Friday, August 27, 2010

Sorry I Can't Come to the Blog Right Now . . .

I have escaped wild, wacky Washington for a weekend respite at the beach. I had no desire to be in DC this weekend with the masses descending upon the city for a rally. So through the benevolence of a great friend we are staying in a very nice condo (where we have stayed before) in the ocean block and will recharge our batteries with some sun, sand and surf.

LBA will start Kindergarten on Tuesday - something I still can't quite wrap my head around yet, and SoBA will finish out his second week of "vacation" at my MIL's house. Here at the beach the wi-fi is spotty (I think we are glomming off some adjacent condo building - the Econo Lodge across the street reserves its signals for guests, the lousy warts) and it is not clear how much access we will have to the "tubes" this weekend. But in a way, that may be just as well, because that is also a break one needs now and again.

I am going to use the time away to work on my book, which I have been working on for several years, but sort of feel might be coming to a conclusion. I have a few gaps to fill yet, but with luck, I could start shopping it around in the next year or so. Want to publish it? Let me know.

I will actually do some reading this weekend, too. I am going to try and avoid the TV as much as possible. I watched a little Nationals baseball tonight, but that seems to have the same ending each evening, so there isn't much point in watching that, either.
Tomorrow is planned to be a full beach day - hopefully we will see how much salt water I can avoid swallowing in the surf. With Hurricane Danielle swirling far out in the Atlantic, there are forecasts of heavy surf and rip currents. My kind of beach time!

So while I frolic in the water with my family, here's a little graphic that has been sitting in my Google Reader, waiting for me to share it with you. Enjoy, and we'll talk next week!

Monday, August 23, 2010

What to Do with a Pork Tenderloin

I really want to grill it. But then again, what Scott did with his sounds really good, too.

Here's a grill recipe that I might give a try. If you have a particularly good one, let me know!

"7-6-5" Grilled Pork Tenderloin
This master grilling recipe works perfectly, no matter how you flavor the pork. Choose one of the glazes I suggest for a beautiful crust, or use your own favorite dry rub, as long as it’s low in salt. Be sure to buy pork tenderloins that haven’t been treated or soaked in any kind of solution by the producer. Serves four to five.

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 pounds total)
  • 1 recipe concentrated fruit glaze
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Fruit Salsa, Orange Balsamic Sauce, or Mango Chutney Sauce for serving (optional)
Brine the tenderloins
In a medium bowl, mix salt and sugar with 1 quart cool water until dissolved. Trim the tenderloins of excess fat and silverskin and submerge them in the brine; let stand about 45 minutes. Remove the pork from the brine, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.

Season and grill
Rub the brined tenderloins all over with the glaze and then season with the pepper. Or, season to taste with another flavoring of your choice.

Heat a gas grill, turning all the burners to high until the grill is fully heated, 10 to 15 minutes.

Put the pork on the hot grill grate. Close the lid and grill for 7 minutes. Turn the pork over, close the lid, and grill for another 6 minutes. Turn off the heat (keep the lid closed) and continue to cook the pork for another 5 minutes. At this point, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the thickest end of the tenderloin should read 145° to 150°F. (If not, close the lid and let the pork continue to roast in the residual grill heat.) Remove the pork from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before carving. Cut across the grain into 1/2-inch slices and serve immediately, with the sauce of your choice.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Man I'm Old

Every year since 1998 (itself a year when I was already out of college), Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin publishes the Beloit College Mindset List to put in perspective certain issues that have helped shaped the incoming freshmen, this year being members of the class of 2014.

Here, mostly without comment, is the full list for this year's class.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992.

