Archive for the 'Cooking tales' Category

11
Apr
10

April Showers

So I haven’t posted in quite awhile since I’ve been busy turning in forms for my ‘business’ (sounds so weird still). And busing has really disrupted my schedule It’s really quite nice not to drive but I now have to be more mindful of my time and am still figuring out when I should do certain activities in order to save time or maximize my time for knitting. My cooking has gone way down but I’m happy to say that I’m picking it up slowly but surely now that I’m starting to form some semblance of a pattern.

It’s funny because Nathan always thought my cooking was over the top and he didn’t quite get why I spent so much time in the kitchen….until I stopped cooking so much and was forcing bean and rice, sandwiches, and our pizza twice a week. He even came up with a nickname for beans and rice….Beans & Boring. So now he’s begging me to cook like I used to and I feel all smug about it. Ha!  that is why we need so much food in the fridge! it’s not useless! or the fact that we have no cabinet space because of all my ingredients and cookware! Hehe at least he admits defeat.

Anyway, I’ll probably be setting up another blog for my knitting experiences and business and it will so boring since I won’t be posting my rants since I have to be all nice for clients. Lame I know. Let’s see….what else. O.o got an iphone which is just awesome and I feel so cool. I’d take a picture of it but that seems a bit pathetic of me.

It was Nathan’s birthday yesterday so I busted out cookware and slaved over the oven…well not really only spent about 2.5hrs, maybe 3, making his food. He wanted tacos and noodles but we couldn’t possibly eat it all, or want to, so I decided on noodles. Noodles wouldn’t take so long but I have to deep fry the tofu which can take a while. I really need to re-season my wok but I’ve been lazy. Anyway, prior to making noodles I started on making a Chocolate Silken Mousse Cake from My Sweet Vegan. It sounded so awesome and looked great in the book that I thought I’d try it out.

So I had bought a 9inch springform pan, I keep wanting to call it springfoam, a small offset spatula, and a cake server thingy

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O.o looks so cool. I had another one that I was going to buy but the lady at ChefWorks totally messed it up…seriously, she works at a cooking store and she totally didn’t know how to work it but kept insisting that someone messed it up. I had been using it before and it was perfectly fine and functional and she proceeds to turn the bottom upside down and then wonders why it doesn’t fit. I felt too bad for her so I just let her assume that someone else had messed it up even though it had been working before she touched it. Oh well, I made sure to not let her get a hold of my new pan haha.

The thing I love about this cake is that there is no actual cooking involved. I’ve never had a mousse before so I’m not sure if those are baked. I’ll have to look it up after this post. So the recipe called for extra firm silken tofu but I didn’t want to use the vacuum packed tofu since it sort of creeps me out. I do use it in my pumpkin pie but since this cake wasn’t going to be baked I wasn’t sure if it would taste differently. So I went with the water packed tofu and I think I should have set it on some paper towels to get rid of more of the water. I just simply squeezed it before tossing it into the food processor.

For people working with blended tofu I would totally recommend using a blender. I actually use a blender for my pumpkin pie but I thought that since I was adding so much tofu it would blend really quickly. Ugh I never learn since I ended up having to sit there for 5 minutes making sure the tofu was completely smooth. Maybe my food processor is a bit big which makes it harder for all the chunks to smooth out but I find that generally blenders work faster for this sort of thing. Anyway, it was my first time using light corn syrup which used about 1/4cup for the crust and 1 Tbs for the filling. I picked up a bottle of it at Safeway and it was the 33% reduced calories which is nice since I didn’t particularly want to use it in the first place. The crust used Almond Meal which was a first for me also and gave a really interesting texture to the cake. I think it worked really well and I love texture in food. It’s probably one of the best things about eating. I love this vegan ice cream company that makes some really great ice creams like mocha almond fudge and a peanut butter one…mm texture.

Anyway, So I whipped everything up, melted the chocolate, and then added it to the tofu mixture. Poured it into the cake pan and smoothed it over with the spatula. Set it to chill for 3 hours.

Crappy pics I know but the metal is pretty reflective and I didn’t bother turning off the flash. The cake wasn’t easy to smooth out but I figured since I was topping it off with shaved chocolate it wouldn’t matter too much. After I put the cake in the fridge I started on making chocolate leaves. I melted some more chocolate, about 2-3 oz, and let it cool a bit. I tried using my pastry brush but the silicon ‘hairs’ were too big and really didn’t work. So I used the offset spatula again with much better results. Maybe I’m weird but making chocolate leaves really isn’t as easy as it seems. I think they turned out rather cool looking but not nearly as perfect as Martha Stewart’s version. Le sigh.

I really should have taken pictures of the leaves on the pink spoon since those ones looked much better. Anyway, after coating them with chocolate I set them in the freezer for 20min since I sort of forgot about them. Stewart recommends using kitchen tweezers to separate them but really…who has kitchen tweezers? Since the chocolate melts rather quickly if you’re touching the leaves I used a fork to guide the chocolate away from the actual mint leaves. Stuck them on a plate and put them in the fridge until dessert time. Now, before I post the pics of the end results I must warn others who try this recipe that the cake is really thick and it was not easy to lift from the rest of the cake. This is why I’m wondering if I should have tried to get rid of more of the water in the tofu prior to blending but oh well. Personally, it was really really yummy but it didn’t firm up as much as I had hoped and looked to me a bit like pudding with a crust. Still excellent and I can’t wait to eat some more tonight. I shaved some chocolate from a chocolate bar (had rice milk instead of cow milk), arranged the mint and chocolate leaves and added some raspberries. I must say that the berries really added a new dimension to the cake. We like chocolate but this chocolate heavy cake really was balanced by the raspberries that cut the sweetness and added a sweet but tart finish. Mmm. I want some more cake now just thinking about it. That’s the only down side of making cakes and pies….we often can’t finish them off before they spoil but at least Nathan got a nice dessert. Anyway, I’ll post the pic now. đŸ˜›

I like the second pic better but I thought I’d post both either way. See what I mean about it looking a bit like pudding with a crust? Still totally yummy. I’m kind of bummed that his presents didn’t come on time but they should show up on Monday. We celebrate birthday week really so it’s all okay.

Let’s see, getting some corn in at the markets which is nice as well as some green beans. I’m thinking of busting out the BBQ this weekend….well our weekends aren’t the same as most people’s. Anyway, I’m really craving some seitan kabobs with a side of baked green beans and corn. mmm so tasty.

Well, I’ll post more soon, take care and eat yummy food.

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15
Feb
10

Sabre or Sabré?

So, I know I tend to go off in posts because I’m kind of passionate about issues I feel strongly about.

God, sometimes I feel like I should check myself but then I remember one of my professors. She told us that we should be more angry…in a way I think she was telling us not to be complacent and just take it. I can’t remember what country she was from but I know she was from S.America and she would tell us how when her people were upset they’d burn buses and trashcans out of anger…I’m not saying we should be destroying property but I do believe in what she meant…that we should be angry and that there is nothing wrong with being angry in regards to injustices, hypocrisy, exploitation, etc.

