Saturday, July 23, 2011


This has been a better week for outings and not spending too much money. Hakone Gardens is five bucks but sometimes that is a totally justifiable expense.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. I recommend clicking to embiggen. It is worth it.
Apparently the oldest Japanese gardens in the western hemisphere, Hakone is in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains and let me tell you, I love their bamboo forest. This place is inspiring me to work in my yard, as unrelated as that may seem. Might have to plant some bamboo... in a pot. No room for a forest here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cooking Fail

I guess it wasn't a total failure, as the soup was salvageable, but this was my downfall:

I got suckered at the new Farmer's Market last weekend into getting something weird out of sheer curiosity. It's bitter melon, and I soaked it in ice water and de-seeded it and put it in a nice soup and picked a piece out to taste and almost spit it out. So I guess the ice water did nothing to decrease the bitterness and I am just a wuss. I picked every single slice out of that soup and now I am going to go enjoy it.

I finally made stock today out of the turkey carcass in my freezer, so it has turkey, carrots, noodles, bok choy and ginger. And I think that will be just fine. We have been having a really mild July all of a sudden so I figure I need to make soup while I can get away with it. It was this or lentil soup, which I will post a recipe for soon because now it is my favorite new soup.

Also, Tuesday's apricot jam came out a little bit too liquid, but overall it was nice. Now I just need to get a lot more apricots. I decreased the sugar so I could taste the fruit more, so it didn't set quite as much. But it's tasty, and will stay on a PB&J, so I don't care. Although apparently I shouldn't go late to Farmer's Market and get the smushy ones for cheap, because they have less pectin and my jam will be even runnier. It's nice to be worrying about small stuff for a while instead of big stuff, let me tell you.

And the bitter melon failure? Cost all of $0.45. So I think I'll be able to cope.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back In the Saddle Again?

Sorry for the radio silence over here, the main occupation for a while has been calling insurance companies, taking Matt to doctor's appointments and changing his dressings. But things have started to settle down and I am getting back to the job applications and garden projects. And this week I have some cooking adventures to ramble on about!
I have under my belt this week an excellent batch of vegetarian chili, my first-ever batch of apricot jam and tonight, a harbinger of the zucchini overwhelmedness to come; fritters.
 They are always a hit but this time there was the added joy of roasted red pepper "aioli". Yes, I stuck a bunch of mayo in a blender with garlic and roasted red peppers. And it was SO GOOD.
 Matt likes his with a shot of Tapatio but they don't even need it.
He wants more but the next zucchini project will probably be muffins, just to mix things up. Also, it is a Barefoot Contessa recipe so they are fried in a mix of oil and butter and there is only so much of that we really need.

I went on his hike with him for the first time today since we've moved here. When we got here I just pointed him at the local trail and said "go". And today I finally did it with him. It took about 2.5 hours round trip and based on the crappy map on the county website, I think we went around 10 miles. So that hopefully made up for some of the fritters.

I am feeling needy based on everyone's prettifying posts and I am debating the merits of spending my $$ on a haircut vs. an eyebrow wax vs. makeup vs. clothes. Odds are I would normally not be doing any of these things anytime soon but my grandmother's memorial is coming up and I am going to need to look respectable at the cemetery (just family) and the reception (friends and neighbors and people I went to preschool with). And for lots of photographs. So I am thinking I will start with a haircut and see how things progress from there.