Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Peace Talks: Update

I tried to go Christmas shopping and ran into a rally or protest, I'm not sure which. Some people are smiling, some people are yelling.

Middle East Peace Talks

This morning Zeb made lattes for the Israeli secret service. Together with US security there were about thirty guns in Starbucks and a reporter to cover each one. I awoke to the sound of Marine One landing across the street with the President on board. I walked out onto my porch and this is what I saw. These men look scary but are very nice and since we've chatted they let me pass up and down my street whenever I want. The rest of the neighbors get stopped and asked for ID when they try to leave or come home. I'm thinking of selling my living room window to a reporter for a few hours, it's a fine view. There are five security agents in this picture, can you find them all? Living here still amazes me.

Monday, November 26, 2007


This will be my first Christmas without my (blood) family. But my first with my new family. All alone here we want to create traditions for our new family. At home (the coast) we forewent turkey for ham, an exchange I heartily support since I never liked turkey. My new family and I decided, though we like ham, it's not our favorite, so our family Thanksgiving fowl will be duck. We both worked on Thanksgiving. It was hard to feel thankful not sorry for ourselves. Zeb got home mid afternoon and put the duck in the cranberry stoneware dutch oven (thank you Cindy Swanson) in the oven. He was excited - it was a DUCK KIT. He's a sucker for anything with 'KIT' in the title. It came pre-wrapped with a heat-n-serve l'orange sauce and a pop up timer and cooking instructions. The instructions said remove the neck and giblets before cooking. He wasn't quite sure what all that was or how to remove them. He opened the kit and the neck and giblets were neatly packaged in a plastic bag inside the duck's skeletal cavity. He followed the instructions and removed (tossed) them. This is why he loves kits. The only worry was that our fifty year old oven wouldn't heat up in time, but by the time I got home from work at 8 pm I could smell in the air that the kit was a success. Duck is the meat of the gods (until Christmas when we have steak). I brought home an Oregon Pinot Noir, I could tell I was homesick. But Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful. We laughed and talked and cuddled and marveled over where we are. It was as meaningful as a new tradition could get. And I reflected on what I was thankful for last year - it was him bein' around. And this year, now that I actually have him and get to keep him - how much more thankful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chocolate is a many-splendored thing

Zebulin would eat burritos all day every day if he could. Or chips and salsa. Or really just anything Mexican. Me...not so much. Before yesterday Mexican would have been my last pick. Along came El Toro Bravo and Chicken Enchiladas with Chocolate Sauce. Sounds disgusting? It's delicious. I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I saw this dish among the standard Mexi fare, but the nice server boy brought me a taste of the sauce and I was sold. It was a sort of savory chocolate that perfectly complemented corn tortillas and beans and onions and chicken and sour cream. Now I'll be begging to go out for Mexican food.
The chocolate enchiladas remind me of a dish we made on our honeymoon - Wild Mushroom Ragout. The base sauce was unsweetened chocolate with nutmeg, cardamon, white pepper and cloves. We dumped it over rice and had steak on the side. It was fantastic. It's gustatorily confusing at first to try chocolate out of its traditional dessert context but it's rich and versatile and makes one happy - why not use it whenever possible?

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Coup

The boy has a lot on his plate. He's got a full-time job, he's got six more months until a Master's degree, and he's got a wife always asking him to take out the garbage or put another quarter in the dryer. He doesn't need a blog as well. Well, actually he already has one (Killpoets), he doesn't need a second. So I'm taking over. But don't worry (Dave), you'll still hear plenty 'bout him from me.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Project Tarragon

It's tarragon week. 1 ounce of fresh tarragon has so far contributed to: Asparagus with Tarragon-Lemon Butter, Veal Scallops with Tarragon, and Baked eggs with Tarragon (Thank you Melanie for the Ultimate 30 Minute Cook Book). There are approximately .75 ounces of tarragon left. Any ideas?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A week in short.

In our news this week: Sarah acquired a Maryland drivers license forcing Zeb to admit that they actually live on the East (wrong) Coast now. That landlord bought apartment number #10 a new refrigerator that's just as sleek, modern and stainless-steel as Zeb could ever hope for. Sarah is wondering if she can make it look homey-warm by covering it with red paper. At least the food will stay in the 'safe zone' now. Joining the herb plants is a Oncidium Twinkle Fragrance Fantasy Orchid. Anyone know how to keep one of these alive? Zeb is still reading Lobachevsky, and Sarah is reading lots of Gertrude Stein.
Coming up: Zeb wakes up at 4:45 am for the, oh, tenth day in a row? No, think its the twentieth. A big trip to the Post Office tomorrow: Write Like Hemingway, pounds of coffee for Jem, a roomy belly coral shirt for Ax, and Camille's long lost pants and flip-flops. Promise. Tsunami/Lemongrass opens in Baltimore and somehow the Culvers got in on the red carpet testing gala. Fantastic food and drinks and bowling for free? OK. Best of all - the Culvers turn 5 months old on Friday. 5 months of non-stop happy. We are lucky in love.