Anyway, I have so much to write about but I won’t do it all in this post. I’ll mainly focus on more positive things. One of my new resolutions for the new year is to minimize my carbon/global footprint which means not driving. I haven’t driven for over a month…although I do admit I drove on Saturday for about a 1 mile round trip but I think that is pretty good in my opinion. I’ve been taking the bus, riding my bike, and walking everywhere. According to Google maps (omg I can’t believe I used that website but it was linked to our local metro bus website) I don’t really save much on gas since our car is really gas efficient. But then I got to thinking….there were at least 10 people on the bus at the time which means 10 less cars on the road that decreases the amount of idle gas that is being spent during stop lights/signs….or just fuel inefficiency. So even if my car is good at saving gas there are lots of cars that aren’t…and still…10 less cars mean less traffic and less pollution. It’s sort of a pain to look up the times but the rewards are walking more (more exercise) and saving the world.

Although I really hate our local pedestrians…seriously, if there is a lot of traffic and lots of pedestrians I tend to let cars go by and then walk with the cars that are parallel to me to make it easier for drivers. But so many people just walk when they could wait a few seconds and don’t care about traffic. On top of that they walk so damn slow. I tend to power walk because I like to get places fast…which is why I carry handkerchiefs b/c I’m always sweaty. But anyway, I always walk quickly across crosswalks because I don’t think I’m above others and should demand that drivers wait for me to walk my slow ass across the street. But so many people walk so slow and talk like the world revolves around them. Seriously, I was mentally telling the bus driver to run them over.

Oh and that is another thing. I like swears. I know it’s not refined or lady-like but I love swears. Sure, in polite society I don’t swear but I think these words have a place in our society. Even if I made up a new one word it would eventually become ‘bad’. Like….douche….it used to only refer to feminine products but now has a new meaning…just like stupid,idiot, retard, moron…etc but they can have different contexts too. When I think of ‘stupid humans’ I’m thinking about people who are smart but don’t give a damn about the world…they don’t see beyond what is in their direct vision…they don’t consider the poor and suffering…but in most contexts it means someone of ‘limited’ intelligence…which is really questionable b/c what does intelligence really mean? Someone can be a harvard graduate and fuck over thousands of people through chemical exposure through their company and they’re seen as god-like. And yes…I didn’t capitalize harvard b/c they can all screw themselves and their elitist educational system.

Anyway, positive…positive. working on my business but it’s a slow process since I’ve been doing so much busing/walking/domestic stuff and home improvements. Seriously, I asked the guy at the hardware store how to remove the glued-on handle and track of my drawer and he tole me the best way was to use a razor to cut the glue, then sand the glue off and then properly install the hardware…fun..I’ve begun doing it but cutting through glue that is super old is not easy. I think those home improvement shows should hire me b/c I know so much at this point haha. But yes, still organizing my business and I’m excited.

Let’s see..we finally got our curtains and put them up. I actually used the drill! I wanted Nathan to use it but then I thought, “I should do it because I’m just as capable”. But, well I loaded the bit correctly but I hit a hard part and thought it was a pipe so I asked Nathan to finish it. He told me I did a good job but that I had hit a stud and not a pipe so I could have finished it myself if I hadn’t been so nervous. Well, I didn’t finish putting up the curtain rods but at least I know now what I did wrong…he pointed out the indications of pipes vs. wood but I still did it…sort of!

I painted the kitchen awhile ago and it is so awesome. Before we got the curtains our neighbors (how snoopy) all told us how the color looked great. I like to think of it as Mexican/S.Western/Salvadoran. I really like yellow đŸ˜€ Also, I’ll be posting my grandma making her awesome sweet potatoes and my crappy tofu frittata. I used silken tofu and followed the recipe but I think firm tofu would have been better.

Almost forgot, I made Pollo Asado with fake chicken strips which turned out ok but not as great as my Seitan Asado tacos…Also used my Mr. Bento for Nathan. Tortilla soup, Spanish rice, Beans, and condiments. Mr. Bento kept the food really warm and Nathan had a great lunch đŸ™‚

Omg, I almost forgot the point of this post….Sabre vs. SabrĂ©? So the second most recent episode of The Office had to do with the new company Sabre taking over. And the employees thought the company was pronounced SabrĂ©. In reality, the company was called Saber…or Sabre by english terms. It was funny because I thought of it in the spanish sense and Nathan thought of it in the english sense. But we both didn’t mention it until a day later. I was joking to Nathan how stupid it was that the company was named Sabre when it should have been said as SabrĂ©. He looked at me like I was an alien…SabrĂ©? No it’s Sabre ( like Saber) and I said…’no it’s SabrĂ©!!’ We were both laughing at the episode for totally different reasons. I interpreted it in the spanish sense and he understood it in the english sense. So we’re still arguing over which version is right…sabre or sabrĂ©.

I’ve stated before that I have issues with words for this reason. I don’t really know the rules to words…sometimes words seem more spanish to me so I pronounce them that way…other times I pronounce them in the english way. I still argue that Sabre shouldn’t be pronounced as ‘saber’ but Nathan disagrees haha. But the point is that cultures are integrating into our normative,white society so even t.v. programs discuss these issues. It’s amazing and great…at least IMO…(IMO=in my opinion)

Lastly, I’ll post pics of my grandma making her sweet potatoes, my grandpa playing his Wii, my vegan pie, and my awesome kitchen.

Love this song.

This song reminds me of MJ. We should all remember him.

19
Dec
09

iBarf (or The Jackalope)

iBarf.

The new mac program.

I swear that our cats barf too much. I think they have worms actually so I have to go to the vet soon and get them some meds. Seriously, I was taking out the trash and recycling today and didn’t even notice that my jeans had barf on them…thank god I noticed before I started knitting because I really would hate to tell my family members ‘ya it had barf on it but I cleaned it’ . Anyway, working on my Xmas gifts and got more yarn in the mail. I feel really bad because I’ve pretty much neglected my home duties: cooking, complete cleaning, etc. I’m really just doing the basic domestic requirements because I’m trying to get everything done.

( I wrote part of this blog right after Thanksgiving but never published it so some of it may seem out of date but I thought I ought to post my writing anyway) In other news, Thanksgiving was fun. I made my Pecan Pie Tart which was tasty but not pretty at all. Most recipes call for eggs and corn syrup but I didn’t want to use corn syrup but asked anyway at my market…they didn’t have it. So I looked up a substitute and the joyofbaking.com said that 1 cup of sugar could be used instead. Well, I suppose that is true for certain recipes but not for this pie since the sugar crystallized and looked awful. Super tasty but not a beautiful pie. For the egg I used a 1/4 cup of silken tofu and for baked goods like pies and cakes it really helps to use a blender and mix all the wet ingredients together. I first blended the tofu but it was still chunky…then I added the rest of the liquids and it took on a velvety texture that was perfect for the pie.

