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Category Archives: Cats

Introducing the Monsters

They may look adorable, innocent, harmless, but beware. Those are the monsters, Tom and Finn, who come and wake us every single morning at 5 am, if not a little before. Truthfully, I’m not complaining. They are adorable.

A face like that sticks his little face in your face and you can’t help but smile. Even that early.

They have been around now for just over two weeks, driving poor Sophie a little up the wall. We keep thinking she’s handling them a bit better, but I’m not sure. I hope she chills out a bit more in the next couple weeks.

They are certainly chilled.

My day pattern has changed a bit now. Very early in the morning we’re up, running around with the monsters, trying to keep them away from Sophie while she eats her breakfast. And then we eat, go to work, and I try to get home early, to feed everyone, run them around some more, and then collapse into bed.

Weekends are easier. And I am enjoying spring-time food. This was an inspiring recipe a week back. An easy lemon ricotta asparagus ravioli. In the end, it turned out to be more work than anticipated because I also made the dough – the recipe calls for simply using Chinese dumpling wrappers. But I’m not a fan of them. I find them too thin and flimsy most of the time.

In essence, you make your filling – a sort of pesto, blanched asparagus, and cheese mixture that you wiz in the blender.

Then either use pre-purchased dough, or make your own. I did mine – a rye and white flour mixture with some herbs mixed in – with my manual pasta machine.

I remembered only after starting to roll what a pain whole grain flours are. I find them harder to work with. They crack easily. Maybe I need to work on my water, egg, flour ratios. And resting time.

But they came together finally.

And I made enough to freeze about half of them for another time.

To serve, I blanched a few more asparagus and then did a butter/herb/wine sauce.

Tom and Finn did not partake. They stuck to their favorite chicken pate. 🙂

 

 

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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Cats, Cooking at home, Pasta, Vegetarian

 

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Life after Death

I thought I had at least 3-5 more years with Sam. He was 14, or almost, when we got back from California about three weeks ago. And had a terrible cold, or so I thought. And 6 days later he was dead. And I was totally floored. Absolutely nailed to the ground with grief because I loved this cat so much. Far more than his cute, but asocial sister. In the past 17 days I have been sad and mad and incredulous and…the list goes on. I suppose the five stages of grief. I am beginning to come to terms with his loss, and doing what I can to stay positive.

His sister, Sophie, needs to stay healthy now. I am on a mission to get her to shed a little weight, get some more exercise, and try to convince her to snuggle with me more. (A lost cause). And to fill the gaps in my heart, which are huge, we are getting two new cats, crazy people that we are. In two weeks.

Yeah, those two lovebugs. :-))) We figure that Sophie …regardless of my success with her weight loss, might not be around for many more years. So we are easing the transition. May 4 or 5…here they come.

I stayed home today from work – although worked from here – every chance I get I try to hang out with Sophie. She seems to miss Sam, although who can really interpret her, certainly not I. I don’t seem to have cat whisperer skills when it comes to her.

Lunch time came and went and I wasn’t really hungry but wanted…something.

I could only look at so much bread and cheese combinations for lunch, so I decided to throw together a dish I haven’t had for ages: Indian Poha. More or less an Indian breakfast dish from Maharashta that I repurposed for mid-day. It’s rehydrated rice, plus an assortment of veggies, nuts, spices, herbs. It’s sort of like…Indian fried rice but fast and easy. On a day like today, when Winter has returned to Germany (damn it), something warm and fragrant and spicy like poha is great comfort food.

You can customize as you like.

The basic recipe is here (and many other places).

Soak your poha (dehydrated rice), and chop up whatever you’re putting in. Fry your mustard seeds and then your onions and potatoes, put in your ginger and tumeric and chili and carrots and peas, your nuts and coconut shreds, toss in your shrimp if you have a few (perfectly good as a veggie dish too), and then the poha, the herbs, season with salt…tossing the whole while as each element cooks in.

And then squeeze a slice of lemon over it, just before serving.

Enjoy the comfort and ease.

Think of kittens.

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The girl with half a tongue

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It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, I admit. In the last weeks I’ve faithfully photographed a number of delicious meals with every intent to post them, and yet….motivation was lacking. But here we are. Motivation found.

So let’s catch up. Miss sourpuss up there was obviously pissed as hell at me for leaving her in the care of a cat sitter for a week. Granted, she always looks a bit pissed off, but there was a note of evilness in that glare that was even a little scarier than usual. While we were off cavorting in the sun (amazing view from the terrace of the house we rented):

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(Dad and Michal probably talking about politics in Israel.)

