duck-shaped pain


Where I Go Gray

As you can probably see by the shiny new design, I didn't go out of town today, as I thought I might. I woke up too late. It was too hot. Then, it was too windy. I didn't have enough time. I didn't like my clothes. The dog didn't want to go either -- I had all sort of reasons not to go and very few ones in favor. The nays had it.

I finished the Front Page book-like-thing, and then realized that I didn't learn much from it. So I set out to actually try to design something I could use with it, hence the redesign. I tried to make something that felt like a thrift-store sweater, but I have yet to decide whether I succeeded or not. [1]

I made something really great for dinner last night. The fact that I made it up at the last minute made it even better. The original plan was to make some peanut sauce and put it on spaghetti, but then I found that my peanut butter was in an advanced state of decay.

As I was very hungry, I had to come up with something else right then. So I combined

  • 2 tbs. soy sauce

  • 1 tbs. white miso

  • 1/2 tbs. fermented black bean sauce

  • 1 tbs. honey

  • 1-2 tsp. hot water (just enough to make the miso dissolve)

and stirred it all together. (Keep in mind, this is all for one serving) I boiled some water and added spaghetti, just a bit less than a quarter of a pound. Meanwhile, I chopped up two cloves of garlic and an equivalent amount of ginger. I also sliced up one scallion, both green and white parts, and some fresh cilantro and basil.

After the spaghetti cooked, I drained it and rinsed it in cold water for about a minute or so. I made sure it was drained extremely well, since the next step involved sauteing it.

Then I heated a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet, and cooked the garlic and ginger in it for about a minute and a half. I added the spaghetti, and cooked it for another minute or so, stirring constantly. After it was cooked through again, I added the soy-miso mixture, and let it cook for another minute. Then I added the scallion, cilantro and basil, and removed the skillet from the heat. After I put the whole mixture on a plate, I drizzled it lightly with sesame oil, salt and pepper, and then feasted. It was excellent, easily one of the best things I've made in a long time.

It doesn't happen very often, but I love it when I can just make something up at the last minute and it turns out to be great.

(Whenever I make food up for other people, I always get asked if such and such a dish has a name. I don't name my foods, other than basic descriptions. I hate it when something that sounds otherwise tempting has a name like Bean Soup a la Pitney [2], such as you see in extremely precious cooking magazines. But, for reference purposes, I'll call the above Steve: The Sauce. Be sure to file that away for future use.)

Things have picked up slightly at the house this week, as the dog is now finished molting. He seems happy and unconcerned with life now, as he properly should be. The last few months, he's seemed much too preoccupied to do anything, as if he was using all his mental energy to force all that excess hair out. It's sort of a surprise, as he's usually not done molting until the beginning of October. But like the cherries and apricots, all the local sheepdogs are ahead of schedule this year.

Tip of the day: If you have a neat book of 500-year old Chinese religious writings, don't try to read it at work. It won't work, and it will just annoy the people you work with.

[1] All my favorite thrift-store sweaters are chartreuse, not gray. But nothing looks worse on the screen than chartreuse. Think of the decision to use gray instead as a persnal favor to you. You don't know how grateful you should be.

[2] Not my last name.

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