Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cooking Monster

As promised, the focus of this blog will be shifting ever so slightly, and instead of doing totally new things every day, I am going to try things I'm bad at with some regularity. Like all blog projecty things, an in accordance with my own advice in a recent book, I am starting small and within my comfort zone. (Does that make it sound like I'm comfortable being bad at stuff? Good! Cause everybody's bad at something! Now I'll become comfortable with getting better at it!)
I'm bad at cooking.
So I've been doing it as often as possible. Mr. and I were in CA for two weeks at Christmastime, so I've been a bit rusty for the past couple of days, but I did spend the better part of December broiling, sauteeing and marinating, with increasingly edible results.
Earlier this year, in the midst of rehearsals, traveling and generally enjoying life almost entirely out of the kitchen, I fell out of the tiny groove that I had begun to establish. I had a small stable of reliably easy meals in my wheelhouse: vegetarian tacos, shiitake spaghetti, portabello burgers, and seitan piccata. Then I exploded one of Mr.'s plates and all confidence was shot to hell. (Note to fellow non-cooks who cook: Always check to make sure that the burner you turned on for the asparagus is actually under the asparagus and not under your transfer plate. This might seem like common sense, but I tend to be neither common nor sensical).
Somewhere in late fall, I decided to conquer my semi-valid fear of the broiler, and ended up making some surprisingly delicious rosemary-garlic chicken. It went off without a hitch (and in my case, 'hitch' has also meant 'setting fire to a knife,' so this is an especially good thing) and I made it again. And again. And again. And.... a lot. But it always went well and resulted in a satisfying round of "yummy noises" from across the table. Side dishes included steamed kale with toasted garlic, steamed kale with toasted garlic and almonds, steamed kale with toasted garlic and toasted almonds, and a similarly repetitive collection of quinoa dishes. So now I'm branching out. I've been better at keeping repeats, fiery utensils and exploding ceramics to a minimum. I've come to realize that recipes are in most cases guidelines, and no longer fear poisoning or rains of toads should I replace lemon juice with vinegar, or add garbanzos instead of cannelloni.
Coming up: musical badness, sartorial badness and revisiting a standardized test.

Monday, December 27, 2010

greetings, new friends!

I love when I notice a new link minutes after it's been posted. Hi, Reddit people! If any of you are thinking of starting a new-thing-a-day project, post your links here and I'll follow you. I also highly recommend Noah Scalin's book about daily creativity. It's a great guide, and can help you get unstuck; I got stuck a lot and wished I'd had something like this!
Happy New Thinging!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New, bad and awesome

Hi friends!
The Stuff I'm Bad At portion of this blog is set to kick off very soon, but first I wanted to fill in some of the New Things blanks that I left this year. There's a doozy that my nearest and dearest already know about, but here's some of the other awesome stuff I did in the later parts of the year:

July: Sat on a jury. Despite the horrible timing (I was starting an in-house freelance gig the same day the trial started), I actually really enjoyed this. I grew up in a house full of The Law, so I actually understand how the justice system works (or how it should), and I've never tried to get out of jury duty by pretending to be racist, or crazy, or by singing softly to an invisible sheep. The only thing that really kind of sucked was that I was an alternate, meaning I got to hear the entire case, but at the end didn't get to deliberate. But it did give me great courtroom insight, as well as the right to huff and mutter "oh please..." every time I watch Law & Order.

October: Saw (or at least tried to see) the Village Halloween Parade. I'm not a big parade-goer, and tend to avoid crowds the way other people avoid dairy or lepers. But since I was able to adjust my Robert Palmer Girl costume to be a cold-weather getup (just tie the red ribbon around a black jacket, keep the slicked back hair and scarily stark makeup and bam! Simply irresistible), I decided to give it a go. The friends I went with and I were stuck a good four layers of people behind the barriers on 6th Ave, and we totally missed the baritone army that we'd come to see in the first place. We instead kept ourselves entertained by ogling all the fabulous costumes, underdressed undergrads and negligent parents that lined the streets.
Inside, with Snookie, and not at a parade.

November: Saw the Radio City Christmas Show. Like, REALLY saw it. I was front row center, thanks to a friend's Rockette friend who was able to score sweet free second-night tickets. The dancing! The songs! The confetti! The smelling-distance of camels! This is quite a spectacular show, and after having seen the goopy tv ads for nine years, it was nice to finally see the thing for real in all its bombastic glory.

Also November: Saw a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. Earlier this year, I had a fun, crazy little principal role in Fiddler on the Roof with the Village Light Opera. Primarily a Gilbert & Sullivan company, VLOG produces one Broadway-type show and one G&S operetta every year. I skipped the audition for Iolanthe, but still got to delight in several friends tripping hither and thither as purple faeries whose exploits charmingly upset British parliament. Ah, politics!

December: Visited a brand-new baby in the hospital. With all the newbies shooting out of practically every woman I know this year, baby W, son of friend A, was the first I've had the opportunity to meet right away. It's a moment you want to savor forever- the velvety head, the tiny hands, the half-dozen nurses standing by to make sure you don't hold him wrong or scare him or sneeze on him. It took about ten seconds for me to fall madly in love with this little bundle of awesome.