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(a church in Porto San Paulo I ran by each time I ran on Sardinia),

and moping a bit in the rain:

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(Just before a downpour at a beach about 100 km south of where we were staying)

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(No point in leaving the house that day)

for a week in Sardinia with my parents, the cats sat quietly waiting for our return. And our cat sitter took a photo of them every day and sent it to me…

Ahhhh….Sardinia.

I think this must have been my favorite meal there:

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In just 4 hours I will be at the starting line for the half marathon I am running today. The six weeks of training were rather grueling, mostly the heavy protein diet to quickly drop 10-12 pounds. (Done!). The running felt almost easy compared to that. So the week of pasta in Sardinia was especially wonderful. I must have eaten it every day. Up there – a local pasta shape, I don’t even remember the name of it, with a lamb ragu. Every bite heavenly.

And I came back…and am running a full 45 second per kilometer faster. Hopefully I can hold the tempo for the 21 kilometers today.

I have a date with a pizza tonight. Already I can imagine it…even if I will only be able to taste it…halfway. I still have only “half a tongue,” due to a little accident that my dentist had in my mouth a month ago…when he punched through a nerve with his needle, partially severing it, while giving me anesthetic for some tooth fixing. He tells me…”it should come back (feeling in my tongue, which completely mutes the taste buds on that side and makes half the tongue feel like a giant slug in my mouth) in no more than six months.” By now, I’ve gotten used to it. But….I wish it hadn’t happened.

Getting nervous – a little bit – now…and am busy downloading music to my phone to listen to. And packing the bag I can pick up at the end of the race. And hydrating hydrating hydrating.

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(Can you spot Sardinia?)

Next magnet to come in December: Sri Lanka! 🙂

 

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Veggieliscious

Shelling peas

I am in sort of a marathon vegetable phase, for better or for worse. Don’t get me wrong, I love my vegetables. But I simply have never been a vegetarian, or really even tried to cook without meat or fish for any sort of extended period of time. I definitely don’t eat meat or fish with every meal and I do my best to make sure every meal is well balanced with not too heavy emphasis on the animal protein when it is in there.

But…for a few weeks or months – let’s see how long – I’m doing my best to simply go without meat. Fish may be reintroduced soon, as the purpose of this “fast” is health only. What’s particularly nice is that it forces me to be more creative, rather than relying on the easy fat and flavor that meat often brings to dishes. More creative with spices, more creative with variety.

So far so good, although I am collecting lots of recipes to keep the idea database well-stocked.

Breakfast is pretty easy – fruit and either my standard toast and avocado or cheese or else a bowl of quinoa or amaranth when I have the time to cook it (often).

Lunch has been a mix – going out for lunch when I’m out of town and ordering only vegetarian or alternatively bringing leftovers for lunch or making a quick pot of lentils and bringing them to the office (was met with snarky comments on Friday by some of my colleagues who didn’t like the look of my lentils).

And dinner last week saw a variety of things. A lovely whole grain pasta mixed with onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs quickly sauteed and then tossed with yogurt and a bit of garlic (a favorite of mine).

Veggie pasta with yogurt

Veggie pasta with yogurt

When I have time, I might bake some bread – as in this photo with a yogurt and molasses and whole wheat bread – on the side, some sauteed greens and parsnips and a sunny-side up egg.

Bread, sauteed greens, egg

I can imagine doing all kinds of variations on the recipe below – with socca pancakes (an Italian chickpea pancake) and tamarind potatoes.

Chickpa pancakes with tamarind potatoes and tomato salad

Chickpea pancakes with tamarind potatoes and tomato salad

Last night I had a bunch of guests over and did a few courses of veggies. A lovely warm soup with tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut milk with smoked paprika – highly recommended!, a fresh pea and ricotta cheese torte, a seasonal asparagus salad with pistachios and mint, and finally a very delicious avocado mouse/brulee (brulee didn’t work out quite as desired…) – but more on the dessert in the next post…it’s deserves its own post….

Spring Pea and ricotta torte and shaved asparagus salad with mint and pistachios

Sophie was most impressed with me shelling the peas…

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Some recipes well worth sharing – but I did quite a few modifications on the pancakes, the roasted broccoli, and the tamarind potatoes. The last four links I followed more or less to the letter:

 

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Bubble Cat

Sophie fading into the camoflage...

