31 October 2007

Tasty lentil

I got this idea from certain redfoxes. It was an excellent idea and made plenty of delicious businesses to dip in yogurt. I varied it fairly substantially, though, so here you go:

Lentil kibbeh

red lentils
bay leaf
lemon or juice
shawarma mix, cayenne, sesame seeds

For dipping sauce/dressing:

plain good yogurt/soy yogurt
black pepper, fresh parsley

First, make the dressing, because it needs to sit. Mix a cup or two of plain yogurt /soy with copious fresh ground black pepper and chopped parsley. If you are short on either of these, you can experiment with other things; I bet fresh oregano and garlic and some lemon would be interesting. Mint and yogurt would also be good, especially for counteracting an overspiced case.

Put it all in a fine mesh strainer over a cup or bowl, put it in the refrigerator, and let it sit and drain while everything cooks. It'll thicken a bit while you make everything else.

Cook a cup of red lentils in two cups of water with a bay leaf and a squeezed chunk of lemon or a little lemon juice. I used a quarter of a very tiny lemon off our friend Joann's tree. Bring pan to a boil, cover, turn down heat, and simmer twenty minutes, or until total blown-out mush.

At the same time, cook half a cup of millet in a cup of water. Bring pan to a boil, cover, turn down heat and simmer for twenty minutes. Isn't the timing convenient?

In the meantime, set about making savory spicy mix with which to flavor these two awesome but admittedly bland on their own ingredients. Get out a sauté pan and warm some olive oil. Chop up an onion and add it to the pan. I used half a red onion and half a yellow onion just because that was lying around; any mix would clearly work. Add a few cloves of chopped garlic and whatever spice mixture you'd like. I had a bunch of a shawarma mixture sitting around being delicious at me, so I used that. I also added some cayenne and sesame seeds. You can use whatever sounds good to you; I plan on experimenting with fresh ginger in the future. I would also overseason this mix a bit since it's going to be the main spicing for an entire pot of lentil and millet. Cook until onions and garlic are soft and delicious.

When everything is done, mix the lentils, millet, and spiced onion together. Also, preheat the oven to 350F. Shape lentil stuff into little elongated meatball shapes. I floured my hands for this, because I wasn't looking at my source recipe, but now I see it would definitely be better to water them. It worked out fine, though.

Put kibbeh balls on cookie sheet and bake ten or fifteen minutes, rotating if necessary. Take out, pile on plate with bowl of dipping sauce, and eat. Or, if you're feeling fancy and/or in need of salad, make a bed of greens, add kibbeh, and drizzle yogurt sauce over.

I experimented a little with making full sandwich-sized patties, but those didn't work out so well as the main kibbeh. I made them too thin, so they crisped too much and got too dry and crumbly. Otherwise they would have been great, though, so you should clearly feel free to experiment as well. I would make them at least as thick as a standard burger, and probably as thick as a really thick burger. An inch would be good. Then I bet you could stack lentil burgers between sheets of waxed paper, and lo! You have your own veggie burgers waiting in the freezer for instant dinner at any time.

29 October 2007

Hey vegans! Did you like bacon?

Do you hate buying packets of fake soy meat with stripes painted on them? Feel terrible yet decadent ripping into a fake corn dog with ketchup? Shall we try something the hell different?

Behold! TOFU BACON. Or BACON TOFU. I think that second one has a better ring to it, how about you?

Bacon tofu is easy. All you do it cut good tofu thinly, quickly fry it in sesame oil and ginger, and toss it into a bowl. Then you eat it. It is crispy. It is savory. It is salty and tasty and crispy and BACONY BACONY BACON. And yet it is tofu, and requires no frozen processed product of any kind. I don't know, do you really count tofu as processed? I don't.

I think this stuff is particularly great because it comes close to the crumbly texture of well-cooked bacon.

Bacon tofu!

good nigari tofu
fresh ginger
sesame oil
optional things such as garlic or sesame seeds

Cut tofu into thin slices. You want them to be 1/8 inch thick at the most, and preferably a little thinner. Cut the slices whatever shape you like; we like them in squares or rectangles a couple inches long.

