Posts Tagged hedonism

Oh, but I have been remiss…

Posted by on Friday, 30 April, 2010

I have failed to post about the most interesting news in recent past! Over the past 6 months since getting into contact with my half-sister (Kallasandra),  we’ve been emailing volumes of tomes back and forth on a weekly basis… sometimes more. We’ve both been talking about visiting each other, to meet face to face, and catch up on 30+ years! Of course winter travel between Denver and Portland means we were stuck looking for flights, and the holidays being what they were, no travel plans came to fruition.

But I am here today to tell you, plans were confirmed earlier this month! Kally is flying in to PDX in 2 weeks, and neither Jean nor I can wait. Seriously, the wait is brutal! I can’t even imagine what meeting Kally will be like, especially since we seem to share quite a few personality traits. Jean will likely be rolling her eyes at least half of the entire visit! I foresee quite a lot of laughing over the weekend. And lots of pictures. And quite possibly a blog post afterwards about the entire experience of meeting a blood sibling from the perspective of someone who has never known any blood relations. It is sure to be a roller coaster of fun and introspection to say the least! I think I have a lot to say on this all, but my mind is muddled with anticipation and can’t quite suss out what it all means yet…

So hurry up and get here, Kally! 😉

In the mean time, we will be busy this weekend entertaining our dear friends John and Mary, who have driven up to visit for the next few days. Yes, dear readers, this means time in the city, time in the country, and time spent being gluttonous hedonists once again! It will be VERY good to see J&M again, especially since the last time we were able to visit wasn’t a happy time for Jean or I…

BUT, this time will be a whirlwind of sushi, sake, wine, really good food, and of course great conversation with two of our best friends! We need our fix! Truly the worst part of leaving SoCal was knowing that we couldn’t take everyone with us… thank gods so many friends enjoy visiting and giving us excuses to get out and do stuff! Thankfully, J&M should be getting here this afternoon and the fun can commence!

Raz’s Whisky Barley Stew

Posted by on Monday, 10 December, 2007

Raz’s Whisky Barley Stew as Posted to the 3DC Site at


1 lbs cow meat (1/2″-3/4″ cubed)
1 onion (I used a yellow one, chopped course)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 turnip (1/2″ cubed)
2 good sized red potatoes (1/2″ cubed)
1 Can Beef Broth
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Salt
3 1/2 cups Water
1/2 cup whisky (should most likely be a full cup)
1 good splash Olive Oil
1 cup Pearled Barley



Place Olive-Oil, Salt, Pepper and Garlic into a large stock pot and heat up a bit.

Add the Onion and Meat. Brown until onion begins to caramelize (5 min for me)

Deglaze the pot with the whisky, being careful to not expose the liquor to open flame.

Add the water, beef broth, turnip, potato, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer (covered) for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Check the moisture level. If the stew has thickened considerably, add water at this point to ensure the barley will cook properly and to get the consistency you prefer in a soup or stew.

Add Pearled Barley and simmer (covered) for an additional 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring regularly. It’s done when the barley is soft all the way through.

Eat. Enjoy. Blog about it…



Raz’ Notes:

  1. Adding some highland whisky in at the browning section would probably be really good. If you try the whisky addition let me know how it comes out.
  2. This is based on a Scotts recipe I found on the web. I changed a few things, most notably adding the spuds because spuds are good.
  3. Towards the last 15 minutes the broth had become quite thick so I added a half cup of water and stirred it in. The original recipe called for 1 ½ cups of water.


Seamus’ Notes:

  1. I added 1 tsp dried Thyme, 1/2 cup Caol Ila 18yr. Scotch, an additional 1 1/2 cups water
  2. Use the Scotch to deglaze after caramelizing the onions and meat. Add the water/broth/etc. only after deglazing with the whiskey. 1/2 cup of scotch may be too little. Next time I will add a full cup and see how that fares.
  3. A bay leaf should probably be added next time. If this is done, put it in when the initial water is added.
  4. Following the directions, I added 2 1/2 cups of water at the beginning, and then found it necessary to add another cup of water when the barley went in to ensure proper saturation. This is a full 2 cups more than the original recipe.
  5. I added an Islay Scotch (Caol Ila 18yr.), not a highland. After cooking off the iodine nose, the end result was a fairly mild smokiness without any sweetness added by the whisky. Next time round, I think I will try adding a Balvenie to try and capture the sweetness too.
  6. I’d recommend using only potato OR only turnips. Using both increased the amount of food substantially and tended to make the dish a bit more complex. Next time, I think I will remove the potato and use only turnips for a more accurate representation and to simplify the dish.

Pictures of the process…









It took me 33 years to get to this point…

Posted by on Thursday, 26 July, 2007

And now I have to finally own up to it: I’m overweight. I don’t eat healthily. I lead a VERY sedentary lifestyle. I am a glutton and a hedonist. And I have very little self control when it comes to the pleasures of food and drink to the point of being Bacchanalian in magnitude at times.

I haven’t had a scale in the house since I moved out of my parents’ home back in 1993. Really, I keep track of my weight like I keep track of my age: I don’t. Increasingly (over the past few years), however, I -have- noticed my metabolism slowing dramatically and my pant sizes increasing in a slow but steady fashion. Some things you just can’t ignore.

I DO know I am round 265 pounds with a 42″ pant size. At 5′ 10″, that is simply too much for my frame. Most of it is riding at my waist giving me a distinct pear shape.

So yesterday I took the first step in changing all that; I signed up for Jenny Craig. I also drug Jean into it with me, ’cause you know misery loves company 🙂 Ok, it really isn’t all that bad and Jean DID agree to it willingly. No coercion was involved.

I decided to finally suck it up and commit to something that would help me learn better eating habits. My main problem over the past 10 or so years is that I never eat breakfast, have a very late lunch, and then a large dinner. I am smart enough to know that isn’t good for me, but can’t seem to think for myself in the early mornings to decide what to eat for breakfast. So I don’t. Having the rigid structure of pre-planned meals from Jenny Craig will help me get into the habit of eating at appropriate times. And THAT should go a long ways to helping me get healthier.

The food should be arriving next Tuesday, which means we start the plan on Wednesday. That evening we will have our first call with our assigned Jenny Craig consultant to help us hash out the plan and how to make it work for us.

I’ve never dieted before, so this is actually a fairly scary concept for me. I -have- tried regulating my intake of food, which (sadly) many of you have had the displeasure of witnessing how that changes my personality. I am hopeful, however, that even though the portions on Jenny Craig are smaller I will still be able to maintain my senses since I will be eating more often.

The good news, if it does change my moods like I have experienced in the past, none of you (with the exception of Jean) will have to experience the hellishness of dealing with me in person 🙂

I guess it is time to buy a scale. Expect periodic updates as my experience with the plan commences and continues on. Should be an interesting ride…