Monday, June 23, 2014

A Hothouse Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about building a hothouse for my hot peppers, (you can read about it here.), and thought it was about time for an update.  I've been monitoring three jalapeno plants.  One plant I put in the hothouse that I built, one I placed in the commercial hothouse, and the other I left out in the open.  They all started out around 8 1/2" tall.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Alex, a Strawberry Field, and Freezer Jam

Saturday morning was bright, sunny, and warm.  A perfect day to pick strawberries!  We invited our grand-nephew Alex, and his parents, to come along.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Homemade Kimchi

I've been trying to add a little heat to my diet.  A few sprinkles of dried red pepper flakes here, a spoonful of sriracha or sambal there, and then top it off with kimchi.  Crunchy, tangy, and spicy, kimchi was a much loved condiment in my childhood home.  Unfortunately, it was a bit too spicy for my tastes so I would have to rinse off most of the fiery sauce before I could eat it.  Of course that was before you could find mild and medium varieties at the grocery store.

I found a recipe for quick kimchi in a new cookbook, and decided to give it a try.  I was attracted to the word "quick", and liked that I could control the level of heat but I did not like the results.  The kimchi tasted sour, and too much of rice wine vinegar.  There was no umami, no depth of flavor.  I should have know that any "quick" recipe for a dish that's traditionally fermented should be avoided.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sometimes the laundry is just the laundry...

About three weeks ago I washed a couple loads of laundry, and promptly forgot about them.  Okay, I didn't "forget" about them (since I saw them every time I went down to do a load of laundry) but for some reason I didn't want to fold this particular pile clothes and put them away.  That pile sat in the basement for about a week waiting before I got the bright idea to bring the basket upstairs and put it on the couch.  I mean if it's on the couch then I couldn't forget about it, right?  Right!  However, I found that I could ignore it.  Not only ignore it -- I could come to resent it, loathe it, and make it the poster child for everything wrong with my life!

There are three other people (men!) in this house, and they bore brunt of my fierce, albeit silent, resentment.  How can they miss the big blue clothes basket filled with their clothes!  Their clothes!  They weren't even mine!  Why do I have to take care of them?  Sure -- move the basket to the floor so you can sit on the couch, and then leave it there so I have to walk over and put the basket right back up on the couch for you to ignore all over again!  Typical!  Where's your shirt?!  Yes, please pick out the shirt you're looking for (and only the shirt you're looking for) out of the basket, and leave everything else.

Okay, that's it!  I'm tired of being taken for granted!  I'm tired of being pushed around!  I'm not touching that pile!  It can stay there forever for all I care!

In my case "forever" turned out to be about three weeks.  I guess I showed them!  They're gonna think twice before trying to take me for granted!  Now if only they'd take care of the other side of the room...

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I've posted anything.  I've been busy, and could have blogged about many things but for some reason I didn't.  Well that's not entirely true.  I know I didn't because I'm pretty sure no one is reading my blog so I thought why go through all the trouble?  And I know the answer to that question.  This blog isn't really about how many people read my posts -- it's about me appreciating my life, my interests and talents, and maybe my need to account for what I do with my day so I have something to tell people when they ask "what have you been up to"?

So what have I been up to?  Well, babies have been born so blankets have been crocheted, family has been enjoyed (sometimes endured) and entertained, vacations have been taken.  I was able to tick off a couple more items on my list of things to do before I turned 50, and presented a five minute talk at the Tacoma Art Museum.

Okay, so that's about it for the catch-up.  Talk to you soon!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26th: Where were you 12 years ago?

So last night we're talking with my mom on the phone as we're heading home from the Urban Arts Festival, and all of a sudden I ask them what the date is.  They tell me it's the 25th, and I turned to Paul and asked if he knew what tomorrow was.  He said, "Sunday?", and I start laughing when I say, yeah, but it's also our wedding anniversary -- we forgot all about it!

