sigelphoenix: (tea and books)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 11:04am on 19/01/2011 under
I've really been enjoying Adagio's Foxtrot tea blend, but my bag of it is nearly gone and it's currently out of stock. (Also, I don't want to make an order and pay shipping just for one type of tea. I could make it a full shopping 'trip' and probably hit the free shipping minimum, but the amount of tea I have both at work and at home is kind of indefensibly ridiculous already.)

I decided to experiment - Adagio lists the ingredients of Foxtrot as chamomile, peppermint, rooibos, and vanilla rooibos. I currently have loose-leaf chamomile, peppermint, and almond rooibos, so I mixed all three together, eyeballed it until it looked Foxtrot-ish, and gave it a whirl.

It turned out pretty good, all things considered. I think I put in too much peppermint, and I lacked plain rooibos, which I think gives Foxtrot some body, but the almond is a decent substitute for the vanilla (at least to me, as someone who does not go for very sweet tea). I consider it a success.

(I ... feel like my recent entries have rotated among game fics, link-dropping, and sheer inanity. Which is a fair use for an online journal, I guess, but I swear I used to have more relevant things to talk about.)
sigelphoenix: (tarepanda wiggle)
The Palazzo: It earns the 5-star hotel rating with its giant suites and ridiculous number of flatscreen TVs. Unfortunately we were running around so much that we didn't get to fully enjoy the luxury of the room. I was glad of the cushy bed and elegant bathroom, though.

Phantom of the Opera (or "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular"): I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would. Phantom has never been one of my absolute favorites, so I didn't expect to be affected as much as I was. It probably helped that our seats were in the dead center of the front row (though that meant I had to crane my neck to see the chandelier special effects) and the Vegas production is all about the fancy set effects. But I enjoyed the cast, particularly the Phantom, who clearly put a lot of effort into his physical performance along with his singing (imitating genteel gestures, facial expressions, trembling when Christine kisses him). And he made "Stranger Than You Dreamt It" actually tragic, and his final lines made me tear up.

I was momentarily knocked out of the spell of the show when Raoul showed up to rescue Christine at the end, and his white shirt had somehow become conveniently ripped open to display his manly cleavage. XD

Le Cirque: I went to this restaurant last year, and brought [personal profile] ratzeo this year because I wanted him to experience a fancy/expensive restaurant that was actually worth the cost. The food was as delicious as I remembered (they made a cucumber soup flavorful and tasty), and the atmosphere was not too you-only-matter-for-your-money.

O: I've seen 3 Cirque du Soleil shows now, and O is my favorite for overall experience - I was enthralled by every scene (with the exception of the comedic clown interludes, which were just okay - but I never seem to be won over by their comedic scenes). I like Ka better for its music, and for the spectacular scene where the Sister and the Firefly Boy use the sashes (which, sadly, was a type of act that didn't feature in O). But O has ridiculous use of rings, trapeze, parallel bars, diving, etc.

[profile] shadawyn and [profile] irishninja's wedding: It went off without a hitch! I think they're glad it's over, though.

[personal profile] ratzeo's and my first honest-to-goodness vacation together: ♥ ♥ ♥

The cats: We were only greeted with a minimal amount of vomit upon our return. Also, Drannor was very sweet; I picked him up when I walked in and he licked my forehead in greeting. Later when I took a nap, he spooned with me the whole time (he's usually a love 'em and leave 'em type who will cuddle for a few minutes and then find his own spot on the bed). Kershach, on the other hand, played it cool and didn't act impressed with our return. He didn't actively shun us, though, and now, 8 hours after I got home, he has finally flopped and showed his belly for me.
sigelphoenix: (tarepanda wiggle)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 10:23am on 21/09/2010 under , ,
I'm flying to Las Vegas tomorrow for [personal profile] augustphoenix and [personal profile] royalarchivist's wedding! I'm excited but right now it's "finish up last-minute things at the office OMG" time and it's making my head spin ...

