Friday, July 13, 2012

Dear Sonicare

 Did you conduct all of your marketing research for the name of this toothbrush exclusively in Arizona or something?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I made stuff ...

I was asked to bring a dessert to a thingie last week, and I decided to make something with peaches as I had just bought a bunch. This Martha Stewart recipe for Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake looked appealing to me ... mostly because it seemed really easy and all I had to buy was heavy cream. (Dang, heavy cream is rather pricey, isn't it? A pint of the stuff costs more than a gallon of milk.)

Well, it was really easy, although I'm not sure why mine looks so much different from Martha's:

peach and cornbread upside-down cake

Maybe I cooked the sugar/butter mixture too long? Dunno, but the cake was pretty damn good. It appeared to be a hit at the thingie (I brought along some Reddi Wip to top it with). I wonder how it would be with apples in the fall?

Then this weekend just for fun, I wanted to try making this Watermelon Pie recipe. I think I must have used a little too much watermelon, because after 4 hours in the fridge, the melon filling still had not set properly. So I was thinking the whole thing was a bust, but then I thought: what if it's a frozen watermelon pie? So I stuck it in the freezer. That set it up nice and firm, like a rock almost, so then I applied the whipped cream. I think to get the amount of whipped cream they have on their photo I'd have to double it. But whatever, here's what mine looked like:

food semi-fail: watermelon pie

Not bad, and it tasted pretty good, too. I want to make it again, but it was a little labor-intensive, so I'm not sure if I'll get to it before this year's watermelon season is over. Maybe next year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh, and one more thing ...

Whilst traveling down 15-501 past University Tower on Saturday, My mother said "I just love that building. It's so pretty." So take that, haters.

Delayed blogging: Doing Durham Stuff

I meant to write this a few days ago, but I was either busy or lazy, so I'm doing it now, as I've been informed it's Anti-Procrastination Day. Not that I'm actually against procrastination. I find it very useful for those times when I just don't want to do stuff.

Anyway, my mom was in town on Saturday, so I needed to come up with some things to do all day so we weren't just sitting around saying "How are you?" "Oh, I'm fine; how are you?" One thing I really wanted to do was scour second-hand stores for a new (to me) kitchen table. Mom said she loves wandering around second-hand stores, so I figured we could kill at least half a day that way.

But first I wanted a post-breakfast boost, and I figured maybe Mom would like Gugelhupf. But apparently everyone in town had the same idea and the line was out the door. I didn't feel like waiting in it, so I decided we'd go to the farmer's market instead, which is right by our first stop, the TROSA furniture store.

I used to like the Durham Farmer's Market. But now I mostly avoid it, because it's really crowded, infested with stroller people and hard to navigate. It's also hella hot this time of year. Yeah yeah ... local, organic, small farmer blah blah blah ... I find the farmer's market a really annoying way to buy things and not even a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday morning. So we quickly found, bought and consumed some fantastic fried strawberry hand pies and got the hell out of there. On the way to the car my mom remarked about how unpleasantly crowded it was there, so I don't think it's just me.

Then we hit TROSA, Everything But Grannie's Panties, Salvation Army and the Habitat Re-store. Saw a bunch of tables that were either crappy, unsuitable or marked "sold." I suppose we could have gone to Raleigh and tried the fairgrounds flea market, but it was so hot out that I think we would have been miserable. Instead we went home and had homemade baba ganouj (which kicked ass) and sliced tomatoes from my garden.

After lunch we went to the awesome free wine tasting at Wine Authorities, where the theme was Basque wines. Look, here's mom drinking txakoli from the thingie whose name I can't remember:

And another of Wine Authorities guy (Craig? Yeah, I think Craig maybe) in his jaunty Basque attire, pouring wine (or actually probably cider):

The Wine Authorities tastings are always fun and very informative. I'm not sure why I don't go more often. Remind me to go more often. And if you want to come with, let me know.

We also stopped in at Bull City Craft, which is in the same shopping center as Wine Authorities, and had a look around. Seems to be geared toward children, which is great if you have kids. As we had no kids with us, we didn't stay long, but instead went to the new digs of the Scrap Exchange on Franklin Street. Their new space is gigantic and full of scrappy goodness, but it didn't seem to have working air conditioning. After about 15 minutes we both felt like we needed to get out of there, alas. I guess we could have then gone over and wandered around Golden belt, but we were both a little tired of being out and about at that point.

On our way there we had passed a guy on Alston Ave. selling watermelons off the back of his truck, and it seemed like the perfect day for one. So I stopped and got one (it turned out to be one damn fine tasty watermelon, too) on the way home.

I'd love to report that we ate at some fabulous, hip Durham eatery for dinner, but we didn't. My niece joined us at my house and I made pizza margherita on French bread using home-grown tomatoes and basil. It was awesome. Watermelon for dessert.

¡Gracias Esteban!

Thanks, Stephen Colbert, for well and properly addressing the Summer's Eve talking vagina ads. (I tried to embed the video but it ended up being too huge for this bloghole.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It came from the garden ...

crazy orange cucumber

My friend gave me this plant and said it was a Thai cucumber. I'd never heard of a Thai cucumber, but it sounded cool, so I planted it. Now I have a rather large orange cucumber. When I go to sleep tonight, are little alien tentacles going to come out and suck out my brains? Or could it actually be a Chinese Yellow Cucumber?

UPDATE: I heard from my friend, who says it's a "poona kheera" cucumber. Here is a shot of it sliced. Tasty!

itI's hard to blog when you are at a complete loss for words ...

