Monday, 30 November 2009

Budín de Zanahoria (carrot pudding)

 I've decided. Come five, ten years from now I want to have a set collection of Thanksgiving recipes that we make year after year. The tried + true's. Last year I found our tried + true cranberry sauce (which I have since lost. a project for another day.) And this year I discovered one of our tried + true sides. I am not one for cooked carrots, I choke that junk down with huge gulps of water and then only when I have to-- but thankfully this dish blows all memories of those nasty little soggy orange discs out of the park.

Here's two versions of the recipe--the first I can vouch for, the second I plan to try. I'm feeling the rum add but would take away the chopped walnuts. (Marmousch said that the nuts looked like something that rhymes with shmomit anyway.) From Diane Kennedy's The Cuisines of Mexico, and I found it in the 2009 San Francisco Chowing with the Hounds picnic recipes.

Budín de Zanahoria (Carrot Pudding)

Serves 6

A food mill
2 pounds boiled carrots
6 ounces unsalted butter
A mixer
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces rice flour, sifted (I've always used all-purpose white flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound queso fresco, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Pass the carrots through the medium disc of a food mill. (I used a food processor and all was fine.)
Melt the butter and set it aside to cool.
Setting the egg whites aside, beat the yolks until they're thick. Add the sugar and continue beating until it is well incorporated. Beat in the flour alternately with the butter.
Stir in the carrots, salt and cheese, mix well, and lastly add the baking powder.
Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold them into the mixture.
Pour the mixture into a buttered pyrex dish. Place it on a baking sheet and rack 2/3 down into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the over temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for about 55 minutes. The budín should be soft and spongy to the touch - the top and sides nicely browned, but the inside moist.
Serve immediately, with the orange and walnut sauce to accompany it.

Kennedy advises that when making this dish with carrots, rather than the standard peas, you should serve it with coarse salt and thick sour cream, but I've always ignored her and just served it with the orange walnut sauce (2 cups oj with 3/4 cups walnuts).

Budín Nuevo de Zanahoria (New Carrot Pudding)

2 pounds peeled and steamed carrots
6 ounces unsalted butter
3 egg yolks and 5 egg whites.
1/2 cup brown sugar sugar
6 ounces rice flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound jack cheese, grated
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Zest of 1 orange
1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cumin

2 cups orange juice
1 tbsp sugar
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tbsp rum
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Pass the carrots through a food mill, ricer, or food processor. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Beat yolks well. Add the sugar and beat until well mixed. Beat in flour and butter. Stir in the carrots, salt, cheese, zest, nutmeg, cumin, and baking powder. Mix well. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into mixture.

Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish (no larger than 9x13). Bake at 500F for 10 minutes. Lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 55 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the orange juice and sugar to a pot and reduce liquid by half. Stir in cinnamon. Add rum and simmer for another couple minutes to cook off some of the alcohol. Keep warm until pudding is ready.

When sides are well browned and pudding is spongy to the touch in the center, remove from oven. Pour sauce evenly over top, scatter walnuts, and serve.

bits & pieces of our Thanksgiving

How lucky were we, we had two Thanksgiving celebrations over the long weekend! Two times the happy bellies, two juicy turkeys, two times playing my new favorite boardgame Apples to Apples. Two times family and dear friends. 

Friday, 27 November 2009

the Friday after Thanksgiving

if it is the Friday after Thanksgiving, that can only mean one thing for me: Love Actually! It's 1) how I jump-start the Christmas-y feeling every year, 2) one of only two films that lamb and I can practically sit down and spout off the entire movie, quote for quote (the other is Top Gun, don't judge!), and 3) it is brilliant! The intertwining storylines are clever and touching, the characters are heartfelt, the dialogue couldn't be more perfect, the endings of the different vignettes are predictable and not-so-predictable. It makes my heart ache, my stomach hurt from laughing so hard, and always makes me cry. The music swells at just the right moments (like when Jamie's walking down the streets of Brazil going to find Aurelia, or when Juliet is walking down the aisle), there's the world's best cameo from Rowan Atkinson, and the whole thing just leaves you feeling good. Like all great movies, every time you watch it you'll make a new connection or notice something new in it that you hadn't before. Unless you're like me, who one year watched it every single day between Thanksgiving and Christmas--so now I just tear up or laugh or quote on cue.

So if you haven't seen it, what in Sam heck are you waiting for? And if you have, just smile as I run through some of these beauties...

Sam: I know I should be thinking about Mum all the time, and I am. But the truth is, I'm in love and I was before she died, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Daniel: [laughs] Aren't you a bit young to be in love?
Sam: No.
Daniel: Oh, well, okay... right. Well, I mean, I'm a little relieved.
Sam: Why?
Daniel: Well, because I thought it would be something worse.
Sam: [incredulous] Worse than the total agony of being in love?
Daniel: Oh. No, you're right. Yeah, total agony.