Sophie fading into the camoflage…

Even miss pudgy fits into the felt cat cave I ordered for my furry creatures. A woman in Lithuania makes these and sells them over on Etsy and they are really beautiful. It took forever to arrive and get through German customs – a whole month –  but in the end all’s well that end’s well. I think I need an orange one now.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2013 in Cats

 

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Under Pressure

But take the title of the post literally, not figuratively. The week did not end well health-wise.

The warm spot at the foot of the bed

What was supposed to be a fast day-trip to Cologne on Thursday ended up turning into an unplanned for overnighter.

I woke up feeling dizzy on Thursday, which has been an ongoing problem (yes, will see if I can get an appointment with a neurologist next week or an ear/nose/throat doctor…), but I wanted to make the trip for the internal handover of some client responsibilities (from my colleague to me)…and everything seemed reasonably ok until around noon, when it just wasn’t anymore.

Dizzyness got unbearable, no early flight home to be found, rushed to airport at around 4:30 through sheets of rain and buckets of hail in a revolting-smelling taxi that had no-smoking stickers all over the interior of the car but which reeked of cigarettes, only to be told that the flight wouldn’t leave because of storms until after 8 pm so…off to the hospital in Cologne (Lufthansa’s choice based on my illness/symptoms), where in the ER they could find little wrong with me. Anyway, enough details. Seems I just have the flu – terrible sinus pressure. I slept in an airport holiday inn and flew home yesterday morning.

So today I get to browse the web, read, watch movies, with two kitties warming my feet. (They don’t like to share the foot space…I hear whining and growling every few minutes.)

The warm spot at the foot of the bed

The warm spot at the foot of the bed

But…I will get a gift later today…a pressure cooker. Never had one and have been interested in them for quite awhile now. Debating if should buy one. My mother’s enthusiasm over hers finally convinced me. Perfect gift for today…to make some chicken soup as a first recipe. Maybe some matzo balls too…just saw a recipe for them over on the smitten kitchen blog that looks quite do-able…if I can find some matzos in this country…

WMF Perfect Pro Pressure Cooker

WMF Perfect Pro Pressure Cooker

So…pressure cooker reviews, recipes, experiences to come….meanwhile going to look for another movie to download or something.

Oh, and Happy Groundhog’s Day. 🙂

 

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The pearls that aren’t

Back home, and as expected the brain fired like crazy all night and then woke me up at 4 in the morning for the routine jetlag. I was dreaming of frying donuts, god knows why. So after catching up on the most recent episode of “The Good Wife” from 4:30 to 5:15 and then emptying my email box for about an hour, I read a few blogs and the news, etc.

It’s time to get cracking on my piece of the final (?) workshop (back on a plane on Sunday, but thankfully just a quick one-two day trip again) for the never-ending-but-still-interesting project. Today will be a day at home. The weather out there looks nasty so I refuse to go out in it. Probably about 2 or 3 degrees and wet snow is flying through the grey sky. Thanks for the nice welcome home Munich. You could have tried harder.

But...this looked interesting and reminded me of a project I had wanted to try some time back but then never got around to doing.

Pixo Pearls

These are apparently tiny droplets of apple cider vinegar encased in a kind of seaweed film. I just looked to see if I could order some to try out, but it seems like I should have read about them about a week ago so I could have ordered them in the US before I left. They don’t seem to ship to Europe. The article suggests adding these little pearls to drinks or to top canapes and such. They just look like they would be a fun sort of touch on a dish. A little surprise. The project that they reminded me about was a similar “pearl.” Below is a photo of pomegranate juice “pearls.” Made most likely in a way no unlike how the vinegar pearls above are made. This blog described the process. I had wanted to try making them but then never got around to it or forgot.

Pomegranate “tears”

I still have the packages of agar agar needed in a drawer. So still curious to try. Maybe try it out after the workshop.

Meanwhile, my two kitties will be delivered back to me in a few hours and I can look forward to them terrorizing me while I work here at home. Who was it – one of my friends asked if we have a “laser pointer robot” – just a little machine that shoots out a beam of light that moves around the room – apparently drives cats crazy. I need Sophie to lose around 2 kg, it’s getting ridiculous, she is turning into butter. I walked into the Brookstone store at the airport on the way home and asked if they have it, but the guy there said that it is only available online or at their large stores. So missed out on ordering that as well. The hunt is on…

hehe. Loved this one. No tree here. No, we have SOFAS! Nice scratchable sofas! (D*** cats. But I did bring something back from the US that might solve this little problem…let’s see. Need to try it out and then report back.)

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Cats, Cooking at home, New Food Concepts

 

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