Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cooking with the boy: Greek Burger


1 lb        ground beef
1 pkg     dried onion soup mix
4            pita pockets

Mix the ground beef and onion soup mix. Divide in four and make into burger-shape. Dig a hole in each one and press a chunk of feta in the middle, closing the meat over it.

Fry them up.

Open the pita pockets and stick a couple of slices of tomato, maybe 4 slices of cucumber and a piece of lettuce in each one.

When the burgers are cooked, put one in each pita.

Put a dollop of tzatziki in on top.

Best burger ever! Bonus: cooks through pretty easily since the core is cheese not beef.

Monday, July 06, 2015

What I read, June 2015

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. My first encounter with this book was from my sister, who had a copy signed by the author, who she saw speak. We share some minor amount of 1st nations ancestry, so associate with this sort of thing perhaps. My sister gave me a section to read, which was brilliant. Then, some months later Terri Windling did a few pieces with quotes, and I remembered, and I can take a hint, so I got it out of the library. It made me a little regretful of what I said about Canada geese a couple of months ago.
This was an interesting thing to be reading while Canada was going through its report from the Truth and Reconciliation commission. It left me feeling there is a way forward. But it’s not easy. I wished she wrote more about plants and less about people. It seemed a little long.
“Dragon”by Steven Brust. Book 8! Vlad goes to war! He wasn’t impressed. Entertaining as usual. You can see SB messing with time transitions.
“HighDeryni” by Katherine Kurtz. Or, as my slightly deaf friend said when I told her what I was reading, "Catholic Curse?" Which is funny considering what seems Catholic and Jewish about the story. 
I’m actually starting to like these. Supposedly back in the 70’s Ursula K LeGuin dissed KK, and I remember reading that essay when I was in high school (!). IIRC she said the dialog didn’t sound like fantasy. I can see her point, but really the problem is the endless descriptions of what people are wearing. I like clothing more than most but wow. I did a big push through to the end, and fortunately noticed that there was a glossary of characters at the back, which once I knew it was there I needed constantly. The ending caught me by surprise.

Friday, July 03, 2015

In process, june 2015

First Draft
 “Wind/Water/Salt”. Wrote three missing scenes, adding characters, making tension.
“The Dead belong to Me.” Short story, started.

“Wind/Water/Salt”. Chapters 39 to end edited. Put in some missing scenes, and added a ton of missing characters. They need to be fleshed out at the beginning too now. How can I have written so much without defining so many characters? Seems like I knew all sorts of stuff that happened, but I didn’t write it down until now. This draft is so much better than the previous. I love editing.



“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Did not finish tying in ends. Did not buy beads. Did not crochet edging. Maybe next month.
“St. Anthony’s Ribbon” (self-designed). Got the needle from Rust Damask Jacket so I could do the neck edging. Finished and blocked and put in a box. Not sure I’m happy with the neck, but wearing it might make it better, and I can’t do that right now because it’s summer.
Vinterlys (Norsk Strikkedesign). Did the last 26 rows of the “front” of the sleeve so Rust Damask Jacket could have the needle, then finished the “back” so I can figure out if I have enough on the fronts. Still can’t tell – need to steek and cut and seam first maybe, then pin it all out.
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Started fair isle portion of body.
Honey for the Bee. Socks. Carry-around project. Finished, mostly in the car while driving back and forth from New Hampshire. 
Prow pullover (IK Summer 2014). Started, for an easy project; did about 2 inches.

Finished sewing a dress. Started a tunic, learned to make bias tape.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cooking with the boy, week 2: Transylvanian Goulash

The boy likes meat, and I'm meat ambivalent, which makes it kind of funny that he suggested bruschetta for this meal, and I suggested goulash. And I only wanted it because Steven Brust mentioned Szekely Gulyas on twitter maybe a week before. And I googled.

The recipes:
Stephen King's Transylvanian Goulash
Rachael Ray's Bruschetta

We did the first few steps of the goulash, which involved onions, bacon, and pork, and then wandered off for 45 minutes before coming back and doing the rest of the goulash and the entirety of the bruschetta.

This was not the bruschetta he envisioned, I think. His dad must do bruschetta with cheese. We'll do that in a few weeks when we do Shakshuka again.

I chose this goulash recipe because it looked like it took less than 90 minutes, and because it didn't have an instruction at the end to wait 24 hours and then reheat and add the sour cream and serve. We would have DIED of hunger if we'd done that.

