Sunday, June 30, 2013

A childrens' book about Uncle Paul

Uncle Paul, as Palibaci was known to all, loved epsilons.  He would take a pill bottle from his pocket, hold it high in the air, drop it, and catch it.  The epsilon being entertained would laugh, and Paul would generate great joy.

There is a new book about his life: The Boy Who Loved Math: a lovely little book, which Skibo loved when I gave it to him a few days ago.

This morning, I discussed prime numbers with Skibo -- he's still a year younger, according to the book, than Palibaci was when he encountered them for the first time: I had Skibo construct the sieve of Eratosthenes for the numbers up to fifty, then had him discover that all the composites, the ones he had struck out, were indeed the product of smaller numbers, and that the primes, the remaining numbers, were not.  And the best part of all? The fact that I think that he really got what I was saying:-)

Yours, initiating the prime directive

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bad numerology

My post from yesterday, it seems, was full of incorrect information.  I mis-read the stats --- I had had 2345 posts including drafts which have never made it to posts.  I have a few more posts to go to be  successfuly numerologist.

Yours, amateurly,

Rendang, reviewed

I made Beef Rendang yesterday for potluck.  The reviews were all uniformly very positive -- the recipe is very good, though I think that I will cut the cubes of beef to a rather smaller size than 2-3 inches per side, which the recipe called for.  Other than that, if we could only find fresh lemongrass, galangal etc in the area, I'd be making this on a regular basis!

Yours, rendanged,

Friday, June 28, 2013

Amateur numerology

I'm a professional numerologist, in the sense that I look for patterns in sequences of numbers: but here I am acting as a pure amateur.  As of until I publish this post, blogger informs me that I have posted 2345 times.

Yours, just wanting you to know,

Thursday, June 27, 2013

There is some hope

Having had no sink for the past several days, we are excited by the prospect that it may get fixed tomorrow. There is a definite upside to that --- I haven't been able to cook for several days, and I am missing it!

Still, there is a real hope that our 12th annual July 4th party will go ahead as planned!

Yours, excited!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


As in busy-ness.  My summer course, boot camp for maths graduate students, began this morning.  And so begins the yearly ritual of making sure that the incoming students are prepared from day one!

Yours, playing the mean sergeant,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

That awful sinking feeling

This morning, we got that awful sinking feeling.  You know the one.  The one you get when you walk into the kitchen, and the sink has fallen out of its hole in the countertop, and has sunk into the cupboard below.
So, cooking? not so much, not for a little while -- not until we can get the sink reattached!
Hopefully it will be back in place in time for the July 4th party!

Yours, back from dinner at a restaurant,

Monday, June 24, 2013

On not believing

I read an interesting article today on support networks for atheists (I think it actually applies far more broadly, to those of us who don't express a positive belief in the non-existence of deities, while at the same time not expressing a positive belief in their existence either).
The thing that I found most interesting was the support group they left out: the daily community that churches give to their members: the built in groups of friends who hang out because they believe in the same tenets and stories and sing the same hymns.
It's why we have potluck: over the years it feels like we have our own little community: we don't build it around religion or lack of belief: it is a community of friends who come together every few days to be a community: to hug and smile and laugh, and be friends.
And that's the network the article missed.

Yours, loving our community,

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Yesterday I came across a list of exotic foods one really should taste before one dies --- and being in no hurry to have the latter happen, I'm certainly not rushing to experience one of the list --- fugu.  In fact, I'm not sure that I agree with most of the list: perhaps kobe beef someday, if I get to Japan.  Deep fried mars bar?  I'll skip it -- I have no idea how that made the list!
But beef rendang, that appeals.

Yours, thinking of slow cooking,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A moment

Standing in the kitchen a few moments ago, I asked Skibo if he'd had an okay day.  His response filled me with happiness: "I've had a great day!"

Yours, happy to hear it:-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Doctor

Skibo has discovered Doctor Who --- he (and to a lesser extent Boo) have been watching episode after episode over the past couple of weeks.  This has been fun for LOML and me, since we both grew up watching the original series --- and I've enjoyed the latest three incarnations immensely too.
Skibo has been led to consider all sorts of questions by watching the show: whether there are really aliens, are sonic screwdrivers real, and if not, will someone invent one, etc.  It's been fun (and slightly challenging) to field his queries!
Yours, thrilled that he's discovered the series,

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spinach and mushroom roulade

I just tried this spectacular recipe recently: in preparation to teach a cooking class on mushrooms, to see how hard it would be, and how it would turn out.
It turns out that it's easy, if involved, and also that it turns out really nicely.
I also tried adding some kale to the spinach, and that worked pretty well too, though I think I prefer the lightness of using just spinach!

Spinach Roulade with Mushroom Filling
(From Fresh From The Garden, by Perla Meyers)

For the filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed, wiped and finely minced
3 tablespoons finely minced scallions
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons finely minced dill

For the roulade
1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 pounds fresh spinach, stemmed, washed and dried
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 extra-large eggs, separated
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

10-12 ripe cherry tomatoes, lightly sauteed in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill
The filling:

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat.
Add the mushrooms and saute quickly until lightly browned
and all the liquid has evaporated.  Remove the skillet from
the heat, add the scallions and toss until just wilted.  Season
with salt and pepper and allow to cool completely.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour
cream, and mash together with the back of a fork.  Add the
mushroom mixture, Parmesan, and dill.  Taste, and adjust the
seasoning as necessary.  Cover and chill until firm.

The roulade

Preheat the oven to 350 C.

Line a jelly-roll pan (15x10x1) with parchment.  Butter the
paper and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.  Set aside.

In a large pan, cook the spinach in the water that clings to its
leaves over medium low heat, until just wilted.  Transfer to a
colander and let cool.  Place the spinach in a kitchen towel, and
squeeze out all the excess  moisture.  Chop the spinach finely and
set aside.

In a large stainless steel or glass mixing bowl,  combine the
chopped spinach and softened butter, set the bowl over a pan
of warm water, and stir until the butter is thoroughly incorporated.
Add the egg yolks and mix until well blended.  Season with salt and
pepper and reserve.
In another large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and a pinch
of salt, and beat until the whites form soft peaks.  Fold gently
but thoroughly into the spinach mixture.

Spoon the spinach mixture into the prepared pan, using your hands
to spread it evenly into a thin layer.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or
until just set (a knife when inserted will come out clean).
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately invert the spinach
roulade onto a dry kitchen towel.  Carefully peel off the 
parchment paper and trim off a piece, about half an inch wide, from
each short side.  Leave flat or roll up gently in the kitchen towel.
Set aside to cool completely.

Spoon a thick layer of the mushroom filling over the entire spinach
surface and roll the roulade from a long edge into a tight roll,
jelly roll fashion, using the towel as a support.  Transport 
carefully to a serving platter and surround with the sauteed cherry
tomatoes.  Sprinkle the tomatoes with the minced dill, cut the 
roulade into 1/2-inch slices, and serve at room temperature.

Serves 10-12.

Yours, hoping you'll be inspired to try this!

It has been a long time since I posted.....

I was just asked if I had a blog.  Yes, I replied.  But it's been a while since I posted....
So I'm posting.  Perhaps there will be some pictures of mushroom dishes soon: I taught a class recently, and some of the recipes are really good....

Yours, in arrears,