Tuesday, January 11, 2011

random tuesday

1. I haven't gotten my hair cut. Yet. I will, but first I have to decide just how I want it cut. (Thanks for the input, by the way!) I almost called to make an appointment last Saturday morning, but Stuart and I decided to go running instead.

2. I've decided that I really, really like running in cold weather. I'm fortunate that the cold air doesn't bother my lungs as badly as some people. Plus, going outside to do anything when it's 10 degrees out makes me feel pretty dang macho. Especially when I start shedding layers.

3. It finally snowed today. Two weeks ago we had a strange mid-winter thaw for three days that melted most of the snow, and then it got cold again. I didn't realize how much I would miss the snow until it was gone and we couldn't go sledding...or build snowpeople...or shovel random piles in the yard.

4. We may give ice-skating a whirl. There are outdoor skating rinks at parks all over town, and some of them rent ice skates, so Friday afternoon after preschool we've made plans with a friend to try it out. (They've already been, and really like it.) Then again, we may just go sledding instead.

5. I haven't been ice skating since high school. In Kentucky, nothing freezes long enough to skate on (so the outdoor experience is really unfamiliar to me), so if you want to skate on ice, you just go to an indoor rink. I went a few times in high school, maybe with a church youth group (I don't remember for sure) and it took every ounce of energy I had to stay upright. Forget about being graceful. I'm guessing that the passage of more than a decade hasn't improved my skillz one iota.

6. My neighbor tells me that there are ice skates with double blades out there that are kind of like ice skates with training wheels. I wonder if they make those for adults?

7. I also want to try cross-country skiing, which I suspect requires slightly less balance than skating. I hope to rope my friend Claire into teaching me (though she doesn't know it yet...Claire? Whaddaya think?)

8. I think I'm really starting to like Wisconsin winters. Imagine that.

9. Dinner last night was total improv on my part, and it turned out delicious. Even Daniel ate it up and asked for more, and he's the type of kid who won't eat anything willingly that's not a hot dog, a grilled cheese sandwich, or something that came out of a box labeled "Mac'N Cheese." We had red lentils with fresh chapatis. I didn't really measure anything I put in the lentils, but here's my best guess:

Cook 1/2 lb red lentils in 6 cups of water, scooping off the foam when the lentils come to a boil. I had a spice ball with cumin seed and ajwain seed in there as well. When the lentils are soft and cooked through (15 min?), turn off the heat.

Sauté 1 large onion (chopped) in 2 T. oil. When the onion is soft, add a generous amount of chopped garlic (a tablespoon or so), plus 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. ground coriander and a dash of turmeric and cook a minute longer.

Add the lentils to the onion mixture, plus 1/2 can of coconut milk (roughly 1 cup), 1 cup tomato sauce (I used homemade, but 1 cup canned would do, or diced tomatoes), plus some salt to taste. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes, sprinkle with garam masala, and serve warm with fresh chapati plus cayenne pepper and lime wedges for the grown-ups.

10. Fresh chapatis are so delicious, and so easy. I plan to do a flatbread tutorial on this blog SOON; I hear there is interest. Am I right? Several times a week, we make fresh flatbreads here: flour tortillas, corn tortillas, pita, chapati...even Daniel, who is not yet 5 (not quite) is something of an expert on cooking flatbreads! They are not hard and so very tasty when made fresh, especially compared to pre-packaged varieties. Perhaps this weekend I can take some pictures and/or video to post here.

11. I need book recommendations. I just started Middlesex, which is quite good so far, but soon I'll finish it, and then what? A good novel, that's what I like. Anyone?

8 comments:

bpatricksullivan said...

If you like winter running, I think you'll love cross country skiing. I didn't really enjoy New Hampshire winters until I started cross country skiing. It does require slightly less balance than ice skating, but it's still worth doing some practice falls and practice get-back-ups before you really get moving.

I will look forward to the chapati post!

Strangeite said...

The Hunger Games.

While it is young adult fiction (but so is Harry Potter), it is dark, powerful and has left a lasting impression on me.

A movie adaptation is the works, so it is a good time to read the trilogy before Hollywood screws it up.

An added bonus is that the protagonist is a strong independent girl from Appalachia. This is a region that doesn't get many positive role models.

The back cover description might turn you off, but I urge you to give it a chance.

I also have Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War sitting in my reading pile, but it is non-fiction.

My wife recommends VERY highly, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

Andrea said...

I know you said that you like novels, but if you think you might like a "memoir" genre you can borrow my copy of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry" when another friend gives it back. It's about a woman who decides to go to Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.

Jessi said...

Well, I hated Middlesex, so I have nothing to offer at all.

I'd love to make my own tortillas! I stayed up the other night so Alton Brown could teach me how to make my own nilla wafers - not that I ever will, but I feel superior that I now know how.

Claire said...

Of course I'll go skiing with you!

As books go, I also heard that Hunger Games is well worth your time. I heard that yesterday, in fact, from a neighbor who has yet to let me down with recommendations. I feel like my reading queue is in good shape with The Elephant Journey (the library said that most of the copies were out today in the whole system!) and now Hunger Games.

Rosemary said...

J is also an experience cross country skier. We used to hike up the hill we grew up on with our xc skis to ski in the fields (which are now sadly all houses) after school and on weekends.

As for books, I really enjoyed March and Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks last year. Neither one is new, but both are excellent.

Steph said...

How do you prevent the snow from getting into your shoes and freezing your feet? I thought I had the cold weather running thing down, but that was before we got about 7 inches of snow. Obviously I'm not going to go tearing through un-shovelled streets, but even when things are shovelled the random bits of wet still seem to get in there.

Mrs. Allroro said...

I've had lentil troubles lately. They always always always seem to boil over, even when I cook 1/2 cup of lentils in an 8 quart pot! Would soaking them overnight help, or would that make them yucky?

(your recipe sounds fabulous, by the way, and I can't wait to learn more about flat breads from an experienced baker. I am good with the whole wheat rotis, but that's about it!)