Monday, March 11, 2013

Marching Right Along

In keeping with my apparent one post per month kind of pace, I'm getting well ahead of the game for March.   The past weeks have been filled with my foray into the knitting world.  I have a really good teacher, she is nice to me and patient.  I forgot to take a picture of my very first knitting piece which was just a swatch of stitches and a veritable knitting playground.  I tried knitting and purling and did my best to remember what was what.  I made a couple ribbed sections and practiced switching between the two stitches until I was comfortable.  Then came the scarf . . .


Um, I made it out of yarn . . . and it is a cable pattern.  G still has the pattern, I thought it would be burned into my brain, but I only remember P4,K3,P4,K15,P4,K3,P4 . . . and P7,K4,P15,K4,P7.  There was some repetition and a little variation to get the cable part done.  I only had one big mess up where I didn't cable in the right direction and had to unknit a bunch of rows which was pretty scary, but we fixed it.

We also made some dumpling/potsticker things from scratch the other night.  Standard pasta and even ravioli are pretty easy for us as a team, but these guys were a new test.  I tried to take the easy way out when G offered to buy potsticker wrappers at Sakura Square, but unfortunately the market was already closed, so we blazed forward bravely with a new type of pasta dough.

The basic dough is flour, salt and boiling water.  For some reason I thought I'd be ok kneading for 10 minutes by hand so I skipped using the food processor.  After getting my workout in, it was time to roll, stuff and close some dumplings.


The dumpling press was purchased one morning at the Pacific Mercantile after we dined on dim sum at Super Star Asian.  It came in quite handy as hand crimping 36 dumplings would have been a chore.


For the filling, we went with shrimp, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, napa cabbage, and a few other ingredients.  G mixed up her favorite dipping sauce of garlic chili paste and soy.  The cooking process was fairly straight forward . . . brown one side of dumplings in pan, steam in pan, brown the other side lightly.


 The end result was delicious!

There have been some other various adventures since my last post.  We all, Dempsey included, went on ski vacation to Steamboat.  G and I took knife skills class at Cook St. and we both have all of our fingers still.  I rode bikes inside, I rode bikes outside . . . and despite the season, we made things grow . . .

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wow, February 2013

How/why is it already more than half way through the second month of 2013?  Since my ghost writer has been slacking on my blog posts, I figured I better step in and type something on my own.

There are so many things that happened between October 2012 and today so I'll hit the photographed highlights in no particular order:


G and I have made lots of pastas, various pastas . . . flavored, stuffed, thick noodle, thin noodle, basic, exotic . . . the picture above was a red wine pasta.  It had lovely color, but tasted mostly like . . . pasta.


I bought a couple new to me espresso machines after selling the Nuova Simonelli I bought a couple years back for $100.  Not too surprising, the 2-group machine was less expensive than the 1-group, but the benefit of the single group machine is that I can physically pick it up and take it into either shop if something happens.  I nerded out and put a PID controller on the single group machine for "fun".  It provides some semblance of temperature stability, but no great benefit beyond that.


It did actually snow in Denver once, at some point during the winter . . .


Thanks to new Local Velo sponsor Sugarlicious, we had more gummy candies to play with.  We give gummy army people a solid two thumbs up!


We have been to Dim Sum at Super Star Asian more than once in the past few months.  Dumplings are good!


G found out why Dempsey likes his bed so much . . .


We planted more things to grow in the gardening off season.  The paperwhites seemed like a good way to go and since the above was taken, they have grown significantly.  The succulent in an old portafilter just seemed so . . . artsy . . .


We traveled to snowy and cold locations, fortunately there were hot springs for soaking.  Unfortunately it was so cold south of Salida that the car froze and didn't want to start until we hooked up to a very robust battery and cranked and cranked and cranked . . . -17 degrees is cold!


We went to Steamboat, and stopped at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass on the way to stretch the legs and snowshoe before a weekend of skiing/snowboarding.


G rented skis with authority!  This was her first official ski vacation, longer than a day trip . . . fortunately we were rewarded with healthy snowfall over the weekend and had about a foot of fresh powder the last day of skiing.


We made a handy cutting board rack on the inside of the kitchen cabinet.  Thanks the internet!  You are so full of good ideas!  More to come . . .

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thus Ends the Growing Season

I've said it once and I'll say it again, the first year of gardening was reasonably successful.  It is all about managing expectation and mine were pretty low given I had no idea what I was doing.  We spent a couple hours clearing out the garden area after the NC trip since everything froze while we were gone.  I was amazed at how shallowly rooted the massive pumpkin and watermelon vines were, but that made it all that much easier to clear them out.


We did some work to start training the raspberries and blackberries, hopefully next year they will produce a little more.The raised beds are back to square one which is perfect for our plans for next season.  There is currently a massive research effort going on to identify what, how, when to grow and potentially why.  The last harvest of the season yielded much watermelon . . .


It was only after eating the green tomatoes that I found out you can let them ripen off the vine, they sure were  tasty as fried green tomatoes . . . for which the Rise & Shine secret chicken dredge worked perfectly.


G definitely provides some good support and motivation for getting things done around the house and the yard.  The pile of mulch that sat on the strawberry area finally got spread to other parts of the yard and the strawberry pot is now centered with a number of this year's runners planted in the ground.  Again, the hope is to increase yield beyond the handful of strawberries we had.


