Yum.

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:48 am
kass: apples and honey (apples)
[personal profile] kass
It's one of my favorite flavors of the year, and it's one I only taste at this season: coffee-infused honeycake batter, licked off of the scraping spoon after I put the pans in the oven.

Gratitudes

Sep. 16th, 2017 11:52 am
kass: a latte in a teacup with a heart shape drawn in the foam (latte)
[personal profile] kass
1. Tasty leftovers for lunch: baked rice (lemon, cinnamon, curry leaves), topped with spicy kale (ginger, soy, and a hot red pepper from the CSA) with a dollop of chicken schmaltz just to make the whole thing richer and more flavorful.

2. Rereading the introduction to The Bitch is Back this morning and being both comforted and inspired by the existence of many smart, thoughtful, passionate women determined to wrest the most out of midlife.

3. The fact that my son, who is going on eight, still wanted nail polish this weekend and still watches Shimmer & Shine.

4. Beautiful warm late-summer day, which means I'm still wearing sleeveless shirts and sandals, both of which make me happy.

5. I'm going to give myself a pedicure this afternoon. \o/!

How are y'all?

Yuletide noms!

Sep. 14th, 2017 06:24 pm
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat
They close tomorrow so hurry and get your nominations in!

Mine are:

Witcher: Geralt, Emhyr, Ciri, Dandelion (duh)

Dragonriders of Pern: Menolly, Robinton (I totally want Menolly/Robinton NOT SORRY)

Dune (the book): Paul, Jessica, Stilgar, Feyd -- I don't know exactly what I want here, I think I want some outsider POV on Paul maybe?

My runners-up were:

Rome: Pullo, Vorenus, maybe Octavian -- man, I would love a story that undid what the show did to Octavian in S2 so much

Gladiator: Maximus, Commodus

Brimstone: Ezekiel, The Devil

Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon: Eric, Hank, Sheila, Venger

Battle of the Planets: Mark, Jason

and my perennial hope-springs-eternal Dracula: the Series: Lucard (hope doesn't really spring very far lol)

I am totally not mentioning these here in hopes that someone has a spare nom they wouldn't mind using on one of these. ;)
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Moon Woke Me Up Nine Times: Selected Haiku of Basho, by Bashō Matsuo, translated by David Young: A delightful collection. David Young's introduction is informative and easy to read, which is a rarity in poetry collections and must be praised, though you won't learn a thing about Bashō from it. Young says you can get that everywhere else; instead, the introduction addresses Young's approach to translating these poems, and I was quite surprised at the amount of latitude Young gave himself. Due to the differences between the number of syllables in English and Japanese, he disregards the West's belief that haiku must conform to a 5-7-5 arrangement, which is fine by me, but he also elides cultural references he thought would be lost on English-speaking audiences, reorders the lines themselves, and even removes the occasional question mark, and I don't know how I feel about that. The result is lovely, but is it an honest reflection of Bashō's words?

In Young's hands, Bashō's poetry is clear and simple, each haiku a meditation on life and nature. They are, by turns, longing, playful, soothing, and contemplative, and it's remarkable how many sensory details they include. So much is packed into these little sentences, giving you brief glimpses of another life, transporting you to where Bashō was three hundred years ago, listening to the rain, gardening, or:
Big white leeks
washing them off
feeling how cold
The poetry is transcendent, in that it moved me to a different place. Once I came back, though, I wondered a lot about the choices Young made. I really would have liked some translator's notes (outside of those in the introduction), but instead I'll have to content myself with reading Jane Reichhold's Basho: The Complete Haiku and go over her notes to see how their translations differ. This is actually Young's idea, and he helpfully includes an appendix that correlates his page numbers with Reichhold's numbering system for easy comparison.

Really accessible, and highly recommended.

Gratitudes

Sep. 12th, 2017 04:03 pm
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
[personal profile] kass
1. Kitten. With his little kitten face, and his giant kitten paws, and his blissed-out kitten squinty-eyes while lounging on my desk in a sunbeam and licking my fingers.

2. Thanks to [personal profile] heresluck posting her recipe for Keralan pepper chicken last week I was inspired to get curry leaves (one can buy them on Amazon! which is useful to know if one lives in a small town as I do), and then I was inspired to ask her what else she cooks with them, and now I am making lemon, cinnamon, and curry leaf basmati rice.

3. It is warm this afternoon. Warm and beautiful and sunny and the crickets and cicadas are singing their song.

4. I have a big work deadline coming up and I am reaching a state of calm about it. As in: the really important things will get done. The things that don't get done...? Must not be that important. ::grin:: We'll see if I can sustain this attitude through the next couple of weeks (not likely, but one lives in hope.)

5. Tonight [personal profile] kouredios will come over and we will have dinner and watch some Gilmore Girls again. It's nice to be getting back to that routine.

How are y'all?

Gratitudes

Sep. 9th, 2017 07:55 pm
kass: glasses of pink wine (rose)
[personal profile] kass
1. The tapestry of sound at twilight: crickets, cicadas, the occasional distant whistle of a train.

