Saturday, January 30, 2010

Yesterday was the day of harassment.

Yes. So, yesterday was evidently The Day During Which Strangers Harass Kate; there were two separate instances of harassment. The first took place at a delicatessen: I had a paid holiday and met Hook downtown for lunch. We went to a deli near his office (this deli did not have great salads, but Hook liked his sandwich well enough and so that was good) and while I was at the register, paying for my salad and Baked Lays, a man slid a can of diet Sunkist orange up beside my food and said to the cashier, "Oh, we're together." In my mind I was all like, 'Dude WTF?' but then thought, 'OK, I can pay for this dude's can of soda I guess, it's a can of soda,' but before the cashier really had time to respond the dude smiled at me and said, "Gotcha." Elbowed me, retrieved his can of soda, and waited to pay. Mortified, I left the register without even taking my receipt and joined Hook at our table.

The second incident took place on the bus. I'd done a bit of shopping and was going to walk home but a drizzle started and then became a rainfall, hence the bus trip. When I boarded, I took a window seat; at the next stop, a man sat in the seat beside me. I didn't have my iPod at the time and so was fiddling with my phone, texting my sis, when the man beside me put his hand over mine and kind of jokingly tried to knock free the phone. No conversation, here: just the man half-slapping my hand, the phone. The man in the bank of seats directly across from me gave an alarmed look, which I returned. I couldn't tell if the man beside me was 1) trying, in some ass-backward way, trying to flirt with me; or 2) a legit psycho, so I said nothing. I kept texting. The man beside me leaned over and read all of my texts (none of which made mention of him), and then got off the bus three stops after he'd boarded.

These incidents left me profoundly unsettled: who are these brazen men, and why did they approach me from nowhere, on the same day?

I am glad to report that today has been a harassment-free day.


In more upbeat, sugar-related news, I am burning this soy-based, birthday-cake-scented candle, and it is just so excellent. My room smells like a beautiful cake! Speaking of baking, tonight is slated to be a snickerdoodle bake-a-thon, once I get to the store to pick up some cream of tartar.


Just finished reading "Brief Interviews With Hideous Men," which renewed my faith in contemporary fiction. Which statement may sound like an overstatement, but trust me, it is not.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I like rice.

One useful habit I developed in grad school, aside from my jaw-dropping time management skillz & my ability to wrangle any sentence, is the ability to find a use for leftover food. Having had on hand too much milk and not wanting that milk to go bad, I spent part of the evening making rice pudding. Some people think rice pudding is for geriatrics, but some people don't know what they're missing: rice pudding is the shit! Normally, I make the oven-baked variety, but I have no idea where my covered casserole dishes are & I wasn't sure if my Pyrex bowl is oven-safe. Therefore, I used the following recipe, taken from


• 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) of whole milk
• 1/3 cup (66 grams) of uncooked short grain white rice
• Pinch of salt
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup (50 grams) dark brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1/3 cup (40 grams) raisins


1) In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, rice and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg and brown sugar until well mixed. Add a half cup of the hot rice mixture to the egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, vigorously whisking to incorporate.

3) Add egg mixture back into the saucepan of rice and milk and stir, on low heat, for 10 minutes or so, until thickened. Be careful not to have the mixture come to a boil at this point. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from heat and stir in the raisins and cinnamon.

Serve warm or cold.
Serves 2-3.


On the whole, my pudding turned out pretty well (3.8 stars out of 5). I used skim milk because that's what was in the fridge, but this substitution compromised the pudding's texture; I also didn't add raisins because 1) I don't like them, and 2) I didn't have any in the cupboard, anyway. Had I used whole milk, this dish would have been perfect.

One other note: the yield also seems off to me. I'd say this recipe made at least four, if not five, servings - or two to three extra-large portions.

Sign it!

