Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My dad is cooler than I am.

Not always. (Just to get that out of the way, and to give me the chance to tell some dad stories.) For instance, I had the joy of explaining body shots to my parents. And I got to tell Dad that the colon-parenthesis in my email was not a typo. And then there was the following moment in Dad-history:

Scene: Family Vacation. We're in the car, and Dad is flipping through radio stations. Music comes on.

Dad: I know who this is. It's Limp Bizkit! (Pause.) And I even know that they spell it funny.

That's my second-favorite Dad moment. The first is when he stuck noodles up his nose. It was great. (I like to remind him of that during Thanksgiving dinner. And then ask Mom to tell her one-and-only joke. That's when I get excused from the table.)

But Dad is actually quite cool. He named the dog after beer. (Thankfully not Natty...but that would be a pretty sweet dog name.) And then yesterday's email. (All paraphrased until the last one...)

Me: I'm getting annoying emails from someone that I don't care to talk to. Do I ignore them or answer and say that I'm busy?
Dad: Say hi, thanks for the emails, very busy, hope you're well. AMF.
Me: AMF?
Dad: Adios, and you fill in the MF.

Totally made my day. Totally.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Seven Things

So there's this "7 Weird Things About Me" meme going around the blogosphere. Technically, you're supposed to be "tagged" for it, but since my sole reader doesn't partake of such frivolity, I'm just going to do it anyways. (I like running across these things a couple of years after I've completed them...)

1) I have odd fears. The "big 3" are chickens, mimes, and SR 315. Someone once thought that I was afraid of chicken meat, and they were all like, ohhhhh, so that's why you're a vegetarian. Um, no.

2) I've wanted to change my middle name for as long as I can remember. I've made a point to get it removed from all official documents, and I've even picked out a new one. I probably won't ever change it though; my parents think that it's too disrespectful.

3) I eat more frequently than anyone else that I know. It's kind of a pain.

4) I strongly prefer odd numbers to even ones. Prime numbers are extra-cool. My favorites are 13 and 47.

5) I truly enjoy burping. This does not endear me to my mother. I enjoy swearing too. Mom's surprisingly OK with that. My sister still gets the what-for if she swears in my parents' presence.

6) It takes me forever to decide to do something, but once I make up my mind, I can be really determined. Even if I know that something's a bad idea, I often go ahead with it. (Case in point: I have decided to get a pair of greyhounds after I take my Step 2s. Who needs 3 dogs? Certainly not me. Why a pair of greyhounds? Because they look cool in pairs. No other reason.)

7) I am a Google ninja. And ninjas are cool.

The End!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Roasted Almond-Garlic-Lemon Green Beans of Fabulousness

And yes, the title basically says it all. I topped and tailed all 3 lb of green beans earlier this afternoon, and used about half of them for this recipe. (That really is one of the few downsides of the farmers' market -- I have to use the food FAST, since it's not underripe and/or stored cold like grocery store produce. But this time it was mostly my fault -- the beans were a little wet when I got them, and then I refrigerated them in the plastic bag that they came in. They probably would have been OK if I'd dumped them into the veggie bin right away.)
The recipe is the illegitimate child of a Cook's Illustrated recipe and something random that I found online. And damn, it's good.
1 to 1.5 lb fresh green beans
1-2 T oil (prefer olive, but canola is fine too)
1/2 fresh lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes cleaning up a zillion times easier). Put the beans on the cookie sheet in a single layer and toss with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, then stir. Return beans to oven for 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler or lemon zester to zest the lemon. Mince the lemon zest and put into a small bowl. Juice the lemon into the bowl, add the garlic and stir. Take beans out of oven, mix gently with the lemon-garlic sauce, and sprinkle with almonds. Roast for another 6 minutes until beans are wrinkly and lightly browned. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.
They were pretty perfect as is, but next time I think that I may add more garlic (as if anyone's surprised), and thinly slice the lemon rather than zesting and juicing it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

No kale, no watermelon

I didn't go to the farmers' market last Saturday and I regretted it all week. So even though I had less sleep than usual last night, I woke up at 9, walked the dog, and went downtown. I've gotten kind of sick of watermelon, so I passed on that. And then I was sad to see that the leafy veggies booth had no kale. If they're still out of it next week, I guess I'll try mustard greens or something. Sniff, whimper.

Here's what I got, as best as I can remember. (Seriously...there's so much to look at and buy, that once something's in my bag, it's pretty much forgotten until I get home. I haven't bought the same thing from two different booths yet, but I probably will one of these days.)

