Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ode to bees

I love bees. I mean, I don't LOVE love them...don't want to wear a bee suit or anything...but damn, they are one badass little creature! The way they pollinate plants (yum, food!) AND make honey? Too cool for school.

I've always loved honey, but I've been on a particular honey kick lately. Our staple honey is a mesquite honey from Trader Joe's, just cause it's well priced and we use a lot of honey! Each batch can vary widely, since "mesquite" in this context just means "whatever the bees can find in the deserts of the Southwest". Our current container is light and very floral and amberish. I am snarfing if down. The previous batch was slightly heavier, and smokey. I don't go for the smokey honeys. My brother brought back a chestnut honey from Italy a few years back that was amazing and interesting, but really just too much for me in the end. Luckily he brought it for our parents, and not me ;) Yeah, we all love honey! We've also got a jar of raspberry honey in the house right now, too. It's from some lovely beekeepers in Ojai, and my mom brought it out to us. Delicious. Not much berry flavor, but almost caramel like. Sooo good. *Swoon*

Anyway, between the pollinating and honey making I'm pretty seriously considering some minor beekeeping (one or two hives) someday (you know, when we win the lottery and can actually buy a house here. Argh. Mustn't get caught up in negative thinking!). Can you imagine honey fresh from the hive??

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hat Attack!

I am squeeing with delight right now, because I just signed up for Hat Attack! It's a variation on Sock Wars- a knitting war game. I. Cannot. Wait. We get the pattern February 9th.

In short, everyone who plays knits the same hat. We are all assigned a target to "kill". You kill your target by finishing the hat and getting it to them before they get their hat to their target. When someone dies the send the hat they were working on to their assassin, who then finishes it and mails it on to the original target, hopefully in time to kill him/her. Cool, huh??


Better get mom's sweater finished ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Housekeeper of the Year

As I tucked Liel into bed tonight she whispered to me.

"Mama?", she said, "There was cereal on the place mat (bath mat) in the bathroom".

"Really?", I said, slightly embarrassed. But she does like carrying a little bowl of dry cereal all over the house, so...

"Huh", she confirmed. "I ate it up!"

"Oh", I said. She must have heard the yuck factor in my voice.

"It wasn't old", she assured me.

Well, thank goodness for that! There may be cereal on the bathmat in my bathroom, but folks, listen up: It isn't old cereal.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Power and other outages

At 6am this morning out power went out. It came back after a few minutes, and went out again around 7am. Came back on about 830am, and was thankfully on most of the day. But around 4pm? Out again. Upon hearing that it was probably going to be out until 730pm we decided to go do a little shopping at IKEA to get out of the dark house. Just as we were bundling up the power came back, so we scrapped that plan (the drive there is pretty awful on weekdays around rush hour and it was 5pm) and headed to the local Chinese joint, The Golden Mushroom, instead. We go there about twice a year, because apparently that's how long it takes us to warm up to its mediocre food again. Halfway through dinner the lights went out. We finished up by fire hazard candlelight and came home to power, so it was all good in the end. Let's just hope we keep power tonight! I have plans, yo.

In other news, pre-contest props go to Rachel, who expressed her enthusiasm with 80s song lyrics. Get down with your bad self, Rach!

To conclude this disjointed post I'd like to urge all of you on Facebook to adopt (fluff)friends. I've become irrationally addicted to this application (which features super cute cartoon pets you can adopt, feed, and race), and now crave tshirts and mugs with my sweet little piggy, Punch'npie on them. I am a marketing teams dream consumer, no doubt. And Punch'npie wants more friends! I bow to his whims. If you are my friend on Facebook and dont' have a (fluff) friend, I've surely already sent you a (fluff)friends invitation. Hoinch!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I've complained about Robert being in charge our Netflix queue, right? But yeah, on account of my lazy I allow the situation to continue. Last week a movie called Diabolik arrived.

"What's Dee-ah-bo-leek?", I asked suspiciously.

"It's Die-ah-ball-ick", Robert replied. "I think Cody and I watched it in college and it was pretty funny."

"Mmmmph", I said.

Well, we watched it 2 nights ago. It's a late 60's era if-James-Bond-were-a-bad-guy kinda movie. The ImDb plot synopsis says, "Fey super-thief Diabolik runs around stealing jewels, gold, murdering innocent people, and being a nuisance to the government of a generic European country." and I couldn't have put it any better, except to note that it probably qualified as soft p0rn in the 60s (my favorite scene involved him and his girl having sex on an ENORMOUS round, revolving bed covered in 10 million dollars worth of cash. Classy!).

