St. Dalfour Earl Grey – A Tea as Delicate as its Name

I have long enjoyed Earl Grey tea but only recently have begun to notice some of the nuances of different brands. Some like Bigelow are, for lack of a better descriptor, almost musky and strong. I have been enjoying some delightfully light and refreshing varieties recently, though. Ahmed Earl Grey is one of these, and can be bought relatively cheaply at my international food store. I found one bag of Earl Grey by St. Dalfour the other day (sorry housemate to whom it belonged) and this tea was amazing, light and fresh and zesty. And I do love the way these utilitarian, though nicely shaped glass mugs display the color of tea, particularly in the autumn light.

Beautiful Inefficiencies – A Video Produced for Catapult Magazine – On Cooking a Pumpkin

I get a few video segments mixed up, sound almost stoned in others, call a cappuccino a latte, and have other assorted errors, but I am quite pleased with this video essay. Video work is quite the challenge compared to taking and editing stills or even writing essays in print alone, and this project combined them all. Enjoy a final piece of pumpkin on this Thanksgiving night.

All Things Go – The Death of a Favorite Mug – The Birth of Bric-a-Brac

I always pride myself on being able to catch things as they fall. The key is not to chase after it with your hand, but to put your hand where it is going to be. The effect can be quite impressive. It is my super power. Alas, no super power was to save my lovely green mug as it found the gap in my Ikea draining basket a few days ago and crashed onto the ceramic tiles.

Can I tell you how much I loved this mug – the wonderful etched branches in the deep, clear green of the glass? It was a perfect tea mug on a cold day, and was just a pleasure to look at. In order to keep this piece around, I proceeded to lay it on the gas burner to see if I could heat it up and smooth its edges. A professional glass blower I am not, and succeeded in only getting more cracks in the glass. So, here for posterity is a safe digital image, and If I keep this new piece of bric-a-brac at all, it will be on a high shelf. Here is a similar, still intact beauty, but, alas, it is a small tumbler and not a mug.

The Squadron of the Flying Chickens – Adventures in Urban Homesteading – Raising Chickens for Eggs

My friends who raise chickens had the permission of their neighbors to put their chickens into their yard for some pecking. They put a ladder up to see if the chickens might return using it. These two never made it to the other side. Having been perched at the top of the ladder, they turned around and, er, “flew” back to their own yard. Clearly they are not accustomed to nor built for such adventures!

Chocolate and Chili – Melting Like the Ring In Mount Doom

A friend of mine once told me about putting some a little chocolate in chili and I have been doing it ever since. Now I think it is best to use dark chocolate which has less sweetness to it, but I sometimes also use dark milk chocolate because I do not mind just a touch of sweetness to my chili. If you don’t like any sweetness, cocoa works well too. Just don’t overdo any of it.

I made a huge pot of meat chili and a large pot of almost vegan (the milk in the chocolate nixed that) chili this weekend which both turned out pretty decently. In truth I also tried a touch of cinnamon in these which worked out, but I only added a very little bit. To round out flavor picture, I like to add some ground cumin (in addition to that which is in the chili powder), some fresh green chilies (at the begining with the meat), and some black pepper, along with all the traditional stuff like onions and garlic and diced tomatoes, which I like to liquify and use lots and lots of. I was hoping to use soaked dried beans to cut down on the salt, but did not get around to soaking an pre-cooking them in time. So instead I emptied all the cans of black beans and dark red and light kidney beans and pinto beans into a large container and rinsed them several times. It worked out well.

I am sorry all you readers out there could not enjoy the chili, but I hope you enjoy the pictures. I was reminded about the movie version of The Return of the King and Mount Doom as the chocolate floated on top of the bubbling chili like the Ring on the burning lava..it was there for a while and then melted and sank under.