Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I was a little shocked to realize that I'll be heading back to MN in just under a week. How did Xmas sneak up on me so? Accomplished: the beginning of Xmas shopping. To-be accomplished: the rest of Xmas shopping, the purchase/writing/sending of Xmas cards, the finding of my stocking somewhere in my piles of stuff. How did I lose my stocking? What is going on?
Last night, Hook and I strolled down to Murio's after dinner, dessert, and book shopping on Haight. As it so happens, yesterday was Murio's 50th anniversary party, complete with decorations, a buffet of fried things, and a DJ whose lineup included only 80s megahits. The bar was a little more crowded than usual (not much), but the relatively sparse crowd did not surprise me: it was, after all, Murio's.
I need to download Skype.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
1) Friday night, Hook and I went to La Trappe, a Belgian restaurant in North Beach. I was super excited about this meal, not only because I dig frites with multiple dipping sauces (wasabi mayo, anyone?), but also because I hella heart Belgian beer. The fries did not disappoint, nor did the Affligem blonde. Bonus: I ordered grilled veggies and polenta that were garnished with blood orange reduction, which was awesome.
2) Yesterday evening, after dinner with Suzy and Turtle, Hook and I completed three New York Times crossword puzzles in good time. One of these puzzles was a Wednesday. My helpfulness in the completion of these puzzles was aided greatly by my consumption of two-buck chuck and ginger candies.
3) This morning, H and I finally made it to Zazie, which is widely considered one of the better brunch locales in the city. Our trip there required some planning; during past weekends, we'd shown up around 10:30 only to be greeted by a redonkulous line. Today, we arrived at 9:50ish and were seated right away(!) The dining room was small but bright (via skylight); each table had homemade preserves and ketchup. As it turns out, Hook and I ordered the exact same breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, and one pancake - but not an ordinary pancake! Rather, a gingerbread pancake with lemon curd and a bosc pear wedge. Oh god: this was the most memorable carb-centered experience of my life. Those who know me know that I rarely finish a restaurant portion of anything, but today I ate that whole pancake. (Aside: the eggs were a tad underdone: so noticeably so that I did not eat them, although I did pepper and mash them to make it look like I'd taken some good bites.)
4) I finally started my Christmas shopping! This probably doesn't deserve an exclamation point, but I tossed one in there, anyway, because I'm typically an Xmas slacka. Self-affirmation is good.
The upcoming week will include my hunt for a gingerbread pancake recipe, my wearing of gloves (another weekend accomplishment: the purchase of gloves), and the beginning of the Xmas card writing process, maybe. First, I have to find cards...
Friday, November 27, 2009
Yes, that's right: Thanksgiving dishes were left in the sink until just now. An uncharacteristic move, yes, but I am suffering a new permutation of the Cold of Death and after yesterday's ueberfeast was unable to do anything but watch an On-demanded Sesame Street movie. Gosh.
Where were we? It has been an eventful, eventful month. Recalling Halloween, Ali and Kit visited for just the weekend. Friday, we dined at Ploy II Thai (the selfsame place where I ate my first SF dinner(!)) and then spent some quality time at Murio's and Hobson's Choice. (Aside: quality time is rare at Murio's - much of the time I've spent there feels idle, but there have been a few enjoyable trips.) Stumbling up the stairs, we tore into the Jack-O-Lantern-shaped loaf from Boudin, then fell into bed. Saturday was bagels, Bank of America, a random mosey into the Lower Haight, and then a trip to Chinatown. I love Chinatown, though every time I've gone I feel I've gotten lost: that I can't quite make my way out. Perhaps that's part of its appeal? Picked up an adorable pandapple aluminum water bottle and a panda pile for Hook, mused over area bakeries. Ali, in an attempt to sate my unending sweet tooth, pointed out a seeming bakery called "Paradise of Heaven," only to discover that it was actually a butcher shop, flanks and sides and heads all laid out in a case of green plastic garnish.
Sunday was brunch with my housemates, a mess of French toast and jars of jam all laid out on a lazy-Susan. We drank mimosas in the living/dining room, sat on hard-backed chairs and made the most polite of conversations. Then, afterward, we went to the Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf. Sampled blood orange olive oil and truffle salt (oh.my.god.) and Ali bought a tote bag, as is her way, and Fisherman's Wharf was exactly as it always was. We had a terrible mediocre dinner at Wipeout!, then fro-yo with piles of stale gummi candy while we sat at a table gooey with melt. By the time we reached the water it was dark out, but we could hear the sea lions barking, and we could smell them.
