Tuesday, October 30, 2012

why are french omelettes made with only one egg?

because one egg is un ouef! my chickens have been feeding me very well. minnie is amazing--she's laid an egg every single day since she started! i can tell because she's the only one whose eggs are brown.

 on november 1 she will have laid 90 eggs. we'll celebrate with a big bowl of their new favorite treat--cooked oatmeal.

 lately i've gotten more adventurous with my egg recipes. here are some of the things i've made:

3-egg pesto veggie omelette with rainbow tomato salad

 first i made two batches of pesto with homegrown basil. one with regular sweet basil, one with purple basil:

 sadly the purple basil did not make purple-colored pesto like i had hoped. but it was even more delicious than the regular basil batch. i blended the leaves with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and nutritional yeast for the cheese-y flavor.

 this was the best omelette i've ever eaten. i added a mini tomato rainbow side salad, and homegrown onion and bell pepper for the filling. the pepper was rainbow too:

 oeufs en cocotte

 my first attempt at oeufs en cocotte failed big time. i read somewhere that you can cook them in the toaster oven. lies. the eggs bulged out of their cocotte sockets like swollen orange eyeballs, and they were tough and rubbery to eat:

 what worked for me was cooking them on the stove in a shallow water bath. this might be the best treatment for showing off those gorgeous orange yolks.

 eggs baked in stuffed squash

 i hollowed out two peter pan and one ronde de nice squash and fed the insides to the chickens, then rubbed the squash shells with garlic olive oil and baked them until soft. i stuffed them with a mixture of wild rice and homegrown peppers, onions and tomatoes, cracked an egg on top of each and baked again until the eggs were cooked. the trickiest part is leaving the right amount of space at the top for the egg to rest. i had some overflow issues. i used summer squash but this could be tweaked for winter squashes--i bet acorn squash would be tasty. or even little pumpkins!

 double yolk hard boiled eggs

 i bought a pack of "as seen on TV" contraptions for cooking hard boiled eggs without the shell. they're basically plastic pods that you crack eggs into and then boil. i think i remember seeing the infomercial years ago and thinking, wow, what idiot would buy those. well...they were on clearance, and i thought they would be helpful since my chickens' eggs are impossible to peel after being hard boiled. the chambers are huge, so i fit two eggs in each and cooked them up.

the oyster plate belonged to my mom's mom. i misremembered it as a deviled egg plate and asked my mom to dig it out for me. it works perfectly for eggs too though.

 bread pudding

this was my first time eating bread pudding. i refused to eat it as a kid because i thought it involved liquified bread. i've always had serious issues with certain food textures, and liquified bread is about the worst thing i can imagine. but bread pudding is delicious!

 sunday brunch casserole

 i altered this recipe to make it veg. i sauteed tofurkey slices to stand in for the bacon, and used daiya cheese for the topping. also, i pre-cooked the hash browns rather than just thawing them. this is serious comfort food.

 egg salad--another comfort food. my mom taught me a trick to make egg salad extra creamy and delicious: use a microplane grater to shred the eggs. i smoosh them up with a small dollup of veganaise, some minced parsley and salt.

 banana bread

i prefer using egg replacer for quickbread. i have such a good vegan quickbread recipe worked out that there's no need to mess with it, but i tried it with eggs anyway.

 mediterranean scrambled eggs

 onions, tomato and a bunch of basil in scrambled eggs. i made this on saturday with all homegrown veggies, which is quite a treat this late in the year. i still have pounds and pounds of tomatoes left.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

big day

yesterday was the big release of the new operating system that i've been documenting for the past seven months. yesterday also marked my 9-month anniversary at my "new" job.

it's unlike anything i ever thought i would do. i never knew much about computers...i used them for the normal things everyone uses them for, but when it came to troubleshooting and eradicating viruses and changing settings and such, i was COMPLETELY clueless. even reading how-tos online was confusing and miserable.

i've always wanted to be able to fix computers, just because it is so emotionally devastating to me when they get messed up. i'm a stubborn DIY person who would sit in front of my computer freaking out for hours on end, wanting to throw it out a window, rather than hire an expert. it's an extremely vulnerable feeling for me, not knowing how to fix something. i hate it.

so i came to the job eager to learn. for the first couple months they gave me easy stuff to work on, then it got more challenging. now i'm writing and editing tech support documents for things like replacing memory, updating BIOS, fixing broken optical drives, troubleshooting USB drives and memory card readers and misc. peripheral devices, improving system performance, etc.

