Category Archives: edibles

better luck and stray observations

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it seems my streak of less-than-awesome luck may be tapering off a bit. of course, I am thrilled about this, as the many months of directionless struggle (and excessive whining about said struggle) post major transition have been difficult and troubling. but with the advent of a new season, I find myself with a fantastic new “real” job at a publishing house I adore (I’m still pinching myself daily, amazed at my ridiculous luck in this matter) and an upcoming move to a new home in a new (to me) city.
both exciting developments signal the start of a new chapter, a chapter about which I am very hopeful and thankful—what a fantastic change of feelings! my guardian angels have been working overtime recently, and I am constantly grateful. I still battle with weekly fits of the “I miss new orleans so much it is physically painful” sads… but for now, it appears I am where I am meant to be (I read you loud and clear, universe!) and I’ve been thinking a lot about the saying “bloom where you’re planted.”
and I could do much, much worse than here! I am very lucky, and I am trying to be gracious, to be conscientious, and to count my blessings.

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last week I harvested a single strawberry. pretty cute, and tasty, though very tiny. after two days of indian summer, a frost rolled in overnight (well maybe not a “frost” proper, but it got damn cold) and killed both my strawberry plants and this lil’ berry’s comrades. at least I got the one.

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morning fog.
while coastal life is beautiful (pros: stars, beautiful smells, fox and deer families, beach access; cons: frosty weather/wind/fog, geographic pesudo-isolation, tourists in rental cars terrorizing highway 1 at 5mph) needless to say, I am very, very excited to move to the sunny side of the bay.

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recently made a short trip to this wonderful place:

highlights included a boat ride where the 3-year-old captain fell asleep at the wheel (and chatting with his sweet mom), good company, oysters, sunshine, my sister (as always), and time with my lovely godparents. beautiful.

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I am a few weeks into a metalsmithing class, which has been lots of fun. metallurgy/jewelery-making is likely not my artistic forte (see: piece of brass for ring-setting, inadvertently melted with blowtorch) it’s been good to do something totally (for me) different and use my hands in a way I never have.
stray thought: screw grad school, man… at this point in my life, I’d rather invest small amounts money on myself for classes like this!
on my possible future to-learn list: SCUBA diving, wheel-thrown ceramics, letterpress, screen-printing, more advanced knitting/sewing, (re-learning) to ski… the list goes on!

***

been awhile

well, hello.

it seems I have been absent for some time. well, here I am, alive and well. but the 3 people who read this blog probably already knew that.

I am in the golden state, the place of my birth, the place from which I have been absent for a long time, the place about which joan didion wrote:
“in at least one respect California—the California we are talking about—resembles Eden: it is assumed  that those who absent themselves from its blessings have been banished, exiled by some perversity of the heart.”

no comment, as my own heart resembles something like a ‘perverse’ blend of half California poppies, wine, and ocean water, half crawfish heads, jazz, and Louisiana river silt.

but enough about that.

here is what I am currently reading:

– “listen to this” by alex ross (non-fiction): the new yorker’s music critic on, well, music, from classical (a term he hates) to bjork.

– “st. lucy’s home for girls raised by wolves” by karen russell (fiction): a delightful story collection in the tradition of marquez and katherine dunn. it only mildly depresses me that this book was published when russell was only 25.

– “the purity myth” by jessica valenti (non-fiction): a righteous political powerhouse about america’s (namely the christian right’s) obsession with young women’s virginity, and how it reduces and sexualizes young women’s worth and morality to passivity and virginal “goodness.” valenti kicks ass. this book, in my case, is definitely “preaching to the choir,” but as my sister reminded me recently “even the choir needs practice.”

– “the new kings of nonfiction” edited by ira glass: a collection of essays by glass’s favored writers from malcom gladwell to susan orlean. published a few years ago, and something I’ve always meant to pick up. so far, it’s excellent. of course my love of ira glass is documented.

– “p.t. barnum: america’s greatest showman” by the kunharts (a father and two sons–nonfiction): an awesome illustrated biography of p.t. barnum. as far as historical figures go, I may or may not have a mild obsession with barnum. what’s not to love? insanse hubris! the circus! freak shows! animals! ridiculous (if not exploitative) business-savvy! I’m loving this book, especially all the awesome photos, posters and ephemera from barnum’s circuses and museum in NYC (which burned down in 1865—oh if only time-travel were possible!).

