Monday, February 21, 2011

Long Weekend

This weekend Lindsay and I had our advisors and their spouses over for dinner.

A striking squash.

Spinach pasta.

The main course.

We made squash lasagna, roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts, sauerkraut, and brownies. Our guests brought wonderful wine. A good time was had by all. Also, it was my brother's birthday! Happy birthday, Seth.

On Sunday Lindsay and I biked to Capitol Hill, making use of these new buffered bike lanes, and I got a haircut. I went to the Elliott Bay Bookstore and bought Canning for a New Generation. It's a beautiful, encouraging book. Here it is on typical canning books:

[I] found that the common thread running through them all, from the classic Ball Blue Book to the newer, prettier books on jam and jellies, is the notion that Canning Is Hard: tedious work, complicated, deadly. I somehow got the impression that I would die if I tried this without three thermometers calibrated monthly, a hundred-foot roll of litmus paper, and a topographical map that pinpointed my location and its exact elevation.

I once read a book on canning that advised its readers to boil their canned food for ten minutes immediately before eating it, in case it had developed botulism. This sounded impractical if I just wanted some jam in the morning.

Then we got completely lost trying to get to the arboretum and went home, where I discovered that pages 148-161 were torn out of my new book. But still, it was a very nice day.

Those pages must have had some good recipes.

On Monday, I ate dutch babies, did math, and ate fresh pasta with tomato sauce. (When you borrow a pasta maker, you should use it! Thanks to Chris and Nathalie for lending it to us.) I also ate some apple-walnut cake, the subject of a future post. If every weekend was like this I would be very happy.

Dutch Babies

Dutch babies are massive pancakes that puff up in the oven and deflate when you take them out. They're eggy like clafoutis or kaiserschmarrn. I halved this recipe (another fine product of Paprika), and the batter fit in an 8-inch cast iron pan. Here's the dutch baby about to enter the oven:

And here it is when we took it out 25 minutes later:

I wasn't quick enough to take a picture of it still puffed up, so just try to imagine me pulling it out of the oven with the center even higher than the edges. This lasts a few seconds; then the center trembles and falls in. The edges end up crunchy, and the middle is soft and custardy. We ate it with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

This dish combines brussels sprouts and red onions to beautiful effect. You'll have to trust me since I didn't take a picture. Its clean, bright flavors make a nice change from beer braised brussels sprouts.

  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, halved if they're big
  • a small red onion, or half a large one
  • 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds, crushed (instructions below!)
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

Crush the coriander seeds by putting them in a line on a cutting board, pressing the side of a knife against them, and slamming it down with your fist (it's fun!). Slice the onion very thin, making long pieces. Put a large pan over medium high heat with some oil. When it's hot, cook the onion for two minutes, stirring the whole time. Put the onions aside in a bowl and salt them. Put the pan back on the heat, turn it down to medium, and cook the brussels sprouts, coriander, and lemon zest in it, stirring occasionally and adding some salt and pepper. When the sprouts have a nice brown color, add a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat down, and cook for a few minutes until the brussels sprouts are cooked but on the crunchy side. Add the lemon juice and some extra olive oil and serve.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Dick's Danger Ale

Dick's Brewing Company, Danger Ale
Centralia, WA
4.5% Alcohol
Rating: 3/5

This is an extraordinarily unobjectionable beer. It's on the sweet side for a beer; in fact, it's one of the least bitter beers I can remember drinking. Its flavor doesn't stay in your mouth very long, but while it's there it's pleasant.

Lately the sky has been pretty as the sun sets. I've been enjoying it.

In front of Padelford Hall.