Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Food Notes:

I made Rachael's Buffalo Chicken Salad for dinner last night. It was really quick and easy and very tasty. This is definitely a repeat recipe, although next time we'll each assemble our own salad so that Jeff doesn't have to pick every piece of celery out of his while we're eating. The chicken was very spicy; I have a fairly high tolerance for hot foods, and my tongue was sweating halfway through the meal.

Sunday we roasted a small leg of lamb and served it with mint jelly, roasted potatoes, and steamed asparagus with the (leftover frozen and thawed) layer cake with lots of fresh strawberries. There's a reason this is a holiday meal; it was amazing, despite the fact that I forgot to pick up the preordered lamb at the butcher and we had to make do with the (presumably much cheaper) Safeway variety. Stuff with enough garlic slivers and follow Joy's instructions and you can't go too wrong.

Tonight: Sorrentino tofu satay, mmm....

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

"Why Cyclists [Should] Wear Black Shorts"

Funniest thing I've seen in a while. Thanks, Krisalis!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Happy Non-Denominational Spring Holiday

Our local upscale grocery market is advertising Kurobuta ham for your "special holiday meal." You know, just in case you want to serve it for your Passover Seder.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fun Food for a Friday Night

On Friday nights, we usually either go out for pub food or stay in with pizza. Last night was definitely a stay in night, but since we'd had pizza the last two Fridays in a row (ordered in one time, doctored up grocery store the week before), I wanted to make something fun. I was lacking inspiration until Food 911 saved the day. Tyler was making tiki bar treats with the king of the Mai Tai, and those honey soy chicken wings and wild mushroom spring rolls were just what I was looking for. The wings turned out well, but a little lacking in zip, perhaps because I got a late start and they only sat in the marinade for an hour. I'm excited, however, to use the same technique of cooking in butter and oil and adding hot sauce instead of honey to make Buffalo-style wings sometime soon. I couldn't find spring roll wrappers in the grocery store, but wonton wrappers filled in nicely with the wild mushroom filling. They turned out great, and the smaller wonton size was fun for snacking. The filling was fantastic: flavorful, with the mushrooms providing a great hearty texture. We only used half of the already halved recipe last night, so I just froze the remaining uncooked wontons to be boiled as soup next go around. I'm also looking forward to using wonton wrappers in the future for ravioli. We just drank beer and cider with our Polynesian treats, but these pupus would make for great party fare along with fruity, umbrella-topped cocktails (like the Mai Tai's featured on the show).

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Trail Note

So, I've had the time to run more recently, but have had a hard time getting up the motivation. Not working has made me a little more laid back about everything, and I find that being in the house all day makes it easier to visit the fridge rather than put on the running gear when I have time on my hands.

Last week, there were two specific times when I had to visit all my favorite running blogs (see sidebar) just to get the energy to get out for a run. Neither run was the long run that I should have done, but I did lace up the shoes and get out there.

Yesterday it was easier, and I ran the 7 mile loop that I'd been intending to run for a week. It didn't hurt that it was sunny outside. I also dressed in running clothes first thing, rather than shower and tell myself that I'd run when it was warmer outside and I was looser later in the day.

I've also been doing more cycling as the weather improves. I know that this is good for overall fitness (there is no better hill workout than biking home up my 13% grade street), but it makes it harder to get running mileage in. If I'm to start my marathon training right, I should start approaching the 30 miles a week that I should be at next month - the 6 month from race point. I also need to get serious about my diet. I'd like to lose 15 pounds in the next 4 months to feel like I have a chance at running a 3:40 (Boston qualifying) marathon.
Seattle Scenes

There's something about spending time with those who knew you when is how it makes you feel like you felt back when.

And when they're good friends, it's in a good way.

Related note: please check out Carbon Leaf: great band, very talented (very cute lead singer) with an uber cool manager.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Food Notes

As lovers of food and tradition, Jeff and I had corned beef and cabbage on St. Patricks Day, along with Irish soda bread and Guiness. We discussed how funny it is when people talk about how their corned beef and cabbage might be good, but could never compare to Mom's. I've eaten corned beef and cabbage at least once a year every since I can remember, and can never remember one meal that was any better or any worse than any other. Ever. Anyway, last year we got our beef from the butcher and I was persuaded to buy way more that I needed. I therefore got creative with leftovers and discovered the Reuben-inspired quesadilla. This is a whole wheat tortilla filled with Swiss cheese, saurcraut, dressing (ketchup and relish mix, sans mayo), corned beef, and caraway seeds. This year I bought a normal portion of beef at Safeway, and barely had enough to make one quesadilla. We ate it today, however, and it was fantastic. Worth, perhaps, buying an extra corned beef that might be on sale this week.

I haven't been able to shake the memory of that white cake with buttercream frosting that I got from Larry's a couple of weeks ago. It seemed a little over the top to order a cake just for me, and I had a little time and creative energy on my hands, so I decided to bake one. I used to bake a lot in my teens and twenties, and have made bread, cookies, pies, pound cakes, coffee cakes, sweet rolls, and more from scratch. I have never, however, baked a layer cake without using a mix, and as an avid watcher of the Food Network, I know that I need to control the ingredients I use in my cooking if I care about my family and friends. (I think I heard that twice this week, once from Rachel Ray as she made mac 'n cheese and once from Tyler Florence as he made cupcakes).

