This week, I'm making pocket pies.
You can create pocket pies one of two ways: you can cut them out by hand and crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork OR you can purchase a handy device from Williams-Sonoma that does the work for you. Go on and guess which route I took.
You can also make your own pie crust OR buy the pre-made stuff.
Same with the filling: make it your self OR buy a can of the pre-made.
It's all about options here!
Of course, I used the pre-made stuff, but I think that the adorable-ness of the pies makes up for it.
After the jump is the recipe I used to make these cute pies. A full-on make-it-yourself-from-scratch recipe is here.
I'm a big fan of cyclist Christian Vande Velde mostly by chance.
I'll admit that I originally stood two hours in the rain last February to see Lance Armstrong. But Lance was all busy, you know, being Lance, while Vande Velde was totally chillin' next to me in his too-cute blue and orange argyle gear.
It was then I decided that it's cool to be a Lance fan in the way that it's cool to be a fan of the Yankees and golden retrievers and vacationing in Hawaii. Which is to say, for very good reason, nearly everyone is a fan.
And, when everyone is a Lance fan, it makes it more difficult to get Lance to come hang out with you. Like, I suspect I'll never go grab a beer with Lance. But there's at least some possibility, however remote, that I could meet up with Vande Velde for a Fat Tire or two at a pub downtown.
The point of all this, what I am really getting to here, is that our man Vande Velde came in 8th in the Tour de France and I figured that, as a true fan, I'd give a little shout out.
What do you say, VDV? Grab some beers?
Our friends Jenny and Gavin came to Davis for a weekend visit.
Here's what Jenny and I did:
We lounged in the hotel bar. We went shopping. We took ourselves out for ice cream. Twice. We danced in the living room to songs from the 90s. We bought big bottles of beer from the liquor store and drank them wrapped in paper bags. We baked pocket pies while wearing cute Anthropologie aprons.
And what did our husbands do?
Oh, well, they shopped for fresh vegetables at the farmers' market. We ate some kettle corn while they filled a whole stroller with about twenty pounds of produce.
They cooked a fancy dinner with their farmers' market selections. They made homemade beets and cajun pasta and salad and crusty bread. You will not believe me, but I swear it took them three full hours to make the meal. Even the carrots in the salad were fancy.
They mixed basil vodka gimlets for us.
They held babies and watched cartoons and changed diapers.
Best. Husbands. Ever.
I don't know how we got so lucky. Must be all our charm. Plus the aprons.
So, this might be the easiest recipe on earth as it contains only two ingredients, with one of the ingredients being water. But, it's so good. I'm on my third batch this week, already.
Yield: Two drinks
1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.
2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice, mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste. If desired, add milk.
By the way, this is totally considered "cooking" in my house.
What started as the $5 summer movie--because once a week the Davis theaters offer $5 admission--has recently turned into the $8.50 movie and the $6.50 movie as we have been visiting nearby independent theaters to catch the flicks on our to-see list.
Last night: Food, Inc.
There's so much to say about this movie--about our culture of fast and cheap foods, about the meat packing industry, about the modern food landscape--but all I'll say is this: I bought my groceries today at the farmer's market. I'm also going to change one of my Thirty Before Thirty tasks to "Be a locavore for one month." It was pretty powerful stuff.
One of my Thirty Before Thirty tasks was to build a fort in the living room.
I think I should clarify one potentially confusing thing about the Thirty Before Thirty list, and that is: the list is not comprised solely of things I have never done. Like, for example, I have already been to a foreign country (several, in fact) and I have already done some acts of pure service. I have already been to lectures outside of law school and I have already baked things for potlucks (if you count making fruit dip out of marshmallow fluff and cream cheese "baking"). I've even built a fort in the living room.
In other words, the list is comprised of 30 things I want to do before I am thirty, some of which are repeats of things I've done before. But, really? Can one travel to too many foreign countries? Can one do too many acts of pure service? Can one make too much marshmallow fruit dip?
Can one build too many forts in the living room?
I don't think so.
My sister and her friend came to visit for the weekend and we filled up the time with loads of fun, including a trip to the Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco.
