Friday, August 31, 2007


If any of you were thinking to yourselves, "Hmmm...I'd really love to get Ehrrin a gift, but I wonder what I should get...?", well, look no further, friends!
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long weekend

I love a long weekend! I also love that they usually let us go from work by 3:00 p.m. on the day before a long weekend. And, I loved that we got to leave at 3:00 p.m. yesterday because of the water main break. I mean, I'm sorry that a bunch of peeps had to deal with the fall-out from the water main break, but this guy? This guy was loving the early leave.

Last night I stopped by Aunt Marge's 'cause I was in the 'hood (l-ville). I was planning for it to just be a quick hello, but then Kramer came over, too, and we all ate Chinese food (broccoli and bean curd with garlic sauce which Mags assured me was 'a little greasy, but not really', but which ended up completely soaking a paper bag with grease. but tasted good. of course.), and watched three consecutive episodes of QAF (which Mags kept pronouncing as "quaff" and cracking me up). I'd watched a few snippets of "Queer As Folk" a few times over the years, but had never really gotten involved personally, as in making it a show I was obsessed with. But, after those three episodes, I am hungry for more! (I learned this morning that those two stayed up until all hours of the night watching another three episodes after I left!) I love watching the TV shows on the DVD player and indulging in a huge chunk of it at once. I updated my netflix queue this morning, and now the first two discs of the first season are speeding through the mailways in my general direction right now. I can't wait. That's perfect for a spare day off on Monday, right? Seriously. My big plans for my big day off are to watch "Ellen" in the morning, and many episodes of QAF at some point in the day. Good times. In fact, I hope it's rainy so I don't feel compelled to Get Out and Do Something and such.

But, I am going to do something this weekend! My niece Savanah is turning five years old on Sunday, and they're having a cowgirl-themed birthday party on Saturday. I can't wait! I hear that there will be prizes for the best-dressed cowgirls. Watch out, young'uns, I am busting out some fancy duds! Now, where's my spurs at, n'at?

The party, and most of my family, is located in southern West-bygod-Virginia. It's about a four-hour drive. I'm not necessarily looking forward to the drive up and back (although I do have some good tunes lined up), I cannot wait to see my favorite gal. The last time I saw her was July 4th, and prior to that she called me and said that she was glad we were meeting up because "I haven't seen you in so long I done forgot what your face looks like." Love it.

I don't need any food right now, but I still strongly want to go to both the farmer's market (N.Side today) and the Greek Food Festival after work. But, I have stuff that I need to do, but dang. I have a hard time passing up a good festival.

You know what is sad about this weekend, though? Pools are closing. Farewell, summer...

Anyhow, you peeps have a real nice Labor Day weekend, and I hope the weather holds, and you don't hit traffic, and you remembered to buy charcoal, and filled up the tank, and went potty before you got in the car.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

fitness by force

Yeah, that's how I roll. Not like forcing peeps into fitness, but requiring force for myself. Why can't you get healthy by hanging out eating crullers and smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee and getting your sporting in with a hotly contested game of Scrabble? Whyyyyyy?

Okay. I did this before. I was on a roll. Maybe even On Fire. I can do it again. Right? Right!

Kramer has bullied me into starting up morning walks again. We used to do them last winter/spring every weekday morning through Allegheny Cemetery. We started again this morning, but it was a short one--largely because I forgot to set my alarm an hour earlier. But, it wasn't horrible. I mean, I was sorta cursing her name while we did it, but then it was fine. We just did a mile this morning, but I think we used to do three. She read on the internets that we should walk for an hour five days a week. And, she made me plan a biking outing for next weekend, too. (don't point out to her that she's just helping me Kick Her Ass at the weight-off off).

But, as much as I want to raise my tiny fists to heaven and bellow out: I HATE YOU, JEN KRAMER!, I realize that this is the kick in the pants that I really needed. It's tough stuff. So, thanks, Kramer. How have you all dealt with set-backs and forcing yourselves back on track?

In other news, I attended the Classic Book Club meeting last night, and a good time was had by all! Have I mentioned how much I love book clubs? They are the apex of hanging, reading, talking, snacking, drinking and nerding out that I aspire to every day. We'd read a rather silly, much-too-young-for-us book, and so there wasn't a whole lot of discussion about it, but I think that the next book sounds pretty interesting: The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. Judging by the impassioned and lengthy comment reviews by amazon customers I imagine it's going to be great fodder for discussion. Right on.

Apart from the reading, we got down to some eating. I made a salad with the white beans I cooked yesterday and a bunch of veggies from this week's CSA. It was pretty. See?
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But, I over-mixed it, aesthetically speaking. I kept thinking to myself, "If Heidi made this, she would've mixed in the dressing with the beans first, and then just gently folded in everything else so it was beautiful and lightly flecked with purple, orange and green. But, I sir, am no Heidi Swanson. WWHSD? Ah well. Next time I'll try to keep the pretty in mind. I mean, it was still pretty 'cause of the colors, but still.

