Chez Madeleine

Monday, October 30, 2006

Hit me with your best shot


Think of all of the traditions that you know. Some are reverent, and some are antiquated. Some, we know the meanings behind. Some, we can barely remember who started or perpetuated.

Bachelorette Parties fall into the basket of irreverent. This tradition flies in the face of romance, saying "Even though you've met the man you love, you still need to take one final night to get as much attention from every other man on earth. You have to stretch your legs, show your boobs, and fly in the face of commitment and love. Show your true colors, get it out of your system, and party like its your last night on earth."


And thus we accepted the challenge. We 8 women embarked on the Orlando scene on Saturday night armed with condoms, pins with sayings like "I dated the groom", "always a bridesmaid" and "drunk bitch", penis necklaces, feather boas, and a scavenger hunt with things like #12: find the cheesiest guy in the place and ask him to dance, or #17: kiss a tatooed man.


So we drank and we drank, and we flirted like it was our job. We put Christianne on stage several times, injected her with giant jello sringes, and forced her to ask multiple groups of men for their underwear.


And after we had partied for hours, and continued the after party in our room, and played charades with people from Chris's past, and tried to "pin the hose on the fireman", and eaten pizza and laughed until our stomachs hurt, we went to bed.

And as I got ready for bed, stepping over the remnants of a great hotel party, I looked over at my sister-curled up in her "bride to be" rhinestoned shirt and her pink velour pants. Clutching her cell phone, dialed to her fiance, she smiled knowingly. Maybe traditions like these really show us how great it feels to be loved.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Kitchen Art


This weekend, I hit up a great warehouse sale at The Works on the West End. What a cool space. They use the warehouse space to sell all different kinds of things depending on the time of year.

Anyway, I aquired something new for my kitchen-a retro sign with a Betty Crocker-esque woman holding a steaming hot pie. It was only the second thing that I've ever hung myself in my house (the first thing is right next to it-my magnetic spice rack). I was pretty proud of my handy work. I used a drill. And it wasn't even pink.

So, next time your jonesing for some new decor, check out the schedule and stop by and check it out. And if you really want to have a great day, stop by the West Egg for brunch on your way over. I met Jessica & Kevin this weekend and noshed on some awesome black bean cakes topped with poached eggs and habanero salsa, and super garlicy grits. Yum!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Decatur Beer Fest


Festivals are my favorite sport. You won't ever find me cooking food on a portable grill in the parking lot of a stadium, but you can darn near find me at almost very festival this great city has to offer. I'm missing Wine Fest for Christianne's wedding, so it was imperative that I make a good showing at Beer Fest.

Kathleen and I had a fun time tasting (both of us), helping people avoid broken glass (neither of us-but some guy was very helpful), running into people we went to highschool with (her), running into people I admitted into the b-school (me), and generally tasting a lot of good stuff.

So-in honor of beer fest, let me know if you have a good recipe that involves beer. I have bad memories of beer can chicken from college, and my mother will sometimes try to actually be One with the State of Wisconsin by boiling bratwurst in beer before grilling it...but besides that, I'm dry. Help me out? Beer recipes? Come on, Charles and Lisa are looking at you with puppy-dog eyes...


Friday, October 20, 2006

A Farm Heritage Dinner


Remember last time I went to a CSA sponsored event and ate tons of yummy vegetable-inspired dishes like gazpacho, cornbread croutons, succotash and veggie skewers? And you were so jealous that you told your friend a horrible story about me so that it would bring me down and make you feel important? Remember? Well, I forgave you for your pettiness because I knew you were just jealous because you wanted good fresh local food, too. So this time I'm inviting you to experience it all on your own. I have class, so I'm not sure if I can make it but if you feel like trekking to Carrolton and you think you can convince me to skip class, let me know and we can have a mini Southern Food roadtrip.

Farmers’ Fresh Food Network
and Rome Street Tavern Grill
A Farm Heritage Dinner

Join us for an evening of celebrating our Southern Food Culture! Meet
the farmers who grow the food and the chef who will prepare this
locally-grown feast.

Renowned storyteller and songwriter David Clark (
will entertain with his memorable performance.

