Thursday, March 26, 2009

More songs and soup

Right now (and pretty much all week), I am listening to this song, from this album.

Pls forgive cheesy slide show above, as there appears to be no "official" video and I'm just looking to share the song. The alternative was a slide show with pictures of leaves and flowers and crap like that.

I am way behind the curve on this album, which I acknowledge, but I hadn't really had an urge to look into it, having heard maybe one song on the radio before, which didn't really grab me. But then I heard the above song when I was in Austin a couple weeks ago (thanks KGSR, I miss ya), and just loved it. Acquired the album (we won't say how, ahem) and now can't stop listening to it. Lovely lovely.

Since writing this is taking away from my sleepy time, I'll get right to a recipe I've been meaning to post for a long time. I've officially now made it more times than I can count, which means it's the bees knees and you should have it. It uses a lot of stuff I almost always keep in my pantry, and it also employs my stick blender, which I find to be so helpful in the kitchen that I've considered marrying it.

Spiced Chickpea and Tomato Soup (from an old issue of Martha)

3 garlic cloves, minced
3 dried hot red chiles, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (obvs I do the latter here)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I leave this out. Certainly if you have coriander, you should add it, but I don't use it for any other cooking, and it's expensive, so I don't bother. But at 1 teaspoon, that would affect the flavor a lot. Hrm. If you end up using it, let me know how it turns out.)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup drained jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
sour cream, for serving (I don't bother with this, but I DO have to have bread on hand when I eat it. Ideally a loaf of crusty french bread or rosemary flat bread. It helps cut the spicy.)

Using a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon, crush garlic, chiles, coriander, salt, and caraway to form a paste.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic mixture, and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and stock. Simmer, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in a blender (or use an immersion blender, like I do). Top bowls with a dollop of sour cream (if you want - again I don't bother).

My Aunt Cynthia will recognize that version of the recipe as I just copied and pasted it from an email I sent to her. Ha! Yeah, I'm tired.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Update, briefly

1. I'm currently listening to this song:

2. I caved on the Wayfarers.

3. I managed to scrape even more paint off bumper. Makes repairing it seem less appealing if I am such a putz. (Although to my credit, it appears antique store employees did this while trying to cram chair into trunk in Round Rock last weekend. End result: FAIL. I returned home sans chair.)

4. I am seeing Andrew Bird this Sunday. I will tell him you said hello.

5. It is nearly spring and snowing in New York, which reminds me that this is the time of year when the winter depression would hit me the hardest up there. High today in Dallas = 72. WIN.

6. I got my FSA card for vision expenses, so will probably order contacts next week.

7. I want to go to this concert but don't have the vacation time. Why on a Tuesday? Why why??

8. I am participating in first March Madness college basketball bracket with coworkers. Suddenly understand what all the fuss is about. Of note, Barack Obama and I both have UNC as winner of championship. So if I lose, I will be in excellent company.

9. I am working on this baby hoodie for one of my many pregnant friends. Obvs with different color scheme. Just say no to hot pink for babies. They have sensitive eyes.

10. Starting to get some photos from Chicago up! Swing night at the Green Mill was fabulous.

Now if only could finish writing the story. On that note.. back to work!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Economic postponements

Does anyone else really dig David Wessel (or am I the only dork here)? He's the economics editor for The Wall Street Journal, but my exposure to him comes via NPR, where he's a frequent guest to talk about economic issues. When he does this, two things happen: a) my eyes don't glaze over and b) I understand what he's saying. Which is remarkable. (I struggled with economics in high school and made a point of taking the class in community college so it wouldn't screw up my GPA at A&M. I'm just that confused by it.)

This morning's story was another example of his skillz. The question was "Are Americans Saving More Lately?" and the answer was yes. We aren't spending as much. Which is actually really bad for the economy. That's why this stimulus plan involves the government borrowing an additional crapload of money so that it can spend on our behalf. Because somebody has to, or the economy just won't be able to recover. Make sense?

Well, maybe it still doesn't, but while listening to that story, this momentary thought flitted through my brain: "Maybe I need to go spend some money to help the economy! Yes, that's it!" Not really, since I don't have any, but my heart is in it. Clearly. You should see my wish list. Let's begin:

-Furniture. I need some, something awful. But I'm looking for antiques and trying to be picky and find stuff I really like. Investments, you know? My prized piece is my desk, a Danish mid-century modern beauty I got while I was living in Astoria.

