Sunday, May 31

grad prezzie, part deux

these towels by showpony are both hilarious and relevant. artful design as public service announcement and wisdom for the first roommate experience. sister's got a pathological fear of creepycrawlies, so perhaps this is more for helping out with the hygienically questionable roommates? for something "frivolous."

gratuitous kitten pics received via iphone

the kitten quickly picking up on household begging policy. there might have been whataburger involved. or tom's tabbouleh.

mmm...speaks for itself.

Friday, May 29

happy weekend!

that dog is sometimes odd. to playtime with visiting friends, bella, kyle and caro!

garden progress

dragon tongue bean flowers

thai basil in need of pruning

laab - at least that's how I think it's pronounced

I'm beginning to think I could happily eat southeast/south asian food every day for the rest of my life. the sweet/salty/sour/hot combo really does something for my soul (formal props to cool aunt lynn for introducing me to thai in santa cruz a million years ago).

we needed something to go with a coriander mint pappardelle from pasta & co, and jam's laab recipe was perfect. it's full-fledged summer here, and cooking becomes something of a challenge, as sticking it out in the kitchen for longer than the egg timer is painful. salads and light pastas are pretty much standard protocol for the next few months. this recipe, which took no more than 5 minutes of stove time, will most definitely go into the rotation. bulk chicken sausage from the local market cut down on prep time. we also added the last half of a pre-dinner snacking cucumber from the garden. it was so good I truly looked forward to having the leftovers at lunch.

laap/larb/laab pasta
modified from original recipe, here.

5 oz chicken, pork or beef
2 pinches salt (one for seasoning meat, one for the stock)
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp stock
1 generous pinch of white sugar
3 tbsp lime juice
1 pinch chili flakes
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 shallots, sliced thin
handful of fresh mint and cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 seedless cucumber, finely chopped or julienned
1 tbsp ground toasted rice*

mince chicken with salt and garlic. heat stock or water and season with salt and sugar. add chicken and stir often, until just cooked. remove from heat. season with lime juice, chili flakes and fish sauce. mix in shallots, cucumber and herbs and sprinkle with toasted rice. toss with pasta ans a little reserved pasta water...and done!

*the ground rice added a nice texture but isn't necessary if you're rushed. it can be toasted in a pan if you're reluctant to turn the oven to 400. toast until golden and your kitchen smells of popcorn. if you haven't any "glutenous" (sweet) rice, jam recommends sushi rice. grind in a clean coffee grinder, or with mortar and pestle.


the latest episode on and the pursuit of happiness. I've wondered many of the same things, growing up around the military. especially why the buildings are so sterile. it's amazing what lengths military wives go to replicate "home" in their cinderblock cubbies.

one big cat

sighted our friendly neighborhood gray fox again last night. it seems he's a bachelor, as it's always just him patrolling for the bunnies (trans: giant pull-a-rabbit-out-of-your-hat-sized white rabbits) we see around the same time of night. I will trap him and domesticate him and name him johnny. johnny the fox.

James Leche's short for the local pbs channel: an unlikely home.

Thursday, May 28

here's hoping for sotomayor

how wonderful is maira kalman's ny times series, and the pursuit of happiness? her in love with a. lincoln post was pretty much genius, too. I firmly believe art and politics should intertwine. ::twiddling thumbs until tomorrow's issue::

the first step is admitting the problem

it might be crossing into dangerous territory, snowbeaching twice in four days, but it's tough thinking of a better way to spend a lunch break or a better bunch with which to spend it. happy birthday, nick!

famous among the barns

so many gals in my life should be included in this series by anne hall. such an interesting aesthetic, and the girl-horse connection is fascinating subject matter.

now for something to fill it with

considering this for an upcoming sisterly graduation gift.
with a blue ribbon, natch.

follow up: not only did redstamp ship with amazing swiftness, but they upgraded my $3.99 shipping to fed-ex. fantastic customer service and terrific products make me wish minneapolis was close enough to hug them in person!

Wednesday, May 27

darling blueberry pie refashioned frock

so very cute, and I love her ability to find something second hand and refashion it into something adorable and flattering. enter here.

weekend piccys

the long weekend began quietly enough, with a little stormie reading (while that dog stressed. yes, that's his stress face)

and quality time with the kitten.

by monday, it was park weather again.

that dog in his natural habitat...