Here's what I did:

CSA Salad

white beans, cooked, rinsed and drained
green beans
tomatoes (I used red, yellow, red cherry and green zebra), cut into chunks
purple cabbage (I grated half of a small head)
carrot (I grated one large-ish carrot)
green onion (the ones I got were HUGE, so I just used one, but probably could have used another), thinly sliced--white and greens
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
some grated and/or shaved parmesan for topping (I used both)
several basil leaves torn into small pieces or julienned for topping

big bunch of basil
pine nuts (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
garlic (used 1 clove)
olive oil (about 1/2 c)
parmesan (grated, about 1/4 cup)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

I didn't really measure anything. Just kinda tossed it together until it looked like enough of each thing.

I soaked the white beans overnight, and then cooked them for about 40-ish minutes with a piece of kombu (helps make the beans more digestible). While the beans were cooking, I cleaned the green beans and steamed them in a mesh colander in the pot where the white beans were cooking (one less dirty dish!) for a couple minutes, then shocked them in some ice water so they'd retain their bright green loveliness.
Made up the pesto in my handy dandy chef's chopper (mini food processor), and left it kinda chunky.
Then just mixed everything together (see my note about WWHSD? above). Don't go crazy with too much pesto. It's better to let the vegetables' flavors come through. Freshness personified. Dig it. It was super-easy, and it was fun to just reach into my bag o' CSA goodness, pull something out, and use it right then and there.

Oh. You know what else I'm reading right now? (Well, some of you do since you're now my goodreads friends. Holla!) Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (written with her husband and daughters). I just started it, but it's good. Like, good-good. I just read this utterly fascinating passage about asparagus. Check it out, folks.

And, I've said it before, and (I'm sure) I'll say it again: if you haven't yet read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, what're you waiting for? It's fan-effing-tastic, is right up your alley (I think; if you're reading this blog), and completely blow-you-away fascinatingly amazing. Classic book club read it month before last, and we talked a little again about it last night. The part about the mushrooms? Woah. (what? you don't know the part about the mushrooms? yeah? well, read it! it's even out in paperback now! do it! it feels good!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I'm sure you've all done this--decided to turn over a new leaf and drink as much (and more!) water as you're actually supposed to, and then started in with gusto only to find that your bladder wasn't quite on board with the idea yet. Yeah, me too. Kramer challenged me to a no-stakes water drinking extravaganza yesterday, and we carried it over for today, too. Which is awesome because I seriously believe that drinking tons of water, possibly more than any other one thing, helped me take a bunch of pounds off a few months ago. It's like magic. So, why is it so hard to make myself do it, even though I hold that belief? I'm not sure. But, right now the more immediate concern is that I have to pee, literally, every few minutes. Kramer's suggestion was adult diapers. I was thinking more along the lines of an office chair new and improved now with built-in flushing toilet. That way I could keep on keepin' on, and just go as I see fit. Are you hearing me, you industrious types looking for your next million dollar idea?

In other news, it's time for "classic" book club tonight. I'm planning to make a delicious and healthy snack to take, but I don't yet know what that is going to be. I have to stop by and pick up my CSA after work, then bust a move home and try to bust something out before E-dawg scoops me up (we like to car pool). I am soaking some white beans, and if they get done in time I'm thinking some kind of tomato-white bean-basil salad, maybe? Will report back tomorrow. Hopefully I'll even remember photos. Speaking of, this is the sandwich I mentioned yesterday. It was multigrain bread, a swipe of mayo, some cheddar, some red and yellow tomatoes, and a liberal sprinkling of some baked shittakes and shallots. Yuh-um. That crispy goodness is like bacon. But better. I'm serious.
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Oh, and see those three little tomatoes on the side? I grew them! They're from my step plants, but they're not actually very good. The skin is really thick and tough. What's up with that? But still--cute, eh?

Okay, gotta go. Gotta pee.

Monday, August 27, 2007

the take weight off-off

Peeps, I have been seriously stressing lately about slipping into Bad Things and how to get back on track. But, then my dear pal Kramer came up with a perfect solution. We're going to have a weight-off off!

Those who know me may know that I enjoy competition and games of all stripes, so this is really the perfect way to get me reengaged in getting back on track! So, the terms are that we have to lose 18 pounds by Dec. 31st. Whomever is not the winner has to throw a party for the victor. I like it! And, I plan to totally Kick Her Ass. Just sayin'. But, despite the humiliating defeat I must, with every ounce I got in me, deliver, I still am very much grateful for this much-needed kick-in-the-drawers. Kramer, you are on!
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And, she challenged me to a no-stakes power water drinking challenge today, too. Thanks, Kramer. For real. I'm already floatin', and that's a good thing.

In other news, I continually forget to take my camera and also to upload the pics when I do remember my camera. What the bleep? I had pictures of the best sandwich ever. Maybe I'll remember them tomorrow. But, anyhow, I made some baked shittakes and some crispy shallots and used them as the substitute B in a BLT-style sandwich. It was divine with my fabulously thick-n-juicy tomato slices (a yellow that was called something like Montana wedding or something? Nebraska birthday? Oklahoma Bah Mitzvah? Something like that. And, a big, hearty, juicy red that I completely forget the name of). Have I mentioned that I love summer tomatoes?

And, seriously, have I mentioned, lately, that I love you?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

guess who!

