Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Rocky Sage (goat's milk, New York State)

(Please ignore the label, that's from the last one. My skills as a set decorator are sadly overrated.)

What is it with cheesemakers and plants? Last time it was vegetable rennet and wood ash, this time it's Salvia* under the rind. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me-- when you are after some cheese, the first thing on your mind is not generally, "I hope it comes with vegetables."

That said, this one was nice, and I wouldn't have noticed the plant-aspect if the HSoP hadn't pointed it out to me. It's a young goat cheese, fresh and quite light in flavor, a little crumbly for spreading but nice with bread. And wine.

Any psychoactive properties went entirely unnoticed.

*I was wondering why that plant name sounded familiar to me. Then I remembered.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is It Chilly In Here?

Of course not, I'm in California. But I do feel a freeze coming on . . .

That's right, economic observers, time to kiss the recovery goodbye, because Daisy's going on another buying freeze.*

No particular reason for this round, except that tax time is coming, and it felt like a good moment for it. But there's a twist-- I'm not giving myself a firm end date. Instead, I have decided to give up shopping until I finish the first draft of Land Squid. That's right, until I write The End on the last page of land-locked tentacle-y mayhem, there will be no cute skirts, no patterned coats, no bags with birds on them, no fancy cheese serving plates. And, laugh if you will, but I am going to say it: There will be no shoes.

(Okay, you can stop laughing now. Seriously. It's not that funny.)

The way I figure it, if anything is going to get me to keep my butt in the chair and my mind on new ways to describe dismemberment, it is the knowledge that if I don't I will never have a new pair of earrings again. Also, if I ever do quit my job and go to writing full-time, there's no way I'm going to be able to afford any of this, so I might as well get used to it now.

*For those of you not familiar with my powers, please be aware that the first time I did this, I crashed the entire global economy.**
**I said I was sorry.

Needs Ranch Dressing

Breaking: Fennec foxes don't like diet food any more than you do.

(Via @weirdimals)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Proven: That Everything Exists On the Internet

That's not the surprising part. The surprising part is that the proof comes via Martha Stewart.

Last night I dreamed that I was at a party where they were serving delicious home-made marshmallow Peeps. (No, I don't know why. I don't even like Peeps that much.) Today it occurred to me to wonder if such a thing actually existed.

It does.

Peeps: The new cupcakes? It could happen.*

*No, it couldn't.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Schrödinger’s Cat Lady, Now Available

Listen or read it here.

I wonder what I should do for a follow-up? Occam's Razor Case? The Millikan Oil Drop Vinaigrette? Fermat's Last Theorem Before Bedtime, I Mean It Mister?

Thurscheese: The First Shipment

In my last post before the holidays I mentioned that I had fulfilled a life-long* ambition and joined a cheese-of-the-month-club, with shipments to begin shortly.

They began:

This is the December shipment-- four cheeses of varying hardnesses and intensities and a handy tasting sheet so you know which is which and what to drink with it. For whatever reason I decided to start with the second one on the intensity chart:

According to the Handy Sheet of Paper (HSoP), it is a raw sheep's milk pecorino, made with a wild artichoke vegetable rennet, with its rind covered in wood ash. Which probably combine to explain a flavor to the cheese I could best describe as "green," not in terms of age or maturity but more along the lines of tasting like vegetation. Still very tasty, but I think it's telling that this is the only one of the cheeses that we didn't entirely finish.**

Also, that ash on the rind gets everywhere.

*At least, for the part of my life when I knew that cheese-of-the-month-clubs existed.
**We did come pretty close.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tempura Grail

Way back, lost now in the mists of blog, I was on a mission to find the best tempura in San Mateo. I was thorough, nearly exhaustive, but though I had some decent examples of the dish, nothing rose to the level of the tempura of my dreams. Which was a disappointment, if not really the kind that kept me up at night. But it turns out that great tempura, like love or ants, turns up when you least expect it.

Last year a new Japanese restaurant, Izakaya Ginji, opened in downtown San Mateo. Which was a bold move, considering how many Japanese restaurants are already here, but this one did at least promise something different. Izakaya is, as far as I can tell, a small-plates style of restaurant, with an emphasis on things to be eaten with sake, beer, and/or shochu. This one features a  very large, very hot grill at the bar, where a chef prepare a variety of things, mostly chicken, on sticks, which you order from a slip of paper on your table. We had been there several times, ordering mostly the things on sticks (I cannot recommend the chicken hearts highly enough), when at one point we decided to try something more substantial, and got the tempura.

They do the vegetables and the shrimp separately, hence the two plates above. But the important thing is that they do them very, very well. Light, crisp batter, perfectly cooked ingredients, nothing that got heavy or soggy, even as they cooled. This was the tempura I was looking for, and no old guy waving his hand in my face was going to convince me otherwise.

We will go back, of course, but I may not actually order the tempura every time. It's enough just to know it's there.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Josh Ritter: "Stuck to You"

One of my favorite singers performing an awesomely nerdy love song. So great:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Top Five Lies I Tell Myself While Cooking

5. It'll cook down.

4. That looks done.

3. I can totally pull off green eyeshadow.*

2. If I put enough sauce on it no one will notice.

And the number one lie I tell myself while cooking:

1. I'll do those dishes later.

*Not cooking-related, just in general.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Most Unlikely Thing to Come Out of a Cruise Vacation

And if not, it's right up there.

I think I mentioned that the cruise that Cameron and I went on last month was a little on the rainy side. Which hardly ruined it, but it did limit us from participating in some of the more standard cruise activities, like sitting out in the sun and trying to avoid being dragged into "hilarious" on-deck activities. And since the room we had was very nice and quite comfortable, with an interesting if rather eccentric selection of TV channels, we ended up spending some of our time just hanging out there. Which is how we happened to come across this documentary, about Ruth Berg, the creator and star of a seminal radio play and sitcom I had never heard of, called The Goldbergs. Which was all very interesting in and of itself, but what really stuck with me was the mention of the fact that she had written and published a cookbook, purportedly by her character, Molly Goldberg, and I ended up wondering how I could find a copy of it. I figured it would take a hunt on Ebay, or at least through some possibly sketchy Amazon reseller, but no, as a matter of fact, it's still in print.

I'm going to get a copy as soon as I have enough items for free shipping.