crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
I picked up some Pacific salmon on sale the other day so I'm trying the recipe for Lapsang Souchong Gravlax from Eat Tea.

If I like it, I'll try making it for a party or the next stitch'n'bitch at [personal profile] wolfshark's house.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
I went to see Spartacus with [personal profile] trixie and [personal profile] fabrisse this afternoon, as part of the AFI's Kirk Douglas Centennial film series.

The film has held up very well -- this was the 2015 digital re-mastering -- and is quite a good movie, and includes some wonderful set pieces, including the Roman army manuvers that make it clear just how teriffying it would have been to face a Legion in war. I did think they missed -- as most sword-&-sandals movies do -- just how devastating slinger auxiliaries would have been, but the problem there is finding extras who are expert enough with slings to really show it off.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
Made verde posole using the recipe from the Rancho Gordo posole booklet -- I had to substitute dried peppers for fresh because the grocery didn't have any fresh poblanos in stock. It's good, but extremely hot, so I am planning to make white chili from Bean By Bean and use the posole to heat it up.

And since it's Pi Day, I made Warm Chocolate Tarts from Small Batch Baking, because I want pie, but not a lot of pie.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
The peanut seeds have all sprouted -- which is really fast! And of course, I'm going to have keep them inside for the rest of the week at the very least as we may have a bad snowstorm on Monday evening into all-day Tuesday. It's a very late snowstorm for the climate, and we really haven't had a blizzard yet this year, which is very odd for this climate. We get smatterings of snow, and at least one blizzard over 4 inches.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
I turned on my seed starting heating pad, soaked a bunch of jiffy-pots, and started some seeds today. Four each of Anaheim chiles, Poblano chiles, Atilla strawberries, Carwile's Virginia Peanuts, Carolina Black Peanuts, and Table Gold Acorn Squash.

I also planted my pansies (Sangria & Frizzle Sizzle Orange) and violets (Admire Orange Purple Wing), scattered seed for Breadbox Poppies, Butterflyweed, and Nasturium, and repotted a mini-rose I picked up because it had a bud that looked almost lavender in color.

I'm going to wait until next week to start any more seeds, but I have maize, cucumber, melon, candy roaster squash, cowpeas, and more beans than you can shake a stick at. I do have a purple-podded sugar snap pea that I might put in the ground tomorrow, depending on the rain.
crafty_packrat: (GardeningPots)
A friend and I went to Behnke's today for the orchid clinic. My tiny phalaenopsis orchids are just grocery stores plants, but the woman running the clinic said they were in fairly good condition -- one of them had a purple-ish 'blush' which is common to healthy orchids with high anthocyanin genentics. She changed out the sphagnum moss and said that the one that had already lost its flowers might send out a new spike as it is still flowering season and it did have a terminal and axial bud visible.

So now I have more information about keeping them alive (including don't water until the sphagnum is dry and crunchy as dry Cheerios), so I hope to keep these little plants going. They're certainly a bit of bright cheer -- along with my begonia, which is on its second year -- in the end of winter.

I did pick up a few pansies and johnny-jump-ups to put in the flowerbeds. They won't survive when the summer heat comes, but they'll be a bit of color until then as well.

Also, I did actually smell a wallflower in the greenhouse. It smelled amazing, like a fruit candy!
crafty_packrat: (GardeningPots)
I planted 7 fava bean seeds (Aquadulce variety) today in jiffypots on my windowsill. Hopefully I'll be able to get them into the ground in the next week or two. It's been ridiculously warm here so far, and while we may have snow on Friday, I want to get a start on planting. Otherwise, it will be too warm for all the spring crops like sugar peas or fava beans.

Also, I've seen a few sweet pea plants sprouting, from the seeds I scattered a few weeks ago. If it does snow on Friday, I guess I'll have to rig up covers for the plants to protect them -- recycled plastic containers might be it.
crafty_packrat: Grommit knitting intarsia (Grommit)
Quart of chocolate milk (they were out of regular, and I can make fruit smoothies just as well with this), cheddar scone, pita, revani, melitizano salata, smoked paprika paparedelle, spinach & ricotta ravioli, lamb ragu, and nittany apples.

It is currently 73°F out, which is flat out ridiculous for February.

