Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All home, safe and sound

LOML and the kids got back late last night, after a 16 hour or so trek.

Yours, happy to have them back, safe and sound,

Monday, July 30, 2012

Salmon in parchment

I made salmon in parchment last night: first time in quite a while that I've cooked it that way, and I was reminded of how delicious it can be.  First we cut folded sheets of parchment to obtain heart-shaped paper:  I julienned some red pepper and zucchini, and placed them together with some slender asparagus spears on one side of the heart: I spooned a little ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil dressing over the vegetables, placed fillets of salmon atop the vegetables, and lemon slices on the fish.  Next I folded over the heart, and starting at the top, twisted the cut edges of the paper to seal.
The fish took about 10 minutes to cook (and actually, at least one piece could have used a little longer:  but I ended up eating that piece and enjoying it!)

Yours, sealed with a twist,

Sunday, July 29, 2012


It seems to be difficult to find rowing coverage on TV here in the US.   Even when they claim it is going to be on, it seems they'll cover something more sport-like, such as beach volleyball.  Grrrrr.....

Yours, pining for the fact that the rowing is taking place a dozen miles from where I grew up,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Gone fishin'

Not me, bears. Here! Just go, go watch, and enjoy!

Yours, bearly able to contain my joy at this!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics Begin!

I've enjoyed watching some of the Olympic soccer matches over the past two days, though I will admit to being a little bit flummoxed about why the Olympic Games have started prior to the Opening Ceremonies.

I'm looking forward to watching said ceremonies this evening on a friend's big screen, high definition television.  Even if they are not showing them live over here....

Yours, hoping I haven't done anything illegal by using the word Olympic,

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A day to eat leftovers for dinner: some flank steak which had been left after fajitas: mushrooms, red pepper and part of an onion left (unchopped, uncooked) from a couple of nights ago.  Sauteed the veggies (okay, root, fruit and fungus), put a tortilla in a hot pan, sprinkled cheese over it, the meat and veggies, more cheese, another tortilla, flipped it, until golden on both sides.
A good sprinkle of cumin in the vegetables, plus a few hot peppers, and it was delicious!

Yours, glad to have finished a little leftover goodness,


What a lovely suprise!  While sitting in class, as my colleague gave today's lecture, I received an email notification that I had a new voice mail message on my work phone.  I accessed the message from my cell phone, to discover that Boo had decided that she wanted to leave me a message telling me that she loves me, that Skibo is still in bed, and that they were having muffins for breakfast.

Yours, smiling very broadly,

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thoughts for dinner

It's bad enough when the family is here, and we get to play "who can be the first to ask the others what they want for dinner.  While they are away, I have to ask myself!

Yours, wondering what's for dinner.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Boo and Skibo on vacation

What a look of joy!
It appears that Boo and Skibo are enjoying their vacation!

Yours, loving the joy on their faces,

Seek and ye shall find

I have been reading a wonderful book: American Terroir, by Rowan Jacobsen: all about the impact place can have on flavour, and how important local food producers are.  And then last week, I put the book down somewhere, and despite having searched extensively through the house over the past few days, I have been unable to find it.
I want to finish the book!  So today, I made sure that I will find my copy as soon as I get home!

Yours, having ordered a new copy,

Monday, July 23, 2012

A long morning!

My current schedule, for the five weeks of the course I'm co-teaching, usually goes like this: 
begin at 8-ish: lecture (or listen to my colleague lecture) until about 10: 
have the students present homework problems at the board until 11:25 or so:
return at 1-ish, and have the students present problems until about 3.

Somehow this morning I had too much material prepared for that to happen.  I lectured all the way until 11:25.... and could still have gone on longer....


Yours, wiped!

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Memo to self: when helping LOML plan a trip, remember to charge the battery camera.  Check.

Memo to LOML: when planning a trip, remember to take camera.  Check.

Memo to both: when planning a trip, remember to put battery back into camera.

Yours, faceplanting,

Summer swelter

Since I'm by myself I thought I would take a bike ride this morning.  Unfortunately I was lazy, and waited until after 10am before I got going.  It was already hot, at 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and humid, with a "feels-like" temperature in the 90's.  Needless to say, I didn't get far before I had had enough: perhaps 15 minutes.
Still it was my first time riding since hurting my knee weeks ago, and it felt good to be riding again.

Yours, back in the saddle again

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pizza day

The last day before LOML takes the children up north for a week: asked what they would like for dinner, Boo and Skibo both plumped for pizza.  And when asked whether they meant takeout pizza or homemade, they both jumped on the right answer.

