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best flank steak recipe

27 Jul

just in time for the weekend and back by popular demand…

need a “go to” steak recipe?  this is it.

i call

it the “girlfriend steak dinner” because it’s what ROF served his girlfriends if they made it to date #4.  i know this because one saturday while we were visiting in his kitchen (let’s call this date #5), his friend came over and asked if ROF had fixed me “the famous flank steak yet.”

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huh?

ROF’s face turned a shade of red i hadn’t seen before as he tried to shrug the comment off and grab his friend in a head lock to shut him up.

the previous weekend ROF had indeed fixed me this famous flank steak recipe along with his butter noodles and some nice red wine.  evidently this is what lover boy did to pull out all the stops for his lady friends!  i’m glad that those lady friends now are my mom, sister and his wife!

well, here it is.  transcribed from a handmade and passed down cookbook.  you can’t go wrong.

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ROF’s GIRLFRIEND FLANK STEAK

2 tsp unseasoned meat tenderizer

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp accent seasoning (see photo below, in case you don’t know what i’m talking about)

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honey (to drizzle on steak)

  • pierce surface of flank steak at 1 inch intervals with sharp fork.
  • combine ingredients except honey
  • put steak in pan flat and drizzle with honey on both sides
  • put steak in large baggie and pour ingredients over steak and let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature
  • grill meat over high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side (use a timer, flank steak is bad when well done!)
  • slice with sharp knife into thin slices carving at an angle against the grain

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IMG_5122518b32b3aeeca5f0762bea7edb0fee8ffor more steak ideas from ROF, click here!

making martinis

20 Aug

and you thought you knew how to make a martini…🍸

throw around words like “dirty”, and “up” with confidence.

by popular demand, here’s ROF’s martini making magic for your drinking pleasure!

wine to buy for casual get-togethers

28 Dec

ever want to grab some wine for a casual get-together, but aren’t sure what you should buy?  do you grab a bottle of expensive wine thinking that the more you pay, it must be good?  then you wonder if that will be enough and you grab another bottle and before you know it, you’re spending double what you planned?

don’t you hate that?

a colleague asked ROF for his recommendation on what wine he should buy over the holidays for some out-of-town guests.  i thought it was pretty solid advice, especially if you frequent costco as much as we do.

plus i thought it was kind of funny.

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Hey-

Sorry this has taken me several weeks. Just did a big shop at Costco on Saturday, so this is still top of mind.

White – Huge fan of the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – it’s over in the cheap section in the cardboard boxes – not the wood crates. It’s $10.99 or $11.99 a bottle. Great wine – we drink a lot of this @ mi casa.

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Other White – Le Crema Chardonnay – Good stuff at around $12 a bottle. This is the house white @ The Mansion on Turtle Creek (no joke).

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Red – My favorite red that Costco sells is Coppola (Francis Ford Coppola – how bad ass is that?) Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. It’s great wine and both are a great bargain at Costco for between $11-$15 a bottle. And anyone that bad mouths Merlot is a dumb-shit and doesn’t know wine, they only remember the movie Sideways which sent Merlot sales sliding for years.

Another red to try – Dynamite – either the Cab or Merlot – a little cheaper than Coppola but real good. It also has a cool label.

Dynamite Vineyards 2012 Merlot 750ml

Hope this helps.

Happy Holidays and bottoms up!

ROF

digging this

5 Feb

happy thursday!

i’m happy because it’s ROF’s birthday weekend (starting today and running right up to the big day on monday) and we’re taking off for the great white north – upper michigan.  yes, it’s going to be close to 80 degrees here in dallas and we’re headed up to a tangy 7 degrees but we don’t care – we’re snowmobiling again!  we’re going with some of our favorite people in the whole world and staying at one of the most beautiful houses i’ve been to lately.  can’t wait!

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here are some way random things i’m digging lately.  check them out!

1. trader joe’s frozen french onion soup.  

i know, it doesn’t sound that appealing, but trust me, it is so very delicious! they come like you see below, pop them in a small crock soup bowl, microwave for 3 minutes then pop into the over for 20 minutes.  the onions are caramelized, the broth has depth of flavor and there is only 210 calories to boot! run, don’t walk today!

frenchonion_soup_sealed imgres2. glenn harrold sleep app

i think i’ve talked about this one before.  but i use it so much i’m going to throw it in here again.  you can look at this and think it is a little weird, and i’d understand, but it works.  if you have trouble sleeping or your husband snores – pop in your head phones and let your mind take a little ride while listening to this.  i guarantee i’ve never heard the end of it because i’m out!

