Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Desperate Times

This is the store on Graham Avenue that sells grave markers and other monuments. It used to have a sign in the window saying "For 24 Hour Service Call Jerry 718-XXX-XXXX". Apparently the recession has spurred a side business: Fresh Baked Bread! No need for funeral baked meats or nothin!
I'm concerned that the "prosciutto" bread might go best with fava beans and a nice Chianti? [Also: The cartoon mouse in the lower-left corner appears to be barfing, but that is a sharpie'd word bubble that says "ASK FOR JERRY."]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hard To Believe

This was taken only two weeks ago; the past few mornings when I have taken them out the tulips are reaching out of the ground, and there are crows calling as well as starlings.

With a handful of exceptions, I have been outside with them every day since June 7th. I really feel as if somehow I've earned the spring.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Chana Masala. Feminism.

I've been trying to be better about planning meals for the week. We did a major Fairway run weekend before last and I purchased tons of dried beans in the bulk aisle, and my new plan is while I'm cooking Monday's meal, for example, to put beans on to soak for Tuesday or Wednesday. They taste better, less cans, cheaper, etc. I had forgotten to do this Sunday night and so Monday morning I asked Trey to put a big bunch of navy beans in water for me as well as two cups of chickpeas -- the navy beans got eaten in a delicious stew I made Monday that I christened "Everything In The World Good For You In One Fucking Pan" and that I didn't get around to photographing, so perhaps that recipe will some another time. Last night I had the chickpeas which had been soaking for a day and a half, and figured I'd make hummus for the week and then chana masala, since we'd had soups 4 days straight-ish.

I looked at several recipes, and realized that I wanted to incorporate the Madras Curry Paste that I had made a few weeks ago in order to make a spicy eggplant and black eyed pea dish that was mindblowing and now I can't find the link to it. Never in my life did I think I would be making my own curry paste, but it takes 5 minutes and it is out of this world. Especially since we had gotten the organic ginger from Fairway, which is, not to get all GOOP on you, a world away from any other ginger I've ever tasted.

Having an immersion blender is a revelation. The best thing about making the curry paste this way is the smell when the ingredients start to blend and the coriander and mustard seeds are being crushed, a blast of perfume hits your brain. I made extra so I can do more things with this later in the week.
I get really geeky about turmeric and its health benefits. I wish I could make the blog scratch-and-sniff.

While I was making the paste, I was cooking the chickpeas (it took about 1.5 hours, but that is no problem when you are eating artichoke paste on flatbreads and having a nice Primitivo! Also roasting garlic for the hummus I would be making, and prepping a medium onion and 5 cloves of garlic for the chana masala. I am blown away by how true it is that dry beans have a lot more personality than canned ones. The chickpeas were really tender and sweet, the best tasting ones yet, I think they benefited from extra soaking.

I added some olive oil to the big pan, let some cumin seeds toast in there, and then the fuse blew. FUCK! After that was resolved, and the pan heated up again, I sauteed one medium onion, diced, and some chopped garlic and sprinked with sea salt and let them soften. Once soft, I added a big wad of the curry paste (around a tablespoon and a half) and some tomato paste.

I let this cook some, and the realized it seemed that I'd need more liquid, so I added 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of the red wine I was drinking, also a teaspoon-ish of garam masala.

I decided it needed 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes and another big wad of curry paste. This did the trick, and then I added black pepper and two big handfuls of baby spinach. Awesome!

What else is going on? Who cares. It's cold, the dogs are great, Trey and I are fine, I have a job. I'm tired of ranting about things. Oh! except there is one thing that has been on my mind lately, and it is why in the hell women squirm away from 1) the term feminism and 2) are reluctant to identify themselves as feminists.

On a blog I read a lot, a Brooklyn mom blog, the author asked her readers to comment on what feminism meant to them. When I said that to me it was very simple -- the belief that men and women should have equal legal, political and social rights and dignity, and that each person has sovereignty over him or herself -- I was criticized for "sounding like a dictionary." Which made my blood boil, because, well, if you go to THE DICTIONARY that is WHAT FEMINISM MEANS. It's very simple. 2+2=4 simple.

