New Year’s Eve party is ready

We are well stocked:

Once again we are hosting a New Year’s eve party. This was only decided on Thursday night last week after my sweetie mixed me a nice strong cosmo something or other. Once the email goes out to the gang, it is too late to retract it! We had to break out the mobile bar on wheels (in the foreground) to make sure we had enough space.

On the cocktail list: Gigi’s, Amaretto Kisses, Basil lemon gimlets, Grapefruit rosemary splashes and pomegranate fizzers.

On the menu: One of my new fav Thai dishes Pork, Potato and Oyster sauce (look hard and you will find MamaSita’s which is GF) cooked with more kaffir lime leaves than I can count as well as onion, garlic, chile, and the extra tang – tamarind paste. I also made some feta zhatar dip (feta, chopped tomatoes, sliced green onions, zhatar or zatar spice and plenty of olive oil and tortilla chips in lieu of toasted pita. This dish is always, always a winner and so easy to put together. I threw together a platter of greek and french olives and pickled things and a platter of delish goat, sheep and cow cheeses with some sliced hot soppressata and chorizo in the center for the carnivores. I made some GF grownup rice crispy treats with lots of instant expresso and grated orange peel. Then I let it cool in the oven. Then I forgot about it and turned the oven on 425F to preheat for dinner. They are now very crispy treats. Someone else is bringing SW style baked potatoes (GF)  and a hot cheesy spinach artichoke dip (also GF, they are now well trained friends, thankfully!).

I already have a little brunch casserole with dill, homemade pork sausage, green onions, milk, eggs and cheese in the fridge ready to go for the hangover cure tomorrow – as well as the mixings for Bloody Mary’s, or mimosas. I freshly squeezed grapefruit, orange and lemon juices with my new (thanks mom!) Kitchenaid juicer attachment. The basil sugar water and the rosemary sugar water are made and chilling.

A fire is roaring in the wood stove. Candles are lit. ITunes party play list is ready and waiting….  All that is left to do is think about some New Year Resolutions!

So, let the new year begin with all our friends!
i’m out

Holidaze and birthdaze and santa’s reindeer are in my trunk

I feel like I am in a haze more so than a daze. I just want to take 2 weeks off and blog, cook, and knit.

This desire might come from the fact that I have over 90 hours of compensatory time racked up and am at my annual leave cap. Yet the work just keeps on coming. I am grateful to have a job, esp here in Michigan in the Natural Resources/Ag field. I really am grateful that our boss found a way to keep us all going despite crazy budget cuts. How did he do this? Brace your self for the unexpected. My boss is good at finding money, however, this time, we might all go insane. With new money of course comes new tasks. Somehow even when the new money goes away, the tasks still stay. I haven’t minded them until now. Now, I might mind, I am not sure yet. New task: drive around my 11 county region and visit captive cervidae farms/ranches (deer farms) and pick up dead deer, elk and reindeer heads, tag them, fill out a bunch of paperwork and drive these frozen (hopefully) deer heads to a lab for testing for Chronic Wasting Disease. We don’t have CWD, but Wisconsin does and we share a forested border with them. My department and others want to be prepared for when it hits.

The real challenge in this is tagging a deer head that has been “caped”, ie the skin and ears are gone as this deer has gone to the taxidermist for putting on someone’s wall. So, I guess I will be tying a wire to their teeth. That is a moment I am not looking forward to, a skinnless deer head with eyes staring at me and baring it’s teeth. I will be picking up my first deer and reindeer heads on Wednesday this week. We put them in garbage bags in the trunk of the car. I sure hope I don’t get pulled over. Strangely enough, I have to go pick up several at the Detroit Zoo. This is a “voluntary” program for those places that raise deer. Whenever one dies (old age or unknown reasons) we test the head. If they are just culling (thinning out their herd) we only pick up 25% of those, phew. This is one method of how your state government protects the population from disease.

So, a different division had no staff (hiring freeze) but had money, and we have staff and no money…can you see the connection now? I am pretty sure I am going to have nightmares from this one. We have 7 staff around the state doing this and in our moments of deer head bonding, we think we need some Tshirts with humorous slogans to get us through. Any ideas out there? Will do anything for a buck has already come up.

Ok, back to cooking, or just eating.

I had a birthday last week. A big one. My tenth thirtieth. I didn’t want to cook for my own party this time, so we went to Villegas. There I had some fabulous cream of potato and bacon soup. It was gluten free. How often do you get to eat soup in a restaurant if you are gluten free? Let me count. Twice now. I had the hardest time eating a creamed soup – it was a psychological battle and it was delish! Mashed potatoes thinned with heavy cream and bacon, the kicker was the nutmeg. Then I had seared scallops on a bed of mozzarella polenta and broccoli rabe. I love scallops! Love them! To top it off, Chocolate pot de creme that was so thick and so rich I had to share it with 2 other friends. Martini’s were 1/2 off that night so I had a couple of those too. Happy happy happy. We drank some grapefruit mimosas before departing for the restaurant too. I am so glad that Villegas was happy to accommodate my gluten free dining needs. Those items were straight off the menu and required no alteration whatsoever.

Ok, dinner’s ready, more later. Really, I do still exist. Blog more, work less.

i’m out