shichahn: (Default)
So, this summer I will be going that extra step in cooking from scratch by growing my own herbs and spices (and a veggie or two). The reason being that I live in Arkansas and the things I like are totally unobtainable in grocery stores (okay, with a few exceptions). Thankfully, Amazon gift cards can go a long way when obtaining some seeds!

I'm trying not to go overboard, mostly because I will be in and out a lot this summer and won't necessarily have the time to tend to a garden daily, and because I live in a tiny apartment with no space to grow things (not even a lovely porch like Dar and Angela had in Portland). But I'm making do! My garden for this year:

Garlic (planted one sprout today!) I have two more cloves I'm trying to sprout, hopefully they do so. My plan for these is really just for the chives. I'll replant a clove or two this coming fall to try and get a whole head of garlic for the following year.

Thai basil (seeds in the mail)

Tabasco chile (seeds in the mail) - I really wanted to grow Thai bird's eye chiles, but the seeds on Amazon didn't look very reliable. The Tabasco chile seeds, on the other hand, seem to have been very successful for almost everyone, and honestly there isn't much difference as they are both little 1-2" green to red chiles that are plenty hot.

Bok choy (seeds in the mail) - these look ridiculously easy to grow. Most cabbages are. I'm getting about 250 seeds, and I'm going to plant a bunch and harvest them as they grow. I really like the young plants more than fully-grown ones anyway.

Lemongrass - I'm hoping I can find some of this in Memphis next week. I want to grow it from cuttings rather than starting from seed, just to save some time.

Kangkong - This one I'm not as sure about. Growing it would be a non-issue as it's a crazy weed that grows like 4" a day, so you can harvest it endlessly and never run out, and it grows just fine in a mix of potting soil and lots of water, so I don't really have to worry about watering it. The trouble is going to be finding some cuttings. I hope Memphis doesn't let me down, but if it does, I am going to be super sad as this is one of my favorite vegetables ever.

I have been doing some excellent cooking lately, I have to say. My favorite recent dish was last night's kadun pika on red rice, stuffed in a roasted poblano. Kadun pika is a Chamorro dish adapted from chicken adobo, so it has all of the delicious sweet and sour flavors from the original Filipino dish, combined with the Chamorro love for all things spicy. Making it is very simple. I didn't measure anything, but for those of you who wish for measurements, the following is my best guess for a single serving of the stuff.

1 Chicken breast, or 2 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 c dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar (or coconut vinegar, if you're lucky enough to find it)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 green onion, diced, separate dark green from light green/white parts
2 red bird's eye chiles (or similar Asian chile)
1 tsp sambal oelek
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 c water
1 tbsp corn starch
sesame oil

Combine all of the above ingredients, minus the corn starch, sesame oil, and dark green onion. Let the chicken marinate for at least 15 minutes, though a couple hours in the fridge is even better. Heat some cooking oil in a pan and pour in the chicken and marinade, and let it simmer until the chicken is cooked. Combine corn starch with a little bit of cold water in a separate measuring cup, mix into a paste, then pour into the cooking chicken and stir until the sauce becomes thicker. Then turn off the heat, add the rest of the green onion, and drizzle sesame oil on top. Serve on top of some cooked rice. Enjoy the ensuing foodgasm.

Like I said, the measurements here are pretty approximate. Key to a good kadun pika is lots of chile, so feel free to adjust that as needed. The above directions make something I consider the equivalent of medium hot in most restaurants. Remove the chiles and sambal entirely and it becomes more like a gingery adobo, which is perfectly fine too.
shichahn: (Default)
I keep having cravings for the sort of things that were staple meals for me on Saipan. Just now while making toast I was thinking about what to make for lunch later on, and what I really wanted was stir-fried Chinese sausage with long beans or kangkong and garlic over sticky rice. Which I could do, except for the vegetable. I miss paying $3 for a week-long supply of long beans, kangkong, and eggplant. (And really, $1 gets you enough eggplant to last two weeks.) I guess I'll just have to settle for broccoli today. I just never thought I would miss the vegetables more than the fruits and fish.

(My toast, however, is covered in delicious mango butter, so thank you Angela! I do miss having a mango tree in the front yard, there is no doubt about that.)
shichahn: (Default)
I keep having cravings for the sort of things that were staple meals for me on Saipan. Just now while making toast I was thinking about what to make for lunch later on, and what I really wanted was stir-fried Chinese sausage with long beans or kangkong and garlic over sticky rice. Which I could do, except for the vegetable. I miss paying $3 for a week-long supply of long beans, kangkong, and eggplant. (And really, $1 gets you enough eggplant to last two weeks.) I guess I'll just have to settle for broccoli today. I just never thought I would miss the vegetables more than the fruits and fish.

