Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Weather Is Cooperating

'Tis the season to be gloomy.

Our back yard at about 7:30 this morning.
The red squirrels, crows and blue jays are adding a mournful and creepy sound track as well.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Between the Chilaquiles and the Rice Balls

I'm feeling a tad self-hindering today. Instead of following through on that though I will post about what happened in the time between the Chilaquiles post and the Toasted Onigiri post.

Below is a "before" shot of our garden.

And after:

Below is a shot of the herb garden that I posted last month so you can compare it to this day's work.

Almost all reference points are gone! The lavender is still there but frost got the bright green verbena in the first photo.

Below is my great friend Michaela doing the dirty work with her brush cutter.

Michaela, in addition to being a fabulous person and a wonderful friend, is a professional gardener AND an artist AND a pilot AND she likes shoes AND she's fun to hang around and gab with. I was so lucky to be introduced to her when we moved up here and I found our garden completely overwhelming. Anything that is beautiful about my garden is because of her.

After all of her hard brush cutting and raking she took the wheelbarrow up to the mulch pile where she discovered The Thing from "The Fantastic Four" hiding under our tarp.

Impressive, no?

I will admit that I wasn't just there taking pictures. I was also digging up rocks and roots and weeding and moving things. Michaela did all that in addition to brush-cutting and raking and at least two times faster than I can. She is superior!

Thanks, Michaela, for your hard work and especially for your friendship.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Photos

How cute is my breakfast?
I love when I can use the Eggrite Eggtimer!

On a more ominous note,
I have big plans for this. Yessss... Big plans...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Laptop

I've seen a couple of good "shows" this week. One was the movie "Let The Right One In" which we rented from Netflix. The other was the Joss Whedon show, "Dollhouse."

I saw "Dollhouse" on Hulu. I liked it more than I thought I would. Maybe once you turn the set (or in this case, laptop) off the residual feeling you get is that it's all nonsense but it's pretty nonsense. Good looking actors in yoga clothes. Certainly entertaining enough to watch while crocheting.

This blog summarizes the show's concept better than I can.

The thing about the show that fascinates me most is the characters' living situation. During their down-time the characters live in a yoga spa-like atrium and do tai chi, arts and crafts and take showers. They sleep in pits in the floor like John Lennon in "Help."
I always wanted a sleeping pit.

It feels wrong for some reason but I kind of like the yoga spa atrium the dolls live in.

They've got fountains and streams and polished wood and granite and leafy plants. Their bathroom is really cool - well, what you can see of it.

The viewer is supposed to feel conflicted about the plight of these characters who have had the appearance of an ideal "enlightened" state imposed on them. Personally I'm envious of their pad.

"Let The Right One In" is a winsome vampire movie. It has a subtlety, beauty and charm that you wouldn't expect from a horror film. Maybe it's not a horror film. Well worth seeing.

This post has too damned many quotation marks in it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm Always Famished In The Morning

Can I type and eat at the same time? I'm going to try.

A few minutes ago I made the mistake of re-reading my last few posts. Then I had to make myself another batch of chilaquiles. I've already had a bowl of oatmeal.

It's a virus. Pete just came in and declared that he has to make himself some too.

Now he's sitting next to me and talking like Julia Child.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toasted Onigiri

Rice balls! Broiled in the toaster oven with a glaze of soy sauce and miso. I am obsessed.


Based on the chilaquiles we used to get at The Golden Egg in Saxton's River before it closed.

Tortilla chips cooked in salsa with egg and cheese on top. I threw in some spinach too for ha ha's (or maybe to assuage my vegetable guilt). I think they're the best way to use up the really broken tortilla chips at the bottom of the bag.

Later today Michaela's coming over for gardening. For lunch we'll be having my new addiction, toasted onigiri.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Non-Traditional Korean Scallion-Free Pancake

Ah, leftovers. So many possibilities...

Tonight the fridge contained left over Indian rice and some somen noodles which I thought we should work on. I also had broccoli, zucchini and some Chinese cabbage (the one the looks like a pretty, green and white football, not bok choy) So naturally I thought "scallion pancake!"

No, I didn't have scallions. I don't especially like scallions. I like scallion pancakes though. I figured, why discriminate against other vegetables just because I don't have scallions?

So I sliced up some regular onion, pared down some broccoli florets, grated the zucchini, took out my bag of cabbage that I'd shredded two nights ago (for that night's soup - more left overs) and got out my handy dandy jar of kimchee.

I mixed up some Korean pancake batter (2 cups flour, 1.5 cups water, two eggs, one teaspoon salt - beat it all together) and sautéed the vegetables. Then I added the kimchee, the Indian rice and the somen. Pour some batter into the pan on top of the fillings, shake it around to distribute, cook and flip. I made three large pancakes. Easy!

Except the flipping part. I love pan-fliping things. It's risky but so satisfying when it works. It adds a little excitement too. I made these pancakes in my largest frying pan so they were too big to flip with a spatula.

For my first attempt at flipping I was too wimpy and merely folded the pancake in half like an omelette. Disappointing. I had to unfold the thing because if I didn't it would have become a thick, gobby mass of oily glue with slimy vegetables.

Pancake number two's flip got more muscle and flipped nicely. A few loose noodles and vegetables went flying all over the kitchen but Fay took care of that. (Thanks Fay!) Pancake number two is pictured above.

For the last pancake I tried to use a large plate for flipping. You know, you put the inverted plate on over the pancake in the pan then turn the whole mess over then slide the flipped pancake back into the pan? Utter failure. I don't know why but half the pancake didn't make it onto the plate. I salvaged it all (except for the section that Pete ate off the stove) and put it back in the pan.

