31 December 2008

Still procrastinating...

My husband is wearing his wedding ring with a rubber band tied around the inside because it falls off when it's cold. This leads directly to two conclusions: 1) he seriously needs to get that resized before he loses it and 2) I'm married!

Yes, I survived not only the wedding, but also the reception, after party at my house, and Christmas with my future step-family and my in-laws. I am now allowed to use acronyms like "DH" and MIL and... um... I think that's it. And, as a bonus for making it through the wedding and the holiday, we have found ourselves in possession of some nifty door prizes including (but not limited to) a 13 piece tri-ply stainless steel Calphalon cookware set, the meat-grinder-pasta-maker stand mixer attachment, and a new last name.

I haven't really been sure about what I wanted to do with my last name, but I finally decided to take Colby's last name as my own because I wanted to. At 22, I haven't really made a huge career based around my maiden name, so other than some annoying paperwork, I couldn't really find any compelling reasons to not change my name. Right now, I guess my name is in flux. My user name for a lot of things has become my J-lo name, which ends up being jkru, but the new name would be j-ho, much less appealing. I guess I'll keep jkru until I find something better. ;)

Since the wedding, I've been shuttling back and forth between Colby's home town and my home town. We live only an hour and a half apart, but after spending appreciable time in what is essentially a rural area, I'm beginning to understand how Colby can keep himself entertained with very little effort, whereas I need stimulus in some form or another. Thankfully they have internet. Since I've been away from my own kitchen, the closest that I've come to cooking is making Colby a sandwich about an hour ago. Most unfortunately, after we make the drive back to Austin (in a much less frenetic pace), I'll be on a plane to Long Beach, CA for the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society to present research that i should be finishing up right now instead of blogging. (Though, in my defense, I'm almost through with my sanity check and the rest is pretty straightforward.)

Later today, we're headed to East Lansing to meet up with friends before we leave and to a hotel that we've booked such that a large number of people will be able to drink and pass out. It should be fun. And, of course, the new year's resolutions include losing weight (because I'm seriously not far into post-adolescence), blogging more frequently with pictures (because I must be the only person who writes a food blog that doesn't post pictures), and rededicating myself to my studies to make sure that I at least get my masters.

18 December 2008

I'm getting married in the morning...

No, like seriously, I'm getting married today.

It's kind of a surreal feeling. I'm not sure that I'm ready for a wedding, but I'm ready to be married. What I mean by that is that I've been living with Colby for six months now and we work really well together, so that's not scary. What is scary, however, is facing down 100 of my closest friends in a giant white dress. I think that if I had a couple more months, I would be able to enjoy the wedding more. At current, I'm just counting down until the ceremony is over.

I have restaurant reviews of Wasabi and Steve's Backroom. If I had to pick again, it would be Steve's hands down. More later.

12 December 2008

journey (the noun, not the band)

The way that I can tell that I'm about to fall asleep is when I start having a series of different thoughts that are very loosely connected and won't be able to recall thought one when I'm onto thought two. As it turns out, this is also a very good way to determine when one is no longer fit to drive... that coupled with the road signs that I was hallucinating was enough to convince me that it was time to give up the driver's seat to Colby.
We're finally in MI now, after a rather stupidly planned out trip. Though, there's one thing you should know about Colby and me before you judge our trip planning skillz: despite Colby being an old man (as he celebrated the big two three last Wednesday), we are both still young enough such that we're invicible. I've heard that this invincibility fades when you have kids, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. ;) But all proclamations of superpowers aside, we made the decision to drive from Austin, TX to Stockbridge, MI (which is midway between Lansing and that lesser town of Ann Arbor and the town where Colby (mostly) grew up :P) WITHOUT STOPPING. I'll repeat that because I've been told that anything worth saying bears repeating at least twice: we decided to make a 1400 mile drive across the country with not one stop over at a place of lodging and only one real meal break. We started at 530PM central time yesterday and we're currently about an hour out from Colby's house. We've made pit stops along the way, mostly to get gas and change drivers, but we're never doing this again. The plan for the drive back is to take our time and check out the sights on the drive down, something we never really did. I guess it'll be part of our pseudo-honeymoon... which brings me to my latest life-sized epiphany.

This trip home isn't for Christmas or for winter vacation. I've found myself at the stage of live where I truly no longer live "at home" but rather have taken up residence in some other terribly foreign place and am returning to get married, almost exactly one week from today. I guess one week and like an hour to be precise. I can barely wrap my head around the idea, but I plan to spend this week enjoying the vestiges of my childhood before they are taken away from me in an effort to encourage me to grow up. (But don't worry, Colby and I have a secret pact to never grow up all the way. Shh!)

05 December 2008


I finished a very crappy paper on the radiative feedback effects of the first stars on local star formation at about 3:00 PM yesterday and that meant that I was done. It sort of made me eternally grateful that I'm not a theorist. That looked like that was no fun to do and even summarizing a paper was a little bit terrible. After having been grilled at my talk (seriously, I don't think anyone else in that class knew what a truncated isothermal sphere was either and the Cosmology kids had a homework assignment on it!) I just wanted the day to be done and it was. I finished some meager tasks (like cleaning my desk) and got a ride home. I went home and promptly passed out at about 6:00 with minor interruptions from Colby. I awoke at 1:00 AM to find that a) I was really ridiculously sick and b) Colby had eaten all of the chocolate chips (GRR!) and so now I had to make some other type of cookie for the office birthday party. I ended up with snickerdoodles

1 3/4c sugar
1 stick butter, softened (or not softened if you have, say, a kitchenaid standmixer)
1/2 c shortening (I used 1/2 a stick of crisco, which works out 1/2 shortening, 1/2 butter)
2 large eggs
2 1/2c flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs cinnamon

preheat oven to 375. whisk together flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda. mix together 1/4 c sugar + cinnamon in a shallow dish and set aside. cream 1 1/2c sugar + butter + shortening until light and fluffy. add in two eggs and try not to spill the egg white down the side of the mixer and onto the floor. (oops). add in the eggs, one at a time, and then turn the mixer setting to low and gently add in the flour mixture. roll the dough into walnut-ish sized pieces and then coat them in the cinnamon+sugar mix. place onto parchment-lined paper for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!

I'm not sure how these turned out because I've never had *real* snickerdoodles. They've always been store bought, but as a cookie, they're pretty tasty. The next step is to try making fuckerdoodles... you know, snickerdoodles dipped in fudge. :) (also, that was totally not my idea, that's Chris' idea.)

29 November 2008

Thanksgiving Recapped

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving away from home and it made me realize two things: a) my friends are wonderful and b) I really want a *real* dining room table instead of the card table that we inherited from Kyle. I sent an open invitation to the department and had about 12 people show up. It was the perfect size for the party and now I'm looking forward to planning a miniature white-elephant exchange Christmas party.

I took a lot of recipes from all over and modified them to fit my tastes/pantry. I made the homemade rolls from the pioneer woman cooks, which were tasty if not a bit heavy. Turkey, of course, with stuffing a la Chris complete with breakfast sausage and sour dough bread from the farmers market. We also had the Alton Brown version turkey and green bean casserole (although, I didn't have the patience or time to make my own french fried onions). Both came out wonderfully, and the turkey was made even better with cranberry apple chutney. There were also mashed potatoes with roasted garlic (along with plenty of cream and butter) and we mashed sweet potatoes from the farmer's market with cream, butter, smoked sweet paprika, and just a hint of cayenne. We also had apple and pumpkin pies which were made courtesy of my new pink KitchenAid stand mixer. Way tasty and easy too! :) In all, it was very successful and I'm looking forward to winding down the rest of the semester and going home.

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The preparations for Thanksgiving are very much under way. In the past couple of weeks, I've done some test run on side dishes, and I've definitely come across some really awesome recipes. :) Currently, the test pumpkin pie is half eaten, and sitting in the refrigerator and the apple pie is in the oven. I think that later today will be a well orchestrated dance between oven and stove top, made more complicated by a relatively small kitchen and four people who want to be in it.

Here's the menu at current:

Turkey a la Alton Brown
Sour Dough + Challah bread dressing
green bean casserole a la Alton Brown
roasted garlic mashed potatoes
roasted sweet potatoes with smoked sweet paprika
home made dinner rolls
apple cranberry chutney
apple pie
pumpkin pie

Sooooooooo excited! :)

24 November 2008

I should be working on stuff...

but, a couple things. Bradley Meyer wrote a review article in Astronomy and Astrophysics about p-,r-,s- processes and slipped in a quotation from Confucius:

The Master said, "Ssu, I believe you look upon me as one whose aim is simply to learn and retain in mind as many things as possible." He replied, "That is what I thought. Is it not so?" The Master said, "No; I have one thread on which I string them all."

This appears right after a plot of the solar abundances versus atomic number and right before a discussion on entropy that I skipped because, um, it was difficult to follow.

The best ever line in a prestigious refereed journal, however, has to be George Wallerstein's last line in his paper with Chris Sneden (my thesis advisor) about an especially lithium-enhanced metal-poor star (read: it has a lot of something that it shouldn't and it's really fricken old).

Such putative planetary systems, however, might be good candidates for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence because the inhabitants of their outer planets might be screaming for help as they watch their inner planets disappear into their central star.

Some background: the star had too much lithium in it, so there needed to be some sort of mechanism that created it. One creation scenario involves a star basically engulfing its planets, which are rich in lithium. Think the Sun eating Mercury (yum!). There are other complications that make this an unfavorable enrichment mechanism so he just slipped that last line in for funsies. Granted, this paper was written four years before I was born (1982), so perhaps astronomers were much more footloose and fancy free?

