Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

My first whole turkey roast went without a hitch. Sure there are things I'd do differently, but for the most part, things went quite well, people liked the turkey, and as far as I know, no one has gotten sick.

This was the first year Eric and I hosted anyone at our place for Thanksgiving and I felt a little anxious about preparing the turkey for my in-laws. My mother-in-law is a master turkey/chicken roaster and has hosted many family feasts over the years. When Eric advised a few weeks ago that he volunteered us to host this year, I (internally) freaked out at the prospect of cooking a bird all by myself. But I got over it pretty quick, thinking back to my first ever whole roasted chicken experience not too long ago, which, too, went quite well.

I knew I'd buy a Diestel turkey and I was not disappointed. We have cooked Diestel boneless roasts before and they've been consistently tasty and easy to prepare. Well, what's to prepare when they've taken all the bones out and wrapped it all up in a tidy ball? So I ordered a 10-12 pound natural turkey from our local independent grocer and tried not to stress out about how to cook it.

In the end, I did a dry-brine preparation (and as someone pointed out, it's somewhat of an oxymoron, that term) in my fridge for about a day and a half. I would have loved to have given it more time but I didn't stumble onto this technique until after I ordered the bird. I picked it up on Tuesday evening and it would be roasted for a Thanksgiving day lunch. I used a tablespoon of kosher salt for the cavity and three tablespoons for the outside and followed all the turning, massaging, and patting dry instructions.

Timing is everything. Thanksgiving morning, I left for the bakery to pick up the day's bread. I left the turkey at room temperature. I knew I'd be away for about an hour. When I returned, I preheated the oven to 425 and prepped Diestel's oil and paprika rub. The turkey went in at 10AM, 30 minutes at 425F breast-side down. Eric, after running the Turkey Trot, came back just in time to help me turn it breast-side up. We learned our lesson on where to stick the thermometer, having poked it several times in the thigh and finally deciding on the breast. It spent the next hour and half at 325F. It came out at noon, and we placed it onto a platter with a foil tent while I made gravy from the drippings and the giblet/neck stock I had prepared the night before. And here's how it all came together on the plate:

We never had to baste the turkey so this kept us free to do other things while it roasted. I made the mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts with bacon. Eric had made the cranberry sauce and a roasted garlic spread the night before. He had time to run down to the store to buy a mixed green salad and dressing, dust, and vacuum. Then he cut and prep the hors d'oeuvres - apples, cheeses, salami, bread, and garlic spread. Our little kitchen hadn't seen so much action in such a short amount of time in ages. I think we went through 4 kitchen towels as we constantly washed and dried dishes and tools to continually make room for more dishes and tools. One side of the turkey carved up is here. Eric set our table with old family dishes and flatware we use all too rarely. All in all, we were stuffed and happy.

Any lessons learned? Yes! Choose an earlier pick-up date for the turkey for more brining time. Buy resealable bags especially. I improvised with an oven bag and potato chip clip. My paella pan, which has never been used for paella, makes for a great roasting pan. Figure out a way to turn the turkey over if Eric isn't on hand to help. Remember where to stick the thermometer.

And Eric will make a larger quantity of garlic spread. Folks really loved that too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

San Francisco Giants win the 2010 World Series

San Francisco City Hall dressed in orange light, 10/20/2010.
With the football season so much shorter, I'm more likely to tune into a Niners game than a baseball or basketball game. And I'm not a hockey fan either.

But I'll always be a San Francisco fan.

Congratulations, San Francisco Giants! Your die-hard fans are waiting to celebrate your victory with you. And thank you for giving me another reason to love being a San Franciscan. See you guys in five months.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer's gone

Sort of. Though school started some time last month for my nieces and nephew and Eric has gone back to work, I am stretching out my summer season with a long weekend in Las Vegas. An odd place to vacation, since I don't gamble or shop much. But this place has become a food mecca in recent years and I do like warm weather when it comes to relaxing and doing as little as possible. (I'm also here to visit my niece who turns sixteen tomorrow.)

Two days poolside and my tan is developing nicely. I've been easing up on the drinks, having lots of water instead. Partly because cocktails are expensive but mostly because I've been sweating like mad when sitting out in the sun.

I'm not sure when, but when I return, I will make sure that Eric is able to come with me. He hasn't been here in a few years and in that time, this place has already changed so much. Photos to come, for sure. Food shots, textures, and of course, a few window displays from Barneys New York.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer's here

It's been a few months since my last post. A good thing really - it means I don't have time to moon around and over-think things. I've actually been busy enjoying and living life! Here's a mosaic of some of my favorite images from the last few months. Enjoy!