I'm going to start fava beans inside this week, and maybe some other beans as well. I can wait on start corn, squash, and melons, as the corn will shoot up fast and the squash and melons will do best with direct planting.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
After spending last week mostly in bed with a cold that, while not the worst I've ever had, was certainly draining I've decided to spend the week cleaning up my apartment in hopes of getting it spruced up enough to host guests.

I'm hoping to have a jigsaw puzzle party, possibly with experimental historic hair-dressing, sometime next month.

But today, it was scrubbing the bathroom clean. Not actually fun, and I probably need to throw out and replace my shower curtain, but the floor is sparkling, and I didn't overtax my lungs with fumes, so I'm going to call it a good day.

I hope to clean the kitchen tomorrow, but it's really going to depend what happens once I get back from the fitness center tomorrow.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
Melomakarona, tiropita, regular pita, fruit & nut bread, kabocha squash, and pink lady and nittany apples.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
Friday: saw King Charles III at the Shakespeare Theater.

Saturday: went to Millennium Stage for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater workshop based on his signature work Revelations: we did "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel", "Wade in the Water", and "Rocka My Soul iin the Bosom of Abraham", admittedly with somewhat simplified choreography -- nobody was asking a group of amateurs to do hinges, after all. It was a lot of fun, but I did have the usual problem of children who weren't participating but were running around being underfoot. I don't want to trip on or knock over a 7-year-old!

Sunday: a short excursion to Labyrinth Games & Puzzles -- we got sucked into the jigsaw puzzle vortex, as they had a Ravensburger Antique Map puzzle out for fiddling with, and the salesclerk helpfully showed us the roll-mats for puzzles, so there are tentative plans to have an all-day puzzle party sometime soonish. Then dinner at Belga Cafe. We got a couple of waffles to share as starters, and then entrees. Desserts we decided to share among the table -- basically, we'd talked [personal profile] greenygal into ordering the aspargus beignets with candied aspargus and aspargus ice cream, and everyone wanted to try a bit of it. We actually ordered every desert except the endive clafoutis...maybe next time?..but I think the best dessert was the warm cherry almond cake.

Monday: stayed in bed with a head cold... which is a let-down after a very fun weekend.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
Due to [personal profile] fabrisse having an extra ticket, I got to see the Shakespeare Theater Company's production of King Charles III tonight. Let me say this -- it's a modern play that really rewards being a Shakespeare buff!

It's a pretty amazing story that deals with rights of the press, the right to privacy, the conscience of a king, and a constitutional crisis!
crafty_packrat: (GardeningPots)
I turned over one of the beds this morning, and seeds for scattered peas, green beans, borlotti beans, and cowpeas, and also onion starts in the turned soil. It's ridiculously warm here for mid-winter (about 69F) and the carrot seeds that I scattered in the other bed in the fall have sprouted and are spreading their feathery stems everywhere. I should get some broadbean/fava been seeds and get them started in time for late March planting -- I think this year I need to start everything at least 3 weeks earlier than I normally would. I should probably get more cowpea and pole bean varieties too, maybe some smaller squashes...

Also, I tried the waffle-maker one of my friends gave me for Christmas -- it's going to take a bit of work finding a small enough recipe for just me, and then figuring out what the ideal setting on the waffle iron is so I get crispy waffles.
crafty_packrat: Apple Tarts for all! (baking)
The tea savories were a big hit at [personal profile] wolfshark's stitch-'n'bitch, so here's the recipe:

Ingredients )
Instructions )

Note: Normally, Worcestershire sauce is made from anchovies, as well as vinegar, molasses, sugar, and onions -- if you wish the tea savories to be vegetarian, look for a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

From Eat Tea by Joanna Pruess with John Harney.
crafty_packrat: Apple Tarts for all! (baking)
Made pfeffernusse and tea swirls for the stitch'n'bitch tomorrow. Used cherrywood-smoked cardamom in the pfeffernusse and they are strong! I'm almost out of Irish Breakfast tea now -- I really only use it for this recipe, which is cooked, diced onion mixed with tea and Worcestershire sauce made into a paste and rolled up in puff pastry dough before being sliced into savory cookies.
crafty_packrat: (foodie)
Pound of lacinto kale, 1/2 pound of mesclun mix, spanakopita, galaktoboureko, pita, cheddar scone, a quarter of country white bread, raspberry vinegar, magnolia vinegar (for shrubs, and the owner says he'll have pawpaw in a few weeks), small kabocha squash, rolled rib lamb roast, boneless pork roast, spinach & ricotta ravioli, smoked paprika papardelle, eggplant pasta sauce, chive quark, black arkansas and pink lady apples, and a boston butt pork roast.

