Archive for the 'Food' Category

eats…

It always seems to come down to food in this house. Even Harold has come to recognize the little blue cylinder shake-shake as time for din-din. He swims up to the surface furiously and plucks his flakes rather savagely, as though he hasn’t eaten for months. My cats care less about kibble and more about their milk. Both of them. I mutter under my breath that this time is the last time, every single time (it has a  terrible effect on their bowel movements that has me dry heaving at the litter box), but because they charm me and my resolve is the consistency of oatmeal, I always cave. The kiddo, she’s just happy with anything I put in front of her…whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, sweet potato based chicken curry, carrot-raisin oatmeal cookies (she insists on the carrots, really she does!), and of course her coleslaw. T got me the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, and I’m excited about it, though no  deceiving is required with this kid.

When I think of this kind of cooking, I always think of my grandfather (again). My father didn’t like to eat at chez Russell because one never knew what one would find in their spaghetti….sliced zuchinni, shredded summer squash; eggplant. My father was not down with that sort of thing. But I get the feeling that my grandpa, above anyone else, would surely have appreciated my black bean brownies. Yes.

five candles

were blown out. The tres leches cake was absolutely fab, and kind of fun to make. I even managed a somewhat purple whipped topping. This is a cake that must be served absolutely cold. I can see this being a big hit in summer, with any kind of sliced fresh fruit. We sprinkled the kiddo’s favorite, blueberries, on top. If you make it, don’t even bother sugaring your homemade whipped cream (I can’t imagine coolwhip on this one)…the cake is sweet enough. The only thing I might change with the recipe is a substitution of coconut milk for whole milk, just for added flavor.

The kiddo still wants nothing to do with being five. It’s harder on her than it is on me. I figure, hey, she should try being me, who’s *thisclose* to bifocals. Truly disturbing. I’m one of those people now who has to take off her glasses and find a comfortable distance to read small print.

Super Bowl, Super Tuesday. Whatever. I might peek in on the Superbowl, because even though I’m not a fan, I like watching Tom Brady, cool as a cucumber, plant himself into position and just throw wherever he wants, even with a full on rush of 250lb men on him. But I’m not otherwise a fan.

My only interest in the primaries has been not who wins, but who drops out. I felt like having a party after Guiliani withdrew. Since I have moved, I need to register again. I’ve decided to register as an independent for the first time. Not because of any love for Republicans, but because neither party does anything for me. The change I’d like to see is a real end to the two party system. I think there’s room enough for five or six. It’s not that I haven’t been listening and paying attention, but there is no candidate that has compelled me to choose yet.

Lastly, I was driving around in the car yesterday and heard on the radio that Gwen Stefani was expecting her 2nd child, and to my complete and bewildering surprise, I felt an intense rush of….jealousy. Yikes!

mmm, orange

Every so often, when I feel like being super nutritionally pure, I buy up a horde of betacarotene packed, orange foods….squashes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and so on. So tonight, I took out a big ol’ rutabaga/turnip, something I usually only eat when I go home to New York to visit. The proper preparation is a point of contention with my mother and a certain sister of hers. I don’t even bring up Thanksgiving dinners  anymore, because she could go on, and on, and on about how bad this sister’s turnips are. Like most things of this nature, it’s probably about a lot more than turnips.

Have you ever tried to cube up a turnip?!? Not the little, pink and white ones…the big, waxy melon size ones. Ohmygod. I actually thought it would be harder to peel, but halfway through attempting to halve the thing, I gave up and stuck it in a saucepan full of water, where it’s boiling now, like a soggy orange softball. I have no idea how long it’s going to take to cook through.

My mom always cubed hers. And I’m not surprised. She’s a very physically strong woman, a horse. When I was a teenager, you knew my mother meant business when she’d pound her bare index finger repeatedly and loudly on the table to emphasize a point (there were many, often). Do not try this. It hurts like hell! That shoe pounder over in Russia had nothing on my mom.

yes I said yes

Cool whip ingredients: water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil, sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavorings, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 80, sorbitan monostearate, and beta carotene.

….because I have no willpower, I did. And did, I did. Yes.

So there I was this week at camp, blissfully slathering Cool Whip, which I haven’t eaten in probably over ten years, all over every sweet thing I could find; its cloud-like loft crowning two exquisite slices of triple berry pie in delicious fashion. Oooooooo, and then there was the mountain of it atop the spiraling pumpkin roll… I loved every minute of that. And later, splayed across this swell chocolate pudding-banana confection, trying not to moan around my mom.

