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Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Dippy Dinner

May I present to you... a dinner of dips, consisting of my usual Cannellini bean one (a'la Richardson), a roasted pepper one I made up today that came out pretty well (I wanted to use walnuts, but ran out so I used almond slivers instead), and my favorite Sabra spicy hummus. For a sweet ending (sweet as in the real definition not as a synonym for "great"), I included some almond butter with honey.

I knew that keeping those roasted peppers from yesterday's pasta would come in handy! Ms. Cleo's got nothing on my clairvoyance ;) Would have looked pretty on a tablecloth with this pattern, which I may have to copy later:

Pick a color, any color...

... and this is simply for eyebrow thread. I think I'll go with white.


I added grey and it ruined everything. I liked them better like this:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ahhh... Young Love

That passage made me snicker and sigh simultaneously.
Taken from "Within A Budding Grove," the second tome from In Search of Lost Time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Most homes in America have at least one television set... In front of those TVs, many, many men sit on a couch- especially around this time of the year- watching some type of sport. Well, in my home there is a bit of a twist to this popular scenario. We recently got a new projector, a highly anticipated one that Queridis couldn't wait to break in for mostly one reason: to watch his Michael Jackson 1987 "Live in Tokyo" Bad Tour DVD. The level of excitement in our relationship reached a new plateau. I heard yelps of joy that no Super Bowl competition has ever witnessed. The exhausted Queridis of three hours ago was no more; within minutes he was popping, locking and moonwalking his way across our living room floor, while emanating squeals that perhaps only Brazilian bikini wax patients have ever made. At the first sign of a frown or fatigue on his face, I will know to ditch the Tylenol and head straight for the light switch and MJ DVD.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pearl Onion and Kale Salad with Pear and Walnut Dressing

This meal was a last minute situation that looks absolutely gross, but was actually sort of delicious. We were ordering some pizzas and needed some type of salad. My initial idea was to have fresh pear, but it ended up getting cooked for some reason... It was all downhill from there. I added walnuts, oil and balsamic, salt and pepper and some other type of vinegar to the dressing and then pureed it all after it simmered for a while. The pearl onions took a little bath in reduced balsamic vinegar. I tossed it all with some herbs very thoroughly, and was pleased with the result.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Little Miss Late

Why can't I muster the strength to get up just a mere quarter of an hour earlier? For everything else in life, I am always on time... In fact, I am quite proud of my punctuality. This morning, right as I texted Bun, "Ugh, I'm late for work again!" She sent me this image:

It turns out she was just looking at that book, thinking about how I am always 15 minutes late to work, pulled out her phone to take the picture and as she was going to send it to me, saw my text. At least I was on time in sending her that message!

Friday, January 15, 2010


I feel uncomfortable posting bucolic scenery, food, etc., which I'm grateful for having experienced this week, without making any mention about the recent catastrophe in Haiti. I really believe that we should all learn more about how the international community can take this tragedy as an opportunity to rebuild a nation with such a long history of despair...

... and keep donating:

Contribute online to the Red Cross, or donate $10 to be charged to your cell phone bill by texting "HAITI" to "90999."
Text the word "HAITI" to 20222 to donate $10 to the Clinton Foundation Haiti Relief Fund.
Text "HAITI" to 25383 to donate $5 to the International Rescue Committee.
Text "HAITI" to 85944 to donate $10 to the International Medical Corps.


Agencies and Charities
Center for International Disaster Information

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable...
Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle;
the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sometimes you wanna go...

... where no-o-booody knows your naa-a-a-me. In my case, that was Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa in Milton, NY. After non-stop, post holiday stresses, nothing could be better than a weekend of reading by a cozy fireplace, sunny snowscapes, physical rejuvenation and lots of spunky llamas. I used to think the cat was the animal with the most attitude, but I think my new friend below takes the title.

My only regret is that I wish I could have taken that Encylopedia of Quotations home with me... and the llama.

100th post

... This means I've seen or made at least one hundred things since August 23 of 2009. I'm all smiles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Onnionnn, We're Jammin'... I Wanna Jam It Wid You!

Here's the onion jam I stole from earlier (while it was not yet in jam form) in order to make the soup below.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

You Say Potato, I Say Potato Kale Soup

Having gotten into the habit of bringing my own food to work, I made a giant vat of potato kale soup for tonight's dinner and tomorrow's lunch. In this one I put: Yukon Gold and red potatoes, red kale, cilantro, rosemary (weird combo I know, but it was good), chicken broth, salt and pepper. Once in a while I'd throw in some onions from the onion jam I was making at the same time. I pureed it with a bunch of NY cheddar cheese, which I also used as a garnish, along with leftover cilantro. I hope this tastes good cold because we don't have a microwave!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bravo, PRM!

Pearl River Mart, you've done it again. This'll be my last PRM post... I'm just so smitten by them today. While getting my sister's Xmas present (better late than never), I found this duck bookmark, jasmine tea, Chinese paper wallet to use as a checkbook and Hello Panda snacks for work tomorrow.

Once A Hoarder, Not Necessarily Always A Hoarder...

Nearly a year ago, I took a plane over to John F Kennedy International Airport with two suitcases. The red one, which a friend let me have, had a taped up gash due to sneaker theft on a return flight from China -- that was also the reason why it was bequeathed to me. The other was a giant Tumi suitcase I found on Craigslist for $35 because shortly prior to my one-way trip I was informed that Tumis were the strongest suitcase and had a lifetime guarantee. Let's see if that guarantee still stands with somebody else's monogram on it. Together, they contained everything I needed to permanently settle in New York. Warm clothes, some notepads, a mold of my teeth from 4th grade before I got my braces (along with my zebra skin retainer), a harmonica, a game of Loteria (complete with supplementary bottle caps collection) and about 9 lucky pairs of shoes that didn't make the donation cut... At the time, these were the essentials. I threw out or donated most of my belongings, boxed up and stored high school notes and pen pal correspondence, and vowed to ship the remainder back one day.

