Kitchen Witch, Tarot Card Slinger, Singer of Songs, Player of Things with Four Strings.

What do they mean by “foam up” exactly?

So my last post was a little slapdash and messy.  I am totally aware of this. It’s also possible that it didn’t really make my point or make much sense.  I’m ok with this, too.

See, I needed to bust through the barrier that I had created in my own head, the barrier that was keeping me from posting anything less than perfect.  So I dashed off a post, did a quick proof read and hit publish.

I’m learning to be ok with my imperfections.  That was a pretty good start.

Anyway, today, I’m sharing my Turkish Coffee frustrations with you. Everything I’ve read says you need to have an cezve (yup.. got one.. it belonged to LB’s dad), finely ground coffee (yup.. got that too… I bought it from a local specialty store) and you need to never stir it and you have to let it “foam up” at least twice.

I always ended up boiling mine and it always tastes gross and burnt.  Also, since we’ve moved into an apartment, I’ve lost my gas stove with it’s tiny gas burner and now I have this electric things and my little cezve doesn’t fit on any of these burners.  I can’t heat the darn thing evenly and I still can’t seem to get the magical “foam” … I get… boiling burnt coffee.

It’s frustrating.  So I finally admitted defeat and went to YouTube.  Turns out the “no stirring” before heating thing is bullshit and this mythical foam isn’t “foam” at all… at least how I know things to “foam” 

It’s.. sort of like a raft formed by coffee grounds that has a bit of bubbles in it. Much more subtle than I imagined.

Seriously…

I have to thank Ancient Girl Kitchen for her excellent video “Making Turkish Coffee and Four Important Tips No One Tells You”

Finally! Finally! I know what the hell “foam” is.

Also, watching her video gave me an excellent idea since she heats her pot on a flat burner. In a merging of Generations and Families, I used my Great Grandmother’s Aluminum pan and LB’s Father’s Pot together and I was able to finally distribute the heat evenly!

Using this little aluminum pan to distribute the heat from the electric burner means I can finally make good Turkish Coffee!

Look a this deliciousness, you guys.

 

This looks a million times better than the last time I made this coffee when I made the World’s Easiest Cookies two years ago (omg)

Here is the “previous” incarnation.

World’s Easiest Paleo Cookies

There is a suspicious lack of that delicious crema like foam (as in real foam) on that coffee from two years ago.

I’m pretty darn proud of my new Turkish Coffee making skills and I may have had more than my share… and I may not sleep tonight.. but anyway…

When researching different methods for making Turkish Coffee, one thing kept coming up .. and that was that everyone who makes Turkish Coffee also has an Auntie who reads the grounds… well, if you ask my brother, he will tell you that I’m the spooky Auntie who does all that stuff so of course I had to give it a try.

Well, it was pretty obvious to me that this is a turtle here in these grounds.. she jumped right out at me.  Since this message is very much for me and how I’ve been contemplating my approach to blogging, social media and learning new skills….  let’s just say that it was a great reminder to me to take things a little at a time.

I have a love/hate relationship with planning ahead

Meal prep is the thing that people are doing now I guess.

I hate it.

and I love it.

And I’ve been doing it before it was cool.  I don’t have the fancy glass containers or the bento boxes. Just plain old take out containers that I’ve had for years.

Granted, I’ve upped my game a bit. I make a more conscious decision and plan more than  “I’ll take left overs for lunch”  but if I had my druthers, I’d only cook when I wanted to, not because I had to.

I love cooking… I hate having to cook. Does that make sense?  When it’s time for us to sit down and plan our meals for the week, I cringe.  I have this internal fight of “don’t want to can’t make me” and it’s ridiculous because we are going to have to eat and I don’t want to stop at the store every night.

I don’t get it.  It makes no sense.

Today, I fought the ridiculous crowds at the grocery store (I forgot Rosh Hashanah starts today and it was CRAZY busy) and when I came home, I got right to cooking so what the hell is my problem, actually?

I made the Orzo and Salmon thing I was bringing for lunch every day, I shoved a half a chicken in the InstantPot to cook and made the curry sauce that the chicken will be reheated in with some green beans. I make LB’s breakfast and lunch for tomorrow (the bananas weren’t quite ripe or I would have made three days worth of her breakfast) and then I made cookies and I blame Netflix for airing the most recent season of Great British Bake Off for that part.

Honestly, if I would stop procrastinating and just get groceries after work on Friday, I could avoid a lot of this nonsense.  Part of my issue is that I just want to sit on my ass and do nothing on Saturday and Sunday which is ridiculous because my day job involves me sitting on my ass all day.

