Archive for April, 2014

March dinner: Complete Indian Cooking

April 11, 2014

This month’s dinner was, sadly, not a great success. There were a few good things about it, but a lot of things went wrong.  I used recipes from one of my Indian cookbooks.  I’ve gotten good things about of this book before, but it didn’t work out so well this time.

For the starter I made a fish and coconut soup. The flavor of the soup was good, but some lemon grass and ginger that was supposed to be prueed didn’t get very well chopped. Our soup was filled with hard, stringy fibers that got stuck in our teeth and didn’t go down well.

Fish and coconut soup, made with cod

Fish and coconut soup, made with cod

Our main course was palak murg, a mildly spicy dish of chicken and spinach, served with basmati rice and naan on the side. The chicken was all right, though a little dry. It was good enough to eat, but not really what I was hoping for. The naan came out pretty well, but cooking it set off the smoke detector. We had to open all the windows for a while. Luckily it wasn’t as cold outside as it would have been a few weeks earlier.

Palak murg, chicken and spinach

Palak murg, chicken and spinach

Naan.  These at least were good.

Naan. These at least were good.

Dessert was rice pudding. Unfortunately I burned the pudding while it was cooking. It turned out quite inedible and I had to dump most of it in the compost.

Rice pudding.  The texture was good, but the burned taste was overwhelming.

Rice pudding. The texture was good, but the burned taste was overwhelming.

This was a disappointing month. Hopefully next one will be better.

Las Vegas: Red Rock Canyon, road trip, and return

April 10, 2014

On the Thursday of our week in Las Vegas we drove out to Red Rock Canyon west of the city. It’s a very short drive from the city to the park. We drove the scenic road through the park and stopped in a few places to stroll. Red Rock is a more compact park than Valley of Fire, but it also offers many vistas of interesting shapes and colors of rock.

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Thursday’s trip to Red Rock Canyon and Friday’s road trip south

The layers are so clearly visible in some places in the canyon

The layers are so clearly visible in some places in the canyon

 

Turtlehead Peak, seen from an abandoned sandstone mine

Turtlehead Peak, seen from an abandoned sandstone mine

 

A swirl of color in the rock.  This one made me think of cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

A swirl of color in the rock. This one made me think of cheesecake with raspberry sauce.

 

Parts of the canyon were surprisingly green

Parts of the canyon were surprisingly green

We saw lots of agave plants like these

We saw lots of agave plants like these

The remains of a Native American agave-roasting pit

The remains of a Native American agave-roasting pit

On Friday we went for a long road trip down to the southern tip of Nevada, across into Arizona, and back. It was astonishing what a great variety of desert landscapes there were to see. We made it back into the city in time for dinner before heading to the airport.

We had an overnight flight back to Boston. It wasn’t a very comfortable flight, but we got home. The level of snow on the lawn was clearly down when we got back to Heather House. This winter dragged on horribly and it was really nice to get away to somewhere warm for a while. Being able to walk around in short sleeves and bask in the sun for a few days made it a lot easier to come home to the last lingering dregs of winter.

Sunset over Las Vegas.  The sun goes down fast behind the mountains.

Sunset over Las Vegas. The sun goes down fast behind the mountains.

Looking for love

April 8, 2014

The turkeys are back and the males are in full mating display.  They are strutting and preening and puffing up as big as they can.  So far, the hens don’t seem much interested, but the toms are a sight to see.

Helloooo, ladies!

Helloooo, ladies!

Check out this tail!

Check out this tail!