1 pint Roma tomatoes - $1
3 lb green beans - $2.55
3 large zucchini - $1
2 lb cherries - $4
2 heads Romaine lettuce - $1

No definite plans for any of it yet; I'll figure something out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Over the Top

I love cables. Adore them, in fact. So I was quite excited to see a link to a "Gratuitous Cables Shrug" pattern on Knitting Pattern Central. But I have learned that there is indeed such a thing as too many cables. This woman looks as if she's wearing a pie crust. And the sad thing is, a lot of effort went into that. Makes me a little sick to my stomach just thinking about it...kinda like eating a lot of raw pie crust dough. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Garterlac Dishcloth -- FO!

I finished the garterlac cloth. I guess that it doesn't look like much, but I'm pretty proud of it. Entrelac (even entrelac-esque) was always something that I assumed would be intricate and difficult. Not so much. But I've become addicted to dishcloths, much to the detriment of CPH. I'm thinking of making a loopy cloth or a butterfly cloth next. Why? Instant gratification. (As opposed to the world of research, which is delayed-to-never gratification...)

Research Hates Me

There's just no two ways about it: research hates me. I have encountered every possible research-related obstacle that I can think of -- plus a few that I never, in a million years, would have considered. To the point that, anymore, I don't even care...I've just come to expect it and am very slowly learning not to take it personally. And oddly enough, I don't even hate research. I should but I don't. (Why not? Well, I'd have to do some research to figure that out. We'll just leave it as a nice unknown.)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Current WIP: Garterlac Dishcloth

I like the way that entrelac looks, but long instructions scare me. (As does this guy, who's wearing an entrelac scarf.) But since the Magic Loop experiment turned out OK, I decided to test the waters. Freshly armed with a pound of variegated cotton (approximately 840 yards...whoa) I cast on for the dishcloth about an hour ago. So far:

I don't think that I'll ever knit an entrelac shawl or blanket, but I may tackle a scarf at some point. The technique isn't actually super-difficult, just time-consuming and a little fussy. (Basically it's short rows and picking up stitches.) FO pics hopefully within a few days, and then I'll stow the cotton for a while and get back to my CPH.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hey! That's Not Knitting!

Nope, thanks to Craftster, I now have new ways to avoid work waste money express myself creatively. This month's Craftster Challenge is to create a reusable shopping bag with an environmentally themed design. You're allowed to submit more than one piece (as long as it's part of a set) so here's what I've got so far. It's my first attempt at stenciling since I did potato prints in elementary school. I know that I haven't got a shot at winning the contest -- there are going to be people entering bags that they've sewn themselves, and crazy-intricate stenciled designs, and things that I can't even conceive of at the moment -- but, being underemployed and bored, I decided to give it a try.

This one is going to be the earth -- continents to come soon.

A tree. (Blobs on the trunk totally unintentional, but I kinda like them.)

This one's my favorite -- it's a peacycle sign. Unfortunately, it's the one where the actual stenciling came out worst. Oh well.

And they're all going to have slogans on the back. (To be posted when they're done.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Magic Loop Dishcloth -- FO!

Here's the completed MLD, as promised:

This one shows the true color of the yarn -- it's cotton from the never-even-started Kyoto sweater. (I have TONS of this yarn -- I'm thinking something sleeveless eventually, but it was also calling out to me when I saw this pattern.)
First Magic Loop project, since I didn't have DPNs in the size that the pattern called for, and in retrospect, I'm glad. You cast on 8 stitches, and work your way up to 128. I would have been dropping stitches left and right. The Magic Loop wasn't nearly as complex as I'd imagined, but it wasn't quite "Magic" either. A little fussy -- you have to rearrange stitches twice during each round that you knit -- but I'll almost definitely be using it on future projects.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Kitchen Success

Today was a better cooking day. I volunteered at Campus Kitchen and it was really nice -- there were only 5 of us, but everyone knew what they were doing and things went super-smoothly. And, I made some strange-yet-tasty baked goods in my own kitchen.

I am a fan of odd food combinations (in fact, I am currently snacking on nori and yellow mustard) but I never would have thought to make zucchini brownies. I found the recipe here and made only minor changes: didn't peel the zucchini (and chopped them in the food processor), added a little extra cocoa powder, and subbed in 1 t baking powder for the 1/2 tsp baking soda. And they turned out damn good. A little cake-like; I'd probably describe it as a chocolate zucchini bread. But they were moist and chocolatey and easy and vegan. I will make them again, because zucchini is cheap.

My Magic Loop dishcloth is going well (knock on wood). I'm hoping to have it done in time to show off at SnB tomorrow. And I'll post pics too.

More kale

I have decided -- the main reason that I keep this blog is to keep my "recipes" somewhere that I can't lose them. I cook kinda seasonally, so I do tend to forget things from one year to the next. So with that in mind, my current favorite thing to do with kale.

