Monday, April 30, 2018

Turkey a la King

One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the turkey sandwich (on white bread, with lots of mayo, and maybe stuffing and cranberry) around 7:00 in the evening.  The next best thing is using leftovers to make either Ham and Turkey Pie or Turkey a la King (served on patty shells).

Here's a recipe that appeared in the New York Times Magazine a while back (actually right around Thanksgiving) but I just rediscovered it.

Turkey a la King
Serves 4

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4-6 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup frozen peas (growing up, my mother would use LaSeur canned baby peas)
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • finely chopped parsley, for garnish
  1. Make a roux.  In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt 4 tbsp of the butter.  When it begins to foam, sprinkle the flour over it, and whisk to combine, then continue whisking until it begins to turn the color of straw, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  2. Slowly add 1 cup of the turkey stock to this mixture, and stir to combine.  Add more stock to thin the sauce.  Keep warm.
  3. Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add to it the remaining 2 tbsp butter.  When it begins to foam, add the mushrooms, and cook until the mushrooms have released their moisture and begun to get glossy and soft, approximately 7-10 minutes.  Add the turkey, then the warm sauce and cream, and stir to combine.  Add the peas, then cook stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and has thickened slightly, approximately 7-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sherry, adjust seasonings and serve over biscuits or toast (or patty shells), rice or buttered noodles, garnished with the parsley.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

MARAC Report

Two weeks ago, at this point in time, the Brave Astronaut clan was enjoying a breakfast buffet at the Hershey Lodge as part of the Spring 2018 MARAC meeting, held in Hershey, PA.  It had been a good meeting, with some informative sessions, and a great plenary.  The business meeting was getting underway and it was time for the Awards portion of the breakfast.  Unbeknownst to me, I was about to be surprised with the MARAC Distinguished Service Award.  I had no one to blame but myself, having started the "tradition" on dropping the award on an unsuspecting colleague, when I chaired the committee.  Surprise is always better than staged theatrics.  Except when it happens to me. :)

I have already expressed my thanks to those individuals who nominated me for this great award, as well as the members of the committee who selected me.  In my shock and surprise, I was unable to adequately express at the Business meeting my thanks.  I wrote the following, which will hopefully be published in an upcoming MARAC newsletter.
First, let me thank the MARAC Membership and the Distinguished Service Award Committee for bestowing on me this incredible honor. To have my name listed alongside giants in our profession and our organization like, Danna Bell, Lauren Brown, Lisa Mangiafico, Ron Becker, Jodi Koste, Jim Byers and others who came before me, is very humbling.
I would like to also thank those individuals (it’s possible I may have said “blame” in my remarks on Saturday morning) who nominated me for this award. To be recognized by them for (in the words of the nomination form) “significant contributions to MARAC which have contributed to the success of the organization” means a great deal to me and I am truly grateful for the honor.
I have been a MARAC member since I became an archivist more than twenty years ago. I quickly sought ways to contribute to the organization, joining the Steering Committee as a Member at Large, was later elected Treasurer, and finally served as MARAC Chair. Along the way, I sought counsel from those who had come before me, including those named earlier, along with Marsha Trimble, the late Leonora Guidland, Becky Collier (our incoming Chair), Lucious Edwards, Fynnette Eaton, Geof Huth, Jeff Flannery, and many others, all of whom are just as deserving as I of recognition by this great organization that we all support and love.
Speaking of love, I really must thank my wife [Mrs. BA], who is in attendance at her first MARAC Meeting in several years (that should have been a tip off to me!), along with our two boys, [LBA and SoBA]. Some of you may know that Mrs. BA and I met at the Spring 1996 MARAC Meeting in College Park, where she was giving a workshop on Arrangement and Description. It was MARAC who brought us together and now sixteen years later, we are one of the “MARAC love connections” and the three of them make me a better archivist, husband, and father, in that order at least for this venue. Also, [LBA] spent some time in the MARAC cradle that was made for the late Leonard Rapport and passed down through the organization for many MARAC member children to sleep in. Ted also was a dues paying MARAC member for a few years after he was born – and he has talked of following his parents into this wonderful profession.
In closing, I was talking with a few colleagues earlier in the meeting that we had noticed that our organization had gotten younger of late – and that is not necessarily a bad thing. We “seasoned” members of this organization are revitalized by the infusion of younger talent entering our profession and look forward to working with them to further the mission and goals of our organization and our profession.
Thank you again very much. I am deeply honored.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Best TV Shows Ever

