Let it be released from the mind

Monday, June 26, 2006

Monsoon Season

Who knew it was Monsoon Season?!?

Kinda like the one-hand clapping question, do you think you get more wet walking at a fast pace to your destination in the rain, or running? I wonder if the running doesn't just cause more drip-drops to hit you. Thoughts?

How could I forget?

And I so erroneously forgot to mention the Blueberry Pancakes--recipe joyously shared by the Creampuff.

When all else fails, cook.

Ignoring the plight of the world, I spent most of my weekend tucked between 13 feet of lime green drywall sheets. This safe haven is known as my kitchen. The amount of time that I spent in there for my sheer amusement is striking.
It began Friday--meat day. We had a simply grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, gorgonzola mashed potatoes and a vibrant panzanella salad. I recommend only cooking enough panzanella to eat in one sitting. I had a lot of soggy bread on Sunday for lunch :( We pre-grilled vegetables (gigantic yellow squash and zucchini, eggplant and onions) in a balsamic marinade for veggie sandwiches during the week (served of course with arugula and olive tapenade). Saturday was freshly-caught Rockfish from the Bay, broiled with lemon and pepper, served atop long julienned pieces of squash and zucchini (think looking like pasta) cooked with cilantro and spices and a spicy greens salad with asian-sesame vinaigrette. Sunday, regardless of the number of gigantic squash and zucchini that exist on our countertops, we refused to eat more vegetables. I woke up first thing and made a strawberry tiramisu. It ended up being like a liquorey and softer strawberry shortcake. Excellent. Then I went to work for a few hours and returned to the kitchen again. Since I had to cut my herbs back, and thus had to cut a whole bunch of rosemary off my plant, I used the rosemary sprigs to skewer shrimp, then tossed them with chili powder, cumin, garlic, and pepper and pan-seared them. The shrimp was served atop rice with lime and cilantro (Chipotle what!) and spicy mango and black bean salsa. I need to figure out how much protein exists in how much beans...

Friday, June 23, 2006

stupid and lazy

Americans prefer video to national parks: study
Washington Post
June 20, 2006
By Jon Hurdle Reuters Tuesday, June 20, 2006; 11:38 PM PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Americans are less interested in spending time in natural surroundings like national parks because they are spending more time watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet, according to a study released on Tuesday. The study, for The Nature Conservancy, found per-capita visits to national parks have been declining for years. National park visitation data starting in 1930 peaked in 1987 at 1.2 visits per person per year. But by 2003 it had declined by about 25 percent to 0.9 visits per person per year, said Oliver Pergams, an ecologist at the University of Illinois who analyzed the data for the study. The data, based on government statistics and other sources, were taken as a proxy for interest in nature in general. Researchers tested more than two dozen possible explanations for the trend and found that 98 percent of the drop in national park visits was explained by video games, movie rentals, going out to movies, Internet use and rising fuel prices. Other possible explanations such as family income or the aging population were ruled out. There was a sufficiently high correlation between declining national park visits and the burgeoning use of electronic media that led Pergams and his associate, Patricia Zaradic, believe the two are linked. "It made us feel fairly certain that there is an association," Pergams told Reuters. The study, to be published in the Journal of Environmental Management, concludes that the trend has negative implications for environmental stewardship. "We may be seeing evidence of a fundamental shift away from people's appreciation of nature to 'videophilia' which we here define as the new human tendency to focus on sedentary activities involving electronic media," the researchers said. "Such a shift would not bode well for the future of biodiversity conservation." Nature Conservancy President Steve McCormick said the study suggests Americans and their children in particular are losing their connection to the natural world. "When children choose TVs over trees, they lose touch with the physical world outside and the fundamental connection of those places to our daily lives," McCormick said.

Riders of the Storm

My goodness that was a storm late last night. I'm a light sleeper, but I don't normally wake up much at night. But the lightning and house-rocking thunder bolts were outstanding! I was nearly scared lying there with my eyes further than wide open, grasping Laika's arm. But we survived. Hopefully our roof did too. Mental (well, I guess written) note to check that this weekend.

