Friday, May 26, 2006

Cedar plank salmon & X3

what are you trying to say?

X3 opens today

Gracie, Leya & Ewan came over for dinner for homemade dips, cedar plank salmon, grilled asparagus, hot links & yummy pies from Grateful Bread (chocolate mint brownies....)

Da Mao's receipe for cedar plank salmon w/t secret sauce:

Soak plank in water for hours until time to grill

Season salmon (last night used King) with salt & pepper, then cover with secret sauce (Stonewall Kitchen's vidalia & fig sauce, wasabi salad dressing, ponze, lemon & OJ)

Put some olive oil on cooking side of plank, put on grill at direct high for 3 - 5 minutes until it smokes. If you have soaked it properly it shouldn't burn.

Turn heat down to indirect high, put salmon on top of plank, close kid & let it cook. Do not distrburb until it's done - about 1 minute per lbs

When finished, brush on the left over secret sauce (trick - fork the end of a 1/2 lemon & use it as a brush)

Drizzle with fried garlic & rosemary (stove top, low heat chopped garlic, rosemary & olive oil until crispy but not burnt)

Serve on the plank. Fish will have beautiful carmalized exterior and juicy meat.

New address for La Gringa

Truffles face off a raccoon

La Gringa's blog has moved

Just got back from Washington DC. Not much to report as was in meetings pretty much the entire time. Highlights were going to the baseball game at RFK and seeing The Brazilian Girls at the Black Cat for the PGW party. Supressed urge to storm the White House.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Baby McWong

This just in from our friends Eva & David:

Eva gave herself a nice Mother's Day present by delivering a baby boy on Sunday afternoon. The new baby is Jasper McIntyre, 8 lb. 7 oz. He has brown hair, dark eyes, and (unfortunately, some may say) looks like me. He likes to be held, is prone to crying fits that can be stopped only when i sing the "Let's go Red Sox" chant to him, which i did when he was still in his mommy's belly. Eva is doing very well considering that she had to deliver him caesarean; she's up and about already w/ just some pain. Here's a link to some online pics.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Jungle Fever

here are the backyard action referenced in earlier posts

Crumpet going international - or at least Canada

Yup, Crumpet got her own passport.

So we can go to Vancouver this weekend.

Da Mao went up to Toronto for a few days last week to check out the Canadian scene. Got their the day the dollar broke 90 for the first time in 28 years.

Went to legendary rock 'n roll bar The Horseshoe with Kevin Drew, the front man of Broken Social Scene. My buddie Scott & I came from work so we're still in our suits. At one point sitting outside this couple came to me and said



Universal right?


You guys are A&R from Universal, right?

Er, no, we sell comics.

Then we started talking about hockey and all was well.

Oh, Toronto has the best street hot dogs in the world. Sliced open & cooked on open flames, over 20 kinds of sauces & condiments available. Yum!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Baby Crumpet at Four

On May 19th Baby Crumpet turned 4 months old.

She celebrated the event by getting shots w/t massive needles at the doctor during her 4 months check-up. The result? Healthy as a bay can be. 14 lbs & 5 ounces and over 24 inches ''tall''. Gosh, remember when she was under 6 lbs? My arm doesn't.

Life with Crumpet can be summarized as ''happy''. She smiles in the morning when she wakes up, when she gets fed, when she gets picked up, when she plays in the jungle gym, when she poops, when she gets changed, when mom or dad comes home from work or travels. This will be key evidence when she becomes a mopey, vegan kid in high school someday.....

One Year in Seattle

It was a year ago that we moved from Astoria to Seattle, in between taking the cats to visit Badlands, Walls Drug, Little Big Horn, the Corn Palace, Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower. Much have happened in this past year - we had Baby Crumpet, bought a house, bought a grill and I went to Ikea for the very first time.

Life in the Pacific Northwest is just amazing. We're surrounded by wonderful friends - the McQuinns, Megan, Troy, Jen, Gracie, the Smiths, Gaynors, Lothian, Collins, Adams just to name a few. We spend most of our day offs either in the backyard or in the mountains. This summer we plan to visit British Columbia, Mount St Helens & Rainier, the Olympic mountains, San Juan Islands, Oregon & maybe squeeze in a visit to the wine region. We have our favorite places for ''chicken marsala pie'', ''pork adobo'' and Top Pot Donut.

We love it when friends visit. Looking forward to Book Stud this July and the Allens in August. Anybody else?

Truffles & Rosemary

Truffles & Rosemary (seen here napping on the 3rd floor futon) had their annual vet check-up. The ''transporation'' claimed its usual casaulty - me. This time Rosemary opened a gash right on my left hand's vein. I've gotten a lot of mileage with the nasty scar as more than one person remarked if I have attempted suicide recently.

The check-up? They're both fine. Rosie only slightly over weight. When told that Truffles vomits 'cause she eats to fast, the vet suggested we put large rocks in the bowl to slow her down. This actually worked for about a day, then Truffles became a master of eating around the rock and we're back to square one.

