swordmage: (Default)
First off - anyone on the flist who may be interested in giving CSA a (free) shot in a few weeks - leave a comment. Dom and I will be gone for a few weeks and while we've no qualms with our share being donated, if anyone in town wants to try it - tell me. The only request I'm making is be willing to give (almost) everything you get a shot.

Counting today, I have 3 days of class left. This is quite peculiar.

Final schedule is pretty straightforward: art education - presentation on Thursday and everything else due Tuesday, photo - sit-down final, Judaic studies and Islamic art and architecture - take home and likely submit on d2l. Then just make sure my diploma is posted and get a copy of my transcript to the Graduate College.

Also need to order the bloody cap and gown. *mutters*
swordmage: (Aware with Gun)
Hot goat cheese burns.

And ducklava? Is tasty.

So, [livejournal.com profile] domnall came home from the Calendar meeting today rather late, and so we went out to dinner. At Feast, which is probably my favorite restaurant in Tucson. Now, when the new menu was posted about a week ago, I saw something that looked really tasty - ducklava. They describe it as "phyllo dough layered with duck confit, pistachios and honey" - it's sweet, and a bit savory, and cruncy, and delicious.

I had lamb stew (lamb, dates, citrus, etc), [livejournal.com profile] domnall. had their special, which was a chicken breast with a molasses/apple (I think) sauce and potatoes and asparagus. Both things were really tasty. And there was new (to us) hard cider - the name is escaping me, but it was an import - unpasteurized, unfiltered, and while good had an odd (possibly astringent, we decided) taste that lingered. nonetheless, interesting. i was a sissy and went with wyden's pear cider.

This brings us to the goat cheese. See, we usually order a side or two - stick it between us and share. Life is good. This time was fries (garlic and cinnamon and manchego cheese) and goat cheese lumpia - a small, fried, log of cheese in dough. It's important to pay attention to what side of the lumpia you're biting into - the first one I ate spurted into my mouth. Hot goat cheese FTW!

On the brighter side - the smooth goat cheese combined with the tart sauce it's plated with? Mmmmm.

We finished up with a disgustingly rich chocolate tart. I feel pleasantly full. Mmmm...

Afterwards, hit up B&N - sadly, no Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And my copy of Cooking Apicius has wandered off.

swordmage: (devious willa)
When I stopped by CSA today, there were chickens!

I suspect they may have belonged to the man who provides eggs, Josh, but it still made me delightfully happy. Big, fat chickens scratching about in the dirt of the courtyard.

We're now on our third CSA session, and each time, I fall more in love. We're currently getting pretty much all our produce through them, which means there's some experimentation. But I really love certain things - the citrus is always a pleasant surprise, seeing I'toli onions in the box makes me grin, and having that onion-y smell next to me as I drive home... True, I need to figure out what to do with beets and radishes - they confuse me.

*grin* I am pleased.
swordmage: (Default)
Karuna's Thai

They're right across from the Grant Road Bookman's. Cheap and really tasty. Unpretentious (read: just above hole in the wall status) and so on.

Please explain why we've not given them a shot before? Their curry is delicious! I keep forgetting how much I like Thai basil...
swordmage: (Whee!!)
The UPS guy showed up this evening with an unexpected box.

Inside it were two boxes from [livejournal.com profile] kittenfemme. Of spices!

We got:
hot curry powder
tandoori chicken powder
sweet curry powder
garam masala spice mixture
powdered jamaican allspice
double-strength vanilla extract
powdered cloves
ceylon "true" cinnamon
dehydrated lemon peel
saigon cassia cinnamon
china ginger powder
ground nutmeg
a spice grinder

And they were all packed with cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, and nutmeg.

As a final added bonus - I'm probably going to be bringing bread supplies to Estrella and playing with the mud ovens. I seem have gotten an in with them... *cackles maniacally*
swordmage: (Thoughtful)
First off, my first pair of bag trousers for [livejournal.com profile] domnall is almost done. Black linen, and they look quite snazzy, if I do say so myself. Of course, he's not tried them on yet, so all could be for naught.

As an addendum - he just mentioned that he quite likes the linen. I think we'll be using our current stash for lining purposes and just buying more linen. There's a nice difference. The wool gabardine I've got is going towards my own stuff... And we got a rotary cutter. Actually, several... And they're lovely!

