Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cuban Picadillo

To me, Monday nights can require a little festivity to get the week jump-started. I had some ground beef (vegetarians stop reading) and wanted to do something different with it, so I thought of Picadillo. I'm a native Floridian, born in Miami. Throughout my childhood, Cuban and Puerto Rican food has always been something I crave. You can get the recipe from Saveur magazine here. The recipe is part of a story called Mariana's Havana which says "in the kitchens of Cuba's venerable revolutionaries, the flame of traditional cooking still burns bright with lots of authentic Havana recipes." I loved the ingredients: green olives, capers, raisins, sherry, and scallions. First step requires mixing it all together and refrigerating it for 30 minutes. While that was cooling, I made rice the cuban way, starting with olive oil in a cast iron pan and frying the rice until it turns white. Then I added the water and half an onion cut into quarters. I used basmati, so the flavor was really nutty and really tasty. Dessert, you ask? A quick, easy Meyer Lemon cake mix from Trader Joe's. Mix it up, into the 9" square pan it went, and in 25 minutes a nice little cake. TJ's makes really good quality mixes; minimal ingredients and no preservatives. Yum!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sunday in East Village

James and I went to the East Village for a little breakfast. The Mission, a great restaurant in Mission Beach and Normal Heights, opened a new "branch." The buildings in this area are a mix of new, modern; old warehouses converted into lofts/living spaces; and high-rise condos. Some of the older ones are quite industrial. The building pictured here - called "Art & Industry" - had an exterior wall of vintage signs. And of course the bougainvilla was beautiful. The little sparrow was perched on a piece of metal holding a bug for everyone to see. He was very proud of it. He held a couple positions as if to say, "here, take it now, this is my best side. No, wait, let me turn a little to the left." I think these two pictures are a testament to the fact that I need a digital camera with more than 2.0 megapixels.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Update: the Yard Project

The front yard is alive with purple. The lavender is growing nicely, next to the Cleveland sage and Mexican marigold (a little yellow for good measure). There had been a curse, which has since lifted, against me growing Cleveland sage. But now it's blooming and really pretty. We also have jasmine growing up the wall. Very fragrant as you walk to the front door. Spring's cold air has made things bloom but it's warming up! Is summer officially here? We're also in the process of a backyard renovation. Pictures to follow. That will make living outside a regular thing. Can't wait to have a backyard that doesn't look like it's been invaded by huge gophers. Gabriel, the fellow working on the yard, said he felt like a gopher - he's been doing all the digging of trenches by hand. Hard work. But it will all be great when it's finished.

Here's a picture of James (back to the camera) talking to Gabriel about the retaining wall progress. Saylor is overseeing the whole discussion to make sure they're on the right track.
After a day of mostly housework, I went down to the cliffs with my friend John to check out the gorgeous view. The sun was streaming through the clouds as if an angel was going to step right out and say, "hey!" We also saw this great cat. He's kind of the opposite of Oreo; more white on his body than black. But their faces are similar.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Starting my Blog

After our workout, James and I went to Saffron to have dinner. I had Eslam noodles - tried something new. It was tasty and not too much. James had his usual huge bowl of TomYam soup. I wanted to name this blog Various & Sundry, but someone has it! This will do just fine. And to get things going visually, this picture of my kitty, Oreo and our lab, Saylor.