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3.  misterwives

love them!  jamming out now…

4. cup of jo

this blog by joanna goddard is so much fun to read.  i look forward to every post!  rss it now.

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hope you have a great thursday.

4 perfect cocktails: the gin + tonic

27 Mar

from the desk of ROF:

straight gin “smells like pine needles and tastes like hair spray”.

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that being said, i think i was hooked after my first one.  when i fix a gin + tonic in a heavy, cut glass, i feel as if i’m transported to a swank party in london.  it’s just such an english drink.

<side note: while dictating this blog to me, we just got in a riff about gin brands.  ROF said that hendricks was not a proper gin brand but if i wanted to listen to miley cyrus or katy perry and drink it, that was my prerogative.”  just thought i’d note that>

when i think of gin, i think of my grandfather, HB,  telling stories of buying good bathtub gin from chicago to take to the indy 500 during prohibition.  he said the last two years of prohibition – 1931 and 1932 were wilder than any of the 98 indy races in history.  i would have liked to have seen that.  i have continued to attend the indy 500 – this year will be my 30th.

i’m a fan of the original, old-school gin brands like tanqueray or bombay.  when it comes to making gin + tonics, you may wonder why a recipe is even needed.  the ingredients are pretty easy.  but it’s all about the perfect g+t.  the right amount of gin, the right tonic and cutting the limes just the way you like it.  my dear friend emma, bar manager at the original bob’s chophouse in dallas, showed me a technique 10+ years ago that i still use today.

get:

premium gin/bombay sapphire

fresh, unopened canada dry tonic

plenty of ice

fresh cut lime wedges

short, heavy cocktail glass

martini shaker

do:

fill your glass to the top with ice.  add 4-6 cubes in the bottom of the martini shaker. pour 2 oz of gin into the martini base.  add 3 splashes of tonic.  with the lid off, take a bartender spoon/stirrer and briskly stir the drink in the martini shaker base.

do not put top on martini shaker and shake it.  you will have a disaster on your hands!

squeeze a wedge of lime over the glass filled with ice.  place wedge on rim of glass.  pour contents in martini shaker into glass.

this, like the margarita we talked about here and the martini we talked about here is also a sipping drink.  enjoy!

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4 perfect cocktails: #2 the martini

8 Mar

like the margarita, the martini has many great memories for me.

at an early age, i always thought the martini glass was chic, hip + intimidating, all at the same time.  as a teenager and in my 20’s, i used to watch clips of the rat pack and james bond – always with a martini in hand and thought there was something cool about it.

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i can remember a boss i had when i was 30 telling me:  “even if you don’t drink martinis, you need to know how to make one.  if you’re entertaining clients, you won’t look like an uncivilized buffoon. right at that time, i decided that if i was going to make one, i had to actually drink one first.  i went into st. pete’s dancing marlin one evening (one of my regular spots) and pete asked: “RO, what can i get cha?” i said: “a martini”.   with a smirk on his face, he asked: “what kind?”  i replied (painfully honest here) “i have no idea” and then added: “make one that the cool guys drink”.

i watched him chill the glass, mix the concoction, slide it over to me on a bev nap where i took a sip, winced and choked back to him “pete, this is nothing but a cold shot in a big fancy glass.”  he laughed, walking away and said “yep, it sure is!”.

this recipe is for my perfect martini.

gather:

stemmed martini glass//shaker with strainer//extra dry white vermouth//olives with their juice//stoli vodka//ice

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do:

take the martini glass, put 6-8 ice cubes + a splash of water and let sit and chill for 10 minutes.

while chilling, fill the shaker with ice + pour 3 ozs of stoli vodka, the smallest dash you can pour of vermouth and a splash (1/2 oz) of olive juice (this is called dirt and i like mine just a little dirty).  put the lid on the shaker and shake for 2 minutes.  kind of like this:

finish:

take off top of shaker, dump out ice from the martini glass + strain the martini into the glass (no ice in glass) + garnish with two olives.

