Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grilled Cheese

It's hard to get better than cheese! And when you grill it, then top it off with some hickory smoked bacon, and a little butter on the outside pieces of bread, well, the effects are wowing! This is what we had last night. For our bread we used the fantastic recipe from sullivan street bread co. in NYC that we like to make each weekend, but we've used a basic loaf of store bought bread before and the result is still the same - delicious. Try this easy, wonderful, simple gourmet meal and taste the wow factor!

All you need to do is put aged yellow/white cheddar or both on a piece of bread, add some cooked bacon on top if like, grind some pepper over. Cover with the other slice of bread put it on the skillet med to low heat or on your panini maker and cook till it's toasted and the cheese melted. Serve with some tomato bisque you buy from the local grocery store or a restaurant to go.

Urban Dictionary

From time to time we check out urban dictionary. Pretty good stuff - one fav is a one upper. We all know them, and sometimes we are one. Enjoy the below compliments of Urban Dictionary - .

Urban Word of the Day: one upper

An annoying person who responds to hearing someone else’s experience or problem by immediately telling a similar story about themselves with a much more fantastic (or terrible) outcome.

Person: I got to meet James Hetfield before the concert and I got his autograph.
One Upper: Yeah, well my cousin knows the head of security for Metallica, and he got us front row tickets to the show and then we went backstage and met the whole group. Then they invited us back to their hotel room and we partied with them all night.
Person: I have a a dislocated knee.
One Upper: Yeah, well last summer I broke my leg in four places and had to have a steel pin inserted. I also had to have surgery done on my knee to repair the torn ligaments. I was on crutches for almost two months.

People, Places, & Passions

We love traveling and exploring a new place - it's people - their passions. We are going to start blogging about our adventures and our tips. We both studied abroad in school, and long for when we can travel again. The issue of time and money is always a factor, but we are dreamers so we are hopeful for the opportunity to see the world together. And you know, a lot can be said for positive thinking, and the pursuit of happiness.

"I wrote myself a check for ten million dollars for acting services rendered and dated it Thanksgiving 1995. I put it in my wallet and it deteriorated. And then, just before Thanksgiving 1995, I found out I was going to make ten million dollars for Dumb & Dumber. I put that check in the casket with my father because it was our dream together."- Jim Carrey

More about Jim's dream and how positive thinking played a role in his break through -

Today's travel tip from S&J is S&D Oyster Company in Dallas. A great local place to have fresh gulf seafood. Can't go wrong with the fried shrimp dinner. They don't take reservations, but it's worth a little wait. The atmosphere is comfort casual. Located at 2701 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Warm Things Up With A Chowder

Surf and turf is always on our new years menu, and this year we happened to have lobster left overs. I love the dishes that can come from left overs, and we had to move quickly on creating another dish with the fresh lobster.

We started looking at what we had in the kitchen. Corn, fresh shrimp we'd frozen, and two Ina Garten chowder and bisque recipes is what we found. Jim looked at both recipes and created his own. The result was warm richness in a bowl! It's been a month - we should try this again soon! Hopefully he will remember what he did, but if not I'm sure the recipe below will be just as delicious.

The recipe below is from Ina's Back To Basics Cookbook.

Prep Time: 45 min
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr
Cook Time: 1 hr
Serves: 6

3 (1 1/2-pound) cooked lobsters, cracked and split
3 ears corn or a can or two of corn will do

For the stock:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup cream sherry
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup dry white wine

For the soup:
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound bacon, large-diced
2 cups large-diced unpeeled Yukon gold potatoes (2 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups diced celery (3 to 4 stalks)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup cream sherry

Remove the meat from the shells of the lobsters. Cut the meat into large cubes and place them in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reserve the shells and all the juices that collect. Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and set aside, reserving the cobs separately.
For the stock, melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the lobster shells and corncobs. Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat for 7 minutes, until translucent but not browned, stirring occasionally. Add the sherry and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, cream, wine, lobster shells and their juices, and corn cobs and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and simmer the stock over the lowest heat for 30 minutes. (I move the pot halfway off the heat.)

Meanwhile, in another stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil and cook the bacon for 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add the potatoes, onions, celery, corn kernels, salt, and pepper to the same pot and saute for 5 minutes. When the stock is ready, remove the largest pieces of lobster shell and the corn cobs with tongs and discard. Place a strainer over the soup pot and carefully pour the stock into the pot with the potatoes and corn. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add the cooked lobster, the chives and the sherry and season to taste. Heat gently and serve hot with a garnish of crisp bacon.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pet Of The Year

Last year Bo's vet clinic asked about him being "pet of the week". We gladly excepted on his behalf. Well a year later Bo is still pet of the week so I guess that means he's pet of the year! :)
Week of February 9 - 15, 2009

Name: Boston Bartolomei

Owners Name: Suzanne and James Bartolomei
Breed: Cavilier King Charles Spaniel

Age: 5 Months

Fun Facts: I love it when Mommy and Daddy let me watch TV. I curl up in Mommy's lap with my baby blue blanky, and usually right when I'm about to fall asleep a big horse or dog comes on the TV and I'm suddenly awakened. I go straight to barking and sometimes even leap off the sofa. I'm always ready for fun!

