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January 10th, 2011

Hello, I still exist

Hey look at that, it's been almost exactly a year since I last posted anything here. Hi internet! I do most of my internetting on facebook now. I do kind of miss longer-form rambling, though.

. . . yep. See you around.

January 11th, 2010

food fun followup!

Also, did you know that Brussels sprouts in their natural state look like some kind of terrifying alien egg pod? It's true! I did not know this until I was at Trader Joe's and there were stacks of them, pulsating slightly and calling to me on the specific frequency at which I make novelty-based vegetable-purchasing decisions.

So let's hope they're tasty, because I have a ton of 'em!

lentils, wot wot?

I made lentils and they came out right tasty. They are sort of Ethiopian-style, except that they're green rather than red or yellow lentils, and I'm eating them over rice instead of injera. It hinges on a spice mix called berbere, which normally comes in paste form; I got mine at Market Spice in Pike Place, where it was in powder form. Knowing this city there are probably other places I could get it as well, so I may shop around for another style. This was still delicious, though (and it seems like a dry mix will keep better than a paste . . .)

Other recipes I had used either tomato or collards, but I had both on hand so used both.

Moderately Ethiopian-style Lentils

  • 4-6 T butter or oil

  • one onion, diced

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 2-2.5 (or 3 if you're feeling adventurous) T of berbere powder
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup dry green lentils, rinsed

  • 1 bunch collards, stemmed and shredded

  • water or broth to cover (maybe 2-3 cups?)

  • salt and lemon to taste

Set some brown rice cooking.

Saute the onion in the oil over medium heat until golden. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic and berbere, stirring constantly, for maybe a minute. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the lentils, and the collards. Stir, and add enough water or broth to cover everything, remembering that the lentils will swell up some. The goal is to end up with more of a stew than a soup, so don't overdo it.

Bring up to a boil, then reduce, cover, and simmer for more or less as long as you've got, but probably at least 45 minutes, if your lentils are as dried out as mine apparently were. If you have extra time, uncover and reduce it once the lentils are tender.

Add salt and lemon to taste. Nice with plain yogurt.

October 16th, 2009

So there's a lot of noise being made to approve Referendum 71, WA's domestic partnership deal:


Which is all well and good. And though it would extremely shitty if R71 were rejected, it at least is polling with a lead, albeit narrow.

What I'm much, much more concerned about is Initiative 1033. This would cap the state's revenue, and any extra revenue would go to reducing property taxes. "Hey, I want to pay less property tax!" people think when they read it, "this sounds great!". The problems: 1. this locks the state into a recession budget. It tries to fool you by allowing spending to increase along with inflation and population growth. Well, they tried that formula in Colorado, and it was difuckingsaterous. 2. we have no income tax here - property taxes are one of the only ways the rich pull their weight in this state. 3. any number of other worries.

Last week, 1033 was polling with a distinct advantage. This is not OK.


I am actually so concerned about this that I'm seriously considering phonebanking this weekend, god help me.

Anyway. Spread the word! And be sure to find 1033 it in the lower left corner of your ballot.

September 2nd, 2009

nummies renummnos

Mostly for my own future reference, here's what we just put into our chiles rellenos. It came about because my New Mexican friend was excited about the presence at the supermarket of Hatch Chilis, so I bought some without a clear idea of what to do with them. Several recipes for rellenos later, here's what we ended up with.

Chiles Rellenos de Hatch

10-12 Hatch chilis

1 onion, chopped fine
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
some fresh cilantro, like maybe 3/4 cup chopped??
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 can corn, rinsed
couple cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
some oregano
block of jack or cheddar. we used pepperjack.

4 eggs, divided
1 cup 2 Tbsp flour. I only had white wheat so I used that.
1/2 cup pale beer
another 1/2 tsp salt

Broil the chilis until blackened and blistered, 10 minutes in our absurd electric oven, turning once or twice. Say what you will about electric, when it wants to broil, it can effin' broil.

Place chilis in something covered for 15 minutes to finish cooking and soften up.
In a big bowl of water, peel/slide the skins off the chilis. Slice chilis down the side, and remove seeds and veins. I use vinyl gloves for this to prevent the burnination from getting under my fingernails.

In a skillet, set the onion cooking. We ended up browning it a little. Also ended up with a test chili in with it. (Kevin had been seeing if he could seed it while raw. Answer: no.)

