In the Kitchen

7:3o am.  Made a batch of sambar and ate half a cup (pictured) as breakfast part I.  I’m working my way through the six or so recipes for sambar and/or dal in my Indian cookbook.  Loving them all.



8:00 am.  Made a batch of tofu matzoh brei and ate some for breakfast part II.  After making this dish during 13 or so passovers, I am really getting it sorted.  I’ve dropped the nutritional yeast, mustard, Bragg’s aminos and all the other strange things they put in scrambled tofu back in the day.  Simpler is better.  I still give it a little yellow with turmeric (as do most hippies), but next year it’ll be annato oil (I couldn’t this time because annato oil three and a half hours from coming into my life (see below)).  The rest is just onions, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper.  Nothing else needed.  If you make one you’re proud of, I’d love to try it.

9:00 am.  Walked Frida with Lacey.  Golly I love that dog.  Golly I love Lacey.

10:00 am.  Pedaled to the Mexican grocery and the coop.  Bought really good stuff.  If you haven’t been to the Mexican grocery, you really need to go.  Their dried peppers alone are worth the trip.  I just got a big bag of chile costeña.  Hadn’t even heard of those.  How fun is that?  Really fun (for me).  Maybe this?cc

11:30 am.  Made a batch of annato oil.  Viva Vegan taught me how.  I’ll use it to color rice, empañada dough and chorizo.  Isn’t it pretty?ao

Nothing to it.  Just simmer achiote in oil for three minutes.  The achiote comes from the wall of the Mexican grocery (where you will go soon, right?).  Looks like this.  Stunning, no?a

The bike ride went great, by the way.  Big hooray.

11:35 am.  I whipped up a batch of Indian eggplant to go with the sambar and Lacey and I had a nice little lunch of sambar, eggplant, rice and paratha.  Life is good!

1:00 pm.  Friend came over for an afternoon LP listening session.  Very nice time.  He brought a light box so we could get a good look at my grandpa’s negatives.  The ones I scanned and showed here.   He is setting up a darkroom and wants to print some for me.  What a gift!  Can’t wait for that to go down.  Sneak peak:sp

4:00 pm.  Friend is gone.  Lacey is napping.  I am here (but should be outside).  Before I go, one more big bit of little news.  My Halco strainer started coming apart after a good decade of hard use.  Seems like the company is now known as Browne.  I found a reinforced version of my old strainer on Amazon.  The same fine mesh as my old one but another layer of bigger and stiffer mesh to support the whole thing.  Should last a decade, easy.  bsThat’s that.  Tomorrow I will get out into wonderful Spring weather.  Those chores aren’t going to do themselves!

Take care.


Something Worse

What’s worse than being hollered at for pedaling on the street?  Not being seen at all.

Last night I was pedaling three blocks to a friend’s place.  I was stopped at a red light at the end of our block.  The sensor didn’t notice me so I was waiting for a car to come up behind me or for a break in traffic.

As I waited I watched a family leaving what I imagined to be their mother’s home after an early dinner.  They got into three cars and waved goodbye.  The third car headed my way then turned left onto my street.  Rather than turn into his right lane, he cut the corner and very nearly plowed into me (into the left hand lane for oncoming traffic).

I was standing over my bike.  Could not have moved fast enough.  For a moment I was sure he saw me.  It was broad daylight!  Then it was clear he didn’t see me.  I hollered “HEY!” as he was within 10 or 15 feet.  He heard me and swerved.  Phew!

His mother was standing in the drive and heard me shout.  She was looking right at me from half a block away.  She must have seen her, I’ll guess, son swerve to avoid running me down.  She turned and walked inside.  I was still there waiting for the light.  I pedaled to the corner and pushed the cross walk button, traffic stopped, and I pedaled the last two blocks to my friend’s place where I played two reasonably strong games of Scrabble (came in second in both).

I am very used to close passes and getting hollered at.  So common that I am not really afraid.  More frustrated, usually.  It is rare that I feel seriously threatened. Last night was one of those times.  I am 100% sure that if I hadn’t yelled I would have been hit.  He was going slow.  Maybe 10 or 15 mph.  I probably would have been ok (assuming he stopped as soon as he hit me rather than continuing over me).

I am glad I was watching out.  Folks in cars often check their phones at lights.  I learned in motorcycle safety classes to sit with the bike in gear and to be looking all directions including behind.  I do that when I pedal.  My helmet mirror really helps.

I wonder what impact the near collision had on the driver?  How about his mom? Will it ever be mentioned again?  Will he be more careful in the future?