Peel ginger and chop. If you want garlic, chop that too. Use a big piece of ginger the size of your thumb or so.

In a good sauté pan, warm a big slug of sesame oil. Get it pretty hot, then add the tofu pieces in one layer. Fry until golden brown and crispy on one side, then flip and get the other. When the second side is about halfway done crispening, add the ginger and potential garlic. If you want sesame seeds, or maybe some hot pepper sauce like Sriracha, you can add them in here too. Toss things around a bit and continue to cook.

Make sure everything is crispy, then remove from heat. You are done!

What are you going to serve it with? A salad of some sort, to combat the oil with some juicy greens! We used half a head of frisée for ridiculous curly deliciousness. Spinach would also be good, for fake bacon and spinach salad. Torn romaine would be good. I am having trouble thinking of a salad green that would not be good. Just toss the sesame-ginger oil left in the pan over the greens and whack the tofu on top. This way you not only get crispy bacon tofu, but also warm dressing.

You win!

26 October 2007

Very cold dairy goodness

John's parents sent us an ice cream maker for collective birthdays. Our next door neighbors, who had received the box and got us to open it as instantly as possible on returning from the airport, pounced on the recipe booklet, looked at one page and announced that we were making fresh strawberry ice cream. Not just strawberry ice cream! FRESH strawberry. They immediately sent a delegation to the store to attain fresh strawberries and cream.

I stayed in the kitchen eating olives and giving my opinion on figs in caramel sauce. My opinion: not very good, since the caramel was thin and the fig skins got really tough. Also the figs get BOILING HOT and coated with molten sugar such that eating one is very much like having a bomb go off in your mouth. Besides, I think figs are better with a counterpoint, like pepper or goat cheese. So let's not go any further into that.

Ice cream is good though!

This is definitely the kind of recipe that puts CREAM CREAM OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD CREAM in ice cream.

Strawberry ice cream

lots of strawberries
juice of a lemon
heavy cream

Destem and chop the berries. Put them in a bowl with lemon juice and a couple spoonfuls of sugar. Stir it up and leave it to macerate for an hour or two, or however long you can stand. The ice cream unit probably needs time to freeze anyway. Then you can mash some of the berries if you want. The recipe wants you to mash half, but I for one want smooth ice cream with no big ice--I mean fruit--chunks, so I would mash them all.

Put a cup of sugar and a cup and a half of milk in a bowl. Mix them together until the sugar has dissolved. This might take a while; you might want to gently warm the milk to help things along. If you do that, cool it down again before you keep going. Add in TWO AND THREE FOURTHS cups of heavy cream. Jesus! I would almost definitely sub some milk for part of this in future. Also add in the mashed strawberries and a couple shakes of vanilla.

Mix it all up and process in your ice cream machine appropriately. If you had any unmashed strawberries, add them after about 15 minutes. Keep processing until everything is thick and creamy and delicious.

If you don't have an ice cream machine, you can do one of the physical effort methods.

Method 1: Get two sturdy ziploc bags: a large one and a small one. Put ice cream mix into the small bag and seal it securely. Put a mix of ice and rock salt into the large bag, then put the little bag in the middle. Make sure the ice and salt surround the little bag. Seal the big bag securely too, then shake and shake and shake and shake and shake oh my god keep shaking until the mix turns into ice cream.

Method 2: as above, except using a big coffee can and a little coffee can. This way you can kick the can to roll it back and forth between people, making method 2 at least a little less arduous than method 1.

Both of these are handy on camping trips, or if you just don't want an ice cream machine. Neither of them will hold the entire recipe from up there, but it halves easily.

Now have ice cream for dessert. Or have it for dinner. Whatever.

I like my ice cream with hot tea for maximum contrast.

24 October 2007

Nonion soupses

Here's one result of going to Victoria: Nigel Slater, half off!