For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks and Tony Perkins have always been dead.
  1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive. (a very unfortunate art - lost)
  2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
  3. “Go West, Young College Grad” has always implied “and don’t stop until you get to Asia…and learn Chinese along the way.”
  4. Al Gore has always been animated.
  5. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along.
  6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.
  7. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
  8. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.
  9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.
  10. Entering college this fall in a country where a quarter of young people under 18 have at least one immigrant parent, they aren't afraid of immigration...unless it involves "real" aliens from another planet.
  11. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis. (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)
  12. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry. (Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do ya?)
  13. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.
  14. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
  15. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.
  16. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
  17. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.
  18. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
  20. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.
  22. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.
  23. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.
  24. “Cop Killer” by rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording.
  25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
  26. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
  27. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.
  28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
  29. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.
  30. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.
  31. The first home computer they probably touched was an Apple II or Mac II; they are now in a museum.
  32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  33. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
  34. “Assisted Living” has always been replacing nursing homes, while Hospice has always offered an alternative to the hospital.
  35. Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.
  36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
  37. Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an “Annus Horribilis.”
  38. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. (and isn't that a shame)
  39. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.
  40. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.
  41. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
  42. Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict.
  43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.
  44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.
  45. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.
  46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station. (now that hurts)
  47. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.
  48. Someone has always gotten married in space.
  49. While they were babbling in strollers, there was already a female Poet Laureate of the United States.
  50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
  51. Food has always been irradiated.
  52. There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.
  53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?
  54. The historic bridge at Mostar in Bosnia has always been a copy.
  55. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
  56. They may have assumed that parents’ complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.
  57. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.
  58. Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.
  59. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola’s new Tab Clear, it was gone.
  60. Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.
  61. Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies’ withholding tax, or else.
  62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
  63. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.
  64. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.
  65. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.
  66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.
  67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court. (and that's a good thing)
  68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.
  69. It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.
  70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.
  71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.
  72. One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.
  73. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.
  74. They've always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi (SYFY) Channel.
  75. Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken Roulades

It's possible that C in DC may have to start with her own recipe blog - as she keeps "feeding" me recipes.

This one comes from Simply Recipes.

Chicken Bacon Roulades Recipe

  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 10 bacon slices (about 1/2 pound)
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Lemon pepper seasoning to taste (or ground black pepper with a little lemon zest)
  • 6 Tbsp grated Parmesan (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Working in batches, cook the bacon over medium heat in an ovenproof heavy skillet, until lightly brown but still flexible (not crisp). Place the bacon on paper towels to drain. Cook the shallots in the remaining bacon fat over low heat, stirring, until softened. Transfer shallots with a slotted spoon to a small bowl and leave any fat remaining in skillet. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. With smooth side of a meat pounder pound each breast to 1/8-inch thickness. Discard plastic from boned side of each breast. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper (or ground black pepper and a little lemon zest) and salt. Place 2 1/2 slices of bacon lengthwise (parallel with grain of flesh) along middle of each breast. Top with shallots and Parmesan. Using plastic wrap to help you, tightly roll up each breast lengthwise, tucking in the ends to enclose the filling. Secure seams with wooden toothpicks.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to reserved fat in skillet and heat over medium high heat. Brown roulades on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to middle of oven and bake roulades until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. (Note: we found that our skillet didn't fit in our oven, so we transferred the roulades to a smaller pan.)
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate with tongs and keep warm, covered with aluminum foil. Pour off fat from skillet. (Careful! The handle is hot, use an oven mitt.) Add wine to the skillet and deglaze over medium high heat, scraping up brown bits. Boil wine until reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Add garlic and butter. Cook mixture over medium low heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour and cook roux, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth and cream and bring to a boil, whisking. Simmer the sauce, whisking, 2 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Keep sauce warm. Remove the wooden toothpicks from roulades and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Spoon some sauce in center of each of 4 plates and arrange roulade slices decoratively on sauce.
Serves 4.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Forget Spring Cleaning - It's Almost Fall

I really want to be better about doing stuff around the house, really. Unfortunately, there is a lot of "out of sight, out of mind" going around at the Brave Astronaut launchpad. There is a tendency by Mrs. BA (and to a point me) that if you stick something somewhere and close the door/drawer/box, you will forget about it.

