Archive for April, 2007

So I had an absolutely lovely weekend of lounging on my porch and socializing with lovely people which was marred by itching from poison icvy.

So I had people over to play bridge, and one of the necessary components is snack food. Last time I had bridge, I baked a whole bunch of random frozen things I had bought at the Indian grocer and just made dippings sauces – everyone left stuffed, but it did heat up my apartment a good bit to have the oven running constantly.

So this time, I roasted some veggies beforehand and had one thing that got made in the microwave, and it was all pretty much dips’n’chips:

Sleazy Cheesy Dip

1 stick velveeta
1 package cream cheese
1 jar salsa

all microwaved together and served with toasted pumpernickel bread (it would have been served inside the bread, but it was too soft and didn’t hollow well) and Fritos.

[redacted]’s Bacon & Horseradish Dip (which I was sure my father would *love*, but he ended up saying, “I am not a fan of cream cheese – I like sour cream based dips. Never mind, I think it is the tastiest thing ever)
bunch of real bacon bits (I made bacon and crumbled it)
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 pgk cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream

served with Wheat Thins and Rosemary Triscuits

Chopped Liver
recipe here

Roasted Veggies
1 yellow squash
1 long, thin eggplant
3 red bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers

Tossed and “marinated” for a minute or less in: a dash of soy sauce, white balsamic vinegar, pasta sprinkle, and olivey and peppery olive oil (note: the olive oil people are having free shipping on 500ml bottles for mothers’ day), and then roasted – as you do.

So. There was a lot of food.

And then about 4 hours in, I do a hostess round going, “So is there anything else I could feed you?” And I am well-stocked to make a wide variety of foodstuffs appear on very little notice…

and someone pops up with, “Could we order pizza?”


So, um. We did.

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Invitation to tea

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, invitation

The weather is perfect, and I want nothing more than to spend all my time in my backyard and in my apartment with all the windows open.

Therefore, you should come and see my backyard, too.

This weekend, I am hosting bridge on Sunday, but the apartment is clean enough that people could stop by on Saturday, too, without interrupting a mad rush to scrub the bathroom floor.

Next weekend, May Day, I think I am also free.

Come on – fresh air and green things with all the comforts of cooking and television.


I feel all productive

   Posted by: Livia N    in Gardening, Yay

Things planted
4 different kinds of lettuce
mustard greens

Things nurtured
my thyme from last year has sprouted a few leaves, so I am watering it instead of pitching it in favor of a new plant.

I have mulched around the blackberry plants from last year (which will not be producing blackberries this year because they were cut down when the property manager cut down the poison ivy, but they have many happy green leaves already, so I think they are fine for putting up nice brambles this year).

I almost adopted a stray cat in my backyard. He always comes up for pettings and food, and I don’t think he knows how to hunt. So I put him in my cat carrier and took him off to my vet to get checked out and then fostered off to my mother… only the cat came back positive for feline leukemia. So he’s back in my backyard, and I have bought some wet (non-prescription) cat food to make sure he gets more regular meals.

Things spited
I have herbicide, and I have gone after all of the new sprouts of poison ivy. I suspect this will be a losing battle because the original vines are well entrenched and healthy in spite of the vigorous hacking that my property manager had done to it. And it not has its origin on a property not managed by my guys, but also it has a foothold in a third property (which is a parking lot and has no one to complain about the vines). But I am doing my very best to fight this war nonetheless. I might end up being one of those creepy neighborhood people who calls up and complains about things her neighbors are doing (i.e. not maintaining their backyards). Good times ahead.)

Things yet to be grown
The garden shops aren’t stocking herbs yet, so I bought some seeds for herbs (which were on sale because it’s a little late to be starting seeds at this point) and I might start those tomorrow. I’ll put a few thyme seeds in with the recovering thyme so that I can make sure there’s enough mass come seasoning time. Next summer I’ll see what pots of herbs are for sale at the farmers’ market.

I plan to have in 3″ pots (6 pots): thyme, rosemary, dill, sage, mint, lime basil (or some foreign basil that looks hardier and tasty)

In 6″ pots (up to 6 available): flat-leaf parsley, celeriac, maybe some more lettucy things, a small hot pepper plant (if I can find one small enough)

in larger pots: leeks, and maybe some other oniony thing (what? I totally read that the allium family keeps bugs away from the garden). And then I have one large flower pot that might work for a tomato plant… still deciding about that.

fannish duties
2 stories beta-read: for 1 I still need to hear back which kind of feedback the author wants, and the other one has been delivered and I’m waiting to see whether the author is insulted by my brusque style.

