• Room Redo Up on Copy Cat Chic!

  • 4 years and a puppy

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

4 years and a puppy

Well this week was a good one, guys! We got back from our annual family reunion/binge drinking trip on Thursday, which is always a good time. It makes me so thankful for the super weird, fun family that I have, and helps me reconnect to all the immeasurable life experiences that have made me who I am. I get to cook artery-clogging food with my mom, push my little brother off of rope swings, and float around in the river drinking beer for days on end. My dad is always at his best during this time, since he is perpetually a 22 year old dude inside that 58 year old body. Nothing can stop him. At night we sit on the porch for hours and look at the stars, talking shit over the Marty Robbins ballads drifting from the radio speakers. My cousin Cleet is my dad's partner in crime. You'd never know my dad has a solid 15 years on him, man, those two are something else when they get together. We were all missing my brother though. He'll come back one day with us I know, but it's always tough when he isn't there. 

Thursday also happened to be my 4 year anniversary with this stud:

Couldn't have picked a more handsome man. I pat myself on the back every time I look at him. We celebrated with bowls of cereal and an X Files marathon, naturally. And then on Friday we did something truly awesome--we picked up this little peach to surprise my brother!

My parents brought him up on Saturday and we surprised him with little Marley. The goofy smile on his face was just the best thing, you guys. It was hard to give her up after even just a day, but I know she will be the apple of Jack's eye and that is something to celebrate. My whole house was full up with love and glad tidings and all those good things, just as a house was meant to be. Good stuff. 

On Sunday we cooked all day and watched some movies, and Jake worked on his beloved dirt bike. He brined two chickens and they spent all day in the smoker with some corn on the cob, which got turned into Mexican street corn. I made a galette of potatoes, leeks and Emmentaler Swiss cheese that is a more powerful addiction than crack (I'm guessing). I also whipped up healthy Mac n cheese with sweet potato greens in it, and fried some okra that came in my CSA basket. We ate ourselves stupid, y'all.

House renovations continue, the heat is unrelenting, and I'm working on some logos as a bday present for Jake's dad. That's all I've got for now. 

What 'organic' really means...

Is bugs in your food. Intellectually, I know this. Practically, I was kind of shocked by my own lack of thought about it. Of course I know bugs are on food—bugs even make our food possible (I use the technical term ‘bug’ loosely). In my life, I’ve personally had two run-ins withtiny worms in farm-fresh cream peas and one harrowing experience involving a worm stuck to my lip while eating edamame (I still can’t talk about that one). But I guess the difference is that all of my food/bug interactions took place a long time before I even started cooking for myself, much less cooking seriously or taking an interest in naturally raised/organic/nutritious anything. At the time that I was victimized by those bugs, I thought of it as an anomaly and something that hopefully I wouldn’t encounter again, because this is America and I’m an American and I shouldn’t have to worry about such atrocities in my food (cue the collective sighs). Now I’m older and wiser, particularly where my food is concerned. This is why it was so odd to me that it only recently occurred to me that organic food maybe, probably, definitelymeans more bugs in my food (which then turned into a watershed mental moment/led me to question my whole life, etc.). But let’s begin at the beginning, shall we?

A month or two ago, decided to step out of my comfort zone and made my favorite kale pesto with curly kale, after making it dozens of times with the regular Lactinato kale. As I was de-ribbing my kale in preparation for blanching, I noticed a little brown chunk on my countertop. Thinking it was a tiny dirt clod, I brushed it into the sink and carried on. As another leaf lost its ribs, I found a second chunk. Again, into the sink it went. By the third leaf, I was starting to notice the tiny dirt chunks were stuck to all the leaves, they were assembling in a veritable pile on my cutting board, and my righteous anger was building. I mean, how had I managed to pick up what was surely the dirtiest bunch of kale ever sold in this country?

