Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ghetto eats, Pacific NW style.

Sunday night, I try to knock out a few dinners so life will be a little easier during the week. It's been a while since I, non-bento foodblogging I'm sharing with you a super simple kiddo favorite. Well, it's a Little Man favorite anyhow. Unless it starts with chicken and ends with nugget, it's not even very high up on Baby A's list. One day she'll discover that all those chicken nuggets she thought she was eating were really soy tricken nuggets and she'll become a vegan and cooking for her will be even more of a pain in the ass, but whatever. I'm prepared for that.
Hello lovers, my Salmon Croquettes.
As far as I can tell, croquette is a fancy name for patty that you get to use if you toss some potatos in the patty. Or maybe it really just means patty and I should rename these my Pretentious Salmon Patties. Ingredients (it's a short list): Salmon Potato Onion Garlic Eggs Garlic salt Pepper Soy sauce Parsley White corn meal Canola oil Start with the salmon. This is very important - use the foil packs. I made the mistake of buying the cans once, and by the time you're done picking out all the little soft, cooked bones and peeling off the skin, you might as well have paddled up the Columbia in a kayak, snatched the salmon out of the water with your bare hands and cleaned the fish with tools you stole from those Geico guys. Boil the whole potato until it's nice and soft. Set aside to cool. For a while. Unless you'd prefer to live life without fingerprints. If you're plotting the perfect crime, feel free to break right into that spud. Toss two packs of salmon in a bowl and break it up with a fork. Peel off the skin at one end of the potato and mush about 1/4 to 1/3 of the potato over the salmon in little clumps. Mince some onion (maybe 1/4 cup) and some garlic (coupla cloves) and throw them in the bowl. Crack 1 1/2 to 2 eggs in. Sprinkle in as much garlic salt, pepper and dried parsley as you like along with about 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Mix, cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge for a while to firm up.
What did you do to my chicken nuggets?
After a while, start up some canola oil over mediumish heat. Form little lemon sized balls, coat them with white corn meal and then smush them down into patties...wait, croquettes, dahling and recoat with white corn meal. Set down in the oil, fry until the sides start to brown and flip.
Fry in a roiling sea of fatty azz oil.
And, just for good measure, I threw together a bento to take to work. I miss the bento. I've been pining over From Japan, With Love, coveting all the super cute stuff that I have no use for right now anyway.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My new favorite word. (For today at least.)

A little while back, I got a notice that all of our Delta miles were expiring and had to be spent on magazine subscriptions. There are four of us. I got a lot of magazines - I can't even remember what all I subscribed to. So far, I've received issues of Entertainment Weekly, Dwell, Martha Stewart Living and Time. The Martha Stewart kind of surprised me - not sure what I'll do with that. But, I admit I dig the lady. The Time has been awesome. I haven't gotten my news anywhere but the Internet in ages. This last week's issue has a HUGE spread on what Obama can learn from FDR. I've only done a rapid skim so far, but am a little disconcerted that I haven't seen a mention of his responsibility for the internment of my peeps back in the day. I suppose the magazine isn't advocating Obama move in that direction, but I'd still like to see it acknowledged. Ok, I got totally off topic. I did have a point and it is that this last week's issue turned me on to my new favorite word. Poorgeoisie n.- Rich entrepreneurs and executives who strive to look like starving artists.
Poorgeoise and those who pretend to be less wealthy have been with us for years. What has changed is that many of them no longer have to pretend.
LOL. In fairness, I think many were previously starving artists in their fields and just uncomfortable changing their style simply because their circumstances changed. Still funny.

Friday, June 26, 2009

SO Ready To Hit The Road

I'm hoping against hope that The Green Machine will be kicking down some new orders in a few months. And, that we'll be lucky enough to be carted off to someplace lovely and get a chance to do some real exploring. So, articles about traveling are catching my eye often. 10 Things Every Traveler Should Do I don't generally like to be told what to do, particularly by snappy little numbered lists. But, I like the tone of some of the suggestions.

Savor every moment of your first few hours

First impressions really are worth a thousand others. I often scribble a hundred pages of notes when I visit somewhere new. But then, when I get home, it's always the first page or two -- the taxi ride in from the airport, my first foray out onto the streets -- that captures something vivid and essential before my ideas and prejudices begin to harden.

