If only I never succumbed to the temptations of my favorite food group (fried). If only I weren't so often impatient when it comes to a meal (Hungry: Must Have Now...). If only I always used what I had in the fridge before my good intentions went lazy and the fresh vegetables spoiled.
Today was an exception and I strive to be more like this. I went to my local farmers' market with a couple of vague ideas. I got kale, turnips, leeks, carrots. And avocado honey.
When you feed your sourdough daily, you discard a lot. It seems wasteful. But while you don't have time every day to be creative with your waste, sometimes you can use it for other things. Today I tried this sourdough coffeecake. It's simple, easy, and pretty good too. I changed it a bit with some brown sugar and whole wheat flour. In fact, it could be even better with more improvisation.
Meanwhile, here's what else is going on over here:
It's fall. We've had our first rainy day (October 5--Molly's 11th birthday). And the roses I replanted from my mother's old house are all blooming here. Each one has its distinct smell. She would place them so artfully around her house. I just plunk them on the dining room table/work table where they are the prettiest things in the room.
I followed this recipe pretty closely but the nice thing about 101cookbooks.com is that the recipes lend themselves so well to improvisation. Next time I will try these and maybe include sesame seeds or chocolate chips or pistachios.
We don't only feature baked goods. This salad, we're proud to say, comes from the minifarmbox in our own back yard. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber from the garden, dressed up with some crushed pistachios and some crumbled feta. P supplied a garlicky salad dressing.
That worked out well seeing as I'd baked biscuits for breakfast.
My mother's hands planted these roses. I took three plants from the backyard before I sold her house but I did it all wrong: at the wrong time of year, carelessly, transplanted from the ground into pots where they'd be shocked and confined. None of the plants had had much care in the last few years but I wanted to save them, at least some of her roses. One seemed hearty after the move, one seemed in fair condition, and one looked stricken and I didn't think it'd make it. I pruned it way back, also at the wrong time of year.
But surprise. It's blooming beautifully here in the middle of summer. I'm relieved and touched.
These designs are gorgeous. The technique looks interesting and not too hard, but as someone who hasn't mastered intarsia yet, I wonder if I ought to even attempt this first. Or maybe it's a good thing to learn this first so as not to confuse it with skills I might have already learned. (I'm thinking about a more advanced knitter than I--someone who does know intarsia.) My favorites are the Cat Hat at the beginning, a good way to practice the skill the authors suggest, and Meg's Diagonal Monarch sweater on p. 29. I might give this book 5 stars only I haven't tried any patterns yet.
Also interesting, and just scratching the surface here in the introduction and on the last page (the Stop Press), is the world of Armenian women (I guess, mostly) who escaped or fled the 1915 Armenian genocide and ended up in France where they made a living with these handworking skills for established designers like Elsa Schiaparelli.
The letter and photographs from Rose Dolarian on the last page of the book are just a peek into a time that I'd like to know more about. She sent examples of her mother's work, a dress and a vest, to the authors two days before the book was to go to press. My mother was in Birds' Nest, the Danish orphanage in Beirut when it opened in the early 1920s, from the age of eight years old until she was sixteen. She worked as a rug weaver and worked in a hospital until the age of eighteen when she went to Paris where one of her uncles lived.
We do not know who taught her to knit. She was abandoned in the wilderness at the age of four during the Armenian genocide, so we know she did not learn to knit in her home. We grew up hearing about the fancy clothes she knitted in Paris for a woman who would regularly bring samples for her to knit. She supported herself with that income: paid the rent for a one-room apartment and a diet of olives and bread. She would visit her uncle's home for treats like chocolate.
4 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds or pecans or walnuts (or any combination thereof)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins or chopped dates or chopped apricots (or any combination thereof)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine dry ingredients --not the fruit-- with syrup and oil till moistened.
Spread on a greased cookie sheet. Bake until it begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Stir with a flat spatula and continue to cook until it's light, golden brown, another 15-20 minutes. Watch it carefully because it can burn quickly. Remove from oven.
Place cookie sheet on a cooling rack. Add dried fruit and combine. Be sure to stir it once it's finished and out of the oven or it'll harden and stick to the cookie sheet. Allow it to cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a month or freeze it for up to three months.
I have about 47 slips of paper marking all the poems I like in this collection. If this weren't a library book, I'd have marked it up well. Divided into six sections: Reckoning, Regret, Remembrance, Ritual, Recovery, Redemption, there's, well, something for everyone, depending on, uh, what you're looking for. Only this isn't a self-help book of course. In here I found poets I hadn't heard of before whose work I'll investigate and poets I studied in school whose poems I was glad to read again. So it's a comfort, if that's what you want, and it's an accessible volume of worthwhile poetry. How to pick one example?
The Morning Baking by Carolyn Forché
Grandma, come back, I forgot
How much lard for these rolls
Think you can put yourself in the ground
Like plain potatoes and grow in Ohio?
I am damn sick of getting fat like you
Think you can lie through your Slovak?
Tell filthy stories about the blood sausage?
Pish-pish nights at the virgin in Detroit?
I blame your raising me up for my Slav tongue
You beat me up out back, taught me to dance
I'll tell you I don't remember any kind of bread
Your wavy loaves of flesh
Stink through my sleep
The stars on your silk robes
But I'm glad I'll look when I'm old
Like a gypsy dusha hauling milk
... I would miss certain adventures like being on the back of P's motorcycle and riding through Koreatown where we noticed an unassuming hotel with a shopping mall downstairs. We decided to explore it, to walk off our lunch a bit. We've had good luck with Koreatown malls before.
But this one was a bust: a golfing goods store, a nail salon, a bed shop (that was interesting), and not much else. Except outside in the shade behind a tarp, in the corner of the parking lot, we saw a kind of vegetable stand. P went over to ask questions about the jackfruit and other gigantic oddballs and the man there took a liking to us. P chose some black heads of garlic to buy. The man motioned to P's face and said it was a Korean kind of face. That's funny, I said, since he's from Austria. Ooooohhhhh, he said. Then he grabbed a bunch of bananas and added it to our bag. You can have this, he said. And see these, organic--very good raspberries. Take them too.
So we ended up with a bag full of free fruit simply because someone liked my husband's face. (Besides me, that is.) And I wonder what kind of adventures we'd find if we lived in another place.
I'd never heard of these two women who died this week: Huguette Clark and Leonora Carrington. Huguette was a reclusive heiress whose best friends were her dolls. Leonora had the same birthday as I do and apparently smoked from the age of 11.