...a way of seeing beyond inner and outer.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The power of In and Out

I myself do not partake because this is what a Double Double will do to the weak minded. If you're familiar with the phenomena, I needn't tell you what it does to the size of your backside,but in case you're not then let's just say the South Beach diet eating out guide says, "In and Out is not compatible with South Beach dietary guidelines. This from a place that tells you how to eat at every other burger joint on the planet.  The picture says it All

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cooked Heads goes mobile...maybe

Are we there yet? I mean the 21st century but a pool like this would work too. So would weather that matches the calendar.

woot woot... I'm all global and digital. 
go me go...

How untethered can I get?

Not as untethered as I'd like.  This mobile blogging thing is going to require some thought, more than a few, "Dangits" and some caffeine.  A lot of caffeine.
On the upside, I have found a use for my guided tour blog, because clearly, I'm having problems and need some help from my tour guide, and I'm sure you guys don't want to see fifty blog posts filled with only a single nonsensical word. The two hundred-ish nonsensical words that make up my normal post are much better, or maybe there are just more of them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall already, yah stinkin' equinox

       We had a very mild summer in southern California this year.  We're making up for it this week.  The temperature in Los Angeles broke all recorded temperatures.  Ever, as in for recorded history.  The thermometer stopped working at 113F.   It's a bit cooler here, but this morning, when I looked at the predicted high for the day, the outside temperature had already surpassed that by two degrees and it was only 7 o'clock in the morning.   I went in search of autumnal balm and found this photo on Martha Stewart's website.   I know she appears to be a bit much from time to time, ( do we really need a craft section devoted to our storage solutions?  ) but anyone that can make me believe it is really autumn deserves a little bit of slack.

There might be one more summer cocktail post if this thermometer stops working again.  In fact, why wait.  Maybe it's like a washing your car and rain. If I make it, maybe it will stop being summer.

Nothing like a little berry sorbet, club soda and some pear vodka to say,

"End of Summer, please."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bach's Flower Remedies

The notion that a something within a flower can heal you fills me with wonder.  I've used these since my adult daughter was a little girl, and there's still ritual involve in each dropper full.  People laugh, ridicule and roll there eyes, but I have a secret.  I'm a chestnut bud, following a crab apple to a cherry plum and when I get truly lost, I take a few tiny drops of wild rose onto my tongue and remember what we are.   We.. all of us, are the same sort of beautiful nonsensical beauty and purpose that a flower is.   This dorky moment is brought to you by a lovely end to lovely day, made so because we're all still here...where ever here happens to be.

Abiding sufficiency of contentment. No longer an alien concept


      A decade ago, me, angry: "How can you sit here and just stare at the television night after night and not want anything else out of your life?"   
    "I'm content." 
     Me again, but shocked, nay, horrified.  "I hope I'm never content."  I meant it.
     The idea that contentment was positive was beyond me.  I must have looked at him like he was from another universe. I certainly felt like he was from another universe. Contentment was the end of something, its finish, as if, when you had it, what was the point in doing anything else? Why not just die?  Extreme, yes. but I was ten years younger and light years dumber.

     Friday night, my husband and I were discussing the laundry because we're terribly exciting people  I have a very rich fantasy life where I live in a beach house with a large mudroom complete with washer, dryer, sink, folding  table, gift wrapping station and craft island, while back in reality, I haul the laundry to the communal laundromat.  I also pretend I am in Paris with my little wheeled cart on the way to the neighborhood lavomatic. When I can pull that off, I don't hate it quite so much, and just so you know that I know I'm whining, I know I could have to haul it to the river and bang it on rocks. Semper veritas aka reality check: It also happens that my 2B2B apartment is very nicely situated. It just lacks a few "luxury" items, and they are luxury items when you hold my life up to the life of the vast majority of people on this planet. 

