Monday, October 29, 2007

"There are starving kids in West Virginia."

Friday night I got home from work only to discover that my neighbor upstairs was throwing a Halloween party. Since she had told me that if I ever heard a party that I should feel free to come on up, I did. I arrived to discover an array of rums on display but not too many mixers. I returned with fresh mint, lime juice, and baker’s sugar. You know where this is going. Yep. Mojitos.

My head did not like me much on Saturday morning. And I had a hair appointment, or so I thought. It helps to check voicemail before leaving home. I was a few minutes from home when I heard my stylist's message. She was at the hospital because her son has an infection, possibly the new super-virus. (I know some of y’all are germophobes and do not need to hear this but for the rest of y’all, if you notice a suspicious looking cut or bump, get to the doctor’s quickly.) Normally I would have headed back home. But I needed food of certain type. But more about that later.

I was also in need of more dry cat food. So I chose to go to Pet Food Express because they were next to the restaurant from where I planned to get lunch. And now the explanation of the post title. I was talking to Marcia on the phone when I entered Pet Food Express. I began reading the names of the various flavors of canned food available. Her response? “You know there are starving children in West Virginia.” Uh huh.

New cat food flavors.

So I began “experimenting” on Boris and Natasha on Saturday night. Boris liked what Marcia dubbed as the “surf and turf” – chicken and lobster. Natasha took two or three bites and then walked away. On Sunday, I broke out the venison. Natasha sniffed and then left the kitchen. Boris sniffed and then gave me a questioning look. This happened several times. Finally I decided to change out the food on the plate. If Boris, who will normally eat just about anything that hits the plate, will not start eating something within a couple of minutes, it’s just not going to happen. I quickly replaced the venison with Tiki Cat’s ahi tuna on on rice with prawns. (The brand features wild-caught, human quality seafood. The prawns were little bay shrimp. Yes, they were recognizable in the food. And it indeed was all on a bed of rice.) Boris tore into it immediately. Natasha once more turned up her nose and walked off. Somehow she seems to prefer Friskies. I just don’t get it. Tonight tried out the organic turkey. Better response than the venison but not as enthusiastic as the other two. Duck tomorrow. The cool thing about Pet Food Express is that for every three cans you purchase, you get the fourth for free. And if I had bought more than one night's serving of these various flavors, I could return the ones that were not a hit. At least the new toys have been a hit; they haven't played with anything else since receiving the "mice."

Boris and Natasha checking out the new toys I picked up on Saturday.

Notice the white fluff around Boris. Yes, it is all over the carpet now. Silly me.

Enough about cats though. After the fun of shopping for cat food and , I headed across the parking lot to Everett and Jones -- except the location I go to is, of course, in Berkeley.

Two-way combo with links and ribs.

And Le Village beverages were on sale at Andronico's so I just had to try this one out.

While it was tasty, it was not quite satisfying. I realized on Sunday that what I had really wanted was a burger. I was trying to avoid the usual fast food spots so I headed over to Smokehouse. I haven’t been there since my aunt had her first surgery four years ago. (The hospital is nearby.) The main reason for choosing them over some of my other local burger choices is that they make a variety of shakes. I went with pineapple. I think that the next time I go there, I will try out the boysenberry.

Cheeseburger and fries.

My stomach and taste buds were quite happy. And I must remember to go back to Everett and Jones again soon. When my body really does want barbecue.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eleven hours

B&N are slowly adjusting to the idea of my working once more. Last night Natasha howled at the front door. She's normally not very vocal. I am guessing that she was demonstrating what she did while I was gone during the day. Because Natasha now gets up every morning when I do. This from a creature who would sleep until 9 a.m. or later when I was home all day. And tonight I double-parked while waiting for parking. Boris was already stationed in the window. I assume he said something to Natasha because she joined him shortly. Once I got a space, they quickly disappeared from the window so that they could greet me at the door. I still find the whole thing kind of strange.

