Good Read... and Soup Night Results

For those of you who are interested, we had a great Soup Night on Sunday. You can read all about it on the Burp! blog.  Hope more of you can make it out to the next one, which will be on Sunday, March 28th!

Also -- Peef sent me an article this morning that I think it worth a read. Jeffrey Tang from The Art of Great Things writes about The Case for the Low-Risk Start  -- which talks about some alternative to the infamous "leap of faith" most people think of when someone says "do what you love."  Some really great thoughts here about taking it slow and being deliberate about your choices.

Let me know what you think!


More Soup... and Schaum Torte?

Did you miss our January Soup Night?
If so, you missed a great time.  We had over twenty people show up to last month's event. The soups were hot and the company was fabulous. And you can read all about it HERE.

Of course, there's no use living in the past.  We'll be having our second SOUP NIGHT gathering this weekend -- Sunday, February 28, 2010.  And we're cooking up another triad of great soups.  We don't normally reveal the soups that we'll be making ahead of time.  But, today I'll give you a hint.  This month we'll be featuring some of the good old classics.  A couple of meaty varieties, and one good old fashioned vegetarian classic.

Soup night runs from 4:30-7:30pm on Sunday night.  Of course, if you're in the mood for a little bit of dessert afterwards, you could always take a trip over to Il Mito Trattoria on 69th and North Avenue.  They'll be featuring our Chocolate Hazelnut Schaum Torte on their dessert menu from Sunday, February 28 through Saturday, March 6.

All of the net proceeds from the sale of our dessert will benefit the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee!     Read all the ooey gooey details on the Burp! blog.


Knitters Versus Crocheters: Which One Am I?

So, I've been contemplating the fiber arts. Knitting. Crocheting. Needlework. After all, it's about time I found myself a hobby to keep me occupied in my old age.
Plus, I've been thinking as I sit, catching up on cooking shows and idly passing the time, that I could really use a more USEFUL hobby.

"But you already cook!" I hear a few of you saying. And I get where you're coming from.  After all, cooking is probably a hobby. And a useful one at that.  But, maybe it's more that I'm feeling a little bit CRAFTY.  I'd like to make some stuff. Useful stuff. Stuff that's not, well... consumable.

I want to make socks (especially socks).
And hats.
And cute little mittens.
Blankets, even. Maybe scarves. And purses... I might like to make a purse.

I want to spend hours poring over the hand-dyed yarn at the farmer's market (it's so very gorgeous -- and just seeing it makes me want to buy it and use it for SOMETHING).  I want to learn something new. Muse about my next project. Gee Whiz, I'd like to CREATE something.

A new friend of mine (R. from over at CakeWalk) has inspired me to check out the classes that are offered at Loop Yarn Shop in Bay View Riverwest.  And I'm excited -- because they offer all sorts of classes, at all sorts of levels. But, I'm finding myself a bit on the uncertain side when it comes to deciding exactly WHAT I should learn.

Most people seem to have some familial connection to their art. They know someone who taught them what they know, and they were inspired to learn from that person -- often from an early age.  By that token, I should be a knitter.  After all, my Grandma Grace taught me to purl when I was 7 years old. And I might still have the turquoise scarf I started with my very first set of knitting needles way back in 1981.  But, the truth of the matter is, that "scarf" only grew to be about 2 feet long before I gave up the art of knitting and took up embroidery (thanks to Grandma Gladys, who loved to sew).  I embroidered for an entire summer before deciding it was silly and I didn't really care about being able to put French knots on pillowcases (they hurt your face) or towels.

The knitters (R. and Jess and probably my dear grandmother, rest her soul) are all convinced I'd LOVE knitting...that circular needles make the whole process easier... that the stitch lies "flatter"... but I'm not sure that I'm a "counter".

The crocheters (my sister, my aunt) have rallied to convince me that crocheting is the way to go... that one needle is easier than two, and that I'll love the versatility of the stitches... but I'm not sure about any of it.

The knitters have cool books (Stitch 'N Bitch, anyone?)
But so do the crocheters (The Happy Hooker... who can resist?)
How to decide??

I can't imagine that this decision is nearly as complicated as I'm making it out to be. Nor can I imagine that choosing the WRONG yarnly hobby would cause anyone irreparable damage. But, I'm not sure I really know the answer. Do I flip a coin?

How did YOU figure out which one you were?  Is there any useful information out there to help a sista out?



Kitchen Stuff

I'd say that 2010 has been pretty good to us so far.

Weather was chilly earlier in the month, so we're fully aware that it's winter, but God has held the snow at bay for some reason.  I like to think that it's because Paul no longer works at Hal Leonard (thank goodness!!)...  Every year in mid-January, he always packed up to fly out to Southern California for the NAMM convention.  And every year, during NAMM week, Wisconsin would get pounded with snow.  I know this because I shoveled it.

