Monday, December 31, 2007

Eve of the New Year

Where does the apostrophe belong "New Year (s) Eve" ? New Year's Eve? Because the eve belongs to the new year, right? Not the collective years of the ages? Although even if it was a collective, it would still be considered singular, yes? As it is one collective, not several? Although it's not the eve of the many years, collective or not. So I'm leaving it where it is.

What about the apostrophe in "its" in the contraction of "it" and "is" versus the p
roperty of "it"? I remember having a lengthy discussion about this is Mr. Thompson's 10th grade english class, but the conclusion evades me. I believe the apostrophe is reserved for the possessive form- anyone want to weigh in?

Punctuation aside, Erich's preparing an entire turkey for dinner tonight. And potatoes and stuffing. I guess he felt left out on Thanksgiving, as he makes a damn fine turkey and we have too many mothers and grandmothers still having their own Thanksgiving meals for him to justify making yet another.

Not that we don't like all those meals! We love them! Just...every year this time he gets a turkey itch and finds a way to sneak one in somewhere.

That's okay. As long as I get to have a glass of champagne.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

ooh, bread!

I just ordered The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread! So far all my bread experiments have turned out pretty well, but I want to turn it up a notch.

Because I love breads:

And because this guy makes me happy:

no more grad school

Well, it's official, I'm no longer a grad student. For those who don't know I was starting a master's program in environmental science and policy this fall. I suppose I could still sign up for classes, but I told my professor today I wasn't returning, so that's that.

I really enjoyed the semester- really- but it was also illuminating. I can't see myself spending my life slogging through obtuse environmental statutes (that seem to miss the point half the time) and dealing with the fact that for most people, money is more important. I'm too much of a tree hugger. I really have more interest in how day-to-day people can make a difference; how I can, as an individual live my life to make less of an impact. (I have a long way to go). I struggle with the idea of working for some industrial company and helping them either a) find loopholes to skirt their air permits or b) spend my time finding ways for a company to decrease their emissions/recycle their products, only to have those suggestions shelved because they're inconvenient or cost money.

I want to stress that the program I enrolled in in NO WAY promoted these things-but they illustrated quite clearly that these were the challenges that I would have to deal with. This program, actually, I thought was quite progressive as it stressed the idea of pollution prevention and looking at the "big picture"- instead of simply trying to meet the regulations, let's try to improve them and not just shift pollution from one state (air, water, land) to another.

In the long run I can't see a solution. I can't see how we can continue to live in a modern world without destroying the planet. And I can't see myself being happy beating my head against a wall.

I still plan to do what I can as an individual, reduce my impact and educate my family and friends on what they can do to make a difference. I still plan to support those damn tree huggers financially. But I came to a conclusion as an undergrad that I was not an immoral person for choosing not to go into medicine-for not doing something amazing- and I have to allow myself to come to that conclusion again.

So what do I do now?

I guess we'll see.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Scientists give spider drugs

Nice web, Mr. Crack Spider.

Benazir Bhutto

I'm sure everyone's heard about the assassination of the first female prime minister to be democratically elected in an Islamic country. I keep hearing a lot of talk about who's benefitting from it and who's screwed (read: Washington). So far I think the most insightful analysis was one I heard from a reporter who has spent a lot of time in Pakistan- that the most predictable thing about Pakistan is that it's too unpredictable to readily analyze. But then, randomness is still a pattern...

Maybe that's just a cop out. (The unpredictability thing). But if it's accurate, wouldn't recognizing that fact be crucial to deciding the next move? I'm not sure. I 'm not terribly well read on Pakistan's politics, and I'm sure she, like all of us had faults. Is there ever politician without corruption? Maybe equality in politics means we're ALL ruthless bastards and bastardettes.

Nevertheless, I think she was a pioneer for oppressed Islamic women.

My question is- who was the genius in her "security team" that approved a vehicle with a sunroof? What a simple temptation.

Just a thought.

Another page turns.

lazy saturday morning

Nothing like a lazy saturday morning.

A little yoga, cup o coffee, and NPR gameshows. Specifically "Whaddya know?". Hooray for Michael Feldman!

Once again Erich stayed up all night playing video games ( I think) so I'm going to let him sleep until noon and then wake him.

T-10 minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

other than food

I've added links to my sister-in-law's (siiiiisterrrrr!) blog. On the off chance that there's anyone reading this that doesn't already know lindsay, you should check them out. I'll list why in a four-part series with the fourth part first and the third part last. Or something...I've never been particularly good at referencing sports night. Funny, eloquent, and she manages to capture all the angsty things I think about but can't always verbalize intelligently. Now we just need to sing folk songs on our guitars and braid each other's hair and we'll be set. (Sorry Andrew).

Also added my friend Nat from college- we don't keep in touch too much these days, unfortunately, but it's nice to see what's she's up to with her husband and baby girl. We need to visit next time Erich and I get up to the cities!

ginger carrot soup

According to one of my recipies, root vegetables are supposed to be excellent for soup making, because when blended they provide a creaminess akin to cream soups, but are still light and obviously healthier. YUM. I've seen this before in other soup recipies but never thought of it so systematically. Erich said "it smells amazing" but he still didn't want to try it (!) and made a big bowl of garlic mashed potatoes instead.