Guess who forgot their camera last night, and therefore was only able to take a couple crappy phone photos? I'll give you a hint. Her name rhymes with Behrrin Beenan.
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I'll have to make it again. The crust was a very tasty vehicle for getting the tomatoes and basil into my gullet. I just went with the fresh slices instead of "Chef Mark"'s suggestion of lightly sauteeing the tomato slices. They were just super lovely as-is. Not that you can tell that from the photos...

There were also two fantastic homemade salsas at the book club. You can tell it's tomato season! And, a selection of dips, grape leaves, cupcakes, rice pudding, lots of wine and good times. I love book club! We read A.M. Homes's The Mistress's Daughter, a memoir of the author's experience in meeting her birth parents as an adult. Most of us felt kinda 'eh' about it, but several in the group had read her fiction, and described it as "great" and "creepy" and "disturbing". I like the sounds of that, so I have one of her novels, The End of Alice, on loan from the library right now. Along other books. Admittedly, I do have a bit of a problem when it comes to getting carried away with library books, but also I had a bunch of stuff reserved, and it just all happened to come in at once. And, I just got an email that another one is in! Eek!

The best part is that I have another book club meeting next week--"classic" book club. But, we, um, read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Not my choice! Not it! Actually, I shouldn't be overly hard on it because it is teen chick lit. I mean, for real. What can you expect? And, in that context, it was fine--just not something I'd normally want to read.

Are you on goodreads? The myspace equivalent for book nerds? Yes, I know I've mentioned this (a couple times) before. Get on. Be my friend. Let me evaluate you based on your choice of reading material. Doesn't that sound fun?!

In other news I'm still struggling. A lot. With smoking and eating and cleaning and just generally feeling motivated and not depressed. I'm not exactly sure why. I thought that confessing would make me feel better, and it did--temporarily, but then I just felt more pressure to be "good". Blah.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

book club = good times!

It's book club tonight! Queer book club (not "classic" or "hardcore"...what? I like bookclubs!), and the queers enjoy throwing down some delicious treats along with their literary discussion. I'm making Heidi's Heirloom Tomato Tart in a Parmesan Crust. I made the crust last night. I don't have a tart pan, so I used a regular 9x9 glass pan, but I think I made the sides too high (see Heidi's picture), but it smelled like heaven out of the oven, so hopefully it'll be a-okay.

I am rapturously in love with summer tomatoes (and hate their waxy, mealy supermarket poser wannabe cousins with an rabid venom in equal measure as my love for the sunkissed real tomatoes), and am constantly looking for things to do with them. I often get stuck on tomato-cheese sandwiches, tomato-on-toast and just thick slices on a plate with salt and pepper because they're so fantastic just on their own. That's what intrigued me about this recipe--the tomatoes stay in tact and lovely and just-sliced, but they get a fancier outfit to ride around in and make their way to your mouth. And, I'm actually considering trying out a twist that was posted to the comments on Heidi's site by "Chef Mark". I just checked out his blog, and it's not really my style, but I liked the suggestion:

Lovely article, and a great recipe. May I add a suggestion which I use for Tomato Basil Tarts? You say that you leave the tomatoes uncooked but salt them to draw out water. You can achieve the same result with just a tad more work, but get some added flavor by GENTLY sauteeing the tomato slices in a light soffrito (garlic, butter and oil, and parsley, or for a subtle flavor, marjoram.

After a few minutes, use a spatula to transfer the tomatoes to a colandar set over a bowl to drain. You can save the juices for another purpose. I LOVE this garlic and herb infused juice to add to soups, any tomato sauce, a vinaigrette, etc.

I'm going to try to remember my camera tonight so I can photograph the tart and any other delectable delights that show up. I know that E-dawg made a fresh salsa that I can't wait to taste.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

monday, monday (part deux)

I love personality tests. I want to think up a good reason for that, but the truth is that I just find myself to be an endlessly fascinating topic, AND that I find it really interesting that we never seem to be able to really view ourselves with the kind of clarity in which we can view others. This is true with both physical and emotional traits. Sometimes I think that I am Lookin' Good, other times I look positively disgusting. I'm sure that I generally pretty much look the same all the time to others, so why is it so jarringly different every time I look in the mirror? And, as far as personality goes, I have this image of myself in which some things seem like they should be evident to everyone, and other things that are constantly shifting and changing. When I have to describe myself I find my mind racing wildly and all the saliva in my mouth drying up. Who am I, really? I think about ways in which others have described me--sometimes I'm flattered, sometimes I'm stunned, and sometimes I'm just puzzled. When it comes to other people, I think I'm pretty insightful (but maybe you'd never describe me that way?), but what does that even mean? I mean, I think about all the parts of myself that are private, all the thoughts that never are shared, so how could someone else ever see the actual me, anyway? And, how insightful could I actually be about the interior life of another person?

Okay, ramblin'.

But, here's this personality-type test I took today. It says that I'm a Benevolent Leader. You should take it, too, and tell me what you are, and I will see if my insightfulness matches up with the experts of the internets. Here's my rundown.

monday, monday

This seems like the kind of day that would be really good spent under an afghan (the blanket kind, not the person kind), reading, eating soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and intermittently napping. At least that's what I was thinking when my alarm went off this morning (and I snoozed it for over an hour). But, the weekend was swell, so the alarm on Monday is the price you pay, it seems.

