Best dinner ever

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:43 am

As you can tell from my last post, I love the Lincoln Café and it never disappoints.

Last night, however, was above and beyond. It was seriously the best meal I’ve had in probably a year.

We had:

Cumin-crusted ribeye over tomato rice, served with pumpkin seed sauce, feta-stuffed fried peppers, topped with a huge shrimp in the shell (it was so big it was like eating lobster; I am a very lucky girl because Denny gave me his), and served with a spicy tomato cocktail on the side.

Just a day or two before, we were sitting around watching the Food Network (notice obvious patterns in my behavior), and we saw a really cool recipe for a tomato martini. I wonder if Matt saw that show too, or if the guy on the show recently ate at the Lincoln Café, because the spicy tomato cocktail was almost exactly like the tomato martini on the show.

It was really cool–it was just the clear liquids from the tomato, so it was basically transparent with only the very lightest hint of pink. I’m going to have to try to make that. The one on TV was served with a skewer of fresh mozzarella and cherry tomato; Matt’s had hot pepper slices floating in it. They are both meant to be served very cold. The one last night was a knockout; it was the perfect complement to the hot flavors and textures of the food. I am definitely going to have to give that a try, what with our bumper crop of tomatoes. Anybody know where I can get cheesecloth around here?

For dessert, I had a cherry mousse with apple-hazelnut compote and a cinnamon churro. The mousse and compote were good, but the churro was a little disappointing; it was tough and chewy when it should have been light and crispy, like in Spain. However, I don’t blame Matt for that, since the pastry chef is someone else.

Denny had a buttermilk biscuit with blueberry/plum compote and yogurt whipped cream.

In other news, Denny did take a picture of the layered dessert from the other night. The lumps in the foreground are raspberries, which you might not be able to tell. It was tasty, and there are four more slices in the freezer.


A day of culinary delights

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:22 pm

Oh, man, what a great eating day I’ve had.

For lunch I had a whole wheat pita with chicken and spinach and an entire sliced garden tomato shoved inside. Yeah, it was a small tomato, but it was still the whole thing. There are certain things I get sick of, but late summer tomatoes are not among them.

Then, this afternoon, the bosses at work bought everybody ice cream treats to thank us for our hard work. It was very nice of them, and I had a delicious M&M cookie ice cream sandwich.

And tonight…tonight, my friends, I am going to what is quite possibly my favorite restaurant in the entire world: the Lincoln Cafe. I realize this is quite a claim, and I’ve eaten at some pretty fabulous restaurants in my day, so why is it my favorite? Here’s why:

1. Absolutely high-quality ingredients. Matt, the chef,, doesn’t use second-rate anything, and I thank him for it.

2. Creative techniques and combinations of ingredients. Matt always takes chances, and he always challenges my palate. I really appreciate it, because he’s helped me grow as an eater. He has an excellent sense of balance, too. Usually when I’m ordering at a restaurant, I look at the components of the thing I’m considering, and if the dish contains something I don’t like, I don’t order it. I don’t worry about that at the Lincoln Cafe. Matt can do things with lima beans (yuck, normally) that are just as amazing as a slab of foie gras studded with duck confit and sprinkled with caviar. Not that I would be opposed to eating the latter.

3. Relaxed atmosphere. Besides the innovative cuisine, they also serve burgers and fries, and the atmosphere reflects both ends of the spectrum. You can show up in jeans or a dress and feel equally comfortable.

4. Friendly staff. Even though we haven’t been around as much as we used to (house and wedding to pay for, after all), the staff always treats us like regulars.

5. Reasonable prices. It’s not dirt-cheap, but it’s certainly a bargain for the quality of food you get. You’d easily pay twice as much for a similar meal in Chicago or New York.

Oh, man, I’m psyched for dinner.

P.S. DC did take some pictures of our exciting dessert last night, but he didn’t post them. I will prod him to do that. He did post a couple of other pictures, though.


