June 2023
« Oct    

The Archives

Subject Matter

The Freezer Cooking Experiment

This weekend is the culmination of several weeks of planning that will bring together four families intent on stocking our freezers with wholesome, homemade food. I’ve posted a few photos of the beginnings of the supplies we’ve stocked up on.

I was the instigator of this little project. The participation of Family Frog Taco and Family Gracey’s Mansion meant that there would be toddlers involved, and since my home is no longer toddler-proofed, the event itself is being held in the much more child-safe Gracey’s Mansion homestead.

I’ve done “freezer cooking” before, also known as Once a Month Cooking (the title of one of the earliest cookbooks on the topic) or OAMC. I had a pretty good selection of recipes that work well in the freezer and researched several others. I put together a list of about 25 options and asked everyone for their top 5 or 6 choices. From that we whittled down the menu to those things that had at least two votes.

Once we had the menu down, I estimated how much of each ingredient we needed. We chose to do a number of chicken dishes and ended up needing over 25 pounds of chicken altogether. Then I divided up the ingredient list into things I should buy in Costco-sized bulk and those things I could buy at regular markets, vegetable stands, or specialty stores like the fishmonger. I also added a healthy supply of freezer-quality Ziploc bags and heavy duty aluminum foil.

I’m on my way out to location as soon as I post this, with the food, plus my personal stash of knives, cutting boards, extra pots, storage containers and other helpful odds and ends.

The plan is to come home with portions of:
lemon marinated chicken
Brazilian garlic-lime marinated chicken
teriyaki chicken kabobs
lime shrimp skewers
chicken enchiladas verdes
baked spinach manicotti
chicken packets
roast vegetable ragout

Will post and after action report, assuming my friends don’t end the day by killing me and cursing that I was ever born for suggesting this craziness.


I hope to have some time for proper blogging over the weekend, but meanwhile: QUOTED FOR TRUTH

Today’s Progress

Thanks to a Honda Element from Zipcar (picked up downtown since there are no longer any Zipcar vehicles on Beacon Hill) I managed to make a few runs to the various recycling and transfer centers around Seattle. I cleaned out enough boxes of Styrofoam packaging to fill the whole cube-y back of the Element and made a trip to Total Reclaim to recycle useless electronics including:

3 broken routers
1 SCSI Zip Drive
2 dead Palm devices
6 dead phones
4 broken keyboards
8 defunct mice
3 Palm chargers
2 calculators
1 headset
3 or more phone chargers
1 broken CPU fan
20+ miscellaneous power cords for unknown devices
1 USB hub
1 multi-card reader
1 defunct 10-key pad
1 broken wireless hub
1 ancient power screwdriver
3 external modems (going back to 2400 baud)
1 bubble jet printer
1 old alarm system, or the broken components thereof
1 half-sized beverage fridge (RIP old game-night friend!)

I think we finally may be hitting the end of the electronics graveyard that we’ve been maintaining for the last decade. Back before recycling operations were as affordable and easy to access as those we have today, I just couldn’t bear to throw these things out with the trash. Dumping illegally along the side of the road (like so many of my neighbors resorted to after responsible cities stopped accepting electronic junk with their garbage pick-ups) was never an option, ever ever ever. That’s not how I roll, as the kids used to say. I held on and waited for a solution to present itself.

It was worth every penny of my $17.50 to rid us of the 51 pounds our miscellaneous defunct electronics and the $20 to have a responsible recycler take the dead ‘fridge off my hands.

Green Ronin Podcast

I spent last Thursday chit-chatting with fellow Ronins Pramas and Sass for a new Green Ronin Podcast. Tune in to hear us discuss recent staff changes, game design versus game development, Supervillain’s Handbook, the proper pronunciation of Leitheusser, True20 Freeport: The Lost Island, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Doctor Who, Mutants & Masterminds Second Edition’s fifth printing, Freedom’s Most Wanted, Wild Cards, the Green Ronin Online Store, the Green Ronin Character Record Folio, Family Games: The 100 Best, and Walk the Plank (plus shout-outs to some Friends of Green Ronin and their current and upcoming projects).

Zipcar Haiku

Today I received an e-mail pleading for my love. Zipcar loves its “zipsters” and wants to be BFFs. They’re even willing to pony up a free Valentine’s Day reservation or a $25 driving credit to prove they didn’t mean those things they did. Yep, they’re having a Valentine’s Day haiku contest. Heh. You know what they say about a woman scorned, right?

Here’s what I came up with:

When Flex became Zip
I had high hopes — now I long
for the way things were.

Zipcar wants my love
in haiku form but they broke up
with me and moved north.

If Beacon Hill had
Zipcars left to rent
it would be true love.

I think my haikus
will not win a free credit
or reservation.

Dinner 2/9/09

Dinner 2/9/09
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.

I haven’t gotten around to doing any posting of new recipes yet, but I’ve tried quite a few new dishes already in 2009. Tonight’s dinner was roasted vegetable couscous (photo here) and which you can find online at here. I followed up with some tea-poached pears in chocolate sauce made from the cooking liquid, served with a little Greek honey yogurt (recipe from The Veganomicon).

So far 2009 has been good for getting my head back in the cooking game. I received some gift subscriptions to cooking magazines over the holidays, though I am sad to note that Bon Appetit is now half the magazine it used to be (literally! I compared the March 2009 issue to the March 2001 issue still on my shelf and it’s half as many pages). My latest new cookbook is the aforementioned Veganomicon. I’m in no danger of converting to the lifestyle (“I’ll eat your food, but I won’t join your cult!”) but I would very much like to have more modern, less hippy vegetarian recipes at my fingertips. I like vegetables! I like soy! I am not satisfied with the old school vegetarian recipes (“slather tofu strips in barbecue sauce, broil.”) any more than I’m satisfied with the old school family recipes that involve opening a couple of cans of condensed soup, mixing with hamburger, and calling it a “casserole”.

