Wednesday, January 27, 2010

honesty not sure if it's the best policy


Melanie - a member of the Dead Bunny Club wrote 10 honest things about herself and then listed me as one of the people to do the same.  It's kind of like a blog chain letter.  So here goes.

1. I am shy - really.  Very very shy.  So why do I write a blog?  Who knows.

2. I've always been tall.  When I was a girl scout there was not a uniform in all of Southern California that would fit me.  I had to make do with some green cords and a yellow blouse with green flowers I'd borrowed from my Mom.  I have to admit though -girl scout uniforms in the 70's were HOR-RI-BLE!  Pea soup polyester!  Yeesh I still shudder at the very thought of them

3. I hate being late so I usually arrive way too early and sit in my car reading a book on the Kindle app on my iPhone.  Even if I know how long it will take me I still leave so I have a 10 minute cushion

4. I've eaten Haggis

5. I use to not always cook.  I liked weird foods, but cooking didn't happen until my mid-30's

6.  I'm a sixth generation Texan but don't sound it.  Moving a lot tends to do that

7.  I love football

8. I use to love baseball back when I use to play softball.

9. I tend to like dogs better then people

10.  I don't have 7 people to send this out to.

Gah all done.  OY!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why do we write?

I've been agonizing over my submission to the PNWA literary contest.  Is the synopsis alright, what about the submission piece?  What'll I do when I get the critiques back - knowing me I'll probably curl up into the fetal position and stare at the envelope alternating between whimpering and babbling nonsensical things.  Although anyone (all 10 of you) who read this blog know I'm apt to do that without the presence of a critique letter in my midst.

So it got me to thinking, why do we do this?  Why do we write, books, short stories, blogs, tweets?  Not everyone does.  There are people perfectly happy NOT writing.  There are people that are walking around at this very minute that do not share their waking time with fictional characters..ok maybe there are a few but they have medication for that.

Why do we feel this need, this compulsion, this obsession to write?  Why do we feel the need to tell the world a story - especially those of us with day jobs.  In olden days  writers had patrons - if you were lucky enough to bag one you were, more often then not, set for life.  That is unless you some how lost favor with said patron and then you'd be back with the rest of the rabble.

But even then...even back to hell..prehistoric times... why did some people feel the need to tell stories and why do we today?

I've always been puzzled by obsession to write... and, frankly, I've been plagued by it since I can remember.  I have a distinct memory of being in 4th grade and saying I wanted to be a writer.  And like most I became something totally NOT what I said I'd be.  Although I suppose writing computer programs CAN be a form of writing.

IF (i == Friends || i == Romans || i ==Countrymen)
printf("lend me your ears /n");
x+ = bury;
Um yeah.  * disclaimer  programmer folks, it's been YEARS since I programmed in C so yeah my syntax might be wrong *disclaimer

But the need to tell a story, and the living with characters that, at times, seem real.  Why?

Why do we write?  I wish I could say.  But I my protagonist is pounding in my head to get to this next chapter so I'd better do what she says.  I don't want to make her angry - you wouldn't like her when she's angry.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Great Herring Experiment

Jenku70 my twitter friend told me about herring with caviar.  OOOOOOO I had to try!  So I did!  Of course I had to make my own since we don't tend to sell herring a lot in this states, but lucky for me Whole Foods had just want I needed.

And so began the great herring experiment

First - the herring

Then the Caviar -

Then mix together

And serve on rye crisps

Conclusion?  OUTSTANDING for a thrown together attempt.  Now time to eat!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Breakfast...why always eggs?

Everyone knows I'm a tad odd, in more ways then one.  I'll eat chicken butts and like it, I go gaga over things that most people think of as garbage - chicken gizzards anyone?  And I don't like a typical breakfast.  I don't.  Honestly, I never have.  For example, my most favorite "breakfast" dish is a sausage and rice casserole that my Mom makes on my birthday.  It's based on a recipe in a cookbook my Great Aunt Tarncey's ladies auxillary put out.  The original recipe called for beef and chicken and stars soup and rice and I can't remember what all.  And I can't remember when Mom modified that recipe into the thing of beauty it is today.  But I know I always want it on my birthday.

Another one of my favorite breakfasts - a nice oozy brie cheese with crackers.  My favorite is a small brie from Willamette Valley creamery.  It's a nice size round bit of cheesy goodness, that by the time I commute and get going at the office is warm enough to ooze out when I cut into it.  Oh bliss.

Beans on Toast - OMG - need I say more.  Beans - Heinz beans (the UK version only - snob...maybe) and buttered toast.  Goodly goodness.