We don't watch a lot of "live" TV at the launchpad.  There really aren't any shows worth watching anymore.  I do watch "Madam Secretary," "Homeland," "Timeless," and "The Americans" but that's the extent of what's on my DVR.

Here are two lists I've had for some time and haven't posted.  It is likely to engender some serious discussion.  The first list is from the Hollywood Reporter and the second is from Rolling Stone.


100. Desperate Housewives 2004-2012) ABC - didn't watch
99. Fawlty Towers 1975-1979) BBC, PBS - didn't watch
98. Family Ties (1982-1989) NBC - I would put this a little higher, but Alex P. Keaton's republicanism knocks him down a few pegs.
97. Ally McBeal 1997-2002) Fox - watched and enjoyed, though Calista Flockhart was borderline annoying.
96. Everybody Loves Raymond (1996-2005) CBS - not a fan but Mrs. BA likes it in syndication.
95. Battlestar Galactica(2004-2009) Syfy - I prefer the original, Lorne Green, Martin Landau, Barbara Bain version.
94. Parenthood (2010-2015) NBC - watched a few episodes but it never caught on with me.
93. The Brady Bunch (1969-1974) ABC - this was a staple most afternoons when coming home from school.
92. The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) CBS - Bob Newhart is an unsung comedic genius.
91. The Americans (2013-Present) FX - see above, one of the few shows I watch.
90. Arrow (2012-Present) The CW - don't watch
89. The Rockford Files (1974-1980) NBC - Along with "Barnaby Jones," "Starsky and Hutch,"and "CHiPS" every afternoon at 4:00pm.
88. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005-Present) FX, FXX - don't watch
87. Scrubs (2001-2010) NBC, ABC - didn't watch
86. True Blood (2008-2014) HBO - didn't watch
85. Law & Order 1990-2010) NBC - though it was hard to avoid, I don't think I ever saw a full episode.  And I really like Sam Waterston and Jerry Orbach.
84. Alias (2001-2006) ABC - didn't watch
83. Get Smart (1965-1970) NBC, CBS - sorry about that Chief.
82. Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967) CBS - "those poor people."
81. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-Present) NBC - see #85
80. The Flintstones (1960-1966) ABC - not in its original time slot, but in syndication, it was a don't miss.
79. Sesame Street (1969-Present) PBS - I would be Un-American if I hadn't watched this.
78. Married… With Children (1987-1997) Fox - didn't watch
77. Scandal (2012-Present) ABC - didn't watch
76. Full House (1987-1995) ABC - didn't watch though LBA and SoBA like it (along with the reboot)
75. Doctor Who (1963-1989) BBC, PBS - don't hate me, but didn't watch
74. 24 (2001-2010) Fox - came to it late, but have seen all of them.
73. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1962) CBS, NBC - didn't watch, but with good reason.
72. Mork & Mindy (1978-1982) ABC - Thursday nights.
71. Saved by the Bell (1989-1993) NBC - didn't watch
70. I Dream of Jeannie (1965-1970) NBC - only in syndication
69. Entourage (2004-2011) HBO - didn't watch
68. Firefly (2002-2003) Fox - didn't watch
67. Moonlighting (1985-1989) ABC - loved this show, but they never should have slept together.
66. Taxi (1978-1983) ABC, NBC - an outstanding piece of television, this would certainly be higher on my list.
65. Family Guy (1999-Present) Fox - didn't watch
64. House (2004-2012) Fox - Mrs. BA has issues with TV that deal with the human condition, but Hugh Laurie's crankiness made this show great.
63. Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) NBC - the recent passing of Steven Bochco, moves this show up on my list.
62. Bewitched (1964-1972) ABC - not a huge fan, but have seen several episodes.
61. Roseanne (1988-1997) ABC - wasn't a fan the first time, not a fan this time.
60. Murphy Brown (1988-1998) CBS - didn't watch
59. Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974) - didn't watch
58. How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014) CBS - the only ones I have seen is because Mrs. BA watched it.
57. The Good Wife (2009-Present) CBS - didn't watch
56. The Wonder Years (1988-1993) ABC - didn't watch
55. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) Syndicated - didn't watch
54. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996) NBC - didn't watch
53. Curb Your Enthusiasm (1999-2011) HBO - didn't watch
52. True Detective (2014-Present) HBO - didn't watch
51. Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) WB - didn't watch
50. Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000) NBC - ashamed but didn't watch.  At this time I don't think I realized it was my classmate's (Judd Apatow) version on my high school.
49. Orphan Black (2013-Present) BBC - didn't watch
48. The Golden Girls (1985-1992) NBC - didn't watch
47. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) CBS - in syndication, yes.
46. Veep(2012-Present) HBO - have seen one season but no more than that.
45. Homeland (2011-Present) Showtime - see above, although this current season is hard to watch.
44. Downton Abbey (2010-Present) ITV, PBS - didn't watch
43. The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978) CBS - not in its original timeslot, but in syndication, all the time. It was always fun to see them lose it.
42. Castle (2009-Present) ABC - didn't watch
41. Happy Days (1974-1984) ABC - Tuesday Night, 8:00, followed by Laverne & Shirley.
40. Frasier (1993-2004) NBC - LBA has become a fan of Frasier.
39. All in the Family (1971-1979) CBS - a great show.
38. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) NBC - didn't watch
37. Dexter (2006-2013) Showtime - didn't watch
36. The Muppet Show (1976-1981) Syndicated - up there with Sesame Street.
35. Star Trek (1966-1969) NBC - in later syndication, a little.
34. South Park (1997-Present) Comedy Central - didn't watch
33. Sherlock (U.K.) (2010-Present) BBC, PBS - didn't watch
32. Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) NBC - both LBA and Mrs. BA have binge watched all of these.
31. The Office (U.S.)(2005-2013) NBC - didn't watch
30. The Wire (2002-2008) HBO - didn't watch
29. Six Feet Under (2001-2005) HBO - "I hate the living." - Nate Fisher
28. ER (1994-2009) NBC - I want to say this show went on a few seasons too many.
27. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) WB, UPN - this may get me in trouble, but didn't watch.
26. Orange Is the New Black (2013-Present) Netflix - didn't watch
25. The Big Bang Theory (2007-Present) CBS - one of Mrs. BA's favorites.
24. The Walking Dead (2012-Present) AMC - I wanted to watch this show, lover of the disaster genre as I am, but couldn't do it.
23. Cheers (1982-1993) NBC - the show was never the same after the death of Coach and Diane's departure.
22. Will & Grace (1998-2006) NBC - watched but it wasn't a must see.
21. House of Cards (2013-Present) Netflix - I watched for a while, but the news about Kevin Spacey makes it hard to come back to this.
20. Twin Peaks (1990-1991) ABC - that's some good pie.
19. The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) CBS - "I hate spunk."
18. 30 Rock (2006-2013) NBC - didn't watch
17. The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) CBS - see #73
16. Arrested Development (2003-Present) Fox, Netflix - didn't watch
15. Lost (2004-2010) ABC - Wednesday nights.
14. Modern Family (2009-Present) ABC - didn't watch
13. M*A*S*H (1972-1983) CBS - this is in my Top 10, if not Top 5
12. Sex and the City (1998-2004) HBO - didn't watch
11. The West Wing (1999-2006) NBC - likely my No. 1
10. The Simpsons (1989-Present) Fox - didn't watch
9. Mad Men (2007-2015) AMC - In my Top 5
8. I Love Lucy (1951-1957) CBS - not originally, but in reruns, yes.
7. Saturday Night Live (1975-Present) NBC - I'm not usually up that late anymore.
6. The Sopranos (1999-2007) HBO - not in its original run, but I have binged watched.
5. Seinfeld (1989-1998) NBC - not that there's anything wrong with that.
4. Game of Thrones (2011-Present) HBO - didn't watch
3. The X-Files (1993-2002) Fox - didn't watch
2. Breaking Bad (2008-2013) AMC - Like the Walking Dead, I wanted to like this, but it never grabbed me.
1. Friends (1994-2004) NBC - I have soured on this show because it is on. all. the. time.


