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Had to be done

So this morning we slept in. It’s still black dark at 7:00 AM – can’t wait for daylight savings to end, but I guess it’s only another week.

I thought I’d be able to get a little work in before breakfast but by the time I fed the cats, and brought in the newspapers, and put clean the dishes away, and dusted the upper moldings in the kitchen, and got dressed, it was 20 of 10:00. So I figured I might as well undertake some cooking projects and run that into brunch.

I made morning glory muffins – they have apple and carrot and coconut and often pineapple, and sometimes nuts – I used yellow raisons.

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins

And vegetable broth, using up all the herbs I had – thyme and rosemary and cilantro, and lots of celery. The kitchen, the whole first floor really, smells kind of Thanksgiving-y. I just had to change out of the raggy old cooking-in sweatshirt I was wearing, into a different raggy old cooking-in fleece, because the sweatshirt smelled too much like veggie broth.

And chunky tomato sauce with thyme and white wine, that I usually use in the squash casserole that I always make in September. Not sure what I’m going to use this batch for, although I do have a nice big butternut, from last week’s market. I made the smaller one from CSA box into chili on Saturday.

One tart

Last year, I even made the casserole into a tart

For breakfast we had the muffins, and scrambled eggs, and potatoes with rosemary & garlic, and bacon. And toast.

Potatoes with rosemary & garlic - small pan for two people

Potatoes with rosemary & garlic – small pan for two people

I started work at about 1:00, and got through most of my to-dos, mainly grading students’ websites. I’m going to leave the conference program time-slots until tomorrow. Although, it’s advising week so doubtful I will get much done in between appointments.

I watched Death Comes to Pemberly – now time for the grand finale of Boardwalk Empire. Maybe I’ll even read some of the Sunday NYT. I guess It has been a fairly successful weekend.

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Oh, Sunday

 

Leek tart

Leek tart

I made leek tart for brunch today – more or less this Molly Wizenberg recipe; I, as always, used my own pie dough recipe:

For single crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • pinch salt (or use salted butter)
  • scant TBLS sugar
  • 8 TBLS (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 TBLS vegetable shortening
  • 3 – 4 TBLS cold water

Measure the flour, salt and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, or large mixing bowl. Slice the butter and shortening in on top. Cut the fats into the flour mixture, either with the paddle attachment for the mixer, short spurts of the food processor, or with a pastry blender, 2 knives, and your fingers, until you have a meal-y consistency. (In the food processor, it will look like coarse meal; other methods you should have some small lumps, none bigger than a pea.) If you are using a machine, with it running, drizzle in the water – if by hand stir with a fork. Mix (again short spurts in the food processor) until the dough clumps – stop before you have a solid ball. With your hands, gather the dough together, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap or a clean towel, and chill for at least 30 minutes, or up to 3 days. Use plastic wrap for longer storage.

I rolled out the dough and fit it into my 9-inch flan ring. I froze the crust for a few minutes, then sprinkled in crumbles from a hunk of soft goat cheese that had been kicking around in the fridge for a long time, a few TBLS of grated parmesan, and a little bit of smoked gouda, also grated. I spread the leek confit over, and then used the same amounts of custard as Molly’s recipe.

I forgot the salt in the dough, and didn’t use salted butter, so I salted the pie crust cookies with fleur de sel. Which made Mark come running down to tell me that I had salted the cookies, after he took his upstairs to eat as a post-brunch snack – he was afraid I got my shakers mixed up or something.

Salted pie crust cookies

Salted pie crust cookies

But no, done on purpose.

I also made Hell’s Kitchen style hash browns – with bacon bits, garlic, and green onions. We ate them before I could take a picture

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Oh, just FML

I decided to work at home today, and the workers in the mudhole that is my street are right under my window … this is after having to remove a drowned centipede from the cats’ water bowl, clean up the litter box after one of them pooped over the side, and clean up the other one’s puke, twice. This is the white one that rushes downstairs and eats too fast. Often I let the self cleaning feature kick in – that is, if I don’t clean up the puke right away the black one eats it, but didn’t have the stomach (ha) for that this morning.

I tried to update my post for a Dinner at DebS event from my iPhone, while I was still in bed, and deleted the form to sign up part of it. I think I have it all back now. Don’t even get me started on the problems of trying to post the event on Facebook, and choose photos that I own copyright to …

All before 8:00 AM.