When I got back from Santa Fe, our thermal bentos arrived! Woot! Last year, I sort of stumbled across them, and got a kick out them immediately. Small boxes you pack with food. What's not to like? I had been looking around for some thermal ones, that could be used for soup and the like for a while. The biggest problem though, was finding one that would fit [livejournal.com profile] domnall's appetite. I eventually just gave in and ordered two from J-List. We used them earlier this week for split-pea soup, and they worked wonderfully! My goal is to keep up with the bentos. They help me make sure I eat lunch (a long-standing problem) and, in a random way, encourage me to eat better. I want to try making little apple pies/turnovers for them.

Another thing I got (more) interested in last year was ethical eating, best described by the SLOW food movement. I found the blog Ethicurean, which directed me to a number of good books. (One of those being the infamous Bottomfeeder, of my father, upon reading it, said "the rape of the seas, now i feel more guilty about shrimp!" he's been mostly using shrimp and chicken as protein for the last several months. if you have questions on making thai food - he's the one to ask.) But at any rate, we're working on slowly cutting more and more processed food out of our diets. If it can't be pronounced, yeah...

The other thing that happened, which rocked, was that we joined Tucson Community Supported Agriculture. We're getting better about using the produce from it, but in my opinion, it's quite worth it. The variety is fun, we've been introduced to some things, and I like supporting local farmers. I was completely stoked to see what has become my favorite type of green onions in last week's haul. I'tol'i onions. Tasty, tasty goodness!

I did also finally try Mark Bittman's infamous no-knead bread. Dear god, where has it been? Not that I don't love the kneading and everything with slow-rises, but, this was very little work for a lovely result. Good crust, nice crumb, good taste. I was pleased...

Finally - any friends who have video games or DVDs of ours. Could you give me a heads up with what you've got? Dom and I want to pull everything we've got in so we can inventory it all.
swordmage: (Damn?)
DC was squeal. We didn't get much in terms of books (alas) but saw some wonderful stuff. (Also was an idiot with the Metro and wasted some money, but I'm going to happily call it "idiot tax" and not think about it.) I shall upload photos when we get back (and probably not until after Santa Fe). Ryan's family is doing fine, we're staying with his mother, and his sister, brother-in-law, and their kids are alright.

I shall provide a further update/wrap-up at the end of the trip. What's noteworthy now is simply that we will not be getting a specific model of Acura and I am not a massive fan of in-car turn-by-turn directions. Our iPhones do the job just as well, if not better... (they, at least, are unlikely to direct us to make a right turn that would have resulted in a 20 ft drop onto a highway.)

As for New Year's, well...

See - I'm not going to bother with an itemized list of things I want to accomplish. I know myself, and it's pointless. I've tried it, and even if I do it, I still feel like I didn't. Instead, I'm going to just stick down a few things I'd like to accomplish.

A) Continue on my quest to eliminate processed stuff from my diet. Which really is a simplification of "eat better." And I successfully started that this year, [livejournal.com profile] domnall being dragged along for the ride. I enjoy cooking, and all that fun stuff. I really do. We've gotten a bunch of new cookbooks, utensils, and such in the past year, and I look forward to using them all in the coming one. I'm not a big believer in "miracle foods" - instead if you eat right, all should be well. Mind you, there's more to it all than that, but i don't mind. I've been reading far too much in the last year in terms of cooking, the SLOW food movement, and so on. I like it all, I really do.

Expect much talk about it on here.

B) Get our SCA stuff, well... better. We have linen and wool, and the goal is new hats, coats, shirts, pants, and underdresses. I want to work on making both of our sets nicer quality, less costume-y, and just overall work on at least our personal illusion of quality. (Yes, we've still got a large nylon tent. The pavilion, while wonderful, will likely come when we get a house. There are various reasons for this, so we'll just ignore it for now. M'kay?) A month ago, I'd have said "be more active" - but as [livejournal.com profile] domnall's going to be the new Exchequer (or so it appears *grin*), I don't think that'll be a problem.

C) I thought about putting something like "be less snarky/bitchy/etc" but it wouldn't work. I'm at least going to make an effort to be more... tolerant? Something like that...


Nov. 28th, 2008 12:20 am
swordmage: (Approval!)
That was a very good Thanksgiving.

First off - in my complete sanity, I did all the cooking. For eight. We had [livejournal.com profile] domnall and myself, my father, [livejournal.com profile] churchofwonk, [livejournal.com profile] elinor_dear, [livejournal.com profile] reynier, and my aunt and uncle. Admittedly, our conversation turned horribly geeky near the end, leaving the older generation out, and I feel a little bad. But everyone seemed at least to have enjoyed it all and left happy.