100. 'Eastbound and Down' 2009-13 - didn't watch
99. 'Oz' 1997-2003 - didn't watch
98. 'The Golden Girls' 1985-92 97. 'Portlandia' 2011-Present - didn't watch
96. 'Gunsmoke' 1955-75 - I was more of a Bonanza fan.
95. 'Key & Peele' 2012-15 - didn't watch
94. 'Jeopardy' 1964-1975, 1984-Present - while I watched Jeopardy, for game shows, I was more of a fan of The Price is Right and Match Game.
93. 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' 1988-99 - didn't watch
92. 'American Idol' 2001-16 - didn't watch
91. 'Broad City' 2014-Present - didn't watch
90. 'The Dick Van Dyke Show' 1961-66 - "OH, ROB!"
89. 'Homeland' 2011-Present
87. 'Doctor Who' 1963-Present
86. 'Good Times' 1974-79 - I would put this show higher.
85. 'The Real World' 1992-Present - didn't watch
84. 'Real Time With Bill Maher' 2003-Present - didn't watch
83. 'House of Cards' 2013-Present
82. 'The Jeffersons' 1975-85 - I would also put this ground breaking show higher. 
81. 'Dallas' 1978-91 - And yes, I was one of the millions who watched the "Who Shot J.R. episode.
80. 'The Fugitive' 1963-67 - didn't watch but am a big fan of the movie.
79. 'In Living Color' 1990-94 - didn't watch
78. 'Thirtysomething' 1987-91 - sorry, but the title of the show was "thirtysomething."
77. 'The Walking Dead' 2010-Present
76. 'Late Night With Conan O’Brien' 1993-2009 - didn't watch
75. 'American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson' 2016 - didn't watch
74. 'The Ren & Stimpy Show' 1991-95 - didn't watch
73. 'Transparent' 2014-Present - didn't watch
72. 'Girls' 2012-Present - didn't watch
71. 'Mr. Show' 1995-98 - didn't watch
70. 'Roseanne' 1988-97
69. 'The Ed Sullivan Show' 1948-71 - didn't watch, but then again I wasn't born for most of it.
68. 'The State' 1993-95 - didn't watch
67. 'The Odd Couple' - 1970-75 - this show deserves to be higher. 66. 'Downton Abbey' 2011-16 65. 'Happy Days' 1974-84 64. 'Chappelle’s Show' 2003-06 - didn't watch
63. 'The Wonder Years' 1988-93 62. 'Sex and the City' 61. 'Your Show of Shows' 1950-57 - didn't watch
60. 'Beavis and Butt-Head' 1993-97, 2011 - didn't watch
59. 'Hill Street Blues' 1981-87 58. 'Roots' 1977 - I was also one of the millions of Americans who watched this for the entirety of when it was on. 57. 'Fawlty Towers' 1975-79 56. '24' 2001-10 55. 'Six Feet Under' 2001-05 54. 'The Muppet Show' 1976-81 53. 'The Bob Newhart Show' 1972-78 52. 'The Colbert Report' 2005-14 - didn't watch
51. 'Fargo' 2014-Present - didn't watch
50. 'ER' 1994-2009
49. 'Taxi' 1978-83
48. 'The Office (U.S.)' 2005-13
47. 'The Rockford Files' 1974-80
46. 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' 1970-77
45. 'Battlestar Galactica' 2003-09
44. 'Columbo' - 1971-78 - didn't watch
43. 'The Americans' 2013-Present
42. 'NYPD Blue' 1993-2005 - was not a big fan.
41. 'The Honeymooners' 1955-56 - in reruns, sure
40. 'The Shield' 2002-08- didn't watch
39. 'Lost' 2004-10
38. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' 1997-2003
37. 'Orange Is the New Black' 2013-Present
36. 'Law & Order' 1990-2010
35. 'My So-Called Life' - didn't watch
34. '30 Rock' 2006-13
33. 'South Park' 1997-Present
32. 'I Love Lucy' 1951-57
31. 'Sesame Street' 1969-Present
30. 'The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson' 1962-92 - if I watched late night talk show, I always went to the Master. Then to Letterman
29. 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' 1969-74
28. 'The X-Files' 1993-2002, 2016
27. 'Arrested Development' 2003-06, 2013
26. 'Friends' 1994-2004
25. 'Veep' 2012-Present
24. 'Friday Night Lights' 2006-11
23. 'Deadwood' 2004-06 - this was a great show.
22. 'Louie' 2010-Present - didn't watch
21. 'The Office (U.K.)' 2001-03 - didn't watch
20. 'Cheers' 1982-93
19. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' 2000-Present
18. 'Star Trek' 1966-69
17. 'Twin Peaks' 1990-91
16. 'M*A*S*H' 1972-83
15. 'The West Wing' 1999-2006
14. 'The Larry Sanders Show' 1992-98 - didn't watch
13. 'Late Night With David Letterman' 1982-2015 - see #30
12. 'Game of Thrones' 2011-Present
11. 'Freaks and Geeks' 1999-2000
10. 'The Daily Show' 1996-Present
9. 'All in the Family' 1971-79
8. 'Saturday Night Live' 1975-Present
7. 'The Twilight Zone' 1959-64
6. 'The Simpsons' 1989-Present
5. 'Seinfeld' 1989-98
4. 'Mad Men' 2007-15
3. 'Breaking Bad' 2008-13
2. 'The Wire' 2002-08
1. 'The Sopranos' 1999-2007