And I still need to do the fluff cat’s litter and feed her.

And oh, right, I’m supposed to be working. Sigh. But it’s not 9:00 yet, so I can indulge. Haven’t brushed my teeth yet, either, is that TMI?

And, it’s official, I totally miss the supper club. Yesterday, somebody asked me if they could rent the space, and it got me all nostalgic. Now that the seasons are changing, I miss thinking about menus, planning menus, buying the food, COOKING.

Oh well, off to work I go – here’s some calorie-free birthday cake, that I made for myself in 2011, that is also a supper club website banner image.

cropped-ban_2011bdaycake

And, jeez – it continues – I went down to wash my face & brush my teeth, and was feeling sorry for myself because the soap squirted out of my hands, and I bumped my head on the sink when I retrieved it. But when I got back upstairs it was worse. I always put my drinks on the printer stand instead of the computer table when I work at home, but somehow, today, I left my coffee and my water on the computer table – and fluff cat splashed water all over. Fortunately(??!!) my new Learning Responsive Web Design book made a dam, and the laptop was spared.

Learning Responsive Web design, interleaved for drying. I guess I learned some stuff in my preservation courses in library school. It's only paper towel, and will leave a crinkle pattern on the pages, but at least I'll be able to read them.

Learning Responsive Web design, interleaved for drying. I guess I learned some stuff in my preservation courses in library school. It’s only paper towel, and will leave a crinkle pattern on the pages, but at least I’ll be able to read them.

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Recreating in Texas

So because the metadata conference I came to Texas for was scheduled the same time as Austin City Limits, I’m staying way the F out in the suburbs at an Aloft hotel. It’s right on a bus line, this rapid bus with limited stops, but still 40 – 50 minutes to get downtown. It’s also in a “lifestyle” mall – kind of like Greenway Station or Hilldale in Madison, but because it’s Texas, bigger. Instead of a Sundance cinema, it’s got an iPic Cimema. Bigger menu, more drinks. Full bar & pool tables & other games in the lobby. Leather seats with TV trays attached. Doesn’t reek of popcorn. In the previews just watched their chef (or a movie of their chef) preparing spicy fried chicken fingers with brioche toast, and now it’s their mixologist making a maple Margarita. And, oh, garnished with an orange twist & bacon. And you have time to order one before your movie. I’m closer than I like but it’s what was left.

I saw The Judge – kind of sappy, and a little too long, but the Roberts, Downy Jr. and Duvall, were good. And I just did one of those buzzfeed quizzes on what role were you born to play, and it came out Iron man, so I guess I was meant to go see Robert Downy Jr. I think everyone was playing a bit younger than they are, but maybe only 5ish years for Downy, instead of 10+ like Duvall.

I haven’t been doing so well at documenting the food this trip – I really haven’t taken any pics*. The rubber-chicken-conference dinner was actually the university dining hall version of Texas BBQ – there was chicken (that I didn’t have) and brisket in BBQ sauce – OK, but not really flavorful; corn muffins with a bit of red pepper in them – similar – a little dry, not bad but not terrific; veleveeta-y mac & cheese; potato salad (probably the best tasting). Good potatoes turned out to be a theme. The lunches were notable for the amount of vegetables – salad bar with kidney and garbanzo beans, potato salad made with good fingerling potatoes, roasted green beans, roasted fingerling potatoes, roasted cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage cooked with apples – and the Swedish fish in the snacks. Oh, yeah and whole fruits and peanut butter – so on Friday I had a banana with peanut butter for breakfast and on Saturday, I had an apple, also with.

swedish-fish-are-made-in-canada

Backtracking to Friday night, I went on a quest for cheap Mexican with another librarian from LoC, and got to eat at Taco Joint (their website sucks, you can’t read the menu, obviously not done, lorem ipsum text, but at least they’re using Word Press). I had tried to go there the last time I was in Austin, but it was closed – it closes at 8:00PM. Between us we tried 3 tacos – the Wholey Mole – chicken with mole; El 4/20 (haha) beef carnitas with shoestring pepitas – no, I still don’t know what those are – little crunchy strip something’s; and the street taco – grilled sirloin (garlic & lime) with avocado. I rode the bus back to the Aloft, finished grading my information architecture students’ websites, watched a Sopranos, and I think I slept straight thru until 6:30AM Saturday. That never happens. I mighta got up, but I don’t remember.

