- Food: thick pureed hot soups, slow cooker goodness, stews, hot apple cider, leftover Thanksgiving turkey, roasted root vegetables, pears cooked in butter and brown sugar, and pumpkin rocks
- Clothes: sweaters and boots. jeans tucked into boots. long sleeves. layers. scarfs.
- Flannel sheets
- More opportunities to swathe oneself in blankets
- And while swathed in blankets, reading
- Kids getting all excited about Halloween
- Eating the kids' Halloween candy. (don't judge. you do it too)
- How good cold air smells and feels
- Hot chocolate, which technically goes under food but really deserves a special spot on the list
- Leaves changing colors
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
One way I cleared the detritus was by cooking. I roasted a chicken and sauteed some green beans for dinner, with carrot fennel soup to start and some good bread. Fennel is becoming a favorite soup additive. Its raw flavor is too intense for me; it mellows out considerably in a soup context, and adds a little bulk to a puree.
Tomorrow we'll have a warm chicken salad with tomatoes and greens from the csa box. I've used up the last of the frozen chicken stock so the carcass from this particular bird comes at an opportune time. Maybe I'll make a chicken salad sandwich for lunch tomorrow. I've got some avocados that need eating, and they'd be swell in said sandwich.
Even writing about cooking is having a cleansing effect. I'm starting to feel better already. Not to mention a little peckish.
Friday, June 25, 2010
lately, I've noticed a slowing down in your performance. the battery gauge isn't providing an accurate read on the actual life left. you suddenly shut down in a huff for no reason and grudgingly reboot. I fear that our relationship is nearing an end, my dear.
I have treated you with nothing but loving kindness, save the odd drop onto hardwood or sidewalk. (I swear those were pure accidents) But you are a fragile fleur, aren't you?
When the time comes for your demise - the prevailing opinion of your life expectancy is four years, and you've got one to go - I will observe a moment of silence. I'll responsibly recycle you. And then I'll head over to the Apple Store and get myself a Touch. Love you too.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
As much as I'm a logical, thoughtful person, this continues to haunt me.
When O was born in early October 2005, my dad went into his final coma, never really waking up again save for a few feeble gestures. I found out the second day I was in the hospital, recuperating after the birth. My sister called; my mother did not want to tell me. I was such a morass of emotions and hormones at that point that it didn't register. I don't remember feeling anything save for a hollowness that was soon filled with brain-obliterating exhaustion.
He died over Thanksgiving weekend that same year. He knew of O, I was told, and the few photos I had brought to him of O were taped on his last bed in the hospital.
As O is growing up - and turns five this year - I can see my dad in him. The love of life and small pleasures. The genuine care he shows to people in distress. The flashes of temper. Without sounding too new age-y, I'd like to think that the best parts of my dad's spirit have come to reside in O during the birth and death cycle. And maybe that's how we perpetuate our legacies.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Most people fantasize about traveling or doing exciting, adventuresome activities. I dream about being alone in a quiet house and puttering around. A lot of mending would get done. I still have boxes to unpack; we moved in April, for crying out loud. I need to spend a couple of hours sorting out the kitchen without interruption, really loud music blaring in the background. Something along the lines of LCD Soundsystem or early Green Day or The Clash. And the continual process of purging unneeded items, like the broken crib and the Graco travel system (for those of you unschooled in the parenting arts, that's the infant car seat/strolller/carseat base combo. and I'm sure you still don't know what that means).
Tending to the house is a reflection of my desire to have an orderly life. I've been moving so fast that I haven't caught my breath for days. It's time to stop and observe. Listen.
I realized my need to slow down on a walk back to work after a very good lunch. My body was literally refusing to move at typical city pace. It was a sunny, warm, beautiful day, and I was happy on top of it. Everything was magnified: the sky was bluer, the trees a deeper emerald green, the sun and breeze pushing past skin to get to my core.
Lots of random thoughts today. All part of the decompression process.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
It was unseasonably warm. I thought a salad would be appropriate, but a salad with warm components. I had taken out chicken parts to defrost in the morning, including wings for Z so I could make her absolute favorite, soyaki* chicken wings.
