Archive for January, 2007


fortune cookie

   Posted by: Livia N    in Uncategorized

I think it’s time to throw out my favorite (albeit faded) fortune I have gotten from a fortune cookie:

Your biggest virtue
is your modesty.

Over the years, it has given me great glee to display it. Because seriously – who can look at it and say, “Oh, yes – that’s clearly me.” WHO?


food list – after bridge night

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

EEP! I have a lot of miscellany right now, so I might need to add to this randomly

1pt (+ a little) half&half
1qt 1% milk
sharp cheddar cheese
cream cheese
small bit of plain yogurt
larger bit raita
scallion cream cheese

Turkey deli meat cubes
a few scraps of deli meat ham
lots in freezer
cooked strips of bacon
Harry’s beef leftovers

Pita (mostly gone)
english muffins
bagels out the wazoo
pie crust in fridge

fried leeks
baby bok choy
bean tops (greens)
red leaf lettuce
shredded chinese cabbage/lettuce
habanero peppers
orange juice
coconut/pineapple juice – opened

a few mini samosas & indian spring rolls
asian dipping sauce

This week’s outlook

Monday, January 29
8-5:30 work
Dinner: cabbage, turkey bits, carrots, and flat noodles all stir fried together. Possibly, a bagel on the side. samosas and spring rolls!
Borrow friend’s cooler?
Do dishes
Vacuum apartment
remove tablecloth from work table, and put work back on it.

Tuesday, January 30
pack up all frozen leftovers and take to work – store in upstairs freezer
8-6 work

  • take rest of binders board home
  • look at new office space – do I need to take tea home? No 🙂
  • mending

Dinner: greens! Something with greens! Ummmm… greens cooked with garlic and oyster sauce and eaten in pitas?
Buy stuff for moot: chicken breasts

Wednesday, January 31
do dishes!
return those two books to library
8-6 work

  • return disaster recovery books
  • take home mythology and bookbinding books
  • take home contents of top drawer of filing cabinet>
  • take home tea?
  • periodicals

Dinner: whatever GeeksDoItBetter wants
Crafty night:

  • cut white paper for textblock
  • fold paper and put it in the press
  • fold grey paper
  • cut album pages to height
  • watch Firefly

Put chicken in fridge to thaw
Buy for moot: lettuce

Thursday, February 1
pack for moot before leaving work – possibly put outfits in individual bags, so the rest can stay in the car – pack the Vellux blanket
take box with handles to work
8-5:30 work

  • move content of filing drawer to new office
  • totally swap out rubber band bowl for a tin and take bowl home
  • party?
  • more mending
  • Periodicals

Needs to be in car for moot: my clothes; my laptop (plus E drive); things hopefully in a cooler (chicken thighs, chicken breast, lettuce, blue cheese dressing, extra pack of frozen mini samosas); blanket

Friday, February 2

Saturday, February 3

Sunday, February 4
leaving moot

Monday, February 5
9-5 new job OMG
Dinner: broccoli?

etc. etc.

Friday, February 9
9-5 new job – decide if I am trained enough for the evening shift

Saturday, February 10
take in dry cleaning
get suit jacket hemmed
3pm linner @ Cherry Hill Buca di Beppo

Sunday, February 11
go out to dinner for Peking Duck at Yang Ming – Woo!




   Posted by: Livia N    in hors d'oeuvres, Recipe

Okay, so I need finger food stuff.

Here’s my food list. In addition to that, assume I have most basic ingredients and some nifty condiments.

I am thinking that the corn bread muffins should be split in half and toasted. Then topped with fried leeks and something else. What is the something else? I could maybe buy ham and have a chunk of that on each, but that’s the best idea I’ve had so far.

I’ll probably just slice some garlic on the pita bread, drizzle it in oil, and toast it into pita chips. Should that have a dipping sauce? If so, what?

I have meatballs in my freezer. I could also pull them out and put them on skewers.

Additional suggestions from comments:

corn muffins + leeks + goat cheese

Spring roll wrappers filled with habaneros, cream cheese, goat cheese, then fried

Spring roll wrappers filled with cabbage, leeks, lemongrass, with or without chopped pork, and fried


My eyes!

   Posted by: Livia N    in cookbook, Review

So the library recently accepted two huge cookbook collections on donation, and this is a source of joy for me. Some of them are more fun to mock, however, than to actually use.

Case in point: James Beard’s Casserole Cookbook

The back cover says:

Remember — cooking casseroles is an ego trip. Broil a fine steak and people say, “What a good steak!” Whip up a scrumptious casserole and people say, “What a great cook!” And they are right.