     This morning I got up and told my husband, at the end of my life, if I had to choose whether I could say I was able to take the laundry downstairs and do it in the laundry room or I was able to see the world, I would choose the latter.  Easily. By a landslide. So for now, my extra pennies will go into a juliet jar, an aussie account, they'll be turned into Delhi dollars, and when I do pull my wheeled cart down to the local lavomatic from my 2B2B apartment in Paris, I'll probably pretend I'm having it done by someone else.  That's the nature of human existence.    You'll never get from  any thing what you hope you'll get from them, even if the "thing" is an apartment in Paris.  In spirit, I'm giving my pretend washer and dryer to the lady banging her clothes on the rocks.. at least until the universe gives me the beach house, then I'll find her and buy her a real one.  In the mean time, I'm going to try to get used to the notion of being right here with my wheeled laundry cart, unless of course they give me a really good deal on the 2B2B with a washer dryer.  Contentment doesn't seem so alien any more, but we're still getting to know each other.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


Outside Austin is an undulating landscape known as "Hill County" to people in Texas.  The limestone countryside is covered in scrubby live oaks,  and junipers, which most people, including myself mistakenly call cedars, even though I know better.  It's beautiful wild country. Dripping Springs is a small community about twenty miles outside the center of the capital and it calls itself the "Gateway to the Hill Country".  I called it home for several years, the last few years my husband and I lived in Texas before we moved back to California.  How I got to California in the first place is a story for another day, though it's also a story about leaving, or rather, about not staying, and I do think there's a difference.  Leaving when you know you have to leave takes courage. It causes pain and it's still the right thing to do.  Staying when you're trying to make something work that just isn't is passive.  It's ignoring the lesson, whatever it is that's being offered.  It's ignoring who you are.  
It's Sunday morning, and in Texas, all over the Hill Country, there are Sunday driver and Sunday bikers following the up and downs of the two lane highways that snake through the area. As they do, a lot of them, too many of them if you happen to be a Dripping Springs resident, will be stopping at the road side taco places that cater to the weekend escapees from the hustle of the city.  There are scores of these little trailers and "lean to" that may have started the whole "lunch truck" gourmet thing for all I know, and until I do my research, my inner Texan will remain convinced that taco trucks and weekend migas are responsible for the latest LA food craze.
Migas, means crumbs, at least I think it does. I don't speak Spanish.  My sister does. She does a lot of amazing things.  One of them is to tell the truth and to leave, even when it causes pain because it is still the right thing to do.  I love her.       

They aren't authentic, because I don't used fried tortillas and I don't use chorizo, but it's still an homage to all the people in Texas that I love.  You know who, and what you are, and if you don't, ask me. I'll tell you.

Use the same skillet for all of this and you will move the flavor from one part to the other.  
Lazy woman's Sunday Sofrito 1:
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1 clove mashed garlic ( don't dice it.  you're going to take it out after the onions/peppers are cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Saute the peppers, onions,  and garlic until they begin to brown.  Set aside

Lazy woman's Sunday Sofrito 2:
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 4 ounce can diced green chilies
Cook in a non-stick skillet until the liquid evaporates and the chilies begin to want to stick to the pan.  Set Aside.
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • 1 veggie burger room temperature/crumbled ( I use Morning Star
  • 3 ounces cheese shredded
  • 6 corn tortillas cut into 1 inch squares placed in a ziploc bag
  • 1 avocado
  • salsa/hot sauce of your choosing, we use Herdez because we can't get  Albert's. If you're from Texas, feel sorry for me, if you're not, then I won't even tell you because you'll just be sad and it turns out Alberts is trying to help you out because I couldn't even find a picture of it on the web.  They don't want you sad.
  • cilantro
  • pickled jalapenos
Mix eggs, set aside.  Heat veggie patty in skillet with chili powder until the crumbles start to absorb the chili powder, about five minutes on med high heat.  Set aside, but leave the skillet "dirty" for the eggs. Microwave tortilla squares for 30 seconds, turn the bag over and repeat.  Set aside.  Pour eggs into hot skillet and immediately place tortilla squares in with the eggs.  Cook until the eggs are cooked to your desired degree of "done", toss in the veggie patty crumbles and top with chopped avocado, cilantro, the two sofritos and the jalapenos to taste.  Enjoy.  This will serve one 6'10" hobbit, for both first and second breakfast and one 130lb woman ( because that's all of me I'm feeding these days until the rest of me gets the hint and stops staying...)

