Monday, July 30, 2012

she who's winsome, she wins him

We went to Wicked on Saturday night, and I enjoyed it much more than the one I saw on Broadway, maybe because I was more familiar with the music this time.  The music is sort of uneven, I think, and when you're not familiar with it it's easy to wonder why they're wasting your time with the clunkers.  I was telling John that I thought "Dancing Through Life" was meh, and he said, "How can you say that?  How can you say 'meh?'  You should be saying . . ." and then he made a vomit noise.  But this time through I felt a little more patient, even though John and I agreed that we could have left at intermission and enjoyed it just as much.  But both the leads were great, and the wizard was the same guy I saw in New York.  Aw, remember when I went to New York?  My hair was ugly then, but it was such a good trip.  I want to eat that crispy duck noodle soup at Great N.Y. Noodletown again. 

I wonder what I'm going to do with my hair.  I can't imagine having the same haircut for the rest of my life, but what else is there besides a bob?  If I grow it out I'll look like a polygamist, and if I get a pixie cut I'll look fat.  Maybe that's how Anna Wintour ended up the way she did--she was just never able to come up with an attractive alternative.  I think people think that long hair looks good on them a lot longer than it actually does.  My mom had long hair until I went to college, and we look back in horror.  It was terrible hair, but we couldn't see that at the time.  Which is what makes me wonder--how stupid do I look right now? 

Oh!  That reminds me--when we went to Wicked there was this chubby old leathery woman who had dressed as Galinda in a hot-pink ballgown with a tiara and a wand and a curly blonde wig, and another woman who had dressed as Elphaba with the green paint and long black wig and witch hat, and they were going around taking pictures of themselves and it was weird.  I don't like attention-seeking behavior even in children, and in adults it is inexcusable.

Friday, July 27, 2012

there are worse things than pie

We held a fundraiser last night to raise the money to pay for the pioneer trek the youth are going on in a couple of weeks.  We made the money we needed to, which is nice.  It was mostly the youth leaders who donated the stuff in the first place (and who are going along as mas and pas and cooks and general support) who bought it all back, which is less nice.  Bygones!

I was in charge of the bake sale table, and I contributed two pies, lemon meringue and chocolate banana cream.  The lemon meringue sold instantly, with three additional orders, but the cream pie was not so popular.  I was starting to feel bad about myself, but then some guy--one of my lemon pie orders--bought it.  So then I was sad that I wouldn't get to taste it, because I think it was going to be an awesome pie.  I've never eaten or seen that flavor, so I think I might be the inventor of it, and I want credit if it goes viral.  For those who are interested, this is how I made it:

Chocolate Banana Cream Pie 
makes 1 pie

1 blind-baked pie shell
1 not overly-ripe banana
banana cream pie filling
chocolate cream pie filling
lightly sweetened whipped cream 

Spread the banana filling into the pie shell.  Top with banana slices.  Spread on the chocolate filling.  Top with whipped cream.

These are the recipes I used for the crust and filling:  

Pie Crust 
makes 2 single crusts or 1 double crust

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt 
1/2 C well-chilled lard (I put it in the freezer for a few minutes) cut into small pieces 
3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) well-chilled butter cut into small pieces
ice water

Blend the dry ingredients, then cut in the fat until the mixture looks like cornmeal with some pieces of fat that are pea-sized.  Adding a little bit of ice water at a time, work the dough until it holds together.  This is a somewhat fatty dough, but it makes the dough much more forgiving and easier to handle without overworking.  When atmospheric conditions allow I will sometimes leave out a tablespoon of the butter. 

Divide the dough in half and shape it into two disks.  Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour, or overnight.  For a blind-baked crust, roll a disk out and fit it into a pie tin, making the decorative edge of your choice.  Dock the crust and freeze while you preheat your oven to 425 (or at least ten minutes--you can also freeze it overnight). Line it with a greased piece of foil filled with rice or beans or pie weights.  Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the filled foil and reduce the heat to 350.  Continue to bake until the shell is crispy and lightly browned, another 10-15 minutes.

Chocolate and Banana Cream Pie Filling 
(makes 1 pie)
This is the Sue Watanabe filling (scroll down) that I love so much, doubled so I don't have to add as much whipped cream at the end.  I decided I like a less poofy filling in this application. 

