Friday, February 27, 2009

Modern Dance Frequently Makes Me Giggle


Ok, so the date was fabulous. We did not eat sushi, but rather ended up at a new restaurant here because B read that they make old cocktail recipes that involve egg whites. Which we figured we should decide if we liked. And we do, although I nearly vaulted out of my seat when the bartender just ditched the egg yolk into the trash. Jesus man, do you know how many excellent things in life demand just the yolks??? Thusly plied with tasty cocktails we ended up having a very nice set of small plates and called it a meal. Yum.

Oh wait, before all of the eating there was the getting dressed up and guess what? I wore a really nice old dress and a pair of sneakers. I might have just parted ways with heels, which makes me a little sad. I love heels to a degree that is probably not reflected in my usual chickens-banjos-garden rambles. But I put on my favorite heels and realized that my evening of tromping around downtown would be about 35% less fun with them on. So. There's that.


And then there was the dancing. Let us just say that although we had a stupid amount of fun, the performance, well, featured a lot of embarrassing modern-dance-tweaking-out. And a sleeper of a shadow puppet show that went on forever and some pseudo breakdancing that just should not have ever happened (hey, if you like that stuff you must see this documentary, it's so fun).

ANYWAY. B and I mostly stay home and dig in the dirt and learn new tunes. Both because we don't have scads of cash and because we are wired that way. So it was quite fun to take ourselves out. Here are some pictures that I really don't look like one bit (except the one below with my mouth open, cough), because someone (you know who you are) told me that there should be more of my face on this here blog. So there you go, that should last for about another year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dates


B and I have a date to eat sushi and go see these guys tonight. I saw this dance company when I was just a kiddo and I had to have my jaw scraped off the ground when it was over. I am going to put high heels on for the first time since we snuck down to city hall and got married in secret before our wedding. Geez was that fun, I think everyone should have a secret version of their wedding tucked in their back pocket somewhere.

Also, just for the record, I will never watch another Woody Allen film again, it is final and stated here for the record. We rented Vicky Cristina Barcelona and it was so dumb that some of my brains liquefied and fell out my ear. I am over Woody's land of beautiful rich people and his narrators. I can't believe that Penelope got an Oscar for putting on eyeliner and acting moody. Clearly these folks have never seen her in an Almodovar film where the crazy is way more crazy good. I also thought that Slumdog Millionaire was Not All That, I'll take Denby's barb of "cheesy and rigid" along with his accusation that Boyle uses "squalor and violence touristically' thankyouverymuch. When are they going to ask me to decide these things???

P.S. Was anyone else watching John Stewart when he started calling Rod Blagojevich Scumdog Million Hairs? Fucking awesome.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Annual Show


So I know I put these up every year but the blog before this doesn't live anywhere and besides, I get excited about it each time and why shouldn't you? My houseplants do this amazingly sweet thing every year, just about the time when I start to glare at the calendar and the garden thermometer and wonder when the hell it's going to get warm and stay warm, just about the time when the winter ants in my pants are really going nuts. Which is to say February.


They bloom.


Like clockwork.


The orchids, the crown of thorns, the red clover, and the plant given to me by the sweet nurse who cared for my old boyfriend's grandmother. Makes me happy, makes me believe that they days are getting longer, and above all reassures me that spring is springing out there even if I did freeze my ass of this morning.


May they calm any winter ants in your pants out there.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday Already

This weekend was so beautiful that we spent most of Sunday cleaning out the garden (resulting in seven very happy chickens) but today we are back to winter. Windy, windy winter. On Sunday we kind of dug out the garlic a little bit, as a few of them looked like they were having trouble under so much mulch, but now I wonder if they are freezing out there. Oh well, I think that cold is better than rot. Most of them are ridiculously big already and just in rooting around in there we could smell the pungent garlic smell.