Here's CJ lying on it, because I grab any opportunity to include photos of my cat in my blog. Naturally. I'd love to find a dresser and a credenza in the same style. Actually finding this is quite simple. Finding them in my price range is the tough part. It just might not happen, as the prices are way inflated these days. But I'm looking.

Also a pie safe or something similar for the kitchen. This'll probably be a little more "shabby chic" style. Maybe something like this:

Oh swoon. I'm a regular visitor to Lula B's and I'm heading to Round Top in early April in pursuit of these. Fingers crossed. Why this sudden push? I'm finally in an apartment that could fit some new pieces. And I'd love to get rid of some of the old IKEA stuff I have around that I'm really tired of looking at.

-A new pair of black pumps. My old pointy-toe pair from Nine West have been repaired and sustained for as long as possible, and they're officially done for. I have a couple coupons from DSW, so these'll probably be purchased soon. I hope.

-Repairing Frederick's bumper. It's this exact spot, but on the right side, not the left.

It was a little incident in a grocery store parking lot that got it all scraped up, and it's really not a big deal, but he's only a year old. And it just distresses me that it's there, every time I see it. It just needs to be buffed real good and repainted, but I'm sure it'll cost a fortune. So it waits.

-Some tests my doctors would like me to have done. Because my health insurance is so bad, these have to come out of my own pocket, and they're hundreds of dollars a pop. So they're on the back burner too. So many things about this is wrong.

-Contacts. I'm out. But because of my insurance (see above), I'm having to wait on this too. Maybe soon though. On that note, I need new glasses as well - my current pair is 7 years old. Oof. Also, without contacts, the next item is sorta moot. So yeah.

-A pair of Wayfarers.

After my Target Wayfarer ripoff sunglasses broke several months ago, I even tried super-gluing them back together. That worked for about a week and then snap! they broke again. I have priced and researched getting a real pair, but just can't bring myself to do it. They're not that expensive. It's just hard to justify buying them now, when so many other important things await my dollars. But I don't know. I might cave soon.

-A sock knitting class at the Shabby Sheep. A co-worker is interested in this too, so if a class starts soon that works for both our schedules, it might be hard to resist.

So that's how I'm hurting/helping the economy. Are you doing your part?

PS - I can not stop listening to the new Neko Case album. Can not. Even when I'm not physically listening to it, it's playing in my head. Constant. Love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stuffed up

Happy spring! Well okay, still a couple weeks away or so. You wouldn't know, it's so warm here in Dallas. Just look at the hedges outside my building!

Look at all that happy new growth coming in! To celebrate the arrival of spring, I would like to has these, pls. Kthx.

Hrm, what else is new? I'm back from Chicago. I have a cold (brought back from Chicago). While there, I observed the one-year anniversary of my departure from New York. I've been gone a year. How sad. Luckily I was able to comfort myself by being in, well, Chicago. While I was standing on a train platform in the freezing cold, I could easily blur my eyes and pretend I was looking out over Astoria. Indeed I could.

Despite being a cold, cloudy, miserable several days weather-wise, I liked the windy city v. much. Just like New York but a good bit friendlier. And the hot dogs, oh, the hot dogs. In fact, they could have themselves a new citizen, but there's this whole winter problem that I wouldn't be able to handle. Winters up there are much worse than the ones in New York, and I could barely handle those. So they should really look into fixing that. Set the whole city up in a bubble half the year or something.

Oh, did you see I finally finished my Santa Lucia dolls? From the kit I bought from Alicia nearly a year and a half ago? Aren't they fine?

They're meant for the holiday season, but I work slow. I wish I had more time to make things like that. It was loads of fun. Especially painting their little faces. I hadn't picked up a paint brush, save to paint a wall or piece of furniture, since my high school art class days. Not too bad I think. Although the mouths on a few of them are a little shaky. Do you remember Phil Hartman on SNL dressed up as the German cross-dresser on the dating game show, with red lipstick smeared all over his face? I feel like that's a little of what happened here. They are girls though. Maybe they're not experts with the lipstick just yet.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm due to go blow my nose for the 983492837th time today.