But what is even better is that each recipe has a little blurb/quip to match it

  • Veal Roast in Casserole – tender and juicy
  • Calf’s Heart – something of interest
  • Pork Steak in Casserole – catch that aroma!
  • Veal Surprise – savory and flavory
  • Beef Casserole with Olives – exotic touch
  • Boeuf a l’Ail – for adventures
  • Tripes a la Nicoise – ever try tripe?
  • Quick Beefsteak Pie – after a steak
  • Corned Beef Hash in Casserole – real eye opener
  • Pork Chops with Sauerkraut – stag-night special
  • Braised Short Ribs with Mushrooms – educated ribs
  • Liver Loaf – good for everything
  • Browned Chicken Casserole – plenty of garnish
  • Chicken Goulash – for grand affairs
  • Chicken Hash Mornay – glamor added
  • Chicken Mexican – this will keep
  • Turkey-Olive Casserole – interesting combination
  • Roast Turkey Sesamine – really exotic
  • Lobster au Gratin – for royalty only
  • Broccoli Souffle – pretty special
  • Cream Succotash – for company
  • Plaza Succotash – rich potpourri
  • Stuffed Tomatoes – can’t go wrong
  • Savory Stuffed Tomatoes – anchovy added!
  • Baked Cauliflower – glamorized favorite

food list

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, hors d'oeuvres, lists, Recipe

Food I Have:
some half & half
pepper crusted goat cheese
cream cheese

chicken stock
3 chicken thighs, thawed, marinated in soy sauce and rice vinegar
pork roast leftovers

2 english muffins
3 hamburger buns
several pitas
corn bread muffins
bunch of nifty noodles and spring roll wrappers

habanero peppers
baby bok choy
bean tops (tasty greens)
chinese lettuce/cabbage

Meal planning:
Tuesday, January 23 – bring rice in from car – freeze stock in ice cubes
cook the chicken thighs with some onion, garlic, and ginger
Make half of the bean greenery, sauteed with garlic
cook short grain rice with lemongrass
freeze leftovers

Wednesday, January 24 – pick up laundry – buy potatoes & tortillas
make samosa filling
eat some for dinner
salad: lettuce, gorgonzola, grilled onions, toasted almonds

Thursday, January 25 – buy greek yogurt
stir fry broccoli, pork leftovers, shredded cabbage, onions, garlic, habanero and then toss with slice noodles
freeze leftovers

Friday, January 26 – assemble samosas. freeze some, refrigerate some – make shrimp dip
dice pork, freeze bone and skin in one bag, and most of the meat in another
cook some pork & what greens are left with a bouillon cube and a can of tomatoes, eat over rice in pitas.

Saturday, January 27 – bridge
samosas, shrimp dip & crackers… I need at least one other finger food option.

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Surprisingly Tasty Cardamom Chicken

   Posted by: Livia N    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

I made surprisingly tasty chicken this weekend. Well, it was a surprise to me.

See, I don’t like cardamom.

Let’s go back to the beginning. It all started with a surfeit of brussel sprouts and a recent encounter with tasty cabbage curry at an indian buffet. But once putting the brussel sprouts to curry (like putting them to pasture, but different) came up, it was mentioned that Nigella Lawson has a really good recipe for Golden Cardamom Chicken that would be the right thing to go with.

Since there was a chicken in the refrigerator, it was all around decided that this was a good plan.

Two hours to dinner, I get out the chicken and the cookbook and find that they are not entirely compatible. See – the golden chicken is actually smaller pieces of chicken that are marinated and then fried. That was not going to happen to this chicken. Therefore, I took that as a starting point, and ended up with a damn tasty bird.

For the sake of this recipe, we are going to pretend I had the allspice that the recipe called for, but in reality I cursed and substituted cinnamon and nutmeg instead.

Step 1: put into a small dry skillet – 2 or 3 whole allspice, 6 black peppercorns, 6 cardamom seeds (or a pod or two, if that’s what you have, but I am not fond), 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary. Dry roast these. After a minute, also add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Right before the powdered ingredients burn, pour them out of the skillet and into a mortar (or spice grinder) – grind into as fine a powder as you can. Mix with a little bit of olive oil to form a paste.

Step 2: into a large measuring cup (you can use a bowl, but I have a fondness for measuring cups for this) grate the zest of 2 lemons. Squeeze the lemons, remove the seeds, and add the juice to the measuring cup – reserve the leftover lemon bits. Add some soy sauce, olive oil, orange juice, and maybe some white wine until the cups is decently full.

Step 3: Take out the chicken, make sure it is empty and all that. Now dump into the cavity: leftover lemon bits; a medium onion, quartered; as many garlic cloves as you feel like peeling (7ish); and 5 cardamom pods. Separate the skin from the breast meat a bit and rub the paste from step 1 mostly between the skin and the breast meat, but also rub it over the outside of the skin.

