Tuesday, May 29

"Spring food" followup

Well, here's how today's lunch turned out (and yes, I'm unemployed, if you were wondering how the HECK I'm posting about homecooking lunch!)

Luckily, since I was able to homecook, I got to venture into recipes that are meant to be eaten right away. Could've been a lot more of a challenge if I'd had to prepare food to refrigerate, take to work, and reheat.

Recipe #1:
After a lot of searching, at first trying to use my baby turnips' greens, I settled on this recipe, of course substituting the white parts at the bottom of garlic greens for an actual clove of garlic. Everything else I had in stock (including parsley. Lucky me! This year my parsley in a pot hasn't all died right away).

Triumph: I did NOT burn the butter or set off the fire alarm with smoke! I paid attention for a full 3 minutes!!!

Turns out my turnip bunch only had 6 turnips at the end of it! Definitely not the amount the recipe had been looking for, and I'd already chopped off all my garlic's ends. I didn't want more garlic breath than the meal merited, so I only cutsmooshed** up 2 white garlic green strips and threw them in after the turnips had been in the pan for about 2 minutes.

(By the way, I had to look up "sweating" to see what it was and how to do it right. It was worth it, though. I used my new knowledge to decide how much of the time I wanted to leave the pot's lid on in recipe #2.)

Sadly, turnips at any age (baby or ripe) taste bland. They tasted bland in my "root veggie stew" in February and they tasted bland covered in butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley.

Nevertheless, it's nice to know that I have made an edible dish out of a plant that grows here at this time of year.

Recipe #2:
There was a significant bit of butter/oil left in the pan, so I searched for "garlic" and "asparagus" on Google and, luckily, found a sauteed recipe first. Just what I needed, since sauteeing usually means cooking something in a pan with butter and/or oil.

I mixed and matched the original recipe and the modifications in the comments.
  • I added more oil to the pan, but no more butter. I'm not sure if I got up to the original 3-tablespoon recommendation of oil/butter.
  • I added balsamic vinaigrette to the oil/butter mix.
  • I threw in the garlic greens first on my own advice and let them cook ahead of the asparagus a little.
  • As far as covering the or not, I was going to go with the recommendation not to cover, but the asparagus just looked so dry that I decided to "sweat" it by covering the pan.
  • On my own advice I added pepper and some marjoram while it was cooking (I really wanted powdered sage, since that stuff does frozen veggies wondered, but the only powdered green plant we had was marjoram).
I thought I'd stay well below the recommended 7-10 minutes and hit the 3-4 minute sautee suggested by a commenter, but I think that, in the end, that asparagus was in the pan, either cover off or cover on, for 7-10 minutes.

To prevent overcooking on the small stalks, I ate them. While the rest cooked.

Only one medium-sized stalk came out undercooked. The rest were just right! (I jumped from taste-testing the small ones to taste-testing the fattest one when they all started to look done. How do I know when asparagus looks done? As I said in my post earlier today, I've eaten potentially unhealthy amounts of it lately.)

I like plain old boiled-for-3-minutes-and-plunged-into-ice-water asparagus just as much as I liked this recipe. Probably more.

A lot of the flavor this dish offered was from the butter, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese (lucky me, I'd bought locally made hard cheese at the co-op. I never buy hard cheese!) I can't say all of it was, though, because I just tried practically the same recipe with turnips, and it didn't taste at all the same.

The garlic was better in recipe #2 than recipe #1. It cooked longer and soaked up balsamic vinegar. In fact, I'd say this recipe, while useless for asparagus unless you're looking for something to fill the pan with and looking for a new asparagus trick, is fabulous for the white parts of garlic greens.

I might make it again with the rest of the garlic greens (the green part) if I don't end up using them in that crazy soup I'm thinking about making.

Scrape all the bottom stuff out of the pan and throw it onto the asparagus & garlic. I wouldn't recommend pouring all the remaining olive oil all over your asparagus & garlic (they're oily enough), but definitely scrape up that goop on the bottom. I was almost licking this up (I'm sure the cheese helped, too, of course).

  • Baby turnip greens
  • Garlic green tops
  • Arugula
  • Basil (not much)
I hope to use them all without incorporating any non-local perishables.

Wish me luck.

** cutsmoosh: Recipe #1 called for crushed garlic that was "still together" in 1 clove. Since onion-like things don't "smash" as well as garlic cloves, I ran the stem through a dull, serrated knife that never quite made it down to the cutting board. The result was, I presume, flavorfully as close to "smooshing" this thing as I could get. Looked more scalloped.)