In food processor, process the beans, cilantro and lime into a paste. Put into a mixing bowl, then process the corn lightly just to chop all of the kernels in, like, thirds. Mix with beans, salt, oregano, crushed garlic, and cheese, and with the onion when it's ready.

Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Beat the yolks, flour, beer, and salt until smooth. Fold into the whites.

Preheat the oven to 400. Spread half of the batter on the bottom of a greased casserole. Stuff the peppers with the filling and place seam-side down onto the batter. Cover with remaining batter and bake 15-20 minutes until puffy and golden.

Will edit to report how they are once they're cool enough to eat!

Edit: results! White flour would have been tastier, and they could stand a little more salt. Also they were a bit crowded in the dish so it was hard to get a single one out. Perhaps will dip an bake separately next time.

But overall, I conclude success. Kevin particularly liked them with avocado on top. Hatch are good for this because they are tasty and a little hot; they are not so great in as much as they are on the small side for stuffing.

June 19th, 2009


So since my brush with fundie craziness last weekend I've been thinking about what sign I would have wanted to bring if I'd had time to make one. Mostly I was thinking in terms of puns - GOD HATES SHAG with a raggedy sample of shag carpeting; GOD HATES HAGFISH which is probably why he made them so ugly. But this morning I got a better one: GOD HATES WHAT I HATE and then in smaller letters under, HOW CONVENIENT.

June 14th, 2009

So this morning I was wasting some time on the internet before I was going to go to Meeting, when I saw that Westboro Baptist, of "godhatesfags.com" fame, was going to be picketing a couple of churches, and some other folks had put together a counter-protest . "OMFG!" I said, "Sorry Meeting, this is way more interesting", grabbed my pride flag, and headed out.

A little background: I am fascinated by fundamentalist Christian propaganda. I have a collection of Chick Tracts , Jesus Camp is one of my favorite documentaries, and in college I used to watch Jack Van Impe Ministries to hear about the imminent end times. I marvel at how perfectly intelligent people can hold such extreme views, and by the amazing powers of the human mind to pick and choose bits of a text in order to put together support for just about any world view. We live in the same universe, but draw such massively different conclusions about it. The chance to see the extreme of the extremes -- an incarnate reductio ad absurdum of fundamentalism -- was too good to pass up. Plus in high school I did a lot of gay rights work, marched in a couple of Pride parades, and identified somewhere higher on the Kinsey scale than I do now. It was like old times to be able to go chant "hey hey, ho ho, homophobia's got to go" again.

So we're there, and the Westboro folks are across the street, outnumbered at least 10 to 1 by the counter-protesters. Everybody on both sides is actually enjoying themselves. The Phelpses are singing "God Hates America" and are plainly pleased to have riled people up; the counter-protesters are singing "if you're happy and you know it, shake your butt" and are chatting among themselves about the awesome insanity of it all. I got a picture!

me grinning with the Westboro people in the background

Among the Westboro people is a lady with various signs, one reading "BITCH BURGER". After hearing two gay men separately wonder, "what is a bitch burger, and where can I get one?" I decided I may as well ask. Now, I was taught early on that it is not nice to make fun of crazy people, so even though these crazy people are awfully belligerent, I went the polite route. I left my pride flag on our side of the street and went across.

"Hello," I said, "we were wondering what 'bitch burger' means". "Well honey," she said with rather a lot of condescension, "if you'd read the bible then maybe you'd know". I couldn't recall any biblical references to bitch burgers off the top of my head, but fortunately she continued. It was pretty rambley but the upshot seemed to be that women (presumably not Phelps family women) are bitches for our various crimes against our children, like aborting them and failing to teach them about god's universal hatred. From up close it was easier to see that the picture on the sign was of a baby in a hamburger bun. It seems to be related to their thier sign and talking point: "YOU WILL EAT YOUR CHILDREN". I thanked her and went back across the street.

From there they packed up and moved on to a very gay-friendly Catholic church, and we marched down to meet them. Apparently today is Corpus Christi, so we were sure to stay across the street so the congregants and chorus and bagpipers (!) could process around the cathedral. It was really lovely, a lot of the churchgoers and holy folk waved at us and we waved back. Things got a little more shouty between the WBC and the counter-protesters, and after about 15 minutes they packed up and left, giving us time to eat the delicious free food, and stand around chatting amongst ourselves and with passers-by. I had a nice chat with a seminary student about what churches can do to counteract this kind of hatred, and I explained the nature of Westboro to a few horrified churchgoers.

