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bettyscout gifted me with figs a couple of weeks ago, which needed ripening to eat. I stored them in a paper bag on the counter, and realised I should probably have kept them aired on a tray or something -- they managed to weep overnight. Faced with impending fig doom, I roasted them till they were good and caramelized to prolong storage, while I figured out what else I could do. I had been craving roasted eggplants braised in miso -- for which I blame Nombe, the house of noms -- and came up with the idea that stewed figs share many similar textural qualities with stewed eggplants. So I simmered down the figs in a slightly concentrated miso and dashi sauce, sprinkled a tiny bit of sesame oil on top, and it is great served hot or cold. For variety, I threw on some lime juice for one serving, and toasted sesame seeds plus chopped scallions on another. They all led to interesting tastes. The caramelized figs effectively removed any potential tartness or mild under-ripened qualities, lending a gentle sweetness to the figs that mellowed with braising. The salt from the white miso paste was thoroughly absorbed by the semi-dried figs, plumping it up with all kinds of umami goodness. It's not entirely a substitute for eggplants, but it makes a great side dish with rice.

Then, earlier this week, friend countlibras mailed over a small care package including official Fish Tank stationery, some new Buck-Tick I hadn't had a chance to hear and samples of chocolate mint tea (which I've never had). The choco mint tea, which I'm sipping as I write this, smells like a box of After Eights in its unsteeped form, with an even darker tinge of bitter chocolate. After opening the envelope, the house still smells like mint chocolate eclairs were burned over a diffuser 2 days later. This is better than any scented candle I've ever met. Once steeped, the smell mellows and gets wistful, though it doesn't lose any of its strength. The flavour itself is predominantly mint tea in a strong black tea base, which I love in mint teas, with the ripe, round after taste of earthy chocolate, but just a hint. The BT music will be a good listen tonight, when I have time to write.

Next week is my second wedding anniversary. I do still get overwhelmed over how fortunate I am to be in our little household. It's surreal, I never expected to have all this at any point in my life prior. We've made reservations at a hotel on the waterfront, which has access to a heated pool and a deep soaking tub in the room. Both of us are looking forward to this, even quite excited, because it's our first real holiday together in a while. Work has been killing both our physical health and mental peace of mind, so this is welcome respite. Water is good for our necks. The hotel is pet friendly, so we're also bringing Sif. scanner_darkly finds this entire idea hilarious. It's going to be good stimulation for the cat, in any case, giving her more things to sniff and understand about the world. Plans include having a dim sum lunch, which I sincerely don't have enough of, going to a restaurant called Boulevard, which has a menu and a website that excites us both, and possibly visiting an art museum, if any are open around Thanksgiving.

Breakfast this morning was braised duck leg and and eggplant in miso dressing, with the rice and wild nori mix that makes me happy, from Nombe. That technically came off their specials board rather than the breakfast menu, which left us kind of flipping coins as to what we really wanted. Everything looked good, including the grilled chicken livers and shio ramen. Breakfast was just the thing we needed. It made us feel sated and healed. The husband had the regular breakfast menu's wagyu and egg with nori potatoes, which was terrific. Beef was perfect and raw in the middle, the way we both liked it.

Looked at houses today, in our toe-dip into the exotic world of house-hunting. The place we heard had an open house was suspiciously closed and shuttered when we got there, even though it was easily within 10 minutes after the open house was meant to start. We met the neighbour for this house, who was out in the street painting, and there was friendly banter as we tried to figure out if the house really was open, where the nice lady we spoke to seemed to hint dark things about how odd the property next to them was. Seth caught a resident of the house we were looking at peeking at us through the shuttered and draped window, possibly giving us the evil eye. We had noticed signs for a different open house a block away as we parked the car, and we decided to give up on the weird skeevy house for that. As we crossed the street, I felt like I had been pushed and fell hard onto the tar, even though no one else was there. I scraped both hands and knees, with bad bleeds on a part each. I'm a pretty clumsy person by default, but my sense of balance isn't terrible. I know I've stopped myself mid-fall from stairways a little better than this. It's weird for my legs to fall asleep as I'm crossing the street.

Accident or no, we thought it was a pretty unauspicious turn of events. We did see the other open house -- which was an amazing place that was somewhat beyond our means. It was also surprisingly huge, which was something both of us agreed was beyond our capacity to upkeep. And now we are home, and I'm preparing to work this evening, as I have worked all weekend, the one blight in what has been actually a very pleasant couple of days. I don't think I've been this badly scraped since I was a kid either, but the hands have stopped stinging enough that I can type properly.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 22nd, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
my friend was just in SF and loved Boulevard. Loved it!

and i hope your knees feel better!!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
Oooh. Awesome. I look forward to dinner at Boulevard. Knees are feeling better, thanks. After a shower, it turns out the worst scrape on my palm is still bleeding, which is disturbing. It should at least look better after 6 hours, but it doesn't.
Nov. 22nd, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
not Isabinda but Sandie
Boulevard looks lovely and your hotel sounds like the perfect place for you all. I hope you are healed and you enjoy a very relaxing and fun anniversary!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Re: not Isabinda but Sandie
Boulevard does look lovely. It was really the website for this place that sold me on it. Reminded me of old-fashioned stationery, and I love that stuff.

I am really looking forward to the holiday. It should be healing experience for us all.

Hope your trip to Chicago has been fun too, even under the circumstances!
Nov. 22nd, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
oh yay! You like the chocolate mint! I wasn't sure what your tea tastes were but I thought that I'd take the risk. :)

If I had known that you were into strongly caffeinated teas, I probably would have sent you some more. XD

ooh, house hunting! It sounds very exciting. As does the wedding anniversary. :D

I would love to hear your opinions on the more recent BT albums.

Nov. 22nd, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
I made a pot of the chocolate mint tea for breakfast. The chocolate flavour is more pronounced when the tea is cooled.

House-hunting is exciting, but we're playing it at a leisurely pace. The real excitement is being able to dip our toe in this pool at all. :)

I didn't get to listen to the BT albums last night -- boo work! -- but I will over lunch, which is shortly.

Nov. 23rd, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
Congrats on your two year anniversary! I hope the two of you have a wonderful time!

House hunting can be an interesting process indeed. My only advice is to follow your gut instinct. It counts more than logic when it comes to finding a place to call home. Your spirit knows where it needs to be.
Nov. 23rd, 2010 05:57 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks! :)

And yeah, about gut instincts. Houses that give us bad vibes oughtn't be lived in.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )