Wednesday, January 30, 2008

everything should be smothered in it

I don't think I've ever posted a recipe before, but I thought, what the hell? This blog is an all-over-the-place mess that only a few people read anyway and I know two (H & MM) who will love it as much as me.

It had been so long since I had energy and felt well enough to cook but this week I've been trying some new recipes (all from Epicurious). You see I saw my TCM practioner last Friday and he did some accupressure and craniopathy on me, which have brought me much relief. I'm not 100% (the headache's still lurking) but I'm good for the first time since Christmas.

Anyway, I recommend you check these ones out on Epicurious: the barley, pear and feta salad; simmered greens with cornmeal dumplings; and the sauce from the middle eastern bison meatballs recipe (ewww, bison... we ate it on crab cakes and I'm right now eating the leftover sauce on tofu balls).

I scaled the sauce recipe way down though, for lack of ingredients, and it's simply delicious as such. This is what I did (took all of 5 minutes):

Toasted a couple of pinches of cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they were nice and browned. Ground 'em up with a mortar & pestle. While the spices were toasting, I whizzed up (in my mini chopper but a blender would do fine) a small bunch of fresh cilantro, juice of half a lemon, some salt, a tablespoon of sugar, a glug of olive oil and about a cup and a half of plain yogurt. Add the ground spices and voilĂ .

Divine stuff, I tell ya.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

yuki ga futte imasu

Snow is falling in Tokyo and unbelievable yet even to me is that I am enjoying watching it, despite how much I despised it just two years ago when I had to live with it for months. How soon we romanticize things.

And again, I realize how poetic I find the Japanese language. The word for snow, yuki, (pronounced you-key) just seems sweet to me. A fine equivalent for a short elegant word like snow. For those curious about the rest of the phrase: ga is a topic marker (which follows the subject) and futte imasu is the present progressive for fall.

Not that I'm in any position to teach anyone the language. I'd slacked off my studies in the past several months, due to my volunteering/work sched. And how quickly what a mature brain learns rusts when thrust aside. So my 2008 new year's resolution was the same I made last January: hit the books. Though last year did not commence with constant migraine brain as this one did, so I then made a better start of it.

As to migraines, does anyone out there (is there anyone out there?) have any first-hand tricks/treatments I might try? Just don't talk to me about triggers because mine is/are elusive (hormones? barometric pressure?). My abortive, a triptan, isn't working anymore and frankly I'm kind of over-sensitive to prescription drugs, and so a few months ago I turned to a traditional chinese medical practioner. I am currently awaiting a new herbal formula he ordered for me before I resort to the M.D. for a prophylactic (typically anti-depressants in very low-dose) which make me dopey in addition to other side effects I'd like to live without. I'm also going to let the TCM doc do a second visceral manipulation on Friday. Heave those organs, sir, perhaps my brain chemicals will better follow the newly straightened path.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

iroirona mono

or various things. I have a particular fondness for the Japanese word for various, iroirona. Iro is color and na is the suffix that turns something into an adjective. So if you translate hyper-literally, iroirona is colourcolourful. Sugoi, desu ne?

As you might guess, I'm a little tipsy on a juice-glass full of nihonshu after a bad afternoon at work. Particularly, a long and painful meeting that was dominated by a repetitive windbag of a man, the Poop on whom I'll have to give you in secret someday, if you know what I mean. Alas, the frustrating part is that I'm a lowly part-time sub-assistant so I cannot say much in these meetings, whilst I long to tear people such as he a new one.

But I'm getting off course, I was going to do a list.

Latest fear: I stretched my stomach with all the over-eating we did during the holidays while A's cuz was here. Did I mention that he said, on his departure, that his fav part of the trip was the food? Anyhow, proof of the stretch is that I just ate a half plate of lentils and wild rice, plus a half-baguette smoked salmon sandwich and I'm still hungry and thinking about an ice cream parfait! And this after a fairly large seto lunch. I don't know if I've explained before but a "set" meal is a tray of various dishes. Today's was dominated by a fairly large bowl of rice sprinkled with tiny fish and peppercorn/caper-like things and accompanied by a nice miso soup, a plate of fried small fish, a bowl of stewed veg and tofu-ish stuff (long story), plus the requisite couple of tiny bowls of pickled this and that. But luckily, stretched or not, I've got the G mutt to keep me trim. I just have to walk a little further next month.

Which brings me to the Winter weather complaints dep't: I and various other Canadians have apparently acclimatized to Japanese temps. Several compatriots have been complaining to me lately how "cold" it is and tonight it's 4 C out and I cut G's walk short because I wasn't wearing a hat and felt quite cold myslef. This recent snap arrived the day after I posted/boasted about how warm it'd been. Jinx yerself much?

Best recent downloads: I've posted before about how much we're enjoying Bit Torrent, but forgive me if I'm behind the times with my raves about the film "Notes on a Scandal". I think I'm a bit more "with it" when I crow about stumbling onto 9.5 hours of very cool music. Don't take my word, fellow-torrentials should search up "Indie/Rock playlist" (I got December's but January's is avail. too) on Mininova and get groovin'!

New fav dictionary site: Impatient word geeks such as myself will soon be addicted as me to the fastest dictionary online. It's called ninjawords, check it out!

Did you know? Dinosaurs had feathers. No seriously, there's a program on Animal Planet right now and they're saying that bird feathers evolved from dino scales.

Days remaining till we're drool-free and don't have to worry about G wounding the drooler: one. The poor D's parents are coming home this weekend. I think he'll have nightmares of G lunging for his neck for awhile to come (she attacked him twice yesterday).

I'm sure there were other silly things I wanted to say but I've just made my parfait and need to wrap myself in a blankie in order to eat it. Canadian? Humpf, pretty soon I won't be permitted to call myself so!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

dog dog mouse

I hate to brag, since you are likely far far away in a very snowy world, but today is the first rainy cool day we've yet seen this year. As evidenced by the daffodil I swiped last night in some bushes behind a building on G's walk route, the temps have been positively spring-like. I had been thinking October but then this week we hit 14 C a couple of times and I switched to May comparisons.

Can't say it's the globe but Tokyo's warming, that's for sure. I bumped into the big cheese in the elevator yesterday and he said that 30 years ago when he was first posted here, they used to get snow a few times each winter.

Anyhow, how dull am I? The weather, geez.... Which is why I haven't posted since xmas. Not much to tell yet, in this year of the mouse. I thought it was rat but someone told me the other day that it's rat in China and mouse here. Mice are cuter anyway.

The only thing going on really is us helping dogsit our friends' springer spaniel. Poor dude is seriously emotionally needy and can't be left alone without whining and barking his big head off. This since his doggie sister/pal died several months ago.

G-dog knows him because we frequently visit at their house and they at ours. They don't exactly get along but they've tolerated each other. However, don't know why G changed her mind last weekend when we brought him over sans his people, but she took to lunging at the big lug anytime we paid him any attention. They had numerous nasty-sounding fights but thankfully she's gotten over it because I'll have him every morning again next week (his real dog sitter, who's staying with him, works long hours Mon. to Fri.).

This weekend we're just laying low and chilling out, since we've had our share of running about for awhile and A's cousin left on Wednesday.

Yoi shumatsu o (wishing you a good weekend).

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