Springtime food

I joined a 2nd co-op today, because I'm thinking about investing in it (5%-5.75% returns on a super-duper environmentally conscious investment aren't bad, even though they're not the 8% I thought the loan offered (it turns out that's only for the high rollers loaning the co-op $50K or more)).

Actually, I stopped by because it was on the way home and because I wanted to try the new local yogurt, since the Cultural Revolution crap they've been forced to carry since other local yogurt makers went out of business tastes disgusting (except vanilla and one of the "red berry" flavors but not the other. Nevertheless, I stand by my statement for all other flavors--TERRIBLE!) Unfortunately, the "new local yogurt" is doubly bad for the environment because the cream goes from Minnesota to Delaware before coming back to MN.

On my way in I'd grabbed asparagus thinking, "I hope this isn't unhealthy to eat on a daily basis like eggs and carrots. It's the only easy-to-make-tasty local food available so far."

The rest of the store seduced me, though, after I read the produce board. Apparently I just had to try the basil, and once I looked at that, I noticed that the arugula had a sign next to it claiming, "Best crop ever!"

Come to think of it, I'm realizing that I really overpaid for garlic greens. $2.49 for a bunch? I can get a bunch for $2, list price, at this time of year at the farmer's market, and if I buy other stuff from the same vendor, I can bargain it down to $1 without either one of us batting an eye.

Nevertheless, I might not have bought garlic greens at the market (never have in 2 years of regular shopping there), so I'll just write off the markup as highly effective advertising (that colorful, handwritten produce chalkboard!) by a decent business.

I also brought home baby blanched-colored turnips that had instructions written next to them ("sautee lightly"..."greens also edible"...those did not come w/ directions).

I'm not so overwhelmed by the idea of using up all these greens because I cheated on my locally-grown-and-processed food quest and bought miso and korean noodles while searching for lychee fruit at the asian grocery store nearby. (I was also supposed to reassure myself by buying tapioca spring roll wraps, but I just realized that I forgot to.)

What the heck do garlic, basil, and turnip greens have to do with keeping me sane with a bunch of random greens I don't know how to cook? Here's my reasoning:
  • Garlic grens look like scallions. Scallions are in miso soup at restaurants. Miso soup often has tofu in it.
  • Miso soup would probably be fine with noodles instead of tofu. Both processed foods made out of plants.
  • Pho has noodles in it. Pho is also a tasty soup at restaurants.
  • Basil is in pho.
  • I like Korean noodles made out of yams/sweet potatoes better than Vietnamese rice or bean noodles.
So no problem to make miso soup with garlic instead of scallions, basil thrown in, and noodles instead of tofu, right? And if I throw some turnip greens in, it'll be just like seaweed, right?

Raspberry & life miracle

Teeny tiny bees are pollinating my black raspberries! (Sweat bees?)

They're in tubs instead of the ground, and there aren't many other flowers (hence many bees) nearby. I'd been trying to pollinate them by hand, but it turns out I just wasn't around at the right time of day to find out that there are bugs working hard on my raspberries.

I think I got religion for a moment out there. I threw my arms back and shouted, "Thank you, Heaven!"

Friday, May 25

Live Earth activism

So...should people interested in sculpting society to send messages that fair treatment for both genders is the only kind of treatment that will be accepted (that is, "feminists") try to get tens of thousands of letters written to boot Akon from the Live Earth tour?

Or should they not bother?

I do wish this would be taken up in the femisphere. The concert is coming soon, and changes to big events take time on the organizers' end! Great as Jessica's book may or may not be, what I really want to hear about is whether or not various actions are good ideas or bad ideas for activists.

I mean, sure, I'll write my letter...but it won't have an impact alone. Do people think it's appropriate to join me or not in trying to get a caught-on-camera (yes, I know, not accused by the law, but still caught on camera) violent sexual assaulter booted from a progressive issue concert's lineup?

Also, is there anyone else in the lineup who's committed a serious crime against another person and has been demonstrably caught in the act? If so, we should hit both artists at the same time. It's only fair.

Tuesday, May 15

Body goals

I was going to list some of my favorite bus stop / airport / office exercises, and while looking for a picture of the kind of tricep dips I was taught I found this photo:

I want to be able to lift like that someday. If I had muscles as strong as she does, I could probably do monkey bars for the first time in my life.