This, if you haven't seen it, is Jamie Oliver's proposed Food Revolution, a plan to redefine the typical school lunch. Working in a school, I have firsthand knowledge of what gets served in the cafeteria, and it ain't pretty. This isn't the fault of the individual school, mind you - Ellen, our cafeteria manager extraordinaire, does a great job with the resources she's given - but of the district. Of our country's way of thinking about school lunch. The entrees offered are prepared at a central location, distributed (in insulated bags of the sort used by delivery people) to district schools, and served hours after their initial preparation; roughly a third of the students don't even peel back the cellophane from their nuked main dishes - and can you blame them? Today's main course was some sort of pasta/chicken/zucchini casserole that was intermixed with a soggy breadcrumb paste. Mmmmmm.

Not trying to rant, here - just check out the Food Revolution & hope for a day when school lunch is made in the school kitchen(!)
Also, bookmark this shit.


A small rant: fuck those people who ignore the 30-minute time limit for the cardio equipment at the gym. Fuck them! I'll be the first to admit that the Richmond District Y does not have the greatest selection of ellipticals, that it can indeed be tempting to consider (at the end of one 30-minute stretch) hastily resetting one's machine & thereby clearing the elapsed time field, leaving no one the wiser to one's overuse of said machine. It can be tempting, yes, but I am not an asshole; once I've done my half hour on a machine, I'll move to a different type of machine (i.e., bike, treadmill, rowing machine) and if after that stretch of cardio I still feel the need to elliptical, I'll spend more time on the elliptical. OK. I won't, however, just spend a damn hour on one machine. Yes, chubby blond lady wearing a blood drive tee, this post is directed to you. It is directed to you and to anyone else who horqs the machines at my Y. Here's what I say: if you want to work out like a non-asshole, join a gym. If you want to dominate a single machine, just buy that machine for home use. The end.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Refrain: thank god for 3-day weekends.

For games night yesterday, I baked my first loaf of bread. I am not trying to toot my own horn here - merely stating the facts, people - but it turned out perfectly. Proof: the loaf in its entirety was consumed by four people. Today, I am baking more bread. Hook made rye crackers, which also turned out awesomely (though he would argue that the crackers' texture wasn't ideal, but I liked the biscuit-y quality).
I am mystified by how four ingredients can produce such delicious results.

You know what name I haven't heard in a while? Libby. When I was a kid, I knew tons of Libbys (Libbies?). Now? None. Bring back that name.

Reading goal 2010 is on track: I'm almost done with the anthology of Southern fiction I've been working on for a week, then I'm moving on to either "Eat Me" (Kenny Shopsin) or the 69 Love Songs 331/3. Running goal 2010 is not on track; my knee is still fucked up, and though I've been doing the stretches the PT gave me and slathering on muscle cream like nobody's business, the muscle is too tender to run on.

I might actually buy the raincoat I've been looking at online. Today's a deluge.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


I am still experiencing sadness at the thought of pruning my blogroll, but it must be done. Blogs that are updated with some sort of frequency (and this categorization is real relative, people) will remain in "Friends and Neighbors." Blogs that appear dead, for all practical purposes, will be transitioned to "Dormant Friends and Neighbors."

Wednesday, Wednesday

It's a typical Wednesday: I'm sitting in Hook's living room, already in my pajamas (nothing says old person like wearing pjs @ approximately 8:00 pm, but that's cool: I've made peace with my advanced age), eating some gummi candies. By "some" I mean "lots of," but most people who know me are well acquainted to my consumption of candy. I found out today that we'll be having a three-day weekend(!), and now I'm wondering what to do with the extra day. Skiing? (I think we were supposed to go to Tahoe last weekend (and by "supposed to" I mean "had pretty certainly agreed to but then flaked at the last minute"), but Hook has yet to buy any ski gear.) Small road trip to local farms? (A coworker of mine is going to Nevada City on Sunday to attend a pig slaughter/giant ritual party; she told me that there are lots of nice, slaughter-free farms in Marin that I should check out.) Gym? (This will probably be the reality.)

The 100-mile diet is...going well, if you exclude all the non-100-mile gummi candies and Cheez-its I've worked into my recent meals. OK: the time for buckling down is certainly nigh. On the plus side, I ordered this book to help me learn to preserve the bounty of fruits & veggies obtained from the ferry building, and this book to help me better understand basic principles of cookery.