Yesterday I had one of those insane rushy evenings where I could not seem to get out of a faculty meeting on time for love nor money and then I drove home like a demon and got Right to Making Dinner and seriously, I just about fucked this pie up every which way possible, from not having certain ingredients to putting the filling into an *unbaked* pie crust to forgetting to salt and pepper it. But for all that the damn thing came out pretty and tasty and I would make it again. When I do so I will put the sauteed onions in the food processor with the squash and so should you. Man do I hate rushing in the kitchen, grr.



More spring despite the cold temperatures. Bulbs that I planted two years ago and now have no idea what they might be. I am so bad like that. And they are still in extremely low-quality sandy soil and they hate me but little do they know that B and I finally bought some stuff to make my Raised Bed Just For Flowers and Herbs so there is hope on the way if not this spring. I am dorky excited about the new bed, I love growing flowers and have not had enough room to do this so far. I have so many seeds, including Queen Anne's Lace seeds that I picked up at my Gramp's farm last summer. Call it a weed if you want, it's a favorite of mine. Reminds me of family and this is one girl who loves her family to the moon and back.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cupid


Happy belated Valentine's Day out there. This cranes above were what I gave to B on our first Valentine's Day ever. I left them in a box outside his door with, oh yes, a haiku about god knows what. (Really, as it turns out, the limerick is my real talent. Sometimes on long road trips, B and I play the Dirty Limerick game and I always win - I can think of something dirty to rhyme with anything! What, you don't know that game???? Jeez.)

Anyway. It was a quiet weekend at our house, except for me sniffling as I recovered from a head cold that finally made me understand what all the fuss about head colds is all about. Flipping miserable. Next time I will buy sleeping drugs much sooner, oh yes I will. B cooked fabulous things and went out and bought us a book of crossword puzzles, officially making us total nerds and possibly introducing something that could interfere with our social life and the proper amount of sleep. Ahem.

Anyway again. May everyone at some point be as madly, completely, outrageously in love as I am.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A Little Shot of Spring


So. I know it will get cold again, I do. But this weekend was the first to carry the spring in its breezes, the smell of melt, of growth, of dirt heaving up moist and fecund and dark. We hiked 5 miles in temperatures over 60, we hung the wash out on the line to dry, we walked the yard and marveled at the buds on our fruit trees and lilac bushes, blueberries, and columbines. The girls decided to celebrate by laying five eggs in one day, and we chatted with neighbors for the first time in months. Our seeds came in the mail on Friday and we sifted through packets of Golden Beets and Mokum Carrots and Kentucky Blue Beans. Ready steady go.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lunch


Dude. And I do mean dude. My sandwich today was so kickass. Homemade sourdough bread, the long ago mentioned cream cheese, garlic, thyme, sage kind of spready stuff, leftover slices of pot roast, and the last of the most scrappy type of lettuce we have under the hoops. Let me just pause here to give this little lettuce variety a serious high five. It's February people, and the weather has been like a hyperactive kid on a trampoline: way up and way down, fast. I do not have the seed packet in front of me, but I believe this hardy stuff is New Red Fire from these guys. These plants soldiered on long after our gorgeous heirloom speckled lettuce and all the oakleaf; not only did it just not die, it grows a substantial, thick, crisp leaf with pleasing ridges that contribute to the crunch. Which brings me back to my sandwich. Good lord. Let me also mention here that it was made for me by my guy, which means that the bread was perfectly toasted and the whole thing was most certainly dusted with just the right amount of salt and pepper. I want another one right now. (Discerning readers will quickly realize that this means we made pot roast yet again this week. What can I say - it's a new toy for us and the first one we bought was very small and shared with guests. Plus I find that beef is making me very energetic. Bonus.)


Anyway. The today is really about Beet Risotto. Which does not hit the same yum button as my sandwich but is also extremely tasty. Plus it has beets in it! And beet greens! Both of which are surely one of those super foods that will keep you from getting the cold that is going around and make you look startlingly good when you are 80. This recipe is easy peasy but does involve quite a lot of stirring so it's an excellent choice for when you will have clueless kitchen help over. Or drunken kitchen help. Or enthusiastic youngster help.