a lot of what i've been working on for the last few months is rewriting popular support documents for the new OS. it's actually really fun, especially creating the graphics. figuring out the re-writes can be tricky--the process is never the same, sometimes it's radically different.

now that i'm familiar with how these things are done it's a treat to get to start a whole new document from scratch. the first one i wrote was pathetic...not only did i have no idea what i was doing, but the information source was weak: a powerpoint about how this new technology was theoretically *supposed* to work, but no info from experts who had actually tried it, and no way to test it myself. it was a nightmare, i still suspect it might have been part of a hazing ritual. the main obstacle was that i needed a phone with NFC capability. no one in the office had one.

about a month ago i bought a samsung galaxy s3 that has NFC. (NFC = near field communication, the thing that lets devices share info by bumping into each other). we also got this gorgeous new computer that has NFC, and the new OS has native support for NFC. so for about a week i was doing hands-on research and experimentation, sending things back and forth by touching the phone to the computer. there isn't a lot of documentation out there about this yet, so i felt like a trailblazer, it was exciting!

another fun thing about the job is that i get to do a few hours of tech support on an online forum every week. last week i reached "expert" status. they had this fun caricature of me made for my profile avatar:

created by this artist. i love the forums. it's wonderful getting to help people directly, and i learn a lot doing it.

so that's the gist of my slow descent into nerdism thus far. i haven't written on here about my job very much, because it probably doesn't sound very interesting, but i'm having a good time with it. the high points might not be as high as at my last job, but the low points are much easier to deal with--there's pretty much no stress. my worst days there are just kind of boring.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

harvest moonfest, fall veggies and jack frost carnage

 the first frost hit thursday the 4th of this month. there was about a week of cool weather with temperatures right around freezing every night, and eventually all my non-hardy garden plants died, except for the ones i brought inside and the ones i covered with blankets. all my tomatoes, basils, and both naranjilla plants are still alive. now it's warmer again, but very fall-like.

 the last saturday of september, right before the weather turned chilly, i hosted a harvest moon celebration. homegrown veggie cookout, tomato tasting, vegan potluck, and so much beer. it was a fabulous time and the weather was perfect--low 80s/upper 70s to start, and stayed in the 60s late into the night.

 this is the tomato tasting table. i put out samples of all the varieties i had ripe at the time. the crowd favorite was chocolate stripe, a strikingly beautiful, salty, super-flavorful beefsteak (my favorite too):

 i made wild rice, homegrown veggie salsa, and grilled squash and potatoes. victoria and kim brought a very tasty and complex savory pineapple salad, jeanne and kyle brought some huge, fancy homegrown eggplants for the grill, andrea brought a fantastic vegan huckleberry crumble made with berries she picked herself. there was way too much delicious food.

 unfortunately i didn't get photos while guests were here. it was a challenging day, i'd had a cold for a few days in the week leading up--so instead of cleaning house/yard and prepping as planned, all week i was letting dishes pile up and being tired and unmotivated. i ended up having to do everything on saturday, starting at 7 in the morning and finishing minutes before people began arriving. it put me in such a surprisingly good mood though, since i'd already gone past the point of exhaustion, i was deliriously happy the whole evening.

 poor little potato was stung by a wasp during the party! i hadn't noticed there's a wasp nest at the base of the apple tree, and he stuck his head right in there and got stung on the ear. it was the saddest thing. he didn't yelp or cry, but he ran around like he was on fire, shaking his head and looking horrified. after a while he calmed down and was just deeply, deeply sad the rest of the night. he sulked around the yard throwing himself at peoples' feet for sympathy. he was fine the next morning, and the swelling went away after just a few days. but he's still afraid of the apple tree.

 recent harvests and garden photos:

 nepalese bell peppers have elegant flowers. the peppers themselves are crazy looking:

 my giant pot of basil is taking up more than its share of space in the mudroom. i was planning on keeping it into the winter, but now i think i'll harvest and preserve it or try to use it up fast.

 corno de toro gaillo and sweet bell peppers. they started turning ripe colors after i brought them inside. best bell peppers i've ever grown--heavy, thick walls, delicious.

 anatomically correct japanese black trifele tomato.

 udumalpet eggplant.

 tomatillos are so very pretty.

 my apple harvest this year was completely non-existent. the squirrels stole every single apple.

 i didn't even know squirrels liked apples that much. i'm at peace with the lack of apples, because the squirrels left all my other plants alone. didn't take a single tomato. i'd much rather have tomatoes than apples.

 i can't believe summer is over and it's almost halloween. has frost hit yet where you are?