Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Families Ties

Like mother like daughter, they say. Or like father, like son. What about like family, like family? Sounds a little too California for me, but we have a strange phenomenon between the Jansens and the Shanks.
On Saturday night, I decided to use our newly fixed gas grill to grill some Indian Tandoori Chicken. I called my mom to tell her I was making my dad's favorite meal. She told me she made the same thing.
This used to happen when my mom and I lived and worked in the same kitchen. We would individually come home from the store with the same 10 lb bag of sugar or something outrageous that we couldn't use up. It happened all the time. It was as regular as my dad's lunch habits; about once a week my Dad would come home only to find he had purchased the same thing for lunch as my mom had prepared for dinner.
Other similarities exist, like the fact that last night Travis and I had an at-home date watching the TV series 24. We found out that the Shanks were watching 24 together as a family night. And my Dad emailed me this morning and told me they watched 24 as a family night too.
Guess we married into the families.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Plans Well Laid

Titles are so apropos. I can't help myself. Travis and I did our three month planning yesterday afternoon. But we didn't lay any eggs. Neither did the chickens (I think its too cold for them)Yesterday was historic for other reasons as well-it was our first Sunday service as a married couple.

I started my personal planning on Friday morning with grocery forms and meal plans and exercise plans. Travis and I sat down yesterday afternoon and planned together. We divided it into the various categories of our life and planned goals for each one of them. We planned everything from date nights to budget plans. Most exciting to me of course is when we are hosting with food. We want to have two couples over for dinner each month. Plans well laid for our dazzling and exciting life together.

We also planned trips and travel. As a new transplant to Arizona away from my family and friends, this is strange to me. Travelling for the holidays is something I've never done. This morning the idea sat like a brick in my stomach. It is difficult to think just about being near. Now just to be close, I have to plan. But Prv 16:9 says:
"The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
I know the Lord will establish me, as it says in 1 Peter 5:
"the God of all grace who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

And then came the egg...

So we made an omelet that fed two. And one made its way into some sourdough egg bread.

Since we are on the topic of sourdough, let me give you some history.
Sourdough originally was a substitute for yeast in leavened products. When I was getting into bread making two years ago, I found a website touting the history of it (San Francisco and wild west stories). I purchased some that was reportedly from a starter that made its way out west in the 1800's on a covered wagon and got handed down through the generations. I mailed a SSE away and a few months later a letter came into my mailbox with a ziploc baggie of brown granules. I added it to my own starter which I had begun true Laura Engels Wilder meets Alton Brown. So my starter should now have a good East Coast meets Midwest meets, now, Southwest flavor.
I also have an interesting story to prove I am not the only one who is intrigued by food history. In December, I went to a dinner party at my friend's Elizabeth's husband's aunt's farm. I met the aunt and she served us some of her 'famous' sourdough bread. I asked why her bread was famous and it turns out, she made her sourdough starter in India with buffalo milk 30 years ago. It has followed her around the globe for 30 years. After years of travel, it now lives in Great Falls Virginia. That is why food continues to fascinate me.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

First comes the chicken...

then the EGGS! I just had to write that we have our first eggs. We are officially a ranch now. I collected eight beautiful pale brown eggs this morning from the red, broken down chicken coop. I have been slowly transitioning where I put the feed, creeping it across the yard from the goat pen to the coop. I guess my trick worked because the hens nested themselves down into the dusty hay last night to do their magic. The incredible edible egg...scrambled, fried, poached, custards, creme brulee here we come!

Monday, January 23, 2006

We got maui'ed

You know you are on vacation time when the following happens: You lock yourself out of the condo you are renting, then you leave things behind in the shower at the hotel, then you realize that you forget where you put your wallet...all on the same day in the same 3 hours. The redeeming quality of this is that when you are married, you share EVERYTHING. So it wasn't just one of us, it was both of us. I'll leave you to guess who did what.
That may prove that we aren't perfect, but Maui is perfect. Tourist hype aside, we agree that it is the most perfect place. The ocean is perfect, the waves curl, the temperature never changes, there is both abundant rain and sunshine, the activities are cool, the Hawaiian coffee is perfect, and the tropical fruitand fish delicious. We were blessed with an incredible honeymoon-- something we could neither dream of nor afford. Of anything we could say, we want to thank our friends and family because no one thing in our honeymoon was untouched by their generosity.
To view more of our honeymoon photos, visit
http://www.kodakgallery.com/-- email me for the password if you are interested.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Meet the Flockers

A story to rival all love stories. While I was nineteen in England, I met an older man who wore coveralls and hands that had worked the dirt. He was a normal middleclass citizen with normal box frame house and an above average kitchen garden. But one thing set him apart. He owned chickens. That meant, he had fresh eggs. I was in love. With his fowl.
Every since then, a secret wish grew in my heart for my very own chickens. As a chef I value the product, but I've always had a fondness for chicken since I watched the first grade's chicken project.
Enter suburban living in Montgomery County. Not since the King's farm sold milk has there been much room for fowl in Gaithersburg.
But dreams come true. Travis called me and told me that we were going to rent a house. It was on a piece of land, it was three bedrooms, two and half baths, a fixer-upper....and it had five chickens and a rooster.
Meet my chickens: the plumed rooster who rules the brood is Kenneth, named after our good friend Kenneth Maresco, a true patron of free-range chicken (not). The other plain black rooster is Fred. And one black hen is named Jememiah but we haven't been able to get a face with a name yet.
If you have suggestions, please post your votes and we would love to have our friends name the chickens... just don't get too attached to them because we haven't secured them yet in their coop.

Home Trash

The amount of trash one can generate in a move is unprecedented. One almost becomes guilty about the landfill space you are about to consume. But plates must be eaten off of, and clothes must be worn.
It's early morning here on the ranch and the sun is highlighting the SanTan mountains out my front windows. We have spent most of a week here in Arizona getting settled into our new home. Travis is hard at work between vacations and I have been going to work too. At the end of every day, we fall into our new wonderful bed exhausted.
But "for the joy of the honeymoon set before us, we will endure all things"...

I am working hard on our new home. The Shank family worked tirelessly to renew the ranch with new paint, new carpet and a new kitchen for our return. We are grateful for their overwhelming kindness and skill; and are excited to continue to work on more projects together. I have used my new circular saw and my new skill saw already building extra shelves in a closet to house my sewing gear. There were windows to wash, fixtures to finish and yes, Dad, vaccuuming with my beautiful new Zephyr.

Today is a day for packing. We only have one more trip-- off to Maui for twelve days. It will be our last flight for a while, something we frequent fliers are anticipating. Arizona sunshine has welcomed us home already with warm days and dust but we are dreaming of tropical days and warm beaches.

A Different Kind of Hay

Upon entry, the view was stunning. You walk down a narrow, creamy hallway to a door that says "Presidential Suite"; then, you turn the gold handle and you know you are about to enter something only experienced once in a lifetime. Have you ever seen the city at night from such a vantage point, much less the White House? The Hay-Adams might be appear to be a small, subtle hotel, but the view proves it cannot avoid its superiority. We had no idea what this gift meant until we walked into that three room suite-- we're just a landscaper from Arizona and a small time caterer from Gaithersburg. But to say the least, we enjoyed our stay the Hay.