Summer Fare

The heatwave of this week has put me in mind of an issue I face every summer. What to eat?

Necessary background information: I am pathetic when it comes to heat. For all my bitching about winter this year, I would rather have snow than blinding heat any day. I spent entire summers of my youth wilting on a sofa waiting for fall. Things have not improved.

On Sunday we were in Northampton, sitting down to eat after a day of gallivanting (mostly in an air-conditioned car) in the 80-some degree heat. I ordered my favorite dish in my favorite restaurant (Chicken Piccata served over Lemon Fettucine) and found, to my dismay, that I was too hot and wilted to have an appetite. A feeble attempt at mustering hunger left me with a little over half of my food leftover and a fridge for left-overing nowhere nearby. Alas.

So, I'm asking you all: do you have delicious recipes for tasty, yet light dishes for the summer? A few preferences: salads are well and good, but not considered by myself or my husband to be much of a meal most of the time (this may change come summer in our new third floor walk-up). I have never (not even once!) cooked fish, and it seems like a good hot-weather option, so send those recipes along! Otherwise, I'm open to suggestion.

Also, any tips on container-gardening are also welcome.


Big fat failure

As this week's phenomenally ambitious plan has been a complete and utter failure, I am taking good advice from a great friend (who got similar advice from our fabulous adviser). I am going to try to think small. Starting tonight I am going to do the following.
  • Read about 50 necessary, productive pages a day and
  • Write 250 words of notes a day about the aforementioned pages.
Hopefully this will work.

If you're into cooking and/or Twitter

These recipes are awesome. This woman condenses all her recipes into 140 characters and posts them for all to share! Awesome.


For my reference: Grand plans

This will likely not be entertaining to any of you, so feel free to skip right over it.

Monday 4.20
4-5 PM: do a little reading/writing on prospectus
5-6:30ish PM: Faculty dinner at Annenberg
Evening: clean the house and chill

Tuesday 4.21
8 AM (latest): Up and at 'em, breakfast, shower
9 - 12 PM: Read Sloterdijk and write about him
12 PM: head to campus
1 - 2 PM: Childhood Lecture
2 - 4 PM: Prospectus (Read and write about Bachelard)
4 - 5:15 PM: Childhood Staff Meeting
5:15 - 6:45 PM: Graduate Writing Fellows
6:45 PM: Home, chill

Wednesday 4.22
8 AM (latest): Up and at 'em, breakfast, shower
9 - 11 AM: Revisit Prospectus draft, add/delete material
11 AM: Head to campus, lunch, date with Danny
4 - 6 PM: Continue prospecting
Evening: Chill

Thursday 4.23
8 AM (latest): Up and at 'em, breakfast, shower
9 - 11 AM: Plan for Childhood section
11 AM: Head to campus, lunch
1 - 2 PM: Childhood Lecture
2 - 3:30 PM: Prepare for Extension School
3:30 - 5:15 PM: Continue tinkering on Prospectus
5:15 - 7:30 PM: Extension School
7:30 PM: Home

Friday 4.24
6:55 AM: Up and at 'em, head to campus, breakfast
8:30 - 10 AM: Prepare for section
10 - 11 AM: Childhood Section #1
11 AM - 1 PM: Lunch, chill
1 -2 PM: Childhood Section #2
2 PM: Home, chill
Evening: something fun?


Clip Show - Springtime edition

In the weeks since our last Clip Show, Spring has arrived in Boston (limping and undecided, but at least the snow is almost all gone), grandiose decisions have been made regarding a new abode, and work has been put ever further off. Here are some highlights from the last three months.

Figure One. Daffodils from Russo's and the little red calendar that could.
Figure two. I am not an egg fan, but I have taken a fancy to bagel breakfast sandwiches featuring scrambled egg, sharp cheddar, and rosemary ham. This one had the extra benefit of avocado.

Figure three. The Fraktail. This is a drink I made in honor of the end of a particular television show that I came to adore. Recipe adapted from the "Creole Lady Cocktail" in Old Mr. Boston's De Luxe Official Bartender's Guide (1951 edition).

My recipe:

1 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
1 oz. Madeira Wine
generous splash no sugar added cranberry juice (to remind us of the bittersweet goodbye)
shake over ice and serve in a martini glass with a cherry.

So say we all.

Figure four. Sofra. This is a very surprising little lovely middle-eastern bakery and coffee shop. They serve the most astonishing and delicious things.

Figure five. The delicious Mezze platter I had for breakfast (outside) on the first warm Sunday of 2009. From left to right: Bean plaki - braised with tomato, garlic and green peppers; Moroccan carrot salad (harissa, ground ginger, olive oil, and vinegar); smokey eggplant with pine nuts; Armenian bean and walnut pate (red kidney beans, walnuts, butter, olive oil, and pomegranate molasses); Moroccan style goat cheese with almonds, raisins, and cilantro. Also, flatbread with black sesame seeds.

Figure six. Lucy had a visitor. Gerta came to stay for a long while.

Figure seven. After making a beautiful pork shoulder, I used the leftovers to make a gorgeous pork ragu served over creamy-dreamy polenta. Recipe from Fine Cooking.

Wish List - in no particular order

  1. a larger bed
  2. and bed frame
  3. kitchen table and chairs
  4. more bookshelves
  5. frame for our Chagall print
  6. trip to Seattle and environs, Vancouver
  7. trip to Ireland/UK/Guernsey
  8. trip to Germany
  9. new wardrobe
  10. another puppy
  11. the necessary accoutrements for a really cool office space
  12. herb and vegetable plants to grow in containers on our new deck
  13. a cheap, trustworthy moving company
  14. oriental rug
  15. comfy leather armchair
  16. coffee table


End of an (albeit brief) era

My little family (big husband and little dog) has really loved living in our suburban little town for the last year, but we've decided it's time to grow up and move back to the big city. So, we're up'n and movin' to a lovely new neighborhood (all new territory to explore and lots of new smells for the pup) come May 15. Very exciting!