Wednesday, December 23, 2009

and the winner is. . .

. . . not these two! (In fact i don't really even have an explanation for this).

I know many of my faithful blog readers (both of you) have been waiting with great anticipation to hear who won the Fall Harvest Smackdown. So, at long last, i am here to announce the winners. And they are:

The bradleys!!

Yes, although there was some stiff competition from Cait "dirty mouth" C-hill and Team Mo-fizzle, the bradley family swept all five categories: best appetizer, best salad, best main course, best beverage, and best dessert (or something like that). It was reported that Team Mo-fizzle was heard uttering threats and waving middle fingers upon their departure, but other reports have suggested they have already begun preparations for the floggers upcoming "Cookie Party." Determined not to walk away without a victory again they have secretly been developing and testing new recipes. In fact they have been so secret about this endeavor they even disinvited their own flesh and blood from the Swenson/Wiles/Romoero annual holiday cookie cooking day, an event she was really looking forward to.

The main course spread.

The appetizer spread.

The dessert spread.

Team Fashionistas "nipple cheese cake."

The "scurvy pirate" preparing her dessert.

Ms. Brenda sampling the goods.

Two of the toughest critics giving the cheese spread and salsa a go.

The capitalist and the small rabbit, whose mashed potatoes overwhelmingly won "best appetizer," which speaks to how good they were since the presentation was, well mashed potatoes in a bowl.

Team Mo-rizzle (i mean mo-fizzle) awaiting the results.

Hudson thought it was a Halloween Party!

The Artist's no. 2 double fisting the drinks!

Team Fashionista casting their ballots!

The Suburban Cowboy delirious with excitement (or he just ate too much).

No. Four trying to steal one of my butternut squashes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Welcome competitors, here are the rules for the 2nd annual FALL HARVEST SMACKDOWN!!

1) dishes will be judged on a) presentation (that means you lose points if you serve your dishes in tupperware Zach and Brenda) b) taste and c) orgininality/creativity
2) dishes must incorporate the secret ingredient
3) extra points will be rewarded for using local products for your other ingredients
4) you must cook as a team
5) finished dishes must be on the table at our house, plated and ready to eat by 6:30 pm.
6) judging will be by peer review

And finally, here is a small hint regarding the secret ingredient:

I will announce the secret ingredient here on the blog Friday, Oct. 9 at 5:00 pm. At that time they will also be ready for pick up. I will also have a host of other garden produce (cucumber, tomato, a variety of chile, eggplants, squash) available if you want any, provided we get them out of the garden before the frost kills everything. You don't have to take any though, since Vero was mad last year i gave her so many extra tomatoes when she already had more at home than she knew what to do with.

Monday, October 5, 2009

a lesson in fast

Right from the onset let me clarify that i did not learn how to be fast, rather i learned what fast is this last weekend at the first CX race of the season. And in learning what fast is, i also learned that i am most definitely not fast. The good news, however, is that i'm not the most not fast, only the 2nd to most not fast.

Last year i did pretty well in the 35+B category, so i decided this year to jump up to the 35+A category. As CX season has been approaching i have been reconsidering this decision, however, since i am much fatter and slower this year than last. Check out the potbelly in my victory salute photo.

That's more of an ironic victory salute, because i was, in fact, the second to last finisher.

But i decided to go with the 35+A group because DC and the artist were both doing it and even though i knew i wasn't as fast as them, i could at least race with them. I started out with some firm goals: get more than half way through the race before getting lapped by the As and don't get lapped by any of the 35+As. I barely made my first goal. Bart, Ali, and co. lapped me about 34 minutes into the race. it wasn't too long afterwords, however, when my 2nd goal fell gracelessly from the bike seat and i was lapped by Art O'C and then a few other 35As. At this point i revised my goals and set the new goal of not getting lapped by my brother or either of the notorious Glenn brothers (aka MIB). That goal fell to the wayside not long afterwards as well when the three of them and Todd H. came by me wiping the dust from their pain-ridden faces.

At this point i revised my goals yet again, and since i could see Krachty slowly gaining on me i determined that he would not also lap me. Of course this goal was much more achievable since there was only half a lap left, but alas, i was able to hold him off for the last twisty turns before the finish.

Oh well, at least i made three bucks from Slyfox, enough to buy a chocolate milk and some cashews for the drive home.

Tucking a dollar bill into my bibs.

Despite getting run over by one of the MIB after he fumbled on one of the barriers, the artist pulled past everyone in his group of 4 at the line for an impressive 9th place finish.

And much to our dismay (because we looked forward to seeing him in his new skinsuit every week) DC went hard into one of the barriers when he couldn't get his foot out of the pedal on a dismount and broke his collarbone in three places for a tragic season ender. Lesson learned: don't race in a new pair of pedals you've never used before. Funny thing was we were talking about it at the start line, i guess it's actually not that funny now, but maybe next fall when DC is racing again it will be funny.

DC before he went down. photo credit: the epicurist flogger.

At the end of the day T-dub and i went home and made quite possibly the best hamburger i have ever had: Green chile (serrano, numex, annaheim, and poblano) relish on top of copious amounts of a queso ranchero sauce, a big slice of a hawaiian pineapple tomato and a toasted bun. Not gonna get faster eating this way, but it was sublime.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

an end to summer

Summer officially ended two days ago, and even though i lament the passing of long days and cricket-filled nights, i do like fall as well. I have a whole list of "to-dos" that i never accomplished this summer, but i don't feel too bad because some of the things on my list have been there for 2-3 years now. I'll just add them to next summer's list when spring rolls around. And even though there are lots of things i didn't get done, we have been busy with a number of other projects like the hen house, canning, and lots of eating. I've been meaning to build a hen house for the last month. I was hoping to get it done before the chickens started laying, but i didn't quite manage.

