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Christmas foods!

December 10, 2009 1 comment

I’m brainstorming dinner ideas for Christmas. It’ll most likely just be my mom and me, so I doubt I’ll be able to make everything I want — besides, we don’t even celebrate Christmas anymore.

– cauliflower gratin
– mashed potatoes
– caramelized leeks with goat cheese and candied walnuts
– roasted calamari with an eggplant puree

And the meat would be lamb… Jason suggested I make duck, but I think duck would be better with sweet dishes. Though I think the caramelized leeks would go great with it… Maybe the gratin and mashed potatoes are too heavy to go together. It could go like this:

– lamb; mashed potatoes; roasted calamari with an eggplant puree

OR

– duck; caramelized leeks with goat cheese and candied walnuts;  sweet potato puree!?!!!?

Where would the gratin go?! I think it’d fit better with the lamb. Right? RIGHT?!

For dessert, I’m thinking carrot cake and a dark chocolate mousse.

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Categories: Personal Tags: , ,

On Seemingly Unresourceful Kids Who Ask You for Answers to the Homework via Your Facebook Wall (and food)

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Background information: You are a college sophomore and there is a grad student in one of your classes. You are on good terms with the grad student, whom you met in another class last semester. You have previously asked said grad student for answers to various homework assignments via his/her Facebook wall, and were told that not only it wasn’t wise to ask this type of question on Facebook, but you’re also never going to get an answer to your questions.

Situation: You have a homework assignment due Monday, and you can’t find the answer to one of the questions (“What does [foreign language phrase] mean?”). Do you:

a) try to translate it yourself to see where it takes you?
b) plug the sentence into some online translator to see where it takes you?
c) search online forums and the web in general to see what you find?
d) go to your grad student classmate’s Facebook profile and write on his/her wall, asking for the answer?

I don’t know what to do with this kid. I’m not sure how many times I have to write him back telling him that I’m not going to give him the answer, and I honestly don’t understand why he thinks that I would even consider helping him. This isn’t me playing the grad student who thinks she’s better than undergrads here; the professor made it clear, both in class and on the syllabus, that this was meant to be individual work. Schools don’t fuck around with academic integrity. I don’t fuck around with academic integrity. And I don’t care that it’s not like cheating on an exam; I don’t care that asking for the answer to a homework assignment is seemingly harmless. The point is that rules are rules, and this is an assignment that we have to hand in. Furthermore, I am a grad student after all, which means that we are NOT on the same level academically. I’m enrolled in a one-year program with which I am less than happy; you think I’m gonna risk my ass to help you with one little question? You must be outside your mind.

Okay, never mind that he was stupid enough to ask me AGAIN on my Facebook wall, AGAIN. Does he think, does he really think that I am stupid?

His message says that he looked up the phrase online and found nothing, which I had trouble believing because it’s a very common French phrase and, chances are, the translation is everywhere to be found. Open a dictionary. Go to wordreference[dot]com. I’m sure you’re not the first one to wonder what the fuck that phrase means.

So, since I didn’t believe that the answer was nowhere to be found online, I went to WR and searched for it. Two words. Didn’t even use quotation marks. Guess what I found.

Precisely ONE thread about what that exact phrase meant. Guess who started the thread.

Him. Nothing told me explicitly that it was he who asked the question, but the poster’s handle happens to be his name in French (coincidence? keep reading). I logged on so I could see said poster’s history, just to take a look at the threads that he started. Interestingly, one of the threads pertained to an expression that showed up on one of our assignments last semester — and guess when that thread was posted? GASP!!!!! LAST SEMESTER!!!!!!!!!!!

And guess what else I just found? Another thread about something else pertaining to this homework assignment! Started a few days ago!

Ok y’all, that’s just too much. There’s no way this is all coincidental. And it’s not like he started that thread because I didn’t give him the answer — no no no. The thread was started last night, someone provided him with the answer last night, and he wrote on my wall about two hours ago.

My conclusion: he asked me because he wants to confirm the answer he got on the forum.

Ain’t gonna happen. And I hate it when people beat around the fucking bush. It’s always, “Hey, how are you? How’s your weekend? OHBYTHEWAYIWANTTHEANSWERTOTHISQUESTION kthxbye.”

?? Don’t be an asshole.

Action to be taken on my part: None, except write about it. I won’t bother tagging his wall and telling him again that I won’t give him the answer blah blah blah. I’m sure he’ll get the point if he doesn’t hear from me, and, if not, he’ll just ask me why I didn’t answer when he sees me on Monday. And then I’ll tell him.

