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September 2005

September 28, 2005

Pretty, and you can drink it too!

My frst serious fall color, a staghorn sumac that's still in its pot and tucked away in a back corner of the yard. This was going to be just a pretty picture to celebrate the turning of the seasons, but then I found a recipe for Sumac wine!

Sumac wine? Who knew! (and why didn't they tell me?) I don't have a significant amount of berries this year, so I can't try it now, but I bet I can turn up enough to try this next year. There's the kind of project I can get behind--one with a deadline that's an entire year away.

23, 5, ramble


I feel a bit like I should draw a rune to go with this post, it's all so mystically numeric. Kayln of Kayln's Kitchen has tagged me for the latest meme, in which one counts 23 posts from the start of their blog, takes the 5th sentence, and goes deep.

Wish me luck.

Continue reading "23, 5, ramble" »

September 27, 2005

Fish Tail Soup

This one's for Shauna, just because she's making soup and I really want an excuse to use this photo. I've been collecting things in the freezer lately and needed to clear out some space so I thought I'd start with the largest single item I could lay my hands on: the remnants of a 40 pound sturgeon. I made a very simple fish stock, partially because it offers the widest range of options if it's made without lots of additional flavors and partially because I had a lame selection of vegetables in the house. This will end up as the base for some sort of fish stew shortly.



  1. Take one sturgeon, butcher, toss head and tail in garbage bag and freeze.
  2. Remove from freezer and realize that it's huge and won't fit into any reasonable sized pot.
  3. Sigh deeply and pull out canning pot.
  4. Fill with gallons of water because the fish must be at least mostly covered.
  5. Add fish parts, leeks, onion, bay, thyme, lovage and salt.
  6. Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally while trying not to notice the fish's baleful stare from its watery grave. (be glad I am only posting a picture of the tail)
  7. Shudder.
  8. Strain liquid into largest stockpot in house.
  9. Grab second stockpot because first is aboout to overflow.
  10. Search desperately for bag to hold the now disintegrating fish head and tail.
  11. Stick bag with fish in canning pot and slap lid on quickly in futile hope of containing the smell just a bit.
  12. Realize that everything will actually fit into one pot. Add second (or is that third) stockpot to ever-growing pile on counter.
  13. Simmer stock to reduce to some reasonable quantity, thereby releasing approximately a gallon and a half of highly aromatic fish-water into in-house atmosphere.
  14. Look at clock, realize it's closer to dawn than midnight, turn up heat on stock, enhancing the olfactory experience.
  15. Open kitchen window to vent smell, while turning off kitchen lights so the flying things that are smaller than the screen won't get any bright ideas. turn up heat some more.
  16. Decide that this is going to take longer than it seems like it should. Prepare ice water bath for stock, making as much noise as possible in the process so as to annoy the sleeping person.
  17. Cool stock and stick it in fridge to deal with in the morning in hopes that the oil on top will solidify a bit and make it easier to skim. (note to self: fish oil is liquid at pretty much any temperature you can hope to produce in the typical kitchen)
  18. Fall into bed in total exhaustion just as the dawn light begins twinkling in the eastern sky.
  19. Next morning, decide to get started on cleaning while water is on to boil for first cup of tea and remove lid from canning pot, totally forgetting about the fish that's been in it at room temperature for the last 12 hours.
  20., really shudder...

(this recipe has been included in And They Cook, Too, a fundraising cookbook for Doctors Without Borders...check it out for both recipes and amusement...)

September 25, 2005

adorable kittens!

Forgive the redundant title, but they are so squeeable!

Not much talk, just want to share the cuteness that lives up the street from me. First, one of a pair of twins, investigating what we humans were up to--I believe it was wine and bread with a variety of toppings.
TwinpeeksAnd introducing our new kitten! Currently called "tuxette" because mom is Tux, she's going to need a new name soon. We're looking for a friend for her, but the twins don't seem inclined to be very social so it's not going to be one of them. Is this not an adorable furling?

Hurry over to eat stuff to see the rest of this week's cats.

The players so far:

Check out Matildes puss playing Hide and Seek! at Skør i Skralden
Check out Macroom strutting it with the big cats at Dispensing Happiness
Check out the cat showing her displeasure at the idea of WDB at Belly Timber
Check out Tasha waking up from a nap at A few of my favourite things
Check out The Stunning Nero at Anne's Food
Check out The big black sweetie named Jazz at Look hunny, I cooked.
Check out Meow Meow relaxing in her new bed at Masak Masak
Check out Alices's boys relxing on a Saturday morning at My Adventures in the Breadbox
Check out Farmgirls best pal the doodle monster washing herself at Farmgirl Fare
Check out bussi practising the art of feline hedonism at basic juice
Check out Lucky taking a well positioned nap at The Countess
Check out Grey Kitty the not quite stray at Restaurant Widow
Check out luke curled up with Nick at Sweetnicks
Check out the Gorgeous Kittaya  taking a nap at Mananadi

September 24, 2005

If I had a salmon -- part.2

If your fishmonger doesn't look like this, your fish isn't fresh enough.