1 1/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSP cornstarch
2 tsp flour
3 C milk + 1/3 C
4 eggs, beaten
2 packets of gelatin
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 C whipping cream

Combine dry ingredients, then gradually mix in the 3 C of milk.  Cook on medium-high heat until thick, stirring constantly.  Dissolve gelatin in the 1/3 C of milk, add the beaten eggs, then add to the cooked mixture.  Cook a little longer, then remove from heat and add vanilla.  Divide the pudding in half.  To one half add a pureed ripe banana and mix in thoroughly so there are no chunks.  I used an immersion blender for this.  To the other half add chocolate to taste, whisking until smooth.  I used a small handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a few unsweetened chocolate chips, and about 3/4 teaspoon of my dark cocoa powder that looks like dirt from the forest floor.  It is available at Kitchen Kneads in Ogden. 

Cover the puddings with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and refrigerate until completely cold.  Whip the cream until just shy of stiff, and whisk it in a dollop at a time until you have the consistency you want.  Then fill the pie shell as you wish. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I was raised in a canebrake by an old mama lion

Do you know I built myself a goat feeder?  With help from John and the children, of course.  It has a hinged lid and can fit an entire bale at a time, and there is wire mesh on the bottom to keep the small yummy bits from falling onto the ground, while still allowing water to escape.  Because of the children it was an all-day endeavor instead of a two-hour project, but we had a good time and there are plenty of staples holding the wire to the bottom. I hope it was empowering for them.  It's crude and unpretty, but I did design it in my head in the aisles of Home Depot while hissing at my children about the prodigious fines they were incurring by climbing the stacks of lumber, and the feeder works exactly as intended.

Pay no attention to the mess behind the feeder.  

For all these years the goats have been picking through the hay to get to the best bits, which knocks the stems and a bunch of the leaves onto the ground, creating incredible waste and mess.  This is not as big of a problem when you are growing your own hay and you don't get through all of it in a year anyway, and it continues to pile up and pile up and make a giant, moldy fire hazard in your field.  But when you're growing wheat instead of alfalfa and you're buying your hay at four dollars a bale and going through three-plus bales a week it begins to chafe. People saying to me "I thought goats would eat anything!" stopped being funny about five and a half years ago.  Goats are the pickiest dang creatures on this earth, I swear.

But they make wonderful cheese.  We have eaten two of my wheels of Camembert, and although they were not amazing, they were fairly enjoyable, especially near the rind where they are getting all runny.  I think I might dare try Gouda again.

A couple of weeks ago the bucklings were starting to be very humpy, and they were old enough that they could potentially not be shooting blanks, so it was time to crimp them.  Imagine how terrible it would be if they got Sophie pregnant!  Things like that reaffirm to me that for all the talk about how intelligent animals are, they've still got a ways to go before they deserve to be at the top of the food chain.  I can think of some people who deserve to be bumped down a few notches, come to think of it.  Would that be a crime deterrent, to have your position at the apex of the food web be contingent upon your continued good behavior?  I think we should try that when we're working out the new societal rules after the revolution. 

Are you excited for the Olympics?  I wonder about the opening ceremonies.  Will they be boring?  London lacks the population density and objectification of human beings of Beijing, so we probably won't see a spectacle like the box people jumping up and down.  I hope there's pomp.  I hear whisperings that Salt Lake is going to try for another Olympic bid, and I'm like "saints preserve us."  I like the Olympics.  LIKE.  It doesn't mean I want all those people crowding me.  Stay where you are, tourists!  Salt Lake is nerdy!

By the way, I wore that dorky copper bracelet yesterday, just for fun because it looks nice on my arm and only cost three dollars, and today my hips are killing me.  Coincidence?  I wonder.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

don't treat him like a louse, make him welcome in your house

The universe saw that we had air conditioning in the house now, and said "Nuh-uh," so now the air conditioning in our car is broken.  The universe requires balance, you know.

Last night I had shabu shabu, which I had never heard of until I drove past the restaurant that was serving it.  It reminded me of pho and sukiyaki.  I like soupy things like that.  They taste good while making me feel virtuous about what they're doing to my pocketbook and waistline.  Does anyone really say "pocketbook" anymore?  Like, "I broke the hinge on my pocketbook."  I bet not.  I bet only grandmas say it.  We should bring it back, along with "cruddy" and "gussied up."  "I got all gussied up for my date, but then the hinge broke on my cruddy pocketbook."  Isn't that a fun sentence? 

This week is the 98th anniversary sale at my favorite local hardware store.  Is that as sad as having a favorite bath mat?  I bought all manner of glorious things.  I bought one of those rad copper bracelets that fix your arthritis or rheumatism or rheumatoid arthritis.  I'm sure it will work, and for only three bucks!  I also got some pepper spray, so don't mess with me. 