Buttercream was essential, as that was one of the things I enjoyed the most in my Larry's cake. Through my recipe searches, however, I found out that making buttercream is not a simple mix of butter and sugar, but rather a complex process akin to making candy. So I searched until I found a recipe that did not involve thermometers and decided upon white chocolate cake with honey buttercream. The recipe wasn't too hard, although I was a bit appalled at the quantities of eggs, butter, and sugar required. The cakes came out beautifully golden and fragrant, and the buttercream was rich and creamy and plentiful. No worries about a skimpily frosted cake here. The end result, however, was a bit disappointing. The cake wasn't moist. It wasn't dry, and wasn't overcooked, but it was more like angel food like in texture than the moist puddin' in the mix-like texture I would have liked, most likely due to the quantity of egg whites. The flavor was lovely, but if the white chocolate was only contributing to flavor and not making a rich, moist cake, then I'd rather save the trans-fatty acids for something decadent. The buttercream was very tasty, but there was too much of it. And having made it, I couldn't lie to myself about how much butter and sugar was really on my plate. I ate a second slice today covered with macerated fresh strawberries, and that is what is going to save those leftovers. The strawberries cut the sweetness of the buttercream, and the juices moisten the cake up nicely. I'm freezing 3 quarters of the cake, one of which will be the perfect Easter dessert, with lots and lots of fresh berries, of course.

Final food note: we had fresh river caught king salmon last night and it was amazing. Spendy, but with Jeff's tasty rub and perfect grilling, omega threes never tasted as good. (Except, perhaps, for last summer's Coho. Mmm.....)
And my heartrate returns to normal

My bracket is broken and bloody, but whose isn't after this crazy weekend of basketball upsets. This is what March Madness is all about! (I can find the upsets fun as long as Duke isn't one of the teams upset.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Rebellion or small minded pettiness?

The Seattle PI today ran a piece (from the NY Times) titled "Small acts of rebellion abound to fight irritations of daily life." It tried comparing asking Domino's pizza for a small size while knowing there is no small size to a labor union sponsored work slowdown. I'm sorry, but by harassing the person taking your pizza order, you're just annoying a poor schmuck trying to earn some cash (minimum wage, I'd guess). You're not registering your complaint with the people who made the policy, you're just spreading your discontent / bad karma. I think the piece was trying to be light and clever, but I just found it small minded and silly. And folks who are still annoyed by "tall lattes" rather than small or medium coffees need to just get over it and make their own coffee.

Hypocrite alert: the few times I've been to Pete's where they do label their espresso drinks small, medium, and large, I've been very tempted to order a tall. After all, tall means 12 oz, and that's what I want.

I guess we all have our own ways of getting through the day.

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's Madness I Tell You!!

If anyone will be in the Seattle area this Friday and wants to do nothing but eat, drink, and watch basketball, let me know; I'm organizing a venue.

And just because I may be a Husky soon doesn't mean that I don't think UW is overrated. You can take the girl out of the southeast, but you can't take the ACC out of the girl.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Dealing with Unemployment with Shopping and Sugar

The career counselors that were with us at work the last few months warned that you should be very disciplined your first week at home. During this time you establish habits that will carry you through your job search, so you need to set good ones.

I had the best intentions. I set up meetings, lunch dates, and task lists. I went to all of my meetings, enjoyed my lunch plans, and got a lot done on my to do list. I also ate more sugar than I've eaten in years, and shopped. I've discovered that Gilmore Girls reruns show at 11 every morning, and if I watch MTV long enough, I'll catch an episode of the Real World that I haven't seen before. So much for setting good habits the first week.

Notable sugar discoveries

  • Larry's cakes: moist white cake with lemon filling and real buttercream frosting: the epitome of cakes, mmmmm..
  • Girl Scout "All Abouts" cookies. I'd have never bought these myself, so was surprised to find how wonderful they are. Lightly sweet shortbread dipped in chocolate, they are perfect with coffee.

I'd forgotten how very addictive sugar is. Must. Stop. Eating. Cake.

Notable purchases:

The good thing about my purchases is that they will encourage me to run and bike more. Next up, the piano.

Oh, and I've gotten news this week about my acceptance to 2 of 3 schools. UW, here I come!

Saturday, March 12, 2005

While I'm posting pictures...

Jeff and I went to Deception Pass last weekend and hiked around a bit. We live in the most amazing place. In 90 minutes we go from city to a place like this.
Welcome to the family, George!

He has a cold, so isn't too comfortable right now, and Eowyn is not at all pleased with her new housemate, but I think in a few weeks they'll be happy to be playmates.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A Ride With a Reason

Over the weekend of April 16 and 17, Kristen will be cycling 180 miles between Houston and Austin as part of the MS 150 ride to raise support to fight multiple sclerosis (MS). You can support her and the cause by heading over here.

I have an amazing friend fighting MS. She's one of the coolest, smartest, warmest, bravest people I know, and hopefully new treatments will help her stay healthy until we're both very old ladies.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Interesting ways to earn a buck

Monster, Yahoo, and Craig's List not doing it for you? Want to try something a little different for your next full or part time gig? There's a new job site in town.

From the Sunday Seattle Times.

Friday, March 04, 2005

January 10, 2000 - March 4, 2005

Capital One, it was a good run. Thanks for the memories, the experiences, and the severence checks.

Now, on to Phase C.