Monday, April 23, 2018

Salted Coffee Brownie Cookies

I doubt anyone else in the Launchpad would like these.  But will I have to make them for myself as well (hint, hint, Mrs. BA).  Recipe from Butter and Brioche via BuzzFeed.

Makes 20 – 22 cookies

  • 300 grams (about 10 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 60 grams unsalted butter, cubed (about 1/2 stick)
  • 45 grams (about 3/8 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground instant coffee powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200 grams (about 1 cup) light brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water, room temperature
  • Flaked salt or fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Place the dark chocolate and butter into a medium sized heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water below. Heat, stirring often, on medium-low heat, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set the bowl aside to cool.

In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, coffee powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the light brown sugar and eggs on medium speed, until thick, doubled in volume, and light caramel in color, about 4 minutes. Add in the melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate. Continue to whisk until well incorporated. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Set the mixer speed to medium-low and add in the dry flour ingredients. Whisk until just combined, then, add in the water. Continue to whisk until evenly incorporated. The dough should not be firm, but fluid, and leave a thick flowing “ribbon trail” when the whisk is lifted. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and set it in the refrigerator to chill for at 15 minutes, or up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven temperature to 180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line three large baking trays with non-stick parchment paper.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough out and into evenly sized dough balls. The dough should be soft but will hold its shape when being scooped. If you are using a tablespoon to roll, the dough may become stickier and more difficult to work with. If this is the case, simply place the dough back in the refrigerator to slightly firm up before rolling. Make sure to space them an even distance apart, to allow room for spreading. You should fit about 8 to 10 balls per sheet. Tap the sheets three times against the kitchen bench, to slightly flatten and spread the cookies. Sprinkle over a little of the flaked salt.

