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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
12 June 2017 @ 11:42 am
1. Cooked the second of my three Blue Apron meals. Details in this post. Took all resulting compost (and compost from previous days) to the communal bin.

2. Boiled two eggs.

3. Deposited a check.

4. Paid my dental bill from my May 15th appointment, which had finally come in the mail.

5. Posted another tiny installment in my Narnia/HP crossover: The Test of Gold, in which Edmund and Ginny take an unusual boat trip.

6. Baked brownies.

7. Walked to Stewart Park on Sunday morning for my church's annual picnic, which is preceded by a brief service composed of a few songs, a volunteer appreciation segment, and a youth bridging ceremony (ie, welcoming middle-schoolers into high school, and graduating seniors into adult life). The day was sunny and bright with a mild breeze, the songs were fun, the bridging speeches were moving, and the food was delicious. :)

I get to Stewart Park via the Renwick Wildwood Bird Sanctuary (which is both more direct and VASTLY more pleasant than the other potential routes), and this year the cottonwoods are all shedding their seeds so thickly that parts of the path looked like they were covered in snow or swathed in a million spiderwebs.

Also three mosquitoes attempted to bite me, but I squished them all and only one got far enough into the biting process to leave an itchy welt.

8. TOOK A NAP.

9. Changed linens.

10. Outlined a fic I may or may not ever get around to writing, but the idea wouldn't stop bugging me until I fed it a little structure, so.

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
Apropos of nothing in particular, here is another tiny installment in Edmund and Ginny Go to Harfang. :)

Written 6/10/17, in response to the [community profile] genprompt_bingo square extraordinary. (200 words exactly)

[ETA: The AO3 crosspost is now up!]

---------------------------------------------
The Test of Gold
---------------------------------------------

"I didn't wish to voice misgivings where our hosts might take offense, but by all logic this journey ought to be fatal," Edmund said as Ginny leaned over the side of their borrowed skiff, trailing her fingers through the liquid fire that served Bism in place of water. "We should have long since scalded our lungs attempting to breathe this close to something hot enough to soften stone, let alone touching or drinking it, not to mention the air down here should have turned poisonous ages ago."

"I know," Ginny said with a delighted smile. "And yet here we are, sailing toward a volcano with a basket of rubies for lunch. Isn't it amazing?"

She cupped her hands into the swift-moving current and raised a pool of white-gold flames to pour over her head. Droplets clung to her hair and skin like shining jewels, and Edmund felt his breath catch in his chest with unexpected desire.

"Yes. Amazing." He turned aside to busy himself with the tiller and coughed to clear his throat. "Regardless, we should prepare for the upwelling that the salamanders promised would carry us back to the surface. I suspect that will be a difficult ride."

---------------------------------------------

End of Ficlet

---------------------------------------------

I dunno if this will actually turn shippy or if Edmund is just having an 'oh help, she's hot' moment and he and Ginny will simply become even better bickery platonic friends and fighting companions. Either way, I feel I should remind readers that both characters are only about 17-18 years old here and therefore prone to dumb teenage shenanigans despite the pressures of war and kingship and rebellion. *wry*

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
rare steak and a vegetable and potato medley on a plate, with a bottle of hard cider to the right


I forgot to take process photos this time, but here is the finished product!

You may notice that I put the salsa verde on the side rather than spreading it over the vegetables and/or the meat. That's because, given how terrible the charred lime from the last recipe ended up being, I wasn't sure the flavors would actually mesh well. But they do, and when I reheat the leftovers I'm totally dumping it over everything. :)

(Note: I chose the wrong hard cider. This meal really needs something fruity, but I grabbed the driest option in my variety pack. Oops.)

This recipe is pretty simple in concept: steak plus roasted vegetables plus a bit of zing. I doubt I'll ever recreate it exactly, but I do like steak an awful lot so attempting a slightly simplified variation is not out of the question.