Harry: Tell me, exactly, how long it is that you've been working here?
Sarah: Two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, what... two hours?
Harry: And how long have you been in love with Karl, our enigmatic chief designer?
Sarah: Um, two years, seven months, three days and, I suppose, an hour and thirty minutes.
Harry: I thought as much.
Sarah: Do you think everybody knows?
Harry: Yes!
Sarah: Do you think Karl knows?
Harry: Yes!
Sarah: Oh, that is... that is bad news.
Harry: Well I just thought maybe the time had come to do something about it.
Sarah: Like what?
Harry: Invite him out for a drink and then, after about twenty minutes, casually drop into the conversation the fact that you'd like to marry him and have lots of sex and babies.
Sarah: You know that?
Harry: Yes, and so does Karl. Think about it, for all our sakes. It's Christmas. 

Harry: Sarah, how long have you been working here?
Sarah: Let's see...2 years, 6 months, 13 days and I suppose 2 hours?
Harry: And how long have you been in love with our chief enigmatic designer, Carl?
Sarah: (pause) 2 years, 6 months, 13 days and I suppose 1 hour and 45 minutes?
Harry: I figured as much.
Sarah: Does everybody know?
Harry: Yes!
Sarah: Does Carl know?
Harry: Yes!
Sarah: What should I do?
Harry: Tell him you want to marry him and have lots of sex and babies with him.

Karen: So what's this big news, then?
Daisy: [excited] We've been given our parts in the nativity play. And I'm the lobster.
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: [beaming] Yeah, *first* lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

[on sheets of poster board]
Mark: With any luck, by next year - I'll be going out with one of these girls.
[shows pictures of beautiful supermodels]
Mark: But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at Christmas you tell the truth - To me, you are perfect - And my wasted heart will love you - Until you look like this.
[picture of a mummy]
Mark: Merry Christmas. 

Collin: I don't blame you. Looks like dead baby fingers. What's your name?
Nancy: Nancy.
Collin: And what do you do, Nancy?
Nancy: I'm a cook.
Collin: Ever do weddings?
Nancy: Yes I do.
Collin: They should have asked you to do this one.
Nancy: They did.
Collin: God I wish you hadn't turned it down.
Nancy: I didn't.

Colin: Exciting news!
Tony: What?
Colin:  I've bought a ticket to the States. I'm off in three weeks.
Tony: No!
Colin: Yes! To a fantastic place called Wisconsin.
Tony: No!
Colin: Yes! Wisconsin babes, here comes Sir Colin! Whoo hoo!
Tony: No, Col! There are a few babes in America, I grant you, but they're already going out with rich, attractive guys.
Colin: Nah, Tone, you're just jealous. You know perfectly well that any bar anywhere in America contains ten girls more beautiful and more likely to have sex with me than the whole of the United Kingdom.
Tony: That is total bollocks. You've actually gone mad, now.
Colin: No, I'm wise. Stateside I am Prince William without the weird family.
Tony: No, Colin, no!
Colin: Yes!
Tony: Nyet!
Colin: Da!
Tony: Nein!
Colin: Ja, darling!

Daniel: Tell her that you love her.
Sam: No way! Anyway, they fly tonight.
Daniel: Even better! Sam, you've got nothin' to lose, and you'll always regret it if you don't! I never told your mom enough. I should have told her everyday because she was perfect everyday. You've seen the films, kiddo. It ain't over 'til its over.

DJ: Wow. Thanks for that, Bill.
Billy Mack: For what?
DJ: Well, for actually giving a real answer to a question. Doesn't often happen here at "Radio Watford" I can tell you.
Billy Mack: Ask me anything you like, I'll tell you the truth.
DJ: Uh, best shag you've ever had?
Billy Mack: Britney Spears.
DJ: Wow!
Billly Mack: No, only kidding...she was rubbish!

Jamie: Don't worry about it, it's not like it's bloody Shakespeare or anything.
Aurelia: (in Portuguese) This better not be some shit my grandmother could have written.
Jamie: I really must start making copies.
Aurelia: (in Portuguese) Who doesn't make copies?
Jamie: There'd better not be snakes in here.
Aurelia: (in Portuguese) Watch out for the eels.

Harry: What's that?
Shop clerk: It's a cinnamon stick, sir.
Harry: Actually, I really, uh, can't wait.
Shop clerk: Oh, you won't regret it, sir.
Harry: Wanna bet?
Shop clerk: 'Tis but the work of a moment. There we go. Almost finished.
Harry: [sarcastically] Almost finished? What else can there be? Are you gonna dip it in yogurt? Cover it with chocolate buttons? 

David: It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there- fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge- they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is...all around.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I am so thankful for my life and my family. I should shout it from the rooftops more often. Happy Thanksgiving!


just finished: the Elfin hat from the Wee Woolly Toppers pdf (isn't the japanese yarn incredible? swoon. it's from Eisa Kunoro's silk garden collection)

now starting: legwarmies (navy + white), from never not knitting

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Welcome to Zimbabwe

If you look on a detailed map of Africa, you'll see that Victoria Falls straddles both the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. After that beast of a layover, we proceeded to Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. Our ticket, at least, said Victoria Falls. We'd get off the plane, get our visa, and haggle with some taxi driver to drive us to our hotel. Easy enough, no? Then we could finally collapse.