I started the other chicken parts in the skillet with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, browning them enough so that the fat from the skin was rendered. A fried chicken salad started forming in my mind. Ideally, the fried chicken should be the good stuff: buttermilk marinade and deep frying. It was too late, though, so I kept the heat on medium and continued browning until everything was brown and crispy. Lemon juice was added to the pan for flavor depth. I shook some Old Bay over the adult share; I knew better than to season O's share. Meanwhile, Z's wings were baking in the oven at 400 degrees, 425 degrees during the last few minutes to add some color.
The salad was a mix of red leaf lettuce, baby heirloom tomatoes (not dissimilar to cherry tomatoes and with the same squirtability factor), and avocado. I had some Trader Joe's goddess dressing - avocado is best with a creamy dressing. I am too lazy to make creamy dressings. The chicken was sliced on top. We ate. And all was well in the world.
*Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce. It works miracles on chicken. Seek it out.
Friday, June 11, 2010
I am not a fan of bloodwork. I'm not a fan of needles anywhere in close proximity to my body. O put me to shame with his fascination as the needle went in and the tube filled with blood. "That's cool," he said. I was looking pointedly in the other direction.
Next stop was the xray. He actually giggled as the tech moved him into position; he is unbelievably ticklish. My whirling dervish son was remarkably still for the whole procedure. Again, very impressive.
We thought about eating at UCSF. In the end, blueberry muffins in the comfort of home won out. We played Wii games. We hugged. We watched old school Scooby Doo (there can be no other) off On Demand. I managed a conference call in between. It was beautiful out, and I opened windows to let the late spring air filter in. We laughed a lot, especially while playing a port of Super Mario Bros. 3. Clearly the reflexes have diminished greatly since 1988.
On the face of it, there was nothing memorable about today. No epoch-making moments. No revelations. But I'd like to think that our slower pace aggregates into a single memory of what our relationship was at this specific time.
footnote: all is well. a mild inflammation of the joint from a leftover viral infection that will go away in about a week. motrin at night and rest will cure. I am grateful. health is something we do not take for granted.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
- The Lacuna/Barbara Kingsolver: a rich, dense read. I'm going through it at a slower pace than usual because it's meant to be read at a leisurely place. Not speed reading beach fare at all.
- Chronic City/Jonathan Lethem: several years ago I read 'The Fortress of Solitude' and dug it. It was my Chicago brown line reading for a while. I like his characters. I like that NYC is his setting.
- Remarkable Creatures/Tracy Chevalier: on a whim. She's the author of 'Girl with a Pearl Earring', which was a perfect little novel, even though I usually don't like the 'mix fiction with reality' genre too often.
- Solar/Ian McEwan: I love his stuff and this one's on the hold shelf waiting for me. Picking it up is on the weekend to-do list.
and then the books that I need to read next that are hanging out in a reproachful manner on the bookshelf:
- The Lonely Polygamist/Brady Udall: the title says it all.
- The Wild Things/Dave Eggers: I'm willing to give this a shot. It's Dave Eggers, after all.
- The City & The City/China Mieville: interesting sci-fi more in the vein of Philip K. Dick than the robots run amuck stuff.
I'm hoping to wrap this all up by July. For the 4th of July Tahoe trip, it's going to be the new Anthony Bourdain book, which I've pre-ordered. Natch.
Friday, June 04, 2010
She was able to accomplish a lot this year. She painted this butterfly for a project - a quilt made up of butterflies and various fabric squares for the school auction in the spring. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see it in person, but the mom who won it took photos of all the squares for us. She's becoming a better reader. Her artwork is stunning. She worked in the school garden and knows more about compost and worm farms than I do. She is learning to be responsible and respectful - as I like to put it, a good citizen of the world.
I learned a lot in kindergarten, too. I was lucky to witness a group of genuinely sweet and caring five and six year olds grow together. I met some fantastic, down to earth, no drama parents and am looking forward to spending the next five years with them in supporting our kids and the school. I saw the amazing efforts of a first-time principal who is dedicated to moving forward, not dwelling on past or present. I marveled at how skilled the k teachers were in corralling those kids and directing their energy positively.
Summer vacation is really not that long this year. Z starts first grade on August 16, not even three months away. She's eagerly awaiting zoo camp and the Y summer break camp. There's a trip to Tahoe over the 4th of July weekend. Plenty of ice cream and popsicles that require eating. Forlorn plots around the house that are crying for some kind of plant life; we'll experiment. Movies to watch, snails to examine, seasonal fruit to eat, Giants' games to attend, ribbons in swim school to get. And then we start our first grade year with eyes wide open, happy to be learning and being with old and new friends.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
During this time, I read a lot in between deadlines. I had no other way to destress. I picked up Hand Wash Cold by Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Buddhist priest. Reading this book centered me, calmed me, readjusted some debilitating negative emotions within me. I'm still referring to various chapters when times get rough.