The complicated part is the question, What in our day to day lives can be considered a "feminist" act or "anti-feminist" and this is what I think that this blogger was trying to explore, but the fact that there was uncertainty around what feminism itself WAS, was ringing proof that feminism remains hella necessary. You can discuss "is wearing makeup feminist? is it value neutral? is it oppressive" all day long, but that doesn't change what feminism as a principle IS, just as the fact that you can have four oranges or four mansions or four kittens or a four-chambered heart doesn't change the FOURness of 4. What makes me insane is that all the baloney and fear and weirdness around the term feminism, which should be as simple as "four", is an index of just how deeply, deeply ingrained misogyny is in our country. Just because you can have women in successful political positions, that women vote, that women can drive, blah blah blah, is not enough if to even SAY that you are a feminist is a source of any kind of frisson of weirdness or nascent shame. What the fuck? I mean, do you really not believe that you are equal to a man? Not in physical strength, not in having to join the Marines, not in having to slave away in an office, but as a HUMAN BEING, do you really not believe you are equal? Think about this! Really THINK about it.

Because once you do, you'll realize that there are two kinds of people in the world (men and women alike): Feminists, and assholes. It really is that simple, and that is why I think it is so scary to so many people, because we still, for all our freedoms, live in a world where Living While Female is a crime punishable by rape and death, and in an atomistic culture like ours that encourages these fantasies of exceptionalism, it's really sobering to have to admit that there is still a shitton of change that needs to happen. The Supreme Court, in Gonzales vs. Carhart, has decreed that I do not know what is best for my own body and life. Doctors are allowed to withhold medical care from me because of my sex. If doctors refused treatment to black people, there would be outrage. There is much less when the victim is a woman. Internalized misogyny is everywhere. It sucks, but it's better to stare it down, down, down.

I see this in lots of parenting blogs as well. The apotheosis of the internalized misogyny of mom-bloggery to me was in the title of that Salon column, "Mothers Who Think."
"Mothers Who Think."

As opposed to?

As opposed to all the other bovine mothers out there, placidly squeezing baby after baby out of their fuckholes, their sad MFA-less cunts? Who says that mothers aren't thinking about shit all the time? In fact, maybe lots of mothers are too busy thinking about all kinds of things to submit their writing to Salon? Why wasn't this shit called out immediately? "It's okay to be a mother, because I maintain my MASCULINE THINKING WRITING BRAIN ALSO, I'm not a MERE WOMAN." Why doesn't Salon have a column titled "Black Folks Who Don't Steal Shit"? It really is THAT offensive, but this shit is the water we swim in and we don't even notice anymore.

Are you a feminist? Yes. You. Are.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Ever since we adopted Sir Specialness, (who for blogging purposes I'll christen "Basil") I have walked him in the early morning before I go to work. Every couple of weeks Trey will take the morning walk, but 95% of the time I have been out the door with the dog at 6-ish a.m., rain, shine or snow. When we adopted Basil's sister Britta in October, the routine didn't change, but the sunrise certainly has. 6 a.m. in December is really damn different from 6 a.m. in July. Some mornings we would leave the house in that pre-dawn inkwash blue that I had always associated with desperately finishing a term paper, heading to the airport, or running out of blow. Now it's me and the dogs running across Meeker, Britta biting Basil's leash, singing the "crossing the street" song, which spontaneously emerged one day to the tune of Titannica's "Getting the Shaft Again":

Running across the street!
Running on all four fee-eeeeet
We're running! Running across the STREEEEEEEEEET!!

Some early mornings the park's black trees and indigo sky are out of a Kara Walker installation: this morning there was a full silvery moon and grey pink clouds. I keep hoping the sky will lighten earlier, but I also like the fact that the run is less crowded in the morning because of the cold. I love the dailiness of taking them out even though sometimes it makes me panicky, or they are stubborn [as in Sunday morning's adeventure: Pulling 120 Pounds of Excited Dogs Away From A Rat Carcass While Everyone Is Standing On A Fucking Sheet Of Ice! This year, spring will be the best spring ever, I'll get to watch its unfolding like Muybridge parsed the cantering horse.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I haven't gotten the "WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR PROTEEEEEIIIIINNNNNNNN" question for a long time, but am anticipating all the ignorant (well-intentioned and not-so) questions on this subject I'll get should I become pregnant in the near future. "I get my protein from the same place animals do -- Plants!! And not the rendering kind, source of much "protein concentrate" in livestock feed. Click on the link, gentle reader! Plants, people. Like, what elephants eat. The same elephants that go around killing people as revenge for culling, bad-ass strong elephants that will beat the shit out of you!"