For the actual meal, we bought the Tofurky Feast which consisted of a roast, gravy, potato dumplings, and a ‘jerky wishbone’. Threw out the wishbone, thawed the roast and gravy and started up the mash potatoes. Baked the roast with onions, potatoes, and carrots and fried up the dumplings in my new cast iron skillet. Nathan made his super awesome taters and cut the roast…I feel bad because I made him cut the roast ‘turkey’ style in the sense that he didn’t just slice it…well the package did say that it tasted better cut poultry style because of the cut, flavors, and stuffing. Honestly, the dumplings were alright for the first few bites but then we totally didn’t like them. I did like the gravy as did Nathan and we actually used most of it. Little left overs and a great ‘Thanksgiving’ themed dinner.

Mmm…tasty roast and pie/tart. It looks so small but it was so sweet I couldn’t eat more than a tiny slice.

In other food news…lots of mandarins right now that look so exquisite that it is almost hard to eat them. Also, made my first tortillas on my new skillet. So proud and great to eat. Last pic is RE sleeping on my knitting bag…it looks so uncomfortable.

Well, I’m updating this un-published post and I have so much to write but I won’t bother going into as much detail as I’d like. I’m mainly concerned with writing about the Jackalope or Lepus-temperamentalus. I just read some article on yahoo about jackalopes and I find it so awesome and interesting. I grew up with a lot of Southwestern influences and I remember my great-grandfather talking to me about them and I remember having postcards of them and at one point I think I had a ‘jackalope foot’ which in retrospect I can’t even bring myself to dislike despite my veganism. I don’t know how it came up in conversation months ago, but Nathan also knew of the Jackalope and we talked about them for awhile. Eventually, on World of Warcraft, we decided to make our own guild (a group of players that are essentially like a team…think of them like sports teams or people who share similar interests) and I thought up bunnies….well…bunnies didn’t seem masculine for some people to be happy with so I thought up the Jackalope…how awesome would that name be? So we mulled it over and brainstormed names and finally came up with ‘Return of the Jackalope’…a tribute to both the historical Jackalope and Star Wars.

I really love the Jackalope and apparently they do exist in some fashion but not necessarily in the same way as I think of them. The article on yahoo makes Jackalopes seem real because of a virus but I think it sort of demeans them. I feel like it’s saying, ‘Santa is real” when it’s more legendary and sentimental than a fact. For me, Jackalopes exist because I can’t imagine a world without them and maybe they aren’t seen because we don’t want to see them. It’s like scientists ‘discovering’ life in the world when those pieces of life have already existed long before ‘humans’ discovered them. Like atoms, or different ‘races’, or ‘prehistoric’ life that still live in this age…so many things are around us that we just don’t perceive. I don’t think I’m being stupid, naive, or imaginative when I say that I believe in Jackalopes. I don’t think we can disprove that they exist and even if people link it to a virus…well…how many interesting appearances occur through mutation? Should we say that blue eyes, black eyes, left-handedness, red hair,etc are only a genetic mutation or a result of a recessive gene being pronounced? Why can’t we accept beauty and uniqueness for what it is instead of constantly having to dissect its origin?

And that is another thing, I’m tired of my vets claiming that my girls aren’t sisters when they look alike and we were told they were sisters when we adopted them. I don’t really think the vet has the right to tell me that my girls aren’t related by blood because they don’t think they look alike when I know that cats and dogs have different looking offspring all the time. Even if they are not blood related I don’t see why the vet always has to point it out because to me they are my girls who hog the bed, make me hold them when they feel needy, and make me play  ‘soccer ball and mouse-y time’ with them. I don’t know…sometimes I do feel like my pets are my children and I don’t really think its about anthropomorphizing them. If I think about it….we assume intelligence on human babies and stupid humans so why can’t my kitties be my little girls. I don’t bottle feed them or dress them up but I do think they have feelings and think about things…like when they pull down my sweatshirt next to the heater to make a warm bed…well I think that is pretty smart. It comes down to two things…why are we so in touch with our biological children in terms of their needs when I also know the emotions of my cats which are considered ‘animals’ and why do humans consider themselves above other animals when we are in fact…animals.

I hope someday that there will be movies, plays, productions, and literature about how the world revolved around humans like the sun….like kings were thought of…I’m not saying that all animals are as ‘smart’ as we are but in some ways they are…we’re destroying the earth while little asian carps are being put on trial and executed in the great lakes because some shitty farmers couldn’t keep them in their pens and so we’re resorting to poisoning the water for animals we introduced. I think sometimes…we have too little faith in our own species in terms of what we can do…we could do a lot of good…but sometimes I think we have too little faith in what exists…Like the Jackalope.

07
Nov
09

Creamy

Time for some reflection.

It’s been a little over a year since I began this blog and a little longer since I began my journey into ‘domestic’ skills. I was looking back at my old posts and was seriously shocked at how bad some of my food was…not saying it’s super awesome now but I think I’ve come a long way. And sometimes I look at all the things I’m doing and I feel very much like a “Jack of all trades but master of none” because I love to explore but sometimes I don’t have the time, skill, or patience to hone some of these skills. I’d really like to make more pastries but we honestly don’t eat many sweets so we end up tossing a lot of it away. I’ve been trying to make smaller batches to prevent this but even still it’s likely that we won’t eat all of the pie, pastries, cupcakes, etc that I make. Maybe once I start making my mini tarts I’ll be able to make smaller batches.

But another problem that I run into is the vegan aspect. I’ve read so many random ways to sub for eggs or other agents but it’s really hit and miss depending on the item I make. I haven’t really found concrete sources that really help with subbing. Applesauce is good for more condensed items that don’t spread, flax is good for earthy foods, bananas can be hit or miss because sometimes it overpowers other flavors, the list goes on. I made some Persimmon cookies and I didn’t have any flax meal on hand because I keep forgetting to buy it. Didn’t have any bananas, applesauce was out of the question because of the spreading issue….so it left me with a few options…use cornstarch, a weird baking powder/oil mix that I use occasionally or leave out the egg altogether. But eggs are so great for baking that I really didn’t know what would happen if I left the egg out and I couldn’t find good vegan recipes so I used a Tb. of cornstarch…maybe 2…can’t remember. I also cut the recipe in half which meant only using one Persimmon for the pulp but I doubled it since it seemed a bit too dry (probably the lack of wetness since I used the cornstarch instead of a wet ingredient) and the other Persimmon was almost going bad so I figured it would just make it more Persimmony. I found the recipe on either recipezaar or allrecipes…but changed it to include more pulp and vanilla extract. I’ve never baked these before but they were really soft when they came out and I was worried that they’d be gummy and lacking consistency but they firmed up once I let them cool. Personally, I couldn’t taste the Persimmon but maybe it’s just subtle but Nathan said he could taste it. It seemed like a sweet Oatmeal cookie to me.

Picture 424

The batter was really orange but they came out more brown which was kind of disappointing. They’re super yummy and Nathan even stole one after they came out of the oven which seems promising since he never usually likes to eat sweets. Did I mention in my last post that I made some roasted pumpkin seeds. Mmmm…I remember making these as a kid with ‘Cajun’ spice but simply used olive oil, coarse sea salt, and some cayenne pepper. Omg, so good. I had so many I was super regular all week lol. I was planning on making potato-leek soup with my goat-cheese/tomato tarts tonight but I didn’t want to chance that it would suck so I’m going to wait a until sunday to make it. I did make my vegan cheese which I’ll have to post later. The recipe is on Veg. Times website and it’s ‘Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese’…I ended up baking it for about 50 min instead of 35 since I forgot to turn it since I was knitting. It looks promising but I haven’t tried it yet to know if it’s good or not.

