I came across another one of those puzzling Amazon recommendations. I'm thinking I should just spend some time searching for stuff on Amazon and see what they recommend I buy to go with it! But when I do that, the recommendations are pretty much what one might expect.
In this particular instance, I read a status report on Facebook from someone who said she was "loving her brie baker" and I wondered what a a brie baker was. Oh, I could pretty much guess, but I wanted to see one in the flesh. So I did a ittle Amazon search and discovered that it was, indeed, a clay pot-like thing that you put a wheel of brie in, topped with your favorite topping and then baked until the brie was soft...which sounds fabulous, if you entertain, which we don't. So I wasn't tempted to spend the money. But then I saw what Amazon thinks I will want to buy along with my brie baker.
Yes, indeedy, everyone who wants to bake brie is going to want a preschool toy laptop to go along with it! And a special price if you buy the two together. Yippee!
If you buy the more expensive stainless steel brie baker, not only do they recommend you get the pre-school learning tote and go laptop, but you will probably also want Michael Chrichton's book, "Pirate Latitudes," because pirates love baked brie, dontcha know! "Arrgghhh, matey...pass me that there cheese stuff."
I also came across a blog today written by a woman who also participates in the "Thursday Thirteen." Don't know if I've mentioned it here, but over on my mirror blog on Blogspot, I post a list of thirteen "things" each Thursday. As diverse a list as "Names I've given foster dogs," "Favorite Star Trek Episodes" and "Things Hanging on my bulletin board," and "Things I love to smell," among others. I've done 17 Thursdays now and am having a good time with it. But sometimes inspiration is nice, so I've checked with others who are doing the same thing and came across this woman's blog.
When I got to her web site, I saw that she had visited Helsinki and St. Petersburg in 2006 and had pictures from a lot of the places we are going to see (fabulous). They didn't take the boat trip, like we will, but they did spend several days in St. Petersburg. She also seems to write well and I was going to put her on my list of blogs to read regularly when I saw that she had one entry called "All things Obama," or something like that which starts by saying "I was listening to Michele Bachmann, the lone voice of sanity in Minnesota (and the next legislator I'll support)..."
Well. I think it's safe to say that we probably don't have a lot in common and with all the blogs I follow, I probably won't be checking back with her often!
While I was doing all this, I had The Food Network (which I haven't watched in awhile) on and Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) on. She was making a couple of dishes that looked interesting, so I surfed on over to the Food Network web site to see if I could find them. I did, eventually, but in the process came upon a recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. I'd been looking for something to do with the leftover squash from a soup I made recently and this looked tasty, so I decided to make it. Only, as I started it, I realized that out of all the ingredients listed, I only had a few. So...what the heck....I substituted "creatively."
I had the squash and "good" olive oil (the latter thanks to my sister-in-law), which was a good start.
For "pure maple syrup" I had to substitute good ol' Log Cabin. For Kosher salt, I used sea salt. I did have freshly ground black pepper. But there was no apple cider--not even any Martinellis, I figured using orange/pineapple juice was out, but we had a bottle of blueberry/pomegranate juice and I used that. I did have apple cider vinegar, but no shallots. Walt hates the texture of onion-like foods, so I just left those out.
I had Dijon mustard and cranberries, but no walnut halves (which were supposed to be toasted), but I substituted toasted pecan halves and, of course, I had no "fresh Parmesan cheese" but had plenty of the stuff in the green jar.
You pour this all over arugula, which I did not have, but I used "heirloom lettuce," which I'd picked up at Costco recently.Oddly enough, the final product wasn't half bad. Quite tasty, in fact. Some day I might go back and make the recipe the right way and see how it turns out, but I think it's fair to say that I am NOT "the worst cook in the world," and that I can improvise fearlessly and creatively and end up with an edible product, even if the product only has one or two of the recipe's original ingredients!