At this point we were no longer in a place with a kitchen, and had been away from our own equipment for nearly two weeks, so we'd started to spend a lot of time fantasizing about what to make when we got home. So we spent almost the entire day of flights home going over and over the book, salivating and making mental ingredient lists.

Then we came home and got the ingredients and made delicious onion soup.

The trick with this one is that you roast the onions first for super-deep caramelization and roasty taste. Then you add wine. John was especially excited because the whole process makes a serious French onion-style soup that does not require beef broth and is thus vegetarian, but also is extremely intensely flavored and delicious.

Roasty onion soup for two peoples

a big yellow onion or 2 medium ones
butter/olive oil
white wine/dry vermouth
veg broth
decent bread, in our case a baguette
gruyere/alternate cheese
salt and pepper

First, roast the onions. Chop them in half, peel them, and stick them in a baking pan with butter or oil and some salt and pepper. Stick it all in the oven. The book was all in metric, indicating that we need to get a kitchen scale if we want to make anything baked. So it said to roast at 200C. Ok, that's about 350F, right? No, more like 400F. It's roasting vegetable temperature, or really making most things temperature. Have you noticed my measuring is a bit slapdash in everything but baking? Sure, and it's fine. So roast at an appropriate roasting temperature.

While they're roasting, consider your broth situation. If you don't have any, make some from your stockpile and whatever decent fresh vegetables are lying around. Five or ten minutes of simmering will get you a decent quick broth. Keep it on the heat, so as to be hot and ready when you need it.

When the onions are all dark, soft, and clearly delicious, take them out of the oven, chop them into big chunks, and stick them into a saucepan. Add the wine, or vermouth if you don't feel like drinking a bottle of wine, heat to a boil, and cook together until the wine has absorbed into the onion/evaporated. You'll be able to tell it's absorbed when the bubbling starts to sound different. Or you could, you know, look into the pot and see. Then add the broth (avoiding the boiled vegetables) and simmer everything together for fifteen or twenty minutes.

During the simmer, it's time to start on bread, or croûtes if you want to be fancy. See, they're bigger than croutons, so they have to be croûtes! Ok, I'm done. Anyway, cut your bread into slices maybe a half-inch thick. They can be a little thicker if you like more squishy bread absorption later. Get enough slices to cover your servings of soup, put them on a cookie sheet, and stick them under the broiler for a few minutes. Keep a close eye out and pull out the tray as soon as they get toasty. Then turn them all over and top them with grated gruyere.

When the soup is done boiling, scoop it into bowls. Cover the bowls with the toast and cheese. Put them on a cookie sheet and get the whole shebang under the broiler. This step works best if the cookie sheet is already on the oven rack: just put on the bowls and slide the rack back. Broil until the cheese is melty and delicious, then remove (using reverse method: slide rack and out and remove bowls with oven mitts) and eat as swiftly as possible.

Try not to burn off the roof of your mouth too hard.

23 October 2007

Last glimpse of birthday week

I picked these at the side of the road.

At first we thought "jam!" Ok, actually first we thought "BLACKBERRY EAT BLACKBERRY" and then we thought "jam!"

Guess how much jam got made.

If you guessed "ZERO" you get a gold star.

22 October 2007

John is 27

For John's birthday breakfast I made pain au chocolat with some of the aforementioned bread. This is perhaps the most decadent way to start a birthday, but still remains super easy. Well, it remains easy if you discount making bread all the day before. It only requires swiftness, so the toast stays warm enough to melt everything. If this fails, stick the bread in the toaster oven (or real oven) for a minute to soften it all up.

Pain au chocolat

good bread
good dark chocolate
unsalted butter

Chop a hunk of chocolate into tiny bits with a decent knife. Then cut bread into good-sized slices and toast to your liking, i.e. to golden brownness. Butter swiftly. When the butter is melted, top with chocolate bits. The chocolate will melt as well.

Eat with coffee and coffee. More coffee. Coffee!

For birthday dinner, I made spinach salad and a Spanish tortilla.