...and me in mine.
snowbeach makes the most fantastic snowcones ever. the tiniest of snow crystals combine with one or two of a zillion homemade flavors to form a velvety texture. the best-spent $2 in town.

tried almost every flavor at least once. except tiger's blood. and the sugar free. can't be too careful about these things.

the cantaloupe/watermelon was like summer in a styrofoam cup.

last remnants of spring wildflowers: the mexican hat flower.

if this looks at all familiar, you probably grow tomatoes. it seems somehow appropriate that spring's last gasp is heralded by the nightshade. happy memorial day!

Tuesday, May 26

lemon ricotta pancakes

Since That Dog awoke us right on schedule Memorial Monday, unaware it was a sleeping-in, lazy kind of day, it seemed the right kind of morning for pancakes. The choice was obvious, and had been mentioned in conversation at some point last week. But a quick check of the pantry told I'd broken my father's cardinal rule of cooking, letting my staples deplete. *sigh* Not to be discouraged by lack of a) flour and b) meyer lemons (plural), it occurred to me that my mom would never let something insignificant like correct ingredients deter her. What would a smart, industrious girl do? Well, there's brand new box of waffle mix! ...and aren't sweet, fragrant meyer lemons just a cross of conventional lemon and mandarin orange? On the counter was one lemon (intended for the half-complete batch of peach preserves in the fridge) and a handful of clementines. back in business, a text over to the sin fairy confirmed her interest, and off we went! The ricotta gives these a light, souflée-like texture, but they're fairly rich. Try the first, never-quite-perfect one before deciding whether you'll require syrup. A few berries dusted with sugar were plenty for me.

Meyer Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes
by my husband cooks
about 12 4" pancakes

2 meyer lemons (juice and zest)
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. ricotta cheese
1/2 c. sugar*
1/4 c. melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 Tbsp. baking powder*
1/4 tsp. salt*

*my waffle mix includes flour, leavening, sugar, salt and a little whey. Should you find yourself in the same boat, omit some or all sugar from the wet ingredients and increase the overall dry measure to compensate.

1. Whisk wet ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.

2. Pour wet ingredients into the dry. Using a rubber spatula, mix until wet ingredients are just incorporated and the large lumps are gone. Slight lumps are a good thing. Don’t over-stir, or you'll get chewy, glutenous pancakes (blech). Let the batter rest for about 5 min before cooking. If you haven't already brewed a pot of coffee, now is the time. Thin with one or two tablespoons of milk (one at a time) if the batter thickens too much.

3. Place a very large skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Or perhaps two, if that's how you roll. Brush lightly with the dregs of the melted butter (this will probably be enough; there's sufficient fat in the recipe to get you through the end). Once a drop of water dances on the pan before evaporating, pour about a quarter cup of batter onto the pan.

4. Cook pancakes about 4 minutes on one side. Easy ways to know it's time for flipping: the edges become opaque and less glossy; and bubbles break the surface of the pancake and set. Once flipped, the second side takes just a minute or two longer .

5. Serve immediately, or cover with a towel and keep warm in a low oven until ready. mmm carbs.

Saturday, May 23

the garden

almost-ready pepper

we tried rainbow chard this year, and it seems very happy

snow peas on an eggplant trellis

seedless cukes

things to love about texas: tomatoes in may

snow peas and mint

happy weekend!

thanks to mimi, aka the sin fairy, we started the holiday weekend with a little cava sangria. have a wonderful memorial day!

Friday, May 22

beginner's luck

a recent beet, walnut goat cheese tart experiment discovered on alexandra cooks. don't let the steps deceive you: if you're not into pastry, buy it frozen and the rest is simple and quick (we steam/roast our beets as soon as we get them, for adding to salads). the only non-locals = nuts, salt and flour. next time I'll substitute the pecans b's dad brings up from s. texas.

beet, goat cheese, walnut tart

by gordon hamersley on cookstr
the original is here.
serves 4 to 6

1 recipe tart dough, shaped and blind baked
makes 12 oz: enough for one 10" tart or 6 small tarts