My sister and her family left last night for Australia.  So far away for a whole year!  If any of you live there, will you please take good care of her?  I don't want her to get harassed by a goliath birdeater or any of the other horrifying creatures that have made Australia their home.  When I go visit her, what are my chances of seeing a platypus in the wild? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

store what you eat, eat what you store

As part of my ongoing struggle to become an adult I'm reading a book about "family preparedness."  I am hoping it will help me become better prepared for loss of income, natural and man-made disasters, and the End Times.  I don't want to be caught without napalm bullets during the zombie invasion!  Even if it doesn't kill them outright, I think that you can eventually blow a zombie into tiny enough pieces that it will no longer be a threat.  It's not as if they are poly-alloy and can reconstitute!

And I was thinking, come the Rapture, what are we going to do if somebody gets an infection?  We'll talk to Magic Wendy, of course, because she is a Master Herbalist, and she is very smart and helpful.  But there are situations in which you need modern medicines, so you should have some in your year's supply just in case.  Oh ho, but where do you get them?  You can't just go to the pharmacy and tell them you want a year's supply of antibiotics.  They will look at you funny and definitely will not sell them to you.  So I was thinking:  I will just buy all this stuff from the vet.  I have penicillin and sulfa drugs and tetanus vaccine in my house right now.  Can the formulation for goats really be that different than for people?  John thinks this is not the answer, but maybe he prefers to see problems where I see solutions. 

Also John is a chemist, and we were thinking that maybe when things go all pear-shaped we could synthesize Oxycontin, because coming off of that is not pretty, and people will pay dearly to continue their prescription drug abuse.  Imagine our bartering power!  We've got this survive and thrive thing wired. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

he's some terrific, radiant, humble

Maybe you're like me, and you've always felt like Wyoming is almost as bad as Nevada, like why would anyone ever go there except if they were on their way through it to somewhere better.  But it turns out that parts of Wyoming are really beautiful.  We stayed at a ranch near Evanston and my eyes were opened.  Plus I got to go on a long trail ride on a paint horse, so it was rewarding to the max. 

Today we went out for ice cream after going out for Indian food at our favorite gas station, and I started my lecture about cake cones vs. sugar cones.  Basically, shut up, sugar cones.  You are gross.  I want a neutral base for my ice cream, because the ice cream is what I paid for, not the cone, and I don't need you in here with your stupid, cheap, attention-seeking, one-trick-pony flavor wrecking my ice cream.  IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU, CONE!  Cake cones get that.  Sugar cones do not.  Sugar cones are pretty much just baby waffle cones, which are even worse.  I hate them so much.  People get all worked up and start swooning over the triple scoop waffle cone, or the waffle cone sundae, and it is RUINING the ice cream.  And to add insult to injury, waffle cones are often "augmented" with cinnamon!  What is wrong with people?  Cinnamon does not, in fact, go with everything in the entire gosh darn world!  What am I supposed to do with mint chocolate chip ice cream?  Sugar cones, waffle cones, flavored cones of any kind can all go jump in the lake. 

While I'm at it I want you to know that I don't approve of cinnamon in French toast batter, either. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

get out of here and get me some money too

Right now I'm supposed to be packing for our family reunion, but here I sit doing town stuff on the internet.  Stop me if you've heard this story: when I used to work at my dad's tractor dealership--in the days when he was still buying it from the previous owner--I worked in the office with the  secretary and the office manager.  Every day one of them would go in to town to "do the town stuff," and they'd be gone for over an hour, sometimes much, much longer than that.  I didn't think much of it until one day they sent me to do the town stuff, with a list of the things I needed to accomplish while I was in town.  It took me maybe a half hour, including getting a pocket pizza for lunch, and I was like, "Oh, I get it."  So town stuff is when you lard a legitimate task with goldbricking.  I'm super good at it.  You may borrow my phraseology if you wish.  

