Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Banoffee Ice Cream

Heavily adapted from around the internets

4 very ripe bananas
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Place unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in sauce pan. Cover with water; bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 2 hours to make dulce de leche. Place all ingredients in blender (may require two batches). Blend thoroughly. Freeze, stirring every 30 minutes for the first 3 hours.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

This is the ENORMOUS (like, at least 3" tip-to-tip) and frightening spider who has moved into the mint plant on my patio, probably because God does not want me to enjoy a delicious mojito. As far as I can tell, it never moves from the exact center of that web, but I know it's alive because some days there are bugs caught in the web and then the next day or so they will be gone. Unfortunately all photos of it are blurry because my camera also fears spiders.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Mango Sorbet

I don't know if this recipe works yet, but I wanted to write it down before I forgot, in case it does.

3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cubed
3/4 c. Naked mango juice
2 tsp. lime juice
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cardamom

Combine all ingredients in blender and purée until creamy and fluffy. Pour into airtight container and freeze for at least 8 hours, stirring every half hour for the first 3.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Delicious Tomato Soup of Extra Deliciousness

Serves 2ish

4 large ripe tomatoes
1 small-medium yellow onion
1 small green bell pepper
garlic powder
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. basil leaves, washed and dried
1/2-1 c. chicken broth

Heat oven to 450°. Slice tomatoes into quarters and core; cut pepper and onion into large pieces. Arrange on baking sheet and season to taste with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil and roast 45 minutes, turning once. Cool. Add tomatoes, vegetables, and basil leaves to blender and purée, drizzling in oil from roasting pan at intervals. Add chicken broth until soup reaches desired consistency; check seasoning. May be served warm or chilled.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Makes one 9"x13" casserole

4 c. + 4 tsp. flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
~1 c. milk
2 onions
2-3 c. cheese of your choice (Emmenthaler is traditional)
pepper to taste

Chop onions into rings and carmelize. Mix together first four ingredients into a batter, adjusting milk until batter resembles a very thick pancake batter. While batter rests, heat a large pot of water to a boil and grate cheese if necessary. When water reaches boiling, spread a thin layer of batter on a wet cutting board with a wet chef's knife. Cut and slide thin (~1/8") noodles off the board and into the boiling water. Noodles are done as soon as they float. Remove from water and repeat with new batch of dough. When noodles are done, layer in cheese and pepper, and top with onions. Bake in a 480° oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and onions are crisp(er). Serve hot.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

On Writing

I started writing my dissertation this week. It sounds very grand, at least in my own mind, but I've written 6 pages so far, and even though three of them or more are cribbed from an earlier essay, they've been a struggle, every word.

I can't tell if there's a problem with my process or if it's just one of those things. I know that there's certainly much to feel uneasy about: I start writing late in the day, around 2 p.m., and I make myself sit at the computer for at least four hours. Unfortunately, not all of those hours are spent staring at the blue-and-white calm of the Word screen. I check Twitter, order articles from ILL, read gossip sites, check fellowship opportunities, order more tea, decide to update a defunct blog of my own, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseam. Not all of those activities are without merit, but none of them is writing.

I fantasize that my would be easier if I would start earlier, at 8 a.m., after a workout, a healthy breakfast, and a session of centering meditation. I fantasize that I will suddenly develop a new, stronger work ethic that will keep me at my computer for 8 hours, doing nothing but turning out brilliant prose. I will be eager to return every morning. I will not have to disguise my late starts, lack of motivation, and shoddy output from other, more diligent colleagues. I will never make this happen, is more like it.

Logically, I know that things are not that bad. I'm working on what my advisor and Anne Lamott like to call "a shitty first draft," so it doesn't have to be good. I can't get over wanting it to be, though, and I can't stop comparing myself to those more diligent. Of course, there are people who are seven years in and yet to choose a topic, let alone produce content, and I am making at least a little progress every day. Unfortunately, a little every day doesn't seem to be enough.

I don't know that there's any solution to this. Certainly it's not a unique problem, especially for dissertating graduate students. But it sucks and I needed to say so, before I go back to typing something slightly more on-task.

