Ella Shrieks

Ella has started stretching her vocal cords, and I’m afraid we may be ending the era of N-crying. N-crying is the muffled almost cute crying she does now, as named by my parents. This new sound is cute at first, but when she started doing it at 1:30am, you really jump in to action. No more changing diapers in a near-sleep state.

Car woes

The CCM on Michelle’s car died on Monday and we were able to get it repaired quickly and get a new serpentine belt installed and life was good (thanks to that extended warranty we purchased). Today just as we arrived home we started to smell burnt toffee, then burnt rubber. Then some weird noise started eminating from the frontal area of the car similar to belt/pulley noises. We popped the hood and sure enough, the smell was from our car, and the coolant overflow was boiling. Got it back to the dealer (who slipped us in thanks to a friend) and they’ve already located the problems and started working with the warranty and parts folks to make the repairs.

I’ve never really had the “friend at the …” hookup before and recently I’ve discovered the joy of it. There have been times in the past where someone got me a free Mr. Dilly bar, but my guilt kept me from enjoying it. This stuff is guilt free. We just have to thank them properly.

1 a year

Joe and Lindsay brought over lunch last week while I was home with Ella and I offered them pickles, something I used to hate. Lindsay also used to dislike them and mentioned that it was one of the “one a year” food items that she adds back to her repitoir. I’ve noticed the same thing with my diet; with the exception of peas, most of the food I hated as a child I now enjoy. Pickles, mustard, olives, horseradish, spinach, dark poultry meat, and so forth. Most of the items have very strong flavors, which I imagine has something to do with the change.

Oh, I still hate liver.

Stretch

We just switched Ella’s sleepers (jammies) from the 3 month size to the 6 month size. This morning we realized she’s already as long as her 6 month size too. The sleeper is (well, was) an eerie whiter-than-white terry-cloth number. For some reason I’m more comfortable putting my own child in something that has been worn already and proven it won’t, I dunno, bleach the skin.

Chicken Yassa

Last term I saw one of my employees working on a final project that included creating a database driven website. The gist of the website was a recipe database. He is Senegalese, so he was highlighting Senegalese cuisine. The pictures looked absolutely amazing, so I asked about them, about the food, what it was like and where I could try some. He described how the staples were made, but said the only place I could try it (other than homemade) was New York. Apparently Portland had a Senegalese restaurant a few years back, but it closed up.

Looking at the pictures, it seemed very similar to some Indian curries or Ethiopian dishes so I asked and and he seemed a little annoyed at the comparison. I suppose he might be considering the distance between Senegal and Ethiopia. It would be like asking someone from Portland if an IPA here tasted like an IPA from Boston (the answer is no).

Anyway, time passed and one of my coworkers mentioned that he new my employee and that he was a great cook. I prodded him about this, so he agreed to give me some recipes to try. He explained Mafe to me (apparently it’s easy enough that I don’t need a recipe?) and gave me the recipe for Chicken Yassa. The ingredients were different enough from anything I’d tried that I was quite excited to try it. Michelle is out with friends tonight so I walked to the grocer and picked up the ingredients and made myself some Yassa. It was fairly easy, somewhat time consuming, but in the end, really quite good. I opted the for the spicy version, so I included a whole minced habanero, and beef bullion cubes, which his recipe called for. This recipe at epicurious is a little more detailed than what I worked with, but I could have used the details.

I’m really quite pleased by how well it turned out, and I’ll have to try it again sometime soon for other people.