The next weekend, Hook and I attended Jaime and Matthew's wedding(!) A belated congratulations to J & M(!!!) I hadn't been to St. Louis since...2005? Or maybe late-late 2004: the precise date is anyone's guess. At any rate, I was excited to see which of my memories held true, and which were mostly fabrications. I was able to recognize several streets, several shops (though some of the restaurants I'd once used as landmarks have since closed), and, of course, Kopperman's. (!!!! for Kopperman's.) Got a volume of Vonnegut at Left Bank Books and felt odd in the unseasonable 70 degrees, wearing a sleeveless dress in the true autumn.
I'd been looking forward to Thanksgiving for some time, this excitement owing to the prospect of cooking a large, butter-laden meal according to the old traditional recipes. Ah, butter! Only a few times a year do I enjoy you in such a carefree manner! H and I teamed up with Sabina and Thomas to host dinner: the event proper was at Sabina's, but H and I cooked a turkey (complete with a stuffing of aromatic veggies and a spice rub), stuffing (mom's recipe), two types of cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and gravy. The pie didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped: the filling didn't totally set - this, I think, a result of my cooking two pies at once (and perhaps for too short a time? by five minutes or so?). But it was tasty and, as one guest remarked, not unlike a pumpkin shake. The stuffing was so similar to my mom's, despite my use of only half the butter called for in the recipe. (Aside: the original recipe calls for two sticks of butter per recipe of stuffing. WHAT??? So I subbed in some low-sodium chix broth.) In all, a memorable meal, sipping malbec and musing over who might win this season's Top Chef, then retiring to the sofas for some post-indulgence TV.
That's mostly to the present, sort-of. There are other tidbits, of course. I got short bangs cut after seeing "An Education" and being uebersmitten with Carey Mulligan's hairdo. I registered for my first 5K, which will take place in two weeks. (Eeek.) I am now suffering the worst cold of my lyfe and am chugging diet Canada Dry like it's my job, and thank god it's a long weekend. I'd otherwise be so toast.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
1) Friday, the Blue Velvet party went [mostly] as planned. Hook made the cupcakes (delicious!), and instead of watching the movie, we had homemade egg rolls. Later, I picked up H's guitar and played the few things I remembered from when I took lessons, these being three chords + the pentatonic scales. But Hook found the tab for Bach's Bourree in E Minor, which I'm going to learn & which will be my formal reintroduction to guitar playing(!)
2) We finally made it to the MOMA, where we saw the Avedon exhibit, as well as this. The P_Wall reminded us both of Joe Page's work, though Page is way, way better.
3) Last night we went for the first time to the Roller Derby! Our initial lack of comprehension of the rules did not damper our enthusiasm for the sparkly pseudoviolence that transpired. Highlights included the $5 beer + shot value combo (holla for value) and the Rocketdog booth where one could sign up to foster (adorable) homeless dogs. And the derby, of course.
This morning had the chilliness of a real fall morning. I'm going to hold off on using my heater until the temperatures drop further.
Monday, October 19, 2009
What detracted from this pleasant day, you might wonder? PARKING TICKETS. I just paid $199 in parking fines and I am not pleased about it. This beer is helping, but not enough. Oh, San Francisco, I love everything about you but your pigeons and your redonkulously-strict parking regulations!
Major plus and major spoiler alert for those living in this metro area who will be hanging out with us this weekend (i.e., Drew): Hook is going to throw a Blue Velvet party at which we will watch "Blue Velvet," eat blue velvet cupcakes, and drink PBR. Win(!!!).
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I did suffer - and indeed, am still suffering - a bout of guilt: that is, I felt slightly frivolous buying this phone. After all, it's doubtful that I actually need internet access at all times. But the iPhone is a beautiful object. Also, I get lost a lot, so the maps will help me. Also, the joy I felt yesterday sending texts was equal to the joy I felt when I sent my first-ever text message - and I haven't felt that way in a long time.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
BUT THEN. Oh, but then I called the district center to inquire after the paycheck I should have received last week (but didn't). The payroll person claims not to have received my time card, which I most certainly faxed on time! Not only did I fax this documentation on time, but I called the payroll coordinator to make sure the fax had gone through - and it had. Oy! So I will be getting paid sometime in the indeterminate future.