Likes: I love being a lap dog! When Mom and Dad have friends over and I get to be in new laps I am so excited. I never meet a stranger I don't like. I love going to my parents office! I get to see lots of people, ride an elevator, and get attention.
Dislikes: I don't like eating the same thing everyday. I wished I had a different meal all the time - I wished I could eat mom and dad's food.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Paella Show Down

Chicken Paella with Sausage and Olives
adapted from Ellie Krieger's So Easy
serves 4

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 oz. chorizo sausage, casing removed, chopped
1 lb. skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green olives
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of ground turmeric
small pinch of saffron threads

1. Preheat oven to 375. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or a medium-large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides (not necessarily cooked through), about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken and chorizo to a plate.
2. Add remaining oil to pan. Add leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about one minute. Return chicken and chorizo to the pot and add broth, peas, rice, tomato, olives, salt, pepper, turmeric, and saffron. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
3. Cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
We enjoyed the above recipe - it seemed to have more of a Mediterranean flare than Spanish. I think I may like Paula Dean's a little better.
Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Paella:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 chicken, cut legs, drumsticks and thighs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 large onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound Spanish style chorizo links, cut into slices on the bias
2 cups short-grain rice (recommended: Valencia or Arborio)
Pinch saffron threads
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Lemon wedges, for service

Heat a paella pan or very large, shallow skillet or pot, preferably with 2 handles over high heat.
Cook's note: A large cast iron skillet would work here.
Pour in the olive oil and let it heat up. Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper and paprika. Sear in the olive oil until browned all over. Transfer to a plate with tongs.
Lower the heat to medium and saute the onions and bell pepper until softened. Stir in the diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and chorizo. Bring the liquid to a boil and then stir in the rice and saffron. Add the browned chicken pieces. The rice should be completely covered with liquid. Cook the paella without stirring for 20 minutes. When the liquid has all been absorbed, pour the peas over the top of the pot, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a kitchen towel. Let stand 5 minutes and then serve with lemon wedges.
I want to try Michael Chiarello's Spanish Style Paella as well as his Paella Italiana next. Paella is such a great comfort food.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Waiting For The Rise

As in life some things, like bread and pizza crust, just need a little bit of time to be their best. We made a variation of the recipe below for our pizza dough this weekend - best crust we've made! Yes, like in life, sometimes you have to be willing to wait for "it" because it's worth it! "Patience is a virtue," and indeed, "Good things come to those who wait."

Ingredients For Basic Pizza Dough:
3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or other active yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar plus a pinch
1 1/3 cups water (room temperature about 72 degrees)

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in size - about 2 hours.

2. Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured work surface. Gently form into a rough ball. Then divide the dough into two halves spacing them 4 inches apart, and cover both with a moistened kitchen towel for 30 minutes.

3. Gently roll your dough into circular desired pizza shape. Use cornmeal for transfer from the wooden paddle to the preheated stone. Can cook in the oven or on the grill.

Source: My Bread, Adapted from Jim Lahey, Co.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baking the Perfect Loaf of Bread at Home

Baking the Perfect Loaf of Bread at Home
Formula and Process created by Jim Lahey
Owner of Sullivan Street Bakery and Author of "My Bread."

Oh the lessons bread can teach, oh the way bread taste!
Bread and butter - it doesn't get much better than that!
3 cups (400g) flour
1½ cups (300g or 12 oz) water
¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast
1¼ teaspoons (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour

Two medium mixing bowls
6-8 qt. pot (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden spoon or spatula (optional)
Plastic wrap
Cotton dish towels (not terrycloth), 2 or 3
Gram scale to weigh the ingredients (we have done it without this and it's still fabulous)

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 sec. to 1 min. Lightly coat the inside of second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hrs. at room temperature (approx. 65-72'F).

Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 min. in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hrs. at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450-500'F. Place the pot in the oven at least ½ hr. Prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot steam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 min. Then, remove the lid and back 15-30min. uncovered.
Jim and I have been making this bread each weekend. We are glad Rodney passed this recipe onto us. Yes, bread and butter - doesn't get much better than this!

Grocey List "Set Up"

According to Ina Garten
in her "At Home" Cookbook
the best way to set up a grocery
list is the following:

2 Rows
3 Sections across

Top Row
dairy, meat & fish, produce

Second Row
shelf goods, freezer, misc.