Friday I had a swim-date with E-dawg and Kramer. After some hectic running around and changing of locales, we met up at the Bloomfield pool, but it was kinda cold! So, we just pooled it for a while, then made a beeline to the wine store and back to Zeke's house for a little mezze-style feast. We included the leftovers from Kara's delicious cookin' the other night--the arabian stew and carrot hummus, and added in some cheese (extra aged beemster gouda - it has these amazing little crispy crystals that give it an awesome texture) and crackers, this Tomate Salade that Ellen riffed from The Splendid Table (big, thick slices of yellow and red tomatoes with a vanilla-citrus dressing), some nicoise olives (I think?), oven baked carrot fries and roasted potatoes and shallots with a chipotle dipping sauce based on this recipe from Heidi's site, and some banana chips dipped in a honeyed version of the chipotle sauce, washed down with some white wine in the courtyard, escorted by our speckledy friend Zeke. It was delicious, and just looking at these pictures made me wish I had a vat of the potatoes and chipotle sauce Right Now.
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Saturday morning E-dawg and I hit the Firehouse Farmers Market in the Strip, where I got more (more!more!) tomatoes, a piece of organic raw chocolate, and ran into the Davidson-Wagner clan out a-shopping. Sadly, Mushrooms For Life weren't there, 'cause I was craving some baked shittakes. But, we also hit Reyna for some fresh tortillas (where E-dawg was several people behind me in line and I overheard her on a phone call with Baby Boo where she was saying, "Oh, just read it on the blog". When I asked her about it, she said, "I didn't feel like listing everything we ate last night, so I told her just to read about it." heh.).
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We also stopped in to Cafe Richard for lunch of spinach quiche, and it was fantastic--perfect crust, creamy filling. I love this place! I've walked past it a billion times, but had never gone in. It's really French, and really cute. I did not do well on the diet, but did do well on taste by ordering a coconut cream tart to go for later. It was uh-MAY-zing. The flakiest, butteriest crust, the silkiest custard, the fluffiest whipped cream. My god. In fact, I think I saw god. Perfect.

I made one more stop at Penn Mac for some grueyere where E-dawg's nimbleness and petite stature allowed us to spot and snag a number that was fifteen spots ahead of the one I'd grabbed--and, then we also got to help out someone else by giving them our number. Nice.

Saturday evening we rolled out to Sewickley to celebrate our dear pal Susie's graduation and going-away. She's heading out West to join up with her fabu gf (who surprised her by flying in for the party/weekend!) in Monterey, CA soon. The party was at her parents' house, and everything was planned perfectly. I *wish* I could be this organized! And, there was lots of consideration given to the vegetarians in the house--including that we got to eat first (they grilled the meatless meat first) and several delicious dishes were pointed out to us as specifically veg. We ate ourselves silly and ended the evening swinging in a hammock by the fire and making s'mores while belting out 80s style television theme songs. Good times.

Sunday I had a little work to-do at Dave and Busters. I'd never been to Dave and Busters, but had heard it described many times as "the grown-ups' Chuck E. Cheese". And, it was! Kramer went along as my plus one, and we had some snacks with my coworkers, then hit the game floor for some serious game-tastic delights. The event was an appreciation type shindig, and they gave us a card with $50 in game credits! Sweet! I could see where D-n-B could get really pricey if one were paying for it outta pocket, but the extent of my expense was $3.25 for a bottle of rootbeer (it just seemed to fit) and tip to the bartender. My favorite games were air hockey, the shooting of the basketballs game, and Ms. Pacman/Galaga. My least favorite were this bowling game that ate up a billion credits, hurt our hands, and wasn't even fun, and Qix, some old-skool game bundled with Space Invaders (what I meant to play) that we couldn't figure out. All in all, I felt real appreciated, and it was a perfect activity for a rainy day.

This was the boxing game. Notice how cool and tough I look.
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No, seriously. Why does Kramer look like a normal person, and I looked like a freak?
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ps. China-Bear paws.
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Friday, August 17, 2007

The only thing that would make Friday better was if it was illegal to work on Fridays.

This morning at work my computer couldn't connect to the network. I had such high hopes for a little while that I'd have to be sent home 'cause you can't do anything without a computer. But, thanks to our handy IT guys, it's fixed. Um, yay.

But, it's actually kinda flying by. I just checked the clock, and was kinda surprised that it's already afternoon. I like that in a Friday.

As I mentioned (um, bragged), yesterday I went over to Kara's for dinner. She made three amazing dishes that completely personified summer. The first was an Arabian Stew. (I'll have to cajole her for the recipes). The stew was chock full of all the beautiful summer veggies. I think it was a variety of tomatoes and red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini and squash, onion, cliantro, lemon cucumbers, figs--or maybe dates?, and...not sure what else, but it was amazing. A little sweet, a lot gorgeous. It was almost too pretty to eat. But, I soldiered on. And, I got a snack pack with plenty for lunch today, and a snack (okay, a full meal) later.
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We had this with this really interesting carrot hummus-style dip. I know it had carrots, sesame seeds, green olives, harissa, scallions, red peppers...again, not sure what else except 100% pure deliciousness and love. Served with some wheat flatbread.
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And, for dessert, a summer fruit crumble-tart-type thing. Blackberries, peaches, plums, apples? I don't know, but it was all amazing and completely full of the very best freshness of the summer. If you ever get a chance to try Kara's cooking, Do Not Pass It Up, Fools! Yuh-um. Thank you, Kara!

