Saturday, April 9, 2011

More of this Miscellany Business

Edward Hopper, Rooms by the Sea. 1951
Happy Saturday!  Have some Edward Hopper. 

I love Edward Hopper's use of light in pretty much everything he painted.  He uses light as means of revelation.  In many of his paintings the light reveals human loneliness and the fragility of human connections but it can also illuminate the beauty in a couple of ordinary shop girls having lunch or a deserted city street
 This is my favorite of his paintings, one that seems to move away from his ordinary realism. Here the light streaming through the open door invites the viewer into the mysteries that lie beyond our carefully constructed comfortable lives. 

1. I intend to revisit the rhubarb custard question this weekend.  I'll see if I can materially improve the texture.  (Rhubarb, still one of my basic food groups.) So maybe I really will get around to posting a revised recipe.

2.  For my local readers -- QFC has Breyer's ice cream on sale for 2.99 a container.  In the words of Oscar Wilde, "I can resist anything but temptation." 

3. This poem has been much on my mind of late:  "Otherwise" by Jane Kenyon.  It's been a spring of a lot of quiet happiness.  I'm doing well at school, making friends, settling more into the life of the city around me.  It's tempting to think that this must all go on indefinitely, but one day it will be otherwise.  I do realize that this sounds kind of grim, but it's Lent, and those of us observing are told to "remember that you are dust." It is a fruitful thing to reflect on.  And if I am going to link to "Otherwise" I should post "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop" by W.B. Yeats, thereby perpetuating what one of my friends refers to as the Ervine Yeats Infection.

4.  One of the things about moving to a new place is that the seasonal progression of plants changes.  All sorts of things are blooming right now.  Some of them I can identify or guess at, but many things are entirely new and unknown to me.  Many of these things smell absolutely fantastic.  I look forward to a day, when I can wave a smart phone in the direction of the shrubbery that has captured my undivided attention by reason of it smelling like jasmine and lemons, and google the scent, and so get an identification.

5.  Possibly the best cellphone ad ever.   Even though I don't speak Japanese.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Miscellany! With Thunderstorms

1.  The weather lately has been unamusing.  The attentive reader may remember that a couple of weeks ago I was writing exultant posts about the glories of spring time.  No more, it's been cold and grey and dreary.  It snowed in Everett this morning.  This evening we had thunder and lightning.  But no snow, thankfully.

However it's so cold that I shut my window last night.  I  almost never do that.

2.  Lately it seems that I am accursed in the transit department.  I miss buses.  (Once I was standing within five feet of the bus stop, but happened to be looking the wrong way.  I realized the problem when the bus pulled by me.)  Or the bus just fails to show up.  Or, if it shows up, it's the wrong bus, and I end up having unsought adventures.  Today's bus failure fell into the third category.  The upshot of which was that I ended up dashing from half way up Cap Hill to lower Queen Anne, trying to keep an appointment for dinner with a friend before we went to church for Stations of the Cross.  We ended up having to postpone dinner until after the service.

Despite postponing dinner, I managed to traverse the city by foot unexpectedly zippily, however my left hamstring decided that it needed to spazz out just as I was standing up from kneeling.  There is a whole lot of kneeling, standing, and bowing involved in a high Anglo-Catholic Stations of the Cross.  As one is keenly aware when one has a furious left hamstring and five stations left to go. 

3.  Tonight I ate goat for the first time.  It was very tasty in the curry in which it occurred.  Said curry may be the most luridly red thing I have ever eaten, not even excepting Water Melon Jolly Ranchers.

4.  Skadi did indeed visit this weekend and it was wonderful.  Jackie put in an appearence as well. There was beer, cooking, ranting, and laughter.  New Belgium's 1554 is well on its way to being the official beer of my apartment.

In the course of going for a perfectly normal walk, we discovered that one can walk from Capital Hill to Lake Union.  There are a lot of stairs involved in going from sea level to 400 feet in less than a quarter mile.  Because Skadi was around, this seemed like a great adventure, rather than a brilliant way to fall and break your neck.  We also discovered that the oatmeal raisin cookies at Joe Bar are a pretty good way to refuel after climbing all those stairs.

5.  Thanks to those who chimed in on the problem of what to do with a bunch of Kale*.  I made soup.  Lo! It was very good.   Is very good.  I may be eating this soup forever.  Happily. 

Kale Potato Soup

1/2 large chopped onion
8 oz raw bratwurst cut up into bite size pieces
1 lb russet potatoes chunked up
1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
5 or 6 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1 large pinch smoked paprika or chipotle (optional). I think I used somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp of paprika.  I would have used less of the chipotle. 
1 bunch kale, stems discarded, and leaves sliced up
salt and pepper to taste.

Brown the sausage and onions.  If the sausage is very lean, you may wish to use a bit of vegetable oil as well.

Add the caraway seeds, vinegar, potatoes, chicken broth, bay leaf, and paprika.  Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer for ten minutes or until the potatoes are just growing tender. 

Add the kale and simmer for another ten minutes or so or until all the vegetables are nice and tender.  Salt and pepper the soup to taste.  Serve with a crusty whole grain bread.

*I was trying to learn more about Kale and discovered that all sorts of wild claims are made about its health benefits, but more interestingly I learned that cabbages, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and broccoli are apparently all cultivars of the same species.  Furthermore in frostless climates, a cabbage can grow on its stalk to a height of 3 meters, providing fresh leaves year round.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ideas? Please? Ideas?

I bought kale today.  It was a moment of weakness, but the Viking Cousin makes awesome squash kale soup, and the Tall Guy swears by it.  So tell me, what would you do with a bunch of kale?