I took that photo at 1:06am from my bedroom window with nothing more than ambient light. It’s so amazing how much new snow glows. It was almost as bright as day outside, and I felt like walking around the neighborhood to see what cool shots I could get in the eerie light.
Then I came to my senses and realized a) it’s after 1 in the morning, and b) it’s damn cold out there. So I crawled into my nice warm bed next to my husband and went to sleep.
I’m so smart.
Anyhow. My hands now smell like fish sauce.
Of course, from me that is not surprising. My best friend always says I’m half-Asian, just like she is, considering all the weird stuff that’s accumulated in my cupboards. Hoisin sauce, fish sauce, several different kinds of soy sauce (Korean, Japanese, and Chinese), Chinese five-spice powder, sesame oil, gochujang — you name it, I’ve got it.
I was watching HGTV again, which I’m wont to do when there is nothing on my other preferred channels. First stop is always BBC America, but I think I have seen every episode of “You Are What You Eat,” “How Clean Is Your House?,” and “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” that they have on tap. Next I check Food Network, then HGTV, followed by a run through DIY Network, Style, and Fine Living. It’s only when there is nothing on those channels that I start scrolling through the guide or find something already taped on the DVR.
Tonight I landed on HGTV, which was showing “House Hunters.” That show alternatately amuses me and makes me mad. I love to see what people are looking for in a new home, and what kinds of houses are popular across the country. But when folks start whining about the size of the master bedroom as not being large enough when it’s the size of my entire house, or needing a driveway and garage large enough for a Hummer (true story — a 22-year-old kid was moving into his first home, and he needed enough space for his Hummer as well as all the toys that a 22-year-old boy is likely to have, namely a pinball machine and a pool table), I start seeing red. My house in Washington was 860 square feet, and while that is far smaller than I can reasonably expect sane people to want to live in, McMansions aren’t necessary either.
But that’s a rant for another day.
The lady on this particular episode had lost her home in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina, so she was looking to buy a new home in Atlanta (hi, Chelle!). She had been living with a cousin while she house-hunted, and she loved her cousin’s large kitchen where all the friends and family would congregate during a get-together.
Somehow it got me thinking about my own kitchen, and I fixated on my spice cupboard, specifically the corner cupboard that houses a lazy Susan. It is crammed full of all kinds of spices, along with two other areas in my kitchen. I have too many! I figured it was finally time to weed some out.
Wow, did I have a lot of duplicates. I mean, really. How many jars of fennel seeds and nutmeg and poultry seasoning and oregano and ground coriander does one need? I consolidated a lot of things and found others that were past their expiration date.
Which is how I managed to get fish sauce all over my hands. I can’t just chuck the containers in the garbage can. I am one of those crazy people that will hold my nose and dump the moldy sour cream out before washing the container and chucking it in the recycling bin. I found a bottle of fish sauce that had hidden in the corner of my spice cabinet since we moved here fifteen months ago, and it was while I was attempting to pry the lid off to rinse out the container that I covered my hands in fish sauce. And the scent of fish sauce isn’t something that comes off of one’s hands easily.
I have a feeling I’m going to be best buds with my kitties for the next couple of days.
Speaking of food, I messed up dinner tonight. Can you believe it? It was also on my Famous Chili! How can I possibly mess it up?
Easy. You start trying to get jiggy with it.
See, the original recipe calls for a pound of ground turkey or lean ground beef. I usually use three-quarters of a pound instead because you don’t need that much beef. But I had used up all the ground beef in the house on my Crustless Tex-Mex Meatloaf Pie for dinner yesterday. What to do, what to do…
Instead, I used two cans of black beans to make it a vegetarian chili. But that many beans made it necessary to add an extra 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes because it needed more liquid. I had already cut the amount of chili powder in half, seeing as Grace was going to be eating it, and the one thing she doesn’t like is spicy stuff. Seeing as I added more tomatoes, I figured I could add a little more chili powder. I grabbed another jar, thinking it was my chipotle chili powder to add a bit of smokiness, but it was actually my ancho chili powder — and I added some of that before I checked the label. I figured it would be okay to add a bit of the chipotle chili powder as well, just to get the smokiness.
Note to self, do not add that much chili powder to chili if you don’t want it burn-your-mouth-off spicy!
I took a test bite and almost howled in pain. Kurt loved it, though. He didn’t need to add any hot sauce or pepper flakes or whatever it is that he uses to punch up the heat of a dish. I had to swirl quite a bit of sour cream in it to make it mild enough for me to eat. And Grace — we just made her leftovers from last night, knowing she’d throw a conniption fit with how spicy it was. It just wasn’t even worth the argument. It had a really lovely flavor to it, though, aside from the intense heat.
At least my homemade breadsticks turned out deliciously!