saturday swine.

Our little saturday swine is of a pig species known as lux bulbus porcus or, more commonly, lightbulb pig.

saturday_swineIt’s rather easy to see where this name was derived. Notice, if you rotate the swine counterclockwise, his resemblance to the ordinary household lightbulb.

saturday_swine_lightbulb_cartoonyou learn something new everyday.

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winter pickle.

winter pickle is miserable with this burst of frigid weather. he’s been so cold, he’s had to bundle up heavily, taking off his earmuffs and replacing them with a woolen hat, wearing boots, trying to fit mittens onto his little hands.

pickle_cartoon

poor thing. what’s a pickle to do?

inauguration day.

Monday, January 21st, was Inauguration Day in DC. The government was closed, the MARC train was closed, the roads were closed. There were tourists everywhere. There were American flags everywhere. Heck of a day to try and get into work.

Because driving into the city from Baltimore would have been torturous (what with EVERYTHING being closed), I purchased one of the last available Amtrak train tickets. The earlier train was sold out, so I had take a later one. Not only would this put me into work late, it was a whopping $78. SEVENTY EIGHT DOLLARS. For a one-way ticket. I almost fainted. Still, it would have cost about the same for gas + parking garage if I drove, so I sucked it up and bought it.

When I got to the train station to print out my ticket, I realized something amazing.

It was a first class ticket.

To understand my excitement, you must realize how dirty and crowded the train I take everyday can be. I think someone urinated on the floor once (that I know of), and some of the seats are sticky. It’s not terrible, but it does get pretty yucky after you’ve been doing it for awhile (one year today! happy anniversary to me!).

I walked on board  There was a lady there to greet me and tell me to watch my step. I snagged an individual seat, plush and comfy with its very own window . A man walked by and offered me a free bottle of water. I had my own folding table, like on a plane. The woman across from me was eating waffles. It was amazing. I became glamorous and classy by association. I felt like a movie star.

first_class_train_ticket

Not only was it first class, it was an express: it only took 25 minutes to get into DC as opposed to the usual 40. I arrived in DC feeling refreshed. As I was waiting to get off the train, I noticed the woman in front of me was wearing a full length fur coat. It was thick and glossy and looked ridiculously soft. Before I knew it, my hand was moving towards her shoulder, fingers outstretched. I caught myself just before I started petting her coat.

Perhaps I’m not as classy as I thought.

Other exciting things about working on Inauguration Day:

  • I was the only female on our floor, so I had the bathroom to myself.
  • There were only four people in our entire office.
  • There were extra food vendors lurking about, so the whole city smelled like hot dogs.
  • I work really close to the White House, so the people-watching was spectacular.
  • The guy at Potbelly gave me a free pickle.

lemon soufflés with raspberry sauce

Happy Vegetarian Monday!

The following recipe is probably more suited for summertime, but it’s equally good in the dead of winter. Surprisingly easy, too – I’ve been scared of soufflés, hearing they fall and are ruined quite easily, but these were fairly easy to make and they turned out beautifully: light, fluffy, and delicious.

the INGREDIENTS:

for the raspberry sauce:

8 oz. frozen raspberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

for the ramekins:

2 to 3 tbsp butter, softened
3 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar

for the lemon pastry cream:

4 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 oz. (1 tbsp) butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

for the meringue:

8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 oz (1/4 cup) confectioners’ sugar

the RECIPE:

