My cold lingers on, but at least I've regained some interest in food. (Mmmm. Food? I'm almost there.)
I co-hosted a dinner party at someone else's house recently, which had me reviewing the excellent cookbook The Vegetarian Grill: 200 recipes for inspired, flame-kissed meals, by Andrea Chesman. It provides instructions for grilling all kinds of veggies, plus yummy marinades (worth the book right there) and recipes for sauces and entrees made with grilled veggie ingredients. I don't grill very often, but the recipes work in the broiler AND they're ideal for barbecues where you're supposed to bring something to accommodate the herbivores of the group, and want everything to taste JUST RIGHT.
If you're trying to think of something to bring to a party that's yummy but not too much work (especially if the party has a sort of tapas theme going), I suggest:
- alphonso olives (yummy, bright purple olives from Peru)
- roasted red and yellow peppers (blacken them in your broiler, seal in a bowl for a few minutes and peel OR do what I do and buy them in jars)
- marinated mushrooms (garlic, wine, thyme - bake)
- marinated eggplant (use the herbal marinade from the book I mentioned, or 1/4 cup each of basil and olive oil, plus a dash of fresh oregano and lots of crushed garlic; broil on both sides until it's a pretty, grilled color)
- marinated artichoke hearts (canned hearts with a marinade identical to the one immediately above)
- rosemary new potatoes (tossed in olive oil, crushed garlic, and rosemary; bake at about 350 covered in foil until tender and yummy-smelling)
- heirloom tomatoes (especially the giant yellow ones), sliced, drizzled with olive oil and fresh basil (and topped with fresh, whole milk mozzarella if you want people to have a warm, fuzzy association with you forever) and a sprinkling of fresh ground pepper
- fresh pineapple; fresh berries, if they're in season; or if you have a friend that can make that fabulous grilled banana dish I gushed about before, bring her!
You don't have to bring ALL of these dishes: I'm just saying that none of them has many ingredients, and so none take much effort to make. The tomato and mozzarella dish (which doesn't even require cooking!) is very popular, and earned me a good reputation as someone you want to have bring food to your house. On very short notice, I stick with fresh bread and yummy, spreadable cheese, picked up at the store on the way over. (If it's farmer's market day, you might be able to score a fresh focaccia on the way over, which is even better.)
Ah. I feel much better now that I've gotten some of these food thoughts out of my head. I can now comfortably finish my cup of tea and go to bed.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:24 PM
Friday, August 30, 2002
My previous web page was called the Teahouse for the Contemplation of Enchiladas. It was about, surprise, food. When I set up this new vanity domain, I named it in honor of its predecessor. The catch is that people come here with the belief that it is actually about teahouses. When really, it's supposed to be about enchiladas and other foods.
This is so embarrassing. But I just didn't want to be bigenchilada.org. I thought it would be... limiting.
I haven't gotten around to scanning any of my own photos of tea houses, but I have found some pretty ones on the web. For those of you misguided souls who have come here seeking teahouses instead of, say, party menus, here are a few links:
images of teahouses!
- There is an exact reproduction of the Enan Tea House(a 16th century landmark in Kyoto) - in VIRGINIA!
- A touristy image from San Francisco's own Japanese Tea Garden (a more detailed tour of the garden can be found here)
- An image of a lovely house, teahouse, and garden in Philadelphia
- Lovely gardens with a teahouse at Na 'Aina Kai, on Kauai
- An image from the designer of Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois
- Heale Garden, a British garden which just happens to have a Japanese-style teahouse and ornamental bridge in it
- In scenic Hawaii, another teahouse at Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens
- Images from Hasselt Garden in Belgium
- A Japanese garden, with teahouse, in, no, guess, c'mon, guess, you'll never guess this one, okay, Northern Ireland!
- A vacation photo of what is probably a teahouse somewhere in Nagoya
- A view through a round teahouse door, possibly in Missouri
- Tea houses made by famous tea masters and disciples
- A tour of "the" Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, California, complete with a teahouse
- Two little images of another British Japanese teahouse
- A lone image of a teahouse door from the Zen Society of Cinnamonson, New Jersey
- I can't tell you where in Japan this is, because I can't read the character set (it's symbols, rather than characters)
- fall leaves with a teahouse in the background, from Dirk PhotoZ
- A modern teahouse in Oita prefecture, Japan, along with an essay on the history of tea ceremony
- A commercial site featuring pretty, idealized images of Japan, including a teahouse or two.
