Jan. 1st, 2030 12:00 am
crewgrrl: (Buffy beats Twilight)
Hi there!

As you can see, most of this journal is under at least a general friend's lock. I have decided that Google is entitled to my knitting updates and the occasional food update, but not my personal life.

If you friend me, I'll friend you back. If you are interested in reading things that go under my other sub-filters, let me know. I reserve the right to limit these entries to people that I know well, either IRL (as the kids say) or in cyberspace.

Have fun, pull up a chair, open a book. It's a cozy living room, where we all play nice. That goes for the comments too. I will pull comments when people start behaving badly.

crewgrrl: (Default)

1 6 oz low fat flavored yogurt
Medium dunkaccino
Red velvet donut
2 slices of homemade spicy pizza
Elbow macaroni with melted mozzarella
Small slice pizza
2 meatballs
Brussels sprouts
Piece cornbread
Quinoa salad
2 glasses red wine
1 beer
Sliver of pumpkin pie
Cranberry chocolate chip cookie

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

crewgrrl: (wicked eowyn)
most of a blackberry drinkable yogurt
white rice
veggie chili
2 candy cane oreos
linzer cookie
8 oz grapefruit juice
mint chocolate chip truffle
homemade granola
chicken & broccoli Chinese takeaway
white rice
half of a chocolate chip cranberry cookie (homemade - had to test the experiment)
peppermint jelly beans

Food Log

Nov. 20th, 2012 10:34 pm
crewgrrl: (Cupcake)
1 6 oz flavored low fat yogurt
thin slice sourdough bread with apple butter
half a plate of lightly dressed arugula, butter lettuce and radicchio
half a boxed lentil curry
brown rice blend
peppermint jelly beans
1 linzer cookie
chicken breast cooked in BBQ sauce, mirin, soy sauce and rice vinegar
kale braised in chicken stock with bacon
white rice
Sam Adams Oktoberfest
2 candy cane oreo type cookies

30 minutes alternating strength training and aerobics

Food log

Nov. 19th, 2012 11:55 pm
crewgrrl: (Default)

1 6 ounce flavored low-fat yogurt
2 Trader Joe's gingerbread men cookies
Half a box of lentil curry and a scoop of rice
1 White chocolate covered ginger Oreo
Vegetarian shepherd's pie
2 linzer cookies
1 piece jam roly poly

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

crewgrrl: (Default)
1 6 oz flavored low fat yogurt
homemade granola
Toasted Muenster cheese sandwich on homemade sourdough
2 candy cane oreo like cookies
licked my fingers while making cinnamon cream cheese icing (and possibly the spatula - I'm only human)
8 peppermint jellybeans
4 slices of homemade pizza (homemade dough, canned sauce, fresh mozzarella - I cut my pizza into 12 slices rather than 8)
2 helpings of lightly dressed arugula (homemade dressing of course)
4 mint M&Ms

Did 1/2 hour of aerobics on the wii fit.
crewgrrl: (Cupcake)
It's funny what some flour, water, salt and yeast can turn into.

I was always wary of bread baking. Back when my mother still baked challah without a bread machine, it seemed an over-involved and labor intensive process. She only would do it in the fall and winter, and one batch lasted a few weeks (the scale of her grandmother's recipe was... impressive). Then we got a bread machine, the batches got smaller, the labor was greatly reduced and bread making was something a 10 year old could do. Still, the process was mysterious. Some weeks the dough would be smooth and elastic, some weeks it was sticky and difficult to handle. Sometimes, no matter what you did, the challah would turn out horribly dense; other times it was light and fluffy.*

So when I was in my own kitchens, bread was not high on the agenda. I got my stand mixer when [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and I got married, and wonderful desserts started coming out of it. My food processor was used to make everything from potato kugel to pesto. Bread, however, eluded me. I dabbled a bit in starter based bread, using a levain made from champagne yeast provided by [livejournal.com profile] pecunium. I managed a series of really bizarre flat loaves that never really achieved the proper consistency and then let the starter die in the back of the fridge. My friends baked bread, I lived in New York City where I could get artisan everything** - what did I need to bake my own bread for?

When [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim and [livejournal.com profile] terriqat moved to Vancouver, I inherited [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim's canister of yeast from their freezer. It sat in my freezer until [livejournal.com profile] masteraleph asked me to bring the bread product to Friday night dinner. Normally I'd ask [livejournal.com profile] mbarr to pick up some bread from the Bucharian restaurant that delivers to his office, but something in me said "wouldn't home baked challah be nice?" I'd also just picked up an inexpensive baking stone at Bed, Bath and Beyond that could stay pareve (my other stone has cheese burned into it from tasty pizzas). So I looked up a good recipe, resolved to get up early enough on Friday morning to get the dough together before going out for my usual Friday routine and hoped for the best.

