Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Radiolab - "Helicopter Boy"

Love this story.
One of those that I retell to anyone who lets me. ;>)
If I remember correctly, it's approximately 17 minutes long.

Friday, August 26, 2011

While I slept . . .

Not exactly.
I did wake up, but with my ear plugs in it didn't give me the usual adrenaline rush. I was surprised at how little rain followed the lightning. Though the air does feel a bit more clear this morning.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



from Cooks Illustrated (click here for link)
Serves 4 to 6.   Published July 1, 2007.  
This dish will be very warm, not hot. The success of this recipe depends on high-quality ingredients, including ripe, in-season tomatoes and a fruity olive oil (the test kitchen prefers Columela Extra-Virgin). Don’t skip the step of freezing the mozzarella, as freezing prevents it from turning chewy when it comes in contact with the hot pasta. If handmade buffalo- or cow’s-milk mozzarella is available (it’s commonly found in gourmet and cheese shops packed in water), we highly recommend using it, but skip the step of freezing and add it to the tomatoes while marinating. Additional lemon juice or up to 1 teaspoon sugar can be added at the end to taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes.

1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4teaspoons fresh lemon juice (see note above)
1small garlic clove , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1/2 teaspoon)
1small shallot , minced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2pounds ripe tomatoes , cored, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
12ounces fresh mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/2-inch cubes (see note above)
1pound penne pasta or other short tubular or curly pasta such as fusilli or campanelle
1/4cup chopped fresh basil
1teaspoon sugar (see note above)


  1. 1. Whisk oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, garlic, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Add tomatoes and gently toss to combine; set aside. Do not marinate tomatoes for longer than 45 minutes.

  2. 2. While tomatoes are marinating, place mozzarella on plate and freeze until slightly firm, about 10 minutes. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain well.

  3. 3. Add pasta and mozzarella to tomato mixture and gently toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in basil; adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice or sugar, if desired, and serve immediately.


Recipe Diagnosis: Pasta Caprese

PROBLEM: Mozzarella Chewing Gum
Industrially produced mozzarella clumps into a rubbery, stringy mess when combined with hot pasta.

SOLUTION: Dice, then freeze
Freezing the cheese for 10 minutes before combining it with the pasta prevents it from turning into taffy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Seasonal Food Love

Wow!  Who knew that a flat of Marion berries could be so inspiring!  All I was thinking was jam and maybe a crisp.
I thawed out some chicken thighs and left for happy hour with the dames.  When I came home I discovered Jonathon had hit a home-run in the culinary department.

from Fiery Foods (click "Fiery Foods for link)

Blackberry or Marionberry BBQ Sauce

This sauce works particularly well with grilled beef, and it's great on steaks of all kinds.


About 3 cups
¼ cup butter
¼ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon. chopped garlic
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon hot sauce of choice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups fresh blackberries, crushed
Heat the butter in a saucepan, add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add all the other ingredients including the berries and cook for about 10 minutes in a slow simmer. You may wish to let this reduce down a bit if the sauce appears too thin.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Radiolab - "New Normal?"

Radiolab is one of my favorite programs to listen to on Saturday mornings on OPB radio. However, if I'm too busy, I'll turn it off. I want to be able to focus on every word.

The upside of missing episodes, is that I can catch up on the treadmill via their podcasts. I was surprised to find myself caught off guard when a local (Silverton) citizen was the main focus of one segment from an episode about human nature. And what a wonderful segment it is.

Entire episode:

Segment with just Stu:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"August, die she must"

"August, die she must 
The autumn winds blow chilly and cold
September I'll remember
A love once new has now grown old"
~Paul Simon 1965

No, I'm not out of time yet, but work began kicking my door today--my principal's letter arrived in the mail.

What I'm most pleased with is the number of books I've read. I doubt that I've surpassed the unofficial record I set one summer. The summer I overdosed on iced tea and sunshine.

The best changes--I love our new curtains and I'm very happy two prints are now framed and hung (thanks to Groupon). 
A great discovery--Marionberries submerged in vodka for 2 weeks creates a delicious concoction.

I admit to being about ready to get back on a "jump out of bed" schedule, but not ready to find out how tired I'll be at the end of the day. I see many dinners out in our September. :>)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wouldn't it be great . . .

I enjoy coming up with ideas for others. Doesn't cost me a dime for that bit of entertainment and sometimes I've even had the chance to watch an idea come to fruition. Great feeling it is!  ;>)

This afternoon, I was driving north on Cordon for a berry run, when I spotted a few runners taking advantage of the shoulder and long expanse without a stop sign. The wheels in my brain began to turn.

Wouldn't it be a great pledge/commitment for health insurance companies and private clinics to come together and build a nice wide paved pathway running along side of Cordon Road? Like the one out around Monmouth, separate from the roadway.

As a matter of fact, many Willamette Valley communities have at least one of those multi-use paths. I think it's Salem's turn. Maybe there's an area better suited or a place we can connect to. What do you think?

Here's a link to what the Corvallis area has to offer.

Kaiser Permanente
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon
Willamette Valley Health Partners
Salem Clinic

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes

Crash Hot Potatoes
Last week, I found a recipe on Pioneer Woman's website called "Crash Hot Potatoes" (here's PW's version and here's Stacy's). In a mere 7 days I made them twice--so good! Today it occurred to me that same process might yield some tasty sweet potatoes, but I wanted someone else to go first. The search was over quickly when I landed on the Stacy Makes Cents website. Here's what she made and here's the link to her site:

Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes
2 whole Medium To Large Sweet Potatoes
½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 quarts Water
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1-½ Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
½ Tablespoons Kosher Salt
½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
½ teaspoons Smoked Sweet Paprika
¼ teaspoons Onion Powder
⅛ teaspoons Granulated Garlic Powder
⅛ teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Peel the sweet potatoes and slice about 1 ¼ inches thick. Add ½ teaspoon salt to water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add potato slices and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until somewhat softened. Remove carefully to a wire rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Line a large, heavy sheet pan with foil. Using a flat-bottomed bowl or potato masher, slightly mash each potato slice, taking care that they stay intact. Drizzle each slice with a mixture of the butter and oil, using half of the mixture.

Blend the topping ingredients (sugar and all the spices) together really well with a fork, making to sure to get the sugar completely incorporated.

Sprinkle the slice evenly with a total of half the topping ingredients. Make sure you avoid getting the topping on the sheet between the slices if possible—it will burn and smoke before the potatoes are done.

Gently turn over each slice, drizzle with the remaining butter/oil mixture and sprinkle with the remaining seasonings.

Roast at 375° for 20 minutes, carefully flip each slice and return to oven for about 10 minutes more. Serve hot. *Broil for 4 minutes if you desire a crispier outside.*"

*Recipe from (dyln)