I found the first egg on the first day of fall and i got another one today. But i have made progress on the henhouse. We got it all framed last weekend, and i'm hoping i can finish it up this weekend.

In addition to the hen house, we've been trying to put up and cook with the garden abundance we've been enjoying.

Twenty or so different varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

Over Memorial Day we turned some of this:

into this:

Raspberry Salsa, cucumber salsa, peach salsa, and mint jalapeƱo jam.

And this last weekend, we turned more of it into this:

Zucchini salami pizza

Red Chile coppa pizza

Tomato basil pizza (actually i think cait put just about everything on this pizza, so maybe it should be called "everything but the kitchen sink")

Calzone (i have to admit, this was a botched pizza, but we just folded the dough over and it still made a pretty good calzone).

Cait and T-dub's peach, brown sugar dessert pizza.

Monday, September 14, 2009

lotoja '09

This year at Lotoja i mostly got beat by a lot of people. Here are some of the people that beat me:

and yes, even my BFF beat me, even though she started a good 30 minutes later than me.

She did take 2nd in her category and the official results show her as QOM with a time of 16:52, though at the awards ceremony they gave the QOM (and the free hotel room and ski passes for two) to someone else who was almost a whole minute slower at 17:50. Guess it pays to check the results and protest, even at a clustermuck race like Lotoja.

The race was topped off by an exciting night of firetrucks and smoldering logs, which the artist elucidates far better than i can. Suffice it to say we didn't get back to bed until after 2:00 am.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

cowboy 101

Trigger called the other day and asked if we would be interested in coming down to the ranch to help him move a bunch of cattle. T-dub and i had so much fun when we went down a few weeks ago we quickly agreed and loaded up wrangler jeans, cowboy boots, straw hats, and a couple of bikes and headed south to look for cows on a windswept rocky mountain side. The suburban cowboy and his family also headed south for the adventure where we all got a few lessons in cowboying. Here i present a few of those first lessons.

Lesson no. 1: the cows are not all sitting around having little tea parties just waiting for you to come and show them where to go.

As we drove past a small valley and Trigger started pointing out all the draws and hills where the suburban cowboy and his lovely wife Ernie would have to ride to gather the cattle, Ernie, bless her little heart, suddenly exclaimed, "oh really? this is not what i imagined. i thought they would all be together and we would just have to ride up and politely tell them where to go" (i'm paraphrasing, i may have taken some poetic license, but that's basically what she said). Under his stiffled laughter Trigger explained that, no the cows weren't all together just waiting for us to go get them, but they were, in fact, scattered all over the mountain and one of them would have to ride back and forth driving them to the main group which the other one of them would be pushing towards the gate a few miles down the road.

Ernie ready for 8 hrs. in the saddle, looking hip and fashionable in her aviator glasses and park city chic boots and jeans.

Lesson no. 2: cell phones aren't cool when you're hanging out with cowboys (and they don't work very well for that matter when you're hours from the nearest habitation).

As Ernie and the suburban cowboy mounted up and got ready to head out Ernie earnestly asked the suburban cowboy, "you have your cell phone right?"
Trigger could no longer contain his laughter, "I hate to tell you honey, but no cell phone is gonna work up here." Ernie looked worried, consternated, scared, and nervous. What if she fell off her horse? what if she lost her husband? what if she got lost? But to her credit she spurred her horse and did her job, cell phone or not.

The suburban Cowboy and ernie mounted up and ready to go (with cell phones in their pockets, you know, just in case).

Lesson no. 3: how to throw a calf.

A number of the calves had been born on the mountain and thus hadn't been tagged, castrated, or otherwise tended to in the spring before the cows had been taken from the desert to the high mountain range. As a result, a cowboy has to rope these untagged calves and take care of some basic business. This is easier said than done, however, which the following will illustrate. First of all, calves are heavy. Even though they look small, they weigh in the order of 150-300+ lbs. Second, picking up and throwing 250 lbs. is hard enough as it is, now consider that these little buggers, despite those big, soft brown eyes, are just as intent on not being picked up and thrown on the ground as you are on getting them down. Third, despite being frustratingly slow and lethargic when you're trying to herd them, those little calves are surprisingly quick and energetic when you get a rope around their neck and try holding them to the ground.
But Trigger roped a calf and provided instruction: "grab the rope and work your way up, then grab it's front leg and rear flank, lift it, drive your knee in its side to knock it off balance, and throw it down. As soon as it's down, kneel on it's kneck and grab its front leg so it can't jump back up." easy enough right. Well, let's watch the suburban cowboy and see.

and now let's watch Trigger show how it's supposed to be done.

The great irony in this is that earlier in the day after i had tried to throw a calf and just about lost my left testicle after i didn't kneel on it quickly enough after i threw it and it jumped back up between my legs leaving me straddling it backwards with the rope wrapped around my leg and still dallied to Trigger's saddle, the suburban cowboy endlessly riled me. "Take your skirt off and throw that calf down," he laughed from his horse. "When are you going to quit being a pansy and start being a man?" This coming from the same guy who looked more like he was doing an awkward tapdance than trying to throw a calf. The week before we went to the ranch he called me and expressed some concern (that's an understatement, he was downright upset) that i had dubbed him the "suburban cowboy" on my blog. I told him i would consider changing it, but now think it is only fair to put this decision to my reading audience (all three of you). So please refer to the poll on the right side of the blog and vote on whether you think i should continue to refer to him as the "suburban cowboy" or whether i should start calling him the "really tough cowboy who just happens to live in the suburbs." You may also use the comment board to suggest other nicknames for the brother currently known as the "suburban cowboy."

Lesson no. 4: real cowboys don't wear shirts

'Nuff said.