I think that's as much as I can bear to write without talking about food! I'll set up a separate page for these images when I'm feeling less lazy.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:35 PM
Thursday, August 29, 2002
I have been fighting off a cold all week, and the cold won. It was a swift victory - I didn't see it coming, despite the long stretch of sleep trouble that beas me up and left me vulnerable.
And do you know what the worst thing about this cold is? Aside from the general zombie-like mental state? I lost interest in FOOD. Yes. I'm shocked, too. I thought it was just some abrupt allergy, and then I came home and went to bed without dinner.
THAT does not happen when all is right in the world.
I'll write again when I recover.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:14 PM
Friday, August 23, 2002
I hadn't noticed this earlier, but in my paper weekly planner, whenever I go to Peet's coffee, I draw little hearts around the word Peet's.
We're having a cold spell here in San Francisco. It's cloudy, and a bit dark. The shadows are muted. The days, even recent warmer days, have been noticeably shorter than they were in the height of summer. It feels as if the fall season is ready to begin.
I like fall. Fall is when some of the more confused trees turn lovely colors, and the weather turns warm for days on end. Many good things have happened to me in the fall. And, as you might have guessed, I love fall foods. Butternut pies, spaghetti squash baked golden brown, stews with lots of potatoes in them, cranberries, sweet potato fries, cookies with cinnamon...
I'm not quite done with the summer foods. I haven't yet had my fill of nectarines or plums, and the eggplants have been getting better and better as summer has progressed. (Mmmm. Eggplant.) But something tells me that, when I make a pear pie this weekend, fall will begin in earnest, and the days between now and the next two fun food holidays (Halloween and Thanksgiving) will just slide by.
The world news hasn't been encouraging this week, with so much of the world flooded. Nationally, Mark Fiore's examination of the U.S.' explanation as to why we must attack Iraq is a bit too close to the truth, and the Bush plan to protect forests by cutting them down would be funny if it weren't serious. (That's this administration in a nutshell, really.)
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:10 AM
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
This has to be the quote of the week: "He should be chained up in a cage, and beaten like a dog shouldn't be." S. [I can't tell you whom he was speaking of. It's no one you know. Really.]
I'm SO TIRED. I was tired when I got home, and then I made the mistake of making an eggplant lasagne. I had to make a bechamel sauce (which I didn't do a very smooth job of), and then deep fry the eggplant. It took too long, and the end result was (predictably) heavier than I like lasagne. It tastes nice, so I'm glad I tried it.
This is the second heaviest lasagne I've made. The heaviest was a 3-cheese pesto lasagne. Ooohh, I'm getting queasy just thinking about it.
If I go to bed now, I'll have nightmares from trying to digest dinner. But I'm too sleepy to stay awake. Waaaaah!
I should go back to reading travel articles about Turkey's Urgup region, or scenic and charming Slovenia, or look at photo essays about Kenya's adopted refugees, or something lighter, like about local women surfing at Ocean Beach. As if I can keep my eyes open.
On recent evenings, I've been studying German. I bought a program that shows me a video while talking really quickly, and then dumps me immediately into complicated quizzes which, for some reason, assume I understood everything that was discussed. I keep thinking I'm missing a menu option: where's the part where I learn what the words mean?
As a supplement, I'm going to german.about.com, which has the best explanation for the gender of German words I've yet seen (summary: it's not the meaning behind the word that has gender - it is the characteristics of the word itself you examine), along with handy things like lists of Strong verbs. Since "all" of my German reference materials are packed away, it's wonderful to have access to these.
Now if I can just digest this lasagne...
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:46 PM
Friday, August 16, 2002
Oh, the pears are DELICIOUS. Absolutely wonderful. Perfect for eating. Perfect for baking. I'm eating 3 or 4 a day, and they are JUST PERFECT.
Mmmmm. Maybe, in addition to pie (recipe discussed earlier) I can try that pears poached in wine recipe that this lovely Italian cookbook features. Mmmmmm.