So. Eleven hours. That's how many hours of unviewed shows were sitting on my DVR when I got home from work tonight. That would be at 6 p.m. because thankfully my commute is only one hour each way. Trust me. One hour is good. Years ago I had a commute of an hour and a half -- and that was only if there weren't any accidents or other mishaps on the road. My favorite mishap to this day is when a sewage truck dumped raw sewage on the freeway. Ewwww! By then, I was well aware of my alternate routes and so it only took me two hours to get to work.

And speaking of work. Yes, I am working as a temp. I like where I'm working. And more importantly, they seem to like me as well. The agency explained to me that this job had the potential of becoming a regular (Never use the word "permanent." Permanent implies a contract. And California is an at-will state.) position. After three days, I want to say, "Yes," but I think that I should give it some more time so that I can be sure. Of course, I am sure that even after some more time, I will have the same feeling.

Yesterday my mother asked me how I was sure that they liked me. I was told on my first day that the other temp had to go because she was a bit too "abrasive" at times. Apparently my valley girl voice isn't because my boss then stated that he didn't see that happening with me because already I sounded much more pleasant. Yesterday I think I discovered the definition of abrasive. I speak with the assistant for the president of the company on a daily basis. Yesterday she made it clear that she did not like the last temp. From what I've heard the woman acted in a way that was rather contrary. Tell her one thing and be assured that she would do the exact opposite. But I knew that I had already won folks over when the assistant asked me why I was temping. I explained to her that I was temping while looking for a regular position. She then said, "We have open positions here, including the job that you are doing currently. The other open position is as my assistant. I'm going to retire in three to four years. At that time, my assistant would take over my job. Do you have a resume? You should give it to me so that I can set up a meeting for you with the president." So yeah, I think they like me.

I wouldn't want that position though. The group for whom I work are pretty chill. Yes, they work hard but all that they expect from me is that I do what is required in a timely manner. So what if there is occasional downtime? Right now I have been spending it understanding the work and processes better. And trying to create systems so that we can all work more efficiently.

And so now I'm feeling OK because when I left tonight, they all said, "See you on Monday."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I'm up and dressed

Well, not quite dressed yet but I will be soon. I'm just trying to prolong the PJ time. Yes, I am usually up at this hour. Today is different because I now have a temp job. Yep, back to work.

I keep wondering how the cats are going to cope in my absence. I mean have been home for four months now. I think they have gotten used to my daily presence at this point.

The worst part is that it's a job that involves driving to reach it. Across the bridge. Because it's in one of those locations that isn't accessible by public transit. Damn it.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A little habit

I watch a great deal of TV. I have tried to live in denial of the fact but I do. I think it started when I was in high school. This is when I started sleeping four to six hours a night. Under the right conditions, the TV could lull me back to sleep.

I watch a lot of the network stuff. But I have this one secret pleasure. Sometimes I like to watch the History Channel. I like the stuff about groups of people. It started with a history of the Klan. I tried to turn away but I couldn't. This morning I was thrilled to find a program on the Hippies that will be followed by one on the Hell's Angels. The coolest part of the show on the Hippies was the end in which they discussed the movement's continuing effects on our world today. This included an interview with a guy who thought that it was important to get computers in the hands of the people in order to empower them -- or something like that. And another cool guy who wanted to get information into the hands of the people, or at least that's how they put it on the show. (By the way, I still miss the Whole Earth Access store.)

Sometimes I think to myself, "What strange viewing choices." But I've always been fascinated by what makes people tick. Perhaps it is not a mistake that I share my birthday with Alfred Kinsey. Whatever the reason, it is a welcome change from being sucked in by those movies on Lifetime. You know the ones.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pants on fire

Last week I told myself that it was time to start clearing the freezer as there was no room left in there. This was compounded by my mother's departure last week. I now understand why I have so many condiments. At least once a year, my mother leaves town and I get the contents of her fridge and freezer.