Anyway, I'm not really recommending this movie. It wasn't particularly hilarious. It did have one redeeming feature, however: the Beastie Boys video for "Body Movin'", which we still watch fairly often at Zion's request, suddenly makes a lot more sense! It's more or less a condensing and retelling of Diabolik, with tomato sauce standing in for emerald necklaces. Of course.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pre-contest announcement!

I've been thinking about running a contest on my blog or on Facebook (or both) for a few weeks, and I think I've more or less worked out the details in my head. Here's what I'm thinking:

Contest will run for the month of February. I'll call it a Leap Year Contest or something. Each day I will have a quote from an 80s song as my subject on a blog post. If you can identify it, do so in the comments. At the end of the month the person with the most correct answers will win a prize!

Sound good?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Movin' on up

A few nights ago Liel had a nightmare. Pretty rare for her, and she was pretty badly shaken. She refused to get back in her crib, a first (she usually loves her crib and asks to be in it). So I brought her up to our bed to sleep, and Robert and I decided to set up her big girl bed the next day.

Only setting up the big girl bed wasn't as easy as it may sound. Oh no. You see, we planned to have the kids share a room when Liel stopped sleeping in her crib (really it was once she started sleeping through the night, which finally happened this summer. Then we figured eh, might as well wait til she's ready for a bed, why disassemble/move/reassemble the PITA crib?). So, first we needed to move the car table out of Zion's room. We'd wanted to do that anyway, cause we were pretty sure it would get more play if it were in the living room. But in order to make room for the car table in the living room we had to move the futon. So: futon downstairs (good, now we will have a guest room with some privacy! Once we reassemble the futon, that is). Car table into living room. Move dresser and toy chest in Zion's room. Haul big girl bed up out of the basement. Set it up. Realize that IKEA bed slats are just slightly too narrow for the frame, as is a standard box spring. Call my parents. Oh, says dad, there are slats to that bed. Great, says I, we don't have them! Well, says dad, you'll just need to go to a lumbar yard. But it's nap time. Luckily Liel consented to nap in her crib, and Robert was dispatched to buy wood.

Finally it was all done. We've left Liel's crib up for the time being, in case she decides she wants to use it again (and also because we're lazy like that), but she was sooo excited about her big girl bed and couldn't wait to sleep in it. So far it's been a breeze...she slept well last night and at nap time, and the kids didn't bother each other in the same room! Oh how I hope it stays like this...even mostly!

So, here is Zion's bed:

And Liel's bed:

And both of them togther:

Cute, no? I love their "new" room, and they seem to also!

Going gray and cuteness

Early graying runs in Robert's family. He started going gray at 19, and at 31 about half his hair is gray. It appears Liel may have inherited this trait- check out what I found on her 2 year old head!

Yep, that's a gray hair. Hopefully it's just a fluke, cause most girls don't dig going gray at age 19. Or age 2.

Luckily she's pretty content with life :) As is our masked man!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Weekend update

We had a busy weekend! First off I went down to Long Island to visit Kacie who's out here getting her first guide dog, Honey. We had a lovely Thai lunch (well, not Honey, she had to stay home!), and knitted and chatted, and time just flew! Here's a pic of Kacie and Honey, and one of me and Kacie.

Man, do I look goofy in that picture or what?? And Kacie has mad photogenic skillz- I took 3 pictures of her and she looked perfect in every one. In my family 3 pictures taken will yield one usable picture most days!

Anyway, after I left Kacie I raced as fast as I dared to the city to pick up Vogelman! and Andria. I was running late and feeling kinda stressed since I was worried they'd be freezing in the cold at the 242nd street station waiting for me! Robert called as I was getting pretty close, and asked where I was.

"In the Bronx", I said. "Where are Vogelman! and Andria?"

"They're 4 stops away", Robert said.

"Oh good! I was worried I was going to be late, but I think it'll be perfect timing. I just passed 179th".

"They're going to get there before you", Robert said decidedly.

"I don't think so", I said. "I think it's going to be really good timing. But I'll call you when I have them and we're on our way".

So, I get to 242nd and I see a train pulling in. Scan the sidewalk- no Andria, no Vogelman! I am smug, sure that I've timed it with incredibly precision. Never mind that it was an accident- I pulled in at the same time as their train! I immediately called Robert to gloat. And sure enough, they came down the stairs a couple minutes later.