Still more shit hit the fan when my phone broke - the display just...went blank. Water damage, I think, from today's helladeluge. I called Verizon, only to discover that I can't buy a new phone without extending my mom's family-plan contract. (Aside: I am not allowed to extend this contract because my mom hates hates hates Verizon.) Verdict: I must keep this phone until February, when the contract expires.
Things are looking up, though. For one thing, I changed out of my wet clothes when I got home (again: DOI). My phone's display is better, I think, though I'm currently letting the phone and battery dry separately. And I'm going to buy a raincoat and rain boots online tonight: EMS is having a sale, y'all! And Target has a hella good selection of boots. There's not much that online shopping can't fix. Furthermore, I got not one but TWO letters in the mail, plus The Miracle of Mindfulness (which I'd recently ordered on Amazon). Score! The rain - at least, as it appears from my window - seems to be subsiding. I have some Mothership Wit in the fridge. Breathe. Repeat.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Had the day off on account of Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day. Woke up at eight, made breakfast, had some coffee, hung the rest of my clothes in my closet. Met Hook for lunch and ate a chocolate croissant on the walk home. That croissant, though delicious, may have been a terrible idea: I'm not sure I'll be hungry for dinner. Oooops. I'm reading The Rules of Attraction and I alternate between semi-enjoying and loathing it. I don't so much dig multiple narrators, though I think the strategy works well here. (Aside: none of the narrators is vibrant enough to carry an entire novel-length narrative, don't you think?) Applied to a few editorial jobs: keep your fingers crossed.
Good news: Hook and I joined a gym! Bad news: the gym is far away (18th and Geary), so we might not go very often. Or ever. Just kidding: we will totally go. Good news: Pilates classes are included in the cost of the membership. Bad news: those classes are held when I'm at work.
I wish the sun would come out, but it's a bit late in the afternoon for that. Siiigh! Haven't given up hope yet, though - the weather here is krazy.
Tonight will bring the viewing of multiple "Office" episodes and an early bedtime. I'm so stoked.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
On the plus side, my room is almost fully furnished, and Hook and I split a "princess" cake at the IKEA cafe. The princess cake was like a Swedish Twinkie.
Hook and I were just discussing the time, way back when, when texting hadn't yet become an integral part of one's daily life. At the present time, I can't imagine a day without texting - it just sounds impossible, doesn't it? Yessssssss. And yet, there was a time (2005) when friends of ours did not have text plans. That's all. That's what I'm thinking about. I shouldn't be as flabbergasted as I am, but only about 10% of my brain is working right now.
Now I'm going to On-demand this week's "Top Chef" and drink at least two more cups of tea. Good evening to you.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This is all.
Friday, October 9, 2009
On the plus, we made banana chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Eating these, I felt momentarily better. Perhaps by this logic I should eat pancakes constantly until my flulike symptoms cease? Or until I explode? Which would precede the other? God, I need Day Quil, but I'm too tired and lazy and unshowered to move.
In other news, this weekend is the big IKEA trip/the final stage of my move to my new apartment(!) Most of my stuff is over there now (minus a bunch of clothes, my printer, and an adorable IKEA globe lamp), but I still need a few key pieces of furniture and a down comforter before I can call the place my own. I'm a bit concerned about what my new roommates think; I mean, I'll show up for a few hours, leave for a few days, show up for a few hours... I have no food in the fridge, toilet items on the bathroom shelf. Soon, though, it's gonna change. I can feel it.
And there is this: I have a Halloween costume planned. Sabina is lending me her slutty 1950s gal getup (shortshort poodle skirt, midriff sweater, neckerchief); Hook is going to wear a short-sleeved, collared shirt and a skinny tie. We'll be like, the NASA engineer + the NASA engineer's sexy wife, or something. Details to be ironed out.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
As tends to happen when I'm packing/unpacking, I got distracted and managed to look through an entire scrapbook whose contents date from September 2002 - May 2007. Oh, holy nostalgiafest. It's difficult for me to fathom my own prior meticulousness re: saving and chronologically-ordering scraps, stubs, and emails; in some ways, I wish I still saved everything, though I'm not sure I would now make the time for such preservationist activities. Reading through five years' of emails was lovely and difficult: I was reminded of how giddy I once was, irrational and rash. Striking, how these years-old messages shed light on current relationships.
