Monday, October 28, 2013

So Last Week: October 21st - 27th, 2013

MONDAY 10.21

Kicked off what ended up being a challenging week ahead with a little TLC and delicious dinner of Mediterranean-inspired salmon made by The Man.


Shared some thoughts about sharing household responsibilities.

Also previewed my Spicy Thai-Inspired Maple Glazed Salmon from my PWYW Cookblog delectable eclectic.

Enjoyed a Bigass Salad™ - this time, Bun Thit Nuong.


Made some of these wine cork and bamboo skewer plant markers.


Found some early morning cooking energy and whipped up this Fridge Cleanout Bacon Tomato Arugula Pasta for lunch.

It was a White Whine-ish kind of week. :P

FRIDAY 10.25

Woke up to The Man's gaming system notes to be used in a very serious analytical discussion with StepJoey and fell even more in love, respect and gratitude for him.


Enjoyed the first Hodo Gwaja in years thanks to a generous friend.

Enjoyed a rare and lovely Girls' Day Out at the Día de los Muertos festival at Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista.

And treated myself to this handmade tagua necklace by a local costume jeweler named Estela who also sells at the Oceanside Sunset Market on Thursday nights (which is awesome because she makes some fabulous chandelier earrings too, and I am all about the danglies).

After which we came home and treated ourselves to some steamed Dungeness crab (bought live at Mission Seafood in Oceanside) and other fixins.

SUNDAY 10.27

Was inspired by +Jason Tinling to bake up some Pumpkin Carrot Zucchini Muffins using a modified King Arthur Flour recipe.

And was treated to a delicious linner by Joey resulting from his Chopped cooking exploits.

Kicking and screaming as I'm being dragged into the holiday season,


Friday, October 25, 2013

Reason No. ∞ Why I Love The Man

The Man's handwritten side-by-side comparison of PlayStation 4 and XBox One to discuss the merits of both systems with StepJoey this weekend. Research done over a bottle of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. :)


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wine Cork & Bamboo Skewer Plant Markers

While there are lots of really awesome upcycling projects out there on the interwebs, the great majority of them don't suit me because they're either too involved in the investment of time or in the necessary acquisition of more new materials, which doesn't make sense for a person like me for whom crafting is a not remotely a pastime.

But quick repurposing jobbies that require only things I already have on hand and are aesthetically pleasing to my minimalist eye? I am all over them.

Like this here natural wine cork plant marker, the idea for which I got from my G+ stream the other day but unfortunately to whom I don't know to give credit because I don't remember. (Sorry! :/)

The materials you'll need?

- a natural wine cork (the ink won't take to the artificial ones)
- a bamboo skewer
- a Sharpie

And for anyone to whom the process is not evident, you stab the cork with the sharp end of the skewer, write the plant name on it with the Sharpie, and stab the other end of the skewer into the ground next to the plant. :P

Quick, easy, inexpensive, Earth-friendly. My kind of upcycling. :)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Domestically Engineering A Better World

I've been wanting to write this post for a while now, but I've been daunted by it because it's about something so big, systemic and deeply embedded into so many of our psyches that I feared I wouldn't know where to begin.

But I'm finally buckling down to write it because I've decided that if I can somehow be instrumental in turning just one family's thinking on this subject, the endeavor will have been a million times worth the effort.

The topic? A truly fair division of domestic chores in households in which both heads work, "work" including one parent's job of full-time parenting during the other parent's office hours. Because as a parent who's worked outside the home while my children were in daycare and who has also been a full-time stay-at-home parent, I can tell you the latter is no easier than the first. Not remotely.

The reason I feel as strongly as I do about it? Because once upon a time, for a number of factors that are historical, cultural and deeply personal at once, I was one of those women who subconsciously believed that household duties were solely my responsibility no matter what other work I was doing. And that notion was so deeply embedded in my own psyche that I didn't realize how I was both oppressing myself as a human being and stifling the development of autonomy and self confidence in the other members of my family by manifesting that notion daily in the management of my household.

But whatever the historical, cultural and personal reasons so many of us have for generally believing that domestic work is either ours, or someone else's, to shoulder alone, for the sake of this discussion, let's occupy the space of our current and true realities and desires.

Most of us live in a household with others and enjoy the benefits of said household. Most of those households resemble what looks like a family. Most of us want that household to be both a long term sustainable and happy one for all who dwell in it.

Many of us, due to our upbringing and acculturation, have not really stopped to think deeply and critically about not only how inequitable and unjust it is when one person in a household is held solely or primarily responsible for the daily maintenance of it, but consequently also the roles we ourselves play in the furtherance of that inequity and injustice.

That unconsciousness often plays out in a lot of unhelpful and ultimately corrosive passive aggressive behaviors that hurt the direct members of said household in the short term, and then by extension the members of the households they will come to head in the long term.

For women, it's often varying degrees of smiling to scowling sacrifice all toward the end of being recognized and valued for things that we, at our deepest cores, don't really want to be valued for, the main one being the family's Head Beast of Tireless Burden. We want to be able to have time to care for our families, but we also want to have time to enjoy them, as well as other things that enrich our lives and maintain our sanity. And despite what we've had drilled into our heads for, like, ever, we usually don't enjoy people when we're wiping their asses for them at a point in their lives when they are perfectly capable of doing it for themselves.

For men, it's often varying degrees of feigned blissful ignorance to the tiring round-the-clock grind that is domestic engineering. Well, at least until they're asked to contribute, at which point they are painfully aware of what an inconvenience is just one of a list of tasks that never. ever. ends.

In households where one earns a paycheck and the other doesn't, it's often, on both parts, a shallow capitalistic belief coupled with a lack of understanding of economics that only money equals economic contribution, which plays out in the belief that the paycheck earner's work is done when they clock out for the day while the other's work has never begun because, well, they don't work, right?

All three situations are propelled by self-imposed mental prisons and a short term satisfaction of ego and/or comfort, none of which have much to do in creating or maintaining the long term sustainable happiness of a household and each of its individual members.

So while it may give you some short term satisfaction to show everyone, including yourself, how you singlehandedly, tirelessly, and thanklessly engineer the domestics of your household, or to sit back and watch TV with your hand down your pants after dinner feeling that you've somehow lucked yourself out of a few shitty chores, the long term reality is that neither one of you should be happy with that situation because you're both setting everyone back on the evolutionary continuum.

The long term reality is that we ourselves need to realize and actuate, and then further model for our children, that a happy household is one in which each individual, male or female, is fully confident and competent to face the tasks and rigors of daily life on our own. And not one in which contrived binds, affections and connections are made out of deep seated fears and insecurities that we are either worthless if we don't sacrifice ourselves for others or that we are simply not sufficient to fend for ourselves.

So the next time you want to throw your hands up in anger or frustration that someone else isn't helping you carry the burden of household chores, remember it got that way in large part due to the fact that you might have failed in the past. Not to nag, not to whine, and not to passive aggressively complain, but to honestly and earnestly convict yourself of the fact that it takes more than your own efforts to run a household well, and to honestly and earnestly recruit the participation and ownership - not the "help", not the "assistance", not the "favors" - of the members of your household.

And the next time you find yourself watching another member of your household working to keep it a comfortable space of which you enjoy the benefits and feeling privileged in any way not to have to contribute, remember that you're not only taking away from the quality of someone else's life by your disproportionate selfishness, but more importantly that you are robbing yourself of the fullness of your own potential as a human being in the process.

And you're both teaching your children how they're going to live in their own households.

Imagine a future in which none of us believes ourselves too good for, or unequipped for, the requirements of everyday living, and in which we each strengthen our communities exponentially with our confidence and competence.

What a wonderful world that would be and could be. And a totally possible one if we start creating that reality in our households right now.


Monday, October 21, 2013

So Last Week: October 14th - 20th, 2013

MONDAY 10/14

Shared my Simple Creamy Butternut Squash Soup recipe.

Shared this tip for losing weight, saving money and being happier at the same time. :)

And found new appreciation for Oceanside while taking a coffee walk with the fam.


Rediscovered the joy of pestering Honeydew with my camera. 

And let y'all know that Trader Joe's has Cupcake Vodka for sale for $4.99 while supplies last. <hic!>


Got some good perspective on the value and meaning of my internet presence and activity.

Was stoked that +Brian Meagher made my Better Pickled Pepper recipe! :D

And discovered that a lot more peeps are interested in my Budget Oxtail Osso Buco recipe than previously assumed would be.


