Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday Supper

I haven't done a Sunday Supper post for quite some time. Laziness, bad photos of good food, good photos of bad food, boring food are all excuses I can use.
The combination of grillin' season and farmers' market bounty is getting me interested in cooking again. I was kind of out of it for a while. But I'm back now.
The star of last night's meal was thebean salad. This is a total farmers' market kind of dish. It is so simple you don't even need the recipe. I was a little hesitant to marinate it for the time specified. I thought for sure the green beans would turn color, but they were OK after the hour I marinated them.
A little couscous concoction with some parsley, scallions, lemon zest, some grilled zucchini and tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice. All I did for the shrimp was toss them in olive oil, chile flakes, and garlic and give them some time in the grill wok.
Pretty easy and good for you too!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Peony Time

One of my favorite flowers is the peony. Their extravagant blossoms set among lush green foliage and heady fragrance make them a flower garden star.

Peonies were plentiful in the gardens of my youth. Many homes in the area would have a row of them alongside the garage or house. We had some next to the garage as well as a row of them serving as a "fence" between our yard and the neighbor's. Our neighbor was a skilled peony-grower and she would share the root cuttings with my mom.

Spring was peony time. First, the leafy bush would grow out of the stubs of last year's plant. (In the fall, the bush gets cut down to the ground, in preparation for winter). Next, the round buds, approximately an inch or so in diameter, would appear. The buds secrete some sort of nectar that attracts ants, so you always saw ants on the buds. That was pretty gross when you are a kid. When you cut the flowers to bring in the house, you had to make sure all the ants were gone. In mid-June the blossoms opened.

We had magenta plants like in this picture, as well as white, red and a few different shades of pink. One of my favorites was a pink one that had fewer petals and an open center that showed a cluster of yellow stamens. My mom always made nice arrangements that filled the house with a sweet fragrance.

A few years ago was the first time I had seen cut peonies for sale. (This was in California). I was pretty excited to see them available, but I about fainted when I saw they were going for something like 5 bucks a stem. That's usurious! There was NO WAY I could bring myself to pay $15 for a bunch of peonies! I remember calling my mom about it and she gave me her usual answer: "Well then I guess you need to move back here, so you can have all the peonies (or whatever it was that I would be complaining about) you want free".
Same thing with lilacs. Why the heck are they so darn expensive in California? In my old neighborhood, you could just walk down the alley and snag a few off someone's bush. They wouldn't even know.

I got these at Von's for only $5.99--a fair price. I have to say though, they aren't as fragrant as some, but no ants.

Friday, June 27, 2008

My Prodigal Earrings

I found it....again.
My earring, that is.
I have pair of earrings that I wear pretty much constantly. Since I have pierced ears (one hole per lobe, like nature intended) I need to wear something, but I am also pretty much not into all this adornment and style and fashion, so I found a cool pair that I really love and I just wear them 24/7. They are European lever back earrings and the main thing I love about them is that they don't have a post, they are more of a hoop. I hate earrings that have a post because when you sleep with post earrings, the post stabs you in the neck and that is not cool. And I am FAR too lazy to be taking off and putting on earrings every morning and night.
I had been with my dad at the "family" jewelry store a few years ago--I think we were getting something for my mom or getting something cleaned. As I wandered around while he was doing his business, I spotted these earrings. Great price, just what I was looking for. When I tried to pay for them, my dad said the treat was on him. Sweet!
I've had these for at least five years. Like I said, I love them and wear them almost constantly. Until one goes missing. Like on Tuesday.
This hasn't been the only time one has gone missing. The first time I noticed one missing was at work. I looked all over but...nothing. I even had my co-worker take a photo of the remaining one so I could send it to the jewelry shop and get another pair. I was pretty bummed. Imagine my surprise when after a few days had passed, I spotted the lost earring on the floor!
Since then they've gone missing from time to time. Once I found one in the bedroom, once in the car. Last year one went missing when I was in Portland. Dale and I retraced our steps for a while and forlornly went back to the hotel. Later when I was putting on my PJ's....there it was!
Tuesday, I was sitting at my desk at work and noticed one was missing. Damn. I looked around the floors at work, in the car, in the bed clothes and on the floors at home. Nothing. I had been to the gym on Monday, who knows, it could have fallen there.
So there I was on Wednesday, getting a cold drink from the fridge, and spotted the prodigal earring on the floor! Whoo hoo!
I don't know, but I think there is something special about these earrings. I always sort of attribute it to the fact that my Dad got them for me. When I discover one is missing, I don't get all crazy and frantic about it. It is more of a Zen thing....I get this feeling that when it wants to be discovered, it will be. And so far, that is what has happened. Weird.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bonne Fete Nationale du Quebec!

