Made and Making: November 2015

I know I’m posting this on a day when the last thing my fellow Americans want to do is think about food. But here we are! This is an all food edition–my favorite recipes from the past month.

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Buns

Twice-baked Potatoes with Kale

Balsamic Braised Brussels Sprouts (I omitted the pancetta)

Cranberry Pie with Pecan Crumble (probably one of the best pies I’ve ever made!)

Wild Rice & Kale Gratin from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Warm Kale Salad (I used hazelnuts instead of pine nuts and left out the sugar)

Russian Potato and Mushroom Soup

Russian Braised Cabbage

One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni (This turned out weirdly spicy for my taste, so I would leave out the pepper entirely next time)

Mujadara with an Egg (Probably the best mujadara I’ve ever had–a great recipe)

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup

Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries (I substituted hazelnuts for the pecans, and goat cheese for the Gorgonzola, since that’s what I had on hand)

Pulled Pork from Home Made Winter

Vegetable Stroganoff from Moosewood Cookbook

Apple-Cheddar Pie

Beef, Leek, and Barley Soup, heavily adapted from this recipe


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Links from around the web: 11-24-15

This could be titled The Burn It All Down issue, just to warn you.

Heavy stuff
Rembert Browne did a really interesting interview with DeRay McKesson. The interview itself is great & it also made me think a lot about how the questions & depth of interviews change when two people from the same group are the ones involved.

A Washington Post article about the way Ferguson led into the Mizzou protests (which I think helps push back against the idea that these are whiney college students–it becomes clear that Ferguson was a huge catalyst for a number of the activists).

People have been talking a lot about this essay “On Pandering” and with good reason. I think it says a lot of good, important things, but I’m also listening to a number of women of color who feel it has a limited point of view/scope. Still, it’s worth reading if only for the best explanation of the effects of gaslighting I’ve ever seen.

As a result of a Twitter conversation about the pandering essay above, Gwenda Bond linked me to an old article of hers about the canon, which I think is really great. I love and have loved many of the classics, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I also think it’s important to examine who and what we’re promoting.

Annie Theriault’s essay on “Mental Illness & the Male Gaze” is breathtakingly powerful.

Tying nicely in with Gwenda’s post above, the Reading While White blog had a post about who gets to be a classic, and what we’re doing when we unthinkingly promote the same books over and over. (via Brandy)

This is completely terrifying, as a woman on the internet (but really it should be terrifying for everyone). If you think that MRAs/GG are not dangerous in the real world, reconsider that. (Also the internet is part of the real world, so reconsider that too.)

I found this Atlantic article a really thoughtful critique of maker culture & what/who it’s promoting.

And finally, there was a barf-inducing article in Publisher’s Weekly about yet another white male writer who is coming to save YA from its lady-cooties, by writing a MPDG, OF COURSE. Here’s an older interview with him that made me furious about two lines in. Be warned.

A happy thing or two


Taking down Thomas Jefferson

Little girls in adorable & amazing Halloween costumes? YES PLEASE

A tiny goat is ridiculously cute

Probably most people have seen this cats vs. cucumbers video already, but just in case! I tried it with Wimsey, but he was not scared at all and mostly thought I was being silly.

The lady who bought a front-row seat at a Donald Trump rally & then read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen all through the speech is amazing & a hero.

The in-depth analysis of Han & Leia’s “I love you/I know” exchanges you’ve always wanted.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite quotations

This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!

I realized that part of what I use my Tumblr for is marking down lines I like while reading, much in the way that I used to keep notebooks full of quotations. Here are a few I’ve liked recently.

“Harriet! I’ve never met anyone called Harriet in real life. I had a brief fantasy about her being Harriet Vane, because she’d be about the right age for that, except that Harriet Vane would be addressed as Lady Peter, and anyway she’s fictional. I can tell the difference, really I can.”  —Among Others, Jo Walton

“Rainwater and skin and bones, the grey sea and the shore upon which it breaks, mountains and snow and Dorian Gray: all of it, quilted out of the hearts of stars.”–About a Girl, Sarah McCarry

“Omelets can take a thousand forms. They can’t, though, very well be made with a single egg: they are good made with two eggs, and at their very best made with three. Two eggs in the morning is a hearty breakfast, but three is an orgy.” –Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal

“Mitt did not quite forget his perfect land. He remembered it, though a little fuzzily, the next time the wind dropped, but he did not set off to look for it again. It was plain to him that soldiers only brought you back again if you went. It made him sad. When an inkling of it came to him in silence, or in scents, or, later, if the wind hummed a certain note, or a storm came shouting in from the sea and he caught the same note in the midst of its noise, he thought of his lost perfect place and felt for a moment as if his heart would break.” —Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones

“Women geniuses don’t get coddled…so they learn not to expect it.” –Dorothy Sayers, Strong Poison

“I guess you could call me a late bloomer, but that implies that we’re all on some predetermined blooming schedule, that there’s a right or a wrong way to be sixteen and in love with a boy.” —P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han

“I am only myself, muscle and bone, stubborn and jealous and sometimes too mean, selfish and in love.” —All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry

“The family economy evades calculation in the gross planetary product. It’s the only deal I know where, when you give more than you get, you aren’t bankrupted–but rather, vastly enriched.” –Cordelia Vorkosigan speaking in A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

“Eugenides looked up at her, and Attolia felt transparent, as if her mask were gone, as if he could see her heart and know that a moment before it had been stopped by grief.” —Queen of Attolia, Megan Whalen Turner (could just quote this entire book)

“And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie’s written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I’m reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She’s right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can’t be landed, stuck in the climb – alive, alive, ALIVE.” –Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

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Comfort reads

November is generally not a great month for me personally, so this year I decided to prepare. I started a list of comfort books to consider reading this month, and also got some great suggestions from Twitter friends. I know a lot of people struggle with this time of year, so I thought I would share my own list. One caveat: this is really a list for me–ie, I have The Queen of Attolia on there, which some people would not consider a comfort book as such. Also, I haven’t really bothered formatting the list or alphabetizing it, so mg, YA, and adult are all jumbled up.

