25 October 2011
In addition, I have two very unusual discoveries to post, one which I found exploring my bedroom ceiling several weeks ago:
To put this fellow (or lady) centipede into perspective, suffice it to say that his body alone was about an inch and a half long! Needless to say, I carefully captured him in a cup and deposited him outside where he belongs.
Here is another surprising thing:
This is the appropriately-named Phallus ravenelii, a type of stinkhorn fungus that I was lucky (or unlucky, if you count the stench these things produce) enough to stumble upon in a stand of Beech trees near Lynd house. The smell is obvious by the large fly that seems to think the sticky black pollen is some sort of rotting food item.
This semester is proving itself to be a truly hectic one-- I have undertaken a huge conference paper on the taxonomy of green algae for my botany class, as well as the writing of a long allegorical poem for yet another class with Bill Shullenberger. In addition, I've joined the equestrian team, which means I have horse shows every weekend from now until the end of time. But I plan on making it through this semester alive!
07 September 2011
New Academy of Sciences in San Francisco
The Mister and I as Morrissey and Karen O, respectively, at my 21st birthday party.
County fair sheep
A breakfast of fresh farmer's market berries and cream
A beret for Amina!
A little hat for my new baby cousin, Parker Johanna!
I am back in NY now, having mostly nested in my new room: I have m benjamin's art on my walls, an East-facing, treetop window, and a non-college-issued mattress courtesy of one Miss Erin Perfect, and so I am quite content once again. Class are just beginning, and I am not quite yet in my routine, but for now I am content. This semester I am taking: a. French literature, focusing on Balzac; b. botany; and c. Renaissance poetry with a focus on the environment and imagination (with my beloved Bill Shullenberger). It promises to be a wonderful semester. The mister has moved into a new apartment in Park Slope with our good friends J, Erin, and Lucas, and we have enjoyed exploring his new neighborhood on our bikes. We have made a pact to take more field trips this semester, while the weather is still nice, and explore New York before we leave it.
Well I'm off to finish my breakfast of apple slices with chunky peanut butter, and then to the bookstore to pick up my Botany textbook. Hopefully, more posts and pictures soon!
p.s. while you are at it, you should check out this new musical project, which releases in the US on September 12th. We are planning to see them in NY at the West Park Presbyterian Church on October 30, and we are super excited about it!
11 May 2011
Moving out tomorrow, and heading back to California in six days. My love and I are excited to be back home, but we will also miss the little family we've made here in New York. It has been an important, and largely successful year here--despite a handful of tragedies this spring. I, for one, am very ready to go home to the sunshine and slow pace of my life on the West Coast. Soon, soon.
04 May 2011
Watching the numbers tick up toward the third digit this past week, I have been contemplating exactly how I want to spend this momentous post; it occurred to me that the life I've led since I began this blog has been the manifestation of a fantasy for me, and I want to compile here a list of things I have learned/discovered from it, and things that have surprised me since I became a student.
12. Paper disposables cost a lot of money and disappear WAY too fast in a house full of college students. I don't buy any paper products in New York (except t.p. which we get for free at school anyway--I'm not about to go that far!)--I've switched to rags from paper towels, and hankies for tissues. I never really used paper eating stuff anyway.
11. You should never, ever assume the people you live with have learned the same things about cleaning that you did. For example, that you are not to touch the spice bottles when your hands are covered in raw fish juice, that in order for dishes to be cleaned, they must be washed WITH soap, that normal people use towels when they get out of the shower, etc. (You'd think people would at least get the soap thing!)
10. The romance of working on your conference paper all night at the end of the semester when the library is open 24/7 is not worth moving out of your dorm and flying home to California on on 1/2 hour of sleep (but is worth the the walk home to your dorm at 5:20 am with your finished paper in your hand and the sun coming up).