As follows:

1 pound bag carrots
2 med. potatoes
1 onion
2-3 cloves garlic
32 oz. low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 C. water
1 or 2 fingers ginger
black pepper
garam masala
olive oil or cooking spray
optional: 1-2 tablespoons nut butter (peanut or cashew)

Sautee 1 chopped onion and a few mashed cloves of garlic in olive oil or cooking spray for a few minutes, then add 2 chopped potatoes. You don't need to mince them, roughly 1-2 inch cubes are fine. Let it sizzle while chopping 1 or 2 fingers of fresh ginger to your taste. I used one, but next time I will probably use two because I REALLY like ginger. So much I went and found a picture of it for all of you. I also chopped it more finely, and if you're wondering, I don't peel it. The skin is coarse, and can be annoying in other dishes, but for this one it's fine. Toss it in and start on the carrots, about 1 pound bag's worth. Peel and chop (again, fairly big chunks are fine).

Add the broth, carrots, and about 2 C. water (this is really up to you, I just like to dilute it a bit). Let boil gently until carrots and potatoes are cooked through, and add any spices you want. I suggest a bit of black pepper and garam masala ( an Indian spice found in a lot of curries, but it's not hot). The onion will give it a strong bite, so if you prefer milder flavors you might only use half, and leave out the pepper. If you want to temper the spice a little, and add a nutty overtone, add the peanut butter. It won't mix in right away but it'll be taken care of when you blend it.

If you're not sure what spices you want to use, try getting out what you have, and try smelling the soup, and then the spice your thinking of using. If it's a good match they'll seem pleasant together, and if not, then, they won't. Trust your nose! It's just as much about whether you think it'll taste good as what's the "right" spice.

In case you were wondering (because I was) garam masala is actually a combination of several spices-including cloves, peppercorn, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little saffron.

Okay, so everything's cooked through and you're done smelling things. Stir and let it cool for about 10 minutes before blending. Since it's still hot, I only fill the blender about a third full ( if you fill it too full, you'll have a mess so be careful!) and blend in small batches (about 4) until things are evenly mixed and smooth. If you want you can strain it afterwards to catch any chunks, but there won't be too much (just put a large bowl in the sink and put the strainer on top).

You're ready to eat! If you wanted you could probably garnish it with a little sour cream and some chives, or like I did tonight, drizzle a little on a plate of oven-roasted broccoli along with my bowl.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Here are a few pics from the wedding in October. I've been too busy with school to do anything with the pictures, but I'm hoping to print them and put them in a lovely album a coworker gave us in January.

Here's picture my mom took of Erich at our wedding a few months ago. He had a celebratory cigar with a few of my brothers- I'll try to post that pic if I find it. Isn't he handsome! (Even if a bit stinky-ha!)

I'm back!

Hello! I've been away, but after being lovingly harrassed by friends and family to keep up my blog I've finally gotten my butt in here. Among my latest experiments:

Braided egg bread (at left): The first white bread I've made in a while, as I usually opt for whole wheat. I made it for my grandpa, for Christmas, since he's always making us the cheesebread that I love so much. The dough is braided and then glazed with an egg batter/poppyseeds and makes a very pretty picture. I got this picture off the internet, but it's pretty close to what mine looked like.

Also, homemade whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta: a hit with my huband, although he complains about the fiber. :-P He'll be okay. ;-) But he gets annoyed when I talk about poop.

Two different pestos a la Christina Pirello:

a cilantro hempseed pesto, as a relish to blood orange-infused olive oil fried tofu/sauteed arugula ( a peppery green akin to baby spinach). Mix a few cups cilantro with 3 tbsp hempseeds, drizzle olive oil, 2 tbsp. white miso (femented soy paste, very good for you, adds nutty flavor and moisture) and blend in food processor.

an arugula/pinenut/cracked pepper pesto simply mixed with whole wheat pasta and a sprinkle of shredded parmesan. The above listed ingredients and another drizzle olive oil and white miso.

Some "leftovers" concoctions:

mixed veggie tofu stir-fry: sauteed baby spinach with assorted chopped veggies found in the fridge- seeded jalapeno, red pepper, onions/shallots, garlic, chunks tofu, and some other stuff I can't remember. It turned out pretty tasty. Mostly because I used a rediculous amount of garlice. :-)

And general other things:

smokey edamame: this simple dish was hubby's idea but it was excellent! Frozen edamame thawed/warmed and mixed with a generous sprinkle smoked salish sea salt. AWESOME.

We got a few new cookbooks for Christmas, I'm excited to try them! I actually got the egg bread recipie from one that Erich's grandma got us (it has a whole section on yeast breads, which I plan to go through one by one).

That's all for now.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Pink and white meringues!

Erich and I made pink and white meringues! YUM! They're in the oven right now. The last time I tried these ( a few years back) they did not turn out at ALL. Flat, sticky, yuck. Now they are poofy and fluffy and peaky and look amazing. I even used a pipette to put them on the cookie sheet. Mine are white and Erich's are pink, by pure chance. Really. :P I had some extra pink, too, so I put a little pink hat on a couple of the white ones to make so very cute little mulit-colored ones.

I decided to make cookies after I got home from class tonight because lecture was so painfully boring that I actually daydreamed about making these meringues. Also about my new pasta maker, which, if I am successful with, will be feeding all of you for months to come.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Arg blog!

Back later. With snacks, of course.