the forum for my personal soapbox

Thursday, February 2, 2012

chedda chedda cheese biscuits!

So yummy, so easy! You should make them- NOW. 

The ingredients are as follows.... drum rolllllll please......
- 2 cups flour (GF or regular)
- 2 tsp. white sugar 
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup non fat milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded, or any cheese honestly)
- scallions (no idea how many I actually used, maybe 3, finely sliced & diced) 

How create these cheesy balls of goodness: 
Set la oven to 375F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt butter (microwave style if you forget to set it out before) mix butter & milk together.  Pour wet into dry, mix it on up, add the cheese & scallions.  Place the dollops onto the parchment sheet covered sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown on top! Eat. (Have 2, no one is judging you) 

Tip- I used a tablespoon sized spoon (redundant yes, and they were heart shaped. Be jealous) to scoop them onto the pan. They were a tad on the large side but who cares about portion control anyways? It is America, we are all obese (or anna) But, anyways it made about 12 biscuits. 

They are great company for Lobsters, Chianti, Wheat Beer and Grape Juice
 (If you are pregnant- which I am not so please hold the comments!) 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

banana + chocolate in cookie form? GENIUS

What you will need:
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter- room temperature (if you are too impatient like  
   me, just put it in the microwave for 30 seconds) 
- 1 cup for sugar
- 1 egg
- Mashed banana's- I used 3 really ripe ones
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups flour (try GF flour!!) 
- Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (I don't measure...just guess)
- Chocolate Chips- I suggest dark chocolate & small little morsels of goodness. 

How to make these treats:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar & butter. Add the egg. Mix till light and fluffy. Mash the nana's and add in the backing soda. Set aside for one moment. Mix together all the dry ingredients. Mix the banana's into the cream & sugar blend, once complete mix all the goodness together! At this point you will have a delicious batter that is ready to be scooped into little dollops on some parchment paper and cookie sheet! 

Bake for 9-11 minutes and try not to eat all at once. 

Don't forget your sous chef!! Ruri can be borrowed. 

Chairs- I am obsessed.

No lie. I love velvet, bold patterns, and tufted things. Especially white chairs that are a combination of all three.  I also have this really passionate desire to own a club chair. Right now these are my top 6. Enjoy.

a pink collage.

I created this water colored gem for the International Interior Design Association's first Silent Auction in Rochester, December 2012. To be honest I do not enjoy pink at all, I rarely ever use it and as a designer I would never fathom the idea of using it in a space. But, honestly I thought it worked here- the background reminds me of a melted carton of rainbow sorbet and I kind of like it! It was becoming way to girlie so I naturally added a dead looking flower &  raffia. Shout out to my amazing Carpet Rep Mary, I hope your daughter's college dorm enjoys it- I could not have dreamed of a better destination for this to be hung! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back On the Box- Soap That Is.

I am back! After a holiday-consumed month off, I have returned to the glorious world of blogging. I hope someone out there missed me.... probably not, but that really is totally okay! New Years resolution #13 is to keep a positive attitude (Yes, 13. I have about 47, and as of January 10th I think I am doing a damn good job at keeping them!- Minus no drinking during the week, I was seriously off the rocker when I thought that was a self-improvement.) Side note- longest parenthesis statement ever. But, back to the gist of this blog sesh- obviously my thoughts and opinions did not halt during my month long sabbatical. I actually have numerous hand written notes that I thought were funny so lets see if I can entertain you!

(To preface: I stopped into the good old spa for a quick holiday clean up and my friend mentioned she was reading my blog (parenthesis within a parenthesis- Big thanks to Miss. Jennifer R.) and then she proceeded to toot my horn by saying I was hilarious and yadda yadda (again, thank you) but, Miss R. had an interesting spin on the tale, she said I was writing a cooking blog. Yes, food and wine do consume my life, and truth be told most good stories come from a few drinks and carbs. So, drum roll please, The.Ring is now my personal soapbox with a food twist... lets see how it goes!)

This story starts with a Pre- Baby Jesus Birthday Celebration cooking night. D was at lacrosse practice, bettering our youth. I was home blasting the Pandora R&B/Pop Holiday station (I ran out of my free 40 hours very early in the month of December. I obviously created another account instead of signing up for the paid subscription. What the H. Aren't commercials interrupting my listening experience enough?!) Anyways- I was perfecting my wrapping, and the wine was flowing. Naturally I realized I was hungry. And, for anyone who knows me, what is my favorite food? Pasta, duh. What do I make at least 3 times a week, again Pasta, duh! What is D's least favorite meal I cook? One last time please, Pasta, duh. So ding ding ding! Big buddy D is not expected home for at least another 2 hours! So what am I going to make for dinner!!!

