Thursday, August 21, 2008

the problem with produce.

Oh single friends, you must know how it is. You go to the grocery store and the farmer's market with such hope and ambition - you buy loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, making careful plans not to buy too much just because it looks nice. You are thinking ahead so as not to be wasteful! Good work! But then you do silly things like go out to dinner or happy hour, and pretty soon you are pawning off green beans on your parents (while stealing cherry tomatoes from their garden), wondering what the hell am I going to do with all this food?!

Such is my life as of late. It's gotten late enough in the week that all meals must be based around what is about to rot in the fridge. I finally finished the roasted veggies (eggplant, zuchinni, onions) in a wrap for lunch. For dinner, I stared at the cucumbers and the tomatoes, wondering if I should have tomato and cucumber salad again, and then I decided I would make some gazpacho.


(I've never made gazpacho before so I used this recipe as a guide. As usual, I was missing about half the ingredients so I just had to make do. It turns out that my gazpacho is tomato cucumber salad, pureed.)

Then I stared at the zucchini and thought, man, zucchini, you are boring. What can be done with you? The answer is definitely zucchini cheddar bread, with a recipe from The Joy of Cooking.

By this point the gazpacho was happily chilling (ha, get it? It's both hanging out and getting cold! [sorrrry]) in the fridge and the bread was in the oven but it was going to take an HOUR and I was starving. And it seemed like I should eat the bread with the soup, that just makes sense. So I made a small salad with spinach (never should have bought that!), blueberries, and walnuts.

Finally finally everything was ready so I ate this:

zucchini cheddar bread, gazpacho

The gazpacho is a little spicier than intended but still refreshing. And the bread is savory and filling. Hurrah! Summer produce meal!

...of course, now my new problem is that I have too much bread and gazpacho to eat. Whoops.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

random round-up.

1. David Carr, hosted by Common Good Books

I had heard a bit about The Night of the Gun through the internets, so I figured I had pretty much no excuse to walk a few blocks for a reading. The church hosting the space for the event was packed and extremely hot, but it was still a good time. Carr read a very short excerpt, and then fielded some questions before having to run and catch a plane. I actually found the question section to be the most engaging and I wish there was more time for that. He had really good answers about how to warn his children about the addictive dangers of college, and how he wishes he could say that writing a memoir about addiction and recovery was cathartic, but it wasn't. All in all, he was very endearing and appreciative and I enjoyed my time there. The book is going on the to-read list, as I have other books to finish in uhh, this next week. Oops.

2. Summer Borscht at the Amateur Gourmet

God, reading this made me wish I was wandering around the East Village with plans to stop at Veselka for a late dinner of borscht and pierogis, TODAY. Goddammit. Instead I'll be trying to finish two books this afternoon while waiting for sushi happy hour. (Okay, that's really not all bad.)

3. Housekeeping

I updated my link list, which means I made it much smaller. I can't stand link lists that go on for miles, so I'm highlighting the lesser knowns on the sidebar. 'Cause really, if you have more than, say, 50 subscribers on google reader you don't need any help from me. (By the way, google reader still says I only have two subscribers. Eff you! I have at least five. I think.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

RNC: the homefront

I know that people like my mom would not suggest that I give clues to my location on the Internet, but suffice it to say, I live very close to the Xcel Center, home of the 2008 Republican National Convention. How close? Close enough to be able to catch of glimpse of a bright red poster from my window, which on closer inspection has this on it:

Oh, that elephant. I think we'll call him Stampy.

Anyway, they're coming. They are erecting a giant white tent across from Xcel, for god knows what. They are walking around with orange tags around their necks that proclaim them to be convention workers/volunteers. They are making plans to infiltrate Minneapolis St. Paul (that's one city, not two) and pester all of those within.

Can't. Wait?

on getting out.

Sometime last week, feeling the threat of summer ending and still itching to make it out of the state, I booked an entirely last minute trip to Milwaukee and Chicago. I ended up taking the train to Milwaukee, the Megabus to Chicago, and the train home again from Chicago to St. Paul. The train was comfy both ways (if not a little long and loud heading back), and the bus was quick. I mostly needed to go somewhere without driving in order for it to feel like a true getaway, so I was thankful for the lack of a car.

The last times I've been to Milwaukee I was overcome by the smell of yeast and my naive eyes were disturbed by creepy grocers with bars in the windows, but I didn't find it bad at all this time around. In fact, I found it rather agreeable, even if the Wisconsin State Fair is far inferior to Minnesota's. I also got the best pair of pants ever, and sang Disney songs with friends in the car, so it was good times.

