green things


>Poppy-seeded Bloomer: it took all day to rise, with several serious kneading times in between, and so heavy the Kitchenaid couldn’t deal with it – both knuckles and wrists got a good workout from the kneading. To me, it tasted like a crusty French loaf, but John thought it was more flavorful, and denser.

New orchid buds! I’m relieved. The only other one that made the transplant from Chicago to Oklahoma City (I lost 2 out of 4 immediately) is nearly a goner, but at least one is still happy.

And our little tiger is very sleepy, here.

Oh, he sees me. But it’s too much work for him to get up.



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>Egads, I overseasoned the kale. I think it was the normal sodium chicken broth, combined with too much sea salt. I was embarrassed, but oh well. Lesson learned. It was still tasty, with the paprika and garlic.

Malia has always been savvy with her seasonings, which wore off on me over the years of living with her at 1350 N. Kedzie (pre-John, naturally). We went from…okay, my cooking went from a terrific amounts of butter and parmesan and cream (organic, if possible) to chicken broth (from happy chickens!) and olive oil and whole grains (still organic) to eventually no carbs (salad! which I once hated), but still a healthy dose of flavor, although occasionally, like last night’s kale, I lean on the too-much side. I’d rather err on that than too little.

In those early days right after I’d moved in, Malia and I would go to the German/Puerto Ricanville bakery (Roeser’s? I’m forgetting names already, which saddens me) right at the ghetto central of North & Kedzie and buy baguettes. We’d then pile it with low-fat (why did we bother?) salami and thick wedges of butter and sit at the butcher block in the non-air-conditioned apartment and eat it all. That was just in the afternoon. And then Charlie would start creating some stupendous meal (maybe an elaborate pasta and unusual salad, or a nut-crusted fish with fennel and roasted root vegetables), and I’d throw booze in the shaker – a staple, like vodka, combined with a splash of organic mango juice or acai nectar, raspberry or cranberry liqueor, lime vodka, and maybe whatever unusual we had that was on sale from Sam’s, like passion fruit vodka. Malia would drag Kitty around on the rug, and then we’d sit on the kitchen stools and drink and talk for hours while Charlie cooked. Eventually, we’d eat and watch whatever Netflix we were on then (Charlie’s subscription, so it was either a Marilyn Monroe movie or a season of 6 Feet Under), then force Malia to make us her chocolate chip cookies. This was a year or so before Malia discovered chocolate martinis, which opened a wealth of new mixing opportunities. Then both of us, and soon Daniel, discovered dirty martinis with stuffed bleu cheese olives (and Daniel and I would eat all the bleu cheese with our fingers when Malia wasn’t looking).

In honor of those days, which I miss dearly, I’ve taken the liberty of stealing these two pictures from Malia’s facebook. The above shows our beautiful booze collection (which grew when we discovered Binny’s Beverage Depot) and Charlie playing his accordian for the Wheaton party. In the second, Malia and I have obviously been consuming too many of my concoctions. It’s probably a good thing life drew us apart, so Hubert & Nancy didn’t have to roll us out of that apartment.

>I forgot to write about my amazing sausage gravy from yesterday morning. John and I had had a little argument a few days ago about whether or not he liked poblano peppers – he wasn’t certain (because he does not like green chiles, to my great sadness) – and I was determined to convince him that he did, since I remember Mom’s chile rellenos fondly and have been longing for them for some time.

So I ordered John out of the kitchen, diced the poblano, sauteed the hell out of it, blended it with cream (it was the last day of unhealthy eating so I had to use the rest of the heavy cream) until it was a nice green mush, then put it with sausage (at least I bought the ‘lite’ sausage), lots of sage, more cream, butter, and flour. It was as lovely as it sounds. We had it over the malformed buchty from the other day, which had kept quite well, eggs on the side. John ate all of it (all of his portion – I wasn’t giving up mine) and liked it. When I confessed to the poblano, he said he knew from the first bite, but that he wasn’t going to say he knew. And he liked the dish.

I think I’ll keep him.

I read more today in Jonathan Strahan’s Eclipse 3, which is the best SFF anthology I’ve read since John Joseph Adam’s Living Dead, in my opinion. The stories are brilliant, 4 out of the first 5 leaving me stunned after reading, eyes glazed over, world reduced to the thump of my heartbeat in my ears. Sounds dramatic, but that’s what happens. That’s why I wanted to be an amazing singer, why Malia and I would sit and listen to art songs for hours at Wheaton, and obsessively collect random repertoire that nobody but Anne Sophie von Otter would touch, probably dug up out of some dusty archive in a Scandinavian country. But that’s what the music did to us. That’s why I’ve wanted to be an amazing writer for years now, to have my words have that effect on the reader. It can happen with books, but more often with short stories since they’re easier to digest, unless you’re a voracious reader like me.

Today, it was Elizabeth Bear’s “Swell,” in this same anthology. She did for the mermaid what I wanted my own “Skinned” to do for selkies. But she was successful in a way I don’t feel I was, but might have been had I a. known better, b. taken more time, c. resolved to find a paying market, which would have meant more revisions, d. fill in the blank. The good thing is that now I see what I can do with “Fish out of Water.” I’m suddenly glad it’s been rejected so many times, because it needs more depth, meat, color, far more than it already has – and now I’m capable of doing that, whereas last year, I wouldn’t have been.

And then my mind churns over “Braeberry Street “- what if I made that a novelette? It’s already long enough, but to extend the horror of the deaths, the infections, the losses…it could work. It’s like working on that one Mozart aria that fits you so well, but you never really nail it until four years after you’ve been auditioning with it, or taken it from teacher to teacher. Maybe you grew into it, or it grew into you, or you grew together until you become something different altogether.

Singing and writing are eerily similar. I usually react first when it comes to writing (okay, fine, when it comes to anything), instead of processing the whys and hows of it all. But when I find the corresponding situation from my life as a singer, it suddenly makes sense. It’s all about the words, anyway. I get words.

This revelation calls for a good round of kale tonight. John likes swiss chard better, but the kale was crisp and happy and $1.09.

>Very ripe smell this morning, although fewer bubbles. But I had to breathe through my nose, and I consider that success. According to the blog where I’ve stumbled upon this fascinating process, http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/, the gooey mess should begin doubling tomorrow? We’ll see. We’ll even see tonight, when I open the lid again. Tonight I’m taking pictures.

In the meantime, Kali invited John & I over for dinner on Saturday night, which means…cake! Can I tackle the peppermint meringue cake? Should I? No more tears over meringue, I’ve decided. 2 times this year is enough. Those damn meringue cookies. I WILL conquer you. I will destroy you! By eating you, or at least feeding you to John. Oh, and so if I get to make this peppermint chocolate-y deliciousness, then perhaps I can make him something lemon for our OKC anniversary. When I asked him last night, his first thoughts were lemon cream pie, but he does love meringue. Is it too much meringue for one weekend? When I’ve failed in all other meringue aspects? We shall see. Oh, and bread this weekend, too. Hopefully the sourdough.

Here’s the cake. Mine won’t look like this, I can guarantee. But it MAY be as tasty.

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