This was the first year in a while that Paul didn't attend NAMM.  And wouldn't you know it? It didn't snow during NAMM week.  Coincidence?? I think NOT.

We also have some good news to report in the kitchen!  EVERY SINGLE cleaver, santoku, paring,  tomato, bread, carving, and chef's knife in the Burp! kitchen is officially razor sharp -- thanks to the Chef's Choice sharpener we were able to purchase with the gift card we got from Peef's parents for Christmas.

Using our lovely new tools, which were apparently exceedingly dull before we ran them through the Chef's Choice, took a bit of getting used to... as can be verified by the slice I took out of my left index finger with the first chef's knife I picked up.  Thank goodness sharp knives make clean cuts that heal quickly!

We were also very excited to receive meat grinder and sausage stuffer attachments for our KitchenAid stand mixer from Lo's parents.

It goes without saying that we're excited about the prospect of making our own sausage... in fact, my brain is busily thinking about all the possibilities even as I type. But I'm also pretty stoked about the idea of grinding my own meat in general.

Despite all the vegetables we eat around our house, we both love a great burger... and making meatballs is one of those therapeutic weekend activities that just makes the world a little bit better.

Unfortunately, most grocery store ground meat isn't worth the styrofoam tray it's sitting on. Having control over what goes into our ground meat is a huge advantage... and it gives us the opportunity to exercise all sorts of exciting quality control measures, right in our own kitchen.

Of course, we haven't used the meat grinder yet.  Gotta set aside some time one of these weekends for that.  And gather up some nice sausage recipes.

Anyone know of a good place in Milwaukee to get natural sausage casings?



It's been forever since we blogged, and we're not in denial about it.We've obviously been eating, since we've had quite a lot to say over at Burp! But, we haven't been writing much about all the other stuff that makes us who we are. Not sure why that is. Maybe that just means we haven't experienced many "bloggable moments".  Or maybe we just haven't felt much like writing lately.

Either way, I'm hoping that 2010 will bring on a little bit more in the way of news from the Peef & Lo blog. The reality is, we're bound to set our sails for new adventures. And it would be a shame if we didn't stop to tell you about it.

In the meantime, we'd like you all to know that we're dredging up one of our old community concepts.  And you're invited.

Remember Soup Nights?
The idea came out of a notion that I'd like to create more community within our families and among our friends & neighbors -- to unify some of the disparate groups that make up our circle of acquaintances. So, we've invited just about everyone we know to come over once a month (January through March) for a "soup night".

2010 SOUP NIGHTS will be held on the last Sunday of the month:
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010

The BURP! Kitchen will be open from 4:30pm−7:30pm

The concept is easy. We provide the soup. And maybe a bit of wine.You provide bread, crackers, chips, cheese, dessert, or … even nothing at all. We hang out, chat, meet some new people. And everyone has a good time. Stop by for a bit -- or stay for a while. You decide. You can even bring a friend.

Anyhow -- we'll be having our first soup night on Sunday, January 31, 2010.  We'll be featuring three different soups.  And we'd love it if you'd join us.


The Miracle of a New Year.

So, here we sit, in the last few days of a year that's been fraught with plenty of good -- but enough bad that I can't imagine wanting to hit "replay". And yet, I'm feeling very peaceful.

It's remarkable to think about the hope, the potential, and the joyful mystery of the new year.  I'm certainly not delusional, but I've always somehow believed in the hope that springs new upon the eve of the new year.  And, as I sit here contemplating what's to come -- I feel that hope.

Tomorrow we will wake up early. If we get up early enough, there will be coffee. And a bit of kranzkuchen. Steph will arrive and we'll drive off to gather our wares for another New Year's feast.  This year, we're exploring Asian cuisine.  We'll make up a bit of sushi, maybe some Chinese dumplings, a few eggrolls, some tempura, and whatever else we feel inspired to create. We'll cook all day, and nibble as we go. We'll laugh. Play games. Drink wine. And enjoy one another's company.  At midnight, we'll crack open a bottle of champagne and toast the new year.

And when it's all over, we'll drift off to sleep with smiling faces and full bellies. And we'll wake up to a blank slate. A new calendar. And the hope that, somehow, an exciting stretch of days just waiting to be shaped into something new, lay before us.

Although it's virtually impossible to simply place all of our burdens down at 11:59 p.m. on the eve of the new year, and wake up to an utterly clean slate on the first of the year, it's certainly a contemplation worth having. 

Our hopes and goals for 2010
Stress less, and pray more.
Love freely and deeply. 
Judge less, and be generous with our grace cards. 
Open up, and reach out. 
Stretch our boundaries.
Do more creating, and less tearing down. 
Eat well, and share meals often. 
Explore the boundaries of new cooking worlds. 
Focus on the immense possibility of possibility.

As you reflect on 2009 and step over the threshold of the new year, may only good await. And may your 2010 hold nothing less than miracles.

-- Peef and Lo