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Sun, Dec. 20th, 2009, 11:42 pm
A lovely weekend

SSIA, really.  I had a lovely weekend :)

Friday was a pointless day at work, so I was feeling a little blah.  But then I came home, and it all got better!

First, we went to the Burgundy Room, WHICH I LOVE.  There were French fries with truffled basil aioli.  There were holy-shit-amazing pork carnitas.  There was pork tenderloin with pumpkin hash.  And there was shrimp and grits.  And wine.  And a couple of martinis.  Love the Burgundy Room.

And thence to Axis, to see my friend Cate (and other people) in Center Stage Players' production of She Loves Me.  It was also lovely!  Ok, well, their sound guy might have been asleep at the switch, and there were some set painting... difficulty.  But Cate can sing the shit out of some musical theatre :)

Oh, and did I mention that in between we went to Jeni's?  There were many deliciousnesses.  Most exciting was the Norwegian Winter Spices ice cream.

And then there was snow!  Which was minor here in C'bus -- sorry, east coasters.  OK, I'll admit, I disliked driving in it, because I'm a pansy that way, but it's very pretty :)

Next, Saturday.  A couple of the chorus members came over for potluck and games.  I was not that gungho at first, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable.  Hit of the evening: mahjongg.  And the strange amalgam of Texas brisket, Midwest scalloped potatoes, Japanese-American cabbage salad, and stolen-from-an-Italian cookbook apple cake really worked together.

(Yes, this post is mostly about food.  What's your point?)

Today I read William Gibson's Neuromancer, bought new socks, made an amazing shrimp stew, and candied some orange peel preparatory to making orangettes.  Mmm.  Candied orange peel.

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Mainly for my own reference, but you can work with it if you want:

Tasty Shrimp Stew that tastes oddly like Tom Yum Ga, only not

Make a golden roux from a quarter-cup of flour and of olive oil

Throw in a red onion, chopped.

Throw in ~1# of raw 31/40 shrimp; cook till they're pink.

Add in, oh, 2 cups(?) of corn kernels and a couple chilis, sliced (keep seeds).  And celery?  Or not.

Add in 1 c tomato sauce with basil (from orange tomatoes if you're fancy) and ~3 c water (to cover/right consistency)

Simmer for 20-30 minutes

Add in a BIG pile of cilantro and the juice of one lime or so.

Delicious.  Cornmeal crunch to accompany?  Or not.

Sat, Oct. 17th, 2009, 01:52 am
Sentiment

Right now, at this exact moment, all feels right with the world.  I'm going to go and curl up next to my love in bed.

Mon, Oct. 12th, 2009, 11:33 pm
A lovely Nashville weekend

A year ago rosepurr and thndrstd went to the Southern Festival of Books, and they told me it was awesome.  And then I bailed on going down on New Year's, because the roads sucked and I was tired whaa :)  So a few months ago I said "Sure, I think I might go down next time the Festival rolls around."  And then, despite the fact that I was dead tired from my first, crazy week of work, I made good on this commitment ('cause it's rude to bail on two travel plans in a row).

Totally good choice.

Good despite the fact that we ended up stopping on Friday night in Elizabethtown, KY so that I wouldn't drive off the road.  Or that there was a sort of 2001-like dipstick thing thanks to a broken dipstick tube (it's not worth explaining, really, it was just a little bit of a masculine blow).

The Festival was, as any such event is, a mixed bag, but it was TOTALLY worth it, just for the panel where Kevin Wilson and John Pritchard read from their work.  There were other good things, too, like the discovery of poet Karen Head, or YA author Justine Larbalestier (in spite of a completely incomprehensible talk she gave that we walked out on).

And NY-style pizza in Nashville of all places.  And boiling hot fried catfish.  And an espresso macchiato that took well in excess of 10 minutes because apparently some coffee shops spend all their time on developing superb coffee drinks, and none of developing a good workflow.

After the festival we went to see a free concert by the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, which included (among other things), Sibelius' Op. 26, "Finlandia," which I know I am not alone in loving.  As a bonus, we caught the tail end of Nashville in Harmony's performance in the lobby.  [Amusing side note: their conductor's concert rhetoric is quite circumspect -- I didn't realize until I looked up their website just now that they're a GLBT chorus.]  We skipped out on the Nashville Symphony's performance in order to celebrate the birthday of a friend of our hosts, at a bar called Past Perfect.  They specialize in classic cocktails -- I don't think I've ever even had the opportunity elsewhere to have both a Pegu Club Cocktail and a Sazerac in one sitting (and a Key Largo, but that doesn't have quite the cachet, thought it's surprisingly pleasant, especially for a tropically flavored drink :)

After a pancake breakfast and my traditional swing by Bojangles' for a country ham biscuit (be still my heart), we headed on back to Columbus, only an hour late to rehearsal thanks to an hour in which we moved about 15 miles on I-71.  No wreck.  Just... slowdown.