Menu highlights include:
Braised Beef
Deep Fried Turkey
Butternut Squash Bisque
Braised Greens
Roasted Mixed Vegetables
Fresh Salad
Pumpkin Cheesecake
All menu items are locally produced by members of
Farmers’ Fresh Food Network.

Where: Rome Street Tavern Grill, Carrollton GA
When: Thursday November 16th 6:00pm EST
The Price: $25 per person, includes water and tea
(alcoholic beverages and tip not included)

RSVP to Rome Street Tavern Grill today as this special dinner will have limited seating! 770-214-8233

You're gonna make me lonesome


Last week, I had the privelege of seeing Shawn Colvin play at the Variety Playhouse on Saturday. I've been a fan of her for years, her lyrics are familiar to me like a favorite poem. I run them through my head when I'm falling asleep at night instead of counting sheep. Sometimes, I'll see someone and think, "you have a face with a view". Or, when I love someone so much and I'm having a great time with them, I'll think, "you're gonna make me lonesome when you're gone." I've been working on writing my speech for Christianne's wedding and I keep coming back to "All Roads Lead to You" as the perfect metaphor for coming back to someone year after year and knowing that they're the one.

She sings my life, in that sweet, folky voice. So you can only imagine how I jumped up and down when I met Clay, a classmate, and discovered that Shawn is his sister. Clay is modest and thoughtful. He left three tickets for me for the show including backstage passes, so we met her afterwards. Here we are at the bus-Shawn in her puffy vest and thrift store dress.

My favorite song is one of Shawn's oldest...enjoy the lyrics here, and see if they don't invade your dreams tonight.

China gets broken
And it will never be the same
Boats on the ocean
Find their way back again
I am weaving
Like a drunkard
Like a balloon up in the air
I am needing a puncture and someone
To point me somewhere
I'm gonna keep my head on straight
I just hope it's not too late
Open up the gate I go straight on, steady on

Steady on

I was feeling imploded
A wooden smile, a wooden heart
The things exploded
Like rockets in the dark
Now I'm pulling out splinters
And I'm off to hibernate somewhere
For the nuclear winter
Of another love affair

"Cause he seemed like a miracle
I ate it up like cereal
But it was something like shrapnel

Steady On

It's like ten miles of a two-lane
On a South Dakota wheat plain
In the middle of a hard rain
A slow boat or a fast train
I am gonna keep my head on straight
I'm gonna keep my head on straight

Steady on

Monday, October 16, 2006

teach your (friend's) children well


When I first adopted Madeleine, I read somewhere that I needed to spend 20 minutes per day petting her. That was easy at first, it was Summer, I was on hiatus from school, and she was so little she could practically fit in my pocket. But then, life got busier and I had less and less time every day to spend with her. Sometimes, I'd find myself saying to my friends, "I have to go home--gotta get my 20 minutes in with Madeleine today." They made fun of me for seeming to condense all of my quality time with my cat into that 20 minute period a day. I told myself that I was a good mother as long as I met my requisite responsibility.

Of course as time went on, my relationship with my cat became much more dynamic than 20 minutes per day. We sleep together-she at my feet. We watch tv together-she at my head. And she's usually not far when I'm paying bills or baking. But my point is that my life pretty much revolves around me.

So when Jen brought Elecia over on Saturday, I found myself in awe of the multiple bags she carried (video, chocolate milk, jacket, and who knows what else) and the sense of ultimate responsibility she had for the pig-tailed little one.

Elecia was at Chez Madeleine for a morning of baking. I'm trying to shape America's future one pre-schooler at a time. We made pumpkin breads--mini loaves to give to Elecia's teachers and grandparents.


Elecia perched on her stepstool in her "bubble apron" and approached the challenge with gusto. Hair pulled back and armed with a red plastic spoon ressurected from the Kool-Aid mixing days (it has the kool-aid face cut out of it), she added each ingredient carefully and mixed thoroughly. Sugar, Oil, Pumpkin, spices, eggs, flour, and baking soda and powder and salt.


We added chocolate chips at the end, and Elecia scooped the batter into the pans. While the loaves baked, Elecia charmed Madeleine. They chased each other around the loft in circles until they were both so tired there was nothing left to do but nap.


I wrapped the loaves up and added a note from Elecia.


