Thursday, August 26, 2004

My Mixer

I think the only thing worth mentioning is that my new Kitchen Aid mixer arrived yesterday. The color is "lemon". It's very impressive looking and incredibly heavy. I'm looking forward to trying it out. I need to make some rolls. Of course, this also means that my mom took her Cuisinart 7 speed handmixer back. I'll miss it.

I had takeout Kurama sushi tonight and I ate way too much again.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Cornbread and Red Zinger

I forgot to mention that a week ago I went over to GM's apartment to have dinner and watch a movie. I brought a salad and made the Honey-Citrus Asian Salad Dressing from the Cook Something cookbook that RP gave me. It's very good and low in fat, since it only has 2 tablespoons of peanut oil for 3/4 of a cup of dressing. After dinner, we saw the Triplets of Belleville, which was a strange, but entertaining, but animated French film.

Saturday, a cable guy brought my new HD DVR/cable box, so I can look at the high definition channels (and record them, like any other DVR). The high definition channels are just gorgeous, especially the Discovery Channel. They are broadcasting the Olympics in HD, but there seems to be a delay before they broadcast the coverage.

I made cornbread today, using a recipe in the Joy of Cooking. I liked it. I only put one teaspoon of sugar in it, when the recipe called for 1 to 2 tablespoons. That sounds almost sweet enough to be yankee cornbread to me. I might try 2 teaspoons next time.

I also tried my pitcher of iced Red Zinger that I made yesterday. It's not quite as good as what Pyewacket (RIP) used to make, but I'm happy with it. They key is to chill the tea before you serve it, so the ice doesn't dilute it and you have to sweeten it with Sugar in the Raw after you pour it in the glass over ice. The Red Zinger is acidic enough to dissolve the sugar, unlike most iced teas. If you sweeten it when it's hot, it doesn't taste very good at all.

Friday, August 20, 2004


I have a new first for today. I just looked in the mirror, at approximately 9:30 pm and discovered that I'm unintentionally wearing different earring in each ear. One is a 5mm silver ball and the other is a iridescent button pearl. I'm surprised that no one noticed or commented, but maybe it isn't that obvious.

The Olympics and my new television have definitely been cutting into my blogging. Right now I'm writing this with my laptop disconnected from the network, so I can watch diving at the same time. That's right, I got a new television. I finally got the Sony K42WE610 that I've been coveting since before it came out. So far, so good. In fact, it looks fantastic already and I'm looking forward to getting my HD cable box/DVR from Time Warner tomorrow. I had such a hard time deciding whether I wanted to order it from Crutchfield or get it locally, but I ended up getting it from BestBuy.

In hindsight, last week wasn't the best time to take vacation, but it's not something I could have predicted in advance. In addition to rain from Hurricane Bonnie and a cold front, we had quite a bit from Hurricane Charley. With the exception of Monday, it was rainy and gloomy every single day of my vacation. I didn't let it stop me from having a good time, though. I went shopping quite a bit, mostly buying random kitchen stuff. I also went to Cedar Creek Gallery on Sunday to get rainbow tapers for my candelabra. One of the highlights while shopping was when I was at Sam's Club with my Dad. They sell a scrolling sign made out of LEDs and I programmed it to say "Vote for Kerry" My mom has been there since then and they don't even let customers turn it on anymore. Obviously, this means I should have made it say "Please Vote for Kerry" instead.

Yesterday I took four people from work to Champa for lunch. I had the pad thai again and it was probably even better than the first time I went there. PS had been there before, but it was a new experience for some of them, particularly those who had never tried Thai food before. It's really not far from work, so it was great.

Tonight, my parents and I went to Sage Cafe, at Timberlyne shopping center, in Chapel Hill. It's a Persian restaurant. It's completely vegetarian, including many vegan dishes. With Margaret's Cantina a short walk away, Timberlyne is turning out to be the perfect destination for vegetarians. I had a pomengranate stew, which had pomengranate juice, ground walnuts and tempeh, served with basmati rice. It was excellent and very different from anything I'd tried before. It also came with a salad, which had a delicious creamy dill dressing.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Shopping and Bonnie's Rain

Two things I forgot to mention yesterday: KB is living in California, so it's a big deal for her to visit, even though her parents still live here. It's not like she still lives one street over from me anymore. Also, she gave me a Kerry bumpersticker. Very cool!