Bacon sandwich - ok ANYTHING with bacon is good but a bacon sandwich is fantastic.  Of course the bacon canNOT be crisp - chewy bacon a must.  Which, for me, is OK.  I've never been a lover of crisp bacon. I get this from my grandfather - a chewy fatty bacon lover from long back.

Cold pizza - many a college student's breakfast.  Mine still.

When I don't have anything then I will be somewhat traditional with a breakfast burrito - hey it's got eggs and bacon or sausage and hash browns.  Best one I EVER had was at the grill at Richland College in Dallas.

So yeah, I'm odd to some.  But hey, I'm still eating the most important meal of the day!  Just maybe a tad differently then most.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Feeling the Nostrana love

If you have a chance check out mynorthwestexperience blog on Nostrana.  He's got pictures and everything!  I shall not have pictures, but  they are there in my head, but honestly you do not want to go crawling around in my head it's a very scary place in there.  Very scary.  But I digress - what else is new.

Nostrana.  We went for a team lunch today - it was January Birthday lunch day.  About 8 of us made our way in the rain and disgusting weather that seems to hit the greater Portland area around this time.  First off I have to say I was surprised to fine Nostrana in a strip mall.  A very nice strip mall with a good amount of parking.  Believe me in Portland that is a plus.

The place was pretty empty when we got there..ok very empty.  We were the only group there for a while. But as soon as you walk in the door you know you're in for a treat. First there's the soft scent of wood smoke, not over powering, just enough to let you know that there is a wood oven in the area.  You don't have to look too far to find it.  Mynorthwestexperience has a nice picture of it on his blog.  A beautiful fire was blazing away in the brick oven which helped to banish away the winter chill.  We looked at the menu  - since this was lunch it's main thrust was pizza, but there was a ravioli with cod, a pork burger (panini) and fettucini with gorgonzola sauce.  I'd been pondering what to get but I finally decided on the Fughi pizza which had  shitake mushrooms, bacon, fontina and parmigano.

But before that came out we had the bread and the olive oil.  Now I love good bread and olive oil although usually the olive oil is well -eh.  Not much flavor.  Lots of times places will give you some balsamic vinegar to spice up the oil.  This oil need no help it was beautiful and flavorful and the bread was so light it was perfect.  I probably ate more then I should have but I couldn't get enough.

Then I had my pizza.  OMG!  First it's not sliced, you do it yourself with scissors which I loved, actually, I could cut as large or small of a slice as I wanted.  And the flavors, strong mushroom but not over powering, it melded well the cubes of bacon and the cheeses. The crust was out of this world, thin, very thin and flavorful.  I have to say, I ate the entire pizza by myself.  I couldn't let it go.

Since I had had my pizza...all of it...dessert was out of the question, but coffee sounded good.  Once again Nostrana did not disappoint.  Others got dessert so I was able to see and it sounds like you don't have to worry about lack luster desserts there either.  Of course they have tiramasu, but this one is made with grappa and gelato which is homemade.

So bottom line?  GO!!!  The pizza's run around 12 dollars but two people can probably eat off of one especially with a side salad.  Their dinner menu is much more complete and I'll have to make a run there some time.  But it will NOT disappoint!

Oh yeah, I am felling the Nostrana love!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Herring Herring we gots our Herring right here!

My twitter bud @jenuku70 and I were  We's Swedish and during a twitter-conversation we got onto the subject of herring.  I like herring, actually I don't think there's a food I've ever NOT liked which accounts for my somewhat zaftig build.  I also blame my German Haus Frau ancestors...I'm sure I had one!

But onto the herring.  In the US as most folks know herring is ...well...not really that well received.  I'm not sure why, ok maybe it's because they look like bait fish, maybe.


 But, as I've said, I've always liked herring.  I like it in cream sauce and wine sauce.  A friend of mine at work made picked herring and brought it into the office - I was over the moon!

So jenku and I were chatting and he tells me that in Sweden there are all sorts of flavors of herring, mustard, curry and one he called Archipelago.  Ok this sounds interesting...what is it exactly?

Herring in cream sauce with caviar!  Already my taste buds are doing the happy dance.  He checked with a friend in Portland there might be a deli that might carry it.  Sadly the Ikea only carries ligonberry tortes and swedish meatballs.

 Now I'm thinking I CAN try to mimic this easily by getting a jar of herring in cream sauce and adding some lumpfish caviar to it.  But Jenku was sweet enough to actual find a recipe on google and translate it to English.  He left the metric amounts, I can't blame him. His poor wife had a fit trying to figure out the amounts in the beet stew I had posted.

So - without further adieu - courtesy of Jenku70 on twitter ( I left his notes they're very funny!) -

Archipelago Herring à la Feldt
10-12 pc Feldt, salt herring fillets, Art No. 8111/8142

Sillage (that's not a word = pickelage...haha...)

