Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quick Coconut Lemongrass Rice

Coconut Lemongrass Rice

As previously discussed, I LIVE for Asian food!  So, I'm always looking for a way to add a little Asian fusion to my favorite foods. 

My latest experiment?  I replaced the water in my rice cooker with coconut water.  It was amazing!

To do this yourself, pair raw jasmine rice with coconut water (I live at high elevation, so I do one cup of rice to 1-1/4 cups of coconut water) and lemongrass. 

Cook as usual, and then pan fry with scallions, salt and pepper.  Then I topped with some edible violas from my garden and some lime for added flavor.  YUM!
Lemongrass is very easy to grow and smells amazing.  Plant it by seed in the Spring, and harvest when the shoots get about as large as a green onion.  Pull from the root and shuck off the grassy exterior until you have nothing but the soft white reed core showing. This is the edible part.  Soak or boil in water to soften before using.

This coconut lemongrass rice is delicious with a twist of lime!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wallpapering: Black and White and Read All Over

The Love/Hate Black and White Wallpaper
When I was 15, I talked my mother into letting me decorate my own bedroom.  With paintbrushes in hand, I painted the entirety of my attic bedroom in a color palette of two colors: black and white.

Thank goodness for liberal parenting.  They let me stencil on the white walls a black border that consisted of four symbols: a telephone, a female insignia, a peace sign, and...oh, jeez, I forgot!  Anyway, the black stencils, paired with a black and white comforter, black lacquer desk, and oriental room divider made quite the spectacle in my teen dream room.  So, needless to say, I think I've always had a bit of a fondness for the black and white color palette.  Which is why I was surprised when everyone else was so surprised that I recently retreated to my days of the black and white walls.

Fast forward [a lot] of years later.  My sister recently moved out.  If you recall, earlier I did a story on her Tiffany Blue Room which we conquered as part of a Spring Break weekend warrior project.  Well, when she left, the only remnant of her 3-1/2 years with us was one bright blue wall.  

Before - Tiffany Blue

Part of me wanted to see it go because it made me sad every time I walked by.  Another part of me just couldn't find anything in my juxtaposition of spare furniture to match.  And another part of me just wanted to experiment with wallpaper.  So I ordered some discount black and white wallpaper online and I gave it a shot. 

Let me tell you...prior to this project I had ideas of grandeur about putting wallpaper up on numerous walls in the house.  But after fighting with this--pardon my french--BITCH of a project, I no longer desire to wallpaper anything. 
After - Floral Explosion of Black and White Wallpaper

In case you are thinking of wallpapering your house, here's a few notes for amateur wallpaperers that I learned the hard way:

What I wish I knew about hanging wallpaper before I actually did it:
  • "Pre-pasted" actually means "barely sticks."
  • You must "rough" up (then clean) the walls with sandpaper prior to wallpapering or it slides right off.
  • Water temperature is key to soaking your paper and bath water gets cold quickly.
  • You need to buy extra wallpaper...not just because that "double roll" forces you to buy one more roll than necessary, but because you will probably use an entire roll finessing the first run of paper.
  • First dip your paper in a bath of water, then fold on oneself to activate the glue.  Who knew?  Thank you You Tube...we would have wasted two rolls if we didn't look this up.
  • Patterned wallpaper wastes a lot of paper matching itself up.
  • Start with a wall that will be mostly covered...practice makes perfect.  Scratch that, practice makes "not too bad."
So, all that work, and I actually am kind of fond of it even though the entire process sucked and took almost 12 hours to do.  As for my sister...she will no longer sleep in the room because she said it makes her dizzy.  I guess when it comes to wallpaper, it's a love/hate thing!