We also survived our TCT last night. The Cooking Table made fresh pasta. I supplied the pasta, machine, and semi-expertise of pasta making, and others supplied the coordinating yummies (an extremely technical term). The dishes seemed so fresh and light. It turned out wonderfully and I believe everyone enjoyed themselves. The sheets of saffron pasta hung above the stove first--beautifully tinted yellow with tiny streaks of ruby red from the threads. That dough was filled with an artichoke, olive, lemon, leek and cheese filling and cut into 2" ravioli. The accompanying sauce was a mix of pan-roasted red and yellow peppers and vinegar for a thick romesco-like dipping sauce. We parboiled them all and then pan-fried half, and oven-toasted half.
The next dish was an herb pasta dough with fresh sage from the garden. That was tossed with olive oil, feta, fresh tomatoes, and parsley. It was supposed to include dill as well, but I'm glad that was left out. It was refreshingly light. The other main course was just a plain fettuccine (you have to try at least one plain thing for comparison) with a Cajun Cream sauce and peppers and onions. The cream sauce was excellent--not too creamy and heavy and unencumbered by cheese. The addition of spice and a heavier sauce complemented the light Mediterranean pasta in my tummy.
For dessert--a cinnamon dough ravioli stuffed with macerated blueberries and lemon, and another with mango and ginger. They were dusted with sugar and cinnamon, baked in the oven, and then served with a cinnamon whipped cream.

Guess who's tired this morning from flour products?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How often do you think bands or songwriters are working on songs and then after they play it realize it sounds exactly like something else they've heard before...just wondering. Is music really THAT unique in every song. I doubt it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What ever happened to Peace Frogs?

Those wonderful happy, peace intoxicating frogs. For instance, I never knew they had a travel business. And I'm surprised to see that young and mod people still wear them on T-shirts as they show on their website. What year do you think Peace Frogs were officially not "in" anymore? My guess would be 1997. Either that, our my car was sooooo uncool in high school. It was cool regardless of what people say. The Celica defined me.

Looks like I need to get in on this marketing.

Viva la World Cup!

Monday, June 19, 2006

JGA wha? JGA who?

He's here. The long awaited Jacob Alexander Garrett. At 8 lbs. and 9 oz., he came barreling through after 15 hours at 2:24 AM this morning. Congratulations James & Brianna on a beautiful baby Jigga.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Crazy dreads guy

Normally when remarking about someone I see on the road, if I refer to them as crazy I mean like insane-ish. However this guy is crazy for different reasons. I have seen crazy dreads guy on multiple occasions in Kensington near Connecticut Avenue and University Blvd. Although he seems geared up for running, with robo-short red shorts like those popular in the 80's (think Ocean Pacific brand) and a yellow shirt, he always seems to be walking with extra long strides and a bounce in his step. And then as I pass him I notice the extended dreads that grow on the back of his head. Picture a dreaded mullet. Not as in dreaded like "alas" but fo' real dreads. The front of his head looks like a cropped bowl cut with unruly blonde hair, and going down the center of his back is a rat tail gone wrong--a clump of hair probably 10 inches in circumference. There's nothing wrong with it, I just don't get it.

So he seems like he is a super hippy running guy. On the way to visit my grandmother, I drove north towards Olney and saw him way far from what I suspected was home. Here is a map to better show you. If he's not running, is he long-step power walking 12 miles roundtrip? That's fairly hardcore.

And, congratulations for reading my 100th post. For this you get intellectual stimulation and a smark of perplexment (word?) for approximately 22 seconds.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The very thought of you, my love

It's hard to believe, but the boy and I have now been romantically linked for 10 amazing years. No wonder every story I have is with him. And yet I'm still learning new things about him all the time. I love him very much!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Get away!

Stop clogging up my blog you spammers! You government meat product worshippers, you!

