Sunday, June 29, 2008

Watermelon and other fun things

Maybe I should have been studying for Monday's physics midterm, but I spent a few hours in the kitchen instead and was happily productive there. I made cheese (with dill), pickled grapes (with jalapeños and ginger) and watermelon soup (with more jalapeños and ginger). For dinner Scott and I made a very tasty watermelon and tomato salad, based on these two recipes: Mark Bittman's and Cooking Light's. It's so nice to have a fridge filled with good food!

Other fun stuff...
- I got to play in a small tournament yesterday in San Francisco - 4 short games, which was enough to get worn out and to feel like we really earned out burrito dinners.
- Scott and I are petsitting a very cute guinea pig named Hazelnut. She has a zebra-print hammock in her cage!
- I get to go to Seattle next weekend for Potlatch! I'm a little nervous about the homework crunch, but I'm very very impatient to see everyone and to play all weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Alas, Scott pulled his hamstring at our track workout tonight. His other hamstring, the one he wasn't already nursing back to health. It means he's out for most of the rest of the frisbee season. I was really looking forward to playing with him this summer, so I'm (selfishly) very bummed out... and I'm not even the one who has to stop playing.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Çok Güzel Dinner

Just finished eating a fantastic dinner - if someone fed it to me in turkey, I'd tell them it was "çok güzel" (pronounced "choke gazelle") - very nice. I figured I'd better record the recipe so that I can make it again sometime...

1. Brown some ground lamb (about 6 oz.). Season it with cumin and parsley.
2. Take the lamb out of the pan, but leave the grease in. Sautee an onion and some zucchinis (I used one green and one yellow, diced to half-inch chunks). Add a little olive oil if it starts sticking. Season with dill and harissa.
3. Stir in a diced tomato and the lamb.
4. Serve over a whole grain of your choice. (We had wheat berries seasoned with a veggie bullion cube.)
5. Top with yogurt sauce. (Yogurt, lemon juice, dill, mint.)

I had a tasty Turkish lunch yesterday, from a Mediterranean deli in San Francisco - lamaçun ("llama June"), which is ground meat on a thin pizza-like crust. Greasy and delicious!

Side note: Scott's first (and most difficult) preliminary exam is tomorrow morning, so send him and his classmates your prayers or good vibes or whatever you deem helpful!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Beautiful AM in SF

I went to a CrossFit class in San Francisco this morning - this was the view on the walk there. Beautiful scenery, lots of sun, a nice reflection of the bridge. TONS of people were out walking, running, cycling, generally enjoying themselves. Lovely day!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Opera at the Ballpark

Mavis and Maia and I went to the SF Giants stadium on Friday night and watched... an opera! the San Francisco Opera simulcasted the evening's performance of "Lucia de Lammermoor" to the ballpark. And they didn't even charge admission! It was a beautiful performance, and it was a bunch of fun to be watching it outside.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arts and Crafts

At our hospice volunteer training session yesterday, we got to make "soul collages"! We sifted through magazine pictures spread out on a table, selected ones that answered "Who am I? Why am I here?", and then glued them into a collage. It was a very touchy-feely exercise, but everyone enjoyed it, and it was a really good way for us to get to know each other and to do a little self-exploration. Here's mine!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Two good Bittman recipes

Fun stuff from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" this week! On Monday, I made a very tasty raw beet salad - I diced some raw beets, carrots (half pound each), a little zucchini and a few shallots in the food processor and then added a tablespoon of grated ginger, salt and pepper, dijon mustard, olive oil, lime juice and a little kefir (which is sort of like sour cream). It was delicious, and very pretty. I love cooking with beets.

Last night, I made cheese! It took a little time, but it was totally mindless and easy.
(1) Bring two parts milk to a boil.
(2) Stir in one part buttermilk. (I made buttermilk by adding lemon juice to regular milk.)
(3) Once it separates into curds and whey (this takes about 10 minutes, I think), pour it into a bowl lined with 3 layers of cheesecloth.
(4) Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together, so you have a ball of curds in the middle. Run it under cold water to cool it down, and then squeeze out as much water and whey as you can.
(5) Tie the bundle to a spoon and let it drain/set for an hour and a half.
(6) Unwrap and enjoy!
My first attempt is tasty, but I'm already looking forward to Take 2 - you can add seasonings between steps 2 and 3, so I'm planning to add salt (1/2 teaspoon) and whatever fresh herbs look good at the farmers market. And some beet juice for color, of course.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Some very successful kitchen spontaneity I wanted to share! I steamed some carrot greens and pureed them with a cup of chickpeas, a little olive oil and lemon juice, and some other spices that I cannot recall. It turned out beautifully - a carroty pesto hummus sort of thing. We ate it over whole-wheat pasta and lightly boiled carrots.

