Friday, June 18, 2010

We're So Jacked Up

MM and I have a very...different kind of relationship. We always have, right from the beginning. Both of us have a very sarcastic sense of humor, and we tend to turn that on each other. We're constantly sniping at each other, or calling each other names, or saying mean things to one another. Years ago Mark's BFF Alf came to visit and he called it "baby talk". Instead of saying things like, "i love my snooky wookims" or whatever, we say things like, "you're an idiot" or "you're so dumb!".

It works for us. Maybe it's because we're both so secure in our marriage, or maybe it's just because we are, at heart, fucked up people. I don't know. All I know is that if we aren't insulting each other in some way, then something is wrong.

I imagine we probably make other people uncomfortable. We don't do it on purpose, I promise. I'm sure it probably seems like we're constantly fighting or bickering, but really we're just joking.

Take the other day for example. MM had to work on Saturday (last week) and I made plans to have dinner with his sister. I'd promised to take her out for her birthday, and since my kids were with my mom and her kid was with her STBE (soon-to-be-ex) we figured that was the perfect time.

MM was getting ready for work and asked me what my plans were. I refused to tell him, just because it drives him insane when I have a secret (srsly, he's like a little kid..he just HAS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW).  I told him I had a date and not to worry about the details. He kept pushing me to tell him and I kept telling him no to worry about it.

Eventually I told him what I was doing for real, and he called me an assclown for drawing it out. Then he said, "I don't want to go to work tonight!"

I said, "But honey, if you don't go to work how am I going to screw my boyfriend in our bed?"

He said, "You aren't. It's my sole purpose as your husband to keep you from screwing other men, in our bed or otherwise."

I said, "Man, that's cold. You won't give me any but you won't let me get some from someone else, either. Jacked up."

Then we both laughed and I gave him a kiss. To the outside person, that probably sounded really, really bad. But..well, I'd never cheat on MM. And he knows it. Just like I know he'd never cheat on me. Ever. We're solid.

Another example. We were at my grandparents house the other night for dinner and MM was telling me about this girl (that's a story for another day) he saw. He was telling me she was fat. I said, "Fat like me? Or like fat fat?"

He said, "Not really like you. Mostly bigger. Her butt was bigger than yours, anyway."

My sister, who was also in the room, says, "WTF? I'll have none of that. Sister, you aren't fat!"

But I wasn't offended. I  mean, sure, I know I've put on some weight (I'm still working on it..down 14lbs now), but I also know MM doesn't think I'm fat. Though I do love to tease him about it. And even though it sounded really jacked up, he and I were on the same page. Talking about me being fat was almost like talking in code - I meant was she not fat, but carrying around a few extra pounds (like me). He was saying she wasn't need-a-crane-obese but she had more extra weight than I do.

See, we really are jacked up.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recipe: Stuffed Zucchini Baked in Tomato Sauce

This turned out pretty good. It would have been excellent, I think, but I forgot an ingredient (the breadcrumbs) and used a not-so-great sauce from a jar. I don't mind sauce from a jar usually, but I didn't do anything to enhance the flavor of this one and it showed. Tomorrow I'm going to make a huge vat of homemade sauce then can/freeze it. Then I won't have to worry about this in the future.

Anyway, on to the recipe. I got this from an old 1960's Time Life Italian cookbook I found in a used book store. I've been pretty impressed with almost everything I've tried from it.

Zucchini Ripieni
Stuffed Zucchini Baked in Tomato Sauce

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
4 medium-sized zucchini, scrubbed but not peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/3 lb ground chuck
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ounces finely chopped prosciutto
1/2 cup fresh white breadcrumbs (from French or Italian bread)
6 Tbs freshly grated imported Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and spoon out most of the pulp, leaving hollow boatlike shells about 1/4 inch thick. Set the shells aside and chop the pulp coarsely. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet, add the onions and cook them over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are soft and lightly colored Add the zucchini pulp and the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently. With a rubber spatula scrape the entire contents of the skillet into a large sieve set over a mixing bowl and let drain.

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of oil in the skillet, add the ground beef and brown it over moderate heat, stirring almost constantly with a large fork to break up any lumps. Scrape the beef into another sieve set over a bowl and let drain.

Now in a large mixing blow combine the drained vegetables and meat. Beat into them the lightly beaten egg, prosciutto, bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons of grated cheese, oregano, salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Spoon this stuffing into the hollowed zucchini shells, mounding the top slightly.

Bring tomato sauce to a simmer on top of stove, then transfer to a 12-by-16 shallow baking dish. Then carefully arrange zucchini on the sauce. Sprinkle tops of zucchini with 1/4 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, dibble a few drops of olive oil over them and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, removing foil during last 10 minutes of baking so the tops of the zucchini can brown lightly. Serve directly from baking dish. Serves 4-6

MM is a pretty big guy, and he ate two halves (one full zucchini) if that helps in deciding how much to make. I'll definitely make this again, but I'll make the modifications I mentioned above when I do.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Linguine Carbonara, Weekly Menu and Disneyland

I didn't do a weekly menu last week. We were only home Monday and Tuesday, so I made chicken wraps and then we had leftovers. On Wednesday we drove down to Anaheim and then spent Thursday and Friday at Disneyland with my extended family. We had a grand time, but I have to tell you, I'm not as young as I used to be. Two days of running between two parks, riding roller coasters and a ton of walking seriously did me in. We spent Saturday at the beach relaxing and that did nothing to help in my recovery. I'm going to need a week to get back to normal.

Here's this week's menu:

Monday - Ravioli (I made it from scratch - it was just ok. I'll have to adjust next time and make the pasta thinner)
Tuesday - Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Couscous (probably I'll add chicken to this)
Wednesday - Chicken Fajitas
Thursday - Stuffed Zucchini
Friday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Saturday - Tofu Stir-Fry
Sunday - Family night, mom's choice

This week I have Jazzercise Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and a ton of last-week-of-school activities at both schools so I tried to keep things fairly simple. I'm going to start looking at lighter fare recipes over the next few months. Now that summer has arrived I don't want to heat up the house too much or eat really heavy foods.

Amy asked for the Carbonara recipe I mentioned two weeks ago, so here it is. I used pancetta instead of bacon bits, because Little Man doesn't eat bacon.

Linguine Carbonara

1lb Linguine
3 minced garlic cloves
1 cup frozen or canned peas, drained
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 eggs - beaten with
   1 tbs milk &
   3 tbs pasta cooking water
1 cup crumbled bacon (or pancetta)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
freshly ground pepper

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water to al dente (per package instructions). Drain the pasta but reserve a little of the cooking water for the egg mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic and peas, then cook over very low heat for 5-7 minutes, until garlic is soft. Stir in the red pepper. Next, add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to combine.

Add the bacon crumbles and the egg mixture and toss. Turn the heat off and add the cheese, parsley and black pepper.

That's it. It's a pretty simple recipe. You can, of course, cook the bacon first, then reserve a bit of the oil and drippings to cook the garlic and peas in. I didn't because of LM's aversion to bacon (which, btw, is beyond wrong if you ask me).

This is the last week of school for the kids. I'll be so glad when they're finally done. If I'm this tired of the school year, I can only imagine how they're feeling. Of course I'm still waiting for their final report cards to come in before I start making plans. If either of them have anything below a B they're going to be grounded for the entire summer. I told MM if they do end up grounded I'm hiring a babysitter to stay with them. I don't want to be stuck at home just because they couldn't turn in their homework. He laughed, but I was serious.

That's about it for me this week. What's new with all of you?

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