The Gull Reef Club

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9/17/2019 · 2:03 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
sometimes waiting and watching is all you can do. The weather has been oscillating quite a bit this... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 1:30 pm· Jaime · Good Bye Blue Sky
It's summer. We don't adventure much in the summer. It's too hot & buggy. We hibernate and wait... | Read More

9/1/2019 · 2:25 am· Trouble · Good Bye Blue Sky
So how goes the summer of adventure? Inquiring minds want to know.... | Read More

6/6/2018 · 12:46 am· Michael (Net2007) · My friend, my friend, (s)he’s got a knife
I've often felt this way, it's strange and divisive times in many ways. As far as this goes, I... | Read More

7/12/2017 · 4:22 pm· Trouble · Half of Us Are Wrong or in the Alternative, Half of Us Are Right
I've been following the saga and cataloging links of interest that contain more than mere rhetoric.... | Read More


I Ain’t ‘Fraid of No Ghost

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:59 pm


CIA Terrorbusters

Sorry, Venkman, I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.


Birthday drool

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:18 pm

With our schedules being a little less hectic than last weekend, Mike made me my birthday dinner today.

Over the years Mike has become quite an accomplished cook. I think this is reflected by the fact that two of the items I asked for this year didn’t involve any known recipes and were reliant on Mike’s ability to come up with a working combination of ingredients. The menu included spinach salad, homemade French onion soup, and coconut shrimp with a habenero, citrus sauce, and apples in puff pastries with a donut glaze.

The salad wasn’t anything significant, it was the usual spinach salad we often have. It was in the fridge and needed to be eaten. Quite good with Ken’s Creamy Caesar salad dressing, fresh grated Parmesan, and croutons.

Until yesterday, I had never had a bowl or even a cup of French onion soup. I’ve got texture issues with onions and avoided them for the first two decades of life. In the last ten years, I’ve come to really enjoy foods with cooked onions (still can’t get past the texture of a raw onion yet, though). Last weekend, Mike had a bowl of French onion soup at a restaurant that seemed to be a bit disappointing to him. He commented that he would really like to make some homemade soup but didn’t think I’d go for it because it’s so monumentally oniony.

Irony had it that during the week, the Food Network ran the Good Eats episode featuring onions and Alton Brown’s French Onion Soup. Mike really wanted to give it a go and I thought it was time to give it a shot.

We actually made the soup yesterday. We left out the apple cider and replaced it with another 10 oz. of beef consomm√© (yes the Food Network recipe has a typo, it’s not beef consume :P ). We used three pounds of Vidalia onions and a little over one pound of red onions. We also cooked down the onions on the stove rather than in an electric skillet. In addition to using Fontina, we used a little mozzarella.

For my first excursion into French onion soup, I was pleasantly surprised. It sweet and very flavorful. Mike said that it wasn’t beefy enough, but since I had no other examples to go by, I simply enjoyed it. We made plenty of it and had enough for tonight’s dinner as well. Mike and I both agree that letting it sit overnight increased its flavor. There were stronger hints of beef and tomato from the consomm√©. I would definitely try this again.

The main course was coconut shrimp and the habanero citrus sauce. The coconut shrimp is allegedly the Outback Steakhouse recipe. The sauce came completely out of Mike’s head, we did not use the one in the recipe. The shrimp could not have been more perfect. Mike went to great lengths to ensure that the shrimp we perfectly butterflied. The coconut was not sweetened, which prevented burning when we fried it.

The sauce was based on a sauce Mike made once before, which had hooked me hard. He tweaked it a bit this time around and it was as close to heaven as we get here at the Gull Reef Club. It was a simple syrup with lemons, lime, calamondins (fresh from our own tree), coconut, paprika, and a whole habanero (from the garden). After the syrup was fully infused and allowed to cool, we strained it. We let it chill before serving with our shrimp. The coconut shrimp dipped in this sauce was delicious beyond words.

Dessert was another Mike creation. My desire was expressed to Mike as ‘make something with apples and cinnamon.’ He came through as always. We peeled and cored five granny smith apples. Mike cooked these in the cast iron skillet with butter, turbinado sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of brandy. He then cooked up some puff pastry shells. He filled the shells with the apple mix and baked it for a short time. After they were done and had cooled a bit, he dipped them in a simple donut glaze (confectioner’s sugar, milk, vanilla). They ended up being like really fancy apple fritters. It should come as no surprise dessert was also delicious.

This was one hell of a birthday dinner. Mike’s cooking abilities really shone. It was more than worth it to wait an extra week.


A short warm moment

Filed under: — Jaime @ 9:53 pm

Thanks to all of you beachcombers who were kind enough to take a minute to wish me a happy birthday. That was very nice.

For a Monday birthday, today was quite enjoyable. I took the day off work. The weather was perfect (mid 80′s & sunny) so we went to the beach. I even managed to get a little sunburn. How’s that for a birthday in the middle of autumn?