With the aid of my stand mixer and dough hook, the challah dough came together quite quickly. I deposited the dough into the fridge for its first rise and headed out. When I got home, it was definitely doubled in size and looked just like risen dough in cookbook pictures. I kneaded it, put it back in the bowl and let it rise again. Once again, I had textbook dough, which I shaped into some pretty braided loaves and set to proof. To get to the end of what is becoming a long saga, when the challah was cut into that night the texture was perfect, it tasted lovely and the loaves were perfectly browned. "This wasn't so hard," I thought to myself. I can do this.

Last night, I opened up Michael Ruhlman's "Bread Baking Basics" app on my iPad and threw together the dough for a white boule. As [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and I were watching TV, I periodically got up and kneaded or shaped as needed, preheating the oven and then finally slipping the loaf onto the stone and slashing the top open. When I took it out, the loaf made these gorgeous crackling noises as it cooled.

This morning, I sliced off a piece and toasted it. I have gotten spoiled by the tang of sourdough, but otherwise it was delicious. Also, I'm tackling that problem head on with the jar of flour and water cultivating yeast on my counter.

Something tells me we'll be going through a lot more flour around here. I'm not sure anyone will mind.

*Later I would begin to understand just what difference humidity makes, as well as the ability of high gluten flour to suck up moisture. But that's neither here nor there.
**Including kosher bread. It's nice living here.


Sep. 18th, 2012 11:27 pm
crewgrrl: (Cupcake)
First batch of apple/pear sauce is in the ginormous pot on the stove. Have to make one big batch of peach-lime jam to last into the winter, as well as one more batch of cucumber pickles. Pesto shall be hoarded, applied sparingly. Oven dried tomatoes will be added to mozzarella sandwiches to remind me of summer.
crewgrrl: (Cupcake)
I have made pesto three times. Today I oven-dried tomatoes. I also put up my third batch of cucumber pickles.

I've been making chocolate zucchini bread to use up all the zucchini the CSA keeps throwing at us.

I'm trying to capture the magic of summer in things that can live in my refrigerator. Fall is coming soon, and then we make apple butter and apple sauce and roast squashes. But now is bright summer - the taste of ripe tomatoes, anisey basil and fresh mozzarella.
crewgrrl: (Default)

In my real estate class should be shot. Seriously.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

crewgrrl: (John adams)
Yesterday, John Scalzi linked to his own essay Being Poor. I believe it was written in response to a lot of things people were saying about the urban poor who died in Katrina because they couldn't afford to leave.

Many people wrote in the comments what being poor meant to them. It's an eye-opening read to someone who grew up ensconced firmly in the middle class until my father passed. We were never poor, but we relied on a lot of help till my mom was able to get the insurance money and then a job. But here's my thoughts:

Not being middle class anymore means that your peers don't understand why you don't have a credit card, let alone one that your parents pay the bills on.

Not being middle class anymore means that even though you've begged the money to go on a heritage trip to Poland, the terms of your scholarship to Israel for the year may mean you're not allowed to leave the country.

Not being middle class anymore means listening to people complain that "November is the only month that no one is coming to visit me in Israel" when you know that a) your mom can't afford to come and b) the only reason your boyfriend can is that he's taken on an extra freelance job to pay for it.

Not being middle class anymore means thanking God that your husband makes more than your mother, and you'll never have to worry that hard about money again.

Not being middle class anymore means knowing that your mother can never civilly remarry, because it'll screw your siblings out of college aid.

Not being middle class anymore means creeping into a suite mate's room while she's out to watch a movie on her portable DVD player because you want to see it so desperately and there's no way you'll ever be able to see it otherwise.

It means looking at all of the things your peers have and knowing that you'll never have any of them.

It means knowing that if you got the takeout Chinese using your college meal plan money, the large lasted two meals instead of the one meal in the cafeteria.

It means already having way more life skills than your age peers, who never had to do laundry or cook before they left home for the first time.

It means that even though you have money to do most of what you'd like, you still keep track of how much everything costs at competing supermarkets because that's how your family got through high school and your first crack at college.

It means knowing that if your mom maintains employment with a school district, you pray Obamacare passes unscathed so that your siblings will have health insurance until they are employed and are getting it on their own.

It means knowing the income thresholds for college aid since you were 17, and being grateful when you can earn just enough to get insurance but not make so much that you'll be denied aid.