Peace at last

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:50 pm

This afternoon has been blessedly calm. I was busy all morning, and I didn’t get lunch until an hour later than usual, but things have been mellow this afternoon.

DC and I were watching the Food Network, and we saw a cool multi-layered ice cream dessert on Barefoot Contessa. DC was enthralled, and I thought it looked pretty good too, so I made a small one last night.

What I did: bought a pint of mango-pineapple sorbet and some vanilla ice cream. Then I took a large soup bowl, lined it with plastic wrap, and smooshed the sorbet into the bottom and sides. Then I took a smaller bowl and mashed it into the sorbet to make it a smooth well. Then I froze it for half an hour.

Next, I took out the inner bowl (I had to thaw it a little by putting hot water in), and filled in the bottom and sides with vanilla ice cream, much as I had with sorbet on the previous layer. Then I took a measuring cup (from the set you gave me, Em–thanks!) and smoothed out the indentation. Then I froze it some more and took the measuring cup out.

Finally, I smooshed up some vanilla ice cream with raspberries from our garden, which have been quite prolific lately. I used that to fill in the final well. Now it’s chilling happily in the freezer, just waiting for us to get home and eat it.

Wow, I can’t believe it’s ten till five already. The day has gone fast.


Seating options

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:11 pm

We (finally) bought a couch. It’s very nice. I found a picture of it online, but I don’t want to post it because the couch actually looks much nicer in person than in the picture. It’s a very dark chocolate brown leather with some interesting but unobtrusive stitching. It’s being delivered some time in the next 4-5 weeks. That seems like a long time. I want my pretty, squishy, superfly couch.

We were seriously considering this really cool pea green one, but then we thought it might be too trendy. For the amount of money we’re dropping, it needs to stay stylish for a decade or so. I bet 2005 Aprille would hate the couch 1995 Aprille would have picked out. It probably would have been leopard print.

Actually, that sounds kind of cool. But it only sounds cool because I’m just starting to like leopard print again. Maybe these things go in ten-year cycles. I guess if we’d gotten the green one, we would have liked it for a year, then been sick of it for eight years, then liked it again in 2015.

Of course, by 2015, we’ll all have flying cars anyway, so nobody will care about couches.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:04 am

I didn’t post yesterday because I was ex-freaking-hausted. E-freaking-xhausted? Anyway, I was tired. I had a meeting after work, then I just hung around at home and took a nap. When I woke up from my nap, I went to bed. This was my fabulous night.

I really, really meant to exercise, but once again, that didn’t happen. I really need to improve my exercising-to-eating-ice-cream ratio, because I’m turning into a post-wedding puddy-butt.

But no more! I am turning over a new lettuce leaf. Tonight I will have healthy, healthy grilled shrimp and vegetables for dinner, with my delicious homemade salsa, and I will exercise on my stairclimber. Then tomorrow morning I will go to the farmers’ market and buy delicious, healthy fresh produce for the week. Then I will come home and go for a run.

Won’t that be delightful?

Much better than eating ice cream, I’m sure you agree.

If by “ice cream” I mean “poop.”


Tonight I…

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:14 pm

got a haircut. Denny says it looks cute, but he has to say that if he wants me to make him lunch tomorrow. I like it too, though. I feel more comfortable in short hair.
…made salsa with tomatoes from the garden.
…did not go running.
…ate ice cream.
…decided that eating ice cream is more fun than running.


Cute little guy

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:20 pm

Denny and I visited Buffy, Ben, and Eliott today after work. He is extremely cute. I liked it when he made facial expressions. He was pretty sleepy the whole time, so I hope to be able to visit him again when he’s a little livelier, but I don’t hold it against the kid. I bet this big new world is exhausting.

Busiest work week ever

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:56 pm

Seriously, it is.