There was turducken, green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, a butternut squash/sweet potato soup, parsnips roasted with maple syrup (quite good), andouille sausage wrapped in bacon (don't ask, [livejournal.com profile] domnall was responsible...), and biscuits. For dessert there were pumpkin, pecan, and mince pies. The jar of cranberry jelly was unopened as the can opener had trotted off into hiding.

Afterwards there was geekiness - gaming talk and much laughter over my attempts to play Portal.

All in all - fun, good food, and I am happy. My desire to cook is rising rapidly. Also, I may start looking into those gel things for kitchens... Or a specific pair of shoes for cooking. (People seem to like crocs, at least according to a post recently on The Kitchn.)
swordmage: (Lyra and Iorek)
Let's see what's going on in Willa's world...

A) Semester is rapidly coming to an end. Grades are a mixed bag, as usual. *sigh and shrug*

B) Have started the application process for grad school. Have asked both teachers who I want to write me letters - and both have agreed. Need now to ask my boss. Even though I only need two letters, I think having that third will help. I'm putting archiving as one of my interests and it shouldn't hurt.

C) Extra time in Santa Fe! Also, if I get into grad school - they're going to look into keeping me.

D) Thanksgiving plans are puttering along. I have, in my finite wisdom, decided to cook everything myself. well, [livejournal.com profile] domnall is certainly helping. Granted, this is probably actually less work than it sounds like. It's also serving as a jump-start for general cooking. I cleaned the fridge - a depressing thing, as I should have done it a week ago - and now need to re-fill it.

E) I have wool and linen. Since [livejournal.com profile] domnall and I both need new SCA stuff, I decided to bite the bullet and order a better-quality of fabric. Viking-era, here we come! (Also - where in particular do you lot go for leg-wraps...?)

Also - [livejournal.com profile] budgetscadian

F) Also, there shall be sewing of pj-pants. Need to get some fleece though...

G) Damn it - I may not be a total period-perfectionist, but I'll admit, the troll over on you-know-where really annoyed me. Yes, yes, I know, troll... Shouldn't grouse... It did remind me, again, that I really need to make sure I have appropriate head-coverings for Estrella.

Thus far, Estrella purchase plans are more along the lines of supplies for various things. (and trying not to drool over any of this stuff, namely the first set of brooches...)

And finally - damn this illness going around. My dad had it at one point (he told me over the phone), [livejournal.com profile] domnall had it, and now I do. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of being able to take sick days - namely because I'm running a bit short on cash right now - and so have been drugging myself up and going to work.
swordmage: (Up to no good)
Well, had dad over for dinner. This occurs every few weeks - there is food, discussion of politics, books, cooking, and the end of the world as we know it. Oh yes, and watch whatever - previously it was Weeds and currently it's Californication.

Tonight was no different. However, I tried cooking duck for the first time. Good lord was it tasty. And duck fat? It truly is the stuff of legend. Yes, I am praising an animal fat here. But the potatoes, which I just tossed into the roasting pan, got saturated with the stuff. With rosemary? The result was rich, smooth, and subtle.

What? I like food...

That said - I didn't get my list completely done this weekend. However, I did get cleaning done, and also ordered a bunch of wool and linen for projects. (Including a lovely dark brown wool for a coat... I even ordered extra.) I shall be kept happily occupied in the lead-up to Estrella. And [livejournal.com profile] domnall and I shall be nice and warm there.
swordmage: (Approval!)
Black Mesa Ranch: For all your cheesy and chocolatey needs.

We got a share of their goat cheese with our CSA share this session. Thus far, it's been used in a number of things to great success (of note - spicy chipotle in a frittata tonight, herbed on a pizza with panchetta and olive oil, and plain on burgers). It's rich, creamy, and oh-so-good.

Then I picked up a small box of their truffles when I got our share today.

Oh good lord. They are glorious. Go, try them...
swordmage: (Thoughtful)
So, my KAF order arrived. Woot! Fred is currently bubbling away in a new crock, and I've got the uber-sturdy whisk of doom.

Later, I went out to see if my wallet was in the car. It was, and when I got back, there was a message on my door. Seems while I was napping (or something) the UPS guy was here and happened to run into a former coworker of mine who also lives in the complex. He gave her the package. *sigh*

Bright side - I have coffee syrup now. *loves*

And at least I'm feeling somewhat better.


Oct. 3rd, 2008 07:08 pm
swordmage: (Approval!)
I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again - the Maya Kumal curries are my current favorite lazy dinner. Made one tonight with chicken, potatoes, chili, and corn (we're out of peas). Over rice, quite tasty. I am a happy Willa.