It's been sunny in Seattle since April so we let the cats out in the backyard and they just love it. Truffles has a routine - she lies on the grass until some bug ticklets her belly, then she jumps in the air, dashes across the yard and leaps across the deck to run inside the house (her fur goes flap, flap like in a John Woo movie). Sometimes leaping over Baby Crumpet as she likes to lie the deck & stair up at the fluttering leafs.

Pig Roast

Crumpet, Big A, McQuinn, Gracie & moi headed to The Seattle Wine Outlet for a pig roast & Spanish wine tasting. Photo shows what's left of the pig.. It was delicious with just the right mix of fat, saltiness & crispy skin. It only cost $220 to buy a whole roast pig from Chinatown, maybe we should get it for Crumpet's one year birthday party...

The Wine Outlet is a superb venue that specializes in finding high quality wine at bargain prices. Say leftover inventory for a cruise ship or wedding party. You never know what you will find here. One day the place could be empty while the next it might have several hundred cases of new Spanish wine.

We took home a ''twany port wine'' called Jonesy from Australia. It is neither a true port (only those from Portugal can use that name) nor is a twany (since it has been aged more than 3 years). But hey, they're Australians so they don't give a crap. It is a wonderful everyday port with lingering taste of honey & flowers. At only $10 a bottle go grab one for yourself.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Baby Crumpet

Big A says this is the photo that will make us a million bucks

Baby Crumpet is doing great. She loves to smile and baby talk. Her latest obsession is eating her hands. We're waiting until she discover her feet. She is not yet sleeping through the night but getting close - she now sleeps at least 3 hours but can go as long as 7 hours. She also loves to eat, oh boy does she love to eat. We've turned into one of those Costco people who bought truckloads of baby formula & diaper. Yeah to coupons!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology

Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology

With the terrible consequences of Hurricane Katrina only recently behind us, it's all too easy to forget a much bigger natural disaster, the effects of which are still being felt throughout the coastal and island nations of Southeast Asia. The tsunami that swept across Thailand, Sri Lanka, portions of India, Indonesia and seven other countries during Christmas week in 2004 hit with a force equivalent to the energy released by 23,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. Nearly 200,000 were killed and two million people made homeless in one day. To this day, over 50,000 people remain unaccounted for.

Well, there's still something you can do to help, and in return, you'll get a kick-ass read, and a beautiful book to show off to friends and neighbors. Writers Steven Savile and Alethea Kontis (who is - by the way - also a buyer at Ingram Book group in Tennessee, an a friend of a friend) have put together an amazing new anthology called Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology. All publisher's and author's profits will be donated to Save the Children's Tsunami Relief Fund.

The list of contributors is impressive andf reads like a Who's Who of SF/F and horror: David Gerrold, Adam Roberts, Esther M. Friesner, Jacqueline Carey, Brian Aldiss, Stel Pavlou, Larry Niven, Kinley MacGregor, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Joe Haldeman, Juliet Marillier, Tim Lebbon, Eric Nylund Lynn Flewelling, Michael Marshall Smith, Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, Janny Wurts, William C. Dietz, Syne Mitchell, Sharon Shinn, Sean Williams & Shane Dix, Martha Wells, David Drake, and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. The book has been simultaneously pubbed in hardcover and trade paperback. You can read more about the book here.

And if you have a blog, help spread the word!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ridiculously cute photos of Crumpet

First week at Day Care - report card said ''smile when spoken to''

'nuf said

Mom does Washington

Whirldwind tour for Mom in Washington State.

First thing was to make pg feet because ''good for mommy who breast-feed''. after giving me a few rudimentary instructions she promptly takes a nap, leaving me to figure out how to make it. Actually turned out pretty well.

Out & about - lunch at Matt's in the Market. Breatfast at Five Spot with Collins (and an apparently bored Miss Crumpet), lunch at Aqua Cafe by the waterfront, lunch at Kuze Sushi in Wallingford.

Dinner at home attended by good friend Cathy (pictured), her husband John, Gracie, Collins and the McQuinns (for the first time ever Don was not the oldest). Made Chinese style BBQ pork (recipe below) + a halibut grilled on cedar plank. Crumpet was star of the evening and got passed around like a rugby ball.

Dinner at Volterra in Ballard with Troy & Megan 'cause Mom was craving Italian. awesome food including steamed fish in parchment, mussels in cream sauce, wild boar sausage with gorgonzola (great dog name, I think), wild mushroom polenta, panna cota with strawberries and beautiful Tuscan wine & vin santo. Very memorable evening.

Went to Mount Baker for the weekend where mom enjoyed our stupendous breakfast biscuits 'n gravy, world-famous fish tacos and our mouth-watering burgers (another thing she can't find in China). Mom showed Collins & I how to make Chinese BBQ pork and roast duck. As I fumble with bad translations, mom got frustrated, rolled up her sleeves, picked up a knife and went at the pork herself in the middle of the lunch rush. Always said the Chinese like brute force.

