Thursday, May 28, 2009

I don't know why I haven't mentioned this here...

this Saturday, 8:00am to noon at the Cheverly Community Center.

(I do the website, the blog and the photography for the Market. I'd love to see many of my friends there. If we're not friends yet, introduce yourself!)

My mom makes the best rhubarb cake.

You know what I really miss about living so far away from my parents? My mom's cooking. I grew up in awe of her abilities, and when I finally got my own kitchen I kept her voice in my head when trying new recipes (and ignoring recipes in favor of my own experience and ideas.) So far, it's worked out pretty well!

She makes this delicious rhubarb cake that makes me think about my grandma and grandpa, who lived in Manly, Iowa. My grandpa, a train engineer, used to have a very large garden. Rumor has it that he used to like to garden in his boxer shorts when it got really hot, and that he always waved hello to the ladies. Rumor also has it that my grandma, a pretty stern woman under the best of circumstances, did not appreciate my his naturally friendly nature. He died when I was only five or six, so I really didn't get to know him. I think I would have liked him a lot.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wanna go to the Prom?

So do we!

-- blogging via the iPhone of awesomeness


One cup Silk "Very Vanilla Soymilk" + one Safeway instant mocha pack + ice + a few minutes in a blender = a better frappucino thing thatn Starbucks makes. And I get to stay vegan.

Thank goodness for this espresso machine died this morning (after six+ years) and I was feeling pretty glum...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, Series 2

My favorite tea company, Andrews & Dunham Damn Fine Tea, has just released their second series of limited edition teas! This series is a radical departure from their first, and I think that people will love it (as much -- maybe even more -- than the first series)!I drank some of the Jackee Muntz this weekend (the inner inner circle sometimes has its privileges) and it was delicious -- sort of honeyed but brisk at the same time.
Visit their website, read the clever stories, see the freaks, stay for the tea. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brought to you by summer.

-- blogging via the iPhone of awesome.

Friday, May 22, 2009

When I'm Rich (hahahaha)

I'll be spending all my money at
Until then, I'll spend hours perusing their site...

-- blogging via iPhone of awesomeness

Ten things about root canals

1. Procrastination is the wrong plan. When your regular dentist tells you in October that you need a root canal, waiting until the end of May is not an adult way of handling things.
2. Eating 250 acetomenaphin in only three weeks is a bad idea...for all sorts of reasons.
3. The dentist should never make you wait in the chair with the little bib on and nothing to do for over an hour. Nothing to do, that is, but listening to the sound of drilling in the room 10' away and wondering why NO ONE ever comes out of there.
4. More novocaine is better than less. Yes, thank you. I WILL take two rounds. Lovely.
5. Dental dams make really funny noises...but the dentist doesn't think so.
6. It feels like a really invasive filling. But the next day -- after the novocaine wears off -- it feels like SOMEONE HAS TAKEN A HAMMER TO MY MOUTH.
7. More novocaine wearing off all at once is very unpleasant.
8. No. You cannot eat a quesadilla, no matter how yummy it looks. You can barely get a spoon in there right now. Forget it.
9. Pain management. (This should count for, like, three things. Also, finding previously frozen cranberries in your bed is kind of gross.)
10. It IS possible to get sick of pudding. I never would have seen that coming.

In other news, Maggie is totally ready for the pool to open tomorrow.

-- blogging via iPhone (which is awesome)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Paul Show.

Do you know how impossible eight-year old boys can be? If you answered "impossibly", you are either a parent or an eight- year old boy. If you're the latter, you should visit Paul's blog ( instead... I think you'll be more entertained.

Anyway, now that it's just us grownups... I have had a very difficult time with the boy of late. By "of late", I mean "pretty much this entire year". We butt heads constantly. I can understand why families consider military school. And I feel guilty -- Maggie is especially funny and sweet lately, and since she has less required of her, she requires less patience. Paul, on the other hand, is constantly pushing.

But when the boy comes home from school, carefully puts away his uniform, dons the Darth Vader gear and invites his sister to watch "Alladin", something is up and patience is required. He's done this (gone into costume when he's troubled) since he was little...which reminds me that he still is, after all, really just a little kid. Still closer to preschool and naps than high school. Still vulnerable. Still in great need of patience. Even when he's driving me crazy.

-- blogging via iPhone

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Toward a more perfect vegan burger...

