Basque Garbanzo Beans

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:30 pm

I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve heard it’s good. The annotations are by someone else. Maybe I’ll try this
later this week or next week. You know how I love the more musical of the fruits.

Baked Garbanzo Beans The Basque Kitchen Hirigoyen

Time: 1 hour and 10 min. plus 24 hours soaking

1/2 cup olive oil
2 med onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 dried red chile, mild or spicy (I use 1 1/2 t ground Chimayo red)
1 T coriander seeds, crushed
2 bay leaves
3 cups garbanzo beans, soaked 24 hours at room temp. (I use 2 cans
garbanzos, drained – works just fine)
5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth (I use 2 14.5 oz. cans. I reduce the liquid
because I use cooked beans.)
10 saffron threads, soaked in a little warm water
1 T kosher salt or more to taste (OR LESS! Esp. if you use full-salt broth;
wait and add toward end)
1/4 t freshly ground white pepper or more to taste (black’s okay)

Preheat oven to 450 deg. In a large casserole, warm the olive oil over
med-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, chili, coriander and bay leaves;
saute for about 5 min.

Drain the garbanzos, and add them , along with the broth, saffron, salt
and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Transfer to the oven. (It doesn’t say
to, but I find that the dish works better if you uncover it when you put it
in the oven.)

Bake until the beans are soft and cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes. Season
to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Food blogging

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:08 pm

I think I’m going to be doing some culinary blogging for the wellfed.net‘s new, not-yet-released Fit Fare blog. I’ll post more when I know more. It seems like a good idea: write about things I already enjoy writing about (food, health, and the balance between them) but for a larger audience. It might even lead to some paying gigs. That would be cool. Plus it might be a good venue for Denny to publish some of his food photography.

Too bad I never have him take pictures of the healthy things I cook. They’re just not as glamourous as the fancy, high-fat things I make. I think I’m going to make squash soup pretty soon here, and that’s kind of attractive. Maybe I’ll ask him to photograph that.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:25 am

UPDATE: I had both a dentist appointment and a physical today. I feel like I’ve been prodded from all possible angles.

My beloved Dr. Fung has left River City Dental Care and is now working on his MBA. The new dentist looked about 22. I am annoyed by being treated by health care professionals who are obviously younger than me. He was ok, but he was no Dr. Fung. One thing I don’t like about the new guy is that he said I have a very small cavity. It’s no big deal, apparently, but I do have to have it filled next month. Grr.

At the doctor, I had to get a tetanus shot. Sheesh. I wasn’t expecting it; they just looked at my chart and said I had to have one. I was very brave, though. I only felt a little dizzy and didn’t pass out at all. My arm is kind of sore. I might have to skip the weight-lifting part of tonight’s workout.

Denny finally posted a picture of the biscotti I made for the Olympics party a few weeks ago. He also has some really nice pics from the Grand Canyon that he took on his recent roadtrip. First link takes you to Denny’s main page, where the biscotti and Grand Canyon are recent posts. Second takes you straight to biscotti.
I’m sleepy.

I’ve been living a lazy, gluttonous lifestyle. It started when I got sick, which lingered forever and disrumpled my exercise routine. Then I went to London and ate a lot of heavy food and drank a lot of beer. Then I came home and never managed to kick my butt back into healthiness again.

TODAY IS THE DAY. I shall run fast and eat light.


Home from London-town

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:45 am

I’m back! We had a really great time. We did some sight-seeing and stuff, but the best part was spending time with my friends. Click the picture below for the full set of images, complete with annotations.


Time warp

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:12 am

So I’m taking the day off work in preparation to leave for London later today. I sat down to have some breakfast and flipped on MTV. The weirdest thing happened. They were playing an honest-to-god video, and what’s more, it was Prince video. When that ended and something dumb came on, I flipped to VH1, where they were also playing a video: a Madonna video.

What is this, 1989? Videos on MTV and VH1? Prince and Madonna with hit songs? I’m not complaining, especially because the Prince video, “Black Sweat,” was really good. It was just strange.

Also, this will be me shortly:

See you when I get back!


ICON Day, then London

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:31 pm

Hi there. I may not post again until after I get home from London, since tomorrow is going to be insanely busy (ICON Day conference) and I leave on Friday.

I hope the freezing rain I hear about in the forecast doesn’t impede my travel plans. That would be really stupid.

I love my friends. I can’t wait to see them.


Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:20 am

Denny posted a picture of the cheesecake I made. It turned out very well. I ate a lot of it. Blurguagh.