Or maybe I’ll just look at him and ask, “Are you fucking serious?”

Moving on.

I’m happy to announce that my mom is doing just fine. I headed back to Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon to go to the hospital with her on Friday morning. The additional tests that the doctor wanted to perform were another mammogram and an ultrasound. Everything is fine, it was just a scare (and a waste of our time). But a stitch in time saves nine, right? All things considered, it was a good weekend. It was nice to be home and spend time with her, without having work bugging me the entire time (I had cancelled my DSL in Philly and so didn’t take my laptop with me).

The ride from DC to Philly was pretty smooth; the bus left Chinatown around 4:15pm, and, since it was a Thursday, it wasn’t crowded. I managed to hit Union Station after class to pick up some Neuhaus chocolate. Luckily there was a sale, so getting three boxes didn’t ruin me (one for my mom, one for our neighbor Bev, and one for my aunt and uncle).

On my way down to the Metro, I picked up a generous sample of shea butter hand cream, which made my hands quite slippery for a while.

I played Squirrel Mike‘s City of Strangers during the entire ride home.

I watched the sun set and the cotton candy clouds go by. Violet sky. There really isn’t much in this world that can rival the sky — an ever-changing scene, a classic beauty. Calm, serene, light, jolly, dark, lonesome, stormy… Universal, infinite. I love it. When the sun is a glowing orange candy and all you want to do is taste it…

My lotioned hands smelled like cookies. I fell asleep, probably at the same time as the sun, and woke up a bit disoriented.

Kind of like today. It took me a while to remember that today was Saturday. I meant to step outside for just a moment, to breathe some non-apartment air, but it didn’t happen. Instead, I sat here all day doing homework and workwork. At least there’s still food in the fridge.

When I came back from Philly, I saw that the chocolate capuccino spread had been replaced by a jar of crunchy hazelnut chocolate spread. Sounds even tastier than just hazelnut chocolate spread, doesn’t it? Well, it tastes just like a Ferrero Rocher (which used to be called “Ferrero Roche d’Or” in France, by the way).  As of my departure on Thursday the 19th, I had consumed about half of the chocolate capuccino spread, which I bought a mere three days earlier. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I’m glad Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate Spread is here.

On a semi-related note, I bought bananas on Tuesday night — they were being brought out of boxes, nice and green. Today they’re green and yellow, but definitely ripe — too ripe for my taste, actually. I wonder why they’re still green.

Tastes change. I never thought much of tofu until a few months ago, and now I’m crazy about it. Despite what many people say, tofu does have a taste — and don’t ask me what it tastes like, because I’m just gonna tell you that it tastes like tofu. I love the way it absorbs whatever flavor is around it. And it’s so versatile.

I like making a beet-corn-mushroom-tofu salad. Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, some salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar.

Tonight I made angel hair pasta with garlic and basil tomato sauce, sliced mushrooms, and diced tofu. Mmmm…

I noticed that if I eat a lot for dinner, I get really, REALLY painfully hungry the next day. I wonder why.

My last weekend in Philly!

August 16, 2008 Leave a comment

That’s right; this weekend is officially my last weekend in the Illadelph. I didn’t have great things planned, but I wasn’t counting on throwing up multiple times today, either; life is funny sometimes.

I want to write about so many things that I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll do it chronologically!

***

Bev, my next-door neighbor, brought me a box of candy from the shore; this one is called “Summer Assortment”. The box is split in two and both sides are the same, so I took one side and mom took the other :)

Aren’t the colors just so delicious? A while ago, Bev brought back a box of creamy fudge from the boardwalk. I had never really had fudge before, and I didn’t expect it to be so sweet! So of course I only have very little at once, and the box is still sitting around. I like the candies much better.

I’m not usually a candy person, but on occasion I like to have something sugary, chewy, and sour to light up my palate a little bit. Citrus flavors are my favorite by far!

Look at these things, aren’t they cute? The orange and green flowers are creamy mint.

***

I did some ceramics painting when I went to Brooklyn for Susan’s birthday but my mug wasn’t going to be ready until a week later. So, Susan got it for me and recently shipped it to me:

Ceramics painting is a lot of fun; I highly recommend it for anyone who’s got an hour or two to kill.

***

Last weekend was my mom’s first attempt at a bird’s nest noodle dish. The cooked noodle is fried and shaped into a bowl to resemble a bird’s nest, and the rest is basically stir-fried and placed in the nest.

Here, we have shrimp, pork, shiitake mushrooms, string beans, and onions (we like to keep things simple). The sauce helps soften the noodle so that every bite isn’t a crunch; the mix of soft and crunchy is to die for!