More posts later about what I'm making for Thanksgiving and how. But that's for later. I have to go work on a stupid outreach project that I've been putting off for weeks and write a talk explaining the s-process element abundances in planetary nebulae. Not fun. Although, I may finally use that kitchenaid stand mixer to make a batch of cookies because, um, I sort of don't have any motivation to be awake other than cooking.

23 November 2008

A Love Letter

Dear Rich-People-Who-Drive-SUVs-and-Shop-at-Whole-Foods,

I'd like to bring you out of your admittedly cushy, yet self-absorbed worlds for just a minute or two to make you aware of a few facts that will enlighten and, perhaps, encourage you to not look like, excuse my French, jackasses. I am a graduate student. In fact, I am a graduate student that just dropped an ill-afforded 800 bucks on repairs to my newly acquired 2000 Taurus such that it would start all the time, not just when it felt like it. Given that I am a graduate student of the hard sciences, I have become adept at things like "math" and furthermore, since I am an astronomy graduate student, I have begun to hone my observational skills. These skills have extended beyond the classroom and out into other areas of my life, including those times in which I find myself driving my car. I put these hard-earned skills to work today when I swerved to avoid you as you nearly ran me off the road because you were too busy to pay attention to figure out when to get over such that you could buy your most favorite organically grown produce items. In the future, if you could simply hang up your phone and PAY ATTENTION TO THE F*CKING ROAD, I would greatly appreciate that. Have a very happy holiday!



19 November 2008

Big Three Bailout

I've been following the bailout proceedings as best I can, with a rather personal position on the whole thing. I didn't really understand why the housing bailout should pass because I didn't really understand the housing crisis, but I get the auto industry. There have been four generations of Ford employees in my family, starting with my great-grandpa who had his checks signed by Henry Ford himself. My dad worked at Ford for over thirty years and now he's seriously in danger of losing the majority of his pension. GM looks like it might be the first to fold, which is problematic, because if one company goes, the much smaller suppliers will fold and then the other auto companies won't be able to make cars because they won't have parts and they too will fold. There has been speculation that foreign auto companies will come in and take up the slack, but for a country that has been patriotic to the point of stupidity, how can they be comfortable with that? Also, Honda doesn't care about the good of the American auto worker.

What many people don't seem to understand is that if there is no bailout, not only will the companies fold, but there will be jobs lost. What is also ignored is that there are thousands of people who have worked hard their entire adult lives in the industry who were promised a pension and retired with that money in mind. If any of the companies declare bankruptcy, those pensions will be drastically cut. How is it that any citizen could be so lacking in compassion that they would laugh at the lack of foresight of the auto industry? Why is there a lack of the same sort of understanding that was given to those people who stupidly bought houses they couldn't afford? All these stupid auto industry workers did was work hard for decades, save enough money to retired, and expect a pension. Yeah, I suppose those people were stupid for trying to plan ahead, instead of, you know, not looking at the fact that the appreciation rate for homes was ridiculous compared to the increase in salaries and then buying a house that they clearly could not afford.

At this point, pointing fingers back at the auto industry for lacking foresight does no one any good. In a small defense, the American auto companies developed cars that they could be competitive with and that they had carefully examined through R&D. Speaking of which, all of those jobs are gone now too. I think that everyone who has labeled themselves as a conservative (especially a Christian conservative) needs to back business, because that's what they do, right? And anyone who has labeled themselves as a human being, needs to work to help thousands of their brothers and sisters retain their jobs. The reason why I've always stayed away from economics as an interest is because it always disgusted me in how it ignores individuals. Claiming that a 4% unemployment rate is good, is saying that it's okay to have >12 million people out of work. Call me crazy, but I don't see that teaching the auto industry a "lesson" as something that is productive or healthy, because, seriously, what happened to caring about one's fellow man?

13 November 2008

I should be sitting in class right now, listening to a lecture on inverse Compton scattering, which is... well, um I guess I could tell you if I were there. I'm sure that wikipedia will tell me shortly after this post. This week has been one filled with shortcomings of some sort or another; missing class, or so it seems, falls in order with the failure motif of the week. Maybe it was the kidney infection, but maybe not. I spent all Saturday and Sunday working on a longshot of a grant proposal and again on Monday, until about 430 cst, when it was submitted. Somewhere in the frenzy that was Monday, the first failure occurred.

I forgot to take the last Cipro of the bottle. Now this seems as though it is a matter of little significance, in part because it is, but the first of anything (kiss, day of class, pancake you make) is always special, no matter how completely unimportant it is; thus the first mistake in an ever ongoing error-filled week must be mentioned.

12 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Over

So I overslept and forgot to update. Oops. I guess it's all for the better because this way I don't *have* to update, but I certainly did enjoy updating more frequently. I feel, though, that it sort of diluted what I had to say in much the same way that expansion waters down baseball. It was checking in with people, rather than spending more time trying to craft what I was going to say. Ah well. Maybe next year.

10 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Ten: Nesting

My penchant for avoidance behaviors exponentially increases as I approach an important due date. Considering that I had the NSF GRFP today, homework due tomorrow, and a project due on Wednesday, they're kicking my butt as we speak. Earlier this evening, Colby and I went out to Madras Pavilion, which is this Indian restaurant that apparently specializes in food that adheres to the regulations of the Jainism diet. It's apparently also kosher. More importantly, it was ridiculously delicious. We got the "dinner for two", which should really be renamed, "dinner for two for four nights". so. much. food. We're definitely going to go back at some point soon.

But besides that, I've been looking into acquiring a home. I know that it's very possible to just rent a house, but that seems a little pointless and I want to be able to call some place my own that has enough space to raise kids. Although, I guess I'll have to have the kids first in order to raise them. Either way, I should be doing homework right now, but I'm not. In fact, I'm just screwing myself over, but if I don't take a nap, I'll never get it done. So ta ta for now.

09 November 2008

Nablopomo Day Nine: Live Blogging from the Court

It's 40-love right now in this riveting tennis game. What a great volley! And by great tennis game, I mean Wii tennis... I think that this is my first lame post of the month where I'm just posting because it's Nablopomo and I'm supposed to post, but have no time for it. So here it is. I'm currently editing my cv and trying to get my NSF graduate fellowship application ready for tomorrow. Wish me luck!

08 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Eight: A Recipe that Popeye Would Love

I love watching cooking shows, finding a recipe I love, and then realizing that I have almost all of the ingredients sitting in my pantry/refrigerator. This was most definitely the case a few nights ago when the spinach salad episode was on Good Eats. I made it last night it an attempt to a) not feel hungry and b) make peace with pork. It didn't work so well, but at least I tried (Part b, that is. The salad was really tasty if I ignored the porkiness.)

AB's Spinach Salad, explained:

8 strips of bacon
3 tbs bacon drippings
3 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs, hard boiled and quartered or eighthed
1 bag spinach (8-10 oz)
handful of mushrooms, sliced
s+p to taste

Set the oven to 400. Take a baking sheet and place a cooling rack over top. Make sure that the cooling rack fits into the baking sheet. Arrange the bacon atop the cooling rack and bake until crispy. This can take anywhere from 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and your patience with making sure that every last bit of porky bacteria is obliterated. After it's done crumble the bacon and take three tbs of the bacon drippings from the pan and put in a metal working bowl that you've suspended over a pot of boiling water in a pseudo double boiler fashion. Whisk in the red wine vinegar, mustard, and sugar and add s+p to taste. Fold in the spinach, allowing it to wilt, slightly and then add in the eggs, mushrooms and ta da! you have the world's least healthy salad.

I think next time I'm going to substitute the red wine vinegar with apple cider vinegar and drastically reduce the bacon content. In fact, next time I can see this being done with turkey bacon so I don't feel weird and icky after.

07 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Seven: On Calamities

I haven't shared too many of my cooking failures, which is only mildly ironic, given the title of the blog. Today seems like a good day for sharing, seeing as my latest cooking concoction kinda crumbled. The latest disaster was my feeble attempt at making hummus... in a blender.

It turns out that blenders are great for smoothies and that's about it. The blender that we have is older than I am. It's one of those greyish tannish Osterizers and has about 20 different settings that make the blades spin "differently". Mostly, it doesn't work unless there is an awful lot of liquid involved. I've made hummus in the blender before and it turned out well, but this time, I used real beans (not canned!) and they were a little bit too hard, I guess. Also, I added tahini, which was exciting, but a little bit wasted on the mess that's currently sitting in my kitchen. Lesson learned... I'm getting a food processor.

The hummus was not nearly as bad as the time that I tried to recreate Noodles & Co's Japanese pan noodles. I found some frozen rice noodles at our local Asian mart, along with a recipe for teriyaki. It turns out that those frozen noodles are horrible and rubbery and I couldn't get past the texture. I think that had to be the most disgusting meal that I've ever had the misfortune of creating.

Aside from that, I've mostly been able to recover meals with extra cheese or more salt. Very rarely has my way of covering up a bad meal been frozen pizza, but those horrible rubbernoodles were the exception. Mostly, my cooking foibles center around danger than disgust. When I was little, I found out the hard way that those shiny birthday plates are NOT microwave friendly. I had these amazing little paper plates with shiny pink hearts on them left over from by valenbirthday a few days before. Upon reheating some pizza, I set the thing on fire and since it was too high for me to do anything about, my mom had to blow it out. (I could reach high enough to put something in it, I just wasn't at face level.) The only catch was that my mom was on oxygen at the time, so it was probably not the best idea to be placing her face rather close to fire.

Has anyone else made something completely inedible or almost burned down their homes?

06 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Six: And I thought this would be easy...