Simple but not obvious and oh so true. When I first get to a new place, I often find myself consumed with getting settled, touching base and riding out the last little crest of that hyper-focused, mission oriented travel mode. The times that I've just tossed the bags aside and wandered about, I've been delighted - luxuriating in the sensory bombardment of a brand new scene before you take too much in peripherally and it begins to melt into background noise.
Embrace the prospect of being a tourist Some snooty types will tell you that they're "travelers," not tourists. But if being a tourist means wanting to see all the attractions that make a town unique, then what's so bad about that?
Growing up in a tourist trap, I developed an unhealthy aversion to touristness. But, spending your time trying to be cool and blend in doesn't leave a lot of time for really embracing what you're discovering. Oh how we used to giggle at the sunburnt tourist families in their deafening (and matching) aloha wear with their socks snaking up their glow in the dark legs and the ghosts of recently removed price tags floating around everything in their possession. But, you know what? They were having a blast. They were reveling in their tribe and soaking up the shiny trappings of a foreign culture. Not to say that they didn't take a wrong turn somewhere and end up missing out on a lot of what is really cool about Hawaii. But, I would bet most of them floated home on a cloud and treasured those memories for life. So leaving some room for the idea that I don't have to buy in to a place's hackneyed image-for-sale, I've learned to drop the pretension and be an outsider ready to soak up whatever can be offered wherever I land.

Run an errand for a friend

She's asked you to get, say, macadamia popcorn on Maui or to track down that wise monk she once met in Phnom Penh. The very search for what someone else wants or values (and it doesn't really matter what it is) will lead you to places you would otherwise never see.

I often get annoyed with these kinds of requests. Last time I went home to Hawaii, a friend asked me to go to WalMart and pick up a Hawaiian print quilt for her daughter. Seriously? Lame errand and a nice pain in the ass trip to the post office. Sometimes, though, I've really enjoyed the hunt. My Dad asked me to pick up a religious calendar at a gift shop for him years ago. The cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Hawaii - but probably not a place I would have wandered through of my own accord. And, as an epic bonus, it's located at the girls' school that my oldest friend's mother works at. I dropped in to see her while there - something else I probably would not have made time for - and had a very nice visit. It was the first time I'd seen this wonderful woman - a huge presence in my childhood! - in years and the last time I would ever see her as she died less than a year later. So, this tip has two sides. Embrace the scavenger hunts of people dear to you. And don't ask your traveling friends to pick up things solely to save on shipping. Save it for special stuff that can't be found anywhere else.
Go to McDonald's In Kyoto, you could see chicken tatsuta burgers, corn-potage soup and, in autumn, moon-viewing burgers on the menu, and your fellow diners might be dressed in Vivienne Westwood or Dior. In Bolivia, the McDonald's I visited was so exotic that society ladies sipped their McCoffees under the watchful eye of a security guard. Even in Manhattan, the Big Mac outlet I stumbled into one morning at 3 a.m. was home to an unexpected but very New Yawky kind of camaraderie. The food is cheap and semipredictable, of course, but it's all the ways in which the place is surprising that you will take home with you. What else are we looking for in travel (and in love and in life) but a tasty mix of the strange and the familiar?
This last one made me raise an eyebrow and momentarily crinkle my nose. But, then I remembered a trip to Anaheim as a kid. I went in to a McDonalds for breakfast and ordered one Portuguese sausage, eggs and rice please. The kid behind the counter laughed and said rice? this is McDonalds. Ok, apparently that is a special-to-Hawaii kind of thing. But they had burritos on the menu! (This was before all McDonalds had breakfast burritos.) It was one of my first peeks into the ways that different places can be so different and yet so the same. When my Aunt came back from India announcing that Ronald serves lamburgers there, that seemed like a good enough reason to my twelve year old self to check out the place. And the ornately appointed McDonalds right outside the gates of the Biltmore Estate was a real trip. So, going to McDonalds in Georgia when you're coming from North Carolina...? Probably not much of a treat. But, when you find yourself in a whole new world, it can be so fun to check out the way they interpret your regular old world. Gah. Have ideas, will travel. Please.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wherein I discover what this blog is REALLY about.