Let’s not forget to mention that shrimp and pork make a killer combination; mom’s dumplings are fucking divine.

Homemade cooking is always best, especially when it comes to Chinese food. With this dish, for example, the sauce is always too starchy in restaurants. The shrimp has no taste, the meat can be tough, and the string beans aren’t fresh.

An interesting dessert to follow this dish is chè đậu trắng, a wonderful Vietnamese dessert consisting of black-eyed peas and sweet (sticky) rice in coconut milk. I’ve always only known it as chè đậu, because while there are many varieties of bean desserts (đậu means “beans”), this is the one my mom makes the most (we’re not crazy about chè đậu xanh (made with mung beans).

Another dessert that my mom absolutely loves is chè xôi nước, and you can see it here. She makes it every once in a while. What the Wikipedia article fails to mention is that not all the balls are big and filled with mung bean paste; there are usually a multitude of tiny balls (I call them “babies”) made of just the glutinous rice flour. They’re small, chewy, and delightful to eat. Mmm, just thinking about it makes me want to eat it —  but we just had chè đậu, and too much of a good thing can do some serious damage.

Learn more about chè here.

***

A few days after the noodle dish, my mom made a mean mapo doufu and I only thought of taking a picture after I had inhaled about half the dish.

The level of spiciness was severely toned down because I had a canker sore, which we attribute to “hot air” (look it up). Nevertheless, it was amazing (yes, everything that my mom makes is amazing).

What you see in the upper right hand corner of the picture is a bowl of tofu and tomato soup with small seasoned meatballs, garnished with scallions. Of course, since this is a Chinese household, it was in clear broth. I didn’t take a picture of it because it’s a rather ordinary soup for us, though it is pretty damn tasty.

Mom just came up to ask me what we should have for dinner, and I suggested mapo doufu. Sweet.

***

Quick update on the wasp! It’s dead:

***

Yesterday was my last day working at the LDC — after four years, seven months, and three days, I left the windowless annotation lab to never again return. Maybe. Of course, I was the last part-timer out of the office. I thought it was going to be an emotional day because I did enjoy working there and I really like the people I’ve met during that time. But, as with graduation, it was just a long, busy, bittersweet day. The end of an era, once more. Plus, I’m going to see a bunch of them people Tuesday evening at happy hour, so it didn’t really feel like the end.

What I didn’t know was that I would see some of them way before Tuesday — as in, last night. I drank like I didn’t know that having lots of beer on an empty stomach was bad for you. Liz drove, I got motion sickness… we went to McDonald’s after the party and it was dry and disgusting so I didn’t finish it, then drove home and I puked on the highway or wherever it is that we were.

I woke up at 6:30AM and was hungry, so I finished the McDonald’s (yeah, I know, gross) and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 9, showered because I was disgusting, made some breakfast… and I realized how shitty I felt once I got downstairs. I made eggs because that’s always helped me fight off a hangover, and naturally I had lots and lots of water. Shortly thereafter, it all came back up. I’m talking projectile vomiting here; my body wasn’t having any of it. Nothing helped. Water came back up, food came back up, medicine came back up — nothing would stay. They say you have to eat when you’re hungover. They say you have to drink a lot of water. They say you have to sleep. SLEEP. Not ride the bus to the Asian supermarket when it’s super duper SUNNY AS SHIT outside. SLEEP. Before we left the house, I had a cup of ginger lemon tea to soothe my stomach. When I got to the supermarket, I went to the restroom and puked it all out. The cup of tea. Gone.

And when I walked out of the restroom, I felt better! When we got home, I felt better! Then I remembered that my stomach had been empty since lunch time yesterday, and I felt nauseous all over again. “No, you’re just hungry,” said my mom. She made rice congee for me — plain, because I didn’t want to fuck with my stomach inadvertently — and I added some pepper, soy sauce, and a little bit of fried shallots to it. It was delicious, and my stomach was happy, just like the rest of my body.

The only other thing I had to take care of today was my purse. I put an open bottle of beer in it last night but I swear it was standing up (as if it was going to stay that way, ha!). Somehow in my drunken stupor I forgot about it and opened a new one that I downed at record speed before Liz and I left. Once we got to the car, I looked into my purse and realized that it was flooded with Heineken. But that’s okay because it’s Heineken, right? Wrong. I took all of my shit out and turned it upside down, inside out to pour out the beer (not inside the car, of course). I chucked the bottle out onto the curb (I’m so sorry for littering) and off we went.