All in all a very satisfying weekend.  Next stop on Mike's Regional Visiting Tour?  I believe that'd be St. Louis.  Or talyr will eat my soul :)  Stay tuned.

Thu, Sep. 17th, 2009, 12:36 am
On shelves, knives, stocks, tomatoes, and other assorted joys and maladies

It's everyone's favorite kind of post -- a GOODTHINGS BADTHINGS POST!!!

GoodThing: Beechwold Hardware is made of magic, and carries a full range of metric-sized shelf supports, including metal ones! (Most big-box flat-pack bookcases take 5mm pegs; most big-box hardware stores only carry plastic 5mm pegs, which in my experience shear off and dump a shelf-full of books on the floor.)  This means that I've now got most of my books unpacked, yay!

BadThing: I left my multitool sitting, open, in the middle of the floor.  I then proceeded to kick it and bury the point a quarter-inch in the ball of the foot (before sending it skittering across the floor).

GoodThing:  I finally got around to making chicken stock, which I've been meaning to do.  Six quarts of homemade chicken stock, huzzah!

BadThing: I couldn't find my roasting pan to save my soul.  Matter of fact, I couldn't find any of my baking dishes.  This is a problem, since I tend to stack bags of stock in the roasting pan to freeze flat and contained.

GoodThing: This led me to finally conduct a really, really, really thorough search, since that brought the tally of missing items to not only the baking dishes, but also the loaf pans and the sheet pans.  I discovered that what had seemed to be a box full of useless crap was actually a box of useful baking dishes covered with a layer of useless crap.  Aha.

BadThing: Cherry tomatoes, languishing in a plastic sack on the countertop, had begun to explode and putrefy.

GoodThing: Still enough good ones left to make a three-quarter sheet pan full of oven-dried tomatoes (think sun-drieds, but not, you know, sun-dried).

BadThing: I ran out of motivation to make a Better-Than-French Onion Dip idea I have running around in my head.

GoodThing: I did manage to bake some bread today.  And there's always tomorrow!

Also I watched Jurassic Park today and it was lovely.  Clever girl.

Fri, Sep. 11th, 2009, 01:50 am
Ah, sweet cricket-y release

It is 1:50 AM.  It is 62 degrees outside, forecasted to dip down to 57 before dawn.  Apparently there *is* a temperature range where I will sleep with the windows open, but my neighbors' infernal central air unit won't kick on.  I get weirdly bent out of shape about this, as former roommates can attest, so the current situation is pleasing.

On a sidenote, I just realized that Ohio sounds very different from Texas.  If this were Texas, all I would hear would be cicadas.  This being Ohio, it's crickets.  (Yes, if there were a Magicicada brood around, it'd be different, but as I recall Columbus doesn't get much in the way of periodical cicadas, only annuals.)  And I knew this, of course, but I don't normally think about it consciously.

Wed, Sep. 9th, 2009, 11:52 pm
Good day!  Great food!

Not a bad day, overall!  Yesterday I tried to break my foot off while helping with the Actors' Theatre strike.  I slipped on a stair, fell, caught my left toe, and basically super-duper-mega-hyperextended my ankle.  I was totally not ok yesterday, but this morning I was feeling better (if still pretty gimpy), and this evening I'm feeling almost whole (even if my ankle still looks more like a cankle).

I spent about 2.5 hours fixing a friend's computer today... it had Unprotected Computer Syndrome (i.e. lots of random crap), but the straw that broke the camel's back was the Windows Police PRO virus/fake anti-spyware program.  Annoying, but I felt accomplished when I was done (even though it definitely took longer than a professional would have).

J and I went out to the Dublin Farmers' Market this evening to grab some tomatoes and fruit.  There was something weird going on, and there was no market to be found, just a couple producers packing up in not-the-usual-place.  I mourn the lack of tomatoes, but not much.  Why?

Banana Leaf.

