November 30, 2011

The life of Raine

Raine is now in her second year of culinary studies at Madison College.  Along with going to school full time she is a line cook at Madison's venerable Tornado Steak House where she works full time as well.  

Looks like the photos were taken on Fish Filet 101 day as the first photo shows Raine  rolling a piece of fish skin.  In the above photo I can't tell if the fish had been filleted or not.   

When you ask Raine "What's up?" Her response is always the same, "School. Work. Sleep. Friends"  I don't get to see her much.  So I really appreciate the photos taken by her friend Katrina  who captures some amazing details in the day of this chef in training.
In Anthony Bourdain's book "Kitchen Confidential" he talks about his beaten, battered and scarred hands  from a life spent in a kitchen.  Looks like Raine is working her way there pretty quickly.  Food prep and cooking is not for the faint of heart.  Making a dinner for 10 people at home will not cause scars like this but cooking for 150 night after night, sure will.  

I am in awe of this driven and talented young woman. 

November 21, 2011

Dog puzzles, who knew?

Spent Saturday afternoon at Bad Dog Frida, a great local store for people who love their pets!.  They gave German Shepherd Rescue an afternoon of free publicity and a place to bring our foster dogs to meet new families.

Of course, to support such a great local store, I bought/found a new toy for Teiko.  It's a puzzle from a Swedish company - just like the dang educational toys and wooden puzzles I'd buy for the girls many moons ago.

Basically, you hide treats inside the dowels, slide them down the row and the dog has to figure out how to move the dowel to release the treat.

Teiko gets so excited when I bring the puzzle out.  He knows and smells the good and smelly treats.  He can move the dowels with his teeth and feet.  Sometimes he releases the treats but doesn't eat them because he's more interested in the next dowel.  Give him just a couple of more times.  I can see a more complicated puzzle coming in his Xmas stocking......

In the meantime, putting a puzzle on the floor with your dog and interacting with him, really reinforces how smart dogs can be and how much more we can do with our dogs.

November 9, 2011

Beautiful songs

Started following a thread from Facebook and decided these are my favorite songs today. Have a listen....

Because of You....written by Arthur Hammerstein.  Why haven't I really heard K.D. Lang sing before?  What a beautiful voice and especially with Tony Bennett.

What a wonderful life....written by Bob Thiele and George Weiss.

I fall to pieces...written by Hank Cochran

November 8, 2011

Post 400 and the last rose of summer

Holy cow, I've been doing this little blog since May 2007 and this is my 400th post.  I started blogging to simply write about things that amused, amazed and sometimes even frustrated me.   When I look back over the years, I find it's a rich reference of my life's plotting.  I refer to often for the first garden blooms and the last, how Beatons is progressing and how the girls have grown.

A nice history source, perhaps for some future geneaologist (once I export the files and put on a server in my datacenter.....for posterity)

Anyway....began cleaning the garden beds last weekend and put the roses to bed for the winter.  This beauty was one of two roses still in full bloom. And the smell is just divine.  The cranberry glass vase was my great great grandmother's (Nanny).

Venison Chops

Dinner last night was one of my favorites.  Venison Chops served with a wine reduction sauce.  This Sauk County venison was hunted by my Dad last year and given to me for Christmas.  Great gift!

We marinated the chops in rosemary, garlic and ginger and pan sear medium rare.  The mashed red potatoes stand nicely to the rich sauce.  The garden is still producing very tender Swiss Chard.  I'm hoping it will keep growing until Thanksgiving.

November 1, 2011

Beef Stew is what's good for you...

Threw a batch of beef stew together tonight in 25 minutes (minus the 2.5 hours of stewing time....) It is absolute beefy and delicious goodness!  Of course, I made enough to feed an army, but it should freeze well.

All veggies coarsely chopped:
2 cups of onions
1 cup of carrots
1 cup red potatoes
1 cup celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 cup red wine

1lb. stew meat
1 beef soup bone
1/2 cup flour (put in plastic bag, add salt and pepper to season)
Cut meat into 1 inch pieces.  Add to bag and shake.  set aside.

4 cups of liquid (broth, beer, water, etc)

Extras (if desired...or add your own):
1.5 tbs beef bouillon if using water, like I did.
1/2 cup tomato juice (or one can of diced tomatoes....)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Grain: 1/2 cup barley
Steak sauce to season.

Preparation: 25 minutes

1. Heat dutch oven on medium high, bring to heat and put 2 tsp olive oil.  Add 1 cup of onions and carrots.  Saute. As onions begin to sweat, add soup bone and brown.  Once veggies are cooked, add 1/4 cup red wine to deglaze.  Remove veggies if desired.

2.  Add floured stew meat to pan and sear..  Do this for 7-10 minutes.  Meat will brown.  onions and carrots will caramelize, if left in.  Add 1/4 cup wine to deglaze.

3.  Add garlic, potatoes and celery and cook for a few minutes.

4.  Add water, stir and bring up any bits of frond still left at the bottom of the pan. Add bouillon, stir.

5.  Add thyme, seasonings, steak sauce and/or tomato.

6.  Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 2 hours.

7.  Add mushrooms and barley. simmer for 30 more minutes

8.  Dish up a thick, beefy stew and enjoy!

Note:  It's the soup bone that give the depth to the taste. The longer it cooks, the better....
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