 Along with the end of the growing season comes the end of this being a part-time gardening blog.  Having a little more time in life has not only given me the opportunity to start updating the ol' blog again, but we've even left town a few times with more travel coming up . . .

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Signs . . .

The way people think is pretty fascinating and every once in a while you get a glimpse of that thought process, quite possibly still in its phases of infancy . . . half cooked and leaving plenty of room to question!


As we ease into autumn of 2012, it seems like advertising the garage sale of the century might be a hair on the premature side.  I did not take the opportunity to visit said garage sale of the century, but given that I didn't read about it in the national news shortly there after, I don't think it met its billing.


One of the best parts of living in a neighborhood is neighborly behavior.  I'd like to think that people have the capacity to look out for each other, even if there is no relationship established other than proximity.  Many neighborhoods have dog poo aid stations.  They don't all have to be as formal as seen above, often a neighbor effort comes in the form of something simple like a milk jug with a cut out in it so re-purposed plastic bags can be removed easily for poop control.



Apparently the dog owning brain trust in my n-hood couldn't figure out how the system works.  I personally have never imagined any sort of poo-fairy that would take care of the scene above.  Sigh . . .


There is no such thing as a free lunch.  Knowing what happens to coffee that sits around, especially coffee that isn't loved and looked after, the offer of free coffee at the end of a shop's business day isn't really that much of an enticement.  How about if I take the challenge and drink some of your blown out coffee, you give me a free pastry?  That at least would make for a compelling offer and an interesting sign.


G and I were talking about the new bike rack with a built in service station a few weeks back.  Her employer didn't want to install them because of cost and responsibility of maintenance of the facility.  Whole Foods on the other hand went all in.  They chalked up a new sign and everything!  Unfortunately when I found myself in a time of need, shortly after they installed their new bike station, I found out it had been removed because it broke . . .

I had to take a break from garden posts because this blog was starting to get a little too agricultural, but a harvest post is pending.  The fruits of gardening labors have been both sweet and tasty, making me fat and blog lazy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Growth and Change

So, where have I been the past few weeks? I went camping again with Dempsey and the cool girl who now also feeds him treats and is nice enough to let me call her "my girlfriend" . . .


When it comes to the "man's best friend" kind of loyalty, I see where I stand here . . .

The latest trip was the Fancy Pass loop, up in the hills somewhere between Minturn and Leadville. Fortunately the turn for the forest road was before the sinkhole. You can't just cover an old railroad tunnel . . . nice going long retired CDOT engineer.


Again, it turns out that Dempsey is quite the little trooper, very willing to hike for hours over whatever kind of terrain happens to be under foot/paw.  There was quite a variety on the hike with some rockiness over the passes, alpine lakes and meadows, and even some random mining-like equipment left in the middle of nowhere.  We have our next trip planned, sans Dempsey.  We'll be heading to the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort for Zak and Melissa's wedding, some hot springs soaking and possibly another hike up a 14er.

Not surprisingly the garden continues to grow and I keep making new discoveries as the season goes by.  After a slow start, the creeping, viney plants, the pumpkin, watermelon, and cantaloupe finally got to growing and grow they did!  I'll have to get a shot of the area the pumpkin took over towards the northeast side of the garden . . . but at last it did its job and made a pumpkin, well three actually.  


This picture is a couple weeks old and now the smallest of the bunch is up to a whopping five pounds.  The largest is probably big enough to turn into some sort of horse drawn carriage . . .


Ok, maybe not that big, but the pumpkin is way bigger than my hand!


Every once in a while, something gets overlooked in the harvesting walk of the afternoon.  I'm still not sure what to do with oversized vegetables besides start my collection of veggie fetish photos . . .


Look at the size of that watermelon . . .


There's the shot of the pumpkin's supporting foliage.  For reference, that is a second story window in the background . . .


Of the raspberry bushes that were donated to me, a couple survived and one is making fruit by the handful, probably not my hand, maybe a small child's hand . . .


The sunburst cherry tomatoes or whatever they are have been making garden snacks for me and Dempsey daily.  He discovered that he likes tomatoes and cucumbers and if left alone in the yard, he will find the ripe ones and very indelicately harvest them.

More updates to come, but think furniture shopping . . .


Heart to Heart

Dear blog, I know it has been a long time since we last checked in with each other. This does not mean that I have forgotten about you or that I don't love you anymore . . . I do, I have just been busy. I remember the good times we've had, but also the times you taunted me with your unblinking stare, your demands for attention, your lack of self-motivation to simply update yourself. So blog, I am here to help. You will not be merely lost in the passing of time. Even though I have changed and you have not, I still care. Here's your stinking update already . . . Me

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Early AM . . .

There is a whole lot of difference between making a right turn out of the door in the morning instead of the usual left to head north . . .

First and foremost, I have found that my neighbors to the north love to drench the sidewalk along with their weeds that serve as a "lawn"... I'm usually not in the mood to dodge and weave my way down the block. Dempsey is also very dainty and does not like getting his paws wet, except for special occasions.

I'm not sure what has been going on mornings of late, but I was starting to get convinced that the zombie apocalypse was starting in my neighborhood. I have been seeing an odd cast of characters stumbling around the streets during the wee hours. Changing my route had kept me safe... Dempsey sure wouldn't protect me.

It is hard to believe that August is already here. What happened to July? I think there is going to have to be some sort of recap in coming days. There has been a whole lot going on in my life and times...