So it all started innocently. I was just going to get some avocados to go with the mahi-mahi I already had. (Oh, and m, couscous does go wonderfully with the fish.) And then a little voice told me that it would be OK to cruise past the seafood counter. Where there were shrimp on sale. So I just had to get some. But what to do with them? I wasn't quite in the mood for jambalaya. After a little searching, I came up with this.

Gingered shrimp with Asian noodles.

I'm not sure if I would go with the noodles again, but I loved the flavors of the shrimp. Also what you see on the platter is supposed to be two servings. Once more I must ask, "Who are these people?"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Problem solved

Y'all have heard me say many times how much I love where I live. Really I do. There's just this one problem. I have no terrace. That means that when I moved, I gave up gardening. I had a wonderful herb garden and a couple of dwarf citrus trees that were just starting to bear fruit. Oh, and the roses were wonderful as well. I have tried growing plants indoors but Natasha always consumes them. She is especially partial to roses in any form. Especially if she can snap off a bud and strut around with it hanging out of the side of her mouth like she's some kind of tango dancer or something. Really. So I gave up on plants but I miss them. And occasionally I say to myself... (Another reason why I need to be employed soon because I spend way too much time talking to myself these days. Which is worse? Talking to yourself or talking to your cats? Not that I talk to the cats.) I think I was going somewhere with this. Oh yeah. I start dreaming of moving but only so I could have some outdoor space for a garden. And maybe another room so that I acquire more stuff and really be the pack rat I was meant to be.

Then a couple of weeks ago, there was the impromptu party on the front stoop. Around the time that the wine ran out and we switched over to tequila, one of my neighbors suggested that we head up to the roof. I always forget about our wonderful roof access. It was cold and windy up there that night so we stayed out there five minutes tops and that's when I remembered why I always forget about the roof. In the past, I was rarely home during daylight hours. But those five minutes were educational. My neighbor has started container gardening on the roof.

My neighbor's gardening efforts.

And there's plenty more space up there. And my mother was just asking me last weekend what I wanted to do with all those pots and containers that were left on her patio since most of the stuff in them was dead and she had no intention of replacing them.

So as soon as I have a job, I'm going over there to claim my stuff (and before then, I'm claiming the vintage vinyl that has been calling to me) and I'm going to start gardening again. So may decisions to make. What to plant first? Needless to say, I've been applying for jobs like crazy because I suddenly have great inspiration. Forget about that need to pay rent and to buy food. And wanting to go and try more restaurants in the neighborhood. Nope. I want my garden again and I'm going to have it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Note: As you know, I usually like to write my posts at least a day in advance so that I can let them marinate. You know. Give myself some time to think about whether I want to post it. This is one of those kind of posts that made me debate about whether I was really meant to share it. Probably because I haven't written anything like this in a really long time. And there was a time when I did all the time. As you can see, I decided to throw caution to the wind.


I grew up watching too many movies and TV shows from the 50s and 60s. They often made references to fences of a certain type. But they didn't exist in my neighborhood. And so, whenever I passed this fence, I would think to myself, "One day I need to take a photo." Once I had the photo, a number of thoughts started to take over my mind so much so that I just knew that I had to write them down. Because it's been a long time since I've been flooded with thoughts in this way. I figured that the universe was trying to tell me something.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of white picket fences,
and that my mother would sign up to be room mother and would bake cookies and cupcakes,
and that my parents would give me a horse for my birthday,
or maybe a brother or sister,
and that maybe one day I wouldn't be picked last for kickball.

Then I got a little older and I dreamed of a car instead of a horse,
and while listening to Janis Ian, of the day in which others would beg for my company only so that I could turn them down,
and that I wouldn't have to turn up the TV to drown out the sounds of my parents fighting,
and that I wouldn't feel so alone.

Then I grew up and found out that often life does not work out the way that you hoped it would,
or at least that's what they told me,
and I chose to believe it,
so I stopped dreaming (and creating),
but then one day I realized that I felt like something inside of me had died.