Irritated, I dunked the leaves in the boiling water, at which point all the dirt clods floated to the top of the water where they nestled on the bright green raft of floating kaleWhich is when I noticed that they weren’t totally brown—they had some tan spots. In a uniform pattern. And ibegan to dawn on me that perhaps this much dirt in one bunch of kale may be something else entirely. I stooped down until I was eye-level with my countertop, and whimpered like a sad puppy. There were maybe 30 beetle-esque things strewn across the surface. And on the kale waiting to be dunked. And floating on top of my blanched kale. Y’all, I skimmed two serving spoons’ worth of those things off the top of the water. (All by myself, I might add. I’m very brave.) I removed the kale and really reluctantly patted it dry while I found myself resisting the strong urge tothrow it all out the window. It’s shameful to admit, but I held back little tears of frustration as I literally combed through the blanched kale with forks and a permanently curled lip.

I went ahead and made pesto with it, but every bite was forced—not only was I afraid of the unidentified bugs still being somewhere in there (pureed or not), I was also pretty sad about boiling all of them alive. Did I mention I also found a tiny green caterpillar on my countertop in the middle of all of this? I put him outside on the porch and then fixed myself a drink in the middle of the day. What a baby that Lindsey is.

I guess my conclusion here is not really a conclusion at all, but more of a rambling story about things that probably affect a lot more people than any of us realize. Even those of us that cook constantly and take an extreme interest in food and all its accouterments can still sometimes be amazed by and, more surprisingly, perturbed about the things we experienceI’m the first one to always say that bugs in your food are really not that big of a deal—there are bugs in pretty much everything we eat, not to mention that people the world over eat bugs with enthusiasm as staples of their diets. (For goodness’ sake, Andrew Zimmern taught me that regardless of the bug, you always have to pick off the wings!) My point is that while I’m certainly not ignorant of the role they play in feeding the world, my American brain does not want to like it. I can’t help it. It’s a knee-jerk reaction and one that is pretty well ingrained at this point. But honestly do wish I was brave enough to make them part of my regular diet outside of the occasional chocolate covered ant (what am I talking about? Occasional? I ate them twice in elementary school.).Hopefully I will be able to take that step one day, but for now I will be only buying the flattest kale I can find and investing in a high quality magnifying glass.

Also, the difference between dino and curly kale? They say there isn’t one but I think dino kale absolutely tastes better and, it should be mentioned, does not afford bugs the luxury of a free hotel stay in my fridge/kitchen/food. I’ll post the recipe separately since your appetite is probably gone at this point.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Square One

I did it! Well, I'm doing it right now anyway. My first blog post and oh I'm excited! Truthfully, I've been planning this for months. On lunch breaks, in my dreams, in the middle of the night when I can't sleep (and when I can--see the aforementioned 'in my dreams' bit).

I don't know what's taken me so long. I guess life has been hectic, but when is it not? More than anything I guess I wanted to make sure that whatever I put down here was meaningful to me. And since everything is meaningful to me, well, it took some time to figure out what I most wanted to say. The short answer is: everything. My interests are all over the map (like my brain, hey-o!) and some of them aren't great blog fodder. But after much consideration, I finally realized that the things that I do are what make my life just that. I can say things all I want, but if I do nothing about them? Well, then there's nothing to remember those words by. 

So here I am, at the beginning of a story that really isn't a beginning anymore, and I will just jump right in with my two feet. There's going to be a lot about food, I can tell you that. What else brings us humans together quite like a meal? It feeds my soul and I want it to feed yours too. And design, O be still my heart. In a previous life I was an art director and since a leopard can't change it's spots, I don't think this leopard will try to. She will, however, change out the pillows on her couch and tell you about her latest shoe purchase. Life? Well this would hardly be meaningful if all those little life things weren't mentioned. I promise that you will have dozens of kitty pictures to choose from, since boy did I luck out in the kitty department. And Austin, the place I call home, is a thread that runs through all the above topics. If I'm being honest, I want to fall in love with this city again. I don't know if that's possible but I sure will try. 

So here I go! Three cheers for doing stuff!