Friday, July 31, 2009

Techy husband to the Rescue!

All I had to do was mention to my husband about the technical difficulties I have been having. He solved it right away. Damn him! But thanks sweetie. Not that he reads my blog. He mostly does not. He is too busy doing things like excel spreadsheets and business plans and making the world a better place through green technology. Lots of stress and long hours. But, as I told him tonight at dinner, at least he has his own personal chef. (ah...that is me if you want to know)
And, because we are soooo far out in the country and do not have the thing I really really want badly called DSL, we have internet satellite. And, my lovely husband exceeded our bandwidth today doing business stuff, so we are penalized by the internet satellite people and have to suffer with a slow connection (think modem slow) for 24 hours. This means no uploading photos onto my blog.
Now me and my sore throat are going to do some damage on pay per view. Something with superheroes. Happy friday night!

still not working!

Apparently is actually having problems. Today all my followers are missing. The photos on all my posts are coming and going away. I reported the problem and this is happening to other blogs as well. It seems to be a problem they are fixing, but it may be a motivator for me to try to get another blog hosting site!
In the mean time, I am busy trying to keep M. busy. Because we live in such a remote place I either have to organize a play date or go to town. Staying at home, us, alone is not so much fun. She gets bored in 5 seconds and then wants me to play with her all day. I think that is one of the only downfall of having one child. But, kindergarten is starting so I also know these are days to be cherished; the few of them we have left before full-time school changes everything.
If anyone has suggestion of easy to navigate blog hosting sites tell me. But, I have heard that it may be hard to post comments with the issues blogger is having, so I will post my email address if that seems to be happening.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

technical difficulties is doing strange things. All the photos from my last three posts have disappeared. I had a hard time signing in yesterday too, so it is all together mysterious. Sorry for the technical difficulties.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When Walkie Talkies Happen

I have tried to get M and her friends to use walkie talkies for over a year now. I explain patiently how to talk to each other by pressing the button, and how to hear what the other person is saying by not having your finger on the button. Over and over and over again. I have given directions in different ways; asking them to repeat the directions, pushing the buttons for them, testing it out by putting one child in another room and having them try it out. Nothing helps. It is like this weird technology they cannot seem to grasp. At first I thought they were just too young to understand the whole pressing the button and not pressing the button thing. But now that they are over 5 years old, I am wondering what the problem is. I clearly remember my sister and I using walkie talkies when we were 4. I could be remembering wrong, so I will ask her next time we talk.
Today was no exception to my problem. These two just did not get it. The end result was them yelling at each other down the hallway somehow trying to blame the other for the breakdown in the walkie talkie world. Because they really wanted it to work. They were so excited.
It could be me. I am going to keep trying. I will report back when the walkie talkie revolution begins.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ferry Building

My visit to the Ferry Building last Saturday was delightful. Even M. was happy to be there. That may be because she got a ham and cheese croissant and $5 from her auntie to buy flowers for herself. It is crowded, but no matter. I visited Boulettes Larder. A working open kitchen, spice store and restaurant rental. I read about it on 101 cookbooks after Heidi mentioned she gets her achiote powder there. Oils, vinegars, spices in apothecary jars sold by the ounce are housed in a beautiful glass shelving unit that seems to beckon every enthusiastic cook like me.
Mostly you can feel the excitement in the air that something wonderful is happening at the Ferry Building. It is a nucleus of living through food, and change in the world in a most beautiful way. Compostable produce bags, hand made tamales, grass fed beef, local cheese, raw honey and anything fresh in season. My favorite catch of the day: Rose Petal Sugar. I will keep you posted on that. M. has already figured which pantry shelf that is on and tried to steal it. For her fairy tea of course.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lemon Verbena and Hibiscius Tea

It is really hot here. I think it may have even reached 96 degrees. Have I mentioned yet we do not have air conditioning either? The house is open at night and then closed up during the day to keep it cool. The house warms to around 85 on the hottest days and sometimes when it does not cool down at night I go to SF in protest. I bought lemon balm at the farmers market on saturday, and decided to make sun tea with it today along with lemon slices and hibiscus flowers for a little treat to beat the heat. I use stevia for sweetening my teas, but agave nectar would be a substitute. I think that kids love sun teas. Something about the magic of the sun transforming things makes it special. A real seasonal treat!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pulled Pork

M. requested pulled pork. It might be a very close second to her most favorite dish of all time; chinese chicken (aka general chicken or thai basil chicken). She ate three bowls of it after this was ready today. A very satisfying dish. I usually slow roast it in the oven, but could not bear to turn on the oven with the heat we are experiencing here. So, I tried it with my pressure cooker. It worked! A little over an hour later I was shredding it with a fork. I think the bbq sauce is key, so I make that from scratch too.

BBQ sauce:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup drippings from pan
1 heaping tbls. prepared mustard
salt to taste

Pork Rub:

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp achiote rub
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt

I used a 3 pound pork butt. I added one can of beer and 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pressure cooker. Then I set a metal vegetable steamer on the bottom of the pot, and set the pork in that. That was to prevent the pork from being immersed in the liquid. One hour 10 minutes later I took it out and shredded the pork in a bowl. I emptied all but 1/2 cup of the liquid from the pot and added all the ingredients of the bbq sauce. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, then add desired amount to pulled pork.

