Ugly Random Soup

After I came home from the hospital I mostly spent a lot of time lying down. The drugs I'm on can make me ravenous. Plus it gets boring laying or sitting. One night I decided we must have soup for dinner. We didn't really plan it. I just picked things I thought would work with my ability to move my mouth and that would be satisfying and came up with a mixture that is very mild but full of flavor. Hilariously I cut my left pointer finger at the bend while moving onions to a prep bowl: my coordination is pretty poor at times and we had recently re-sharpened all the blades. I've been able to adjust but it was a good reminder of limits. :)

Priorities With a Spinning Head

My blog and website have been moved again! Now it's again built statically from local markdown and uploaded to a server that only uses pretty minimal html, css and other files. Previous website was using Wordpress which I was increasingly annoyed with due to various issues. So I started working on it mid-July. In retrospect a very weird choice. Note: this post contains some mostly non-graphic descriptions of a major medical issue.

Spicy garlic kale and strawberry salad

This is a fusion (sort of) of two dishes (or kinds of dishes) I really like: one is spicy garlic cucumber salad, such as the one in Fuchsia Dunlop's The Food of Sichuan and the other are spicy & sour dressed noodle dishes that have a base flavor profile of chile oil, soy sauce, Sichuan peppercorn and dark Chinese vinegar such as Dan Dan noodles or spicy cold noodles. Dunlop's cucumber salad recipe uses a sweet aromatic soy sauce called fuzhi jiangyou which I made a batch of late last summer. It's made by simmering whole spices such as black cardamom, cinnamon, anise, fennel, Sichuan peppercorns and more if you have it in Chinese light soy sauce for third minutes, then adding a lot of sugar. It comes out as a viscous syrup that when chilled in the fridge is quite thick (it could be mistaken for molasses at least visually). In the below recipe I suggest dissolving sugar in soy sauce as a substitute but I haven't tried that!

Cumin tofu recipe

One of my favorite recipe orders at a Sichuan restaurant is some kind of "cumin lamb". It's the flavor added to the lamb, not the lamb that I love. I'd been considering trying to figure out how to make something with tofu at home for a while when Mala Market posted a recipe for toothpick lamb which has a similar flavor profile. I decided it was time to try to make a riff on this! The result was very spicy but in that way where I could not stop eating.

Purple sweet potato & black bean garlic dumpling filling

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that the last couple years I've been cooking more Chinese foods which was started by a mapo tofu recipe video from Chinese Cooking Demystified. We now have a number of cooking implements, including an induction wok unit, and stock a range of pantry staples for Chinese recipes. "Fried rice", a dish that I'd attempted in the past and failed at repeatedly, is now something we do routinely to use up leftovers.

What if you didn't have to drive a car?

Even if you don’t drive a car, you know gas prices are high right now in the United States. Some states have already committed to gas tax “relief”, either through temporarily lowering state gas taxes or direct payments to vehicle owners. The federal government has released reserve oil to try to lower prices. Even though retail gas prices aren’t strongly correlated to gas taxes and oil is a global market hard to influence, some kind of relief is seen as politically necessary because driving is seen as unavoidable. Why can’t we ask people to drive less and use transit or walk or bike? Because, as implied in a recent NYT article and claimed commonly elsewhere, it’s supposedly “infeasible” in much of the United States to live without a car.

(Some) Seattle mayoral campaign websites need improvement

The Seattle mayoral primary is basically over. It's pretty clear who will advance, even if the vote isn't certified. So it might seem silly to go look at accessibility of campaign websites now. But some folks look at how much Andrew Grant Houston's campaign raised and spent for so few votes and are concerned. I think folks should not be surprised or concerned: a relative unknown candidate whose young and not white, running in a crowded field with many big names, is sadly likely to earn a combination of enthusiasm (money! volunteers!) and few votes. Lots of folks told themselves something like "I really like Ace but he isn't going to be top two, so I voted for <probably González or Echohoawk>".

