. They usually contain one type of seaweed, and this one had 3 or 4, most of which I’d never tried. It was delicious, perfectly seasoned, and was artistically presented. I also had the yellow tail and scallion roll, which was also delicious and the fish tasted very fresh. I’m a huge fan of sushi, and this place did not disappoint.

Restaurant: MIX at Mandalay Bay - Dank food and view

This restaurant is located on top of THEhotel and has one of best views in the city, IMO. The food is pricey, but super fancy and well-thought-out.  I ordered a veggie terrine, which name alone, doesn’t really sound great, but in actuality was totally fan-f*cking-tastic! The crab salad was also delish. For dessert we split the MIX candy bar. OMG. It’s the candy bar of your wild-ist dreams.

In general, we had an amazing trip! Girl’s gone wild, whoo-hoo!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Happy Muh-thah’s day to my MAH!

I have an awesome time hanging out with you, you give fantastic advice, you have exquisite taste and I get my extraordinary good looks from you. Oh, and you birthed me.  (Thanks for that, btw!)

I hope you have a wonderful day! I luv ya!

Pics from Hawaii!

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Click on the photo to check out the entire photo album!