V-day dinner

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:08 pm

I’m still feeling a bit down because of work-related stress and of course Seth, but other than that, it’s been a pretty good day. I got flowers delivered at work (¡qué romántico!) and we have a nice evening planned. I still have lots of crap to do before ICON Day and before I leave for London, but tonight is just for relaxing with my sweetheart.

We’re having butternut squash ravioli with hazelnut brown butter sauce, which I’ve posted the recipe for before. We’ll have it with a pear salad with bleu cheese, walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette. These items I’m comfortable with. For dessert, though, I made my very first cheesecake.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve never made a cheesecake before. I think it’s because I never had a springform pan before. I still don’t have a big one, but I got some individual-sized ones as a wedding gift. So I made two little cheesecakes. I halved the recipe for a regular cheesecake, which made a little more filling than I needed. I filled the mini-pans to about an inch below the top, but they still poofed up to gigantic proportions. There was no leavening! I don’t know how it happened! I guess it was the eggs. Anyway, after they cooled, they sank to more normal levels.

They do have those cracks that cheesecakes aren’t supposed to have, but I’m not going to be too uptight about it. Hopefully by the time dessert comes around, we’ll have had enough champagne that we won’t care.


Seth Fisher, q.e.p.d.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:26 pm

Please take a moment to think of Seth Fisher, the brother of my dear friend Sarah, who died on January 30 in Osaka, Japan. Please think of the Wentzel-Fisher family, a kind and welcoming bunch. Think of Seth’s wife, Hisako, and his little son, Toufuu.

My friendship with Seth was brief but recurring. He was older than Sarah and me and didn’t live at home, but he sometimes came back for holidays, and we always got along well. The Wentzel-Fisher house was always abuzz; there were so many kids, and they were always screaming and laughing. I remember Seth’s wit and friendliness and handsome face; I always looked forward to his visits.

Seth and I exchanged emails a few times over the last several years, but I wish I had stayed in closer touch with both him and Sarah. I hope I can take this opportunity to reforge my friendship with Sarah. Tempus fugit.

Seth’s website

Seth and Toufuu

Eek! So much to do.

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:16 am

UPDATE: It’s 4:52 (though it will probably be a bit later by the time I finish this update), and I have accomplished a lot today. Woot! A strike-through in the task list below means I got it done. It’s not everything, but I also got things done that weren’t on the list, such as getting all those Division of Continuing Ed courses cross-listed and buying a birthday present for a friend.
Also, thanks for all those nice adjectives you gave me. It’s probably a good thing that there are no mean adjectives available, because then it would be much more depressing to read.

This is going to be an outrageously busy week. But you know what I get to do at the end of it? Fly to London. That will be so great.

I am going to list out all the crap I have to do in the near future. But that’s boring for you. So I’m going to do something else that will also be boring for you: ask you to kindly do this little activity where you pick adjectives that describe me. I already did it for Erin.

Do it here.

Curious about Erin’s?

Now here’s the very boring part where I list out what I have to do. This is more for my own purposes than for entertainment.

  • Get in touch with poster presenters for ICON Day. Find out this stuff:
  • What is the title of your presentation and who should be listed as the contact in the program?
  • What resources do you need? Laptop? Projector? Easel?
  • Remind them that we hope they use wireless; if they need wired, they have to tell me.
  • Do you have any special power needs?
  • Check on the ICON highlighters. Have they been shipped yet?
  • Get raffle tickets
  • Inform those who are getting lunches of that fact; ask about vegetarians
  • Get final count on box lunches
  • Update registration interface to include those whom I know are coming but haven’t registered
  • Recruit AT staff to help with registration desk
  • Order box lunches and coffee/treats for break
  • Fill out massage therapy form (you know how I complain about my job? Well, they’re arranging for us to get 15-minute massages. So it’s ok.)
  • Sign up for interview workshop in the College of Business
  • Buy travel-sized hygiene products
  • Get passport out of safe deposit box
  • Ay yi yi.


    Olympics and London

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:50 pm

    Tonight is Ken’s big Olympics party. I must admit I don’t really follow the Olympics unless there’s some interesting scandal going on, and I haven’t heard anything resembling Tonya Harding antics this time around. I saw something in some magazine about dreamy Olympians, but I didn’t really read it very carefully.

    I do like the luge. I like how it’s a funny word and it’s sort of like sledding.

    We don’t have any big weekend plans–I need to get myself organized for the trip to London, which starts on Friday. I have lots of work to do before then (I am just taking a tiny break right now, I swear it), so it will feel really good to just get on that plane and fly faaaaaaar away from my job.