I am now, for a time anyway, more scared to do something that in theory could be a wonderful and relaxing way to move around the city.  I’ll still do it.  I’ll be even more vigilant.  But I can’t help but think there may come a time when I grow tired of assuming the risk presented by inattentive motorists.

I really believe in bicycles.  They’re good for me.  They’re good for everyone. Imagine half the cars on any street being replaced by bicycles.  Quiet.  The air smells better.  You can say hi to travelers and they’ll hear you–maybe say hi back. Every outing a little more like a Sunday morning.  Seems nice to me, anyway.

We can do this.  All it takes is that we all watch out.  As we should even if no one walked or biked.  That’s the thing–I don’t expect special treatment.  I don’t need special lanes.  I just ask that you really look when you motor.  No auto pilot.  No texting.  No drinking.  Driving is serious business.  Imagine how the mom would have felt to watch her son drive over me.  Imagine the son.  A nice dinner.  Headed home.  Then you kill someone.  Serious stuff.

Too heavy?  I hope this makes you laugh as much as it did I.

Over and out.


Do this.  I have taken this class with this instructor (Claire) and recommend it.

Just Today

I wished I lived on a commune.  That’d make it easier to step out outside and offer four of the five quarts of borsht that just sprang up in my kitchen.  I didn’t want so much, but apparently five quarts are what you get when you combine six cups of stock, three beets, a head of cabbage, an onion, two cloves of garlic and a cup of sauerkraut.  One of the dangers of cooking without a recipe.5qb

The weather has reversed course, with wind, rain and colder temperatures back for a day, so I have nothing else to report.  I hope you are well.

Happy Passover

A small seder tonight.  Lacey, I and a neighbor.  Really looking forward to it.  Moussaka.  Matzoh ball soup.  Charoset.  Horseradish.  Sweet wine.  mb

I made the soup stock and the matzoh balls this morning.  Lagusta’s vegan matzoh ball recipe has never let me down.  This afternoon I whizzed up parsley, cilantro, salt and pepper in olive oil to drizzle on top of the soup.  I just noticed chives in the front yard, so I’ll chop those up for the soup, too.

This weekend I made a mole from Viva Vegan.  It came out beautifully.  Five pints!  One is in the fridge, three in the freezer and one to a neighbor.

Also this weekend we went to New Paltz to pick up a case of Stacy’s tortillas.  I paid, put the sealed box in the trunk and didn’t look at them until we got home.  They ordered the small ones instead of the large ones.  Said so right on the box.  I should have looked.  No burritos, then, but tacos and other smaller things.  Next time.

It was great to see Lagusta and Jacob at their chocolate shop.  Caught up as much as time allowed and stocked up, too.  Chocolate toffee matzoh will help get us through passover.  Three chocolate bars are mostly gone.  Two packs of Stumptown coffee beans.  Oh!  Two flavors of aged Treeline!  Better dig into at least one of those tonight.  While we where there Jacob made us wonderful coffee in his Chemex, which we enjoyed with donuts (chocolate and coconut on one and pistachio studded white icing on the other).  What a scene they’ve put together.  Shame we only get there once a year, if.

That’s that.  Hope you have a great passover.

Why Bother

I write these for me, so please click away.  Seriously.  Find something useful or fun to read.  Before you go, though, enjoy this picture of a gentleman on a bicycle in Albany taken June 6, 1914.  Albany 06.06.1914

I understand he was pedaling amongst participants before or after a suffragettes’ parade.  I clipped this part of the image from a huge image posted online by the Albany Public Library.    The first image at that link (for now) shows a wagon maker.  They’ve made a couple of wagons for the Cataract Brewery.  What a terrible name for a beer maker (or maybe at one time cataract referred to something other than filmy eyes).  They may have been a part of this cool situation that was once in Rochester.  Just a guess.  Thanks to All Over Albany for steering me to the images.

Tortilla update.  Dean’s can’t get Stacy’s Tortillas.  One guy at the distributor says no problem, but the guy who has to do it says they can’t.  “No place to put the tortillas when they arrive from Albert’s in New Jersey.”  Huge distributor, so systems are a must.  No cubby hole for a new product means no new product.  It would just get lost.  What a shame.  If I was a salesman for Stacy’s, I’d probably have to do little more than take a guy out for a fancy lunch and then it would happen.  A cubby hole would be set up.  But I am not a salesman and I’ve nearly run out of energy for this project.  At least I know that Honest Weight wasn’t dropping the ball (but why didn’t they ever communicate this to me?).  Anyway, I’ve asked My Market in New Paltz to order a case for me.  They said they would and will call when it comes in.  Driving three hours round trip for tortillas is absurd.  Inexcusable.  I’ll stop at Lagusta’s place for chocolates while I’m there.  Let me know if you want me to pick anything up for you.  All this to assuage my guilt.  I hope I don’t decide to do this again.