But I'm looking forward to it. This is the first honest-to-goodness traveling vacation [personal profile] ratzeo and I have taken together, and we are splurging accordingly. Along with the wedding, we're going to be busy with fancy food (reservations at Le Cirque, yum!) and watching shows (front row seats for Phantom of the Opera and Cirque du Soleil's O, OMG!). All that and a 5-star hotel to come back to each night, whee.

I think it'll be good for me to take a break. Normally around this time of year I take Labor Day week off for a "stay-cation" at home. For various reasons, I didn't do it this year, and I think the lack of rest and recharge time is wearing on me. Not that Vegas is going to be particularly restful; but I think the mental break will do me good. Plus, y'know, I'll be celebrating with friends and watching shows, so that's worlds better than going to work.

I'll leave you with this amazing recipe for coffee cake. It really is awesome. (Just ... do yourself a favor and knock 1/2 cup of sugar from the cake ingredients, and 1/2 stick of butter from the topping. There's no way to make this healthy, but this way you won't feel sick after eating a couple of pieces.)
sigelphoenix: (batman is not amused)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 08:41pm on 24/08/2010 under
Apparently I am very touchy about wine in cooking. I've used it maybe 3 or 4 times now. The first time, the wine flavor was way too strong, even when I followed the recipe (an orzo side dish) exactly, so I started reducing the amounts called for by recipes. But then I used the full amount when I made my first attempt at a risotto, since I hear wine is essential in risotto, and it was fine. But then, last night I made this panade, using the full amount of wine called for - and there's that too-wine-y nose-wrinkling overtone. Hrmph.

(The strange thing is that I like the taste of the wine just fine. It's a cheap Trader Joe's wine, but perfectly drinkable when I pour a glass to drink alongside the panade.)
sigelphoenix: (rilakkuma)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 09:41pm on 17/08/2010 under ,
My dinner for the past couple of nights has been a blackened grilled flank steak salad with a red bell pepper honey vinaigrette, based on these recipes from use real butter. I tried it on a whim, because I had all the ingredients on hand, but ... wow. It's really tasty. And fast - the vinaigrette is just a chop-and-blend, and while you do have to let the spice-rubbed steak sit in the fridge for a few hours, the actual hands-on time is a super quick grill.

My modifications were limited: I had a slightly smaller flank steak (closer to 1 pound), which just meant that a lot of the spice rub ended up sloughing off; and I cut the salt in half. I doubt you even need that much - I'm sure the salt does something, but I certainly don't need the taste of it, so next time I would even try 1/4 teaspoon.

My salad is similar to the one on the blog, and conveniently bought entirely from the farmers market: a butter lettuce-type lettuce (the sign at the stall was some fancy name I don't remember, but it looks like butter lettuce - $3 for a head literally over a foot in diameter), cucumber ($1), cherry/grape tomatoes ($3 for a small basket), and a garnish of diced scallions ($1 for a ridiculously huge bunch). Flank steak often goes on sale for $5/lb, so this whole ensemble, which yields about 4 servings for me, cost $13 plus a few pennies for the spices.

Also, when you put it all together with the dressing, the bell pepper and tomato and green onion and meat smells combine to remind me of pizza. o_o

I round out the meal with some bread. Yum.

... In completely different news, I'm reading the first volume of the new Batgirl. I ... like Steph. I do. And the writing is fun and the art is pretty without being excessively cheesecakey. It's all great, but I miss Cass so damn much, and I hate that we had to lose her for Steph to get her big break. There's only one place at the table, and the woman of color and the working class white woman have to compete for it?

Now, for those brave defenders of rich white men - I'm not saying that DC is being evilly racist and classist. But this just sounds a lot like a song that I've heard way too often. And, in light of this Batman, Inc. business and the possibility of multiple Batmans, as well as the actual existence of multiple Flashes and Green Lanterns - it's pretty galling.
sigelphoenix: (rilakkuma)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 03:09pm on 13/08/2010 under , ,
I want to blather on about various things, including my horrendous chain of fuck-ups in the kitchen over the last two days, and my reactions to reading the (Cass) Batgirl series, but I don't really feel like I'd have much of a point. Not that you need a point to post on your own journal, I guess.

I am interested in doing this meme, though. I can do numbered lists even if I don't have a point.

