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susan smitten

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Boston and oonh [Feb. 12th, 2016|10:32 am]
susan smitten
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A couple of weeks ago, I went to Boston, and got to spend an evening and a morning in oonh's world (a delightful place to be).


But first, I bundled up. My mom made this hat. My mom made this scarf.


oonh speaks in words you can't find in the dictionary.


But sometimes you can google them.


He makes doodles that are at once precise and abstract, and evoke odd feelings of elation.


And he performs magic with these.


In fact, he uses (and designs) many tools to create fantastical rainbows.


Some Hungarian forints in my wallet invoked a probing into the devalued Hungarian pengő, a currency from the early part of the last century whose value had many orders of magnitude (i.e. lots of zeroes).


Then we left the house. This is Owen's local.


Dosa & Curry had just reopened, in time for us to murder its buffet.


Uttapam, mmm.


I exchanged a few Hungarian forints for some Wonzlo Sterling.


Quick and necessary Douglas Adams binge.


This box contains exactly what it says it does. oonh removes the corners from his papers. Down with rectangles.


I tried to operate a 3Doodler. As you can see, I've not got the hang of it.


Then my taxi had arrived. I grabbed a quick selfie. oonh is a real friend, in this dimension and many others.

Owen, I liked the part where we were typing on two keyboards attached to the same open text document. That was a giggle fest. And of course, I'm always thrilled to go through your papers, journals, and drawings. I eagerly anticipate our next reunion.
linkmind the misty sea

Here's some food I've cooked [Dec. 27th, 2015|06:49 am]
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Let's start with a drink. Here's a Michelada, made using Chef John's recipe. I made the juice with tomatoes, celery, red and yellow peppers, and a tiny little habanero, and used Corona as the base.


That same day, I made a vegan taco salad and guacamole. That's Yves mince standing in for the meat, cooked with freshly ground cumin, tomato paste, chili powder, and oregano.


This was fried rice with butternut squash and a couple of habaneros. And lots of garlic and onions, as you can see. Butternut squash freezes well, by the way, so next time you have too much of it, cube it and freeze it. Run it under warm water before cooking with it.


This was a midnight snack. Pan fried broccoli with garlic chips and a sauce made from tomatoes and white balsamic vinegar.


I like spaghetti. A lot. This was made with some kind of fake sausage (Tofurkey chicken and apple would be my guess), carrots, and asparagus.


I mean, I really like spaghetti. I'm a pastafarian. Shown here with courgettes (zucchini) and fresh thyme.


You know what else I like? Tofu. I always have to photograph it, because tofu and vegetables look pretty in pictures. I usually add cashews to my tofu dishes.


This is a breakfast skillet made from potatoes, carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, and fake sausage. I think this time it was Field Roast brand. I cube and boil the potatoes while I fry up the onions, garlic, and other veggies. I include broccoli when I have it. Then the potatoes get fried up with the rest of the ingredients.


Refried beans and guac. I always sautée garlic and jalapeños before adding the can of beans, then add some freshly ground cumin, then about half a can of tomatoes. Lately, I have green onions growing in my window garden, and you should, too. Your Tex Mex and baked potatoes will thank you for it.


More pasta and more fake meat. Fake butter. Real bread.


Another midnight snack ~ "bruschetta," nearly, made by slicing and toasting a hot dog bun, and making a relish of tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic, garlic, and fresh basil.


My basil plant lasted almost ten months, but one day I came home from work and found it had flowered. Pretty, isn't it?


This is foul medammes. It's a breakfast food, but in this case, it was a midnight (or 2am) snack.


More tofu, this time with enoki mushrooms. Tastes beautiful and is pretty, too.


Green bean salad. I've posted about this recipe before.


Tofu with oyster mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms taste like nothing else. Look at this tofu. Look at it!
link6 footsteps|mind the misty sea

Just Tokyo Things [Oct. 26th, 2015|09:55 pm]
susan smitten
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I had a brief layover in Tokyo earlier this month. Here are some quirky things I picked up when I went out shopping.