We had a super fabulous time with the Bigels, as always. Zion actually cried last night at bedtime because he was so sad that they were leaving. Robert and I were pretty bummed, too. You do get used to living without your dear, old friends around, but seeing them always brings back how much you miss them.

How much fun did we have? Here's Vogelman! washing our dishes!

Andria and Liel doing puzzles!

And Zion and Vogelman! playing with dragons, robots, and a super cool block castle!

Clearly, a good time was had by all. (And there was wine and gaming when the kids went to bed, too!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I need a kiss!

Liel is a firm believer in the healing power of the kiss. Virtually every bump or bang is sure to be accompanied by a howl of, "I need a kiss!" And lest you think that the kiss magic might be global in its reach, let me assure you that in Liel's world, it is very, very local. She will point to the exact spot she believes the pain to be located and demand, "Right der!" If you miss by even so much as half an inch she will sternly correct you, "NO. Right DER!" with her jabby little finger, in case you missed it the first time. Sometimes two or three tries are required to get it right, but once the kiss has found it's mark she's generally a happy camper. If it was a biggish bump the tears subside, and if it was a small one she'll run back off to play.

Now, Liel isn't an overly careful child. I don't know how common this is in 2 year olds (very common, I suspect), and Zion tended to be rather more careful about the position of the table in relation to his head, for instance. The upshot of this is that Liel rarely goes two days without some sort of kiss requiring injury.

A few nights ago she was playing around my feet at the dining room table while Robert and I chatted. She safely pulled her head away from the table and my chair, but apparently banged some part of her on the rung of my chair as bounced the rest of the way up. I didn't actually see the event occur, but heard the wailing aftermath. I scooped her up onto my lap and gave her a hug.

"I need a kissssss", Liel sobbed.

"What happened?", I asked.

"Something bumped me! I need kiss!", she howled in outrage.

"Where do you need a kiss?", I asked sympathetically.

Liel squirmed in my arms, turning herself onto her side on my lap. Like a patient in a comic strip, she pointed to the right side of her bottom. "Right here!"

"Um, really?", I said, trying to suppress a giggle. "Right there?" I pointed slightly higher, on her lower back.

"No", Liel sniffled. "Right HERE". She jabbed her finger at her right buttock again.

Robert was across the table, trying mightily not to laugh. As the scene unfolded I saw him eyeing the camera. I leaned in quickly and kissed Liel's butt. "Better?", I asked brightly.

"Huh", Liel sniffed.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Phantom Tollbooth

When Zion came home from preschool today I asked him if he had painted, played outside, done circle time, played with Valentina etc. (I learned months ago not to ask him what he did- too vague, and he'd just say, "nothing"). Usually this tactic elicits some information, but today he said, "No" to everything I asked.

"What did you have for snack?", I asked, feeling clever.

"No.", said Zion.

"No? What's "no"? I don't think I've ever had that before! Is it yummy?"

Zion got a coy, interested look on his face, but was distracted by his sister and I dropped the conversation.

Tonight before dinner he was playing at being a little polar bear and invited me to come pick up my vegetables from the CSA the polar bear was running.

"OK", I said. "Hello little polar bear! What vegetables do you have for me today?"

"Um, today I", Zion said, looking at my slyly.

"No, huh? I've never tried no. How do I know which are the good ones?"

"The white ones are good", he replied confidently.

So I picked out some white nos. "Now", I said, "How do I eat them? Raw, or cooked?"

"Cooked", said Zion.

"So, how do I cook them?"

"Um, you have to peel them. Because they have peels on them! And then you chop them up (chopping hand motions)!"

"Ah, alright. But do I roast them, like cauliflower? Or sautee them?"

"You do not roast them. You put some oil in a pan and then you fry them up, like zucchini", he said enthusastically.

"Well, thank you, little polar bear! Do you have any other vegetables for me today?", I asked.

Zion nodded. "Yeah. I have...yes!"

The best yeses, it turns out, are black, and they too need to be peeled. However, you eat them raw. They are particularly good grated and tossed with salad.

I was totally charmed by both his cooking advice and his very first real word play. And it so reminded me of The Phantom Tollbooth! Eating your words in Dictionopolis, anyone? (For the record I was always pretty jealous of that bit. I totally wanted to be able to say what I'd like to eat and have it appear. And by "wanted" I mean "want, still, very much, right now". Of course.)