much like the margarita, this is a sipping drink.   do not operate heavy machinery if you’ve had more than 2 of these!  but, as they say:

“One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough.”
James Thurber

by ROF

this is #2 in a 4 part series.  you can read about the margarita here

4 perfect cocktails: #1 margarita

23 Feb

every man, once he passes the beer only or the tumbler of rum (or jack) + coke phase of drinking, needs to learn how to make a good cocktail.  it needs to be one that he likes, impresses his friends + becomes a signature drink his lady friends brag about.

the first drink, that could be your drink, is the margarita.

probably the most bastardized cocktail on the planet.  i have to admit, i started drinking margaritas, probably underage, using chi-chi’s “authentic” original or strawberry margarita right out of the 2 litre bottle.  i remember a phase in college that i very much took part of drinking the infamous upside down margarita that is mixed directly in your mouth.   i remember doing this with a group of guys at our apartment and at the frat house in college.  all that was needed was a bottle of montezuma tequila + mr. boston’s margarita/sour mix.  together they cost less than $8. the bottles needed to be cold + almost frozen.  the person partaking had to sit in a chair with his head back, mouth open with a dish towel around his neck.  the “mixer” would then pour equal parts of the cold concoction directly in his mouth until his fist rose, which meant enough.

the kind of margarita i like to make now is nothing like these two i just described. 

i gained an appreciation for the REAL margarita after moving to dallas, texas in 1994.  anyone who lives in dallas knows all of the awesome mexican and tex-mex restaurants it has to offer. these are all places i love.  and their margaritas are all so different.  you gotta get the steak nachos at mi cocina and the frozen margarita in a frozen fishbowl schooner loaded with salt.  or go right now to javier’s, where i get the rojo fish and their top shelf margarita served in a stemmed blown glass goblet.  lastly, there is our beloved blue goose on lower greenville.  always get the fajita combo (god, are those good!) with their signature on- the-rocks sour margarita  in a large tumble.  it goes down way too easy.  two nights before my (+ the appreciators) wedding, we went there with my sister, Susan, and my brother in law and group of folks.   we were way over served pitchers of these margaritas but matched it with a platter of fajitas.

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after 15 + years of working on my perfect margarita that i like to serve to guests at home with a mexican meal or just on the back patio with friends and family is this:

ROF’s epic margarita

serves: 2

3 oz herradura silver tequila

2 oz cointreau liqueur

2 oz simple syrup (any brand or homemade)

juice of 4 whole limes

cup of ice

place all ingredients into a martini shaker and shake briskly for 2 minutes.   put additional ice cubes in a short waterford cocktail glass and pour in your mixture.

and as i often have to tell my sister-in-law, katie:

this is a sipping drink!

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enjoy!

ROF

lessons from E.T.

1 Jul

last night ROF and i watched movie # 25 on our quest to watch the A.F.I (american film institute) top 100 movies.  we have been working our way to #1 and it has taken us about 3 years now.  you can read about our journey here.

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the #25 movie was E.T.  i haven’t seen E.T. since i was 12 years old in the movie theatre in grand blanc, michigan.  i remember crying my eyes out.   this movie is a great movie on so many different levels.  watching it as a 43 year old, i notice the similarities of life and especially how it paralleled my own just this past week.  E.T. was a stranger. someone that didn’t fit it.  someone that wasn’t wearing yoga pants and carrying a louis vuitton bag.   E.T. was odd at first and sweet just after a few moments of getting to know him.  he was scary and odd to adults, but to kids he was a friend and someone they wanted to help.

