Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dreaming of Palm Springs

It is dreary outside, dark, gray, cold, windy, raining, and I feel like the weather is now really getting to me. Normally, I am such an optimistic trooper, even in the longest winter, but this endless array of weather that wants me to be cuddled up indoors when I see people with Magnolia trees on the west coast makes me want to cry. I can’t take it anymore. It is these moments when I want to uproot and move back to a drought stricken California, like here in Palm springs, and yes, after 10 years in Maine, it does look a bit dry and not green at all. Nothing much seems to grow, naturally, while there is an abundance of green, trees and lushes lawns and coastal waters and lakes in Maine without anyone having to do anything. If…. you can cope with the winter.

jcrew3

But the light, the wide horizons, the freedom, of Palm Springs and the desert, get me every time.

jcrew

Maybe, just a vacation, for a few weeks, to recharge those depleted happy hormone reservoirs.

dreams

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Boston Strong

It is a bit eerie and sad to walk around the Boston Marathon finish in 2015. The sidelines and audience benches are all up, it is another 2 days, the runners’ expo tents are busy, the tourists pouring into town, many people obviously runners, the European ones clad in adidas gear, and there is a great excitement in the air. I never knew what a big deal the Boston marathon for Boston really is. Still, the nerves are raw from 2 years ago, the memories too vivid. Special, make-shift memorials are erected where the bomb exploded, but in true Boston strong fashion (similar to the NYC tenacity), the show (and life) does go on.

Each store along Newbury Street and Boylston Street had these Boston Strong potted Daffodils.

Good luck for the runners! Unfortunately, it looks like it will rain on Monday.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Light and warmth infused humans

Sometimes I feel humans are not much different from plants. When do the plants in the garden know that it is time and safe to grow those leaves and flowers? They don’t have a calendar. It is sensing based --- sensing that it is warm and that there is plenty of sunshine. Humans are similar --- as soon as we ‘feel’ (sense) that the temperatures rise to a certain degree, the sun shines long hours and it is warm consistently for a few days it seems like we are infused by some life nectar, too, which provides energy to run long distances and go places.

At least that is what happens to me and what brought me to Boston.

In Boston, a lot more people seem to feel it.

While the nature here at Boston Commons is on the cusp of blooming, the people are more than ready to get in the streets and eat outside again.

The city gets ready for more long distance runners…

The finish of the Boston marathon.

It feels a bit eery,sad and raw to walk by all those stores and places where just 2 years ago this terrible tragedy happened. But then, Boston is boston strong, and everyone does their best to put it behind them.

The Apple watches are in store, but not ready for sale yet. I am not sure about the Apple watch; it seems to be able to connect to an Iphone via bluetooth to get messages?! Or do they have wifi? That would make them interesting.

Spring is here, at least for a few days because we get spring showers. But the snow seems to be done for the season. Halleluja!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Goddess Green Kale Hummus

Waking up this morning, the light coming in through the bedroom window was so low that I knew I would need to keep the lights on all day. In an effort to make the best out of this rainy, snowy, dark Easter Saturday, I designated it to be a ‘pajamas day’, an in-house day, cozy in front of the tv with endless netflix movies, never needing to wear any ‘real’ clothes and no need for make-up either, getting some work done, and otherwise just lingering. Sounded great.

Recently, I figured out that a neuro-fuzzy logic rice cooker is the perfect device to cook dried chickpeas without having to plan ahead and soaking them first. A slow cooker takes about 12h without soaking, a pressure cooker 45min but I feel compelled to watch the dangerous device; electric pressure cookers are about $100 but all of them are really big (6-12 cup) and I do not need another gadget. So, I tried the rice cooker last week and in one normal rice cooking cycle it also cooked dry chickpeas to perfection.

kale hummus_chickpeas

These are channa masala (black chickpeas) which I picked up in an Indian store. About 1 cup of dried chickpeas, plenty of water (I filled about half the pot), 2 bay leaves and putting it on basmati rice cooking.

With my second batch of chickpeas, I made hummus for the week, but not just any hummus, a goddess green hummus with kale. So simple, and so good!

kale hummus_g

Green Goddess Kale Hummus (makes ca. 2 cups)

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, liquid reserved, otherwise some water 
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel (or kosher salt), or to taste
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup tahini  (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
  • 3 large handfuls of chopped lacinato kale
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
Place all ingredients into a food processor (except the salt) and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Add water as needed to make the hummus come together and get the right consistency. Scoop into a bowl and drizzle with a good quality olive oil.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hello April

The spring is slowly forthcoming this year. The days are longer, sunnier, but there are still 2 feet of ugly snow on the ground almost everywhere. Not in the south of Maine, though. They are snow-free, mostly.  It is April and I have hopes that by the end of the month it might actually feel like spring. I try not to be one to complain, because, afterall, this is life, and every day wasted with looking at the negative and wanting something else, is never coming back. So, why not make it a day to remember.

With the lack of blog posts, you probably have realized that I have been less than inspired to cook lately. A real inspiration slump. I do not care to bring lunch and I do not even care to grab lunch, and then I eat a candy bar I have in the office. My excitement went on spring break and never came back. Maybe, I just need a major change, but I don’t know what this could/should be. Summer?

So, I leave you with things I found on the internets in the hope they might inspire me (or you);

eats_april

Eats in April. And meals.

palat_schinken

Ready for Austrian Royal sweets? These are crepes, the Austrian version. The dough is sweeter than the dough of crepes, but otherwise they are quite similar. Always filled with some apricot or strawberry or raspberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. (Original name: Palatschinken, for instruction check this post). (Equally fabulous: Kaiserschmarrn, Nocken and Viennese Apple Strudle. This one deserves a photo of its own. )

apfelstrudel

Easter is on its way. Please only buy chocolate bunnies for the kids. Not real ones.

BDSC_0498

And now I will enjoy the sunny day and a half, because the weatherman says, the Easter weekend will be a big natural make-over, with plenty of rain and then a new layer of immaculate snow. Old man winter is still refreshing his make-up. His real name seems to be Dorian Gray.