2. Mister Adorable Kittenface. Even if he's being a little bit bitey today and attempting to gnaw on me with his teeny tiny little teeth.

3. A glass of rosé, because rosé.

4. I finished Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate books and they are quite charming.

5. Today I wrote a work thing that really, really needed to be written. It's only a draft, so with any luck I'll manage to improve it, but worst-case instance, now it exists. Go me.

How are y'all this evening?
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Let Them Eat Cake: Classic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations, by Gesine Bullock-Prado: If this cookbook were an animal, it'd be a platypus. Male platypuses have venomous spurs on their hind feet. Did you know that? But they only produce venom during breeding season, which is between June and October. Their venom isn't lethal to humans, but its effects have been described as "excruciatingly painful."

This cookbook isn't venomous, and instead of excruciatingly painful, it's actually quite delightful. The author's funny, able to admit when she's made a mistake, and is capable of pointing out the problems of palm oil in a non-confrontational way. The book, though, is like if you started out with a beaver, and then someone was like, oh, but what if I can't do buck teeth? And someone else was like, my daughter only likes animals with duckbills. And then suddenly it's laying eggs and has venomous spurs on his heels.

BECAUSE—I swear this made sense when I started out—this book takes a standard, traditional muffin, quick bread, cake, pie, tart, or cookie recipe, and THEN it gives you a vegan variation, a gluten-free variation, and a "healthier" variation, which in this case means a version with a lower glycemic index and more fiber and nutrients. So, like, grapeseed oil instead of butter, and whole wheat or spelt flour rather than white flour.

It's unwieldy. As someone who is currently cooking gluten-free, I'm fine with checking this out of the library, but I'm not going to buy it. I guess if you were experimenting with your diet, or you bake with wheat at home, but need to make things vegan for the people at work, or gluten-free for your in-laws, or more nutritious for the school bake sale—then maybe. The focus is definitely on the traditional recipe, with little boxes afterwards (or on the pages before, the book's not picky or well organized) that explain how to make it vegan, or GF, or healthier by adding egg substitutes or switching out the flours. Sometimes the vegan variation will require an entirely different recipe, which is actually easier to deal with than a paragraph of text about substitutions, so while I might try making the biscuits and scones, I'm going to photocopy the recipe and write in the GF changes myself. Using this as a book would require a lot of flipping back and forth between the main recipe and the variations. I imagine it'd be very easy to make a mistake and put in the wrong amount of something.

So the layout is kind of baroque, but the colors are nice, and almost every recipe has a photo, even if they're sometimes a few pages away from the recipe. I suspect that the photos are of the traditional recipes, though, rather than any of the variants, because I'm a suspicious person by nature, and we all know vegan or gluten-free baked goods don't always look as nice as the traditional versions. Oh, can you merge two variants together and make a vegan gluten-free whatever? Never once brought up by the author. So I'm guessing...try that at your own risk.

If you're interested in cutting down on wheat or animal products, or if you cook for several groups of people with different dietary restrictions, then maybe this is the book for you. If you're straight up vegan and/or gluten-free, I don't see the point. The recipes are pretty standard fare, except for the cake section which is full-on bananas; they involve a lot of layers, if you have the time for that. Measurements are by volume and weight (grams), and there's a helpful introduction to each recipe, but no storage advice, and the index isn't thorough enough for me.

Morning gratitudes

Sep. 7th, 2017 10:15 am
kass: a latte in a teacup with a heart shape drawn in the foam (latte)
[personal profile] kass
1. A latte. Because today is grey and there needed to be espresso.

2. A haircut! I have ears again! The best thing about having short hair is the delightful feeling of getting shorn again.

3. Earlier this week, [personal profile] kouredios and I watched an ep of Gilmore Girls for the first time in months upon months. I had forgotten how much I like these characters.

4. Tonight [personal profile] squirrelhaven and [personal profile] outsidetheparty and their kid are coming over for dinner, so I'm making green chicken enchiladas.

5. Kitten. Because kitten.

How are y'all this morning?
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
La Petite Assiette: Simple Gluten-Free Baking, by Patricia Harrington: This cookbook has so many typos in it I can only assume it's self-published. Still, it has nice color photos for each recipe and doesn't require a custom flour blend, so it's got my attention. The recipes mostly use white and brown rice flours, golden flaxseed meal, oats, almond flour, some xanthan gum, and not a lot of starch. They cover the basics, like blueberry muffins and three kinds of pancakes, all the way up to the unusual, like abelskivers, which are Danish and require a special pan that looks like you're about to smelt some golf balls.

There are also recipes for five different pastry crusts at the back, though no word of what each is best used for. Their names are in French, which is maybe a clue, but I'm tired and don't have the energy to learn a second language just so I can have pie.

Recipes only occasionally give storage advice, and the index is absolutely worthless, but I'm going to try some of the muffins and see how they go. I'm on the hunt for the perfect blueberry muffin, and these look good.
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