Mike and I don’t normally buy each other gifts for our birthdays, but make each other a nice dinner. He spoiled me this year by picking up these two Chicago Bears patches from e-bay:



I’m not sure if I can wear them with pride, but I can wear them! They’re both quite cool. The second one is an authentic unused patch from the 1970′s. Good vintage. Thanks Mike.

I’ll get my official birthday dinner next weekend, but for today Mike made a delicious dinner of mussels in a white wine cream sauce. Absolutely delicious.

Overall, quite a nice day. :)


The Deal King Clothes the Kingdom

Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:36 pm

Deal King Extraordinaire, Mike, conjured up his amazing savings abilities once again. He woke me one night last week (or was it the week before?) to say that he had found incredible deals at the store and thought I should take a look. Convinced by the earnestness in his voice, I dragged my ass out of bed to discover that he was more than right. Sears was closing out its summer clothes line and had discounted items down to pocket change.

For a grand total of $12.94, including tax ($.85) and shipping ($6.25), I managed to snag two tank tops, a stretch cami, an embroidered henley, a tee shirt, and a very nice Liz Claiborne button down. Yes, beachcombers, you read that right. 6 shirts for $12.94.

I received my order today and am quite pleased with the merchandise. I have to admit that clothing companies have certainly adjusted their definition of “small” to fit an ever growing populace, but with one wash, I should be able to shrink most of it to fit nicely. As an added bonus, the clothes came with their original price tags so I was able to calculate that I should have paid $103.96 for all of these items (if I were a sucker, of course). How’s that for savings?!?

Thanks for waking me and encouraging a healthy clothes habit, Mike!



Filed under: — Jaime @ 11:13 pm

Da Bears beat da Pack and the Scrubs are out of the post season.

The universe returns to its regularly scheduled programming.


Dracula and the Invisible Man Walk into a Bar

Filed under: — Jaime @ 10:53 pm

As I previously stated last week, I started (and finished) Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I also plowed through H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man.

It’s pretty obvious why Dracula has become nearly iconic in the horror fiction genre. This book had all the quintessential elements of a British, gothic story. The imagery was beautiful and so well detailed. Stoker had an incredible talent for creating exquisite illustrations for the reader’s mind. The only drawback for me was the obvious sexism that prevailed throughout the novel, which of course, was only a reflection of the time in which it was written. I still couldn’t help at being annoyed by the paternalistic overtones. This really wasn’t a big enough drawback for me to not recommend it to you beachcombers. It was an easy read and perfect for this time of the year.

No sooner did I finish Dracula, that I dove into The Invisible Man. I confess, I started reading this before I even noticed it was written by Wells. I was at least through the first chapter and onto the second before I scrolled up (e-book) and noticed I was reading Wells. It’s a good thing that I hadn’t noticed right away that it was a Wells novel. There is a strong likelihood that I wouldn’t have bothered with it had I noticed it. His abysmal The Time Machine had ruined me for Wells until now. The Invisible Man was quite redeeming.

I’m not a huge science fiction fan. If I do read any, I prefer it to be of this era (late Victorian/anytime Edwardian). The Invisible Man was nothing like I thought it would be. For some reason, I came into it with a preconceived notion that the Invisible Man was a sympathetic character. Without ruining it for you beachcombers that haven’t read this yet, let’s just say the Invisible Man was anything but sympathetic. This was a very easy read and isn’t very long. You could probably knock it out in a doctor’s waiting room. With health care being what it is, if you do read it in a doctor’s waiting room, you may actually become sympathetic with the Invisible Man.

So what to read next…hmmm…


Still Afloat

Filed under: — Jaime @ 7:17 pm

I suppose it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I know you adoring beachcombers need your Gull Reef fix…

I finally finished reading Inside 9-11: What Really Happened, researched and written by journalists for Der Spiegel. It took me longer to get through than I had anticipated. It’s not that it wasn’t interesting or that it was poorly written. It’s mostly because it is non-fiction. Somewhere between getting my degree in history and now I have lost all desire to read non-fiction. Which, of course, makes discussing any books absolutely impossible with Mike, because he only reads non-fiction. Meh.

Inside 9-11 was in no way a conspiracy theory book, despite the title which leads you to think that way. It was more a biographical perspective of those directly involved – from the plane hijackers themselves, to people who escaped the Twin Towers, to people who knew the hijackers before they jacked. The main drawback was that this book was written too soon after 9/11. Only 6 months after, I believe. The 20/20 hindsight glasses I was wearing marred some of the information presented. I think this may have been part of the reason I had trouble getting through it.

Last night, I finally decided to give Bram Stoker’s Dracula a go. I know what you’re thinking old-school beachcombers: Jaim, former little pre-Goth-post-newwaver-vampirewannabe, how in the world have you not read this yet? I have no honest answer. I just haven’t. So it’s October, I’m in the mood for a little 19th century horror fiction, so I think I’m on the right track. I’ll keep you posted.

The Gull Reef Club