Saturday, May 26, 2007

Why didn't anyone tell me that moving with an infant is twice as hard?

I'm still alive, but my stress is at an all time high-it's really hard to eat.  We are supposed to be on the road by now, but the setbacks keep arriving.  We plan on heading out tomorrow evening (Sunday). Full report later. Hope everyone is doing well.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Seasonal Meal

Since I am in the process of moving, once again a garden is not a possibility. I look forward to the day that I stay at a property (or better yet my own), where I can orchestrate a proper garden long-term. Growing up with a large garden as a child, I have many visions to which I would like to create.

In the meantime, I keep shopping for local produce and products and prepare seasonal meals. The one we enjoyed the other night was a mushroom polenta (Wisco mushrooms and cheese), with a side of asparagus (from my mother's garden), a side of local greens (with local radishes and some leftover sheep feta from NY), and rhubarb crunch with a dollop of local ice cream. I actually found a bit of rhubarb growing in our back yard. I wish I would have had wild leeks and morels for the polenta. I just picked some wild leeks yesterday, but no morels were to be found.

Anyhow here are the recipes to the dishes for anyone interested.

Broiled Polenta (from Moosewood Cooks at Home-I changed a little)

3 C water
1/2 t salt
1 C polenta or coarse cornmeal

3 T olive oil
2 C chopped mushrooms
1-2 garlic cloves
1 C sliced leeks or onions
1 T white wine or sherry

1 C cheese (mix and match) I prefer a little Romano, cheddar, and mozzarella
-black pepper and tarragon

*Bring water to a boil and add the cornmeal whisking constantly. Cook at low heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened

*Heat oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms, garlic, and leeks. Add wine and cook a bit longer.

*Spread thickened polenta in a oiled or buttered casserole dish or pie plate. Spoon on the sauted veggies and top with cheese, pepper, and tarragon.

*Place in broiler for around 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden.

Rhubarb Crunch (from the Mennonite Cookbook)

4 C diced rhubarb

Mix until crumbly:
1 C flour (I use part ww pastry part barley)
3/4 C uncooked oats
1 C browns sugar
1/2 C butter
1 t cinnamon

Combine the following:
1 C sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 C water
1 t vanilla

*Press half of crumbs in a greased 9 inch baking pan

*Add diced rhubarb

*Combine second mixture and cook until thick and clear, then pour over the rhubarb

*Top with remaining crumbs

*Bake at 350F (175 C) for one hour

This recipe has a lot of sugar in it, but it's a seasonal favourite of mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Seven Meme Returns

I noticed a resurgence of the "tell us something we don't know" Meme. I did a a meme that I believe had 5 things awhile back, but if I remember correctly my answers were lame, well maybe not, but I'd like another shot at it. Let's see what pops into my head.

1) I've gone to 3 colleges in 3 states, but only have a Bachelor's of Science to show for it. My second school was the University of Idaho in Moscow. I knew nothing about the area or the school. I wanted to major in forestry, they had a reputable forestry program, so I figured there must a lot of forests. I got accepted, picked out my classes, and took a 50+ hour Greyhound to the school from Illinois. I had a layover in Spokane and then traveled down through Eastern Washington. By the time I got to Pullman I was scared shitless. Where were the forests? What was with all of the wheat fields? Everything was brown and golden. Moscow was a bit greener. At least there were some trees in the distance. Still, after being disgusted with their forestry program I switched majors and schools once again and ended up in Northern Wisconsin and 25 grand in student loan debt.

2) In highschool most people thought I was on drugs because I dressed weird, missed a lot of school, and went from accelerated classes to almost flunking out really fast. Truth was I just lost interest. Actually I hated drugs and alcohol, I had seen their effects on others, but admittedly the first thing I ever tried was LSD-even before alcohol. I read a lot about the drug and started to get a bit fascinated with it, Kesey, the bicycle ride, R Crumb, the Fillmore bands, the usual stuff, so I had to try it. In retrospect, never being under the influence of anything stronger than coffee, it was probably a bad choice.

3) I have no clue what American Idol is. Just that it's some type of talent/popularity contest. Okay, that really isn't about me, but I wanted to show my media ignorance. The lack of TV does that.

4) I get a craving for Coca Cola every now and then....and buy one. I know they are loaded with HFCS, GE crap, and the company is a multi-national crooked corporation and I'm aware of who they donate to and what they have done in other countries, but the bastards must have gotten me hooked. Still, I either buy a can or those little bottles. The 20oz plastic is too much. And fair trade coffee is my drink of choice (or water).

5) I can't drive a manual transmission. I've tried a couple times, but it just frustrates me too much. I'm not wasting my time with trying to learn anymore. For real this time.

6) I wish I wasn't white/Caucasian or whatever one calls it. There is too much shame in being a white male. Most of the worldly problems we face-traced back to white males. In school I used to fill in other circles for race just for the heck of it. My favourite was the Hawaiian/Pacific Islander choice. I thought they were asking what you would like to be.

7) I go through bouts of depression. Who doesn't I guess? But I have actually been pretty screwed up. A lot of random crying, hints of suicidal thoughts (although I never admit that), and basic activities tough to manage. But alas, I'm all better :)

Ha. You knew that I would end on a serious one.

Anyone wishing to play along feel free, but let me know so I can read your 7 factoids. It's fun and therapeutic. Honest engine. It's past 1 in the morning here. I need sleep.

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Good To Be Back

Yes, I am finally back from our extended journey. I must say, having very limited access to the Internet was both daunting and a relief. I felt that I was unplugged. But, what can I say, I'm glad to be back in front of my Mac.

It was a very successful trip because Moh got to see a lot of her family both in New York and Illinois. KIA was privileged to meet her only Great Grandparent and he was taken by her. I did get to see my Mother, but I also had a wonderful time on the road. Oh, and Ithaca was cool.

As I mentioned before Ithaca is home to the original Moosewood restaurant. It's still in its original location-an old school.

Other shops behind Moosewood

They don't take reservations, so we showed up a few minutes before they opened. Good thing, because it really filled up fast. There is a small bar and giftshop in the front and the main dining is in the back. We were suckers for a small moose finger puppet. I also couldn't help but notice the help wanted sign taped to the window.

My overall experience there was good. They have a menu of several entrees one can order and a couple daily soups. I ended up choosing a vegetable stew that was very satisfying, accompanied by a small salad, and a double Americano. We passed on the dessert. Perhaps that was a mistake.

KIA enjoying her dining experience-She like noisy restaurants

Ithaca also has a wonderful downtown that consists of a roadless shopping area called "the Commons". There is a wooden playground, plenty of benches, and this lovely sculpture.

It was a bit chilly after leaving Moosewood.

We also found time to venture out to Buttermilk Falls State Park just south of town. The Upper Falls had the most impressive waterfall, but the lower falls had a more peaceful setting and nice trails. We hiked around for awhile soaking up the sun of a beautiful spring day.

A water crossing in the lower falls area

Moosewood isn't the only good restaurant in Ithaca. We also discovered Olivia. Olivia is a great little bistro that focuses on local and organic foods. I ordered a local goat cheese pita.
Oh, and the herbed fries with aioli and tomato jelly were amazing.

After our bit of extravagent dining we restricted ourselves to Ithaca's Co-op for our home prepared meals. I took advantage of their local dairy products-especially the goat milk for $.99 and the bulk sheep feta.

Well, enough about Ithaca, but that will have to wait......