Monday, July 30, 2007

first embroidery project

Sure, I haven't been cooking much (ok, not at all) lately, but it doesn't mean I have been ignoring the kitchen completely. See? Kitchen, I still love you.

Monday, July 23, 2007

rainiest july 21st in 20 years

...or something like that. Yeah, I don't really love weather statistics either, but the point is: it was a rainy, and I mean rainy, weekend. With squashed dreams of a lazy stroll through the market to buy myself flowers, I instead used the weather as an excuse to get nice and close to my brand-spanking new sewing machine.

No, I'm still not good at seams (pretty critical for making anything, I know!) but hey...I made something! Whilst practicing with some cheap muslin fabric and dark thread so I can see what I'm doing, I managed to make a temporary storage solution for my sewing table. Not that bad, right? It holds my scissors perfectly!

Ok, you can stop scoffing now!

But really, I'm having a blast teaching myself how to use this dream of a machine, and I can't wait to make lots of pretty little things. Until then, I think I still have a couple yards of muslin to tear through...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

happenings: lots of little things

new to wear:
I got new shoes! I've had an unwavering passion for the mustard yellow/gold color that's become trendy lately, and oddly enough (or maybe not oddly enough because you're more hip than me), they go with just about everything! I got a good deal on this pair via the Shoefly (my favorite shoe store ever!) newsletter. Even if you're not in Seattle, they ship! Check them out.

unhappy, then happy customer:
My sewing machine arrived last week, broken pedal and all, which led me to discover that Amazon has remarkable customer service. If you have an account and are signed in, you can select "express customer service," click a button that relays to them when you want them to call (yes, you read that right. they call you--yes, it's a customer service breakthrough!). The impatient unhappy customer I was, I chose "right now." Would you believe it, my telephone rang immediately!

Ok boring anecdote is getting too long...end of story, they sent me a return label and my new machine is slated to arrive today. Problem solved! Now I just have to worry about how to learn to use the darn thing!

Thank goodness for videos like this: Pulling the bobbin thread up out of the bobbin well.

around the house:
I finally bought flowers for my front porch. Charming, no? Red Hot Sally's (I like to think they're referring to my grandma!) in the lower pot, Snow Crystals in the top.

My sister introduced me to SeeqPod, which I like because it doesn't crash (Pandora, I'm looking at you) and requires nothing to download. Most music I searched for was in the database (including Mocean Worker, yay!), and my sis and I can share playlists.

going out:
I've been going out the last week a lot more than I've been cooking! Still love the grape, prosciutto, rosemary, and ricotta pizza at High Life. Was great to enjoy with my friend T and a couple glasses of happy hour-priced wine!

Went to my favorite Indian restaurant, only to get in a fight with my friend because the chicken dishes had light and dark meat. Whoa there...not that big of a deal, but I digress! All was ok though, because I still enjoyed it! Plus, they're naan is to die for.

Had a lovely late brunch with my friend T (you'll read about her a lot, she's the best!) at the Mexican restaurant, Senor Moose Cafe in Ballard. I was delighted to find that places other than taco trucks serve sopes, those wonderfully thick masa harina patties with savory (usually) toppings. This particular breakfast served them topped with over-easy eggs, black beans, salsa verde, sour cream, and crumbled cojita cheese. Sure beats breakfast of typical diner fare!

Friday, July 13, 2007

keeping notes

Last week I attended a performance entitled "Salon of Shame." The concept is cheeky, but like trashy reality tv shows, it's irresistibly funny and possibly addicting.

Picture this: Dark basement, small stage, single microphone, sold out seats, lots of booze, a sign language interpretor, and last time, on that particular hot Seattle evening, sweltering temperatures and too many sticky bodies.

Daring individuals volunteer to read personal diary entries from their younger days. Though I was expecting timid readings of embarrassing former thoughts, the readers were animated, entertaining, and looked like they had done this or something like it before (ok, ok, I'll say it...they seemed to be "theater people." *gasp!*). "Theater people" or not, the readings were refreshing and transported just about everyone back to middle school, evident by the heavy laughter and knowing smiles.

Though the performance was light in nature and more entertaining rather than introspective and thoughtful, it did get me thinking how it'd be nice to be more dutiful in recording my own day-to-day happenings, or not-happenings, as they may be. Anyone who knows me can tell you I have the most awful memory. Though it served me well in school and currently in work, it is useless when it comes to remembering anything from childhood, vacations, relationships...basically everything important. Yes, that makes me sad too.

So, with a little hesitation, I'm going to try to be more dutiful in blogging to keep some record of my life, thoughts, projects, and in general, things I care about. If not just for my failed memory, then for your entertainment or possibly nagging curiosity of what I could possibly be up to.

Thanks for caring!

loaded caprese sandwich

This sandwich is so good, I made it three times over the course of last weekend as well as shared it with two different friends. One of my best girlfriends invited me to an outdoor concert, and since she typically doesn't eat meat, I was trying to think of simple, vegetarian foods for our picnic dinner that wouldn't leave me feeling meat-deprived. Caprese salad is a staple for me, and though a caprese salad sandwich is nothing unique, I did add several ingredients to make it my own.

On crusty french bread I stacked the fresh mozzarella, lots of fresh basil, thick and juicy tomato slices, roasted red bell peppers, and a mound of caramelized red onions (something I tend to add to nearly everything I make these days). I also added some sliced grilled chicken breast (to mine), and one of the (three!) times I had it, I also included slices of fresh avocado. Yum.

Perfect, light summer meal that I was able to enjoy while making joyful memories. I was with my best friend at the outdoor concert, giddy and silly from drinking vodka, laughing at the people around us, and simply enjoying laying on a lawn listening to live music and sharing good food and conversation.

My favorite thing about cooking...or even putting together a sharing it with people I care about. Life doesn't get any better!

Monday, July 2, 2007

balsamic strawberries, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts over mixed baby greens

Before I left for a work trip last week, I had made some balsamic strawberries from this recipe from Ina Garten, but I never got around to eating them. After coming home from the grocery store, I was cleaning out the fridge and was planning on throwing them out; after all, they had been there for a week!! I'm not sure if it was safe to eat (though vinegar preserves, right?), but wow, were those strawberries good! The balsamic and sugar turned into a sweet, thick glaze and the strawberries were still as tender and fresh as the day I bought them.

I made a simple salad by topping some mixed baby greens with the strawberries, crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts, and lots of freshly cracked pepper. The glaze/syrup was so good, I just used that as a dressing though some oil mixed in would have been equally good. I'm happy I bought another pound of strawberries on my shopping trip so I can make another batch!