Archive for June, 2014

June dinner: The Viking Cookbook

June 30, 2014

From the ancient Mediterranean to the medieval north: this month’s cookbook comes from one of my research trips to Scandinavia. It’s a slim volume with only a handful of recipes, but interesting ones. None of them are documented, but they generally seem plausible. I’ve delved into this book before with good results, so for this month I cooked a selection of recipes I haven’t tried before.

For added authenticity, I tried cooking as much as possible outside over a fire. Unfortunately, I ran out of charcoal before I was done cooking, so I had to bring things inside and finish them on the stove. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

For a starter I made cabbage soup. Although mostly cabbage, the soup also includes beets and carrots, and the beets overwhelmed everything else, as they tend to do. It was still good, served with a plop of sour cream.

Cabbage, beet, and carrot soup

Cabbage, beet, and carrot soup

The main course was pork with apple. I was afraid that the pork would dry out too much in cooking, but the apples cooked into a nice sauce that kept things moist.

Pork with apples.  Also a glass of orange hefeweizen, my latest brew.

Pork with apples. Also a glass of orange hefeweizen, my latest brew.

Dessert was a blueberry pancake, not our usual fluffy breakfast pancakes but a dense, rich, eggy cake that we enjoyed with whipped cream.

Blueberry pancake

Blueberry pancake

A slice of same, with whipped cream

A slice of same, with whipped cream

E did a fantastic job with the table, putting together some traditional Scandinavian crafts with some replicas of historical wares.

Our Viking table

Our Viking table

Sleepless

June 16, 2014

E and I have both had several nights of sleeping very badly.  I’m used the occasional sleepless night, but this is an unusual run for me and E doesn’t usually suffer like that.  We can’t figure it out.  We haven’t had a lot of caffeine lately, we’re not terribly stressed out about anything (except, you know, the not sleeping), there haven’t been any noisy parties in the neighborhood.  We often have a noisy turkey come round the house in the early morning, but that’s not what’s keeping us up all night.  At least this is happening in the summertime when it’s warm and I don’t have to worry about driving to Salem and teaching three classes on no sleep.

First swim

June 7, 2014

I had my first swim in the pond a few days ago.  The water was cold and a bit hard to get into, but I worked my way in and swam the full length of the pond and back.  We then got two days of cold rain.  When I went back for my second swim of the season yesterday, the water was bracingly cold and I only made it halfway (it was also windy and I didn’t like swimming into the chop).  We have some warm weather predicted, so I hope the pond will warm up quickly, as it usually does under the summer sun.

We’ve had some local fauna in our back yard this early summer: three rabbits, a turkey hen with eleven (!) chicks, and at least one chipmunk.