Monday, August 25, 2014

Blackberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumble

From Love and Olive Oil

Blackberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Crumble
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

For Filling:
  • 16 ounces (3 cups) fresh blackberries 
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • pinch salt 
For Topping:
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate 
  • flake sea salt (such as Maldon) 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. To prepare filling, toss blackberries with flour, sugar, and lemon juice. Divide filling among four 6-ounce or two 12-ounce ramekins and arrange on a baking sheet (to catch any overflow). 
  3. To make topping, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Add oats, flour, and salt and mix until incorporated. Dough will be slightly crumbly. Stir in mini chocolate chips. Generously crumble over top of blackberries. (You may not need to use all the topping, that's ok, it's basically an eggless oatmeal cookie dough so munch away!) Sprinkle with more chocolate chips (if desired) and flake sea salt. 
  4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fruit filling is bubbling and cookie topping is light brown and crispy. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving warm with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Watermelon Margaritas

Last week was the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists.  And there may have been some drinking.  This week, LBA and SoBA and at Camp BA's Sister and Camp Nana, respectively.  There may be more drinking.  Perhaps one of these lovely summer coolers.  From Sugar and Charm

Refreshing Watermelon Margarita
  • 3 ounces fresh watermelon juice 
  • Juice of 1.5 limes 
  • 1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice 
  • 2 ounces tequila 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or agave 

Add all of the ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain over a glass with ice.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

It's A Beautiful Night for Baseball!

Tonight is the annual outing where I invite 200 of my closest archival friends to a baseball game during the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists.  With the SAA Annual Meeting here in Washington, DC this year, that means the Washington Nationals.  Tonight, the Nats will take on the Pittsburgh Pirates (which was the team that we saw the first time I organized this outing, lo these many years ago).

Here's a post that came out on BuzzFeed back at the beginning of the baseball season on why "Baseball is the Best Sport for Anxious Fans." (click the link to see the associated pictures with the text below)

We all know the horror of watching your closing pitcher blow a lead. But for the overall anxious among us, baseball provides invaluable respite.

  1. There are 162 games in a season. Day One! So filled with hope! With so many games on the schedule, losses are easier to stomach than in other sports… 
  2. Each game is roughly three hours long. So over the course of a season, you invest an unspeakable amount of time and nervous energy into baseball that might otherwise be pent up in anxiety.
  3. Baseball stadiums are significantly less stressful than arenas for other sports. Your team is down by 5 runs? Shrug it off, go buy yourself a $25 hot dog. So get out there, the sun’s good for you. Just don’t forget sunblock.
  4. The pace of the game is rarely stressful due to its slow pace. We all know those strikeout, fly out, ground out innings. Which gives you time to get to know your favorite players and their quirky personalities.
  5. However, something exciting could happen at any moment, which helps keeps your focus on the game and not on external stressors. Honestly, whose day wouldn’t be made better by a Bartolo Colon home run? 
  6. Following the game closely could actually stimulate your brain in a calming way.
  7. Diving deep into the world of complicated statistics can be tranquilizing for the more obsessive of us. 
  8. Nostalgia, considered a reprieve from emotional distress, goes hand in hand with baseball. Much has been written about the traditional and ritualistic nature of the game. Richard Skolnik says “Baseball memories are said to be memories of America’s youth, and to represent rich receptacles of traditions and values as meaningful as the greater socio-cultural context in which the game is played.”
  9. Even after the stressful end of the season, you have a long offseason to recover.
  10. Yet nothing puts a smile on your face like waking up and realizing pitchers and catchers are set to report that day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

International Left-Handers Day! Celebrate with me!

Today is known as International Left Handers Day (and yes it's also the day after Mrs. BA's birthday).  It's also the middle of "SAA Week" here in Washington DC, the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists is underway.

