blogs t r e t c h

between a roux and a bechamel

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We Have So Much to Be Thankful For

I just walked into the dining room to find Stinker with one back foot and one front foot planted firmly atop the end of his tail. The look on his face can only be described as pure glee. He looked up at me as if to say, "I caught it! I finally caught it!" It is a happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

what have I been doing? what have YOU been doing?

Oh, right! You guys! Hey, what's up? Here's a bulleted list of what's been keeping me away from the tubez recently. Aside from the fact that we haven't had tubez at my house. But we do now, thanks to wonder roomate Tim. There will be blogging. Oh yes. There will be blogging. Anyhow:
  • French Kicks at the Black Cat. I think the band was good, but I couldn't really tell because the sound was muddier than shit. I love the Black Cat, and I've heard some truly stellar shows there. But Friday night was sort of atrocious. By the time we moved right next to the stage to be able to hear at all, we'd all sort of checked out of the show already. Pity. I love the Kicks.
  • Cooking my damn fingers off. We did a big friend thanksgiving on Saturday. L and I made: butternut squash puree, cherry cobbler, green bean casserole, baked pineapple, whiskey glazed carrots, and the all important blue cheese rosemary cheese boobs. Everyone's food was amazing. We had fun. There was a whipped cream fight. I was thankful.
  • I got a cold. I spent most of Sunday under the covers. I emerged to go to the last farmers market of the year and watch the last moments of the Skins game with my dad. God Bless Sean Springs.
  • I saw Twilight. I maybe might have dreamed about Edward Cullen last night. I also maybe might be 15 years old.

I propose

That for halloween next year, we foregoe the costume ideas, and all men go as Edward Cullen (skin covered in glitter, of course) and women as Bella Swan.

P.S. Tween Girls of The World, you are seriously letting me down. I can't believe that I can't find a SINGLE photo on the interwebs of a be-diamond-ed EC. It's almost as if you didn't spend $70 million drooling over this guy all weekend. COME ON! Get with the program!

P.P.S. Despite a laugh-out-loud terrible scene or two, I actually kind of loved Twilight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's True

I can confirm Jezebel's report. Ezra Klein is totally hot. He is a very handsome man... that I talk to every day. Eat dinner with at least once a week. Took a trip to the beach with me. And helped me move. Ezra's a good friend of mine. Which makes reading that post and the comments (oh dear, the comments...) all the more creepy. Flattering, for sure, but weird. I suddenly feel guilty for every lascivious comment about people I don't know I've ever made. I won't deny the thoughts I've had about Tim Riggins, but I'll try and keep them a little closer to the vest from now on. Maybe it's just my delicate sensibilities, but wanting people to find you attractive, and seeing strangers talk about where you can put your "wonk" are two different things. Anyway, way to go on all the hotness, Ez!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Recommendation for you fellow home owners

A lot of blogging consists of complaining about things. But I just had some excellent service so I want to sing its praises.

LMS & JR Company just painted my condo. In two days. For an incredibly fair price. And did an excellent job. They can do any kind of interior or exterior remodeling work. The owner, Lucio, also has connections to other service providers (for instance, I got a thorough move out cleaning at an incredible price). They're incredibly nice, responsible contractors that it was a pleasure to work with. How often do you come out of having something updated on your house and say THAT? And he's checked in more than once to make sure everything is ok and I'm happy with the work. Anyway: highly recommended. If you need anything done in VA-MD-DC, give Lucio a call. 571/237/6768

baby off!

There's a battle royalle of cuteness happening in my flickr contacts list. I imagine this will happen more and more the older and more pro-creative my friends get. (Note: Kay did not create that one. Her sister did.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wonder of Wonderful Weekends

Here's the part where I regale you with the tales of my terribly exciting social life. I am going to gleam past the whole Redskins losing thing. That experience took from my: my voice, part of my cornea, and happiness. (Seriously. Still sound like Kathleen Turner and have a corneal abrasion thanks to Sunday night. Sadly, no eye patch.) So, aside from that...