I need

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Recipe: Bacon-Leek Quiche

I do not like bacon, but I like quiche, so. If I make this again I will probably substitute mushrooms for the bacon and add more leeks because they are seriously delicious, but some people are fanatical meat-eaters. Zucchini could be good too, I suppose, or possibly even cauliflower, although not, I would guess, broccoli. Maybe new potatoes?

1 recipe buttermilk pastry
4 leeks
8 strips of bacon, if you must
4 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
pinch nutmeg
1 Tbs. dijon mustard
~1 ½ c. shredded cheese, your perferred variety (I used half mozzarella, half cheddar)

1. Make buttermilk pastry and arrange in 10" pie plate. Flute edges and prick pastry all over with a fork. Bake at 475° F. for 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove and cool slightly while completing filling. Lower oven temperature to 325°.

2. Thouroughly clean leeks.* Sautee leeks with bacon, if using, or with butter if not.

3. Beat eggs lightly. Mix in milk, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

4. Cover bottom of crust with mustard and ½ c. cheese. Top with leeks and remaining cheese. Pour egg mixture over; crust should be filled to within ¼" of the top.

5. Bake approximately 30 minutes, or until filling is just set. Remember to cover edges of pastry until last 10 minutes of cooking. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

*How to clean leeks: cut off green leaves approximately where they begin branching out from the body of the leek, perhaps slightly below. Cut leek in half lengthwise, but do not slice through the root. Rotate 90° and repeat (so leek is quartered). Slice quarter-inch cross-sections. Dump leek pieces in colander and rinse vigorously while shaking. Leeks are sandy little bastards sometimes, and nobody likes to eat grit.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Update, Somewhat Later than Scheduled

So obviously my plan to do a daily/near-daily update of comps progress, including a page count, fell by the wayside. It's probably just as well, as there's something of a disparity between the number of pages the books have and the number of pages I read.

But I marked a little milestone today; I wrote my 13th annotation, which means I'm over 1/3 of the way through my special interest list. I'm hoping to finish it and my review essay by the end of June, leaving me the rest of the summer to polish my article and finish reading my historical list. And do sundry other things before mid-to-late September, when I'm hoping to take the oral exam.

In other news, I'm watching Enchantment, which is delightful. I wasn't too gung-ho on seeing it until I saw Amy Adams in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which was a pure joy. Seriously, how cute is Frances McDormand? So cute.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hm, it's been a while

But I have, of course, been reading.

Pages Read: Uh...let's see. 265 of Bede, 30 of "Parlement of Foules," 190 of The Tempter's Voice. I think I'm forgetting something in there somewhere, but that's what, 485 pages? Eh.

Pages written: Some

Other things accomplished: I met with my historical-list adviser on Friday to talk about what I'd read thus far and just generally check in. It went fine; he talked my ear off and I returned the favor in spades. I was pleased that even texts I had read two months ago managed to come back as I was talking about them (my mouth started and my brain kind of followed along in its wake) and I could say smart things about their themes and even bring back details. My adviser seemed pleased, as far as I could tell. If nothing else, he gave me some insider information on the job search the department's doing, so I guess he was feeling relatively well disposed toward me.

In other news, Nebraska loves Barack! (Well, the 33% of it that's Democratic does, anyway.) That's two out of the three states I've lived in. I'm not counting on Texas, frankly, but I'm hoping.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Comps Update

Read: 3650 lines of Castle of Perseverance (I don't know, 60 pages or so?), plus 70-odd other pages (40ish of Beryl Smalley's magnum opus, The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages, and 32 pages of the Venemous Bede's The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which is proving suprisingly readable).

Wrote: Finished an annotation, couple of pages of notes on CoP, and a bit on Smalley.

Other things accomplished: Center for the Book application assembled and sent, annotation turned into advisor and feedback received, mental meltdown at thought of having to comp in May (based on random comment from a well-intentioned faculty member; I don't think they know how seriously we graduate students take their every word sometime); special interest list redirected and partially reresearched.