Friday, July 19, 2013

Four Things Friday

chandelier tree, extra extra dirty martini, eggplant stew, Facetime
Guys: good news.  Summer is barely halfway over.  That means you still have time to make this the best summer yet since the one in 1991 when FOX announced they would be airing new episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210.  Man, I miss the beach club...Anyway, here are four things that helped perk up my week... and might help you too depending on whether or not you are dealing with any major work or relationship BLOW OFFS.  And if you're not, well, CONGRATULATIONS.  GOOD FOR YOU! 

donation meter, tree by day, tree by night
The Chandelier Tree (at Silverlake Blvd & Shadowlawn Avenue)
I love finding art in unexpected places, so I was kind of blown away the first time I walked by the chandelier tree outside of a home in my neighborhood.  The first time I saw it, it was daytime so I didn't get to see the full effect it has at night when it's all lit up.  I don't know much about the person that created it, except that he's an artist-- obvi, but I love him.  Here's the deal: if you live in LA and are going through a break-up and in our in need of a little whimsy to warm your ice cold heart, then you must check this place out.  And if you happen to be a dude and are reading this: you should totally propose to your girlfriend here.  Sometimes it just takes the little things to make us remember why life is not so bad after all. 
My Favorite Cocktail
Somewhere around the time I turned thirty, I stopped really being able to drink hard alcohol.  It was like my body became one of those sad restaurants without a full liquor license that can only carry beer and wine.  But I still refuse to give up on my favorite drink: an extra extra dirty Ketel martini.  Yes, I know that's called a filthy martini, but I prefer looking the bartender straight in the eye and saying "extra, extra, dirty" so they really understand that I want a glass of olive juice, with a splash of vodka.  The extra extra dirty martini is my drink of choice when I really need something to take the edge off-- perfect for numbing a broken heart or softening a career blow.  And even though they make me feel like shit the next day, I don't care-- it's worth it just to feel like I'm in an episode of Mad Men.  Some bars just can't get it dirty enough and then they give me a shot of olive juice on the side, but that just messes with the frostiness.  Edendale (right around the corner from the Chandelier Tree) does it right and they don't skimp on the olives. 
frying the eggplant, covering the lid, rice/stew/tahdig
My First Persian Meal!
This is a huge milestone for me, guys.  I cooked my very first Iranian meal.  I know that's kind of pathetic considering I'm thirty-two years old, but Persian food is no joke.  The prep time alone is nuts.  I honestly haven't felt this accomplished since I graduated from college.  Anyway, the above dish is Khoreh Bademjan (eggplant stew) with polo (rice) and Tahdig (direct translation: bottom of the pot.)  Tahdig is an amazingly delicious crunchy rice.  For the eggplant stew, I used this recipe (although I also called my mom about a million times).  Instead of beef, I used chicken thighs and my mom said the yellow split peas weren't necessary, so I didn't add them.  For the rice, I had to make two batches before I got it right.  There's truly an art to making Persian rice.  You want to use Basmati rice.  First you wash it, then boil one part rice with two parts water on medium heat.  Then, when the water is almost gone-- put the rice in a colander,  pour oil on the bottom of the pot (I used vegetable oil-- just enough to cover the bottom), place slices of Lavash bread on top of the oil for the Tahdig, then throw the rice back in.  Cover and cook on low for about thirty minutes.  Persians wrap the top of the pot with a towel to give the lid a tight seal to lock in all the steam.  Once the rice was ready, I put a tiny bit of saffron in boiling hot water and sprinkled it over the rice.  I scooped the rice out of the pot and was easily able to tip the pot over to get the Tahdig out.  My goal for the year is to make ten Persian dishes-- so one down, nine to go.  You may be wondering what this has to do with a break up.  Well, it's basically about me honoring my roots and not breaking up with my culture: so there.

Facetime with my nephew.  My brother Kia in the corner is such a camera hog
Facetime
Remember when the notion of talking to each other via video-phone was totally cray?  Well, now that we have Facetime, it's like not a big deal at all.  I love Facetime, I think it's one of the best inventions in the world and it makes me mad that some of you (ahem, my husband) still refuse to get iPhones.  Most of my family lives in the Bay Area, including my sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew.  My nephew is almost two years old and my niece is just over two months.  I try to go up north as often as I can, but I swear if it wasn't for Facetime, I'm not sure my nephew would know who I was.  That's not true, my sister does a great job of talking to him about me, but let's just say without Facetime he wouldn't know how funny and awesome I was.  Just the other day, I got to see his adorable new haircut. It's definitely helped ease a little of the pain of living far away from the fam.  I also have to wonder if more long distance relationships have survived since it was invented...

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