Tags: cooking


How Do I Rule

1. Still the jock of my Yoga for Chronic Pain class. Not practicing a lot, but after my walk I lie down and stretch at least minimally. Is that all it takes? apparently.

2. Still walking every day. Today, warm and sunny, another barefoot walk. Number One Son convinced me to walk more barefoot because, jeez, I have callouses even inside my shoes. As it gets warmer I try every sandal and shoe in my possession to find something that will replace boots (wearing out) and walking shoes (likewise ready for replacement). There is no shoe I can wear without socks that will not give me blisters within a couple of miles. Today I started out in flipflops and took them off after I got past the gravel alley and the coffeeshop. Lots of nice grass out there already. I don't walk as fast, but there is nothing for staying in the moment like bare feet on the ground.

3. Finished e-filing taxes when I got home.

4. At one and the same time, I was reviewing inventories of the calligraphic artwork I've taken to the OddCon art show the last several years, of which I had not kept very good track. That gave me an idea for something to showcase this time, then digging it out one thing led to another and now I have stuff sorted out to hang Friday. Also prospective work for WisCon art show dug out of the files, and paperwork for Balticon (application deadline May 1). After months of doing nothing, this is some kind of improvement.

5. Sat down and read (I'm halfway through Kathy Reichs' "Bones" series which I am taking in order) until bibliofile stopped by to visit. We channeled kitty's thoughts, then cats and dogs living together -- leading (through Ghostbusters apocalyptic reference) to programming prospects on racism, sexism and social class for OddCon and WisCon. White Men in SF: Threat or Menace? It's a, it's a joke, son.

6. Hey! found sculptures on my walk! brought em home.

7. Cut narcissus from the yard for the table.

8. Made a salmon quiche for dinner. With bread and salad. Fruit later. (Fridge still overfull since Number One Son's vacation visit.) Sitting down with television now.
new year

(no subject)

While everyone else is evaluating what they have written, or read, in the last year, I just want to make a list of everything I cooked in the last few days.

Wednesday I baked a small ham; with pomegranate-glazed sweet potatoes (must do this again) and salad. Thursday, or no maybe that was Friday, I put the hambone in the crockpot with a package of split peas (also onion, carrot, a bit of diced celery root). This produced enough food to give Number One Son a base supply of leftovers to keep up his strength, since he eats literally twice as much as both of us put together.

Thursday I put the pork roast in the oven. Also roasted baby beets, which actually had to be roasted and then cooled so they slip from their skins and then warmed up again in the same dish. Lots of white rice, and warmed up a well-chosen can of black beans, and a green salad. So this was La Noche Buena dinner. We had the sparkly Martinelli's apple juice, and an apple-cranberry streusel pie that turned out really quite brilliantly this time. Afterwards covered the pork roast in its serving dish and shoved it in the fridge, which was getting dangerously full.

Although I had thawed the turkey in the cold front entry, so that hadn't even been worked in yet. Friday I put it in the oven, a smallish (13-pound) bird which is not too big to fit my bigger baking pans, on the stainless steel rack Mr S fabricated to order some years ago for this purpose. The problem with a turkey is that it takes up all of the room in the oven for the whole afternoon, except there was a little space next to this small turkey for something else. And if I had remembered to take out the lower rack entirely before it heated up, well, that would have been different, but I didn't.

Uncle Al came over for dinner that night -- the poor guy only seems to get turkey dinners although obviously I cook other things most of the time. I made a brilliant cornbread stuffing with walnuts this time (Mr S begged a single celery stalk from neighbor Gary who always has celery stalk), and gravy from the turkey drippings that came out properly, and only half the package of potato buds this time, and sweet corn from the freezer from last August when we were getting dozens of fresh ears. And roasted parsnips with butter and just a drizzle of maple syrup, which turned out to be completely unnecessary as they are really very sweet parsnips. And the cranberry sauce with orange juice version, which was really too orangey, don't think I'll do that again, although a sploosh of pomegranate juice was a good addition. And Al got a piece of the apple cranberry pie, although I made in addition a squash pie (from the kabocha squash) (which is really indistinguishable from pumpkin pie).

After that of course all the turkey had to be taken off the bones and then the bones went in the big stock pot. And Saturday with half the stock I made turkey soup with rice (carrots, onions, a little more celery root, and green and red and orange pepper bits dehydrated from when they were in season, and to make the colors more interesting). The last of which soup is being eaten at this moment by Number One Son. The other half of the stock went to the freezer. And then feeling industrious, I took all the meat off the pork roast, which was an interesting bony cut, and put the bones in the stock pot and made a nice couple quarts of brown stock, with a little bit of stewed pork as well by the time it was done. And it all still fits in the fridge, although things are rather piled.

And then yesterday for dinner we went out to the Blue Moon for hamburgers, with the Everyone Who Has Birthdays Between Xmas and New Years party. I got more books, and lots of cards.