Happy feast day to all the Quebequers out there.
I'm pretty brain-dead right now from a 12+ hour day, so you get last year's post, but I gave you a new image, so that's cool, huh? The video is still pretty funny.
St. Jean-Baptitste Day

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Happy Bloggy Birthday To Me!--UPDATED!

Wow, a whole year has passed since I began this 'lil blog. I enjoy doing it, but I wish I had more time to devote.
Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and read my postings, I hope I don't bore you and you keep on coming back for more exciting tales.
After I made the original of this post, I felt it was a little anemic. A milestone like this is a good opportunity to think back and reflect on what happened during the past year.
Here's a little recap on what happened in the world of "Where's The Bubbler?"

I ate some candy.

Shared a little Packer love.
And more than a little Packer angst.

Went on a couple of fun road trips

Heard some great live music
Brave Combo
The Pinker Tones
LA Phil
Police y Elvis

Went to a family reunion.

Talked about The Mermaid.

Made some Tourtiere.

Explained "The Legend of Real Spooky Place".

Went to the Kwik-E-Mart.

Finally finished the rock garden.

And reminisced a bit about the good old days and of Summerfest.

(Notes on the cake....this is what happens when you send a crazy dad and teenage daughter to the store for candles!
Yummy German chocolate cake...mmm)

Sunday, June 15, 2008


A beautiful bride...
A handsome groom...
A loving marriage!

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads.

Some dads are funny like a Bill Cosby dad,
or wise like Ward Cleaver.
Some dads are hip like Dick VanDyke,
while other dads are insane-o like Archie Bunker,
or uptight like Hank Hill.
And some are just lovable screw-ups like Homer Simpson.
So whatever kind of dad you's his day!

Here's an example of the different stages of being a dad......

First we have dapper Dad-In-Training

Next is the "mature" Chef Dad

The Retired Dad is outstanding in his field!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Summertime Audio Supplement

Hockey is done, the NBA will probably finish up tomorrow, DadsandGrads.....I guess that means IT'S SUMMERTIME! Just one more week until it is official.
MeesterCranky (who, in case you haven't figured it out Dale) has been working feverishly on this summer's audio supplement podcast. He scored on finding some long-searched-for songs and put them together in a three episode podcast. This edition is surf music, last year it was 60's hits.
So do yourself a favor, and surf on over to You're Soaking In It and check out Surfside! Grab a icy cold beer or iced tea and take a trip back in time to when Southern California was truly the golden place to be.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Break a mirror with a black cat while walking under a ladder today.

no, no....don't hurt the kitty!
P.S. This isn't my cat.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Freaky Plant

Remember a month or so ago I went to the South Coast Botanic Garden and picked up a few succulents? Most went in the rock garden and are doing well.
This succulent is one that I sort of splurged on ($8 vs the $4 or so of the others), but it was so interesting I couldn't resist. This one is called a "Huernia Keniensis" and is a native to Kenya. It has a nicknname of "Dragon Flower". I just kept it on the windowsill in the kitchen and gave it a little drink of water now and then. About a week ago I noticed a little bud thing coming out and then the freakiest flower blossomed!
Here's an extreme close-up. Sort of gross and beautiful at the same time.

Don't stick your finger in there!