Neil Gaiman – showed up way early for his talk, camped out (and did the beta reading), listened all attentive-like, and then was very dignified and polite about asking for an autograph for my mum (and explained that the crazy woman didn’t actually want her name in the book, just his). He read “Instructions,” “The Day the Flying Saucers Came,” “Orange,” and a chapter from the children’s book he is in the middle of (and was still in rough draft and handwriting). Meanwhile, if you are in New York, he’ll be reading there tonight for eight minutes – only eight minutes because it is with other really nifty people – one of the first two things from our reading as he was taking the opportunity of our reading to time them for that one… which is odd since I’d first heard “Instructions” as an audio file, where it was clearly five minutes long.

And now I am at work.


Schedule for this weekend

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

do dishes
pick up dry cleaning
put D&D book in bag
1-9 work

eat breakfast: collard greens & bagel
10am Farmers’ Market? I’m not sure I need anything there.
grocery store: 2% milk – sale items?
Produce truck: ginger, 2 tomatoes, scallions, carrots, mushrooms, celery – and another acquire wooden crate for composting
vacuum apartment
clean bathtub
finish unpacking from Seacouver and Boston.
take down curtain in kitchen (leave up the bedroom ones)
plant lettuce, spinach, and scallions!
boil chicken, onions, and celery
make thai food
put up boiled chicken in fridge
eat some thai food – freeze the rest
vaguely clean kitchen floor

make bed
eat breakfast: collard greens & bagel
do dishes
make chicken raft
clean table
do more dishes
clean table again
clean rest of bathroom
Have people over – force them to watch Stargate and eat food.


Organizing food

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists

I’m just not good at eating with the hours I work. I have to push myself to eat something breakfast-ish by the time I leave the house (noon-thirty), and then I’ll try to stop for lunch around 5pm, but by the time I get home (anytime after 9pm and before midnight-thirty) I am not ready to have a big meal before bed.

This is completely throwing off my economical cooking patterns. All I want are quick snacks.

So healthy food for proper meals is piling up:

Eggplant – roasted and diced and ready for curry
crudite: yellow squash, carrots, broccoli, a little green bell pepper
collard greens
1 lemon

2 chicken leg quarters, thawed, marinated in red thai curry paste
spicy beef chinese leftovers
(need to buy a package of chicken leg quarters)
Chinese pork on stove

package of matzoh

Meals *** in this order ***
Eggplant & cauliflower curry
red thai chicken curry
chinese pork with scallions and sticky rice
vegetable quesadillas


Eep! Planting

   Posted by: Livia N    in Gardening, Oops

I suspect I am already late.

Average last frost date for Philadelphia: April 14

Therefore –
Date to start planting lettuce: 3/14
Date to start planting spinach: 2/24


Comments provided this Guide to Planting Times in Philadelphia


food list – Eggplant & Cauliflower Curry

   Posted by: Livia N    in Food, lists, Recipe, vegetarian

food I have
2 tomatoes
1 broccoli stem
collard greens
wee baby eggplants

chicken stock
leftover rotisserie chicken
leftover roast pork

cheddar cheese
cream cheese

scheduling food
Wednesday, April 4
dinner:risotto with chicken, broccoli, and stock

Thursday, April 5
Asian grocer: oyster sauce, sesame oil
start: pork leftovers, diced onion, oyster sauce – long cooking until the pork completely shreds
breakfast: collard greens w/ tomato over bagel with cream cheese
dinner: eggplant and cauliflower curry

Friday, April 6
produce truck: scallions
grocery: buy cream cheese and chicken leg quarters
breakfast: collard greens w/ tomato and egg in tortillas
dinner: make sticky rice balls with pork and scallions

Saturday, April 7
now that the large pot is empty of pork, make stock with chicken and duck carcasses.

recipe? for eggplant & cauliflower curry
Well, here’s the plan of approach for the eggplant & cauliflower curry

Char eggplant skin under broiler and then scrape out the goody once the eggplants have cooled enough to be handled.

Set to making basmati rice with turmeric.

Melt a chunk of ghee. Grill down onions. Add minced garlic and ginger. Add diced cilantro stems and jalepeno pepper meat. Add spices… I think I’ll crack open the garum masala mix from Penzey’s and see how that does.

Once the spices have grilled a bit, add the eggplant and a can of tomatoes.

Cut off just the cauliflower heads, in rather small pieces. Mix the cauliflower into the pan.

Taste and fiddle. And cilantro leaves?

Problem: I cut the cauliflower finely because nothing else had much texture, but that leaves me with cauliflower stems to figure out what to do with.

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