Monday, November 27, 2006

you'd better think (think! thinkthink!)

The food:

Turkey breast, done up traditional. Oddly, it came in a string mesh sack thingy which, according to the directions thereon, was supposed to remain in place while during cooking. We did so, and it was fantastic. Even the overdone parts were good (there was a preheating time mishap. Mistakes were made. Passive voice was used.)
Mashed potatoes with a garlic and leek cream sauce. I'm actually competent with the dairy sauces now. This is a milestone. At any rate, my logic was this: if garlic, cream/milk and butter are all gold as far as mashed taters are concerned, why not just add more in sauce form and moosh them all together? With leeks. Everything, I think, could use more leeks.
Cranberry sauce, sort of a la KT. Well, I used lime juice and no dehydrated orange bits. The premise and huge tartness factor was largely the same, though.
Green beans, sans Campbell's glop. I steamed those mofos halfway (parsteamed? can I do that?) and then cooked 'em up with ginger, that awesome garlic chili paste, soy sauce and a huge glug of sherry. The sherry was actually some old Tokaj (Hungarian white wine -- great stuff) Roberta had sitting around that had become sherry. It was nice to have some spice on the T-giving table for once.
Corn risotto. Courtesy New Seasons. For color, I think.
And my first completely solo piefromscratch. Apple. The crust was almost too buttery. Mmm.

The rad:

On Buy Nothing Day, I traded a pair of socks for a cup of coffee. Not twenty minutes later did a cavalcade of West Ank-o-ragers come trooping through the door of my little southeast PDX coffee spot. Since they were actually folks I was excited to see, it was a really big, delightful coincidence.
Later that evening, further socializing at a pal's parents. Birthday style. There was cheesecake involved. RAWK. Followed by breakfast with the birthday girl at Cup and Saucer. If I could be a brunch cook in Portland, I think my life would be much, much richer for it.
Met up with different 'ragers for coffee as a part of my project. Operation: Actually Visit 'ragers in the Pacific NW Once in a While.
Hung with Lolly at a wings joint and her joint and Plaid Pantry, but not in that order. Scratch black strap rum off of the To Try list.

The smugly:

One class is DONE. Ovah. Well, after I turn in this paper, but still.
Also, I age soon.

Monday, November 20, 2006

holiday now please

My school-mentality of late has been along the lines of "if it's not interesting or fun, fuck it." Which is fine. As such, my final papers are going to kick ass. The working titles, or rather, what I'm snarkily calling them in their rough draft form:

-Hast du wieder Zeit für mich? Examining and Re-translating Nena's "99 Luftballons"
-Performances of Gender in Kill Bill
-Annie Liebowitz: What the hell is a portrait, and why the hell can't it be fun?

and a paper for my Deutsch lit class that probably won't be as interesting, although there will be plenty of sex involved. So hey.

These should be fun, interesting papers that I can really get into, but motivation is in the red over here. It'll all get done. For the moment, though, I'm going to make some cornbread.

Also: Thanksgiving weekend in PDX! If anyone knows of a ride returning Sunday, I'd be much obliged.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I don't really know who reads this anymore, which isn't as distressing as I thought it would be. So when I say something like, "I've been really down lately" or "the future beyond my next birthday -- less than a month away -- freaks me the hell out" I don't know who's listening. How much they know about my tendency to freak out on a fairly regular basis, or whether said freak out is actually indicative of Something Big. (Admittedly, 9 out of 10 are not at all worth the effort it takes to freak out anyway.) Upshot being: none of this is likely as bad as it sounds, given my propensity toward hyperbole.*

That said, I feel right shitty.

*My most flagrant example being a conversation with Kyle a while ago on the Alaska election results. I'll let you fill in the exaggeratory gaps from there.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I heart non-traditional pasta dishes

Squash and Leek Lasagna, as bastardized from Eating Well's recipe. Turned out right nice.

1 large acorn squash (although any winter squash will get the job done.)
2 medium leeks, chopped finely. Ditch the dark green parts.
1 medium yellow onion
2-3 cups ricotta
1 egg
10-12 oz lasagna noodles
3 cups milk
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp (or slightly less) ground nutmeg
ground pepper
parmesean cheese
1/4 c pine nuts (way optional)