9. Like-minded souls really do exist, no matter how much your adolescence wanted to convince you otherwise.
8. Your body doesn't like all the goop you put on it every day. Before I moved out here, I used at least eighteen products on myself daily. I use six now, and my skin and hair have never been healthier. (My six are Dr. Bronner's Magic soap for hands, hair, body, and face, a homemade vinegar rinse instead of conditioner, toothpaste, non-antiperspirant deodorant, one lotion for face and body, and sometimes a little mascara.)
7. Sometimes, there are just people in your life with whom you don't want to remain in contact. Good friends are worth the extra effort of long distance.
03 May 2011
These are (deep breath) vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with cream-cheese-pomegranate-honey frosting topped with home-candied violets!
I was inspired by these cupcakes, got the recipe for the cupcakes here and came up with the rest on my own. Here's the (modified) recipe (again this is not my own recipe, but I changed a few things, such as omitting almond extract):
Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin tin
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts until mixture is smooth.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until almost combined. Add buttermilk and stir, again, until almost combined. Add the rest of the flour and stir until all ingredients are mixed in.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.
Makes 12 cupcakes, or about 36 mini cupcakes
Mix together 2 parts homemade or store-bought cream cheese frosting and 3 parts jam of your choice (we used a pomegranate-honey jam that a neighbor in California makes).
Wash violets and allow to dry thoroughly. Lightly beat one egg white with a little water. Dip each violet in egg white and then roll in granulated sugar, and set on wax paper to dry.
We also made our own aluminum muffin cups, as we didn't realize until after we had bought regular-sized ones that we owned only a mini-muffin tin. We just cut circles out of aluminum foil by drawing around a coffee mug with an X-acto knife. We've decided we're never buying muffin liners again. :)
Well, still just working on one thing at a time, but despite these baking sprees, I am actually getting schoolwork done. Done this weekend, hopefully!
02 May 2011
This was a mocha cake with a chocolate-hazelnut glaze, both recipes from the wonderful Complete Tassajara Cookbook, by Ed Espe Brown and it was to-die-for delicious. This is the best cookbook I have ever beheld--directions are simple, ingredients common, and every single recipe is perfectly balanced and delicious. Ed Brown is an inspiration and a wonderful chef.
Anyway, the cake turned out brilliantly and was completely stress-free (I often avoid making cakes because they tend to call for special flours, lots of sifting and whipping and then turn out only plain-tasting), and so I highly recommend the recipe, and will surely be making it again, on multiple occasions.
After eating half the cake for dinner, we got up to eat the second half for breakfast, then made a pasta salad to take with us as a picnic lunch to the Cloisters, the beautiful medieval art extension of the Met in Washington Heights. Both the collections (inside an old cloisters on a hill) and the vast gardens that surround them are beautiful, especially this time of year, and we were lucky enough to have the lovely weather to enjoy them:
So much beauty all in one day! The Mister and I noted how like the "complacent smiles" of the Classical Chinese and old Buddhist works were the smiles on the faces of the Virgin in many of the Medieval works. And how wonderfully Utopian these old interpretations of Christian allegory were. And the colours on the angels' wings--crimson, and lapis, so beautiful!
Back to the books now, unfortunately, but if all goes according to plan, I should be finished with all my work and have it turned in by next Tuesday! And then, the following one, back to California. More before then though--I have more pictures that I've saved for a rainy day. :)
28 April 2011
Yesterday, in between procrastinating, working my butt off, and dinner, I had time for a quick walk with Jamie (who, unfortunately for all my lovely readers, refuses to be photographed). The newly blossoming dogwood trees, however, were certainly not so modest, and were much obliged to gussy themselves up for my camera:
Anyone who knows me knows, of course, that these are my very favourite trees, and their sudden blossoming yesterday caught me entirely by surprise. However, the last thing I need is another natural distraction before the end of the semester. :)
26 April 2011
This man is not only my picnic-buddy, fellow aspiring chef, and companion in just about everything, he is also the someone whose art and life I strive to emulate in my own. I am so blessed to have this truly good man in my life now and forever... And I think he thoroughly deserves the mocha-hazelnut cake I intend to bake him for the occasion. :)
24 April 2011
(a little fort someone built in slonim woods)
These last two pictures are of some cockle shells I've been meaning to photograph for a while, left over from a meal we made in Brooklyn. We had made pasta with fresh mussels and cockles ("cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o...") and I had never cooked cockles before--they're hard to come by on the West coast. They were so petite and colourful, I couldn't help but save a couple of shells to photograph.
