Thursday, November 03, 2011
Thursday, December 16, 2010
So, here’s the scoop. The pumpkin empanadas: super good. I used the recipe for empanada dough from The Joy of Cooking and added about two tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon. For the filling, I mixed canned pumpkin with brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mace to taste. They were a keeper and although I am not really a “pie” person, I did enjoy both the making and eating of these.
The chocolate pie with the pretzel crust was…good. Good with some reservations. I liked the filling a lot, but it was, essentially, just a rich chocolate pudding. The crust is a good idea, but I was not picky enough with my pretzels and ended up not liking it. I say go for good, thin pretzels. I am thinking a Mr. Salty stick pretzel type would be good. And although the recipe tells you to “coarsely chop”…don’t. Finely chop. Whiz (or, if you are Jamie Oliver, “wazz”) it all up in the food processor until it’s the consistency of bread crumbs or graham cracker crumbs. Coarse doesn’t work well. And also, if you are even mildly lactose intolerant, don’t get all cocky and think you can eat this. You can’t. I don’t know why you thought you could. Just don’t.
The mashed potatoes and parsnips with carmelized onions and blue cheese were..fine. I got lazy and bought a package of cubed parsnips, rutabagas and turnips and they were a little…grainy and slightly watery. And I sliced the onions into fine rings. Next time I would cut them into cubes or something so they weren’t so…dangly. In fact, I also think I’d just go with potatoes and leave out the other root veggies. And add more cheese. You’re not adding butter or milk to these so go for the cheese.
Let’s see…what else? Oh, the twice baked sweet potatoes…they were good, but hollowing out a baked sweet potato is slightly more delicate a process than hollowing out a russet. So they got made in ramekins, and that was fine. Probably good. But once that happened I just started winging it and didn’t really follow the recipe. But the principle is sound and the flavors were good, so don’t be worried about that.
Everything else was fine. I thought last year that I was over turkey. And this year, when the turkey came out of the oven I was actually quite excited about it. And then I ate it and I thought, “Hmmm… I think I am over turkey.” And then there were leftovers and I was definitely over turkey, so…I’ll have to think on that for next time.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It was harder than I thought it would be. I really thought I’d rip it off like nothing. But I couldn’t come up with fifteen authors…I did eventually, but then I started second guessing myself. Did these people really form my sense of self. And then I decided I was over thinking it all and posted it. And then I realized that I had left some out. And then I also realized that it didn’t really matter.
This is what I said:
The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen writers who've influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.
1. William Shakespeare
2. Allen Ginsberg
3. Douglas Adams
4. Terry Pratchett
5. Jane Austen
6. China Mieville
7. John Donne
8. Edith Wharton
9. Nancy Mitford
10. M.F.K. Fisher
11. Geoffrey Chaucer
12. Roddy Doyle
13. Russell Hoban (specifically, the Francis stories0
14. F. Scott Fitzgerald
15. A.A. Milne
Special Mention: Neal Stephenson, Douglas Coupland, David Berman…
Also possibly Eoin Colfer.
But I wanted to say so much more about it. But I am a nerd that way.
Looking at the list now, I realize that the one thing that ties them all together in my mind is a sense of humor. They aren’t all humor writers, but they all….”get it.” I have long said that my favorite thing about Jane Austen is how damn funny she is. That hasn’t won me any points with the Janeites. But I am realizing that a sense of humor in writing, no matter how subtle, really makes it…click…for me.
But…wait…Edith Wharton…not so funny, but kind of big on the irony. We’ll let her stay.
And then there are those special mentions…all because of the way they twist the language to their needs. In fact, there are several Stephenson and Coupland books I don’t care for. But the ones I do like did make THAT BIG an impression. And lingering in the back is Eoin Colfer. Why? Because the last book I read by him really had people using technology in a natural way. Kids texting and IMing. Not necessarily to further the plot, but just because that’s what we do.
As for the famous fifteen…I can’t imagine my life without any of them. Some are newer finds, like Nancy Mitford. And some are authors who seem to become more important to me as I get older, like F. Scott…and oddly, Terry Pratchett. And do you remember how subversive A.A. Milne really is? How he’s really got that odd sense of humor that only some kids will appreciate? Go read it again.
I wish I could say that I unreserveredly recommnend these authors, but I don’t . You might not like them and that would make me sad. But if you like funny stuff that isn’t always funny…
So...time to comment. Name me one book that changed your life. Better or worse. I'm gonna say....Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy because it made me understand that I didn't have to be so serious about religion and science.
