All This Needs Is That Dial-Up Sound

Searching for what kind of foods to be eating and stumbled upon this…

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Seriously? Angelfire still exists AND it’s home to the top search result? Obviously, I clicked through. I was not disappointed.

To see it in all its textured glory, click here.

God, I miss (low) quality site design.

Last Night

I’m on a plane. I don’t see it from my own perspective, rather as if a camera is panning down the rows of passengers. I hear Bob Saget doing a voice-over, “How I Met Your Mother”-style, complete with future Ted’s trademark forgetfulness (“And that guy is Chuck… wait, is his name Chuck? Maybe it’s Travis. It’s not important.”) Next thing I know, I’m seeing everything from my own eyes.

I must be in a window seat because I’m staring at the few bright stars against a blue-black sky. Raindrops pound the glass. We’re waiting to find out if the pilot wants to fly as scheduled or wait out the storm. We’re going to fly. Next thing I know, we’re in the air, pushed back into our seats as the plane lifts off and rain pounds the window at a different angle. We haven’t been in the air more than a minute when the backwards pressure lets up, then comes back, then lets up again. The plane is rocking forwards and backwards in mid-air, lurching forward before losing momentum to gravity. It starts to level off and I wonder if the pilot has changed his mind about flying. I wonder if we’re headed back to the airport. Suddenly, the engines go silent. The plane goes into a flat spin. Passengers around me start to scream as stars whiz past the windows. I close my eyes and begin to pray. My breath is steady, my heartbeat normal, and the screams around me fade as I focus on my prayers. Please let it be quick and painless. Please let it be quick and painless. God, stay with me. Please let death be quick and painless.

I wake up, my eyes still closed but my mind fully aware that I’m laying in bed. Rain pounds against my window.

The Movie You Should See This Weekend

Meet Sparky. He’s electric.

Got plans this weekend? Great. Make sure it includes time to see Frankenweenie, the new movie from Disney and Tim Burton. I saw an advance screening earlier this week and loved it. My friend and I laughed throughout and, I’ll admit, I shed a tear or two at an emotional scene.

You can read my review and watch a trailer here. Then go see it.

Besides being a good movie, it’s a gorgeous work of art. I didn’t get to include this in my review, but here’s what it took to make this stop-motion movie: 33 animators, 2 years, and over 200 puppets. Sparky’s character alone had 15 puppets which contained over 300 joints so they could make him move realistically. A “puppet hospital” with 150 artisans repaired puppets as they got beat up during filming. Filming, by the way, involves 24 frames per second of film and repositioning the puppets for every frame. On average, an animator can create a mere 5 seconds of film per week. Astounding.

Seriously, go see it. Sparky wants you to.

Southern Experimentation

The produce that ends up in my fridge is always a surprise.

I buy from Bountiful Baskets, a co-op that for around $15 gives you 15-25 pounds of produce a week. (I weighed it.) The produce comes from small farmers, whatever is in season and in abundant supply, and each basket is half veggies, half fruit. Baskets vary week to week, which forces me to experiment with food I probably wouldn’t pick up on my own.

My wonderful step-father has kindly answered many calls asking him to identify produce I’d never seen before. He doesn’t even make fun of me for it.

With my last basket, I got produce I recognized but had never cooked before. I’m referring to collard greens. Since the basket also included sweet potatoes and peaches, I decided to try my hand at a decidedly Southern meal: sauteed collard greens, roasted sweet potatoes, dirty rice, and peach cobbler.

Considering that the last time I had a Southern meal was at a fast-food place that served red beans and rice in disposable cups, my knowledge of the cuisine is a bit lacking. So I didn’t expect much. Happily, it worked out pretty well (mostly).

I started by boiling the collard greens. As they softened, I scooped them out with a slotted spoon, put them in a colander to drain, and saved the water for boiling the rice. I always want to use the leftover water in some other dish but rarely plan well enough to do so. Finally, it happened.

Look at all the nutritious goodness left behind!

 

On to the sweet potatoes. I used a tried-and-true recipe for roasted sweet potatoes. Simple and delicious.

Is it bad that I selected the oddly-shaped potatoes for our meal and saved the regularly-shaped ones to make sweet potato chews for the dog?

Once those were in the oven, I got started on the dirty rice. The rice went into the yellowed water leftover from boiling collard greens and was ready in no time. That’s when things got really messy. I found a recipe on my phone while I was out and about, and let’s just say my memory of what ingredients I had on hand did not match up to the reality of what was in my kitchen. Oops.

This is what I ended up with:

It tasted about as interesting as it looks. Not very.

It’s got tomatoes, salt, pepper, Krazy Salt, onion powder (how did I not have fresh onions?), soy crumbles, and jamaican jerk seasoning. At least it fit the name “dirty rice” even if it didn’t fit a recipe.

Finally, it was time for the greens. I used a basic sauteed collard greens recipe and used a ton of minced garlic. Toss the greens, garlic, salt, and pepper into a wok, stir for a few minutes, and you’re set.

I love bright colors on a plate.

Here’s how the meal turned out.

Real food bloggers know about presentation, garnish, and lighting. I, on the other hand, am proud I put off eating it long enough to snap a photo.

Not a bad meal. The greens were good and garlicky (in my husband’s words, “who knew greens could be so good?”). The potatoes were so simply done that their natural flavor really shone through. And the rice… well, with a little tapatio sauce, it worked out.

Then I went to finish dessert.

I made a variant of this peach cobbler recipe. Boiling the peaches with some water and sugar really helped cook the peaches so they could spend less time in the oven. I left the skins on, which helped the sauce get a beautiful reddish hue.

Not going to lie, I burned my tongue licking the spoon. Worth it.

For the cobbler topping, I skipped the recipe’s crust and instead mixed 1 cup cooked quinoa with sugar and cinnamon to taste. It’s healthier, gluten-free, and adds protein to the meal. Quinoa is amazing.

The final product:

Fruit plus protein… must be healthy, right?

The crust-to-filling ratio is a little off, but it’s good nonetheless.

Overall, I’d say the experiment was a success. Anytime my husband finishes his plate in under 2 minutes, I did well.

Time for another slice of cobbler…