What Blue Apron assumes you have: an oven, a stove, a baking tray, a frying pan of decent size, paper towels to pat the steaks dry, a cutting board, a good knife, aluminum foil, a whisk, measuring spoons, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

What Blue Apron provides: 2 steaks, ~1/2lb fingerling potatoes, 3 radishes, a bunch of asparagus, 1 lemon, some garlic cloves, some parsley, and some capers.

The recipe is roughly as follows:

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
2. Clean and chop all the vegetables.
3. Cut the lemon into quarters.
4. Smash or grate the garlic.
5. Put the potatoes (cut side down) on a baking tray.
6. Cover them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (I would advise getting some oil UNDER the potatoes as well, if you want to remove them with any ease.)
7. Bake ~15 minutes. Turn the oven off and set them aside to cool.

While the potatoes are baking:

1. Clean the steaks and pat them dry.
2. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Heat some olive oil in the frying pan.
4. Cook the steaks 3-5 minutes per side, depending on how rare or well done you want the meat.
5. Set the steaks aside on a cutting board and cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
6. Allow them to set for at least 5 minutes.

While the steaks are setting:

1. DO NOT CLEAN THE FRYING PAN; YOU WANT THE STEAK JUICE AND BROWN GUNK.
2. Dump the radishes into the frying pan and cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus and cook 3-4 minutes.
4. You can add more salt and pepper at any point here, if you want.
5. Add ~1/2 of the garlic and cook ~1 minute.
6. Turn off the heat, add the potatoes.
7. Squeeze 2 lemon quarters over the mix. Stir.

While the veggies are cooking:

1. Mix parsley, capers, ~1/2 of the garlic in a bowl.
2. Squeeze the other 2 lemon quarters into the bowl.
3. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and whisk together slowly.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the veggies are done:

1. Cut the steak (crosswise) into slices.
2. Plate and serve.

This time I think it really does serve two. (Well. I probably could have divided it into three portions, but as mentioned above, I am kind of a sucker for steak, so. Two it is!)


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
09 June 2017 @ 12:06 am
1. Took communal compost bin to the curb for pickup. (I seem to be the only person in both houses who remembers to do this. I am not exactly complaining about that, but I do wonder who, if anyone, would step up to the plate if I weren't here.)

2. Sliced two chicken thighs and baked them in balsamic dressing.

3. Began summer apartment photographs and turnover inspections at work, which is interesting.

4. Called my dentist to ask when I would be billed for my May 15th appointment. Apparently the office manager has returned and sent all the outstanding bills earlier this week, so I should receive mine on Friday. It's not that I especially WANT another bill, but I was even less happy about the prospect of an unknown bill hanging over my head indefinitely.

5. Bought a zester/grater at Target.

6. Saw Wonder Woman, which I enjoyed a lot! Quick impression: vague spoilers, I guess?Collapse )

7. Bought groceries.

8. Paid my monthly internet bill.

9. Recharged my bus pass.

10. Cooked the first of three Blue Apron meals. More details in this post (poll and general comments) and also this post (pictures and recipe).

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
Picture time!


eight images under the cutCollapse )


curry in a bowl, with catfish and a charred lime on top . curry and fish in bowl, with a bottle of hard cider to the right

9. the finished meal (before I ditched the lime)
10. the finished meal plus a drink :)


The things Blue Apron assumes you have are: several plates, paper towels for blotting wet fish, a cutting board, a can opener, a good knife, a zester, a carrot peeler, a measuring cup, a teaspoon (I did not bother to measure my olive oil this carefully), a pan with high sides (or a big pot), a frying pan of decent size, access to clean water, olive oil, salt, and black pepper.

The ingredients Blue Apron provides are: two catfish fillets, ~1lb Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 can (13.5oz) coconut milk, some bok choy, some carrots, some garlic cloves, 1 lime, cilantro (I didn't use this), 3 Tbsp rice flour, 1 lime leaf, 2 Tbsp red curry paste, and 1 Tbsp white sugar.