About six months ago, I visited my family and friends for the first time since the monumental move. Back then, I thought I was ready to ship my stuff back to NY, mostly books and movies. I realized that I didn't really care for much of what I thought I needed half a year earlier. I put about 40% of the remaining books in garbage bags headed for the Goodwill, and occasionally tossed some over to Gordis to add to her reading list. Last month, she came to visit and asked if I needed anything from home. I requested a collage I once made of legos and a box of colored pencils that, when assembled together, created the image of a muscle man; for some reason, I had really been longing for these items. Upon her arrival she mentioned she didn't have the space for the collage in her luggage and that that she couldn't find the muscle man colored pencils, which really meant she had no clue as to what I was talking about. Nevertheless, those were the things I needed.

Last week, I was in my parents' garage making the final choices as to what I was shipping over... And the process went a lot smoother, a lot quicker, marked by very quick scanning and selection. What I once could not be parted from a year ago had somehow been reduced to 10% of everything I had owned. I perused eight piles of books that survived about five processes of elimination and created three neat stacks during that decisive moment. Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Martin J.S. Rudwick's book on Georges Cuvier, a guide to etiquette in Japan that LaTasha gave me post-high school, Federico Garcia Lorca's ouevre thanks to Mr. Raybuck's Spanish Lit course which I didn't really enjoy until it was over, a book my mom gave me about Astrology and one all about sewing from the 1970's that I never read (and will probably never read), but has a great cover and photos... My stuff's personal value basically plummeted along with our economy while I was away. The same phenomenon was repeated during my movie selection. At that fatal moment, where I screened exclusively for films I'll screen at my new home, I decided I didn't care to watch Forest Gump again, but I'd definitely end up watching Hook at some point.

The things I chose to bring back were not necessarily the most beautiful or impressive. There was no real order as to how I ended up with those three medium boxes. It was all very natural. Although, I suppose there is a mysterious system when it comes to sentimentality. My David Sedaris books were given to my 14 year old brother, Tim Burton movies (except for Beetlejuice) were left for my sister, and I gave my mother the copy of An Officer and a Gentleman because Richard Gere is in it... I returned the slowly accumulated gangster films I had stolen from my father, bit by bit, and oh, I found my beloved muscle man colored pencils... They are currently sitting beside me on my desk.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Free Cheese and Crackers

On the plane ride back from LA I finished reading Delta of Venus and I Escaped From Auschwitz. At some point, I got pretty hungry and attempted to buy cheese and crackers from a stewardess who noticed my book (Delta of Venus) and professed her love for Anais Nin; she loved reading her stories in college and had fond memories of Nin's diaries while pursuing her own writing. I didn't have time to overanalyze the fact that, thousands of miles in the air, a stranger was going into detail about her fascination with erotic literature, because I was busy fumbling through my wallet frantically for a credit card that was nowhere to be found... Then I remembered I used it to pay my rental car and probably left it behind! I apologized for keeping her, but she gave me the white cheddar and wheat cracker package anyway, only saying "Happy Holidays" cheerfully. The package seemed a little more tempting once I saw it included mixed nuts and raisins, or maybe just because it was free. She went off with a smile on her face- all because of the book! Still glowing with love for 2010, I set off to draw her a little thank you card √° la Delta of Venus cover art to thank her and wish her a beautiful new year...

It's taken at a weird angle because I didn't want the flash to alert the crew that my phone was on (don't worry, it was on airplane mode). My new friend would stop by while conducting her usual procedures, collecting the trash, making sure my seat belt was on, and that I wasn't using technology during uncalled for times (the betrayal!), but she did so with added delight just because we have both read Little Birds. The experience reminded me of I Escaped From Auschwitz because as the author recounts the way he survived he attributes a lot of why he was able to escape to his contacts in higher ranking positions, bonds because the people spoke the same language or were from the same region. At one point, Vrba seeks an impenetrable Russian POW, Dmitry Volkov, for guidance on how to escape. His words of wisdom reflected a variety of experiences at war, crucial in aiding Vrba's escape. Vrba's deep knowledge and appreciation of Russian literature, and sincere discussions of it, ended up being the determining factor in how he gained the solider's trust.

Needless to say, I found my credit card wrapped up inside Budget car rental receipts. I mean no disrespect likening my free cheese and cracker snack to a more grave example in the foreground of evil, I only wanted to touch on the significance of people focusing on what they share, and how they are similar, not because you might get a free snack, but because I sincerely believe both me and that stewardess had a much happier cross-country flight over such a small link.

Next on the list are the books Women Who Run With the Wolves, gifted to me by LaTashi, The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit, lent and recommended by Blueberry, and The Road.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Eleven Degrees of Latitude

I spent a beautiful day, the most calm weathered I've seen all trip long, at the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. A revelatory morning of chanting and making intentions was followed by delicious spicy cucumbers, seaweed, sesame noodles and milk green tea from JJ Bakery. How'd I not know about this place sooner, Los Angeles? Meanwhile, miles away in Montreal, Queridis experiences a different type of scene. I like having gone from this:

... to this:

... in a matter of days.
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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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