By the way, my desk job is exhausting and no one really knows why.

In other news, I’m mostly through the Harry Potter series again because it’s amazing, I’ve started reading Rainbow Body: A History of the Western Chakra System from Blavatsky to Brennan and wow is that blowing my mind… and I have started weeding through the extra crap I have at home that I don’t need but haven’t thrown out because LANDFILL but then realize that it’s a psychic energy hog having all this stuff cluttering up my chi so, I’m actively finding homes for a lot of things.  I have a love/hate relationship with getting rid of things too

Oh, and I’m taking September away from social media. If you found this post in your feed or on mine, it’s because it went automatically.  Being away from Social Media has already given me a lot more perspective on where my mental energy has been going and also on my misconception of what is important based on what my feed was showing me..so now I’m writing on this thing again.. more blogs to come? Who knows.

Right now, the cookies are cool.. so I gotta go.

 

 

The Lingering Bean

Hi! It’s been a while, eh?

I do this, I think you know by now.. I write for a while and then vanish.. and then write again. It’s just who I am and I’ve learned to accept it. Trying to force a blog schedule just doesn’t work. So I don’t.

So! What’s new… I played my ukulele in public with my classmates. That was fun. I fell and ripped the bejaysus out of my knee.. so badly that I went to urgent care. They couldn’t even stitch it, it was so shredded. That was exciting…. in the not fun way.

What else? Oh.. yeah. I’m working hard to get more veggies and beans into my diet.

I did pretty well the first week (last week). I roasted a bunch of veggies and cooked some chicken breast for lunches and honestly, I was pretty sick of that after a few days, but I totally enjoyed my breakfast, which was a kale, mushroom and garlic saute with a poached egg. (I poached the eggs in the microwave at work. I’m still working on perfecting this. Maybe Monday, the magic will happen)

Last night, while I was digging through the cabinet looking for popcorn (we’re out and I’m horrified as this never happened before) I found a bag of Rancho Gordo Christmas Lima beans lingering in the back of the cabinet.

I’ve had this bag of beans for at least three years. I’ve been unsure of what to do with them, but since I’d never tasted them before, I sort of shoved them back there.

Today, I decided it was time to change that.

I found a post on Simply Recipes about cooking beans in the pressure cooker without soaking them, which I had tried before, but most of my beans blew out.

You know what I was missing? Salt.

I should have known that.. I mean it should have occurred to me since I know that salting your beans helps them keep the structural integrity.

So, I followed those directions to the letter, but only cooked my beans for 14 minutes since they are lima beans and should require less cooking. The Instant Pot book said 12-14 minutes but since these beans were at least 3 years old, I thought they could use the extra time. I also just let them natural release… which means I turned them off and forgot about them.. for… um.. a while.

They came out perfect. I mean seriously perfect. I had a few blown out beans, but not too many, and the cooking liquid is amazing. The garlic and bay leaf were all these beans needed to make a delicious, hearty soup.

I ate a bowl for lunch, just as they were. These beans really do taste like chestnuts! I’ll be having these for lunch every day all week and I’m super excited about it.

Shark Tank Inspiration

One of my guilty pleasures is Shark Tank.   I know it’s edited all to hell and someone is going to cry about something but I still like watching it.    Also, I’m super fascinated how Robert Herjavec is constantly shut out.  I think people think he’s too soft.  I suspect there is a hard ass hiding under that calm exterior.

Anyway..

I recently caught the episode featuring Slumberkins, a cute, sort of blanket animal with a book… at the ridiculously high price of $58.00 (update: they are now featuring a new price of $44.00).  I *love* the idea behind Slumberkins, created by two women who are very invested in helping kids.  Their motto:

We’re mothers and educators on a mission to promote positive life skills in the next generation, one cuddle at a time.

Each Slumberkin Story carries a message on topics like how to deal with transitions, how to relax at bedtime, mindfulness and self esteem.  This is excellent! I don’t have kids but these are skills that all people need.

While watching the show, I found myself super annoyed at the dichotomy between their price and their goal.  One of the Sharks asked “What is your goal here.  Do you want to reach more kids or do you want to make money?”

They really wanted to reach as many kids as possible.. but at $58.00?  That ain’t happening.   That’s a niche product right there.

And while I’m muttering about this under my breath while knitting on a scarf, a little voice in my head said “so…. Jeni, what’s your goal with your Tarot readings then?  Do you want to help people or do you want to make money?”

OOF. That stings.

