Oh boy oh boy I get to go to NYC this weekend. It's gonna be an actual vacation too, as we are not tabling at MoCCA. We're bringing the kids, which is fun, but also kind of sad because I miss the parties (..like Drink & Draw Like A Lady! Dang.) We are staying at Hotel EXCELSIOR!! which I swear I didn't just pick because I'm a huge nerd - it's a really good deal. We'll be going to MoCCA to say hello and buy books of course, and we're thinking about a 30 Rock tour (for the kids) but the best thing is that we have tickets for the Coraline musical! The music is by Stephen Merritt of The Magnetic Fields and I am SO excited to see it. They took three of my favorite things and squished them all together. Four, if you count getting to wear a pretty dress.
Jeffrey let me write his bio for the Connecticon booklet, and I feel I captured his voice pretty well;
"Jeffrey Rowland is the creator of the popular webcomics Overcompensating and Wigu. He accidentally built an innovative and successful business with the webcomics merchandise distribution juggernaut TopatoCo, and now he doesn’t sleep very much. He lives in Massachusetts in a secret underground bunker that he keeps stocked with taco fixin’s and the kind of beer that only old men drink. He’s pretty happy as long as those stupid butt cats keep quiet."
We are back from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and while it is good to be home I miss Toronto already. I am not a city girl but I could totally live in that city. We had marvelous adventures and delicious food with wonderful people. I brought back a small haul of books, and I can honestly say that they are all excellent. There was so much talent packed in that venue! I didn't buy all of the books that I wanted to, but it seems that a lot of people are also going to MoCCA in NYC so I will pick them up there.
Here is my list, without much review because that would be a long post indeed:
Jellaby; Monster In The City, by Kean Soo (Kean is the best and we ate frog legs together)
French Milk by Lucy Knisley (Gorgeous and sweet! I love diary and bio comics)
Freddie & Me; A Coming Of Age (Bohemian) Rhapsody by Mike Dawson (I had never heard of him before, and I'm glad I picked this up. Will definitely be on the lookout for more of his work!)
Further Grickle by Graham Annable (weird and very funny!)
Eternal Smile by Gene Yang and Derek Kirk Kim (I have been waiting for this, as it's by two of my favorites. I've never met Gene but Derek is an absolute doll and from what I hear, a brutal foosball player)
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelucci and Jim Rugg (Power team! This was for Eliza but I loved it too. We somehow ended up with the second Plain Janes book first, so i had to get this one. Running right out to get Cecil's YA novels as well)
The War at Ellsmere and Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks (I don't know how I haven't seen her work before but it's so cute and fun! Kick-ass girls with Scott Pilgrim Eyes, definitely what you want to put in the hands of any (former or current) outcast 13 year old.)
Double Fine Action Comics by Scott Campbell. (Scott is so great! We had never met before but we had fun hang out times and hugs. His stuff really makes me laugh.)
I feel like i'm missing some things but I can't remember what. I also met Simon Roy and Jason Turner at the afterparty, and was sad that I didn't see thier table at the show. I've been familiar with Jason's work for a while, but this was my first time hearing of Simon. His book looks great and I will definitely have to order it online.
So there you have it - now go read some comics!
I just threw together some pretty awesome pasta, and I want to get this recipe down in case I ever want to make it again. I probably will, this is reaallly goood.
I have a bunch of veggies from our farm share, and I was trying to figure out how to trick my kids into eating acorn squash. This seems to work. Please note that while this recipe contains bacon and chicken broth, it can easily be a really nice veggie meal by omitting the bacon and using a flavorful veggie broth instead of the chicken broth. This would also be really good with sausage or veggie sausage.
Ok so you need:
1 box past. (I used rigatoni, but there are a lot of shapes that would work just as well. Go for chunky, no spaghetti or rotini or macaroni.)
1 bunch kale, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 small or 1 large acorn squash
garlic! I use a lot, so the average person might want like, 2 cloves - coarsely chopped
1 or 2 strips really good smoky bacon, chopped
Jamaican jerk seasoning
1/2 c to 1 c shredded romano or parmesan cheese
chicken boullion or condensed broth packet (more on those later)
Peeling acorn squash is an insane pain in the ass, so I took the advice I found on a food blog a while ago and cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, and used my melon baller to make little squash balls. Toss those with some olive or veg oil, the jerk seasoning, and a little salt and pepper. Put them in a baking pan with just enough water to cover the bottom and 1T of butter. Cover the pan with tinfoil, and pop into a preheated 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
While you're waiting for that to cook, cook the pasta like you do, and chop all the other stuff. Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before you drain it.
Here's a trick that I may have invented but probably not: instead of reconstituting the boullion in regular boiling water, use the reserved pasta water. That way you get the flavor boost AND the starchy goodness. I don't actually use boullion because I found this product I cannot live without; condensed broth packets. I get them at Trader Joe's, where they have chickenn, beef and veg. I keep all three in my pantry and they are culinary lifesavers. It tastes a million times better than boullion, has no msg, and you just reconstitute 1 cup at a time.
Heat up a big pan on medium high. I use my trusty wok for all these kinds of pasta dishes. Evenly distributed heat and lots of room to work! Saute the bacon in 1T oil until almost crispy, then add 2T butter , the leeks and the garlic. Saute until the leeks are 'translucent' but be really careful because if they start to brown they'll be all bitter and nasty and everything will be ruined.
Add the kale and the broth. Cover and let steam for a few minutes until the kale is cooked. Toss in the pasta, the squash, and the cheese. Salt to taste, and you're done. This is so easy it took me less than a half hour and it's soooo good.
I actually took pictures of the progress but I can't find my camera cord.
Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture.
Post that picture with NO editing. (Except maybe to get the image size down to something reasonable.)
Post these instructions with your picture.
(Check out that weird thing my lip does it totally looks like a 'stache.)
Or should it be wymynual labor? Either way, me and Kaliis kicked ass yesterday. In the back corner of our yard is a fireplace, probably built in the 60's or early 70's. It was completely covered in greenery and had a small maple tree growing out of the middle of it, up the chimney. NOT ANYMORE. Fueled by Newman's Own iced tea and the promise of having a nice place to hang out at night, we cleared it all out. Turns out that most of the cover was renegade grape and berry vines! I trimmed those back, but there is still so much. I'm going to try to train them to grow away from the fireplace. Should be pretty easy, I just need some sort of trellis. We pulled a lawn bag worth of weeds, and felled the tree and now it is usable. Tonight we are totally building a fire and making smores.
Man, this week went by fast. I only got about 50% of my goals accomplished, i should have sprung for two weeks at camp instead. The kids are coming home tonight and it will be nice to see them.
The house painting and such is still coming along slooowly. I have to make the last big push this weekend, because Tuesday is the big moving day! Then no more Leeds (sad) no more commute (yay) no more housemate (YAY) no more musty smell (yay). I can't wait to be unpacked and settled and back to a regular boring routine for a while.
We went and visited Chris & Carly in scenic Brooklyn and hoo boy was that fun! Thanks guys, you are wonderful hosts. On the way back Jeffrey (and Andy who was along for the ride) were gracious enough to accompany me to IKEA, the most magical place in Connecticut. We had meatballs, of course, and then I got a bunch of stuff for the house. Dressers for the kids, curtains, a duvet for us, and laptop tables so that we can sit up in bed and be old people. They are great little tables! Their name is Dave.
My head is all cloudy and I'm all crampy and I just read what I wrote and it is boring. Sorry guys. In the future I wll try not to lj before the coffee kicks in.