Friday, June 26, 2009

Cooking with Vanessa

HORS D'OEURVRES- Calamata tapende on squash

Tapenade mixture conatains:
2 small lemons zested, 1/2 cup kalamata olives, 1/2 cup finely minced parsley, 1/2 cup olive oil, 5 cloves of garlic finely minced, himilayan pink salt and black pepper

Seved with balsamic vinegar/olive oil glazed cherry tomatoes

MAIN- Vegan Lazagna:

Layers of:
Salt and peper bottom of pan
Tomatoe Sauce
Mandolined zuchinni
Ricotta mixture (2 handfuls fresh chopped parsley, 1/2 lemon juice, 1/4 red onio, 5 cloves garlic, 8oz silken tofu)
Feild Roast- Grain heat sausage
Follow your heart- Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative- Mozarella

Thursday, June 25, 2009

USA Summer in CA

Hey all, So I have not gotten lost in NZ! I made it to CA! 

I landed in LA spent a day with my grandparents, went to San Luis Obispo to see Paul, drove to Santa Rosa and started Drawing class back amongst SRJC's oak trees. I am seeing old friends again and doing the things I loved here...sorta...I'm busy as usual. But I have managed to get in touch with some friends, have dinner at Penny's (the best home made pesto, parmesan, pine nut,olive, undried tomato pizza ever!), eat my favourite frozen yogurt, and tonight I went to the Wed Night market in Downtown Santa Rosa!

Vanessa, her friend Ben and I rendez vous-ed at the JC, drove to my house and then walked to the market on foot to avoid parking...and to be green of course! I bought some of the beautiful local produce that is so abundantly available here- peaches (so many kinds), plums,  apricots ($2.50/lb), cherry tomatoes (special$3/lb), thai basil ($1/huge bunch) and squash ($2.50/lb). 

Vanessa bought blueberries as soon as we arrived and shared them with us all. I've never seen someone so excited about blueberries! Her enthusiasm was infectious, as always, and therefore I was excited about blueberries too! Blueberries YAY! BY this time Hilary and Blaze met us and did some shopping at the market. Vanessa then proceeded to purchase things she wanted from vendors, all of whom she knows because she works for one of the locals farms. So it was a deal on Peaches, followed by discounted Collared Greens and bargain Honey! Shop with her and you'll get discounts and friendly smiles wherever you go! I jumped on the collared greens and the peach band wagon, not that I know what to do with greens. Hence, my greens have journeyed home with Vanessa, where, apparently she is going to make them into the best thing that anyone's ever tasted.  Just add tamari and apple cider vinegar. 

Last year, Vanessa introduced me to Justin and Sam who are regulars at the Wed Night market. Their stall is known for their tomatoes and last summer at the end of a few of the markets, I made out like a bandit. I had bags full of free produce- peppers, tomatoes, squash and sometimes fruit. As soon as Justin spotted Vanessa in the crowd this evening, he jokingly gave her a hard time for not working with him as his normal partner in crime, Sam, was off doing something techie for American Idol (?). Vanessa had assumed he was joking when he asked her earlier in the week and therefore he was pretty busy and had no one to select out the best cherry tomatoes from the worst cherry tomatoes and put them into baskets. After chatting a bit I ask him if he wanted help and he said he was probably okay followed by a 'you dont wnat to come back here and some sort of half response. That was good enough for me! I put down my bags and started sorting baby tomatoes. 

I spent the next 2 hours working behind the stall sorting tomatoes, weighing produce and chatting to customers. It was so easy and fun too. Justin is nice and a very easy person to be around. I enjoyed myself, doing something different and while I've had many jobs, this is a new one to add to my list. I always like helping customers and this job reminded me of working the info desk at Melb Uni, something I also liked. I've forgotten what that feel like after being out of retail so long. And this is the short, sweet and busy kind of help. The 'buy tomatoes and leave' kind of help not the 'lingering, nagging endless customer service' type of help. So at the end of the evening, I helped Justin pack up, filled a tub for the CHA (Californa Homeowners Association...a charity, who knew?) and filled 2 plastic bags with plums for the bouncers of the bar that Justin goes to in the evening. He then dropped me home because I had even more produce now that he had given me and he paid me $25. Super nice!  What a lovely evening in an unexpected way. See you next week I said =)  

I LOVE BUYING LOCAL. Supporting your local community is so important! 

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Hey everyone!

I am flying to the USA...via NZ! I am waiting for my next plane. My flight, QF25, left Melbourne at 6am so I am a bit groggy now after staying up all night to packing and organising. I am reconsidering my profession as a photographer as I am currently lugging around all my uncheckables! Camera, tripod, backup hard drive, lap top...a theifs dream...shhh! 1 hour to go...and then another 14 really. My grandparents will be at LAX and we are going to breakfast, a meal I may be sick of after having it once from Melb to Auckland ahnd now I imagine it will be served again from Auckland to LA becasue low and behold, its still breakfast time! Its sleeping time I tell you!

Whathappened before this?

More 'no sleep'! I was preparing my work for assessment. There were a lot of projects, most of which I dont think they even looked at. Thankfully, it all came to an end Tues!  After 2 hours sleep, I had my assesssment interview and therefore finished my photography course for the semester! I went home, cleaned up a bit and tried in vain to sleep. In theevening I rallied myself and went to my friend Phoebes house for a bbq and drinks. I was very tempted to sleep and stay inside out of the cold/wet weather but seeing as we planned it together, that would be a bit..terrible. The gathering was good. Phoebes house mates were there (I like them), 2 old Melb Uni friends of mine popped in and a Couch Surfer of course. I got home lateand spend Wed packing and making a lot of phone calls trying to sort out the business of life (car registration, uni registration,) and edited a photo job for a client (!yay!). I packed all night and got a chauffeur to the airport! I price matched it to a taxi- there are no other options that early, it's a bit rediculous. My chauffeur had coffee waiting for me in the carand was lovely and chatty. I found out all about the business! And then I flew out! 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ahaha....comedy...of the Swine Flu variety!

I am trying to laugh every day. 
I think comedy may be the most under rated thing in our society. 
I am prescribing myself a daily vitamins! using comedy.
Here's the funnies thing I saw today!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Kelly Clarkson on the Fox roof top

On Monday afternoon I saw Kelly Clarkson perform on the Fox Rooftop. I was invited by my friend Nicholas who had called in and won tickets on the radio. It's one of those things you hear about all the time but never experience. With my friend Claire in tow we trained it into the city and I made our way to Clarandon St in South Melbourne (an odd place for a radio station, amongst trendy shops). We hopped off the tram, walked to a very normal looking office building (for a minute I thought maybe we were in the wrong place) and as if we were expected (all unknown persons expected?) were told to go up stairs by an usher/security guard. On the roof we gave our names, showed our ID and were given a plastic band for entry and drink card. After white wine and orderves (risotto balls, mini pizzas, sandwiches). Kelly was introduced by Aussie comedic duo Hamish and Andy. They were very funny and topped off their intro by singing her questions, backed by her band, emphasizing their non-musical nature. Her set was short and sweet with catchily engineered music and famillar songs. Nice voice, definitely a belter.