1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon
3 T tahini
1 to 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper

Thinly slice the garlic and put it in a small bowl. Add the salt and use a fork or the back of a spoon to crush the garlic and salt into a thick paste. Wash the lemon and peel off the yellow part only, using a grater or vegetable peeler. Thinly slice the strips of peel and add to the garlic paste. Juice the lemon and add the lemon juice to the bowl, along with the tahini and soy sauce. Add pepper (and salt) to taste. Makes enough for 6-8 cups of kale. You can add minced green onions or sesame seeds too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Culinary Disappointments

AKA, I totally couldn't cook today. In my defense, I was using new-to-me ingredients, but I still went 0-for-2 -- I doubt that I'll ever use these ingredients again. (At least not anytime soon...)

Strikeout number one was Indian eggplants. (I should have gone with the original plan of googly-eyes and baby clothes.) The sauce was pretty good -- not that I followed the recipe -- but I still don't like eggplant. I think it's the seeds. So I'll puree the stuff, and serve it with either soba noodles or brown rice. (It was also a total pain to peel 20 tiny eggplants.)

Strikeout number two was pattypan squash. They're basically mutant zucchini. I was attempting to make this recipe, which calls for boiling the squash, then cutting them in half and removing the squash part to leave an empty shell. Riiiiiiiight. I couldn't get it to work...so now I've got a bunch of chopped zucchini guts mixed with sauteed garlic and onion. (I peeled the squash rather than throwing it out.) I may chop it finely and bake it with breadcrumbs -- it's not bad, it's just not worth all of the effort that it required. (Especially with 6 non-mutant zucchinis in my fridge.)

Oh well -- on the upside, I'll know better for next time. (Lesson: no cute produce!) And I did make a pretty good fruit crisp with the rest of the nectarines and apricots.

Cute Vegetable

So, I am a sucker for adorable produce. Which is why, despite the fact that I don't really even like eggplant, I ended up with about 20 of these:

Palm-sized eggplants. I think that I'm going to make this recipe, since I've got everything except the green onions, and it actually sounds pretty good. We'll see. (But honestly, I just want to glue googly-eyes to them and dress them up -- they really are that cute.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Human Food Processor

I am a human food processor, aka veggie ninja, aka kinda sick of being in the kitchen chopping stuff. I'm glad that this whole med school thing worked out, because I'm learning that my Plan B (culinary school) would have sucked. So far, I've used half of the nectarines making Beast's fruit crisp -- my version had extra cinnamon, a little allspice, a little cardamom, some extra oats, no lemon juice, and no nuts. It's amazing.

When I opened the fridge to get out the kale, I was overwhelmed by the unpleasant eau de shiitake, so I decided to roast them. I mixed soy sauce, rice vinegar, minced garlic, sesame oil, and sugar, but I totally Cajuned the mushrooms so they were kinda bitter. (Cajuned = family word for burnt; nothing to do with actual Cajun cooking...) The sauce was great, but I think that I'll cook the mushrooms for only 10 minutes instead of 20. And since the oven was on, I roasted the green beans. Olive oil and salt. Perfect.

I'll cook the kale later, in what has become my ritualistic slice-and-boil. I used up the last of the previous bunch of kale yesterday making a kale, broccoli, and potato casserole. (I make this stuff at least twice a month but I don't think that I've taken pictures of it before.)

And actually, I've never put broccoli in it before, but I didn't have as much kale as I'd thought, and the broccoli was calling out to me from the otherwise-empty fridge. I like it.

(Still left to use: half of nectarines, kale, zucchini, pattypans...and other stuff.)

Farmer's Market Madness

Saturday: Farmer's Market Day, aka the day that I fill my fridge cheaply. Today was frustrating in that it took me FOREVER to find a parking spot -- even the very far away one that I eventually pulled into -- and of course today was the day where I bought the most stuff. I blame the Saturday Market Bag. I'd thrown it in my purse as an afterthought before I left this morning; it was sitting on the table and I figured why not. (The handles on the plastic grocery bags get kinda painful after a while.) Well, the SMB stretches like crazy, and since my unofficial policy is to shop until I can't hold anything else...I bought a TON of stuff.

