Big Snow!

It’s been snowing pretty steadily since yesterday afternoon.
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I’ve been eating and checking on my nekos on Neko Atsume. We went out for a “quick” run to Whole Foods which had lines snaking around the store. I didn’t end up getting very much. A sack of navel oranges, kale, and dried beans. I didn’t really need anything, just curious about the stories I’ve been hearing about the zoo that this the grocery store right before big snow! It was busy but not as busy as some normal Sunday’s at Trader Joe’s and it was still pretty orderly.

Happy June!

Summer isn’t quite here yet but it’s getting close. In fact, it was so hot outside yesterday I nearly passed out playing tennis. It didn’t help that I was playing at 1PM, which is close to peak sun. I couldn’t drink enough water to keep me cool and hydrated, the sun was baking so hot. I had to cut the playing short to cool down.

Tennis

It was Winter WINTER spring winter Spring… and boom – it’s Summer. Like 80 degrees Summer. Since it’s still only early May, we just keep our windows open. It’s about 80 some degrees in our house which is quite warm but tolerable. And in the evenings when a cool breeze comes by, it’s perfect.

Lately we’ve been spending a good amount of time trying to learn tennis. We have lessons and also go to the park to play a little. I’m horrible at it and mostly just run around chasing after the balls. Now I sort of understand why dogs love chasing after tennis balls. It’s kinda’ fun.

Happy Vernal Equinox!

It’s Spring!  Toss the coats and hats! The longer days are exactly what the garden needs. Which brings me to my annual balcony garden update. Like that segue? I have gardens and plants on the brain. Anything I talk about will lead to that topic. Anyway, as crappy as the balcony is with generally insufficient sunlight, I just can’t not put something in my piles of dirt. They call out to me every Spring.

Up until this crazy sub-freezing winter, the oregano had survived winters. The mint, kicked it again too. The chives survived, surprisingly. They’re growing very well. I got some Thai Basil from the market which I hope to root and grow from the stems. I know they like sun, but eh, worth a try. They’ll do well until the Summer Solstice at least. I’m not sure if I’ll grow oregano again this year.

One new plant I’m trying to grow is the nasturtium. They have edible flowers. I’m starting it indoors.
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This is a paper bag with dirt and 2 halves of toilet paper rolls with dirt. There are nasturtium seeds in there but I’m not sure if they’ll germinate because they’re a few years old.

This was the weather today by the way.
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It snowed for a good part of the morning. And it’s freezing cold at night. Brrr… March came in like a lion. Did a little lamb. Then went full on lion again.

Dumplings with handmade wrappers

It’s snowing pretty steadily outside and accumulating too.  I steamed some dumplings to warm up the house.

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Filling:

  • Napa Cabbage
  • Chives
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
  • Tofu – frozen then defrosted (to make it spongy)
  • White pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Mirin
  • Cooking wine
  • Sesame oil
  • Grated:
    • Garlic – 3 cloves
    • Lotus root – 1/2 cup
    • Ginger root – 3 tablespoonsite pepper

    Chop everything up finely and stir it up.

    For the wrapper,
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  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat flour
  • Water

I tried rolling it out and cutting out circles versus dividing them into balls and rolling them out one at a time. I found it easier to roll out smaller circles one at a time. It’s just easier to handle small pieces of dough.

Then, get to wrapping!
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When I had a good number of them, I started steaming batch 1 while I made a second batch.
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I used napa leaves to line the bottom of the steamer. Then arranged the dumplings inside. Once the water boiled, I put the steamer on the pot.
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20 minutes and then gobble gobble.

Fer-reeakin’ cold!

It has been sub-freezing these past few days with howling winds and some snow.  Hearing the howling wind makes me want to wear many layers of tops and bottoms and eat and hibernate.  The groundhog was totally right this year.  We’re going to have winter weather for a while longer.

You’d never know it was winter by the looks of the cymbidiums which have started blooming. They peak when Spring arrives.

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I love the colors of this flower.

Summer Bean Salad

It’s Summer! If you ask me, it’s been summer for the past month. Especially the past week. Whew. Eh, let’s be honest here. I’m holed up in air conditioning. Haven’t broken a sweat all week, except in an air conditioned gym.

Anyway, here’s a dish that keeps me cool from my walk between the air conditioned car into an air conditioned building.

  • Red onion (and/or shallots)
  • Lemon juice
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Cherry or Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Cucumbers (diced, then soaked in salt for about 30 minutes, then rinsed and drained) and/or avocados
  • Fresh herbs: Any blend of parsley, basil, oregano
  • Cooked beans (pinto, or canary or any other large soft bean)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil

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Dice red onion and/or shallots. Squeeze lemon juice over it and add balsamic vinegar so it covers the onions. I feel like pickling the alliums helps take the bite off a little. Add the halved tomatoes.

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Chop the herbs and into the bowl of oniony vinegar they go. Parsley combats onion breath! Add the diced cucumber. I find “cooking the cucumber” with salt helps keep them crunchy and makes the salad less soggy. I didn’t have any ripe avocados on hand, otherwise, they’re great in this dish too.

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Add the cooked beans, cracked pepper, and lots and lots of olive oil.

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Admit to yourself that your mixing bowl is too small and swap to a bigger one.

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I served it with some olives because yum.