Today my mom and I went to check out Brier Creek shopping center. That place is gigantic! I knew it was big, but you really have to see it to get a real impression of it. It looks like a little town, similar to Southpoint, but it's built more like a strip mall on steroids. We went to TJ Maxx and I got a few interesting kitchen items, like a 5 qt stainless steel mixing bowl and some cooling racks. We thought there was a Bed, Bath & Beyond there, too, but there wasn't. We tried out Champa Thai and Sushi. We ordered Pad Thai, a Sweet Dragon Roll and a Rainbow Roll equivalent, called a Skittles Roll. The Pad Thai was very good and I liked the sushi. I still the sushi at karma better than anywhere else I've tried it. The entree came with a coconut soup, which was also enjoyable.

Not too long after we got back, my dad and I ventured off to go Linens and Things. Mom mom thought we should take a look at some cheap bookshelves. The bookshelves looked good to me, so I got three of them. I also picked out odds and ends like small brooms with dustbins. I had just gotten to the aisle with non-stick baking sheets when my mom called on my cell phone and said we should leave as soon as possible, because we were about to have 2 hours of thunderstorms, according to the announcement on the HEMS frequency. So I grabbed a brownie pan, a mini-muffin pan and we headed for the cash register. By then, it had started pouring. I'm convinced that we would have been better off to stay and then I would have gotten to look at more of the kitchen section. As we were driving home, the rain was incredible and then as we got closer to home it lightened up a bit. It turns out that I'll be getting to look at the kitchen section after all. I turned out that the hardware in the bookshelves was made out of potently. One of the screw-like things holding up a shelf was broken when we took it out of the box and another one broke with just a little bit of pressure. They definitely won't hold up to heavy books and magazines, so we'll have to take them back tomorrow.

Finally, I discovered another use for blogging. When you write about practically every meal you consume, as I do, and it is announced on the local news that someone working at one of the restaurants that you like to frequent has come down with Hepatitis A, then you know very quickly whether you went there on the days when there was a possibility of being infected. You don't even have to find your credit bills or ask anyone you might have gone with. Fortunately, I last went to Big Bowl before the was any danger.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Old Friend and Rice

Today was a fun day. My friend K(C)B came to visit me. I hadn't seen her in 8-10 years, but we've been friends for almost 20 years. I remember my 9th birthday, when she came over to visit for the first time, bringing a big card from the kids at school. I'm pretty sure I was 9. Anyway, we played together quite a bit after that.
It's pretty awesome that, after all these years, she found this blog!

I showed KB around the house and then we went to Margaret's Cantina. I had the special burrito with spinach. I have to say that I am also becoming a Grandma Lundy's chocolate cake addict. We continued to catch up on things and exchange info about what our old friends are up to.

Afterwards, we went to my parents' house and I introduced her to FIFO. FIFO, of course, was quite happy to meet her. He's more than a little exuberant during such greetings and he just wears himself and sacks out on the floor.

Later in the afternoon I unpacked another box or so. For dinner, I finally made rice! I don't know why I've been so hesitant about making it, because it's really pretty easy, even on the stove. I had it with a kofta curry frozen dinner. It was excellent, but I was very full afterwards. I still am.

I recommend being very careful when using spell checkers. If you accidently have your cursor on "replace" instead of "ignore" it can be bad. Although if I'd left those "corrections" in place, it would have been more entertaining to have said "special buried with spinach" and "Grandma lunatic chocolate cake".

Monday, August 09, 2004

Latte Ham

Sunday, my parents continued planting trees in my yard. They planted 26 trees and shrubs! That's amazing.

I abandoned them that afternoon and met JJ and JA at Ooh-La-Latte. I had an egg salad sandwich and a latte. I have this tendency to go through the day on a weekend and not eat anything. I then realize suddenly that I'm starving to death. The sandwich really hit the spot. It could have been made of cardboard and I would have enjoyed it.

Later, my parents and I went to the Durham FM Association picnic. I had a good time seeing hams that I hadn't seen a while, since I almost never go to the meetings anymore. The banana bread was still a little under-cooked. I need to take my mom's advice and turn the oven without taking it out for ten minutes and then opening the door until the oven cools down. Then I can take it out of the pan. We'll see if that works next time. The best part of the picnic was that I got to take home some potato bean salad and a couple homemade Chinese dumplings. That's what I ate for lunch today and it was great.