"Wow, you're weird!" is perhaps one of the last things that you want to hear at the doctors' office. This magical infection that I have was apparently sensitive to the antibiotic they put me on, but the antibiotic not only didn't work, it made me a lot sicker. The new solution was to give me an injection and some sort of oral antibiotic, but they never looked at my drug allergies. When I asked what was in the injection, he gave me the name and when I pressed on further, as to what it was, he replied with doctor-jargon that he was sure would go over my silly little head, but in fact, held one of the key words for which I was searching: cephalosporin. It turns out that drug allergies are even less fun than seasonal allergies, and instead of resulting in head colds, result in throat swelling and death. YAY! Oh wait, I think I mean the opposite of yay.

I'm currently chugging down odwalla C MONSTER which comes with 2000% of my recommended daily value of vitamin C. Linus Pauling would be so proud. Apparently the answer to my magic infection is cipro, the drug that everyone turned to during the anthrax scares of my youth. The common side effects may include anxiety, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, nightmares, restlessness, upset stomach, vision changes, and vomiting. The last time that I took this, it definitely induced vomiting. The saddest part of all, though, is that I can't take any antacids. What will I do without my tums? :( Ah well, this too shall pass. And I take back what I said about cider. I've found five brands of cider between Whole Foods and HEB. I'll have to check out Wheatsville Co-op and Central Market to see if they have any. None are unpasteurized, though, but stay tuned for an update and review of the cider that's available in Austin!

05 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Five: Yes We Can

After trolling through facebook for a bit, I've mostly been reading people's status messages because, predictably, they're all filled with their reactions to the elections. They range from ecstatic to mildly relieved on the left and go from resigned to bigoted and hateful on the right. I'm sure that if the results were flipped, the left would be angry, shocked, and again disillusioned, but this isn't something that we're not used to. And yes, I just said "we".

In high school, I went to downtown Detroit and marched for peace. I was going to become a card-carrying member of the Socialist party, but was foiled when I drove my beloved Pacific-green '98 Escort SE into a light post and was no longer able to drive downtown. My AP government teacher called me a feminazi. This was probably accurate, if not a little derogatory. In grade school, I proclaimed that I would never marry, in fact, I would never even date because boys were beneath me. My views on politics and romance have softened considerably, perhaps most strongly witnessed by my impending wedding in December, but the political leanings are still there.

I've often wondered where I had developed my political identity. My dad is a blue-turned-white collar worker retired from Ford Motor Company and my mom was militantly Catholic. I guess you could best describe my dad as a modern-day populist whose conservative social positions were greatly eclipsed in this last election by the crumbling Michigan economy. I never really knew my mom's political identity, perhaps because she passed away before I really started to consider my own; however, the one thing that they both instilled in me that resonates strongly is the idea that people's choices are extremely personal and we should never force our belief system upon others. The other thing that they instilled in me was a Catholic education that spanned from pre-school 'til ninth grade and was chock-full-o Sunday mass with a large helping of guilt.

Somewhere between the daily religion class and the Sunday mass, I picked up the fact that the redistribution of wealth was a good thing. I guess my views aren't nearly as extreme anymore, but this laid the seeds for my support of universal health care, the general idea that the government should do everything that it can to help its citizens, and the firm belief that a country should be judged on the way that it treats the poorest of its poor.

So after last night's election, I am filled with hope. Do I believe Barack Hussein Obama to be the perfect candidate? No, because no one is, but I think that he is the most capable. I was unconvinced at first, but after a grueling democratic primary and this election, I find that he is capable and very much able to grow and improve and look out for the American people. I feel that his is the ideal American story. He was never born with a silver spoon in his mouth, nor did he marry into it, but he found a way to establish himself such that he is at the center of one of the most historical presidential elections in the history of the United States. Most importantly, he instills a sense of renewed hope in America and I for the first time in a long time, I am excited and proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. Yes we can!

04 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Four: Mishaps and Misfortunes

Okay, to start off, the recipe that I posted yesterday was largely inspired by cookthink with large modifications to the veggies, seasoning, and amount of oil used. Thanks to a conveniently anonymous post to help point out my mistake. Anywho.

I spent the first part of yesterday thinking that I had the flu. I spent the second part of yesterday realizing that I indeed had an infection, but not the one that I had assumed. At first I was a bit baffled as to how I could confuse the two, and then I realized that the symptoms that I associate with the flu are the symptoms that correspond with any given infection. It turns out that I neglected fact that I had no cold symptoms. Oh well.

So how does this relate to food? Well, it doesn't, really, but I figured that I'd give a review of my self-medication.

1) Campbell's vegetable soup: good if you're, you know, indisposed and without the motivation to cook something for real. bad if you're unable to eat it without pouring it all over the floor. Oops.

2) Olive Garden Minestrone, Salad, and bread sticks: awesome. it totally hit the "I don't feel like eating but should, oh wow this is tasty" spot.

3) Theraflu Flu & Sore Throat Hot Liquid: gross. It had a terrible i've-held-this-pill-in-my-mouth-too-long-and-now-it's-dissolving-,-gross aftertaste, so I couldn't even finish it... which was probably a good thing in hindsight since I didn't actually have the flu.

I really don't foresee cooking in my future today. In fact, I see frozen pizza or kimchi ramen or Colby cooking if I'm super lazy.

03 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Three: Continuous Cooking

I find it amazingly difficult to complete an assignment, from start to finish, in one brutal sitting. Take, for instance, this gasbags homework. It's not that hard and it's almost completely from our notes, but instead I'm playing with garbanzo beans and updating my blog. Fortunately, I have a lot to write in the next week, so I'm using this as an excuse to get me started on the very mechanics of writing things, such that I am better able to talk about my experiences in the world of astronomy. The one downside is that I've been told that my personal statement reads like a cookbook, so I'm not quite sure that the food blogging is helping. ;)

The aforementioned farmers' market veggies sat sadly in my refrigerator, feeling abandoned yesterday. Instead of making the stir-fry I had planned, we went to Chuy's instead, and I had lackluster flautas and watery salsa. I felt that I had to make amends to my delicious veggies and so for dinner last night, I made chicken and veggies, cooked in parchment paper with roasted garlic mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes will be making an appearance at Thanksgiving, so I wanted to practice a bit. I'm still working on perfecting the recipe, so more details to come on that later when I've decided that it's good enough.

Chicken in parchment
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, halved into two congruent pieces
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs basil
1 tsp tarragon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
broccoli florets, cut into small, uniform pieces
1 green pepper, cut into small slices
2 20in sheets of parchment paper, folded in half and then reopened

preheat the oven to 400. mix the olive oil, basil, tarragon, garlic, red pepper flakes and veggies. season chicken breast w/s+p. Set down 1/4 of the vegetable+herb mix on the fold of the parchment + 1/2 tbs of butter. place the chicken breast down on top of that and then place another 1/4 of the veggies and another 1/2 tbs of butter. Seal up the parchment paper to make a sac, much like making an empanada... out of paper that is infused with silicone... repeat. Place the two chicken sacs on a baking sheet and bake for 35+/-5m until it's done. Nom nom away.

02 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day Two: SHC, Spontaneous Human Cookery

The majority of my spontaneous cooking happens on Sundays or late at night when my avoidance behaviors have taken over (miraculously, my homework always seems to get done). This Sunday was no different and began with Jiffy Mix Blueberry muffins, which was chosen more for nostalgia than convenience. Colby grew up one town away from Chelsea, MI which is where Jiffy Mix is located, so I think when we go home, we're going to stop at the factory. The second part of breakfast was my attempt to recreate Heidi Swanson's egg cups. My take was slightly different

For two egg cups

2 eggs
2 small (taco) tortillas
2 tbs black beans
1/2 tbs butter, divided into quarters
taco seasoning
s+p, red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two cups of a muffin tin. Make an incision into each tortilla from the edge to the middle and fold it inwards to make a cone. Mix the beans with an appropriately small amount of taco seasoning and spoon in 1 tbs to each tortilla cone. Put one "quarter" of butter atop the beans and season with s+p (I used garlic salt). Carefully crack in one egg to each cup, so as to not break the yolk. Put another quarter of butter atop each and then season with s+p, red pepper flakes and put a small bit of cheese atop. Bake in an oven for 15-19 minutes, depending on your oven and what type of muffin tins you use.

The eggs were pretty good. The tops of the tortilla come out crispy and are wonderful for dipping into a slightly runny yolk.

01 November 2008

NaBloPoMo Day One

Do you know what today is? Okay, yes, it's All Saints' Day, which means that I should be at church, but ehh... Also, it's Halloween Candy-is-15%-off Day too. But really, the answer that I was looking for was the first day of NaBloPoMo! National Blog Posting Month is sort of a take on National Novel Writing Month. Since I don't have the desire (or time) to write a novel in a lifetime, I decided that this would be a) a more manageable task b) inspire me to cook at home, and c) make me write more because, despite all notions of astronomers being perched atop their ivory towers looking through telescopes at night, we need to be literate and articulate.

In order to celebrate this momentous occasion, I went to the farmers market. Actually, that's kind of a lie, but let's go with that. Basil season, sadly, has mostly passed, but now there are all sorts of squash and other goodies. I came home with sweet potatoes, green peppers, and broccoli! It was a very exciting sort of day. Dinner will most definitely have to be some sort of stir fry.

29 October 2008

Procrastination tastes like cranberries

I should be preparing my personal statement for the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program application, but it turns out that talking about myself in a flattering, but not arrogant light is really hard. My research statement has been a lot easier to write, but that's mostly just self-reporting what I remember from projects that I've worked on. I find it sad that I need to do an ADS search of myself to remember all my projects. Oh well, instead I'm contemplating the obscenely warm weather and what foods I want to prepare for Thanksgiving.