Anyway, this post is all over the place tonight. So many thoughts going through my mind. I bought some more dahlias and Nathan seemed to like the ones that looked black…not sure if they’re actually black dahlias but they look awesome.

Picture 427

Crappy pic I wanted to post them since I’m not sure if there will be more of them next week. Thinking about the kitchen…I feel really awesome because I replaced most of the cabinet door handles all by myself and it wasn’t easy. I don’t know who installed half the shit in this complex before we moved in but it was done so horribly I seriously think they did shit work and kept the rest of the money. One of the handles I have to replace wasn’t even screwed in…it was glued on. And one of our drawers has a cheap plastic runner so the wheel is now square…I want to replace it but they glued the runner instead of screwing it into the wood…so now I have to figure out how to get the glue off and then buy a new runner and install it…ya I’m so hardcore…no wonder my nails are always splitting with all the housework I do. đŸ˜¦ I wish I lived in the 1950s and just cleaned and baked…haha But back to the cabinets…they look better than the cheap ass plastic handles that were so worn and falling apart but I really need to paint the wood since they used crap paint…they couldn’t even be bothered to take off the hinges before painting the wood…they seriously just painted over them…but I should quit complaining because we live a lot better than many people in the world so bitching about cabinets is sort of mundane.

I’m still knitting my sock which seems so slow but with all the cleaning, home improvements, and cooking I haven’t had much time this week. I decided to watch movies today instead of the radio which didn’t help me speed up my knitting but it was nice to take a break from listening to the radio. Watched ‘How to marry a millionaire’ and ‘The big sleep’. I really love Humphrey Bogart now and I just think our society is becoming so square in certain ways. I know that women have better opportunities now, in general and not taking into account race and socioeconomic status and all the other factors, so I know it’s not like many women/men in these movies are a good portrayal of how they lived. But The Big Sleep was so great and it makes me wonder why we’re pushing so hard to make 1st Wld. citizens live to be over a hundred. Sure, I’m a huge advocate of living healthy and ethically but I also don’t understand why certain activities are condemned for medical reasons. It’s like our society is mandating a ‘healthy religion’. Doing drugs, drinking, swearing, or not having a certain type of lifestyle is accused as being excessive, life-threatening, or wrong…and I’m not saying that people should do these things just for the hell of it but I think back to my history in Protestant Orange County and wonder why so many of my peers were so against exploring. I seriously am confused when Nathan tells me how he knew so many white Catholics (and Catholics in general) in St. Louis because I never knew any in Orange…only latino/as were Catholic. But anyway, I’m not advocating that we do a bunch of socially wrong activities but I think we need to loosen up a bit. Like the smoking ban in Santa Cruz….I personally hated when people smoked in diners or in airplanes but I don’t think we should police these things in such a way…both legally or culturally.

Why is it that we’re so focused on abortions, drug/alcohol consumption, and our work status when people are committing mass murder by exposing people to horrible working conditions that affect entire communities? Sweatshops exploit people, create worse shanty towns/environmental conditions, are usually abusive in regards to women, and create little or no job security for the workers. We have people like Bernie Madoff who fucks over people for money, other CEOs who can’t be bothered to take a coach class airplane seat instead of private planes, our government which has historically abused people, created coups, enacted embargoes for lame political reasons, and generally dicked over a lot of citizens by sending them off to wars that shouldn’t have been started and has taken away food support instead of trying to get communities out of poverty. And we, as a collective society, are concerned about if someone wants to smoke weed or a cigarette?

I mean, honestly, where are our priorities? It feels like we’re tying to make everyone live a long time so that we get max production out of people to feed taxes while keeping us ignorant to bigger issues. We don’t even have full health care which is just criminal…sometimes I feel like I’m becoming a Libertarian which I hope doesn’t happen haha. But honestly, I feel like the 1st Wld. needs a wake up…we should be more concerned about where our electronic parts are coming from in terms of raw materials than if someone wants a random smoke. We should be more concerned about the working conditions of outsourced industries that affect millions of people rather than if one woman decides she doesn’t want to carry a fetus for her own reasons.

And that is another thing, I got crap sex ed. To be honest, I’m grateful that I had friends in high school that talked about sex even if they weren’t practicing themselves…and I had a great Environmental Studies teacher who talked to me and my class partner about contraception when we asked her what our text book meant when they listed all sorts of contraception because we had no clue what anything other than a condom was. I read recently that abortions are on the decline in countries that have a wide variety of birth control which seems to me as a good sign…why does the U.S. feel that the best form of protection is not having sex. It’s unrealistic…I mean some venereal diseases have been around for centuries…sex is what makes life possible and genetics make things possible or impossible. We pump women full of hormones for their eggs or surrogacy and let couples pay thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars to create children but if a woman doesn’t want to have a child then they might as well have sold their souls to the goddamn devil.  Seriously, people all over the world are living in horrible conditions, get no help with substantial political stability from their former colonial powers, are subjugated to slavery/trade/migration because the 1st Wld. is so xenophobic and apathetic.

This post is so all over the place, but I just don’t understand why the U.S. pushes certain agendas. Well, I suppose our society pushes them to make us forget about bigger issues…at least that is how it seems to me. And I write this because I feel if I type about it then maybe others might think more on these issues. It comes down to what does it mean to be political. I’ve done more marching and protesting than most people in my lifetime because of my parents. Just because I’m not ‘actively’ protesting doesn’t mean I’m not doing anything. We live in a very consumer driven society and I am always thinking about what I consume…mainly food because I do believe that ‘we are what we eat’. I’m blessed that I can eat so well. I might not be a professor or employed by an activist organization but that doesn’t mean I’m not doing my part. I think one of our biggest obligations as a world citizen is to read and think critically and then to talk or write about it. Also, not everyone can a ‘full-time’ activist because we need people to work in certain occupations to make our society function…we can’t all be full time activists because we need people to sell, market, clean, etc. It’s just a reality. But at the same time I think we ought to strive to encourage more people to think globally. Everything we do effects the world, especially in regards to 1st. Wld. citizens.

Anyway, the last thing I’ll bitch about, I think people with peanut allergies should all die…ok ok I don’t mean that. But I’m so tired of trying to find peanuts at my local markets because people have peanut allergies. First they take away my airplane peanuts and give me some horrid pretzels. Then they slowly take away peanuts from everywhere…and I mean everywhere! I finally got some peanuts at Wholefoods but then they took most of the varieties away and now there is the lone vacuum-packed bag that sits in a corner away from all the real nuts. đŸ˜¦ Personally, I don’t understand why they didn’t just offer two types of snacks on airplanes and really…is it the peanut’s fault that people are allergic to it? I say no, leave the peanut alone…it’s a mofo’ing legume!

Vive le legume!

29
Oct
09

tallahassee

I love Woody Harrelson.

