Tonight J and I made lentil soup and then I made mint chocolate chip ice. Both came out reasonably well but could have been better. Recipes:
(adapted from The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Laura Washburn)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
4 carrots, cut into ~2cm pieces
2–4 tsp cumin (2 is "hm, I think there's cumin in this", 4 is "what a lovely cumin soup")
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 3 tsp chopped garlic from a jar)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine
600g lentils (brown lentils will stay intact, red will turn to mush; you can use either or a mix of both), rinsed and picked through
12 cups (3 quarts) chicken or vegetable broth
300g baby spinach leaves
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, washed very very thoroughly and chopped coarsely
salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh lemon juice, crusty bread
Mise en place. In the uncovered pressure cooker, heat the oil over high heat and brown the onion and carrots for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin and garlic and cook until fragrant, 30–60 seconds. Add the thyme and wine, bring to boil, boil 1–2 minutes to cook off most of the alcohol. Add the lentils and broth and cover the pot. Bring to high pressure and cook 10–12 minutes depending on how firm you like your lentils. Quick-release the pressure and confirm that lentils are sufficiently tender. Stir in spinach and simmer 2–3 minutes or until wilted. Stir in basil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve with crusty bread for bowl-swabbing.
Notes from tonight: We used only 1 tsp cumin, since that was all we had left in the jar, and included neither garlic nor lemon. The quantities above are estimates based on how desperately the soup needed all three. I am really not a fan of garlic and my first thought upon tasting the soup was "This needs garlic", so if you do love garlic, don't skimp. (The original recipe calls for 6 cloves, which by my standards would be excessive.) That said, it was still very tasty, just not terribly exciting. Makes about eight 2-cup servings.
Mint chocolate chip ice
(adapted from this recipe)
1 quart unsweetened vanilla-flavored almond milk
7/8 cup superfine (not powdered!) sugar
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Whisk or blend first four ingredients. Chill. Process in ice cream maker, adding chocolate chips once the mixture has thickened, for about 20 minutes total or until it's as thick as you want. Freeze for 2 hours to finish hardening.
Notes from tonight: This recipe makes 1.5 quarts exactly, so if your ice cream maker is a 1.5-quart ice cream maker, do not do what I did and decide you can add another 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with impunity; it will overflow. The texture is much more like Italian ice than ice cream, and the flavor is subtly minty and quite good if you don't mind the hint of marzipan from the almond milk. I only mixed it for 15 minutes or so and should probably have let it go the full 20, but see above re overflowing.
Ever wonder whether something is really as awful as you remember? X and I watched Blues Brothers 2000 tonight. It is actually more awful than we remember. Considerably more. That said, we're now very inspired to hunt down some good live music when we're in New Orleans for World Horror/Stokers Weekend next month. (Will you be there?) And it turned out she hadn't seen the video for "Q.U.E.E.N." so we rectified that as soon as the movie was done, and that made the world considerably better.
Last weekend I got both my inboxes down to zero, and I've kept them there all week. I have also been way WAY more productive at work and more relaxed at home. (I read a book--no, two books! I watched two episodes of DS9!) I don't think this is coincidence. I really had no idea how much stress I felt looking at unanswered things in my inbox until they weren't there anymore. Now I tab to my inbox, smile, and feel like I really get to choose what I do next--no pressure, no stress. I recommend this highly. (I explain my process in the comments on the DW version of this entry.)
After consulting with my therp, I'm tentatively planning to go off the Zoloft once Readercon is done. (The timing is not coincidence.) I'll wait a month to make sure I'm doing okay without it, and then try very carefully drinking some flavored tea and see what happens.
Readercon stuff is not actually that stressful right now, because we're in the part I love best: collecting data and building the program. I'm also organizing a really exciting thing for Saturday night that I hope will be stupendously awesome. Yay for friends who know what they're doing and can reassure me that my plans are feasible and unlikely to become "a clusterwhentwopeopleloveeachotherverymuc
I wonder what I will do with all my free time and energy once Readercon is done. I'll still be on the concom and progcom and safecom, but I'm stepping down as program chair, and that's a huge weight off my shoulders. I don't go dancing anymore, and even if I took it up again, I wouldn't volunteer to nearly the extent that I used to (if at all). I don't cook for Arisia anymore. I have Long Hidden to co-edit, but that's a freelance project and I'll do it in freelance time. For the first time in a long long while, I will have no unpaid volunteer gigs to occupy me.
Maybe domesticity will be my next thing. It's what I most love doing right now: bustling around the house, talking with X and J about household projects, cooking, building and buying things, having people over, family time. More of that would be really nice.
Maybe I'll knit more, read more, do a better job of keeping up with the rewatch.
Or maybe I'll just improvise, be spontaneous, do whatever I feel like doing. I'm not very good at spontaneity, but the only way to get better at it is to make space for it.
Augh, is it really getting light out? I am not doing very well with sticking to anything resembling my sleep schedule. Having a week off from work isn't going to help with this. Oh well.