Speaking of Italy, I was just reviewing these lovely Panoramas from Rome and thinking about how my life could have been different. Namely, back when I was still college-degree-less but finally in a steady job, I considered studying at San Francisco State University's Multimedia Studies Program. I figured that web publishing was fun, so why not do it for a living? I went to their orientation with a friend, and sat in on a presentation by one of the instructors. The instructor was employed by a start up that had developed software to create smooth-flowing photographic panoramas, and were applying the technology by going to archeological sites and documenting them. So, students could experience 360^ views, with excellent zoom features, of key parts of exotic ancient sites.
That was just gee-whiz cool.
My life charted another course, and looking at the Trevi fountain reminded me of that.
I like documentary and educational photography features. These evening I reviewed a lovely feature about Water. In addition to lovely photos, there are interest trivia-type facts, such as "The Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world's fresh water." and "Each day, people in the United States use up to three times as much water as the people in Europe."
In addition to themes like water or different foods such as rice (and you KNOW I read those), the W. Post has many lovely features on different countries in the world, including those I know darned little about, such as New Calidonia and Surinam. Though I know a bit more about them now!
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:42 PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
Vanilla is a wonderful flavor. It comes from the pods of a wonderful orchid. And so food manages to figure into one of my "other" interests yet again.
A previously uncatalogued and rare orchid, now collected to death in the wild, has been named. It's Phragmipedium kovachii. This site has lovely photos of other endgangered orchids, such as the dove orchid. There are also some lovely photos of other orchids at the American Orchid Society's photo gallery, but it loads slowly, so only visit if you have time.
I used to think it would be wonderful to be one of those botanical illustrators, who create beautifully detailed scientific drawings of orchids and other plants. But I suspect I'm not really patient enough (with myself or generally) to do that kind of work as a job.
Speaking of oddly directed creativity, people in Budapest know how to have creative, mildly destructive fun - with a historical basis! (Those of you making facial expressions like this at the very thought: you're not allowed on MY flying boat team.)
Speaking of art, I never would have guessed that the parent company of San Francisco's waste collecting agency, Sunset Scavenger, has its own artist in residence program. Never. Never in a million years would I have guessed this. Their site says " The company provides [1,200 square feet of] studio space, a monthly stipend, and a solo exhibit, but artists seem most excited about having unlimited access to the materials."
Mmmm. "Materials." Hee hee.
posted by Arlene (Beth)5:38 PM
This Italian Garden cookbook is even better than it looks. I've gotten over the idea that the recipes look too simple. It's just excellent home-style cooking.
The eggplant parmigiana is a good example. The recipe has you slice the eggplant into 1/2" slices, broil on both sides until brown, and then layer in an oiled baking dish the eggplant, more olive oil, minced parsley & garlic, tomato sauce, and cheese. After two layers, bake at about 350^ F about 20 minutes.
The dish was better than much more complicated versions of the recipe, and much healthier (no breading and deep frying).
Last night's bucatini briganteschi was similarly simple and wonderful: a few tomatoes sauteed in olive oil with capers, black olives, a hot pepper, a small (!) amount of garlic, and some oregano. Simmered, it was very simple and very good.
Now, if I can work up the time to try to make banana ice cream or peach sorbet...
Just for your information, that period when I was writing every day coincided with my cameras being in the camera hospital for repairs. That explains a few things, doesn't it?
I'll be moving soon, and want to save this link: the United States Postal Service's moving guide, at moversguide.com, complete with links on what your choices are for electricity and gas. If you have any. Which, it turns out, you don't. They also have paid ads for other kinds of services, but I like the fact that you can get the change of address form filled out on-line, saving a trip to the post office. (Why they charge you to submit it electronically, I cannot explain. It's free to print and mail.)
Nature photographer Galen Rowell and his wife and business partner Barbara died in a plane crash. With all the climbing of mountains and glaciers he did, it's odd that his end should come during a routine charter flight.
My preoccupation to food extends to many other topics. For example, here's a photo of Jupiter with cream and sugar. Yummm. It's from an article which provides a poetic look at the Voyager space program, of all things.
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:22 AM
Sunday, August 11, 2002
It's thankfully ever so much cooler today than I was yesterday. There's even a breeze that threatens to knock the heavy, nearly ripe, russett-red pears off the tree and on to me. Which is a lame rationalization for why I'm inside right now, but it's working for me.
I'm pondering things I've read over the last two days. One of them was an article on how women in New York, in an area with a statistically higher rate of cancer than average, were tested for various trace amounts of individual known carcinogens. Women with cancer in the area didn't have higher trace amounts of these substances than women who do not have cancer. Therefore, the study concluded, a polluted environment does not cause cancer.