Sorry, that was just mean. But isn't that downright idyllic? This is just outside the back door of my fishmonger and I can't think of a prettier place to go shopping.

Continue reading "If I had a salmon -- part.2" »

Leveraging is the sincerest form of flattery

Once upon a time I worked for a bigCompany where people were encouraged to "leverage" other people's good work rather than constantly recreating the wheel. This was great within the company, because it helped the good data to rise to the top and stay there--of course, so did some of the bad but oh well... This also meant that, if you happened to be someone who came up with a good idea or write something useful, you recognized things--your things--when they came around on the guitar, again and again. Sort of flattering...mostly.

Within the industry that said bigCompany tended to, err, what's the word I am looking for, oh yeah, dominate there was lots of leveraging. In fact, sometimes it seemed that the entire industry was one big leveraging party; every time one company came up with a great idea, a bunch of other companies came up with something an awful lot like that first thing. Just a little bit different, just enough to attract another slice of the market. And then the leveraging and the leveraged would fight it out in the public marketplace until someone (usually not the leveraged) would win the battle for consumer dollars.

It's not like anyone was doing anything they shouldn't have been doing, in fact it's pretty much a normal marketing thing; see something new that's selling and try to snatch the market--like cupcakes, ten years ago they were just for kids, now they are leveraged near-to-death. Think of it as a big corporate meme, except they make money at it.

All of this is the long way around to introducing a new feature, heavily leveraged...and meant as the sincerest form of flattery. Without further ado, I bring you...

Continue reading "Leveraging is the sincerest form of flattery" »

September 21, 2005

If I had a salmon...

If I had a salmon,
I'd smoke it in the morning;
I'd steak it in the evening,
All over the sand.
(sing-along with me, you know the tune)

Isn't that a gorgeous piece of fish? A sprinkle of salt, sprigs of lemon thyme from the garden, dinner doesn't get much prettier than this, does it?

Continue reading "If I had a salmon..." »

September 20, 2005

What's in your freezer?

Living out here in evenTinierTown, with the nearest serious grocery store almost an hour away, gives one a whole new appreciation for having a well stocked larder. I rediscovered this when I went out to the freezer to grab some butter to make cookies and found I had none. No butter? Frell and frack! I was within spitting distance of my friendly local** Costco just a few days ago and blew off stopping because I couldn't think of anything critical that I needed.

**local meaning an hour away, over the mountains, through the woods, past grandmother's house, across the second largest river in the United States and then another bridge over the edge of the Pacific Ocean, in another state... yeah, local...

Continue reading "What's in your freezer?" »

September 16, 2005

My own private Iron Chef

It all started with an innocent remark, "No, I didn't have time to get in a garden this year, I'd love some stuff from yours." Then I forgot about it for a couple of days, because we were at a wine-tasting and there was an auction going on.

Luckily for me, my friend K. didn't forget. In fact, she remembered in a big way. I now have magic purple beans (they turn green when you cook them), tomatoes, pattypan squash, cukes, rainbow chard, onions (both green and red), and serrano peppers. There's also a bag full of herbs including beautiful rosemary, epazote, and some other herbs I can't remember.

Now the question is what to do with the bounty.

Continue reading "My own private Iron Chef" »

September 14, 2005

Useful, time suck, or both...?

Oh my, this could be trouble. Google has a blog searching interface.

My first few searches show a fair amount of noise-to-signal, some duplication, and lots of hits. Some results also show "related blogs" at the top; apparently matches based on blog title since a search for "kitchenmage" shows mine and "pim" shows Pim's, but "Clotilde" doesn't show hers while "chocolate" does. Along with almost three-quarters of a million hits! 

Indexing the blog title for use like this is an interesting aspect of this search feature--particularly for new bloggers. Bets on how long until someone puts up a blog called something like "I want to be Pim!" to take advantage of this?

I am not sure what's up with the duplicated results, and there are quite a few on some searches, but it's still fairly new so maybe this will sort out soon. Also available: RSS and Atom feeds for your searches; sort of like Google Alerts for blogs. (which reminds me, I am still looking for a feed reader I like, anyone got one they recommend?)

I think I'm voting for useful time suck...and now I must go figure out how to tweak my searches and work on that signal-to-noise ratio.

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