I've been menu-planning for weeks. I feel like I'm justifying all the stupid department stores that put up Thanksgiving decorations shortly after Christmas, but I can't help it. This is the first Thanksgiving that Colby and I are celebrating on our own, so it's exciting and a little frightening. Even better, two (and possibly three!) of my closest friends are coming out to Austin to celebrate and eat lots and lots of food. In my extreme anticipation of the holiday, I've been testing recipes here and there, and I have decided to never ever buy the cranberry-jello-in-a-can again. By making it myself, I can call it a chutney which sounds fancy; more importantly, it's incredibly tasty.

apple cranberry chutney
2 small apples, peeled, diced
12 oz fresh cranberries
1+ c granulated sugar
1 c water
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer/boil. Let it all reduce. it'll take about 30 minutes or so. store in the fridge.

My favorite application is on toast with turkey.

26 October 2008

Dear Fall, Please come to Texas. Love, Julie

At about 1:00 AM, I can see the Great Square of Pegasus and Orion the Hunter from my balcony. This celestial marker, amongst relatively few others, is a sure sign that it's fall. At this point, I expect to see the leaves changing color and the day time temperatures to be around 60 on a warm day. Instead, what I see are unchanging leaves, daytime highs in the upper 80s and an extreme lack of unpasteurized cider.

I had planned on blogging about all the different available ciders in the greater Austin area and lamenting how much terrible they all are compared to anything from Michigan, but so far, I've only found two pasteurized ciders. I expected Whole Foods to be a better bet for stuff like that, but, alas, I have been thwarted. The one that I've tried is a pasteurized cider from Louisburg, Kansas. One of my fellow stranded Michiganders brought over some to try during the absolutely victorious Michigan State-Michigan game. It mostly tasted like apple juice, and I wouldn't call it better than nothing because it's almost 7 bucks for a gallon at HEB. Much sadness.

I wasn't really into the idea of spending 7 bucks on another disappointing pasteurized cider, so I decided to put the remainder to good use. Two weeks ago, we went to the farmers market and came back with a very pretty heirloom acorn squash. I've just gotten around to doing something with it, so my solution was adapted from Elana's Pantry. Basically, you take acorn squash and play up its sweetness against tart apples and I used dried cherries.

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded (but don't throw out the seeds!)
apple juice/cider
1/2 large apple (I used granny smith), diced
2/3 c dried cherries
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs butter
crushed black pepper

place the acorn squash face down in a baking dish. add in about 1/4-1/2 in of the juice. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes at 350. Toss the apples and cherries together in the cinnamon. Take out the squash and try not to pour ridiculously hot liquid all over the inside of your oven. Good luck with that part. Flip over the squash and add in the apples+cherries, along with a couple grinds of black pepper, and a tbs of butter on top. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Nom carefully, as they are hot. real hot.

Whilst the squash were roasting, I separated the seeds from the pulp, put them in a single layer on an oiled baking pan, salted them and put them in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. I actually like them better than pumpkin seeds.

21 October 2008

short and sweet

Given my intense impatience and my inability to deal with the fact that I now have a disposable income with any ounce of maturity, I find myself in possession of a blackberry curve. Don't get me wrong, it's totally awesome, but I probably should have waited to get a storm since they're coming out shortly and they look amazing. Nevertheless I am totally taken with the curve (although, if Verizon releases the storm in the next thirty days I'll return this one).

To celebrate my impatience and, mostly, to give me a chance to play, I've decided to post a recipe... And what better recipe than one that is short and sweet, like my new phone, the actual contents of the recipe, and twitter posts. (Because, let's get real here, people: the main reason I wanted a blackberry in the first place was for twitterberry)

Fake sun-dried tomatoes aka oven dried
1 sleeve cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
A couple tbs EVOO

Toss the tomatoes in EVOO and season with good s+p. Put in a 200 deg oven for 2-5 hours depending on your oven. Seriously one of the most delicious things I've ever made!

14 October 2008

Pausing for Politics, Pasta, and, perhaps, Procrastination...

I spent a month and a half averaging less than four hours of sleep a night. It would have been nice to say that it was for a good cause; I guess it was, but it ended on a rather my-proposal-wasn't-submitted-so-I-threw-a-fit-at-Colby note. In the end, I learned that I always need to verify that what people tell me isn't full of lies and my boss learned that being an advisor is probably more difficult than she had imagined. The silver lining will come when we submit an amazing proposal next trimester and find a whopping amount of lead in our lithium-enhanced giant. Not that that means anything to most people who read this... or does it? (*AHEM* Chris,Kyle)

Needless to say, I've spent the past week attempting to regain my sanity. It's mostly worked, I think. Surprisingly enough, I haven't really had the urge to cook. In order to just get through the week, we made pasta sauce. The recipe is mostly taken from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (for which I have mixed opinions), with adaptations for our dietary preferences (omnivorous addiction to basil).

1/2+1/4 small yellow onion, diced
6+2 cloves garlic, minced
1+1 tbs olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
herbs/spices, s+p

in a large pot, heat olive oil and sautee 1/2 onion for ~5 minutes stirring occasionally, until it's translucent and no longer has the icky texture of an onion. add in the 6 cloves of minced garlic and let it cook for about 30s. Add in the 2 cans of tomato-y goodness and let simmer. Add in whatever herbs/spices you desire. The last time I used (all dried) about 2 tbs basil, 1 tbs parsley, 1 tsp sage, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red pepper flakes. These are all very approximate... it turns out that I like stirring in herbs so I sort of just go for it... In a separate pan, heat 1 tbs olive oil and add in the rest of the onion+garlic+ground beef and brown. drain and add the beef to the other pot and let it simmer for awhile so that the flavors meld. Season with s+p. It ends up making about 2 normal-sized mason jars.

So this is actually buried in my lasagna recipe, but I felt like reposting because I think I changed what I did a bit.

And I had a whole manifesto written in my head about who I'm voting for and why... but it's late and I should be madly attempting to not fail my grad classes. Instead I will leave you with this (courtesy of Chris):


05 October 2008

Beer Beer Good for Your Heart...

They* say that beer was the impetus for civilization. Nomadic people along the Nile found that puddles of water that had fermented grains in them to be safer to drink than "pure" water because the mild alcoholic content of the fermented water killed potentially disease-causing microbes. Finding this non-lethal liquid source to be a good thing, they settled around areas where they could cultivate the grain and produce what is essentially a primitive beer. Whether or not this is true, beer is the impetus for my latest avoidance behavior: beans. Well, maybe beans aren't an avoidance behavior, but playing with them certainly is.

Every Friday the astro grad students take advantage of happy hour at the Crown and Anchor, one of several dirty bars located around the campus of UT. The big plus is that they have Live Oak Hefeweizen, which consistently ranks well on Beer Advocate. They also have these incredible nachos that have black beans, jalepen$^~$os, and cheese. Finding this to be a simple recipe, I started buying cans of black beans in hopes of recreating the nummy snacks of my favorite dive bar.

So several cans of black beans later, Colby and I found ourselves in Costco because he was convinced that we would save money there. In order to justify the fifty dollar membership fee, we started buying random items including beef kielbasa, bagels, aluminium foil (yes, ALUMINIUM, not TIN!), and (dun dun dun) a case of black beans. I used half of a can for nachos, but realized that I needed to find uses for 11.5 other cans.

Much to my delight, thedeliciouslife updated, not once, but twice. The former inspired me to make a go at my own hummus.

1 clove garlic
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
juice of 1/2 lemon
<1/2 tsp salt, kosher

So basically I put the clove of garlic in the blender, grind grind, and then added the beans+lemon juice and some spices and then drizzled in the olive oil as it ran. It sort of worked, but I had to stop a few times to push everything down which kind of sucked. I really need a food processor, but I'm going to hold out until the wedding to get one. My real hope, though, is to get a KitchenAid stand mixer. ANYWHO... It turned out alright. I used too much salt and paprika, but it was still okay. Part of the problem with the blender is that some of it gets really super smooth and then sometimes you just have whole beans left over, but in trying the super smooth parts, it reminded me a lot of mayonnnaise... It makes me want to use chickpea+olive oil puree as a mayonnaise substitute. It seems to me that it's the same concept: unsaturated fat+protein emulsion. It would also be a vegan approximation of mayonnaise. Have other people tried this, or am I just terribly sleep-deprived?

Anywho, I needed something else to do with the black beans (and something else to do. I have important masters thesis things due on Tuesday morning at 8:00 AM, so I need something to procrastinate with, right?)... so I cleaned out the blender and added the following:

1/8 onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic
1.5 cans black beans, drained
5 "shots" of hot sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
s+p to taste
juice of the other half of a lemon

grind grind. then I added in fresh (uncooked) corn kernels. The dip worked surprisingly well even though it's not particularly pretty to look at (think little pieces of corn floating in a grey mushy sea), but it tasted alright. It seemed to lack something, which Colby pointed out was cilantro and I think that's exactly on point. The corn + onion + garlic combination is screaming for cilantro, but we all know that cilantro is gross and don't put it in our food. :) I think next time I'll try flat leaf parsley.

*By "they" I mean Crosby Washburne, my 12th grade European history teacher, which means that this is more of a "story" than fact.

03 October 2008

Excuses and smoothies

HET proposal deadline is eating... my... soul. Oh well, the deadline is on Tuesday at 8:00 AM, which means that I get to sleep after that. Yay! Aside from securing 2 hours of telescope time, I've mostly been not cooking at all. The closest that I've come is that I've discovered the perfect smoothie recipe: strawberries + strawberry Jumex + plain yogurt + ice. I think it's about 2c ice, 2c strawberries, 1 c? jumex + 1/2c yogurt. Or I could be totally off. Guesstimate.

