Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fuji climbing

Remember when Josh climbed Mt. Fuji? It wasn't that long ago, just over two months, when he got up at 3:00 and headed off to conquer the mountain.

Well, Fuji is back, and this time Fuji-san is doing the climbing. Internet, meet Fuji the Cat.I realize it might look like he's trying to get down, but the handsome kitty spent about five minutes up there, kneading Josh's shoulder and purring. Fuji-san knows he's a climber! Here's how he looked up until Monday, ever since his original owner passed away. Before Josh and I moved to Japan, we had a little cat named Luna, a stray who adopted me without mentioning that she was pregnant, and had a seizure disorder. We loved her to pieces though, and were sad to have to leave her behind with a friend when we moved. Luna's gone now, and we knew we wanted another grownup cat. I walked in to the Kitsap Humane Society and saw him right away - for both Josh and me, it was love at first sight. Please spay or neuter your pets, give to the Humane Society, and consider adopting an adult cat instead of a kitten!

I suppose I should apologize here for not blogging more, and I really am sorry. It's just that I haven't felt like writing these last few weeks. I'm trying like hell to get a job and pick my career back up, with incredibly frustrating results - of the two positions I've interviewed for, I've come in second both times. I'm facing the possibility of 20 hours/week commuting, or finding a job outside my career in the area just to pay some bills.

And yes, I know how incredibly lucky I am. We've got a nice house and a nice car, savings in the bank and a couple 401Ks and IRAs to our names. Our healthcare is comprehensive and free (thanks for those tax dollars!) and we've got good friends and supportive families to buck us up when we get discouraged.

But of course I do still get discouraged. I've got a bunch more cover letters to write and resumes to send tomorrow, and I'm sure the right thing will come along in the end. For now, though, I'm going to go curl up with the cat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Emily Roasts Everything

So Costco. I had been to this place, this giant Buy 'N Large, this magical warehouse of the two-gallon mustard jug. There's one near the house and I visited with Irish, and figured out that I could get some good deals. We made a plan to go back together this weekend to stock up my pantry.

Then I got there and paid for a membership, and realized I needed to give Irish and Steve permission not to witness my consumer freakout. I must have spent three hours wandering around that store, and I filled one of those giant carts. I got rolled oats and tomato paste, band aids and deodorant and hydrogen peroxide, pepper jack cheese and butter and fifteen POUNDS of OxyClean. (This house needs it). And then I got to the produce section. And I go nuts.

See, we're both going to be working soon, God willing, and we still want to eat healthy. I need to break the habit of spending two hours a night cooking dinner, but I don't want to sacrifice our fresh veggie standards. So at Costco today I bought two pounds each of Brussels sprouts, haricots verts, and sugar snap peas; twelve Honeycrisp apples, and three pounds, yes three POUNDS of garlic. And then I got home and turned on the oven.I started with roasted garlic, of course, and only got to about half the bulbs in there. I did twelve in muffin tins with just a tiny drizzle of olive oil, and four bulbs poached in olive oil so I could save the oil too. The oil-poached ones are beautiful, and delicious.
Gorgeous, right? I took the cloves out of all SIXTEEN HEADS, ugh, and ground them up into a garlic paste for dressings, marinades, and spreads this week. Yum!

Then with the oven still roaring, I roasted half of the haricots verts with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and stashed them in the fridge for dinner tomorrow. I remembered I still had some regular green beans, trimmed and washed them and roasted them with red onion and (yes, more) garlic. That mixture ended up in a whole wheat couscous salad for tomorrow's lunch, with tomatoes, sugar snaps, and leftover mustard sauce - more on that later.

But I still hadn't made anything for tonight's dinner yet. So out came the three pound salmon fillet, also from Costco, and a quick glaze of mustard, soy sauce, roasted garlic paste, honey, paprika, thyme, and rosemary. I glazed a third of the fish with half the sauce and tossed the rest into the couscous, then prepared all the Brussels sprouts for a quick roast. They burned a little, but tasted great as usual. I'm not very good at cooking fish, but this salmon was delicious and I hope I can find good recipes for the rest of it.
Once again, my photos are not so good - apologies there. For now it's time for me and the oven to take a break, and reap the benefits tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sloppy Jogindra

I'm bummed I didn't take photos of the first meal I made in our new house. Josh and I have gotten a little, um, fluffier during this move, so we're trying to stick to lots of vegetables and lean proteins for the next couple weeks. Lame for an "eats everything" blog, I know, but bear with me.

So last night was spicy buffalo-style chicken strips sauteed with red onion and served on top of a big spinach salad. I made buttermilk dressing with just a little mayo to make it tasty. But I was tuckered out from moving, so we just ate and went straight to bed.

Which brings me to tonight's dinner, and the silly title of this post - I made soy sloppy joes flavored with garam masala, one of our favorite meals. Figures I took photos of possibly the most unappealing, unphotographable meal I ever cook and passed up the gorgeous colorful salad, huh? Ah well. Might as well get it out of the way: Kinda looks like somebody booted on our hamburger buns, doesn't it? Big old pile of vom. I SWEAR it's delicious. Just to clear your visual palate, I offer the roasted broccoli, roasting:
That's better, right?!

I really am sorry I can't get a better photo of this meal. It's so filling and nutritious, and sticks to your ribs more than many vegetarian sandwiches. The flavors are warm and spicy and sweet and comforting, and it comes together in less than half an hour. So if you don't mind closing your eyes, try this sometime.