Shared my Spicy Salmon Poke with Crunchy Cucumber recipe from my upcoming PWYW Cookblog delectable eclectic.

FRIDAY 10/18

Made yummy Leftover Burger Buns Bread Pudding.

And shared my San Diego Día de los Muertos 2013 event listing with y'all.


Learned about Verdolagas (Purslane) and got this yummy looking recipe from +Lena Keller to make with it.

Got myself a couple of new chili plants on the cheap from Cando's plant stand at Oceanside Swap Meet. :)

And finally got a honeybee to stay still long enough for me to get a good snapshot of her!!! ^^

SUNDAY 10/20

Shared my Budget Calrose Risotto Milanese recipe to go with my Budget Oxtail Osso Buco recipe.

Watched The Man brew Barley Wine for the holidays.

Pilfered a most elegant Magnolia for the dining table from across the street. :)

And shared my recipe for the Mex-Inspired Tandoori Chicken that we ate for Brewer's Lunch.

And holy crap. We're another week closer to November. I am not ready for the holidays... :/


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mex-Inspired Tandoori Chicken

Printable Version (Recipe Only)

One of my favorite regular events Chez Robinson is Brew Day, when The Man and our good friend Jay get together to brew beer (today was barley wine), and I get to shoot the shit with Jay's most excellent better half.

I love them each, I love them as a couple, and I love it when they join us to eat, drink and make merry.

Today's Brew Day lunch, sadly sans Marcy due to unforeseen circumstances :(, was this Mex-Inspired Tandoori Chicken along with some...

Garlic Yellow Rice...

Potatoes boiled with a little salt and vinegar (the vinegar helps the relatively loose skin of Russet potatoes to stay put while the flesh cooks through and also sweetens the flavor a little) and pan fried in schmaltz and some chopped Romaine (because I always have to serve roughage of some sort) accompanied by a Cilantro Garlic Ají...

And some Cebollas Rojas Encurtidas (Pickled Red Onions) with cilantro.

Mex-Inspired Tandoori Chicken
Serves 6
Time: 20 minutes to prep the marinade, a minimum of 4 hours and up to a full day to marinate, 45 minutes to cook
Printable Version

The yogurt in this Tandoori-inspired marinade has a wonderful tenderizing effect on the chicken and helps the marinade penetrate the flesh so you have lots of great flavor through and through. You'll want to marinate for at least 4 hours, but 8 hours up to overnight is ideal.

- 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, scored about 1/4-inch deep once or twice on each side (Whole drums and thighs, half or quarter breast pieces, depending on how large the breast.)
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 medium tomato, finely chopped (if no fresh tomatoes, you can use 1/3 cup well drained chopped canned tomatoes)
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped or grated
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1.5 to 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- the zest of 1 lime
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons achiote powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (the other kind will do in a pinch, of course)
- 2 to 4 minced Serrano chilies (Jalapeños work as well)
- 3 Tablespoons oil

- 1 green onion, chopped, and a handful of chopped cilantro for garnish

1) Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl and mix and massage with your hands to thoroughly and evenly season each piece of chicken.

2) Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours, and up to a full day, in the refrigerator, making sure to redistribute the chicken once or twice to ensure that all the seasoning gets evenly distributed again after the chicken and vegetable matter release liquid.

3) An hour before cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge and lay the chicken out in a single layer, skin side down, on a lightly oiled broiler pan, or on a rack on a baking pan or sheet, to bring the chicken up to room temp.

4) Preheat the oven to broil (this usually takes 20 minutes or so), then broil the chicken about 4 inches under the broiler element (yours may be under the oven or right under the top heat element of the main oven compartment) for 8 minutes per side, finishing this step with the skin side up.

5) Turn the oven heat down to 425F and continue roasting the chicken on the middle rack for another 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve on a platter with chopped green onions and cilantro sprinkled atop.

Brew Day meals never get eaten at the table because
the beer must be babysat. ;)

You can adapt this idea of Tandoori Chicken to any number of cuisines and flavor profiles. Another variation we really like is my Viet-Inspired Tandoori Chicken. 

If moist, tender, flavorful roast chicken is your cooking Achilles' Heel no matter how hard you try, you might want to give this idea a shot. :)