Yay for updates. I sort of want to challenge myself to update more regularly, but this would require a higher rate of cooking and telescopes just require too much time. Sadness. Also, what's double sad is that a terrible-looking jug of apple cider costs like 6 bucks at HEB. Seriously? I need someone to mail me some stat.

Photo credit: Space Today Online

23 September 2008

Homesickness comes in many flavors including...

National Coney Island's entire menu
Olga's Kitchen's spinach pie and snackers
The Original Pancake House's corned beef hash
My Grandma's chili
Ferlito's lasagna
Menna's Joint (what I wouldn't do for a dub right now...)
Charlie Kang's dolsot bibimbahp
Omi's ginger miso salad

I've been really good about not being homesick thus far, but it's creeping up on me lately. I think that my profound lack of sleep is starting to bring out my inner child in a not good way... i.e. the tantrum thrower in me is starting to come out and um, she wants a tuna melt from National Coney Island on Mack (but not the one on Harper), now.

In other news, I'm amazing at making chocolate chip cookies and Israeli couscous. Nom nom nom.

19 September 2008

Stuffed, as in schedule and tomatoes

So I haven't updated with a meaningful post in awhile. At one point, I actually thought that people read this, but I think I sort of lost all of that steam. Also, I think that commenting on someone else's blog helped. Oh well. Maybe this will devolve back to my dumping ground for recipes to Kyle. Anywho.

Grad school is harder and easier at the same time. The classes are more difficult, but they cover things that are closer to what I'm interested in, as opposed to all of my horrible undergrad physics classes. Right now I'm taking Radiative Processes and Gaseous Nebulae (aka "gasbags"). Gasbags is an awesome class; radiative... not so much, but I'm getting by with a little help from my fellow grad students. In addition to classes, I'm doing research, TAing an intro astronomy class, and running the observatory open house on Friday and Saturday nights for the Painter Hall telescope. Needless to say, I'm busy. This, unfortunately, leaves me little time to cook; however, I have come up with some tasty concoctions in the past month or so.

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes + Mushrooms

7ish oz ricotta
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs minced basil
s+p to taste
some amount of cherry tomatoes
some amount of whole button mushrooms, stemmed
handful of shredded mozzarella

combine the ricotta,parm,basil,s+p. cut a small hole at the top of the cherry tomato and squeeze to get the rest of the innards out. take out the entire stem from the mushrooms. toss the tomatoes and the mushrooms in the EVOO. stuff them with the mixture. sprinkle with mozzarella. bake in a 350 deg oven for 25-30 minutes. yay.

I think that I want to have a tapas party. Except that's not really Spanish, so we could really call it an appetizer party. Except that's not a catchy name. Anywho, I'd make those and maybe put a piece of pasta in the tomato one and call it a "bite sized lasagna". Except that this requires me to have time. That's probably the worst bit of all.

31 August 2008

"Happy Belated Birthday to My Oft-neglected Blog" doesn't have the same ring as "Happy Birthday to You"

I just noticed that it's been over a year since I started this. It mostly began as a way for me to document my attempts at cooking, and then it grew into a place for me to dump recipes to Kyle. Now it's something that's mostly ignored because, as it turns out, grad school is hectic. Not that I don't love it, but I think I need to work on my stress management. You know it's a bad sign when your boss emails you with a list of free yoga classes to try.

So yeah, this year should be good. And hopefully I'll blog more. ;)

18 August 2008

Why Cayenne Pepper is Entertaining: A Memoir on Corn Chowder

Colby is funny, but more on that later. After perusing enough tastespotting, I've been itching to make some sort of soup. I found one recipe that seemed promising, mostly because it didn't require a stick blender.

Corn Chowder a la Julie
3 tbs butter
3 tbs olive oil
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 baking potato, cubed into 1 cm pieces
celery leaves, chopped
1 c chicken stock
4 ears corn
1 c cream
cayenne pepper

Melt O.O. and butter in a stock pot. Add in onions, celery, carrots, garlic, potato and s+p to taste. Let cook for ~10 minutes, until the onions turn translucent and everything begins to soften. Husk the corn. Take a large bowl and place the corn in the center, cutting parallel to the body in a swift, downward motion to take off the kernels. You'll probably have to flip it upside down because it'll probably be too hard to get all the way down. Once you're done, take the cob and run the back of your knife down where the kernels used to be and get all of the "corn juice" out. Take one of the cobs and divide it into thirds (I just did it by hand). Add in the corn, tomato, and chicken stock. Also, add the corn cob bits. Take this up to a boil and let cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add in the stock and then whatever herbs/spices you want. I used ~1 tsp of Old Bay, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried parsley and let's say 2 tbs of celery leaves, chopped fine. Let it simmer for awhile until the flavors start to blend.

So about celery leaves: Colby and I were discussing whether or not to get celery. I decided to make the soup at about 10:30 PM last night (and by "last night", I mean 3.5 hours ago, but *technically* it was last night) standing in front of the produce section at H.E.B. the local friendly megamarket. I have always felt that celery smells wonderful, but tastes disappointing, since all of that wonderful scent is coming from the leaves. According to Rayray and Alton, celery is related to cilantro or parsley or something that's aromatic and herb-y so I took all the leaves from the celery bunch and treated it just like a fresh herb. I felt all thrifty and creative. Small victories. Anywho, it actually turned out wonderful. I'm guessing that as long as you have the celery leaves, s+p, and like cayenne pepper, the taste will still be wonderful.

So during the making of the soup, Colby started making a pork roast. We're apparently impulse cookers. How cute. He was in the kitchen and standing by the sink and I had just dumped the cayenne pepper into the soup and I wanted to clean off the spoon to use it to taste with, but I wasn't about to eat a mouthful of cayenne with the soup. While my back was turned, Colby put the spoon in his mouth, not really knowing what it was and then turned around to me and told me that "the stuff on the spoon" was hot. Tee hee.

10 August 2008

Lego my dinner party!

Okay folks, here's the lego party post. Unfortunately, there weren't really any pictures, but I'll do my best to describe.

So the whole thing that started this party was this post that I found on Slashfood and then later on Tastespotting. It was apparently taken from the Betty Crocker website, but it seemed like a fun idea. Shortly thereafter, I was alerted to the existence of Lego gummy candy from Kellog's. Seeing that I'm not actually three, I procured a box. Also, at some random trip to the mall (the one where Colby and Kyle went on a mandate to see the batman movie) I found these hard tablet powder candy legos that you can actually build with! Super cute.

We (Colby, Kyle, and I) used box mixes to make the cake (chocolate, yellow, and marbled) and then used white frosting + food coloring from Hill Country Fare. The interesting thing about Hill Country Fare is that it's one of a few different house brands for HEB, a largely Texan grocery store; given that Texas is beef country, I shouldn't have been surprised when I found out that the main fat ingredient was lard. Oh well. I didn't have any vegetarians at the party. We made the cakes the night before and they came out okay. It doesn't help that I suck at frosting cakes.

To continue on with the lego theme, I made lasagna (which is sort of brick-shaped!) which was topped with homemade croutons that were cylindrical. The lasagna is actually super simple and mostly stolen from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (of which I have mixed feelings):

15 oz ricotta
1.25 c grated parm
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
12 no boil lasagna noodles (I used HEB brand)
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
3ish c sauce

I made the sauce first which consisted of:
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c minced onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used Contandina crushed tomatoes with herbs by accident)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano, parsley, basil

Brown/season meat w/s+p, break up into little bits. In a sauce pan add in olive oil and onions and let them soften for like five minutes (or more if you realize that you've forgotten to mince the garlic), add in the garlic and let cook for 30 seconds and then add in both cans of processed tomatoes and whatever herbs you decide. Let that simmer for 15ish minutes or so and that could be a sauce in and of itself. Add the meat (try to drain off the fat) and then let that sit with the sauce for as long as possible.

To construct the lasagna:
preheat the oven to 375. combine ricotta+s+p+egg+1 c parm+basil mix thoroughly until combined. add in like 1/4-1/2 a cup of sauce to the bottom of whatever you're using to cook in. It should be rectangular and deepish. layer on three lasagna noodles side-by-side and spread some amount of the ricotta mixture on it. Add about 1/2 c of sauce over top. cover in mozzarella and do this layering bit twice more. take the remaining three noodles and layer over top the rest of the pasta, cover with the remaining sauce and then cover in the rest of the mozzarella and 1/4 c of parm. cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Take it out and then uncover it and bake for an addition 25ish minutes until everything is soft and the cheese is all melty.

I found that the easiest way to spread on the ricotta mixture to the noodles was to take the dry noodle in hand and then spread the cheese on it before putting it in the pan. It caused way too much grief to try to do it the other way.

As a side, I made garlic bread the Heidi Swanson way and at the very end, put 2 little half slices of fresh mozzarella on each piece so that they would look like lego things.

Everyone loved the lasagna and people that that the cakes were clever. I'm not so sure that they tasted all that good, but that wasn't really the point with these cakes. I made a flourless chocolate cake the other night which turned out "better", but that's for a later post.

08 August 2008

More "Calamity" than "Kitchen"

So those other posts will be coming in the next few days or so, but I felt the need to relate this story.

Once upon a time, an incoming grad student named Julie was moving from the 15th floor to the 16th floor of RLM at the University of Texas. Julie thought she was being clever by using a rolling chair to cart her stuff onto the elevator so that she wouldn't have to make 100 trips between the floors. On her way into the elevator, Julie's cart hit a bump, which happened to be a large groove between the elevator and the 15th floor. This bump jolted the chair, sending her calculator flying off her chair NINETY DEGREES and it slipped right through that groove and fell down the f*cking elevator shaft for, oh let's say, ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY feet below. Julie sighed as she heard the somewhat familiar "clank clank" of her calculator falling; however, this time it was different. The clanking kept going and for some reason the equation mgh=1/2mv^2 kept popping into her head. Later on that day, she decided to look up on Amazon to see how much that calculator would cost and discovered, to her chagrin that it would cost around ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY dollars to replace, similar to the amount of feet that the calculator fell to its death.

The End.

Is that the best bedtime story or what? I'm refusing to acknowledge that it actually happened. Yup, my calculator is sitting in my desk at work. Yeah.

06 August 2008

Guacamole by feel... for the family!

I've decided that when I have kids that are old enough to be trusted to not drool in the mixing bowl, I'm making guacamole a family activity. It's totally gross to smash avocados, and that seems like something a little kid would *love* to do.

I've been straying from recipes for some time, which is ironic because I am a scientist and recipes can be very scientific things. This is due, in part, to sheer laziness and also due to the fact that I want to develop my palette. It's sort of like writing computer programs. Even though it's faster to just do the task by hand, and even though programming makes you a wee bit homicidal, it's all because you want to automate a task and learn something new... yeah. ANYWHO

I had this intense desire to make guacamole because I haven't baked/cooked/prepared anything that wasn't leftovers in the microwave for a few days and tonight we had yummy dinner at North by Northwest. I found out midway through the process that Colby has used an entire huge onion for the meatballs he made last night (which explains why there were so many damn onions) and so I had to improvise. Based largely on the Alton Brown version, I mashed avocados, added lime juice, threw in one small tomato, diced, 1/2 a jalepeno diced super small, two small garlic cloves, minced, about half a tbs of onion powder, some large amount of salt, about half a tsp of black pepper, tsp ground cumin, tbs dried parsley so you can fake out guac snobs by having them think there might be cilantro in it (because cilantro==gross). Stir stir. It actually came out pretty well.

I have tons of other posts in the works, but I've been too busy (read: lazy) to post. I threw a Lego themed dinner party a couple weekends ago and recipe to follow from it. Also, thoughts on milk from a lactose intolerant.

Also, yay for my friends getting food blogs too! (And she's going to grad school for food science!)

18 July 2008


I caught Colby looking through pages and pages of Tastespotting. Way cute.

I tried my hand at chili last night. That wasn't the greatest batch that's ever been made, but it was a lot better than Colby's for the very fact that I believe that ground beef should never be boiled.

I've recently begun experimenting with meatballs. The first batch came out pretty awful. No one has touched the leftovers and i was only able to manage one bowl before declaring that battle over. I've also started to experiment with limeade mixes because, well, I had limes and lime-juice-from-concentrate (yes, yes, I know... I inherited it from Kyle). The first batch turned out too sweet, or so complained Colby (last night). This morning it was mostly gone.

The one thing that I did intend to experiment with that needed no iteration was the guacamole, which consisted of 3 avocados because the ones at HEB were *tiny*, 1 jalepeno seeded and diced, 1 tsp cumin, 1.5ish tsp salt, some amount of black pepper, 1/2 larger-ish tomato seeded and diced, 1 clove minced garlic, 2 tbs minced onion, juice of 1 small lime. Mash mash mix mix nom nom

07 July 2008

Patriotic Dinner Parties

Or not.

I love dinner parties. I decided, at mostly the last minute, to throw a dinner party for the 4th of July. It's not normally one of those holidays that I celebrate, but I mostly didn't have anything better to do and I hadn't had a dinner party at the apartment yet, so I was itching to host one again. My friend Chris is in from EL to visit us and so between the two of us, we put together quite a feast. Yay food.

It began with the impulse buying of a baguette to match with the tiniest bit of brie I had left from a previous impulse shopping trip. I kind of forgot about it, so it was good and crusty and so I cut it up into cubes and made croutons.

The Impetus:

most of a baguette, cubed
1/2 c EVOO
1/3 c grated parm cheese
2 tbs dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

mix the EVOO, cheese, parsley, garlic. toss the bread cubes in EVOO mixture. bake in an oven at 350 for awhile and turn half way. (I'd check after 5 minutes)

Austin is home to the world's largest urban population of bats. They mostly reside under the Congress St. bridge, so we went to watch one night. It was okay, but the real highlight was a trip to Six Flags over Whole Foods (which is apparently the flagship Whole Foods store for the brand.) which was just down the road. I sort of impulse shopped my way through, getting amazing tomatoes and some mozzarella. This led directly to bruschetta.

The Impulse

1 large salmonella-free tomato, seeded and diced
1/3 c finely chopped basil
3-4 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, pan-toasted, minced
1/3 c fresh mozzarella diced

toast the garlic with the skin on in a pan until it softens and the flavor mellows. mince. combine everything and toss it. let it sit for awhile so the flavors all combine.

The initial dinner party was at Kyle's and was mostly devoted to deep fried foods. Whilst completely delicious, it was, alas, quickly approaching one of the Seven Deadly Sins. To repent, we planned a "healthy" party themed "Atonement"; I suppose this was it:

The Penance

2 chicken breasts
some amount of italian-like dressing

marinate the chicken for like a day. pan sear.

lemon-shallot vinaigrette
(combine everything below, shake){
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tbs Dijon mustard

some amount of spring greens
impetus croutons
Parmesan cheese

toss everything. eat.

In the day leading up to the party, I was browsing the good old inter-mo-tron and The Minimalist put out a list of 101 quick'n'inspired picnic dishes. This, of course, meant that there was more food blog reading to transpire, so after salivating over tastespotting for awhile, I found a pasta-salad recipe that included items that my guests wouldn't eat (broccoli) and I couldn't afford (pine nuts)... so that sort of morphed into a cous-cous dish with items that my guests would eat (asparagus) and I could purchase without signing away the rights to my first born child (pumpkin seed). This mostly involved some amount of asparagus being pan fried with garlic, shallots, and olive oil until it was just barely tender, toasting the pumpkin seeds and then adding all of that to plain cous cous (that I must admit was made from one of those instant box things.) We also oven roasted corn from Whole Foods because I have yet to see it in any capacity at the farmer's market.

The event concluded with dessert, which chris made, which was mostly the following:

1 bag frozen berry fruits
1/2 c water
2 tbs sugar, more to taste
splash lime juice

boil h2o, berries, sugar in a pot and let it thicken. taste. when it's like oh-holy-crap too sweet, add in a bit of lime juice and then when you add too much, add in a bit of sugar and let it thicken still. Serve over some cake like thing (I used my corn bread recipe) with home made whipped cream.

1 c heavy cream
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

mix until soft peaks form.

nom. nom. nom.

30 June 2008

There's no use crying over spilt milk... but spilt coffee is an entirely different matter.

I'm actively attempting to convince myself that this Seattle's Best coffee doesn't taste horrible if I pour it into my own coffee cup, which was prematurely emptied by this terrible force known as "gravity".

27 June 2008

Pandora just picked "sunny came home" also, "Greek" salads and wedding dresses

I woke up at the crack of dawn (8:15) to spend 45 minutes to get to work for a skype conversation that never happened. Oh well. This meant that I got to have *real* pop for the first time in weeks. Yes, I find it necessary to self-congratulate with high-fructose corn syrup and carbonated water. The other real reason for coming into the office today when I could have been otherwise sleeping is the promise of free food stolen from the honors-type undergraduate association for the college of natural science at the University of Texas. I find it a bit scary how quickly my life is approaching PhD comics.

This Saturday will be four weeks in Texas. It still hasn't really sunk in that I've moved halfway across the country for at least the next five years of my life. It also hasn't sunk that I'm getting married in less than six months, but I've finally got my dress and veil. That was a bit of a relief. Thankfully, most things are coming together. My friend Chris is coming to visit on Wednesday and Colby has a job interview later that day. I suspect that there will be much tasty food making in the upcoming couple weeks. :) We've been cooking almost every night, so we've made a few things that I haven't really updated with yet including abomination pie, oatmeal cookies that weren't really noteworthy, and a host of other things that may or may not get mentioned later

Orzo Salad

1 lb box orzo
chicken stock
2 small tomatoes, deseeded and diced
1/4 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 tbs olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tbs roasted red pepper, diced
1/3 c crumbled feta cheese

Boil ozro in a combination of half water and half chicken stock. drain, save some liquid for thinning. combine lemon juice, lemon zest, 4 tbs olive oil, oregano, and salt+pepper to taste. Add 1 tbs olive oil to orzo and combine dressing and everything else.

This turned out to taste mostly the way I expected. It was way too salty the first day, but after it sat in the refrigerator for awhile it was pretty good.

20 June 2008

Monkeying Around

So I've been meaning to post, but every time I start, I get interrupted. I guess that's not a horrible thing and up until the past couple days, I've been productive at work (which is unusual for me). In an effort to accept the fact that we are dirt poor, Colby and I have effectively stopped eating out and we've been cooking a lot. I've done some experimenting with deglazing pans. Also, I accidentally made monkey bread which is partially the result of an argument. At least our fights are productive.

Here are some mostly unconnected thoughts in my head, linked only by the fact that they fall under the category of confessions:

I'm secretly a Martha fan

I tell everyone blue is my favorite color, but it's clearly pink

I used to love Sunny D. A lot.

My favorite chip dip is cottage cheese with a bit of black pepper.