You know, the amazing vegetarian South Indian restaurant on Bethel?  Yeah, we went there en route on a whim.  But here was the thing: though they had the usual lassis, chaats, and dosai, their buffet?  Gujarati.  GUJARATI!  I have never eaten western Indian cuisine, and it was absolutely amazing.  They're keeping the Gujarati menu through the 13th, and you should go.  Hell, I should go again.  Banana Leaf.  816 Bethel Rd., in the back-left of the shopping center at the northwest corner of Bethel and Olentangy River Rd.  http://www.bananaleafofcolumbus.com

And I made a fritatta out of the braised pork this midday.  I was pretty pleased at the time, though now it pales in comparison to the dinner :)
Pork frittata with salsa
Frittata of salsa-braised pork, peppers, onions, Blue Jacket Creamery Ludlow cheese.  With salsa amarilla adapted from Lisa Fain's recipe.

Sat, Sep. 5th, 2009, 03:28 pm
Recipes/photos: Salsa braised pork, Pork fajitas, Span-ish rice

Been a while since I posted any foodporn, eh?  Here goes. 

A while back, I made some salsa de chile morita -- well, actually I made it with chipotles per the described substitution, but who's counting?  Problem was, I used some heirloom tomatillos that were bred for sweetness.  That's great and all, but it meant that instead of being a nice, bright, acid salsa, I ended up with a salsa that was WAY too sweet to eat on chips (at least for my taste). 

Rather than throw it out, I made some braised pork with it.

recipe, and then a recipe for what to do with itCollapse )

Fri, Aug. 28th, 2009, 01:53 pm
Posted using TxtLJ

I'm working an outdoor catering event to pick up some extra cash. We've been evacuated to a garage for fear of lightning. T-storms predicted all night. FML

Tue, Jun. 23rd, 2009, 04:57 pm
CGMC Presents We Love the 80s

Sorry, LJ: I'm running late for pre-rehearsal stuff, but I wanted to get this out, so you get a copy of a broadcast email:

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Hi Englishy/Creative types--

This is a little late notice, I realize, but better late than never, I suppose.  If you happened to be at Pride this past Saturday, you may have noticed the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus's float, which was covered in crazy folk singing Boy George, the Buggles, etc.  Or maybe you weren't there, and you're wondering what in the WORLD that has to do with anything.

Here 'tis: This Friday and Saturday, CGMC presents We Love the 80s, a showcase of some of our favorite songs from the Decade that Brought Us Legwarmers (which is my personal pet term for it).  You name it, we've got it: Boy George, Michael Jackson, Toto, Bon Jovi, and more.  (Yes, of course, 'more' includes Madonna.)  Now, I know what you're thinking: "Mike wants me to go hear choral versions of pop songs?  That sounds... dull."

It ain't.

Trust me, I was worried when I learned the theme, back in January.  No more worries: the last thing we'd dream of doing is standing dully on the risers singing these songs in tuxes.

So.

CGMC presents We Love the 80s
Dates: Fri/Say, June 26 & 27
Time: 8pm
Place: Capital Theatre at the Vern Riffe Center, downtown
Tickets: 29/27 (main floor/mezzanine) UNLESS you get them through me (see below)
Tix avail: http://www.cgmc.com  OR through me, in which case there's a discount -- 2$ if I recall correctly.  Email me directly by midday Thursday with ticket count and level.

So come on, rat your hair and cut out the neckhole in your sweatshirt.  Don't you want to hear me pull out the solo on Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car"?  I would.

Shillfully yours,
Mike

Wed, Jun. 10th, 2009, 10:59 pm
In which I have endings and beginnings, celebrations with sadness

The last week or so has been all about celebration, really: good, but bittersweet.  My parents and grandparents were both in town for Epilog, which was a resounding success.  (And it was great to have Jess and Jeff in attendance -- thanks guys!)  I really love reading, so it was good to be able to do that.  And to be able to get some pictures of Jarod and I in nice clothes -- I'll upload some when I have a chance!

etc.Collapse )

Now I just have to get a job!  I have an application in to Arts & Sciences Advising at OSU, and I'll be submitting a couple more to various depts at OSU tomorrow, as well as starting my search for non-OSU positions.  So... keep me in your prayers/thoughts?

And soon, San Diego.  Which reminds me: anybody available for airport runs this Saturday morning and next Sunday (the 21st) morning?  Or some occasional cat-sitting in between (Chewy will be kenneled, but Phoebs will be around)?

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