Per most dietary guidelines, a pregnant woman needs 71 grams of protein a day. It's 1:30 pm and by my calculations, I'm up to 56 grams. Big bowl of Cheerios (2 cups, 6g total) with 2 cups soy milk (14g) and a massive bowl of lentil soup (2 cups of lentils have 36 grams of protein). A 4 oz serving of tempeh has 18-20 grams. Throw in some peanut butter and I'm way over the daily requirements. This doesn't even count the amount of protein that is in vegetables: Broccoli rabe has 17 grams of protein per bunch. This is both validating and reassuring.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Shot In The Arm

Happy New Year! I hope yours was nice, Gentle Reader. Mine was, in part because I got the Carolina range from Agent Provocateur on sale and started the New Year off nicely. I can't decide which is my favoriter new acquisition: this underwear or the immersion blender I got for Christmas. Can I tell you how fucking amazing an immersion blender is? NO MESS! INSTANT marinades and smoothies and things! It's like being a superhero and your power is point your finger and liquefy.

I had a nice time away with my family the week of Christmas, and the dogs loved it in particular, the SMELLS! The SOUNDS!! The RIVER!! I finally played Rock Band and yes, it was fun, but it also made me miss playing with my band. The band seems to be on some kind of hiatus and I am wondering what to do with myself now. I've found myself wishing that instead of learning to knit four years ago I had learned how to play the guitar. Then the house would be full of music instead of yarn.

(Insert expected bit of wondering aloud where this blog will go and if I even want to bother with it anymore, etc etc. Will it be about vegan cooking and small dailinesses? Ranting about politics is so fucking tiresome at this point, and now that Obama is going off the rails with this Warren bullshit and Vilsack nomination I have lost all interest, not that any of it comes as any surprise, but it is disappointing nonetheless. Can you be disappointed if you aren't surprised?) There is writing I want to do but I'm not sure if it is bloggable, or blog-appropriate, or if it would instead involve starting a whole other blog project and is that the best use of my time?

I am very grateful for my job, but know that after this I need to do something new and that has meaning for me. Here are the possible options:

Become a Pilates instructor. Become a schoolteacher. Ultimately get paid to write, using a new blog as a springboard (cue visions of working from home with baby and ultimate book deal blah blah blah). The RockRidge institute is no more, so I can't work for them. And beyond all these options is another, more secret plan. TOP SECRET!

Happy New Year again!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Latest Invention: Udon with Fiery Tempeh, Red Cabbage, Broccoli and Coconut Peanut Sauce

This is awesome. Here is how I made it:

Cube tempeh. Prepare marinade: 1/2 cup rice vinegar or wine, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup+ of sriracha hot sauce. Maybe a dash of cardamom and black pepper. Cover tempeh and bake in a baking dish covered with foil at 400 for 25 minutes, stir it some, cover and continue to bake for 20 minutes, uncover and let bake for 10 more or until sauce is mostly evaporated but not burned.

While tempeh cooks, prep veggies (shred red cabbage and lightly steam broccoli florets) and udon (cook it, drain, toss with a generous amount of sesame oil to prevent sticking.)

Make the peanut sauce too. Heat a little bot of water over low-medium heat, and add 1 cup of peanut butter, slowly so it will emulsify and get liquidy. Then gradually add about 3/4 can of coconut milk, more or less to taste. Using a whisk is good.

When the tempeh is done, remove from oven. In your big pan or wok sautee 4 cloves of minced the garlic in coconuut or peanut oil (could could add ginger as well, we were just out) for about 1 minute. Add the red cabbage until cooked, color is brighter, but still crisp -ish. Add the udon and tempeh chunks and mix thoroughly. Turn off the heat, and serve with broccoli florets on top and douse with a liberal scoop of peanut sauce.

A Random Dinner: Linguine with Garlic, Walnuts, Butternut Squash and Kale

This is a dish I invented about a month ago. I had never cooked butternut squash before, and one thing lead to another:

Sautee a ton of garlic and chopped walnuts in olive oil until toasty and softening

Add your roasted chunks of butternut squash

Add chopped kale and let it cook until wilted

Toss with linguine, add more oil if you like, salt and pepper

It is mindblowingly good!