1 seedless watermelon (and the produce stand manager made sure that I had the biggest one -- best value for the price and all...)
3 lb kale (I am the kale-i-nator...)
2 lb string beans
3 lb nectarines
1 lb apricots
6 zucchini
3 pattypan squash
1 pint of mini-Roma tomatoes (that's how the stand labeled them...)
2 avocadoes

I feel like I've forgotten something too. Whatever. Then I stopped at the international market and bought tahini, nori, Indian eggplants (literally the size of eggs -- they're fabulous), and fresh shiitake mushrooms, which for some reason smell awful. I'm hoping that they're not rotten or anything. So I am in the midst of a produce-fest. First things to meet the knife will be the nectarines and the kale, and then I'll work my way through everything else. I love summer, but I certainly go overboard sometimes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CPH is back on track

I brought my CPH out of hibernation today -- inspired by I-don't-even-know-what -- and promptly screwed it up. I'm working both sleeves at the same time on a pair of circs, and I turned the work after knitting only one sleeve. So then the rows weren't matched up and I had to figure everything out. Which I did. I'm feeling good about the sleeves -- I'd like to get them finished and get everything seamed before I hit the wall of chaos that will be the redesigning of the hood. (At which point, CPH will probably re-enter its hibernation for a while.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

The RSG rules

I love my Random Surrealism Generator (at the bottom of the page). It spits out some very bizarre and amusing things on occasion. Like this:

ATTENTION LAB COATS! You are librarians. Nothing but plump librarians.

But of course.

A personal KAL

So, I almost titled my post "RIP" for Rosalind-in-progress, but thought better of it. This pic is just to prove that I've been doing something other than wallowing in self-pity. I'm pretty proud of it so far. (If you can't see the DNA, just squint a little. It's there -- I promise.) I'm almost through one repeat of the pattern and it's just about 2 feet long. Hopefully I'll have it finished within a few weeks -- no hurry, it is July after all -- and then I'll maybe, just maybe, buckle down and make some progress on my CPH.

I think I'm getting old.

So Counting Crows are coming to St. Louis. I was excited until I realized that tickets were almost $50 each, and now I'm fairly certain that I'm not going. That makes me sad. And Watershed is playing their only Columbus show (since forever, and apparently for a while in the future) in about a month. They, unfortunately, are not coming to St. Louis. And yes, I looked at airline tickets. And yes, I'm seriously considering going. So maybe I'm not getting old, maybe I'm just going crazy. (Downside: the venue sucks hardcore. Tickets are cheap though...) Of course, the most expensive concert that I've ever attended was a free show; it just happened to be an 8 hour drive from home. And it was actually the Counting Crows, strangely enough.

I had other thoughts. They've just been drowned in an onslaught of concert-related self-pity. And rain. I most definitely got drenched walking home from work today; I really should invest in an umbrella. And some concert tickets...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Wandering in the Woods

I am exhausted. I ate coffee beans for a bedtime snack last night and didn't fall asleep until 3AM. I blame the New York Times. Their iced coffee recipe [registration required] takes 12 hours -- effort-free, thankfully -- which means that you are making coffee in the evening. This requires coffee beans. And I like the taste of coffee beans... a lot. To the point where I don't care (at least at the moment that I am eating the coffee beans) that my beloved "caffeine with a crunch" will prevent me from sleeping. Luckily, I didn't really like the iced coffee, so I won't have to face this temptation regularly. However, writing this post is making me want to eat more coffee beans. Right. So I went to bed at 3, then woke up at 7:45 to go hiking. We did about 5.5 miles, then I rushed home, showered, and went to volunteer at the soup kitchen, then helped deliver the food. I didn't get many good pictures of the hike unfortunately. Kinda like with Jackie and the birthday balloons, I took pictures of beautiful landscapes, and when I looked at them later, all that I got was a bunch of trees. Hmf. So here's one tree pic. The rest look pretty similar.
The Missouri River, aka "Old Muddy".

Me, taking a picture of my own shadow, and apparently some random person's feet as well.

And a frog. Not the only trail wildlife, oh no, not at all. One of the people in the group actually stepped on a copperhead because he didn't see it on the trail. I didn't get a picture of it unfortunately -- no one wanted to pose with a poisonous snake. :)

And in minor weirdness, I found "my" tomato salad recipe on someone else's blog, posted a year before mine. (If you must look, it's here.) Mine's better of course, but it's still a weird feeling. I bet there are a lot of things that I've thought up, that other people have thought up first.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Loki Thinks She's a Landlord

That's the back of my house. I live downstairs and the upstairs apartment is currently unoccupied. And every time that my real landlord shows the place to prospective tenants, Loki runs up the stairs to interview them as well. Although I'm totally OK with not having anyone live upstairs -- it's quieter that way-- I'd feel bad if she were a major factor in the apartment's unrented status.

And, in completely unrelated news, I am once again overloaded with produce. It was a lovely week at the farmers' market, as I spent just over $10 and came home with the following:
1 large seedless watermelon ($4)
1 lb green beans ($1)
1 head broccoli, 1 pint tomatoes, 1 orange pepper ($2.75)
1 head romaine lettuce ($1)
the ubiquitous kale: 3 lb, $2.50

I wanted peaches and canteloupe and honeydew but I didn't have the patience to dig through the mounds of them to find good ones. There's always next week.