Friday, November 12, 2010
The thing is...this year is kind of just buzzing past me. And it's my own fault. I basically ignored Halloween. Not really a fan so it didn't seem like a big deal. Bought a bag of candy, just in case. SIDENOTE TO THE CHILDREN OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD: You should totally take advantage of apartments. You can get craploads of candy superfast. Seriously, when I was a kid, back in the olden days, we LOVED trick-or-treating in apartment buildings. Granted, that was on the east coast, where it might be really chilly on Halloween, but still, LOTS of candy, VERY LITTLE walking. Then you can move on to the neighborhood and you're golden.
I hear people are trick-or-treating less and now doing this trunk-or-treating thing. That's all well and good but please make it clear to the kiddies that they can't take candy from trunks on any other day of the year, ok?
So, like I said, I kind of skimmed over Halloween and started planning Thanksgiving dinner. Which is a little silly because it's just for two of us. But I like it. Here's the plan...
-Ancho Chili and Honey rubbed Turkey Breast (possibly cooked in the crock pot)
-dressing made with french bread and sage
-roasted brussels sprouts with garlic
-twice baked sweet potatoes
-vanilla mashed sweet potatoes
-mashed potatoes and parsnips with carmelized onion and blue cheese
and for dessert:
-milk chocolate cream pie with a pretzel crust
FOR THE TWO OF US.
Yeah, it's overkill, but I really want to try out some of these recipes. Besides, you'll come over for leftovers...won't you?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Speaking of favorites, I see two of my favorite novelists have new (sorta) books out. Carl Hiaasen has a new one called “Star Island”, which, to be honest sounds like more of the same from him. The good thing is, I happen to like his same. And a Nancy Mitford novel that has been out of print for quite a while is recently back in print, ”Wigs on the Green.” Last year I read a Mitford novel…I think it was “Don’t Tell Alfred” that had me laughing out loud while waiting to serve my jury duty. So you know it had to be pretty good. Both are in the queue for next books to be read.
What I’ve been watching: We (the husband and I) just started watching “Rubicon” and I really, really like it. On several levels. I happen to really like mysteries and cryptography even though I am crap at figuring things out. The actors are, so far, very good and the art direction….sublime. Really. I mean, the art direction on “Mad Men” is very nice, but when you are given a period piece to elaborate on, you have a pretty good basis to start with, right? “Rubicon” is the current time period, but they have done that thing where it they attempt to make it feel rather timeless. Kind of like…well…look at that Harry Potter movies have…we all know that they are set in the now, but there is a quality to them that makes you feel like you are watching a fairy tale. No one randomly uses a cell phone or a remote control or computer…“Rubicon” has a similar feel. People drive older cars, and wear non-designer-y clothes. It all feels like it’s taking place in the now, but COULD be taking place 30 years ago if it weren’t for that computer on the desk. It also utilizes this amazing gray and tan color palette, which strikes a perfect balance (for me anyway) between cold and warm, glowing and chilly, dark and light. It all feels very purposeful and I rather like that.
And the movies? Recently watched “Kickass”, which I enjoyed but didn’t feel like I really need to see it again. It was fun and crazy and over the top. Mark Strong was amazing as per usual and, you know, I liked it just fine. But it didn’t blow my mind. However, I also recently watched “In the Loop” which kind of did blow my mind. Very funny, bitter, and painfully honest political comedy spun off from a British TV show, which I have only seen bits and pieces of. The much under utilized Tom Hollander was great and Peter Capaldi is, as ever, genius. But I think my favorite character is the one referred to as “the angriest Scotsman in the world.” What I found most impressive about this movie…well, I was watching it with my husband and just kind of chortling through the whole thing and whenever I wasn’t, I realized that he was doing the same. Highly recommend this one.
What I’ve been cooking: Eh, mostly just dinners. Nothing special lately. I did make that banana soft serve that is all over the healthy eating blogs and it was fine. But I am not sure it was worth the noise of the food processor. My food processor is very loud. Is yours? I don’t like to hear it.
NOW…here’s the thing. I wrote this a while ago, so…UPDATE AHOY!
Read those two books, also read “Star Island” which I need to say, disappointed me a bit. Ah well. Now reading a Val McDairmid novel and it’s intensely and disturbingly engrossing. I do need to stop reading serial killer novels over lunch though. Next I am thinking it’s “Wigs on the Green” or a China Mievlle. We’ll see.