    London’s fun. I hope I get to eat Moroccan food. I really like Moroccan food. The last time I was there I ate in this really cool place where we sat on pillows (aka dudjus) on the floor. I wish I could remember the name of the place; it would be really fun to go to with my friends.

    By the way, dudju is not the word Moroccans use for pillow. It’s the word Clarkes use for pillow.


    My boyfriend’s (almost) back; also biscotti

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:46 am

    Denny comes home today! I am anxiously awaiting his arrival. I am going to go fetch him from the Cedar Rapids airport around lunchtime today. Why Cedar Rapids, you ask? Since he’s not flying in? It’s a long story that involves a rental car that can only be returned to the airport.

    Luckily, the Cedar Rapids airport is very easy to get to. It’s actually several miles out of town, right off the highway, and on the side closer to Iowa City. It’s quicker to get to the airport than to Coralville, depending on the time of day.

    Ken is having an Olympics party tomorrow, and the theme is, of course, Italian. I think I might make these biscotti, slightly altered from a recipe at epicurious.com. Their recipe says to use raspberries and white chocolate, but I prefer cherries, and Ken is a huge dark chocolate fan, so I thought I’d use that for his benefit. I saw an amazing-looking recipe for a marsala millefoglie, but that seemed like it would be a pain to assemble on-site, and it didn’t look like it would travel very well. Maybe I’ll try that at home some time soon.

    Pistachio, Dried Cherry, and Dark Chocolate Biscotti


    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teapsoon salt
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
    • 3/4 cup shelled raw unsalted natural pistachios
    • 1 cup dried cherries (about 5 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup + 8 ounces chopped high-quality dark chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina)


    1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
    2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, oil, and almond extract in large bowl until well blended. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth.
    3. Stir in pistachios, dried cherries, and 1/2 cup chopped chocolate.
    4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls in two 12-inch-long strips on prepared baking sheet, spacing strips 3 inches apart.
    5. Using wet fingertips, shape each strip into 3-inch-wide log, pressing evenly (logs may look slightly lumpy).
    6. Bake logs until lightly browned and almost firm to touch, about 30 minutes. Cool logs on sheet 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
    7. Carefully transfer logs to cutting board. Line same baking sheet with parchment paper.
    8. Cut each log crosswise into generous 1/2-inch-thick slices. Stand biscotti upright, spacing about 1/4 inch apart, in 3 rows on prepared baking sheet.
    9. Bake until pale golden (biscotti may be soft but will firm as they cool), about 20 minutes. Cool completely on baking sheet.
    10. Line another large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 8 ounces chopped dark chocolate in medium glass bowl. Place 8 ounces chopped white chocolate in another medium glass bowl, if desired for contrast.
    11. Microwave separately on medium in 20-second intervals just until chocolate is soft to touch, about 40 seconds total (do not overheat or chocolate will burn or seize). Stir chocolate until smooth.
    12. Dip 1 end or 1 side of each biscotti in chocolate; place on baking sheet. Chill until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. (Can be made ahead. Arrange in single layer in airtight container and chill up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.)


    Oh, the outrage

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:03 am

    My boyfriend comes home tomorrow. I’m glad. I miss that guy.

    I can still call him my boyfriend even though we’re married, right? I never liked the word fiance (so dumb), so I called Denny my boyfriend the entire time we were engaged. I still like it. I like how it has the word friend in it, which is above all else what he is.

    A friend I get to see NAKED! WOOOOOOOO!

    Geez, my parents are going to read this. Geez. And yet, here I am, right about to click the publish button…

    Wait! I was just about to publish when I got an email. Someone’s comment got caught by one of my spam filters, and the error message advised him to contact me. He quoted me the error message text, and it contained this phrase:

    “You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”

    HIM? I’m already on a nudity roll here; do you [source of error message] need me to prove the non-HIM-ness of this here blog admin?




    Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:26 pm

    Check out this superfly jokey trailer:

    Brokeback to the Future (7 Mb) Source: Chocolate Cake City
    (Requires Quicktime: get it for Windows; if you’re a Mac user you probably already have it)

    I want to eat the rest of the rice noodles tonight, but I promised I’d save them for Denny. Woe is me.


    Siew good.

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:50 pm

    Oh my lord, the rice noodles were great. My sauce wasn’t quite right; it lacked the depth and complexity of the sauce on the pad siew at The Thai Spice, but the noodles themselves were phenomenal. They were chewy yet light, springy yet yielding, crisped on the outside and tender on the inside.