Bake the cookies, a sheet at a time, for about 11 minutes. 5 minutes into baking, open the oven-door and rotate the cookie sheet half-way around. Tap the sheet against the oven rack to flatten and crinkle the cookies. Close the oven door and allow the cookies to rise up again. 2 minutes later, open the oven door again, and tap the tray against the oven rack to again deflate and further crinkle the cookies. Once again, close the oven door, and allow them to rise up again. Another 2 minutes later, repeat this tapping process, for a final time. You’re aiming for cookies that are perfectly flat with plenty of crinkles. Allow the cookies to bake until done, about a further two minutes. They should be just firm around the edges and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on their trays for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool further before serving.

  • The chocolate used in this recipe should be the very best you can find. Source chocolate that you wouldn’t just bake with, but that you would eat. The chocolate should contain a cacao solid percentage of no more than 70%, for something slightly bitter, and no less than 60%, for something slightly milder.
  • The dough will be soft, wet. It won’t be dough like regular cookie dough. And that’s entirely what you want. Chill it in the refrigerator until it’s at scooping and rolling consistency. Fifteen minutes usually does it for me, or a maximum of thirty minutes depending on your fridge’s temperature. Any longer and the dough will firm up and become difficult to handle. If this happens, simply let it come to temperature on the kitchen counter before using. Please don’t skip this chilling step! I know it’s a little more time intensive, but the dough needs to chill to be able to be handled. Otherwise it’s a mess. A hot one, though.
  • I recommend using a cookie scoop for this recipe. It makes for the most perfect cookie dough balls and due to the high ratio of chocolate, it’s a lot easier to use one. I use a small 1” OXO cookie scoop, and every-so-often between rolling, I dip it into a little bowl with lukewarm water to clean off any sticky-dough. You can use a tablespoon as a measure. It’ll take a little longer and be messier, which could be delicious fun, but I’d get the cookie scoop. It’s a lifesaver.
  • This recipe utilizes a tapping method which yields a perfectly flat cookie with plenty of crinkles. The method specifies which time intervals to tap, but, as all ovens and temperatures are not the same, let your eye, as well as time, be your guide. As soon as you notice the cookies begin to excessively puff, open the oven door, and tap the sheet against the oven rack to deflate and crinkle them. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Comfort Foods Fiesta

Sometimes you just need a little something that says "home" to you.  At the launchpad, I often go for my mother's standbys when I'm in need of a comfort food fix.  They are (in no particular order):
  1. Mom's Mac and Cheese, served with hot dogs
  2. Mom's Beefaroni
  3. Mom's Ham and Turkey Pie (great way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers)
  4. Mom's Shepherd's Pie (or Hash)
  5. Mom's Meatloaf
  6. My aunt's Beef Stroganoff
There was a BuzzFeed post a while back on "25 International Comfort Foods to Try at Home" that included a recipe for Shepherd's Pie, Chicken and Dumplings (which my mother also made occasionally), and Pastina, always a great solution to when you weren't feeling well.  I went through this list several times before landing on a recipe that might fly at the Launchpad.  SoBA is a fan of the pork chop - but I'm not sure the mushroom gravy will be accepted. Recipe from How to Feed a Loon.

German Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 12 mins
Total time 32 mins
This German Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy is so flavorful and easy to make, even on a busy weeknight. Use veal, pork, or chicken...pound the cutlet out thin...bread, whip up the sauce, quick fry...and you are set! So delicious!
Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 oz. cremeni mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 2½ cups of beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (about ¼ teaspoon each)

  • Vegetable oil, for pan frying (about 2 cups)
  • 4 boneless pork chops (about 16 ounces, total)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs (plus two tablespoons of water)
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs (not seasoned)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of caraway seeds
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, for garnish