A mess, but a tasty mess.

A metaphor in terracotta

A few days ago, I was bemoaning the fact that the snails and I were in disagreement over turf.  Yesterday afternoon, I saw the pattern all their crawling had left on the terracotta pots that make up my small patio garden.

It doesn't make up for the shredded garden, but it does remind me that there's more going on that I can ever realize, no matter how it looks, or feels for that matter. Everything is everything.  The "bad" stuff has a gift in it somewhere.  Believing it is the easy part.  Sometimes, I just wish I felt it more.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Slower Saturday

My very first me meme!  I'm so happy for me!  A supporting project for Veg the Man was the seed of the idea, but only because it got me thinking about how we use our down time ( this is where I pause for everyone to laugh and say, "Downtime? Are you kidding me?" to which I reply, "Schedule some." ) Down time is not the same as off time...it does not have to mean it's unproductive time, it just means, we allow ourselves to slow down and stop chasing the clock.   What do you do with your "slow" Saturday?

 I start with tuneage.. this kind of tuneage.  

After that, in the case of this Saturday, I make:
Slow Saturday Vegetable Stock
Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 450F
Put peelings, scraps, and every vegetable that's
starting to have a  "Produce gone Bad" look about it
onto a baking tray lined with foil, or parchment paper.
Consider stock a vegetable intervention.
Sprinkle on olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Roast on top rack until everything gets nicely browned,
about 20 minutes.  Then move to the bottom rack for
another 15 - 20 minutes, until you can see the
bottom of the pan browned.

Add the roasted vegetables to a large pot filled with cold water
and simmer on very low flame for 4 hours.
Cool, strain and store in the fridge or freezer until needed.
Since there's no meat in this, the vegetable left overs
can be put into a compost pile, thus completing the
circle of soup.

This might seem like a great deal of work, but it's not.  It's throwing things on a tray, roasting them, then tossing them into water for a low, slow simmering.. it's a slow long process but there's little real work that happens, and what work does happen is made a great deal easier by a glass of wine and a sharp knife.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"If you're going to India, you should learn yoga", Sacour said.

Hindu Temple, Calabasas, CA
"Do you practice yoga?" said Tracy, who very much wants to go to India.
"No. I do not. I think it makes people mentally retarded. They do it too much.". This was said dismissively, almost contemptuously by Sacour, who then told me I should go to an ashram and stay six months even though I would hate the first three months of it. Understandably I didn't tell him I do practice yoga, though not enough to make me mentally retarded. New fitness goal?

Having lived in California, and felt a deep sense of inadequacy at the large number of lithe women in form fitting yoga pants, I will pay for the bad karma later, but my self esteem rose a few point at their expense, not that I agree with Sacour, but a lot of these women spend an inordinate amount of time getting their body parts "done" and not so much time helping the poor, for example. I suspect they fast though I doubt it's so they'll be more in union with the universal force. In their defense, low blood sugar probably explains the retarded part and you have to admit, they do look good in yoga pants.
In the course of the evening, I told Sacour about our dinner with Parvine from Bethlehem, PA and Ramdass, from Madras who said we should see Agra by moonlight. ( still makes me smile..)

