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Archive for July, 2010

Today seems like a good day for some cute.  It’s rainy and muggy and just uncomfortable outside.  I’m wearing a dress that makes me look semi-preggers.  My deli sandwich for lunch was disappointing (I have very high deli sandwich standards).  I need some cute.

So to that end I give you Charlie the meerkat. I don’t watch that weird meerkat show on the Discovery Channel or whatever it is, so I don’t really know a lot about them.  But I DO know that 1. Charlie is small 2. HIS NAME IS CHARLIE and 3. he was rejected by his family because he was the runt.  WHICH IS SAD.

Runts really touch my heart.  The best dog my family ever had (Casey, RIP) was the ‘runt’ of his fancy pants purebred litter, and it was that precipitous fact that landed him in our home.  Destiny.  Also, sometimes I like to think I myself am the runt of the family.  Because I’m very delicate, you see.  VERY DELICATE.

Also, the cuteness of this video is increased  x 50 because the people in it have British accents.  And Charlie + British accents = sqeeeeeeep.

It’s probably safe to add Meerkats to the list of pets I want.  Also, doesn’t it look like working at a zoo is the FUNNEST JOB EVER?

I’m in the wrong industry.

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I mentioned, awhile ago, that H and I were joining a CSA.  For those of you who aren’t trendy enough to know what a CSA is, it stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture.  Basically you pay an up-front fee to receive a weekly ‘share’ of food from a local farm for around 6 months.  This is a good idea for a variety of reasons.

1. You are supporting a local farmer.  My farmer (yes, he’s all mine) is named Zaid and is Egyptian and went to Cornell.  I’ve never actually met him, but he sounds fun when he writes his farm updates.  This is the closest I will ever get to a real working farm in my life (a fact I am VERY VERY okay with).  So it’s fun to live vicariously and imagine singing cucumbers and caterpillars being jolly up on the farm  as I sit in my air-conditioned apt in New York City.

2. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there is something seriously effed up about the food industry in this country.  In a nutshell: mass-produced food = bad.  Thanks, food industry, but I don’t need chemical covered fruit or genetically modified chickens pumped up with antibiotics.  Tempting, but no.

3.  It’s a volunteer opportunity.  You have to help unload the food and organize stuff for pick up.  This is a “Good Thing.”  Sigh.  I’ll let you know how I further feel about this after I actually execute my assigned volunteer slot in two weeks.  Please don’t have high hopes.

4. You are forced (cheerfully) to deal with types of fruits and veggies you’ve never seen or even heard of before.  Kohlrabi, anyone?  Fava beans (with a nice Chianti….psssfftttthhh (okay I have heard of that one))?  This forced feeding has led to some personal epiphanies.  For example: fresh beets?  Not so bad!  When there are fried up with lots of salt and butter, that is. But still.  Expanding my horizons!

The list goes on, but I’m sure you’re about done with reading it.  Suffice it to say that our CSA (www.harvestastoria.com, if you’re curious) has basically taken over my life.  Every Wednesday I MUST go and pick up our share, and then I MUST go home and stand in my sweltering cubby-hole of a kitchen and clean and prepare said share.  I then spend the remainder of the week alternating between trying to think up clever ways to eat the things I have and obsessing over when they will spoil.  ONCE I FOUND A SLUG IN MY LETTUCE.  It was horrifying and I gagged (what up my gagging friends, A. and C.!), but after regaining my composure I convinced myself that it was a good sign.  Somehow.  Now I’m too grossed out thinking about the slug to remember.

See? I wasn't exaggerating

Anyway, despite how time-consuming it is and how much I dislike volunteering for things, our inaugural CSA season is going pretty swimmingly.  I’m certainly expanding my culinary repertoire.   It’s absolutely making me eat more fruits and vegetables (it’s hard not to when they are staring you in the face every time you open the fridge…smug bastards).  It even gives me a perfect excuse to take artsy pictures with my iPhone and then force you to view them.  So I’ll leave you with that.  Lucky ducks.

The Noble Fava Bean

Collard Greens (and yes, I do waste a lot paper towel whist cleaning my veggies)

Oh also, yes.  Squadiculous is a made-up word.  Made-up of AWESOMENESS.

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I might have mentioned, in passing, how much I love noodles.  Not pasta, but noodles. Of the Asian variety.  So what I am about to tell you should surprise no one.

I eat noodles for breakfast sometimes.