In other news, it was very nice to see Zeke's paws, and to get to hang in the central air yesterday evening. Me + central air = TLA.

And, speaking of paws, I got some especially cute ones from Nowlzie yesterday with The Biscuit attached. So, folks, I give you your Paws of the Day!
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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday, you're almost Friday.

Well, I got my pool-er-cize on yesterday with the help of my co-swimmin' buddies Mags, E-dawg and Kramer. Good times, except it was actually a little bit cold. We played for a bit, and then busted a move up to Crazy Mocha for some beverages. Everyone else got hot drinks, but this guy stayed in season with an italian soda. Speaking of swimmin', Kramer procured herself a little underwater camera so expect some forthcoming, potentially hilarious, underwater pics. In my imagination I look real nice, and utterly graceful, underwater. We'll see if that holds true.

It was also CSA day, and the tomato bounty has officially kicked into high gear! We got a bunch of red ones and yellow ones and round ones and torpedo shaped ones and square ones (heh. okay, no square-shaped ones; just seeing if you were paying attention). I love summer tomatoes. I could seriously be on, at least, a six-tomato-a-day ration. My favorite breakfast of all time is tomatoes on toast. My favorite lunch of all time is tomato/cheese/mayo on toast. I had tomatoes on toast for dinner last night, and TCM on toast for lunch today. Life is good. There is nothing better than a summer tomato!

Know what else is in and bountiful? Figs!
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I walked into Whole Foods the other day to get some Hip Action treats for the China-Bear, and as soon as the automatic doors parted I came face-to-face with a big table full of three different kinds of figs. I had trouble deciding, but then went with the black mission. They're just so beautiful and have that velvety-satiny skin. I had some this morning for breakfast mixed in with my Kashi Go Lean Crunch (honey-almond-flax). I took a picture with my cell, but it always makes everything look green. Why is that?
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Anyhow, god I love figs. Actually, I just realized for the first time a few years ago that they were a delicious fresh fruit. I'd only been acquainted with them in their newton form up to then, and then...ah, then! They are such wonderful little fruits with their crunchy/crispy little seeds. Did you know that figs are believed to be one of the first cultivated crops? Well, read up, friend!

Keeping in the fig frame of mind, E-dawg also sent me a link to a cooking blog by this woman Amanda Darrach Filippone today called Figs Olives Wine, and it's really nice. Check it out here. The site says she's working on her first cookbook. I'll be keeping an eye out for that!

Another nice cooking blog whose author, Clotilde Dusoulier, has a book out (and will soon have a second book) is Chocolate and Zucchini. (have i mentioned before that this blogsite is anti-ampersand? seriously. If I type an ampersand it won't accept my post. Isn't that weird?) Have I already mentioned this site? I feel like I'm having deja vu... Anyhow, the cookbook has a lot of meat stuff, and some, frankly, weird french ingredients often, but it's pretty cute, and has a few recipes that I'm game to try. Plus, after watching Sicko, I seriously want to be French. Or rather, want to be an ex-pat in France. I googled "lesbian mail order brides France" and "lesbian mail order brides US" and "lesbian mail order brides", and came up with nothin'. Evidently the French lesbians are doing a-okay and don't need to import any ladies. But, if you change your mind, les femmes...just sayin'! I could be your petit chou!
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Try not to be too jealous (you're gonna be), but I'm having dinner at Kara's tonight. Kara is one of my favorite cooks. She has this knack for making really fresh-tasting and combining ingredients in really interesting ways. She warned me that it's not gonna be all gourmet, but I'm not expecting fancy, I'm just expecting some good times. We actually originally were planning a home-made ice cream party (part deux), but then she read my confessional blog the other day, and offered to make a healthy veggie dinner instead--which is just super-sweet. And, exciting. Yay!

Also, I'm dog-sitting my speckledy pal Zeke tonight, and he has real cute paws. Paw Power!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

you (yes, you!) are the wind beneath my wings

Peeps, thanks for all your sweet notes of encouragement--both here in the comments and via email, gmail chat, phone, etc. You're swell and awesome and great. You are the wind beneath my wings. I really needed it, and you gave it. Thanks for that.

I (re)quit smoking again yesterday. I think about it incessantly, but it's okay. Mags and I were talking about paws earlier, and I decided that I'm going to think about cute paws and/or look at pictures of cute paws every time I get the urge to smoke.
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I feel real angry on the inside today, but paws make it better. PMS does not. Just sayin'.