We hiked, explored the woods, poked around streams, kissed banana slugs (well, Mr. O did), played games, swam in the crazy cold pool (all but me, I knew better), gorged on classic camp food, watched part of 'The Princess Bride' on movie night, climbed a terrifying 42-foot tall rock wall (none of us made it to the top), rode horses, observed chickens, admired the garden and compost heap, and other things too numerous to list here.
One lovely memory from our long weekend was Z waking up at the crack of dawn and pulling opening the gingham curtains of our ramshackle cabin to see what was outside. She lay there for a good half hour, peacefully observing.
School is winding down for the year. Summer day camp starts next week for the minis. I feel that this is really going to be a kick-ass summer, even though it is foggy and damp in my part of town.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I picked up the goods on Wednesday, and just now I'm starting to delve into it. Tonight I'm caramelizing the baby turnips as a side dish to my leftover-from-lunch tuna sandwich. Tomorrow I will make a pureed carrot soup for dinner. That with some good bread and cheese and the d'anjou pears hanging out on my kitchen counter will be a happy time. I have some Portuguese kale that will also be a soup green, I think. The savoy cabbage will be slowly sauteed in butter and finished with a knob of butter. A small head of escarole will be sauteed with anchovies - this is really good. Two perfect tiny heads of baby lettuces will be a salad with goat cheese and some dried fruit, tossed with the orange infused olive oil and one of the vinegars. Baby spring onions, I will find a use for you. Leeks, you're being sliced lengthwise, caramelized, and paired with scallops. The butternut squash will be thrown into the oven; I think I saw an intriguing recipe for a butternut squash flatbread somewhere. I am ignoring the fennel for now.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
At first I thought that I didn't like it. Then I thought that it's presented a different facet of practice to me, that sometimes I need the energizing and the sweating and the sheer physicality of flowing from one pose to the next. This hour-long session cleared my mind. I walked at a leisurely, proud pace back to work.
I've also signed up for a hiking yoga session. Urban adventure, here I come.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Going in, I thought that I'd have a harder time, a more resentful time, but I've been okay. It's not even highly annoying. Just an "oh well" kind of feeling. And then I'm over it.
What I'm really craving these days is a perfectly ripe avocado drizzled with toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar. Heaven.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
We had a family lunch at Mifune, my old Japantown standby. O got the bullet train bento with rice and tempura. I ordered chicken kushi katsu for Z - she will never turn down any kind of deep fried chicken, and this had the bonus of being on skewers. (for the record, she ate it all, one for lunch and the leftover two for dinner) I had the tamago donburi, though I really wanted the oyako or curry, and D got the seafood soba soup. For dessert, we strolled to May's Coffee Shop and got a couple of chocolate filled taiyaki. Taiyaki, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, are essentially pancakes filled with red bean paste, chocolate, or any number of fillings. O, to my surprise, was completely disinterested in his, but Z, who has had them in the past, ate hers with great gusto. She also watched one of the women behind the counter mass produce taiyaki. We got as far as watching the batter being poured into the line of pans before Z wandered off.
We paid an obligatory visit to the Sanrio shop but didn't buy anything - recession budget, you know - and admired some of the anime and tchotchke laden window displays elsewhere.
Times like this make me happy.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Panang curry with vegetables and jasmine rice. This is a frozen meal, amazingly enough, and the curry is fantastic. The vegetables are just ok. I'll add some tofu next time. Tonight, I sauteed up some broccoli rabe and there was enough sauce leftover to dip. Yum.
Eggplant garlic dip. This comes in a wide-mouthed jar - a thoughtful touch for those of us who refuse to dump a portion into a small bowl the way civilized people do. Thick enough to be part of a sandwich as a condiment, perfect on its own. That, along with two whole wheat pita and some fruit, was lunch today.