The Brave Astronaut is left handed, and despite my urgings, thought I was going to get SoBA to be a lefty, but that doesn't look like it will come to pass.  But here's a list of 59 others that "if the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, then they (we) are in their right minds!"
  1. Robert De Niro - "are you talking to me?"
  2. Angelina Jolie
  3. Prince William
  4. Robert Redford
  5. Sarah Jessica Parker
  6. Barack Obama - the last several presidents have been left handed.
  7. Keanu Reeves
  8. Jerry Seinfeld
  9. Nicole Kidman
  10. Julia Roberts
  11. Bill Clinton - see?
  12. Lady Gaga
  13. Seth Rogan
  14. Mary-Kate Olsen
  15. Owen Wilson
  16. Bruce Willis
  17. Lisa Kudrow
  18. Morgan Freeman
  19. Diane Keaton
  20. Mark Wahlberg
  21. Tom Cruise
  22. Tim Allen
  23. Matthew Broderick - so if both he and Sarah are lefties, what about their kids?
  24. Justin Bieber
  25. Oprah Winfrey
  26. John Slattery
  27. Ben Stiller
  28. Emma Thompson
  29. Paul McCartney
  30. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  31. Jay Leno
  32. Demi Moore - sigh.
  33. Prince Charles - sure there's a father-one, see #3
  34. Celine Dion
  35. Bill Gates
  36. Martina McBride
  37. Drew Carey - there's a lot of funny on this list.  I'm pretty funny.
  38. Matt Lauer
  39. Whoopi Goldberg
  40. Richard Simmons
  41. Jon Stewart
  42. Goldie Hawn
  43. Ron Perlman - The Beast!
  44. Pierce Brosnan
  45. Teri Hatcher
  46. Kevin Richardson
  47. Dan Aykroyd
  48. David Bowie 
  49. Spike Lee
  50. January Jones - so should Roger and Betty have a thing?
  51. Eminem
  52. Ashley Tisdale
  53. Dennis Quaid
  54. Ed O'Neill
  55. A.J. McLean
  56. Niall Horan
  57. Greg Kinnear
  58. David Letterman
  59. Jim Carrey

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brie and Butter Grits with Honey and Raspberry Compote

Doesn't the title of this post make you weep with joy?  I get a little misty eyed.  I might need to take several moments if this gets prepared in the Launchpad Kitchen.  From Food 52

Brie and Butter Grits
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1 pinch salt 
  • 1/2 cup grits or polenta 
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 2 tablespoons Brie cheese 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons honey 
Raspberry Compote
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds

  1. In a medium pot, bring the water, milk and salt to a boil. Add the grits and lower to a simmer, stirring occasionally. After 2 minutes, add the butter, the Brie, and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Taste to adjust the sweetness according to your preference. Simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes and serve in a bowl.
  2. For the raspberry compote, simply add the raspberries and the sugar to a small pot and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Top the grits with the slivered almonds, raspberries, and add a bit more honey or brown sugar if desired. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Nixon Resigns!

Forty years ago, the words above are what was on the headlines of most of the newspapers of the day.  Having announced his resignation the day before, the 37th President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, left the presidency - becoming the only man to resign the presidency.  Nixon was facing almost certain impeachment over the Watergate crisis any may have very well been removed from office after a lengthy trial.

I remember very clearly - the Brave Astronaut family was on vacation at the beach when my parents called me in to watch the television - telling me to watch, this was something I would likely never see happen again.  Forty years later, it hasn't.

Nixon of course went on to "rehabilitate" himself and became an elder statesman before his death in 1994.  The pardon he received from his successor, Gerald R. Ford, certainly helped, too - although Ford took a lot of heat for pardoning Nixon.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Campfire Potatoes

Mrs. BA likes the summer - she likes flank steak.  She likes to have baked potatoes with her flank steak.  I could probably sell her on these. From Epicurious.

Campfire Potatoes
Bon App├ętit | August 2009
by Maria Helm Sinskey

Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 16 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), halved 
  • 3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 4 unpeeled large garlic cloves, smashed 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves 
Place potatoes in medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons coarse salt. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Return to saucepan. Add remaining ingredients to potatoes; toss to coat. Cool.

Arrange four 12-inch squares aluminum foil on work surface. Divide potato mixture among foil squares and place 1 garlic clove atop potatoes on each square. Crimp to seal. Store packets at room temperature up to 2 hours or in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place potato packets on grill and cook until heated through and sizzling, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer packets to serving plate and pierce foil with grill fork to release steam. Open packets carefully (hot steam will be released).