Speaking of the South Coast Botanic Garden... Shakespeare Festival/LA takes place there once again this summer--July 23 through 27. This year, they will be doing "Taming of the Shrew". This isn't a normal Shakespearean performance. What they do is take one of the Bard's plays and set it into a contemporary setting. Last year it was "A Midsummer Night's Dream" set in the 1930's Jazz community of South Central Los Angeles. Before that was "Twelfth Night" which was set in the arts community of Venice Beach. Hard to explain, but it works. Just go.

Monday, June 9, 2008

HellCat in Repose

Here's HellCat doing what he does best. From the way he's all stretched out, you'd think it was a hundred degrees--but it was a nice 75-ish. He's just weird.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

MMMM Espresso Soda

I was out and about Saturday doing some errands and stopped in at Giuliano's to get a couple of sandwiches for lunch. Besides great sandwiches, Giuliano's has an interesting selection of soft drinks. Good flavors like wild cherry, grape and orange from some boutique-y companies. Import sodas from Italy. There was even a "Soprano's" soda.
This was my choice: espresso soda. (Dale requested what else...ginger beer.) I have had this brand before, but never had seen it in such a large bottle. It is good, but not as good as my all-time favorite, Bibicaffe.

I was first introduced to Bibicaffe when I was a line cook at the Grand Wailea on Maui. The sous chef would bring in a case for us about once a week. Pretty much the first thing I would do when I came in for my shift was fill my monster thirsty-two-ouncer mug with ice and pour in two bottles of Bibicaffe. MMMmmmm...that gets the gears moving. I could power through my prep and be psyched for service.
The flavor is of course, of espresso, but with a light lemony taste, slightly sweet and slightly carbonated.
I've always been on the lookout for Bibicaffe, but I have only seen it Seattle. (where else, huh?) I'm not that crazy to have it mail-ordered, so this Manhattan Special will be a good substitute.

Friday, June 6, 2008

(Hot) Dog Day Afternoon

The other day I was shopping at Sprouts. I'm not a frequent customer, since it is a little far from my house, but they had a great price on some chicken and cherries, so I took a ride over there.
I was surprised and delighted to discover they carry Usinger's products. Not just the weiners like you see here, but Braunschweiger and others as well. If you've never had a weiner with a natural casing, you haven't lived. They have this delicious "snap" when you bite into the juicy goodness. Throw on a couple of chopped onions and a slathering of Lowensenf mustard. Oh Man, that's good.
Usinger's is a old Milwaukee institution--started in 1880. The factory-store is something out of the Old World. On the walls inside the store are murals depicting the sausage-making elves. I actually toured the factory once. My sister's father-in-law worked there for many years, and when he retired, the company threw him a party and we all got to tour the plant. It was pretty interesting to see how it is done. And no...nothing scary either.
Apparently though, Usinger's has not adopted the "National Hot Dog/Bun Alignment Act of 1982". Their dogs still come in sixes, and the packs of buns come in eights. So now I have two extra buns.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rhubarb Time

As a weekend treat, I made this yummy Country Rhubarb Cake. One thing I liked about this recipe, in addition to it tasting great, was the biscuit crust. The pie was this year's "rhubarb thing"--I usually try to make at least one rhubarb dish in the spring. Last year at this time, I was visiting Seattle--they love their rhubarb! I even tried a rhubarb mojito!

Here's some cool eggs I got at the farmers' market. A special breed of hen lays eggs that are pastel colored, like these. I couldn't tell any taste difference though.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Note To Laker Fans

(don't be gay)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Remember to Vote!

Elections tomorrow in California. Locally, we are voting for four city council positions. Hopefully the candidates I favor will be winners.

Here's a video by one of my favorite bands, The Pinker Tones. A duo from Barcelona, Spain. This video had just come out during our last big local election in 2006, when we saw the winds of change sweep through Torrance. It fit the mood then exactly.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hey Paisan!

The cute little guy I picked up when I was in Austin visiting with my niece. The antique store she took us to had so much cool stuff, I wished I had a truck to take it all home in.