I did cook something last night, too. Just made a pizza and roasted some red peppers. The pizza was Trader Joe's whole wheat crust (per E-dawg's suggestion--thanks!), pizza sauce (I think this was also TJ's), little pear tomatoes--red and yellow, basil (from my step plants), banana peppers, light feta (also TJs), part-skim mozzarella, crushed red pepper flakes, green pepper, red onion, dried parsley flakes and garlic. It was tasty, and it was a baby step.
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For the peppers, I just baked them while I was getting the pizza read, and while it was baking. So, like, 400 degree oven for 45-ish minutes, and I turned them twice. Here's what they looked like when they came out (before I peeled the skins off, seeded them, etc.). So yeah, you wash your peppers, and put them on their sides in the oven still whole. 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, and flip them every ten-fifteen minutes or so. Then, when you take them out, wrap them in foil or put them in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap, or put them in baggies, or whatever, until they're cool. Then peel off the skin (it comes off pretty easy), remove the stems and seeds. Voila!
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Pool-er-cize today, Bloomfield pool, 6pm. Feel free to splash on by!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Folks, I've sorta gotta out of control lately. In all the areas where I'd made such good progress over the past few months, and then it all started gradually unraveling, and just...kept unraveling. I've been eating for shit, not exercising, not cooking, smoking, and letting my apartment get disgusting again. Why?

I'm not sure. I know that this is all a gradual process, but I realized that I was in trouble yesterday when I daydreamed about putting a recipe on here and pretending like I made it. And, then I got the final kick-in-the-teeth when I got on the scale this morning. 217. Remember when I was down to 205? What the hell?


I'm not sure how I lost focus, but I remember the exact moment that it started happening. I just decided one day that I wanted some brownies. So I made them. And, then I just kept gradually slackening the rules about everything until here I am.


Okay. Please help keep me honest. It's hard to do it, and it's hard to stay honest. When you've made a big freakin' deal (and started a blog) about doing well, it's hard to say that you're not, and it's hard to keep up the momentum. So, yeah. Don't take me up on it when I suggest java fried rice and ben-n-jerry's and the like. Ugh.


Okay, I'm taking a deep breath, and resolving to try to do better. No, strike the try, will do better.

Okay, first step. Quit smoking again. I have seven cigarettes left. When they are done, so am I.

Wish me luck.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

bad blogger

Folks, I've neglected you this week. Not because I don't care and love you and think about you all the time. Not that at all. Just that I've had a busy week. And, I also haven't felt at all like cooking with this oppressive mugginess and heat. And, I've just kinda gotten off-track a bit. Ugh.

But, I hear that the weekend is supposed to be less muggy. I like that. I also have swimmin' plans on Saturday and Sunday. I also like that.

Other recent things I've been liking:
-dog-sitting in a house with central air
-watching the HRC/LOGO presidential candidate (first EVER on LGBT issues) debate last night, and I decided who I'm voting for (well, both who'd i'd like to vote for if they could win, and who i'm actually going to vote for - Dennis Kucinich/Hillary Rodham Clinton)
-goodreads - i went on an updating rampage this week, and that was fun. i love that site; it's like myspace for book nerds
-postsecret - just read one of the books the other day. it's such a brilliant, lovely project. go read some postcards now and feel the interconnectedness.
-knowing that i am mere hours away from the weekend
-good books (to see what I'm currently reading, have read, want to read, etc. join up on goodreads, already!)
-David Attenborough/BBC nature shows
-java fried rice (um, Susie just emailed me and is pretty much making me go to lunch with her at Spice Island today. she's moving soon. i have no choice!)

I just checked out two new cookbooks this week, so I'll do some cooking this weekend. Or, non-cooking, rather, as much as possible. I got New York Times Natural Foods Cookbook by Jean Hewitt and Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook by Audrey Alsterburg. The Rebar cookbook is where the original recipe for the chocolate-zucchini muffins came from, but, of course, I made Heidi's version.

Here is one cute thing I ate this week. Jen grew some purple carrots. We both stumbled on them around the time when she was deciding on plants for her garden, and she promised to share the bounty. Unfortunately something ate the leaves, and they just grew to be wee things, but still amazingly cute. They're still vibrant orange on the inside, but a lovely purple (like beets) on the outside. This photo focused more on the adorable little heirloom tomatoes in the background, but you can still see the carrot. It was delicious.
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Have a super weekend, folks! My regular partner-in-crime, E-dawg, is outta town this weekend, and I'm not quite sure how I will manage yet, but I'm sure I'll struggle through. Woe is me!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Have you peeps seen Sicko yet? I'd been planning to since before it came out, but then decided that movies (except Harry Potter, yo) were not part of the budgetary plan. But, yesterday Mags and I were supposed to go swimming, but then it was raining, but still hot/sticky/humid/moist/hellish/heavy/miserable so we opted for a movie. Unfortunately, the Manor Theatre really wasn't all that cool, but it wasn't hot, and we also got to see this amazing film. I say "amazing" to encompass all the things I felt while and after watching it. Our country's health system is shameful. Our politicians are shameful. It's disgusting and sad and terrifying. And, now I want to move to France. I wonder if there are any sites where I could sign up to be a mail-order bride?

If you haven't seen it, please see it. If you have seen it, please tell a friend. Here's the link for the "What Can I Do?" page on Michael Moore's site.

I'm gonna try to write some more later, but right now I gotta go to some stuff. So, I'll leave you with this, for something completely different. (It's Hurd's favorite).

