Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Recipe Friday

This is the my computer broke and I didn't get to make anything for you edition of Recipe Friday. Next week I will show you how to make black bean burgers. They are very yummy even if you're not vegetarian, promise. (Well, I suppose that is as long as you don't have a lifelong feud with/hatred for beans in any form. In that case next week's Recipe Friday edition will not be for you.)

In the meantime please turn on your speakers, turn the volume up a little, click play and enjoy these videos of my newest favorite, Duke Special (a.k.a. Peter Wilson). Duke Special is very theatrical and narrative songwriting. Sort of Vaudeville meets big band and bebop with a twinge of Dresden Dolls style gritty macabre. There's also A-mazing orchestration. Seriously, if you in the least enjoy a well-orchestrated piece of music, you have to give Duke Special a try. Enough of my descriptors. Go, click, listen!

*After having posted, I realize the first and last videos are too wide for my current blog format. I don't like it, but I'm not exactly happy with Blogger's new Template Designer, either, since all of the available templates to work with have the thin posting area in the center like this one and loads of space to the right for whatever gadgets and such people want to add. I'm not much of a gadgets person here, so I'll be working on getting a template/format that doesn't leave the post area looking so scrawny. Please try to ignore how awful it looks (with the wide videos) for the time being. Thanks.* FIXT!

Below are 2 versions of the same song. One is with the entire band; the other piano and voice only. As an orchestration demonstration. 'Cause I'm a music nerd like that and really enjoy listening to such things. As an aside, I have no idea what all the head-spinny business is about in the first video. Some sort of 1910s/20s toy I would guess.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


This is a test post.
Very, very much awake 9 hours before job interview.
Fighting with Facebook to import blog posts. Added RSS Graffiti app; hope it works.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Recipe Friday, Purslane Potato Salad

Lunch today was the first meal made with ingredients from this year's container garden: Chicken sandwich with mayo and homemade ketchup, purslane potato salad made with potatoes Mom canned and a tomatillo that fell off when I staked and tied the plants this morning. Ya, there's already a bite out of the sandwich; that's a habit from growing up in a house full of people with lots of boys running around who'd think nothing of re-appropriating foodstuffs. The only way I could keep my sandwich mine was to put ketchup on it so Dad didn't want it and quick-take-a-bite out of a corner so my brothers wouldn't nab it and say they didn't know it already belonged to someone. Boys are trouble, I tell ya.

Photo of purslane, CC2.5 licensed. Mine's a little branch-ier and more upright, not as dense and low-lying as the one pictured. I also trimmed mine and ate it before it got a chance to flower.

The potato salad has an unexpected addition to it. Well, unexpected if you're not from Europe I guess because purslane is allegedly a very popular green across the Atlantic. I didn't even know that the fleshy leaved, sprawling plant I had been pulling out of gardens for the last 20+ years was edible until last summer when I was looking into wild edibles other than dandelions and ramps, which I have known about and harvested regularly since I was knee-high. The best part is that I didn't even have to plant it; it volunteered where I had planted bush beans that never grew. Purslane is purportedly high in EFAs omega-3 and -6, Thiamin, Niacin, B6 and Folate, A and C, Calcium, Iron, and other dietary minerals.

The leaves taste a little tangy and vaguely citrus-y or sorrel-like and the stems have a slight bite similar to watercress. Many of the sources I've seen say it can be used in any application for which you would spinach and also that in soups it has mucilaginous properties similar to okra. It grows prodigiously so I'm sure I will have lots to work with as summer progresses. If you aren't as blessed to have purslane available for harvest as I am, the Internet tells me that in some places it is available in farmers' markets. Arugula would also make a good substitute, but would have more of a bite to it than the purslane.

Purslane Potato Salad

1 quart (4 cups) cut up and cooked potatoes, drained
2-3 cups roughly chopped purslane leaves and young stems
I didn't actually measure how much purslane I had. I just trimmed the plants to about half, washed it up, took out the bigger stems and chopped it. I'd say I had probably about 2.5-3 cups total when it was all said and done.

~1/2 cup mayonnaise + ~2 tablespoons vinegar of choice (can probably substitute olive oil and vinegar to taste if prefer)
2 tablespoons mustard or to taste (I used dijon)
~1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons Hungarian 1/2 sharp paprika, optional ( I like it and have it on hand, feel free to omit or substitute as you see fit)
4-5 small cloves pressed garlic, or to taste
ample fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

1. Prepare all ingredients for use. (drain potatoes, wash and chop purslane, press garlic, etc.)
2. Combine in bowl mayo + vinegar, mustard, onion powder, paprika, garlic
3. Mix ingredients in bowl with whisk or fork until smooth, combine with potatoes and purslane to coat evenly. More mayonnaise or oil+vinegar may be needed depending upon potatoes and personal preference.
4. Refrigerate for an hour or more to allow flavors to combine or heat and serve warm immediately.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

tech and stitch

Just found this online class offering. I don't think I'll have the funds to be able to take it, but it seems like it would be pretty awesome. I have GIMP, but I don't ever use it. I play with it sometimes, but it doesn't seem very easy to use to me even though multiple individuals have informed me that it is easier than Photoshop yet just as powerful and useful.

I think I'm more than a little behind the times as it were in regards to stitching, textiles and technology. I see terrific work all over the place that makes use of various computer interfaces/programs, printer capabilities/effects, photo editing and collage, transfer techniques, etc. Mostly, though, I have no idea how it's all been done. So in that respect the works I see using these things are even more like magic to me than normal.

I like technology; I really do. There was a time when I could look at circuitry schematics (is that even what they're really called?) and tell you exactly what all the little squiggles, shapes and jogs in the lines meant and what the resultant constructed item should do. Actually, with some simple diagrams I still can. Somewhere along the line I stopped being interested in how my technology worked and cared only for what it did. I think that happened about the time I became more and more interested in cultural history, story, music, and how they all affected each other, focusing most of my attention on the traditional to the exclusion of the modern.

There are people hard at work integrating technology and textiles. And not just the creation of new fibers and fabrics. The LilyPad Arduino board has led to lots of awesome, creative projects I want to try out some day when I can afford to buy a couple boards and conductive thread, including this Turn Signal Jacket for bicyclists. I'd still use hand signals, but the added visibility would be great at night especially since the lights sold for cyclists are cheap and break/fall off all the time on me anyway. I also think this TV-B-Gone hoodie is terrific. Aside from the monetary means being absent, I think I'm probably still a little too wrapped up in story/history/tradition to try out any of these just yet.

Jude Hill, Oh What A Night. Picture was printed onto cloth, embroidered and quilted. CC License

Maybe I shouldn't be as intimidated by the integration of technology and stitch as I have been. I love Jude Hill's work and in this post she describes how she just tapes fabric to printer paper and runs it through the machine. Here I was thinking I had to get special fabric for printing on. I suppose as long as I'm not going to be getting long fibers caught up in the mechanism, fabric is no worse than running paper through the printer. Jude's work is very grounded in tradition and story, but she still has integrated some tech into a few pieces; via use of printing in this case.

Goal for this afternoon: do some toe-dipping in the realm of stitch and tech and print something onto fabric.
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