Time now to make dinner, something quick. Sauteed swiss chard (sans sweet potatoes) and pasta with sauteed chicken and zucchini. And a Hoegaarden, for good measure. Why not? It's Tuesday.
Monday, October 5, 2009
2) One should not chew nicotine gum as though it were regular gum.
3) Getting a full night's sleep really improves one's energy level/general outlook.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
1) Saturday afternoon, I accompanied Drew and Chad to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, where we caught the end of the Old 97's set and a good portion of Gillian Welch's. (Aside: I think there should be an additional apostrophe after the 's' in 'Old 97's,' but since I'm not sure I'm going to omit it. And for this you may criticize me.) I was really impressed by the festival, as comparatively little of it as I saw - the lineup was solid, the crowd was wicked diverse (= a gathering of young hippies, yuppie parents struggling to weave jogging strollers through the masses, random middle-aged couples smoking from odd little pipes, bromancing frat guys: you name it), and the signage was more than adequate. We drank Olde English and Jaeger and squinted against the dust clouds being raised by the crowd's shuffle, and it was good.
2) Miike Snow. Holy god, this was the best show I've seen in like, five years. Following the festival and appropriate afterpartylike activities, we headed to Bottom of the Hill to see Loquat/Jack Penate/Miike Snow. Loquat (whose work I'd never previously heard) was kind of so-so: reminiscent of the Cardigans but not as good (at least, this was the judgment I made as I listened to their set from the courtyard). Jack Penate's songs were dancy and filled with lovely harmonies/awesome tambourine action. And Miike Snow was better than even I'd predicted: they opened with 'Silvia' and the crowd went nuts, and stayed nuts through the set. I've never seen a crowd so engaged; the word I used yesterday - maudlin, and perhaps too-strongly influenced by all those Stoli Raz & sodas, but I'll mention it nonetheless - was breathtaking. I stand by that description: I haven't felt so giddy at a concert since I was 19. Was a bit disappointed that they didn't play 'A Horse is Not a Home,' but as Drew so aptly noted, the slow songs really seemed to grab the ladies' attention. Well & good.
3) Hook and I found out that we were the winners of the RecipeHacking pizza competition(!) It feels good to win something, even something in which our participation was remote [geographically]. I'm excited to see what the next challenge will be.
4) This isn't really a highlight (lowlight, perhaps?), but I made a big Target trip today and dragged Drew along for moral support/driving guidance. (Aside: those of you who know me know that I'm a solid driver under normal circumstances, but there are no normal circumstances in California. Therefore, whenever I take my car out, I enlist the help of Hook or Drew so that I don't literally crash & burn.) The trip was mostly successful; that is, I got 85% of the stuff on my list and avoided [was steered away from] the Halloween candy aisle. But, the drive back into the city took an ass long time, and finding a parking spot took one hour. This is not an exaggeration: this is the god's honest truth. Now you know why I'm trying to sell my car.
This week, I'll finish moving into my new place, look for a part-time job, continue working toward my reading goal, and cook some fall dishes (acorn squash, I'm looking at you). I've finally gotten out of my penpallery rut, so check your mailboxes soon(!)
Finally, I've just eaten an obscene amount of granola. Obscene!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Today was field trip day for the fourth graders. The destination? Day one of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival(!) If you think that taking 20 rowdy nine-year-olds to a festival sounds like a crazy idea - well, you're right. Kids were running and screaming and tearing their sandwiches to pieces and throwing these pieces in the air, and it was altogether a great time. MC Hammer played, and the class (though most of them had little to no idea who he was) went nuts. S. (the student teacher) and I milled and chatted and tried to prevent kids from running into the "woods." When we returned to school, the class had recess, free reading time, and more recess.
When I was in elementary school, we did not take cool field trips. Once, we went to the wastewater processing plant, but that's all I remember.
Day one of the move went well, though I have to buy a bunch of stuff (mattress pad, bookshelf, dowel for the closet, cushions for the mission chair) to make my room fully livable. I'm excited, though - I'm going to have a reading/plant nook!