It was wrong, yet felt so right. I still feel cheap and dirty.

baking…

I just got done baking a nice batch of chocolate chip cookies. Sans beans of any kind. As soon as the ingredients were mixed, I remembered the recipe available over at one my favorite blogs, the fabulous Bake and Shake. Next time.

I don’t know why, but unless it’s bread, I’m not really interested in eating the finished product any time soon after I’m done baking. Bread straight out of the oven with butter is heaven on a plate. Anything else and I feel too…involved…like I need space, give or take a day or two, before partaking. Luckily the kiddo has no such problem.

We’ve also been baking our own Syrian bread (pita, or pocket bread…my grandpa always called it Syrian bread). He taught me how to make these, when I was supposed to be practicing guitar. They are ridiculously easy to make. The kiddo and I are amused every. single. time. at the sight of the breads puffing up and out like balloons as they bake in the very hot oven. Anyway, try this and you won’t want to buy Syrian bread again. Ever. I use the recipe in the Frugal Gourmet with a bit of olive oil brushed on top before they go in the oven. Of course, it should be against the law to buy the accompanying hummus, which is also ridiculously easy to make. Though the moms at the playground do. Eh.

And, lastly, is it me, or do sandwiches always, always taste much better when other people besides yourself make them?

odd…

Well, kind of. Yesterday I was prowling around in the hardware store for seeds and s-hooks when the kiddo got the notion to visit Mama Tree and Baby Tree. I had no idea that she remembered that the hardware store is where they come from. We found them, all snazzy with their lucite handles and blue and red bottoms. But she looked all sad at me and said “But these are not toys”. I didn’t know what to say. When we got home, she was over it and sought out the pair and put them in their special spot. She likes to decorate toilet paper tubes and dress the “trees” up.

We then went to the little thrift shop around the corner, where she spied a big honking yellow dump truck and of course wanted it. I had to get it for her…my dad was a truck driver with a big white truck, so this melted my heart. I wish she could have met him, he would have adored his grandchildren. He liked girls with spunk, a quality this kid has in abundance. He probably would have given her a special call from this character he invented by the name of “Pierre”, who had a thick accent and would leave candy bars on the counter for my then four year old sister Pentyne. I still don’t know how he called my sister from the phone line in the house and got the extension to ring, but he would call from the bedroom upstairs and chat with Pentyne in his faux accent. He’d just chat with her about her day, remind her to mind her Mommy, and Pentyne would giggle on the other end. Then my father would relentlessly tease Pentyne about her “French boyfriend” for days, which would elicit more giggles and blushes.

We had immunizations for the kiddo last week. Joy. But afterward we found our ice cream parlor and enjoyed the weather outside. Babci kept commenting on the fact that St. ___’s school is right near by. Four times. Four times. Ack! I’ve always envisioned a private school education for the kiddo, but parochial school is not quite what I had in mind. I haven’t touched upon religion with the kiddo, but I’ve saved this Tibetan story book for the time when she questions me about death, and I can take it out for her and read to her the story of a little old Buddhist man who lives in the mountains of Tibet and explain the concept of reincarnation. I don’t need her growing up with the torment of hell and original sin, nuh-uh. Actually, in the best case scenario, she would go to a Waldorf school. I visited one in Sweden, and was so impressed…the kids were so engaged in what they were doing and with each other. Waldorf focuses more on the child and its experiences as teachers, with an emphasis on creativity. But the nearest school is many, many miles away.

Lastly, I wanted to pass along another cooking blog I found. Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks is packed with awesome, good-for-you food, with an emphasis on organic ingredients. There are also lots of vegetarian recipes. Enjoy.

I like these too…

some artwork I’ve been admiring:

Heinrich Toh’s mixed media work is rich in imagery, pattern and color.

Flora Bowley’s paintings and mixed media.

Anahata  Katkin’s Inspiration Engine blog and work.

and yesterday I made this Indian Kheer pudding, which is a dessert, but I like it for breakfast. If you like rice pudding and chai tea, you will like this. I substituted honey for the sugar, almond extract and vanilla for the rose water,  and brown rice for basmati.  It was delicious.