Mom's sweater 1.0

I'm knitting Wicked for my mom. Just wanted to post some progress pics! These were taken last night. I'm hoping to have it done in a few weeks.

Fits me, I hope it fits her when it's done!

Tower of Security

So, I've got a version of whatever the kids have got. Yep, kids...Liel turned up sick on Tuesday night, and has been more or less constantly in physical contact with me during her waking hours ever since. Poor girl just feels yucky :( And thank goodness for mei tais- I actually cooked dinner with Liel on my back in one this week, something I haven't done since she was a baby. Nowadays she tends to think of mei tais as outdoor accessories only!

Anyway, that's where I've been lately. Thankfully we are all on the mend (though sadly not entirely well yet), since we have a packed weekend ahead of us! Andria and Vogelman! arrive tomorrow, and I get to see Kacie on Sunday!

But about the Tower of Security. Back in grad school Mr. Faux told us a story about a girl he dated who, for reasons I can't recall, disapproved of his toilet paper choice. In order to please the girl, he switched to whatever she thought was best, though he never liked it. When they broke up he went to Costco and bought a enormous amount of his preferred toilet paper, in bulk. This, he explained to us, was his "Tower of Security"- an enormous amount of the best kind of toilet paper.

Last night our meat order from Alan arrived. We unpacked the 53 lbs of meat and tucked it into our freezer. It looks so pleasing there, nestled in it's white butcher paper! This, I decided is our Tower of Security- a freezer full of formerly free ranging meat. We all crave security right? I like the kind I can eat.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Very Different

It seems to me that it ought to be a fact of nature that our loved ones share our likes and dislikes. I don't think this is hopelessly egocentric- it's just that I can't quite wrap my mind around Robert liking things I don't particularly care for, or even more bizarrely, disliking things that I love. I mean, he loves me, right? So shouldn't it follow that he loves everything that I love? Of course he should.

And yet, he doesn't. Oh, I'll grant you that he's a remarkably tolerant person. He's pleased that I adore knitting and yarn. He finds my weird food habits endearing. He's been ready and willing to experiment with new foods of all sorts, and as a result now loves many things he'd never seen before we met (mainly of the vegetable persuasion). But still, like all couples I suppose, we have our sticking points.

1. Potatoes
2. Lavender
3. Ginger

I'll address these one at a time. So, first up: potatoes. Robert doesn't like potatoes. How can a person not like potatoes? They are starchy carbohydrate-y goodness, able to adapt to any number of cuisines and flavors. But no, says my husband. In his world they are only good if they are fried or, occasionally, mashed. Any other style of potato makes him sad. I, however, loves potatoes. I love them fried, of course (with Veganaise, YUM!). I love them mashed, baked, roasted, stewed, cubed, shredded, whole, hot, and cold. Seriously, potatoes??

Next: lavender. Now I can (unlike potatoes) see why a person might not like lavender. It has a very unique scent and unique things tend to polarize people. Robert finds lavender icky. I find it beautiful as both a flower and a scent, and it reminds me of home. Lavender perfumes (from real perfume masters, not crappy mall fragrances!) make me feel grounded, serene, earthy, and radiant. And apparently they make my husband want to run away!

Finally: ginger. This is a little closer to potatoes for me. I mean, yeah, ginger is a strong flavor, but...but...ginger ale! Gingerbread! Candied ginger! Pickled ginger! Delicious ginger scented items! Nope, says Robert. Ginger has a particular sticking point in my psychological inability to understand that Robert dislikes things that I love. Every winter (and usually more than once I'm afraid) I bake gingerbread. And it is delicious. And I am confused when my darling, sweet hounding husbad eats it only occasionally, in dainty pieces normally suited to 3 year olds. And I ask, and he reminds me that he doesn't like ginger. And I am confused anew, insisting that I'm sure he's mentioned liking the gingerbread at that place in Austin- ergo, he must like ginger. But no. We had this very conversation last night (the parsnip cake is strongly flavored with ginger). I sat on the couch, sputtering in shock and wailing, "How can you not like ginger?" To which Robert, equally in shock that I couldn't remember the conversation we'd had about this last month, shot back, "Ginger is like PEOPLE!"

That brought me up short. "What?", I said. "How is ginger like people??"

"Oh, you know", said Robert, laughing and turning red.