  1. Make the raspberry sauce first – you can simmer it while you make the lemon pastry cream and meringue. Combine the raspberries, lemon juice, corn starch, and sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. The original recipe called for it to cook for only 1-2 minutes; I cooked mine down for 20 or so. Either way, it’ll turn out well.
  2. Get the ramekins ready! Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the inside of eight 6oz ramekins (or six slightly bigger ones). Coat the insides with sugar, knocking out any excess.
  3. Make the pastry cream. Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat, whisk until the mixture starts bubbling. This should take about 5 minutes – don’t worry if it’s still lumpy. Continue simmering and whisking until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla until smooth. Take your saucepan and place it in a larger bowl full of ice water, and whisk often until the mixture is cooled to room temperature.
  4. Begin making the meringue while the pasty cream is cooling. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) on high speed until foamy. This should take 30-45 seconds. Add the cream of tartar while mixing, and continue beating until the bubbles become smaller and the whites start to form soft peaks, which should happen after another 30-60 seconds. With the beater still running, start adding the confectioners sugar 1 tbsp at a time and continue beating until the egg whites start forming glossy, pointed, stiff peaks when you remove the beater. This should take an additional 30 seconds or so. After this, if your egg whites still aren’t forming stiff peaks, finish whisking by hand to avoid over-beating. Stir the pastry cream with a silicone spatula to loosen it, then stir in a third of the meringue until combined. Gently fold in another third of the meringue by starting at the edge of the bowl and slowly bringing the spatula up through the middle of the pastry cream and then back to the edge of the bowl, rotating the bowl and repeating this motion until the meringue is mostly incorporated. It’s okay if there are a few white streaks at this point. Add the remaining meringue and fold until just combined, leaving no white streaks visible.
  5. Assemble soufflés. Divide the soufflé mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Put the ramekins on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a soufflé comes out with just the tip still wet. Serve immediately with the sauce.

lemon_souffle

an emphatic t.g.i.f.

It’s been QUITE a long week.

cartoon_potato_beer

We hope you escaped unscathed. It’s time for a drink.

(This was supposed to be a self-portrait, but something went terribly wrong)

train vampires.

I was on the train the other morning, riding to work. The woman across from me was balancing her bag, papers, and a laptop. She’d set a travel mug on the floor between her feet. When the conductor came around to look for tickets, she began frantically rummaging through her bag. As she was looking for her ticket, she accidentally knocked her travel mug over, and I leaned over, picked it up, and set it upright on the floor again. She thanked me.

All of this is very normal.

What wasn’t normal was that my fingers came away sticky from where they’d touched the mug – and when I’d been setting the mug back on the floor, I’d noticed that the rim was red, like she’d been drinking juice. Or blood.

The second I thought it, I became obsessed with it. I thought, no, I was convinced the woman across from me was a vampire. I started watching her closely (not at ALL creepy), waiting for her to open her mouth so I could see her fangs. I tried to discreetly look at the mug again. I wished I had a mirror so I could point it her way and see if her image reflected back at me. I was so occupied with these thoughts that we arrived in DC in no time, and I hastened off the train before she could sneak up behind me and bite my neck.

What if vampires take the MARC train? What if sunlight doesn’t affect them the way legends and Twilight portray? What if they are walking among us even now, working at regular jobs, drinking blood from their travel mugs?

vampire_travel_mug

Great Sage.

I have been wanting to go to Great Sage, a vegan restaurant in Clarksville, for a long time. The menu looks delicious, and it’s not apparent it is, in fact, a vegan restaurant until you read it on the inside of the menu sitting in the place. (Unless you go on their website, because it says VEGAN RESTAURANT in a giant banner across the page.)

The food was delicious, please admire the wealth of food I ordered with my Mom one lovely lunch outing. Although the atmosphere was a bit snooty, the food was definitely worth it. I can’t wait to go back to try one of their green lentil and butternut squash burgers.

great_sage-12

Spring Rolls

great_sage-8

Chai Latte with choice of soy, rice, or coconut milk

great_sage-6

Raw Falafel

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Samosas!

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saturday.

The Saturday swine will not be appearing on the blog today, as he is away on a mission. He snuck out in the dead of night, so we’ve no idea where he is or what he is doing. He is so secretive, that swine.

Instead, for today’s post, I invite you all to enjoy this drawing I made of DANI:

cartoon_fox

Why did the fox cross the road?

To get to the chicken.

ba-dum-tshh

happy saturday!

DIY magnets.

Magnets are important. They’re fun. They hold things. Best of all, they’re easy to make.

You will need several things before you can begin:

  • paper
  • drawing instruments
  • clear marbles, with flat backs (any size)
  • magnets (base the size of your magnet on the size of your marbles)
  • glue – one that dries clear.
  • and scissors.

I got all of the above supplies from Michaels, minus the drawing instruments (a gift) and the paper (taken from Dani’s sketchbook).

The saturday swine was not about to be left out of such a fun project, and so he convinced me to use him for a ‘demonstration’ magnet.

DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnetA quick and easy project – kids would probably enjoy it, too. Of course, you’d have to keep them from eating the glue …