Spinach salad is easy: wash spinach, dress, eat. Or, if you are John and I, don't dress and instead eat it with your fingers. In retrospect, I think I would serve the tortilla on top of spinach salad. That would be pretty great.

So, tortilla. I'd had tortillas occasionally for years and years, but had never made one. For some reason these have come up as dinner party food--once in college with a full Spanish dinner and once in grad school with 2 kinds of tortilla (chorizo; I think goat cheese?) and lots of stinky cheeses afterward. In both cases I recall copious red wine. I for one am shocked that tortilla requires a serious red wine. Shocked!

The problem here was that all the recipes I had were at home, so I had to go on memory. The main technique I remembered was to fry the potatoes in a lot of hot oil. I also remembered how to flip the thing, which was fortunate as all the pans had plastic handles and so couldn't finish under the broiler. With this in hand, I set out to make it all up.


several boiling potatoes
all the eggs we had left (3)
olive oil
I think half an onion
salt, pepper, cayenne

Slice the potatoes into thin slices, keeping the skin on for taste and structural integrity. You want a roughly equal proportion of potato to egg; two to four should be reasonable for 3 eggs.

Heat a big frying pan to medium-high. When hot, coat with several glugs of olive oil and set in the potatoes in one layer. You may (read: will probably) need to do this in batches if you're making a gigantic tortilla. Grind some salt and pepper over and leave to cook and goldenize on one side. It's important here to use a good amount of hot oil, so you can create a crust and seal in the potatoy goodness against future egg incursion. Start checking for crust after 5 or so minutes; when it looks good, flip the potatoes over and start goldenizing the other side. Try to avoid moving them too much, so your potatoes have a smaller chance of falling apart. Mine remained perfectly intact without too much effort, though, so I don't think it will be any big deal. Structural integrity!

When the potatoes are about 2/3 done, throw in some chopped onion and let soften. If you want to add other things requiring softening, now is the time. I could see a really excellent red pepper tortilla here.

When potatoes are actually done, beat the eggs with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Arrange potatoes in layers in your (slightly oiled, preferably nonstick) frying pan of choice. I actually switched from the big pan and used a little 2-quart soup pan, so 3 eggs' worth of tortilla could turn out nice and thick. Also, if you want to add in things like cheese chunks or precooked chorizo, now is the time. When you're ready, pour the eggs over the potato mixture. Tilt the pan to get egg in every cranny. Then cook it over medium to medium-high heat, shaking fairly frequently to loosen the bottom from the pan. Get a flexible spatula and run it around the edges of the pan, like you'd do with an omelet. You may be able to just shake the tortilla loose, but you may also need to use the spatula to help it along. When the whole business is loose, the bottom is turning golden, and the egg on the top has started to coagulate, it is time to flip your tortilla.

Get out a plate. Use the spatula to help slide the tortilla onto the plate in one piece. It will be fine. I managed to get mine out of a soup pot; a frying pan should be fine too. Now hold the plate in one hand and the pan in the other. Flip the pan directly on top of the tortilla, covering the entire thing. Ok. Now, holding the plate flat against the top of the pan, flip the entire thing over. Take off the plate. Look, a flipped tortilla! Well done.

Put the pan back on the heat to fully cook the top side of the tortilla. When that side is golden brown and clearly delicious, it is ready to eat. Slide the whole business out of the pan again, cut it into serving chunks, and pour yourself a big glass of red wine. Delicious birthday dinner!

19 October 2007

Continuing birthday week

We decided that since equipment was so limited, and we'd been very organized and only brought a handful of new recipes, it was fine to cut birthday week to a minimum and only make one new thing a day. It didn't have to be elaborate or anything. Of course, then we made bread.

Day 2: Raw thin-slice salads. We shaved long strips of carrot, cut apples as thin as possible with a set of astonishingly dull knives, and dressed each with lemon juice. This sounds too simple and boring, but it wasn't. They turned out astonishingly good. The apples were BC ambrosias, a kind I for one had never had, which were very crisp and tart and wet. The carrots were just ordinary carrots, but good ones. The whole effect of lemon was to make each salad completely juicy and point up the apple and carrot tastes. To go with them we had very highly sophisticated quesadillas with black beans from a can. Whee go cabin vacation food!