So then I started to try to dream again.
It was slow at first after many years of not daring,
but then one day I woke up
and started to believe that anything was possible once more.

And so now I dream again,
knowing that there's still a chance one of those dreams could come true.
Maybe even picket fences.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Internal sunshine

To make up for last week's hideous video, I bring you this one. Hopefully this can get you through the rest of the week, especially for those of you who are working. Or in school. Because I sure need some internal sunshine as this is the third day in a row that it is raining in the morning. Not very conducive to motivating one to get out of bed.

Feist's "1234"

How could you not feel happy after watching this?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little food

Sunday I toured the Spice of Life Festival. One of the highlights, at least for me, was all the wonderful food. Wonderful food that had been cooked by other people.

Monday I awoke early but quickly returned to bed due to the temperature. I only have a gas wall heater. Oh, and there's no thermostat for it. That means that there are often some very cold times in my apartment in the fall and winter. So I found myself in bed waiting for things to warm up while watching Hugh Laurie on "Inside the Actor's Studio." And I thought about food.

On Sunday, Hilly asked about snacks. I don't really snack these days. Probably because when I do, I can't stop myself due to dissatisfaction. Now I find it's easier to pinpoint what it is that I actually want and then get it. Even if it means that I am absolutely starving by the time I make up my mind.

Now there are times when I have a number of conflicting thoughts as to food. Thankfully I subscribe to Gloria's idea of little food and so I started to make a list before setting out. I was afraid that I would get home only to discover that I had missed that one item that I really needed. Just to be sure, I pulled out all of my takeout menus and looked some up on the internet. The list started innocently enough but then began to grow.

Recently I have become obsessed with the samosas from the KP Deli on Shattuck.

But they don't have pakoras so that meant a stop at Khana Peena on Oxford.

And dessert! There had to be cardamom gelato from Naia.

Because Monday usually means carrot cake at Poulet. But this Monday it was apple rhubarb strawberry galette.

And then a stop at May Flower on University for pork buns and shrimp dumplings.

On a side note, one day I will have to make it over to an old childhood favorite, King Tsin on Solano, as I see that they too now serve dim sum all day.

And I've been entranced by the potato puffs from Gregoire since this summer.

It was supposed to end there but then I caught sight of the hamachi sashimi at Kirala 2 while waiting for my potato puffs.

Perhaps I am feeling just a wee bit hormonal. Doesn't matter though because now I'm just one happy camper. Why? Because I have leftovers of everything except for the sashimi and the galette.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The challenge

Jolene recently asked about a mac and cheese recipe. Now I love a good mac and cheese but it is something I have rarely tried to make. At best, mine has been mediocre. Because I've had some fantastic mac and cheese over the years. So after Jolene's question, I felt the need finally to master a decent mac and cheese. Besides, when I went into Trader Joe's last week, they were all out of mac and cheese in the frozen food section. (Thank you, Heather B., for introducing me to that yummy dish.)

I have found that mac and cheese recipes fall into two categories. The first has you layer the pasta with grated cheese and then pour a mixture of milk, eggs, and spices over it before baking. The second has you mix the pasta with a cheese sauce and then bake.

And then there's that one special person, my dad's cousin. When she makes mac and cheese for holidays, there are never any leftovers no matter how large the pan. Her secret? She layers the noodles with grated cheese and then pours a cheese sauce over it. Hers has all cheddar but I decided to play around with it. This might have something to do with the fact that I didn't think I had enough cheddar around for the attempt.

My mac and cheese.

I buttered the casserole and then dusted it with grated parmesan cheese. I then alternated the layers of pasta with a cheese mixture. The cheeses in the mix were medium cheddar and mozzarella, with a little dusting of parmesan on top. I then topped it off with a cheese sauce made with sharp cheddar and baked for 30 minutes or so.

Served up with leftover greens from my mom, eggplant, and rosemary chicken from Poulet.