Not to mention keeping up with walking three to five miles every single day, while these things were safely cooking.
new year


I wasn't going to take the car half way across town for groceries, where there are specials on, like, potatoes and sugar, when I don't need those things, we have a serviceable grocery half a block away, I am clearing out the fridge (last vegetable box delivery next weekend) and we don't need that much stuff. Feeling a little different about that after carrying home thirty pounds of groceries on my shoulders. Damn gallons of milk, and I can't even drink the stuff. Found a nice little ham tho.

At some point Number One Son will be joining us for a few days as his last exam for the semester is today, but he is also talking vaguely about getting a job during the holidays. (Food service, but with the thousands of calories he has to eat that might be an income type perq.)

Then I went looking online for recipes that call for pomegranates and pomegranate juice, because I happen to have those on hand, and found a kind of salad called Fatoush, and some sauces, innumerable stylish martini-like drinks, and a Persian chicken dish that sounds good that I might even have eaten at a friend's house: Koresh Fesenjaan, which makes a sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranate juice and adds that to sauteed chicken and onions... etc etc, insert link to long procedure here. But I draw the line at recipes that sound like they would be fine without the special ingredient, like apple crisp with pomegranates in. That Fatoush sounds like you could leave out various things not on hand and it would still be a salad.

I'm just waiting here for the pain meds to kick in. My feet (Weather Toe in particular) decided on the way to the store that there is some weather coming in, off in Dakota or someplace right now, or maybe the walking on ice is just wearing, and then in the store I got a wave of exhaustion. And I just got up! Must go administer caffeine, which will put me on the path.
new year


1972 words, abruptly interrupted by the Blue Screen of Death. But that was downstairs. Fortunately the document is on google docs so I can find it from the laptop too while the poor downstairs computer tries to pick up the pieces. One. By. One. By. One.

The plan is, after November, to take previous notes on the subject and smash those several thousand words together with the several thousand words I have this year, and see what it begins to look like. After meandering around for 15000 words or so I began to have a much better idea of what it's about, so there's a moral there -- plain as the nose on your face.

This in spite of the principle efforts of the day being domestic. Yoga class, then another spot of grocery shopping. Traffic was godawful. Went for a walk along the creek and the bay. Made an apple streusel pie (already half eaten) and a pumpkin pie, which involved first butchering the pumpkin. And don't forget fitting all this into a refrigerator that had to have one shelf removed yesterday to accommodate the turkey. Then bibliofile toasted the pumpkin seeds by a process previously unknown to me of first boiling them in salted water. While the pies were in the oven, a couple of little fits of mending, and three loads of laundry. Prepped the bread dressing for tomorrow, and made a little frittata, out of miscellaneous stuff from the fridge (sauteed onion, some little boiled purple potatoes, braised endive, some grated goat cheddar and mozzarella and free-range organic eggs). By which time I was more than ready to sit down for quite some time. But I cleared a lot of stuff out of the living room so now we all have room to put our feet on the coffee table.

Meanwhile, Number One Son was driving down from Eau Claire in the rain. He arrived (just as Mr S was out and in and out again to borrow a big roasting pan from Frenkels down the street which I understand fits our particular variety of turkey just right) with another three loads of laundry, just for me, because he knows how much I like doing his laundry, and he was very happy to polish off the frittata with a big salad and bit of French bread. General mayhem ensued. While we watched our usual Criminy Minds show to maintain normalcy. Naturally there's a party somewhere of his friends from high school, so he's off again until late. Mr S has procured brake parts, to work on Number One Son's car tomorrow, in thanksgiving, of course. The cat is possibly confused by having so many people to look after -- it's exhausting. I agree.
new year

Daily, kind of

1212 words today.

Yesterday I was ridiculously busy, and wore myself out. (I did write some stuff in longhand, but it doesn't get counted until I key it in, so maybe this is not a complete lapse in dailyness, depends on whether you let an excuse like that slide.) I had a walk over to the credit union and talked to a nice man there about interest rates, and then since I was near Fraboni's I went in and found some interesting groceries (best pizza sauce in town, and some little thin pizza crusts I thought I'd try, Italian sausages, and marinated artichoke salad). Then bibliofile was going to take Joan to the airport, so I met her at the house which was really kind of on the way home, and I met Joan's cat and that of course all took longer than one might expect. Then as long as we were on that side of town, there were more errands, and we went to another grocery store and found more interesting groceries. And when I got home I baked a pumpkin almond cake from Ye Olde Familie NYT Health Foods Cookbook recipe, kind of, with some changes which my years of experience authorize me to make. Mr S was already home after burning prairie, and had to go to the grocery store himself although I am not sure why. Then I made a pizza and salad, and pretty much fell over. Today I finished reading Angela's Ashes, had a walk over to Monroe Street to pick up more library books and more groceries (very fancy Trader Joe's organic oatmeal, and golden raisins, and grated goat-mozzarella which is a product I have never seen before! yay pizza!).