Also, I may or may not have covered this entire couch in sugar. Ooops.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

<3 <3 <3 Saturdays

Best Saturday ever! Here's why:

1) Hook and I woke up early to walk to the Ferry Building farmers' market. Walking everywhere is a common passion of ours, and we'd planned all week to hit the farmers' market for the produce we'd need for the next few days or so. (Aside: one of our joint resolutions for 2010 is to follow a modified version of the 100-mile diet. That is, we hope only to eat foods grown or produced within a 100-mile radius of San Francisco, with the exception of coffee, chocolate, some beers, and flour.) The market was awesome: just today, we purchased a bunch of carrots, a satchel of peppers (bell and banana), three blood oranges, one Asian pear, two onions, two cloves of garlic, a bunch of kale, a bunch of beets, green onions, fennel, two sunchokes, an 8-oz. bag of dark chocolate almond brittle, red popcorn, a bunch of lavender, and half a pound of dried Jacob's Cattle beans (an heirloom variety). Need I mention that all these items were local and organic? Had we not run out of cash and been so reluctant to wait in the ATM line, we could have bought tons more; I was tempted by the merchant selling organic salami. Hook wanted a bunch of black Spanish radishes. There's another (less bougie) market being held at Civic Center tomorrow, but I think we have enough produce - for the time being.

2) Finally putting my money where my mouth is, I bought a bike. While I was back in Minnesota, I sold my car. I'd been planning for some time to buy a bike, but today I just walked into the bike store, test rode a few models, and settled on this one. It's the nicest bike I've ever had - it shifts beautifully and is super light. Tomorrow, Hook is going to rent a bike and we'll ride through Golden Gate Park and maybe farther. Hopefully farther.

3) Tonight, Hook cooked me a dinner of roasted beets served over a bed of beet greens sauteed in garlic, garnished with walnut brittle. YUM. The 100-mile diet is rocking already. Hook always rocks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This'll be a short one. Spent a few hours after work today creaming butter by hand, though Drew said he'd give me an inherited hand mixer and so the days of hand-creaming are drawing to a close. Baked a belated birthday cake for Hook, complete with candles(!) The cake was a traditional "golden" cake (a la Mark Bittman) with Meyer lemon buttercream frosting. It turned out pretty well, though the frosting could have been a little stiffer. (That's what she said.)

God, I've just consumed so much butter, confectioner's sugar, and Tecate. We are sitting on the couch like a couple of old folks, listening to the Glands; my sugar rush is finally wearing off.

Thank god tomorrow's Wednesday, right? This weekend holds in store a trip to Berkeley, a trip to the Bi-Rite Creamery, and maybe a trip to Amoeba. Maybe also a trip to American Apparel: I need some sheerish v-necks.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Year of the Donut (and Pizza, and Cupcake...)

Culinarily speaking, 2010 has been my best year ever - and we're only three days in! This weekend, Hook and I cooked some kick ass meals, discovered a few cute restaurants, watched a lot of Food Network (and recognized some SF eateries: hells yes), and hit the farmers' market. Highlights:

1) Returning from Kaiser yesterday, H and I grabbed lunch at Tony's Cable Car Restaurant (2500 Geary). He ordered the polish sausage, I the turkey burger; we shared fries. Yelp rates Tony's at 3.5 stars, and I'd be inclined to agree with the standing assessment: the staff were ueber-friendly (the old man at the counter praised my choice, then praised Hook's choice with equal gusto), the service was prompt, and the food was good: solid. Better than average for fast food, actually - the turkey burger was well-spiced and came on a legit wheat bun (as opposed to a dyed-brown white bun). Hook was disappointed that his sausage came with lots of fixins' (mustard, shredded iceberg, and an inexplicably grand amount of pickles), but enjoyed the meal nonetheless. I'll be back, probably the next time I'm picking up a prescription...