The end result? Finally a homemade mac and cheese that I truly love. Thanks for the push, Jolene.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The kitchen is closed

Well, just temporarily. It seems that my freezer is overflowing as well as the fridge itself. I had all hopes of posting more food today but couldn't quite make it to the kitchen in the last 24 hours except for juice and reheating leftovers in the microwave. Why I barely made it out the door for my tutoring session yesterday. And the scary thing is that my motivation for leaving was not the cash but the idea of dropping my Netflix rentals in a mailbox that still had a pickup for the day. Because that's how pathetic my life has become. And speaking of pathetic ...

In the evening I often like to listen to music. I wear headphones so I don't disturb the neighbors too much. In days of old, this was my way of de-stressing. It allowed me to shut out the outside world completely and just roll around in my mind.

The danger is that I sometimes like to chair dance. And I own two cats. The number of injuries that I have suffered as a result are countless. Fortunately it is usually Boris who feels the need to play. (His claws are less painful than Natasha's. I swear Natasha is a relative of some sort because her claws are super strong like my nails. Guaranteed to draw large amounts of blood.) In recent months I have even toyed with the idea of starting a non-profit for the benefit of the victims of "cat love." (Yes, this idea came to me very late at night. The danger of being unemployed and single.) And so I leave you with this image.

Grooving to Crystal Waters.
"Gypsy Woman."

And the thought that I am trying to straighten out my life. Yes, for the most part I am fearless. But right now I am trying to figure out if I am ready to take one of the scariest leaps I could take. If I do, then I'll let you know about my landing.

Night and day

The following are the typical views around my home at night.

And then I was greeted by this first thing this morning when I turned on the TV.

Sorry but I just had to share the pain. What confuses me is that YouTube needed to verify that you are over 18 to see the video yet the same video is being played on MTV.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Me, at my very worst

Today I present to you a post that I wrote at the height of my recovery from oral surgery -- sometime around August 6 or 7...

Over in Snackie's World, I said that my worst sin was Lust. That was a lie. My greatest sin is Pride.

I like to deny it all the time but this past week has made it painfully clear. I would not leave home most of last week because of how I looked. Half of my face was puffed up and then I started to develop a black eye on that same side. When I finally ventured out on Friday, my mother laughed and said that she wished that she had her camera around. Hmmm. Perhaps this is part of the root why I do not like/trust women as friends. I have had too many women in my life who are ready to kick you when you are down.

So the swelling has disappeared almost completely. But the small area in which it still resides is very important. I may now be able to see my cheekbone again, but I still cannot smile. The muscles that control this on the right side of my face are still out of commission. This means that when I try to smile, only one side of my mouth goes up.

I am starting to feel like my paternal grandmother who suffered from a number of strokes. But I am only 41. And the thought of this being permanent is completely depressing. Because there's a little part of me that is starting to think that it won't get better.

And now the update --

So here I am almost two months later and I am still healing. My mother pointed out that there is still some slight swelling on my face. And that spot? Coincides with a muscle.

I know that I should call the oral surgeon. Because you know that tingling feeling that you get when your arm or foot "falls asleep?" Well, I have that feeling permanently in the right side of my face. Specifically in my lip and partially in my cheek. Basically, something's not right.

And I went to the optometrist again yesterday for the second follow-up. (I went in July and then again in August.) It seems that my eye pressure is on the high end of normal. And I have a family history of glaucoma. So the doctor wants to keep an eye on things, so to speak, because apparently the progress of the disease in African Americans and Latinos is much faster than everyone else. I know. My great grandmother's glaucoma went untreated. She was blind in two years. Of course, given a choice, I think that I'd rather lose my sight before I lost my hearing.

And this makes me think of my stepmother. They moved up her next MRI to Friday. She can't see well and she has lost at least 40% of her hearing. I don't know what the doctors think but I think there's something screwy going on in her brain. Which would make sense since the cancer still resides there.