So I wish I wasn't still so tired, but I'm ready to lie down and watch the news again now. Must. Make. Dinner. First. The days are just packed.
new year

Still Thursday

975 words.

I think breaking this into a couple different sessions would work better.

Yesterday was extremely eventful, what with being out in the fresh air and sunshine half the afternoon, and freezing my hands, and the presidential motorcade and all. Today I finished reading a book, and had the long walk over to the library on Monroe Street, and then made chili with a lot of stuff I found in the freezer, so the afternoon was over before I even got started.
new year

The usual fish to fry

Beginning to think I am, in fact, sick. Something about the way I slept eleven hours and still didn't feel like getting up. Started reading Frank McCourt's Pulitzer-winning memoir Angela's Ashes.

But we went out to Governor Nelson State Park today anyway, that was Mr S's idea. We had previously walked the Woodland path (with Indian mounds) and the lowland prairie restoration path, so this time we walked the mesic prairie in between. Part of it has been restored, but mostly not, although it's labelled the Oak Savannah trail, mostly overgrown with invasive grasses, and the border along the woodland needs some work taking out box elder and buckthorn. Nice wide paths, though, and we saw what we agreed is the biggest cherry tree either of us had ever seen, field grown, where the oaks around are all still quite small. In the lowland (quite wet after last week's rain) we found a little tamarack bog -- Mr S' favorite tree.

On the way home we stopped for some grocery shopping, although I hadn't been feeling up for cooking earlier. Now we are all stocked for much chicken soup, stir fry, and chili beans, so that's this week's menus. For dinner I baked a rainbow trout filet, boiled yellow potatoes and braised parsnips, with green salad. Not quite enough time to pick up apples before the orchard outlet closed.

Yesterday I very industriously packed up all the framed work in the garage left from the open studio display (besides doing the floors). Today I very industriously moved around into a corner the boxes of inventory that Mr S had kindly carried downstairs for me, labelled them so I won't have to look inside every one to determine contents, vacuumed a great many spiders and their leavings from the corners, and filed enough to take the most recent layer of accumulated papers off the table surfaces in that quadrant of the dungeon. Then I worked through some of the continuing email build-up. The LinkedIn thingy is still more than a bit mysterious, but the variety of people who are responding to become my "network" look like a wonderful art-publishing enterprise, with lots of tech support. Meanwhile, Facebook is totally borked, AGAIN, as usual.

It is Mr S's observation here at Pumpkin Shell Enterprises that when I get an actual virus type illness, I feel a bit better, and actually get busier. Just an occasional sniffle, but the headache is annoying.
new year

A lot of it going around

If you're maybe noticing that you're older than you used to be, and are feeling sad/angry/confused/worried/frustrated that you haven't accomplished as much as you/other people in your present or past/annoyingly critical voices inside your head think you should have, and if you're maybe feeling something like "I'm not a real grownup like everyone else," and if you're maybe also feeling sad/angry/confused/worried/frustrated that your body isn't working the way it used to, and you're maybe thinking, "if that's true then how am I going to DO all those accomplishments that I/other people/voices in my head think I ought or want to do?", and maybe you're also wondering how are you going to dig out from under the accumulation of habit and procrastination and self-doubt to some sense of satisfaction in your life again, then post this same sentence in your journal.

Got that from elisem

Some days as you know I eat that bear. As you know, I have some new recipes for that bear. At times I recall my youth when some part of me at times did feel the satisfaction of skinning the bear, although the skin is probably in a box somewhere waiting for me to finish making the teeshirt out of it.

Then other days I spend beating the computer at Monopoly only one in four tries.
new year


Once again, this year I have managed to put off doing my taxes, despite my best intentions and resolutions to get it done earlier. I know it is only going to take a couple more hours, but the only way I seem to be able to do it is fifteen minutes at a time. If I go on for a whole half hour, like I did this weekend when the first fifteen minutes was spent literally waiting for the software to load, I can't seem to face it again the next day. And don't tell me to take them to someone else: I might actually have to do that next year, if the retirement income sources get any more complicated, which they are likely to when Mr S' Social Security kicks in this May. But in any case I first have to complete my Schedule C for the art business income and expense, which is the thing that has been holding up the whole works since January. Honestly, who needs the minimal income that generates? Maybe I should retire too.

However I did most everything I expected of myself today. I made a certain phone call I knew I needed to make, which is always very hard for me, and it turned out to be quite a joyous occasion. I wrote a little, and typed a little, and cleaned off my desk again. I made a clever plan or two, and took a long walk, and had several good ideas that I noted down so they don't get away. Last night I finished reading a silly book, and read Alison Bechdel's brilliant Fun Home. Now I have an apple cake in the oven, and leftovers poised to make chicken curry and rice when Mr S gets home from burning prairies.

Oops! forgot to do yoga! neglected to practice Roman letters! The days are just not long enough. Maybe I can still squeeze those in before I fall over and watch television.