Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hardware upgrade

or, how I got a really boring dresser and made it more fun...

I needed a 5-drawer dresser so I turned to what else, Craigslist. There, waiting in someone's storage unit in San Francisco, was a totally adequate dresser for under $80. I knew it wasn't even close to my dream dresser, but it was what I needed for now. When we put it in our room, I felt a little bit bummed at its plainness. It was very, nilla-waferish. Jay looked at the dresser, not really liking it much either and said, "What if you put some red glass knobs on it?"

Yes Jay, Yes! Gosh you're good.

came with nice, plain wooden knobs


much better

If you're in northern Calif., you can find tons of fun knobs at Belmont Hardware, or from a vendor at the Alameda antique fair.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Recipe of the month

The most delicious spinach dish you'll ever make

Recently, I discovered this spinach dish at a restaurant in Redwood City. I've shared it there with my Mom, Shari & Jay, before asking the sous chef how to make it. It is the easiest vegetable dish to prepare; elegant, healthy, and quick. Here's what you do.

serves 2:

1 bag of fresh spinach (or one large bunch), washed
1/2 can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup pine nuts
handful of dried, black currants
1/2 of a lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper

sidenote: All of these ingredients can be found at Trader Joe's. Last night I marveled that making this meal for two cost about $3 bucks.

In a big saucepan, drizzle olive oil. Once heated, add pine nuts and garbanzo beans. After a few minutes, toss in the dried currants, lift the pan to shake and stir. Add the spinach (which will fill the entire pan, then size down after a few minutes). Drizzle a little olive oil over the spinach. Squeeze the lemon over the leaves. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Cover the saucepan for a minute at the most, letting the spinach steam. Lift the lid and toss ingredients. Spinach should look fresh and slightly wilted. Serve immediately. An option is to place a piece of fresh fish on top, or add pieces of crisp bacon, as we did last night.

It may take a couple of tries to get it just right, but you will, and you'll be happy! Bon Appétit.

Light in the darkness, always

The Warrior knows that no man is an island.

He cannot fight alone; whatever his plan, he depends on other people. He needs to discuss his strategy, to ask for help, and, in moments of relaxation, to have someone with whom he can sit by the fire, someone he can regale with tales of battle.

But he does not allow people to confuse this camaraderie with insecurity. He is transparent in his actions and secretive in his plans.

A Warrior of the Light dances with his companions, but does not place the responsibility for his actions on anyone else.

- Paul Coelho, Warrior of the Light

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jamie's January favorites

so far...

1. excitement leading to the Film Noir Fest
2. feeling like a newlywed, for the first time
3. getting a massage
4. taking time for myself and feeling rewarded
5. baking banana cranberry bread (the dog ate the walnuts)
6. the movie, 3:10 to Yuma
7. taking a bar method class with Sam (and living to write about it)
8. my brother giving me a necklace from St. Kitts
9. listening to my pete fountain cd
10. Jay teaching Devo to 'play dead' by pointing and saying, BANG!
11. reading In Defense of Food. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants".
12. shopping with my Mom
13. both of my bosses walking with me to help get a big coffee order from Peets
14. the rain

Monday, January 14, 2008

A photo shoot at home

So there's this handsome guy I know. He's a photographer and he has to do a product shoot for Garage Magazine - you know, the one I wrote about recently. The product is a "clip-on" liquor dispenser, the kind one would wear to a party full of beatniks several decades ago. Well, there's no male model around so the photographer decides to set up a studio in the living room and do a self portrait. He gives his wife step-by-step instructions to get the right angle, focus the shot, shoot it on delay, run into the frame and hold the shot glass. By the 10th try, I poured us a shot of whiskey on the side. I promised I wouldn't get frustrated (I'm not an angel when it comes to being instructed) and we ended up having a lot of fun. You can find the finished product here. Have a drink on me (wink)!

Friday, January 11, 2008

It's ON, oh yes, Mavericks is ON!

photo by Frederic Larson for the SF Chronicle

Catch A Very Big Wave
Mavericks Is On

Tomorrow will be the day (Saturday, Jan. 12)!
Spectators are discouraged, but there will be a live webcast.

Official site here.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mother Hips

The Friday before Christmas, Jay told me to take the train to San Francisco after work. He was taking me on a date, and it was a surprise. The surprise was that he had tickets for us to see the Mother Hips' annual holiday show. YEAH!!!! The Mother Hips have long been one of my biggest musical crushes. They've been doing their holiday show since 1994, always at the Great American Music Hall , one of my favorite concert venues in SF. I think I've seen them play about 7 times, but that's nothing compared to how many times their normal fans have seen them.

Jay had never seen the Mother Hips before. However he had seen the lead singers, Tim and Greg, incarnated as Ball-Point Birds. We saw them back in 2002 at the Noe Valley Ministry. I happened to find one of my favorite songs from that night, Princess of Darkness, here.

Back to this show. The opener was Brett Dennen, whom we'd never seen before. He has a nice voice, quiet stage presence and good songs. Memorable. I bet he'll be around for awhile.

When the Mother Hips came on stage, they brought Jackie Greene to guest on keyboards. That guy has been all the rage for a little while, but I'd never seen him. I really like his hair. For the encore, Tim carried Jackie back on stage. They have their own side project, called The Skinny Singers. And, Jackie also plays with Phil Lesh. Shake it, shake it, Sugaree...

The whole night was great. I was so excited to see Jay enjoying how much this band ROCKS. Jay won't mind if I mention to the ladies that the lead singer, Tim Bluhm, is cute (and married to a talented singer, Nicki Chambly). Maybe it would sound more mature if I said he has an attractive stage presence. For many years he traveled, surfing up and down the California coast, living in a van. Sometimes I like to live vicariously through a person like that.