Day 3: Bread. Bread is totally easy, although it takes forever. But we had this big bag of flour left over from the gnocchi, and we wanted to use it.


Stick a packet (2 tbsp) yeast in a big mixing bowl with a spoonful of sugar or honey. Add a cup or so of warm water and wait. In a few minutes, the yeast will begin to bloom in the water: it'll start to foam and rise to the surface as it wakes up in the sugar and water. Wait until its activity has slowed down, and then add (for two loaves) another cup of water and about two cups of flour. At this point you just want enough flour to make the business easy to mix, i.e. enough that water isn't slopping all over the place. Also add a couple good big glugs of olive oil, a couple big spoonfuls of salt, and another spoonful or two of sugar or honey. The salt balance can be hard to get right in bread; ours turned out undersalt. We solved it later with sprinkled salt, melted cheese, and etc in that vein, but still.

So once the mix is stirrable, get out your big wooden spoon and start stirring your dough. Stir all in one direction to develop the gluten in long strands; if you switch direction you break the strands. Mix mix mix. The tenet is generally to give it 100 strokes, or to stir until your arm is good and tired. Then start adding more flour a handful or so at a time. Mix it in gradually until the dough forms a ball.

Now it's time to knead. Get a clean counter or big cutting board and dust it with flour. More flour is better than less, since you'll still be adding flour while kneading, and besides, you really want to avoid an entire blob of dough sticking to the counter. Flour your hands, whack the dough onto the board, and start kneading.

You can find a million descriptions of kneading technique online/in books. I generally fold the dough toward me and then rock back against it with the heel of my hands, putting my full body weight into the dough. Then I pull it back toward me and do it again and again and again, turning every several kneads and adding flour whenever things get sticky. Knead for about ten minutes, or until the mass of dough is springy and elastic. Then make it into a ball and give it a smack. It should feel about as solid as a smack on someone's butt. Most people say "a baby's butt", but any butt will do.

("I don't know what a baby's butt feels like!" It feels like a butt. You're welcome.)

Let the dough sit and relax while you wash out your bowl and dry it. Put in a glug of olive oil and spread it all over the inside of the bowl with your hands. Then put in your dough. Turn the dough so it has oil on all sides, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and leave it somewhere warm to rise. It'll take maybe an hour to double in size, so go do something else.

When things are appropriately risen, punch down the dough. Stick your fist straight into the middle of it. The dough should hiss and deflate a little. Take it out of the bowl and slap it back on the floured (but cleared of extra dough bits) counter. Now is the time to divide. How many loaves do you want? This will make two big or god knows how many tiny loaves of bread: you decide. Cut the dough into appropriate pieces with a pastry cutter or decent knife, then form each bit into whatever loaf shape you desire. I desire batards. Stick the formed loaves on cookie sheets, cover with towels, and leave to rise a second time. This time 45 minutes should do it.

When the loaves have mostly risen, preheat the oven to 450F or your preferred degree of bread hotness. Make sure it's totally preheated before you add the loaves--bread likes lots of heat. In the meantime, get a sharp knife and cut some diagonal slashes in the top of your loaf. You can also brush the top with water if you want an extra-crispy crust.

Put bread in oven. It will bake!

I have very little concept of timing for bread, considering I just made it the other day. I generally check after 30 minutes or so to see if the tops are starting to get brown and if I need to rotate the pan. The degree of goldenness will determine the rest of the time. Bread is done when a rap on the bottom sounds hollow.

Bread! We ate half a loaf almost immediately.

17 October 2007

I am thirty

We flew to Vancouver and took the car ferry to the island on the day before. This was plenty of travel for one day, so we stayed in Nanaimo overnight.

Eating in Nanaimo:

First of all, don't trust the maps. None of them are fully accurate. Wander around on foot downtown, however, and you will find things.