Carrot greens really are worth eating; I'm surprised there aren't more recipes for them.

Physics on My Mind

Physics is going well, and for the most part I'm enjoying the work, but I fear I'm taking it a little too seriously. I'm struggling to figure out how electric circuits work. At least twice now, I've had dreams about solving homework problems. But I realized this class has completely pervaded my consciousness the other day at my weekly track workout. I was running warm-up laps with my frisbee teammates and I had this sudden vision - almost like deja vu - of myself as an electron traveling around an circuit. It was pretty funny, but it didn't bring any clarity to my homework problems.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

What's cooking

I haven't posted any kitchen adventures for a while now, but we've been cooking up some pretty good stuff.

I improvised a beet hummus the other day that turned out surprisingly well. It all started with a beet (raw) and the food processor - the plan was to chop it up and serve it over zucchini. But before I knew it, the thing was puréed, and I figured it was a good opportunity to dress it up a little. I added a cup of black beans and some harissa (red pepper paste) from Turkey, and a little soy sauce and rice vinegar. I couldn't quite figure out what else it needed, but fortunately Scott hit the nail on the head when he added a healthy splash of lemon juice. The end result was sweet, tangy, a little bit spicy, and very tasty over sauteéd zucchini and bulgar.

Lunch yesterday was less exotic but no less pleasing to the palate. I baked a fresh loaf of bread (spiked with rosemary) to go with heirloom tomato slices (so sweet!) and fontina cheese. And we had mizuna salad dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and Turkish pomegranate syrup. We'd been pretty impatient for tomatoes to return to the farmers market, so now that they're back we're savoring each one.

Today's recipe was a departure from my usual culinary repertoire - sugary, processed ingredients rather than fresh whole foods - but it was a hit at the barbecue party, so I figured I'd better share. S'mores pie! I took some shortcuts, like using a pre-made graham cracker crust and store-bought marshmallows. I'm sure the real recipe is excellent (it was published in Gourmet magazine, after all), but the quick'n'easy version is still worth making, especially for outdoor summertime events. Just be careful not to burn the marshmallows under the broiler like I did. Unless you like charred marshmallows.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Return to studentdom

I started taking a physics class this week! It's my first step of a very long journey to medical school, and it feels pretty good to be on the road! The metaphorical road, that is. The real road is a commute to Sacramento. The trip there is a quick 20 minutes, but the way home coincides with rush hour and can take twice as long. For someone who's never had more than a 20-minute bike commute, this feels quite draining. And having to fill up the gas tank is pretty draining too.

The class itself is so-so. (I've been spoiled by engaged teachers and classmates ever since 7th grade.) But... I really like having physics homework. I love figuring out the math and logic of it all. I'm pretty rusty - I took the pre-requisite for this class in 1998 - but so far, I'm remembering (or figuring out, or googling) everything I need to know. Already this week, I learned how a photocopier works and what a superconductor is. And my inner geek is yelling, Geez! This stuff is really cool!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Glum Monday

I'm suffering from tournament withdrawl today - the result of 36 incredible hours with Night Train at the Cal States tournament in Santa Cruz.

We played six games altogether - four on Saturday, two on Sunday. We played well - we made smart decisions; we executed good throws, catches, cuts and defense; we were fired up, focused and intense; and we ran hard, the result of a few months of weekly track workouts. Now that it's all over, there's nothing I'd rather do than go back to the field and play another game.

Spending time with Night Train off the field was almost as much fun as playing on the field with them. The highlight was the tournament party on Saturday night, where I discovered that my teammates are very fun dancers. I knew this was a great team, but I didn't know how great!

Man, I love this sport and the people who play it.