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet
  2. Add the butter
  3. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute
  4. Add the onion and cook for another 4 minutes, or until translucent
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release liquid, about 4 minutes
  6. Add the flour and stir to incorporate
  7. Add the wine, stirring to combine. Cook until the wine reduces down, about 4 minutes
  8. Add the stock, and stir frequently . The sauce will start to thicken over the next 5 minutes
  9. Stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce
  10. Season with salt and pepper
  11. Keep warm

  1. Heat the oil in a large, sturdy skillet over medium-high heat
  2. Pound the cutlet between wax paper, or in a large freezer bag, by using the side of a meat tenderizer. Pound down to about ⅛". Trim any jagged sides, and/or excess fat
  3. Place the flour in one medium-sized bowl
  4. Place the eggs in another bowl and gently mix together. Mix in another 2 tablespoons of water
  5. In a third bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, paprika and caraway seeds
  6. Dredge each cutlet in the flour, then dip in the egg wash (shake off excess), then dredge in the bread crumb mixture
  7. Fry each cutlet (don't overcrowd the pan) for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown
  8. Serve with gravy poured over top and garnished with lemon wedges and parsley.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Off to MARAC Hershey!

Today the Brave Astronaut Clan is headed for Hershey, PA for the Spring 2018 MARAC Meeting.  This is one of those occasions where the entire family is headed to a conference - the fact that the conference hotel has an indoor water park and there is a free shuttle to HersheyPark made it kind of hard to keep LBA and SoBA away.

There is a game that archivists play at meetings, which we call "BUZZ" the archivist.  Basically, you have to identify the archivist in the hotel lobby without looking for a name tag (which some of my colleagues forget to take off).

I spotted this on McSweeney's a while back - maybe we have a new game to play in the hotel bar.

Academic Conference Hotel Bar Bingo

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells

We're big fans of the Pioneer Woman at the Launchpad.  We're also big fans of the chicken alfredo that Costco sells.  This would be a winner on the Launchtable, I think.

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells
via the Pioneer Woman
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: 8

  • 20 whole jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained
  • 2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, for grilling or frying
  • 3/4 cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 3/4 cups Cottage Cheese
  • 3/4 cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese, plus more for the top
  • 2 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for the top
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Basil
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream, plus more, as needed
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or iron skillet over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil, and cook the chicken on both sides until it's done. Remove and shred with two forks and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan, eggs, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir to combine, splashing in 2 tablespoons heavy cream if needed. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle over the flour. Whisk and cook until the roux turns golden brown. Pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly, and cook for a few minutes, until thickened. Add the garlic, the additional 1 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, and minced basil and stir until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.

Add 1 cup sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Using a spoon, fill each of the jumbo shells generously with the chicken/ricotta mixture. Lay them face down in the pan, then pour the sauce all over the top. Sprinkle on extra mozzarella and Parmesan, then bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.

Serve with salad!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Pita Pizzas

LBA and SoBA are in the midst of their Spring Break at the Launchpad.  They have reached an age where they can be on their own, with LBA in charge of SoBA.  Both Mrs. BA and I can keep an eye on them virtually to ensure they don't hurt themselves or others.

LBA, who is now 13, can also cook for himself, on a limited basis.  Recently, he requested the addition of pitas in his lunch and then I saw this recipe, which I think he could handle.  From the Baker Chick via BuzzFeed's "19 No-Fuss Meals You Can Make Using What's In Your Fridge."  I am trying to be better about eating and cooking out of the freezer.

Five Minute Pita Pizzas
Yield: 4 pita pizzas

  • 4 pocketless pita flatbreads
  • ¾ cup of marinara sauce
  • 12 slices of provolone cheese (mozzarella or other cheese would work well too!)
  • Pepperoni, sausage, veggies or other toppings of your choice

  1. Spread a couple tablespoons of sauce on each pita, leaving a small crust around the edge. Top with 3 slices of cheese each and any meat/veggies you like.
  2. Place the pitas one at a time directly on the rack of a toaster oven. Toast for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.
  3. Alternately- bake at 450F on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, or until golden, broiling for a minute or two to get the topping extra crisp if desired.