Reread that a few times. It still won't make sense.
This is the sort of maddening logical/procedural lapse that drives me nuts. None of the facts underlying the theory has been demonstrated. No one has demonstrated that cancer in humans is caused by any particular amount of each of the individual carcinogens (neither that there is a safe baseline or carcinogenic threshhold for humans); the impacts of the carcinogens in combination has never even been studied in animals, let alone humans; there is little or no data on the impacts of carcinogenic exposure at low doses over time vs. one single larger dose in this study. And there is no recognition that different chemicals impact people differently (which is why there's more than one painkiller, more than one muscle relaxant, more than one surgical anaesthetic, etc.).
I could do a study just like this with my friends: everyone gets four shots of scotch for immediate consumption. I then test everyone for drunkedness over the next three weeks. Even though some of my friends were drunk when I tested them, my study will conclude that there is NO correlation between the consumption of shots of scotch and drunkedness.
This idea that 'nothing causes anything' is popular in science reporting lately. No one is willing to acknowledge that the methods currently in use are inadequate to measure the complicated situations we try to monitor, which obviously needs to be done. Instead, flawed research is presented as a concrete, absolute scientific truth. Which I think discredits all of science.
Another example of inadequate and faulty absolute science conclusions, at least to me, is the debunking of all associations children witnessing violence and acting violently. For some reason, it's somewhat accepted that children who witness massacres and other violence during war are more likely to behave violently at some point in the future, but children who witness SIMULATIONS of massacres and other violence are not. No correlations drawn between the introduction of violent entertainment to cultures which previously had none and predictable increased rates of youth violence that follow are acceptable OR improveable. Debunkers merely say the world is too complicated to measure that sort of thing; there was insufficient control to ensure that all children lived a completely violence-free life until the introduction of violent entertainment; and the impact is immeasurable. Therefore, because we can't measure it, violent entertainment can not possibly be associated with youth violence.
SO: We don't know what causes kids to be violent, but we absolutely, positively, surely know that it isn't this! Yes! That's it! (The next step, then, is to argue that youth violence doesn't even exist, and is the figment of non-scientist's imaginations.)
Now, I don't want to rely on bad data that proves a bad correlation. I'm open to new data. But the debunkers don't seem to offer any alternatives: you simply are not allowed to believe in causation. An open mind, or the hint that there MIGHT be some connection, is not allowed. No alternative approaches for studying causation are ever proposed, usually because the debunker has an agenda (just like the authors of the correlating studies) to say conclusively that witnessing violence doesn't cause violent behavior. And that all correlations currently extant are coincidence, which will never be examined in any depth.
Why develop tangible baselines and databases of impacts and long term studies of human behavior and the impact of various activities? Um, because that's what science does?
It's so regressive: inquiring minds need not apply.
Here's a comment from this blog's 08/07 (recommended by this gardening blog), entry regarding a scary fundamentalist site: "When there?s a subculture out there ranking the best jihadi decapitation video, you?d best pay attention."
What a world we live in. It's so hard to keep track of all the extremists and rivalries. That's why the nice folks at The Infinite Jest bring us... Crusade 2001 Trading Cards!!! Print your favorites. This collection of posters is also harshly entertaining.
And here's yet another link to another well-written news-discussing blog. And now I'll go back to what I was doing, which was trying to remember what kind of world I really want to live in.
posted by Arlene (Beth)6:00 PM
Saturday, August 10, 2002
Oh, it's a scorcher here in San Bruno. The pleasant morning has turned into a very hot afternoon, with temperatures in the 90s (F). The heat has made sleeping difficult, and has disturbed my already stress-induced dreams. A few nights ago, for example, I dreamt that I was battling some sort of administrative problem in a confrontational way. After each battle, I'd be so overheated that S. would have to put me into a small freezer for a few hours to cool off, before I could deal with the next problem in a similar fashion. (It wasn't until I started to wake up that I took issue with spending time in a small freezer.) Last night, I dreamt about a sort of mud volcano that was erupting, forcing school children to flee their classes and run toward a distant valley along paths which were soon to be filled with molten mud. They did make it to safety, to a lake and beach where dolphins lounged on inner tubes, small snakes left tracks in the sand, and some of my coworkers were led to a treasure chest full of antique liquors by a small bird who indicated the chest's burial place by pecking in the sand of a small, beach cave.
