Monday, July 31, 2006

Fishy salad

The recent heat wave in the Bay Area, along with all the summery recipes on this here blog, inspired me to make a yummy dinner salad for myself. But what? I took a daring route and bought fresh fish for the very first time at the market. For some reason I’ve always thought that seafood was difficult to cook, but I like seafood and need more of it in my diet. I selected the cheapest decent looking thing I could find, which was two fillets of rock cod (I think). I also bought some packaged portofino and one English cucumber. I’ve been wanting to test out the brand new vegetable peeler my dad gave me for my birthday. I’m very picky when it comes to peelers, and he picked out a great one (but only after I shot down his first choice).

So when I got home, I rinsed the fish and seasoned it simply with salt, pepper, and some dried garlic and herb, then quickly pan fried it. I used half of the cucumber and peeled off all the skin (rind?), then cut it into random bite-sized pieces. I was in a rush, because I was hungry! The fish was already flaking nicely, so I layed the fish and raw cucumber on a bed of portofino. I drizzled my most favorite sesame and miso salad dressing (this can make anything taste good; if the fish hadn’t turned out well, I would’ve doused the whole dish in this) on top, and finished it off with some sesame seeds and a bit more pepper.


I liked how it turned out. Nothing fancy, but it made me feel good. One fillet was enough for one serving, but I helped myself to another serving of this salad and finished off all the fish. Now I’m not (too) afraid of cooking fish anymore! Yay!

Posted by greeeenwithenv to Bumbling Bees - Food at 7/31/2006 02:21:00 PM

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Patchwork Cushion Cover

Note: I posted this in the sewing blog yesterday but for some reason it did not appear in the main blog.

I've been procrastinating a lot lately, so much that I found myself doing something resembling quilting. I made a patchwork cushion cover for my sofa cushions. I have no sewing machine, no pins, no chalk (I used a felt tip) and no patience for measuring, so making this one cushion took two days. One down, three to go.

My original cushion covers were Hideous Loud Print Orange and Modern Art Lime Green. Boyfriend pronounced them the ugliest pillows on earth. We had just bought them in a hurry so our friends would have something to sit on during our housewarming gathering 2 months ago. It's a small apartment and we don't have enough chairs. Red, blue and plaid is a big improvement. (Remember the plaid cow? It's the same cloth.)

I'm a bit worried about the inside seams fraying all over the place since I didn't have the patience to bind them all individually. I'm thinking of buying some of that iron-on interfacing and sticking it on. I'd just have to get an iron first. I'm also wondering how it would fare in the washing machine. I left about an inch of room for shrinkage, but what if the different kinds of cloth shrink differently? Oh well, I guess I'm not washing them anytime soon. I wonder if the laundromat will cold wash them and then give them back to me wet to hang out to dry?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Health Food Ahoy!

Last month, Boyfriend got his blood tested and his cholesterol is through the roof. The maximum amount of cholesterol a person should have - he's got twice that amount. But if you looked at his diet last year when he was living alone, you wouldn't be surprised. I'm sure you've all heard horror stories about what males living alone survive on. Eggo waffles. Hotdogs. Canned foods. Cup noodles. McDonalds. It's not that Boyfriend can't cook. He just lost the motivation do so, having a soul-sucking 6 day a week job which left him with no energy except to sleep and watch TV. On top of that, he has this morbid curiosity about combinations of food that can only be described as revolting. He got to the point where boiling ramen was too much work. He ate cream of mushroom soup straight out of the can. He ate half a package of ham for lunch. Not ham sandwiches, mind you, just the ham. He ate ketchup on rice, with crabsticks. And possibly mayo. He snacked on cocktail cheese sausages as if they were potato chips. Vegetables were either of the frozen variety, or a can o' corn.

So now he's on medication and he's not allowed to have red meat, eggs, junk food, processed meats, or full cream dairy anymore. We read labels for trans fats (especially horrible in Asia where they put palm oil in everything packaged). We made hummus (it's too expensive to buy ready made here). We bought olive oil (also crazy expensive here). I'm grilling the chicken. I'm steaming the fish. I'm steaming the veggies. We're looking into cheese substitutes, butter substitutes, and meat substitutes. I'm buying those plain white Shanghai noodles instead of the eggy kind. And rice vermicelli. We replaced ham with smoked chicken because turkey costs too much. Tofu is our friend.

But now I'm craving cookies all the time. I open the fridge, look at the food, close the fridge, walk around the apartment, open the fridge again, and sigh. Oh, what I'd do for a chocolate chip cookie...

Posted by Kea to Bumbling Bees - Food at 7/25/2006 01:26:00 PM

Coin Pouch

This is the other thing I've been doing instead of work. Boyfriend has this tendency to destroy his coin pouches. The zippers break. The seams split. I don't even know how you can split a seam in leather. Objects in his pockets must be subject to forces normally seen only at the centre of black holes.

