Sunday, January 10, 2010


I have helped two friends move into the city, and it NEVER goes as planned. Last time we thought it was going to take 5-6 hours and it took 13!! One of hour of that was spent in the same area around K street driving in circles while we tried to navigate round-a-bouts and one-way streets.

Well, yesterday we were just trying to pick up one bed from one location but it somehow ended up lasting four hours. First we had to get to UHaul, where apparently they PRETEND it's only $30 and then tack on enough extras to make it $70. Granted, we didn't travel 50 miles so it ended up costing closer to $40, BUT STILL. On top of that, they wanted a local number in case we got lost (??). We thought ok, and gave them a number, which she then proceeded to call without warning us ahead of time!! So the person we listed got a lovely call from UHaul at 9am on a Saturday. Then at one point, the woman said, "And sign here for the contract please." My friend said, "I don't know what the contract says yet" (she hadn't had time to read it), and the woman looked at us like, why would you read the contract? and then said "sign here on the dotted line", as if we were causing trouble. Last time I checked, making sure your legal rights are protected was a good idea.

We finally get into the van and realize that we have an address but no directions and no map! So we end up navigating ourselves in a massive van through Washington DC based solely on where we think streets are laid out. Miraculously making it to our location, we then had to navigate a bed from one end of a long housing structure to the other end and down six floors and into our slightly-illegally-parked van. Then we have to again navigate ourselves to her new apartment.

Recapping the situation, the fact that it took four hours is not surprising, but seeing only a bed and a small lamp at the end of it made us wonder what we did during that whole time my friends move I'm hiring someone to help them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Coconut Soup Revisited II

This is a pumpkin coconut soup, which is basically coconut soup with a can of pureed pumpkin. I found it mediocre so I'm not posting the recipe, but if you request it I'll post it.

Recipe: Watercress Soup

Action: I am getting sick so I decided to make a soup earlier than planned. Using the broth I'd already made I added leek and potatoes. I used half the leeks called for and half the watercress. Cooking was simple and took less than an hour.

Reaction: I love this soup! I found it filling and delicious. Next time I would use the whole amount of watercress and skip the pat of butter. He calls for a pat of butter at the end in each bowl, which turns a fresh soup into a heavier one. I think it would be a good idea to add the butter if you're serving it as an entree but I thought it was too heavy. The soup is a bit simple though, so I would keep it for a more homey meal rather than a fancy one.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

James Peterson

I got a new cookbook called "Splendid Soups" by James Peterson and it is a 600 page book that discusses, dissects and provides recipes for a variety of soups. I'm going to try to work my way through the book this year.I'm not going to post the recipes because people should be buying his book if they're interested.

I'm not going to make every recipe, but working my way from simple to complicated so I build up soup-making skillz. I want to try my hand at some of the more complicated things I've avoided in the past by using canned vegetables, bouillons and pre-cooked ingredients.

Action: I started this morning with vegetable broth. I bought most of the basic vegetables (the spices and some other things I had already), which came out to about $8 for 10 cups of broth. Cooking is simple and took less than an hour without any attention required while it was cooking (40 min).

Reaction: It's simple to make and relatively quick, but in the end, it's just broth. There's no picture because it is, again, just broth. It would be cheaper to buy the vegetable broths in the cartons (not canned!) and the flavor will be pretty much be the same. Except for when you're using pre-made broths they're loaded in salt so you'll have to adjust your recipe accordingly. I think I'll continue to make veggie broth in the future because it's easy, but I'm just going to use leftover veggie peels, greens and stems rather than buying new ones every time. It's not worth the price and I feel wasteful when I have to throw the vegetables away.

Next on the menu: Watercress Soup

Friday, January 1, 2010


My winter break has been going excellently! My undergrad alma mater, UCLA, had a bowl game in DC. I wanted to go but I could not bring myself to spend $50 for the tickets. So I decided to go to the UCLA Alumni Association Pep Rally instead. I ran into two friends from UCLA and met other alumni and near the end of the evening, one alum walked by to say that he had an extra ticket to the game!! His cousin had gotten sick so he had an extra ticket, and seeing as how I was the only person without a game ticket, I got it for free!

So then it was decided that I was going to go to the game the next day. I got to the tailgating party that was being held in the Armory but I stood around for a while because there was no one I knew there and a whole bunch of Temple fans. Then suddenly, another friend walked by and she managed to score me a wristband for the UCLA VIP tailgating party! They had all-you-can-eat food and an open bar, plus some of the players and coaches and old players who now play in the NFL were walking by and shaking hands with everyone!

I cannot tell you awesome that whole day was. I went from not planning on going to having the whole affair and meeting all sorts of awesome people. I am not the type of person who just gets free tickets! This was ridiculously awesome and totally made my week.

To top it all off, UCLA beat Temple.