The curry recipe is as follows:

1. Clean and prep all the vegetables.
2. Zest the lime.
3. Cook potatoes in olive oil for ~15 minutes. (This is a lie. It will take more like 25 minutes.) Season them with salt and pepper at some point in this process.
4. Add the carrots, garlic, and curry paste (to taste). You can add more olive oil if you need to make everything mix well. Cook ~2 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk, bok choy, sugar, lime leaf, and 1/4 cup water. Cook for another ~15 minutes, maybe less if you like your vegetables fimer.
6. When you have turned off the heat, remove the lime leaf and mix in lime zest instead. Add more salt and pepper if you want.

During the times the curry is cooking, you will be doing two other things! While you soften/brown the potatoes:

1. Cook the two lime halves (cut sides down) in olive oil for ~3 minutes, until charred.
2. Set them aside somewhere until you serve the meal.
3. Clean the frying pan; you will need it again.

While you cook down the coconut milk, etcetera:

1. Clean the catfish and pat it dry.
2. Season both sides of each fillet with salt and pepper.
3. Put the rice flour on a plate.
4. Cover one side of each fillet in flour.
5. Cook the fish (flour side DOWN) in olive oil for ~6 minutes.
6. Flip, then cook another ~3 minutes.

If you time it right, your curry and fish should be done at about the same time. Put the curry in a bowl, drop the fish on top, add a lime, and you are good to go. :)

Blue Apron claims this serves two. I am pretty sure it produces four portions of curry and three portions of fish, but eh, to each their own.


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
08 June 2017 @ 06:04 pm
I did not cook yesterday because I felt cruddy by the time I got out of work and mostly just wanted to sleep. But! I feel better today (and have also acquired a zester), so.





ETA 8:30pm: Thank you all for your help!

However, as [tumblr.com profile] longroadstonowhere pointed out over on Tumblr, fish is likely to go bad faster than beef, and so should probably be cooked first. On that principle, I am attempting the catfish curry thing. I have read the recipe thoroughly, set out the necessary dishes and whatnot, and chopped all the ingredients. (Also I am going with four garlic cloves rather than two because I like garlic.)

I am now about to turn on the heat and attempt curry. Wish me luck!

-----

ETA, 10:00pm: The recipe as written estimated ~40 minutes cook time. In the event, I turned on the heat for the curry around 8:50pm and finished cooking around 9:45pm, which is about 15 minutes longer than advertised. This is mostly because potatoes always take longer to soften/brown than recipes think they should, and I KNOW this and I am not sure why I forgot. *sigh*

The recipe claims to serve two. I think it produces at least four portions of curry, and three portions of fish. I preemptively discarded the cilantro garnish (I am not one of the people to whom it tastes like soap or soapy mud; I just think it tastes like muddy grass, and why would I want to eat that?), and after attempting a couple bites, I have also discarded the charred lime half because WOW it is bitter and not adding anything useful to the dish since the curry was already cooked with a lime leaf and seasoned with lime zest.

The fish and curry are pretty tasty, though, so all in all? Victory! \o/

(I will post some photos after I finish eating.)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
Today's entry in the 'weird things I have acquired from tenants' department: a Blue Apron box.

The tenant left for the summer and did not cancel their subscription quite fast enough, so whoops, one extra box arrived. Fortunately this particular tenant is generally on top of things, and upon receiving the package notification email, promptly called us to say they weren't in town and we should just make the food ourselves.

Mom Boss and Aunt Boss were not interested, and I wasn't sure the food would keep long enough for Miss Cactus to choose any on Thursday, so I just carried the box home myself. (The whole mile and a half. Exercise is good for you! *flops*)

The recipes are as follows: crispy catfish & spicy vegetable curry (with charred lime); seared steaks & salsa verde (with fingerling potatoes, asparagus, & radishes); and Persian-style chicken & crispy rice (with zucchini, currants, & lemon yogurt).

They all claim to take only 15 minutes of prep time. Considering one of them involves mashing garlic into a paste, and the other two involve making lemon or lime zest from scratch (wtf), I call bullshit. I mean, I am game to try these things! They sound tasty! But I am pretty sure they will take about an hour of prep time each, plus the listed cooking times, plus slop time for cleaning dishes (I don't have the biggest sink, nor do I have endless counter space), so... I think two hours total per meal. Blargh.

