Archive for April, 2009

Word, redux.

What a fantastic word!!!

palimpsest |ˈpalimpˌsest|
a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.
• figurative something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form : Sutton Place is a palimpsest of the taste of successive owners.
palimpsestic |ˌpalimpˈsestik| adjective
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: via Latin from Greek palimpsēstos, from palin ‘again’ + psēstos ‘rubbed smooth.’

…maybe having caffeine today was a bad idea.


Monday Night Feast

Yes, I know it’s Thursday.

I decided to do a little cooking on Monday, which I feel like I haven’t done in a while.  Let me qualify that: I haven’t cooked except for the usual eggs, hot cereal, and near-instant polenta + marinara sauce I made a while ago and then froze.

I had a recipe on 101 Cookbooks bookmarked for what seemed like an eternity, and a half of a cabbage languishing in my fridge for an equally long duration.  So I finally got around to making Jamaican Veggie Patties.  They happen to be vegan, and incredibly delicious. Seriously– the coconut oil in the crust turned out better than any buttery crust I have ever made. It was manageable even at room temperature, had the perfect balance of moisture and non-stickyness, and turned out flaky and light.  I think I will substitute coconut oil in my pastry crusts from now on.

I was surprised at how little of each of the vegetables the recipe used: I ended up needing one small (ping pong ball-sized) potato, a quarter of a softball-sized yellow onion, one medium carrot, less than a quarter of my cabbage, and a small fraction of the frozen corn and peas.  Yes, it has evil, evil corn in it.  The stuff I bought appeared to be industrial-organic, so just a minor step up from industrial. But whole, organic sweet corn is way better than the chemical-laden creepy stuff they put in store-bought pocket sandwiches (ew).

[Speaking of chemical-laden creepy stuff: I watched King Corn last night, as “research” for my final paper in Biological Anthropology.  I have a strong desire to make high-fructose corn syrup in my kitchen now.]

The veggie patty recipe also has white flour in the crust. I wonder if you could substitute all whole wheat pastry flour, and still get as nice a consistency in the dough? Probably not, but I might try it anyway, next time.

Anyway, the photo I took is not that attractive, the ones on 101 Cookbooks are more likely to make you want to eat these “patties” (more like empanadas, if you ask me).  Yes, the crust really is that yellow. No, I did not use soy flour– the color comes from the turmeric. Yes, it will stain your hands, food processor, glass bowl, and counter top.  It will also leave greasy yellow spots on the napkins you use to reheat the patties at school, making your colleagues wonder what the hell you’re eating. And they will be jealous.

I made some black beans and spinach to go along with the meal, because I could not stand not having something green and something protein-y with my dinner. So there.  I added one glass of cheap red wine, and was all set.


I made eight patties using one of my rice bowls as the pattern for the crusts. I managed to plan the filling:crust ratio perfectly, and had no leftovers whatsoever! [except for whole ingredients, which will find other homes]  I froze all but three of the final product– but ate those so quickly I took another out of the freezer for dinner today! Note: They freeze really well, already baked and wrapped in aluminum foil.  Reheated, the crust doesn’t get soggy/ hard. Hooray!

I am tempted to go buy the cookbook that the recipe came from: Vegan Soul Kitchen

Please don’t panic, Doc. I am not “going vegan.” It was just one recipe. I ate a lot of cheese today, and an egg, and put half and half in my coffee. But the recipe was quite tasty 😉

I used the leftover coconut milk to make some decadent vegan hot cocoa for dessert.

In other news: my cats have learned to jump up on the tall bookshelves in my office.  Sofi got it first, and sat taunting Speckle all day on Monday. Tuesday, he finally jumped up there with her, and she was pissed.


They seem to have worked out their conflict by now.

You have to admit, I have the cutest cat(s) in the entire world.


Admit it!!


It was a wild and crazy weekend… betcha didn’t expect me to say that, eh? Well, wild and crazy in the omigodbusy sense.  The conference that three friends/colleagues/my roommate and I have been planning for over a year finally happened, and it went amazingly well.  We had a pretty good turnout for the public lectures by three invited faculty on Friday, and the closed workshop for anthro grad students on Saturday was really productive and, dare I say, fun.

I’ve spent the last month or so stressing out about the whole thing, and having spent the past two days coordinating the caterers; making sure our three guests were taken care of; planning and hosting and cleaning up after a house party; and moderating speakers, coffee breaks, and commentary, I am now utterly exhausted.  I dropped our last guest off at the airport this morning, and feel like I can suddenly relax. I just can’t forget to send thank you notes and the honoraria to the guests!

I’m going to pile on the vitamins and veggies this week in the hopes of staving off impending illness. Positive thoughts! You get what you give out, right?

Anyway, aside from reading a book for a paper I have to write for Tuesday (did I mention that I’ve been focused on the conference, and have let some coursework slide?! Uh oh.) I finally got around to starting my veggie and herb seeds today. I also finally got around to hanging the shop light I bought to help them sprout.  I actually bought the light three (!) weeks ago, when Doc was in town.  It sat in the corner of my living room until Thursday, when I spent the day frantically cleaning for the Friday party for our conference guests… it then got whisked downstairs to the tool room, where the plants will be spending the first 6-8 weeks of their lives.

I used old cardboard egg cartons and some purchased seed-starting soil mix (next year I hope to have enough homemade compost to start seeds and to spread around the garden!). I planted: amaranth, eggplant, broccoli, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin (heirloom green), bell peppers, sweet basil, lime basil, rosemary, lavender, epazote (Mexican herb), chamomile, and catnip (of course).  I’m also sprouting four varieties of heirloom tomatoes, a mix of hot peppers, and (attempting) chile de árbol from the seeds of the dried chilies in my cupboard. We’ll see how that works. Sprouts will get transferred to flats in about a week.

There was a moment of extreme frustration when I could not envision a way to hang the shoplight downstairs.  I wanted it low enough to hover over the flats of seeds, but I had no way to break the very heavy chain I had sitting around (left from a discarded bike tire-chain project… the snow melted, and I didn’t have the right tools/ variety of chain anyway. next year.) or hooks to hang it from the ceiling.  It got to the point where I might have broken the lamp if I kept going, so I set it down and moved on to the book for a little while.

Then, sitting on the couch and reading my book three hours later, it hit me! The chain is really long, so I was able to rig it through the hooks on the lamp, and loop it over two nails set into the ceiling beams at an angle. I was actually about an inch off (the lamp dangles a little too far over the edge of the table), but it still works– the flats of seeds are illuminated 🙂

pictures later… maybe when the plants start to sprout.