Dinner: the Thirsty Camel in Victoria Crescent. This is the Middle Eastern hole in the wall that you desperately miss after a couple days of meat-oriented catering. We ordered gigantic plates of falafel, poured water out of the communal pitcher, and sat around reading some of the anarchist lit on the bookshelf. Afterward we discovered that Canada remains more like Europe in that all the stores are closed by eight. This meant we went down the steps and looked longingly in the window of the clearly excellent used bookstore with thrifted chairs and etc, as opposed to going and sitting in said chairs and reading some books.

Birthday breakfast: Tina's Diner on Commercial. "Let's go drive around and see if we can find a diner! There's one!" There were two guys outside discussing the impact of electric cars. Inside there was the counter plus the row of vinyl booths mended with matching red duct tape that every self-respecting railway-car diner has. We ate and ate. My mini breakfast came with two pieces of really, really good bacon. I can't remember the last time I had bacon that actually incurred praise; usually it's gross and rubbery and flavorless. This stuff was so good. Bacon! The eggs and toast and butter and coffee were all good too. Diner breakfast!

Then we went into a nautical chart store and bought a gigantic bathymetric chart of the island and surrounding waters from a fully frocked priest.

Note how I took no pictures whatever here! Go me!

Then we got back in the car and drove to Ucluelet.

We mucked about gleefully in the rainforest on the way.

We went to the Queen Bee in Port Alberni and bought me some birthday yarn, so I can begin to fully exploit my sock fetish. Then we accidentally ended up having lunch instead of just coffee at the Swale Rock Cafe, which is not a cafe but a restaurant. John had some issues ordering anything vegetarian, and ended up with a gigantic fish-shaped platter of nachos. I had seafood chowder and a piece of the place's famous fisherman's bread, which turned out to be frybread with a side of raspberry jam. It was good frybread, but not at all what you want with soup: too heavy and oily.

Finally, we got to the cabin and inspected the kitchen.

Most of the equipment we needed was there. We had pots and pans and utensils and stove and spatula. We did not have any baking pans of any kind, or a blender. Well, the blender was not a surprise, but it would have been nice to make lots of pureed soups to eat with toast while looking out at the rain. Plus we had no means of making cake, or any oven device. On the other hand, it was interesting to be facing birthday week with a particular set of constrictions. I want soup! I will have it this week, yes I will.

Then we went grocery shopping and acquired.

Then John poured me a glass of some Chilean malbec and started making these sweet potato gnocchi. I was not allowed to help. No helping! Ok, I was slightly allowed to help, but mostly I got to sit around eating a caramilk bar and drinking said malbec. Dee dee base ten number system! Dee dee dee thirty!

Gnocchi are so, so, so easy. I am astonished it took me so long to notice this. They have the easiest dough on the planet. You cannot kill them since they a. have no gluten to overwork and b. don't require cold butter that's hard to maintain while kneading. No! They just have potatoes, flour, and melted butter/whatever from potato mashing.

We actually did use the microwave to bake the potatoes. Mostly this was because we had no oven pans, but also because the microwave could cook potatoes far, far faster than a standard oven. Oh my god! A use for the microwave! I can't remember the last time we used our microwave at home; it hasn't been plugged in since we moved to California. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and make sure to put them in a bowl or something: they will leak sugar syrup everywhere.

Then we squished out the potato flesh, mashed it with butter since we aren't vegan, and added a bunch of flour. We just followed the recipe proportions. Mix mix mix knead knead knead dough!

John rolled the dough into four long tubes, cut them into inch-long bits, and forked each one to give them grooves. He made an entire gigantic cutting board full of them.

Note: do not buy a glass cutting board; it dulls your knives at best.

Gnocchi need hardly any time to boil, so we made sauce before boiling them. We were going to make just a standard white sauce-based cheese sauce, but John had an idea: GARLIC cheese sauce! So he whacked the skin off a bunch of cloves of garlic and stuck them in a saucepan with butter to cook slowly. Garlic! Apparently this was inspired by something he saw Julia Child do, probably on YouTube.