Em's Garam Masala "Sloppy Joes"
2T olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
5 big mushrooms, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic (or more if you love it), minced
1-3t garam masala, or to taste
1t smoked paprika
1/2t marjoram*
1 package Morningstar Farms Grillers, still frozen is fine
Big splash of red wine
1 8oz can of unsalted tomato sauce
1 6oz can of unsalted tomato paste
1-2t jarred hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium and add the onion, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute 5 minutes or until onions and mushrooms are softening and garlic is fragrant. Stir in garam masala and cook 1 more minute, then add the marjoram and soy "meat." Cook a few minutes or until soy grillers are thawed and cooking, then pour in a glug of red wine and stir well.

Once the wine has almost completely reduced (there should be very little visible liquid), add the tomato sauce and paste and stir to incorporate completely. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for at 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and as much hot sauce as you like - I shook in about 5 glugs and it had a nice spicy kick. Serve hot over whole grain hamburger buns or toast - yum!

*Strange, right? But I had marjoram in my spice drawer and I never use it, and just a pinch tasted great in here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The house, and drama


Well, sort of. See, here are some pictures from our new abode. First we have the living room...then the kitchen,
the deck and fenced backyard (for little doggie-to-be-ours),
the family room with wood-burning fireplace,
and last but not least, the unevicted tenants.
Okay, so that last picture isn't from today. It's from here, actually, but the five bites on my ankles and tummy come direct from el nuevo casa de Sullins. Ugh. The good news is that there is a guy over there right now, cleaning and spreading flea treatment, and we SHOULD be bug-free by 8:00 tomorrow morning when the movers show up. Josh and I are getting a couple days' worth of prorated rent back out of the big check we wrote today, and we're hoping for a smooth transition tomorrow.

Still, between the thousands of dollars paid, the dirty house, the fleas, and a (great! but inconclusive) job interview today, I'm beat. Tomorrow plans to be another doozy, and we're gearing up with wine and our buddies tonight. Man, the hits just keep on coming.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The move-in

Tomorrow we get the keys to our new house, and later this week our big household goods shipment will be delivered. Of the several thousand pounds of possessions we've been missing, here is a very abridged list of what I have missed the most.

1. Our big, comfy mattress.
2. The bookcase.
3. My yarn stash and knitting books.
4. The piano.
5. A big soapstone Dutch oven.
6. My cast-iron skillet.
7. I'm not going to lie, people. The TV.

Just a few more days until we start rebuilding Casa de Sullins on yet another coast of yet another continent. When you move, what do you miss the most?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Did I mention we've been staying with friends? Well they have been amazingly generous, managing to hang out and be friendly while still giving us lots of privacy and time to ourselves. Still, we're all glad to hear that Josh and I will be moving into our own place this week, and receiving our household goods shipment Thursday. It's time to be grownups again, and regular old friends with Irish and Steve. So tonight they made us a feast, to see whether I'd eat steak.

See, I'm not much of a beef person. After fifteen years eating no mammals, I've become quite fond of pork in its many forms, but after trying roast beef, sauteed beef, and a nice chuck burger, I had no passion for le bouef.

Until tonight.

See, tonight we didn't have your garden-variety beef. We had dry-aged, grass-fed good stuff, grilled to medium-rare perfection by Steve and accompanied by an incredible spread of marinated shrimp, wilted spinach, Alaskan king crab, and excellent wine. It was, well - see for yourself:Pretty great, huh? We added some spelt bread from a bakery in Tacoma and, well, you can tell I was enthusiastic.
So now it's my third-to-last night at Casa de Jordan, and I've got a full belly and a woozy winey head and a lot of hope for a successful move this week. It's time for sleep, and a long day tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Emily Eats Everything

Welcome to my new digs, friends. Thanks for all your great blog name suggestions this week - there were some great ones, but you know how I can't resist food. Now that I won't have any new Japanese adventures to share, I've decided to use this space to write about food and cooking, and how it creates and effects my life.

See, we've been in this crazy situation for about three weeks now, taking advantage of our friends Irish and Steve's generosity and living in their guest room. We've found the house we want and our household goods should arrive next week, so we hope to be in our own place soon, but in the meantime we've been enjoying their company and trying not to be too irritating.

One of the major perks has been talking to Irish about school. My girl got out of the Navy last year, and she started culinary school last week. I'm getting the benefit of her experience, learning about classic mirepoix, the Holy Trinity, the Asian Holy Trinity, and brown vs. white stocks - and that's after only two days. I've been job hunting and house hunting and trying to stay sane in the meantime, but cooking and talking about food is where I recharge my mental batteries.

But I don't want to cook professionally, don't get me wrong. I have no desire to work the hours of a chef, in the heat of a kitchen, or to deal with the massive egos involved in the restaurant business. I just want to cook and eat delicious, wholesome and mostly healthy food and make sure the kitchen stays the heart of my house.Here's my second weekly haul from the Poulsbo Farmer's Market - that's Washington Honeycrisp apples, leeks, cherry tomatoes, delicious rainbow chard, a red onion, beets, baby potatoes, and eight delicious pluots, a plum-apricot hybrid.

What's a recovering vegetarian? More about that later, but let's just say that after fifteen years of no red meat, I have discovered a deep love of all the salted cured meats. (Remember pepperoni?) At the same time, I've moved to the land of the locavores, the organic farms, and the raw foodies, some of whom work with Josh.

So that's my plan for this blog, dear readers, and I hope you'll keep reading. We'll talk about Smitten Kitchen, I'm sure, and raw food and whole grains and, oh yes, bacon. Because now that Emily Eats Everything, anything can happen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Name me!

Oh God, y'all, I've done it again. It's like there's a blogging filter set on the United States of America - or more likely, a BLOG RAY focused on the nation of Japan! I'm having a hard time Taking Tokyo these days, as you can imagine, or admitting that Tokyo took me and sent me packing after just over a year.

So I need your help: what should be the name, and theme of this blog for the next year? I don't want to change the URL, but I need a new title. Suggestions in the comments, please!