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a week ago today, we put our beloved english bulldog, max, to rest.  he was suffering, in pain and not happy.  boy, did we love that dog.  at first you may be thinking that i’m going to make a deep correlation between loving a pet and what happened in E.T.  and you’d be right.  but actually, max was just like E.T. physically.   grunting, whining, waddling to get a scrap and he ate like a pig.  best dog in the world.

at 12 i  bawled my eyes out because i didn’t know how to deal with death.  

i didn’t understand good-bye forever.  at 43, i know how that feels now.  not just because of max, but because of wrigley, my lab that my brother had to put down just a few weeks before max, because of losing my dad too early and losing some friends.  watching E.T. puts that feeling into a short, well-written movie.  it’s about being open enough to welcome someone new and, maybe, different into your life, loving them, teaching them, learning from them and then letting them go.  they are not ours to keep.  nothing is ours.  be thankful for every minute of every day you have them.  then give them back to God.  

cabin fever

19 Jun

ROF and i are embracing the michigan lifestyle and this includes going “up north”. if you don’t know what that is, check out this video:

we’re slightly crazy about it and are thinking of renting a cabin for the summer next year. if you’re not familiar with michigan

look at a map

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it’s surrounded by big, glistening lakes. you have no idea how unbelievably beautiful this state is. if you don’t believe me, believe chef mario batali

anyway, all this thinking and dreaming of a lake house made me dig around on houzz to research my dream place. what i found was my ultimate michigan barn.

this was designed by northworks architects and planners out of chicago, il. this place is my idea of a getaway!
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you can see more on my cabin fever page on houzz here

rendezvous with ROF in raleigh

21 Jan

great weekend in raleigh, north carolina with ROF.  he is there on business and i thought i’d swing in and say hello.  as you can imagine, we didn’t eat at burger king.  more like we ate like kings.  oh yeah, it wasn’t any warmer in raleigh except for during the day  – it was a nice 50 degrees (12 degrees now in b’ham folks!)

friday night, we went to a place called THE PIT which was anything but the pits.  upscale BBQ in a rehabbed sweet space in historic raleigh.  fried pimento cheese balls, beef brisket and more.  we had a great time.  it was just great to be with ROF.

saturday morning we walked all over the town and took in the sites of the ice skaters at the rink outside our hotel, played cards at starbucks, napped and then hit the town again.  this time to a street food place called Buku.  inspired by all the street food around the world, they served it tapas style.  we took in mussels (out of this world), pierogi, dumplings and more.  and a bottle of silver oak.  then we headed home to the hotel and started “skyfall” before falling into a sated sleep halfway through.

sunday, we chilled out, finished skyfall and started one of our long lost AFI top 100 movies “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” which, by the way is freaking excellent.  however, it just solidifies my reasons for not getting politically involved.  bunch of rats all of them.

here are some snaps from the weekend.  

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how to pack a cooler.

23 May

because ROF is getting ready for his 30th pilgrimage to the indy 500 this weekend, i thought i’d repost an oldie but goodie.  below are pictures of previous trips to indy and i know this one won’t disappoint.

from the desk of ROF:

there are a few things i do well.

one of them is packing for a trip.  i don’t mean clothes – i’m talking the important stuff  – drinks and snacks. 

i enjoy traveling and did a lot of it growing up.  i always had this fascination with coolers.  i can still remember my grandfather’s cooler.  it was an unpolished, aluminum Coleman – the kind that can keep drinks cold for 2 to 3 days.  

i’ve always been into hospitality.  i was 9 years old in 1979 during the gas crisis.  i sold cold drinks and snacks to the hundreds of people lined up outside gas stations to get gas.  used the first generation, igloo playmate cooler (red base, white swivel top with push button on the side) this was my first job and i had that cooler all through college.

for the past 20 years,

i’ve embarked on a guys pilgrimage to indianapolis the last weekend in may for the grand daddy of all motor sports – the indy 500.  now, i’m using this as an example trip because it is the mack daddy trip for packing drinks and snacks.  obviously, if you’re going on a road trip with just you and your wife, dial this back a little bit.  typically between 4 and 8 guys go on this trip and everyone is appointed a task for the trip.  this trip is a well-oiled machine.  here are the tasks:

1. ground transportation

2. non-race activities (such as concerts, parties, parades)

3. music – both sound system and playlist for the weekend

4. dinner reservations

5. drinks and snacks

i’m in charge of #5.  this is no small task.  it’s obviously a huge responsibility and i take it very seriously.

first the beer.

however much we’re bringing we split half in bottles and half in cans (no bottles at the speedway, folks).  our beer of choice: heinken (glass) and coors light and bud light (cans)

now the booze and mixers.

