Wed. Nov. 17, 2021: Online Cooking Class (And Some Writing)

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

Yesterday was actually a lot of fun.

After I hit my word count quota, I went to Big Y to get the ingredients for the evening’s cooking class. There were a few snow flurries in the air as I came and went, but nothing major, and it didn’t stick.

I came home, went through email, worked on script coverages. We did an early session of Knowledge Unicorns, which went well.

As I set out my ingredients in preparation for the class, I realized I’d somehow missed seeing that spinach and pine nuts were part of the ingredient list. Instead of spinach (for the turkey tarts), I decided to use celery (I mean, I didn’t even have kale I could have swapped in for it. Not having kale on hand in the Berkshires is a form of blasphemy). I’ve substituted walnuts for pine nuts in pesto before, so I decided to do that.

The class itself as part of the NYU Alumni Supper Club series, and our instructor was Chef Cherrie of ChefTorial. She was working out of her kitchen in a small town near Manitoba, our host was on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls; it was fun. That’s what I love about online events. People can participate from all over the world (we even had one person attending from Hong Kong).

NYU has always been at the forefront of virtual conferencing. When I was at NYU on work-study, back in the early 1980’s, I worked for the Interactive Telecommunication Department and Alternate Media Center (and had to say that entire name every time I answered the phone). We had one of the first ever virtual Christmas parties between our NYU office and China (I think it was Shanghai). It was a ton of fun, and a little whacky.

Anyway, back to the class. We had fun cooking and doing “Sociable!” (not sure if I should explain what that is, but trust me, it’s fun). Charlotte sat on a kitchen chair in front of the screen for the first part, but she wasn’t getting enough attention, so she left. Willa took up the post, absolutely fascinated to watch the tutorial on the laptop (which I’d set up in the kitchen), and her new fascination with watching me cook.

The three recipes were sweet potato toasts with maple-walnut-goat cheese topping; turkey tarts filled with ricotta, cream cheese, spinach (well, celery for me), and cranberries; sweet pea pesto on toasted ciabatta.

I got into life-or-death battles trying to get the ricotta and the cream cheese open, and got cheese all over the kitchen. At that point, Willa fled back into my mother’s room, where she could sit on the bed and watch from a safe distance.

Tessa stayed out of it.

I would have never thought of lining a muffin pan cup with a slice of turkey, filling it, and baking it. But it works!

All three recipes were outstanding. The Chef and host were terrific, and the other people were a lot of fun. I posted photos of the dishes as they were finished on Instagram. The photos are pretty lame; I didn’t do any styling or real arrangement, it was just shoot and go, because we were moving pretty fast.

The food was good, but the kitchen was a disaster area by the time I was done. It took longer to clean up than it took to cook.

I was wiped out by the end of it, but it was a good tired. I definitely want to do more Supper Club events with NYU Alumni, and they have a Cooking Club, too, that the host will send me information about.

And we definitely have leftovers.

I overslept this morning. Tessa was not amused, since she’d been trying to wake me up since who-knows-when. But my mom got up early to feed the little monsters.

I put chicken and vegetables into the slow cooker, and that’s tonight’s dinner. Because after cooking so much last night, a slow cooker meal seems like a good idea.

I also made a frittata for breakfast.  With the supply chain issues meaning frozen vegetables are in short supply, and the canned goods on which I stocked up during the early part of the pandemic needing to be used up, I’d used a can of mixed vegetables to go with a dish a few days ago.

They were disgusting.

I mean, I knew they wouldn’t be great, but I don’t remember them being this disgusting.

Needless to say, we had leftovers. I hate wasting food, so I decided to hide their grossness in a frittata, by adding in leftover basil and parsley from last night’s ingredients, and then cutting up some fresh grape tomatoes, mixing it in with the eggs, shredding some cheese to go into it, and some salt and pepper.

Frittata is a tasty way to get rid of leftovers I don’t know what to do with. Eggs, cheese, and herbs can hide a lot of less-than-wonderful leftovers.

