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My mother, aware of my interest in world food, and Indian food in particular, sent me a link to the food blog of one of her coworkers and his wife. (It's very hardcore. The food looks amazing, but I doubt that I will be making many dishes from it. And this is supposed to be the easy version.)

However, today, faced with two tomatoes, one of which was half-ripe and 1/3-rotting, and the other of which was ripe but half-rotting, three kinds of lentils on the counter, and an absolute dearth of vegetables in the house besides carrots (and the aforementioned tomatoes), I decided to take a stab at Tomato Rasam. I haven't a clue if it turned out how it was supposed to, but mom and I thought it was pretty tasty, especially for something that uses up tomatoes that aren't hardly fit to eat.

I served it over brown rice and (green) lentils, which I tried throwing in the pot together with some water and cooking for 40 minutes, a technique that was pleasingly effective, and that I will use again. I don't have hing or coriander leaves/cilantro, so I skipped them, and substituted bay leaves for curry leaves, and onions for shallots, and a large splash of lime juice for tamarind water, and a dash of cayenne for fresh chilies, and various other ground spices for whole ones (not to mention chopping finely rather than crushing, since I wasn't really sure what crushing entailed, and if it required a mortar and pestle, it wasn't happening), but I think it came out pretty well. We had fried green tomatoes on the side, which went very nicely.

It was tasty, fairly easy, a bit-but-not-too-much spicy (mom had yogurt on the side and seemed okay with that), required few exotic ingredients (after you substitute a bunch of stuff, anyway), vegetarian, reasonably balanced, and took an hour from beginning to table. I will definitely make it again, although not necessarily frequently.

(Two weeks ago I made chana masala, a chickpea dish, from Smitten kitchen's recipe, and that was good, too.)
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Our dinner dessert guests guest Tuesday night (otherwise known as my tenth grade English teacher, her husband, and their adorable 18-month-old son) brought a bottle of coconut rum. Now, we haven't opened it yet, but I'm fairly certain that the only member of this household who might possibly be interested in drinking it is the one who's underage.

So what would you do with a bottle of coconut rum that you weren't intending to drink or burn in a bonfire to signal passing ships?

So -

15 March 2009 05:31 pm
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I'm home, I arrived safely, traveling was traveling (the train was only 16 minutes late! That's practically on time). I'm enjoying being home with my mother and getting to see my dad.

Today's sermon involved the phrase, "Senator Nameforgotten could hang the ten commandments in every courthouse and school in the nation - well, he couldn't, but let's just say for the sake of argument that he could - but there would still be drug dealers and murderers and ponzi schemers and capitalists."
Our new preacher amuses me. He also has a tendency to start a story and then trail off and conclude, "When I started this story I thought it was going to be more relevant and less self-indulgent, but never mind," but he still gives good sermons and is quite charismatic. There's something very personal about them. Also, there's something intensely gawky about him that reminds me of a teenage boy.

We went to Joy Tsun Lao for lunch today to celebrate my cousin Naomi's birthday, and both Naomi and her brother behaved quite well - although they were not pleased by the St. Patty's Day parade which made the drive take an hour instead of twenty minutes because we had to make this giant circle to get around it.

And then I helped in the latest installment of The Turkey Saga. I have now stuck gooey green stuff underneath a turkey's skin preparatory to stuffing and baking it. (The gooey green stuff was actually pretty nice; it was slightly warm and smelled of sage.)
The oven is still way too hot, but I think mom set it to about half what it should be and it's hopefully about right. She says that the new stove is coming on Wednesday.
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Last night I dreamed . . . what did I dream?
I dreamed that I was at my home church. It was today, and there was some sort of singing thing going on, a rehersal, probably for Music Sunday tomorrow. (I'm missing Music Sunday. :( ) Emily was there (because she likes music? I don't know. It wouldn't be entirely improbable if we weren't both ~250 miles away), as was Maria, who was participating. I don't know how that came about. Maybe her grandma persuaded her over and she decided that joining in the singing was the only was to get over to me so that she could give me the down-low on everything that had been happening. (I haven't seen Maria in ages. I wonder if she did actually go to college last semester. She said she was going to . . . but then, she's always been good at talk.) After the singing was over, I was going to drive Emily home, and we walked out to mom's car, which was on the street my dad lives on (which is a mile or so from the church, but in the dream that portion of my dad's street happened to be right next to the church). Rita (Maria's grandmother) walked past, and I offered her a ride home, which she accepted, and gave me one of her hugs. (hmm . . . maybe we weren't actually at church, just with church people, because Rita lives right next to the church and wouldn't need a ride. Now that I think about it, the place we were to sing didn't really look like the church; I don't know what it looked like (and I'll point out that while I tend to agree with the "the church is the people" theology, I'm using church to refer to the building because it's clearer that way.)) Anyway, Emily was already in the front seat, which was on the side of the traffic (I think that it was a British car, actually; the steering wheel was on the wrong side), so I opened the door for Rita to get in the back.
And I was just going to ask Emily which house she was going to when I woke up.

Yesterday I had several dreams. Let's see if I can remember any of them.
There was the one about the mouse. For background, you should know that Morris has been having a mouse problem for a while now, and that traps have been laid. Friday evening, Emily and I came into the kitchen and discovered that the havaheart trap had been sprung, and there was a live mouse in it. Neither of us are stand-on-a-chair squeamish about mice, but picking up the trap and taking it somewhere suitable far away (particularly since neither of us really knew how to operate that sort of trap, or how far away was far enough) seemed to us to be a very big step. I knocked on the door of the girl whose name was on the trap, but she wasn't in. Neither was our HR. I left a note on her whiteboard, but I wasn't sure that either of them were here this weekend. Clearly this preyed on my mind a bit, because I dreamed that I was taking the mouse across the river and some suitable distance away. I ran into [livejournal.com profile] operafloozy, [livejournal.com profile] tigerlofu and [livejournal.com profile] daybreak_a and enlisted them as moral support. That's about all there was to this dream.
For those of you who are concerned, at the point where I had decided that I really ought to do something about the mouse if no one else had done anything, I went downstairs and the trap had disappeared.
I feel like there were at least two other dreams that night, but I can't remember them.