I started offering readings as a way to reawaken and deepen my connection to Spirit Energy and to help people who are stuck… or maybe need a little light shed on an issue.  And I’ve gotten some amazing feedback from people but when I looked at the prices I was charging, I realized I was shutting out a lot of folks.

This is not my full time gig.  I have a full time gig that affords me the luxury of offering Tarot Readings.  And I love doing them.  I truly do and I feel like they are a way for me to be of service to people.

So I dropped my prices to make a reading with me attainable.

Going forward, Tarot Readings with me are $5.00 a card with a max of $25.00.

At $25.00, your are guaranteed at least 5 cards, but if I feel there is a need for more cards, I will draw additional cards, up to Ten with no additional charge.  I call it “Reader’s Choice”.

Crazy I know.   But it feels right.

If you want to know more about this, head over to JeniReadsTarot.com to learn more and to book your reading.

{Slidin’ Dirty} After much anticipation, a great disappointment

Pulled Pork Nachos: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but they would have been better without the pork

LB and I were in Troy today to take a photography class at the Arts Center, which was amazing.  We had to drive a bit to find a parking spot because… Troy.. and we ended up parked in front of Slidin Dirty, which was pretty exciting as I’d wanted to get there for ages (they’ve been open for 3 years now).   I hadn’t actually bothered to find out where it was because we don’t go to Troy very often, so it was a nice surprise to accidentally find it.

We knew we would have a lunch break so we figured we’d make the three minute walk back to have lunch.

This was a mistake.  A big one.

We broke for lunch at 12:25 so we made it to Slidin Dirty by 12:30.  We had an hour for lunch.  We thought that should be plenty of time for an appetizer and an entree, given that it’s essentially pub food.  There was one open table left and we were seated within three minutes and immediately given menus. We thought our timing was good because people started stacking up behind us, waiting for a table.

Our server was at our table to take our our food and drink orders pretty promptly and I had my beer in my hand by 12:40. (I know this because I took a picture of it and it was time stamped).

(Side note: LB went to the restroom and when she came back, she said, that it looked pretty but smelled like a port-a-potty.  I tend to judge a restaurant by it’s attention to details like this.  It makes me wonder what the kitchen looks like.. but I digress)

The appetizer arrived at 12:47. So far, so good.

We finished our appetizer pretty quickly because we were pretty hungry, having had only a bagel for breakfast.   The plates were cleared promptly and because we had to be back by 1:30, I had my eye on the clock.  It was 1:00.

And that’s when things started going downhill.

I had hoped we’d get our sliders and mac & cheese within a few minutes of the appetizer being cleared since we placed our orders at 12:35-ish.  Perhaps this was unrealistic.. and if so, well that’s on me.

However…

By 1:10, I’m trying to catch the eye of our server.. who had walked past our table several times but never checked in.   At least once she actually, intentionally averted her eyes from me.  If she had once gave us an idea of when to expect our food or maybe showed a little interest in us, it would have gone a long way to making me less twitchy.

I looked around and I see other tables waiting for food… people who were seated when we came in…  there was a 3- top of teenagers who had been waiting for food for so long, they stopped looking at their phones and were looking around, hopefully… desperately.. and there are at least 4 families waiting for tables and two of them were there when we were seated (I know because they all had really crazy cute toddlers with them and I had a view of the door).

It’s now 1:15 and we are calculating our tab for what we consumed already and are ready to leave a $20 on the table and head out the door.  Because I cannot get the attention of our waitress….  and not for lack of trying….  she literally walked past our table 3 times.. and actively avoided looking at me each time… I am not exaggerating.

LB says to me that she just saw our waitress go back to the kitchen and that hopefully our food will arrive.

It does five minutes later.  It’s now 1:20 … we have 10 minutes to eat and get our check and pay and get out the door and we will still be late.   Our waitress puts the food on the table, says “there you go!” in a perky voice and she’s gone before I can even ask for the check.. which I was going to do so that we could get things rolling..

We start wolfing out food down.. at 1:25, I see our waitress cruising past our table and I’m looking right at her (again) and she doesn’t notice so I hop out of my chair with my arm in the air and say “excuse me! Can we have the check as soon as possible please?”  and she says sure, no problem.

By the way, LB’s Mac and Cheese had very little cheese and was room temperature, My Dirty Colonel Slider was cold in the middle and my Dirty Ninja was overcooked and dry and also not hot.  This is food that was sitting under a heat lamp waiting to get picked up.