I hate sci-fi, but like parts of "fantasy" (and by parts, I mean His Dark Materials and Neil Gaiman)

"Monkey" Bread

2.5 c flour
2 tsp sugar
1.25 tsp baking powder
.5 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
1.25 c milk
1.25 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs melted butter

.25 c sugar
.75 c brown sugar
2 tbs melted butter
2 tsp cinnamon

start with the intention of making cinnamon rolls and proceed with the filling and mix mix mix. Then get into a fight which involves him sulking to the couch and you improperly making a buttermilk substitution. whisk together the dry ingredients for the dough bit and then more sulking. gently fold in the milk that has had the lemon juice in it for like 5 minutes (which makes it "thicker", but not thick enough to save your intended cinnamon rolls from the fight). fold in the sugar mix and dump into a pan. Bake at 425 for some indeterminate amount of time, but if i were you, I'd start checking in like 15 minutes.

Tomorrow we're (Colby+Kyle+me) going to the farmers market to get tomatoes and mushrooms and maybe some breakfast and then after that, we're going to Barton Springs (which is super cold and we haven't told Colby who doesn't do "cold". TEE HEE HEE). I almost got some heirloom tomatoes at the supermarket, but I decided that I didn't *need* them. Tomorrow looks like it might be a greek orzo salad that I've been envisioning for weeks on end.

09 June 2008


The essence of certain dishes is patience. These are not ideal for me. Also, we got the internets today! Yay internets! More on goulash later, though (i.e. expect an edit on this later). I'm preparing myself for a washer/dryer set tomorrow. Onto discount shopping, for now.


that probably looks way cuter in ascii.

So, back from the discount (but NOT Evil-Mart) shopping, I've acquired laundry materials, a coffee maker, and coffee from Caribou!! The coffee was, sadly, not discounted, but it's still going to be super tasty (and probably a big regret when I'm totally wired after drinking it!)

Dinner tonight was a feeble attempt at my Dad's goulash, which was just given to me in email form like... about 45 seconds ago:

Gram K would be proud of you, that was one of her standard dishes. We had it home, we had it at Barton City, we had it at the campground in Tawas when I was a kid. My recipe is 1lb sirloin hamburg chopped and browned with fine-cut onions, 2 cups macaroni noodles slightly undercooked (like 20% reduction in recommended time), 1 large can diced stewed tomatos, 1 small can sliced mushrooms, 5 1/2" thick slices of Velveeta cheese. Brown burger with onions, drain. Add tomatos, mushrooms, macaroni and Velveeta on lowest heat, cover, stir occasionally until Velveeta melts into a thin sauce, serve hot, salt and pepper to taste...

my version was slightly different:

2 medium portabella mushroom caps, roughly chopped
1/2 onion chopped
3/4 lb ground chuck
1 sm can diced tomatoes
2 tbs flour
2 tbs butter
3/4 c milk
handfuls of cheese
olive oil
chili powder/paprika/oregano/garlic salt/onion powder

sautee onions and mushrooms... and by "sautee", I mean turn on the wrong burner and wonder why the hell the pan isn't getting hot. Then sautee. Add in the GB and then after it browns, drain some of the fat (because, yuck) and then add in the tomatoes. In a different pot, make a roux (butter+flour+salt...+milk) add cheese after it thickens and then add the cheese to the pot. Then taste it and be all like.. hm.. this is missing something and add in the spices at random.

Also, Jon and Kate plus 8 is like a ridiculously adorable show and makes me want my future hapa babies like.. yesterday.

Risotto Part II

There might not have been a post about part one. This isn't actually part two; I think there may have been about five attempts, mostly with different recipes, but "part II" sounds better than "Part VII, I think," therefore this is entitled "Part II."

I haven't been keeping up with blogs, let alone writing one. This is mainly due to the fact that the only place that I have internet access is where I'm supposed to be continuing on in the extraction of my echelle spectra in IRAF, which is a horribly painful procedure that, surprisingly, a large percentage of people that read this know what I'm talking about. Yay for astronomy friends! Colby and I have mostly settled in, what with the furniture. The office is yet unfurnished, with the exception of a hutch that's supposed to be resting on a desk; however, the desk is currently in use as our dining room table. Who else has a dining room table with a special drawer for a keyboard? Oh, that's right... no one! That's because we're super cool (and by "cool", I mean "poor"...)!

Anywho, my new favorite method of making risotto:

2 c arborio rice
28 oz (2 cans) chicken stock
1/3 c white wine
2 tbs butter
2 cloves of garlic crushed (ooh, guess what, Kyle? You can't actually use your abomination here)
s+p to taste

heat the chicken stock in a pot with the crushed garlic cloves. different pan: melt butter, add in rice... let it cook until it looks toasted. Add in wine; stir til absorbed. add in the chicken stock like a half cup or so at a time, stirring until absorbed. Keep doing this forever, but don't put the garlic in. After it's all creamy and stuff take out the garlic (which should be super soft by now) and then mash it and mix it into the risotto. And then add lots of vegetables which neither Colby nor Kyle will eat. And by "lots of vegetables", i mean summer squash that's been boiled, tomatoes and spinach which is wilted in. Also, I added like two handfuls of parm. cheese at the end, along with some dried parsley and fresh basil. s+p. w00t.

See? It's a real recipe. Go me!

04 June 2008


It's extremely possible to drive from Michigan to Texas in one day; however, it's extremely unpleasant to do so. Colby and I left Stockbridge, MI at 5:00 AM on Friday morning and arrived in New Boston, TX at 10:00 PM, a mere eighteen hours on the road later. (No, that's not a miscalculation: Texas is on central time.) We got up bright and early the next day to finish the trip. I got to drive from Dallas to Austin, which was only slightly terrifying. I only thought we were going to die about 10% of the time, though, so that's a plus.

Since then, we've acquired an apartment (okay, we sort of had that one in the bag), a couch, television (like the last CRT TV available in all of Texas), washer/dryer set, a rice cooker, and a new-found independence that's really frickin' weird. I'd describe it if I could, but it's almost straight from that pool scene in Garden State (when your home is not really your home), but different. I guess this is the beginning of the terrible ordeal known as "growing up".

The kitchen in my new apartment isn't by any means spectacular, but it's a major upgrade from my old apartment. I've finally got counter space. It's amazing how much simpler everything becomes when there is room to work. The inaugural meal was stir-fry with rice noodles and after that we've been good about trying to cook every day and whatnot.

The other night, Kyle came over and we had mustard chicken with pasta dish, which went as such:

marinate chicken (aka let it thaw in the fridge) in spicy brown mustard+olive oil+honey+lemon juice mixture with some salt and pepper. It should probably be 2:1:1:1, but that's mostly a guess on my part. Pan fry. Eat. The pasta sauce was just a roux with cheese+sauteed mushrooms, garlic, s+p which was poured over 1/2 lb of penne with some steamed broccoli. Yay for fake attempts at being healthy!

Today, we're going to the farmer's market in Triangle Park and later on, I'm making dinner. I'm thinking risotto with tomatoes, spinach, and yellow squash, with fresh corn. Yay summer!

28 May 2008

Growing closer to growing up...(but not quite yet!)

I have a blog that I actually wrote out on paper with marker because I was stuck in the upper peninsula of Michigan for four days with my dad and there were no writing utensils suitable to the task except for that one marker. It's currently crumpled in a bag somewhere in my bedroom. That's Way. Too. Far.

I should be packing... or rather, I should have packed up already, but I'm lazy. Almost nothing trumps my summer laziness. It's a little scary. Tomorrow I drive to the Lansing area to wrap up some loose ends and say good-bye to Chris and then I'm off to Stockbridge for a day to pack up Colby's stuff (along with Colby!) and then we're off to Texas. The plan is to leave bright and early on Friday morning and drive from Michigan to Little Rock, AR and then drive from Little Rock to Austin. I guess I'll officially be a Texan on Saturday. Crazy.

More recipe entries to come in the future when I've settled into my new life as an almost married Texan, including fried risotto balls, corn bread revisited, chicken Kiev, and sweet potato fries.

19 May 2008

Dinner Parties

I'm making Kyle throw a dinner party tomorrow because I didn't get to go to his other one. Sadness! Colby and I have finally found a place in Texas, so we're stoked. Or at least, I am. And I have a kitchen with a dishwasher and COUNTER SPACE!!! Also, washer and dryer hook ups, as well as a patio. I'm definitely making Colby grow an herb garden.

Recipes to follow and such.

11 May 2008

I had to share:

From myconfinedspace.

Oh my god. I'm watching America's Sweethearts on WKBD and my laptop keeps on serendipitously turning off. Lame. I'm making mother's day dinner for my grandma and aunt later today.

10 May 2008

Ice Cream Toppings

Adapting baking recipes isn't the easiest thing in the world. Also, I hate Kroger with a burning fiery passion. It basically has a monopoly on inner ring suburb grocery stores. The parent company for Farmer Jack decided to close all their stores in the midwest and Kroger came in and bought out all the old stores.

The green arrow is where my house is located. All those damn pink bubbles are Kroger stores. Lame. Anywho, they didn't have any fresh peaches or plums or name a fruit that's not citrus or an apple. Oh, but they had grapples. That's "cool". :( I just keep reminding myself that Austin at least has two Whole Foods... and even though I'm going to be way too poor to shop there, at least the H.E.B. has 1L boxes of strawberry jumex. *Anywho*

So I was trying to make a fruit crisp that I saw on 101cookbooks.com. I didn't think I had enough brown sugar so I modified the recipe as follows:

1/3 c melted butter
1/3 c yogurt
3/4 c oatmeal
3/4 c AP flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a bunch of salt
1/2 c brown sugar

12 oz frozen mango
16 oz frozen peaches
1/4 c peach flavored simple syrup
1 tbs + 1 tsp corn starch

I first made the "simple syrup" by mixing 1/2 c granulated sugar, 1/4 c water, and 1/2 a peach cut up into little chunks. heat it until the sugar all dissolves, let it reach a simmer and cover for two minutes. I added this to the mangoes+peaches along with the corn starch and mixed thoroughly. I was sort of hoping for the corn starch to thicken.

