Category Archives: food

One blend, one box, 3 cloths

Sometimes I get intimidated about the fact that people actually read these posts. Forgive the blindness imbedded in such folly, but I know I’m not alone in this weird double-take.

For instance, I want to post more about anti-racism again and about my book, now titled The Weight of Cloth, but part of me wonders — who am I? Well not about the book, which I am amply qualified to speak about, but about more general issues of structural racism.

I’ll get over myself. Have no fear!

So here is a simpler kind of post. Show and tell. And really, a chance to note recent gifts.

ONE BLEND. A blend of exotic spices prepared by a friend was one of my favorite gifts this year. A pinch flavors a big pot of stock on the stovetop at this very moment. It turns out that I committed to trying new-to-me flavors this year before even recognizing the thought. A resolution? Yes, and a discovery — that the better resolutions might be those that you adopt before even making note of them. No forcing.

Another Ottolenghi recipe. Ripped from the book PLENTY’s cover. This is my creation tho — both the food and the photo. And yea, it was tasty!

ONE BOX. Those of you that follow my cousin Ginny Mallon will recognize her artistry on this repurposed cigar box. I LOVE IT. When she started posting them on Instagram this fall, I knew I needed to give one to my husband for Christmas. Him being a Cancer was the excuse, my adoring them, the real impetus.

And since Ginny wouldn’t let me pay her, I received a gift too!

THREE CLOTHS. The first is a close up and finished. The second is almost ready to be bound. And the third is a close up of one that feels like I will never finish it. A progression of sorts.

All I want to say about them today is how liberating I found Jude’s recent comment about how she doesn’t see ugly (or something like that). I was referring to a quilt not shown here. I’ve always worked with ugly and messy, maybe even taken a tiresome pride in the fact, but this feels different. It gives me staying power.

Face flashback and two notes

First the notes. A friend let me know that there are two kinds of persimmons; oblong /sweet and squat / savory. So the squat persimmon that sat on my kitchen windowsill could’ve been cut into wedges (while still firm) and tossed into a salad. Next time, I’ll know.

https://www.seriouseats.com/persimmons

Second, I found some cilantro and so decided to modify the Ottolenghi recipe for a Sweet Winter Slaw. It was plenty good without the lime juice (used rice vinegar) or the macadamia nuts (I substituted pumpkin seeds). I skipped the tropical fruits and mint.* Served with a creamy potato leek soup, it was delicious.

And now, faces. They can speak for themselves. It’s not EVERYONE that graced this past year, but quite a few. They all make my life better.

So Happy New Year to them and to you!

Adventure at H Mart

At this phase of life and the pandemic, going to H Mart in Burlington counts as an adventure. Lots of other people had the same idea today — packed parking lot, busy fish counter, many, many vegetable and noodle buyers.

I wanted to get the ingredients for this delicious looking Ottolenghi salad (above) — to try something new. I managed to buy red and Napa cabbages, but forgot cilantro and limes. Oh well! Next time. Maybe if we go at 8 am on a regular weekday, it’ll be less crowded.

The good news is that Asians as a rule wear masks.

How fun it was! The exotic dragon fruit, the wall of tofu, mushrooms of every variety. I picked up some pumpkin-colored miso, a pack of soba noodles, a huge bag of rice, some potstickers, and star anise. Also: soy sauce, Korean BBQ rub, and rice vinegar.

The star anise imparted a spicy fragrance to the car on the way home. Lovely!

I bought a couple persimmons three weeks back (shown in the bin above) but they rotted before we could eat them. Oops! I know from my research that the enslaved made a delicious molasses from them. And a woman in Wegman’s who stopped me to ask where I’d gotten them, told me she eats them raw and unadorned. “But let them get good and soft first.”

It’s been friend catch-up time. I can motor along in my life (my fairly isolated life) and forget how good it feels to connect. Even before the pandemic this was true.