1 c. flour
½ tsp. kosher or sea salt
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed small and chilled
4 to 5 Tbsp. ice water

in mixing bowl, combine flour and salt. cut butter into flour, using a pastry blender, until butter pieces are pea sized. alternately, pulse 8 to 10 times in a food processor, being careful not to soften the butter.

add ice water. with your fingertips, quickly combine flour mixture and water, until water is just absorbed. the dough will be messy but should hold together when squeezed. if it's a little dry, sprinkle on a few more drops of water.

gather dough and wrap tightly in parchment, flatten slightly, and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling. dough will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

preheat oven to 375º. roll dough into circle large enough for overlapping edges. press dough into the bend and up sides of tart pan and trim the excess. line with parchment and fill with dried beans, folding parchment up around beans to expose sides. bake for 20 minutes, until light golden.

meanwhile...back at the ranch.
slightly modified from the original, here.

2-3 beets (depending on what size comes in your csa box for the week)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1 onion, sliced into thin shreds
2 tbsp dry white wine (whatever is half-drunk on the counter)
1 recipe tart dough (above)
3 large eggs
¾ c. heavy cream (or buttermilk, which saves ~ 100 cal/serving)
4 oz goat cheese (or more, since we switched out buttermilk. thanks, alex!)
1 c. walnuts (chopped or halves)
a few tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

heat oven to 450°. wash beets, but don't work too hard. they'll be peeled later (do *not* peel them at this point; as with most of us, beets bleed more when raw than cooked). place beets in a small ovenproof pan . add 1/8-inch of water and cover tightly with aluminum foil. bake until they're tender when pierced with a paring knife: 30-45 minutes.

rub the skins off of cooled beets, and dice into small cubes. wear something you clean house in, or plan on ruining whatever you wear (hmm...or maybe that's just me).

heat butter in sauté pan over medium heat. add onion, season with salt, and stir every few minutes, until just tender: about 10 minutes. —if you heart caramelization like me, more like 20-25 minutes for deep mahogany color. add wine and cook for another minute or two, scraping up any fond on the bottom of the pan.

heat oven to 350°. layer beets and onions in the blind-baked tart shell. the nuts may be added at this step as well. life's too short for keeping up with bake-time math.

whisk eggs and buttermilk together, season with salt and pepper, and carefully pour over tart contents, letting the mixture settle in with other ingredients. dot goat cheese on top of the tart. place on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes. sprinkle with chopped parsley and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

nom nom nom.

let's try a photo

our new friend: as yet unnamed. henceforth referred to as "the kitten." he runs like a monkey and enjoys drinking from that dog's bowl. recovering from a mysterious accident involving three broken legs and various bald patches in illogical spots, but picking up speed every day. his angel of mercy, our friend doubletonic, and her rescue group sprang him from the pokey (and certain doom) so he may resume his plans for world domination. he still sort of walks like igor. and sometimes wants his mama. you'll do in a pinch.


am I on the air? sweet. in we go with both feet!

not yet sure what the focus will be, since my life is fairly unfocused. so it will perhaps jump around as I do, until we arrive someplace together. two things: don't expect regular updates, nor regular spelling.

fern hill ~ dylan thomas
now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
about the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
the night above the dingle starry,
time let me hail and climb
golden in the heydays of his eyes,
and honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
and once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
trail with daisies and barley
down the rivers of the windfall light.

and as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
about the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
in the sun that is young once only,
time let me play and be
golden in the mercy of his means,
and green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
and the sabbath rang slowly
in the pebbles of the holy streams.

all the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
and playing, lovely and watery
and fire green as grass.
and nightly under the simple stars
as I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
all the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
flying with the ricks, and the horses
flashing into the dark.

and then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
with the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
shining, it was adam and maiden,
the sky gathered again
and the sun grew round that very day.
so it must have been after the birth of the simple light
in the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
out of the whinnying green stable
on to the fields of praise.

and honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
in the sun born over and over,
i ran my heedless ways,
my wishes raced through the house high hay
and nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
in all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
before the children green and golden
follow him out of grace.

nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
in the moon that is always rising,
nor that riding to sleep
i should hear him fly with the high fields
and wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
time held me green and dying
though I sang in my chains like the sea.