As Elecia and Jen headed home for a peanut butter sandwich and a nap, I thought about the awesome responsibility of raising children. Curled up on the couch, I reached down and scratched Madeleine's neck and counted...20...19...18...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Grab Bag

Remember "grab bag" from when we were young? At parties there would always be a "grab bag" filled with little dollar store gifts, sometimes food, sometimes plastic balls, eyeglasses with a fake nose and mustache, jacks...every party had a grab bag. You don't see a good grab bag very often any more.

So-here's one for your consumption. A smattering of recent activities and food...

First, my dinner at Quattro with Kate.


Shannon recommended Quattro. She and Chris had a great Friday night meal on the patio last weekend. Quattro is at least the 4th restaurant to go into the space next to Willy's on the park. Its one of those cursed restaurant spaces--it takes guts to open a restaurant in a space like that. Shannon speculated whether or not Quattro was trying to cut the Bob Amick empire off at the knees (One, Two and forthcoming Trois). Either way, Kate and I were very pleased with our tenderly almost tempura fried zucchini


And my creative panini--arugula, brie, proscuitto and canteloupe. I worried that the canteloupe would make the whole thing soggy, but the sweet, thin slices were warm and perfect. They were almost the condiment on the sandwich-providing moisture to the salty proscuitto and bitter arugula. Yum to Quattro for coming up with such an interesting sandwich.


Next, this baller filmed a hip hop video at my building last night. Here they are setting up the red carpet scene outside my window. Within two hours, there were 500 people, 10 more cars, strippers, pimps, stadium lights, and about 20 cameras on cranes outside. Lee-are you listening? I guess its time I got curtains. I was awake until after 2 am listening to the same 20 second clip from the same song about 400 times. It was brighter than the freaking beach in here, and I couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom or the entire scene would've witnessed me in my panties creeping across the room. It was like a fish bowl in here.


And last, I made myself a margherita pizza last night for dinner with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatos. It was a nice tuesday treat.


So-there you have your Wednesday grab bag. Happy hump day!

Friday, October 06, 2006



Friday night has become a ritual for me. My night alone, my night to cook. Glass of wine on the porch. Pajamas by 7 pm. Blockbuster. QT with mademoiselle whiskers. I'm into my "I can't hate you anymore" phase of mourning. I feel you, Nick. I'm not lonely, but I am pensive. Thinking a lot about love. Seeing his name still makes me jump. For a minute some days I still think he's mine, but then I remember the turned cheek and the hot stinging tears. What do you do when there is only one person who understands a certain inside joke? Does the joke stop being funny to you? I think it does. Its lost in translation. Another disfigured victim of the break-up. Like when you can't walk, but you dream about running.

So, back to dinner alone. Dinner for one. This week, we received gorgeous butternut squash from our weekly CSA delivery. Two unmatched apples came with the squash. The air is cool, and I have a yellow turtleneck cableknit sweater ready to go on the first 60 degree day, so its time for soup.


I decided to use my apples and squash, and leftover ginger from Healthy Lunch Club to make butternut squash soup.


First, I melted some butter in my big pan, and then I added a chopped vidalia onion, minced ginger, and minced garlic. I let them saute for a while in the pan until the onions had softened and turned transleucent. Meanwhile, I halved and roasted my squash at 375 for 45 minutes. I added my chopped and peeled apples to the onion mixture. Then I poured in some white wine for good measure and added lots of thyme from the window.

Peeling the squash was painful-I'm not a patient person. Lee once said, "Sarah, it really concerns me when you make impulsive, rash decisions." It stems from my impatience. Its me. He would hate that I was peeling squash hot. Would want me to sit with my hands by my sides and be patient. So, I burned my fingertips peeling the stringy orange squash in defiance of him.

Once I peeled it all, I added it to the pan with the rest, and covered the mixture with chicken broth. I started tasting. Added brown suger, cinnamon, cayanne pepper, fresh ground pepper, and sea salt.

Eventually, I transferred it to a blender and blended it until smooth. Wished for an immersion blender. Is anyone listening who happens to be going to Williams-Sonoma soon?


Ladled my fall, cableknit, crisp, apply, spicy soup into a bowl, drizzled it with heavy cream, and sprinkled with fresh thyme.

I've gotta admit--I'm a pretty good Friday night date.