That needs to change. As I think I have said before, I have become the custodian of the Brave Astronaut family archives. There are projects that I need to get to as my father has been after me to get him some things that belonged to my mother. There have been some sentimental struggles over this, but I really need to deal with some of this stuff, soon. Most of this stuff is in the "vault," with the rest of the archival materials - also known as the alcove under the stairs.

I recently went after my desk, which sits in the living room. It became a surface upon which to pile things after the computer died and I got my laptop. That only meant there was more room to cover up with crap. A lot of the stuff then got stuffed in the drawers, so I went after them and cleaned things out. I need to begin a systematic purging of stuff that has gotten stuffed into drawers, boxes, cubbies, etc. to determine their value and retention. There might be a virtual yard sale coming up on Craig's List soon.

In order to get more organized, I might need one of these. I could put it in the boy's room, but they wouldn't get it. I certainly need to make more lists to chart my progress, so maybe I should get a stack of these, do you think they come in left-handed style?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Very Special Day

As is usually the case, I (and Mrs. BA) are in the middle of our annual meeting of our national organization, which usually falls at the same time as her birthday, which is today.

Most of you know that my birthday is in December (I've noted that here before) and our two sons are also December babies. Mrs. BA is the outlier, with the August birthday.

I prefer to think of it as special.

I really cannot think of what my life would be like if she were not in it. Actually, I really don't even want to think about such a circumstance. So I won't.

She is the best person I know.

She is the best mother to two wonderful boys, who love her very much (despite SoBA's urgings that Daddy do everything for him and not her).

She is the best wife ever.

She is a great daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, and any other familial relationship that applies to her.

What amazes me most every day - is that she puts up with me, loves me, and accepts me.

Mrs. BA - I love you more and more every day. Happy Birthday

Monday, August 9, 2010

Be Cool - Ice Cream and Popsicles

I recently remarked to Mrs. BA how I missed the popsicles of my youth. My mother had Tupperware popsicle molds, to which one added syrup and water and soon you had yourself a great frozen treat.

Today marks the beginning of the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists, so it sure to be hotter than H E double hockey sticks, as it usually is during the week of the conference. Popsicles, ice cream and other cool items are sure to be in demand.

The Washington Post food section on August 4, profiled the popsicle (including a recipe on how to make a grown-up Bomb Pop) as well as offering some really easy homemade ice cream recipes (without using an ice cream machine!). Stay Cool and Enjoy.

Todd Thrasher’s Bomb Pops
The Washington Post, August 4, 2010

For the raspberry layer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves (from 10 stems)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/4 ounces vodka
For the lemonade layer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 3 large lemons)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cold water
  • 1 1/4 ounces non-smoky silver tequila, such as Patron or Don Julio
For the blueberry layer
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried culinary lavender (or 2 tablespoons fresh lavender)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, stemmed
  • 1 1/4 ounces rum
For the raspberry layer: Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the mint and steep for 4 minutes. Strain.

Combine the raspberries, mint mixture and vodka in a blender. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding any solids, into a liquid measuring cup to yield 1 1/2 cups.

For the lemonade layer: Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rosemary and steep for 4 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding any solids.

Add the lemon juice and sugar water to a pitcher. Add the cold water to taste, then refrigerate for 30 to 40 minutes. If it's too sweet, add lemon juice to taste. Add tequila to 1 1/2 cups of the lemonade.

For the blueberry layer: Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Add the lavender and steep for 4 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer to yield 1/2 cup.

When you're ready to fill the popsicles (don't do it ahead of time), puree the blueberries and syrup in a blender and pass through a fine-mesh strainer. Return the mixture to the blender, add the rum and puree a second time. Pass through a fine-mesh strainer to yield 1 1/2 cups.