On which note: time to kill that anthology.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I don't know if my new place has a coffeemaker, but this will be one of the first things I find out.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Part of Ici's appeal, I think, beyond the outstanding quality of the product, is the establishment's presentation. Flawlessly neat, with white-tiled walls and the daily ice-cream flavors displayed (individually) in ribbon-strung picture frames, the shop is quaint and precious (in a good way: only in a good way) without being overwhelmingly so. It felt like a confectionery should: dainty and neat and a little bit frilly.
But enough about that: major discovery: I like salmon(!) Here's how the revelation came about: H and I went to dinner at Adam and Jen's last night, and they prepared salmon as a main course. Never a rude dinner guest, I told them that I love salmon though I did harbor a secret fear about eating such a large fillet. Well, folks: success. I discovered that salmon tastes good, that I do not (as previously thought) dislike it. What's next? Oysters?
I'm kidding! I will hate oysters forever!
*Sebastian Joe's in Minneapolis and Herrell's in Northampton, MA give Ici a run for its money (esp. S.J.'s), but in a throwdown, I'm confident that Ici would blow both out of the water.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1) Saturday, I went to visit my new apartmentmates/discuss house policies/write a check for my first/last months' rent + security deposit. My new apartmentmates all seem chill - a good balance of personable and reserved - and everyone is environmentally-conscious and tidy. So that's good. Even better? My rent is actually $280 less per month than I was initially told. What? Here's the scoop: the rent listed in the craigslist ad was not the real value (which, if posted, might have elicited responses far too numerous to even be considered). The apartment is rent-controlled, and M. (one of the housemates) has been living there for 15-odd years, so...yes. I was ecstatic to make this discovery.
2) More apartment-related joys: my room is partially furnished, and the lease is month-to-month(!)
3) Also on Saturday, H and I walked to the ocean. I didn't walk down on the beach, not wanting to get sand in my shoes, but bonfire plans are in the making. BONFIRE!
4) Finally saw "Away We Go," which I found alternately grating and kinda amusing. Let it be said that Jon Krasinski is cute but a terrible actor, and that Maya Rudolph is cute and a better actress. Let it also be said that I went into this movie-viewing experience with small hopes, knowing that this movie might be a total let-down but not wanting this to be so. Pros: the soundtrack, the scene in which the plane moves across the face of a mirrored skyscraper, and Maggie Gyllenhaal as a Madison hippie (love!). Cons: the sermonlike/stilted/otherwise awkward dialogue, John Krasinski's total inability to play a character other than John Krasinski, Rudolph's character's (already forgot her name) staunch opposition to Marriage in General (which came across as insincere). I don't know: this movie wasn't terrible, but I expected more from Eggers and Mendes. Did we really need to be deposited at the [very literal] doorsteps of various families/couples to observe and critique their interaction styles? Frankly, I didn't see the point, which leads to my biggest con: where was the conflict? Ostensibly, the main couples' primary obstacle was finding the perfect home while coping with uncertainty (gah), but really? Is that it?
I don't know: maybe I'm used to more problems - or more pressing ones - but this narrative just felt like a big pile of wishy-washy and rigidly-controlled zaniness.
5) Sunday was the Heart of Cole Festival, a street fair celebrating Cole Valley/local artists/residents of this area/and so forth. We went for a bit in the early afternoon to look at the antique cars and the vendors' booths. Lots of adorable screen-printed tees and totes, semi-precious jewelry. H got a sausage and I got a chocolate croissant, and the sun was out, and I couldn't think of any way that the afternoon could be better.
6) OK, so this isn't about the weekend, but tonight is a (mini) dinner party and the Jonathan Richman show. Here's to midweek festivities! (Read also: Isn't My Life Enviable?)
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
First, the dough. I'd never made pizza dough from scratch before and was indeed a bit intimidated about the prospect - but, as it turns out, this fear was unfounded. The recipe I used is really quite simple:
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white sugar
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Cover with your favorite sauce and toppings and bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
We made a few amendments to this recipe - I let the dough rise for an hour (or just over), having consulted with my mom (a pizza making veteran), who correctly advised that half an hour isn't a long enough rising time. Also, we baked the pizza at 400 degrees, but that's putting the cart before the horse...
Rather than using a tomato-based sauce, we made a fig pesto. H followed Epicurious' classic pesto recipe and added five fresh mission figs, chopped coarsely.