Anyway, it was a huge frittata, but it was delicious. I still can’t judge properly when it’s set enough to flip, so it usually ends up looking like a gigantic mess, but it tastes good. With leftover ciabatta, too.

I was late hitting today’s word count on CAST IRON MURDER, which was 2661. The story took a completely unexpected turn that was not in the outline, but works well, so I rolled with it.

This brings me over 42K for the month. I only have 8K more for the Nano quota, and I’m over halfway from where I need to be for the full book. This draft will be lean. In the second draft, I’m going to expand some carefully chosen descriptive detail, to support that Lorraine, as a cook, sees a lot of the world through food colors, textures, and flavors. That can all be layered on top of the basic story, so if I come in a little lean on word count in this draft, I have room to play without getting overblown and info-dumpy.

I’ll be teaching TWO classes at the Cape Cod Writers Center Conference next August, and the Executive Director and I are working out the details. I’ll share them when I have them.

Remote Chat today, which will be tons of fun. I have script coverage to do, and some other things to take care of.

If the weather holds over the next few days, there will, I hope, be a day of local adventure, which will also be fun to share. If the weather sucks, I’ll stay home and write.

Have a good one!

Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work

Friday, February 7, 2020
Waxing Moon
Foggy and cooler

I’ve got a short post aboutMotive up on Affairs of the Pen.

I did an enormous grocery shop yesterday morning. I turned around the contract for the article and got out my requests for quotes. I have a good portion of the article already written in my head, and now am working on getting it on paper, and then adding in the quotes as I get them, and tweaking as needed. I’d like to get it to my editor a few days early, since it’s the first time we’re working together, and I want to give us enough time in case she requests revisions.

Started prepping for the grant proposals. I want to do at least one more revision on the actual material that will get the grant committee’s attention. I’m not sure, for one, if I should submit something in radio play format, which I know works, or something in novel format, which is what I’d actually use the grant money on, for one of them.

For the other proposal, I need to look at a project I put aside last year. It’s a project I’d used for a residency application, and put aside when I didn’t get the residency (they decided not to accept Americans that year).

I tweaked a recipe yesterday afternoon and made a honey/almond/orange cake. I was worried I made too many changes all at once, but it really, really worked. It amazes me how much I like substituting honey for sugar, and how much better I feel eating it

I answered someone’s question on social media and someone else jumped into the conversation to argue with me about not signing a detrimental contract because my lawyer agreed that it was not in my best interest. I’m not arguing. My lawyer is a professional; I get to decide what contracts to sign and not sign. I don’t care how many other people choose to sign it. And if Chickie-poo “doesn’t know anyone” who refused the contract, she must not know many professional writers, because I know plenty who won’t sign that particular contract, especially since we are all expected to sign a boiler plate.

The contract you receive with a publishing offer is the START of negotiations. If a “publisher” is not willing to negotiate contract clauses, it’s not a “publisher” with whom I want to associate.

I get to make that choice. Not be attacked by someone who made a different choice.

The stupidity on social media gets to me sometimes. There’s plenty I scroll past, but it annoys me when I answer someone’s question with my experience and someone else jumps all over me – and the person who asked the question SAYS NOTHING. That’s irresponsible. If you let trolling happen on your feed and ignore it, you’re not someone worth my time. Buh-bye.

Got my Chewy order in. Had to order cat toys to get it up for the free shipping. “Had to.” Riiiight. I’ll own it – that was how I chose to get up to the amount needed for free shipping. I think the cats will enjoy some fresh stimulation, especially Willa. I’m trying to teach Charlotte how to play, and Tessa needs some new toys. Busy cats are happy cats!

This weekend is about writing, purging boxes in the basement, and baking. I have a LOT to get done, and I can’t waste my time on people or situations who aren’t worth it.

Have a great weekend! I’m going back to the page.

Published in: on February 7, 2020 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Fri. Feb. 7, 2020: Focus on The Work  
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