This morning, everything smelled terrible: my keys, my wallet, my tissues, my GUM — EVERYTHING. But we had to go to the supermarket and I didn’t get around to washing the damn thing and all the little shits until about midway through this entry. Now it’s all clean! It just has to dry.

It is now almost 8PM, and I’m feeling nauseous again. Or maybe I’m just hungry.

Mmm, steak.

May 19, 2008 1 comment

Saturday, Mom and I headed to the King of Prussia mall to look for a handbag and a watch–both for Mom. She got this bag in black, but no luck with watches (she’s looking to replace the watch that she lost a few weekends ago, also a Fossil). Come to think about it, maybe we should have gone to the Fossil store instead of browsing in Macy’s for hours. To be fair, we had coupons for Macy’s, so there.

We got hungry after walking around some more, and headed for our usual spot, the California Pizza Kitchen–only the wait was thirty to forty minutes and we were HUNGRY. We don’t like food courts, so we had to look for another restaurant. I grabbed a map and spotted a Rock Bottom in the other building; remembering the yumminess that was Rock Bottom in Bethesda, I decided that we had to have dinner there.

We were seated immediately. Mom had decided that, if she couldn’t have pizza, she’d have steak; I followed suit. She had a delicious filet mignon with fries and green beans, and I ended up with a New York strip with mashed potatoes and green beans. I had been craving steak for a bit over two years, so that 14oz piece of MEAT definitely hit the spot. For dessert, we shared the triple chocolate stout cheesecake. Even with a stuffy nose, I could tell that it was delicious.

Speaking of stuffy nose, I felt like shit all day Saturday and I still went shopping with my mother. At fucking King of Prussia. And I had a great day.

I didn’t get anything for myself on that shopping trip, but I did find my next perfume! It will be Allure by Chanel. I’d always liked Allure, but I never really experienced it fully. When we were still at Macy’s, I sprayed some on me and walked around to see how the fragrance worked with me. Suffice it to say that I fell completely in love with it! Allure for men is also very, very good. I can’t wait to finish my current perfume! It’s Gucci’s Envy Me–a fun, sweet scent, but I’m generally not a fan of what I call “pink perfumes” (like Yves Saint Laurent’s Babydoll, which I have used in the past). I like warmer, muskier scents.

Another highlight of Saturday was the quick stop we made at Rite Aid before leaving the mall. I bought some NyQuil Cold & Flu, which underage folks aren’t allowed to buy (as I found out at the register, when the cashier asked for my date of birth).

And on that note, it’s time for me to take my NyQuil and get knocked out.

p.s. My chipping red nails didn’t last long. On the morning of the 14th, I took the polish off; that night, I painted my nails white. The white didn’t last long, either; I removed it Friday night.

toomanythoughtsatonce

October 24, 2007 Leave a comment

What’s the difference between “light caffeine” and “less caffeine”? I’m guessing “light caffeine” contains less than “less caffeine” but I could be wrong; in any case, I’m currently having a cup of Mighty Leaf’s Marrakesh Mint Green Tea “light caffeine.” And it’s good.

More on driving: my second lesson went okay; apparently I drive too fast, and I go through turns too fast. The Need for Speed! Great game; you ever played it? This time I drove us from Chinatown to South Philly, where I could practice stopping at stop signs and making various turns, then back to Chinatown where we encountered a massive clusterfuck. Several detours later, I said goodbye to my instructor and met my mom for lunch.

I’ve decided that I need to get my ass in gear; get my shit together and look for something more stable than my current job–if we can call that a job.  Can you imagine working forty hours a week for months and then being stripped down to sixteen hours? It sucks, and it certainly does take a toll on your routine. This is not going to work. No, it’s not even working currently; I can’t deal with this part-time half-ass work situation. It sucks to not have any stability, or rather to have stability taken away from you. It makes no sense to me to have such a scattered schedule. I could condense sixteen weekly hours into two days of work, leaving me holding my figurative cock for three days of the week. I should have seen this coming.

No, I did. I saw it coming.

I have to look for something else, and unless I get my shit together it’s not going to happen.

I think what sucks more is that I just found out this evening that both Sliders AND Quantum Leap are available for instant viewing on Netflix. How am I supposed to get stuff done knowing that there are hours of entertainment waiting for me online? Ahhh, no self-discipline. I suppose that’s another thing I should master. Maybe after I get my license.

So this Marrakesh Mint Green Tea isn’t as awesome as it sounds. You know what is awesome, though? Bouchées à la reine. Leek quiches.

Sometimes warm weather is nice. Sometimes it isn’t. Right now, it isn’t.

Categories: Personal Tags: , , , ,