Not brunch at like 1:00pm on a weekend.  I’m talking weekday, cook them before I leave for work, eat them at my desk style.  Legit BREAKFAST.

If you think about it, it’s really not as weird as it sounds.  Fact: I enjoy savory, not sweet, breakfasts.  Fact: I like breakfasts that keep me full til lunch. Fact: noodles are delicious and can be enjoyed any time of day (just ask, oh, the BILLIONS of people who live in Asia, fools).

People are so restricted about food.  You want to eat a turkey sandwich for breakfast?  Sounds good to me!  You’ve got your carbs, protein, a little fat…it’s better than some other breakfast food (Pop tarts, sugary cereal, 3,000 calorie sausage, egg, and cheese b-fast sandwiches…).  I know a certain girl (B, here’s your shout-out, I hope you see it) who must eat her meals in order.  There is no waking up and eating non-breakfast food, no matter what time it is.  The look on her face when I said I ate noodles for b-fast sometimes was pure horror.  B is crazy, obviously.  But we all have our faults.

Actually one of my favorite food people, Mark Bittman, is a huge proponent of this whole ‘savory breakfast’ idea.  He explains himself (and offers a yummy looking b-fast stir-fry recipe here).  So THERE.  I’m not alone in my psychotic thinking!

Anyway, here’s what I do.  Don’t judge.  Keep an open mind.  Noodles for breakfast juuuust might surprise you.

Breakfast Noodles

You’ll Need:

2 Eggs

1 small handful of Soba Noodles (spaghetti-esque asian noodles made from buckwheat)

Sesame Oil

Soy Sauce

Mirin (rice wine vinegar)

Siracha hot sauce

To Do:

1. Boil eggs until white is set but yolks are still runny (I have no idea how long this takes…I put them on, go and do my makeup, and when I’m done, they’re done.  Maybe 7-8 minutes?)

2. Scoop eggs out of boiling water, set aside to cool.

3. In the same water, add handful of Soba noodles, stir.

4. Boil noodles for no more than 4-5 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.

5. Peel eggs carefully, add to noodles.

6. Toss with equal dashes of Soy Sauce, Siracha, Mirin, and Sesame Oil.

7. Tote to work and enjoy at your desk, ignoring the stares of incredulous co-workers.  They’re just jealous.

The secret to this dish is, I think, the soft-boiled eggs.  The yolk runs around the noodles and mix with the soy/Siracha/sesame/mirin to make a tasty sauce.  You can also do poached eggs, or fried eggs…sometimes I even get a little crazy and add sautéed swiss chard, if I have it.  Yup.  Veggies for breakfast too.  What is the world coming to?!

Golden yolks and all...heaven.

And there you have it, folks.  Admit it, it looks tempting.  Doesn’t it.  DOESN”T IT?

I’m going to go with new HIGH on this one.

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Hi friends.  I know it’s been quiet on the blog front, and that is due to a couple of reasons.

1. It is hot.  I don’t do well in extreme weather.  I am a puddle.  Could we somehow rig it so that the world remains at a constant 75 degrees out?

2. It’s summer!  I have better things to do than sit around and blog.  It’s called LIFE, people.

3. This is sort of going on in the same vein as 2, but I’m going on vacation on Saturday.  Because it’s summer, I deserve it, and I want to.

Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get a post from the paradise that is called Long Beach Island (please see my other Jersey-centric post for more info on that).  But more likely than not I”ll be stuff my face with seafood and beer, shopping for summer clothes, and attempting to tan my pale bod without getting 3rd-degree burns (we all have our dreams).  Meaning, no time for typing and being witty.

So this really is just a post warning you that I won’t be posting in the next week or so…

Oh wait!  There is another reason for me posting today:

To Wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the Best Mother in the History of the Planet!

Want another list? Okay!  Here’s why:

1. She has 5 children, and she never forgets any of their names.

2. OK so maybe she confuses names, but definitely never forgets them.

3. She is a very talented art lady!  She paints!  She sculpts!  She makes jewelry!  Which I then steal!

4. She is an expert Finder of Things.  You know the type.  “Mom, do you know where –insert missing item here- is?”  “Oh yeah, I saw it in the family room, underneath the coat rack, to the left of the TV.  It was under 4 winter coats and a couple of magazines.”  AND BOOM.  IT’S THERE.  Magic.

5. She was always supportive, no matter how weird our interests got:  Okay Mary, you want to go to summer camp at the local historical site and dress up like a colonial person?  GO for it, girl!  You are a total freak but I’m okay with it!