Today's CSA haul was rather nice - included butternut squash and lemon cucumbers. Lemon cucumbers! They're adorable!

Also, my new bag arrived! (Timbuk2 large laptop messenger in blue and silver. I love it) It's surprisingly comfortable to bike with, and doesn't move around much at all. This was good, as I ended up biking from CSA (4th and University) back home (Tucson and Grant). Was quite nice, as since I'd gotten off early, there wasn't a ton of traffic.

Now, if this cardboard-produced paper cut would just heal...

Plans this weekend: clean, bake, and possibly get stuff together for Dragon's Horde.

swordmage: (Whee!!)
The Turducken has arrived.

It is in a rather... boxy... shape. Doesn't really look like a turkey - *grin*

Then again, it's boneless.

And it's about 10 pounds. This will be an interesting Thanksgiving.
swordmage: (walking!piggy)
[livejournal.com profile] domnall made dinner. Sausage, pasta, and a disgustingly good sauce involving onions, peppers (bell and mild chili), garlic, and a variety of spices (including cumin, turmeric, and coriander). It's spicey and a little sweet and yummy! Over rice tomorrow for lunch, it's going to *rock*...

17th Street's Hot Sausage is just that - quite hot.

Also - True Blood has a disgustingly addictive theme song.

I Did It

Sep. 22nd, 2008 08:08 pm
swordmage: (Up to no good)
I took the plunge and finally I ordered that sign of the ultimate in Thanksgiving excess.

The Turducken.

Now, I've planned on doing this for a few months - as most friends know. And I'm firmly convinced this is not an endevor to be undertaken lightly.

Which begs the question - have I lost it?
swordmage: (Approval!)
Yes, most of you have heard me go on and on about the joys of Michael Pollan and how you should all read him.

Well, [livejournal.com profile] american_knight's latest post, tangentally, reminded me I should post this.

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan.

This is the article that expanded to become his latest book, In Defense of Food. (Which, by the way, I highly recommend to, well, anyone.) It discusses how to eat and why. He's not a complete whistle-blower (which may account for at least part of why I prefer him to Fast-Food Nation and Super-size Me), and presents something feasible in real-world terms.

swordmage: (Lyra and Iorek)
So, school's back... Second week, done.

Though my (only) class is from 12 to 12:50, I still went in early. Grabbed coffee with a friend (if you've heard about the person I know with the leech for a boyfriend - her...) and then hit the studio for a while to finish up a mold. My hands now smell somewhat strongly of silicone, but I can at least get a few waxes next week, if I'm so inclined. I say that, as I'm pretty damned sure I was going to be making something else for the project.

So, like everyone else on my flist: I'm getting in shape/better health/the usual. Yes, I know this has come up before, and those who know me have heard it all before...

I'm biking to school, which is about two miles, and then to work, another three or four. After work, I head to the bus station, which is a mile or two. So, six miles a day. Not too shabby at all. Plus, [livejournal.com profile] domnall is biking at least a few days a week, so the car is getting used less.

Yes, I am well aware I'm starting to sound like one of those people... those neo-hippies...

The other big thing I (we) are doing is changing eating habits. Mind you, processed food (besides cheese, and tortilla chips for me) hasn't really been entering our kitchen for a very long while. We've been trying to eat more fruits/veggies/etc, and it's slowly working.

I've had a mind to at least get almost entirely rid of it for a while. I know it's not all that good, and the switch just requires a little hunting. We'd discussed it on and off, and made small steps in the direction, and now it's picking up momentum. Today is the first day for our pick-up at Tucson Community Supported Agriculture. CSA is something I've wanted to try for a long while - I like the idea of supporting local agriculture, getting to know one's supplier of food and all that jazz. It's actually not all that expensive, and just means I've got to to make a minor detour on the way home from work. We also got a share of goat cheese for this session, which starts next week. The meat we recently picked up all came from the 17th Street Farmer's market. (No, that doesn't mean it's all local, but I rather like supporting them. Plus, it's about the only fish I'll trust here. Anyone have other good suggestions?) Added bonus: they make their own sausage, which includes a damned good andouille. (We'll probably be trying to make our own sausages soon.)

In addition to the various fiction, I've been reading some stuff talking about food in general. Namely, I gave in and god Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma (TOD) and In Defense of Food (IDOF). Both of them I highly recommend. They're not books telling you what to eat, but more guidelines for being aware of your food. The cover of In Defense of Food says "Eat Food, not too much, and mostly plants." And damn it, I really like it. Yes, I want to/am trying to loose weight and get into better shape. And I know at least a bit of it is because of the one medication I'm on. But it's not right to only accuse that, since I know I'm also lazy.