Friday night I went to Founding Farmers, the new restaurant at the IMF building owned by the North Dakota farmers union. Or something. The building: amazing. And LEED certified! The food: quite good. Though, it's the kind of "sustainable" place where every third thing you ask for, they are out of. And they tell you about that unfortunate circumstance 20 minutes after you ordered. But, they did allow a table of 8 -- no make that 9! -- no make that 10! to sit and talk and laugh and carouse for about 2 hours. So that was great. I'd definitely go back. I love a place that offers small plates. Much more the amount of food I'm actually capable of eating at one meal.

After Founding Farmers, we decided to keep on aliterating our Friday night, and headed to Fight Club for a Foto Week opening party. It was awesome! I'd never been to the warehouse-turned skate park/concert venue/gallery before, and it is quite the space. They'd run out of beer and it was raining lots and lots, so we didn't stay for too long. But big kudos to Heather and everyone else that was involved with that event. Great job! Then my temporary roomate Johnnie (who is now, very sadly, back in Charlottesville) watched a bunch of episodes of Eerie Indiana and I fell asleep on the couch. Party animal!

Saturday was IFA Field Trip Day! A bunch of us headed out to the far, strange place that is Eden Center. I am being fecetious; Eden Center is about 1 mile from my former home, and therefore, I dont' think it's very far away at all. We ate lots and lots of Bahn Mi, some bun, and a few other Vietnamese delicacies. We also shopped, watched Capps try and buy a giant fake jewel from the display case of a jewelry store, and saw some ridiculous stuff. A few errands and a nap later, it was time to stop by a going away party, and go see the new Bond movie. It was fun; not as good as Casino Royale, but entertaining and definitely a worthy activity on a rainy Saturday night. Then it was pork buns at Chinatown Express, of course, and the declaration that we just weren't really in the mood for a big party. Less than 5 minutes after returning to the party, that reluctance turned into whiskey shots. We danced, we sang, we closed up the cafe, and went around the corner to the aptly described BEST. PARTY. EVER. Everyone I've talked to in Bloomingdale this week has been trying to put our fingers on just what was so great about that party. We think it was probably all the being really drunk and dancing a lot. But there was something more! Sometimes a party just has the right mojo. And this one did. The mojo floated on a river of beer, champaign and jim beam. All night long.

Groggily, Sunday morning brought Big Bear, lox bagel sandwiches (so. good.), farmer's marketing, recouperation, and hours and hours of excellent tailgating in some truly cold weather. But once I put on my 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, fuzzy boots, 6 shirts (including 2 layers of under armor), 3 pairs of gloves and 3 hats and headed into the stadium, I was good to go. For the first half, at least. Seriously -- I hate you, Dallas. Give me my cornea back.

Friday, November 14, 2008

operating at the following level of sounds instead of words

Catherine: i am soooo hungover
me: ME TOO
Catherine: aughghghghg
might still be drunk
ray is dead to me
me: hahahahahhaha
why did i borrow his shirt?
Catherine: lol i forgot about that
me: also, it feels like it should be 2pm already
and it's not yet 10
Catherine: oh god, this is going to be awful
OH GOD then i have drill boot camp
oh my god
me: oh god
me: yeah, wtf
why am i so hungover?
Catherine: i know why i am
i had this killer martini first
me: yeah, what did you drink? tell me things.
Catherine: tell you things?
like the martini?
me: about the martini
Catherine: we are both still drunk maybe
it had olives in it
me: hahahahha
Catherine: and cost like 15 effucking dollars!
we are.
oh god so much pain
me: hahahahha
Catherine: hahahahha
me: oh man
Catherine: blahhhhh
me: this is the most insightful conversation i've ever had
Catherine: hahahhaha

I am so lucky!

I got this email this morning. I'm so excited! I will buy so many kitchen gadgets with all my winnings, that I was qualified for by virtue of... my email address! Thank you!