I'm not sure why I look drunk in the Mag Booth photo. I can assure you that I was totally sober at 3 PM in the afternoon at the fair. Maybe I was DRUNK ON CRAFTS!
The full list of renegade artists is here, but Beware!: you, like me, will probably end up with a big wish list if you start clicking through all the websites. Don't say I didn't warn you!
Ten minutes before I had to leave this morning, I dutifully counted out $3 in change for the commuter bus, putting the exact amount in my Eloise coin purse. I finished getting ready.
One minute after I was supposed to have already left to catch the bus, I could not find the coin purse with my bus money anywhere.
WHERE IS MY ELOISE COIN PURSE?
WILL! HAVE YOU SEEN MY ELOISE COIN PURSE?!?
OMG! I AM GOING TO MISS THE BUS!
THE BUS! I CAN HEAR IT! I NEED $3!
I quickly grabbed the jar we keep coins in, poured a hefty amount into a baggie, and ran out the door.
I made it to the bus on time and, wouldn't you know it, it is a Spare the Air Day today, meaning that bus rides are FREE to encourage people to take public transportation.
I am now carrying $12.65 in nickels and dimes plus my Eloise coin purse, which I discovered, of course, in my purse.
Anybody need to feed a meter? Need money for a candy bar from the vending machine?
Near midnight on Saturday night, I decided it was time to use the packages of sparklers that had been sitting on my counter since the fourth of July. We had a house full of guests--seven of us, total--and I announced that it was time for a midnight art project. We wandered down to the tennis courts, which seemed the second safest place to light things on fire. The first safest, of course, being near the pool, but the pool was too well lit for sparkler art. I set up the camera on a tripod and set the shutter to slooooow.
We had a fantastic time creating designs on the tennis courts. We made hearts, moons, stars, bows, arrows, and spirals.
We were about to take turns writing our names when the police arrived, asking what was going on.
"We're making ART!" I announced brightly, bringing the camera over to the officers to show them the great pieces we had created so far. They friendly officers definitely appreciated the work, but they had to shut us down nevertheless: "fireworks" are not allowed in the City of Davis. I'll bet we were the biggest bust of the night.
Luckily, we got some great shots before the project got busted up.
This is some serious baking, people. It's like I'm living in a little house on the prairie.
The recipe that resulted from the two boxes of peaches and berries, Raspberry Peach Crisp, was incredibly simple, except for the peeling of the sticky, ripe peaches part. But, even that was sort of fun.
The five of us--Will's family is visiting--all agree that the dessert is fresh and delicious, summery and, according to Will's mom, Scrumdiddlyumptious. Ten thumbs up.
The recipe is after the jump.
Do you eat fish or seafood at all?
No. But, actually, I didn't eat fish or seafood prior to becoming a vegetarian either. I have mild ichthyophobia, fear of fish, so fish generally gross me out.
What do you do at summer b-b-ques where the main dish is usually meat?
A few weeks ago we surprised some of our friends by showing up at a backyard birthday party they were hosting. We didn't intend for it to be a surprise--in fact, we texted our RSVP and the host even texted back that he had beer chilling in the fridge for Will. But while we were totally serious, they thought we were only joking, that there was no way that we would drive a few hundred miles for an afternoon birthday bash. When we showed up at the door, they were all, like, WHAT? WE TOTALLY THOUGHT YOU WERE JOKING! And then they were like YAY! YOU'RE HERE! And then they were like, OH HOLY HELL. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO FEED YOU?
You see, they were barbequeing carne asada for the party, a big pile of meat which I didn't eat any of, obviously. But here is what I did eat: tortillas, salsa, guacamole, beans, salad, olives, cupcakes, and apple pie. Oh, and several margaritas. In other words: everything except the meat.
Do you eat a lot of soy products?
We drink a lot of soy milk, which we buy by the case at Costco. We also occasionally eat fake meat products, although I don't really feel the need to substitute real meat with fake meat. I'd rather just have no meat rather than pretend to have meat by buying things called "sausage" and "ribs" but actually not sausage and ribs at all.
Soy cheese is disgusting. Like, really gross.
Do you have any recommendations for finding a good nutritionist? How/Where did you find yours?