More Paris photos

The cooking store for cooks! A most famous spot in Paris

A cafe we stopped at near the Louvre

Frenchie restaurant. Our best far

Simple understated elegance at Frenchie

The metro again! We rode it everyday

A walk to the Metro after a dinner

The quaint street L'epigramme was on

It was just ok...

Their menu for the evening. Our waiter translated it for us!

This ad was in every metro stop. She stopped and studied it many many times! Hilarious

Speaks for itself......

Here are the last of the photos from Paris. The Louvre, Frenchie restaurant, more of the metro and L'Epigramme restaurant. Yesterday I tried to find Sancerre Rose in 4 places with no luck! Rose wine is everywhere in Paris restaurants, unlike here. I decided I am going to try to start a trend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We are baaacckkk....

We are back. I loved coming to SF. It was 60 and foggy. Last night we went to sleep around 9pm (after being up 24 hours) and slept through the night. M was up at 4:30am but compared to what jet lag was like going to France, last night was a relief.
I actually got butterflies in my stomach thinking about cooking in my kitchen again while on the plane yesterday. That is so pathetic. I mean we were only gone for a week! But I cannot remember the last time I did not cook anything for a week. Oh wait, I do; on my honeymoon 6 years ago.
So, I am going to go to the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on our way out of town for some inspiration. And I am going to stop and pick up some Sancerre Rose somewhere. And I am going to cook some white beans. French style. I will tell you all about it as soon as it is cooked. And invite my girl posse over for dinner. I am missing my ladies.
Thank you everyone for reading the blog while we were in Paris. Reading your comments is like having a conversation with you. All the support you have given me since the inception of Seaweed Snacks is the reason why I keep blogging. I love you all!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Last Day

No one is allowed to walk on the grass in any of the parks!!

Another home store in the Marais I was obsessed with

The lovely Metro

They actually tell you how many minutes until the next train. We were pros by the end...

No one on computers, phones or blackberries. Just hanging out or reading.

A carnival in Paris we stumbled on!

At Itieneries restaurant

Their menu for the evening

She wanted hot chocolate every day. Finally we found some. It was amazing

Musee d'Orsay

Tonight we went to our last dinner out. Tomorrow; home. I have to say that I am ready. Only because I have had a five year old with me and she has hit the wall. I could spend another 4 or 5 days here. There are so many things to report about, but we have had very little time in our apartment. Today was the Louvre. Amazing. Of course I only got to see an hour and a half of it due to the little person I was with, but it was massive. Really massive. We got there, and the line was crazy. Crazy like am I ready to wait in line for 2 hours? crazy. But, we read in a paris book that there is another entrance on a street called Rue de Rivoli, and we went for it. We found an automated machine to buy tickets and sailed through; no wait. Our luck has been spectacular here.
Then, tonight we planned a pit stop back at our apartment before heading out to dinner. Since we have arrived a week ago, the front door of the building has been unlocked. The second entrance door has been locked however. But, a couple of days ago apparently a homeless man came in and slept in the foyer, and the tenants locked the door. Now, we have a code to get into the front door, but the recent rains shorted out the code pad and a key is required which we do not have. Of course today is the only day my sister has not brought her Blackberry with us for the day and we get back to the apartment and can't get in (that was my idea...oops). But, our keys had a phone number on it, and we figure that number may be the owner's. She went to find a pay phone while I stood watch in case any tenants came out the front door. Of course the phone only takes phone cards, and that complicated things. Anyway, I just started shaking the door. Really hard, for a long time. I figured maybe someone in the apartment might hear me and get really annoyed. As luck would have it, the lady on the first floor opened her window and started talking to me in perfect english and said "are you the tenants in the rental apartment?" Oh boy, problem solved. We called our land lady for the week and she had no idea what was happening or how to get a key. Our neighbor let us borrow hers while we went to dinner, and all was well. Serious luck!!
I was able to visit the most famous gourmet food store and gourmet kitchen store while on this trip. Neither blew my mind. I wanted it to though. Don't get me wrong; I was very excited. But not in the way that I wanted to blow a couple hundred euros. I was sensible, and only spent about 30 euros in each. I am coming away fom here feeling very very lucky about where I live, the choices I have, and the added comfort that I know how to prepare food on a basic level. I will miss vanilla pot de creme however. It is made by Nestle, and is sold in the grocery stores. It is like a mix between creme brulee and vanilla pudding. I am putting 8 small jars in my suitcase and trying to bring some home. I read on the US customs website that yogurt is usually allowed in, so I am going for it.
Our dinners have been so so. Last night's dinner, we went to a place called Frenchie and met my old college roomate and his wife for dinner. They just happened to be in Paris at the same time and it worked out perfectly. It was a very wonderful evening. We got to catch up, talk in english for a solid two hours and eat food that was some of the best I have ever had.
Appetizer: hand made tortellini stuffed with hand crafted sausage and a cream sauce
Entree: scallops over a white beans
Dessert: vanilla panna cotta with fresh berries
It was not complicated, but it just worked. The acidity was perfectly balanced. Seasoning was spot on, and everything was slightly surprising. The chef came out at the end of the meal it was fun telling him how much we loved our dinner.
The other nights were just ok. Although I did have a grilled watermelon and bacon salad with shaved fennel the other night that I am excited to recreate.
M said tonight she wants to get back home because she misses my cooking (and her daddy). She misses how well I make her rice. Oh well, I will take it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paris from a Five Year Old's Camera

Here are M's photos. I left some blurry ones out, but this is a good portion of the trip so far.


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