Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Candles coast to coast

I didn't even mean to travel on my birthday and make everyone celebrate with me, but it was kind of awesome. Here's a quick tour.

Newton, MA. I shared a cake with Becca, my cousin's girlfriend who has my name and also a bday the day before mine. Dinner was preceded by schoolwork and a gorgeous bike ride by the Charles, and followed by a  slideshow of Joey and Becca's epic travels (Israel ---> Nepal and pretty much everywhere in between.) The next day started out with a proper birthday brunch for Becca in a Cambridge park and ended with newlyweds Andrea and James! (And Foster the cat, lasagna, and ceramics Made By Us! It was kind of amazing. I adore having friends who don't hate me for disappearing for two years, where we can pick up right where we left off.)

Oak Park, IL. Post Indian feast with my mom, Dennis (photographer) and the Bridges. We had massive camera/phone failure and could only come up with this awesomely florescent semi-candid. I kind of love it. Not pictured: my dad + more amazing food + Manu Chao. Oh yes. Chicago is good to me.

Oakland, CA. Back home! Where a lovely card was waiting for me from Nancy. Which was immediately appropriated by Joe. As a tunnel for his trains. You know, as one does with birthday cards. (I did try to take it back, but he made sad faces and waxed poetically about the "yellow flowers" on the card. Our household is pretty much in thrall to adorable train fixations and multi-word phrases these days.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm looking at you, Brown Cow

So, there's lots of birthday madness to post about, but tonight I just have time to share this with you. At lunch today I was innocently finishing off my tub of lemon yogurt when I read on the back the most amazing recipe. I won't include the title or list of ingredients so as not to ruin the narrative flow of terror.

Combine the shrimp, mushrooms, and grapes in a large mixing bowl. [I know, right now you're hoping I'll just stop there. I'm not sure I can think of three ingredients less likely to mingle pleasingly in a large mixing bowl. But it just keeps going.] In another bowl, stir together yogurt [lemon yogurt, you recall], rosemary, and parsley. Gently fold the yogurt mixture into the shrimp combination. Place one lettuce leaf and an avocado half on each serving plate. Fill the avocado halves with the shrimp and yogurt mixture. Top with ground pepper and serve.

A quick google reveals that shrimp stuffed avocado (made with lime and cilantro, and NO YOGURT, LEMON OR OTHERWISE) is a perfectly cromulent Colombian appetizer. This version, however, reminds me of that Sweet Valley Twins book wherein Jessica enters a pineapple-recipe contest to win a trip to Hawaii, but she can't bother to actually cook anything so she makes up a pineapple upside-down cake with, like, tuna and hot sauce or something. Then when she actually wins the trip she feels guilty the whole time.

AND it reminds me of another book I just read about cooking at the turn of the century, a period in which ambitious women who still couldn't get out of the kitchen did terrible things to food in the name of science and modern civilization. Monochromatic meals were the height of fashion and any food item could become a salad by the addition of mayonnaise or, even better, gelatin.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the author of this recipe can only be a repressed Victorian female scientist trapped in the body of a lazy middle school student thanks to the cursed ring the Unicorn club found on the beach in Hawaii, no seriously, that's the plot. And I hope they're losing sleep over it. Now, someone please make this recipe and prove me wrong.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Happy birthday Rebecca!!!

Today, in honor of the 29th anniversary of the date of birth of the woman without whom this blog would have an entirely different name, I bring you this photo from the archives. Scene: the year is 2003. Rebecca has just turned 21 and is being feted by a bunch of people we either actually liked or felt obliged to invite. I know she looks kind of bored in this particular party shot, but trust me, there's no greater certainty in life than the fact that if Rebecca looks apathetic, she's actually having a really good time on the inside. Also, this picture prominently features both her awesome hair and proof of the occasion, in the form of the birthday-themed whiteboard decorated for us by Lauren and Ruth.

So happy birthday to our favorite Rebecca... may we celebrate a million more birthdays with you over the years!!!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

grapes of the summer are low on the bough

Happy September! In honor of my most hated time of year in all of Austin, I will proceed to say NOTHING about the weather in this post. Swear to god.

So anyways. While the most obvious consequences of selling our car may still be the watermelon-shaped holes in our life, there have been other significant changes as well - like the fact that now when I get offered something like, oh, say, a ride to Ikea, I say "YES" and am in their car buckling my seatbelt before the offerer has actually even finished phrasing the question. It does make me a much more decisive shopper, though, when I know I have just one shot at bringing home the perfect piece of furniture. Like this one!

The Before shot follows for your home decor voyeurism pleasure (as we all know, the only way I can ever motivate myself to do anything - including but not limited to washing dishes, cutting my hair, and/or assembling Ikea furniture - is with the promise of Before and After photos). R&I continue to make dubious headway toward Actual Grownuphood by finally getting rid of the gross computer desk that our landlord gave to us when we first moved to Texas with only the clothes on our backs. It's done its time in several rooms over the years... pretty much everything we own has been shoved into this desk at one time or another. Most recently it's been loitering in the kitchen pretending to be a pantry, but we knew the dirty truth. So long and good riddance!

And finally, as Rebecca mentioned, we recently held a brief blog reunion in Reno - we were out there for my cousin's wedding, and Rebecca braved a 10-hour round-trip Greyhound ride to spend less than 24 hours with us because we made her. Well, she mostly volunteered, but we would have made her even if she hadn't. It was everything a weekend should be - excessive food, gold rush tourist towns, casinos, a brief cameo at Reno Pride (we totally walked past the park where it was happening! I made everyone sit around and wait for me while I paid my $5 admission and walked through, because I've basically never met anything gay that I could resist. You heard me.), pretty parks, and drunken family time. Awesome. Here are the Texas ambassadors with my dad, all gussied up. I believe this was shortly after the ceremony and shortly before the bride & groom rode in on an Xtracycle...