Since I was not in the mood to peel and grate an acorn squash, I baked that bad boy instead. Cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and let it go for about 50 minutes in a 400 degree oven with a pan of water under it.
Meanwhile, I discovered the true meaning of bechamel. White sauces of all types are one of my culinary bugbears. Probably because I'm impatient and tend to fly half-cocked into recipes -- I can be pretty cavalier about improvising, to mixed results. Anyhow, this go around, I did everything right...and with leeks! I melted a mass of butter (3-4ish tbs) and cooked the leeks until they were soft and good-smelling. The recipe called for 1/4 c flour, but I can't stand floury-tasting sauces, so I probably used half of that. Added the milk slooooowly. Stirred, added spices, allowed to thicken. AND IT WORKED. I was so thrilled. Were it not for this damn foot, I'd have jigged a small jig. I then mashed the ricotta together with the egg, half of the thyme, and some ground pepper. The bowl was too small. It got messy. I probably should have steamed the spinach for a moment or two, but that seemed like too many dishes. Meh. Boiled the noodles. Tried to keep them from sticking together with dubious success. Anyway, once the squash was done, I layered: noodles, squash, sauce, noodles, cheese, spinach. Repeated that until I started to run out of squash (note to self: there is no such thing as too little squash. Shop accordingly.) Topped with parmesean and toasted pine nuts (actually, I only put nuts on half, since I'm not wild about them. John liked them. I could have taken or left them, to be honest. They're expensive!) Baked for 50 minutes at 350 with foil, and another 20 or so without. I'd make a wine recommendation, but I am incapable. Beer, on the other hand, I can do. Alaska's Winter Warmer was nice, and it's seasonal! And it has spruce tips in it! Therefore, it tastes like Alaska. A nut brown would probably work too.

Does anyone know anything about insurance settlements? I'm lost in jargon.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

hell, I'm not doing 50 of these damn things.

State of the Body: Despite the last few days being made of pain, I'm pretty okay. The bruises are starting to fade like absurd foliage (red to purple to green? only the leaves in Seuss books...) and the aches are starting to subside. I have DAS BOOT in lieu of a real cast or crutches for sure until Friday, at which point a medic and I reconnoitre. Long periods of standing or walking suck. HOWEVER: I'm alive. Pardon my melodrama, but I got lucky. And I'm healing, however slowly.

State of the Mind/Spirit/General Upstairs Region: Overall positive, despite a somewhat unexpected case of missing Alaska today. (Cured easily by a good dose of KT and rain.) I'm glad that I have such loving friends -- this whole thing has me really shaken, however flippant I may be. So, thanks. You guys make me feel lots better.

State of the Ivory Tower: I've finished my thesis prospectus, although it wasn't the greatest piece of work I've ever done. The part I wrote before the accident is solid, but the thing loses focus after that. Oh well. If it's truly awful, I'll rewrite the damn thing. The Daunting German Essay is also finished. Not looking forward to the end of the term. No exams -- just four papers due over three days. I may actually be responsible this go-around and start on at least something early. (Ha?) Anywho, I'm getting close to the Week 8 lull. None too soon.

State of the Union: Apparently, this place is finally trudging back to the left. (AK sidenote: PALIN?! PALIN?!?! ARGH!! That she-devil will see every social service dismantled before you can say "Lyda Green." Also, Don Young -- no surprise. But hey, go Berta Gardner! Nice to see another solid dem in midtown.)

State of the Kitchen: Sad. Pathetic, even. Cooking came to a standstill long before I got Buicked, although I had a really great knife moment while slicing some melon. Sharp knives give me chills. Now all I need is a better (wooden) cutting board. On deck for the lull: squash and leek/spinach lasagne, yam curry, KT's cranberry sauce, cornbread. Maybe some baking, too. Updates to follow as developments warrant.

District of Other Hobbies and the Wrap-Up Islands: No darkroom for this gimp. Not until I can stand for more than 20 minutes without kvetching. Sewing projects, on the other hand...
Anyhow, I'm sedentary and more or less at peace.

Friday, November 03, 2006

You've got to be KIDDING me

Third car accident in a month, folks. And for the second time, I was NOT in a motor vehicle. This time around, I was picked off the pavement while pedestrianing. As I type, my foot is in one of those big not-casts-but-BOOTs, my hips, knees and elbows are complaining, and I get to chase elusive insurance dollars for what will likely be a few weeks.

I was not at fault, shockingly. Though I may be a prolific and flagrant jaywalker, I had the signal. Blind. Sided. Some part of me broke her driver's side window, though I'm not sure which.

After I got my crutches from the Health Center, it started to rain torrentially. Of course. So I eventually turned around and got Das Boot instead (so much Wasser -- it seemed logical.) That helped. Plus, no palm blisters now.

Since I can't exactly cook gallons of sauce (my apparent manifest destiny in the dining hall) or wash dishes on a bum paw, I get three weeks or so off of work. Catching up on schoolwork -- yes! Not making any scratch -- no!

This is wildly inconvenient. But, as John reminds me, I got hit by a CAR.