I was at a craft store with my mother last week and spotted some hinged metal clasps. This eliminates the need for zippers. I got some extremely heavy denim and made a pouch leaving a whole 3/4 centimetre seam allowance, and then bound up all the edges with V stitching so that they won't fray. If this thing isn't indestructible, I don't know what is.

Posted by Kea to Bumbling Bees - Sewing at 7/25/2006 01:17:00 PM

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Grilled Eggplant Salad

I had the most delightful dinner tonight! Moocow sent me a recipe for a grilled eggplant salad, and I decided to try it out tonight. I didn't have the mint or parsley that was called for in the recipe, so I used fresh cilantro instead.

To go with it, I made some cold soba noodles. The perfect, light summer meal. Thanks, Moocow! And long live the aubergine! I adore you with all my heart and tummy!

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Food at 7/20/2006 07:44:00 PM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From Garden to Plate

So those seedlings I started last month have, for the most part, grown and thrived. The borage, as you can see, has grown like a weed.

The basils, marigold, parsley and sage are great, too. Even the dill looks pretty healthy.

But the chives just aren't growing, something in the garden really likes nibbling on my nasturtium leaves, I'm not sure the calendula has come up at all, and I can't decide whether that stuff is chamomile, or a weed. The oregano could not be coaxed out of the soil. I think I'll have to try again with that one!

Still, I'm having fun! I wish I had time and space, and money, to plant all the things I want to grow. Several more kinds of basil, three or four varieties of mint, scented geraniums, thyme, lavender, rosemary, and vegetables!! Next year, I shall vegetables!

But, baby-steps. I've got my herbs, and I know how to use 'em! It was so hot today, even this evening, it was painful turning on the stove for a quick pasta with olive oil, green peppers, tomatoes and garlic. So I turned out two extra, easy "salad" items to stimulate my appetite.

Tomatoes with fresh basil from my garden, lightly drizzled with olive oil, and a cucumber salad with a yogurt-dill dressing (augmented with some dried dill, because my little dill plant isn't up to major harvesting yet). Pesticide-free, organic herbs that I've been waiting for! Ahhhhh!

Posted by Lana to Bumbling Bees - Gardening at 7/17/2006 09:10:00 PM

Friday, July 14, 2006

What am I supposed to do now?

This is how big my plant has gotten now. Just look at this thing! I've already run out of stalk for it to climb up.

I don't understand why it's not growing more leaves. I see a few leaf buds, a couple of leaflets, even. But mostly it's just making more and more vine. Not enough sunlight, maybe?

I've tried moving it to a sunnier location (the middle of my bedroom floor, very awkward), but I still don't think it's enough. My apartment just does not get that much sun.

Would it help if I nipped the terminal bud off?

Posted by Kea to Bumbling Bees - Gardening at 7/14/2006 04:27:00 AM

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mondo Democracy Bean of Doom

Okay. You know my democracy plant? The one I posted about two days ago? It's this big now.
It grew six inches in 2 days. I transplanted it to a bigger container, and it's already outgrowing it - the roots are starting to stick out the holes on the bottom. You can see the white roots pressing up against the side of the plastic.

Help! What the $*!#^ is this plant?? I have never seen anything grow this fast! Soon it's going to take over my kitchen, strangle the parrot, swamp the apartment building, strand Boyfriend in the elevator for a week without a machete, and colonise the entire block.

Meanwhile, in this week's news, Hong Kong's notorious and much reviled former Minister of Security Regina Ip, a woman who made Maggie Thatcher seem nurturing in comparison, has undergone a full political conversion and announced her support for democracy. Maybe this plant is an omen.

Posted by Kea to Bumbling Bees - Gardening at 7/08/2006 04:00:00 PM

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

My democracy plant

Meet my democracy plant. I got it at the democracy protest last saturday. Audrey Eu (the politician) was selling them. I don't know if you've seen these things, but they come as a big bean inside a ceramic egg. You're supposed to crack the top off the egg and water it, and hey presto, a bean plant with appropriately Festive Phrase (tm) printed on the side grows out. I have no idea how they do this - the bean pod itself was blank, so how did they get the words on the plant? It's magic. Unfortunately, I dropped the egg on the tram on the way home - the bottom just fell out of the paper bag! I was sad. I broke my democracy egg.

But I planted the bean anyway, and here's what I got. It says "universal suffrage" upside-down, in Chinese. Sorry I couldn't get a less blurry photo.

I'm gonna try really, really hard not to kill it. Maybe if it grows, we'll get some democracy? Come on magic bean, do your work.

Posted by Kea to Bumbling Bees - Gardening at 7/05/2006 03:47:00 PM