Speaking of sleep, the Super Shuttle is getting me at 5:30AM Sunday, so I better head for bed.

Here’s how bad I really was at taking pictures – I took little camera, my Canon point & shoot, and when I got home, its memory card was still in my computer. <grin>

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In Texas for metadata

IMG_3089.JPG

That’s me on the bus, on a rainy Saturday morning in Austin, where it’s still black dark at 7:28AM. With my hotel machine cappuccino & my library book. On my way to my linked data workshop. The walk to the bus was not bad a bit, almost pleasant, until the last block when the rain picked up and I turned the corner and it was coming right at me.

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Not sure what to call this one…

I started writing down a bunch of random impressions on Tuesday, and now it’s Friday and I’m in Texas. At the metadata conference, that was in Pittsburgh the last time I went.

On Monday, Rach and I went for a nice long walk in the morning. I felt like I was getting stuff done, but I recorded a lecture with the sound off, and had to re-do. I did finally get three people together for a phone meeting that had been rescheduled and rescheduled, to talk about a program for the librarians’ conference next summer. I drove out to Evansville to get my U-Pick pumpkins from my CSA farm.

Tipi Produce pumpkins

Tipi Produce pumpkins

And came home and roasted vegetables – delicata squash & Romanesco broccoli, that Megan and I ate on lettuce, with pears with Brie melted over. Before I went to bed, I marinated tofu, like this.

On Tuesday, I had a bunch of meetings, starting at 8:15. I left my bike parked in an UN-covered spot and it got parked in and rained on. I got my computer configured for a workshop on Saturday. Which meant that I didn’t get home until after 6:00, and then I roasted vegetables again – this time carrots, that I tossed with wine vinegar & cilantro, and broccoli, that I tossed with the last of the Romanesco (because it never seemed quite done). And roasted the tofu. And put on a big pot of brown rice with veggie broth (that I had thawed for two things I’ve never got around to making: this soup, and braised red cabbage with apples.)

Megan had had a sandwich, but Rach and I needed to eat before the rice got done. We ate big bowls of veggies & tofu – naturally the rice was perfect just as we finished. I puttered and clean up the kitchen, and paid bills, and did laundry. Since we’d had such a healthy dinner we both craved a little something sweet, so we split a microwave s’more and watched the Sopranos pilot. And paused it for a few minutes to make Nutella grahams.

crispfuveg

I can’t remember which day is which, but I know I had a couple of satisfying packed lunches involving Greek yogurt – with some kind of chunky and maybe a little sweet pear apple sauce I made; with raspberries and honey. One day I had a cheese sandwich with cheddar & the last dab of some coleslaw.

On Wednesday, I decided that I wouldn’t leave until about 2:00 for Chicago. So I got up and walked Rachael to work, then folded laundry and packed and remade beds and went to Whole Foods for a toothbrush, and put air in the car’s tires because the low tire pressure warning light was on. It came back on when I turned the car back off after getting the air, but went off for good about 12 miles away from Madison. I tried to eat up fruit that might spoil while I was gone, raspberries and pears and bananas and plums. I was pretty uninspired to be packing for a place where it was going to be 93 degrees everyday, when we’re having great, crisp, fall weather in the Midwest – but in the end it made packing easier, because I had lighter clothes that packed smaller.

Breakfast on Wednesday

Breakfast on Wednesday

Mark and I had dinner at Gioco in Chicago on Wednesday night – we split a roasted Portobello mushroom appetizer, and I had paccheri with tomato sauce & burata, and he had fettuccine Bolognese. All quite good, especially the mushroom – I inadvertently ate a slice of raw garlic that came with it. And I got a 2nd glass of wine, while Mark had a coffee – probably shouldn’t have done that either. Went back to the apartment and watched the 2nd episode of the Sopranos.

I woke up at 5:15 and remembered that I never checked in for my Southwest flight – but I still got B58 – so not too bad. And, if Mark’s new MacBook Air hadn’t been right next to the bed, I probably wouldn’t have checked in till it got light.

We had breakfast at Yolk, and I took the Orange Line to Midway.

