Friday, June 15, 2007


Tonight, Heidi, Brent, and I took a cooking class at our local Sur La Table. The class was entitled "Early Summer Farmer's Market Dinner"; essentially, a full meal you can make using mostly produce found at local markets. I've been looking forward to the reopening of the city farmer's market, so I thought this class would be apropos. I also though I would share my experience with the blogging world, being inspired by my sister's awesome food and photos. Although, as a disclaimer, I need to say that I was shooting with the camera on my cell phone, so the photos aren't nearly as pretty as the food was. The dishes, especially the carrot soup, were really terrifically colorful.

There were twelve students all together, and we were divided up into pairs or groups of three to make the different courses. Before we started cooking, the chef (who was aptly named Scot Rice) gave us appetizers to tide us over during the introductions - a Spanish frittata with a tomato-almond remoulade, two cheese selections with garlic crackers, and, my favorite, watermelon and cantaloupe cubes sprinkled with cilantro, lime juice, and rum (whoops).

Here's the dinner:
We made
- Roasted Grape Tomato Crostini with Green Garlic and Goat Cheese (my favorite dish of the night)
- Carrot Soup with Parsley, Shallot, and Orange Peel Gremolata (my other favorite dish)
- Lemon Risotto with Prosciutto and Thyme
- Garlic-Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower and
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Fava Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Shoots

Here I am, enjoying the soup (I liked the chef's presentation idea of putting the soup in drinking glasses - it looked nice and worked well for a buffet).

These two people, Brent (Heidi's husband) and Noelle (a microbiologist from Pennsylvania I met tonight), and I were in charge of the dessert: Orange Muscat Zabaglione with Raspberries and Thyme Shortbread Cookies. The alcohol was a little strong in the Zabaglione for my taste, but I loved the cookies and will definitely make them again.

Here's the chef dishing up the dessert and here's Heidi enjoying it:

All in all, it was a fun and delicious evening. I'll be meeting Janelle at the farmer's market tomorrow morning for some shopping. It's a little early in the season for produce, but I feel inspired to do some baking tomorrow night. Mmm!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"What Did I Just Do?"

What I've Done on my Summer Vacation (so far)

* Convinced the AVID lady at the district that I really did want to take the train to Chicago, and yes, I am aware that it is a 30-hour journey that starts at 4:45 am (she apparently has no faith in my knowledge of geography or traveling velocities).
* Started cooking dinner again instead of take-out every day!
* Read three novels
* Spent three days at school to make my classroom look like this:

(which included organizing and filing papers from the past two years of teaching - glorious!)
* Spent one day in my classroom to make my desk look like this:

* Watched "The Valet" (recommended!) with Teresa (who's back - yay!)
* Watched "Waitress"
* Watched "A Midwinter's Tale"
* Watched "Sing Faster!"
* Went to IKEA again to get shelves
* Installed said shelves, after moving my desk near my kitchen:

* Discovered that getting shelves level is tricky when you're working alone, but by golly I did it!
* Saw "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with Heidi (also back - yay!) and Virginia, Spanish teacher at my school
* Saw "Saturday's Voyeur" with Heidi and her new husband
* Watched the Tony's with Janelle and Donavon ("Spring Awakening" and "Coast of Utopia" - no surprises there!)
* Went to the doctor for my first checkup since, well, ever
* Was told "your cervix is stellar!"
* Got four shots and two blood samples taken
* Found out I am TB, HIV, and syphilis- free (no surprises there, either)
* Began reorganizing my library (including the closets!)
* Met with Heidi and Katharine daily this week to begin some serious writing work in anticipation of creating our play about teaching.
* Enjoyed said writing meetings in this glorious place:

* Wrote three pieces I rather like so far, and revisited others from before.
* Am gaining confidence in my abilities as a creative writer.
* Discovered the Community Writing Center
* 30 minutes on my elliptical every day since school got out!
* Am finally starting to feel rested, capable, and organized again.
Hurrah for summer!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Naming of Cats

Yes, it's an old one, but it's true!

(from here)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

They Say It's Wonderful

Two days in, and I am truly enjoying summer. It's in the good way too - where I'm staying productive and busy so I don't feel guilty, yet I'm balancing it with delightful non-stressful days.

For example, I'm getting up around 8:30, exercising, eating breakfast (I really like Raisin Bran Crunch right now), playing "Super Mario Sunshine", running errands, and going to school.

Yes, still going to school. Consumed with field trips, grades, assemblies, and general end-of-the-year craziness, I decided not to rush the cleaning of my classroom. We're required to box up and clean out all surface areas in the room (including walls and bulletin boards), cover bookcases and such with butcher paper, and stack everything off the floors. I've rushed that the past couple of years, throwing papers into boxes thinking that I'll file them "later". This year, though, I decided the time had come to get organized again, so I'm doing it with leisure and pleasure. I've put in a couple of hours each day, so it's slow going, but it's rather relaxing to sort and file without any students or lessons or grading to worry about.