Better-organized wedding photos

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:55 pm

I spent a good chunk of the weekend going through the photo files my dad gave me from the wedding, and I’ve made a mock-up of the album we’re going to get. Some of the crops are sloppy, because I was just trying to get an idea of how the layouts would look, and of course you’ll have to ignore the file names and mat (matte?) codes. My dad got some great shots, though, and I am also thankful to others who contributed pictures–Sarah, Paul, Mark, I’m looking at you.

Here they are.


Mr. and Mrs. Scissorhands

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:29 am

A funny thing happened. We got a check in the mail, a wedding gift from a relative (we’ll call him Edward Scissorhands, which is not his real name). The envelope was addressed to Dennis and Aprille Scissorhands (that is, the guy’s last name instead of either of ours), and the check was written out to Dennis and Aprille Scissorhands.

It was a generous gift, and we’re very grateful. It’s just funny that the relative assumed not only that I changed my name (I didn’t), but that I changed it to his name and not Denny’s. Also, he thinks Denny changed his last name.

If Denny’s last name were Scissorhands, I might have actually changed it. Because that’s a pretty freaking cool name.


Hooray for Buffy and Ben

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:29 am

My friends Buffy and Ben had their baby today! I don’t know a thing about the situation except that it happened early this morning and it’s a boy. I don’t know his name or weight yet.

I am very, very excited for them and wish their whole family the best.

It’s nice that they’re local, because when friends have babies I usually like to send them a gift certificate for a food place that delivers, and if the person lives elsewhere, I don’t know enough about the local food scene to get them anything more interesting than Pizza Hut (plus you can buy Pizza Hut gift certificates online, which is handy). Since Buffy and Ben and Little Guy are local, I can get them gift certificates to good places, like Bob’s Your Uncle or the Wedge.

UPDATE: I found out his name is Eliott Benjamin, and he is highly cute. You’re right, Leah, he does look like Buffy.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:58 pm

Thanks to Mark for the wonderful recipe for peaches with bleu cheese and honey.

Denny took a nice picture of it.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:09 pm

Isn’t cherry vanilla yogurt just the best?

I’m eating it because it’s good for me, but it’s also very tasty.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:20 am

Aristotle’s definition of tragedy is the most astute, I think. Paraphrased, it’s when you’re working as hard as you can in one direction (presumably the direction of happiness and satisfaction), and all your efforts turn against you and the opposite occurs. By this definition, Oedipus Rex is a tragedy–Oedipus was doing everything in his power to negate the prophecy, and in so doing, he fulfilled it. By this definition, Romeo and Juliet is not a tragedy, just a sad story. There’s a small tragic part at the end where Romeo kills himself because he thinks Juliet is dead and wants to join her in death, but it turns out she’s not, so he’s actually working against himself (sorry I blew the ending for those of you who were waiting to see the movie). Mostly, though, Romeo and Juliet is terribly sad, but not tragic.

Of course, Shakespeare had his own definition of tragedy, and many people subscribe to that, but I prefer Aristotle’s. I think it’s more specific and poignant.

A true Aristotelian tragedy recently occurred for some friendly acquaintances of mine. Out of respect for their privacy, I won’t go into details here, but it’s been on my mind a lot. There’s not much in the world more devastating than the death of a child, but the most tragic thing in this case is that the parents had worked so hard and done so, so much to improve this little boy’s life. Everything was looking up until a senseless, random accident ruined everything.

I’ll try to post something perkier later.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:37 pm

I have a whole bunch of work to do, but I can’t do it until I get the answer to one question. There are two people who can answer my question: Dave and Jack. Dave is out today, and I don’t know where the hell Jack is. He’s Denny’s officemate, so I keep going over there looking for Jack and Denny thinks I’m being unusually friendly. He’s probably annoyed. Oh well.

I don’t suppose any of you know the answer to this question:

Stipulated–when requesting ICON sites, it’s unnecessary to select multiple permutations of courses that are cross-listed; the cross-listings come in automatically. However, I need to request a whole bunch of sites with a whole bunch of sections, some of which are cross-listed, with the end goal of merging the course mappings. Here’s the question: if I selected all the sections, including the duplications caused by cross-listings, what would happen with the course mapping? Would multiple sections with the same students be created?