this takes a little bit more research or you have to just know the group you’re with.  the last few years, when my friend tod eason is with us, we go through an unbelievable amount of petron orange label tequila.  however, a staple of the weekend is vodka.  usually we bring two brands: one top shelf for martinis and tonics and a mid-level brand that goes into gallons of bloody marys and screwdrivers.  i always toss in a handle or two of single malt scotch as well as a handle of boubon.

condiments, garnish and snacks.

essential garnish are: limes, olives, pepperoncini peppers, black pepper, tobasco sauce, worchester sauce, zing zang brand bloody mary mix, tonic, soda, coke, diet coke, orange juice and red bull.  then of course you need styrofoam cups, bev naps, stirrers and a martini shaker.

as far as snacks are concerned, an indy staple has been the sunshine brand of cheez-its (the non reduced fat variety), extra large jar of mixed nuts, double stuff oreos and  pre-made rice krispy treats.

how to pack a cooler – some tips and suggestions

just like getting ready for a road trip – you think about what you’re going to pack, what route are you going to take, all that jazz- to me, what is just as important is what refreshments are going to be brought and how they’re brought.

first, the list.  it’s very important to write down everything that is needed so nothing gets left behind. don’t make assumptions.  use this list to call your friends, ask questions and cross things off.

next, do the math.  take how many people you are traveling with x how many days and then divide by .5 and round up and that is how many beers to bring.  or about a case a person a day.  let me put it this way, we don’t run out.

packing for the road:  put a thin layer of ice at the bottom of the cooler.  then a couple layers of bottles or cans.  more ice.  repeat the layer of cans.  when you get to the top, put a thin layer of ice then lay the cut up fruit, garnish and other snacks that need refrigeration.

pre-cut your limes and garnish: don’t mess with packing knifes and worrying about getting one.  do all the work in advance

pack a small cooler on road trips to keep close with ice tea and diet coke and snacks.  don’t try and go digging in your professionally packed cooler in the trunk while on the road.

now, you don’t have to be going to indy with a bunch of your friends to apply these tips and suggestions.  it is the same if you’re giving parties at your house.  planning is key.

thanks,

ROF

appreciating: minnesota, soup & ROF

18 Jan

so i’ve been struggling lately on what to write about.

first i thought about: soupmoderately obsessed with soup right now.  but nah.  i can do better than soup.

then my mind shifted on where i am right now.  i’ve spent the past week in minnesota.  and, boy, this is beautiful country.  my home base was in minneapolis and then drove down to austin, mn south of minny for a meeting then had a minny meeting this morning then headed 3 hours north (i think i’m close to the north pole right now) to duluth, mn.  it is just about as cold as it can get right now.  i know i’m being dramatic but not really.  i’m traveling with beth and i said to her “boy, i bet there is A-LOT of drinking being done up here in deez parts.” and she said that this county has the highest dui arrests in the state.  can you blame them?  it’s cold!

here are some pics i shot today at a quaint italian restaurant in edina, mn (awesome lil city!) we went to for lunch and then some other shots i took.

 

this friendly guy (a bit stiff!) welcomed us to the restaurant

so now i’m warm and toasty in my bed in duluth with it snowing outside.  unfortunately, there are a couple of very intoxicated girls in the room next to mine (why not? it’s wednesday!) whom seem to have had a little bit of a falling out.  pressing my ear against the door is not beneath me but i couldn’t get the jist of the tears to be able to share.  now they have left.

but what i really wanted to talk about

was how much i appreciate my husband, ROF i’ve told two people today about how he drives me to the airport and picks me up.  when i tell him “thank you” it doesn’t quite capture how cool i think he is for doing that.  we also have an unspoken rule that we don’t text, answer the phone or do anything but talk with each other.  in the past 2.5 years, i’ve driven to the airport exactly one time.  it doesn’t matter what time it is – early early morning, late at night.  it makes me feel so loved and special.  i’m not typically on the road this much (4 days a week the past two weeks) but seeing him pull up at the airport makes butterflies fly in my stomach.  that’s a good thing, by the way.  sometimes he had even gone to the quik trip and got us drinks of diet dr pepper.  i’ll tell you what… God sure answered my prayers when it came to sending me a great husband.  it is this time in being away (cold duluth hotel room, loud, drunk girls next door) that i get teary eyed thinking of how very blessed i am. 

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