Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hey Toto We're Not in Kansas Anymore- Or Hey Don We're not in San Fran Anymore!

Life is more distracted- more cluttered, more options- more responsibilities- a longer walk to the washer and dryer. I'm still trying to find a pace in it all- but trust me- I'm doing a whole bunch of lurching in one direction- and then another. In San Fran there just wasn't much to decide- I went to work- then we decided which restaurant to walk to- then we talked- or sat- or read- or watched "The Daily Show" (I love the "Daily Show"- Don has got to step up to the plate with this new DVR- and get me "The Daily Show"- I need to laugh a bit more...Done my dear, we have been recording all week.) And then there were always the BIG DISCUSSIONS- exactly where would we hike or adventure on the weekend. That was life in San Fran- but it just isn't life in Cincy. Probably San Fran was our Oz- and we are back in Kansas again.

It was a type of Oz. It does seem so long ago or maybe never at all. It just seems that we are back to normal, but normal has shifted and taken a slightly different path. The country is in real crisis and even we are feeling the effects. We will get our stride eventually and it will seem like home again, but for now it seems something has changed.

Life just isn't the same here- so mostly I wander around checking Facebook- Email- And cleaning out yet another closet-the attic- (I'll give the attic it's very own blog account- cleaning the attic was a very big deal- probably because we'd actually never cleaned the attic for over 15 years- and let me tell you- that is a long, long time to go without cleaning an attic of an old, old house. But we'll talk about that later.) Believe me, it was a crusade that we finally won. Max had the hard part of sorting, saving, and throwing away. I did the dirty work which in this case was much easier. Details at 11.

And it is winter- BIG TIME WINTER- cold, cold cold- and snow- five inches- now we're getting that freezing rain on top of the snow- and then we're to get more snow. I took the Too Cute out today for a few errands- and trust me she was giving me dirty looks for dragging her from San Fran- the land of the forever MILD- where a cold snap means high 50s and and heat spell is around mid 80's. The real problem is that since we now have a dumpster and a load of lumber in our driveway, our garage is just a memory. Luckily I remember how to scrap ice and snow off every morning. This a.m. the Smart had about a quarter inch of ice on it. It looked like it was frozen inside an ice cube.

But there is a fire in the wood stove...

And the dogs at our feet.
This is indeed a MAJOR winter storm- and I don't think that any of you will be too surprised to know that our Don- in a Level III Snow Emergency with only emergency travel permitted on the roads- did get up this morning at the regular time, dress, pack his lunch, scrape the car and travel over the treacherous roads to his desk at P&G where he now sits. You've just got to love and admire that devotion to ones company.
But- I'm home- And I felt that I just must dress in my heaviest coat- and boots- and gloves- and get some pictures for our faithful readers...

And you can tell that the Too Cute is quite shocked at the turn of events in her life...

And Brutus- our Big Furry Lab- (the Grandpuppy from Amber)- loves this weather- and will stay out and sniff and romp in the beauty of it all.

And Don's Christmas present- oh I didn't tell you about Don's Christmas Present- well he got an indoor herb garden- HE LOVES IT! I'm not sure but he might like this present almost as much as he liked the kitchen counter KitchenAid Mixer- or maybe the food processor- or maybe the cookware- but this might be his favorite. I do know how to pick just the perfect Christmas Present for My Man! So we have spring planting inside- out of the cold. I must admit that it is a difficult choice about which of those gifts I like the best. Max always does such a great job of knowing just exactly what I want or need every year. In fact it always seems that she knows a whole lot better than me what I want or need.

Can't use them in cooking yet- but I'm hopeful that before spring??? For perspective, those plant (if you can call them plants at this stage) are about 1/4 inch tall. We will hold off on the harvest for a few more days.

And before I forget- WE CELEBRATED THE INAUGURATION! Not exactly as if we were there-we weren't so cold- and it wasn't near so crowded. And I did get to hear the speech three times- once real time- once on NPR later- and then once in the replay celebration with friends. And I had my camera ready for all my favorite moments like:

And when the camera got passed to Joe Biden- because his angle was just a bit better- I got just a bit misty eyed- because it's so real- so very American- children- families- grandparents...
And then we had the PARTY- that wasn't crowded- with home made pizza and good wine- and all the champagne you might want (none for me thank you kindly- don't like the bubbly so much anymore- I take mine straight- not carbonated)... We did have Don and Mary Jo Peairs and Mary Ezra over to celebrate with us. Mary Jo was a big Obama campaigner, so this was truly a celebration for her.

It was so much fun! And my guess is that we had a lot more fun than a lot of folks in all the party dresses- and the cold. My guess is that all of the people who went to the inauguration to celebrate didn't mind the cold or the crowd. I think they just wanted to be a part of this history and be able to tell their children and grandchildren that they were there on the Mall that day.

