Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yoo-hoo, Something Good...

I am more than ready for something good to happen.

However, life isn't Santa Claus and if you want something good to happen you have to make it happen.  I don't know how to do that.

So I guess I'll just slog through the things I do know how to do and tackle some other things I don't know how to do until something adds up to something good.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Island Doesn't Want Me Back

I was so excited to get back up to Vermont.  The weather was perfect this week and I was going to spend it kicking ass in the garden.  Unfortunately I came down with a @#$%^&! cold.  I've felt so lousy and out-of-it that I've pretty much spent the last four days in bed.

It feels like I've been away from my life for nearly two months and I'm not allowed to get back to it yet.

Of course I could look at it that this is my life now.  Oy.

Today I worked up enough energy to make some soup which I'm pretty sure will cure me.  Here's the recipe:

Chicken Soup with Lemongrass and Dried Mushrooms

A generous handful of dried mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock
4 slices peeled fresh ginger
1 large lemongrass stalk, cut into 2" pieces and crushed (or 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest)
16 fresh kaffir lime leaves or the grated zest of 1 large lime
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 to 3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon red chili paste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 pound fresh white mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 small fresh green or red chilies, sliced crosswise, paper-thin
Fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves

  1. Rinse the dried mushrooms and remove their stems.  Place the mushrooms in a small bowl with enough hot water to cover them.  Soak them while you're prepping the other ingredients.  Take the mushrooms out of the water,  reserving the mushroom broth.  Slice mushrooms. 
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the stock, mushroom broth, ginger, lemongrasss and lime leaves or lime zest. Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Add the lime or lemon juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, dried mushrooms and chile paste. Mix well and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and simmer until tender 4 to 5 minutes, add the fresh mushrooms and simmer until tender, about 1 minute.
  4. To serve ladle soup into warmed bowls. Float the chili slices and cilantro leaves on top.
Serves 4 to 6.

I got this recipe somewhere.  I may even have blogged about it before - I don't remember.  I added the bits about the dried mushrooms - I'm addicted to them.  I've also never used kaffir lime leaves.  The markets I usually go to don't have them.  In fact, the best I could do with the lemongrass at our nearest grocery store (in Walpole, NH) was a tube of lemongrass purée.  It worked okay I guess.

The main thing is the combination of the chicken broth, citrus, sugar and spicy/garlicky chili paste.  I'm convinced that this combo is very healing for colds and flus.  I had some soup for lunch and for dinner and I'm feeling a lot better now.  Really.

I think I made it vegetarian once, with tofu and vegetable broth, and it was really good - even healing.  I wasn't sick then though.  Another variation is to add 28 oz. (2 cans) of unsweetened coconut milk at step 3.  That makes a good soup but I think it's too heavy to help with a cold/flu.

Oh man, that reminds me - I read a recipe for home made Nyquil ages ago and I've never tried it out.  I'm not gonna start now either - way too labor intensive for a sick person.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Pretty

So sad that I actually left the apartment looking like this.

I asked Pete to take this photo for the blog.  Now that I see it I'm sad that I looked like this in the apartment.  That is bad.

I had to go paint the gallery floor tonight and I didn't want to risk getting my normal clothes painty.

However, I don't think I was the worst dressed person on the T tonight.  Close, but maybe not the worst.

Do I have to buy cute looking crap clothes that I can wreck or can I just get over it?  We're not discussing the hair and face here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bye Bye Whip

The night before last I was out with Liz at The Haven in JP.  I was feeling pretty optimistic, possibly due to the great company, the fine Scottish beer I was drinking and the delicious Scottish food I was eating.  I was telling Liz how "interesting" I'm finding the grieving process.  Ain't I something?

Right after I put up the post below I got an e-mail letting me know that a friend of Pete's and mine has inoperable cancer.  Well that kicked my ass.

Let's just say that the whip's been put away and I won't be looking at it again for a while.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What To Do And Some Things I Did

I am usually a very disorganized thinker.  Most of the time I try to fight it with lists (lots of lists) and Brunhilde, my Franklin planner.  Due to the events of August I've been giving myself permission to kind of let it slide.

Since my return from California I've been to Vermont and back, paid the bills, written some thank you notes and set up my art show (which looks like it will be poorly attended due to hurricane Earl.  Oh well, Robert [my gallery mate] and I will just have to drink all the wine)

Not bad, but next to me sits a pile of other things I need to do.  There are people I need to call, emails I need to respond to, errands I have to run.  I've kind of shelved my new art project.  It's sitting up there, a bright colored, bulky tome on the eye-level shelf in my mind, but I haven't had the space to get to it.

Today all I want to do is stay in bed and read, knit and sleep.  But then that's all I ever want to do.

What I'm wondering is, is it time yet to start cracking the whip at myself again? You may already be aware that I'm prone to sloth.  This is what worries me.  Where does one draw the line between being kind to oneself and milking it?

Here are the socks I knit for my dad this summer.  I'm really glad I finished them in time for him to see them.  They're a little big for me.

I made them with Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn.  Dad lived in Japan for a few years in his twenties.  Japanese culture was an important part of his aesthetic.  Also, he introduced sushi to me and to almost everyone I know.  I thought it would be appropriate to use Japanese yarn.

After I finished Dad's socks I made some for my mom too.  Unfortunately I don't have a photo of them.  I made Mom's socks out of Socrates yarn in Wednesday Night Green.  That yarn is incredibly soft and fuzzy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jimmy Crap Corn

Look how crappy my corn is!  And see that lush, green backdrop?  That's a path!

My kind friend Michaela says that this year was too dry for corn (and snakes, more's the pity - I miss them)  I believe her.  I've seen some of my neighbors' corn and it isn't too pretty either.

This was the first time I've ever tried corn.  I think I'll take a break on it next year and grow something else.  The tomatoes are doing well.  It's also another out of control pear year.

Now I can procrastinate no longer.  Today I hang some work for an art show.  I'm daunted so I'm putting off getting started.  That will, of course, make everything worse.  I'll have to figure out a way to make me think this is fun.