Banana flavored chu-hi. I never knew the world had a need for alcoholic banana soda, but I have seen the light.


Collagen treatment masks with faces drawn on them are a thing. This one makes the user resemble a daruma.


I needed some cotton buds, and I also needed my fortune told. So I picked up these o-mikuji cotton buds. O-mikuji are blessings and curses you draw from a box. Or in my bathroom, from a container of cotton buds.


Like so. Chotto shock ya omahen ga!? (I'm not totally sure what that means, but I think it may be right.)
link2 footsteps|mind the misty sea

How to Make a Cold Couscous Salad (Really Slow) [Oct. 17th, 2015|03:06 pm]
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Want to know how I made this couscous? I've written about it before, but this time, I'll show you.


Start by chopping a cucumber and a cup of tomatoes. Put them in a container. Or a baggie... I used to use a container, but at some point in history, it became a baggie.


Jog over to the window to cut down some mint. Avoid stepping on a piece of glass broken by cats that might be nestled in the carpet. If you require supervision, ask a ginger cat to observe.


You'll also need some olive oil, lemons, oregano, and a cup of dry couscous. And salt and pepper ~ these are crucial.


Toss everything together, and refrigerate for around 24 hours. You'll want the mixture to be wet enough for the couscous to absorb the liquid, so add maybe a half a cup of water if the lemon juice doesn't cover it. The tomatoes and cucumbers will provide some liquid, too.


The result is delightful. The couscous is perfectly seasoned, and not too soft or mushy. I usually add more salt and pepper at the end. In the first picture, avocado has been added. I tossed a creamy, ripe avocado in lemon juice before tossing it with the couscous salad. Because I really, really, really like lemons. Enjoy!

This entry has been dedicated to mrputter, mcgillianaire, beaglebot, et al.
link5 footsteps|mind the misty sea

So how is Dubai? [Sep. 11th, 2015|06:39 pm]
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Well, Dubai is hot, and it's under construction. As per usual!


And it truly is hot. Earlier this summer we saw temperatures of 47-48ºC nearly every day. That's about 117-118ºF.


That never stops me from going outside.

My weather app informs me that today was a cool 39ºC (102ºF) but Thursday shall take us back up to 43ºC (roughly 109ºF). These temperatures sound like a pleasant spring day to me.


As I said, Dubai is still a work in progress. The latest madness being built here is the Dubai Water Canal, named so as not to confuse it with other kinds of canals. It was announced years ago, before the credit crunch, and then I heard nothing about it for a while. It is fully underway now.


See, there's this creek in the old part of Dubai. (Photo not mine.)


And at the start of the new part of Dubai, around the Burj Khalifa (world's tallest building), there is a development called "Business Bay," which I've always felt was a terrible name for a "bay," which is located at the top left of this picture. (Photo is mine, but from 5+ years ago.) The creek will connect to the "bay," which will then flow through the Jumeirah neighborhood and reconnect with the Gulf.


Here's a picture I took on the 8th of this month. The giant, 14 lane highway is Sheikh Zayed Road. Observe how they have sneaked over and building a diversion, then opened the diversion, and built a series of elevated platforms where the old road was. The new road will be elevated.


I took this one, too. See what's happening to the right side of the diversion? Immediately above it is Safa Park. (I can post that entry without the spoiler cut now, in light of this construction, though it looks like much of the park will remain intact; I'd heard they were demolishing the park.)


Here's a map showing the canal passing next to Safa Park, and through Jumeirah Beach Park. These two parks are among the most vintage of cheap-and-cheerful outdoor spots in Dubai, and if the city manages not to ruin either, I'll rest easier. I drive through that area a lot, though, and it's chaos at the moment. I wish I could get pictures, but that just isn't practical when I'm navigating my car through it.


I suppose this is what it should look like. Renders of future Dubai always look rather lush and green.

Here are a few news articles:
Dubai Canal project at halfway stage - 2015/03/13
Bridges rise from iconic roads as Dubai Canal project flows - 2015/08/16
Roadwork in Jumeirah starts for $545m Dubai Canal - 2015/08/23
link3 footsteps|mind the misty sea

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