Also in the meanwhile I saw “Whip It” which was fine but not really anything new. “I Could Never Be Your Woman” which was strange and not exactly not funny, but not exactly unfunny… but…well…research it and you’ll see why I am at a loss here. And…um…oh. Right. I saw Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” And, Mr. Burton…I don’t know what to say about you anymore. You are an artist. You make pretty pictures, but I think maybe your pictures should remain static and speechless. I don’t want to be cruel but…you can’t tell a story for shit, dude. Nice casting though.
Oh and in the actual movie theatre I saw “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” I was a little nervous. I am a big fan of the books and I saw it with two people who had no familiarity with the books at all (does that make sense? It does, right?). We all really liked it. Way more than I expected to. So…yay.
There have also been…let’s see…Hostess style cupcakes, Funfetti style cupcakes, Vanilla cupcakes, Root Beer cupcakes, vegan cookies and…oh, brownies…probably some other stuff. You should totally invite me to your party. I like having excuses to bake. Don’t really like parties though, so I’d be happy to drop ‘em off on my way by…
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Again, not abandoned. Stuff still going on. Wrote some stuff, didn't post it. Got another blog but I'm trying to avoid cross pollination...or pollution...or whatever. If you have interest in an art blog of my art, but don't know where to find me drop me a line, I'll let you in on the big secret. It's just that I don't want to cross the streams too much. I don't want to say something that would...I am terribly paranoid, aren't I? But you knew that already. Ok. I'll be back shortly with all those things I've promised previously. Yeah...sure I will...
Friday, August 20, 2010
So, Comic-Con. That happened.
It was good. Busy. Exhausting. All the stuff that it always is. And good. I had fun. I lost my voice. The new stuff seemed to be well liked. I didn’t see the sun. Well…that’s an exaggeration, I DID see the sun, but only as I entered and exited the hall. I was busy like a little bee and that’s fine. I didn’t see very much of the floor, also fine. And I didn’t see the zombies that were apparently out wandering in front of the convention center. Which was more than fine.
I did go to a party which was supposed to be attended by Charlaine Harris. She of the Sookie Stackhouse novels. She wasn’t there. Eh. I had a cocktail and went to dinner instead. I saw China Mieville from a distance. Miss Smith ran after him to have a conversation. She said he seemed nice but that maybe there was a little crazy in there. But there’d have to be, no? Saw a few other famous faces here and there, tried to will them to come purchase my goodies (heh) but no…no interest.
One excellent thing did happen however and I owe it all to my beloved JHo, who is a god among geeks. See, I did a geeky girl pinup in honor of a character I particularly like from a show I particularly liked. Do you get this?
See her tattoo? It (hopefully) translates to “serenity”. See that circle thing behind her? It’s meant to be reminisicent of a particular logo. See that hat? Are you with me yet? She’s called “Jayne’s girl” alternate title, “How’s it set?” And I had hoped to see Adam Baldwin somehow. I didn’t EXPECT to see him, but I figured that if I saw him, I would give him one…print…I mean…not…anything else. Unless he asked…but probably not even then…anyway….I didn’t see him.
But that’s where JHo comes in. He DID see Adam Baldwin. They were on the same train. THE Adam Baldwin that I may have gazed so lovingly upon many years ago in a little film called “My Bodyguard.” Oh, you can have your Matt Dillion. I got me a big ol’ strapping man! And JHo saw him and in the beat of a generous and kind heart, decided to approach him with my art. Mr. Baldwin has been reported as saying “Nice, nice” upon viewing it. I forever thank JHo for his kindness.
And that said, I have to acknowledge that Mr. Baldwin and I do not see eye to eye politically. However, I don’t need to talk politics with him and I do admit that he doesn’t appear to be of the crazy variety. He is well informed and well spoken, just…the polar opposite of me belief-wise. But that’s ok. He’s pretty.
And…that was pretty much comic-con. Until I do it all again.
And since then there have been…coconut cupcakes made with coconut cream that were really lovely. Snickerdoodle cupcakes that seemed to do just fine. Several batches of vanilla cupcakes that no one complained about. Vegan rootbeer cupcakes that vanished rather quickly. Brown sugar cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that even impressed me, even though I was the one who made them and a batch of very dark chocolate cookies with butterscotch chips that I still dream about….so…yum.
Now life continues on. There is new art to be made, new recipes to explore. There are movies to watch, books to read and I really need to start listening to music that was not recorded by David Gray…eventually…
pee ess: This concert was actually on tv while I was at comic-con. I fell asleep to it. Which brought the whole thing full circle.