Yours, glad my children appreciate my cooking!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tragedy, twice

Two tragedies, twice over.  Columbine and Aurora are mere miles apart, and to experience two of the worst massacres in American history is tragic indeed.  How do you cope with such horror once?  I have no idea.  But to think that there are probably many people who lost friends of friends, loved ones of loved ones in each of the horrendous events?  How can they cope?
And then there is the gut-wrenching, tear-inducing story of the woman who was present at a shooting in Toronto -- yes, even in Toronto the good -- a month or so ago, who survived the horror there.  And today she is a victim.  Her family --- how hard they must have thanked God or providence or luck a month ago --- and how hard this must be for them now.

Yours, reaching out in sympathy, and recoiling in horror from the actions,

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The latest addition to the family

This is Honey: she happened upon us a couple of months ago, another lost dog.

She appears to be blind in one eye, and rather deaf.  We're not sure how old she is, but she's very soft, gentle and sweet natured.

Yours, adoptively,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Some pictures from a recent walk

These were taken a little while ago in a walk in the botanical gardens.

Yours, texturally,

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Last Night's Daily Show

was brilliant, making fun of the fact that directv customers (like me) can't watch it.  I didn't see it last night, but watched online today.

Yours, self-referentially

Monday, July 16, 2012

Second try

Boo, breadmaker extraordinaire!

Skibo, official taste-tester

Oh, crumbs!
This image evokes the smell of freshly baked bread for me!

It appears that my current version of google chrome and google's current version of blogger are not compatible for loading pictures.  Firefox to the rescue.

Yours, ingeniously,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pictures from the bread and butter class

Some pictures from yesterday's workshop.

Or at least, there would be pictures, if blogger would let me upload them.

Yours, frustrated by lack of functional functionality,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Happy Bastille Day

I think that I will exercise to Les Miserables this evening!

Yours, humming La Marseillaise,

Bringing in the dough

I brought in a little dough this morning.  Not for us, but for the botanical gardens --- in two ways!
I made several batches of dough last night, then this morning taught a class to eight wonderful people: we shaped the dough I had made, then, while it was rising, they made their own dough, to take home and bake tomorrow.  Along the way, LOML also showed them how to make compound butters -- and they got really inventive and imaginative about what they would add to them!

The bread turned out wonderfully, and we're eating the batch that Boo baked for dinner this evening.

Yours, not at all crustily,

Friday, July 13, 2012

Upsetting my little world

I'm a creature of habit.  I get used to the way things are, and don't like it when change is forced upon me, even with little things.  And over the past few days, two little things have been changed which are upsetting.
The first is immediate: Viacom and DirecTV are in a fight at the moment, and as a consequence, I can no longer watch the Daily Show.  A little fixed point in my life got taken away.
The latter is not immediate, but it will be just as annoying when it happens.  Google is going to cease supporting igoogle as of next year, claiming that there are lots of ways to customize chrome to make it do the same sorts of things --- but I've just spent a couple of days looking into how to do that, and can't see any way to make it work.  And as for working in a different browser, such as firefox (or worse, IE),....

Yours, niggled,

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One program winds down

Every summer for years, with the exception of last year, I've run two programs: one teaching undergraduates how to do research, the other preparing students to bridge the gap between being an undergraduate and becoming a graduate student.  Most years the programs overlap by about a week and a half: this year, thanks to a strange schedule, the overlap is a week longer, and it's been that much more intense as a consequence.
Fortunately, the former program is winding down now: it finishes tomorrow, and this evening there are plans to get together as a group for a dinner.  Unfortunately, the choice of restaurant seems to be one 40 minutes away, which would be bad enough: even worse, the weather forecast for late afternoon is for strong summer thunderstorms, and I'm not sure that I want to drive through that. I guess that I'll probably wait to make a decision until nearer the time.....

Yours, in indecision about dinner,

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I wish that Obama would make a different case.  Don't talk about extending the Bush tax cuts.  The Bush tax cuts should have expired long ago.  Instead, talk about new tax cuts to take effect in January 2013: temper them so that they are more effective: more at the lowest level, a little less at the upper middle levels.  Make them his own tax cuts, not Bush's.  Let Bush's tax cuts expire, and bring on better.
Yes, this would probably cost me a little, but it might help people who need it more a lot.  And it might have a better stimulative effect.