It's raining today. Emily is going to an all-day shape note sing in Sunderland. While I wouldn't mind doing some singing today, the bus schedule to get over there is more than a bit ridiculous, and between that and the weather, I'm perfectly happy to stay inside today (although I suppose that if I'm going to the library, I'll have to go outside at some point. Hopefully it won't be raining quite so hard at that point.

I'm currently making creamed eggs, one of my mom's fancy breakfasts. Someone left me 11 eggs last weekend (and her oatmeal and recipe, by the way. Would she like those back at some point?).
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. . . this is an example of my family's own particular brand of absent-mindedness. The worst (or best) bit of this is that when my mother uttered this unusual proclamation, I knew precisely what she meant - that we really truly are out of bread. I had discovered the out-ness of bread earlier, while she was cooking breakfast and asked me to make toast, so I substituted toasted thinly sliced bagels instead. The dictionary came in because my brother was looking up something in the dictionary at the time*. What she actually meant was refrigerator. Or possibly freezer.
This is what my family does. We really truly do know what we're trying to say, but if another thought pops into our heads before we finish with the first one, goodness knows what will pop out. It's especially bad with certain items or places. My mother, for example, is prone to switching "yellow" and "orange" and the whole family does this really spectacular one with Weavers Way (our food co-op), Kilians (the hardware store where my dad works), Project Learn (the school I went to 7th and 8th grade at), Preschool Plus (the preschool we went to way long ago), GFS (my highschool) and GMC (our church). Whenever we want to talk about any of these places, there is at least a 50% chance that we will actually say the name of one of the others. This can be confusing when my dad announces that he's going to go to the hardware store to get bread before dropping Isaac off at the preschool, although contextual clues are often helpful.
Even I do this. I do it much less at school, but even there I have some tendency to say blue when I mean green and left when I mean right and vice versa**.

But the point of this post is not to maunder on about the peculiarities of my family.

Merry Christmas to all and any of you who celebrate it. And happy break and possible present-time to those who don't.

Speaking of dictionaries, I got one. And not just any dictionary. Webster's Third New International Dictionary Unabridged. This is the dictionary that, when I decided I needed a real dictionary*** and went to the bookstore to look at dictionaries, decided that that was the dictionary I wanted. It has thumb tabs that actually correspond to the beginning of the letters they mark - I had rather assumed that this was the norm with dictionaries, rather than the exception, since the dictionary of my childhood does so, but after looking at dictionaries in the bookstore, it's not, and I don't really see the point of evenly-spaced thumb tabs that just happen to be in the general vicinity of the letters they direct one to. Plus a number of other things that I look for in dictionaries that I'm not going to enumerate at this time.
Perhaps you can tell - I'm very pleased about this dictionary.

I spent most of the morning - that is, the portions of the morning that were not occupied with opening my stocking, eating breakfast, opening presents, and writing the beginning of this entry - helping my mother cook Christmas dinner. It's going to be excellent. Which is a good thing, since it's also going to be about two hours late, since the furnace didn't come on this morning****, and mom had to spend some time mucking about with that, and of course the spinach took longer than we expected (and to think, the recipe called for two pounds of spinach, and we only used 20 ounces (16 ounces in a pound, for those who don't know)). But I love lamb with feta and spinach and potatoes, despite all the work that goes into the spinach.

*The word in question was shank. We all had a general idea of what shank meant^, but when the recipe tells you to start by rolling the shank of the piece of meat and then roll the leg, you need more than a general understanding. The dictionary wasn't very helpful in this regard, so we just decided that they meant, "Start with the skinny part, and then do the thick part."

^With the possible exception of Isaac; I didn't ask him.

**This is terrible. You have no idea. I do manage to keep it mostly under control, because it's something I do when I'm not thinking about it, and I'm aware enough that I do it that I pay attention whenever I have to say left or right and generally get it correct. So, for example, I'm actually quite reliable when giving directions, because I pay attention to the fact that the direction-words are involved in this process.
But I had an enormous amount of difficulty learning left and right in Spanish. And I could not get my teacher to understand that this was not because I didn't know that derecho means right and izquierda means left; that it was specifically because I associated them with the English words - which I have trouble with - so I couldn't get them right in Spanish, either. Nowadays I seem to have them associated with right-ness and left-ness, rather than the English words, so I'm just fine in Spanish.

***I'm not sure how many of you will appreciate the need to a real, paper dictionary. This is okay, because I showed it to Dee and Bob last night^, and they both were properly appreciative, and Bob, in addition, performed several dictionary litmus tests^^ on it and declared it good.

^Yes, I got it last night - we exchanged presents with Dad on Christmas Eve because we're with Mom on Christmas.

****Apparently, when the fellow came to service it yesterday, he forgot to turn it back on. Ooops.

^^For example:
living adj 3: remaining uncut or unquarried <"in places the track was cut out of the living rock" . . .>
3rdragon: (Default)
I would really appreciate knowing if I need to plan on making many pounds of fudge this weekend.

Because, y'know, if I'm to spend the rest of my life making fudge, it would be nice to know in advance so I can try to formulate my schedule for the next while.


And to the person particularly in charge of this fiasco,
Where are we supposed to sell the fudge if not the campus center? I refuse to sell fudge outside on the grass next week, and there aren't really any buildings that make sense.


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