Today I was treated to pix of two new grand babies. A few nights ago, there was a really nice 70th birthday party (everyone tested beforehand). Tomorrow: lunch with two friends, one of whom I haven’t seen in person in years! Monday, I’ll see another friend who has been busy driving to upstate New York and Vermont to see her grandchildren.

I’ll close with a photo and paragraph about Pele.

“The ambition should always be to play an elegant game.” I like that.

Father’s Day Eve

Today is all about summer food. I made cold cucumber soup for lunch and we ate watermelon with mint from the garden and lime afterwards. A key lime pie is in the oven. I don’t even care what I make for dinner with a dessert like that in the works.

(Probably we’ll have leftover chicken and bean soup with sourdough toast).

We’re watching one super-creepy murder mystery right now: Shining Girls (AppleTV+). It stars Elizabeth Moss whose character suffers from severe trauma-related amnesia. She unofficially teams up with a dysfunctional journalist to try and crack a murder case that may or may not be linked a bunch of cold cases. There are unexpected flashbacks, so that as viewers we also become disoriented to time. And the bad guy? Whew! A little too omniscient but otherwise, a perfect sociopath.

Finished the Niall Williams novel. A true delight.

We stopped at a little coffee shop this morning hoping to procure a “pup cup.” If you don’t know, a pup cup is a coffee cup full of whipped cream for your dog (oh, the things I learn on Instagram!). Finn had his eighth birthday this week and since he’s never had a pup cup, I thought it time. Do you see him through the window there?

They didn’t have whipped cream and, don’t judge me, based on the sour response from the proprietor I don’t ever plan on going back. It was my second visit to the place and she was a pill the first time too.

(They make donuts and serve cappuccino. It seems to me that she could have offered sweetened foamy milk or a small dish of icing in lieu of the whipped cream. I had a twenty in my hand to make it clear I wasn’t asking for a freebie.)

Heading back home, we crossed this patch of lawn next to the T tracks and determined that it looked like a murder scene. There was a single Nike slide, two tumbled and empty rat traps, and (just off screen), a crumpled and sodden article of clothing.

Too much serial killer fare in our TV line up?

Probably.

This morning’s Paris Collage Club collage

Covid Silver Linings, Lasagne and ADD

I’ll start the list of Covid silver linings with two.

One, The first thing I hear every morning is, “I’ll go down and start the coffee.”

Do you now how nice this is?

Husband used to leave the house at 6:15, which meant he was up and out in full dark for portions of the year. I’d be so dead to the world I wouldn’t even hear his NPR-set alarm. I never minded making coffee but it is so nice to rise and shine with it ready to pour. His company is nice too.

Two, Covid has normalized my wardrobe choices. Ha! Most of what I wear has to meet a single criteria — is this outfit as comfortable as pajamas? The rest of the world has caught up to me I guess.

 

This is the time of year when my holiday timing clashes with my husband’s. That’s why I will begin to sneakily remove the smaller ornaments and put them away. Hope he doesn’t notice! Actually, this year he might go for full take-down before New Year’s because we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is dry.

I got a rice cooker for Christmas and we might just have rice every evening from here on out. It comes out perfect every time. I used to have one. Here’s a fun fact you probably don’t know about me: I ate nearly exclusively with chopsticks for about five years.

But what am I saying about rice? I have all the ingredients for lasagne. I really hope it’s as good as the batch I made for my brother the trip before last. They purchased some specialty ricotta which was creamier than what I usually buy, and I think that made the difference. Wish me luck! It’s a lot of work for a meh-meal.

Lastly, I get to congratulate myself (again) for sticking with the Paris Collage Collective’s challenge for the entire year, even with four trips to Los Angeles and one to Boulder. I doubt I’ll do it again in 2022. I am eager to make some collages fueled by more personal images. This week’s image was a hand holding a balloon.

If you don’t have ADD or don’t know anyone with ADD, you probably can’t quite appreciate why this is such a big deal.