missed connections/vegan carrot coconut soup

Monday, September 23, 2013

Missed Connections (by Joeycake)

*You were the three-piece-suit-wearing dandy on the corner of Santa Monica and Vine last Wednesday. I thought you were pretty formally dressed, seeing how you were three sheets to the wind before 9am. You were high-stepping and shouting gibberish, seemingly just for me. I was the one in the dirty Prius, waiting at the red light, hurrying to lock my doors. Remember when you did an actual jazz square while holding my gaze? Due to the fact that I was operating a motor vehicle, I wasn't able to get my phone out fast enough to safely capture photo and/or video of your exceptional shenanigans. I'm kicking myself for this now.

*I was the intrepid actress who prepared for hours, got off book, curled her hair and drove across town in rush-hour traffic to audition for your high-profile project. You were the Important Casting Director who decided to leave the room and let your assistant take over the taping duties right before my turn. Not to be a stickler? But your name did appear on my official appointment email. So you kinda shoulda been there. But it's cool. I'm sure you've been extensively training your 19-year-old assistant to give thoughtful adjustments and hold the camera without shaking it.

*You were the special of the day: the short-rib panini on buttered, toasted fresh country bread with caramelized onions and horseradish aioli. I saw your melty self being delivered to the lucky bastard in front of me in line. I seriously considered you but then, sadly, was the orderer of the bland salad. What can I say? I was trying to be chaste and carb-free. And where did it leave me? Just obsessively thinking of you later (all day, really, and part of the next). Not sure if you'll be there when I return, but a girl can dream.

*You were the main electrical board inside my fancy European clothes washer. I was just a gal, minding her own business, trying to wash a load of whites when you short-circuited. Not cool, main electrical board, not cool. You left me high and dry. Literally. And while I tried to be optimistic about replacing you, you had to play hard-to-get. I know, you're in Europe, you need time to get here, blah blah. But it seems like "two weeks minimum" is an awful long time. Not digging your laid back Euro attitude. Frankly, I think you're playing dirty. How ironic.

*You were a bag of carrots. I'd been looking past you for a week. There were more seductive things in the fridge, like white wine. And the extra short-rib panini I bought to have leftovers. I was the one who needed soothing after a particularly frustrating audition experience. And also after pulling my groin from stepping over heaps of dirty laundry. Did you see me? I clutched an onion and a knob of ginger while limping over to you, hoping you could grab your coconut friends and we could all make a connection...

Vegan Carrot Coconut Soup
serves 8

4 T coconut oil
8 cups peeled and diced carrots (about 2.5 pounds)
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 T minced fresh ginger
sea salt
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk beverage (I used Trader Joe's brand in the carton)
zest and juice of 1 medium lime
toasted shredded coconut for serving (optional)

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, ginger, garlic and a good pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer for about 25 minutes or until carrots are very tender. Add the lime zest. Transfer to a blender in batches to puree. Return the smooth soup to the pot, add the lime juice and coconut milk. Heat thoroughly and taste for salt. Add a little more broth if you want a thinner consistency.  Serve with a sprinkling of sea salt and a few shreds of toasted coconut if you wish.


P.S. how to do a jazz square

...and quilter

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's been so busy around here. And as much as I sometimes feel like I'm barely keeping up with it all, I know I thrive when things are spinning a little. I like having different projects in various stages, different facets of me stimulated. The variety is good for me; I like it. This week has been full of auditions of all sorts. I got to play a recovering addict, a mid-western mom, a former stripper, a former TV star, a fiancee to a convicted murderer, a trick-or-treating costume-wearer, and a karaoke singer. Interspersed with all those meetings, I got to play Lena's mom, a teacher to a bunch of awesome young actors, a wife, a hiker, a Pilates-doer, a meditator, a friend, a daughter, a writer, a recipe-tester, a dinner party hostess, a concert-goer*, a cleaning lady, a household manager, an accountant, and a potter. (David and I just enrolled in a pottery class to fill our spare time.)

Oh, and I made a quilt!

My dear friend Liz just had her first baby, a sweet bundle of a little girl named Spencer that I got to visit yesterday. Happy Birthday, Spencer!