What? Did I eat anything unusual before going to sleep? I suppose so: I had a delicious meal at Joubert's, 'A vegetarian taste of South Africa.' South African wines (or in my case, ciders) paired with pleasantly spiced, unusual tasting dishes which reflect South Africa's diverse cultural heritage, and excellent service made the meal quite wonderful. S. and I were celebrating becoming homeowners (as of yesterday morning), and thought it a lovely place to celebrate. We had the Moi Moi uPuthu and Mieliepaptern. Mmmmm.
Afterwards, we went for a short walk on Ocean Beach and witnessed a fabulous sunset, which grew ever more fabulous immediately after I ran out of film.
It's getting hotter. I want to see an Egyptian art exhibit, but not on opening day, which is today. I've always enjoyed studying Egyptian art and architecture, and looking for more information on the cultures in Sudan and Ethiopia, which were artistically quite advanced, yet never receive the same kind of publicity. (Too few gold casket covers? Is that it?)
A better activity for later this weekend is watching meteors.
In the meantime, I'm eating pasta with red wine & Kalamanta olive sauce (from Madison's the Savory Way) while poring over Cooking from an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen. I'm salivating over recipes that (unfortunately) involve baking. This cookbook has over THREE HUNDRED RECIPES for everything from gnocchi di zucca (squash dumplings), to lasagna di melanzane (eggplant lasagne), to gelato di peshe (peach ice). Mmmmmm. Peach ice...
All of the recipes appear quite straightforward: the ingredient lists are short, the ingredients are fresh and familiar, and the preparation times are all practical. At first glance, I thought it might be TOO straighforward, but it would't occur to me to prepare some of these dishes with these particular spices (I don't use rosemary enough, considering how much I like it), or bake veggies layered with onions and Italian cheeses, or serve dishes in the traditional Italian course configuration (antipasti, breads, first courses, main dishes, veggies, salad, and dessert). So I'm going to study it quite a bit more. I'll report back once I've tried some of the recipes.
posted by Arlene (Beth)2:48 PM
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
All of these wonderful Indian food experiments I've made after work have kept me up cooking and eating late into the night. Eating spicy foods late impacts my dreams. Last night I dreamt I was in a dry and dusty place, maybe India (if so, they need to pray to the rain god), maybe Nepal (where they definitely do NOT need rain), maybe even Afghanistan. I was walking with S- in a marketplace, and there were women wearing capes with a strap built into them that served to hold the cape onto the top of their heads. A saleswoman was wearing a pink one, with wavy patterns of darker pink decorated with sequins. It looked heavy, like it was made of very dense wool.
S- put one on, along with some sort of heavy woolen front piece, and he appeared to immediately grow about a food taller. The outfit looked more like armor than a winter outfit. (Kind of like the cloaks people wore in Nausicaa.) I teased him about looking so imposing, and then we headed across town with some difficulty, as many of the dusty streets had been cordoned off for construction.
The other half of town was a modern, too-paved city, and we rushed around at a modern pace, trying to reach some particular location...
That's not as memorable as a dream I had earlier in the week. In that one (after the mango curry, I think), I was in a battle against an opponent. I wore black, my opponent wore white or beige, and we fought each other in a strangely alien landscape. The black sections of the landscape, which were filled with spiders, monsters, and pits, was my domain, and everything there was friendly to me. I looked like Winnie the Pooh's friend, Piglet, and briefly forgot about the battle while playing with some young spiders/monsters while their mother watched us. I heard a bell ring, and rushed to the door, hoping to find my friend, Winnie the Pooh. Instead, it was the enemy I was battling, and I was blinded by a bright light.
I like that dream best, because I like the idea of playing the role of EVIL PIGLET. Not that I was actually evil, I just had the 'dark' attributes routely assigned to evil by the twisted symbolism of our twisted society. But it was cool nevertheless.
This has to be the saddest quote I've read today, even in translation: "'I had to wait until my husband died before I was able to come to school,' said Bibi Zara, 79, her withered hands clasping a first grade-level textbook." from a New York Times article about the refusal of many fundamentalists to permit the education of their female relatives.