(My toast, however, is covered in delicious mango butter, so thank you Angela! I do miss having a mango tree in the front yard, there is no doubt about that.)
shichahn: (Default)
Quite literally, might I say. But first, a quick recap. )
shichahn: (Default)
Quite literally, might I say. But first, a quick recap. )
shichahn: (Default)
So there's this blog, Saipan Pictures, right, full of some very cool photos taken and posted by Eric Johnson, a local teacher here. The most intriguing page to me has always been Caves in Saipan, because there is only one marked cave here and that is Kalabera Cave, which is pretty neat but not particularly interesting beyond the 40-some foot ladder down into the darkness. Beyond that, you can't go anywhere, as the cave continues only as a vertical pit that requires some serious climbing gear to get into. So seeing the guy's photos had always been tantalizing, as I really wanted to go to some of those incredible places but had no idea where to find them. So I emailed him about them and asked if I could get directions to a few.

Well, it turns out that the three I picked were ones he was planning on revisiting tomorrow, of all things! Who would have thought? So now we're going to meet up with him tomorrow morning and he will show us around. How awesome is that? This means, of course, that I will have to wait until later to watch RvB, but I think I can handle that if it means an entire day of awesome caving. Woohoo! But if you never hear from me again, it's because I disappeared into the darkness and never made it out of one of these three caves. Just so you know.
shichahn: (Default)
So there's this blog, Saipan Pictures, right, full of some very cool photos taken and posted by Eric Johnson, a local teacher here. The most intriguing page to me has always been Caves in Saipan, because there is only one marked cave here and that is Kalabera Cave, which is pretty neat but not particularly interesting beyond the 40-some foot ladder down into the darkness. Beyond that, you can't go anywhere, as the cave continues only as a vertical pit that requires some serious climbing gear to get into. So seeing the guy's photos had always been tantalizing, as I really wanted to go to some of those incredible places but had no idea where to find them. So I emailed him about them and asked if I could get directions to a few.

Well, it turns out that the three I picked were ones he was planning on revisiting tomorrow, of all things! Who would have thought? So now we're going to meet up with him tomorrow morning and he will show us around. How awesome is that? This means, of course, that I will have to wait until later to watch RvB, but I think I can handle that if it means an entire day of awesome caving. Woohoo! But if you never hear from me again, it's because I disappeared into the darkness and never made it out of one of these three caves. Just so you know.
shichahn: (Default)
I think the Mariana Trench has been having some major parties lately. It makes for a disruptive downstairs neighbor! But I suppose if it has to make things wobble around, it's better for it to stick to the 5.0-6.0 range like it has been lately than to decide to get all violent on us. And I suppose it's okay for it to erupt sometimes, too, so long as it keeps that sort of nonsense up north where nobody lives.

Incidentally, the USGS website has a handy earthquake report page! So any time you feel an earthquake, go there and tell them about it. For science!
shichahn: (Default)
I think the Mariana Trench has been having some major parties lately. It makes for a disruptive downstairs neighbor! But I suppose if it has to make things wobble around, it's better for it to stick to the 5.0-6.0 range like it has been lately than to decide to get all violent on us. And I suppose it's okay for it to erupt sometimes, too, so long as it keeps that sort of nonsense up north where nobody lives.

Incidentally, the USGS website has a handy earthquake report page! So any time you feel an earthquake, go there and tell them about it. For science!
shichahn: (Default)
May your computers not go rampant and your masters be chief.

Alternatively, today is "let's be a bunch of jellyfish and make Lauren not be able to go swimming the one day she goes to Managaha" :( Fuck you, jellyfish. I'll swim in your water if I want to. ... And yes, I did get stung, so I guess I deserved that. But then I hung out on the beach and read all day and that was nice anyway. Even if random stabby nematocyte pain still seems to be occurring several hours later.
shichahn: (Default)
May your computers not go rampant and your masters be chief.

Alternatively, today is "let's be a bunch of jellyfish and make Lauren not be able to go swimming the one day she goes to Managaha" :( Fuck you, jellyfish. I'll swim in your water if I want to. ... And yes, I did get stung, so I guess I deserved that. But then I hung out on the beach and read all day and that was nice anyway. Even if random stabby nematocyte pain still seems to be occurring several hours later.
shichahn: (White tern)
My goodness, how has it been three weeks since I did a real Saipan-related update? When you're on a ten-day week, and busy for much of it, time slips right by. Well, I can't possibly recap everything that's happened, but here are some highlights:

Be forewarned, this one's long. )
shichahn: (White tern)
My goodness, how has it been three weeks since I did a real Saipan-related update? When you're on a ten-day week, and busy for much of it, time slips right by. Well, I can't possibly recap everything that's happened, but here are some highlights:

Be forewarned, this one's long. )
shichahn: (Default)
WE STILL HAVE POWER. THIS IS NUTS.

For context, Saipan currently does not have enough money to buy fuel to keep the power plants running for this budget cycle. Apparently this happens on occasion. They were able to reallocate $300,000 and are going to try to split it between the two power plants on the island, even though that's less than enough to supply one plant individually with fuel for a normal month. SO, this weekend we will probably have, best case scenario, rolling blackouts; more likely, we will be completely without power for 2-3 days. It was supposed to start tonight but obviously I'm still online, so. Who knows.