Ask me my Top Five Whatevers. Fannish or literary or otherwise. Any top fives. Doesn't matter what, really! Fandoms, ice cream flavours, cartoon moments, women in my fandoms, OTPs, ideal holiday destinations, goals for the future, celebrity crushes, books I wish would be made into movies, love songs. And I will answer them all in a new post (or in comments). Possibly with pictures.

Or ... I guess I could use one for the other.

My top 5 kitchen fuck-ups in the last two days )

My top 5 things that I like about Cass Cain/Batgirl )
sigelphoenix: (orz)
Park51, a proposed community center that would be built near the former World Trade Center and include a mosque, got the go-ahead today. This is YAY.

However, the amount of opposition this project has faced is pure racist bullshit.

... and in whining-about-my-personal-irritations issues, I tried a new recipe tonight and followed the directions about how much salt to add, even though my gut reaction was to reduce it. I should've listened to my instincts. *grumble*
sigelphoenix: (Default)
I've gotten to the point where I haven't posted anything in so long that I feel like what I do end up posting ought to be significant in proportion to the amount of time I haven't blogged. But then I feel intimidated, so I don't write, so I feel like my next post should be even more significant, and so on.

So I'm just going to write down one-paragraph thoughts, rather than sitting around and hoping they grow into full-fledged posts.

On food )

On naive characters )

On 'The Last Airbender' and my pet peeves against certain protestors )
sigelphoenix: (rilakkuma)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 08:27pm on 17/05/2010 under ,
I was going to write an entry about my angst over failing to save the world (insert self-mocking hyperbole here) due to how my employment by an institution results in my complicity with the institution, and how I know it must be possible for me to use my (limited but existent) power as a cog in the machine to do some substantial good, but I haven't been able to figure out how yet. I was going to - but I'm feeling tired and not really up to that level of self-dissection, plus I have a best friend (and, not so incidentally, roommate) who is willing to sit and look at me and listen to me, even though he doesn't know how to solve my problem, and for now that's actually what I need.

So, instead, I will share a recipe for oven-fried chicken that makes me wiggle with pleasure.

As always, I have some tweaks: first, use as much salt as you are comfortable with, rather than what's written. The recipe calls for soaking the chicken in water with 2 tablespoons of salt, then adding 1 tablespoon of salt to the flour coating, then sprinkling with salt before serving. While I know that the chicken doesn't pick up most of the salt in the water or the flour, that still seems like way too much to me. I went ahead and used the 2 tablespoons in the soaking water, but reduced the salt in the coating to a teaspoon, and didn't add any salt after cooking - and it still was a bit too salty for my taste. (I did add a tablespoon of lemon pepper to the flour mixture, but it was this salt-free blend.) My recommendation would be to keep the salt when soaking the chicken, because it seems to do some sort of useful brining action; but eliminate the salt in the flour coating. You can always add salt to taste afterward.

I supplemented the chicken with white cheddar macaroni and cheese (note that I used 1% milk instead of whole, because that's what I have on hand, and it tastes fine and creamy enough to me), and oven-baked asparagus. (Toss asparagus spears with a teaspoon or so of olive oil - just enough to lightly coat - and sprinkle a bit of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, while you heat the oven to 400-425 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your baking sheet/pan in the oven while it preheats, so when you drop the asparagus in it sizzles. Bake the asparagus for at least 5 minutes, no more than 10, until just tender.)

And now I'm drinking the blackberry soda I had with dinner, and I'm feeling pretty content.
sigelphoenix: (rilakkuma)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 01:25pm on 28/04/2010 under
I always take recipes from with a grain of salt, because I often run into recipes here that suffer from "Flavor your dish with a jar of processed X and a packet of pre-made Y" syndrome, which, as I've already complained about, is not what I'm looking for when I attempt to make healthy(ish) homemade food. But it's not impossible to dig around and find some good recipes, and I've been making some successful dishes from the site lately. (Plus I haven't been as successful with the recipes I've been trying from my food blogs lately, so.)

Some recs, along with my suggested alterations )

Bonus dessert section )


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