Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creamy Cucumber Soup

A coworker was making a salad and I could smell the cucumber as she was cutting it up. It gave me craving from something chilled and creamy. I wanted soup. I'm not a big fan of cold soups but I thought I'd give it a try anyway. After doing some recipe searching on Google, here is what I came up with...

In a blender combine:

2 Cucumbers peeled, seeded and chopped
1 Avacado (ditto)
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt & dash of cumin
1 cup of milk (more or less)

Blend the crap out of it and let chill for a couple of hours. The avacado gives the soup deep green color and a smooth texture. Next time I think I'll experiment by adding a little chicken stock or white wine to help reduce the concentration of the mixture.

When is a farm not a farm?

When is a farm not a farm? Apparently quite often... I picked up the usual assortment of frozen organic veggies at the store a while back, and as I was getting ready to rip open a bag of broccoli I noticed a box on the back that was stamped "Product of China".


The front of the bag said this was a "mom & pop" farm in Washington with nice pictures of rolling hills and dells (or is it dales?) and lots of happy cows and what not. What gives? I felt cheated. Honestly, if I wanted Chinese broccoli (not that there's anything wrong with that) I would have gone to Walmart and simply picked up the cheapest thing on the shelf. I very specifically picked a US farm that grew organic vegetables only to be the victim of the flim-flam shim-sham.

I picked up the package and began looking for clues. Ok, they say their farm was "headquartered" in Washington and that it was "started" in 1972, but no where on the package do they literally state: WE DIDN'T ACTUALLY GROW THESE VEGETABLES.

Now, in all fairness their website states the following: "...we're a leading grower, marketer and distributor of a wide range of delicious organic products..." However, most of us don't have internet access as we are standing there in the grocery store. So, the moral to this story is be careful of what you buy and a little googling can go a long way in making you a happy consumer.

BTW, when you buy shrimp/shellfish you do look at the ingredients don't you? It may contain more than just crustacean goodness.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Major Bonkage

This morning I was reading the Bike Noob's blog about Common Newbie Mistakes and it reminded me of something that happened on Sunday...

Yesterday I noticed a man and woman riding around the veloway together. The were only a couple, out of tons of other people, riding on the weekend. Other than noting the fact she was wearing a dress shirt with spandex shorts I really didn't pay them much attention. A lap later I saw them again, they were off the bikes and he was helping her walk up a short (but very steep) incline. By her body language I could tell she had just hit the wall. She had bonked. As I passed by on the next lap they were sitting in the shade near the same spot. Another lap later and they had abandoned the bikes and were walking; he was helping her and a roadie had stopped and walked his bike along with them to provide moral and physical support if needed.

As I kept riding along I realized I didn't see any water bottles in their hands nor did I see any attached to the discarded bikes. I did notice that the roadie had at least one bottle on his bike, however I couldn't tell if it had water in it. I remembered seeing a relatively new looking water bottle at the entrance that someone had discarded the day before. When I got back around to the entrance I rode past the bottle, slowed and turned around. I stopped and picked up the bottle. It seemed clean enough. I could rinse it out as best as possible, fill it with water and she could use it to dump on her head (or even drink some if she was desperate enough.) I thought about it for a moment and changed my mind. Surely they were close enough to the parking lot now that it wouldn't matter anyway. Instead, I rode on.

About the time I passed them again another rider had stopped and was offering assistance and/or water so I didn't feel too badly but I did have a twinge of guilt and wondered what exactly it was that made me change my mind in the first place. Why didn't I stop and help? I don't know.. A few minutes later I encountered a mountain biker who was ferrying one of their bikes along side his as he rode with one hand on his handlebar and one hand on the other bike's. We've all done that as kids, and it never really works for long, but it was inspiring to see this guy at least trying. After the couple made it back to the parking lot and (presumably) got everything squared away I saw the man practically running back along the track to retrieve the other bike. Man, what a miserable, long day it had been for them.

I hope the woman was/is okay. I applaude the roadie who stopped and walked with them, the mtb'er who ferried one of their bikes, and the woman who stopped at the cross-over to check on them. I feel bad for not offering to help, but it's not so much what I didn't do (I'll have to make up for that later) as it is what these caring people did do. They deserve a shout out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Pains is currently in the CD player and the jury is still out on this one. Not sure how I feel about the whole distorted-twee genre just yet. Overall it's pretty much "my type" of music, but I don't see the point of producing such a crappily sounding CD that one would think it was recorded with a cell phone. I really wanted to like Wavvves as well, but just can't bring myself to wade thru the noise just to get to the good stuff. I came across Pains while watching FuelTV's segment on some surfer chick. They are coming to Austin this fall with the Plain White T's and I think they'll be much better live when all the noise and distortion is for real.