Monday, January 17, 2011

The world has definitely left me behind…..where have I been? This weekend I watched 2 programs that I haven’t seen in years. Saturday night I watched the Miss America pageant and Sunday evening I watched the Golden Globes.
Let me start with Miss America. My, oh my, how things have changed! It is not that the young women appeared to be less than lady-like; they just did not give the appearance of elegance. Beautiful, of course, but not Miss America quality! And what was with the bikinis? Last time I saw the pageant, it was one piece swimsuits! And the evening gowns…remember when the stage had to be twice to three times wider because of all the gowns? Now they are skintight, split up to the upper thigh! And did they name a Miss Congeniality and I missed it? And when did the pageant move to Vegas?
As for the result of the pageant, I would have chosen Miss Hawaii; at least her hair looked well groomed. The new Miss America is Miss Nebraska, who looked like she was wearing a really bad wig that had slipped too far forward on her head. I will probably not watch it again for sometime, possibly never again.

Now, for the Golden Globes. I truly have no idea when I saw the last one. I immediately texted my daughter asking who the emcee was! Never heard of him….sorry, still don’t know who he is, but he was very funny. I particularly enjoyed his introduction of Bruce Willis….introduced him as Ashton Kutcher’s father! He may have gone a little too far by saying the waiters had all been hauled off by the immigration guys. The audience sort of gave a nervous groan.
I was delighted to see some of the older stars, and I do know some of the younger stars, I think. I love movies, so I actually had seen some of the movies that were nominated.

                                               But I still don’t know who Ricky Gervais is!

Strangely enough, while I was trying to remember when I last watched a Golden Globes show, something made me remember a great bowl of Hot and Sour Soup. Don’t ask me what….I don’t have a clue. Maybe I was just hungry. More than likely it was because my mind wandered back to the Chinese cookbook I was reading earier. Anyway, I do love the combination of flavors of Hot and Sour.
Truthfully, it is the only way I have ever liked tofu….and actually, in this soup, I love tofu! I don’t keep all of the ingredients on hand, my pantry definitely leans toward Italy, not China! So a trip to the grocery store is necessary. Fortunately we have several excellent oriental markets, a new international market, and Whole Foods. So the ingredients are no problem.

Hot and Sour Soup
6 dried Chinese black fungus
6 dried wood ear, black, cloud, straw, or shiitake mushrooms, or one bunch of fresh enoki mushrooms
5 dried lily buds
One can of bamboo shoots
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of white vinegar or rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 block of firm tofu, diced into small cubes
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
3 scallions, diced
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of finely ground white pepper (do not substitute with black pepper!)
1/4 teaspoon of chili oil (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

Pour boiling water over the mushrooms until the mushrooms are covered and allow them to soak for 20 minutes, turning the mushrooms over occasionally. It may not seem like a lot but they will grow quite a bit. After soaking remove any woody ends with a knife. Cut mushrooms into strips. Reserve 1/4 cup of the liquid and mix with the cornstarch. (If using fresh enoki mushrooms set aside as they do not need to soak).
Pour boiling water over the lily buds until covered and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Cut the buds crosswise then tear them up into a few bunches.
Mix the vinegars and soy sauce together and set aside. Open the can of bamboo shoots, drain well, and cut the shoots lengthwise into strips.
Place the chicken broth into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the tofu, mushrooms, lily buds, bamboo shoots, vinegar mixture, and cornstarch mixture. Mix and bring back to a boil. Once it comes to a boil remove from heat. While stirring the soup slowly pour the egg into the broth in a small steam while stirring the soup allowing the egg to instantly cook and feather into the soup.

I just did a little proof reading of this blog....I am indeed rather strange....from Miss America to Chinese Hot and Sour with a moment wondering about a British performer.
I may need to take a day or two off.....
While I'm getting some rest, check out this video my friend Dave sent me. Everything you need to know about making French croisants! Enjoy!

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker