Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bodi Beautiful




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Finally! I can now eat my fill of jiaozi


without having to go to China for them. This isn't the greatest picture, but they were delicious.

To make dough for the wrappers:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp. salt


In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a regular mixing bowl) whisk together the dry ingredients. With the paddle attachment in place, turn mixer on to speed 2 or 3. Add boiling water in a steady stream to the flour. Keep mixing until flour comes together in a ragged dough (sort of looks like sugar cookie dough at this point). It won't be formed into a ball. Remove dough from mixer and knead by hand (it won't be overly hot, don't worry) until dough comes together and is elastic (around a minute or two). Place ball of dough in plastic bag and seal. Let dough steam and rest for at least 15 minutes.

Filling:

1/2 pound of ground pork (not lean)
1 cup very finely chopped chinese cabbage (Napa cabbage). You can salt this and let it weep for a little bit and then squeeze it to remove some water. Don't squeeze out too much though. If you do this, maybe adjust the salt you add later. You want this to be almost minced.
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt (or to taste)
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp. white pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp. ground fresh ginger
2 green onions white and light green parts, finely chopped (almost minced)

(I'm sort of guessing on these proportions because I didn't measure anything when I made them. I would suggest cooking up one or two and tasting them, you can then adjust the filling accordingly.)

Add seasonings and oil to ground pork. Stir with a large spoon until meat sort of breaks down and becomes sort of smooth and mushy (I hope that makes sense). Add cabbage and mix well.

To form wrappers:

On a smooth non-porous surface, smear a little bit of vegetable oil into a thin layer over a small area. Oil up your hands and fingers as well, but don't make them too oily. Pinch off a small amount of dough and roll it quickly in the palms of your hand until it is a rough ball shape. Should be about the size of a large cherry. Place ball on oiled surface and press and stretch it until it forms a flat circle around 2.5 in diameter. Take a teaspoon or so of the filling and place it in the center of the circle. Sort of pat it down with the spoon (this just makes it less likely to move when you fold the wrapper). Pick up the side of of the circle farthest from you and fold it over the filling, pressing dough edges to seal. Try to avoid including a lot of air. Pick up dumpling and finish sealing the edges. It should be a fat crescent shape. Dip the bottom lightly into a small pile of flour and set onto a plate or cookie sheet. If you are worried about the completed dumplings drying out, you can cover them with plastic wrap as you work.

To cook:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt. Drop dumplings in one a time until you have enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Stir to break dumplings up (they will float). When water starts to boil again, add a little bit of cold water to reduce boiling. Cook until all dumplings float on the top. Take on out and test to see if the dough and filling are cooked. Don't over cook.

Dipping sauce:

I like to have a small dish of mashed garlic and salt to dip the dumplings in as well as a dish of vinegar sauce. Mix rice vinegar (white is fine, or dark brown chinese vinegar is also good. Malt vinegar is also an option) with a little bit of soy sauce, sesame oil, and ground chiles. You can just make this to taste.

Ok, enjoy. My favorite filling is lamb and cilantro, or egg and zucchini. I'll blog about those fillings some other time.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All hail Craigslist!

Dearest faceless masses,

For the great many of you who read my blog in order to cyberstalk my pugs, you will be glad to know that they now have not one, but two couches to lounge on. As my home enfurnituration project nears completion, I have been searching for the perfect little loveseat to complete my living room. I searched and searched, visited many furniture shops with my bff while she was here over the holidays (and also backed into a car that was poorly parked behind me whilst doing so, a car that was overlapping my pullout space, and this little accident severely cut back my furniture budget by around 800 dollars. Sweet. But I'm over it. No, really. I am totally over it. G*&da&%ni$!)

I had a specific couch in mind. It couldn't be puffy. It couldn't have cloth on it anywhere. I have a phobia of cloth upholstery and carpet. So it needed to be leather and not puffy. And not 80's style (but I think no-puff requirement covers that).