I don't get flabbergasted that easily, but I don't even know what to say about this stuff. So much wrong on so many levels ... Do these commercials actually air on TV? Does this one:

... *sputter* ... christ on a cracker ...

Honey are you straight or are you blind?

I think I may start actually writing blog posts again. For reals, man! \The problem is that I've ignore d this blog for so long I doubt I have any readers left. Oh well, that's the way it started way back when, and it wasn't so bad! I just have to figure out which of the many, many things I've stuck my nose into warrants babbling on about. maybe none of them! But again, that's pretty much the way it's been all along! So stay tuned. Or don't ...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Life is great, have a cookie ...


I'm just not that into writing words right now. But I made cookies! The really cool thing about snickerdoodles is that anyone with a normally stocked pantry will have all of the ingredients on-hand. I'd post the recipe but I don't remember where I got it; google "snickerdoodles" and pick the one that looks simplest. That's what I did.

In other news, I'm still maintaining a semi-regular meditation practice. And I've learned the word "practice" is key. For a while I just felt like I was just struggling--struggling to maintain straight posture, struggling to keep my shoulders from tensing, struggling to keep a comfortable seat, struggling to keep my thoughts from running away with me ... and then I realized that the struggle is actually what it's all about. When you mention this sort of thing to experienced meditators they will often say "That's why they call it practice." Zing!

OK then. My life is awesome. Have a fabulous day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I always liked the name Martha ...

baba ghanouj

Sometimes I really love having a productive day at home completely to myself, which is what Sunday turned out to be. I did have tentative plans, but the extreme heat canceled them (I had been planning to go to the Durham Food Truck Rodeo* for my third time, but since it looks like it's going to be monthly I figured it would be OK to miss the one that occurred in 100+ temperatures). So I ended up spending the whole day (with a few small excursions to various stores) at home actually getting stuff done. And some of the stuff I did was cooking and baking.

It's the time of year when my friend Cindy's garden produces an overabundance of veggies, so Saturday I accumulated a kitchen full. I shredded a bunch of zucchini and stuck it in the freezer for future zucchini projects (I'm going to try a savory zucchini bread). I have way more tomatoes than I have time to do anything with, but I also don't have time to run around finding homes for them.But she had so many they would have just fallen off the plants and rotted on the ground because she doesn't have time to pick them all. So I took them ... I suppose the worst thing that could happen is they end up feeding the worms in my compost pile instead of the critters and bugs in her garden ...

Anyway, she gave me a couple of eggplants, and I really wanted to have a go at baba ghanouj, which I adore. I had tried many years ago to make some and it turned out horrible, so I was a little afraid to try it again. I think my mistake that time was that I didn't roast the eggplants correctly or long enough. So I looked online for some tips and I found a nice little video on Chow. Worked like a charm! So then I just followed this recipe, except for the part where it told me how to roast the eggplants, and I ended up with absolutely the best baba ghanouj I've ever had. Yay me! I'm definitely going to add eggplants to my garden next year, because this stuff is habit-forming.

I also had some lemons lying around so I decided to make glazed lemon-coconut bars. I started with this recipe but I completely didn't follow it because I didn't have Bisquick (I formulated a substitution with flour, baking powder and salt ... thanks internets!), I didn't have a half-cup of egg substitute (I used two real eggs instead) and I accidentally mixed the 3/4 cup of sugar with the base layer, so I had to add another in the top layer. Yes, I used twice the amount of sugar. Anyway, the result was delicious, but not terribly good-looking:

glazed lemon coconut bars

*The Durham Food Truck Rodeo looks like it will be happening monthly at Durham Central Park. Probably the best place to find out when the next one will be is the Durham Central Park blog. I had a great time at the first two and plan to go to them as ooften as I can in the future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Have a seat ...


I think I may have mentioned here the new meditation habit I'm trying to establish. Did I also mention that in pursuit of such, I was going to make myself a zafu, which is the Japanese way of saying "meditation cushion"? So anyway, I made the zafu (pictured above), and I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. (But I'm going to make another because I think I may actually be more pleased with one that's a little smaller in circumference.)

I used these instructions, which were pretty good. The one thing they didn't specify was finishing the ends of the pleated strip before you sew it to the top and bottom circles. I think that's sort of a crucial step, and fortunately I recognized it needed to be done and did it before it would have entailed any seam-ripping. The other thing it doesn't specify is how much one should adjust the length of the pleated strip to account for any decrease in the circumference of the circles. This is something I'll need to monkey with when I make my next one. Also, I'm going to add a handle to the next one, which will be pretty easy.

I stuffed it with buckwheat hulls from this place, which is actually local (Morrisville) so I was able to save a bit on shipping by picking them up. I think it's pretty cool that the woman started the buckwheat hull business to provided employment opportunities for developmentally disabled people. So if you need buckwheat seeds or hulls, that's where you should buy them.

Since I just used fabric I already had lying around, the only out-of-pocket cost to me was the buckwheat hulls (I used about $10 worth). It only took me about 2 hours to make, and I've got more time than money so it was really worth the effort (I would have spent at least $45, probably more, on an already-made zafu). The best thing is that I was able to make it to my own preference, which is important in a meditation cushion because discomfort can be a big obstacle to establishing a regular meditation practice.

Once I make my second zafu I'll still have enough fabric left to make a zabuton, which is a little mat you put your zafu on (it cushions your knees and ankles). Right now I'm just using an old folded-up comforter for that purpose. It works just fine ... but if it's cheap and easy to do I may as well make a matching one. Right?