The process was messy but tasty. We used a dipping sauce made of 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and a clove of minced garlic.

So there it is, mostly vegetables with a bit of egg for protein and I used up some of our leftovers. My favorite parts were the Indian rice for the unusual seasoning and the kimchee - just because I love kimchee.

And, of course, now we have exciting new leftovers!

Read 'Em And Weep

Yes, I found them all. Then I popped them all into my grocery cart.

Some of you may weep out of jealousy at my good fortune, others may weep for my terrible taste, that I would poison myself in such a way, or for the fact that I encouraged agribusiness and the industrial "food" machine.


Personally I think this Booberry would make a pretty necklace. I could also see this as a sweater. You know, kind of a tweedy thing. Mostly heathered purple with pink, blue and lavender colored blobs (maybe they're really called "slubs")

Booberry smells pretty good.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fay Really Is A Senior Citizen

Did you ever see that Simpsons episode where Bart goes to the doctor and is given greasy salve for his scalp, eyeglasses, orthopedic shoes and a throat spray? (It's episode 509 from season 5 where Homer loves Mindy) That's the kind of day Fay had yesterday.

I took her in to the vet because she had a goopy eye. She came out about an hour and a half later with three new eye medications, ear drops and antiseptic wipes. She's also just started to take three cranberry extract capsules a day and I'm supposed to get her a mouth rinse. This is in addition to the four other medications she's already on.

Some meds she gets three times a day, some twice, some once and one she gets every other day. This boils down to her needing attention every four hours except when she needs attention in two hours. It only took me one list, two rough drafts, a fistful of magic markers and a half an hour to figure out when to give what. The final working draft is pictured above. I may even make another once I've ironed out the best order in which to give everything.

You might think that she's a complete basket case but you'd be mistaken. She's using her legs better than ever (well, since her disease manifested). She can stand up and walk around for several minutes at a time. She's every bit as bossy, demanding, endearing and hungry as she's always been. She's pretty much fine, minus a bit of wear and tear.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Little Bit Country But Not Much Really

I just got an e-mail from proclaiming that this is what a gal should wear for a weekend in the country:
They are obviously smoking crack.
I take issue with the shoe choice.
Sure, you could wear those in the country under a few conditions:
  1. If you have someone to carry you everywhere
  2. If you're trying to meet a handsome country emergency room doctor
  3. Or of course if you hate the country and want to get out of hiking so you can spend your time in the inn lounge reading and having cocoa.
As much as I do love heels and manage to wear them out here in Vermont occasionally, I wouldn't make it up my front walk in this pair much less over the driveway to my car. Once I'd made it to my car I couldn't think of anywhere I could go where they'd be appropriate.

Maybe you could wear them somewhere classy and developed like Aspen or Telluride or something. I wonder if their height would impact the altitude affects you encounter in places like Telluride?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How To Torture Mel

This is a screenshot of the purlsoho swatches for Koigu Premium merino yarn. When you go to this page and roll over each little swatch it shows you a portrait of each colored skein of yarn.

Those bastards. I want them all.

To me each image of each skein is like a portrait of a child in a third world country who you could sponsor for a year. I know that means there's something wrong with me. It's a callous and horrible thing to say. But I'm not positive that all those photos of children are for real whereas this yarn is real for sure. If I had the money I could own them all and if I had the time I could make stuff with all of those beautiful skeins.

I love them all. Really - go to the page and rollover those beautiful grays. Each one is a revelation. Not to mention the brights and the purples (and lavenders and violets - though actually not a strong showing here) which I'm always a sucker for.

A couple of years ago I bought a skein of their Kersti merino crepe. I know I've mentioned it before. It was the first batch of Koigu I'd ever tried. There was only one skein left and it was the perfect color (or color range - it's not solid) for me, deep purple-berry colors. I know it's the only one and I'll never have enough of it to make a sweater. I just have one skein. I don't know if I could even make a pair of fingerless mitts from it. I love it so.

So, if you should go to any of those two pages I've linked to above and you happen to fall in love with a color (or color combo) that you truly love and there's only one skein left in that dye lot, well I can only apologize for putting you in that position. I don't know what's worse, having the beautiful skein and not knowing what to make from it or just not getting into that situation in the first place.

Of course, most people aren't insane about color the way I am.

Friday, October 2, 2009

No Drama

Last night I made us agedashi dofu for dinner. I really wish I had some now! I think katsuo-bushi (a.k.a. dried bonito flakes) would be harder to give up than bacon if I were to go hardcore vegetarian.

In other news I got my workout space back in our barn!

Last week I was able to go to Ikea and pick up some Ivar shelving. I LOVE those things. Instant, no drama storage. Most of the boxes from our move that we piled into my workout space were full of books and records. Pete took the records and I cranked on the books. Now I can get my blood flowing again!

In a way the whole house-selling, moving ordeal was easier than what I normally do. I didn't have to figure much out - it was pretty obvious what needed to be done. There was no wondering if what I was doing was going to fail or not (I know the way to the Goodwill drop off trailer). I didn't have to worry about if what I was doing was worthwhile. I just had to put my head down and get through it all.

Clearly though I need the mental challenges of art making. My brain works so much better when it's challenged. Even my failures feel more rewarding than filling up boxes and loading them on a truck does. Even if I can't explain the value of what I do each day to other people doing it still feels better to me than some things which are more obviously productive.