Yesterday my dad presented me with a proposition -- come up to Sacramento for at least a couple of days a week to stay with my stepmother. He pointed out that we seemed to bond at the nail salon that other time. The problem is that she wants to get out and do things but can't drive. I talked to my mom. (She talked to my dad after I did.) She thinks that I should start going up there on Saturdays even if I get a job. Because she doesn't think that things are looking good and that my dad needs some support. Oh, and I forgot to mention. My dad would pay me for the days I spend there. Part of me feels guilty for taking money for that. But I've been saying for months that he needs to hire someone. So if he would pay a stranger, then why not me?

I don't know. I have an appointment today with the agency I used in the past. In the past, they found work for me within two weeks. We'll see.

In the meantime, my dad applauds all of the cooking I've been doing. Of course, there are the snide remarks about how he hasn't tasted the food. I think he's feeling like Lisa. He knows that cooking is one of those things that keeps me centered. It's like meditation for me. And so there will be more food at some point in this week.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

More low calorie cooking

That's a joke. Really.

Butter Chicken.

I had first heard about this dish while watching one of the many wedding shows on WE. And then I noticed a recipe for it in Curries Without Worries. I had decided then that the next chicken dish that I would cook would be that one.

It's made with chicken thighs. You remove the skin, cut a couple of slits in each piece, and marinate it overnight in whole milk yogurt with some salt.

When ready to cook, you melt a stick of butter and cook up some finely chopped onion. Then add ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne, and some pureed tomato. Then add the chicken with the marinade. Cook covered for 15 minutes or so, and then add some cardamom, some crushed cashews, and some half & half. Let simmer another 45 minutes. Yep. Really low in calories.

A quick trip out after cooking to the nearby Indian takeout place for naan and I had a complete meal. Well, I did in my mind. The Indian place was closed on Sunday.

The complete meal.

And I even took some over to my mom. Because she had already requested some zucchini bread. But by the time I got there, she wanted a meal. One could say that I'm psychic like that. And while she ate her food and proclaimed how good it was, we discussed the recipes.

And now I have a new addiction -- the Butter Chicken. I could have it for three meals a day and never tire of it. Speaking of which...

Monday, October 8, 2007

This has to stop

Saturday evening I had a discussion with my mother about food. She said, "You certainly have been doing quite a bit of cooking over the last couple of weeks. Why is it? Because you can't afford to go out?" If only it was that simple.

The cooking madness began when I thought that I was going to return to my old job. I remembered the crazy hours that I worked and how I ate a lot of crap. Ever since the cooking frenzy has started, I have noticed that my clothes fit a great deal better. I added that this might also have to do with the fact that I end up walking to the grocery store a few times a week. And then things didn't work out with the old job. And I was starting to tire of daytime TV. And my eyes can only stand reading for a certain number of hours each day. So how else could I fill my time?

Now I need to slow down. I am running out of room in the freezer. And I've gone through just about all the storage containers that I have. It's time to start enjoying the bounty. In a week or so.

Saturday I realized that I had some zucchini left over from my purchase for the patties. Even though the patties were great, they were too recent a memory. I wanted something different.

Zucchini bread.

Of course, this necessitated a trip to the store because somehow I had run out of flour. I am greatly concerned that I would let that happen.

And then I remembered that I needed to make the new batch of the Eggplant-Tomato Curry.

And while Friday's lamb was tasty, this got me to thinking. Because I knew that by Sunday, I would probably be ready to freeze any lamb that was left. (The roast had already made it into the freezer, along with the veggies.) So I added a few more items to the list for Saturday.

Sunday morning I thought that I was all set but nooooo. There was still the matter of the spinach in the fridge. It had originally been slated for a Mediterranean dish of Spinach with a Spicy Yogurt Sauce. But why not one of my favorite spinach dishes instead?

Saag paneer.

At first I thought that I would have to make the paneer, but then I remembered the nearby Andronico's. They had it in the cheese section for about the same price as all that milk would have cost me. I think next time that I'll use half of the amount of onion called for in the recipe as it almost seemed like more onion than spinach. And I think I finally understand the difference between saag and palak. If I am not mistaken, saag is chopped spinach while palak is pureed spinach.