Dear Lucky Winner

We wish to congratulate and inform you On the selection
today,your email has won you the sum of £750,000.00 GBP
in our online email lottery in which e-mail addresses
are picked randomly by computerized balloting, you must
contact the appointed agent Mr Mark Johnson.Fill out the
form below Ticket no: 56475600545 188 for more clearification.
PLEASE REPLY TO: Mr Mark Johnson
Agent Tel: +447031981529
Claims Requirements:
1.full name:
2.Home Address:
7.Country Of Residence:
9.Amount Won:
10.Ticket no:56475600545
Send All Information To This Email
( )
Congratulations once more from all members
and staff of this program.Send All Information
To This Email ( )


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

me too.

Introducing The IFA

As all 10 or so of you that read this blog regularly have noticed, I like to talk about food. I like to cook, thrust my recipes on you and take grainy pictures of the food I make. I like to talk about restaurants and farmers markets and fancy cheese. So do a whole hell of a lot of my friends, those with blogs to link to, and those without. We are also a group that knows our way around da tubes, so our natural response: start a new blog!

Please welcome into your RSS reader, The Internet Food Association. We'll have recipes, reviews, rants, and of course, regular discussions of Top Chef. We're all well versed in the ways of blogging, so hopefully we'll keep the content regular and of a high quality. Go, read, and get hungry.

Google chro-o-ome

I had my doubts at first, but I grew to love Google Chrome. Deeply. Now work has blocked it. I feel like I went to the future then got kicked back into the dial-up era. I miss my little plus sign for new tabs. I miss the new page tiles with my most visited sites. I miss the navigation and simplicity. I miss using the nav bar for search too. I miss you, Google Chrome. Come back to me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm sniffling at my desk right now. This is why my mom doesn't let me go to PetSmart alone.

At any rate, don't you want to SAVE DA KITTEHS? I am resisting the urge to suddenly become a 9-cat household. Only you can prevent me from becoming a pet-hoarder. Adopt a kitten today! 

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Buzz Kill

Seriously? Seriously

Balk with the high points

Has it been mentioned...
that Barack Obama received more votes for president than any other candidate in American history? I remember a big deal being made four years ago when Bush did it.

Also worth noting in this “right of center” nation: Democrats have now won 3 of the last 5 elections, and you can make a case for 2000 going the D column.

And, as noted earlier, this is the fifth election in a row where a decorated military veteran lost to a candidate who had never served in conflict abroad.


No idea how many election-related posts I'll have today

So you're gonna have to just bear with me. I'm feeling ernestly patriotic! And hopeful! And proud! 

This morning, Obama did the impossible: I actually enjoyed a moment of street harassment. 

As I left Big Bear, a garbage truck driver slowed down and rolled down his window and began a question with, "Baby,". My back arched and I prepared my best bitch face until he asked, "did you go to the White House last night?" 

I said no, but I did go to 14th & U. He asked what it was like. I told him it was amazing, thousands of people. We chatted for a minute then wished each other good day. 

Also, I am magically not at all hungover and not very tired either. OBAMA FIXES THE UNFIXABLE. OBAMA IS MAGIC, PURITY AND LIGHT, people. Obvs. 

Some dudes are putting thoughts together better than I am right now

Jason Linkins
About five years ago, I was sitting at Tonic with my wife and a couple of friends, and I had had a few, not a lot, and I don't know how I got onto the topic, but I remember distinctly going off on a long lamentation about what it was like to be alive in the time of my life. Because it seemed to me that so many frontiers had been reached before I was born. And it seemed like so many frontiers would be denied by an overall mean-mindedness and smallness. And I wondered that night if I would ever live to see anything in this world that truly made me feel like there was a reason for me to be alive. And I lamented the lack of faith I had in those possibilities. All I can say tonight is that I never should have doubted, and I should have kept the faith, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world for having been proven wrong.

Adam Serwer
Obama's gift is that he understood America's great secret, that Americans have a deep and abiding need to love one another, and that we only lack the courage to do so. The theme of Obama's campaign has been a simple affirmation that we are in fact, one, in ways Malcolm never could have though possible and in ways Martin Luther King only dreamed of.

Red staters should take heart in the knowledge that this ideal is not exclusive. Obama's victory does not mean this is no longer your country. It is not the country conservatives believed it was, but it is theirs as much as it is ours. This is a nation of whites, blacks, Asians and Latinos, gay and straight, conservatives and liberals, small towns and coastal metropolises. No passion can ever break our bonds of affection, no matter how often it may seem so.