For the "crisp" I whisked the dry ingredients together and then mixed in the yogurt and butter. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to use way less yogurt next time because it wasn't as much "doughy" as it was pasty. And I'm pretty sure that it's not supposed to be a paste. Cover an 8x8 in pan (that you've already put the filling bit in) with this and then put it in a 400 F oven for 20-25 minutes.

It turned out to be rather soupy. I guess next time I'll not use frozen fruit (but then again, next time I'm not going to try to do this from friggen Kroger. Damnit.) and I'll just mix the sugar and cornstarch with the fruit and hope for the best. Also, way. less. yogurt.

It turns out, though, that this ends up to be a really good, albeit complicated, ice cream topping.

09 May 2008

Stuff I Will Miss in EL, MI

So I started writing this a couple different times, but I never had the patience to finish it. I guess now's the time. I haven't done anything in the week since graduation. I've never been so bored in my life. I made mac'n'cheese with my brother last night because I didn't have anything better to do and the night before I made curry for my surprisingly receptive dad. Anywho, things I'll miss...

in list form! (and in no particular order, might I add):

Menna's Joint-they're the only legal dub in town! But no, really, for some reason they never caught on with my friends, unless I was dating them and forcing them to eat delicious-filled tortillas with me. Also putting fried potatoes in flour tortillas with cheese is pretty much Julie-speak for "omg eat me" in the way that doesn't mean bma.

Emo's Cafe- It was (apparently) originally Rivis Korean and American cafe, but then they changed their name to Emo's. It took the place of Mexico-to-go which was a staple for my dad and me when I lived on campus. I *just* discovered Emo's last weekend, and wow, it's phenomenal. Their bulgolgi is waaaay better than Charlie Kang's (though, Charlie Kang's does have superior choice in vegetables in their bibimbahp).

Flat's Grille-I wasn't a huge fan of their actual flats (which are essentially quesadillas), but they had pierogies and really amazing sweet potato chips. Also, the best limeade in town.

Vernors - I haven't really seen this pop outside of Michigan much. There's Canada Dry, I suppose, but it's not nearly as cough/sneeze inducing. Also, what am I going to do when I'm sick? Vernors+saltine crackers = best sick food evER

National Coney Island - best. food. ever. I want a hani.

I'm sure there's more. And I bet I'll figure it out when I'm in Tejas

25 April 2008

Food Fiestas

I adore alliteration and assonance. Anywho!

So after finishing up three talks in two days and the shorter of the two papers that I need so desperately to graduate, I'm totally not in the mood to continue working... which is when I started scouring the food blogs everywhere. Oh the internets, how you provide me with ample reasons to never work.

So in my quest to not work, I read a recipe for dumplings and it got me to thinking. I'd really like to have a dumpling party at some point soon. I had been pushing for a tapas party for awhile, but everyone thought I said "topless". Ew. I don't, however, have a space to do this in yet. I will soon leave my apartment and I'm not about to throw a party at my house. Or, really, at my dad's house... because it doesn't feel like home anymore. ::insert almost quarter-life-garden-state-esque crisis here:: I think Colby and I found an apartment in Austin. It has washer/dryer hook ups, allows pets, has a DISHWASHER, and is far enough away from downtown such as it's not completely distracting. I could have my own place again in less than a month. It feels good.

22 April 2008

sigma pi sigma and lobster mashed potatoes

Today was the physics honor society induction which involved me shaking hands with the professor who, more than anyone else in my college career, wants me to fall off a cliff. Okay, maybe it's not that extreme. Regardless, it was awkwardtastic. Following the "induction ceremony", we all went to the State Room on campus and had "fancy dinner". After a quick glance over the menu, it became increasingly obvious that I was getting the walleye simply to try the lobster mashed potatoes. Also, duh, there was wilted spinach. The meal, though promising, was a bit disappointing. The spinach was a bit bitter and the breading on the fish was soggy, but the mashed potatoes were okay. They were a bit drier than one would hope and the lobster could have been better executed, but I guess I can't complain too much because it was free. So very very free.

And now I'm back in the office for a long night of preparing three talks in the next two days (one on beryllium, another on lithium, and a third on lithium + the Ising model of a ferromagnet). Also, there's that bit with the senior thesis and trying to ensure that I graduate.

21 April 2008

On why I find PETA as disgusting as they find meat...

It's currently 4:04 AM and in the physics building, there is a campus security guard sitting in front of a door to a lab with a clipboard where people sign in to get access to the lab. So when I say "physics building", I mean the Biomedical and Physical Science (BPS) building... I'm just mostly lazy and that building means physics to me, not biology labs where they do research on glaucoma. This time, however, the B in BPS isn't so easily dismissed when there's a security guard on the floor where my office is located on a Sunday night.

PETA decided that it would be cool to have a "March madness" for the worst vivisectors, or something and chose the glaucoma research led by a lab at MSU as the worst. The research is done on cats, which involves (at some point) removing their eyes (under anesthesia) and then euthanasia. Glaucoma is a disease which causes the optical nerve to die and can lead to blindness. It's one of those fun side effects for many people with diabetes. Anywho, this lab has received threats because of the PETA story and they need security there to ensure that no one's going to destroy their research. I guess they're working on restructuring the lab security so that they don't need to physically guard it.

How does this fit into a food blog? Good question. I think it's mostly another example of why I hate "evangelism" of any sort (so... not food). How does making threats give someone the moral high ground over someone who's humanely researching a disease that affects millions of people? Would it be cool if they didn't have to kill cats to do it? Yes. Would it be possible to study glaucoma in the same detail? Definitely not.

I'm about as liberal/hippie as one gets; I believe in universal health care, that guns should be outlawed, and that capitalism is a terrible, terrible ism. However, I am also a human being and believe that the main goal of *any* species should be to ensure the propagation of the species. If we are to say that people are animals too, shouldn't we be doing what we can to make sure that things are better for us? I don't believe that we should kill for the hell of it, but I don't think that doing research to better the lives of millions of people and to find a way to prevent the number two leading cause of blindness is a bad thing.

PETA has recently put out a new initiative to award the group that comes up with a way to grow meat in a test tube. But is this really the best course of action for humans? There's a reason why some of our teeth are sharp and some of them aren't. People aren't meant to be herbivores, they're meant to be omnivores. How does one ensure that this is safe? Also, seriously, who wants to eat this stuff?

So that paper... that I have due soon. I should maybe work on that. Oops.

19 April 2008

tacos + jurassic park

The scores of people milling around campus should make me feel incredibly jealous. Should being the key operative word because who could be jealous of people outside where it's warm and sunny when I'm in the physics building on a Saturday working on a group project about lithium abundances in stars. Oh wait... I suppose the *amazing* slurpee I'm currently consuming can ease the blatant jealousy. Maybe. Fun fact: apparently, the state of Michigan consumes more slurpees in the month of January than California does all year. I'm not sure if I believe that, but some hipster kid told me that on a date once in high school.

We made tacos last night. I say "we" because the only thing that freaks me out more than raw, ground meat is fire. And grease+heat == fire returns true. Colby was draining the pan of the grease and he sort of spilled some on one of the burners. Scary! Oh well. At least it wasn't like that one time I tried making elephant ears in my apartment. How many ways can you say mistake?

I tried making "Mexican rice" (good lord, that sounds vaguely racist), but it didn't turn out so well. Mostly I added salsa and corn to the water and it kind of sort of flavored it. I added half a squeeze of lime as a last ditch effort, so whatever. I'm not too heartbroken over it, though. I guess I'll try again next time, though it probably won't be in this apartment. *sniffles* Actually, no, not sniffles, this kitchen sucks, I have half a refrigerator, and it gets to be like 5777 K in my apartment when I use the oven... so screw you DTN, I'm moving to Texas!

Okay. Yeah, so tonight is curry soup because I need to clean out my pantry and use that potato before it rots. Also the chicken. Also, what does one do with leftover taco meat besides make more tacos? We already made "omelets".

17 April 2008

Una tasa de cafe

Coffee from Sparty's is an abomination to taste buds everywhere.

Also, is it wrong to want to seduce people with food? I guess at this point, I mostly appease Colby with chocolate when he's grumpy, but I want to be good enough to seduce. I feel like if I had worked more at baking well, this skill might have come to me by now. Instead, I wanted to focus on cooking and for the most part, it's edible and fit for consumption. le sigh. I suppose I could try serving foods that have been traditionally known as aphrodisiacs, but I don't like oysters. This could be because my dad has always called them "snots on the half shell." This also may explain why I hate pimento stuffed green olives (which were deemed as "monkey eyes"... ass.) I am very highly caffeinated at this point, because, even as disgusting as Sparty's can be, it's not nearly disgusting enough for me to believe that I can actually stay awake and write a paper on rotationally induced slow mixing in F and G disk stars. Or at least, part of a paper.

In sad news, I will just miss the Okemos farmers' market. I'm kind of way sad about that because I <3 farmers' markets because you seriously can't beat the produce. Oh well. Also, I'm totally looking forward to having (I hope) year-round farmers' markets in Austin. Also, there are apparently TWO Whole Foods in Austin! Yay organic! In other someone related news, I was called a yuppie today.

and finally, story of my life, minus the Poe.


I just ate blue box. I'm kind of ashamed, but in my defense, I did mix in chipotle salsa. Also, in my defense, I'm now experiencing extreme acid reflux, so maybe I've learned my lesson.