Check in tomorrow for the rest of the meal. Yes, there's more.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Special trip

Earlier this week, I made a special trip to Berkeley Bowl. The purpose?

Fava beans.

I had come across a recipe in one of my Mediterranean cookbooks that called for fava beans. Actually, as the book was published in the UK, the recipe called for broad beans. A quick internet search and I had the American name for the item.

Lamb casserole with fava beans.

The lamb was cooked for a couple of hours with onion, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, and brandy. The recipe called for sherry but as I didn't have that on hand, I substituted the brandy. Then the fava beans were added, and finally, the parsley.

I am sure that this is something that I will make again in the future. The lamb was absolutely tender. And it makes me think of cold winter days -- that time of year during which I am likely to make soups and stews. And if only I had remembered to take a photo of the cats while it was all cooking. They kept looking wistfully at the stove top. But I'm mean and didn't share with them.

Friday, October 5, 2007

So much to say

Yesterday was a strange day. The job interview? Well the position sounded OK on paper. And then I went through the interview with the crazy bigot. And no, I am not exaggerating. I told my mother about the experience over dinner last night. Her reaction was that she would have walked out. After cursing out the crazy man. Oh, and the good interview earlier this week? They decided to go with the other candidate but would like to keep my resume on file. I'm starting to think that I'll never find a job. And yeah, I'm depressed.

When I returned home from my mother's, the neighbors were out on the front steps. After feeding the cats, I joined them. And then folks from the other floors showed up. Now it seems like a good portion of the building is down with throwing a Halloween party. Oh, and my neighbors so want to bitchslap the crazy old creep as well.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Change is around the corner...

or at least it is in my mind.

I am not a huge fan of sandwiches. There are exceptions -- the chicken salad at Poulet and the Cobb at Specialty's. (Actually just about anything at Specialty's is good. They bake their own bread.) Then again, I normally don't have roasts around. And so yesterday, I added one more task to my list of things to do around town. Like going to pick up a copy of The First Assistant (I read The Second Assistant on Tuesday.), dropping off shoes at the shoe repair, and getting a pedicure. There was a wait for the pedicure so I just headed down the street to Cheeseboard. Because if you're going to have a sandwich, it may as well be on freshly baked bread. And then I had my pedicure. Followed by a wonderful lunch.

Before the sandwich, check out this bread. Greek Shepherd Bread. I just wasn't sure if the mint would work with all the flavors in this bread.

The lamb sandwich.

It's based on this recipe but I added grilled red onions to it. And there was no hummus. And I didn't grill the bread because I still have some issues with biting into things. The bread? Rosemary and sea salt focaccia. And I reheated some of the zucchini patties to go with the sandwich. To give you an idea of how little I really eat, I was able to finish two of the patties and about half of the sandwich. Washed down with a Limonata.

I had thought of doing more cooking but then I entered a food coma. And while in the coma, I reveled over the fact that I could walk to a bookstore, a shoe repair, a nail salon and a bakery all within a matter of blocks. There's no way possible that I'm moving if I can help it.

Why all this urgency? Because suddenly folks are calling me. I had an interview on Monday and I have one scheduled for today. Funny thing. The two jobs for which I applied in the last month that were the most memorable are the two that wanted to interview me. The Monday folks had said that they would get back to me yesterday; I had figured that it would probably be more like the end of the week in my mind so I'm not completely stressed yet. Because it was a great interview. And I just know that I'll kick ass at the one today as well. And because I like to function on anxiety, I keep playing in my mind the scenario that I am offered both jobs. And then I tell myself that I need to relax and worry about it if and when it happens.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A late start

Monday's roast did not hit the oven until about 7:30 p.m. or so. And by then I was busy with phone calls so I did not get a chance to try out one of the other recipes I had found.