"No, I don't know", I said.

"It's just...I don't like it!", Robert manged to say between bouts of laughter.

"I'm totally putting this on my blog", I said. "How can you not like ginger?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Parsnip Affair

Last month our winter CSA gave us apples, mixed lettuce, carrots, beets, butternut squash, onions, potatoes and parsnips. We didn't exactly get to the parsnips. As a vegetable they just don't do a lot for me, you know? And I do the cooking around here, so...

This month our CSA gave us apples, mixed cooking greens, carrots, beets, buttercup squash, onions, arugala, and...parsnips. Damn! We still have the first batch of parsnips storing happily away in the fridge! So tonight I took the bull by the horns and looked up parsnip recipes. After sifting through about 30 variants on parsnip/apple soup (bisque, stew, chowder etc) I found this gem. Parsnip Cake? O rly???

So as not to be totally unhealthy in my parsnip adventures I cooked some up in the beef stew I made tonight, too. Then I turned my attention the cake. As I was grating the parsnips I noticed an odd, familiar smell. I firmly turned my nose away. As I ate the stew I tasted an odd, familiar taste. My inner monologue assured me that in the cake parsnips would be different. As soon as it was cool enough to eat I cut some to taste and see if I should even bother frosting it. I could still taste it. But faintly, so I had Robert taste, without telling him why. He said it was OK with him, as far as cake went. So I frosted it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was not right.

On the phone with Kenny tonight I approached the question.

Me: So, um, have you ever cooked parsnips yourself before?

Kenny: Yeah, actually, I just cooked some like 2 days ago.

Me: They look like long white carrots, right? That's a parsnip, right?

K: Yes. They're really fat at one end and have a very dramatic taper.

M: Yeah, that's what I have. What do they taste like?

K: They're kind of like a cross between a carrot and a sweet potato. Sweet and starchy. They're really almost too sweet for me.

M (anxiously): So, not at all like...celariac?

K: No. Not like celariac. Why?

M: Um, mine taste like celariac. In the stew I cooked them in tonight they tasted just like celaraic. What the hell do I have? Can celeriac look like chubby skinny white carrot??

K: No. I don't think so.

M: Crap. I cooked a parsnip cake, too. I think it would be better if the things I have tasted like what you're describing.

Hat and mittens

On Saturday night I made this hat (from The Beloved Peace Fleece, if you're interested). Only I upsized it, on account of my ginormous noggin. Except, as it turned out, I needn't have. The hat was huge! So I unraveled the entire thing and restarted it on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon, I had a hat that fit.

Here you can see the super cool button action!

I love the hat so much that I decided I needed matching fingerless mittens. So I set about to create a pattern. I cast on for those Sunday night, and finished the first one yesterday.

I'm feeling flush with triumph and my only remaining hope for these mittens is that I have enough yarn left from the hat the first mitten to actually finish the second!

Monday, January 14, 2008

One more thing...

As many of you so astutely noted, the zipper in Rogue down below is indeed "the fucking zipper" of "my son's bad language moments" fame!

Also, I forgot to mention it before, but I LOVE that sweater! I've worn it nearly daily for a week straight. Love it.

If you're the curious type, I'd estimate that it took me about 40 hours to knit. I'm a slow cable-er I think.

Rogue pictures, finally!

And to make up for the amount of time it's taken me to actually TAKE pictures, I'm going to post a bunch! (Actually, it's more because I can't decide if the flash helps or hurts! But I do love you. Honest!)

On the mend, 80s style

Zion is feeling a bit better today. Still coughing up a storm and not eating much, but so far no puking. Hooray! This is what he's doing right now.

Awww. Hopefully the sleep will help, because while he was playing nicely with Liel this morning, that deteriorated as he became more and more cranky and exhausted.

Speaking of Liel, check out my 80s girl! Love this picture.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Today we were supposed to go to Brooklyn for the christening of our friends Ryan and Maria's son. Zion had a bit of a runny nose, but we didn't plan to let him too near the baby and the rest of us were fine, so off we headed.

Shortly after we crossed the Tappan Zee bridge our "check engine" light came on. It was soon followed by the oil pressure light, and since Robert and I are both pretty damn ignorant of cars we decided to play it safe and turn around. I called Kenny (we were going to stop in for a visit there, too) and left a message on Maria's cell explaining what had happened and lamenting my totally lame-assity.