He’s super sexy and really into talking about smoking weed which is kind of awesome. That and we just saw Zombieland and he was super fun in that and apparently he’s a vegan and does a lot of activism. Brangelina was so 2005….plus I totally have never liked A.Jolie. Ok, in Lara Croft she was kind of awesome at the time but we watched the movies a few months ago and god was it awful. Anyway, back to Woody…he’s just really unique in that he can do and wear stuff in movies and pull it off.

The movie was pretty good except it was pretty scary for me. I actually screamed which was totally embarrassing but I don’t think it was too loud but still…humiliating. I don’t know why I’m so afraid of movies since I know logically there weren’t velociraptor in my Grandparent’s house, or that creepy Japanese horror undead weren’t in the bathroom as I took a shower, and logically I should have known that there wasn’t an axe-murder in the bathroom or zombies. But it didn’t stop me from practically running out of the movie bathroom since right before I walked in there was this scary poster for The Fourth Kind or whatever. The bathroom was totally deserted and I kept thinking ‘what if someone is in the stall next to me and I’m going to die while peeing?’…Pee Faster! Pee Faster! was my mantra and then I kept turning around while washing my hands because I didn’t trust the mirrors with my reaction time…but I still took the time to open the door with a paper towel since I didn’t want germs.

Then I had to go and watch Zombieland and well…no spoilers…but I was scared the rest of the night. Good movie though. Just wish I wasn’t so afraid of scary movies.

We also went to the bookstore and picked up some things and I got a new knitting book that looks really awesome and helps with sock/knitting design. I’m excited. Anyway, my sock is coming together nicely…I’ve turned the heel and really pretty close to being done…hopefully.

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Looks more like a sock now I suppose.

Went to the Farmer’s Market and it definitely had a different feel from the earlier months since the wind has been picking up lately and the tourism has really died out. I feel kind of bad because I didn’t pick up any squash because I really didn’t want to walk half a mile with a bunch of heavy squash. I already get sore feet and achy shoulders from carrying it all back to the laundry mat that I figured I’d just buy some at the grocery. I did see some lovely squash flowers and picked up more of my Dahlia’s.

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I don’t think we’re going to eat the Spaghetti squash but instead might do some carving since I only bought one big pumpkin since they weigh a ton. I’m planning on roasting the Acorn Squash and then filling it with a wild rice pilaf which I’m excited about since I have some chestnuts that I’m going to throw in. I also got a sweet pumpkin for my pie that I make. Still gotta try and find some evaporated soy milk online but I keep forgetting.

Anyway, I didn’t want the flowers to go bad so I thought I’d make Butternut Squash ravioli with a Sage-Butter sauce with a side of Bean Stuffed Squash flowers. Many of the stuffed squash flower recipes were either with cheese or some weird vegan nut cheese recipe that I just didn’t have the energy to make. Instead, I pureed a can of Great Northern beans with some garlic, thyme, and some sea salt. Removed the stems and the stamen since I read that most flowers are the males since they let the females develop and whatnot. I did find a little caterpillar nestled in one of the flowers so I helped him outside into the green grass. Washed and shook dry and made a slice on one side of the flower for easier stuffing action. I must say, I’m proud of my little bean dip and I really want to make some more for dipping veggies and bread in. I made about 20 stuffed flowers and ended up using all of the bean spread (with a little bit for me to eat off the spatula). I pan fried them although I think a lot of people deep fry them. Set them on a paper toweled plate in the oven at 250 to keep warm while I finished off the pasta and sauce.

I really need to remember to buy a pasta roller/machine thing because making pasta dough is easy but I never can roll it out as nicely as I want to since it dries out, won’t roll, and generally is a bitch. I managed to make 9 raviolis and they were pretty dough heavy but I did stuff them to the brim. I got the recipe off the food network…basically roast the squash and get a cup of insides and puree it…slice up some shallots, cook in some oil, add puree and let cool. Then stuff. For the sauce…just melted butter with some sage that I left cook while the pasta was boiling. Topped it off with some minced flat-leaf parsley. I think it’s an Emeril recipe and I just omitted the dairy for those who want to look it up.

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These blossoms really reminded me of tamales since the bean puree was thick and the petals wrapped nicely around the filling. I must say these were delicious and I still have more that only need to be fried up so it will be a good snack. I really was motivated to make the filling with beans since I wanted to get a fair amount of complete protein even though I know that some vegans don’t think it’s necessary for each meal but we really hadn’t gotten much protein today. Unfortunately, Nathan was totally weirded out by them. Well, partially my fault since I told him about the caterpillar I found in one of the flowers so he was freaked out that there were bugs in them. And he knows, logically, that we eat bugs all the time and that a little bug here and there isn’t a big deal…but he can’t get around that phobia which is ok. Plus, I kind of have to force him to eat flowers in salads since for some reason it freaks him out. Oh well, I loved them and it just means more for me!

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Those little flowers barely had any room on that plate! Well, I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite dish and I probably won’t try it again. I think I may just not have a tolerance for Butternut Squash right now…it was just a bit too overwhelming. I only ate 3 of my 4 and it was hard because it was just too much squash. Even if I made them smaller I would have to make another dish to fill me up which just seems insane since I spent about 3 hours making dinner (including roasting time so it wasn’t always active time). I was surprised that I ate the sage since I’ve always hated the smell because it’s always so pungent that it gives me a headache. But it was mellow in this dish and I did like that. Overall, a very beautiful dish but I think next time I’ll stick to my tofu ricotta ravioli. And not tell Nathan about the one bug I found in the flowers haha.

Some of my flowers were burgered so I had to cut off the stems but I filled a small bowl with water and placed it in the bathroom for a bit of a Central American representation in two rooms.

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I love these flowers..have I mentioned that yet? They’re like my fall Daffodil…so bright and lovely and I just want to lay in a field of them…but who knows…I think they grow like bushes but still….maybe a field with tall grasses and Dahlia bushes. I remember my childhood when I see these flowers. In Santa Barbara I explored so much; the lagoons with their succulent plants that always seemed to be in bloom, the tall grasses of my elementary school where a bunch of kids would tunnel through the grasses like rodents making our paths, and the Family Student Housing gardens that always had fields of poppies that I used to lie down in while watching the sun set. I love playing online games and I really hate having to defend them from those who think that players give up on life and only enter the ‘world’ through a certain virtual reality. But I think that so much of our memories and realities are self-conditioned and our society shapes our realities much more which can be devastating for some. Dealing with racism, physical hardships, socioeconomic gaps, the list goes on…but all those realities can be hard to deal with and I’m not saying that we should advocate for complete escapism or lack of activism but sometimes certain activities can be freeing. I have a lot of good memories from online games but I realize that I can’t always use it as an extension of my reality because Santa Cruz (and the world) has so much beauty in both traditional senses and non-traditional senses. And with my last post, I think of how these games can actually create communities and to a certain extent friendships as well…there is so much developing in virtual worlds that it still hasn’t set up as many boundaries even after a decade or more of their existence. I suppose that we question virtual realities so much that it irritates me since no one ever really questioned television for so long even though I think it can be really unhealthy and promote a certain level of complacency towards knowledge and news. I’m not as well learned as I should be and I really have to search for a lot of cross references half the time because I hate feeling ignorant. I think part of that is having such an academically geared family that I feel like I need to know so much and I don’t let myself off the hook for much. That and the fact that Trivial Pursuit always makes me feel dumb since we always play the older version so of course I don’t know half the things that my elders do. Plus, I’m really not competitive, although I am with Nathan maybe because I feel like we’re on a similar playing ground so I don’t feel so dumb.