My health care, including my nutritionist, is provided by the University of California, so I really don't get much say. Luckily, my university-provided nutritionist is super. She spent a good chunk of time with me explaining all sorts of things and making menus and whatnot and I can email her anytime I want. I'd say call your usual health care provider and see if they have a nutritionist on staff and whether your insurance will cover a visit or two. You might be surprised about what your insurance will cover.
I'll be back to answer more questions soon.
It's the second annual Whip It Up Challenge and, for my first attempt at summer cooking, I put together the incredibly simple Confetti Potato Salad. I was looking for a mayonnaise-less potato salad that we could mix up and haul down to the big 4th of July spectacular in the park.
This recipe is basically vegetables coated in light ranch dressing, so it is neither complicated nor sophisticated. In fact, I would say that it is pretty much the exact opposite of complicated and sophisticated. It's quick and easy and pretty tasty as far as salads that only take 10 minutes to prepare go.
The recipe is after the jump.
I’ve avoided writing about this in any meeaningful way for a number of reasons, but mainly because people have a tendency to (1) insistently defend their own habits or (2) explain why I shouldn’t be a vegetarian, both of which are completely unnecessary.
The thing you have to know is: I am not judging anyone who chooses to eat certain foods. I could care less if you eat steaks or chicken nuggets or pork loin for dinner. You can eat Twinkies every night for dinner, if you want, and we can still totally be friends. Seriously. During high school my diet consisted of two things: Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles and Dr. Pepper. If you eat meat, cool. If you don't eat meat, cool.
Also: I have a nutritionist. No need to explain how being a vegetarian means that I am not getting enough calcium or protein or B-12 or whatever. I can assure I am getting all those things in ample supply.
Here's the lowdown:
+ I do not eat meat of any variety
+ I eat eggs only when they are baked, in small quantities, into something else (breads, pastas). We do not have eggs in our home (when a recipe calls for an egg, we actually use flax, which is still really strange even though we've been doing it for a year)
+ I almost never purchase dairy products for our home, but will pretty freely eat dairy when at a restaurant or a friend’s house (or an ice cream parlor) (if you invite me to your wine and cheese party, not only will I eat the cheese, I will appreciate that cheese like nobody else)
Here’s why we went vegetarian:
Last July, Will and I decided to give up meat for a week. Will, who has long had problems with his shoulder, an old baseball injury, read an article on ESPN about vegetarian athletes and their seeming ability to heal faster after injury. This spurred the week-long hiatus, a sort of experiment in vegetarianism.
During that time, Will brought home a book, The China Study, about the most comprehensive study on nutrition ever conducted. The findings?
People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease.The book is pretty persuasive and we decided not to go back to eating meat. That simple. And, soon enough, we cut out eggs and dairy products, to a large extent, too.
Look, I know that studies should be viewed critically and that there are about one billion studies about nutrition, all of which contradict one another in various ways (eat carbs! don't eat carbs! eat eggs! don't eat eggs!). However, the study was long-term and strikingly comprehensive, not to mention that the findings have been validated time and time again.
And, I believe in a plant-based diet for one really good reason: I feel so much better. It could be because I eat less animal-products; it could be because I largely replaced animal-products, by necessity, with more fruits, vegetables, and grains. Either way, it’s working for me.
Last July we agreed on a free day--one day a month that we were free to eat meat. I haven’t used any of my free days since last July at Michael Mina (a night which involved tuna tartare, caviar, and foie gras--if you do it, do it right) and, honestly, I don’t really feel any desire to eat meat. That doesn’t mean that I don’t completely reserve the right to eat a fat juicy BLT one of these days.
Leave comments if you have questions that need addressing and I’ll put together a follow-up post.
Just after Will clicked "confirm" on two flights into Mérida and two flights out of Cancún, I realized that my passport was no longer valid.
The good news is: you can get a passport in two to three weeks, door to door.
The bad news is: they are gonna make you pay for it.
After spending two hours and almost $200, I twittered:
Passport renewal fee: $75 / Expedited processing fee: $60 / New photos: $12 / Overnight shipping there: $17 / Overnight shipping back: $15.
Instamom immediately responded:
Leaving the country for a few days: Priceless.