Monday, August 6, 2007

oh, it's gonna be that kind of party?

Hurd once asked me why she hardly ever made the blog while it was "Ellen-Ellen-E-dawg all the time". I replied that it just so happened that what we got up to when together wasn't always fit for public consumption. She had no choice but to agree. In fact, she pretty much has to agree with me on everything from now on because I have some hilarious photos of her escapades. Here's a sample. These are the ones that are sorta fit for public consumption (after much editing and censoring).

She and Jen came over to Zeke's house while I was dog-sitting this weekend to soak up some central air and have dinner (I made Eric Gower's crispy tangy tofu and edamame salad again--such a great summer dinner). Seems pretty innocent, eh?

Ah, yeah. Good times. The weekends are where it's at!

Now, to back up a bit, Friday evening I met the Hurd, E-dawg and Lareese out at Spice Island Tea House for a little java fried rice feeding frenzy. So good! I also ordered up some fresh bean sprouts with basil (on Jen's recommendation), which was also taste-a-licious. And, we split a couple desserts. E-dawg and I went with chocolate samoosas with pomegranate sauce and coconut ice cream, and Hurd and Lareese went with coconut cake with mango ice cream. Yuh-um. I love you, Spice Island!

Speaking of E-Dawg and Lareese, on Saturday night they ran into Sue and Ledcat from the blog, and got a shout-out as "characters" from this blog! I love it!

Anyhow, Saturday (prior to the debauchery mentioned above), E-dawg, the Hurd, Emily, Oisin and friend-of-Emily and I met up with my pal Karen. We did a little trade-off of some goods. I brought her a batch of sprouted garbanzo burgers with a tangy tomato sauce. I did this batch of burgers with onion, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and green pepper for a kind of italian flair. The tangy tomato sauce was:

Tangy Tomato Sauce
(serve with your sprout burgers for good times)

-1 c. greek yogurt (used Fage 0% Total)
-fresh lemon juice of one lemon (use the zest in the burgers!)
-1/4 t. dry yellow mustard
-sea salt, to taste
-1/2 t. crushed toasted fennel seeds
-1/2 t. dried parsley
-8 sundried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for ten minutes
-a couple dashes of chipotle powder
-a big pinch of crushed red pepper
-a clove of garlic

Put it all in the food processor, and process until smooth, and adjust seasonings to taste.

I hope she liked them!

After the pool, we rolled over to The Vault, and had some snacks and some iced tea/coffee (free refills!), listened to some good music, perused the magazine selection, flirted with the coffee-boy (I'm serious. I think we all flirted with him. Yes, we are all dyke-tastic, but still. He was a doll-pie.), and had an impromptu dance party. All seemed well until a couple hours later, and we all realized that we were burnt to a crisp. What the hell was I thinking with the not putting on of the sunscreen? Saturday night you could feel the heat radiating offa me from six inches away. Not good.

But, Sunday my burn had mellowed to a lovely bronze, and that made me think, "hey, maybe I shouldn't ever wear sunscreen...?" But that's the kind of thinking that can get you in trouble. But also, tan.

Guess where Ellen and I hit yesterday afternoon? I'll give you a hint. It rhymes with Mita's Mitalian Mices.

Friday, August 3, 2007

again, tgif. i say: TGIF!

Woot! Friday, Friday, how I love thee! Actually, this week flew right on by, and felt like a good mix of productivity and chillin'. I like it. And, tonight I'm meeting a Hurd, E-dawg and Lareese for a little dinner at the Spice Island Tea House. Java fried rice, watch out! I am gunnin' for you--as is my whole party, I think. I seemed to have whipped all of us into a java fried rice feeding frenzy with all my incessant talk about it. I am ready.

And, tomorrow and Sunday I'll be dog-sitting my favorite speckled guy, Zeke. I'm going to take some groceries down with me, and in the glory of central air, I will finally do some cooking this week. Hooray! I'm also tentatively planning to watch some more nature-themed dvds, but I was unsuccessful previously when I tried to work the dvd player. I emailed Zeke's mom today to ask how to work it, and she instructed that her strategy is to sit right in front of it and push a bunch of buttons on both the remote and the machine until something happens. And, also helpfully suggested that I recruit someone from the 9-to-10 year old demographic for technical support. Ha! So, I may be watching nature-themed dvds, or I may just be hangin' out on the internets. Either one sounds pretty good to me.

Peeps, have a super weekend. I'm gonna.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's hot. Too hot. Roasting hot. And, I even have a little window AC unit in my living room (but, I think it may be running out of juice or something), and I guess that takes the edge off a little, but still. Hot. I moved the fan in from my bedroom night before last upon Hurd's suggestion, and that helps a little. But, still. Hot! I had a big plan to do some cooking last night since I did a huge (payday-inspired) grocery shopping trip and got my CSA yesterday (sweet corn!, potatoes, green beans, onion, cucumber, parsley, dill, zucchini). But, I started sweating even putting my groceries away, so I ate leftovers and just pouted on the couch. That is, until Ellen texted me with a plan to go get some Rita's Italian Ice (complete with door-to-door pick-up service!). I've actually only had Rita's a few times (I know, that's like saying I don't care about the Steelers), and the last time had been several years ago. But, it was perfect and spot-hitting and awesome. I got a wild black cherry ice with chocolate custard (a Gelati). Oh, dang. Not only was it delicious (little bits of real cherries floating about), but it really acted as an instant internal air conditioner. Ellen even got goosebumps!