We had an uneventful two-hour flight, the highlight of which was circling the runway a few times as there were baboons on the runway (!! my favorite only in Africa moment). The plane eventually landed.
And as we materialized at the top of the staircase to disembark, eyes squinting in the afternoon sun, we saw a huge sign reading
Welcome to Victoria Falls

That's right. We had booked a flight landing in the country next to the one where we had (paid) reservations to sleep in for the next few nights. Apparently when Steve had done the ticket search and entered Livingstone, Zambia as our destination, he didn't realize the best-priced ticket was now putting us in Zimbabwe.

It was a costly mistake. Zimbabwe visas were now in order. Then a taxi and oh! This taxi driver can't take us into Zambia. He has to stop at the Zimbabwe exit checkpoint. It's now another taxi to get from the ZI to ZA border for yet another set of visas. And then yet another one to get from the Zambian border to our hotel just 1/2 mile away. Nearly $200 later, we were finally able to properly collapse. And shower.

Now I think it's hilarious. At the time, though--remember? eyeglasses, peeling skin, smelling ripe, having just spent the night on two adjacent benches in Terminal A at the Jo'burg airport--all I wanted to do was crawl out of my skin. But if that was to be our one hiccup of the trip (and it was)--then color me thrilled.

+ anniversary cake

Here's my attempt at frosting our pb + j anniversary cake with all the addresses we've lived at since marrying. I should have gotten a bigger cake! All seven addresses didn't fit. And much props to people who are actually good at cake-writing, obviously not the case with me. Oh well. We loved our little cake.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Happy Birthday Marmousch

on our anniversary

I decided to take a soulemama lesson to heart: simple and special.

Welcome to The Littlest Art Gallery in the World. I took the contents of our 'love box' and turned them upside down, making little vignettes of the tangible aspects of our life together -

The Best Things Come in Two's (all the pairs of plane, movie, concert, theater, ballgame, etc. stubs over the years)

I Don't Care if We Get Lost, As Long As I'm With You
(maps from different hiking, camping, urban, and vacation adventures)

It All Began Here

(an embroidered transcription of my first love letter to him, and his to me. Warning, POSSIBLY VOMIT INDUCING from the sappiness of it all. They were work emails, way back when. Ohmygosh, I don't quite know how I feel about posting these. And I think Steve may up and die if he ever sees this.)

Words of Love (all the cards we had written each other, strung up around the room in an off-kilter garland.)

+ then little nerdy things, framed, like the final bill from our honeymoon hotel (lots of room service charges!), and a napkin that Steve had written on during one of the early dates. 

Speaking of husband, he blew me away. First taking me on a geocaching hunt with the words I LOVE YOU leading to the waypoints. Twice the hunt involved going on other peoples' property (! he did get permission first though.). And the caches were bouquets of flowers (lots of daisies as Steve says they're the 5th anni flower? I've never heard this but he's a sweet man, my husband) and a big ole announcement about us, right there for anyone at the intersection of 17th and US-1 to see.

We relaxed and just enjoyed our day, ending our sorry state of being the last two people on Earth to have not seen Up (amazing! I was crying--hard--within the first ten minutes and the end found me sobbing too). Dinner out with anniversary cake back at home. Loving the same Anderson Valley pinot that we discovered last year on our 4th, spent in Mendocino--Steve had surprised me and ordered it.

I love these special days.  

Sunday, 22 November 2009


February 27, 1964 - November 22, 2008
Always in our hearts.

Friday, 20 November 2009

still celebrating!

I took yesterday and today off from work for our five. Just enjoying being together. 

Happy weekend!

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Written November 18, 2004:

As I walk down the aisle tomorrow to become your wife, know that the vows I will be taking are the most precious and cherished words I will ever say. 

If we keep this incredible feeling we have between us, everything will always be okay. I love you.

Always yours, 

Happy anniversary to my best friend. I still love you in that crazy way (crazy passionate not crazy creepy)

photo by Steve Gold

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I love to travel.

What I wrote in my journal on 9/22/09:

The a/c can't possibly be working at the Jomo Kenyatta airport in Nairobi. We've been there since noon and our flight isn't 'till 9, then we're stuck at Johannesburg Int'l until 0930 the next morning. Because we haven't planned properly and booked an airport hotel, because I was being cheap and wanting to save our monies for the fun stuff up ahead. But anyways. Back to being hot. My eyeglasses are on, they're always on when I fly but that means I feel half-asleep and my depth perception's all askew and my clumsiness is at full throttle. My forehead is peeling from too much sun. I swear I put deoderant on after showering after our last game drive this morning but you wouldn't know it if you came within two feet of me. I am drinking water but still peeing yellow. All the clothes on my back except maybe my underwear are dirty (my last shred of dignity). 

All this to say that I'm deliriously happy. Hand to God. If that is the small price to pay to experience what we just have in the last six days, then so be it. I'll do it every day of the week that ends in a y. It makes you feel more alive, doesn't it? as someone said to us during a night game drive a few days back. Yes. 

the coolest "airport" ever.

Olkiombo, Masai Mara, Kenya.

The terminal.


Baggage claim.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

more babies

as promised.