I’ve been really into thinking about different learning processes lately because I feel like part of the reason why I can’t understand or learn certain things has to do with the way I learn. I was always really good at learning music….I taught myself at least 4 different instruments and I’ve always been really visual. Like I was telling my mom the other day…I didn’t roll my eyes as much as she thought but I actually try to visualize things when people talk to me so I roll my eyes up to imagine. It wasn’t until Nathan asked me why I was rolling my eyes at him years ago that I realized that it was off putting. What? Rolling my eyes? Well I did roll my eyes a lot and when my mom would get mad I would roll my eyes because I was thinking ‘here she goes again’ but for the most part I was just thinking. Even when I write I stare at the wall a lot forming my ideas and figuring out what I want to write…it’s annoying. Nathan has learned to adapt to this though but he still randomly asks ‘ what are you staring at?’ to which I have to explain that I’m trying to imagine the scenario in which he’s talking about. Like with knitting….well part of the reason why it was hard to learn was because a lot of it was the English way which I think is knitting with the right hand…but also because they would write out how to do things and I couldn’t picture it. I really have to look up videos or pictures of how to do certain stitches, methods, etc to learn knitting. Same with sewing…my mom taught me during Thanksgiving years ago and I picked it up rather quickly because it was hands-on and I could visualize what I needed to do.

Or another thing…when people tell me their phone numbers or how to spell something I need them to go really slow…like one letter…pause…another letter…pause…I had to ask Nathan some number the other day and he had to start over 2 times because it was too fast for me…because I try to imagine the numbers first before typing them…but when someone spews off a bunch of numbers or letters I just can’t grasp it….

Who knows…maybe I’m just dumb. haha. But I wonder why I picked up on music so quickly…It’s weird because Nathan (I refer to him too much) can memorize lyrics so easily but I never remember lyrics to the point that I continue to sing wrong ones even though I know the correct ones. But we were talking about it and I think part of the reason is because I listen more to the music rather than the lyrics, the lyrics are an afterthought. I’m working on that but maybe my years in band and being around music makes me prone to picking up the little details of the music. I really should look up studies on the left-handed brain or on other learning issues because I feel like people learn in so many different ways. It’s amazing…not only the brain but also our bodies in relation to our organs…our culture…our society…or global community. Nuts. And I don’t feel particularly artistic…never have…even when I excelling at music at so much. It just flowed…

It’s been hard learning to knit though especially now that I’m reading up on the math and dimensions of design…it’s new so I hope that my current confusion will dissipate with more reading and studying. I really am kind of excited about calling myself an ‘artist’ once I get more experienced. And I can’t wait until people ask me ‘what I do’…because I’ll say…’well, my first job is taking care of my home with my partner and making good food and living as eco/ethically as we can and my second job is being an artist’. How cool is that? Working two things that I love…well mostly love…gotta hate the cleaning and the knitting mistakes. Anyway, take care all and eat yummy food.

 

 

25
Oct
09

I need a rain dance pls.

Why won’t it rain more?

I’m sick of it being gloomy and rainy and then sunny and way too warm for 4 days straight. Bah, I want my rain. But I can’t do much about it except wait for evening when the fog usually rolls in and it’s beautiful.

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting on my corn socks. Yes, corn yarn. It feels super soft although I’ve been warned never to iron them unless I went a hot, sticky, sugary mess….but I rarely iron my clothing unless it’s something that really gets wrinkly. I’m not sure if this book sort of sucks in terms of the editor or publisher because I know that one pattern has some serious issues and I even emailed the publishing house for the correct pattern and they totally copped out and sent me a link to a site that was basically a woman’s blog and she happened to notice some of the errors and made a corrected chart. Unfortunately, I didn’t want the chart since I had already been to that site but I wanted to check and see if there were more corrections. Bah, anyway, I’m not going to even bother with that pattern.

I’m really wondering if knitters have to play with patterns a lot or if this book just didn’t get as much attention to detail as it should have because this sock pattern is a wee bit off. And I’m totally following directions and rereading them, looking up the types of stitches to double check that I did learn the correct way to do it…and still it’s a bit off. It’s really the heel, the rib pattern wasn’t layering quite right so I adjusted it but the rib moved over a few stitches. I haven’t had difficulty with other patterns from online, magazine, or other book sources before so I’m really wondering if these designers had other people make them to make sure the patterns worked. Who knows but I really don’t want to give up on this book because it has some really interesting patterns and deals with a lot of interesting yarns instead of the regular animal fibers.

So, back to my point, my socks are coming out nicely and except for a minor flaw they look pretty good. I still have about 5 more rounds to do before I turn the heel and I’m pretty excited to be making socks for the first time. It sounds boring but if I want to start doing designs and such I need hands-on experience and besides…I love socks. I’m using Crystal Palace Yarns “Maizy” which has 18% elastic nylon which should be good for stretching and shaping….and I got it in Stormy Purple.

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Small pic, and hard to see, but the cuff has 5 cables which was rather annoying and I’m glad to be done with them. I don’t mind cables but the yarn is quite fine and doing  about 12 of them in a row gets annoying. I’m not usually a fan of multi-colored yarn but I think for some projects it really makes them more interesting. I’ll try to keep updating my progress and hopefully I won’t do something wrong and have to unravel…

In between my knitting I have made some new food although the salad was pretty basic but oh so yummy. I’ve been really scared of trying heirloom tomatoes because they look like aliens and I’m still overcoming my fear of tomatoes. Sure I eat them all the time but certain things just scare me for some reason…fried green tomatoes? I feel like there are worms in there but I’m not sure if that was from the book that I read when I was younger or if I just made it up in my head…or sun dried tomatoes…my mom used to try and force me to eat them and I would literally gag…it was like my throat would close up and I was getting sucked down a tube and my life was fading from me and then…I would spit it onto the plate rather than sacrifice my life for a stupid, nasty tomato. So I have issues…but I told myself that I need to woman up and buy them before I regretted it. So here they are…my lovely tomatoes from the farmer’s market.

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I really loved the peach looking tomato and it was rather sweet in comparison to the green one which was definitely tart and less juicy. The red one tasted a bit like a regular tomato but perhaps I haven’t developed my heirloom tomato palate. Peachy, since I didn’t look at their official names, had a beautiful marbled interior that was amazing to look at and I kept the slices large so that we could enjoy the colors as well and experience different tastes and sizes as they filled our mouth. I know, that sounds a bit pervy but I stick to my claim that most food is super sexy and we might as well enjoy it. Tried out a pretty basic recipe from one of my cook books but I only had sourdough in the fridge which made it look a bit less impressive than italian country bread that I think the recipe recommended. Basically toasted the bread in the oven and spooned the nut,garlic, olive oil mix onto it and let it toast for an extra minute. I probably didn’t need to let it toast more since the recipe used cheese which would have melted it but oh well. Totally great side dish to our dinner and I kept eating the left overs out of the bowl the rest of the night.