And maybe, just maybe, in the coming years, we can all learn to live with that. Surely those whose shoulders we stand on would have wanted us to, even if they could never see it coming.

Spencer Ackerman
Obama said something last night that deserves wider attention. "We may not get there in one year or in one term," he said, "but, America, I promise you, we as a people will get there." Where there is remains in dispute. Adam flagged how the line echoes Martin Luther King's final 1968 "I may not get there with you" sermon. And Yglesias points out that the real test will be a test of governing: do liberal policies truly work as well as we think they do? There's truth to that. But there's another truth, and that's that last night marked the beginning of the end of Nixonland.

The old seat of the Confederacy will cast its electoral votes for the first African-American president. As of right now, so will the home of Jesse Helms, who I truly wish had lived to see January 20. If we're to believe the CNN exit polling, Obama won 41 percent of white men, which is better than Al Gore and John Kerry did among that demographic. And the way in which he won matters tremendously. I think Chris Hayes of The Nation was the first to point out that the final two months of the race felt like a fast-forwarded highlight reel of all the old Nixonland techniques -- black Muslim pals around with terrorists to socialistically redistribute your wealth. In the mechanics of Nixonland, a young white woman who would rather lie and claim she was abused by a black man than see the better man become president is a feature, not a bug.

And yet Obama triumphed. John Judis is watching the Democratic majority that he first glimpsed in 2002 finally emerge. All this without a single policy achievement from the Obama administration.

Ezra Klein
I've never seen DC's streets like that. I've never seen any streets like that. Thousands of people, screaming, honking, hugging each other. An indiscriminate celebration. U Street was a mass of humanity, everyone giving high-fives, drivers stuck in the road and laughing with the crowd. The whole scene just utterly joyous and totally, even strikingly, racially integrated. Someone who knew more about the history of DC could do an elegant article connecting tonight's celebration of the first black president to the riots of 40 years ago. The race riots and the post-race riots.

My basic emotion is relief. The skill of an Obama administration has yet to be proven. The structure of our government will prove a more able opponent of change than John McCain. But for the first time in years, I have the basic sense that it's going to be okay. Not great, necessarily. And certainly not perfect. But okay. The country will be led by decent, competent people who fret over the right things and employ the tools of the state for recognizable ends. They may not fully succeed. But then, maybe they will. At the least, they will try. And if they fail in their most ambitious goals, maybe they will simply make things somewhat better. After the constant anxiety and uncertainty of the last eight years, maybe that's enough.

Eric Axelson
For those not in DC, or who didn't make it out, the city fully lost its mind tonight. Once the speech was done, we drove down to U St. to join the fray. From W St. down on 14th it was closed off, and U was closed from about 9th to 16th, aside from the slow parade of cars honking horns and blaring Sam Cooke. Every corner was a new dance party with drums, or stereos or just people singing and dancing and hugging strangers. There's not a really a good way to describe it. Mardi Gras? Kind of, but the energy wasn't booze fueled. New Years? Kind, in that it was like a new beginning. More like a fantastic dream state, the kind you hope is real when you wake up. I ran into students, friends, strangers...though it felt like everyone knew each other. We followed a crowd down to the White House and saw that much of 16th was slowed down by impromptu parades and cars with bodies hanging out the windows singing and dancing. At the White House? Crazy. Really. Huge crowd chanting and singing and celebrating. This was where we broke out the Knob Creek to celebrate.
On the walk home, wading through more crowds still heading to the White House, a mix of all ages and backgrounds, we got back to U St. around 3am. On the corner of 14th and U, there was still a few hundred people dancing. Anyone else have good reports of people taking over the streets in joy tonight?


I have a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head right now. Most of them go like this: "WOOOOOOoo00oO00ooOOO!" Last night was the most thrilling, momentous, amazing, wonderful, happy, never-to-be-forgotten experience of my life. I'm so glad to have been in D.C. to be part of all of this

And, Virginia. We did it. As a lifelong resident of the state, I truly never thought this day would come. 