"Go to Goa. Don't go to North Goa, only to South Goa. No one is North Goa will talk to you." Sacour said.
How can you not laugh at that when the person saying it is from Goa, South Goa, needless to say.   He also told me not to try to make my own garam masala, and when I asked if he bought it premixed, I got the same derisive look as I got when I asked him about yoga.
"No of course not, but I know what I'm doing."
I insisted that I wanted to learn, and gave me rough proportions, told me where to buy the ingredients stressing the need to buy whole tamarinds, and then he gave me his mother's recipe for bhindi,  okra, tomatoes, chilies, onions and some spices, without which it would just be stewed okra and you'd be in Alabama, not Agra

Sacour is getting his Bachelor's degree in psychology in California, his MBA at Harvard, then he's returning to Goa to run his family's business and go into politics, but last night,  he brought us pakoras made with artichokes, tandoori eggplant, bindhi masala, more naan than we should have eaten, raita, a cilantro mint chutney I could have consumed as a beverage and cumin scented basmati rice.  He also told me about Pioneer Cash and Carry, in Artesia where I should buy only whole tamarind seeds and that yoga meant helping your wife with things around the house, and doing a good job at work, and building something within yourself.   I turned to Vegthe Man and introduce him to Sacour as my yogi, and a vegetarian of one week today...

Two recipes. Inspired by and thanks to Sacour, from South Goa.  People from South Goa talk to you.

Cilantro Mint Chutney
  • 3/4 c chopped cilantro, firmly packed
  • 1/2 c fresh mint, also firmly packed
  • 1 or 2 jalapenos with seeds or without seeds depending on your tolerance for spice ( mine is high)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3/4 Greek non fat yogurt ( can't get enough of this stuff , but start with 1/2 cup and stir in the other 1/4 if you want more tart and protein, a big deal as a vegetarian, maybe not so much if you're slathering this on grilled chicken
  • salt to taste ~ 1/4 teaspoon

 Toss it all in a blender or food processor until it's pureed. Serve with naan, crudites, or as a grilling sauce

  • 1 very large cucumber, peeled and seeded, coarsely grated
  • 2 cups non fat Greek yogurt ( an homage to tzatziki )
  • 1/4 c finely chopped mint, firmly packed
  • 1 t. cumin ( I don 't care for nor use cumin in this case, but it's called for so it's in the recipe )
  • 1/4 t. cayenne, unless you dislike heat, then leave it out
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cherry tomatoes ( or garden tomato, you want good or nevermind  and this is not traditional, but I like the color and the taste of cucumber with this )
  • salt to taste

Mix and serve with naan, a curry or as I do sometimes as a salad, in which case, I add  2 more cucumber sliced thinly,  1/4c. slivered red onion, and 1 c halved cherry tomatoes.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Juliet's jar and a bovine's baby

conflicted comes in brown
To shop, or not to shop.  I know. I know. Wrong play, but it's the right question.   I have too many "things" as it is.  Except for a brown purse.  I mean, I have three brown purses, but they're not the brown purse that I want so I need another brown purse.
No, I don't, I tell myself, and I put another twenty in the Juliet jar..
I would like to put the cost of the brown purse I do want into the Juliet jar, but I don't have $428.00US  for the jar or the purse.  If I did, I wouldn't write about it here, because as much as I love nice things, there are people who are hungry and who are scared and not only do I not need this very lovely Marc Jacobs purse, ( sorry PETA and cows, it is very lovely, until I think about it in reference to the calves my cousin Ben is raising..."Does this come in PVC? Shouldn't someone ask Marc Jacobs to do something in hemp? That will buy how many sacks of wheat? He'll have to work HOW many MONTHS??  Oh, wow. I need to stop." )
Do I want the kind of karma that comes with this purse and its still very lovely logo plate charm?  I'd  have to be a  peace ambassador or volunteer to work in a third world country for six months a year to offset it but yeah, I think I could do it in that case, until I think about Ben's babies again.  Damnit.
Ben's baby

I may change my mind. I may forget.  In fact, I know I'll forget something, otherwise I wouldn't still be here but at this very moment I can't see that this baby needs an adjustable shoulder straps or the pentagonal brass patches to anchor them.  Maybe if I back my way out slowly.  This recycled canvas bag from My Sparrow is quite nice and only the handles are leather...

