Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

I’ve been reading quite a bit lately and I’ve got to say my latest guilty pleasure is the Magic series by Ilona Andrews. Just finished the latest book and they are well- written, fast-paced, kick ass protag, and have interesting world building. Two thumbs up, highly recommended. Reminds me of what Anita Blake could have been before she became a magic-induced nymphomaniac without principles.

The Year of Magical Thinking is pretty fantastic. I thought about picking it up for ages and finally did. Didion’s memoir of the year after her husband’s death will resonate with anyone who’s lost a loved one. This bit especially:

Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shck. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able to even get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and the meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absecne that follows the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness.

I also finished the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It is precisely as good as you’ve heard it is.

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman is a recent release and it’s beautiful and touching and wrenching and honest. Love her work.

All the recipes I’ve been making lately come from Dana Jacobi’s The Essential Best Foods Cookbook. Unlike Rachael Ray, they don’t promise you’ll be done in 30 minutes but I haven’t run into anything that takes much longer. The food HAS been fantastic, including the Salmon with Coconut Curry Chutney that I served for dinner on Friday. P.S. Cookbooks on the kindle are THE WHIP.  Easiest way to ever shop for groceries. I’ve also discovered that the rice which cooks perfectly at 10,000 feet is Basmati, properly soaked.

I also read the latest Mercy Thompson book by Patricia Briggs – she’s a consistently good storyteller, period.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it previously but I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s one of those books whose cover design grabbed me but I didn’t pick it up. Finally got it on the kindle and it’s great. An interesting mystery with compelling characters, and a dose of social commentary thrown in. I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

I keep finding free books for the kindle, so I’ve got a mess of things in the TBR list. Probably I will not do much reading while Mom is in town and I’ve been keeping track of the books as I finish them on my facebook page. I believe I’m in the high 30s so far, which means hitting 50 by year’s end shouldn’t be tough.


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High Altitude Cornbread

First attempt and it turned out pretty well. I kind of bastardized a recipe from somewhere else, but here’s what I did:

1 c all-purpose flour

2 c corn meal

1 c creamed corn

1tsp salt

2.5 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

2 T sugar

1.5 c milk

Baked at 425 for 35 minutes in a 9×9 pan.


It baked up really well, good texture and color. Next time I’ll add more sugar but that’s all I’d change.

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I was in Glenwood Springs for most of the day. Nice city, really bad parking. On the way HOME from Glenwood Springs, we were on the Battle Mountain Pass and suddenly being waved over to the oncoming lane by a county sheriff. There was a chunk of mountain, bigger than the sheriff’s SUBURBAN, in the middle of the right lane. It had just fallen off the side of the mountain and landed in the road. It was ENORMOUS. It would have squashed Spouse’s truck. Luckily it had fallen before we arrived and it didn’t appear that anyone had been hurt. I expect that Battle Mountain was a BEAR during rush hour tonight.

In Glenwood, I picked up light fixtures to replace the really old (really ugly) ones in our kitchen/dining room. Once this section of the house is done, I think this place will finally feel like home. The pot rack shows up next week and then I’ll have the befores and afters.

There was also a great health food store which carries Greek Yogurt (though they were out) and I got some fantastic premade vindaloo sauce recommended by the owner. We had it for dinner tonight and it was GREAT. I picked up ingredients for meals the next couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to the house stuff being done and being able to actually just cook and look for work. Go bison burgers!

Piper got into the garbage yesterday and has had bowel distress since then. We’re hoping she worked her way through it because we had to leave her in the garage all day today – not my favorite thing. I also picked up a trash can that locks, so we won’t be having a repeat performance.

I also learned that City Market – a big chain of western grocery stores – is owned by Kroger – a big chain of midwest grocery stores. That provides a little cushion of familiarity, at least with regard to SOME of the more esoteric things I like to buy. No guarantees, obviously, but it provides a little reliability with regard to staples. Interestingly enough, I’m going to have to keep a cooler in the back of my car in case I have spontaneous trips over the hill. That way, if I pick up some grocery items I can be sure they stay cold on the way back to town.

When we got back to town, I dropped Spouse off at a meeting, came home, put away groceries,  cleaned up after Piper, and caught up in GoogleReader. I haven’t transferred my pics of the day yet, so that’s probably the last task before bed.

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Madhur Jaffrey’s.


Samosas baked in puff pastry.


Mint Cilantro


Mint, part two


I’m going to be testing these out (and maybe making my own variations – sweet potato samosas sound delish) over the next week.


Chicken Vindaloo, for good measure

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