Also: I want this tshirt. I want it bad. 

I'm tired! And so happy! So that's about as elequent as I'm gonna get right now. But this... this is really somethin. Three cheers for President Elect Obama! 

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Go Volunteer!

Just got the following from the Obama campaign. If you've got time today, head out and help out at the polls.

We need your help right now.

Thousands of Virginia voters are standing in the rain waiting to get into their polling places. We have to make sure they stay in line and cast their ballots.

The outcome in Virginia is going to be incredibly close, and could decide the entire election. We're asking you to bring umbrellas, tarps, raincoats, ponchos -- and all the warm beverages you can carry -- to local volunteers that are helping voters standing in the rain.

Find your nearest volunteer hub:

We can't afford to wake up tomorrow wishing we had done just a little bit more to win this election. Don't let rain keep us from victory when so much is at stake -- especially in Virginia.

Please forward this email to your friends and family, and make sure they get out to vote tonight.

Thank you,

Obama for America

P.S. -- Polls close in Virginia at 7:00 p.m. Make sure everyone knows that as long as you are in line by 7:00 p.m., you can vote. Find or confirm your polling location at

I tried my damndest to canvas this weekend, but when we got to Richmond (we were sent "far into Virginia" by the D.C. office), they didn't have any work for us to do! Too many volunteers is a good thing, I think. Even if it meant an unnecessary Civic Road Trip 08.

I Voted

So did a lot of my coworkers from around the metro area. Here's a sampling of local I Voted stickers. 

Fairfax County, VA
Fairfax County

Precinct 30, Washington, DC

Alexandria, VA

PG County, MD

Falls Church City, VA

Loudon County, VA

Arlington County, VA

Montgomery County, MD

Arlington, VA

Pork Chops in Tomato Reduction

A few months ago, I had a dinner party. I spent hours pitting cherries to make a cherry reduction sauce for pork chops. It was good... enough. But the whole time I was eating it, all I could think was, ketchup would have been better. So, when making dinner last night (from bounty procured at the Bloomingdale Farmers' Market), I decided to basically make a sauce that was as close to ketchup as I could come. Menu/recipes follow. 

Tomato Reduction Sauce, aka, Fancy Ketchup-like Topping for Pork
-One box of those grape tomatoes, halved. Or any equivalent measure of tomatoes
-One small can tomato paste
-A few tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-One shallot, diced
-4 cloves garlic, diced
-1 chili pepper (I used a cayenne from my garden), diced
-Olive Oil
-Red wine (maybe... 1/2 cup? I just poured it in until it looked right)
-Salt & Pepper to taste

Basically I just sauteed the oil, pepper, shallot and garlic for a few minutes until it got nice and strong smelling. Then I added in the tomatoes, and sauteed until they softened. Once that's cookin, add the tomato paste and vinegar. Soon as the tomato paste is softened and integrated, pour in the wine. Let that boil till it all reduces down, add the salt and pepper. At the very end, before I served it, I threw in a few handfulls of arugula and let that wilt. It turned out really, really well. I'll definitely be making this again. You could put it on just about anything and it'd work out. Maybe if you were using it on poultry, use rosemary instead of arugula or something.

I served it over some dead-simple pork chops (free range! thanks, farmers) -- just salt, pepper, garlic powder on both sides, pan fried in olive oil and butter until cooked as you like. This is the only way I ever make pork chops. It is always simple, and always perfectly delicious. I made a couple sides too. 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes 
Boiled about 10 teeny little red sweet potatoes until they were soft. Mashed with cinnamon, nutmeg, a touch of cream, a few tablespoons of butter, and a few tablespoons of brown sugar. Delicious. 

Mustard Green Salad 
Catherine turned me on to mustard greens last weekend. I made a salad of these spicy greens (that really taste like mustard!), chopped radishes, Wallaby cheese from the Keswick creamery, and a dressing of walnut oil (this stuff is really potent, so use very sparingly), olive oil, pear white balsamic vinegar (most of the acid came from the lmeon juice, but this gave it a little balance), lemon juice, 2 garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and just a touch of sugar.