When Life Gives You Culantro
To be honest, I started this blog post about three weeks ago, and about five minutes into it, I got bored and thought, “ok, done now!” and gave up. Today I’m realizing that there’s not really been any more of the personal-in-nature, lifey-bits on this blog (I’m guilty of putting all of it in my newsletter now), and maybe I actually need to buckle down and finish this. To make it look like a real person lives here, I guess.
Anyway, I had totally forgotten what the title of the blog post was about, what was I referencing? But now it’s coming back to me, and actually, no one gave me that culantro. I bought it by accident when I thought I was buying stemmy spinach. We’ve found a very low-key, no-frills local farmer’s market somewhat nearby, and in the last few months, I’ve been stupidly excited about our visits loading up on herbs and veggies for half the cost of what we might spend in the grocery store (I need that extra money for books and perfume!) It’s just a few stalls of produce; there are no artisanal bread or cheese sellers, no coffee stalls, nothing fancy like that. Just a few people selling fruits and veggies.
Instead of going there with all kinds of plans and recipes in mind, I’ve decided that I will just show up and see what looks interesting and grab it! And then figure out what to do with it on the fly during the course of the week. I’ve sort of fallen into a rut over the last few months. Not without good reason, I guess. I was writing a book and working toward many deadlines, and it was easier to make a lot of simple meals, salads for lunch, and easy brothy soups for dinner. I didn’t have to think about it too much, and I didn’t have to expend a whole bunch of energy. Now I’ve got more time on my hands, and I am realizing that I really miss experimenting!
So what did I do with all of that culantro? First, if you’ve never even heard of it (I had not), it’s an herb that is similar in taste and smell to cilantro, but it looks quite different, and the taste is a lot stronger. I made sofrito with it, except I didn’t have peppers, so I used celery (!!) instead. I realize they are not interchangeable, but, eh, it was an experiment. I also made a dipping sauce for dumplings –and then realizing we had no dumplings, I had to make some of those, too–but Yvan and I agreed this would probably make a better salad dressing.
SO. The featured image for this blog post is not culantro. It’s a random flowering plant from our garden, which we’ve finally begun working on. It’s a mess right now and making me very anxious, so let’s change the subject.
It’s a slow, rainy day today; everything is gloomy and dim. All of my favorite corners looked especially haunted, so I thought I might grab a few murky photos, light a candle, play something atmospheric, and cobble together a cozy space for writing.
Our friend Pam just left from a quick overnight visit, and I’m recovering from the gardening she helped us with this morning and the ONE cocktail I had last night. Lordy. As I am becoming An Old, I am coming to the realization that I can barely drink anything without feeling absolutely woozy and wooly afterward. I need to find some tasty mocktail recipes, except we need to call them something else because I hate the word “mocktail,” it’s just too dumb.
So Pam and I watched some great movies while she was here. Yvan is not a horror movie fan, and I don’t subject him to it, but I’ll always take advantage of having company if they swing the way of spooky movies. As a matter of fact, the last horror movie of any kind I watched was last October, yikes! Last night we saw Huesera: The Bone Woman, which came highly recommended by Andrea at Rue Morgue. An artful pregnancy-as-body-horror/dark side of motherhood story, it follows Val, a former punk-rock rebel turned somewhat domesticated wife, who is caught between what she wants for herself and what society wants for her and who is stalked by a sinister entity after she realizes she has become pregnant. I really enjoyed this one (I especially loved the mid-century modern artsy decor of her apartment!) We also watched M3GAN, and I am sure that I do not need to tell you anything about that one because I am the last person in the world to watch it, but it was delightfully silly and a lot of fun.
My Best Good Friend stayed with us a few days last week, and holy moly, I am just realizing that one. we have lived in this house for over a year now, and two. we have had more guests here in a year than we had in a decade in the old house! Despite the fact that as of April 8th, we’ve lived here for a whole 12 months, the place still doesn’t look very put together…however, BGF is quite good at configuring rooms and maximizing spaces, so they gave us lots of good ideas for temporary solutions while we are still figuring things out.
I don’t quite know what my interior style sensibilities are anymore; I never went full-goth, and creepy-cute never resonated with me, dark Victorian just feels way too extra and high maintenance and cluttered…I think I’m leaning toward something sort of Scandi/mid-century modern, but also rustic fairy tale/cottage witch and a touch of dark bohemia/shadowy eclectic…and that’s not even a thing! How do I make all of this work? I don’t know!
Well, to throw everything off entirely, during the course of their visit, we stopped by a vintage shop, and I bought this splendidly pretty, strawberry-festooned teapot/pitcher, cream jug, and sugar bowl. Where do I put it? What does it go with? There are currently no answers.
To wrap up this little update, here are some current favorite things…
- an ergonomic keyboard and mouse for my poor fucked up thumb and wrist
- Linghun by Ai Jiang is a heart-haunting novella on how the melancholy of loss makes for desperate ghosts among the living
- the time and space dissolving synthy dreaminess of Spirit Exit by Caterina Barbieri
- hot chocolate tea from David’s tea (it’s so good with a little bit of milk!)
- the Clio cushion foundation –even though I hate makeup, this stuff is really flawless
- very into these beautiful lover’s eye plates by Susannah Carson
- very obsessed with the idea of knitting up this Anthology throw blanket
- also obsessed with turning my billowing wardrobe into more of a Lagenlook thing, but also mori-adjacent, and also from The Shire
- re: the above look, I think @kelseamori on TikTok is my inspiration
- I’m wearing the shadowy forest temple vibes of Kyoto from Comme des Garçons and realizing for the millionth time it is my all-time no. 1 favorite fragrance
- I have perfected miso soup (to my taste): add miso to a hot broth of dashi powder, a tiny bit of both soy sauce & Shaoxing wine
- add chopped zucchini and dried, soaked, and sliced shitake mushrooms to the above
- serve the above with a rolled omelet or rice and pickles, and this is my breakfast for the past two months
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Your style sounds a bit like dark/goth cottagecore... except for the scandi pieces. What about Swedish Witch? It's fun to say, too!
Now, this said, I have been thinking about this Papier d'Arménie candle for two days. Does it actually smell like papier d'Arménie ? Cause if so, I needssssss it...