Monthly Archives: March 2009


Last Saturday night, we made a paella. We love paella! img_0545If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a rice dish from the Valencia region of Spain. I’m not sure how we initially became interested, but I got a paella pan one year for Christmas so we could try. We’ve only done it a few times, as it’s fairly time and labor intensive and can also be expensive, depending on what ingredients you use.

Traditionally, paella is cooked on an outdoor flame. The other times we’ve made it, we did it on the stove, continually rotating it because the burners aren’t big enough for the pan. img_8788This time we tried it on our grill, and it was easier and turned out better. The other change this time was that we had real “bomba” short grain rice, which is hard to find here.

The first picture is the one we made this time, Golden Rice with Shrimp and Fresh Tuna. The second picture is another one we made, Scallop, Shrimp, and Seaweed Paella.

Thank you, Hillary!

The situation in northern Mexico right now is heartbreaking, as more and more people are killed by warring drug cartels. I’ve heard about it several times a week for quite a while now, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Tenopardgyse So what are the proposed solutions? Mainly violent ones. Mexican military takes over, we increase border security…Is that really going to fix the problem?

I’ve been very frustrated through all of this that no one has mentioned the root of the problem (well, excluding poverty and desperation in Mexico): American demand for drugs. It seems that as long as the demand is there, more than enough people will be happy to make money from it. Thus, people start fighting over markets and territory, and eventually you have a war with scores of people, both guilty and innocent, being killed.

Finally today, it was mentioned. Thank you Hillary Clinton. Quoting from here, she said, “Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade.” I’m sure that won’t fix anything, but I’m glad the blame is at least out there. I doubt many people demanding these drugs are too worried about the consequences for others, but how many of us consider the effects of what we buy on the world, for the people making our goods, and creation itself?

The Many Looks of Joel

If you’ve been around Joel lately, you might have noticed his hair. The only scissors that had touched it since November were for the swoop trim featured in an earlier post. His hair really doesn’t bother me much, but it was driving him crazy.

joel hair long

After a few weeks of regularly asking if he set up an appointment, I finally offered to do the job for him…at his own risk. I don’t mean risk of danger (despite past injury) – just risk of unhappiness. He agreed, and we began. Well, we had a little fun first…

joel curly

…then a little more fun…

joel straight

Finally, we got on with the cut. I’m glad he can’t see my face, as it is often stricken with looks of horror after certain snips, but we had no disasters. His hair looks alright – not as good as a real haircut, but it will do for now!


How long have I lived here?

In my 25 years in Nashville, I’m not sure I had ever been on the Natchez Trace (except the big bridge) until about a week and a half ago. To celebrate the amazing weather, we went camping at the Meriwether Lewis area on the Trace. There were only a few others there, so it was a very nice, quiet evening.

CampingCamping Lauren

Camping JoelJoel camping 2

The next morning, we drove up the Trace and stopped at a few of the sites. Finally, we went to the Loveless Cafe. Yes, this was also my first time to ever go there. It seems that you often don’t do the tourist things in your own town. The biscuits were good, but since I don’t care for Southern food, I’m fine if I never go back.  I can check it off the list!


joel log

Truffles Anyone?

Back in the fall, I started wanting to make truffles. I’m not sure why I wanted to, but I never got around to it. Peta satelit dunia A couple of weeks ago, I went to check out a little chocolate shop (shocking, I know) called the Cocoa Tree in Germantown. Before I left, I was thumbing through a book they had for sale. A girl sitting at the only table excitedly said, “That’s my book!” I couldn’t help but buy it after that, thinking it might motivate me to take on my truffle project. It turns out that the girl at the table, Bethany, is the owner of the Cocoa Tree, and she makes fabulous (but pricey) truffles.

Last week, I finally did it. Believe it or not, I had enough quality chocolate sitting around at home to make them, so all I needed was cream. Here are the centers (ganache), waiting to be covered in tempered chocolate.


You’re supposed to make the centers perfectly round spheres, but I made very little effort to do so. I was just concerned with making them “work.” Well, work they did! They may not be the prettiest, but they taste good…very dark and good.


Pins & Needles

I have somewhat successfully completed the construction of a giant pincushion. I knew it would be large, but I was still surprised. In the picture below, I set a pen beside it so you can see the sheer enormity.


It’s not anywhere near as cute as the original, but at least you can tell what it is!


What did I learn this time?

1. Sewing in a circle is hard. I’m not sure how they got the top of the one pictured to be so flat. However, I do think photography skills can help.

2. I have a terrible problem with not thinking through things before I do them…seam ripper anyone?

3. I learned how to hand-sew. Well, I at least hand-sewed. Peta satelit dunia . I’m not sure if I even approached a proper method.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll come up with a new project soon. If you want to make your own giant pincushion, see