2) En route to BB&B ("Bed, Bath, and Beyond") yesterday afternoon, I spotted a cupcake bakery, smack in the middle of the deserted street! The bakery's door was open; the proprietress saw me look in and beckoned me forth. Not one to resist the offer of baked goods (even if the "offer" is really "the availability of nice-looking baked goodies for sale"), I (and H) went in. The shop offered about eight different flavors of homemade cupcakes, including a few basics like red velvet and straight-up chocolate, and some more esoteric varieties. Hook chose the root beer float; after some classic "man v. self" internal struggle, I went with the "pancake breakfast," a pancake-flavored cupcake (with bits of bacon incorporated into the batter) topped with maple-buttercream frosting. Holy mother of god: I could eat a pile of these cupcakes. It's good that Cups and Cakes Bakery is in the middle of SOMA, else I'd become a regular. And nobody needs that much bacon and maple buttercream frosting.

3) Saturday night, we made carne asada for dinner. I don't know if we were just ueber hungry or whether the fajita marinade we used was more-than-typically impressive, but Hook claims that this was the best meal he's eaten in months.

4) Not having tired of eating and cooking (ha!), I made buttermilk pancakes with blackberry compote for breakfast today (recipes from Mark Bittman and the Food Network website, respectively). The compote turned out so well, in fact, that I wanted to include the recipe here:

Blackberry Compote:

* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 2 cups blackberries, rinsed
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup blackberry or raspberry liqueur
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat the butter in a large saute pan over high heat until melted and bubbly. Add the berries and saute for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and liqueur and cook until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. (Be careful: The liqueur may ignite. If it does, cool the berry mixture until the flames die down.) Add the ginger and cinnamon, mix well, and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

I didn't have any liqueur so I subbed in orange juice, which seemed to work well. The original recipe (part of a larger recipe for panna cotta with compote, actually) suggested the compote be topped with fresh whipped cream, which I also recommend (and which suggestion I did not follow). Hell yes!

5) This weekend of epicurean delights closed with dinner tonight: homemade pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, Nameko mushrooms, and beautiful greens (topped with tiny yellow flowers) purchased at the farmers' market. Hook made the crust according to Mark Bittman's recipe; he added half a teaspoon of black pepper to the dough. And now, after a delicious, mostly-local dinner, I'm sitting back with a beer, preparing for the coming week.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our ginger entry into the new year.

Just checked out my post from last New Year's, and it is a bit curmudgeonly, isn't it? My only resolutions for 2009 (or "pseudoresolutions," as they might more accurately be termed) were to sort through my papers with greater diligence and to floss more frequently. That's it? That's all I was able to come up with? Anyway, I think I flossed more regularly this year. I'm pretty sure that I did. Let's check that one off the imagined to-do list.

Re: my other yearly goal - to read 50 books - I almost succeeded. I finished 49. This is what happened: on December 30th, I began reading "The Abstinence Teacher" (which I don't recommend, but I've always been curious to read something by Tom Perrotta and this book was in the bargain section @ Barnes and Noble so I thought What the hell...). On the 31st, I spent most of the day at the airport or in flight, and I finished reading this novel with 1.5 hours left until I touched down in SF. Perfect amount of time to read "69 Love Songs," I thought, but I'd tucked "69" in the small pocket of my backpack, which was crammed into the overhead compartment. The overhead compartment had closed with only great cajoling on the part of two stewardesses and I didn't want to pop it open only to have to ask for assistance to close it again. Hella long story short, I did not read that final book, and I fell one volume short of my goal. Still, 49 is a decent number of books to read; I'm feeling good about reaching my goal this year.

I realized yesterday that most of the blogs in my "Friends and Neighbors" section are dead. It's a little ghost town over there! And as much as I like prairie dogs and tumbleweed, I feel unnerved that my "friends" section is dominated by links to ghost blogs. What to do? Must I prune? Should I hold out hope for people who haven't updated in like, nine months? (Probably not, but I'm a fighter. Or a resuscitator.)

Going to hunt down a recipe for Coca-cola cake (to be made for Hook's birthday weekend!), then wash a big pile of dishes.