I went to the dentist today, for work on 3 teeth, including the removal of an old crown. I'll be eating soft foods for a while (no morning granola until the permanent crown goes in). One of my favorite things to drink in the morning when I didn't have time for breakfast was a banana smoothie my mother made for me when I was growing up. She made it as a milkshake, but I make it with soy milk. (Recipe: 1 cup of soymilk, 1 banana, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla: blend until smooth. Variation: eliminate vanilla and use orange juice in place of some of the milk.) It's very pleasant in the morning: not too sweet, and easy on a sleepy stomach.
Speaking of sleepy, it's time for Evil Piglet to get some rest.
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:15 PM
Monday, August 05, 2002
A particular Sylvia cartoon, because I need to post one more link before I go to sleep...
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:06 PM
Speaking of random:
Oh no! MORE Get Your War On!
I had thought this was a joke. Now I'm not so sure.
I'm happy to be neither pices nor libra.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:41 PM
It's a lovely evening, and I have a lovely garlic aura. I made a deconstructed lasagne, since I was hungry and the oven isn't behaving properly. It consists of a layer of whole wheat penne, a layer of mushrooms/onions/spinach sauteed in olive oil, a layer of tofu ricotta (mashed tofu, crushed fresh garlic, basil, oregano, dried onion, crushed red pepper, and a generous serving of olive oil), and a mushroom marinara (from Trader Joe's, land of many good things and Buddha's favorite grocery store (well, according to certain clever people)).
Ahhhhh. Just don't stand too close: in the baked version, the raw garlic in the 'ricotta' has a chance to mellow out, and in this mildly heated version, it does not.
You should see the pear tree. The pears are shining, and are even more red-gold then before.
A few links, while I'm on-line:
-Blog Hop, "Your friendly neighborhood blog portal."
-God's Live Journal
-Leggo My Ego, about Indian culture, quitting a law job, the Pope, and other topics. (It opens funny in my old version of Netscape as two overlapping windows, though it looks fine in any non-maximized window, so use an old browser at your own risk.)
-dogs in kimonos. Really. (This alone may be enough to make me like the editors of Blog Hop.)
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:11 PM
Sunday, August 04, 2002
My legs are SO GOOD TO ME.
I am now lounging about after completing my 6th or so San Francisco Chronicle Tour De Peninsula (not to be confused with the highly similar Tour de France, though I see how you could make that mistake, it's no problem, really). The weather was cooler than in most previous years for the duration of the ride: sunny, but not too warm to exert yourself for 33 miles.
Unusually for me, I was unduly afraid of being in a chain reaction pile up this year. The light-hearted family ride attracts many people who don't have much riding experience, who wobble or swerve or stop in the middle of the road randomly, and I fear them. The past few years have shown a few spectacular crashes. (Though none as impressive as a loss-of-control crash on a hill in the Tierra Bella, where a road cyclist missed a turn, bounced up a curb and over a guard rail, hit a barbed wire pasture fence, and fell down a sloping hill to land in a pasture. THAT was a crash.) I'm not worried about BEING that person, I am totally worried about being BEHIND that person, seeing trouble coming but not having enough time or space to do anything about my impending impact, and thus wind up being #2 in the many bike pile up.
But this year's Tour was nearly accident free, the oranges at the Water Temple rest stop tasted better than ever, and S. and I finished in about 3 hours & 5 minutes, returning to the lawn by 11:20 to pick up our shirts for our collections. (Ray, Allen Choy says hi. And we all say, come play outside! It's better for you than work!)
This year, I've ridden in the always fabulous, all-women, 100 kilometer Cinderella Classic (sponsored by the Valley Spokesmen (spokes, you see)), which winds through five towns in the still-scenic Livermore valley area, and the 100 kilometer route of the Tierra Bella (sponsored by the Almaden Cycle Touring Club) which provides a tour of Gilroy, "Garlic Capitol of the World." Those were both way back in April.
I'm tempted by the Spokesmen's Tour of the Sacramento River Delta, a 110 mile, two day ride in September, but Steven thinks we'll be busy.
I've been looking at other blogs, and spending a lot of time laughing out loud. It's not that it hadn't occurred to me that other people need a venue to make confessions about singing aloud to 1980 retro tunes in the tub (implausible disclaimer: I don't do that now that I live with others, since I don't want to cause them to suffer unduly), but it's nice that technology allows sharing.