And we LOVED THE DRESS! Although a few of us didn't really care who did or didn't like the dress. As though we worry if someone doesn't like our tie. And we think it's a good thing Barack wanted to be PRESIDENT- and not the winner of DANCING WITH THE STARS- I think he would have lost!

After all of this diversion, I thought maybe I'd share just a bit of how there's still just a "taste" of San Fran in the air here in Kansas . I fixed THE NOODLE BOWL.
So back to now- in the middle of the MIDWEST- in a very cold winter storm- And well- I found a little bit of that West Coast for dinner. One of my favorite restaurants in San Fran- that is until it went out of business because of the high cost of doing business in San Fran- was a noodle shop called Zao. And I loved the noodle bowl. It's rather like the Asian equivalent of pizza night- or Marianne's Super Nachos- Favorite food for no reason in particular.

Well the noodle bowl is like that- pizza- or nachos- or mac and cheese- This was one of Max's favorites and I must say it was good, not very expensive, and within our evening mile walk to dinner route.

So I thought maybe I'd share (don't worry girls- I really am going to eventually get to the chili recipe- it's on my list- and eventually it will meander it's way to the top- but not today)- Today is about the NOODLE BOWL. It's rather like a salad in a bowl of warm broth- trust me it's good- and it's a great way to have a salad when it is soooo cold outside.

So let's start with the
*4-5 cups of vegetable broth (or you can use chicken- on a later post I'm going to talk about the joy of homemade vegetable broth - cheaper- and easier than going to the store- and you stop feeling guilty about the vegetables you are throwing into the compost pail- or trash can).

*4 garlic gloves- smashed with a hammer (just want to crush it, don't pound it into counter top)
*2 pods of star anise- or you can use 2 sticks of cinnamon- or both- I didn't have the cinnamon sticks

*2 inch of ginger- sliced- and hammered (crushed, just crushed)- Don does this real well!
*2 TBSP of fish sauce- keeps forever- cheap-

*1 TBSP of soy sauce

*1 TBSP of sugar

Simmer in a sauce pan while you're chopping the rest of the "stuff"- you're going to strain the broth over the serving bowls- so all the "solid stuff" in this broth goes into the compost pail- not into your stomach.

Soak 6 ounces of rice noodles (vermicelli or other)- I just covered the noodles with water I had boiled in my tea pot- and left them to soak.
Since this is called a noodle bowl, I would put more noodles in it and I wouldn't use the rice noodles that we used last night. Remember that these noodles are the main component of calories in this dish, so if you are hungry, add more noodles and use flour noodles. Rice noodles are just too slippery to a good hold on them

Heat the oven to 400 degrees (if you'd like to add shrimp- if not skip this part- you also could add chicken or beef- or not- or even tofu- or not) I tossed the shrimp in a chili oil (Asian) and then right before I was ready to serve I cooked in oven- about 6 total minutes- We "flipped" after 3 minutes.

Now to the "salad" part:

Bean sprouts

Green onions- we used 1 bunch

Avocado- 1

Mint leaves- 2 tbsp- or more to taste

Cilantro- 2 tbsp- or more to taste

Jalapeno pepper- we used WAY TOO MUCH- so watch the heat- we used 1 pepper with 1/2 the seeds- this was not our best decision. I drank two glasses of water to keep my mouth from totally rebelling...

You can also use basil- or tomato- or bok choy- or lettuce-

Like I said, do you seen any real substantial food in this above list? It's broth and these veggies, so add some real food to it if you are hungry.

To Assemble:
Fill the serving bowls with hot broth, Add the noodles. Then top with the "Salad". Then add the shrimp (you could use chicken, beef or tofu as well if you want).And you can almost imagine the hills of San Fran out your apartment window- Or Maybe see the Bay on your drive to work- everyday- as you catch your breath one more time with the beauty of it all.


Beyond The Strip said...

Great pics of the winter storm. I'm sure you will settle back into Kansas soon.

Liz said...

We are so ice covered too! Mike's work is closed, so he is home too. Your noodle bowl looks yummy. Remind me to tell you about the Sushi and Japanese food place we found down here, it is so good and so much fun.

Nurse Horrible said...

Nothing here in NYC is canceled, even with our several inches of snow.

And that soup looks a lot like something Sharon makes that is mmmm mmmmm yummy!

T-Bird said...

Will you adopt me?

Myrtle Spyker said...

I have lots of aerogarden advice ( or warnings) to give. :)one I'm afraid is retired and away for a while nut I did get wonderful basil out of it. I tried several of the kits. We should chat about it :)