The Veganomicon has potential but the authors are already running afoul of one of my hardcore recipe peeves: don’t measure things in “one carrot” or “a small onion”! What is a small onion to you? What if I don’t have a small onion, only a jumbo onion? How much chopped onion do you want me to end up with? That kind of easy-breezy writing style has a place but I prefer a little more precision in recipes. I might branch out or do my own thing after I learn a recipe but I grit my teeth every time I have to stop and figure out for myself what they’re asking for when I’m first trying out a new dish.

Anyway, maybe I’ll get back to the Veganomicon later.

Recipes I’ve tried but haven’t written up so far in 2009:
Mixed Vegetable Biryani
Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken
Gratin of Belgian Endive with Bacon
Vegetable Tagine with Preserved Lemons
Kalamata Olive Bread with Oregano
Slow-Cooked Tuscan Pork with White Beans
Cherry Tomato Spaghetti with Toasted Pine Nuts
Roasted Root Vegetables in Maple Glaze
Pork Chops with Ancho Chile Rub and Raspberry Glaze
Peanut Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
Sesame Noodles with Broccoli
Satay Burgers
Roasted Tomato-Beef Goulash
Lemon Chicken with Olives
Baja-style Grilled Tempeh Tacos
Creamy (vegan!)Tomato Soup
Kasha Phyllo Pie

Brunch at Verve

Pork Belly and Egg Close-up
Originally uploaded by Nikchick.

Verve is a spacious wine bar in Columbia City, tucked around the corner from more visible eateries like Jones Barbecue and Geraldine’s Counter. I’d been there once or twice before shortly after they’d opened but for one reason and another hadn’t been back. Until this week I didn’t know they do a weekend brunch. Since this happens to be my first Kate-free weekend since before Christmas, it occurred to me that it would be a swell time to try out the brunch.

We were not disappointed. In fact, we were quite thrilled with the results of our excursion. For about $5 more than we would have spent on a satisfactory breakfast at Geraldine’s Counter we had a spectacular breakfast at Verve. I’ll take that for a fiver!

It was also the first time I got some decent shots in with the camera we got as a Christmas gift, so I hope this will mean a return to my food blogging in 2009. I do so enjoy the food blogging.

2008 Recipe Round-up

Because of all the things that were going on in my personal life last year I didn’t ever really get a chance to keep up my recipe pages as I would have liked. I did do some cooking and I posted a few of the more successful recipes I tried as individual blog posts but I really wanted to have the whole thing cataloged better for my own use and for those of you who’ve told me you like using my recipe pages as a resource.

In that vein, I’ve finally put several of my favorite recipes that I tried out in 2008 onto my recipe pages where they belong. This certainly isn’t everything I cooked in 2008 and not even all of the successful recipes but it’s a start and better than nothing at this late date.

Apple and Raw Beet Salad
Baked "Manicotti"
Beans and Wild Mushrooms in Fennel Broth
Broiled Fennel with Lime and Parmesan
Cabbage Braised with Ham and Reisling
Chunky Lentil Soup
Coriander-Crusted Scallops in Fennel Broth
Curry Udon Hotpot
Espresso Black Bean Chili
Fennel Broth
Fennel, Carrot, and Cranberry Salad
Fresh Pea Soup with Mint
Honey Cured Pork Loin with Juniper-Fennel Seed Rub
Lime Peanut Salad
Napa Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Oven-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
Sesame Crusted Swordfish
Spinach and Pear Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Toasted Wheat Germ Soup

I have several recipes that I’ve tried since the new year started and I will try to get those up in the coming weeks so I can stay on top of this project better in 2009. In addition to the reorganization taking place in the house, I’m hoping to do a little reorg on my webpage and social networking sites.

The Blue Scholars, My Neighbors, and Snowpocalypse

Thanks to the excellent Rainier Valley Post, I discovered that neighborhood hiphopsters The Blue Scholars had put up a video they shot during Snowpocalypse 08.

Longtime readers might remember that I posted another Blue Scholars video (Joe Metro) that showed some of the depth of Seattle and some scenes I know too well. I even commented that I’d probably ridden the 48 bus with those guys at some point.

Well, the new Snowpocalypse video is even closer to home! Want to see New Holly? This video is full of scenes of the streets near my house, the townhouses of Phase 3, the fences and porches of my neighbors. You can see the intersections we drive through, catch a glimpse of the scary sub-par Safeway we try to avoid, the view of the power lines that arch over the Chief Sealth walking trail that winds through New Holly uniting the Phases. Holy cow, Geo and Sabzi aren’t just my neighbors, they’re my neighbors!

The Great Reorg of 2009

Originally uploaded by Nikchick.

Chris has been posting a little about his ongoing office reorganization. After installing an attic ladder this fall, I’ve moved on to sorting things in our drawers and closets so that everything in the house has a home. It’s impossible to put things away when you don’t have anywhere to put them and that was the situation in our house as 2008 drew to a close. Instead of watching tv, playing computer games, reading, blogging, or otherwise screwing around in the evenings I’ve been spending my nights and weekends going through our house from top to bottom.

We gave two full sets of old luggage, several boxes of old clothes and bedding and other household items to charity last week and moved several plastic bins of rarely used items up to the attic. I expect this project will keep me busy for a good long time yet but I’m motivated to keep at it because I find gazing in on my orderly cupboards, tidy laundry room, and functional closets is immensely satisfying. I look forward to getting the larger spaces similarly organized.