Step 4: Put in a roasting pan. Roast as you would a chicken. Every now and then, baste with the stuff in the measuring cup from step 2.

Step 5: eat.

And then in the comments, there was a question about how to convert this recipe to using chicken parts – so I offered up a formula:

Take a casserole dish. Layer the bottom with your onion and garlic and whatever you’d be putting inside the chicken (since I have never tried to deal with stuffing actually cooked inside my meat product). I find the layer tends to make cleaning the pan a little easier afterward.

Then make a layer of chicken that is as close to 1 chicken bit deep as possible.

Then you can treat the skin as the recipe expects you to treat the outside – smear overtop with the paste and feel free to either baste as you go, or cut the amount of liquid until it just comes up to the level of the chicken in the pan, but certainly does not cover the meat. If you are doing a higher proportion of leg bits with skin, you want less liquid because of all the fat that will drain and fill your pan, but if you are doing mostly breast meat, you want more liquid.

If there are any herbs or thing in the rub that you have whole, feel free to just add chunks of them instead, since more flavor tends to get into the chicken with this method of cooking: e.g. just have a handful of cardamom pods, instead of any powdered – or just slice a whole lemon and put that in instead of dealing with rind, juice, and bits.

I usually pop a piece of foil on top for the first bit of cooking and then pull it off for the last bit so that things get brown and juicy.

I tried to phrase this as a general case, but I can re-write it for the specific recipe, if that would please you more.



food list

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

what I have
3 red bell peppers
several wee indian eggplants
2 zucchini
red oak leaf lettuce
1 lb baby chinese greens
2 oranges
habanero peppers
2 apples
1 lime

lamb roast leftovers
lamb bones to make stock
pork stock
turkey breast, thawed, marinated in orange juice/soy sauce/rice vinegar

a little bit of sour cream
a good bit of homemade raita
enough gorgonzola cheese for 1 1/2 salads
mild cheddar cheese
cream cheese

a little bit of homemade apple/habanero chutney
yellow split peas, sorted but not yet soaked

food I might make
So I thought that I’d cook beans in the pork stock (because I have still not been brave enough to try pork stock in a dish where you’d actually be able to taste it), but the legumes I most want to cook are the split peas… I am not sure these two should go together. I might try it anyway. Reassure me.

So I’d start the peas tonight while making…
the marinated turkey. I think I want that to be a light dish… I could just cook it plain and eat it, but I have these vegetables. I could make something thai with it… Hmmmm…

Lamb leftovers: I have vindaloo seasoning from Penzey’s. And then a not-spicy eggplant curry on the side? Mmmmmm!

Red peppers and zucchini not used in the turkey dish will be broiled in oil! And then I’ll think of something to do with them from there.

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We don’t need no resolutions

   Posted by: Livia N    in dubious, Food

I don’t usually make resolutions. I think you should live the first few months of the new year just as you live any other day.

Oddly, I have some definite plans for the next year.

  • Exercise – I have a gym membership now, so I really should go. This means going to bed earlier and spending less time cuddling Tika (my cat) in the mornings.
  • Finances – more penny pinching and tracking and more of a dent in my debts. I have no idea how this stuff works, so I won’t put a numerical goal on it. If I could be (credit card) debt free by the end of the year, that would be swell. I can not wait to go back to being more relaxed about things… well, maybe not all the way, but not this tight.
  • Relationships – I love my independence. It is very difficult for me when someone’s happiness depends upon my actions. So why am I looking for a relationship? Stop that.
  • Alcohol – I just had to throw out part of a bottle of scotch when I went to drink it new years eve because it had gone all watery with age and air. Therefore, I resolve to drink more this year. There is no excuse for having scotch linger long enough to go bad.
  • Empty space in my kitchen – I shall continue to resist the urge to buy either a deep freeze or a pantry cabinet for the space in my kitchen that would perfectly fit either of those – because I have a well stocked larder even in the limited space I have, and some day I shall have to move.
  • Music – figure out how to cancel my subscription to BMG music thingy. [ETA: DONE!] Don’t listen to bagpipes indoors.

It’s the traveling on that will be the hardest. I ache to take trips. I want to go back to Minnesota; Europe is so close and easy; and I long to see Australia and New Zealand. Maybe I shall compromise by starting a separate savings account as a travel fund… or, I should pay off my debt as quickly as possible and then start the travel fund… but the visible planning might help calm the urges… argh! Anyway, so slap me if I start talking about trip planning – the answer is NO! OOooo… did I mention that Chicago is high on the list of places in the U.S. I want to visit?