Monday, June 16, 2014

Various Changes, and also I am the worst blogger ever

My poor blog, I haven't updated it since last October. And that post was only a soup recipe. Not that anybody really reads it (hi, 4 subscribers, one of which is my mom), but it's always nice to look back on things from years ago, in the event that I bothered to record them. In any case, I do actually have something to write about. Because I bought a house:

It's in the Mid-City neighborhood in New Orleans, and it's a slightly decrepit but sweet single shotgun, built around 1910. We call it the Voodoo Dollhouse.  It's got a wee little front yard and a back yard that's only slightly larger, and a front porch that faces West, perfect for watching sunsets. It has 11-foot ceilings and wonderful acoustics; it also has a variety of issues, from both Hurricane Katrina and long-term mild neglect.
It's been a tumultuous few months; I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, and moved out of the neighborhood we'd been in for three years. It's a lot to process.
And I became a homeowner. I did this with money I inherited from my grandparents, which makes the whole thing rather bittersweet. And while it was a lot of money for me, I could only afford a somewhat funky house in a neighborhood that's actually great, but mere blocks from one that's not so great. This house is a project, is what I'm saying. Or rather, it's a series of projects. Some of which I'll be detailing here, I think.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spicy Bacon Dream Soup

By which I mean, this recipe literally came to me in a dream. It wasn't even a full night's sleep, but an afternoon nap, which seems somehow less witchy and dignified. Nevertheless, it was quite a vivid dream, and when I woke up I realized that I had all the ingredients in the fridge. I went ahead and made it, and it was pretty much as delicious as you would expect for a soup that somebody literally had a premonition about. So I can confidently say that psychic powers exist, but maybe only in regards to soup.

You could make a nice veggie version of this, with mushrooms instead of bacon. But it was bacon in the dream.

You will need:

6-8 medium red potatoes
1 tablespoon crawfish boiling spice (or Old Bay seasoning, in a pinch)
1 large onion, chopped
2-5 cloves garlic, to taste, coarsely chopped
6 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups cooked whole kernel corn (canned or fresh)
Enough broth to completely cover the other ingredients
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
A lemon

The broth: Better than Bouillon is my favorite brand, and they make a faux-chicken stock I use for everything. You can make it while the onions are cooking.

In advance: Boil the red potatoes whole in the crawfish* boil (or Old Bay) until cooked through. Drain and let cool, preferably overnight, but at least for a couple of hours. When cool, cut into quarters and put aside.

In a medium soup pot, add onions and olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onions start to brown a bit. Add bacon and garlic, and cook together 5 more minutes. When everything is slightly browned, add broth, quartered potatoes and corn. Simmer over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes. Add more broth and salt and pepper if needed. Right before serving, add a wee bit of lemon juice.  Serves 4, whether regular people or soup-related clairvoyants.

*Crawfish boil, despite the name, is vegan. Most contain cayenne, salt, celery, lemon powder, and sometimes MSG. You can totally make your own, but I'm too lazy.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Family's Old Neighborhood in Winnipeg

 Above: This is the house my dad grew up in, in North Kildonan, a suburb of Winnipeg. I went out there with my dad and uncle. It was so cool to see it!

Below: The back yard, and the shed my Granddad build himself, circa 1965.

Below: Now this is really cool. Behind the house, there is a dog footprint... it belonged to my uncle's dog Princess, who stepped in this concrete in 1970, when a crew was paving the back lane.

Below: a back lane. Many of the older suburbs in Winnipeg have a back lane running through the middle of the block. People used to park their cars back there. The back lanes felt very woodsy compared to the rest of the city.


I went to Winnipeg for a week, for my uncle's wedding. It was pretty fantastic to see my Canadian family, and meet my new auntie-in-law and her daughter. I haven't been to Winnipeg since I was a little girl. It's a vibrant, growing city, and incredibly diverse, culturally. I like to make fun of Canadian food sometimes, but I had all sorts of wonderful meals in Winnipeg--Greek, BBQ, amazing hamburgers, and my uncle's awesome cooking.

The weather in July was pretty wonderful--70 and breezy, a treat after New Orleans mugginess. In the winter, it can get down to 40 below. The buildings all have massive walls and half-inch, double-paned windows. Downtown, the skyscrapers have passageways between them, over the street.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Skully Dolls

 I've been making these for about a year. They're peg dolls, meaning that their bodies are clothespins, and their heads are round wooden beads. They have a sculpted base to help them stand. I used to use air-dry paperclay for the base, but now I use Apoxie Sculpt, a miraculous two-part putty that dries as solid as armor. They're incredibly fun to make, and much faster than my stitched and embroidered dolls. I got the idea originally from the cute little pincushion dolls from PicalilliPatchwork, when they were featured in Art Doll Quarterly. I've diverged a fair bit from hers, though. The clothespins and wooden beads are available at most craft stores; I got mine at Jo-Ann's. (You can also get a starter kit from Picalilli's Etsy shop here:

More Mardi Gras

Top to bottom: Fog in the French Quarter, the view of the city from Algiers Point, me in my Mardi Gras wig and headdress, St. Ann's Parade.

Mardi Gras! Only 4 months late!

We had a lovely time! My sister and her sweetie were in town, so we had a proper Mardi Gras posse. We started the day with a healthy breakfast, and then a slightly less healthy second breakfast (booze). We walked with the St. Ann's parade (first picture) down to the Mississippi River (second picture), which was completely socked in by fog. It was quite magical, and we hung out on the levee for some time, visiting with friends, singing songs, and, of course, drinking booze. (Though nobody got too ridiculous.)

Then we took the free ferry across the river to Algiers Point, and hung out over there for a while. Then we very, very gradually walked home, with many stops along the way. We managed to stay out until almost 10pm, which is a full 12 hours of Mardi Gras, which is way longer than I made it the previous two years.