Maybe if I just try to remember the calf comes in more colors than the handbag....

The Earl of Sandwich...

...might be my new favorite person with which I have no personal affiliation and who can no longer said to be breathing.
And while I'm tumbling head long deep into the throes of non sequiturs, and borderline nonsensical sentences of questionable grammar, why must I stop to take photos before I eat dinner, even on a day filled with unruly databases, i/o errors, stomach aches, undone todos and exploding dogs, the latter being by far the most unpleasant.  That was the first part of the day.
The last part of the day, the dinner prep part of the day,  because we're all about full disclosure around here, the ketchup bottle fell and I discovered the spill pattern for a bottle of ketchup is much the same as the spill pattern for a soy latte, which I would type out for you but it's a lot of math and not worth it for any of us. Suffice it to say, at the end of the day, it feels like it approaches infinity and do not get me started on the Fry Daddy incident, because while Vegthe Man is happily giving up meat thus far, he is firmly attached to his fries.   FYI, that fill line is there for a very good reason.  Ignore the fill line to your hazard, to your dismay, and to the tune of an entire roll of paper towels. (sorry planet )
So why still the photo? You are me... we are we and we can't help ourselves.
Vegthe Burger
  • Portobello Mushroom cooked in a very hot pan until browned.
  • Veggie burger of choice ( Vegthe Man managed to find 1/4lb veggie burgers by Morning Start.  yikes.) cooked in the mushroom pan to gather up all those dark umami molecules
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Avocado
  • mayo to taste
  • red onions
  • the last tomato of summer, the last tomato that tastes and feels like a tomato ought to taste and feel, sweet, juicy, with nary a grain...until next summer.
  • Toasted sesame seed bun
Find a friend and share it.  It's huge. It's good and it's all plant. ( I checked the cheese myself .. sneaky cheesers )

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hobbit+SecondBreakfast=!(leftovers4(dinner)) :|

Miso Eggplant, Cabbage with Chilies, Orange TVP "chicken",
Vegetable and Seaweed Tofu soup
If you've read anything by Tolkien, you'll know about second breakfast.    This is what it looks like when the hobbit in question  is 6'10".  First breakfast was a large bowl of cheerios and bananas two hours earlier.

Project Veg the man, on track, on schedule and on ward. The same can't be said for tonight's projected dinner, but perhaps all that means is a Rumi inspired curry is in order.

I am and that's more than enough. It's everything.

I've been blogging like a crazed woman lately, ideas flooding in faster than I can record them for later use.  It's great but I feel myself losing sight of the point I want to make.
Work with me for a minute. I'm a math geek so I'll do this from time to time. Euclid, the geometry man, originally define a point as something that had no parts because it was a description of where some thing was somewhere in some place in some time.  That location was the point. A point had no parts because its purpose only existed in relationship to where the "what" was when, or as my husband, the engineer said, 
"It's an object with no dimension as opposed to a non-object with no dimension but that's pointless."  ( Hemakesmelaughinagoodway, even when I barely have a clue what he just said.) 
Asking "What is my point?"  is the same thing as asking where is my what.  Until that is answered, I will dithering with a total lack of progress in any meaningful direction because I can't go anywhere if I don't know where I currently am.  note:Lewis Carroll in general and  Jabberwocky in particular might be a pre-req for this post, and if not, it should definitely a pre-req for life ab initio.
So what is my point?
I am, beautiful.  Say it to yourself, for yourself.  More importantly, say it to yourself for how it will change the way you see everything and everyone else.   That's my point.  I am, beautiful.    
A few days ago, a person with a username iamxxxx left a comment and reminded me what my own point is.    Or at least the point of this blog is.  It's that until we as individual look within ourselves and say, "All I see is beautiful for one reason or another, even if at the time I can't see it as beautiful because I don't see its purpose and it's really pissing me off. May I throw things please?," we will do things that don't honor the reality of I am, beautiful.  We will start wars, with ourselves and others.  We will neglect the care of ourselves and our planet.    We will resent the haves thinking ourselves have nots.   That is not acceptable to me.
This blog is the comma in I am, beautiful.  It almost doesn't make sense, unless you know that my intent here is to say thank you for the boundless abundance that's all around me. It's all around all of us because it is us.    Seeing.  That's what this is about.  Not showing and telling.. seeing and telling, the beautiful.  "That is the moderation of ambition"..."and the sufficiency of contentment is an enduring and unchanging sufficiency."