In the end, though it was spurred by a few very hateful people, most of us ended up feeling pretty good about humanity and the power, cheesy as it is, of love. Hooray! *bubbles*

More updates to come as other people post their pictures!
Some nice photos of the crowd: http://www.centraldistrictnews.com/2009/06/14/phelps-protesters-at-mt-zion
Bitch Burger lady giving a much more coherent answer than she gave me: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2009/06/14/westboro-baptists-video-part-i

April 26th, 2009

Honey Muffin Sugar Puddin' Pie
version 1.0

pie pic

Scientifically engineered to yield the maximum overlap between pet names and baked goods, while optimizing for both literal and metaphorical sweetness. Created by Lillie for Kevin in celebration of their fourth year of partnership as co-investigators in the field of snuggleology.

Basic idea: bread pudding in a pie crust where the bread is mini-muffins
Prep time: like a week. Half an hour to make the muffins, 4-8 days for them to stale up, about 2 hours for piemofication.
Yeilds: one pie

Step one: honey muffins.

Make one batch of these muffins, it will yield two dozen mini muffins. (Adapted from: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Grandma-s-Honey-Muffins)

In a bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar sugar, 3 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt. In another bowl, whisk one egg, 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup honey; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Grease tins for two dozen mini-muffins. Fill with batter at least 3/4 of the way full -- more to get more of a classic muffin-top kind of rim. Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan to a wire rack.

The original recipe for full-sized muffins said 15-18 minutes. In my oven with its untrustworthy thermostat it ended up being 12 minutes for the minis. Greasing rather than papering the tins was important - the slight crust is gives some texture once they're soaking in custard. (Also I forgot the salt. And actually also forgot the egg in six of them, I was pouring and wondering why the batter was so thick.)

When they're cool, select the nicest, muffiniest-looking ones and arrange them in the pie plate you intend to use. Put these aside, along with 2 or 3 others that you can use as samples to determine the staleness level. Let them stale up for . . . a while. I did 4 days. Long enough that they'll absorb some liquid, not so long that they're in danger of getting moldy. Gosh, well now there are some left over, I think I'll see how many I can fit in my mouth at once.

Step two: sugar puddin' pie

Don't actually follow these without reading the results below, some steps were unnecessary. This is just what I did.

1. Prep an unbaked nine inch pie crust. Curse at it while trying to patch up the little places it ripped, because you suck at pie crust.

2. Turn the oven to 350.

3. In a small saucepan, warm 2 cups whole milk and dissolve into it 1/2 cup sugar, healthy dash of salt, drizzle of vanilla, splash of rum, dash of cardamom (I have a thing against cinnamon). Lightly beat two large eggs and combine with the milk stuff. Pour into a large bowl with the muffins and turn them over a few times to pre-soak. Watch out because if they soak too long they start falling apart.

4. Arrange in the pie crust and pour the batter over. Then do the thing that you do where you worry about it and make it more complicated than necessary, and take them all back out and cut off some of the bottom so they don't stick up so much, and then also poke into the middle of them with a knife in the hope that that will make the center absorb the batter. Cover with foil with some slits in it. Bake for an hour, bothering it every 10 or 15 minutes to see what it's doing, until what little bit of the custard is showing seems mostly done; also at some point uncover so the edge of the crust can get a little golden, but then also worry a lot about if the muffins are going to burn.

Step three: profit!

I mean, results. Pretty good for a wildly seat-of-my-pants kind of attempt! Well received by Kevin and our friends. The muffins swelled up a lot more than I expected and the bottom crust is kind of underdone. Also the tinfoil stuck to a couple of the muffins while I was pulling it off. But it is tasty and amusing nonetheless.

Variations for next time: I think I'll put the muffins in the crust, pour in the batter, and then let it soak for a while (maybe in the fridge so the crust doesn't get warm) and add more batter when they've absorbed that. An alternate route entirely would be to prebake the crust, not stale up the muffins, and just fill the crust with regular pudding that the muffins are then nestled into. It would be rather less pielike that way, though, as here the batter does get into the interstices of the muffins pretty nicely. Next time I might also go ahead with the glaze + large-crystal-sugar plan on top that I was going to do on this and didn't.

April 21st, 2009

More baking questions

Still not for Kevin's eyes.

co-investigators wanted for experimental bakingCollapse )

April 9th, 2009

Kevin, don't read this! Ith thuper thecret.

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