Vat of oatmeal, Mark's cimmy bun French toast, potatoes & bacon

Vat of oatmeal, Mark’s cimmy bun French toast, potatoes & bacon

 

 

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My Sunday in pictures

waffles
Big batch of waffles – John & Megan, Hannah & Corey, me & Rach all here for Sunday brekkie

toes
Went for a pedi

intorwebaccess
Recorded a lecture for class

introuse
Part two

ricepudd
Made creamy rice pudding

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Vegetable heaven

 

halftoned

This picture had everything wrong about it from being taken at night under artificial light – so it’s halftoned

OK yea, I know it’s the title of a Mollie Katzen book – but it’s what we had for dinner tonight.

I wanted to get using up veggies from my CSA box, and leftover from Food for Thought. I had a meeting on the west end of campus, and came home early after that, but had like an hour and half+ of work. Which I did until about 5:15, then I came downstairs and cut up cabbage and grated carrots for slaw. Back upstairs for class – coding clinic for web design students. Only two came, so class only lasted about 45 minutes. Back down and I roasted broccoli and green beans (with lots of garlic), and reheated the spaghetti squash pomodoro I made a while back. Got out big wide pasta bowls and Megan and I had big spoonfuls of everything, beans and broccoli and slaw, the mayo in the slaw just the right dressing for the other veggies, and the squash all the better for being heated up in the oven and excess juices evaporated. Heaven for sure.

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No tomatoes

So, most years I order a big box, 20 pounds or so, of plum tomatoes from my CSA, and then skin and dice and freeze them, or puree them and freeze them, or roast them.

Somehow this year, I’ve missed my chance. It kind of goes along with my general recent malaise – I’m too old, too un-hip, too busy with work stuff to pursue creative projects, I’ve closed down the supper club …

Whine, whine, whine.

Gonna see if I can get multiple pounds of plum tomatoes at the farmers’ market tomorrow morning, and see what I can do to make up. After I get the first salon facial of my life – that should be invigorating, right? <grin>

And I had this wild notion (while I’m here in Chicago for Mark’s birthday) of trying to contact a few old friends who own restaurants, to see if they’d be interested in me being a guest chef, or planning a menu, for some theme dinners, pop-ups, at their restaurants. Sort of like this, by another food blogger whom I admire (who has far less restaurant experience than I do).

Plum tomatoes going for their closeup

Plum tomatoes going for their closeup (2012)

Rinsed tomatoes - these were supposed to be for skinning & freezing

Rinsed tomatoes – these were supposed to be for skinning & freezing (2012)

Processing tomatoes

Processing tomatoes (2013)

Oven dried tomatoes in September

Oven dried tomatoes in September (2012)

And I am somewhat redeemed – I panicked a bit and bought some non-Romas as we went around the square, but on the last side of the market, got a 5-pound bag, for a good price – and a paper bag, and I got to select each one.

Here's all my tomato loot from last market of Sept.: expensive romas, big bowl of mixed slicers, and 5# bag of romas

Here’s all my tomato loot from last market of Sept.: expensive romas, big bowl of mixed slicers, and 5# bag of romas

This was the prize - a 5# bag of romas for $7.50

This was the prize – a 5# bag of romas for $7.50

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Mark’s birthday eve

Tomorrow is Mark’s 63rd birthday, so I’m going down to Chicago for a fun day. The plan is to meet at the Metra station in Schaumburg – I’ll be driving, he’ll take the train – and then head to Ikea for more apartment furnishing shopping.

We’ll get some form of lunch – Maggiano’s in Schaumberg, maybe? Or something back in Chicago. (Turned out to be 11 City Diner, the “faux-Jewish Deli” as my friend Rob calls it – and faux is right – they had a Reuben with cheese & meat and my breakfast sandwich had bacon and pork sausage.) Then we’ll go to the symphony. In the morning, we can sleep in, seek breakfast, maybe go see the Magritte at the Art Institute. I have a phone meeting at 1:30, and then we can head home to Wisconsin.

It’s funny not to be making a cake or a pie – but, I guess I really don’t make Mark a birthday baked treat every year. I thought I could make a visual catalog of other years, but after a few minutes of searching all I’ve found is 2010.

Mark's birthday pie

In 2008, we went to Washington DC and ate at Nora.

I made a really pretty father’s day cake for him one year:

dadsdaycakeslice

And here’s 2012’s apple tart:

2012 birthday pie

2012 birthday pie

And, oh yea, 2011 was Washington Island for Mark’s 60th birthday, the time before this last time.

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