Anyway, if you try and email me or something and it takes several days before I respond... now you know why. It's because the stupid government of this tiny little nowhere place is corrupt and doesn't budget properly for fuel even when people pay their electrical bills. Good times.

Oh also we caught a bittern today. Like, a miniature heron. In a net. wtf.

Edit: Oh, here we go. That's a better summary of what's going on. Apparently we have until noon tomorrow before the power maybe goes out. We'll see.
shichahn: (Default)
WE STILL HAVE POWER. THIS IS NUTS.

For context, Saipan currently does not have enough money to buy fuel to keep the power plants running for this budget cycle. Apparently this happens on occasion. They were able to reallocate $300,000 and are going to try to split it between the two power plants on the island, even though that's less than enough to supply one plant individually with fuel for a normal month. SO, this weekend we will probably have, best case scenario, rolling blackouts; more likely, we will be completely without power for 2-3 days. It was supposed to start tonight but obviously I'm still online, so. Who knows.

Anyway, if you try and email me or something and it takes several days before I respond... now you know why. It's because the stupid government of this tiny little nowhere place is corrupt and doesn't budget properly for fuel even when people pay their electrical bills. Good times.

Oh also we caught a bittern today. Like, a miniature heron. In a net. wtf.

Edit: Oh, here we go. That's a better summary of what's going on. Apparently we have until noon tomorrow before the power maybe goes out. We'll see.
shichahn: ([RvB] Asshole/Bitch OTP)
...There are no normal girls. )

Luckily, whoever designed the Project Freelancer service uniform had practicality in mind.

Okay, I swear, I'm done spamming openCanvas and my sketchbook (and thus you guys) with Tex sketches. I don't know what's come over me.

All the fires on the island right now have made the moon a gorgeous golden color. Ah, the benefits to the dry season. >_>; One came pretty close to our neighborhood but it stopped at the bananas and didn't jump into the neighbor's yard, thank goodness. There's one farther north that always makes me laugh for some reason, too - this whole field and a bunch of tangantangan trees burned, and right in the middle of all the blackened ground, a bright green patch of taro perseveres. That must be one watery plant.
shichahn: ([RvB] Asshole/Bitch OTP)
...There are no normal girls. )

Luckily, whoever designed the Project Freelancer service uniform had practicality in mind.

Okay, I swear, I'm done spamming openCanvas and my sketchbook (and thus you guys) with Tex sketches. I don't know what's come over me.

All the fires on the island right now have made the moon a gorgeous golden color. Ah, the benefits to the dry season. >_>; One came pretty close to our neighborhood but it stopped at the bananas and didn't jump into the neighbor's yard, thank goodness. There's one farther north that always makes me laugh for some reason, too - this whole field and a bunch of tangantangan trees burned, and right in the middle of all the blackened ground, a bright green patch of taro perseveres. That must be one watery plant.
shichahn: ([Boosh] Electro poof)
Felt like sketching Tex this morning )

Also, I have been up to a lot! But my internet is incredibly fail so I haven't been able to upload photos or anything. But, man. A lot of stuff has happened. Yep. Um, go to my flickr set to see what I did manage to upload like a week ago. The photo captions are pretty extensive so that should help. Hopefully I'll be able to put the rest of my photos up soon and then make a real update sooner or later.

Also, since I haven't spazzed about RvB in here recently, OMGGGGGG! SPAZZING! SPOILERS!

There. :)
shichahn: ([Boosh] Electro poof)
Felt like sketching Tex this morning )

Also, I have been up to a lot! But my internet is incredibly fail so I haven't been able to upload photos or anything. But, man. A lot of stuff has happened. Yep. Um, go to my flickr set to see what I did manage to upload like a week ago. The photo captions are pretty extensive so that should help. Hopefully I'll be able to put the rest of my photos up soon and then make a real update sooner or later.

Also, since I haven't spazzed about RvB in here recently, OMGGGGGG! SPAZZING! SPOILERS!

There. :)
shichahn: (Feets!)
Saturday was our first day off. Normally we'd get four in a row, but the next period starts on Tuesday, giving us three days - the previous two interns started theirs a day late so we'd be able to band with them an extra day. Anyway, we spent a good deal of the morning just hanging out, and then went in the afternoon to visit Marilyn and Randy, who are archaeologists who also volunteer their time to monitor the Wedge-Tailed Shearwater population on Managaha Island, and run a small seabird rehabilitation center within their apartment. The purpose of our visit was to see their White-Tailed Tropicbird, a very cool tern-like seabird with a very long tail. This one in particular had fractured a bone in its left wing. They had had it for about a week, and already the wing had improved a great deal. It's very likely that he'll be releasable sometime this week. It was so cool to see one up close - as you can tell by the lighting, his feathers were extremely glossy, especially on his head, which was something I wouldn't have expected having only seen them from a distance.

More photos and some creepy statues await! )

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