Friday, July 24, 2009
And now I'm off for a week-long conference in Michigan. See you soon.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
After naming our enemy, our next step was to formulate a plan of attack. Andrew bought a water gun after researching the best choice in Popular Mechanics. (A good academic researches everything.) Here he is, preparing for battle.
Andrew put Phi out in the garden on her leash as bait, and then waited. The first night was unsuccessful, because the BlackandWhite cat spotted his stalker. The second night, Andrew chose a more hidden location, but the cat never appeared. Progress is slow, but the oppressor will be vanquished.
Friday, July 17, 2009
1. Mix the dough. This is a piece of cake if you have a heavy-duty mixer. If you don’t I suggest making cakes instead – they’re easier to stir. Throw in your bowl: 2 cups flour, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon each of water, oil, and salt. Let the dough hook knead it forever, or at least until you get tired of waiting. My experience is that the longer you let it knead, the more tender your pasta will be.
2. Roll out the dough into cylinders with a diameter of about ½ “.
3. Squish each piece in the middle. Use lots of flour at this stage, and when you lay the finished orccchiette out.
They'll look like this.
These really aren’t that hard, as long as you have a machine to knead the dough. Now that I’ve made them a few times, I can roll out the dough (which makes enough for three adult servings) in about fifteen minutes. They last in the fridge about a week, with wax paper between the layers. And did I mention that they are delicious?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Andrew has grand plans for a cat-frightening device, which involves motion detectors and sprinklers. But in the end we will probably just sit outside with a bucket of water until the bully cat shows up and dowse him.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Last night decided to document all that I was doing, so that those of you who don't cook that much can see what preparation cooking can offer you.
The first thing I started was a pot of lentils, which eventually turned into lentil soup, pictured on the right. I try to make at least a gallon of bean soup at a time, because Andrew eats it every day for lunch, and it freezes pretty well.
("There's just one way to handle the killers and the spoilers, and that's with a U.S. Marshall and the smell of... Gunsmoke.")
Next I prepped vegetables. I had bought corn and green beans at the market, so I blanched them for use later this week. Here's a picture of everything resting in the cold water bath. We might eat the veggies cold, on a salad, or I might throw the beans in a stir fry and make the corn into soup. But this way the corn won't have gone bad waiting in the fridge, and the next cooking will go quickly. (Plus, I've noticed that having pre-cooked veggies like this means we eat more of them.)
For dinner we had Vietnamese spring rolls, filled with tofu and red pepper, served with peanut sauce. I love these but I don't get to eat them often; all the ingredients come from the Asian supermarket, which is a long drive from our house. Yesterday I finally figured out the secret words to convince Andrew to go there for me: "Why don't you take the motorcycle?"
Lastly, I made a dessert which we can enjoy all week. Excuse the terrible picture, but trust me that it tastes great. It's a cherry cake, made from this recipe.
("The fabulous freelance insurance investigator with the action-packed expense account.... Yours truly, Johnny Dollar.")
Friday, July 10, 2009
Andrew loves hiking. He also loves landscapes and animals. So when I downloaded the pictures from the previous two weeks, I found two hundred photos of rocks, water, and animals (snakes, squirrels, and birds, mostly) and a grand total of three pictures of either Andrew or me. So take a look at the following picture and imagine looking at a hundred and fifty more just like it:
Because it was so gray and rainy in Boston, the few pictures we took look less than inspiring. I liked this bridge over the Charles River because it looks like the Washington monument doing the splits:
And if we had managed to take more picture of ourselves, they would all show happy people eating.
Monday, July 06, 2009
My brother and his family were in town for a brief visit, which gave us an excuse to head downtown the next day too. We began with lunch at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, which boasts a food court featuring cuisine from up and down both Americas. The ingredients are always traditional - corn, cactus, grains, etc., but they put it away together in modern ways. Highlights of my lunch included a hibiscus-guava fresca, which tasted pleasantly (and strongly) of flowers, and Indian pudding, a corn and molasses pudding.
We made a brief appearance in a few Smithsonians, but the highlight for Andrew and I was the Smithsonian Folklife festival. This is an annual festival on the Mall spotlighting music, food, and history of featured countries. In the "Music of the Americas" pavilion we caught a concert by a mariachi band. They were excellent - every one of the sixteen performers could play a traditional instrument and sing solos. At the end we found out that they were a high school mariachi group from San Diego and that blew me away. I can't imagine being that talented at anything when I was seventeen.