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weekend update

Lovely weekend - Saturday included Fry Crawl, which was an ill-fated attempt to zero in on the best french fry in Chicago.  Sadly, the first two places didn't open until late, and the line outside Hot Doug's took about an hour (thank goodness we had warm blankets in the car!)  Still, we did get french fries cooked in duck fat, and had a great time - the right crowd makes everything fun.

Saturday evening we had a few friends over for dinner, and served yet another Squash Win: Butternut Squash Lasagna.  Om, nom, nom.  The only sad thing about it is when you serve it to a group of people, there are no leftovers.  Alas!

Sunday was magnificently lazy.  I played computer games while Rick played Warhammer, I took a long nap, did some reading, and we watched a bit of West Wing.  Delightful!

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another squash win

I commented to Rick last night, "I love cooking squash!  It comes with a snack inside [i.e. the seeds, which toast up quickly] to tide you over while you wait for it to cook!"

This is such a huge change for me I can't even properly express it.  "I love cooking squash"?  Two years ago, I never would have said those words.  Didn't like squash, didn't know how to cook it, wasn't sure I wanted to change either of those things.  So CSA as immersive vegetable therapy has been a win, at least for squash.  Maybe next year I'll get better at lettuce.

At any rate, last night I cut open an acorn squash, toasted the seeds for pre-supper snack (nom!) and then set the squash halves to bake.  Meanwhile I chopped up a few sausages and cooked them, chopped up some onions, shallots, garlic, bell pepper and kale and cooked them in some chicken broth until the kale was done, and chopped up a firm pear and sauteed it for a few minutes in a little butter.  Mixed all of that together, stuffed the squash with it, and put it back in the oven for a few minutes with a topping of grated parmesan cheese.  mm.  mmm.

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squash success

Dinner last night was very satisfying.  I took a red kuri squash, quartered it, and cleaned the seeds.  The seeds (with some oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of spice blend) toasted while the oven was warming up (until they started popping).   While that was going on I rubbed two quarters of squash with olive oil, and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and some fresh sage.  The other two quarters were buttered and sprinkled with cinnamon, brown sugar, a little salt, and some walnuts. 

I baked the sqush quarters at 400 for about 45-50 minutes, until the squash was relaxed and happy.  We snacked on toasted squash seeds while we waited.  A few minutes before I took the squash out of the oven I put some shredded mozarella and cheddar cheese on top of the savory squash quarters. 

Appetizer, dinner and dessert: all from one squash!  Nom, nom, and again nom.  (Although I liked the dessert better once I'd drizzled a little maple syrup on it.  Rick's squash, however, did not last long enough for the maple syrup treatment.)

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Cribbage and Noddy

So a couple of conversations at Pennsic led me to idly wonder about the history of the game of Cribbage (which gets played extensively in our camp).  A couple googles later, it seems that Cribbage is just slightly out of period for the SCA, but it is based on a Tudor game called "Noddy" which is apparantly exactly the same except for not having a crib.  Perhaps next year we'll try playing it that way and see what it's like!

I was also interested to see that in Noddy, if the Jack is turned up it's called the "Knave Noddy"  ("noddy" meaning "fool").    I presume this is the origin of calling the Jack "nobs" in Cribbage, something which has always puzzled me.

http://www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Cribbage.htm

a really fascinating article

OK Cupid studied a huge subset of their members and came to some really interesting conclusions about Republicans, Democrats, and how Republicans cohere but Democrats don't (also some cool stuff on social/economic views by age, and some really cool graphs, and... oh, just go look at it:)

http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/2010/03/30/the-democrats-are-doomed-or-how-a-big-tent-can-be-too-big/

Thanks for the link, melebeth !

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Don't you think?

Don't you think that there should be parties all over the world on March 14, 2015, all of which feature pie as a major portion of the refreshments?

EDIT: As is usual with my absurd ideas, the internet is way ahead of me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_Day

Bread

Have I really not posted about this before???

Over the holidays, we tried out some bread at Tom & Meredith's from the cookbook "Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day". We liked it so much we told Rick's mom about it, and she surprised us with a copy of the book a few days later.

This book has seriously changed my relationship with home-made bread. We now pretty much only eat warm, fresh-made bread, even after long days at work. We're contemplating getting rid of the bread machine, because it does not hold a candle to the bread we can make from this cookbook, plus the machine takes longer. The bread is crusty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the dough keeps in the refrigerator for weeks.  You can make as much or as little as you want at one time (one naan, or two rolls, or an entire loaf).

An article describing the basic recipe and the process is here, and if you're interested in buying the cookbook, it's here.

Highly recommended.

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Archaeology geekery

The ruins of Pompeii are now viewable on Google Street View. !!!

Just go to Google Maps, type in "pompeii italy ruins", drop the little dude on a street, and start exploring. :)

looking for suggestions

I am looking for a really attractive hammer/mallet and chisel.  Preferably stainless steel or brass (or wrought iron!) or something like that.  Preferably not one of those horrid pink or flowery or otherwise girlified tool sets.  Any ideas where I could find such a thing?

Haiti

Some ways to help, if you can.

edit: Also, Pat Robertson has clearly never read the Bible.

edit2: Here is an excellent list of organizations that are working in Haiti now.