This crib-size quilt was made from Alicia's awesome and easy-to-follow pattern (find it here), which I've made several times before. I used some vintage sheets mixed with some new fabrics that have a vintage-y flavor. And instead of machine quilting, I tied it with embroidery floss. There's something so sweet to me about doing it this way. It finishes a little more homey and slouchy and snugglish. Perfect for a new baby, no? And beginners take heed: this pattern is so forgiving--if you're not perfectly squared up everyplace it still comes out looking sweet. Ideal for a non-expert quilter like myself:)

True story: I actually am working on a commercial later today and won't know which role I'm playing until I show up. Ah, showbiz.


*I was lucky enough to see Sara Bareilles in concert this past week and she was amazing. She sang this cover for her encore and I swooned..........<3

frozen chocolatey bananas

Saturday, September 7, 2013

I tend to sometimes get a smidgen impatient but it's been a freaking miracle for me to stay in-the-moment lately. It's no wonder: the moment doesn't even know what it wants to be.

In my (sweaty) shopping travels this past week I've come across:

giant peaches
school supplies
big, heavy watermelons
Red Delicious apples
fluffy cashmere sweaters
heirloom tomatoes
pumpkin Everything at Starbucks
Halloween candy and sunscreen sharing the Seasonal aisle
A lady with a goatee*

(*This is not a seasonal observation but it was upsetting to me nonetheless)

Maybe that's why I found myself at Whole Foods the other day and randomly felt drawn to the homeopathic flower remedies. I picked up their little informational booklet and turned right to the page for one called IMPATIENS. The description said: "For those who act and think quickly and have no patience for what they see...teaches empathy and in alleviating an impatient attitude and lowering stress." I laughed out loud. (Bonus: it's fast-acting so you don't have to have patience with the remedy itself!)  I stuck it in my cart. And then ten minutes later (no joke) cursed under my breath at people driving like turtles in the parking lot.

But now it's occurring to me that my agitation could very well be collective since we're all bouncing around in this in-between-seasons no man's land. We're having to look past a pumpkin-latte display to order an iced tea, having to dodge Halloween candy to find sunscreen. Those things, along with triple-digit temperatures are enough to make anyone on-edge.

My solution (aside from the flower medicine) is to keep embracing summer and not pine for Fall, to remain blind to the autumnal items that surround us and not let them nudge us into frustratingly wanting to be somewhere we're not. That way we can be nicely surprised when Fall finally graces us with its presence. So. I hereby declare this weird hot-September-transisiton-season: FROZEN BANANA SURRENDER. We will use these icy treats to soften our irritated edges and cool off our hot tempers! Plus, what better reason is there to slow down than to savor a gourmet popsicle? With extra chocolate? And also sprinkles? Who's with me?!

And who will be our new season's mascot? Goatee Lady. Think about what amazing patience she must have employed while waiting for that facial monkey to grow in. So even though at first (and second and third) glance I found her disturbing, maybe she is the wiser one among us. Thanks, Goatee Lady, and kudos. An extra frozen banana for you. And an extra napkin in case you get any chocolate in (on?) your beard.

Happy FBS!

Frozen Chocolatey Bananas
yields 10 servings

For the chocolate, I used half bittersweet and half semisweet but you can use any combo that suits your fancy. If your bananas are very ripe and sweet, you can go a little more bitter on the chocolate to balance it out. Oh, and I know it sounds like olive oil will be weird here but trust me, its fruitiness is just perfect.

5 ripe bananas
8 oz chocolate chips (I used half bittersweet, half semisweet. See note above)
3 T olive oil
assorted toppings: sprinkles, toasted coconut, toasted chopped nuts (about 1/4 cup each)
popsicle sticks (alternative: bamboo skewers or wooden chopsticks)

After peeling and halving the bananas, stick a popsicle stick in the end of each one. Place on a wax paper- or parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for an hour. Place the chocolate chips and olive oil in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, watching carefully and stirring often (should take 1-2 minutes depending on your microwave). Remove the bananas from the freezer, dip in the melted chocolate (spooning it on if necessary to get it even) and then roll in the embellishments of your choosing. You can eat these straight away but they're better if you stick them back in the freezer to set at least an hour more. Enjoy!


P.S. If you decide to get said patience flower remedy, don't make the mistake of telling your husband. He will test you by continuing to suggest you double or triple your dosage.
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