Now to the therapeutic writing.  Please… be free!  [A dear friend used to give this command to his dog "Homes Lake" Mitzy to show how well "HL" could follow commands--that one anyway.]

Sunny day.  Just finished returning a library book.  The Perfect Gentleman (I recommend it to you).  I was pedaling west on Western (an important four lane East West route in my town).  One stretch is too narrow for side by side sharing (two short blocks between Allen and Manning) so I take one of the four lanes for myself.  This leaves a second lane for faster users headed my way.  Pretty good set up if everyone plays nice.  Not everyone does, so it would be a swell spot for a couple of “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs.

At a red light I heard behind me a person in a car with studded snows revving his engine.  He yelled out his window that I needed to get out of the way.  I said it was narrow here and that he could use the other lane.  He didn’t.  Next light he again says I should get out of the way.  I said it is narrow for one more block and that he should use the other lane.  He suggested I use the sidewalk.  I said I don’t want to ride on the sidewalk.  I didn’t say it, but I believe that riding on the sidewalk is more dangerous.  He said I was a bitch.  Maybe so, but his impression of an ignorant bully brought it out.  Glad I was able to keep a calm demeanor throughout.

Getting back on the road means I need to remember to not communicate with angry motorists.  Hard for me to remember, but I was doing pretty well last year. I can do it again.  Things will calm down some when the students leave for the summer.  Speeds creep up when traffic thins (itself a danger), but I seem to get hollered at less.

Balance?  I enjoyed a nice ride to the bank yesterday.  Not a single scare or interaction.  If only…

Be well!

I’m a Fool

For April!  Only one day into it, but the season dial seems to have been clicked over to Spring (and not a minute too soon).  I pedaled to the co-op (PEDALED!) and added to my cart Parmela Creamery’s Creamy Treenut Cheese.  p

I was hoping to hate it so that I could continue to buy and love only localish Treeline nut cheeses, but the Parmela offering is really wonderful.  poc

Very creamy (the addition of coconut oil and locust bean gum surely help) and the flavor is, well, closer to real cheese.  Which real cheese?  I can’t say.  Last time I was buying animal excretion cheeses years started with 19s and I was in Nebraska so my cheese vocabulary is at best underdeveloped.  I can say the Treeline is tart, while the Parmela is more delicate and a bit more complex.  In the end, I can’t complain about the outcome.  I’ll buy both.  I can’t believe I can now choose from three nut cheeses.  If only the co-op would get the aged Treeline offerings.  They look incredible.

More fake cheese?  The co-op is again stocking the Daiya plain cream cheese.  d

You may recall I tried it the first time it showed up and that I found the plain to be dry and crumbly.  So much so that I returned it.  Tried it a second time and again returned it.  Seems like the co-op pulled all the plain from the shelves and it stayed gone for months.  It is back.  It is wonderfully creamy, but…doc

…seems like they changed the recipe.  Now it is sweet.  Really sweet.  Not sour at all.   If I closed my eyes I would think I was eating the strawberry. Weird.  Genuinely surprised Daiya is missing the mark here.  They are so strong in all other areas.

Bread and Honey is now offering vegan cream cheese–Go Veggie!  I haven’t been to Bread and Honey to try it, but my in-laws had some in the fridge for us when we recently visited.  Very sweet of them, and I ate a bagel filled with the stuff (enjoyed it), but it in no way passes the spoon test.  Taste it alone and it is terrible.  Hopefully Bread and Honey mixes in their own wonderful ingredients and the result is terrific.  I’ll give it a go and report my findings.

I am still a strong supporter of the Tofutti version.  Of all the not cream cheeses I’ve tried, the Tofutti tastes the best.  I know the original has trans fats, but I only eat the stuff once a month so I don’t worry about it.  I haven’t recently had the non-hydroginated version (I don’t find it around here), but reports are generally not favorable.  Oh well.  Maybe I should just suck up the expense and spread Treeline or Parmela on my next bagel.  tb

Isa Does It (again), this time with tempeh meat balls for spaghetti.  The recipe seemed decidedly hippy, but the results were swell.  tbo

I added fennel and chopped parsley but otherwise stuck to Isa’s recipe.  Next time I’ll add crushed red pepper too.  Already looking forward to it.

Frida enjoyed her trip to the in-laws, but you can see she left a little exhausted.  fit

Seems that her typical routine (a long walk in the morning and then sleeping all day in a quiet house) is more important than ever.  I’ll do what I can to keep that up.

Hope you are well!