Thursday, December 20, 2012


It's a thing now, the study of scones. Or the theory of scones, which one must have if one is to 1) make scones 2) make other things, and (most importantly, but don't tell the scones) 3) survive baking season.

I was telling someone, someone who also likes to make scones and apparently makes them every weekend, about my difficulty making scones, and she totally misunderstood (maybe I was drunk, I don't know) but she said the answer is the pastry cutter and I needed a pastry cutter, and so I politely agreed because she just didn't understand, and what's the point?

But now, friends, I will attempt to explain to you what I could not explain to her: it's not the butter! The butter, cut into small cubes and refrozen for an appropriate amount of time, the butter you simply dump into the food processor and do the pulsing thing, and then wala, you have the base of the dough, but NO, the problem, friends, is the cream. The cream!

Now, I don't want to say the cream is problematic as if this were a character flaw on the part of cream, because cream is lovely, right? It's soft and delicate and blameless. No, the problem, as it were, is that the cream doesn't really want to make friends with the dough.

The recipe I follow says to make a little mound of the dough and then make a divot in it and then pour the cream and then cupping your hands like tiny shovels, lightly move the dough into the trough of cream and do this without screaming obscenities and don't mix it too much or else it gets gummy and then somehow (the recipe doesn't say how) get it all to stick together (but barely, barely!) and then make it into a circle and then, quick, before one portion cedes, cut them into triangles and get them into the oven where the still slightly frozen butter can work its magic.

Well. You can see my dilemma. The first two times I made scones I was perfectly happy to participate in the charade that cupping the hands and yadda yadda yadda would result in scone magic. But last time, this last time, I just said, you know what? Screw it. I'm just going to pour in enough cream until the dough just has no choice but to stick together because that's what dough does, and then I'm going to make it into a flat disc and I'm going to use the scone cutter that I bought and I'm going to cut circles and then I'm just going to bake them.
And you know what? They were still perfectly delicious and better than 99.99% of the scones I've ever consumed, ever, except the ones made by my friend at that bakery in Bellingham. So that's a win right? Scones 0, Me 1. I win!

But, also, and here's the important part: recipes exist for a reason. I need them. I do. Even when I've made something a million times I look at the recipe for reassurance, like checking in just to make nothing's changed since the last time, even though I know what I'm doing. I do. So what I've learned, my scone-ology, is that you need the recipe, yes. But if you are going to survive baking season, and baking in general, you have to go with the flow. Baking is about nothing if not the current context. Sometimes the temperature in the kitchen is greater or lesser. Sometimes you have hot hands. You just do. Sometimes the butter is better or worse.

But you know what? The scones always taste just fine. In fact, they taste delicious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Whoa! That movie should come with a warning label. Such as, "Really violent! No, really! And there some children in this movie. You are NOT going to like what happens to them!"
But...but! In spite of that, I liked it quite a bit.
But, like any time travel movie, I left the theater with questions, QUESTIONS!?!
(My questions were not necessarily answered, but were confirmed, here.)
But anyway, you know how it is with time travel narratives, you're all did he come back if....
That said, I did enjoy it.
HOWEVER, I was a little bit sad that Joseph Gordon Levitt did not look like JGL. They made his nose all weird so he would look like a young Bruce Willis, which I think was a mistake, but I guess it's easier to make someone look like they don't have cheekbones then to make them  look like they do.
Also, I did not know Emily Blunt was in it, and she was good.
Also, Jeff Daniels. Enough said.
So, yes, I'd say see it, unless you are my 11 year old son, and then I would say, maybe when you're 18.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Some Birthday Thoughts

Since it is my birthday, I thought I would include some Deep Thoughts here for your edification.

  1. Birthdays are just another day. But on this day, I feel I set the tone for the coming year. I also feel this way about New Year's Day, so I try to do things I think will bode well for the next 365 days. So today, I worked out (good, right?) and then had breakfast (also good, yes?). With friends. I think this last part is key.
  2. Surround yourself with happy people. (see above)
  3. Set goals you can accomplish. Next year I want to be grateful, to be happy, to enjoy life and appreciate my friends. I also would like to be injury & pain free.
  4. Try to see the good in the bad. I wasn't fond of 2012. But some good things happened. Right? I'm trying to think of them...instead of saying "I had to have surgery in July!" I say, "there were 11 months in 2012 in which I did not have to have surgery." Hurray!
  5. My body is telling me not to do things that are bad for me anyway. I'm going to listen to my body.
  6. But still, I'm going to enjoy life by partaking of wine, chocolate, etc in moderate amounts.
  7. Do more yoga. (this is always a good idea)
  8. Meditate, even if your meditation is to stare out the window into the distance (or the neighbor's house, whatever) and to contemplate your existence.
  9. Be in this isness. A good friend of mine once said this, and I have been coming back to it lately as I try to lessen the stress in my life.
  10. A corollary of number 9 is this gem: Lean into the pain. I saw this on a TED talk. I'm not even sure what the topic of the TED talk was. But I think of this when I am stressing out, or when I'm fighting with Son. Sometimes, the pain or stress comes from the resistance. If you relax, then sometimes the pain goes away. This is what I've found.
I hope these small thoughts help you as you navigate this (sometimes) difficult season. The point of holidays is not to buy stuff or to stress out, but to take a moment to appreciate what we have, and to enjoy the people in our lives. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Consumption Log

Because HTMS said she would not be bored by learning what I have eaten....

  • Rotisserie chicken (standing up in the kitchen, pulling meat off, feeding chicken skin to the Gus)
  • Pear Martini (yes, it was that delicious)
  • Roasted Apple Salad
  • Coffee Spiced Beet Salad
  • Pici with Duck Ragu & Wild Mushrooms (yes! It was that good!)
  • Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Gelato and Citrus Glaze (yum!)
  • Scallops cooked with garlic in white wine and butter
  • Caesar Salad
  • Ahi Tuna
  • Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
  • Chocolate with Hazlenuts
  • Vermont Maple Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • Scrambled Eggs
So, that's been my last few days.
Also: coffee. I can't believe it, but here I go: grading! 

Friday, December 07, 2012

Because I can't stand to disappoint...

So Blogger won't let me link in the title, which is disappointing, to say the least.
Listen, HTMS, my only reader, my life is so boring, that I don't want to disappoint you either by not blogging or by blogging in such a boring way you wish, in fact, that I had not blogged.
So, to whit, to continue: This morning as I was reading Anna Karenina (is that pretentious? to announce to the world, hey! I'm reading this 817 page monolith?), I couldn't help but wonder if I could actually make it through the book what with the

            1. Grading
            2. Christmas decorating (tree. wreath? inside lights? plaques which proclaim family rules including admonitions to love more and to say please and thank you? Reindeer antlers for the dog? (yes!))
            3. Planning of Christmas food & cookies & cocktails
            4. Making of above
            5. Movies? Movies!
            6. Reading? I guess...
            7. Planning of classes for next semester? (this is in desperate need of being done, but honestly, eww!)
 things I have to do and think about when I'm not doing...You understand.
In any case, it only took me, like, 4 days to do this, so maybe I can blog more this month, so as to fulfill one of your Christmas wishes.
My pleasure.