Friday, June 09, 2006

sometimes you just fail

And last night for dinner, I did. Wow, was it bad. We had veggie burgers, but I decided that the gorgonzola cheese was most handy...mistake #1. Then I realized we had no ketchup and I used BBQ sauce...mistake #2. I attempted to make a pasta salad using all of the veggies that were closest to going bad, including a yellow squash, red onion, garlic scapes, and some sort of tender green. Well, the concept was good, but it failed. I added the pasta to the bowl of cut veggies thinking it would cook it just enough to make it edible. The garlic scapes were very hard and surprisingly spicy when uncooked...problem#1. The greens were way too bitter and made it unpleasant...problem #2. And for some reason, this week I have had an aversion to one of my more beloved herbs, cilantro. But I decided to try again to use it and made a cilantro vinaigrette...problem #3. Thank goodness my failures are behind me...yea right!

Veggies still left to cook in my fridge:
1 kohlrabi
1 eggplant
lb. of kale
1/2 lb. of spinach
a few carrots
garlic scapes
2-3 lb. of broccoli
lb. of snow peas
one giant 1/2 head of some Chinese cabbage
cilantro & parsley

Sounds like cabbage rolls, potstickers, and stir-fry to me.

What I hopefully did NOT fail at is planning my dad's birthday this weekend. Tomorrow he will be turning 70! I rented a boat and captain to sail my parents and hubby and I from Kent Island to St. Michael's and back. It will be a lovely day-long trip that hopefully my dad will love since you used to be an avid sailor. With any luck, the traffic coming back over the bridge won't be the worst in the world (it will be there, no doubt, just hopefully not THE WORST) and we'll have an overpriced but luxurious meal at the Wild Orchid Cafe. I'm also hoping that at some point, perhaps tomorrow, I can get him to a Cold Stone Creamery. I feel like an oversized, decadent sundae with lots of ice cream is exactly what he'd want.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ears are in the eyes of the beholder

Are my ears different from everyone else's? Why do I keep finding conditioner in the top fold every morning? Am I that clueless and inept?

A friend once told me I have a big tragus. I take this as the highest compliment.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mimi's a superstar

So my grandmother was on TV this weekend. They did a special on channel 7 on in-home care and she was featured. They didn't show her talking at all (she has a pretty thick accent so after the stroke it's much harder to understand) but they showed her outside with her nurse, playing with the cat and smiling. It was really nice! Go Mimi!

My weekend was half work and half play. Our camping plans were foiled on Friday night since they were calling for thunderstorms and 1/2" of rain, so I had to drive out to Western MD by myself on Saturday morning for a donor field trip. Although it was a long drive by myself, I kinda enjoyed the quiet time and ability to get my thoughts in order. The drive was beautiful--the misty morning fog hung over the rolling mountains and farmland and the overcast nature of the morning made the green of the trees even more brilliant than usual. We had a fairly successful donor trip although I'd like to rant that if it's going to be a difficult hike (up and down steep and sometimes slippery slopes) and you know that we've invited some elderly people, it might be helpful to let me know that. Regretfully I had to make sure we didn't lose anyone from the back of the pack, and didn't get to do my real job.

Sunday we had the pleasure of having friends over to welcome Jenna and Patrick, a rare event as of late. They've been having such a difficult first month of parenting, and it was lovely to see them and wish them our congratulations. We had an Asian feast, which you would think would be fairly easy to put together quickly considering you chop everything in advance and then just throw it in. But making things half vegetarian and half not and respecting that, and making 4 or 5 different dishes proved to be harder than I thought. It all turned out fine though and we don't have too many leftovers, thank goodness. Here's a newer picture of Sheridan.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Lineage of the Gods

Talk about a fine, fine lineage.

I'm 50% Irish and 25% Danish, which means the way science is advancing, I should basically live forever. Both of my grandmothers (Irish and Danish immigrants of course) are 93 and 86 respectively. Live long and drink heavily.