Classic Pesto Recipe @ Epicurious Ingredients
4 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 3 large bunches)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Combine first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add both cheeses and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl.
While H made the pesto, I rolled out the dough and placed it on a greased pan. We then topped the dough with the pesto, chevre (about 5 oz.), crumbled feta (1/3 cup or so), sliced white mushrooms, sliced figs (three), a chicken breast that had been sauteed in olive oil with black pepper and rosemary and then chopped, and a wee bit of grated Parmesan. The pizza baked for 22 minutes at 400; the crust was lightly browned and perfectly chewy, and the cheese melted evenly. This was total pizza heaven and a great way of using fresh figs.
One small note: in case you're wondering, the other half of the pizza was a traditional Margherita, made with one heirloom and one Roma tomato. Why make a split pizza, you ask? Having just whipped up the fig pesto idea (and not knowing if the flavors of that pizza would complement one another), we wanted to have a backup pizza in case the experimental one totally sucked. Which it did not, but, you know: precautions.
On that note, make some fig pesto this weekend! You will be filled with so much joy.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
1) This weekend was the annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival. Did I plan my weekend around this event? Um, yes. Initially, H and I had planned to go only Saturday, but as it so happened we could not manage to eat fifteen chocolate samples in one afternoon and so we also attended on Sunday. (Aside: I was surprised by my inability to eat fifteen samples in one go. For one, chocolate is one of my favorite foodstuffs, and for another, I've been known to consume prodigious quantities, of chocolate & otherwise.) Without meaning to sound like a betch, I'm not fond of Ghirardelli - it's like a less waxy Hershey's with sliiiightly better packaging - but fortunately, the festival included tons of booths from local vendors. Here's a comprehensive list of what we sampled/who provided it:
- Ganache truffles (Ana Mandara)
- Chocolate martinis (Boomerang Vodka)
- Chocolate Hazelnut gelato (Ciao Bella Gelato)
- Chocolate stuffed marshmallows (Gued Fued)
- Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting (Kara's Cupcakes)
- Brownie bites (Sugar Bowl Bakery)
- Raspberry Rooibos-infused dark chocolate (The Tea Room Chocolates)
- Double chocolate pancakes and vanilla pancakes with chocolate butter (Bo's Best Pancakes)
- Chocolate-dipped pumpkin marshmallows (Pete's Gourmet Confections)
- An unknown gelato made of whole milk, sugar, and chocolate nibs (Gelateria Naia)
- Chocolate malts (Lori's Diner)
- A host of inferior Ghirardelli products
Of the abovementioned items, my favorites were the cupcake and the tea-infused chocolate bar. The cupcake was moist and the frosting was buttery and pure. (I'm salivating just recalling it.) Least-favorites included the martini, which was watery, and the chocolate-dipped pumpkin marshmallow, which was just too sweet - even for my forgiving tastes. Needless to say, I'll be returning to the festival next year.
2) Just before hitting up the festival, we got brunch at the Pork Store. I'd heard a lot about this diner (all good, minus the extravagant wait on weekends) and am a fan of greasy breakfast grub, and I approached the counter with reverence and raised expectations. Were I to rate the dining experience using the letter grading system, I'd give it a B. The food: pretty tasty - I ordered the "Eggs in a Tasty Nest," two eggs scrambled with assorted veggies on a bed of hash browns, accompanied by toast. The browns were as I like them (crispy), the eggs were eggs, but the veggies were super greasy - the tomatoes (which probably don't belong in scramblers in the first place due to their high water content) were sodden, and the other vegetables were just loaded with oil. The atmosphere: meh. The dining room wasn't as crowded as I expected it to be, our waitress was moderately surly (forgivably so), but the restaurant was ueber-humid and I left with frizzy hair and smelling of bacon. Sexxxy. I'll probably go back, but I sure as hell won't wait for an hour.