I said this wasn't a bento blog. But, I guess I lied. Little Man is off to the zoo tomorrow and needs a snack. So I got out his favorite little Pokemon bento box and put some Corn Pops in the bottom layer. I've been informed, however, that they are not Corn Pops. They're just Pops. Did that change? I swear they were called Corn Pops when I used to stare at them longingly on the grocery store shelf while Mom tossed yet another box of Cheerios or Shredded Wheat in the cart. Ok, no. I just checked. They are in fact Corn Pops. But the "corn" is teeny tiny perched atop a giant red "pops". So, I guess that was a pointless diversion. Hey! That's what this is. A pointless diversion blog. I can get behind that. Where was I? Oh, right. The bento. I made a peanut butter and nutella sandwich for the top layer. I was digging through the cookie cutters to figure out what would best fit and the hubbin said "I'm a big hairy hookerface." Or, he might have said "do NOT send the poor kid off with a heart shaped sandwich". It sounded about the same. Dog bone shaped sandwiches would not have fit, and flowers and stars were also vetoed. So, I had to just cut out an inverted peanut butter parallelogram. It was near tragic. I may have dramatically proclaimed that "this is not how I make sandwiches." But, that would be embarrassing. So, I didn't say that. I did sneak in a cute little handstanding elephant pick, though.
Shhhh, little Pokemon.
Aaaand a bonus picture of the hairy child. Gettin' comfy.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Although we've come, to the end of the bento...still I can't just not post.

Score if you know the song that title just murdered. Bonus points if you owned the matching flannel. Ohhh, that threw you off.
I made the last bento of the school year this morning. Sniff. And I made the second to the last bento of the school year yesterday morning but didn't get around to properly memorializing it. Where to start, where to start...
Yesterday, I sent the munchkin off with a veritable zoo full of teeny tiny bologna sandwiches. Also, his first ever Babybel. I took care to give him a mini-tutorial in the morning lest we live out the terrifying vision of him taking a big honking bite of wax and pitooooeying it all over his fellow classmates, sparking an epic pukefest of Stand By Me proportions.

Also received further confirmation that the child is a near exact replica of Mom in many ways. My tweet the other day:

I wish all my snacks came in little red, wax wheels. Expand, Babybel peeps. What else can you stuff in a circle?

His reaction last night:

I liked it. What else comes in a circle?


For today, he asked for what he calls dumplings. What I call gyoza. What his father calls pot stickers. We should get together on that one. He also asked for fish shaped onigiri, preferably with a dog face. I am nowhere near adept enough to halve a seaweed dog face on a fish profile. But, I appreciated the confidence nonetheless. He'll peel off these non-dog faces in exactly the same manner as he'd peel off the dog faces and really nothing is lost in the switch.

I added a little turnip kim chee on the side and a container full of dipping sauce - rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and that chili garlic stuff with the green lid that looks like it might be made by the same people that make Rooster Sauce but the writing is all in Vietnamese (or something) so really I couldn't say. He has strict instructions to allow his teacher to pry open the sauce tupperware lest we live out the terrifying vision of dipping sauce sprayed all over his fellow students while they clutch their eyes and shriek as the hot chilis burn through to their brains.

He was just starting to get as into the bentos as Mom. Ok, not as into them as me. That's probably not logistically possible. But, a little into them. And now, we have just enough summer ahead of us to get him right back to whatever, Mom. So, that's cool.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Twitter AND shoes!? Awesome.

Some companies just make you want to sign over your entire bank account, right arm, left leg and firstborn. Zappos is one of those companies. A while back, I was sandal shopping for the kiddos and got supremely frustrated trying to separate the open-toed chaff from the covered toe wheat. Stupid school rules. I tweeted Zappos' CEO the suggestion that it would sure be handy to be able to pull up all the sandals that cover tiny little toes with one fell click. @Zappos_service tweeted me back the same day with a cordial thanks for the suggestion. A few days later, @Zappos (Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos) followed me and direct messaged me to apologize for the delay (he was traveling) and thank me for the suggestion. Now, as far as I know, they haven't actually incorporated the suggestion. But, I still thought that was some pretty sweet service. Then, yesterday, @zappos tweeted:

Getting ready for our 10 year anniversary all hands meeting in Las Vegas! Hope I don't trip and fall!

I couldn't resist.

Wait, if you're all there, who's sending out shoes!? ;)

I wasn't expecting anything back, so this, from @zappos_service, just tickled me:

Robots! LOL

So, now that I've decided to trade in limb and offspring for some shoes, let's lookeesee what they've got.

Summery D&G wedges. Like walking around on colorful little baskets.
I love the juxtaposition of the neutral naturals and metallics - woven raffia and silver hardware, stacked heels with banded silver - on these BCBG Max Azria slides.
Orange is my favorite color and paired with other warms only makes it better. Fun and not the least bit boring Gabriella Rocha strappy flats.