Archive for July, 2009
I’m up to my neck in CSA vegetables: Swiss chard, zucchini, cucumbers, poblanos, cherry tomatoes, squash and more. I made tiny souffles (my first ever) on Friday night with a recipe for Poblano and Cheddar Cheese Souffle from the 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures blog. I give credit to the Inspired Bites blog for helping me through the pepper-roasting process.
Oddly, I was more scared to roast a poblano pepper than I was to attempt a souffle. Go figure.
Truly, I could not handle this culinary adventure without the world wide web. Thank you, Internets.
You’ll note that there is no photograph of these alleged souffles. That’s because about three-quarters of the way through the 20-minute baking time, I realized that I WAS ACTUALLY MAKING A NOTORIOUSLY DIFFICULT DISH and I SHOULD BE SCARED and THEN THE TINY SOUFFLES ACTUALLY PUFFED UP and there was no way I was taking the risk that my first-ever homemade souffles would be served all sunken and non-poofy just so I could stop and take pictures.
They looked just like the ones here, and they were delicious. Trust me. I’m a woman who can make souffles.
I leave you with photos from the other half of this weekend’s food experiments: the Dehydration Debacle. Really, it was only half a debacle. Someone at work brought in some freeze-dried snap beans last week, and they turned out to be a crunchy, tasty snack. Having an excess of snap beans AND cucumbers crowding the CSA box, I decided to drag out my old-school stackable-unit dehydrator.
The results: crunchy bean curls that don’t really taste like anything, and thin cucumber chips that I would definitely pay good money for. I put just a slight sprinkle of salt on top of most of the slices before cranking up the dehydrator, and it seems to draw out the cucumber flavor.
Next weekend, I’ll bring out the dehydrator again to take care of all the pesky zucchini and squash taking up room and dealing out guilt in the hallway closet.
I’ve added a new feature to this blog, titled As Pictured Below. I admit, it was inspired by an unexpected love for my new iPhone’s camera. In under five clicks, I can take a photo, upload it to WordPress, and post it with commentary.
It’s addictive, really.
Be sure to check out the hover text for each photo – just position your pointer over the photo and wait for the text box to appear. Sarcastic/funny/sad/illuminating messages await you. (This function was inspired by the online comic A Softer World. Check it out. And don’t forget to hover.)
Mother Nature can be such a drama queen.
Posted in Cats, tagged adulthood, animals, bicycle, cats, childhood, cooking, decisions, father, homemade, kidney failure, letting go, making peace, mother, pets, safety, scars, training wheels, veterinarian, wheels on July 23, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Remember training wheels? For me, they were the last bastion of bike safety, and they became more of a security blanket than a training tool. I remember being reluctant to let my dad take them off, until one day I realized that they didn’t seem to be touching the ground anymore. Sure enough, I took a short test drive on a neighbor’s non-training-wheeled bike, and I could totally ride on two wheels.
I could also totally crash on two wheels, as evidenced by the latticework of tiny souvenirs on my knees and elbows.
I’m still removing metaphorical training wheels from my life, some 30 years later.
Two weeks ago, we had one very sick cat. Yang was showing signs of kidney failure, a diagnosis that would have fit his age of 13 years.
I spent four days and nights convincing him to eat and drink. I drove to three supermarkets in search of no-sodium-added tuna. I baked him a chicken and made a salt-free stock. I woke up at 2 a.m. every day to check on him. I made sure my phone never left my side so that the vet could give me the results of the blood tests the minute they came in.
Most surprising of all, I made peace with the situation.
I realized that it was the first time I had truly been in charge of an animal’s care. Sure, I had pets as a child and even as a teenager, but my mother was, in the end, the decision-maker, the one who had to decide on treatments, the one who had to decide when to let go.
It’s not a small thing, deciding when to let go.
In the end, the blood tests came back normal and Yang started eating like a lumberjack again. It does appear that he and his brother have permanently added a couple of servings of baked chicken and homemade broth to their daily menu, but that’s a small price to pay for the return of a healthy cat.
I realize I’m not out of the woods on this forever. I have teenage cats, and they won’t live forever. Pets break your heart, every damn time.
I won’t say that the decisions I’ll be faced with one day will get any easier, but I’m on two wheels now, ready to brave the hills.
OMG, iPhone. After downloading the ToyCamera app, I worry I may never want to pick up my regular digital camera again.
