J and I aren’t going to visit my parents like we’d normally do ’cause of the ‘rona 🙁 Organizing the Thanksgiving meal will be a new activity and, with no established traditions for the two of us, we designed a menu tonight!
Sweet potato puffs(Fucshia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty, pg 119)
- Blended pumpkin and leek soup with fried (homegrown!) radish greens and walnuts
- Soy sauce-coke chicken
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Sichuan matchstick potatoes (Fucshia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty, pg 297)
- Brussels sprouts salad with hazelnuts and bacon
- Blintzes (cheese and blueberry)
Apricot-ricotta tart (modified to use dried apricots)
- Pumpkin pie (easy dessert if the other food becomes too complicated)
This is the menu for two, but we still somehow came up with ten dishes. Not sure we’re going to be able to do all this cooking in a single day…
I will link more recipes as I write them up. Hope y’all’s Thanksgiving plans are coming along, too!
J and I moved to New York earlier this year (not a great time, I know). I was here alone for a few months, so I had the opportunity to expand my home furnishings collection! I think J and I might have different aesthetic tastes 🙂
This bookcase (13″ Gunn sectional bookcase) was made by Gunn Furniture Co. in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The manufacturing information includes two patent dates, Dec 5, 1899 and Jan 1, 1901.
This is the 1901 patent, for “knockdown” furniture. I couldn’t find the 1899 patent (My mom later identified it as this patent. When issued, it was not shown as assigned to any company and the Gunn company may have licensed rights or bought the patent later). It would seem that this bookcase was made between 1901 and 1905, when the furniture company was granted an updated bookcase patent.
The bookcase was in quite bad shape when I got it. Besides re-gluing the plywood and cleaning off lots of spider webs, my dad doweled and glued a split side panel. I disguised some dings in the finish by staining the wood, and tried to fill in chipped areas in the varnish by redissolving it with a solvent and painting it back on, but that didn’t work so well.
I made bread this week from a recipe recommended by (not-college) friend S, whom we met on a Japanese hike in the Bay Area! I share a lot of interests with non-college friend S, like homemade and fermented food, gardening, and sustainability!
This bread has a good neutral flavor – it’s not the most amazingly yeasty, savory bread ever, but it’s good for all your normal bread needs.
- 3 cups (390 g) flour
- 2 tsp (7 g, 1 packet) yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp (9 g) salt
- 1 1/2 cups (338 g) water
- Mix dry ingredients. Add water. The dough will be quite wet. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.
- On a lightly floured work surface, gently stretch and fold the dough several times until firmed up into a loaf, being careful not to deflate completely. Cover and let proof for 15 min.
- Bake for 45 min at 450°F.
My dad visited J and me this past fall in California. Unfortunately, he bowed out of staying with us, and didn’t get to experience that studio life!! But we did a number of other fun activities.
We went to Santa Cruz and saw some old mission buildings. The actual mission was partially destroyed in a mid-1800s earthquake and replaced by another church. A replica was built in 1931. The only original building was used as housing for Native Americans.
As so often happens, J and I had nothing in the fridge to eat. No greens, no leftovers, no beans soaked and ready for boiling. Fortunately, we were able to scrape together some lingering and more robust ingredients to cook.
Aaaaand we got our produce delivery today, so we’re back to having fruit and leafy greens!
Here are some old projects I found. I think I made them in middle school – I was really into beading and jewelry then.
Both of my siblings are strangely attached to crayons. Although they allowed many of our crayons to be given away, the compromise was that we had to keep the 96-color set. As sibling C said, “Who knows when the world will end and we realize we need crayons”.
Sibling C and I went to a cool estate sale in Austin a few weeks ago! It was particularly well-organized, and much of the normal junk that clutters estate sales (old food, low-quality mismatched silverware, low-quality pans, etc) had either been hidden or sold.
I was excited to find a small collection of old shaving accoutrements. I have a straight razor (that I need to get sharpened), but I’ve also been interested in trying out safety razors, with the particular goal of being able to recommend them to friends in good faith.
I bought 2 of the razors from the sale for $3.75 each, which seemed like a good price 👍
I got a free baguette from somewhere a few months ago. It’s been sitting in my freezer since then, desiccating, apparently. I got it out to make banh mi yesterday and discovered that it was rock hard. I would’ve given up on the whole idea except that I’d already bought all the other ingredients.
To attempt to rehydrate the bread, I… steamed it. It mostly worked. Soggy on the outside and still pretty hard on the inside = delicious, right? Fortunately, panfrying got rid of the sogginess.
Bread down, onto the hacked-together filling! The main components of banh mi are some protein (I used fried tofu and scrambled egg), cilantro, mayo, fish sauce, and marinated veggies. I had trouble with the fish sauce (don’t have it) and the marinated vegetables (don’t have vinegar), so I made some wild substitutions like usual.
Julienned carrots and radish are supposed to be marinated in a combination of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. I didn’t want to buy a whole container of vinegar (and it’s not available in bulk) just as I’m about to move out, so my plan was to use lemon or lime juice in place of vinegar. Lime would be especially fitting – it’s commonly used as a topping. But… the grocery store didn’t have either 🙁 The closest alternative I could find was grapefruit. I still don’t know if that was a good choice.
I added bonito flakes to the marinade to substitute for fish sauce.
The sandwich was actually pretty good, considering. The vegetables only have the faintest hint of grapefruit-bitterness flavor… 😀
A while ago, I need to use up a pound or so of sour cream (left over from some event) and some over-cooked sweet potato. I steamed it into sweet potato mush 🙁 I had the bright idea of making pancakes (really good, super tender and fluffy) and biscuits (not so great, but edible).
The original biscuit recipe, which is much better than my modification, is from Joy of Cooking:
20 2-inch biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (might need more salt)
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- Mix dry ingredients. Add the cream all at once. Mix until the dry ingredients are moistened.
- Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently 5-10 times, adhering any loose pieces in the process, until the work area is clean.
- Roll or pat the dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Cut into desired size (2-inch squares is standard). Reroll and cut any scraps.
- Bake in center rack at 450°F for 10-12 minutes until biscuits are golden on top. Set biscuits close together on baking sheet for joined biscuits with soft sides.
- (To cook on a griddle, roll dough out to 1/4-3/8-inch thick. Cook in griddle until brown on one side, 3-4 minutes, then turn and cook until brown on the other side.)