Weightlifting invention

My upper legs have been antsy. No-weight squats took care of my quads but got my hamstrings feeling even antsier. All the body-weight-alone exercises on ExRx for hamstrings & glutes required setups I didn't have in this all-day proofreading meeting (where my coworkers said they didn't mind me exercising).


But hurrah! I am a woman, born to a cursed life of pants without decent pockets. That means I carry a purse.

Ordinarily, I hate it. But it turns out I can bend over the back of a chair, hook that heavy purse (after all, once you're carrying a purse, why not carry as much as possible?) over one ankle, and do reverse hyper-extensions one leg at a time!
(Stand on the supporting foot's tiptoe if you want to reduce stretching in that leg's calf.)

Hamstrings tired and happy now.

P.S. Turns out I might've been able to do w/o the purse if I'd known about one-legged hamstring bridges at the time. I still think I'm cool.

Thursday, May 10

Prison Conditions At Moveon or Somewhere?

I wish we could get something like Moveon or another major grassroots petitioning organization to lobby states that allow sentencing to "pay-to-get-abuse-free-prison-terms" to stop allowing such sentencing.

(Don't make the companies' existence...just make it illegal for the states to sentence prisoners there.)

Dream on, though, I'm sure. I don't know...how many people does it take to convince the major grassroots orgs. to take up an issue when that issue is small on the news radar?

People of all social classes deserve abuse-free prison terms. Though a petition is not the most effective tool (money is!) for getting rid of the abuse in our prison, it is an effective tool for getting rid of increasing class distinction.

Tuesday, May 8

Biting Beaver Writes About Online Harrassment

Biting Beaver came back from hiatus and wrote an extended metaphor to help readers understand what it feels like to be harrassed in a sexualized and a violent way as a blogger.

She's written about this before, though her attempts to communicate the experience have never given me such an "Aha" moment.

In fact, she was writing about it last year, before it became front-page-dead-tree-Washington-Post news and the subject of mainstream feminist and pro-feminist blogswarms.

But here she is, back again, conveniently (for us readers and "stop threatening bloggers!" activists) appearing before the "stop threatening bloggers!" movement has lost momentum. Lucky us to have such a well-written piece contributed to the cause within a convenient timeframe.

She and Kathy Sierra, as far as I can tell, have very different real-world memories and have had very different real-world lives. Reading about BB's background will make you not at all surprised to see that she, as she put it, "believed the [snapping] dog."

Read both posts to see that both she and Kathy Sierra were reasonable when they believed that:

the words from these violent, misogynist men are ... the words of rapists, molesters and abusers. They are men who have not yet been caught for their crimes, but filth and hatred of the type they spewed with their threats of slitting me up one side and down the other, do not come from the hands of people who are otherwise non-violent.

Perhaps that connection can help you convince friends, family, and other unaligned people who use the internet to come down harder than they ever imagined important on people they see harrassing other internet users violently and/or in sexualized manners. Because maybe, just maybe, since online life is still communication, scorning them everywhere they turn will convince more of them than would otherwise have been convinced that what they're doing both online and in real life is wrong.

It's worth a try--don't you think? Especially after reading these links?

Thursday, May 3

Colin Peterson

I can't find a link, but Colin Peterson, the representative from western MN who's in charge of the US House agricultural committee (and thus in charge of the once-every-5-years Farm Bill this year) just called "free trade" "so-called free trade" on the radio this morning!

Last I heard (at a "ONE" anti-poverty activist/lobbyist training session), Peterson couldn't care less about changing economic status quos.

But that was a month ago. Today he was pissed off that trade agreements trump all other laws (like substances allowed to be used in food manufacture--including...get this...banned chemicals...so we're talking environmental effects, too, not just melamine).

Plus, maybe he'll be open to Farm Bill ideas from ONE that he previously couldn't care less about.

Links to come once I find out more and get back from a meeting.

Man oh man. If we roll back trade-over-all-other-laws, maybe Europe will, too...and they'll be able to avoid importing palm oil from new plantations being built on top of rainforests that're being cut down specifically to supply the EU with the cheapest biodiesel in the world.


Wednesday, May 2

The 37th Carnival of Feminists

There are about 10 more submissions in my inbox that I haven't read yet, and I have a Firefox-vs-IE check to do, so come back later tonight for updates. I will also compile a list of links to carnivals of interest to feminists (it's grown!)