Anyway, I have put the things that need refrigeration in my fridge, while the others are sitting in the box on a table, and I will probably attempt either the catfish or the steak tomorrow evening.

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
06 June 2017 @ 12:08 am
1. Started making paper fruit for a new counter display at the rental office -- by which I mean I chose line art from online, copypasted it into Word documents (and resized and tweaked until I had about six iterations per page), and printed it out on colored paper. Miss Cactus already started cutting some of them out and adding detail with thin-point Sharpie pens. I am not sure whether I will arrive on Tuesday to a finished display, or whether I will get to do some cutting and coloring myself during any slow periods.

2. Acquired a new houseplant. See, a tenant couldn't bring the plant with them to their new apartment, but felt bad throwing a living thing away, so they brought it to the office and asked if we wanted it. I said yes. I then transplanted it from the dinky plastic store pot into the slightly larger ceramic pot the tenant had been using purely as decoration because apparently transplanting is hard. *sigh* Anyway, hopefully I will manage not to kill it.

3. Put three nails into one side of my oldest bookcase, to hold parts of my paperclip collection. (Context: I string paperclips in chains of ten onto keyrings, 25 chains per ring, and then hang them up for display. All the paperclips must be 'found' items -- I can't purposely buy them -- which is why it has taken me literally twenty years to collect a thousand paperclips. Well. A thousand and three, as of Saturday.)

more items under the cutCollapse )

18. Called Vicky and caught up for an hour or so. :)

19. Chopped onions, summer squash, and a large bell pepper and made a batch of veggie sidedish. Tomorrow I intend to bake some chicken.

All in all, I think it was a fairly productive weekend.

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
05 June 2017 @ 11:23 pm
Ha! I finally finished the fill scene for "Second Chances," which I have been attempting to write for... uh... three months now? Ugh. Anyway, it still needs some tweaking (like, I want to connect Foggy's client to the Rainmaker in order to bring that element into the picture a little sooner (and not via Matt) and also to reduce rambling and stuff) and of course I still have to finish revising later scenes, but the biggest headache is DEFEATED.

Also I have now successfully inserted Marci into the story, which makes me very happy. :)

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Elizabeth Culmer, only a *little* bit crazy...
05 June 2017 @ 03:46 pm
one squash seedling in a clear plastic tub . one squash seedling in a clear plastic tub

1. Tan, Monday, 5 June 2017
2. Sethera


two photos under the cutCollapse )


As previously mentioned, only one of the seeds in the fourth squash container sprouted, and its cotyledons were somewhat damaged -- brown spots at the edges and so on. But the seedling (henceforth known as Covera) has been growing, albeit a bit slowly, and its growth pattern (firm upright stem) follows that of Azer rather than the inside sprouts (Tan and Sethera), so I think it will be all right.

The other peppers are putting forth proper leaves, and while Azer is lagging Tan and Sethera in number of leaves, it certainly makes up for that in size and general health.


one pepper plant in a terracotta pot . six pepper seedlings in black plastic planters

4. the Lazarus pepper
5. peppers A2, A4, A6, B1, B3, and B5


two photos under the cutCollapse )


Meanwhile the Lazarus pepper is still looking a bit unhappy. I suspect soil leaching, since after all it's been in that pot for over twelve months now. I don't think sun shock is the problem, since it sits under the mulberry tree and is thus relatively shaded. The weather continues to be abnormally cold and wet, but I did give all the plants a small dose of MiracleGro this morning. (And they have probably lost it all to a thunderstorm this afternoon. *sigh* Well, I do try.) It also has a number of buds, which are probably a week or two from opening, and I think it's been putting forth some new leaf growth as well.

The baby peppers have take a while to properly settle into their new homes, but they are now beginning to grow in earnest and I expect the next couple weeks to show some significant height gains.


[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]

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