Here is what I learned on how to make Chinese BBQ pork, I think. Mom was not very forthcoming with details, just keep telling me everything is ''easy'' and probably wondering why her son is so dumb.


Pork tenderloin (can also use shoulder or butt). Score it with knife on all sides so it looks like dangling firecracker

Marinate it in Chinese BBQ sauce (called char-shui, found in most Asian stores), honey, soy sauce and white pepper

Right before baking, brush it with vinegar - this is to help the skin gets crispy

Bake it in oven at 350 degrees for roughly 20 - 30 minutes depending on size. Excellent to eat as it (w/t Chinese mustard or Japanese gomdare sauce) or use in rice, noodles or soup

Mom meets Mia

Da Mao's mom came to visit Team Mia in Seattle (from Shenzhen, China) for the week and everyone had a blast. The two women had instant chemistry and spend the better part of the week glued to each other. It is such a wonderful thing for the different generation to meet.

My mom is a seasoned practioner of Taoism (she counts Lin Yun and Dalai Lama as friends and has been to Tibet many times), she is especially a good reader of people. Her prediction for Baby Crumpet's future: she will be gorgeous and out-going, but also very cunning, manipulative and difficult to control. Great, I thought I was kidding when I said my daughter will one day rule the world....

Our plan is to visit mom in China once a year and she is also planning on coming back to the States next summer and spend a few months visiting us as well as friends in the Bay Area & LA.

My mom took to Baby Crumpet immediately. She is

Ravioli Party

Big A masterminded a Ravioli party aka from chaos come tasty treats.

Jen wooed the crowd with a saffron-potato-walnuts ravioli.

Big A enticed folks with a golden beets-riccota cheese ravioli.

The McQuinns knocked people out with a triple garlic-zucchi entry

Gracie took the prize with an unbelievably delicious dessert ravioli: bananas, walnuts & brown sugar, fried to golden crisp and served with warm caramel sauce. Yowza!

The next evening Troy & Megan hosted a fantastic Mexican dinner with fresh fish & various hot sauces. That blur in the photo is Megan in action.

There is talk of a paella party in the near future....

Nathan's Birthday Party

Pictures from Nathan's 3 years old birthday party for all you folks in the Nathan Gaynor Fan Club....

Monday, May 01, 2006

Baby Crumpet goes to Day Care

Today Baby Crumpet went to Day Care for the first time. It was a big day for Team Mia. Hours were spend on researching and establishing complex supply chain (milk, clothes, diapers), logistics (different parent drop-off and pick-up points), communication (evacuation plans), risk management (extra diapers) and work-flow solutions (scheduling). We retained the services of crack consultants, lawyers and logistic managers from different industries. We briefly considered outsourcing singing lulllabies to Infosys in India but decided to let the Hispanic care worker handle it.

We immediately ran into an obstacle. Day Care required that you bring enough pre-filled bottles to last the day - for Crumpet this meant 6 bottles. How do you transport & store it? Solution: six pack of Guinness, Turns out we were not original as the parent before me had a six pack of Dos Equis disquised as baby formula.

All in all the first day went great for everyone involved. In the ''family communication'' sheet under overall disposition Crumpet scored ''content'' and the caregiver noted she smiled a lot :-)

One night in Hong Kong

Stopped in HK to pick up my mom. She will be coming back with me to spend a week in Seattle to see her granddaughter, the baby crumpet

We had a fabulous dinner at Emily Kwong's fusion restaurant in Kwoloon. Multiple course meals included peking duck, fried snapper, stone-cooked rice, vegetarian dumpling, pot stickers, cripsy rice soup and many others. The thing about Chinese food in HK is that they're not that different in selection from what you can get in the US (China is a different story). But somehow the same dish in HK tastes a 100 times better - more fresh, more crisp, more flavorful and more satisfying. I asked my mom if she wanted any Chinese food when in Seattle and she just made a face and went ''ew....''.

Joining us for dinner for various family members including my brother, counsins, aunties including one who invented the mysterious X.O. sauce in the 1970s. It is very fun to read articles on the X.O. sauce speculating its origin when the inventor is sitting right in front of me!

Thought - watching the news in HK as Hu Jin Tao, China's premiere visits Seattle & Washington and standing next to Bush you get a different perspective. You can't help but feel the shif in power. Big A & I laugh whenever we read journalist writing about the ''rise of China'' because clearly that reporter has never been to China. It has risen. It is already a massive capitalisc powerhouse on a degree the world has not seen since the industrial revolution. Just this morning a NPR story talked about how Hu's subsequent trip to Nigeria & Saudi Arabia ''proves'' China is ''becoming'' an important source for oil consumption. Ha ha ha ha ha ha...sorry, had to wipe tears of my eyes. There are cities in China that we have never heard of that has more high rise buildings, banks, theme parks, Wal-Mart & Starbucks then NY or London or Toronto. Who are we kidding....