Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Chicken Tagine with Apricots (Gourmet, April '08-- with a few subtle adjustments of my own)
1. Rinse 5-8 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, skins removed (I've recently discovered how disgusting chicken breasts are, and how ridiculously DRY). Pat dry, and sprinkle with salt.
2. Heat 2 T oil in a heavy sauce pan (I use my dutch oven, just probably don't use a non-stick saucepan), and brown chicken parts, turning once, about 6-8 minutes. I used tongs so that I didn't poke the chicken and release the juices too early. Move to a plate.
3. In the same pan, add 1 T butter and sautee 5-6 shallots, cut finely, about 6 minutes. Add 1/2 t paprika, 1/2 t turmeric, and 5 cloves garlic, minced. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes.
4. Add chicken back to pan and 1/2 t salt. Turn chicken to coat. Add 1 C water and bring to a boil, covered, then turn down and cook at a low simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add 4-6 T bitter orange marmalade (I used regular)-- more if you like it a little sweeter. Add a cinnamon stick, 1 sprig of thyme, and 2-3 sprigs of cilantro. You could probably leave out the thyme if you don't have any. Add 6 dried apricots, chopped. Stir and turn a little.
6. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 10-15 minutes more, until chicken is tender and almost falling off the bone. At this point you should taste the sauce and adjust as necessary. I usually add more marmalade, because I'm crazy.
7. Heat 1 T olive oil in a fry pan. Once it shimmers, stir in 1/4 C pine nuts, 1/4 t turmeric, 1/4 t paprika, and a pinch of cayenne (optional) and cook, stirring often until nuts are toasted (light brown). 1-2 minutes.
To serve, sprinkle spiced pine nuts on top. If you like, stir in extra chopped cilantro. Eat with rice. (serves 4-5)
And, just in time for May 5th, I made a flan (a week early, I know). I learned this flan recipe at a cooking class I went to with Da. It's SOOO easy, and it's definitely my favorite flan recipe.
Flan with Cheese
1. Heat 1 C sugar in a saucepan. Stirring frequently (preferably with a heat proof spatula) , heat over medium high heat until sugar melts completely, and turns a light amber color. It can burn very easily, so watch it carefully. Definitely do not touch it at all.
2. Spoon the caramel while it's hot into 8 individual ramekins or one glass pie pan. I usually just do the larger version. Let cool. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, in a blender mix 1 can evaporated milk, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4 eggs, 1 t cinnamon, and 4 oz of panela or other slightly salty, medium hard cheese (gouda works very well). Or, you may hate the idea of cheese, but I urge you to try it at least once. It is wonderful. I suppose you could leave it out if you had to. Put a little salt in if you do leave it out.
4. Blend for 1 minute or less, until the cheese seems finely dispersed, and then pour into pie pan. Cover with foil.
5. Place a large glass pan in the oven, and nest the smaller pan inside it. Pour hot water into the larger class pan until the water comes about halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Cook for about 45-55 minutes. For ramekins, check at about 30-35 minutes. The flan is done when it is still a little jiggly in the middle, but a knife inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean.
Let cool for 40 minutes, then put in fridge. To serve, invert pie plate onto a serving platter.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
For the last few nights when she wakes up in the middle of the night (yes, she still wakes up in the middle of the night), she stands up and says very sweetly, "Hold you? Hold you?" and I really just can't resist. She cries if I don't get up right away, but usually I do. Darn it.
She's starting to learn how to sing. If I start singing "F is for fun, F is for fun, F is for Fake believe...." (They Might Be Giants video podcast) she immediately starts singing "F-- Fun-- for fun!" and dances around like crazy. Unfortunately I haven't learned any of the other words.
1. We ate pancakes from a can this morning. I bought them yesterday from Costco. Bottled in a whipping cream looking can is pancake batter. I have to say, this is ingenious. I love love love from scratch pancakes, but some mornings I love sleep more. So this is a good on-the-side solution.
2. Upper pool Kahana hike. Gorgeous day, some vog in the air on the way back.
3. Rik and Eva are here, from Seattle, and they are also gorgeous. We knew Rik back from BYUH days, and we love his wife too, which doesn't always happen, especially with elitists like us. Eva is 5 months pregnant and Pam is notifying everyone that the thing around her waist is not a gut. It's hard to tell because Eva is so perfectly proportioned.
4. On the way back from Kahana, Eva gave up her seat in their rental car, a convertible. I love driving through strong wind. It makes one feel like singing (notice I did not say "me." I would never sing in the back of a rental convertible, unless I was by myself, in which case I would be sitting in the front.).
5. Scott and I made chocolate peanut butter vegan cupcakes, with chocolate peanut butter frosting. Yum. I of course ruined our perfectly vegan dessert by loading up on steak and chicken from Ted's takeout.
6. Amaya sat and watched 15 minutes (a record!) of a Numbers (season 2) episode with me before getting bored enough to get out the back door.
7. Like I just said, I got to watch 15 minutes of Numbers today. I love Rob Morrow, back from Northern Exposure days. He is still awesome, and doesn't look like he's aged a second.
8. Jake read me Jill's comment to my "Sisterly Envy" post, which was really sweet. She said that she sometimes wished she looked and was more like me. That's totally crazy of course, but sweet. I think it's really the other way around. She is the kind of positive that I wish I could be.