Super butter garlic cream sauce!

whole milk
asiago/grating cheese

Get some butter melted in a nice whiskable pan. Smash the garlic with the flat of a knife, peel, and add to the butter. We used about eight cloves of garlic; this was an excellent plan. Cook slowly until garlic is soft. It may take a little while. I wasn't cooking, but I'll estimate it at twenty minutes.

When the garlic looks good, make a cream sauce on top of it. Melt more butter if necessary, add a couple spoonfuls of flour, and whisk it all together until the roux is lemon-yellow and foamy. Cook for a few minutes, still whisking, to burn off the flour taste. Then, when the roux has started to turn golden-brown, add your milk. You can use cream instead. You can use whatever. I am not vegan, obviously, but if you are I bet you're well versed in changing butter to earth balance and milk to soy. Do whatever you see fit.

Cook, whisking sufficiently, until the mix starts to thicken. Now is the time to add any grated cheese you might desire. Any parmesan/romano/asiago etc will work just fine. You can clearly experiment with whatever you have, though; I bet gruyere would work well. Grate it and add it a handful at a time, whisking to melt, until you have all the cheese you want.

Add some black pepper. You are done with sauce.

When the gnocchi are done boiling, drain them. Do NOT dump the pan into a colander; these dudes are too soft and delicate to stand up to that. Instead, lift them out with a slotted spoon. We used the colander method, which got the gnocchi a good step closer to tasty mush. It was still good, just less textured.

Plate, sauce, add extra cheese or pepper, and eat.

We had these with aforementioned malbec and spinach salads with chopped apples and pepper. Everything was very tasty. Then we went and got into the hot tub on the cabin porch. It was a pretty good birthday.

15 October 2007

First stage vacation equals wedding and family.

I am alive and in a location with internet access! Of course, Blogger does not seem to want to do pictures at this point in time. That is something for...THE FUTURE!

Vacation. First we went down to LA on a two hour delayed flight, battled traffic, made it to rehearsal brunch ahead of everyone even though the plane had been delayed, socialized copiously, had dinner with relatives, went to schmachelor party i.e. watching television and hanging out with my brothers, slept a lot, lay around waiting until it was time to dress up, and went to the wedding.

Things I ate:

Asparagus frittata, sauvignon blanc, and lots of different kinds of breads at Sage in Newport Beach.

Poached salmon with a horrifying dill sauce made with like two cups of mayonnaise plus chopped dill, roasted onions, beets, and mixed peppers, macaroni and cheese, giant green salad with blue cheese and chicken, and chocolate cheesecake with strawberries and grapes at my aunt Donna's house. I actually did make the roasted vegetables in this case, but they were so simple they're hardly worth talking about. Chop up peppers and zucchini and whatever, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, roast in oven. The end. This was in high contrast to the fuss about cooking everything else.

I had some hummus but none of the Chivas at the schmachelor party, which we didn't get to until practically eleven. Stupid driving! On the other hand we were pretty exhausted and broken already.

The next day we went to find lunch and came up with really terrible Mexican food that had practically been dipped in grease before serving. Ugh! I felt kind of sick. Newport Beach is clearly not the home of the cheap corner taqueria so much as the home of the schmancy fish platter overlooking the scenic harbor.

Wedding food: whitefish (no dill sauce; mango salsa instead), green salads, bowtie pasta with prosciutto, baby carrots, and rice pilaf. Lots of red wine, Ravenswood something or other. Toasting champagne in tall skinny glasses with no stems. Cake. It was even a pretty good cake, which is interesting considering wedding cake in general. We ate and drank and danced a lot. The pictures got progressively more blurry as the night went on. Afterward, we walked up the street to our hotel in slippy heels and fancy clothes.

Then the next day we got up and left for LAX by 5 am. This was a good idea, since by 5:30 the 405 was stop and go. CARS! I really like my daily bike commute.