To assemble: Pour the blueberry mixture about a third of the way into the mold. Add the stick and make sure it stands straight. Put the cover on the mold and freeze for 3 hours. Repeat with the lemonade, then with the raspberry.

To serve, dip the bottom of the mold briefly into lukewarm water so the popsicle releases easily.

Makes 6 to 8 popsicles

Recipe Source: From Todd Thrasher of Restaurant Eve and PX Lounge in Alexandria.

Ice Cream with Honey and Thyme
The Washington Post, August 4, 2010

Summary: Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad likes to make ice cream using a combination of cream and milk, and quite a few egg yolks. This no-machine ice cream also can be made with fewer egg yolks, more milk and less cream - a good idea if you count calories, but the texture will be a bit grainy.

Most commercial ice cream contains a lot of air; this has very little, so servings can be small.

MAKE AHEAD: You can process more than one bag of ice cream at the same time, as long as the larger bag of ice and salt can accommodate it.

Makes about 1 quart (8 servings)

For the ice cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups regular or 2 percent milk
  • 2 to 3 sprigs thyme
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons honey
  • 8 large egg yolks, at room temperature
For processing
  • 3 quarts crushed ice
  • 3 cups salt
  • Water, as needed
For the ice cream: Combine the cream, milk and thyme to taste in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the honey to taste; stir until it has dissolved. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes close to a full boil and has picked up quite a lot of thyme flavor. (You'll know by the fragrance; our taste receptors pick up more sweetness and flavor when subjected to a hot substance, so the mixture should be quite but not unpleasantly sweet, with a distinct thyme flavor.) Discard the thyme.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks in a mixing bowl. First, whisk in a third of the beaten yolks into the almost-boiling cream mixture to help prevent curdling; once that is well incorporated, whisk in the remaining yolks. Keep whisking; the heat should be enough to thicken the mixture to the consistency of pancake batter. (If you prefer a thicker texture, transfer the mixture to a bowl placed over, but not touching, the water, of a saucepan containing a few inches of barely bubbling water over medium heat.)

Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a 2-gallon resealable plastic food storage bag, press out all of the air, seal and refrigerate.

For processing: Combine the crushed ice and salt in a larger plastic bag. Add water a few tablespoons at a time as needed; this will speed up the melting of the ice, which in turn will help freeze the ice cream.

Nestle the bag containing the ice cream mixture inside the larger bag so it is surrounded by the ice. At this point, it's best to wear gloves or use a towel to protect your hands. Close the ice bag and shake or massage for 10 to 14 minutes, until the ice cream has firmed up to the desired consistency.

Remove the bag of ice cream. Give it a quick rinse to remove most of the saltwater on the surface, open and serve.

Recipe Source: From Gastronomer columnist Andreas Viestad.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another Food List

Following up on that list of foods that can kill you, or at least clog your arteries irrevocably, here is a list of foods one should eat before one actually dies. I've done OK here, but that in no way means I am ready to shrug off this mortal coil. Comments?

From Shine on Yahoo:
"When it came time to compile our culinary bucket list, anything was game, from street meat on the corner to the finest offerings at a four-star restaurant. Our list includes the usual suspects - caviar, decadent desserts, in-season produce at the peak of freshness - and some surprises, too.