As the day wore on, Zion developed a cough. He wasn't as active as he usually is, either. As we sat down to dinner he announced that his stomach hurt (which caused Liel, little mimic that she is, too immediatly exclaim that her vagina hurt!). We didn't push the food, but he ate a few bites of salad. About 4 minutes later he repeated that his stomach hurt, coughed really hard, and starting retching. With impeccable aim he vomited all over his untouched dinner. Round 2 hit the dining room floor, round 3 the bathroom floor, and round 4 the toilet. After a little cuddling with daddy he announced that he wanted to go to bed a full hour early. When I gave him his bedtime kiss his face was very, very hot :( Hopefully this passes quickly and doesn't take too many of the rest of us with it.

Friday, January 11, 2008


Andrea asked for a picture of some of my meals, bless her heart! I love any excuse to show off food, lol. Unfortunately I didn't get her request until after we'd eaten tonight's dinner, but luckily I have taken pictures of mousakhan in the past (no, I'm not obsessed with food, why do you ask?), so here it is! Oh, sumac is a spice made of dried, ground up berries. It's commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking and has a delicious tangy flavor. Also very good sprinkled on rice!

Since I'm babbling rather than posting the damn picture I'll also add that, despite Becka's skepticism, my yogurt turned out quite well. Very delicious. Becka totally has friend tenure (we've been friends since we were a year old and she's really more like a cousin than a friend!), so she is allowed to critique my food adventures. Sometimes ;)

OK, really, mousakhan. Roast chicken with sumac and caramelized onions and walnuts and olive oil is put on top of fresh pita bread and broiled.

Tonight's specials

Right now in my kitchen there is dough rising, chicken defrosting, and yogurt (hopefully) culturing. The yogurt is a little bit ghetto style, cause the milk is supposed to be kept at 116 degrees for 6 hours. I don't have a yogurt maker, so how do you think I'm keeping 1/2 a gallon of milk at 116 degrees? If you guessed "keeping it in a warm oven", you're correct! Only problem is, my oven doesn't have a setting that low, it only goes to 170 degrees. Soooo, I'm just turning it on it 170 every 2 hours and then turning it off and hoping it doesn't totally wreck the yogurt cultures. Results should be in by 6pm or so.

The dough and the chicken are, happily, surer bets. The dough is set to become pita bread, which will eventually end up in the broiler underneath the chicken, which will become mousakhan. Mousakhan roasted chicken with onions, sumac and nuts (I usually use walnuts, but pine nuts are more traditional) and it is one of Robert's favorite meals, so you might think I'd make it fairly often. But I don't. I should probably get more on the ball about it...but then again, would it still be a favorite if he ate it all the time? Familiarity breeds contempt and all. I think that roasted cauliflower would make a nice side dish, don't you? And maybe something green...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

She's crafty

And she's just my type!

Liel loves her some crafting. Painting? Glitter glue? Cutting with scissors? Drawing with markers, crayons, or pencils? Sculpting with Play-Doh? Yes, please!

Here's my little cutie, hard at work.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Zoo

Yesterday it was nearly 60 degrees in New York, so we celebrated global warming by going to the zoo. It was a near perfect day for it- gorgeous weather and virtually no one else there. The kids rode the bug carousel three times, twice without even getting off. The only downside to the day was that the children's zoo is closed in the winter, so the kids couldn't pet the goats. Here are some pics from the zoo- I'm wearing my completed Rogue, and since I haven't taken proper pictures of it yet, so I'm including the rather dark one of me with Liel on the carousel just so you can have a peek. Selfless? Oh yes. Hehehe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Food Notes

Last night I got to see my friend Kayla. Due to living very far apart, it had been 5 years since we'd hung out in person! As an added bonus I got to see another old friend, John, who I hadn't seen in 10 years (holy crap, how did I get so old??), and meet the lovely Dream. Kayla and Dream were here for a trade show, so while they finished up last night John and I cruised around ogling various fashion accessories and catching up on the last decade. Then we all headed out to dinner. I was pretty hopeful that we'd go to the Little Pie Company, but others weren't as excited (not excited about pie? The mind boggles.) so we ended up at my second choice, TeaNY (notice how it's all about me? And the way I am loving on parentheses today??).