P A S T A. duh.

My logic was, D cannot turn his nose at this meal choice or let alone really care because he will be so tired after his 15 hour day that he will just go into "goat mode" and consume anything I put in front of him. PLUS- up to this point he was not a strong contender in the present wrapping assistant role this 2010 holiday season; and after multiple paper cuts and sharpie marker stains, his opinion is not mattering too much to me. So, I finish a few minor present tweaks and continue on with my plan. I am not blood Italian (please do not confuse this with the self proclaimed proxy Italian that I am- I bleed EVOO and Red Sauce.) But I firmly believe that sauce goes with everything- in this case, wrapping! So, in order to continue the bliss of the present making, Pandora listening, and Phillip Marquis (most amazing/most favorite/bestest wine in the entire world. Liz- if you are reading this, those 2 bottles you purchased for me prior to your "South American Amazing Race Honeymoon Adventure" are no longer with us. Well, on a technicality call I bet some of Phillips remnants can be found in close proximity to my liver- but like I said, technicality) drinking events of the evening I figured the sauce must be started!

So the sauce- equal parts garlic, seasoning, pureed tomatoes and red wine (literally my recipe) is simmering with a vivacious roar on the back burner- naturally in the All Clad. Mariah Carey is belting a classic holiday jam, I am filling the role as her back up, singing just as loud (to everyone who has been a victim to the carpool karaoke, you know how it goes), and the raffia bows are adorning my packages perfectly. Life is gooood.

Then is clicks- how can I make this meal more appealing for my soon to be home "Sunday Sauce" hating husband. Chicken! I have now miraculously turned my mundane, but delicious sauce into Chicken Parmesaaaaaaaan!!! (I am singing this as if I had just been enlightened) I get out the panko breadcrumbs, chicken breasts, egg-whites (hopefully my heart conscious readers are smiling). I do the process (with extreme glee) pound the breasts, dredge the chicken, and perfectly brown them. I mean perfectly. At this point, I have been cooking for an hour, wrapping for 3 and enjoying Phillip for a serious chunk of time. So, naturally I am starving. Not just incredibly hungry, I mean famished, like I haven't eaten in days. And, just like that I plop my rear on the couch with the little man. Watch as Duane Lee, Leland and Baby Lyssa arrest some Hawaiian hoodlums and pound down the carbs. David would  have fo-sho been appalled by my showing. I devoured that plate of red crispy pasta deliciousness in record time. I don't think I even chewed. Why would I? Look at this Heaven on a plate.

I said perfectly browned, and I did not lie.

I enjoy cheese a lot more than the average folk.

And, with that being said... 2011 will bring an eating contest into the life of Brenna Lortie Thering (just kidding, though I could prevail, nicely I might add.). Even my initials spell out food...BLT. (Side note- I hate bacon, it is a devil disguised in fat) Back to the reality of the moment- I slowly emerge out of my temporary food coma and begin to destroy the evidence. I return to my craft wrapping station- AKA dining room table and press on in Santa's Work Shop. I will leave you now with the little delights of this past holiday season- the Christmas wrapping I have become obsessed with <3 (Expect something very similar next year gift recipients!)

Trees naturally flow with my bird obsession
2011 brings the challenge of manilla tags- how many different ways can I use them? I still have solid 200 left from the wedding.
Classic brown bag, raffia, and green sharpie. 

Again with the trees- seriously love stamps.
And, it is only fair that the fur children get the best looking presents :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wanna be Griswold's

Just a quick background of my childhood and Christmas's:

A- we bought our Christmas tree for $100 dollars from a "tree farm" in a grocery store parking lot on Christmas Eve

B- we lived in no close proximity to any extended family members so we went on vacation and kicked the Christmas tree out of our celebration.

So in a nutshell: the Lortie's are not the most festive group of holiday participants

That being said- the whole "concept" of cutting down your own Christmas tree was very foreign to me until recently. Obviously, we have all see National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation a million times. (thank you TBS) Please see the below imagine to refresh your memory if you are drawing a blank!
We are all able to laugh and giggle at Clark's shenanigans until it turns into our real life. Well, it is my real life now. When I decided to settle in the very cold and snowy upstate New York I reluctantly adapted this Christmas tree "tradition." To set the scene: last year it was me, my father in law, my two brother in laws and my sister in law Karen. (D was strategically at lacrosse practice) we paced the aisles of trees in the depths of the tree farm in sub zero temperatures and found nothing. After two hours of the empty searching I vowed once again to do my duties to the grocery store parking lot trees.

