Monday, March 24, 2014

what i'm reading :: pt 1

i have always been a reader of books. i have also always been a huge advocate of books on tape. and on top of that, i have a habit of re-reading books i love over and over and over. i would not hazard a guess at how many times i read esperanza rising in middle school. reading is just something that i do. i like to think that i am accepting of all types of people, but i have a hard time understanding people who just don't like to read recreationally. je ne comprends pas. but as they say, it takes all types. and i guess some of those types haven't read baudolino, to which i say...nothing, because people don't seem to like baudolino as much as, say, the name of the rose, in terms of umberto eco. but i digress.

this morning, i finished reading the secret history. i hadn't read a really good fiction book for a while (i've been on a non-fiction kick for the winter; i now have a weird amount of knowledge of the russian revolution and the hibernating habits of new england fauna) and thank god i decided to read this one because....right, THAT'S why fiction is so amazing!

next, i will be starting either alias grace (margaret atwood) or when we were orphans (kashuo ishiguro). i've read 2-3 other books by each of those authors, so i'm fairly familiar with their writing styles. i think i'll start the ishiguro first...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

me vs chester :: round 1

he's cute, but he's a bastard.

this guy is completely dedicated to getting into my bird feeder. his ingenuity is fairly impressive, but he is waging an unwinnable war against a girl and a cat who love birds, albeit for different reasons. 

he broke my original bird feeder, which admittedly was a cheap one. so yesterday I purchased a rather more sturdy model, and equipped it with a diy squirrel baffler:

(yes, it's march 20th, and yes, it snowed all night. New England.)

for now, I have the upper hand and River is being very vigilant. 

your move, Chester.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

would you like to meet my cat?

her name is River Song. yes, after the doctor who character. and she definitely lives up to her name. she's extremely spunky. 

here are a few facts about her:
1. she only eats food out of human dishes -- that is, bowls and cups. she's very specific. 
2. and she is a gravy lover.
3. she is a mix between a Maine coon and a feral barn cat. so she has a fair amount of personality (by which I mean she has a gigantic personality). 
4. she doesn't like cheese, but she does like skittles. 

she's the most amazing cat in the world.

mint + carrot

yesterday i made from-scratch carrot soup (I even made the stock! very proud.). the recipe was loosely based on the carrot soup from the original moosewood cookbook (which is an amazing book -- the gypsy soup is my favorite). I made a few changes though. i sautéed minced garlic and ginger together in quite a bit of butter, then added the onions later because I had cooked a big batch of onions earlier. I also left out the cashews, and I used only 1/2 cup of vegan sour cream at the end. I also added just a pinch cinnamon. 

as for the mojito...that came together rather serendipitously. I went to the grocery store early in the morning, and their fresh herbs were on sale. so, I bought an ounce of mint, then brought it home and made a simple syrup (1 pt water + 1 pt sugar + I pt chopped mint.). then I realized I had about one shot of white rum left and an unopened bottle of club soda. ta-da! I love making my own food. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


i like congee (rice porridge). it's warm, comforting, and tasty. i had my wisdom teeth taken out a few days ago so mushy food is something i'm into right now. i am trying to develop my own recipe for it and last night was the first test drive. i prepared it as follows:
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 
  • 2 cups water (because i ran out of vegetable broth)
  • about 1 tsp each of minced fresh ginger and garlic
i put all of this into my little yellow pot and let it come to a boil, then reduced to low heat, covered it, and let it sit until the broth/water was fully absorbed. this gave me 2 servings, which i stirred vigorously in a mostly unsuccessful attempt to further break down the rice. i topped the first bowl with sesame oil and sriracha, the other with tamari and sriracha (i like sriracha).

this wasn't super successful, but it was a good test drive. next time i buy rice i will buy jasmine or long-grain white rice, because i don't think i'm a really big fan of basmati. i will also use 4 cups of veg broth the next time i try this. another future endeavor will be to try making this in my crock pot...

how do you like to prepare congee? i know that every asian country has their own style, so i'm sure there are tons of different ways to prepare this.


p.s. i have a new friend living outside my window - an american red squirrel. i think he confused and hungry due to the dumping of snow we got yesternight. he is dedicated to getting into my bird feeders, but River is keeping him on his toes. i named him chester when i thought he was a chipmunk, and the name has stuck. he is very loud.