Update: I'll take this project on later today. My internet access was out all last night.

The 38th Carnival of Feminists will be at Team Rainbow on May 16.
Happy reading!

Activist efforts & results of activismPeople being good
  • Ellen Nakashima wrote an article full of strong, certain, non-wishy-washy words about women getting sexualized threats online simply for existing, and it seems the Washington Post published it on the front page! Good. (Thanks to Feminist Law Profs for the tip-off.

  • The Daily Kos is starting to direct its liberally-minded attention towards women's issues.
    In the last three weeks, in addition to posts directly related to the Supreme Court's decision, at least 3 feminist user diaries stayed on the "Most Recommended Diaries" list all day (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), at least 2 or 3 well-discussed feminist articles appeared on the front page (1, 2), and several interesting feminist user diaries were featured near the tip-top, most attention-getting spot in "diary rescue" articles on the front page (1, 2).
    Also, Kos himself is taking paternity leave (except for an article or two a week) from the Daily Kos--and in my mind, that's a significant pro-feminist action.

    I recognize that the site still has a long way to go--Kos did write that horrendous "It's not as if those cowards will actually act on their threats" article, and as Pam Spaulding and Tinfoil Hattie pointed out, Pandagon was the only "major lefty blog" to shine a spotlight on Akon's apparent sexual assault of a woman onstage (and I kind of wonder myself if a user diary on that subject would've made it into the "most recommended diaries" list, even during this increasingly feminist time on the Daily Kos).

    Nevertheless, I thought it was worth taking some time to point out positive changes!
People being badGender essentialismEconomicsHighly reported news
  • The Supreme Court & the ban on Dilate & Extract abortions
    • Veronica at The Red Thread described her feelings about saving her life via late-term abortion before, while, and after pregnancy and expressed what she thinks the ruling says the 5 judges think of doctors and of women.

    • KC at Bligbi related a personal story (that even involves a physician denying birth control to a woman too poor to shop around and get it by any means) as a refutation of bans on Dilate & Extract abortions.

    • DBB at Disgusted Beyond Belief wrote about his wife's health-related abortion (fortunately, it was legal for him to choose to abort before "or she'll die!" was 100% certain). He attracted some controversial commenters--one in particular tried to explain why he definitely valued the life of his potential kids more than the life of his wife.

  • Duke
    • Marcella Chester at abyss2hope wrote about many subjects in "Why I'm Not Eating Crow Over the Duke Case". Highlights:

      1. Legal philosophy that, because an assumption != evidence, assuming that alleged rape victims' claims are truthful does not undermine alleged rapists' "innocent until proven guilty" status in a court of law.

      2. "Allowing this 'she was just a 'ho' argument to stand unchallenged is the same as giving rapists a list of who can be raped without fear of prosecution."

      3. Comments on theories that the accusations were a hoax

    • John Palmer at LongHairedWeirdo mused that perhaps actions of several lacrosse players gave Ms. Magnum an overwhelmingly realistic flashback to a previous sexual assault. He speculated:
      She left behind her handbag, with a good chunk of money in it.

      Tell me that she was treated respectfully and in a non-frightening manner, but she bolted without her money, and it just doesn't compute.
      it seems impossible to believe that she wasn't frightened by something.
      People who think she was seeking revenge for something said or done to her, remember this: she didn't go out and make those accusations. The police were called because of her condition (seeming to be drunk), and it was only after the officer hassled her a bit (the report I found said he used a hold that would be painful if she didn't move as he directed) that she broke out of her shell and said she'd been raped.

      This, to me, does not sound like a person trying to get revenge and making up lies. It sounds exactly like a traumatized person coming out of a daze, and reporting what she believed happened.
      A flashback can seem real, as if it's happening right now.
      later that night, she then reported to the police what she remembered, as best as she could.

      Let me say that again and emphasize it: as best as she could.

      It is not a "lie" or a "false accusation" or "revenge" if, having been traumatized once, she was scared, and had a flashback, and couldn't keep the two events separate in her mind. It is the responsibility of the authorities, the police and the prosecutors, to investigate the accusations. Crime victims often misremember the details of what, exactly happened.
      I'm not going to excuse DA Nifong for what he did, but I will suggest that his motives - not his actions, but his motives - were better than most people believe.

  • Other
Porn, "Sex-Positive," "Anti-Porn," and related topicsMiscellaneous

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