Both books are readable, very much so. And I highly recommend them. TOD talks about commercial farming practices and why it's better to know where your food comes from. The last part is a little preachy, but not too much. I will shamelessly admit: this book made me more conscious about my food than Fast-Food Nation (and Super-size Me). Commercial organic farming isn't the best thing ever, but it is better than the alternative. Also, I like corn: but damn it, I didn't realize exactly how much of it goes into the food in supermarkets. It's kind of scary. IDOF builds on TOD. It discusses how our view of food has changed over time, and how lobbying, science, etc have influenced it. And moved us away from the ingredients to the finished, and/or processed, product.

I like food, I really do. And I love cooking and baking - more's the pity that I have less time with school and work. Right now, I feel like my universe is falling into place. [livejournal.com profile] domnall has taken to cooking (and making ice cream like a duck to water... I swear). We're both eating better (and it's much easier when the one you live with is happy to eat whatever you cook), and it's easier when you've got the good stuff in your fridge. "Quick" meals lately have involved sausage (from 17th street), leftover lamb curry (brown the lamb, cook with Maya Kumal curry, add peas, enjoy with rice), and stiry fry. Damn it, I'm enjoying this.

If nothing else, I'm feeling better. Sure, I'm still sweaty and tired when I get to school/work/home, but I am noticing small changes. By no means are things 100%, but they're slowly heading there. And I like the result. It's looking like we'll probably be spending a bit more time getting food. For now, just CSA and 17th street primarily. Safeway for some stuff. We're also looking at spending more time in the kitchen (the agony! *grin*). I'm probably going to put in a King Arthur Flour order soon - they've got a few speciality flours I want to try.

We won't be hitting Crown this weekend - [livejournal.com profile] domnall's birthday is tomorrow, and there shall be fun. With luck, since at least one part of life is coming together, we can starting hitting events more regularly. I feel a little odd that we've not been going lately, and he's not been fighting. But then, I think about other things we've been getting in order, and realizing that it probably won't be all that long before we're back in the full swing of things. I'm currently insane and plotting some things for next year's Baronial A&S. I've got a few minor projects I want to do and all that jazz.

I know, I know, this could be argued as a poor excuse for not coming out much. But really, I think it's probably going to work out very nicely. Besides, we've not dropped off the face of the earth!
swordmage: (Merlin the Happy Pig)
I am in a good mood.

A)Got into the fall session of Tucson CSA. Woot! Local produce! Woot! Food experimentation!

b)I have been listening to NPR's Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! at work. The July 5th episode? Brilliant. It's a best-of show of types. And Calvin Trillin makes me giggle madly.
swordmage: (:P)
Currently home early as everyone else (all 2 people right now) needed to leave at 1:30. Such is life.

Weekend was nicely productive, in it's own way. Didn't end up seeing Gonzo, but *shrug* The best bit was we got into a lovely amount of trouble at Williams-Sonoma. Lots of new baking items, some other stuff (such as glass bowls and a number of KitchenAid attachments. Oh yes, a roasting pan - turducken here I come!).

We also hit 17th Street, which was (as usual) successful. Bought lamb and some tamarind curry - not for the same recipe, I should add. Lamb is one of my all-time favorite meats, and I'm always pleased to have an excuse to cook it. In this case, it was [livejournal.com profile] avilina and [livejournal.com profile] taranos over for dinner and the initial use of the tagine. Mmm... lamb and onions and garlic and corriander (which may be one of my new favorite spices).

The tamarind curry is something else. A while ago, I happened to be there and pick up a container of a tikki masala simmer sauce. Just add meat, simmer, and you're good. Figured it'd be tasty for the times when I just wasn't feeling fully up to cooking. It was - exceedingly so. So, the next time we were there, picked up the coconut curry - which was fed to my father the last time he came over for dinner. Quite tasty, we had it with rice, peas, and lamb. (Did I mention my deep love of lamb?) The brand is Maya Kaimal, if anyone's interested. It could be argued it's a bit expensive ($6.50 for 15 oz) but the sauces are tasty, really easy, and the ingredients fall into "no unpronouncable or unrecognizable things". (In the case of the tamarind curry: onion, all natural coconut milk, tomato puree, water, vegetable oil, ginger, spices, garlic, salt, brown mustard seeds, tamarind, green chili, fresh curry leaves, and turmeric.)

Side note, Judi Dench as M is love.


swordmage: (Default)

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