Show Me the Love

I mentioned that when I was in San Francisco, I saw Michael Chabon read. It was such a lovely night. My colleague MB and I finished up work, and ran to the BART train, crossed under the bay and emerged in Oakland where Hannah was waiting for us. If you’ve not been to Oakland lately, I recommend it. It’s just wonderful there — great food, beautiful weather, and calmer than San Francisco.

Hannah and I used to work at Diesel, a Bookstore, where the reading was held, so it felt a lot like a homecoming and *bonus* we didn’t need to move any chairs or the podium. Podiums are heavy FYI.

The reading was standing room only and the owners sneaked us in because they’re nice like that. Dave Eggers introduced Michael, which was a treat. And then Michael read. Here’s what strikes me about his writing — he loves every single word he puts on the page. When you read his work, you always get the feeling that he’s enjoying the act of writing. Maybe he’s not, but whatever. That’s how it seems. The reading was no different. He seemed simply delighted to be there, for his family to be there, to be spinning records on a portable record player.

The energy was infectious. We left and ate a wonderful meal and I just felt giddy afterward. Some this had to do with Michael, some of it had to do with hanging out with Hannah, some of it was just being in California again. And I’m giddy because Five Plates is getting there.

I’ve been thinking about this joy that Michael seems to find in his work. I want to approach my work that way as well. I think do to that you have to fake it a bit, but as they say, fake it ’til you make it. And when you’re not faking it, revel in the joy.

On the Menu

My friend Michelle, who is super smart and is teaching people who need to learn to cook, recommended the book An Everlasting Meal. Hannah also recommended this book. So, you know I ran over to Powell’s and grabbed it. (I finished Age of Miracles as quickly as possible. That book wasn’t very good.)

I’m already in love with An Everlasting Meal. Her whole premise is that we don’t really need to throw so much food away. And that we can use all of the odds and ends and wilted bits in our cooking if we’re creative. So, with that (and the fact that we’re about to go on a strict budget because I’ll be working part-time) I approached grocery shopping. She advocates roasting your veggies ahead of time and prepping your greens. I decided I’d get a whole chicken too because that’s good for several meals.

So Sunday I did a big cooking project.

The first thing I did was turn some stale baguette into croutons.

Homemade croutons are my weakness. I also used up a couple of sad looking garlic cloves in the croutons as well. Yum.

I then made the sauce for Spaghetti All’Amatrciana. I love this recipe but it takes 2-plus hours. So I made it to serve later in the week for a quick pasta dish.

Next up, I washed all of our greens for the week. We’re going to eat a lot of salads this week.

I then roasted all of our veggies for the week. These I’ll serve as sides, in a curry sauce and in a frittata.

I also made a curry powder from scratch loosely based on Bittman’s fragrant curry powder recipe. This was so simple.

Then I made April Bloomfield’s Lemon Caper dressing. I’m going to use this on salads for the week, and I think I’ll make some aioli and use a dash of this. Yum. I love this dressing. I hope you’ll try it.

Finally, I roasted that chicken in a skillet, which is what Bittman told me to do. This will be for dinner and for lunches. And for a night of Archie’s bowl’s. This is basically, protein, rice, beans and guacamole in a bowl.

Total grocery bill: $115. This included a six-pack of beer and a bottle of wine. As well as our breakfast and lunch-makings. Not bad for a week’s worth of meals for three people.

Total time spent in the kitchen on Sunday? Seven hours. That’s sort of a lot. But I think I’ll save some time during the week.

Also, does anyone want to be my sous chef?

The Crazy Life in the Abbey

Where does the time go? I’d like to strike a balance between it yawning in front of me and slipping past.

Our weekend away was wonderful and too short. It was full of fort building and walking and catching up with family. Also lots of purses. Fancyhats was dismayed when I came home with three new purses. I’ll be taking their pictures because one is magnificent and we should all spend a moment admiring its beauty.

Also, this happened. There is one processed food you’ll have to pry from my cold hands: peanut butter. Not that organic almond crap or that chalk stuff with the oil on the top. I want chunky Skippy or Jiff. Nutter Butters are my weakness. And this package was waiting for me when we arrived in paradise. Look! It even has Nascar branding on it! Oh, they’re so delicious. I love you Nutter Butters.

We are experiencing a little chicken drama lately. Keeping chickens isn’t all fun and eggs, let me tell you. There’s chicken drama. First of all, Mrs. Peckinsmith is laying again so that’s good, but she has this habit of laying eggs without shells, so that’s bad. Trixie isn’t laying at all, poor sweet thing. The 6yo thinks it’s because she’s still hurt from the raccoon.

The two babies are questionable. The Spitzhauben just doesn’t grow. And she’s not all that great at walking. Fancyhats keeps saying, “the yellow one is broken.” He said this about me when we first started going out and I puked for three weeks straight. That’s a funny story for another time, but, in short, the first three weeks of our relationship were spent with him holding my hair as I puked on various things including baby trees, in parking lots and around any toilet within reach. During this period, he’d say, “Are you broken?” I think of this when he makes the same claim about the yellow chicken. I think “go little chicken! He’ll grow to love you and your sensitive stomach! Keep not walking and not growing!!!”

The little brown chicken is a boy, we believe. We are not basing this on anything real, just the fact that it seems bolder and seems like it might grow a comb. Again, nothing real.

So where are we at with chicken rearing?

1 chicken that’s laying useless eggs (who also has a bad attitude)

1 chicken still too scared to lay an egg because of a raccoon attack

1 baby chick that’s broken

1 baby chick that’s a boy

Urban chicken farm=success!