We are and we have plenty.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. "It's something Virginia Woolf said in a series of lectures that eventually became the essay A Room of One's Own.  Her subject was women and fiction, narrow compared to the lives we all maneuver through, sometime gracefully sometimes rolling down the stairs knock knee'd and banged elbowed, but the thought behind the words could be said more catholically.  A woman must have space of her own if she is to create her own reality.
Later, in the same paragraph, Woolf says,   "Perhaps if I lay bare the ideas, the prejudices, that lie behind this statement you will find that they have some bearing upon women and some upon fiction. At any rate, when a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth."
I disagree.  The truth is, there are more women who would like a room of their own than can afford the luxury of one.  I would bet my Juliet jar on it and I get a little cranked of thinking about why women are so willing to give up their own personal space.  Sure we have "the house", but it's a communal space. It's everyone's space. This feels like it sound greedy, but I'm going to tell my truth. I would like a room of my own,  a place to create and laze, to work and to plan, to dream and to think. Until I have a room of my own, I'm settling for a space of my own; my desk, cluttered and chaotically covered in the goings on of my day.  

Eight letters for Juliet

Portobello, Roasted Red Pepper, Fresh Mozzarella on Toasted Sour Dough Bread

Project Veg the Man is going well, though he's still eating lunch meat for breakfast,
"We need to get rid of it."
Which is true, but I'm working on ways to replace it with things he'll enjoy.  Last night I stuffed an eggplant, which came out well, but no photo, since they were not particularly pretty things those lumpy brown baked
eggplants with quinoa and vegetable stuffing, but at some point I'll Hollywood one up and snap it. It got high reviews and will be added to our repertoire.  In the interim, a recipe for something I love, love love. A little bit will knock your socks off and it's a snap to make if you have a blender, or food processor.
Basil Oil

  • 2 c basil
  • 1 c olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
You can use basil stems as well as long as they're not woody.  Blanch the basil in boiling water then plunge it into ice water just until it's chilled a bit. ( In this case, blanching serves no purpose other than to keep the oil bright green, otherwise it will oxidize and turn a dark evergreen color. If this doesn't bother you, don't bother with this step. I happen to like the bright green color and it only takes a few seconds. )  Dry off the basil as much as possible after you retrieve it from the ice water. Toss it into the blender ( the food processor is fine, just leaves more in the bowl than the blender does but this is a good reason to get some sour dough toast to scoop it all out!)  Add the cup of olive oil and the salt.  Adjust to taste, but try to use the minimum amount of oil to basil, you're looking for something with the texture of loose ketchup, but green ).  
This is out of this world poured on a hunk of fresh mozzarella as an appetizer to be served with toasted bread slices, something rustic, like ciabatta or of course a good sour dough.   Store in the fridge and bring to room temperature because it will be solid ( and a great sandwich spread ) when it's cold.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Choosing change, even when it splatters.

Likes: Sparkling water, drinking more water, weighing less.( personal fave )
Dislike: recycling, paying .50 for one glass water, guilt about not recycling.
Seltzer water success

But like most things, there was a learning curve:    
One of the first four co2 cartridges

I hope the planet is happy.

free floating...