    Now I just need a really great sauce recipe. Anybody have any favorite Thai sauces? Generally I prefer the curry and basil type sauces to the peanut ones.

    Pad see what?

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:37 pm

    I was just poking around on allrecipes.com to see if they had any interesting variations on the pad siew recipe I plan to use. There were no hits on the search term “pad siew,” so I decided to try an alternate spelling I’ve also seen, “pad see-ew.” There were no hits on that either, but they did have an interesting suggestion:

    No, as a matter of fact, I did not.

    Wide rice noodles

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:52 am

    I love wide rice noodles. I’m talking seriously wide here, like 3/4″ to 1″. My favorite local Thai place (that would be The Thai Spice–my apologies to the aficionados of Thai Flavors; I acknowledge that the Thai Flavors people are superior human beings to myself and most others, and they do great community work, but when it comes down to it, the food is better at The Thai Spice) serves them. However, they are often unavailable, and I could never figure out why.

    I talked to my foodie friend John about it, and he said it’s because they’re a fresh noodle, not dried, and they don’t store well. That means that they have to buy them in small quantities so as not to waste them, but unfortunately the demand often exceeds the supply. Therefore, sometimes I go there and am disappointed because their shipment hasn’t come in from Chicago. Also, The Thai Spice is a bit pricey.

    So I set out on adventure to make my own Pad Siew, complete with homemade wide rice noodles. I made the noodles last night, and while it wasn’t difficult, it was a little labor intensive. I plan to cook them up tonight. If they turn out to be delicious, I’ll have to make them again for Denny (he’s out of town right now). If that comes to pass, I’ll have him photographically document the process, because it’s kind of interesting. It involves a jerry-rigged steamer made out of a big copper pot, four spoons, and a cake pan.

    The most hilarious part is when you plop the contents of the cake pan out, and it looks like you have a squishy birthday cake made of rice paste. Delicious!


    Hard jobs

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:34 am

    1. I acknowledge that MTV influences my life too much. Danny swears that if I got a Tivo or similar, I would watch less stupid TV and be able to focus my TV-watching time into the kinds of quality programming I truly enjoy, such as flashy science specials and Golden Girls reruns.

    2. I complain about my job sometimes, and it does in fact stress me out and annoy me with fair frequency.

    3. I was just caught the end of some MTV show about a young man who’s becoming a firefighter, and it made me realize that even though it’s stressful when the ICON enrollment integration mysteriously unenrolled the College of Business Admin from all her course sites again, at least I don’t have to go into burning buildings.

    That’s a seriously stressful job. The closest I ever came to burning to death at work was when somebody left popcorn in the microwave too long.


    The downfall of our culture

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:04 pm

    I think the most damning evidence for Western civilization is the t.v. show Next. It’s that MTV show where people make snap judgments about each other and decide whether they’re worthy of dating. One of the guys was talking about how he only likes Asian girls with big boobs.
    Worse yet, they seem to have marathons every weekend, and I just can’t tear myself away. It’s so horrible.


    Talking to the wall OR My Web Conference

    Filed under: — Aprille @ 2:39 pm

    I gave a web conference today. It was kind of weird, because even though there were like 30 people listening to me and watching my Powerpoint (and it had to be Powerpoint, of course, since the web conferencing solution was a Microsoft product–ppt delivered on IE for Windows, baybee!), I had zero interaction with them until the end.

    It really felt like I was just talking to myself. My colleague Les was there, but he was just supporting the technology for me in case it broke; he didn’t actually care about the content of my presentation, so he kind of zoned out. After a while I got bored and started throwing in some jokes to entertain myself. It was really weird to do that without being able to hear any audience response. I seriously don’t know how comedy get movies get made, as opposed to live theater; feedback from the people in the room is such a big part of building comedy momentum.

    Doing the web conference that way reminded me of when I was in grad school teaching undergrad Spanish classes. We were required to speak only Spanish in class (a rule I sometimes broke, because seriously, they’re never going to figure out relative pronouns if I have to explain them in a language they don’t even speak). Most of the time I spoke Spanish, though, and most of the time they had no idea what I was talking about. So I got used to telling jokes nobody laughed at, and I didn’t take it personally. That’s why it kind of freaked me out when I had a Mexican-American kid in class, because all of a sudden, somebody was responding in a meaningful way. I had to watch myself more carefully, because I’d gotten used to just saying whatever I wanted without worrying if it was appropriate or not.

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