I'm thawing the boston butt to make carnitas, and will make caldo verde with the kale tomorrow.

It was really interesting to talk to the vinegar-maker, as he starts from the ground up -- harvests local plants himself or buys fruit from local farms, makes the produce into wine, and that into vinegar, which is why he sells things like spicebush vinegar. We also got to talking about strawberries -- there is a native wild strawberry that might work for his business, Fragaria virginiana.
crafty_packrat: (Swan Tam)
I met up with [personal profile] ambyr and went to the Textile Museum for their special exhibit on Okinawan bingata -- it's a specific resist-dye technique unique to Okinawa and included not only clothes, but in many cases the matching stencils used to make the clothes.

There were many historic pieces, and a couple of contemporary pieces -- a stage backdrop, a cultural fusion wedding gown, and a very traditional Okinawa robe with motifs of flowers, clouds, paratroopers, and fighter jets called Yu-I, Yu-I by Yuken Teruya.

Walking around I did notice some of the differences between the Okinawan garments and the Japanese garments I'm more familiar with. [personal profile] ambyr knows more about Japanese history than I do, but we both came out of the exhibit wanting to know more about Okinawan history, especially how they managed as comparatively small kingdom balanced between the spheres of influence of China and Japan. I don't suppose anyone has any recommended reading for me?

The museum offered keychains of Okinawan star sand in exchange for filling out a survey, so I now have brightly colored sand for my nephews.

Afterward, I stopped by Beefsteak as it is only a block from the Metro and had the beet-burger special. Very tasty, and quite cheap for downtown DC. Now that I know where it is, I would definitely stop there again when I'm down that way -- a good stop before going to a Millennium Stage concert.

By the way, on Saturday, February 11th, the Millennium Stage performance is a workshop by the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater... which would be awesome to attend.
crafty_packrat: (Swan Tam)
I made it to Women's March today before the rally started, and lasted about 2.5 hours -- the damp finally got to me.

It was probably the most crowded I've seen the Mall in quite a long time; from 3rd & Independence all the way back to Natural History, and quite possibly beyond, and overflowing Constitution on the north and Independence on the south.

I didn't have a pink pussy-hat, but there were an amazing number of them being worn, in a variety of shades, shapes, and quality of manufacturer. There were also more than a few people who decided that cat-ears or cat make-up was also going to get the point across.
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
There is a stray guinea fowl hiding in the bushes by the fitness center of my apartment complex. It's a little weird to see exotic poultry just out about -- I suspect it escaped from someone's backyard coop -- but when I informed the housing office, they said animal control had already been out and had not been able to catch the bird. Of course not -- guinea fowl are much better fliers than chickens, and it just flew to the top of the building. I'm a little disappointed that animal control gave up; I really don't want to see a mound of feathers some day because the bird got hit by a car, or eaten by a local hawk, or just killed in a blizzard or by below-freezing temperature.
crafty_packrat: Grommit knitting intarsia (Grommit)
I went to see Singing in the Rain with [personal profile] greenygal and friend today as there was a special showing for the 65th anniversary.

It holds up pretty well, and it's interesting to see how the background extras aren't perfect Hollywood faces and bodies. One does wonder how Lina Lamont was able to get the contract that becomes so important for the end of the movie, as the terms she has are incredible for a 1920s movie star.

Afterward, [personal profile] greenygal and I went to Pi Pizza for dinner. We wound up speculating about how actors would work in a universe with daemons a la Pullman's Dark Materials, and thought maybe their would be stunt daemons with their people off camera, with the that being a way to break into acting.

Right as we were leaving, an anti-Trump anti-fascist protest came down the street, and I wound up explain to a 10-year-old that it was a protest and she'd probably see a lot of them in the next week. She was very concerned and astonished, and possibly had never seen anything like it. Hopefully all the coming protests will be as peaceful at that one.

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