(Also, it's good for a segment of the blogging populace to have a fancy frame setup for announcing that everything in the world is awful. Teen angst gone tech. Back in my day, I had to gripe about the world on paper, uphill both ways in the snow...)
My favorite personal page of the moment is an anti-Santa Barbara blog with a very natural writing style. (The 7/25 entry may be my favroite.) People with young children, unlike me, will likely enjoy it even more than I do.
On the topic of food, I just read a book called Olives: Cooking with Olives and Their Oils, by Ford Rogers. The book is illustrated with charming little figurative paintings of Italian landscapes and amphoras, and features information on more olives than I realized existed. This is probably the only cookbook I've seen that utilizes Alphonso olives from Peru, which I love. It's a tiny book with relatively few recipes, including a few for alcoholic beverages that feature an olive garnish (any excuse!). The "vegetarian" section isn't, however. (I mean chicken broth? What editor wouldn't catch that!?) It's difficult from the limited number of recipes to gauge the author's culinary skill - everyone has a Greek salad recipe, after all, - so I'm unsure about the using recipes.
posted by Arlene (Beth)5:27 PM
Saturday, August 03, 2002
It's a warm and lovely evening here in San Bruno, California, and knowing that I'll be moving away soon makes me look at things a bit differently. Not with any sadness or remorse. 'More like a cynical version of Goodnight Moon: so long, tree-killing neighbors; so long, people with 15 cars crowding the sidewalk that I can never walk on; so long, noisy train-crossing; so long, noisy airport that keeps me sleeping with the windows closed on warm summer nights...
I will miss our pear tree, though. Right now it's full of young pears, just beginning to turn that shade of mottled red with gold (so very SF 49ers) that denotes pie/tart/juice season. The branches are starting to bend with the weight of the fruit, which is so much brighter than the curly, deep green leaves. The leaves curl in two directions, like a Pringle does, but without the frightening artificial Pringle color or all that anti-nutrition.
I will miss that tree, and sitting in its shade on a warm summer day, daydreaming of making artistic digital films of nothing but the sun shining through its leaves, the sound of the wind chime, and my cursing out the sonic wall of plane noise that interrupts my reveries.
(My pear pie recipe: a pie pan full of ripe pears, thinly sliced; 3/4 of a cup of white sugar, mixed with a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of either powdered ginger or cardamom (cardamom is better, but ginger gives a fresh edge for variety) plus two tablespoons of flour. Mix together, put in a pie shell that you've made (something like 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of shortening, water as needed, cut together and rolled out), and bake at 400 to 425^ Fahrenheit until your kitchen smells unbearably good, and you can wait no longer. Allow to cool. The syrup will solidify somewhat once the pie is cool all through, which will make slices the next morning less messy to serve.)
This evening I'm warm inside and out. It turns out that mango curry, which is basically a soup, is really good. And that the Hungarian wax (pale green) chilies I used are more bark than bite, but with some bite nevertheless. (They helped me find a cut on my finger that I didn't know I had, but which feels like I could use it to ignite kindling at the moment.)
I also learned that a serving of the paneer I bought (100g per serving) contains 70% of my day's fat. So something tell s me I'm switching to tofu for khadhai paneer (soon to be khadhai tofu). Also, if you're out there, I'd like to thank the person that left the 4 paneer recipe printout in the Great Curries cookbook for my use. Not only was the recipe good, but I learned that there are people who cook with paneer IN CINCINNATI. So now I know one positive thing about Cincinnati that I didn't before. That is one of my many 'new things learned' for today.
In other news, I've added photos of the Yosemite High Country from my recent trip there to my "world" page, just because I can. Despite having my beloved 1971 Nikon conk out on me before the backpacking portion of the trip began, my little Yashica point and shoot was able to serve me well enough for some satisfying snapshots. It did better than I would have thought.
Perhaps by next time, I can persuade my partner to post all the natural bonsai photos he took to his website. It's wonderful that he has developed an interest in photography: it makes him even more patient when I take entirely too long on the trail, snapping images in all directions and mumbling about fabulous mountain light.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:16 PM
Friday, August 02, 2002
I'm SO HAPPY that I'll be moving back to San Francisco soon. It has such brilliant, neat-o things, like this pirate supply store and writing support center for kids. Go ahead, name another town that has this. Try. I dare you.
posted by Arlene (Beth)8:48 AM