This summer, we're planning to stay close to home. No big road trips, no big visits...lots of time in the backyard and at the pool. If you're not going to have a lot of big adventures, you'd better have some pretty fantastic little ones. This makes perfecting summer food very important. To that end, I'm working on making perfect vegan burgers, so that when we invite non-veg friends over for cookouts, they don't suddenly have something important to do far away. (Also, several friends have recently asked me for vegan recipes, so I'm trying to accommodate them, too.) Let the experimenting begin! (I've included loose approximations of some recipes. Word of warning: I'm really not much for measuring -- I cook by feel, taste, and occasionally good sense.)

I started by making ciabatta -- very easy to do. In fact, I think it's probably the closest yeasted bread to my perennial favorite no-knead in terms of low effort. I've made burger buns before, but I really like the texture and taste of ciabatta much better...

I made tofu mayo, which is ridiculously easy and way better than the stuff in the jar. Ingredients: a box of firm silken tofu, a few
teaspoons of mustard powder, a pinch of cayenne, a little agave nectar, a few splashes of apple cider vinegar. Whip that in the blender until it's smooth, then drizzle in good olive oil and continue to whip until it's very smooth and thick. Yum yum yum.

I make caramelized onions for a great pizza (caramelized onion-blue cheese-toasted walnuts), but since going vegan, that has -- sadly -- been off the menu. New use: burger topping. To make them, melt a tablespoon Earth Balance in a heavy skillet. While it's melting, slice an onion very thin (a mandoline gives perfect cuts for this purpose). Brown the onions in the
Earth Balance over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to get the brown bits off the bottom. It's okay if they get a little brown, but don't burn them. After 30 minutes, add a tablespoon or so of brown sugar and about the same amount of plain yellow mustard. Cook, uncovered, for another 10 minutes. Done. Yum. (You might not want to wash this pan out yet -- I like to cook the burgers in the stuff left in the pan with a little added black pepper.)
Black bean burgers are painfully simple to make, but they do take a little time. Drain and rinse the contents of a can of black beans. Mash the beans in a large bowl (I use my hands to really mash them.) Add A1 sauce and your favorite barbecue sauce, then some breadcrumbs and some wheat gluten (Bob's Mill makes it -- you can find it in the health food section of many grocery stores.) Knead all ingredients together until you get close to the consistency of meat (usually a minute or two.) At this point, I grind in a lot -- and I mean a lot -- of black pepper, then knead for another minute. Form the mixture into a log, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. When you're ready to cook, heat a pan (to medium high) and add oil (or use the pan you cooked the caramelized onions in, and add some pepper). Cut the log into 12 equal parts and shape each bit into a flat burger. Cook in batches, about 8 minutes per batch, turning each burger about 4 minutes in (make sure each side is nicely browned.)
To assemble your beautiful burger, slice a ciabatta in half , slather each side with mayo. Spread caramelized onions on one side, one quarter of a sliced avocado on the other side. place two burgers on the onion side, add a little more mayo, then top with some fresh arugula before adding the top half of the ciabatta. Some people like a little extra barbecue sauce on the side. I can't blame them. Some people also like a beer on the side. They are wise.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This. That. The Other.

We've had two weekends in a row of school extravaganzas...the school year must be (at long last) coming to an end!

First, Cheverly Weekday Nursery's Truck Touch, in which the children touch the trucks and honk the horns and eat the hot dogs and hamburgers and cookies and...and...and... Liz and I whrrled the event, which was pretty cool. You can follow the story here.

This past Saturday, Paul's school hosted its Annual Fun Day, which was -- for many a dad -- more fun than usual, due to the presence of the Redskins cheerleaders (Redskinettes? I dunno.) They were giving mini cheerleading camps, and Maggie was right in the mix. There were a lot of very attentive dads once they figured out what was going on...and some of them didn't even have kids doing the mini camp.

Paul was at both of these events, but he, in what seems to be 2nd grader mode (judging by his friends) was extraordinarily free range, visiting us only for infusions of tickets. He came home with a lot of crap from both events. Have you ever noticed that attending school fairs is much like taking a day trip to NYC? You come with money, but 30 minutes later it's all gone and you have no recollection of where it went. Maybe I need to get to New York more often and school fairs less often...
I think Paul has taken stories of hell to heart during religious studies at school. He really gets the detail. Not sure what this has to do with anything, but there it is.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today's the day...

I get to wear the fancy glasses. They help with the lack of sunshine.

-- blogging via iPhone

Monday, May 4, 2009

Today, so far...

Made a decision to behave like a grownup? Check.
Voted? Check.
Made a cappucino with a butt design? Check.
Colored with crayons and made a pimp king rabbit? Check.
I don't think that first thing of the day worked out. Maybe if I didn't try to act like an adult, it would happen naturally. Somehow I don't really think so...

Is it me? Is it a kid? The world may never know...

-- blogging via iPhone