Yours, frustrated by the whole thing,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Some massive storms this afternoon: LOML and I were off at the Korean martial arts centre, and it had started to rain as we drove over.  But about half-way through the children's practice, the phone rang: friends calling to say that the storm at home was really bad, and that they had lost a tree....
We lost no trees, nor anything else.  And the rain is really welcome.  But violent storms?  How about we keep them down a little?

Yours, asking "Can't we all just get along, violent storms?"

Monday, July 9, 2012


According to blogger, this will be my last numerologically really nice post for a while.  I guess 2345 will be possible in a little while, but this is my 2222nd published post.  And if it were worth reading, it would get me at least into double digits on posts worth reading:-)

Yours, exhibiting blogolalia,

Sunday, July 8, 2012


It looks like I might finish another book this month.  No, not writing, reading.  Ever since Boo and Skibo came to fill our lives, my reading habit has been depressed, diminished and demolished.  From reading several books a week, I went to counting books per year.  In single digits.  Digits on one hand.  Sometimes plural.
My friend F, best friend in college who went to best friend in the world, sent me a book a couple of weeks ago, and it has me enthralled.  All about the interplay of place and taste,  American Terroir is turning out to be an amazing read.  Rowan Jacobsen, the author, examines foods from apples to oysters, honey to chocolate, finding examples of local producers who bring out the best with help from their terrain, soil and climate.  A wonderful read!
Yours, finding great joy between the covers of a book again,

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Martial Arts

Many years ago, when I was in my earlyish double digits (but pre-teens,  I think) I took classes in judo.  I enjoyed it, mostly, and I think that it was a really good thing to have done.
Boo and Skibo are now --- somewhat younger --- learning Korean martial arts.  They seem to be loving it, which is good: their teachers are fantastic: caring, yet willing to push them to make sure they extend their limits.
Today they went to a three hour seminar (meaning a few minutes of talking, then lots and lots of kicking and punching and swinging of wooden swords).  Amazing to watch!

Yours, hoping the kids will stick with this,

Friday, July 6, 2012

What to talk about?

I spent several years blogging every day... and then spent a year blogging perhaps once a month.  But whether I was blogging occasionally or often, there was always a difficult question: what topics should I blog about?  and what should I avoid?   
I'm passionate about politics: should that make it off limits? or a great topic?  Food is always an easy topic, but how do I bring something fresh to the topic?  
I frequently find myself thinking "that would be a great topic for a blog post" while walking, and then forgetting what the idea was when I am next near a computer.  What I need to figure out is how to remember all those great blog ideas a few hours later!

Yours, reflecting,

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kicking up the couscous a little

Given that I was making north-african style dishes for yesterday, it seemed reasonable to include a couscous.
But couscous can sometimes be a little bit boring, and in the interests of making it more tasty (especially to those attending who are vegetarian, or keep halal, since I don't have access to appropriately prepared meats) I added a couple of little extras: toasted slivered almonds for some crunch, and some dried apricots: chopped into quarters, then simmered in some honey and water until most of the liquid had evaporated.
A delicious adjustment!

Yours, kicking it up,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy independence day!

Yours, cooking like crazy,

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Menu for tomorrow

So I've settled, I think, on a menu for tomorrow, at least for what we are making: 
I'm doing hummus and bread, a tomato and cucumber and eggplant salad, couscous, red lentil soup, and chicken tagine.  All of this north African inspired.  And, of course, for an American touch, my braised ribs and wings.
For dessert, LOML's made a crustless cheesecake, which may get decorated with blueberries and strawberries to approximate the flag, Old Glory: I'm contemplating making a pineapple and ginger sorbet which got extremely positive reviews from a friend online the other day: I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yours, in planning and prepping phase,

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canadian Bacon

For some strange reason, in England, Canadian bacon refers to streaky bacon, whereas in the US, it refers to the sort of gammony bacon eaten in the UK.  Clearly "Canadian" means "strangely different".  Anyway, I prefer streaky bacon to gammon, so to celebrate Canada Day I used streaky bacon.
In addition to bacon cheeseburgers, I made bacon-wrapped shrimp, which were delicious: and one of the things which made them so delicious was my little Canadian wrinkle: in homage to the Maritime provinces, I drizzled the shrimp with just a little maple syrup.  That suddenly produced a really keeper of a recipe!

Yours, eh?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!  We're having friends over for a completely non-Canadian dinner, in keeping with the theme of celebrating national days with completely inappropriate cuisine!
Yours, Canadian, eh?