This is little enough and tenuous. But there is a much more direct way this blog can make your life better. You should MAKE THESE PANCAKES. They are that good. They are a sure thing. If you make them, your life will be better than if you do not make them. Three people have tried them since I first mentioned them, and reported fantastic results. I want you to have fantastic pancakes. But I can't force you. I can only invite you over to eat them, and plead with you on this blog. Please. Invite a couple people over. Make the batter the night before. Eat oatmeal pancakes together, for extra goodness in 2010.
I may have hit on the best form of hosting people ever. Pancake breakfasts, man. Worked like a charm. I'm going to do this regularly. It was so easy.
Invited lots of friends over for pancakes anytime on Sunday morning.
Made up two kinds of pancake batter last night.
Made a tofu scramble this morning.
Friends came through, ate pancakes, chatted and left. The table was always full and I actually got to talk to people.
Man, I think this is a winner. It would be super expandable, and it was easy. I'm thinking Second Sundays, or at least the Sunday after Second Saturday every month (because Second Saturday is a huge monthly street fair here). I'm pretty jazzed for pancakes right now: oatmeal, buckwheat, corn-blueberry, sweet potato or squash... I'll always make a protein, too, so that I don't interrupt the meal by gnawing someone's arm off. My friends are gracious and polite, but I still don't want to be tacky.
Anyway, if I have ever done or said anything that gives me any credibility with you, if you trust me at all, you must make these Oatmeal Pancakes. They will make you happy.
Ooo hon. I hope your new house is all exciting for you guys. I remember wandering into this place the first day, surprised and thrilled that it was mine, and wanting to do a million big projects. I think you will very much like living in town. I really enjoy that the show parades by my front door. I am a big fan of mildly surreal interactions and being in town definitely helps for that.
I wish I had interesting things to tell you, but honestly, all I think about is food. Doing this much powerlifting is definitely in charge of my appetite. I'm so hungry and want protein so much. One week I skipped the protein drink in the morning for two days and I was ravenous. I could not eat enough food. There wasn't that much food in the world. I'd finish eating something and start prepping the next dish. I finally realized and drank my shot of protein. Like magic I was back to normal, happy with three large meals and two snacks. I am starting to choose glasses of milk, which isn't my normal taste. I have dropped another clothing size, look noticeably more compact, but my weight is rock steady and has been for three months. Not a pound up or down. I'd actually like to lose six pounds to be at the top of the next weight class down, but I cannot imagine eating less.
Keeping cooked beans and grains in the fridge is still working pretty well. I need to make smaller batches of each though. I'm getting bored by the end. What I've noticed recently is how much I want sharp flavors. Pickles, olives, cranberries, feta, salsa. Anything sharp and strong. I usually like that stuff fine, but I've been especially craving them for a few weeks.
This, hon, is my state of mind, and not a very interesting one. Chris is back from his trip east and lives with me one more week before he moves into his own house. Anand has a new ladyfriend. I was making eyes with an inappropriately young weightlifter at the gym (not my lifting partner), but that seems to have mellowed. My garden is dormant. We lost two chicks, but the rest are fine and starting to look adult. I'm worried about the drought for next year. I didn't especially love listening to Twelfth Night --too much sitcom humor at someone's expense. That's all I got. Perhaps you will have interesting stories to tell, of treasure trunks in a secret room in your attic, or scandalous neighbors, or picking which bar to frequent. I'll be waiting to hear, and eating.
It has been pretty quiet around here, mostly just moving in and setting up my house. I am so relieved to be home. I still think it is pretty every time I walk in the door. I love being able to play loud music again. I can't wait to have people over again. My cat and I are at ease again; she has escaped overamorous two-year-old worshippers.
I am very slowly unpacking. I had high ambitions for this return to my house. I will choose every single thing that remains in my house when I'm done. Nothing will be left over from a previous life, a default or compromise, an unwanted gift or clutter. I like it a lot or it goes. I threw out a lot of stuff when I moved out and I'll throw out even more now. I emptied the attic, brought everything I've stored up there for ten years down to the first back porch. Every day I empty a box or three.