Years ago, it became clear to me that control was an illusion so I try to let the dragline of the cosmos  take me where it wants me to go.  I'm admittedly almost never successful in letting go completely, but I wish I was. I'm working on it. Amazing, delightful things happen that way, things I couldn't engineer if I tried, or more honestly, when I've tried.  The combination of meeting Janet Onemonthfromyesterday and an announcement by my peripatetic aunt yesterday have set a trip in motion.  Rome to Paris in 2012.  A road trip large.   I'm hoping a few people I know will join us, including my boy genius.
I'm not sure how the cosmos is going to pull this off since I'm going to Australia next year, but since I haven't won the lottery yet and am not counting on that for funds, yesterday I put my first 20.00 in my "Juliet jar".  A trip to Verona is on the agenda.  I don't consider this engineering. I consider it letting the cosmos know I'm serious and have high flying expectations.
Now I just have to remember one thing: don't look down...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"One Month from Yesterday"

Cavallini: Stationer
I don't know her last name,  but  I know Janet is going to France one month from yesterday. I love the way she said that.  She's a woman counting the moments until she's in Paris, shopping, cooking, breathing.  I'm only slightly envious because I wouldn't begrudge anyone those glorious moments of expectation. And really how could I begrudge the person that told me about A Platter of Figs ?
She told me about her trip, and David Tanis' book.  Tanis is a man who does things like stuffs pasilla peppers with manchego or arzua-ulloa, she couldn't remember which, then fries them until they reach crispy, melty lushness.

The local library has a copy of Tanis' book but some like-me-in-this person has it for the next week and a half.  For now, I'm using my momentary tour guide, Janet, to plan a version of my own, one I hope my nouveau vegetarian husband will enjoy. It will involve peppers I want to roast myself, for the ritual of it, and to try the method perfected by Tanis and described to me by Janet Onemonthfromyesterday, which I think makes a very good last name.  I will stuffed my version of these peppers with smashed rosemary yukon gold potatoes, purple chunks of onions, strips of smoky grilled portobellas and wedges of manchengo, then serve them in a drowned allioli from Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews.  Gifts come from the most curious places.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


If my research can be trusted, the brown garden snails that drive me nuts were brought here during the gold rush as a food source that didn't quite fly with the locals and were thus let loose to feast upon the green bits of California. Thanks large. 
I know how to kill them. I know how to kill them "organically". I'm ashamed to admit I even know how to cook and eat them. Yes, it's more than a little bit survivor-woman, but it was a bad day and you should have seen what they did to the impatiens. Overnight I tell yah! Still they live. I don't kill them. I don't cook and eat them and wouldn't even if I ate meat because the process involves skimming snail scum off the pot of boiling snailyness for an hour. With all due respect to French cuisine, I myself cannot do that, nor can I feed them for weeks on cornmeal like they were my little friends when what I'm really doing is cleaning out their insides before I toss them into that pot of boiling water..
Instead  I pick them off my holey hydrangeas and throw them over the fence.  I know they come back.
I've been tempted to put a dot of fingernail polish on their backs to verify that they come back, but haven't as yet.   I just don't have it in me to make something suffer if I can keep from it.  It's hard not to go in and get the salt, especially when you  look at them eating your hydrangea and swear they're saying, "Almost done here" knowing full well they're eyeballing the maidenhair fern.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My husband's trip...

...to Argentina.

These are shortbread cookies, layered with cajeta, aka dulce de leche, aka caramel.

Then they are either dipped in chocolate, dipped in a sugar glaze, or more commonly, dusted with powdered sugar and coconut.

These alfajores are his fave...as you can see.

Merengues, Palmeritas, y Bombas de Crema! Oh, My!

I went to Argentina today. To a little pastry shop. I had empanadas de espinaca, and empanadas de humita (maiz). For dessert una palmera. I actually brought another one home to eat, in about 5 minutes, with mi cafecito.

I love to sit in this shop and hear the "jh jh jh"s of the Argentine patrons. Screaming at each other is their "inside voice".