If you have suggestions, or want to mention your own comfort books, leave a comment & I’ll add them! I’ll (hopefully) be talking about these as I read them using the #Novemreads hashtag on Twitter.

Promised Land

Among Others

Queen of Attolia


False Colors


Perilous Gard

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

The Winter Prince

Betsy and Joe


Murder of Bindy McKenzie

Ombria in Shadow

Laura Florand–Wish Upon Jasmine–READ

Julie James

The Goblin Emperor

Emma Barry–Private Politics–READ

Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance

Martha Wells

Jennifer Echols

I Capture the Castle

To Say Nothing of the Dog

Andrea K Höst

Deep Secret

Margery Allingham


Mary Russell

Garden Spells

Marilynne Robinson–Gilead

Gillian Bradshaw



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Cybils round up: Carson and Lee + bonus Hamilton moment

walk on earth a strangerWalk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: Set in 1849, this historical fantasy follows Lee, a young girl whose parents are murdered. She can sense gold nearby, so when her uncle shows up to claim her and her property, she disguises herself as a boy and sets out on the trail to the California Gold Rush. The focus here is very much on Lee, but there’s a wider cast of characters in the people she encounters and travels with. This one was exciting, but I personally felt that it was a little short on substance somehow; the action felt almost episodic. But I liked the friendship between Lee and Jefferson, and the way the wagon train functions as a small community. (I was really interested in the way Mrs. Joyner was written as well.)

this monstrous thingThis Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee: This is also historical fantasy, set in 1818 Geneva. It’s a steampunk alternate history of the writing of Frankenstein. I wondered how well this might work for readers who either haven’t read Frankenstein or who don’t know that Mary Shelley was born Mary Godwin (although it’s eventually spelled out for us). But I liked the way Lee translated the concerns of early 19th century Europe into this society anxious about clockwork men (created in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars), about the rise of technology and the concern with what is natural vs. monstrous. The uprising aspect didn’t work quite as well for me, but I did appreciate that it was an attempt to draw on actual historical events. Alisdair is a mostly sympathetic main character, although I liked him best when he was interacting with Clemence. All in all, this is a pretty solid and interesting look at Frankenstein and some of its concerns.

Also, I had a Hamilton moment, because it turns out that Aaron Burr (sir) was close friends with the Godwin-Wollstonecraft household and knew Mary Shelley fairly well when she was young. He even had a portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft copied and sent to his daughter Theodosia! (So now I want that AU fanfic where Theodosia and Philip Hamilton both live and fall in love and hang out with the Shelleys and Lord Byron because tell me THAT wouldn’t have ended in at least one duel and maybe a continental war.)

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Apple-Cheddar Pie

This is kind of cobbled together from several different recipes, but turned out really well (and I think would be even better with a good quality cheddar).


Basic Pie Dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons cold (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). To help ensure a flaky crust, do not overprocess.

Transfer half of dough (still crumbly) onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form dough into a disk 3/4 inch thick; wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (and up to 3 days). Repeat with remaining dough. (Disks can be frozen, tightly wrapped, up to 3 months. Thaw before using.) Makes 2 disks.

Apple Pie

3 lbs tart apples
1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F. Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).

2. Roll dough on lightly floured work surface or between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by rolling dough around rolling pin and unrolling over 9 1/2-inch pie plate or by folding dough in quarters, then placing dough point in center of pie plate and unfolding. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place; refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.

3. Peel, core and cut apples in half, and in half again width-wise; cut quarters into 1/4-inch slices. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center. Scatter cheese over apples.

4. Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk and place over filling. Trim top and bottom edges to 1/2-inch beyond pan lip. Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits on dough top. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

5. Place pie on baking sheet and lower oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer.

6. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. [hahahahaha, I did not wait 4 hours.]

adapted from The Kitchen Sink, Smitten Kitchen, and Moosewood Cookbook

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Made and Making: October 2015

I am posting this late on a Friday evening, which is just about the deadest of times on the Internet. Nevertheless, if I don’t put it up now, I don’t think I ever will, and that would be a pity (at least from my point of view, wrt documenting the things I make).

This month has been a fun crafting month. I am still plodding away on my Wheatsheaves sweater–well, not plodding. Elizabeth McCarten does a lovely job designing her patterns and I’ve enjoyed knitting it. It’s just that I’ve reached the second sleeve and second sleeves are always tedious for me.

But I also made a display at work that took a LOT of time, but that I’m incredibly pleased with. It’s a sort of Brambly Hedge-inspired autumn display, done in watercolor and colored pencil. As a piece of art that I made, it’s near the top of my favorite things ever. (I struggled to take photos of it that weren’t super blurry.)

brambly hedge display 1brambly hedge display 2

I also made, for myself, a kind of floral collage out of colored paper. It’s adhered onto a black background. I’m not quite sure where I want to put it, but I’m thinking maybe my bedroom, where my desired aesthetic is Elven retreat/fairy forest. I’m fairly happy with it, except that if/when I make another, I think I’ll use more brightly colored paper, so that it pops even more against the background.


I also did some cooking! These are highlights rather than an exhaustive list:


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