Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vegetable Soup

I started making soup at 10 pm last night after starting a load of laundry. This might have been a mistake as I ended up going to bed at 1 am, but the soup was tasty.

The recipe for my soup came from the Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Herrman Loomis. It's a curious cookbook as the recipes are interspersed through sections and commentary about traveling to different farms across America. Loomis "spent several years criss-crossing the country in search of 'the soul of the American family farm.'" (Library Journal).

I chose this soup for its list of simple ingredients that I knew I could pick up at the health food store down the street from the yoga studio I just started going to. It contained leeks, potatoes, carrots, and fuji apples. The apples added a nice thickness and sweetness. I boiled the vegetables for 45 minutes with some peppper-corns and coriander seeds tied up in a coffee filter. The recipe called for cheesecloth, but I forgot to buy it. I was able to google the coffee filter replacement. The recipe also called for bay leaves but I didn't have them and went ahead.

After boiling, you puree the veggies (which I had to do in my bedroom because it was so late and because our blender sounds like a wood chipper) and then you add 2-3 cups of broth back in. This soup is made with just water instead of broth, and I was afraid it was going to be bland, but the sweetness of the apples and the simmering of the carrots and leeks made the broth tasty enough even sans bay leaves.

The recipe has you make a parsley/crushed garlic/olive oil garnish, but I also enjoyed a scoop of plain yogurt on the top.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I confess . . .

I've been getting spider bites. I found two on my hands, then one on my foot and I got one right in the center of my neck! I googled images of spider bites and found some really really gruesome pictures with rotting flesh, in particular one alleged image of a brown recluse spider bite that is on someone's hand. I don't even want to include it in this blog post. It's so gross. You can see it here. I looked around my room and couldn't find any spiders, but they recently subsided, so I'm hoping the little eight legged guy/gal found something else to dine on . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cordon Bleu - A Delicious Deal

Last night I ate at Cordon Bleu, a Vietnamese restaurant on California and Polk. It was delicious, and cheap. I haven't gobbled up my food like that in quite awhile.

I ordered the number five meal (only $8.65!!) which includes a piece of five spice grilled chicken, thin slices of grilled pork, an imperial roll, and jasmine rice with "meat sauce" over it. The meat sauce was like spaghetti sauce, but less tomatoe-centric. It tasted like it was made with ground beef, onions, tomatoes and some corn starch. Mmmmm, meat sauce, wait, let me say it again, mmm, meat sauce.

The menu says they have the "best chicken you will have outside of Vietnam." I ate the chicken again today for lunch. Yum.

The restaurant features a single counter and you watch the staff make the food right in front of you. This is a great place to have some bun, and then go see a movie at the indie theater next door.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Crawfish / Crawdads / Crayfish / Yabbies

Last night I attended a Crawfish boil at Magnolia Brew Pub here in San Francisco. The little crustaceans were flown in for the event that day and boiled up for $9/lb. My friend and I easily finished 3 lbs with cornbread, mushrooms and potatoes on the side.

My friend, who has spent some time in Lousiana, informed me how to consume the crawfish. First you snap off the head, then you squeeze the head and suck the juice out. The flavor of the brains and the boil comes through. Then you take your thumb and squeeze the bottom of the tail, and continue squeezing up the tail to release the pinky sized meat inside, which you can then bite off. Wikipedia says "A popular double entendre laden phrase heard around crawfish season in Louisiana derives from this practice: 'Suck the head, pinch the tail'" They are fun and messy. I got some yellow crawfish juice on my white shirt and had to use the spray n'wash when I got home.

The spiciness of the crawdads will depend on the boil used, which will often contain ingredients like salt, cayenne pepper, lemon, garlic, and bay leaves. My friend says that few people in Louisiana make their boil from scratch, and most pick a favorite brand like Zatarain's depending on if they like a little more cinnamon or hot spice.

When the crawfish are prepared, they come in big barrels and they have to be rinsed many times because they live in the mud in the water, which earned them the title "mudbugs." This is often when crawfish escape. My friend says she once saw a crawfish crawling across the floor of the restaurant trying to escape a steamy fate. This reminded me of a story I heard about a group of lobsters in Berlin who escaped from an Asian Supermarket and were seen walking together down the the street.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cold weather style inspiration

I'm really inspired by this cold weather white ear muffs/gray scarf/red beanie/sad face with mascara look. I love how soft her face looks, bundled by the soft fabrics with her sad eyes about to cry, streaks of mascara about to appear.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leaving with more than a pack of gum . . .