It means being grateful to the man you will one day marry who thinks that insuring his girlfriend is a worthwhile expense, because now you have health care that's actually worth a damn.

It means knowing just how damn lucky you are that you'll get to be a stay at home mom when the country's economic situation largely prevents that in many families.

It means knowing how much harder it is for the truly poor to get jobs, because you can't even get a secretarial job without a college degree.
crewgrrl: (Default)

Dear President Obama,

Most New Yorkers love your policies and want to see you in office for another 4 years. We even like that you love our city enough to come visit. What we hate is that you tie up not only our traffic, (which is horrendous at the best of times), but our usually excellent public transit system as well.

A frustrated New Yorker

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

crewgrrl: (John adams)
(Written at 11:42 am)

An open letter to Broadway:

I am in my bed warming up after waiting in line for two hours in below 30 degree weather. In theory, this was an attempt to get rush tickets for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. In practice, it was an exercise in obtaining frostbite.

I understand that offering a limited number of inexpensive tickets to what would normally be a fairly expensive show seems like a way to make theater more accessible to those without much money. In reality, it makes theater more accessible to the people with the seemingly endless free time to camp out overnight in front of the Hirschfeld theater and snap up the tickets within the first 16 minutes.

So here's my suggestion - either lower ticket prices overall, which would surely make them more accessible to a broader range of the public or simply take advantage of the various ways that you have already set up to obtain tickets at a discounted rate. I would much rather need to print out a discount email and take it to the box office for a 40% off ticket that would guarantee that I would see a show, rather than wait for hours in the cold on the off chance that I might see it for cheap. I would even wait in line at TKTS, where at least if I don't get tickets to the show I want to see, I can usually get tickets to something else. But making cheap tickets the province of the crazy obsessed as opposed to the actual public is not actually helping your cause.

a freezing theater lover
crewgrrl: (Keep Calm and Carry Yarn)
Warning: this post contains both knitting and Doctor Who. If you don't like either of these things, please feel free to skip.

I am knitting a pair of Jaywalker Socks with this yarn in the Time Traveler colorway. The description reads as follows:
Wear these brightly striped socks whether you are going to the office or traveling through time and space. Time Traveler is a colorful mix of purple, tan, red, gold, ivory, and gray stripes. While you can knit some really really long socks, this colorway will not create socks that are larger on the inside than they appear on the outside.

I have almost finished the first sock. As you can see, this yarn is dyed at regular intervals to produce a striping pattern, with two colors producing slightly wider stripes than the other four. With yarn like this, you have three options for what to do with your second sock. You can wind off the yarn until you come to the color of the stripe you started the first sock with to produce two identical socks (I will have enough extra yarn to do this). You could also see which color you ended the toe with and start the second sock with that color, having the stripes run in reverse order to the first sock. Lastly, you could just take the second ball of yarn as it is, starting at the first stripe it provides, which will create fraternal socks.

Since I am confused as to what to do, I am putting it to the internet:

[Poll #1802750]
crewgrrl: (Keep Calm and Carry Yarn)
Unless you are a friend of mine on Ravelry, you wouldn't really know what I have been knitting. This is because a chunk of my projects are presents. My overdue wedding party gifts, overdue baby gifts, eventually the wedding socks I promised my husband of 3 months. You get the picture. Not only are they presents, some of them are a special kind of present. I am knitting baby sweaters. "Baby sweaters?" you ask. Yes. Baby sweaters. "But baby sweaters aren't especially special presents." Hush you in the back. These are special.

These are sweaters for babies who have not yet arrived. These are woollies and cottons* (and if you're getting a baby sweater in cotton blend you are a dear friend) for wee ones still cooking. Sweaters like this are sometimes the first garments a baby wears and that makes them very special. By necessity they are to be knit in gender neutral colors (I like either bright primary colors, rainbow pastels or muted creams and forest colors for preference), washable yarn and in a pattern that understands the unique physical properties of newborn babies. Namely that their heads are overly large, they are horribly floppy and their torsos are out of proportion to their legs and arms**.

This means cardigans. Pullovers DO NOT WORK for infants. Even their onesies have those wee neck snaps to ensure that the head opening actually gets over the head. Also, due to the floppiness, pullovers act a bit like straitjackets. It's hard to get floppy arms out of a tube and into smaller tubes. Cardigans are very open, both allowing the arms to be put in before the sweater is closed and the neck to close around the actual neck rather than needing to pass over the enormous head.