I searched and searched. I perused craiglslist using a fancy craigslist app for my phone. I've found that you have to be dedicated in order to find things on craigslist. And you need to be ready to buy the item that you find that very day. Be as nice as possible to the people selling, tell them your name and ask theirs. That way they will remember you and be more inclined to get back in touch...etc etc etc. Basically, it boils down to being super sweet and nice and being willing to go and pick up the item ASAP, that is what will help you have craigslist success. That, and constant and eager perusal of ads.

I have had a fantastically good craigslist year. I moved back to Oregon with zero (zero, zero, zero) furniture, besides my jewelers bench and desk and chair for my office. I've found almost all of my furniture on craigslist. My kitchen table, bed frame, mattress (I know some of you might think this is gross, but a queen size tempurpedic mattress doesn't come cheap, even used, and I'm not from NY, so I'm not worried about bedbugs), dresser, couch one and couch two....and I'm not even including all of the stuff I found for my workspace (which I can't help but enumerate here...I love a good deal....rolling cart with cabinet underneath (25$), huge work bench (50$), smaller table (40$), cabinet (35$)) Everything except my bookshelves, a little doorway table (antique store), and the kitchen benches that J and I built came from craigslist. And the pièce de résistance!?!?!:

Ooooooh, cream colored leather couch, I loooove you! You're not perfect! But you're close! And so creamy and stylish! Now I have enough seating for many guests because you so willingly provide a soft down-filled cushiony seat for them! And you were so economically priced! And you fit into the back of my wagon even! This is why I love craigslist.

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Pugs


(don't let that face deceive you)

Now, I'm sure that all of Dieter's faults are somehow my own. I don't blame him for being the wickedest pug that's ever trotted sideways over the face of the planet. No. I lay the blame directly where it is due. Poor little Dieter. The deck was stacked against him from the beginning.

(angel pug)

From the first he had to compete with what I like to call the Angel Pug (aka, Gunter....also known as Angel Face by his Auntie Kellie). Just look at his little face, all he wants to do is please and snuggle (and fetch his squeeky toy from across the park....this dog is a serial fetcher. No throw is too far, no time is too many. He's like a stupid lab that way). Gunter had everything that a spoiled first child of an attachment parenting organic waldorf school co-sleeping mama could give him. Hours of my undivided time, walks, treats, pats and pets, attention attention attention. Poor little Dieter doesn't get half of that. Instead of being an unemployed student during his puppyhood (a la Gunter), I'm running my own crazy business and have very little time for him. It's terrible. And I already feel like a slave to the pugs whenever I have a free moment. But it's just not enough.

(criminal)

Dieter had a very bad day yesterday. It made me want to start looking for a farm that might be one pug short. I think country living would suit him. I hadn't let him be free in the kitchen for a while, and so, last night when J and I went to eat pho (most likely my favorite food ever) I left the pugs gated in the kitchen. What harm could he do right? He was well stocked with toys and Gunter.


Lest you sympathetic readers out there feel sorry for the tiniest pug, that chewed up corner is on not one, but 2 benches. Both benches were chewed up. And I just made them! Like 3 weeks ago at the most. The second little gift he had waiting for me required these two things:



But I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say, I was incredibly unhappy about it. My jacket and scarf had been pulled off of the kitchen table too (luckily enough he hadn't peed on them....).

Why is this pug:


so much wickeder than this pug?:


Why does the tiniest pug do wicked bad things? Why does he eat the entire contents of the bathroom garbage? Why does he chew on the woodwork and refuse to poop poop outside? Why can't he be more like this?:


Of course, the fact that Gunter is almost 5 doesn't help Dieter any. I've already forgotten any of the bad stuff that Gunter did. And Dieter is only 9 months old. I should really cut him some slack. And he's not as bad as I make him out to be. He's really doing quite well. But compared to Gunter, he's a demon pug. I can't wait until he's reached the mellowing stage....two years is a long way away.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What I Will

And will not do this decade:

1) I will do more of this sort of stuff:

Designing!

Doodling!

And less of this stuff:

1) Whining
2) Surfing on the internet
3) Eating out
4) Drinking caffeinated beverages.