We get our check at 1:30 and we leave just enough cash to cover the bill. This is the one and only time in my life I did not leave a tip.  This waitress was actively avoiding us. Either kitchen was slow, or they were understaffed or something but honestly I can forgive all those things. I cannot forgive being ignored.  The poor service was appalling.  Everyone working there had a look on their face like they were either exhausted, annoyed or apathetic.

I’m honestly, truly saddened by this.  In the past I had enjoyed the food from the food truck and one time Tim went out of his way to deliver food to my office.  That was the kind of thing that made Slidin’ Dirty stand out.

Maybe they were understaffed because of the Nine Pin Cider event today but…  for crying out loud, taking 10 seconds to say “your food will be right out” or “sorry for the wait, we are a bit busy today” would have shown some concern for the customer.

When we got back to class, we apologized for being late and said we picked a slow restaurant evidently. Our instructor said not to worry and then she asked where we went and when we said “Slidin’ Dirty” she replied “oh.. yeah, they are really slow there”.

Ugh.

I hope this is a one off… because I’ve met Tim and I like him and I really am happy that they opened a second location..  and perhaps my time table was off… but I know bad service when I see it.  And holy cats, was this bad service.

 

 

 

Jackaroo Days, Yeah

I have always been a voracious reader. It’s rare that you will find me without a book in my hands. Right now, I’m working my way through the Dark Tower Series, again. (I was gifted the Gunslinger when I was in my early twenties and I still have that book… it’s falling apart but it remains untouched by future revisions by the author.)

I remember and a kid, staying up late, hiding my clandestine after-bedtime adventures by sneaking a flashlight into my room, lifting my blankets up like a tent and sitting under them, furtively rushing through whatever fantastic book I was ingesting in great mental gulps, cramming in “one more chapter” before the inevitable sleep overtook me.

I know now, that my parents were FULLY AWARE of these events and indulged me because I was reading… and also, I was quiet.

One of the best days of my young adult life was the day we went to a garage sale and those folks had an outbuilding FULL of books for sale.  10 cents each! The outbuilding looked huge to me but I was a tiny kid so it was probably just a small barn… but I recall racks and racks of books. It was there that I stocked up on Agatha Christie.

As an aside, one of life’s great disappointments is knowing who did it before you finish the book. Don’t peek ahead. I ruined “Peril at End House” because I **had** to know… and I never read the middle of the book.. I spoiled it. Don’t do that. Enjoy the experience. It’s much more gratifying.

Anyway, a book that made a huge impression on me in my younger days, was Jackaroo by Cynthia Voigt which is now, evidently, retitled “Tale of Gywn” but when I read it, only one book in the series existed (and I’m not too proud to say that at the age of almost 45, I’m not above reading that whole series now that I know it exists. I don’t care that it’s Young Adult Fiction)

Jackaroo was the legendary hero of a small feudal village and when things got tough and people needed saving, Jackaroo arrived. This story was so impactful because (spoiler) Jackaroo was a young woman who shucked off all of society’s expectations and just did whatever she felt was right. I totally loved Gwyn.. and the book remains floating around in my brain so many years later.

(I’m about to take a quick left turn on you… hold on, there is no gentle segue here..)

Now that I have my new uke (ain’t she sweet?) I have been wanting to delve more into fingerstyle and solo stuff and really build some skills. I was digging around on Amazon and settled on Fingerstyle Ukulele – A Method & Songbook For Fingerpicking Backup & Solos, Ukulele Aerobics: For All Levels, from Beginner to Advanced, and Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies.

I almost got The Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele but decided against it because I have Stu Fuch’s Chord Solo Book and there are already a few of my favorite Beatles Songs in it.

But the free sample has “Across the Universe” as the first few pages, so I looked at it pretty closely before deciding against buying the book.

Now, before we get into this next bit of my post, let’s all agree that John Lennon did not always write lyrics that were easily understandable.

For example:

Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation tee shirt
Stupid bloody Tuesday
Man, you been a naughty boy
You let your face grow long
I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’ joob

I also present, for your review:

He wear no shoeshine, he’s got toe-jam football
He got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola
He say, “I know you, you know me”
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free

So imagine (no pun intended), given that Jackaroo made such a huge impression on me when I was a kid, that I was pretty surprised when I saw that what I thought was :

Jackaroo, days.. .yeah.. Oh…

Is actually

Jai Guru Deva… Om

Yet, my brain insists that I must continue to sing “Jackaroo Days, Yeah.. oh..”

Nothing’s going to change my world… (or my brain, evidently)

Nothing’s going to change my world…