And- of course that did not happen.

Like my mother always says "God does not allow you to remember the pain of child birth  because if you did you would never another child!" well I am pretty sure Anne's saying applies to Christmas tree hunting. Except- the difference is childbirth gives you a child.... in my eyes that is a bit more exciting than a Frasier Fur, but the equally painful!(not that I know what child birth feels like, but I am sure I will blog about that one day!)

So at 4:00 on a bitter cold snowy Saturday our hunt started. (With an adorable little boy)
 And, sadly to say it did not go to well.. check out this empty farm. Obviously didn't plant in phases...
So we trecked out a little farther into the country and came to a "promising" farm. The lumber jack's grabbed their saws...
Dusted off some prospects:

Had our Clark Griswold family moment
AND (drum roll please.........)
We found our tree soul mate in a stack of pre-cut Frasier Furs shipped in from Pennsylvania....(just to remind you, we live in NY)

And children- the moral to the story is: support your local boy scouts :) But, needless to say: we had a ggggggreat time... with the fried food and beers after the two hours in the dark bitter cold!

Oh but the plus side is:
We found a nifty little bird nest! Felt it was suiting for my bird obsession!

So with our Christmas Tree tale being told we hope that everyone has a wonderful and safe Holiday Season!!! (stay warm, we have 2 feet of snow! Thank God for AWD)

Brenna, David, & Rupert (shown as a reindeer)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I am one with my All Clad

Since I consider myself to be some what of a "self taught semi-professional chef" (a Rachel Ray in training if you must) it was obvious to me, that we needed to go with a beautiful stainless steel pots and pans set when we cashed in our Macy's gift cards from the good old wedding registry. Well, like most things in my life that I refuse to do because I  strategically convince myself I am better than that one particular thing (a dominant trait I inherited from the one and only Joseph Lortie.) I refused to read the instruction book that conveniently came along with our All-Clad. I naturally placed the perfectly wrapped package of knowledge in the "never going to use, let a lone look at drawer" in the office.

With that anecdote- let me fill you in with how my cooking has been for the past few months- lots of grilling, rice cooker use and pasta boiling. I do not know what happened! I brought  home these beautiful "you are an instant professional chef" pans and the gourmet meals were suppose to cook themselves! Unfortunately, that did not happen. I actually gave up  and contemplated returning them (it was an obvious manufacturer's defect) when my fifth round of "chicken sticking to the pan" got the best of me.

Stainless Steel- 5
Brenna- 0

I could not understand what I was doing wrong! I heated the pan, put the oil in, letting the oil slightly smoke, put the chicken in, did the fancy lift the pan shake it around movement and watch the meal cook to perfection like it always did in my $10.00 dollar Calphalon pan from Marshalls. But, no. it is never that easy. (I won't even describe the heartbreak I felt when I tried to cook Basmati rice in these "devil pots")

So tonight, I was feeling good, I asked D what do you want for dinner- the typical pasta & sauce or some scrumptious Patak's Jalfrezi Curry with chicken and basmati rice. He got the hint and chose Indian (obvious tribute to my new favorite show Out Sourced- new episode airs tonight) Tonight was the night- I will make the chicken and stainless one with each other, and that is exactly what I did. Folks! I had an epiphany.... heat the pan on medium heat, put the oil in, heat the oil till it slightly smokes, put the chicken in....and here is the kicker.... let the chicken cook for a minute before you try and move it. Freaking shocker, let something cook. Once, I tried this and it worked! Yes, worked. I let out a triumphful peep of victory and explained my silent and secret on going battle with these damn pots to my beloved husband. And- what was his response: "Oh- I knew that, you didn't?

Silly me- I forgot that I married Anthony Bourdain!

 So the new stats stand as:

Stainless Steel- 5
Brenna- ONE!!!!!

So please lick your lips and apologize to your taste buds as you enjoy a picture of my perfectly simmering Indian cuisine.
But- I obviously still do not understand the concept of not cooking "red" things with a white stain-able spoon... next weeks cooking lesson.

His and Her's finished products:
 Don't be fooled, this is the remains of my seconds, not the initial bowl. Portion control is not my strong suite.