From top left to bottom right:
1. Untitled, 2. Opened, 3. Infant Hercules and the Serpent, 4. Final shots, 5. Waiting for an outbound 5, 6. Chocolate daisies, 7. Untitled, 8. Eve, 9. In the Rose Garden, 10. Untitled, 11. Super shiny!, 12. Untitled, 13. Waiting for an inbound 5, 14. Pour moi, 15. Ceiling decor, 16. Untitled

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nothing's gonna change my world

Nudibranch at night
(A from-the-car-shot of Sam's Chowder House signage, Half Moon Bay, CA)

Images of broken light which
dance before me like a million eyes
That call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
restless wind inside a letter box
they tumble blindly as
they make their way across the universe
- excerpted from the song Across The Universe,
lyrics written by John Lennon

I've started 3 blog notes and I can't seem to develop any of them. Then Across The Universe came up on Eric's playlist and the above verse struck a chord. He's playing DJ while we both wander through the Web this evening.

Images of broken light dance before me like a million eyes
I am wandering aimlessly across the Internet - jumping from blog to blog, looking up unfamiliar terms and following interesting links only to forget how or why I got there in the first place. Entertaining, mind-numbing, awe-inspiring, repulsing. I leave electronic footprints with every link I follow - someone/something out there is looking back or documenting my virtual journey.

Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box
So many ideas going around my head:
  • something one of my interns said about Section 8 and public housing: "You make it sound like only poor people live in the projects." Yes, she said that to me.
  • digging up old love letters to be possibly published anonymously on a friend's blog
  • taking photos of the layoff letter I received earlier in the month
  • listening to music at work (to drown out)
  • another work group in the clinic argue and cuss during their staff meeting
  • office walls should not be so thin
  • what it means to be a pedestrian on the Internet superhighway, with the proper shoes, of course
  • dyeing Easter eggs
It's 11:51PM and writing about thinking about writing about these things is about as far as I'm going to get tonight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tidbits, tadbits

Happy New Year!
It's been a few months since my last confes... I mean post. I would hardly call these posts confessions, anyway. After all, it's about nothing and anything but purposefully and most often, innocuous.

Wasting time
Facebook has been eating up a lot of my computer hours after work - especially with farming, cafe and pet social networking games by Zynga and Playfish, among others. The weird thing is, it's about me wasting my time as I hardly socialize with anyone else, any other friends that may have a farm or pet or restaurant. We all seem to give each other stuff and watch out for each other but I don't chat with my fellow fb social networking game "neighbors" while tending to my tasks. I didn't realize that one of the games even had a chat function and my sister was trying to talk to me about harvesting some crops. Big oops.

On the job front
In my last post, I was getting laid off. I've managed to land a new job in a completely different industry (try engineering to mental health!) and am having fun learning new things, jargon and processes. I've been a busy bee since I started, determined to show my new office mates that I am a good egg and am not the stereotypical slacker municipal employee. I don't know how much that will help me keep my job but even if the budget displaces me again, I'm not changing my work ethic.

(Photo: Max's suit from the film Where The Wild Things Are on display @ 826 Valencia)

Another Mission: Mission
Eric and I embarked on our "Mission: Mission" in 1995 - to see all 21 Spanish Missions in California. We finally marked off our list the mission closest to us - Mission San Francisco de Asis, commonly known as Mission Dolores. 3 left to go before we're done, but they're all in So Cal - La Purisima, Santa Ines, and Fernando Rey.

Now that I work in the Mission District, we've been increasingly interested in exploring a neighborhood we've managed to avoid for many years. Yes, we've been through it and to some places in it, but it seems we were only casual regulars for ice cream at Mitchell's and nothing more. Cakes from Dianda's were a treat but I never bought one myself. Now I favor their amaretti rather than Stella Pastry's in North Beach. Check it out for yourself if you like almond-flavored goodness.

Wandering around during breaks and lunches has been a treat, especially with the food. I tried the HUGE Cubana torta from That's It Market and I had to bring home the other half for Eric it was so big. I stopped in at Kababayan during a chilly lunch hour for a heart-warming serving of mongo. I've fallen in deep-like with the chili sauce at the China Express Deli, my new favorite hole-in-the-wall Chinese deli. In the last month, Eric and I have tried Range, St. Francis Fountain, and Ti Couz (though we ate here about 7 or 8 years ago and had not been back til now, but that's another story), took a mini-photo stroll up 24th Street from Potrero to Mission and have become familiar with the 33-Stanyan.

Aside from the food, there are also a ton of flower shops, produce markets and meat counters, discount outlets and dollar stores. So many distractions and so lively! Oh and there's nothing like the smell of roasting chicken wafting down to the 24th St. BART station as I make my way to work. It beats urine and vomit stench on Market between 7th & 8th Streets any day.