Sunday, September 11, 2011

spider watch... 2007

the battle continues. reports are flowing in from all areas of the house...

last weekend in fact was a very dramatic case of spider infestation. upon opening the wardrobe i discovered a fat brown spider nestled amongst my hubby's shoes. thinking quick i sounded the alert. "spider!" once the alarm was raised my hubby jumped into action. with what can only be described as sheer bravery he began his patented kill-the-spider dance. now, to an uneducated observer this deadly dance would look similar to a eek-it's-a-spider dance. but, then, you would be sadly mistaken.

unfortunately this highly effective kill-the-spider dance contains so many rituals and routines that frankly, we did not have time for, so i leaped into action. grabbing one of my husbands shoes i began to pummel the fat brown spider until it stopped scuttling. half of the spider lay in ruins in the wardrobe, the other half was a schmear on the shoe i held in my right hand. i looked up to see my hunny finish the last steps of the kill-the-spider dance, which looks oddly similar to the oh-good-you-killed-the-spider dance. i stood and waited for the brave husband of mine to clear away the wreckage of what was once a giant fat brown spider.

spider watch. 2007. the count is 4.

the scene... a dark hallway. the hour is late. my feet are bare. i notice a darkened spot on the carpet. quickly i turn on the light. i recognize my oldest foe. my archnemisis. the spider. the ikcy long legged fat body spider. a good inch and a half or two in legspan. a good inch or two of squarshable surface if you ask me.

i calmly walk around the spider in the hallway. it watches me. my reflection moves silently in its many black eyes. i grab a pink converse sneaker from the doorway. i crept stealthily back towards the spider. i lifted the chuck. and WHAM. Wham. WHAM.

from the other room my hubby emerges. "that's a big one" he says. "yea." i respond. i walk past my hubby and go to sit on the couch. my weapon cradled in my arms.

the house is quiet. the house is safe.

spider watch 2007 continues.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

the score

spiders. zero.

me. three.

this last one was the biggest. AND it found me on holiday. everybody else was screaming and/or pointing and/or gesturing to it whilst looking away in fear/disgust. the husband (ever so brave) was pushing the spider away from the couch with his foot (in a spider proof shoe of course). i jumped up from my seated position and began a rousing rendition of a spanish flamenco dance upon the foul creature.

the first stamp landed mostly harmlessly on it's outstretched legs. pinning it in place on the hardwood floor. the second stamp landing perfectly with a resounding "splat". i walked away to fetch a paper towel for the husband to do his many job of discarding the still twitching carcass.

i sat back down on the couch. placed my right leg over my left knee. and heard several disgusted cries of "eeeeeeeewwww". i looked down. and smiled at the big round wet circle on the bottom of my shoe.

oh yea. i kick some spider ass.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

on the move

one would think that after 3 years of marriage i'd settle down. stop the constant jigging of my legs. be able to sit still for more than 3 minutes without a television, or laptop, or kitty in front of me. one would be wrong. even given the size of my ever expanding hips and ass you'd think i was a bit more sedintary. well... okay. i am. a bit. but if i don't have something to do i do just tend to be a constant bored blur.

it's odd.

so it makes sense i suppose. that after 3 months of living in california i'm on the move again. heading east. i'd say to greener pastures. but most likely those pastures are covered in snow and ice. i'm heading back to boston. well, brighton really. for 3 months (fingers crossed it's less) before i head back home. home to england. home to husband.

so this is my last week in cali. it's all a bit rushed. i'm saying goodbye to people all over again. it's strange. and sweet. and scary.

at least this time i know where i'm going.

it's much more exciting when you know what's coming up.

i get to look forward to things.

i can go running headfirst and not worry what's on the other side.

goodbye california.

i'm sure we'll meet again.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

letters unwritten...

... words said but unheard. exchanges of looks and love that never happen. except when i slumber.

part of me is so constantly sad. and the other is ever hopeful.

i try to look forward. to that future that was clear. and though the path is muddied and the horizon is vague. i still feel a familiar presence by my side.

i can not fathom in my heart of hearts... that this moment will define us. we know each other so well. and though it is strange now. just take my hand.

i'll walk slow. i'll walk strong.

we'll walk together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

try your hand

in response to a bratty someone. here are two recipes:


2.5 cups all purpose flour
1.25 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

cornstarch (for dusting the work surface)
small bowl of water (for sealing the dumplings)