9. When we were getting out of the car to start hiking at Kahana Valley, someone said, "We're going hiking, Amaya!" She replied, in a bored sounding voice, "Oh boy." She is cracking me up lately.
10. I am able to post this blog right now without Jake getting mad at me for being on the computer when I should be hanging out with him. He's at his studio with Rik and Eva.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
This tastes especially awesome the next day, because it becomes more dense over time. I made it without the hazelnuts. I like hazelnuts (in Oregon we would call them "filberts"), they just didn't have any at Foodland. Gourmet is my 2nd favorite magazine behind Cook's Illustrated. Their pictures are beautiful and I like the destination articles. This issue was all Italy. Don't be turned off by the fact that it's from Gourmet magazine. It's a super easy recipe. If you like chocolate, this is a perfect cheesecake.
Active time: 30 min
1/4 lb wheatmeal crackers (Carr's Wheat Crackers) finely crushed, about 1 C
1 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 65% cacao), grated
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 lb fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 lb 2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 t pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 C superfine granulated sugar (I used regular, actually)
1 C hazelnuts (4 1/2 oz) toasted, chopped
Equipment: 10" springform pan
Make Crust: Combine all ingredients, then press onto bottom of springform pan.
Make filling: preheat oven to 325 F with rack in middle
Melt chocolate with butter, then remove from heat and whisk in cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in sour cream and vanilla.
Whisk together eggs and sugar in large bowl until mixture has a mousse-like consistency, then stir in chocolate mixture and nuts.
Pour filling into crust and bake 1 1/2 hours. (top will be slightly cracked.)
Cool to room temperature in pan on a rack, about 1 hour, then chill at least 1 hour.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I did synergistics core on Thursday (consisting of approximately 1000 lunges within an hour period), and then Kenpo x (a hilarious travesty, really, because I couldn't remember 4 different style punches in a row, coupled with the fact that I can't punch at all) on Saturday, and then Plyometrics (which was hard, but possible) yesterday morning. Last night before bed the backs of my legs felt bruised, as if I'd been riding a horse for 2 days. Today I had a hard time bending down, and I've never even known that I had hip flexors before today. Now they are making their presence known, and they are revolting.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
It was a brief feeling, but I've been considering it ever since. I don't take it to mean that I feel oppressed in any way, or overwhelmed by my busy life, or that I should just take a mid-life crisis leap into an away direction. More that I am so impressed with the folly of youth. And not in a sarcastic way. That's really what is so lovely and innocent about it.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
1. That "No Child Left Behind" will cease to mean "No Child Gets Ahead"
2. That when a student graduates, it means that the kid did something and knows something, not did something or knows something.
3. That learning could be more meaningful to people than grades.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I do this sporadically, waking up at odd hours to get exercise.
Usually I’d rather be coaxed by the warmth of sleep
but I put my Adidas on and start jogging
on the side of the road in between streetlights
I’m hit by balmy darkness
between houses I see pinkish goldenrod
making its way up through the ocean
each stripe like an exaggerated ray
the crackling gravel makes my feet slide, slightly,
scraping ground with their rubber soles
my senses are awake
How do we get to these places?
running through muggy winds
on a slow pace
watching suns rise on the side?
I feel the sleep that
rests over Laie, softly
like tides that fall back on the sand
while composing into our shore
unread verses of slopes and foam.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Myrna Marler, in past times, has repeated the quote "Writers are very private people who walk around naked in public" to me, and I guess I only sort of believed it. I just wasn't quite expecting a googling, a searching, and a finding, of a naked person. Certainly not of me. Possibly more likely of someone with a name like "Kitty".
My students often complain about how nasty I am because I let my sarcasm grind their naive and insolent behavior to bits, while I still maintain some level of decency because of my fierce standards in literature, work, and humanity. Plus I let them play Taboo the last five minutes of class sometimes.
So I admit that I was a little ashamed that this post had actually been read by the offendee. Not because it wasn't just, but because it sort of revealed how incredibly spiteful I am. I don't take defense lightly, mind you. I get very antsy about being defensive. It sort of ruins the whole image that I'd like to maintain. I'd rather be the sort of person who walks away from such an awful conversation and just says, to myself, "That person has a problem and that's too bad", rather than the person who says, to others, "Now what is HER problem?"
Then again, I have a great suspicion of people who can just forget things and move on with their lives. Just who do they think they are, making the rest of us look bad?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Only season one is available with the full episodes, but there are quite a few so it will take you a little while to get through those. The first episode is about China, and the only problem with this show is that I immediately want to pick up and go to wherever they are showing food. I also have an obsession with cookbooks, so this show does nothing to quell that.
I also am loving the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, which photographs families around the world with a week's worth of their food (prepared and ingredients). It is fascinating, and the best part, is that there is a recipe for every section. It does make me feel sick when I look at the American families versus a refugee family in Bhutan (it even breaks down how much everything costs). The stories are amazing and I think that if everyone should get this book, and no one even paid me to say that.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
What's that you say? Your child is reading? Identifying Australian mammals? Creating mixed media collages? Speaking in full sentences? Mine is watching "Adventure Time" and appreciating its nuanced comic genius. Oh, and saying "Shake it, Yeah" while dancing to the closing song.