What’s the matter with the digital camera companies that they can’t make regular photography this much fun, with so little effort on the user’s part? Does Apple have to do EVERYTHING?
This is a sampling of the okra from last week’s CSA delivery, BTW. It got dropped into a simmering pot of onions, zucchini and tomatoes. Six more weeks of CSA deliveries, and my no-fry rule is getting more and more difficult to enforce.
I didn’t see this coming: I LOVE the camera on my new iPhone.
I barely get along with the family digital camera, so I didn’t think I’d have much going for this one. It is four shades of AWESOME, though. It’s always at the ready, and I can use the images without dragging out USB cords and the laptop for the transfer process.
As a bonus, it has some very cool special effects – note blogger bbum’s observations and examples of iPhone images shot by watercolor artist Paul Jackson. Movement of the subject or the camera can result in a gorgeous, stylized blur. Of course, it can also result in a simple bad-picture blur, but that’s what the trashcan button is for.
My husband shot the image above with his iPhone and e-mailed it to me while I was out of town for the weekend.
Pity the do-it-yourself mattress haulers of Alabama. Tasked with toting an unruly bed across town, armed with only a station wagon or minivan and cheap rope, they bravely soldier on, carrying out their duty with a degree of ineptitude and inadvisability usually exhibited by sugar-stoked, undersupervised 7-year-old boys with bottle rockets and short attention spans.
I can’t go two weeks without seeing a mattress on the side of the road, liberated by wind and poor rope skills, whether I’m driving within city limits or on county roads.
These mattresses are always used. You can tell by the - well, you can tell by the stains on them. I’m assuming they’re being moved from house to house, from apartment to apartment. Because who in their right mind would buy a used mattress? I mean, other than the dozens of people who, in the mid-1990s, purchased used (mightily used, some would say) mattresses from the Gone With the Wind Hotel in Mobile, Ala., a hotel located in a colorful part of town (a colorful part of town that I lived in, BTW).
The Gone With the Wind Hotel’s going-out-of-business sale meant that for several weeks, Dauphin Island Parkway was strewn with used, stained beyond stained mattresses, a graveyard of comfort coils and bad planning. Apparently the price was so good that people didn’t even care when the mattresses blew off of their vehicles; either they turned back around and tied another one on, or just motored on back home a few dollars lighter and, frankly, probably not that much wiser. They were buying used mattresses from a discount hotel on the side of the interstate, after all.
What exactly is the psychology behind attempting to tie a relatively heavy, incredibly floppy item to the top of one’s vehicle? What is the owner of a pickup truck thinking when he balances a large mattress across the top of a medium truck bed and leaves stability to chance, rather than proper tie-downs? Is this a Southern thing, or do people all over feel compelled to stack one of their most personal and useful possessions atop their ride, a la The Beverly Hillbillies? Why is it so much funnier to see a mattress sagging over the roof of a minivan than it is to spot one on an SUV?
The questions, they never end. Me following a vehicle going more than 25 mph with a mattress tied on top does end, however, even if I have to take the long way home.
During my most recent CSA adventure, I made stuffed eight-ball squash. Don’t tell the generations of ancestors before me who were Southern farmers, but I still just don’t like squash.
I did like the seeds, however, roasted at 350 degrees with a little olive oil and salt. They were crunchy and delicious, plus they looked awfully nice in my favorite green bowls.
I found out the hard way yesterday that my mobile vet isn’t so mobile anymore. He sold his RV since our last visit.
Don’t you hate it when a great, well-thought-out endeavor fails?
I mean, what’s not to love about a mobile vet? For an extra $40, he shows up at the end of your driveway in a sparkling, sterilized RV packed with all the stainless steel instruments and medications that your dog or cat could possibly require - even an X-ray machine. Instead of driving around with my neurotic, yowling cats for 20 minutes, an act sure to cause both a rise in my blood pressure and a stress fight with the spouse, I could pack them in their carriers and walk them 20 feet from front door to RV door. I never told the good doctor, but I would have paid twice the fee to get him to park his RV outside my house.
But no. The one DYI that everybody in this city is apparently willing to do is to pack up their pets and drive them across town.
The one upside to this: I found The Cat Hospital of Madison, which I was extremely impressed with. Dr. Stephanie G. Gandy-Moody is compassionate and analytical, all in one rare package. The staff was superb, and the facilities were gorgeous. Even the clinic cats were fun.
Now if only they’ll buy that RV I’ve got picked out for them.