3) Tomorrow, H and I are going to prepare a pizza for entry in the latest RecipeHacking challenge. The basic premise of the group is to rework common recipes in a manner that makes them healthier and using sustainable/eco-friendly(-ier) ingredients. This month's challenge is pizza, and we have an awesome idea: rather than using a tomato-based sauce (or creating a white pie), we're going to make a fig pesto. Yum. Toppings: chevre, mushrooms, finely-diced dried apricots, and possibly roasted garlic. And anything else that strikes our fancy. There is the chance that this recipe could totally bomb (and we're having company), in which case: takeout. There's always takeout.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
1) I drove 1,983 miles in three days, stopping over in Loveland, CO and Winnemucca, NV. The next time I attempt such a drive (or anything approximating it), somebody stop me. I'd never driven through the west and it is beautiful - Utah, especially, bleached and treed - but long. So very long. To amuse myself during the trip, I listened to the big stack of mix CDs Ali burned for me, listened to Dave Sedaris reading his own work, and thought of amusing potential resumes for various musical artists whose songs popped up in my shuffle.
Winnemucca was marginally sketchy; my hotel was attached to a casino, as were all the hotels in that town, and it was strange to see people gambling at 9:00 on a Sunday morning. The casino itself isn't what made me uneasy about the hotel, rather, the fact that I found 1) a yellow peanut M&M just under my bed and 2) a HAIR on my bedside table. Unsanitary! Naturally, my fear of potentially-unwashed hotel linens prevented me from having a good night's sleep/enjoying my shower the next day.
2) So far this week, I've had two actual job interviews, one interview that I canceled, and one interview that canceled on me. I've been offered two jobs, both of which I'll have to turn down because they aren't practical - but I'm off to a good start. (!)
3) I love the fog, the disproportionate number of Bernese Mountain dogs, and the preponderance of neon-hued leggings and Ray Bans here. Also, I ate the best burrito of my life.
4) Wrapped in an oversized hoodie, shivering into the night breeze, I smoked a cigarette on the fire escape. I feel solid about my plans.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup light olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Toss together strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar. Using a potato masher, lightly mash berries; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a glass 2-quart measuring cup or a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla; whisk to combine.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk mixture and the berry mixture (with juice). Fold just until combined. Using an ice cream scoop, divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with remaining sugar.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
The cleanup was not hilarious, but I survived.
Finally it is sinking in that I'm leaving Western Mass, and I am going to miss a lot of people and places. People, you know who you are, and you best come visit me in Wisconsin. I will bake you pies and take you out for boots of beer. Among the places I'll miss most are the bike path (Norwottuck Rail Trail), the Smith Gardens, Forbes Library (where I spent many an hour editing the old thesis), and the Hangar, which serves the best boneless wings in the country. I'm not joking about that: I do not joke about chicken wings.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
What a week! What a weekend! Highlights (chronologically, not in order of importance):
1) Thursday, Ali and I made an awesome batch of blueberry muffins. Alright: I did the prep, baking, and cleanup, but Ali kept me company and later taught me the basics of needlepoint, so we're even. I'd be remiss if I didn't include the recipe for said wundermuffins:
Blueberry Oat Muffins
(Yield: 18 muffins)
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups fat-free or low-fat buttermilk
- 1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp. grated orange zest
- 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
- Combine oats and buttermilk in mixing bowl. Cover; let stand 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray or use pleated paper liners.
- Combine buttermilk mixture, flour, sugar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs and orange zest in second mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Fold in blueberries and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling them 3/4 full.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on wire rack to cool.
Not only were the muffins ueber-easy to prepare (I grated orange zest and measured the other ingredients while the oats and buttermilk sat, undisturbed), but they're healthy, too - 130 calories each without the nuts, about 155 with. They are also unstoppably delicious.
2) Also on Thursday, I began my first ever cross stitch project: a small hamburger! I only have a few rows of stitching thus far - packing has sort of taken over my life - but I think I can finish the project by the end of the week. Maybe.
3) This weekend, Cecily and Chris got married. The ceremony, held in an orchard at Quonquont Farm, was simple and beautiful. Congratulations, C & C!
4) Today I started a RunningAHEAD account so I can track my runs (and bike rides). I was hesitant to open an account before, mainly because I was running like, 1.5 miles and felt (perhaps inaccurately?) wusstastic. But today I overcame this mental block and joined the site. My name is Garky. If any of you all are on the site, friend me! (If that is an option.)
A small, mid-year goal of mine is to update more frequently, rather than having these giant, dump-truck posts. But when there's so much happening, it's difficult to find the time, yes? Excuses!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Relatedly: red velvet cupcakes. Maybe I will bake some.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
Beets With Garlic-Walnut Sauce Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
2 pounds red beets, about 4 large, trimmed of greens
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash beets well. While still wet, wrap them individually in foil and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan. Bake beets, undisturbed, for 60 to 90 minutes, until a thin-bladed knife pierces each with little resistance. (They may cook at different rates; remove each one when it is done.)