The Hips have a new album called Kiss the Crystal Flake, which I bought after the show. I'd like to thank Mark Kafoury for turning me on to them way back when. And that is the end of that story. Long live the Mother Hips!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Croutons 1, 2, 3

I had some leftover Beckmann's asiago cheese sourdough bread from New Year's Eve. When suddenly, I remembered that I know how to make croutons! An old friend and former roommate of mine, Michelle, taught me how. In case you've never made them yourself, I'm going to show you because it's as easy as 1, 2, 3. Also, they're delicious. When they're hot out of the oven, they're nearly as delectable as a warm chocolate chip cookie.

Start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. Use any type of bread that you have on hand, about 1/3 or 1/2 of a loaf. Stack your pieces together and use a bread knife to cut into bite-sized pieces.

Then, throw the pieces into a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the bread. Add sea salt and freshly-ground pepper. Stir very well, so the bread is coated.

Grab a cookie sheet, and put a piece of aluminum foil on it (easy clean-up). Spread the bread evenly, then place into the oven.

Set your timer for 10 mins and check to see if it's done. I cooked mine for about 12 mins. I wanted the croutons to be golden brown and crispy!

Find an airtight container like a jar, and store your croutons in there. Be sure to eat some first, while they are toasty warm.

When you are ready for a salad, you'll have a delightful ingredient to add. Oh and how about when you have company over? Sure, they've had lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers before. But how would they like to know they are eating homemade croutons? (A small warning - if someone is talking to you while you're crunching your croutons, you probably won't be able to hear everything they're saying).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A peek into the office at Garage Magazine

A couple of Fridays ago, Jay and I had a date where I took the train up to San Francisco, and we went to his office to eat a burrito and then attended a concert. More on that fun night later! But I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek into his office at Garage Magazine.

Jay is the Photographer at Large at the mag, and he works with 2 great guys, Dan Stoner and Brian Bounds. Dan is the Editor in Chief (and former owner) and Brian is the Art Chief. A pretty small operation works really hard to put together a really cool publication. It's so cool in fact, that Jay Leno has a subscription (as do a bunch of guys in the slammer), and almost two years ago, Jesse James took over the publishing helm. Prior to that, Dan and his wife, Raquel used to run the mag out of their living room. It has truly been a labor of love.

The office is on the 2nd floor, located above a motorcycle shop in San Francisco. Since the guys weren't there for me to ask permission, I'll just include a few photos that show small details.

issue No 14, cover photo by Timothy White

a product shot for the upcoming issue, which can
also be seen on Jay's blog

I love that they nailed these old boards to the wall,
then added their favorite posters and photos

just a couple of dolls

hanging above Jay's desk is a vintage amusement ride,
courtesy of builder Vern Tardel

a place to hold tea

Friday, January 04, 2008

50 mph

The wind knocked over our table.
Oops, I think we should have put the umbrella in the garage for winter.

Willie is being pelted by rain but that didn't stop her
from asking for a few peanuts!

Meanwhile, someone is in one of his odd yoga poses,
happily snoozing by the heater.

Ooo, we have big gusts of wind here in the Bay Area right now, averaging about 36 mph and up to 50 mph at times. It's kind of exciting! The electricity is out at Jay's co-worker's house in Burlingame. From the news we just learned that 57,000 people are affected by power outages on the peninsula. Skiers are happy because about 10 feet of snow is going to drop in Tahoe. Also, there will be 25 foot waves at the ocean on Saturday. That is really something to behold, so we'll have to go take a look. Don't worry, we won't be bringing our surfboards.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy Birthday to one cool dude!

Back in November, Jay and I met his parents and sister in New York for one perfect day. We walked through Times Square on the way to Central Park, and we stopped right in the middle of it to just look up and around. Soon we noticed a man playing the guitar, with another guy filming him.

In the next photo, you will see a handsome man standing directly behind the guitar player. That is my father-in-law, Frank. He is the kindest, most humble, easy-going, polite, wise, down-to-earth, coolest dude ever. I could go on and on. The thing I really enjoy about him is that he has all of these really admirable qualities and then there's the zinger that sneaks up on you. It's in the moment like this, where he stands right behind the guy being filmed. I don't know what movie that's gonna be, but Frank has made his appearance.

You may have seen the photo below in an earlier post. This is Jay and Melissa watching their Dad do this, and the look on their faces says it all. They love him with all their hearts, and they really love it when he goofs off.

In the past several months, I have had an internal struggle about changing my last name. I wanted to make that choice, and it's simply an identity thing. Slowly but surely, I've started to make the legal changes. Writing this tonight makes me realize even more, just how lucky I am to be in this family.  And all of a sudden, my identity struggle doesn't seem to be giving me much of a fight.

Happy birthday like I said, to one cool dude.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Just the other day, I was enjoying some time on the couch with the TV on. I happened upon The Barefoot Contessa and learned a very easy recipe that I made for New Year's Eve. Everyone liked them, so it's a keeper!

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

* 1 lb and 1/4 cashews (approx.)
* Roast the cashews on a cookie sheet for 10 mins. at 350
* While cashews are roasting, grab a big bowl
* Add to the bowl, 2 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
* Add 1 tbsp salt (unless the cashews were already salted)
* Add 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adds the nicest little kick!)
* Add 2 tbsp brown sugar
* Pour in 2 tbsp melted butter
* Add the cashews, and toss together well
* Serve in a bowl and enjoy ~ your guests will love them!

2008 will be great

I have so many things to say but don't know where to start. More to come but for now, Happy New Year's everyone! I love a fresh start, don't you?