I’ve been really into hand mixing lately which I know is good for the food since we can better gauge, season, and handle the dish and plus it does give an organic feeling to cooking. I still use spoons to mix up the liquids initially since I don’t want my hand covered in dough but I really do love feeling doughs and foods in my hands. So, I hand mixed the seasonings and liquids of this salad especially since I didn’t want to break any of my Maters. It’s kind of silly how basic this recipe is and Nathan thought it tasted a lot like Bruschetta which it did after he said it. So basically I made a larger version of it and I can’t believe I fell for that cook’s recipe! He should have named it ‘Fancy Bruschetta’ but I’m not really all that mad but it does feel weird when we think certain foods are new and exciting and then we realize that we’ve had similar dishes before and it’s not as exotic as it initially seemed.  But maybe that’s the anthropology background I grew up around…always exotizing cultures and people…but now I’ve shifted it over to food. Omg, I’m a horrible person…

So let’s shift gears because I don’t want to dwell on my new discovery. I made some more turnovers which came out better than the originals but I still have a bit of a hard time getting them to seal. I let it defrost in the fridge for about 4 hours and made the filling…peeled two ripe pears, mixed in some cornstarch, turbinado sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Hand mixed again since the pears were really ripe and I thought that a spoon would break them apart.

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I actually remembered to sugar the tops before I baked them! I’m proud of myself for that since they came out a bit salty since the vegan butter I have access to has salt mixed in so I can’t control that aspect of the dough. I did omit the salt that was in the recipe but it still was a bit salty since I had forgotten to add sugar to the tops and it really did offset the salt. I’m thinking of buying another measuring tape since I use this one for baking all the time. I’m really bad with measurements…I always think an inch is way smaller which is why I keep my soft measuring tape near me when I knit because I have no concept of length. I’m still having trouble with the seal and I used rice milk which didn’t seem all that great. I usually use flax seed but I ran out and I keep forgetting to buy more so I’ll have to try that next time. Another issue which I’m sure is probably partially my fault are the layers…the foto isn’t as great but when they came out of the oven I could really see the layers but I still feel like I could have gotten more puffiness and flakiness. I may not be an official pastry student but I’ve read a lot of different sources, looked at tutorials, and watched a lot of videos on how to prepare the dough all the way to baking it…so I feel like I have a rather good grasp as to handling the dough and I chilled it a lot between the steps because it was getting a bit warm that day. Anyway, my point is that I wonder if animal fats/veggie shortening work differently than vegan butter in the mechanics of dough. Maybe I’m just expecting a ton of puffiness from my first puff pastry dough and that probably isn’t realistic. They tasted great and I would say that about half of them sealed up and the over half burst open the second I put them on the baking stone…but it was really amazing to see them puff up rather quickly. I could have over filled them too since I’m fairly new to pastries but over all it was really satisfying

To sum up the last two paragraphs…Lots of work, I’m a noob so the pastries probably didn’t come out as well but I decided to blame everything else since theoretically I knew what I was doing. Haha, now I need to make more to prove that I can make fantastic looking pastries.

Let’s see, I wonder if I have any new rants to go on about. Well, Santa Cruz has officially banned smoking downtown, west cliff, and by our area which really makes my blood boil. We’re seriously going to fine people who smoke to generate income for the county which is the 4th most expensive place to live in the U.S. When we went to Monterey I noticed they had ashtrays attached to the trash cans which was really great because people don’t have to litter. But Santa Cruz has the brilliant idea of not putting many recycling bins downtown and no ashtrays and then they decide to bitch about cleaning up. When we went up to Natural bridges the roads were all being repaved but they weren’t even horrible to begin with but lower downtown, beach hill, beach flats, and numerous other parts of SC are in major need of repair but they decide to repave the roads where there are million dollar houses. And it’s conflicting to me because I rant and rave about this but I don’t feel like I have much of a right to say anything because I don’t consider myself a local and I don’t intend on living in this city for the rest of my life. I suppose I feel like it’s appropriation if I start looking for ways to improve the city since it’s not my city.

SC has major housing, homeless, and general city issues but they never focus on these problems but instead decide to pull stupid bans that only serve to bring in money. Everyone likes to think of SC as so liberal and it is in some ways…culturally I suppose, but I feel like our civil liberties are being violated when things like this happen. They argue that it’s better for children…well I think walking by a person smoking for 30 sec is going to do a lot less damage than the fact that we’ve taken P.E. out of many schools, many children (and adults) are eating hormone-pumped, genetically modified, trans-fat, etc food, are inhaling exhaust/smog and I could probably think of a million more things.

Really, drinking coffee is probably worse than that…and to be honest I don’t think smoking downtown is that big of a problem…maybe one person for every two blocks? And seriously, how many drug deals go on that aren’t dealt with and I think that is more dangerous than this new ban.

I really hate what the U.S. is becoming…or is. And I know, before anyone posts, that we’ve been eating genetically modified foods for a long time…like corn…but that also took a lot longer and the way First world countries have forced the world to obliterate so many strains of food is horrible and dangerous when a new pest or disease worms it way into our perfect, bland food.

I really want to move away from this country but it’s going to take a lot of work and even then I know it’s not a solution and I remember criticizing my peers for wanting to do the same thing. But in a way I think I justify my desire because both Nathan and I come from families of immigrants and in a lot of ways we had very migratory lives. When people ask where I’m from I honestly don’t know what to say…I usually say ‘down south’ since it’s somewhat true but what is my hometown? I don’t know…is it where I was born but didn’t live? or The place I was at longest…well technically I suppose SC is the longest but I divide my time here by my mental well being…the first few years were really hard and I didn’t venture out or even really realize my surroundings.

And if I move I know there is that criticism of wanting to move to a European country…as if I’m falling into that colonial state of mind in that I want to become like them and be the white colonial power. But I think it’s wrong to think in that old frame of mind because we’re neglecting to see the millions of post-colonial subjects that live in the EU and who have voices and communities and are very much trying to claim their right to be there. And to be honest, certain countries seem easier to move to…like not learning another language is a plus but this is still a dream of mine that I’m attempting to research so as to make it a reality. But it’s problematic because I know there are conflicts wherever I go but perhaps I want to choose which fights I can join instead of feeling tired of having to justify why I don’t want a huge house or why want to part of the traditional working sector.

I think I realize as I grow older how hard it is for people who have moved a lot to claim an identity. If I move to another country I’ll finally have a more solid identity…as a foreigner…an ex-pat, and American. And I’m not saying I want to become some huge nationalist to a new country and go on about how much better it is than the U.S. (although I think most countries have many and different aspects that are better) or that the U.S. is a horrible place but instead I just would like to live somewhere else. If someone moves cities it’s not a big political deal but saying I don’t want to live in the country has so many ramifications on both the nationalist and post-colonial sides. I’m screwed either way. I also don’t want to erase my history or identity but sometimes I feel like I can’t relate to most people because I’ve had such a mixed history. I had to learn how people acted in different parts of the state and then in C.A. and to adjust to that and then to figure out my own cultural identity which is at times insane. I’m not latina enough and I’m not white enough which is fine but I don’t want to justify myself by knowing big fancy spanish words.