I know my family is at home celebrating with a big breakfast, and I wish I were there with them. I did wake up this morning to a bundle of of big chocolate eggs wrapped in coloured foil, one for each member of the house. I don't know who left them there, but the mystery is a little bit exciting.
The Mister and I made this pasta last night, which was a major success, and will probably prove to be even better as leftovers. It was, indeed, one of the best pomodoro sauce recipes I've ever tasted.
Well, today begins the 24-hour schedule at the library, which officially denotes the beginning of the dreaded conference weeks here at SLC... I will do my best to keep this blog updated through that time, but I'm afraid I have little faith in my abilities to be diligent while I am writing conference papers. Many things will be happening during this time, though, so I will do my best... but, worst comes to worse, I'll be home in three short weeks, and that may suffice. For now, I am off to work and play on this beautiful Easter morning!
17 April 2011
Although it wasn't what I expected, and although I came out of the panel more frustrated than enlivened, I was still provided with a better view of my opposition's standpoint, and, to be fair, Doug Kearney and K. Silem Mohammed challenged the views of their peers in a very satisfying way for me. And, through the festival, I've been offered some wonderful opportunities to see incredibly talented poets--both established and students--so I certainly cannot complain simply because some of them do not believe as I do.
Also: new successful recipe, adapted from one I found on the Sunset magazine website:
cream of lettuce soup with spring salsa:
for the soup:
sautée two finely chopped leeks in butter (or olive oil, for vegans) until soft. add roughly two heads of lettuce, (we used one head of butter lettuce, one of romaine, and a good helping of watercress) finely chopped, and 1 quart of vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. once boiled, reduce to a simmer for several minutes until lettuce is soft. add salt, pepper, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a sprinkling of nutmeg, and whir it in the blender until smooth. add 1/2 cup of half and half (or rice milk, for vegan recipe), and heat to temp without boiling.
for the salsa:
combine 1 cup fresh green peas and 1/2 a fennel bulb, chopped to pea-sized with a handful of fresh chopped basil. dress lightly with a vinaigrette of lemon juice, garlic, salt, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. serve but the spoonful in top of the soup, or on the side. serve whole meal with garlic toast.
This made a wonderfully light, flavourful meal, and would be a great way to use up lettuce that's gone wilty (but not slimy) in the crisper. It would also be great served cold, or with grilled cheese sandwiches. We used rice milk instead of the half and half the recipe calls for (one of our guests is lactose-intolerant) which worked out just fine, although for those of you who are neither vegan not lactose-intolerant, half and half (or, let's be honest, heavy cream) would be incomparable.
I have one more reading to attend today, as the festival dies down, as well as old projects to finish up, and new ones to begin. I'm going to be beginning a new series of interviews here on ye olde blogge, the first of which should be up within the next two weeks--the series will be called "artistic synergies" and will be made up of interviews with artistic couples that feed off each other's talents and ambitions to further their own arts. More later!
15 April 2011
It seems as though every little tucked-away corner holds some brightly-coloured treasure--such colours I have never seen on daffodils or tulips. Even the dandelions and violets seem quaint. I love the knotgrass and the fiddleheads--there is something so wild and yet so quiet about them.
Tonight begins the SLC poetry festival, which should be amazing this year, as always. The Mister is coming into town for it, and so are our good friends J and Erin, who will be visiting tomorrow night. It promises to be a lovely weekend. Cheers to all.