I'm delaying the hats that go with these sweaters though. You see, infants don't need gendered clothing. Baby girls do not require pink (though mine are probably going to suffer through quite a bit of purple while I knit down the stash) and boys are not the sole proprietors of red, green, blue and brown. Hats, on the other hand... You see, there are few things more charming than a little lacy cap on a baby girl. And baby boys don't look as cute in them. Baby boys look adorable in rolled brim hats***. So the matching hats (still in the gender neutral colors of the sweaters) will wait until these babies have announced themselves and the contents of their diapers**** to the world.

I have also finished my modified Leaflet cardigan. If you go and look at the pattern, you will see that it has these trendy short sleeves that all the cardigans had this past fall. I think these sleeves are silly, so I sort of winged a sleeve (it doesn't have clever sleeve shaping that actually conforms to the sloping shape of the human arm) with the leaf lace motif on the forearm. They are awesome sleeves if I do say so myself. Yes, it's purple.

I am delaying knitting on my Doctor Who socks until I finish the current pair on the needles. This is yarn that I never would have purchased. While it contains purples, it also has colors I never knit with unless knitting with inherited yarn or for others. It does, however, contain the classic colors of Tom Baker's original 4th Doctor scarf (along with a description that tells you that this yarn will not knit socks that are bigger on the inside). I'm thinking something to take advantage of the stripiness, either a feather-and-fan or jaywalkers.

I'm working on a Baby Sophisticate jacket, which is all [livejournal.com profile] shadesong's fault. This is the second of 2 overdue baby presents, the other being a charming lace set that went out in the mail yesterday. I have one lace kerchief left to finish (and I'm about 90% of the way there) before my bridesmaids' gifts are all done. I'm finally picking up the massively overdue wedding afghan for [livejournal.com profile] levana_b and [livejournal.com profile] masteraleph. Hopefully it'll be finished by the time they next get to live in the same state!

I think that's enough yarn catch-up for the time being.

*There is no clever diminutive for this.
**This is not precisely true, but it sure looks that way.
***Baby girls look adorable in them too, but this is all the boys have and I'm willing to let them have it for the first year.
****Gender being a social construct that no newborn is capable of articulating, no matter how precocious.
crewgrrl: (Keep Calm and Carry Yarn)
Last night, I shlepped all the way out to Park Slope. Considering how Brooklyn-phobic I am, why did I brave the 3 subway (1 to B to F) hour long trip?

For this woman. She is clever, witty, charming, Canadian and the first person to validate my lack of project monogamy. Her name is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, but we call her the Yarn Harlot (though I am told her friends and family usually call her Steph). She blogs, teaches, and write knitting books, but not the kind with patterns in them (except for this one). The books she writes are funny, touching and true, and knitters can't help but crack up every third page. Currently, she is touring with her 7th book.

In the downstairs of the Barnes and Noble in Park Slope, she tried something new with this book tour. She actually read selections from the book! Apparently this is something new, as she normally talks about other things on her book tours. This seems to have something to do with something we all have noticed - that when you slap the word "knitting" onto something, it becomes somehow less real. Never mind that this woman is a NYTimes bestselling author, since she writes knitting books she can't be worth listening to. I have experienced this phenomena firsthand.

After reading from the book, she did a bit of Q&A. I asked her how unreasonable the Christmas list was, to which she replied "and I thought you were a nice lady!" The conversation ran all over the place, drifting to the Zombie Apocalypse (as these things inevitably do) and knitting with kevlar/wool fiber and how valuable knitters will be. Afterwords, there was a book signing. I brought up both the beret I was working on and my camera with a very special picture on it. I showed her the picture I have of Neil Gaiman holding my sock. She then proceeded to take a picture of me holding my camera with the picture of Neil holding my sock (and posted it on her blog!), and I took a picture of her holding my beret. She now lives on the memory card with Neil. I'm starting a collection.

So yeah, this was worth the shlep :)
crewgrrl: (Kaylee)
Last night [livejournal.com profile] mbarr, [livejournal.com profile] taylweaver, [livejournal.com profile] mollygrue and I went to hear the fabulous Mr. Gaiman speak at Symphony Space. He was being interviewed by Paul Levitz, former president of DC Comics on behalf of Columbia University's Institutes for Israel and Jewish Studies and the one for American Studies.

Side Note: Mr. Letvitz will be teaching an American Studies course on "Transmedia" next Spring. Depending on my schedule, it looks really nifty. Also, a college class taught by a comic book exec! How could I not?