Chicago is a city that I can never seem to stay in for more than 36 hours at a time. While this is somewhat silly, it's good in that it always leaves me wanting more. On Sunday I hung out with a friend, and we sat in various locales...cafes, Wicker Park, and eventually wasted away the rest of the afternoon drinking beers on a patio. By the time we headed to the El to get to dinner (admittedly a bit drunk), I realized how much I want to live in a true city, one with trains, one with enough density to make places interesting solely because they are filled with people.

I did some touristy wandering on Monday (the Shedd Aquarium, Millennium Park) before catching my train home. Now I'm back, and I have just a little over a week before I head back to the stresses of work, which I am trying not to get too stressed about. Instead I'm stressing about which pre-established summer routines I need to throw out in order to make the last week and two days of summer the most awesome. It's a lot of pressure, and in the process I'm forgetting all the things I meant to do.

Anyway, why am I still writing this when I could be doing...stuff? Stuff indeed.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

thai eggplants! and stuff!

I like going to the Farmer's Market and picking up unfamiliar vegetables and then figuring out what to do with them. This week it was Thai Eggplants. They look nothing like normal eggplants in that they're not purple and they're round. And of course, I had no idea what to do with them so I went to the old internest and found this: Thai Eggplants and Chickpeas in Peanut Masala

And then I did what I normally do with recipes that seem complicated - I skimmed the ingredients, decided which ones I could skip, and also adapted it to suit my lazy needs. Basically, I skipped the whole food processor part because I didn't feel like dragging it out of the closet, and I just added the spices while sauteeing the onions/ginger/garlic in oil. And I didn't measure a damn thing, because I am just that hardcore.

It turned out to be pretty good. Sometimes I wish I could upload smells.


(And once again, I need to remember to stop making semi-elaborate meals when everyone is at work! Sheesh.)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

a half is still a lot of work.

How does one write about running a half marathon, anyway? It's pretty much the same motion, over and over again, for a long time. But I will try.

On Saturday I ran the Urban Wildland half marathon in Richfield. The course is very nice, as it goes around lakes and through nature reserves and is flat most of the way. They also strive to be a green race by being waste free. And they had good stuff - the shirt feels great, and I got yet another reusable tote bag. (Seriously, five envirosax and another six bags that I've gotten from classes/races/catalogs/transit initiatives. Enough! Though, I do like this one, and it comes with the double superiority of being eco-friendly and running a half marathon.)

On to the actual race...this was the first one I ran where I was really alone. Usually I have a running companion, or at the very least finish line companions whom I can't keep up with. (I did get my parents to come to the finish line, so I guess that's something.) And although I had made ambitious time goals long ago, I knew I probably wouldn't reach them given my laid back training. It definitely wasn't my best race, in terms of how I felt or my time. The interlude between each mile marker always felt much slower than my actual pace, and at some point around mile 7 my legs turned to jello and never really came back. And somehow I still finished with a reasonable time - 2:05:30 (9:35 pace). I definitely didn't reach my goal (under two hours), but it's not in the horrible range either. (These are all relative to me, of course.)

So there's that. My quads are still killing me, and I'm hoping to bike a lot more this week instead of running.

Friday, August 01, 2008

stream of consciousness.


I've really been enjoying my meals this week, much more so than usual. I could attribute it to the fine farmers at the market, the freshness of the fruit, or maybe that I'm just an awesome chef, but I know what the real deal is: it's just that time of month where everything tastes amazing. (Ladies, you feeling me? No? Well, it's cool. Me and my hormones are getting along, for the time being.) It doesn't even matter what it is: cucumber and tomato salad, tortillas filled with black beans, fresh corn kernels and avocado, homemade oatmeal with berries and bananas, or even a small sliver of Parmesan, it's all glorious and I am loving every mouthful.

bike outcasts

I biked to my parent's house yesterday, and traded in the lady bike for a new bike, which is actually my old bike, but slightly improved since I last knew it. Meaning, the pedal arm (crank arm?) actually stays on, and it also has a rack and a pannier. And it fits so much better than that damn lady bike, I feel like a decent biker again. Never mind that braking is annoying because I need to get a new wheel or two, when I'm in motion I feel stronger, faster, not unlike a Daft Punk song! (Sorry, I myself am shaking my head at that one.)

Hi, my name is e and I'm addicted to dresses. No, this is not a dress, it's shoes to match a dress that I bought while at Target, intending to buy toilet paper or something. The shoes are surrounded by three dresses (bought in two weeks), plus one from my old bedroom closet that I decided is actually wearable again (after a decade). I try to buy cute tops or, I dunno, nice pants for work but no, dresses and skirts. That's it. So please, if you ever see me out shopping, remind me that I don't need any more dresses.

[Sorry for all these random posts lately.]