And I will do these things:

1) I will buy a new camera for work. A nice one.
2) I will go to yoga twice a week. And lift weights twice a week.
3) I will keep groceries in the house.
4) I will ride my bike to work.
5) I will save my money, instead of spend it on things like lip gloss binges. (Kellie can relate?)
This resolution has multiple parts, let me break them down:

A) I have obtained an app for my iphone that helps with this budgeting endeavor. It is called Budget, aptly enough. And it works great so far.

B) I want to buy a house. To this end, I will buy fewer shoes and put my shoe money into an account titled: House Fund. Right after I get these (which is another, separate resolution detailed below):

6) I will dress better. I hate wearing a pair of jeans, some hiking shoes, and a northface jacket every day to work. It makes me feel frumpy and old. So, from now on, starting tomorrow, I will at least make a partial and weak effort to be stylish. And I will buy more socks.

Ok, I think that will be it for now. I think it really just boils down to: cooking more, dressing better, spending less time on the internet, drawing and painting more, saving money, and working out regularly. Yep, that should cover it. And my perennial new year's resolution, as always, is to be kinder to everyone (including myself).

Friday, January 8, 2010

I don't want to be one of those blogs

You know the ones, that have various lists of things to buy, with titles like "Table Love" or "Curtain Love" etc. But I do really want this chest:

or this one!

Love it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 - A Retrospective



(My boyfriend's house has carpet, so they finally got a little bit of traction. I always think my pugs are a little bit clumsy, but really they are crazy athletes who just can't move on slick wood floors very well.)

This video is actually from 2010, but I felt I needed to include a pug video right off, for those of you who read the blog just for a pug fix. Feel free to navigate away now, I'm probably just going to get a little bit maudlin and go on and on about how great my life is.

2009 was a big year for me. I started my company, singleB, in February. It took off like it had a jet pack attached and became almost more than I could handle. But I've really enjoyed seeing it grow, and I'm so thankful that I have a way to support myself that doesn't include working for someone else. I'm not really good at taking orders (despite my 5 years in the Navy, go figure). So it really suits me to be the boss. It's also been really nice to see my skills increase. I'm a perfectionist (recovering), and it's been incredibly satisfying to see how my work has improved and become easier. It's been really instructive to flip back through my design book and see how my aesthetic has developed along with my skills. Sometimes a new idea doesn't appear in my mind until I know how to make it.

In May I decided to end the relationship I had been in for two years. It just wasn't giving me what I needed, and I couldn't be/provide for him what he needs. It was a hard decision, but in the end I felt that I had made the right decision. I was also miserable in California, too many people, too many strip malls, too much type A competitiveness.

In June little Dieter came to live with me. Turns out I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be. But he is finally becoming a real pug, so that is a bit of a relief. He's going to be a super handsome little man when he finishes growing up. Crazy tic-tac teeth and all.


In July I returned to Portland. I had never intended to move back here, but I'm so glad I got over that silly rebellion and came to my senses. Portland is awesome and I couldn't be happier about my decision.

In September I moved into my new studio and also into a new apartment in Portland. It was so nice to get my workplace out of my living space. It increased my stress, because now I had two rents to pay, but I think it was a good decision. It gave me the space to expand with new equipment and I'm excited to see the new things I will be able to make with it! My little apartment just keeps getting better and better (slowly). I finally have a grown up couch and a kitchen table with seating:

(My boyfriend and I built these benches and I'm still extremely enthused about how they turned out.)


In September I went out on a date with this guy to OMSI. We met on Match.com. He sent me a long sweet email and I couldn't say no.

Who can say no to a face like this one? Not me. This is the kind of guy who bakes cupcakes for his girlfriends birthday. And sends texts like this one:

Meeting him was the highlight of 2009. Nothing is certain, but I'm giving us good odds for happily ever after.

Another best part of 2009? Being in the same geographic location as my lady friends:

Of course, Kellie is missing from this photo, but she turned up later in the new year's weekend.

Well, that was 2009. 2010 will be even better!