Still, it is hard. Last night a small box had all my tkd gear, a bridesmaid dress and a chador. Throw out my tkd gear? I’ll never use it again. But I earned those belts and not everyone was allowed to wear the uniforms with the Cal insignia. The bridesmaid's dress? Well, it is too big now, but it might be great for a guy friend in drag or Burning Man or as yards and yards of pink satiny fabric. The chador? Well, when we had the Iranian stepfather we did get visas to travel there. I still want to. Why buy another chador when I have a perfectly fine one? One luxury of having a house is that you can conveniently hold on to stuff. I kept that box. But it was close.
Anyway, the key to this slow settling in and choosing is that I don't have internets at home. I knew full well that if I came home and checked my email, I'd go to bed hours later without having cracked open some dusty box. Instead I empty a box, go to workout, cook dinner and am usually too tired to face the stack of boxes again. I read something trashy and go to sleep at 9:30. The internet costs me chore productivity for sure, but I am entirely certain that the overwhelming trade-off of home internet is sleep. At least in the winter, when it is so dark for so long, having home internet costs me about two and a half hours of sleep a night. You know what feels really great? Reading trashy fiction every night and getting nine hours of sleep.
I have one little project and one big concern for moving back home. My project is to cook a batch of beans every week*. A little bit because I need protein for my stupendous muscles and lots because beans are so tasty and useful. If you have cooked beans in a yummy sauce, you can eat them with rice or you can put a spoonful over scrambled eggs or you can wrap them into a burrito or add them into a soup or serve them with greens or on toast. They make a lot of meals better. It feels all Depression-thrifty and winter-comfort-like. So that's my little project.
My big concern is that it is too easy for me to be alone in my house in my routine. I ride home in the dark and enter my dark house and I don’t turn on the heat if it is just me. I cook for me and read in the quiet and go to bed. I'm not complaining; I do this because I like it. But I know I'd be happier if sometimes the lights were on when I got home. And if I were talking about my day with someone and if someone were eating my food. I was thinking I'd wait until my house was unpacked and perfect before I got a roommate, but perhaps that is the wrong order of things. Perhaps I should get a roommate sooner.
I know that you have extremely serious principles on this topic and that I should definitely not get into this pissing contest with you, because come December and January and February and March and April, when I am eating salt cod and baked beans and acorn squash you will merrily post descriptions of all of the fresh fruits and vegetables you are eating. But I still can't help myself. (And in February, at least, I'll be eating fresh shrimp, so that's something.)
This evening I sat outside and looked at the sun sparkling on the water and ate steamers and fresh corn, the steamers a little bit gritty because I hadn't soaked them enough, and the corn all sweet and crunchy and delicious. The beer was local, though the butter came from Vermont. (Our local butter is good, but I couldn't get it at the island market.) And then I went out back and picked blackberries, big and ripe and soft and yummy and finger-staining. The dogs figured out what I was after, and licked and bit the laden branches at my feet. Now, with full bellies, we are listening to the water lapping on the shore and the wind pinging the halyards on the masts in the anchorage.
Remember when I told you about tortas? This one is peach, cheddar cheese and egg. Don't be afraid to use fruits with eggs; they go great. Apple omelets, strawberry omelets are yummy. The other thing that goes surprisingly well with egg is rice. Back when I had an Asian-Am boyfriend, I always had cooked rice in the house. Frying slightly dry rice in salt and butter, then cracking an egg over it is tasty.
I asked Margie what she thought of the new blog. She said "The strips aren't equal." What? "The strips on your lattice aren't equal width." That's it? That's the important thing to notice about my new blog? She said it was. She said, "You're never going to win Pie Contest with uneven lattice strips."
I'm not scared of whatever Margie brings to Pie Contest, but I wonder if she notices anything special about this picture:
Yep. Crimped edges. The poor girl doesn't stand a chance. I doubt she'll show up.