I bought this bag, the Alabaster Crackle Bag, today with my Anthropologie gift cards. I had two stacked up, and it made buying something bigger than a candle easier to qualify. I've had these gift cards burning holes in my wallet for awhile now. Anthropologie is like going to the supermarket of frilly girly clothes. You have everything to choose from, and sometimes you only leave with a pack of gum, if that.

I figured who doesn't need a white handbag? The leather is weathered so it has that crackled white leather appearance. I'm down for anything that looks old.

Shopping their online store, and comparing it to the items in store was eye-opening. So many of the items I admired online were seriously lackluster in person like this purse, the linked spectrum purse,

and this bag,

the essential washed hobo. I had seen the Alabaster Crackle Bag online and was unimpressed. The crackled quality of the leather didn't really come through online, but it was so much cooler in person.

Also, I tried on this dress, the skywriter dress.

It wasn't much on the hanger, but was really pretty in person. I would have to take a few inches off the bottom. It swept the floor on me, but I'll think about it . . .

Oh my god! The eerie-ness continues!

Woman who missed Flight 447 is killed in car crash

This is like how Daniel Faraday's Mother, Eloise Hawking tells Desmond about how the universe "course-corrects" to prevent people from straying too far from their fate right before he is going to buy the ring for Penny. She tells him that a man with red shoes is going to die, and even he isn't killed one way, he will die another way. The "course correction" happens with Charlie on the island, where Desmond is plagued by constant visions of Charlie dying.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thoughts on the Air France Crash

I'm sucked into the drama of the Air France flight crash. Each piece of debris found sends a shiver, the bright orange life vest, the kerosene can, the 21 ft cylindrical metal piece they found recently. The span they are desperately surveying is huge, nearly 300 square miles, with a 12 mile long oil slick in the middle of it.

I try to imagine the thoughts of the passengers as they went down. I also, somewhat perversely, immediately think of the TV show Lost. I wonder if anyone on the plane was a fan of Lost and had twisted thoughts as their plane descended, "Hey, this is like Lost except it's not, I'm really dying." The plan allegedly went down in a huge flash of light that was witnessed by some. The debris "was found about 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of the Fernando de Noronha Islands, an archipelago 355 kilometers off the northeast coast of Brazil. It included an airplane seat and an orange float." ( The details are so eerie.

Turbulence and lightning should not have brought the plane down. This is not Lost, but this crash is so mysterious, so ripe with questions.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Letting Go of Electromagnetism

I stared up at the aiwa boombox on the top shelf of my closet today. I thought, "you haven't pulled that thing out in a really long time, you should get rid of it." Then i remembered the tapes.

The cassette tapes.

Tapes were the format that you received mix tapes in, the junior high form of the love letter. I scoured record stores for the right tapes to give myself credibility among my friends, I kept myself entertained on long and sometimes tortuous bus rides home with them. Cassettes were where my love of music really began, listening to them by myself on my bunkbed with a giant grey boombox shoved between the mattress and the wall. Should I completely give up on this outmoded form of audio playback? The boombox I have now still has a functioning cassette player. I don't think it records, but memories could be had.

I know I should let it go, but I feel the need to give my cassette tapes some kind of eulogy, some homage.

Help me decide if I should let go or hold fast:

Beck - Mellow Gold
Detestation - Unheard Cries
Black Sabbath - Greatest Hits
Smashing Pumpkins - Pisces Iscariot
Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
Reed College Orientation Tape
Beck - One Foot in the Grave
Tom Waits - The Early Years
Nirvana - Bleach
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk
The Best of Judas Priest - Living After Midnight
Ramones - S/T
Nina Simone - Best of
The Velvet Underground and Nico - S/T
The Clash - S/T
Wire - 154
Slant 6 - Sodapop Ripoff
The Cure - Wish
The Cure - The Head on the Door
The Cure - Seventeen Seconds
Sonic Youth - Live Recording
Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues
The Smiths - Meat is Murder
The Smiths - Strangeways Here We Come
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See
Belly - Feed The Tree (A CASSINGLE!!!!!!)
Crass - Penis Envy
Submission Hold - Veterans of the Cola Wars

I can't do it!! I just can't bear to give any of these away! There are also a few mixtapes in here that I gotta keep around. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll find a smaller tape player to help me relive the memories with. This all really makes me wish I had this colleciton on my ipod :( . . . .
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