If today were your last on this earth, would your tummy be satisfied? Or do you have some eating to do? Without further ado, our list of 50 Things to Eat Before You Die . . ."
  1. Chicago-style deep dish stuffed pizza with every topping imaginable - not with every topping imaginable, but I've had it (and enjoyed it with Mrs. BA a long time ago on a special night)
  2. Caviar (local and sustainable, of course!) - Know that scene from Big? No thank you.
  3. Fried chicken and waffles - together? really?
  4. Just-picked, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil and mozzarella di bufala on crusty bread - I've had it, but I don't think it was necessarily death-worthy
  5. Perfect scrambled eggs with crème fraiche and chives - not with the extra ingredients, but my father's scrambled eggs are pretty darn good.
  6. French press coffee with real cream - I own a French press. I should use it more often.
  7. Champagne and strawberries - um, yeah.
  8. Steak tartare and fresh arugula with a drizzle of oil - I prefer my meat at least a little cooked.
  9. Hot dog from a street cart with all the fixings - it has to have been in that good, dirty, New York water for at least several days . . .
  10. Authentic Vietnamese pho soup with beef, rice noodles, sprouts, fresh herbs, and sriracha (perfect for when you're feeling under the weather!) - Had the pho. It's pretty good. But I guess if one is going to where it's perpetually hot when one dies . . .
  11. Spicy tuna sushi roll topped with avocado - I don't mind sushi, but for the most part, it's bait to me.
  12. Fried soft shell crab - there's too much left to the imagination here to eat this and really enjoy it.
  13. Mayo-rich lobster roll - eaten at a place, called "Lunch" no less
  14. Baklava (Middle Eastern filo pastry filled with walnuts and honey) - sometimes I score the good stuff when I eat at Marathon Deli.
  15. S'mores by the campfire - c'mon, my mother was a girl scout for like, a hundred years.
  16. Churros dipped in melted chocolate - now we're talking.
  17. Bagel with cream cheese and lox - thanks, but I prefer my bagels lightly toast with butter.
  18. Ice-cold sake - I have a hazy recollection of a very long night at Benihana - but that might have been plum wine and not the rice variety.
  19. Sweet potato fries fried in truffle oil - I've eaten them, but I prefer the savory potato.
  20. Anything with truffle salt - OK, I figured it was salt made from truffles, but I still went and looked it up.
  21. Escargot drenched in garlic butter - pretty much, if it's on the menu, I'm ordering them.
  22. Beignets right out of the fryer, dusted with powdered sugar - I've made them at home, but getting them hot and fresh from here still takes the "cake."
  23. Real strawberry ice cream - the lunch table crown was just discussing homemade ice cream the other day and I was reminded that I should really get out the maker that is hiding in a pantry cupboard at home.
  24. Fresh-caught, head-on prawns over homemade pasta (preferably eaten in Italy) - there are a number of jokes that could be made here regarding the shrimp / prawn (see Good Morning Vietnam or Jumpin' Jack Flash) but I'll leave it alone.
  25. Chocolate-filled croissants with cappuccino on a Sunday morning - I've had them on a Saturday morning (fresh at the market) with coffee, is that close enough?
  26. Pork belly - OK, so I've now learned that bacon is made from pork belly.
  27. Tandoori lobster with garlic-butter naan - yes, please.
  28. Tiramisu - my mother made a great tiramisu, her recipe came from the Waldorf-Astoria.
  29. Honeycomb - I've eaten pollen (for my allergies), I sometimes put honey in tea, but have not tried honeycomb.
  30. Kansas City-style BBQ ribs dripping with sauce - did they have to be eaten in Kansas City?
  31. Salted caramels - I'm intrigued but have not yet had them (though I have had a salted caramel topped cupcake).
  32. Fried Twinkie - have we not mentioned that I am not allowed to have a deep fryer? [head in hands] yes, I've had one of these.
  33. Homemade cannoli filled with ricotta - multiple places. Plus, my father's girlfriend? Her brother runs an Italian Bakery, so yeah.
  34. Nutella-filled crepe with fresh strawberries - I could eat this. I've had all of the ingredients but not together.
  35. Full-fat eggnog dusted with freshly ground nutmeg - I've had it, but it's not something I will reach for.
  36. Greek yogurt with honey and fresh raspberries - again, I've eaten all of these separately, but not together.
  37. Southern-style shrimp and creamy grits - courtesy of OSG, no less.
  38. Mexican grilled corn with lime, crema, and chili powder - sounds exquisite, but it has not yet crossed the Brave Astronaut palette.
  39. Fresh-made guacamole with blue corn tortilla chips - with the guac made table side!
  40. Grilled summer peaches with brown sugar - very peach melba-ish. Sounds de-lish.
  41. Fried green tomatoes - see #32
  42. Big Mac - you mean the two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun? that Big Mac? [see below]
  43. Baked Camembert - now, if I could figure out a way to deep fry it . . .
  44. Homemade gnocchi in tomato cream sauce - just like penne a la vodka, but not.
  45. Butter lettuce from the farmers' market drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a few drops of really good olive oil - I can get behind this as well.
  46. Just-made glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut - multiple times. I have been known to swerve across lanes of traffic upon spotting the "hot" light.
  47. Mussels steamed in ale - oh, yeah.
  48. 8-hour (or longer!) braised osso bucco - not my thing, but I won't deny the pleasure to others.
  49. Duck fat French fries - wow, those sound sinful.
  50. Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with Gorgonzola - you lose me at dates and then again at Gorgonzola, but the bacon's good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's Almost Here - Everything!

