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.