Saturday Ramblings: Hollywood, Tosca, and Americas Test Kitchen

Whew! What a wild week this has been. I’m supposed to be in my “less busy” season, but somehow, what with projects showing up earlier than expected, I ended up with three deadlines this week. That kind of stuff is only supposed to happen in November and December!

So I thought it would be good to unwind with a rambly post. Because a lot of other stuff happened/is happening so I have tons to talk about.

As I type this, guess where my daughter, Hayley, is? In Hollywood!

She flew out on Thursday morning to spend a few days with a good friend of mine, Holly Sorenson. Holly’s the executive producer of ABC Family’s Make It Or Break It, and they’re shooting the season finale right now. We thought it would be a great way for Hayley to experience a real live television set in action, so to speak, so she took a short break from her filmmaking studies to fly out to LA.

HollyandHayleyHayley and Holly on the MIOBI set

I love this picture of the two of them on set! They’re having a great time together, and Holly took Hayley out for some pampering, too:

hayleypampering2Hayley getting some pampering

And if you’ve never watched Make It Or Break It before, you’re in for a treat! The show follows a gymnastics team on their journey to the gold; Season 3 premieres next month, and you can catch up on the earlier episodes online.

While Hayley’s deep in Hollywood excitement, I’m going to the opera for the very first time tonight! A friend of mine has season’s tickets, and she asked if I’d like to go see Tosca. I listen to opera only via Ward, who loves it (we’re planning on going together ourselves once we’ve really settled into our city lives), but other than that, I’m a total opera newbie. So I thought a classic opera like Tosca would be a good way to start my opera experiences.

My main dilemma? I have nothing to wear! <insert wail here> And while you might have heard other people say this kind of thing, I can assure you, I truly have nothing to wear. I don’t have dress boots, so that leaves out all my winter dresses (all one of them) and winter skirts (all one of them, too). I know you can wear jeans to the opera but I’d like to be dressed at least a cut above jeans. So the only thing I have left are these black cotton pants which are in no way dressy – but they’re not jeans! I’ve decided to be happy with that.

(I can’t even wear my dressy ankle boots because it snowed last night, and given the choice of walking in snow and ice in heels or my sturdy, dependable Thinsulate boots … well, let’s just say I’ve never been one to pick fashion over comfort and safety …)

Okay, this has been a long ramble, but I’ve really got to tell you about a fabulous recipe resource Ward recently discovered. (And then I’ll stop rambling – I promise!). It’s the magazine version of The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Recipes and Reviews 2012, and it is simply amazing.

image

So far this week, Ward has made the following recipes:

Chicken and Slicks: this is the Appalachian version of chicken and dumplings. We had it last night and it was SO delicious. You make your own noodles for it (well, I didn’t – Ward did all of that), and instead of using water in the noodle recipe, you actually use chicken broth. Very tasty noodles, very tasty dish.

Cod Fish Cakes: ever have a fish cake and it really tasted more pasty than seafood-y? The fish cakes Ward made from this magazine were the absolute best I’ve ever tasted, and that includes fish cakes I’ve ordered at a restaurant. Solid chunks of cod, with nothing to hide the flavor. Yummy!

Black Bean Chili: I didn’t have any of this, because I’m not one for chili, but it fits the bill for a vegan entrée for Ward. He had a bit of trouble getting the beans soft, but other than that, he said it was delicious.

Rosemary Focaccia: our latest joke is that this recipe alone is worth the cost of the magazine (It’s $9.95, kind of hefty for a magazine but really really worth it). Seriously, I’ve never had focaccia that tasted this good: fluffy with just the right amount of density and chewiness, and a beautiful rosemary flavor through and through.

It’s a plan-ahead recipe, as you have to make the starter between 8 and 24 hours before you prepare the actual dish. You also need a very hot oven, and since our oven is very close to our fire alarm, every time Ward opened the oven door, I had to stand on a chair and fan the hot air from the alarm so we didn’t set the thing blaring. But it was well worth it – it’s so good, Ward has made it twice this past week.

Okay, I’m done rambling, like I promised!

And since I can’t ramble and not talk about food at one point or another, I’m including this as a Weekend Cooking post. For more food-related posts, make sure you head over to Beth Fish Reads!

12 thoughts on “Saturday Ramblings: Hollywood, Tosca, and Americas Test Kitchen

  1. Trish

    What a fun fun experience for your daughter! I’m sure she’ll always look back fondly. And I hope you enjoy your trip to the Opera. I haven’t been since we went for a field trip when I was in grade 6. Ha! ;)

    And wouldn’t it be fun to work in a test kitchen? I dream.

    Happy weekend!

    Reply
  2. rhapsodyinbooks

    Well you know, that’s what all the women use the cloak rooms for at the opera/theater. They wear cruddy boots or whatever, then get inside, change into heels or whatever, and check their shoes at the coat check.

    What fun to see what Ward has made! I never heard the expression “chicken and slicks”!

    Reply
  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I’m thrilled for Hayley – she’s going to be out there working one of these days. I tried opera in college and didn’t love it – I wonder if I would now that I’ve “matured” some. I can’t wait to see what you think of it.

    Reply

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