Other friends! Friends in Sacramento! Friends in Davis! Bay Area friends! This is your invitation to Pie Contest:
* You can enter pie(s) in any division: Fruit Pie, Non-fruit Pie, Savory Pie, Presentation and That's Not A Pie.
* A pie is baked in a round dish with sloping sides and has an unleavened bottom crust.
* Cheesecake is not a pie. Pizza is not a pie.
* Anyone may enter; everyone judges all pies.
* Remainders of any pie must go home with the baker.
What to expect:
* Very many pies.
* Each pie is assigned a number and gets judged anonymously. This is a pie contest, not a popularity contest.
* Everyone will get a ballot. You can assign three points as you like in each division. You can give all three points to one pie that wins you over; you can give one point each to three delicious pies.
* Pie Contest runs late because it takes so long to count the ballots. Winners will be announced at about 10pm.
* I would love to meet you, but you won't get a chance to talk to me that night. Pie Contest is a blur of coordination for me.
* Eat a meal first. You'll be sick by the end of the evening if you don't and maybe if you do.
* Berry pie virtually always wins the Fruit Pie division. Winner of the Fruit Pie division usually wins Best In Show. Peach pie often comes in third in Fruit Pie.
* Savory Pie never gets the attention it deserves. It should attract a much stronger field, especially considering that everyone is sick of sweets by the end of the night. Anything with bacon will do well.
* Come even if you don't want to bake a pie. There is more than enough for every guest.
I hope to see you at Pie Contest! Bring your friends and family and your pies! Email me for the address - you are invited.
Bay Area people -- I know this is far for you. But you might want to come up for the weekend. The night before is Second Saturday, and the whole city turns out. (I can't offer you a place to stay. I wish I could. In fact, the ability to offer hospitality is the thing I miss most since moving out of my house.) We could meet up and walk around town, and on Sunday you could eat very many pies. You could tell me how even the lattice strips are and how the crimping makes them especially tasty.
Jen wrote nice things, but then she asked for the recipe for the fig-parmesan-basil torta. I would give it if I could, but I don't really know my recipes. The concept of the torta is a good one, though. I make them a lot when I want a heftier dish -something with protein that I can serve guests fast.
Set out olives and bread, refill sangria pitcher. You're going to need 20-25 minutes in the kitchen without your guests pestering you.
Something solid to anchor the dish. Potatoes and onions. Zucchini and corn. Spinach and mushrooms. Figs if you're pretentious.
Dairy for yummy fat richness. Cubes of cheese, spoonfuls of ricotta, streaks of cream cheese.
Green herbs for freshness and to make it taste healthy. I chop up a handful of whatever suits the central ingredient.
Spicing. More and more these days I just use salt and pepper. I'm a trifle dissatisfied with that, but apparently not enough to change. If I do use spice, I follow whatever ethnic theme the ingredients suggest. Zucchini and corn sound Mexican-ish, and call for cayenne and cumin, and cilantro for the herbs.
Brown the central ingredients in a frying pan; use a firm hand with the oil. If you skimp, it'll be hard to slide the whole thing out in one pretty piece. Whisk some eggs. Put the dairy and herbs on your browned ingredients, pour eggs over the whole thing. Cook it on kinda low heat for some minutes with a lid on. When it isn't gooey on top anymore, hold your nice serving plate flush against the frying pan, and use your immense strength to turn the whole thing over. Lift frying pan off the top and nod with self-satisfaction at the pretty torta. Serve to your adoring guests. Demurely accept compliments.
I spent lots of the weekend making fun of Chris for doing contact improv. I know that I probably shouldn't call the West Coast Contact Improv Festival 'GropeFest'08'. Sometimes I worry that if I make fun of too many hippie activities, they'll revoke my license to live in the East Bay.
Then I make myself a fig-parmesan-basil torta for dinner and know that my place here is secure.