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Kabocha Squash in Spiced Peanut Butter Sauce

27 February 2009 | 22:14
mood: creativecreative

I totally stole this idea from a dish made by a friend's mother. I was supposed to get the recipe, but never got that together. So I set out on a quest to concoct my own. This is version 2.0. :)

Kabocha Squash in Spiced Peanut Butter Sauce

1 smallish kabocha squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1" chunks
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
0.5 tbsp butter
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 to 1.5 tsp dark brown sugar
0.5 tbsp curry powder
about two shakes of cayenne pepper
0.5 to 1 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
(the fresher the better--rancid peanut butter will ruin the dish)
0.25 cup dry roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, one half juiced, the other half in wedges for serving

Steam the squash until tender, about 10 minutes after the water in the steamer starts to boil. When done, remove from heat.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat, and cook the onion and garlic together until the onions are golden.
At this point, taste the squash to see how sweet it is (if it's done). Adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.
Add sugar, and cook for a couple of minutes. add the spices, and cook for a few minutes more, until very fragrant.
Add the chicken stock and salt, and bring to a boil. Ladle about 0.25 cup of the boiling stock onto the peanut butter in a small bowl, and stir with a fork until smooth. Add to the sauce and simmer a few minutes until slightly thickened.
Add the squash and the chopped peanuts, mix well to coat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add lime juice, stir to mix, and serve.

Serve over something starchy and bland for contrast, such as sticky rice, some kind of steamed vegetable or dark leafy greens, and a Belgian ale or a sweet wine.

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(no subject)

2 December 2008 | 19:09
mood: nauseatednauseated

Urgh. E. coli cultures have just been replaced in my book as third-worst-smell-ever by burnt hardboiled egg. (The first two, if you have to ask, are rotting corpse and paper mill, in that order.) Yes, I actually managed to burn a hardboiled egg, for the first time ever, and it ain't pretty let me tell you. I forgot the damned egg on the stove, in the course of doing something else while it cooked... X-{

So, of course, I have to post about how unbelievably bad the apartment smells--I have all the windows open, but the fumes just won't go away... and I also have to ask:

What's the most ridiculous cooking accident you ever had? (This is mine, obviously.)
What's the worst thing you ever smelled?

. . .

In other news, I sure hope the Canadian Opposition manages to get its shit together and kick Harper out of office. I can't imagine a better Xmas/birthday present.

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Excuse me while I tear up...

4 November 2008 | 20:55
mood: indescribableindescribable

I never thought I would see this until current kindergartners grew up, if then. Obama won. We're currently listening to Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic speech, and I'm so emotional I can't put it into words; drinking champagne; crying as we listened to the "Yes We Can" video version of the campaign speech. I'll probably cry some more when Obama gives his acceptance speech.

McCain actually gave a good, decent concession speech; in it I saw the shadow of the man he was in 2000, when I still had respect for him.

This campaign has been historic, and I am beyond proud of the result, of what it means for the US. But the weight of hope is now immense.

ETA: in other news, my Facebook profile has a troll... :rolleyes:

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Adventures in library books

23 September 2008 | 23:54
location: home
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful

So I got a couple of email notices today from the Oakland Public Library, that two books I had requested were available for pick-up. Thing is, I didn't remember putting anything on hold. Don't even recognise the titles, or even the authors. In fact, one sounds like it's utter trash, it's called The First Desire, if you can believe it...

My first thought? Identity theft. Go ahead, roll your eyes--yes, I'm quite paranoid that way. 'OMG, someone has access to my library account!! What if they use up my borrowing privileges, lose books, run up fines, &c., &c.' So I wrote back to the library (who haven't actually replied to me), stating my concern. Then I stopped to wonder what these books were, and looked them up.

Turned out they looked quite interesting. The First Desire is by Nancy Reisman, and relates the story of a Jewish family in the United States before and through WWII. The reviews made it sound quite promising (all apologies to the author for my initial reaction to the title!). The second is Unaccustomed Earth, a collection of short stories (or short novellas, more like) by Jhumpa Lahiri. Also quite well reviewed, also sounded promising.

So... I decided that somebody had decided to do me a favour by introducing me to new authors, and checked the books out of the library. I think I figured out what happened, too, and no, it's not identity theft. Roll your eyes again... I was actually in the library last week, and checked a couple of books out. The librarian at the circulation desk must have forgotten to change user accounts when she put in the hold requests for whoever it was came after me. So they ended up requested for me instead of for that poor person, who will now fail to have their books show up. I feel a bit bad about that, actually, but since there's no possible way to trace back who that was, I guess all I can do is read these real fast and put them back into circulation asap. (Reed was a little horrified, I think...)

Still... feels kinda strange. I'll have to post a review when I'm done, for some sense of closure; I wonder if I should put a note in the books for the person who actually asked for these, to let them know what happened. You'd think this would be futile, but stranger things have happened--I actually found a letter from my own mother, tucked into a book I had returned to the library months before, still there when I picked it up again to check a detail of that story...