The highlight of Tuesday was heading to one of my favorite places, Berkeley Bowl, because it's a lot more sane there in the middle of the day on weekdays. Because I was on a quest for a certain ingredient. Not for what follows but something for later in the week.

My favorite foods are Indian, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese. One day I'll make an attempt at making Vietnamese but for now I'll content myself with going out. After doing Indian for a couple of weeks, it's obviously time to concentrate on the Mediterranean. By Mediterranean, I mean food from any of the countries that border upon the Mediterranean. And so today we have this dish.

Zucchini patties with yogurt.

At first I thought that I would have to make due with Russian yogurt but then I realized that I should probably be able to get Greek yogurt at Berkeley Bowl. They did, indeed, have it. But that wasn't my main reason for going there yesterday. You'll see later in the week, like I said before. Sheesh.

I did allow myself one impulse purchase though. Notice how everyone wants to get in on the act. As if I'd share with them.

And now? Well, I'm heading back to the kitchen. There's more food waiting for me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What was missing

While the Greek Festival on Saturday was great, there was something missing. Not that it was missing at the Festival, but missing in my stomach. Monday morning after posting about the Festival, it dawned on me. I hadn't had any lamb. And so lamb became my obsession for this week. And then there has been my recent obsession with eggplant.

And these days while I have all this time on my hands, I have been willing to try recipes that I otherwise would not. And so when I found this recipe yesterday, I knew I had to try it. In the past, I have only cooked lamb chops or ground lamb. I think it came out well though.

Straight from the oven.

There just may be more lamb later in the week.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weekend Fun

Let's start off with the quiz stuff. Fluffycat had previously mentioned the fun of OK Cupid. Not only is it free but there are loads of quizzes there.

You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(10% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Socialist (10e/80s)

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

The funny thing is that I had this boyfriend in college who used to call me the total Capitalist. My views haven't changed much since then. And the boyfriend? Jade never forgave me for dumping him. She called him "The Greek God." Probably because he had these classic features. But his family was really Russian Jew. If I had met him a year or two later, I probably would not have dumped him, but at the time he was 18 and I was 20.

For quite some time, I thought that I had made one of the biggest mistakes in my life. OK. I'll admit that I still occasionally think that. Because he was a gorgeous, intelligent, caring man who thought the world of me. And I just couldn't appreciate it. I should have met him post-therapy. Regardless, I still have the memory of him to let me know what I really deserve in the land of dating.

We stayed friends and his junior year abroad, he met the real love of his life. (Well, that's what I thought the last time I saw them.) When I finally met her, she knew who I was. And I actually liked her. That was when I decided that if I actually liked an ex as a friend that I would keep him in my life. As Patsy would say, she's got him. But I still have the sweater that was originally his dad's that he gave to me as a birthday gift.

And funny thing that I mentioned Greek before. Because Saturday I headed over to the Greek Festival in San Francisco with Buzzgirl.

There was great food...

Pilaf, pastito, and spanakopita. Somehow the Kalamata olives didn't make it into the photo.

And music and dancing.

It's hard to tell but the guy is holding the furniture in his mouth. I want to know about his dental plan.

My first attempt at posting video.

In the food category, there was also the moussaka that Buzzgirl had. I wouldn't order it because after the last week, I was in a near overdose. And then there was dessert. I had consumed all of the galaktoboureko before I realized that I had not taken a single photo of it. I bonded with some of the members of the parish (Yes, they were male.) over cigarettes prior to dessert. When I mentioned that galaktoboureko was one of my favorites, the first guy who I met approved of my selection. Obviously I need to make it again so that y'all can see the wonder of that particular dessert. Oh, and they were such nice folks that I think I might have to go back for their crab feed in January.

I keep thinking that I should do so more cooking but I'm currently at a loss. Nothing seems to call my name currently. So until I get inspired again, I'm working my way through some of the stuff in the freezer. Take that back. I think I just found the inspiration. Check back later this week.