I remember when I was at a conference in Honduras and it was discussion on Women’s rights and many of the ‘liberal/intellectual’ women were using very academic language that I couldn’t understand but of course I knew my spanish wasn’t as great as a native speaker. And yet at one point some women interrupted and they said they couldn’t understand and basically accusing them of patronizing them (or perhaps matronizing?) with these huge terms because they were indigenous and relatively poor in comparison yet they still wanted to organize. I felt really good after that because I may not have great skills but it’s very much apart of me and even though I do want to learn more I still know more than most people think. I have dreams in spanish and I think about my experiences all the time and that won’t ever change. But at the same time I have to recognize that I can’t really share the same experiences with other Salvadorans/Latino(a)s/Indigenous people because many of them have a collective memory or experience. Many lived in poor areas, or at least in the same community where they faced racisim together or perhaps had to leave their home country because of war but I feel like there is always something that binds them even if they still have their individual differences. And I know collective organizations/communities are problematic because one way or another select ideas/agendas/experiences get promoted over others so I know just because someone grew up in South Central L.A. doesn’t mean they feel connected to their community for that sole geographic/cultural reason but I think most times it does.

So where does that leave people like me or that minority of minorities that doesn’t feel connected? I don’t think it’s wrong to want to live a life that a person chooses, especially if we keep thinking about why we make those sorts of choices. I like to believe that I think more about what I do and don’t do than many of the world’s citizens but again…I’m privileged enough to get to questions and make choices and for that I’m grateful but it doesn’t mean that I owe this country my loyalty when it’s oppressed, murdered, enslaved, and generally stomped on my ancestors and others without a second thought. Where was the reflection and questioning of our governments? It still continues with us blindly agreeing that going to Iraq was important because somehow the attacks of 9/11 were directly linked to Iraq…

It’s really hard writing and hoping that people can read through my sarcasm, my exaggerations, my moods, and my political bull. Half the time I write without realizing that people will indeed read this but I try to be careful not to turn this into some sort of diary. I’ve never been very good at diaries actually so maybe this blog is really lame and meaningless. But I suppose in the grand scheme of things our lives are pretty mundane when we think of the plants and stars and the evolution of life…I think I’m becoming too self-reflective. I think being a libra amplifies this tendency because I try to be fair even though I’m far from it.

Anyway, I’ll sign off before I start questioning why I’m not going to continue to write. I’m posting this show that is super funny that I found on netflix and I can’t wait for the 4th season. The IT Crowd…just a clip but super funny. Just for context…Jen gets a bit of an ego after getting ’employee of the month’ and she doesn’t really know anything about computers…

Update: Embedding disabled but hopefully those who want to view it can still be viewed by clicking through to Youtube. Sorry ’bout that >.<

25
Sep
09

1 tamale, 2 tamale, 3 tamale, floor

Happy Birthday to me!

I am resigned to aging gracefully and admitting that I am no longer anywhere near my teenage years. Didn’t do anything eventful except decorate cupcakes and make pizza and hang out with Nathan. I’m going to keep this post relatively brief since I’m in the middle of cleaning but my floors are still wet so I have a bit of time.

First, cupcake pics. Ripped off the decorating from the Vegan cupcake book so it’s not remotely original.

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Super cute though. And super sweet. If I remade these I wouldn’t have put the fruit spread on b/c it was a bit overwhelming. Good thing we only ate one a piece. I assume the spread was to anchor the berries down but I’m sure the icing would have done the job by itself. Will have to try again when I eat the rest of the batch haha.

Next up, Tamales! Finally got around to making them a few weeks ago and it was super crazy. I had Nathan help me with the assembly and our tamales came out good but some didn’t have enough masa to hold them together. I was trying to go off the recipe and it seems that they skimped on the masa but we learned and most of them came out nicely. They’re pretty small and remind me of little poops. Gross, I know, but it was super funny at the time and they were super duper tasty.

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Apparently there are many ways to make tamales and I guess using corn husks is the Mexican version. I didn’t even know that Salvies use Banana leaves but it makes sense. Not only can you use different wraps but even how they are tied/wrapped/rolled/etc varies. In retrospect I should have youtubed how to make them so that A. I would have made them bigger and B. seen the different ways to steam them. We tied the ends which makes them look cute and then steamed them for about 40min. I used my veggie steamer which didn’t hold all of the tamales and the ones on top seemed to be a bit less firm than the bottom ones. Next time I’ll cut the recipe in half and maybe make them bigger. Overall, I suppose they could have been steamed longer but they were great. The masa was delicious and the filling was really spicy since I used almost an entire can of chipotles. Omg, these look so good I might make them again tonight.

There are some new items on my cooking list that I want to make: Nectarine-blueberry turnovers, vegan puff pastry (I know it’s going to be a nightmare), fritters, still need to make my vegan cheese, and some pies. I don’t really want to make puff pastry since it gets so warm in our kitchen but I can’t find any at our local grocers and I’m not sure if regular brands at Safeway contain non-hydrogenated veggie butter. Since I have access to non-hydrogenated vegan butter I probably will have to make it myself. I’m kind of in love with nectarines right now and watermelon….so many melons at the Farmer’s Market it’s funny to see all the heirloom melons that I didn’t even know about. Makes sense but I feel like I learn something every time I go. Lots of Dahlias are still around so I’ve been picking them up. Apparently they grow in Central America so I think it’s kind of fun to keep that in mind. Another thing I really need to keep in mind is to stop burning myself on the oven. I think I’m up to my 3rd burn and it’s always when taking the pizza stone out. I think it’s because I don’t always pull the rack out far enough and since I’m always trying to do it sort of fast because I’m paranoid our cats will want to run into the oven.

Anyway, Nathan’s mom came to visit last week which was nice since we hadn’t seen her in over a year. We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which we’ve hadn’t been to in awhile. It didn’t seem much different except for the new Seahorse area which was amazing. I don’t think people are capable of hating these little guys because they’re just so magical. I was most fascinated with the Leafy Sea Dragon. Leafy Sea Dragon hope that works.

I was really annoyed because I don’t think my battery charger was plugged in because my camera died after two pics and I had left it in the charger for at least 8hours. I don’t think the Wests like pictures anyway but I made them take one haha. They weren’t expecting the flash but it’s cute anyway.

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Well, I’ll post more soon but I’m not really that exciting. It’s been a busy few weeks and hopefully I won’t be posting anymore butt rock music but it’s so tempting! I swear we’re way too silly because we love playing some of those songs all the time. I’m not sure which is worse though butt rock or our pop fascination. I am getting us back into listening to EBM in between because I think we might overdose on our hair bands. haha. Well, anyway, back to cleaning for me. Yay.




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