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What I read today

14 July 2008 | 18:10
mood: pensivepensive

I love tabbed browsing. I've got it set to open links in new tabs without interrupting my reading, so when I'm blog-browsing (or looking up stuff on Wikipedia, IMDb, &c...) I often click on every interesting link in sight, which then accumulate. This leads to two things: tons of tabs in a single browser window, which Firefox is now able to handle pretty well, thank goodness. And some interesting, eclectic reading. :)

I don't believe in blogrolls--I don't find a series of titles without commentary very appealing. I feel the same about books: I want a blurb, or a recommendation, or something to catch my interest, although sometimes the title is enough. So here is what I hope to make a regular feature of what I hope to turn into a real blog (starting with making me post more often!): a selection from my browsing. Enjoy!

What got me started on this particular browsing string: I'm looking into joining Facebook (I have an old friend who sends me about one invite a month...), whether I should, who owns it, do I trust them, &c. So I googled, opened a bunch of likely-looking results, and found out about this tempest in a wire: some dude, testing out software for synchronising contact information between various web accounts, got his Facebook account blocked for about a day. Much link-clicking ensued, including updates on the dude's blog, and comments at other sites. The really interesting (to me) parts of this flap are the ownership of data and privacy issues, not the hair-trigger reflexes of Facebook's policebots. A couple of the more interesting finds: a post about data wars, and a definition of data scraping.

I don't remember what quirk of the links led me to this (ETA: yes I do--I was browsing around the other posts on that dude's blog, above), but it brought tears to my eyes. The last post of a blogger, dead in Iraq last January. I'll honor his request that people abstain from political commentary using his death as an example. From there I reached the front page of Obsidian Wings, and found this post about bailing out the mortgage agencies, right at the top. A good read, and a good point.

I also stopped by Kate Harding's Shapely Prose, just 'cuz. I love that site to bits. It's helped me be more aware of what I'm doing to myself when I moan about my weight. Second post down as I type, I find this about the intersection of feminism and fat acceptance is thought-provoking. And before you tell me "I'm not a feminist, but...", we're all affected by crap like this, even the ones who don't think it applies to them, or can't see that it does, or refuse to admit it, or whatever. Here's another post, from a different site, about the female of the species' sacro-sanct duty to offer the world something good to look at (hint: that was irony, right there). *end mini-rant du jour*

Also, just because I can, one of my favorite xkcd strips of all:
Grownups @ xkcd.com

Thoughts and links are welcome, on this my very first "real" blog post. :)

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Pipetting, boys band style

11 July 2008 | 16:47
location: in the lab
mood: amusedamused
Listening to: see the video...

Hilarious, if you've ever had to use a pipettor.
Boys band warning: do not watch if allergic. ;-P


Tags: ,

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Presidential match-up meme

8 January 2008 | 14:14
location: Oakland
mood: amusedamused
Listening to: Pandora

Not much of a surprise here...

91% Mike Gravel
91% Dennis Kucinich
89% John Edwards
86% Barack Obama
85% Chris Dodd
80% Hillary Clinton
79% Joe Biden
76% Bill Richardson
38% Rudy Giuliani
29% John McCain
23% Mike Huckabee
22% Ron Paul
21% Mitt Romney
19% Tom Tancredo
12% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

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Goodies on their way

27 June 2007 | 8:47

It's ridiculously early to get to work: 8:40. I didn't know I had it in me... lol

Anyway, the reason why I'm here at this impossible hour is that the liquid nitrogen shipment is due today, and they didn't tell me when to expect them. So I'm waiting. I would have hated to miss all the fun.

Guess I better get to actual work, though.

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8 June 2007 | 17:33

I'm at work, waiting for a PCR to wrap up so I can put the tubes in the freezer and not leave the thermal cycler on all weekend--it's not a problem for the DNA, but the energy consumption bothers me. It'll be done in about 15 minutes--it's one of the shorter programs, thank goodness.

I'll post a picture of the towhee later--see my comment on lepidopteralove's journal for the story--I can't plug in my flash card here.

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An old UFO

31 May 2007 | 12:10
mood: mellowmellow
Listening to: Rush, "Test for Echo"

I've been itching to start about 5 new knitting projects, especially since gwensmom gave me so much of her unraveled-sweater yarn stash, but I promised myself I'd reduce the stash of UFOs first. Here's the one I'm working on now:

This is a crocheted purse made just the right size to hold a book that I started almost four years ago, after getting fed up with carrying a great big bag just to keep a book and a few other things with me. The long thing draped on my knitting bag is the strap and sides, to which I am going to attach the body of the bag, if I ever manage to finish it... I haven't made it past the front and bottom yet (it's designed as a wrap-around, to simplify assembly). The little band of crocheted fabric at the bottom of the picture with the hook hanging from it is the fourth attempt at a coherent and pretty colour scheme. The problem is that I have a strictly limited supply of each colour (I tried to find more before I left France, but no had luck), and the colour scheme has to take this into account. I hope I've got it right this time, I don't think I could stand it if I have to rip it yet again...

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