Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For bad hair days

I've been really diving into the 40's and 50's vintage look lately. A few weeks ago I found an online store called Scarf World which filled a hole in my wardrobe. With my latest purchases I own more than two dozen scarves. (And let me point out that collecting scarves is a much more fitting hobby for someone in a tiny apartment than collecting shoes.)

Now I can put these new scarves together with my new knowledge of 40's scarf tying so that I can go to work looking like this.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Torte Tour

I don't know how it happened, but I've made three tortes in the last three weeks that never made it to the blog. I did a repeat of of the Eierliquoertorte, which is a flourless chocolate cake topped with cream and filled with lingonberry jam. Once again I was too rushed while preparing for the dinner party where this was served to pipe on the whipped cream. I'm sure this lack of piping is costing me style points in the competition judging.

We received lemons in our veggie share last week, which prompted me to make this Zitronentorte. I modified the recipe a bit, which was a white butter cake layered with a filling of sweetened lemon juice and cornstarch and topped with a powdered sugar glaze. I was looking for something with a bit more panache, so I added lemon zest to the cake, used the lemon juice to make lemon curd, and then folded the lemon curd into whipped cream. If you've never had it, lemon curd is lemon juice cooked with eggs (or egg yolks) and butter. It can be used like a jam, and it is heavenly.
This last cake is my hand-down favorite so far. It's a plain cake (Tortenboden), layered with poached peaches and topped with a mixture of whipped cream, yogurt, and gelatin. The yogurt and cream mixture just the right mix of tang and richness.

(And just in case it appears I eat nothing up cream and butter, here's photographic proof to the contrary: a salad of raw shaved zucchini and Parmesan, topped with lemon dressing. This recipe is definitely a keeper.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Out on the town

Saturday night we helped out at a homecoming dance for gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgendered youth, run by a great group called Pridelines. We were told to dress up as if it were our prom.

Actually, when I went to my prom, I wore the poofiest southern-belle dress imaginable. I'd like to think that I've acquired a lot more style since I was seventeen, along with a very handsome husband.

Check it out: Don't Lecture Me!

If anybody would like to know more about what I do, National Public Radio did a great documentary this week on physics education research. "Don't Lecture Me!" is an hour-long program by American Radio Works which talks about why lecturing is not how we should be teaching. Many leaders in Physics Education research participated, including one of my advisors. Listen here.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Transportation on two wheels

I might have mentioned this before: I come from a motorcycling family. According to family lore, the first time I was on a motorcycle I was less than a month old. My mother was taking a walk in the woods, carrying me. She reached a steep hill and saw that she would have to struggle up it with me in her arms. My father happened to be nearby on a dirt bike, so he took me in one arm and drove up the hill.

By the time I was 6, I had my own kid-sized helmet. The law stated that children could only ride on the back of street bikes when they could reach the footpegs. So my father (the literal engineer) installed foot pegs, much higher up, that both my brother and I could reach. We used to ride into town, one kid per parent motorcycle.

When I got married, my father immediately started asking when his son-in-law was going to learn to ride. To help persuade my husband, our wedding gift from my parents was a motorcycle.

Andrew took to motorcycling like a fish to water, and it was his main transportation when I moved to Miami and took the car with me. Since he's moved down, he's been stuck doing some repairs to the bike. But it was fixed just in time for our car to go to the shop, so it's our primary mode of transportation this week. I was a passenger earlier this week, but only once (and then I found a carpool). It's fun to be on a bike again, but biking in 90F (32C) in an armored jacket and helmet is unpleasant. I think I'll be waiting until the cool winter months and leave the summer biking to my fanatic husband.