The exact amounts of the beets and the beet greens is very forgiving. Also, this will taste about 9000 times better with rich homemade stock. This is a stunner with a piece of seared fish on top.

Beet Risotto
I am pretty sure this is a hacked up Deborah Madison recipe

5 to 6 cups broth
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion chopped
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
chopped green something, like parsley or basil if you've got it
3 beets, peeled and grated (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
3 or 4 cups chopped beet greens
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste


Heat stock and leave at a simmer on the stove. Heat the butter in a large pot. Saute onions on med to med-low heat until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and stir constantly until rice is thoroughly coated, for 1 minute. Stir in the white wine until it is totally absorbed. Stir in a few tablespoons of minced parsley or basil, and the grated beets; stir until mixed. Pour in about 2 cups of stock, stir and cover with a lid for a few minutes until the stock is totally absorbed.

Remove lid and add the beet greens, stirring until they are thoroughly incorporated and beginning to wilt. Begin adding the remaining stock in ½ cup increments, stirring constantly after each addition until thoroughly absorbed before adding the next. When most of the stock has been used, begin tasting the rice to get it to a doneness that you like. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with leftover chopped parsley or basil and additional cheese.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Passing By


Well yeesh. It was quite a weekend at our house. A lot of fine music, tasty food, final touches on the living room, the finishing of an excellent boot, and The Wrestler. Jeezus, the last thing nearly took me out. Has anyone else seen this yet? The first great thing about it was that I got to see this without seeing a single preview. Which is complicated, because I love previews. But seeing a really excellent film without any idea what it is going to be about is just the best. I know, you’re thinking “Umm, it’s called The Wrestler.” Yeah, but I didn’t think it was going to be about that kind of wrestling. Anyway. I have this thing, this passing out thing that happens when I watch a certain kind of physical injury (or get my eyes numbed, as it turns out). Notable films that have kicked my ass in this department: Pulp Fiction (needle in the heart scene) and Million Dollar Baby (both when she goes down and when she bites her tongue off). Not so notable films that have also kicked my ass: a safety film about eye injuries one can get when playing racquetball without protective eyewear (what, you didn’t see that one?). This one was especially awesome because all four seventh grade classes were assembled in the gym bleachers to watch this together so my audience was possibly at an all-time record. Anyway. It sucks so enormously; I don’t really totally pass out, just kind of get faint and suddenly feel tapped into all the hurting that all these bodies are surely doing somewhere in the world and then I kind of crash out on whatever horizontal surface is around. Gah. The body in this film takes quite a beating, and I found it pretty heartbreaking. Sort of sentimental at times and really nothing about it will surprise you. But still. It moved me right off my center in a powerful way.


In other fine media, I just finally read Out Stealing Horses, which I thought was very good. It was described as misogynistic by the person who finally persuaded me to read this, which I would not entirely disagree with. Even so. I love spare books like this. Also books about work, the labor of a certain kind of human life, and how people are taught to do such things in a certain way when they are young. Sometimes a Great Notion is one of my favorites and although I would not call it spare, it is all those other things. Funny, both of these books are in some degree about logging. Weird. Anyway, I haven’t mentioned any books here in ages, mostly because I was busily making my way through a raft of entirely unrecommendable shit. I did read Sea of Poppies and enjoyed it some, and I did read The Secret Scripture and enjoy it immensely. His writing is first rate in my opinion, Annie Dunne is also a favorite of mine, but in this latest one he did do a bit much in the plot wrapping up department for my taste which I found out of character for him. I find that I like a book with a generously open ending.


Anyway. I do say anyway quite a lot, don’t I? Oh well. I have a delicious beet risotto recipe for you soon. Some photos of the living room and my Christmas socks from this girl. Be well out there.