Tuesday, December 28

Really, Kenneth?

Aren't pregnancy tests kind of a one time thing? Yeesh.

Thursday, December 16

Caring community = den of thieves

From my company's mission statement:

"…dedicated to promoting children’s academic, ethical, and social development"

And yet, this is what I have to resort to so that my lunch fixings in the company fridge don't get stolen and I'm not left lunchless:

Saturday, December 11

sometimes your heart warms just a little...

One of my favorite things about our local pub Lucky 13 is that it's not a dark drinking hole, but has windows on all sides so you can people-watch while you drink. Last night, we stopped in for a quick beer with Sam, Darren and Tracy, and were treated to this little spectacle. I don't even care about Christmas, but this demonstration of Alameda's clinging to simpler times pulled even me off my barstool to experience the cheer close-up.

Monday, December 6

Turkey overload = chile craving

The past couple of weeks have been both busy and off-kilter because of sickness, Thanksgiving, and rainy weather. Time for some updates, yes?

We missed out on trying a turkey trot this year, but Liz and I finally completed our Couch-to-5K program last week (yeehaw!) and are continuing to "train" a couple times a week for an upcoming race in January.

My mom came to stay with us for thanksgiving weekend. We had a nice, mellow visit featuring lots of cooking, eating out, foot massages, holiday madness in SF, Yahtzee, and a shopping day which resulted in Mom buying us a new TV for xmas!!! We had an old 19in CRT which we kept hidden (and dwarfed) in a cabinet in the living room and my mom apparently felt sorry for us and helped usher us into the 21st century with a fancy 32in LCD model. Thanks, Mom! 

Thanksgiving dinner was awesome. My sister and Darren, and Cara and Chris joined us and we had your stereotypical overstuffing fest. Here's the menu:
  • Appetizers courtesy of Samantha: Spinach/Bacon/Green Chile dip; fancy meat and cheese board 
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Corn Pudding
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Fiery Sweet Potatoes (w/red curry)
  • Cara's awesome lemony thymey beets
  • Dried fruit and herb stuffing
  • Dry-brined, herb-buttered happy, happy turkey
  • White wine turkey gravy
  • Whole-wheat sourdough cloverleaf rolls (hot damn, they turned out!)
  • Cranberry sauce ala Liz
  • Weird grapefruit-cranberry relish ala me
  • Liz's cranberry-apple galette
  • Darren's pumpkin cheesecake
  • Cara's homemade french vanilla ice cream
  • 3 terrific wines: Borra Member's Reserve Rosé, Dashe Les Enfants Terribles McFadden Zin, Clos Tita La Sierra Azul Red

As a result of that crazy amount of food, we have been eating turkey leftovers for the past 10 days. I'm actually quite proud of the fact that this year we didn't let one speck of our spendy 16+ lb. bird go to waste. In addition to a few rounds of turkey sandwiches, we also made turkey stock to freeze for later, cat food (from the carrots and scraps that came off the bone in the stock), turkey-orzo soup, and turkey cottage pies. 

I finally reached turkey fatigue this weekend, so yesterday returned to the simple, delicious basics of New Mexican food and made a pot of beans, red chile and flour tortillas. Here are some crappy photos of the yumminess:

Mis frijoles vegetarianos

Chile rojo, te quiero

On the topic of beans: I've been eating pinto beans all my life and just recently perfected my recipe for a vegetarian version that's equally as delicious as the traditional pot of New Mexican beans cooked with a ham hock or salt pork. Trust me, I have nothing against meaty beans, but since I like pork in my chile also, I thought I'd make a nod to healthiness and global responsibility and all that by not putting meat in both parts of the meal. Anyway, this recipe works out really well since the chipotles add that same rich, salty smokiness you'd usually get from pork. Here 'tis:

Pocha beans
1 lb /2 c. dried pinto beans, sorted and rinsed* 
7 qts. water
2 large cloves garlic, smashed/minced
3–4 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped finely (these come in cans and can usually be found in the "ethnic" aisle)
2 tbsp dried oregano

Put all the ingredients in a crock pot and set to high for 30 mins. to an hour until the crock heats up nicely. Switch the heat to low and let the beans cook for 7ish hours. You will know the beans are done when you blow on them and their skins wrinkle. You can then add salt to taste (quite a bit—like 2–3 tsp kosher) and let them continue on low for another 15 minutes. Perfection.

*I have to make one more comment here: I bought my last couple of pounds of beans from a local Mexican supermarket and not only were they dirt cheap, they were perfect. I didn't find one bad bean or rock, and they were so fresh that the the skins and texture of the final dish were flawless. I'd imagine that this is because of heavy turnover and demand, so I highly recommend that if you are anywhere near a Mexican grocery, you try buying your pinto beans there.