The boy was interested in the cost of the meal, which was $27 (not for all the ingredients -- we had garlic and onions and paprika already, etc.) as compared to $14 for shakshuka last week.

We ate the leftovers with some added egg noodles. Really divine. 

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Cooking with the boy, a possibly ongoing series

The boy asked me a few weeks ago to teach him now to cook some things, but he doesn’t really have a plan, so I taught him to make a burger (the Rachael Ray way) and  Mediterranean chicken skillet (chicken, rice, veg). The first time I made that, he said "I get a WHOLE chicken breast?" He wasn’t very impressed with it when we were making it, though, because I couldn’t find the recipe (somewhere in a pile of torn out pages from magazines, in an ad for Kraft ingredients) so I did it from memory. There’s nothing wrong with my memory, but he said “It doesn’t seem very precise.” This is kind of similar to something my dad said to one of his wives, or maybe my sister: “Just follow the damn recipe for once, could you?” 

Anyway, so I had this brilliant idea that you can’t really cook if you don’t know how to acquire ingredients.Thursday evening last week after circus, we stopped at the 24-hour grocery and bought the stuff to make a meal. I’d printed off the recipe so he could carry it with him and choose the ingredients to make Shakshuka (eggs in spicy tomato sauce). Then Friday we made it for dinner. 

You have to start by cutting jalapenos, and I told him to be sure to wash his hands after, but he still got it in his eyes, and screamed for about 15 minutes, which was pretty entertaining. 

The rest of it went well. When I said after wards, “What would you do differently next time, other than getting hot peppers in your eyes?” he said “I know it would go completely against the Israeli nature of the dish, but I think it needs bacon.” So maybe in a couple of weeks we’ll do it again, and put bacon in.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

What I read -- May 2015

“Deryni Checkmate” by Katherine Kurtz.. It’s sort of like reading a regency novel, but set in medieval times, plus magic. So much attention to clothes and furniture! The head-hopping seems alien to me now. Being the second book in a trilogy, this had no ending to speak of. The Deryni seem really Jewish.

“Athyra” by Steven Brust. This is what I want to write like. He can get away with things because the voice is so strong. I love every time someone says something blah-blah-blah Sethra that doesn’t sound very characteristic of her, and then Vlad says “Sethra Lavode?” and the other person says “no, Sethra the Younger.” So stylish! That doesn’t happen in this book, by the way.

“Orca” by Steven Brust. It was included in the same volume with the previous, so what choice did I have? I had to race through because I was being chased by Ed. Not that this is a problem, mind you. This was a really well-done example of interauthor, and worked really well. Maybe too much talking. The great thing was getting to see how other people see Vlad in these books, because by now we have a pretty good idea of how he sees himself. I love the normative elf thing, so different for fantasy.

“The Up Side of Down” by Megan McArdle. I read her posts on pretty much daily. I don’t always agree with her, but wow she is smart and knows how to structure an argument. I finally requested this at the library. John Scalzi linked to her a few years back, which is when I “discovered” her, so it was nice to see she gave him a shout-out for his poor people essay. The organizational structure was nice, and unlike a lot of people who write books like this, she had plenty of content, and the chapters did not start to seem repetitive as they so often do.

Monday, June 01, 2015

In process -- May 2015

First Draft
“Before Breakfast”. Short story, not too long. Needs more character development though.
“Milo”. Short story. I wrote the first draft on five envelope backs.
“Wind/Water/Salt”. Writing missing scenes, adding characters.

“Wind/Water/Salt”. Chapters 35 to 38 edited.



“Ceremonial Armour” (Kaffe Fassett, knit from a photo). Finished the body. Started tying in ends, then need to do edging and sew on beads, then block and it's done! It sounds so simple.  
“St. Anthony’s Ribbon” (self-designed). I thought I was going to have to rip out a couple of inches, but after abandoning it for a couple of months, I decided all I needed to do was rip back maybe 30 minutes’ work and do shoulder decreases more rapidly. That was going really well so I went too far and ended up ripping out a bunch then doing the neck decrease and casting off. Now I need the needle that’s in Rust Damask Jacket, so I can do the neck edging. Almost done!
Vinterlys (Norsk Strikkedesign). I am pushing to finish the “front” portion of the second sleeve so I can get this off the long US2 needle, so I can use that needle to start the fair isle portion on Rust Damask Jacket. Maybe 26 rows until that milestone is achieved. Next week?
Rust Damask Jacket (Takle & Kolstadt). Ignored.
Honey for the Bee. Socks. Carry-around project. 2.5 inches done.