TeaNY is this hip little tea cafe on the Lower East Side owned by Moby. Apparently he's vegan, and his cafe is largely (though not entirely) vegan as well. All of the desserts are vegan, which totally rocked my egg-allergic world! And everything we ate was delicious. After a little poking and prodding by me and Dream, John and Kayla ordered what we thought they should and we all tasted each other's dinners. Dying to know what we ate? I would be, too! So, here's the run down. Me: "chicken" salad sandwich and green salad. Kayla: salad with goat cheese, walnuts and beets, cheddar toasts with ploughman's pickles. John: pasties filled with onions, potatoes and cheese, green salad. Dream: macaroni and cheese with "bacon", green salad. I also had vegan, gluten free pumpkin cheesecake for dessert, and it was delicious. Delicious, I tell you! Definitely going back to this place. We walk past it fairly often, and I'm so glad I finally tried it. Yum.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Quick is as quick does

I finished Rogue a few days ago. I hate seaming shoulders. *shudder* they came out OK, and after I ran the sweater through the wash (Peace Fleece is magical and doesn't felt on a gentle, cold wash!) they looked a bit better. So today I decided to stop by the local fabric store and buy a zipper for it.

We were on our way to dinner and passing the fabric store. So Robert parked the car and he and the kids waited while I ran across the street to get the zipper. It was a pretty quick process, although I was disappointed that the only suitable zipper they had was black. But the owner assured me I could return it and it was so much easier and quicker than ordering one off the internet that I bought it and rushed back to the car. I'd been gone about 3 minutes.

As we drove off Robert said in an undertone, "While you were in there Zion said: Come on, Mommy! Buy the fucking zipper!"

"He did? I thought I was pretty fast!"

"Yep. He said it twice."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Parental influence

Last night I made potato salad with potatoes from our winter CSA. They were so pretty all cut up that I just had to take a couple of pictures to share with you, my dedicated readers.

I am turning, inescapably it would seem, into my father.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cheese Day

Today was a great day. First of all, my cheese making supplies arrived in the mail. For a while I was paralyzed by happy indecision. What should I make first? Cream cheese was tempting, but the 12 hours of culturing it required meant that it needed to be started at night so I could work with it again in the morning. So I decided to jump right in and make mozzarella. Then I realized I could make ricotta out of the whey leftover from the mozzarella and that got added to the list, too.

For some reason there hasn't been nearly as much clamoring to hear about every detail of my cheese making adventures as I would've expected- but never mind. I've never let a lack of expressed interest stop me from sharing before! Here is what I did today. All told it took me about an hour and a half, including draining the ricotta, which was pretty hands off.

First, I poured a gallon of milk into a big pot and heated it just a bit, to 55 degrees. Then I added some citric acid dissolved in a little water and heated the milk to 88 degrees. This curdled the milk a bit, but not enough for me to get a good picture of it. Next I added rennet dissolved in water and continued heating to 105 degrees. I was pretty nervous about this part because chlorine will inhibit the action of the rennet, and while we filter our water I wasn't sure how much of the chlorine was actually getting out. Turns out I needn't have worried, as the milk began to thicken and the why and curds started to separate.

So I scooped out the curds and put them in a big microwaveable bowl. I pressed out as much whey as I could and poured it off.

The I heated the curds and kneaded them a bunch of times, until they came together and started getting stretchy. I don't think I kneaded them enough, in retrospect. Next time!

In the end I had this pleasing little lump of mozzarella- about one pound. I think it looks remarkably like a plucked chicken in this picture!

Mozzarella done I turned to the ricotta. Heated the whey to 200 degrees and added some apple cider vinegar. Poured all of it into a sieve lined with butter muslin and let it drain.

Voila! Ricotta. This, I feel, was an unqualified success.

To celebrate my cheesemaking skillz I decided to make a quicky lasagna. Just for kicks, here's what my mozzarella looked like after I shredded it.

Like real cheese, right???

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

To clarify:

Two things: 1. I did not put bacon, or any pork product in my beans. Just beans and water. Magic beans and water, apparently.

2. My fantabulousness has been noticed and awarded! Rock on, me! My dear friend Stacie gave me a kick ass blog award.

Will my head ever manage to squeeze back into the dimensions of the blogosphere? This, my friends, remains to be seen. So stay tuned!

Genetical engineering

I'm cooking some pinto beans to have in burritos for dinner tonight. Every time I lift the lid of the pot to check on them, the most delicious scent wafts out! It's like lovely fresh pinto beans, and G-d help me, bacon.

As Bill and Ted so immortally put it: Whoa.