Archive for October, 2013

October dinner: orange and black

October 30, 2013

Orange and black are a challenge. Orange foods aren’t that hard to find, but black is a little more difficult. I was pretty happy with how this dinner came out.

E. laid an interesting table. We don’t really have much in the way of orange or black dishes or table linens, so she got creative and it looked good.

Orange and black-ish table

Orange and black-ish table

For an appetizer I made a pureed squash, carrot, and sweet potato soup.

Soup to start

Soup to start

Our main course was sushi. I roasted strips of squash, carrot, and sweet potato leftover from the soup for the filling, along with some smoked salmon, and used some cooking water from the squash to color the rice. Together with the black seaweed wrapping, it made for a nice colorful meal. We drank some dandelion wine from a local farm– not really our thing, as it turns out, but an interesting taste.

A plate full of sushi

A plate full of sushi

Dandelion wine.  The taste definitely does call to mind dandelions.  Our first time trying it, and probably our last.

Dandelion wine. The taste definitely does call to mind dandelions. Our first time trying it, and probably our last.

For dessert I made chocolate cookies with peanut butter and caramel chips. The cookies came out a little dry, but still pretty good.

C is for cookie

C is for cookie


October highlights

October 25, 2013

Here are some of the things I haven’t been posting about in the past month because I’ve been so busy doing them:

– My tenure portfolio is now submitted.  I am now waiting for the tenure hearing to be scheduled, not sure if it will come this semester or next.  My more senior colleagues in the department assure me that tenure should not be a problem for me, but I will be a bit stressed out about it until it is all over.

– I presented a paper at the fall conference of the New England Historical Association.  I had a good time at the conference, even though only a small handful of people came to my session.  I’m thinking about giving another paper at the spring conference and working on a sexier title.

– A group of students has asked me to teach them to read ancient Greek.  I put a sign-up sheet outside my office door and ended up getting 17 people on the list.  I’m working with the language department to set up an independent tutorial for me to teach in the spring.  I haven’t done much work in Greek for quite some time, so it will be good for me, too.

– I brewed a batch of pumpkin stout using the pumpkins from our garden.  It’s sitting in the bottles now, to be opened and tasted in a week, but I have a good feeling about it.

– Our tomato plants keep producing, even this late into the season.  I just went out and picked all the green tomatoes, since we’re getting warnings of night frost, and put them in a bowl with some apples.  Hopefully they’ll ripen and we can enjoy fresh tomatoes fora few more weeks.

– The leaves were slow to turn and not very colorful this fall.  Most are now down on the ground, although there’s still a nice yellow band through the woods out back.  E. started raking already (bless her).  Soon we’ll have to get the lawn properly cleaned up for winter.

September dinner: light green and dark green

October 14, 2013

The past month has been very busy with Things that Need to get Done, so I haven’t posted much. I’ll be back soon to catch up with the highlights, but here is September’s special dinner.

These month colors come from associations that I made in my mind when I was very young, so I can’t explain any more where some of them came from. I have no idea why I decided that 1) different shades of the same color should count as separate colors and 2) September should be the one month with such a pair of colors. In any case, I was left with a bit of a challenge this month. In previous months, when one color has been problematic I’ve been able to fall back on the other, but this month I really only have one color to work with: green, in all its various shades. Happily, there are lots of green foods (and even foods that are supposed to be green, not just foods that end up that way after too long at the back of the refrigerator). Still, quite a few things went wrong this month.

E. did her usual excellent job with the table setting.

Green green green.  Who would have thought there would be so much green in our house?  I mean, apart from everybody who knows me.

Green green green. Who would have thought there would be so much green in our house? I mean, apart from everybody who knows me.

We started with a green salad. An easy enough thing, you would think, but that went a little sideways. When I started preparing the salad, I realized that we didn’t have some of the vegetables that I was certain I had gotten for it. So we ended up with a “salad” of lettuce and green pepper. It ate just fine, but it wasn’t what I had planned! E. aptly dubbed it a “sad-lad.”

Sad little salad

Sad little salad

The main course was cabbage rolls. Those turned out pretty well. The rolls were stuffed with ground turkey, scallions, zucchini, rice, and bread crumbs, flavored with ginger, salt, and pepper. I topped them with a sauce made with fresh parsley and mint. The mint that didn’t go into the sauce went into mojitos for our drink.

Cabbage rolls and sauce.  These, at least, were good

Cabbage rolls and sauce. These, at least, were good.

For dessert I made key lime cheesecake. I manage key lime pie pretty well, but this cheesecake was not so successful. The recipe warned not to overmix the ingredients, but I think I was a little too cautious since the filling turned out a bit lumpy. The balance of lime to sugar was a little off, too, and the cake came out a bit too sour. Oh well. We ate it anyway.

It looks more yellow than green here.  It was that kind of month.

It looks more yellow than green. It was that kind of month.


October 10, 2013

Life is terribly busy just now.  I’ve been preparing my application for tenure, I’m about to give a paper at a conference, and I’m trying to keep up with swimming three days a week, all of which, on top of regular teaching, is quite a drain on my time.  I’ll be back soon to post a little more, but this is to let you know I’m still here.