– “the partly cloudy patriot” by sarah vowell (nonfiction): I LOVE sarah vowell, and since her new book “unfamiliar fishes” (about the 1898 annexation of hawaii, which I cannot wait to read) has a library check-out wait-list from hell, I am biding my time by reading through her back-catalog. this is one of her more well-known books, a collection of essays about this here country, and I’m, of course, enjoying it. her piece about visitng disneyworld with david rackoff  is particularly hilarious.

*

completely unrelated, here is a picture of the cake I made last weekend of father’s day:

yum.

25 before 26: continued

here are the remaining 15 items on my “25 things to do before I turn 26” list.

* take more pictures

* be IN more pictures (I’m always the one taking them, and while it sounds selfish, it would be nice to see a record of myself in my photo chronicles)

* get another tattoo

* go on a hike [the californian in me is hysterically laughing at the former new yorker in me who aspired to go on but ONE hike! how silly. since being back in CA I’ve been on quite a few]

* submit for publication at least once

visit a US city I have never been to [new haven, ct, whatup! home of my best pal, yankees obsessed with bacon pizza, and the heart-stoppingly wonderous and swoon-worthy beinecke rare book library at yale]

* write more cards and letters

* knit something other than a scarf

* spend more time with my sister [we live in the same area code now and are pretty much attached at the hip]

* give meditation another chance

* learn to use my camera’s manual settings

* re-read “King Lear”

* learn to cook something new that can become a “standard” for me (some of my already-standards include: french onion soup, roast chicken, butternut squash soup, pumpkin bread, steak au poivre, quiche, enchiladas…) [fantastic biscuits, no-knead bread {finally}, fierce chocolate cake]

* spend more time outdoors [see “go on a hike” above!]

* learn more about opera

25 before 26

tomorrow is my 25th birthday.
wowza.

in the spirit of the occasion, I made a list of 25 things to do before I turn 26. they are in no particular order, and some seem much more do-able that others.

here are 10 of them:

* grow something edible [basil, strawberries]

*take a trip out of the country [c0mpleted 12/2011, Mexico… although I *did* know I would be doing this before I made the list… hmm…]

* complete two stories I feel good about

* visit the Guggenheim museum

* get a haircut [chopped an donated a 17″ braid in april!]

* start a retirement account

* Read “The Best American Short Stories of the Century”  (which is 57 stories and 788 pages)

* visit my brother in Maine [made the voyage to maine in january—brrrr!]

* wear fun lipstick more often [a little early to call but so far 2011 is my lipstickiest year yet: there’s no red too bright, nor no pink to hot for me!]

* make a cheesecake from scratch

stay tuned for the remaining 15.

happy birthday to me.

the week, so far

next week it is my birthday.

cocktails at grand central station


a review of sorts, of this week so far:

having some family in town? fun.

packing up one’s office for the second time this year? not so fun.

bad meetings? never fun.

new boots? fun.

yucky rainy weather on thursday? not so fun.

a trip way uptown for greek food and tales of baryshnikov sightings? fun.

spending time with one’s very rad younger cousin? fun fun.

BFF coming to town? fun.

birthday dinner with moms and BFF? fun!

salted chocolate mousse? very fun.

champagne? always fun.

realizing how un-glamorous quotidian brooklynian life is, post-visitors-fun? not so fun, but also not surprising.

all in all, the fun outweighs the not fun. score one for the home team.

currently, I am laid out in bed with a yucky head cold. I am temporarily a mouth-breather who is watching too much hulu. c’est la vie.

skaters at Rockefeller center, observed on my early midtown walk.

ty-pi-cal.

A week or two ago, I baked a pie. I do that sometimes. I had beaucoup leftover crust dough, so I froze it. I also had leftover heavy cream from the pie. I figured I could make a quiche this weekend, so I’ve been squirreling away things for the quiche all week (asparagus, bell peppers, eggs, onions, cheese etc.). I defrosted my crust dough overnight last night.

tonight, I began preparing. chopped and blanched asparagus. chopped and caramelized onions. chopped peppers. chopped some leftover spinach. roll out crust into pie pan. beat eggs. pre-heat oven.

open heavy cream (exp. date 11/16)  to put it all together and find a solid gelatinous mass of yuck in the carton. TYPICAL!  all my poor little sous-chef’d ingredients looked up at me as if saying, in their drag-queeniest voices, “oh, girl…”

so I dashed (aka put on shoes and sweater, waited for train, went two stops to the food co-op) to procure some fresh, liquid cream.  and now that baby is in the oven, overflowing with veggies.

I might even have enough cream left-over to make caramels.