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup finely sliced cabbage (savoy, napa, or even brussel sprouts)
2 finley sliced green onions
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tsp vinegar (rice wine vinegar if you have it)
black pepper (to taste, but don't over do it)

first, put the flour and salt in a bowl. the sugar and salt are optional because everyone has their own tastes. i prefer my dumpling skins less sweet so i add salt. if you like it more sweet add the sugar. the flour and water combination on it's own is slightly bland with a hint of sweetness. so add salt or sugar to your taste.

okay. flour and salt in a bowl. with a spoon and working quickly, pour the boiling water over the flour. mix until it's a big lump. it will look scary. dump it out onto the counter top and begin to knead the dough. do be careful as the dough will be hot from the boiling water. knead until it is smooth and only just warm. roll the dough into a uniformly thick log. with this amount of flour you should be able to cut the dough into roughly 18-20 pieces. roll the pieces into balls. lightly dust your work surface. put a dough ball on the surface and lightly dust the ball. take a flat bottomed pot or pan (or tortilla press if you have one) and with a gentle and even pressure, smoosh the dough ball. continue this procedure and stack all the wrappers on a plate. the starch should keep them from sticking.

next mix the pork with all the other junk. take a dumpling skin in your non-dominant hand. place a teaspoon sized lump of the pork filling and place it in the center of the skin. brush a thin amount of water onto just over half of the dumpling skin (i use my fingers) be sure it's a thin layer of water and not sopping wet. also i put the water on the side that is closest to my body because it's easier to close it up that way. now comes the hard part. there are loads of ways to fold these. i suggest googling "folding dumplings" to get some fancy ideas. it's too dificult to explain without pictures. so you can just fold the dumplings in half and pinch the ends closed. or fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges. i generally pleat my edges. it's the same way you'd pleat fabric. in any case. seal the dumplings.

when that's all done heat up a non stick pan over medium heat. add about a tablespoon or two of plain oil. when the oil is hot but not smoking, put your dumplings in. leave them alone. don't flip them over. just let them brown on the one side. when they are just turning golden, add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover. leave the heat on medium until there is steam bursting out the sides. then reduce flame to low. i generally let them steam until the water is gone and i can hear the dumplings sizzling again. during this time i usually mix a dipping sauce:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs vinegar
1 green onion top sliced fine
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp water
1 tsp hot sauce (i use rooster sauce. it's asian. it has a rooster on the front. it's like the asian versian of ketchup. i put it on everything)
1 to 2 tsp of sesame oil

take the dumplings out of the pan and enjoy. they are crazy hot out of the pan. and depending on how lean the pork you are using they can drip scalding hot juice on you. oh and if you don't like pork you can use chicken. or you could use ground shrimp. or even a soy paste meat product thingy.

and there you go. dumplings!

oh and i said two recipes didn't i. so for the second. you will probably have leftover dumpling filling. i use this to make rice porridge. in thailand it's called jhok. it's a breakfast thing usually made from leftover boiled rice. it's not just a thai thing. all the asian cultures have their own variation. in it's simplest form it's rice boiled with chicken stock (or veggie stock). when i make mine this is what i use:

1/2 cup white rice (any ole type)
1/2 cup of brown rice
1/2 cup celery chopped
1 tbs grated ginger
2 green onions sliced
water or veggie stock (this is hard to measure. you'll need at least 4 cups. but it depends on how thick you like your soup AND how long you cook it)
any leftover dumpling filling
2 tbs fish sauce (or more to taste)

basically you chuck everything into a pot and set it to boil. once it's boiling let it simmer until the rice just falls apart. i prefer my jhok to be the thickness of a thin oatmeal or clam chowder. after everything is cooked and soft (for me this takes about an hour) i ladle out a bowl ful and garnish with lots of fun asian things:

fried garlic - garlic is grated finely and gently fried in plain oil until golden brown. my mom had a jar of this always full and at the ready by the side of the stove. we put it in all our soups. the oil is nutty and mellow and the garlic is so crunchy and just punches you in the tastebuds.

sliced celery tops and green onions.

a salted duck egg - don't make a face at me. it's delish. if you don't have any of these then you can use a regular raw egg. the soup mostly cooks the egg, so if you can't have raw eggs then don't use one (or use a pasturized one).

rooster sauce - also know as sriracha. you can use sambal olek if you have it. i prefer sriracha.

pickled chilies - i sliced all my thai chilies and chucked them in a jar and covered them with vinegar. i keep them in the fridge. i use this with the sriracha because i love the tang of vinegar.

finely sliced ginger and white pepper are also nice to put in your soup.

and that's it. when i made this last weekend i made so much i was able to have a bowl of it for breaky every day this past week. i have never been so happy to wake up in the morning.