It's overwhelming to walk in a see all the pastries and goodies. Please forgive the photos. I was hungry and didn't want to spend too much looking at the food!

Mi palmerita es deliciosa. The way it should be made - crunchy from the sugar and the crisp cookie. Buttery flavor mixing with the carmelized sugar, light and airy. Mmmmm...

Sometimes, what's call for is a little bit of bad

Chocolate Shake Gone Bad

  • 1/2 cup low fat chocolate sorbet
  • 1 ounce of Irish cream liquor
  • as much vodka as your liver and taste buds can stand, mine can stand about 2 ounces
    Muddle until mixed well, pour into a glass, top with a chocolate coin if you want to make a point, but it just gets in the way.

Why I cannot "do" Danish modern or Swedish modern for that matter..

Ikea.    I think I've made my point.
 Maybe seeing all that minimal furniture in such a maximal place is like seeing wild animals in cages.   It's just wrong and something deep within my psyche tells me it should not be. I have collected much empirical data to prove that Ikea will trigger panic attacks.  Never mind how I got it, just know that it's reliable.  In the interest of full disclosure, the pretend lawyers, you know, there is no scientific method that will help you get out of Ikea when you're under duress. Mob mentality is a much better bet, even if it's a mob of one.      Something like this:
Frightened Child: "Mommy, why is that crazed woman knocking down all the Årstids and Sniög and jumping over the Ektorps and Klobos?" ( on sale for $149.00 at Ikea's website )
Reassuring mother: "Don't point. It will just get her more excited."
To the crazed woman knocking down lamps, clearing sofa and loveseats ( good price on that by the way ) reassuring mother says,
Crazed woman: ""  Wasn't printable.

Where was I?  Oh, yes..  This blog.  The blog's design is fluffy, frilly, baroque, and bordering on an anathema to my personal style, but is there to make the point to myself, in an almost obnoxious way, that there is no such thing as shortage.   Greed we have, which comes from the mistaken belief that we have shortage.  Share.

Enough preaching... when I win the lottery or some of my, as yet unknown, crazy relatives leave me enough money, I'm going to fly the people of Tracery Interiors out to the west coast to live in my beach house until they finish remodeling it.  And it is not an ego thing.   Just look at what they do.... *happy place sounds    

soft modern I can do...

Small steps

First,  I am very glad that my sister is playing blog with me.  Just had to get that off my chest.  yay
And now for the excuses. I had a long list of things to get and do and cook last night so we could be all vegetarian and powerful and stuff, but work happened and that went out with the egg shells and coffee grounds, or it would have if I had room for (read: wanted) a compost heap on my patio.  Instead, I stuck with what I know works.  Farm dinner, modified so there's less, to the point of no, animal, without sacrificing flavor.    Emeril and I are going to work on the beans to get them to a place both PETAs can agree on and in the meantime, as a shout out to my home away from home, I thought you might like a recipe for San Francisco Polenta Bread .  It comes from the back of this:

Now, personally? I thought that looked suspiciously like a recipe for cornbread, though there are parts of the south where adding eggs and or flour to cornbread will get you called a Yankee, and where adding sugar will get you called a Yankee before you're shot.

In the days to come, among other things, I will begin looking for good, "us" type vegetarian foods, which won't have 800 ingredients you can only get in  Hong Kong or the Indonesia market in Inglewood, because while I have nothing against Inglewood, I have a whole lot against a recipe with 800 ingredients.  I will begin to make vegetable stock this weekend.  I will dig out my old recipes for seitan and make some of that as well as post about it, for my sister, the anti-stove vegetarian, aka smart woman, who has asked me repeatedly about "wheat meat."  But for now, beans and cornbread, excuse me, beans and San Francisco Polenta Bread, are all that separate my husband and I from being vegetarians.  Hold the sugar but call me what you want. I'm using eggs and flour.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Painted hands

Although this was for an advertisement, it's still pretty fantastic!