Next week at this time, I will be in the middle of the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), which is being held this year here in Washington DC. As is often the case when SAA meets here in DC, this will be a joint meeting with the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA) and the Council of State Archivists (CoSA).

There will be lots to do and I have a pretty full schedule of sessions and events that I will be attending. As most of you know, I usually bring a group of attendees to a local baseball game and this year is no exception. With SAA's help, I have 175 people attending a Washington Nationals game on Saturday evening (want to come? let me know, I might have an extra ticket). It is the highest attended event in the history of my planning and executing these events. I hope that all will have a good time.

Following next week's festivities, LBA will enter his final week of daycare, before starting Kindergarten at the end of the month. I am not sure about how I feel about this, although I think it is safe to say that Mrs. BA is a little unsure about it. I just can't believe that he is all of a sudden old enough to be in Kindergarten. We shall see how that all plays out.

Before that, we will hopefully get away for a few days of relaxation. If that plan falls through, we might initiate the "staycation," lounging at the pool and taking some day trips out of the DC area. Stay tuned.

At work, I am working hard to make headway in my various work responsibilities as I will be working in another division for most of the fiscal first quarter. It is sure to be exciting and challenging and I am looking forward to the experience.

I still haven't forgotten about you all, my faithful readers. I know the recipes get a little boring, but rest assured I have a number of things sitting in my Google Reader feed that I am hoping to get out to all of you soon. Stay with me and enjoy the ride. It hopes to be an exciting fall.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

I had this cake courtesy of C in DC for a recent summer evening out. It was VERY tasty.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

  • 1 two-layer yellow cake mix (Get the one where you add butter, it's better.)
  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb (I added strawberries, 'cause strawberry-rhubarb pie is the best!)
  • 1 cup sugar (I think with other fruits less sugar would be okay.)
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop rhubarb (and fruit, if desired) into small pieces, combine with sugar and let sit while preparing the cake.
  3. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish. Prepare yellow cake mix according to instructions on the box and pour into pan.
  4. Spread the rhubarb-sugar mix evenly over the top of the cake. Be sure to get rhubarb out to the edges for more even baking.
  5. Pour the cream over the top of the cake.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
As the cake bakes, the rhubarb and cream will sink to the bottom, creating a fruity, pudding like layer that is thick but runny. The cake will bake like a normal cake, in that when a toothpick is inserted to test done-ness it will come out clean. However, the cake will slide around a bit on the bottom layer, so it will seem as though the cake is not done. Test the cake before removing from the oven.

My notes: (a) The addition of strawberries to the rhubarb was a great combination. However, 1 cup of sugar was a little too much sugar, as the cake and fruit mixture was very sweet. Granted rhubarb is very tart, but I think having more of the tartness would have been better. I'll be experimenting with sugar levels. (b) I think there are a lot of great fruit possibilities this cake: peaches & blackberries (I'm making this tomorrow morning for a work potluck.), or raspberries.