2 dl vinegar
4 dl sugar
6 dl water
10 pieces crushed pimento grains
1-2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 Each of the red onion slices

Dilute herring with plenty of water for 12 hours.
Boil together spices, sugar and water.Allow to cool for a while and add vinegar.
Alternating herring and onions turn on the cold, the law (haha again, they want you to add the "pickelage" and put it in the fridge) and leave 2-3 days.

Make the sauce.Season with s & p.


1 dl lumpfish roe caviar, red alt Cavi-Art red, art No 8232/8260 (use whatever caviar you can find!!)
5 dl mayonnaise
5 dl creme fraiche
2 pcs red onion, finely chopped (about 250g)
1 dl chopped dill & 1 dl chives, cut.
S & P

Let herring run off (don't! just take it out of the "pickelage" and put in in the sauce!), cut it into pieces and mix it into the sauce.
Let ripen in fridge one day.  

I think I'm first going to try the quick and dirty way - cream sauce herring with a jar of caviar.  Then I'll hunt down a fishmonger that has some herring and will try it the Swedish way!

Stay tuned!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Commuter Peeves

I commute.  I usually get into the office by 5:30 AM because if I don't a 20 minute commute turns into a 45 minute to an hour commute in and worse going home.  I usually eat at my desk so I don't take an official lunch so I can leave 8 hours after I arrive.  This is in part to sneak in under the HOV lane activation time - which happens at 3.  I've been commuting nearly all my working life - there was a time I lived in downtown Portland in an apartment within walking distance of the office.  My commute was 10 minutes through a nice park.  But I digress, or regress.  Anyway on to my peeves.

1.  Left Lane Laggards:  You know who you are!  You get over in the left lane and then go slower then most people in the right lane!  Ok ok fine you don't like having people merging in, I understand, and you don't like being in the middle lane..ok.  But BUT..when you have a line of cars behind you, and people are whipping around you and cutting back in a scant centimeter in front of your plate .. wouldn't you THINK maybe about moving over, letting people pass, and then moving back over?  I mean it's not like you won't be able to get back over, all the cars will have passed you within seconds!

2.  Cell Crawlers: Not quite like the Laggards but close.   People, people people.  First of all, it's against the law in both Oregon and Washington to talk on a cell phone while driving unless it's hands free.  And, take my advice, if you have to sloooow down to a crawl so that you can talk then maybe you shouldn't have a phone at all?  Why does slowing down make it easier for you to talk?  That's kind of like turning down the radio when you're lost?  If you can't drive and talk then take the bus!  They'll drive for you!  And actually hey Laggards that goes for you too!

3. Truck Trauma:  I get it. Trucks are big, they have a lot of wheels and in Oregon they can be LONG loads (a semi pulling a trailer followed by a trailer followed by a trailer - how many wheels is that?)  Anyway, yes I understand they can be scary, but here's the deal you're prolonging the fear factor by staying side by side with said monster truck!  MOVE!  Get around them and then get over happy in the fact you've bested the monster.

4. Butt Bashers:  You guys are almost as bad as the laggards.  Yes I know you want to get where you want to get as fast as possible.  Yes I understand that, no really I do.  I'm with you on that one, just maybe not in such the rush that you are.  But let's think about this for just a second.  I have a car in front of me, I have a car beside me, I CANNOT GO ANYWHERE so why do you feel the need to nearly bash my butt?  Can you not see that I have no place to go?  

5. You're not Exiting a head of me: Sorry I couldn't think of any good alliteration for this commuter.  Let's talk for a moment shall we?  I'm not making rude comments about you, I'm not trying to defame your name, I'm not doing anything but trying to 1) get in the lane 2) merge with traffic 3) merge off the f-ing freeway.  I have given you my signal so you know this to be the case, so why do you suddenly decide that NONE SHALL PASS and you gun the engine and fly up just so I cannot do what I'm suppose to do?  This goes for you too you Yes, I know you're having to exit in the same lane I use to get on the freeway but I won't let you get a head of me - people.

Oh there are so many others, signal senile (the clicking sound is your TURN SIGNAL not the back beat to the song you're listening too), Telepathic Traveler (you know you should know I want over without me having to give a signal), and of course Last Minute Larry (No, you shouldn't have to cross 5 lanes of traffic in a single shot to get to your exit NOR should you wait until you GET to the closed lane to move over)

I could continue but I won't.  I know it's little use to rant like this because those people will never see this and if they do they'll look at it with a quizzical expression unsure what this all means - no doubt while going 20 in the left lane on the free way while talking to Uncle Mo who's front seat is in the back seat of the car in front of him while his signal blinker blinks.

Oh well.  At least I'm home, and don't have to worry about this....until tomorrow.