Fast forward to this morning, and we decide to take a bike ride and enjoy the sunshine.  We end up at Point Defiance and wander around Taste of Tacoma.  I see the Lodge and suggest we go by and look around.  We didn't plan on it but here we were in the same place at almost the exact time we were married 12 years ago!  The gazebo where we said our vows looks so different.  There are tons of lovely plants all around it -- couldn't possible fit our wedding party and the guests there now. As we stood there we had a kiss and a hug, and Paul thanked me for marrying him, and I told him it was the best thing that happened to me.   Yeah, I know -- really sweet at the time but retelling it now...

Anyway, it has been a wonderful day.  We rode to Starbucks and had a coffee.  Then down to Point Defiance for a little look around.  Next was a lovely ride along Ruston Way then Schuster Parkway before we turned onto Dock Street.  We rode the esplanade to the Urban Arts Festival and enjoyed a little music before we took our bikes over the Bridge of Glass and rode to Merconi's for some refreshment.  After our short respite we grabbed the #1 bus to our neck of the woods, and then rode over the sky bridge home.

I am beat!  I'm gonna sit down with my ice packs, have a glass of wine, and then make something special for dinner.  Happy Anniversary Paul!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home Made Tortillas

I love flour tortillas, Paul loves corn, and since I do the shopping guess which one we usually have in our fridge?  Lately we've been eating corn tortillas.  I don't know what it is about commercial corn tortillas, but they suck!  So I decided to make my own.  I went to my computer, typed  corn tortillas and viola!  2,150,000 entries just waiting for me to view:  definitions, images, recipes, blogs, videos -- amazing!  

The ingredients are so simple:  Masa Flour (not corn meal) which I found at Fred Meyer, a little salt, and some water.  You don't even need any special equipment!  Forget about buying a tortilla press -- just cover your cutting board with some plastic wrap, add another sheet of the plastic over the tortilla dough, and then smoosh it with a glass baking dish!  

Quick, easy, and so much tastier than store bought -- you have to try it!

Corn Tortillas (makes 8 tortillas)
1 cup Masa Flour
2/3 cup water
1/8 tsp salt

Combine ingredients in bowl.  Mix thoroughly for a few minutes to form soft dough.  Add water (1 tbsp at a time) to dough if it feels too dry.  

Divide dough into 8 equal balls.  Cover with damp cloth to keep dough moist.  Line a cutting board with a sheet of plastic wrap.  Place ball of dough on board, and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap.  Slowly press a 9x9 glass baking dish on dough until tortilla measures approx 5" in diameter.  

Preheat ungreased griddle or skillet on medium high heat.  Cook tortillas one at a time for about a minute each side.  Cover tortillas with cloth napkin to keep soft and warm.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Own Contribution to the Food Revolution

I watched the premier of Jaime Oliver's Food Revolution -- did you see it?  There was a segment on his show that honestly made me sick.  It was all about hamburger and "pink slime".

Pink slime is the leftover bits of the cow that isn't even fit for hot dogs.  It used to be made into animal food but not any more.  Nope!  There's a wonderful process where the last bits of meat are extracted, washed with ammonia, and ground up.  It looks like hamburger but is considered a filler, and it's been approved by the FDA to be added to hamburger meat  for up to 15%!

Luckily we have a Kitchen Aid mixer and the grinder attachment (which I've never used...until today!), but before I started I found this article on how to grind your own meat -- don't you just love the Internet?  Then we bought some stew meat that was already cubed, popped it into the freezer with the grinder attachment for about a half hour, and then starting grinding.  Really quick and easy!

I cooked up a bit for everyone to sample and we all loved it.  I'm not sure how about the fat content but based on the grease left in the pan (which was none) and the taste of the meat I'd say it's equivalent to the extra lean meat you'd find in the store.  We started with 2.96 pounds of stew meat and ended up with 2.15 pounds of hamburger.  It's probably because my kitchen scale isn't accurate or maybe the store is, hmm...

It'll be fun to do some experimenting by adding spices to the meat, or even grinding chicken or pork.  Regardless, you won't see ground beef in my food cart again!