Pasta a la whatever’s around, 8/15 version

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:38 pm

One of the most notable things I learned from my father is the “make it up as you go along, hope for the best, and never write anything down” cooking method. It’s always a gamble, but it’s always interesting, and sometimes it’s really good. I got some nice cookbooks for wedding gifts, but to tell you the truth, I use them more for recreational reading (because I enjoy thinking about food) than for actual step-by-step cooking instructions.

The one exception to this is baking, because it’s very scientific. I made a peach pie last weekend that turned out really well. The crust was so flaky. I credit the nice Kitchen Aid food processor I used to make the dough (also a wedding gift. Getting married rules and I highly recommend it).

Anyway, we still hadn’t made a serious grocery run since before the wedding, so tonight’s dinner was yet another permutation of one of my signature dishes, “Pasta a la Whatever’s Around.” It turned out really well tonight. Denny said I should write it down, and even though it goes against the spirit of experimentation, it couldn’t hurt to have a record, I suppose. Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

  • 8 oz linguine, spaghetti, fettucine, or other pasta
  • several large or many small tomatoes, straight from the garden (quarter the big ones, halve the small ones)
  • a handful of fresh basil, also straight from the garden
  • 1 tsp oregano (fresh would be better, but all I had was dried)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chorizo unit (about 4″; I used Mexican chorizo, but any other sausage would work here too, or ground beef/turkey/pork, or even veggie crumbles)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • half a cup or so red wine
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • for garnish: parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, a couple of basil leaves
  1. Remove the sausage from the casing, if necessary. Brown it on the stove. Drain the fat.
  2. Saute the onion in a little olive oil. When it’s almost translucent, add the garlic and saute that for a little while.
  3. Add the tomato. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat, until the tomato is smooshy.
  4. Add the basil (minced or chiffonaded, your call), oregano, wine, salt, black pepper, red pepper, and sugar. Stir it all together. Let the alcohol in the wine burn off by cooking uncovered for a few minutes. You may want to temporarily up the heat a little to get it bubbling.
  5. If you were more ambitious than me, you would have blanched and skinned the tomatoes before you even started this project. Since you are not more ambitious than me, spend a few minutes picking tomato skins out of the sauce. It’s not that hard.
  6. Stir in the sausage and let it simmer over low heat for as long as you like (more than 5 minutes, less than 3 days).
  7. When Denny gets inside from mowing the lawn, boil plenty of water and cook the linguine.
  8. Toss the sauce with the linguine. Scoop into bowls (bowls are more fun than plates, don’t you agree?). Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and parmesan. Stick a couple of basil leaves in the top to be adorable.

The next thing I want to make with our garden tomatoes is tomato mint soup.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:57 pm

My name is Aprille and I am a traveloholic. I’m addicted to travelohol.

So I’m casually researching places to stay in Rome. This looks pretty good.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:29 am

I’m back at work now, and thing are very busy. Half the office is off doing workshops all week, but I was nominated to stick around here and keep doing support from home base (which is fine; I get occasional moments of downtime, such as this one).

Denny posted his photos from Nevis. Beware; there are lots of pictures of me with no makeup. I was going for the island casual look. He has some really nice shots.


External recognition of what I already knew

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:41 am

Check it out! My husband is a prize-winning photographer. I’m so proud.


I’m home

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:15 pm

…and I’m tired. The drive home from Chicago last night was murder, and I didn’t even have to do it. Thanks, DC.

Here are some pictures.

Recommended listening: “Don’t Want to Lose Your Love,” performed by Wyclef Jean featuring Eve; “Jamaican in New York,” by Shinehead (the guys on the catamaran sang it as “Jamaican in Nevis”); “Be Strong,” by Sizzla.

Powered by WordPress