And when I'm off this no-meat Lenten diet, there is a mango, red quinoa, and chicken salad calling my name.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Ruminations about my lack of free time aside, I have been not missed meat terribly, but there is a Chinese chicken dish - one of my comfort foods - that hangs out in my consciousness, reminding me every so often that 1) the highest quality ingredients can make a simple dish shine and 2) I really like peanut oil. Herewith, the recipe, courtesy of epicurious.com and tinkered with by me.
Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce
- 1 3 1/2-lb. chicken - get the best chicken you can find. Cut up, bone in chicken thighs or breasts work well if the chopping of the whole chicken into pieces is intimidating.
- 6 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger (you can use more or less, depends on how much you like ginger)
- 9 scallions stalks, about a bunch, reserving 6 for the stockpot (again, you can adjust based on your preference)
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Monday, March 01, 2010
On food deck tonight - Trader Joe's cheese tortellini tossed with leftover diced tomatoes, Colavita extra virgin olive oil, and the rest of the mozzarella balls. Dandelion greens sauteed with garlic and chopped anchovies to round it out. Another banana muffin for dessert. The kids had a slightly different variation of last night's fruit salad. O had tortellini in tomato sauce; he is not a fan of uncooked tomatoes. It must be a texture thing. Z had one giant chicken tender from what clearly was a ginormous mutant chicken.
A quiet, solitary night ahead. I need this opportunity to recharge. But not until after the Broken Bells stream is done.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
All this greed in the a.m. meant a sluggish p.m. The adults in the household were not hungry come dinner, but of course the minis were ravenous. I poked around the fridge and found the leftover cheese pizza from Saturday lunch. Then I grabbed some real fruit - a gala apple, two pineapple spears, green grapes (not organic and definitely non-local, but I was bullied into getting them by the tiny dictators), strawberries (organic but non-seasonal), and blueberries (um, yeah, not seasonal either) - and made a gigantic fruit salad. They ate 95% of it, and we nibbled on the rest. After putting them to bed, I went to the supermarket for a few things, including an Amy's bean and cheese burrito for my own dinner, which was complemented by leftover tomato and mozzarella salad, a banana muffin from the batch O and I made this morning, and a packet of haw flakes.
And to all a good night.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
So today I have ambitions to make a tomato mozzarella basil salad - not quite a caprese, more chunky I think is more in keeping with the last of winter - for lunch. Avocados drizzled with toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar and soba noodles for dinner. Edamame for the O. And maybe some sushi from the Japanese hole in the wall to round it out.
In the meantime, I'm making steel cut oats for the first time. FAIL. The proportions of water to oats on the canister say four cups to 1/4 cup. Really? It ain't working.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I love our current place, but we're getting a little cramped in the two bedroom and one bathroom set-up. I love our landlords, who are sweet and wonderful people. But the walkability factor for this new house - not to mention the space - is irresistible. What parent wouldn't want to live near his/her kids' school?
Moving is another story. I'll look on the bright side and use this as an opportunity to further purge and declutter.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
To save myself some lunch angst tomorrow, I'm stirfrying sweet potato chunks, halved white mushrooms, and lacinto kale with some regular ol' garlic. That'll go over the rest of the brown rice. Listening to One eskimO. Minis are sleeping away, D is in Vegas for a conference or somesuch. It's a peaceful, productive night.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
A few of my co-workers and I went to Chinatown for our annual Lunar NY dim sum feast. I managed to stick to the shrimp and seafood related things, except for one small lapse when a piece of beef cheung fun appeared on my plate - I was on the phone and wasn't paying attention - and I ate it thinking it was shrimp. No regrets, though. Nope.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
There were two mangos in the fridge that became mango pudding with coconut milk. I thought it was okay - undecided on whether the two strong flavors were battling.
And the potatoes? Simmered in the rest of the coconut milk with peas with curry. It smells better than it tastes. Something's missing and a little research is in order.
All in all, a satisfying cooking experiment day.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
- adorable tiny potatoes
- a small bunch of young Nantes carrots
- six fennel stalks and bulbs - big ones
- green garlic (smells fabulous)
- brussels sprouts
- broccoli rabe (I think)
- sunflower sprouts
- dandelion greens
- rapini greens
- savoy cabbage
First up is are the fennel - not my favorite vegetable but I found a recipe using copious amounts of butter and parmesan. Brussels sprouts - easy. Pan fry with olive oil, garlic and pinenuts, toss over pasta or brown rice. However...sunflower sprouts and escarole? That'll take some research.