Three Great Supporting Veggies

French Green Beans:

Cut ends keep in fridge
Blanch two/three mins
Toss w/ 2 tbs. butter

(blanching - you put beans or veggie into boiling water cook then transfer strait to ice water to stop the cooking)

or instead of just serving with butter do the following:

Heat 2 tbs of unsalted butter and oil in a very large saute pan (12-inch diameter) or and saute shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans from the ice water, and add to the shallots with salt and pepper to taste, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot. If you're using regular string beans, blanch them for about 3 minutes, until they're crisp-tender.

Cut diagonal (can do day before)
Drizzle with olive oil - salt and pepper - roast at 400 degrees for 30 mins. serve with fresh chopped parsley

Roast Butternut squash:
Drizzle with Olive Oil - salt and pepper - put in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 mins. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.

Recipes from Ina Garten.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Stork Has Landed......

......Our friends Jose and Julie just welcomed twin boys into their family! We are excited. Can't wait to meet them!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Look At Obama's First Year

Since the Close on President Obama's Inauguration Day on 1/20/2009:

The Dow is up 35% (up 30% since day before inauguration)

The S&P is up 43% (35% since day before inauguration)

The NASDAQ Composite is up 61% (up 51% since day before inauguration)

NYMEX Crude Oil is up 93%

NYMEX RBOB NY Harbor Gasoline is up 76%

COMEX Gold is up 33%

US Dollar Index is down -10%

CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down -69%

Only FDR saw the Dow do better in his first year in office (up 96% from inauguration day 1933)

Video On You Tube:

Monday, January 18, 2010


Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality and social justice. He taught that through nonviolence and service to one another, problems such as hunger and homelessness, prejudice and discrimination can be overcome. Dr. King’s teachings can continue to guide us in addressing our nation’s most pressing needs---poverty, economic insecurity, job loss and education.

History of the Holiday:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal......I have a dream today!" MLK

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr.

More quotes:

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dreams shall never die." Senator Edward Kennedy

Help To Haiti

More Troops and Supplies Arrive in Haiti and work together to quickley distribute supplies. On Sunday, the mood managed to stay mostly calm, as residents carried leather-bound Bibles to pray outside their ruined churches. Read more in the New York Times.

President Bill Clinton said, "We've got a plan, that plan's still good, and it's more relevant than it was before the earthquake hit." Read more:

Meet The Press with President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush on Haiti Relief Efforts.

"In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild." President Obama

Ways To Help:
Red Cross:
Clinton Foundation:

Friday, January 8, 2010

A look at 2009

This was one of those years where dueling emotions occurred simultaneously. Celebrating the happiest of moments with some, coincided with the lowest of moments for others. Encouragment was found in the life that EMK (Edward Moore Kennedy) lived. With all the tragedy he saw and endured he could have just given up, but instead he rose above becoming the champion for those who had none. President Obama said it best, "Through his own suffering Ted Kennedy became more alive to the plight and suffering of others." May suffering not leave a mark of bitterness, but in turn make us more compassionate to those around us.

A few memorable moments of 2009 (in random order):

Witnessing President Obama become the 44th President
Lots of beginnings were celebrated this year! And although we may not have listed all of the wonderful moments celebrated in this blog entry. We shared in the excitment
with all our friends & their new beginnings whether it be marriage or precious little babies!
Cheers to all the beautiful beginnings starting with Jacob and Lindsay's wedding....

....the girls in our family at Jacob and Lindsay's wedding.

Annual Ornament Exchange Party
Kareoke anywhere anytime - Sing it Katelyn!

The birth of Harper Ann

Our family at Cousin Katie's Shower just a little before Harper Ann's arrival! It's so exciting welcoming these precious little ones to our family, and watching the family grow!!

Seeing Shelby graduate and time with the family "on the farm"

Drew being born.
Traveling to New England to meet him,
visit our family, and celebrate our anniversary.

Showering Laura
Baby Braysen

Christmas at the Peabody, Memphis

Trip To Napa

Showering Megan before the twins

Family Reunion This Summer

Celebrating Birthdays & Time With Friends!!
Bella turning 1

Lauren Turning 1

Lunches and dinners with friends....

Meeting Anna Beth

Showering Carrie before baby Shelby's birth

Meeting baby Shelby

Enjoying girl time with Carrie, Shelby, and our college friends!

Zoe's Birthday Party

Sunsets at Duncan Firm

Meeting Paul Begala at the JJ Dinner

Seeing A Rainbow over Duncan Firm

Any and all time spent with Bo!

Meeting Santa at the Carti Event

Lunch with Zoe and seeing her painting of Obama

Welcoming the Burgeis twins into the world!

Meeting Dr. Phil and Robin

Golf Days With Don