Oh my god. I just went to Rita's site to get the url to link it on the blog, and they have a hilariously cheesy theme song. Get thee to Rita's website now!

Okay, since I didn't do any cooking, here's something completely different. Since I cut off my cable a few months ago I've been leaning heavily on netflix (if you're a netflixer, too, let's be netflix friends!). And, then I just started requesting lots of dvds through the library, too. I've been renting all sorts of stuff, but my very favorites have been nature programs. Especially all the BBC ones that David Attenborough narrates (I want that job!). If you haven't seen the Planet Earth series, I urge you to see it asap. It's so, so, so amazing! As is The Blue Planet (all water stuff)--I'm working my way through that series now. And, last night I watched the first episode of Life In the Undergrowth--all about bugs. Such fascinating stuff! And, then I had a little moment of serendipity this morning when I stopped by the Uni-Mart (for cigarettes...ugh...), and saw this amazingly weird and beautiful moth. You can't tell in this picture (sorry for the quality, I took it on my cell phone), but it's huge--like, at least six inches across. I wanted to put something next to it for scale, but was afraid I'd scare it off. You also can't see how both fluffy and vibrant it was, but wow. Amazing. Probably the coolest bug I've ever seen in real life.
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Okay, and back to food stuff, 'cause I'm starting to get hungry. I just bought a cheap little grill yesterday at Family Dollar for $9.99. I'm going to attempt to put it together tonight so I can grill some veggies, and maybe try a grilled pizza. My friend Schwatts has been all about the grilled pizzas, and I love this idea. And, Heidi has some tips here, too. I don't know if I'll get to it tonight or not (I have plans to visit one of my dog-sit dogs, Zeke!), but soon-soon-soon!
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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

my first review!

I was sort of at a loss about what to blog about today, and then Ellen mentioned our friend Jess's review. I dropped off a couple pieces of the onion-potato-mushroom tart to her last month when she was moving in, and asked her to let me know what she thought. She was busy with the moving and a new ladyfriend and such, but just gave me her review (and posted it to her myspace blog) a couple days ago, and it is awesome! She is now elevated to my number one taster. I'm trying to talk her into meeting up with me tomorrow so I can foist off some more food on her in exchange for an honest and eloquent review. Maggie always says "will work for praise". I will work for honest assessments (even if they're not praise).

In other news, I'm working a bartering agreement this weekend with my friend Karen. She owns Girls Night In (note: that may not be safe for a worktime clickin'). I'll let you draw your own conclusions about the nature of the exchange.

Take note, peeps. I am open for bartering suggestions! I love the barter system!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Virgin Food Review
Current mood: sleepy
Category: Food and Restaurants

Mini Disclaimer: This piece wasn't meant to be shared originally. It's just that with moving, and house improvements, and family visits, and friend visits, and interstate traveling, and goodbyes, and work, and extra work, it's the only thing I've completed for a hot minute.

All content is in reference to this dish, created and delivered by Ehrrin.

First off, let me say that having Ehrrin hand deliver some good eatin' at the very moment you can't take your overheated, overworked, moving-day starvation any longer is just about the best thing that could possibly happen. Kind of like eating Reese's cups til you just about can't breathe and then drinking super-cold 2% milk. Right-oh.

So, second off, upon peeling back the tinfoil, I had the three-fold delight of being struck by the visual and olfactory yumminess of my tart gift as well as the presence of not one but two slices of tarty goodness. When I asked for heating instructions, Ehrrin told me hot or cold, either way. She did not, however, comment on lukewarm-tart consumption, and this is where I feel I flubbed. Lacking new-house resources and the patience to figure out the settings on my (despised) electric stove, I ate this tart kind of warm on the outside and not at all warm on the inside. This heating method is not recommended.

Now, assuming you've chosen a temperature suited to your taste, these elements should be consistent. While appearing omelet-breakfasty, the modified Onion Tarte Lyonnaise provides a dining experience suitable for any time of day. Granted, I was surprised to find the recipe was for an onion tarte, as the mushrooms stole the show. That said, I approve of the mushroom-off combination of shitakes and criminis. While I didn't share in the experience of the just-shitake dish, I found the mushrooms to be sliced just right and full of flavor. Each bite was rounded off with just a hint of onion flavor that was unexpected and understated and therefore especially bonus. The egg really just provided a medium for the savoring.

The addition of potatoes allowed this dish to stand alone as a hearty meal. The combination of potatoes with crust, however, did make it all a bit starchy. All these elements culminated in a flavorfully complex, if texturally unbalanced, culinary experience.

The future-tart plans of more-cooked potatoes and cheese inclusion, however, may just result in the perfection of a good recipe. The mingling of gruyere with the distinct mushroom and onion flavors might be just this side of too much yum to handle, and all this while maintaining the presence of potatoes minus the overt carb-loaded-ness would make for a one-stop spot-hitter to stand in line for.