2. Meanwhile, put oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. When it is warm, add garlic and cook until fragrant and beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add walnuts and continue to cook until they begin to color, about another 4 minutes. Let mixture cool slightly and then put it in a small food processor; process until you have a relatively smooth paste. Add orange juice to taste and sprinkle with salt and lots of pepper.
3. After beets have cooled, peel off skins. Slice beets into wedges or cubes and toss with dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning, garnish with parsley and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.***
I'm going to make the salad this afternoon, for a cocktail party this evening. I hope it goes well - for my sake & the sake of others in attendance! I don't foresee myself messing this up, though.
Sad news: the balance pods I ordered (on 5/30) won't be shipped until August. My mailing address is going to change twice before these li'l guys (conceivably) arrive. WTF, Spri? I understand that the pods' promotion in Self caused a glut of orders, but August? Really? Guess I'll stick with crunches until then...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Lately I've been eating a lot (a lot) of Swiss chard, either with sweet potatoes and onions or just sauteed in broth. I'm not sick of it, per se, but I feel that I should branch out to other leafy greens: Collard greens, Kale, and the like. Which leads me to the topic of beets.
As a kid, I hated the cold beet soup my mom made during the summer. It was the same shade as Pepto-Bismol and made the whole fridge smell like hard cooked eggs. Summers of Borscht fostered my early, negative association with beets, which lingered until approximately April, 2005, when I tried (and loved) pickled beets. Beyond the pickled variety, though, I know nothing about this richly-hued veggie - a knowledge void I would like to fill.
Yesterday afternoon, while bumming around the grocery store (I had to stay out of the apartment while it was being shown to a prospective renter), I almost bought a bunch of beets. "Hey," I thought, "I can eat the greens per usual, and..." And what? Roast the beets proper? I chickened out, not having a recipe in mind (and also remembering the bunch of chard I already had in the fridge). Consider this a call for beet recipes: how do you all eat your beats? Baked in the oven? Sauteed? And how do you prefer the greens? I'm going to sniff out some recipes and will report back with my results.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
It's been a busy few weeks around these parts of town. May 22nd was graduation, and my whole family came out for the affair. I was glad for the parental support, indifferent though I was about the ceremony. Not indifferent about the degree, mind you, just not psyched about sitting in an overheated auditorium for over three hours, hearing lists and lists of names read. Never mind that I was dehydrated & mysteriously sleep deprived & sitting by complete strangers. Phew! I am glad that I walked; lots of grad students don't, and I think that, unremarkable though the event proper was, I would've been sad if I'd passed on the opportunity. As is the case with so many missed opportunities.
I've been working at the Target food court ("Food Ave") for the past six weeks, which has fortified my character in a number of ways. It is true that I could have loafed for the month of June - I'd saved enough money for bills and minor recreation - but I wanted to earn a bit of extra cash for the move and to create a time commitment to help me structure my remaining days here. I don't know about you, but I accomplish more when I have more to do. I'm thinking back to my first summer in Northampton, when I worked approximately ten hours a week (if that) and managed to get nothing done. When I have more on my plate, I'm more conscious of time and how I spend it. The strategy has worked, so far; I've been steadily applying to jobs in Madison, researching Dietetics grad programs, reading, reading, running. I have yet to start my first needlepoint project, but that's next.
A cloudy day, birdcalls and street sounds seeming far off.
Chocolate lovers, and lovers of anything sweet: you must try Dagoba's blueberry lavender chocolate. It is the best thing ever, and by this, I mean ever. I'm pretty excited to try their mint bar (also flavored with rosemary), but not much compares to lavender infusions.
Friday, May 15, 2009
(from Janet Kauffman's The Easter We Lived in Detroit)
Sometimes, the stories, and the shadows of stories, assumed their own shapes and lay like giants, almost close enough to touch. If Joe stayed out all night, that would be news, too, a turn of events, connected with other events elsewhere, entwined, like the soft, continuous organs of living things, warm for a long while even out of the body, collected in bowls.
(from Janet Kauffman's News)