I am going to ride a horse.  Maybe today, maybe tomorrow.  Maybe both.  I'm very excited about it.  I love the idea of horses, and would have one myself if they weren't such giant expensive pigs.  The livestock auction these days is a sad place for horses.  I like the word "gluepot."  If I had a horse I would name it Rocinante for fun.  If I had a draft horse I would name it Manwich.  Naming animals is my favorite part, and the next time I have a buck goat that we leave intact we're going to name it Clubber Lang.  Do you have an animal you would like me to name?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

and the reason why I am doing it is very clear to me

Our Independence Day started out on a sour note, because Ken Garff (the goat) died suddenly.  He was acting limp and sad when I went out to do milking, and despite the combination of antibiotics and voodoo magic we hurriedly plied him with he was gone within two hours.  Very weird.  I don't know what happened to him, if it was poison or disease or what.  Upsetting and frightening.  I hope it wasn't some virulent new disease that's going to lay waste to my entire herd.  Do you like how I say "herd" when really I mean "a few dairy goats that are more like pets than livestock?" 

Then John rode on the city float and probably got a swelled head--we'll see if he tries to get me to call him "Councilman" at home.  Then Grant and I went and sold a jillion hamburgers to raise money for their soccer tournament.  PTA and soccer fundraisers?  My life has gotten away from me somehow.  It is so dreadfully pedestrian!  

Then we went to Logan for Meat Day.  John's brother Matthew buys a glut of meat from numerous species, cooks it all impeccably, and has it all on the table at the same time.  It is a mind-boggling feat. It's all I can do to get a slaw thrown together in time to go along with the meat.  Then Matthew pulled out the creme brulee he had made for dessert, and we all reflected on how lucky we are to be related to him.

Today we took Rita to the vet to get her abscess lanced.  She peed while she was sedated, but was mobile enough to slap her tail in the pee and splash it all over our arms and faces.  It was a party.  I regretted having showered and put on clean clothes.  I hope this is the end of the abscesses, as well as the sudden, unexplained deaths.

When we were driving home last night we were listening the radio, and they played "America," and I cried because that song always makes me revert to my simplistic childhood faith in the American Dream, and I cried again as I read my children "The New Colossus."  In spite of all the jerks who try to ruin it for the rest of us, and the xenophobic hollering of hillbilly musicians, this is a beautiful country, built upon beautiful principles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

juanita, juanita

When I was growing up I used to get home from school right as The Andy Griffith Show was starting.  My mom, who never stops for anything, would be sitting in front of the TV, and we would watch the madcap escapades of the citizens of Mayberry together.  It was a sacred time. A theory in our family is that my mom fell in love with my dad partly because he reminded her so much of Andy Griffith. 

When John and I were first married and he was in MBA school he used to go home for lunch and watch Matlock while he ate his ramen or weevilly macaroni.  He liked it better than The Andy Griffith Show because it was in color. 

My kids have watched the show since they were very small, because I used to put on DVDs of it in the car when I had to stop and nurse a baby.  We own the first five seasons of it--everything until Don Knotts left.  They understand what moonshine is, and why not to act like Arnold Winkler.  We love, love, love Andy Griffith.  Such a gentle, kind, funny teacher.  If you haven't watched the episode where Opie accidentally kills the mother bird with his slingshot you need to do it.  I hope to someday be as good a parent as Andy.

Here's one of my favorite moments from the show: 

Comic genius. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

gee I think you're swell

People get mad that moms are treated like they add no value to our society.  Some idiot will say that for a woman to get an education and then stay at home with her kids is selfish, and a drain on society, and then a bunch of thin-skinned moms will start sharpening their pitchforks.  This is a silly fight that doesn't need to happen.  We're just not communicating effectively.  Listen:  if you ask people what the most important jobs in a healthy society are, they will probably include in their answers things like teachers, police, and firemen.  Especially teachers.  Right?  Then you might think, "But . . . the NBA . . . Wall Street . . . Hollywood?"  Think on that a spell, and then comprehension will dawn on you, and you will say, "So, people who are valuable make little money, and people who are not valuable make ungodly amounts of money."  Income is inversely correlated with value, dummies.  Ergo, moms--parents in general--are the MOST valuable!  That's why we get paid nothing and treated like we are stupid.  I have solved the problem! You're welcome.  Don't you feel regretful that we've wasted so much time on needless fighting?  It was mostly your fault. 

In the saga of The Air Conditioning Decision, we are currently in the camp of Get Air Conditioning.  I just want you to know in case you are updating your Twitter feed or Facebook status about the ups and downs and ins and outs of our air conditioning experience.  Here at Baba Capra we believe in honesty and transparency.

Now Rita is going to have to go to the vet for a goiter that she's developed.  I tell you, that June grass/foxtail/whatever is costing us a lot of money.  But I got over a gallon of milk today, so it's not all bad goat news.  Also milking is going very well.  Also my camembert is almost ready.  I think another week will do it, and then we'll see if I die of a Listeria infection.  Hope not!