6. Sometimes, she just gave up on doing the ‘right’ parental thing, and let us do what we wanted.  Way to pick you battles, Mom (I’m looking at you, little brother who would only eat hot-dogs for the entire 5th year of his life).

7. She knows how to do holidays.  Santa tracks on the roof at Christmas.  Easter baskets & Valentine’s Day candy in the mail during college years.  Always getting the gift you wanted (Little Mermaid sleeping bag…enough said).

8.  She is a baby-whisperer.  They love her, she loves them, it’s a beautiful thing.  This I am holding onto for the future, when I have brats of my own, because they will inevitably be terribly behaved, and I will hold them out to her like, “FIX IT, MOM.” And she will.

I could go on.  And on and on.  But I think you get the point.  Suffice it to say that I am not exaggerating when I say that she is the best mom on the planet.  Sorry guys.  She wins.

Okay, I’d say this is officially the most rambling post I’ve done so far.  The crazy had to come out sometime.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

(See what I did there?)

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I am a big fan of holidays (I mean, who isn’t?).  Give me a nice T-giving, a cozy snowed in Christmas…even the bush league holidays make me smile.  Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, President’s Day, I love you all!

It’s not just because these days occasionally coincide with days off (but that certainly is a big big part of it).  I just like how happy everyone gets, how festive the atmosphere becomes, how suddenly special a random Tuesday is.

But there is a flip side.  The dreaded over-hyped holiday.  Example A: July 4th.

Listen, I love the ole U S of A  as much as the next person.  Apple pie and baseball and corn fields and Bruce Springsteen, hooray!  It’s not what this holiday is celebrating, necessarily (Freedom! Patriots!  AMERICA!).  It’s the way people treat it.

I don’t mean to sound like a 4th of July Grinch, but the stupid day hasn’t even gotten here yet and I’m already Independence-day’d OUT…beacuse people have been talking about it for the last MONTH.  What to do for the 4th?  What are the plans?  Where are you going?  Shore? Mountains? City?  How are you getting there? What are you doing?  Who are you hanging out with? Where are you seeing fireworks? Who’s BBQ’ing? What are you wearing?

AND ON. AND ON.  AND ON.  FOOOREVVVVVERRRRRR (instead Sandlot slo-mo voice here).

It’s the same with Halloween and New Years.  So much hype. So much planning and agonizing over what to do and what would make this the most EPIC TIME EVER.  Argh.  It makes me want to puke red, white, and blue.  Because you know what’s going to happen (or at least, I know).  You’ll do exactly what you did last year because that’s ‘tradition.’  You’ll hang out with the same friends you hang out with all the time…cause they’re your friends, duh.  You’ll get a retarded sunburn and drink lots of beer and eat lots of meat and set things on fire and watch them explode, cause what’s more American than all that?

Me personally, I’ll be going to Duxbury, Massachusetts, virtually the cradle of patriotism.  It rates off the charts on pure American-ness, according to my personal mathematically derived rating scale.

– Historical buildings and homes (+1)

– picturesque beach on the majestic Atlantic (+3.5)

– LOTS of trees and even a Cranberry bog or two (+4 for the bogs)

– Permission to drive your giant gas-guzzling SUV onto said beach for tailgating purposes (+6)

– Statue of Myles Standish benevolently overlooking the entire town (+50) (Miles Standish is like the patron saint of Duxbury.  Everyone loves him.  Not sure why.)

– Home of the Island Creek Oyster Company, purveyors of the finest bivalves on the East Coast (and quintessential American snack). (+65 because I LOVE oysters)

– Quite possibly the most intense concentration of Croakies, Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Madras, and boat shoes I’ve ever seen. (+25)

– Annual 4th of July parade that involves vintage vehicles, girl scout troops, firemen, people dressed up in various past war regalia, candy throwing, and, once upon a magical time, my boyfriend’s band (he was the lead singer obviously.  Two words: stage. presence.)  (+100)

It is so classic New England Americana.  H brought a friend who’d grown up partly in the Ukraine and partly in NYC last year for the 4th, and he was flabbergasted.  He simply could not believe that people actually do live like this.  But that’s just how they roll in Duxbury, MA.

*Disclaimer for all my Duxbarian readers: I love Dux.  I love the parade.  Please don’t hate me.  I would very much like to return to your town in the future without being ostracized.

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