Primary Elections in Seattle & King County, 2021!

If you're in Seattle or King County you might have noticed there's an election! You hopefully already have your ballot as they were mailed out last Wednesday (if not, King County Elections can fix that). Here are my not very detailed preferences on various races. Note this isn't all the elections on the ballot just the ones I'm voting on or care a bit about that I know anything about. This is not going to be long on explanation (well hopefully not) but a better place to dump my recommendations than a twitter thread. If you want longer discussions of candidates or other endorsement lists, my favorite sources are The Urbanist, the Transit Riders Union, 350 Seattle, or Publicola and even The Stranger is kind of okay.

An arbitrary milestone on piano

A little over nineteen (19) weeks ago, a friend living across the street was moving and he couldn't take his old upright piano to his new place. He'd gotten it free from a friend and so I got it free, aside from splitting the cost of piano movers (needed even just for across the street) and a piano tuning, as it hadn't been in a while.

So we got a piano in our living room.

Writing the Mayor on Defund SPD again

I don't have a lot of time or energy to write blog posts and I save it for dashing out emails to my elected officials. This morning the mayor of Seattle gave a press conference on what she plans to do in response to the Defund SPD (Seattle police department) movement demand which a super majority of the city council has voiced public support. At this press conference, she made a number of disingenuous claims but I was primarily incensed by the idea that there is "no plan" and the "activists" don't want anyone responding to 911 calls.

Dear Mayor Durkan: Defund the police

Since our mayor, Jenny Durkan, marched with Black Lives Matter yesterday here in Seattle, but still shows no sign of meeting the organizers demands, I wrote her again.

What defund the police means

I’ve not been great at writing much about anything lately, except to write to elected officials. So here’s what I wrote to the city council this morning about this issue. Our over-policing harms everyone but because of the way society operates and the reality of racism, overpolicing harms black people and anyone perceived as too different more.

Saturday Lazy Fancy Breakfast: pumpkin spice waffles!

Menus locally are full of squash and pumpkin themed recipes. The fancy coffee seasonal drinks are often pumpkin spice themed. For some reason this made me decide to make fancy waffles this morning for family breakfast. Specifically "squash spice waffles topped with coconut cream and candied spiced pistachios" since that's what worked out with what is on hand.

Just say "HELL NO!" to paleo swamp gas

A few weeks ago I attempted chiles rellenos for the first time. If you've never had them, they are roasted and skinned peppers (often poblanos) that are de-seeded, then stuffed with something, often cheese in the United States, then battered and fried, and served with a savory-spicy tomato broth/sauce. Mine didn't come out that pretty but it was an experience and they were delicious! I used the recipe from a Diana Kennedy book.

A Tour of Seattle's Best & Worse Bike Infra

My family went on a bike ride to the zoo and back. We live near I-90 and Rainier Ave S (just barely in "southeast" Seattle) and the zoo is on Phinney ridge just north of N 50th St. Depending on route, it's just over 6 miles to 7 or more. We chose to go through downtown because that allowed us to use the new Dearborn protected bike lane (PBL) and the 2nd Ave PBL. I'll try to gloss jargon at least once! People who have been biking a while forget that a lot of this stuff is kind of mystifying.

Seattle's Oil Pipelines

A few months ago,  everyone in government and politics came to cut the ribbon on the new oil pipeline. Even the governor running for president came. But he didn't mention carbon pollution or climate change. No one did in the endless speeches faithfully relayed to twitter where I tried not to read but could not turn away. We even had tours of the new facility!

Baked blueberry pancakes!

In my continuing series of "what can I cook in cute 7 inch individual cast iron pans", this morning we made individual blueberry pancakes!

Coconut Waffles!!

We went to a local diner yesterday – Ludi's downtown which somehow I hadn't realized existed and they are good and cheap. One of their specials was ube pancakes with haupia syrup. But they were out. But this made me realize this morning that I could easily make coconut waffles with what we had in the kitchen!