Some interesting questions were asked, including "Why are you the last of the great Jewish comic writers?" Neil's answer was short and hysterical. "I killed them all." Neil was asked about how involved he always was in the business side of his own career, they talked about comics being a "gutter medium," and random fascinating questions that I am not smart enough to think of. Then Neil read a bit of his least known book, A Walking Tour of the Shambles, which was a fictional travel guide written for a World Horror Convention hosted by Chicago. It employed one of my favorite conceits, that of being a small portion of a much larger series which does not actually exist.

Afterwards he answered some questions from audience members that had been written on index cards beforehand. My question (how much fun was it to work on Doctor Who) was not deemed sufficiently interesting. But some other questions were, like the various media he has worked in and how does he fit them to a story. At the end, the professor who had introduced both Neil and Paul basically told us that due to the small budget, the evening was over. So we walked out.

But of course, it's hard to make us all go away. So we congregated outside, discussing Neil's work, the impact he'd had on DC Comics (the Vertigo imprint that we all know due to Fables would never have existed without Sandman) and the impact that his work had on my reading and who I read because of it. And then [livejournal.com profile] mbarr snuck up behind me and said "if you want him to sign anything, go back inside." So I did. Neil and his wife were hanging out in the lobby, taking and signing books.

On the theory that a man as awesomely weird as Neil Gaiman is likely to respond to weird requests, I asked him for a bizarre favor. "Can I take a picture of you holding this sock?" I asked. He asked if it was a sock that I was currently knitting, to which I answered yes. He agreed. The picture was taken. We discussed fountain pens (he signs books with them) and how my father collected them. He signed a copy of The Graveyard Book for me. And then we left, so that he and his wife could see each other for the first time in a month and perhaps have dinner.

This is a picture of one of my favorite authors holding the result of one of my favorite hobbies )

Another side note: I have submitted an audition clip to the American Gods full cast audiobook contest thingie. Please go here and vote for me so that I have a chance to be heard by Neil and the execs at Harper Audio.
crewgrrl: (Default)
Buy your brisket at least 2 days before you plan to cook it.

Marinate in red wine (dry is a must, fancy isn't) and garlic in the refrigerator. If working with a 2 pound brisket, a half bottle of wine is sufficient. The bigger the brisket, the more wine you need.

Two days (or more) later, turn your oven to 375 degrees.

Take the brisket out of the marinade, reserving the wine and garlic.

Heat a flavorless oil (vegetable or canola is good) in a large skillet (should be big enough to hold the entire brisket). Dredge the brisket in flour and sear.

In a bowl, combine ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and the reserved wine and garlic until you get a nice thick sauce that tastes the way YOU like it (some people like more vinegar, some people want more ketchup).

Put the brisket in a pan. Cover with sauce.

Slice enough onions until you have enough to completely cover the brisket plus more for the sides. Cover the pan and cook for 2 hours.

Check the pan, recover the brisket with the onions, reduce heat to 200. Cook for one more hour.

Take the brisket out and let cool. Slice, and return to the pan to be reheated later.

Eat with sauce and onions.
crewgrrl: (Cupcake)
Eaten by the family [livejournal.com profile] crewgrrl (recipes linked when possible):

- Parker House Rolls*
- Stuffed mushrooms (half with a plain mushroom stuffing, half with a chicken sausage, spinach and mushroom stuffing)*
- Vaguely Asian salad (romaine lettuce, scallions, mandarin oranges and slivered almonds with sweet dressing)*
- Stuffing
- Cranberry Relish (the secret is Triple Sec)
- Cranberry sauce out of the can (it isn't Thanksgiving without this and gentile gravy)
- Brussels Sprout Hash with caramelized shallots*
- Turkey
- Gentile gravy (this is proper gravy, with turkey stock and pan juices and a roux and everything. Normally we just use pan juices and call that gravy)
- Mashed potatoes (with roasted garlic)
- Mashed sweet potatoes (with cinnamon and brown sugar)
- Dutch apple pie*
- Pumpkin pie*
- Chocolate mint cookies with white chocolate chips (also regular ones)*
- Whipped non-dairy sweetened chemical equivalent (as usual, we looked for it in a can and we didn't find it)

Mom's turkey is always amazing, potatoes were filled with starchy goodness. Taking raw chicken sausage out of the links and browning it for stuffing was a novel experience. Never having grown up eating sprouts of any kind, I am always amazed by how much I like the mini-cabbages. Also, I make amazing pie.

*Made entirely by me! Looking at this list, I made about half of Thanksgiving all by myself. Go me!
crewgrrl: (Default)
Can anybody hear me?

What about if I shed the irony?


crewgrrl: (Default)

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