I have some plants in my yard now. Posted by Hello

More plants near the house. Posted by Hello

Saturday, August 07, 2004

This is August?!

My, what gorgeous weather we've been having. I've had the windows open all day and it's August!

This week has gone by so fast. I only have scattered bits of things I actually remember.

One day JJ and I went across the street from work to get coffee in the other building. While we were there, we noticed that a tree was flopping about quite a bit and decided to head back rather precipitously. We did not drown.

Right now I'm baking banana bread for the Durham FM Association annual picnic tomorrow.
Today my parents planted several large plants in my yard. That was very exciting. My dad also almost finished the workbench that he's been building in my garage.

Last night I went over to GM's apartment. He cooked a great meal, including chicken curry, raspberry spinach salad and apricot bars for dessert. It was pretty impressive. Afterwards he and FT picked out some DVDs from a friend's place, across the street. We ended up watching the Bridges of Madison County. I've never read the book, so the movie seemed pretty good, although it was fairly sad.

I just took the banana bread out of the oven and it smells fantastic. This time I added orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. It's actually two tablespoons of orange peel! This is the orange spice variation in Baking Illustrated. I have the hardest time getting it done in the upper middle. I already baked it for 5 extra minutes and my toothpick didn't come clean. Unfortunately, I waited until after I took it out of the pan to test it, but it was easy enough to plop it back in. I hopefully another five minutes as it heats back up to 350F will do the trick.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Serious Cookies

Today I baked more chocolate chip cookies. I experimented with the size of the cookie in relation to the baking time. The recipe recommends 1/4 cup of dough per cookie, baking them for 15 minutes. I only have a small baking sheet and I want them for a large number of people, so I tried smaller cookies. Well, smaller cookies are cripser if you bake them for 15 minutes. I tried 13 minutes and that seemed to be an improvement. I think I like the big cookies, though, so I'll just have to acquire some larger sheets.

Reflecting on last night's comedic routines, I think I've realized why I prefer political humor (and that was almost non-existant last night). A lot of the jokes last night were making fun of stereotypes, which can bother me. No one chooses their race, culture or sexual orientation. An individual does, however, choose to be a Republican. I, therefore, feel perfectly justified in making fun of such an individual. There are still dangers in this, though. Just as one foments ignorance in making fun of a racial stereotype, it is easy to focus on the more amusing political stereotypes, while ignoring their more sinister activites.

Food and Fun

Did I do anything Wednesday through Friday? Well, I think the most exciting thing I did was go to lunch at Fowler's with JJ. I had samosas and gazpacho again. I also bought two sixpacks of Blenheim ginger ale. I got the hot and the "not so hot" versions. I couldn't remember which I had a last time I tried it, but I had the hot one with my lunch. I took it back to work with me and it seemed much hotter when it wasn't combined with food. I only choked on it once.

I also cooked the Indian equivalent of Ramen noodles for my dad, either Wednesday night or Thursday. I added some frozen shrimp to it and it was quite good. I still think making pasta is a somewhat stressful activity, because I'm always worried about overcooking it and making it mushy. Violently boiling water is a little disturbing when you have to put stuff in it, too.

Other than that, I spent my free time watching the Democratic National Convention. I enjoyed watching it and continued to enjoy having cable again. I was impressed with Kerry's daughters and how poised they were, compared to...say... The Bush daughters. I also loved the hamster story. Of course, the Daily Show's commentary on the whole convention has been rather entertaining.

Today I slept late, ate breakfast and did some laundry. My dad came over to work on building a workbench in the garage. My contribution was to help support the boards in such a way that it made it more difficult to cut them, causing the circular saw to bind.

This evening, I went with JJ, JA, EB, MP, JA's brother and his brother's wife to Charlie Goodnight's, the comedy club in Raleigh. First we were going to go to 42 Street Oyster Bar, but that had a 45 minute wait. We investigated going to the Irrregardless, but they could't take us soon enough either. We then walked to Ri Ra, an Irish pub. My meal was quite good. I had a Salmon Boxty, which was a potato pancake filled with salmon and a cream sauce. Then, we went to the comedy club and saw Dat Phan. The show was entertaining. I'd never been to a comedy club before, so that was interesting. I still think you can probably get about as much out of seeing a comedy routine on tv as you can in person. The jokes are either funny or they aren't. I still wouldn't mind seeing Jon Stewart in person, though.