Friday, February 25, 2011

Pre-employment screening

Don't we all have a secret list of questions we wish someone would ask us when we are interviewing for a job? Besides hearing anything that wasn't pre-masticated by the HR folks, it would be refreshing if someone asked about the books you were reading, the blogs you follow, whether you can make a perfectly silken lemon curd, or about your favorite xkcd panel. You might wonder why I'm having HR daydreams, all that diet soda finally got to her? Nope, I'm in the process of applying for an academic administrative position and I've got applications, references and transdisciplinarity on the brain...which made me think of this, my favorite xkcd:

If I get the job I'll order a print for my office. My field isn't even mentioned so it should be safe for the hallowed halls... unless, of course, I'm around certain kinds of physicists...

ps--Okay, I admit that I probably miss 55.539478% of the jokes in the strip, like in this one, my nsfw favorite. It's okay, you don't have to explain it to me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

L is for Luxury

You Capture: Things that Start with 'L'
Now this is what I call multitasking... stress relief after a really busy weekend and a hectic start to this week, plus a quick snap for this week's assignment. Reapplying nose to grindstone now...but if you've got the leisure, head to I Should Be Folding Laundry to see what in the 'L' is going on.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Night Pizza

When M and I first started dating we would get together Monday nights to make homemade pizza and watch Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. The bread machine tackled the dough while we shared chopping and saute duties, made the sauce, and had a glass of wine. The dough and prep work were usually done at about the same time, M would roll out the dough and we readied the pies for their cold oven start to bubbly goodness. Our timing got to be pretty good so the pizzas came out of the oven right before the sound of "NOOoooo Reservations, aaaaaah."

Oyster and Cauliflower Mushrooms on top; Pizza Margherita below (in cold oven).

Fast forward a few years... We still have pizza on Mondays but the bread machine didn't survive the move; there's no cable so we're more likely to be catching up on missed seasons of good TV (Weeds, the Sopranos, etc.); and M is working 12 hour days so the mise is usually en place by the time he gets home. The demise of the bread machine (and my underemployed status) created an opportunity to find a new recipe for pizza dough; we're still experimenting. Right now we use the Beer Pizza Dough recipe from Penzys Spices. The recipe makes enough for four pizzas, which is two too many despite our reliance on pizza for lunch. We've had mixed results with using the frozen extra dough (although it is handy); now we let the remainder rise a second time, drop it into a preheated 450 degree dutch oven and bake it like we would no-knead bread. The texture has a dense, slightly sweet crumb, makes wonderful toast and is a nice alternative to the ever-present loaf of no-knead.

What goes on the pizza is dictated by what's available in the garden, freezer or pantry -- and our moods. We tailor the sauce to the ingredients but it's usually a riff on a basic tomato sauce or seasoned olive oil. Some of our go-to combinations: homemade bacon, green chile and onion; spicy shrimp; pizza margherita; boletes and pancetta; and smoked salmon with feta (awesome cold, too). Leftover seasoned ground lamb with chard, feta and pine nuts made the grade just recently.

The next candidate for the backbone of our Monday Night Pizzas is this recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers, Bob Del Grosso at A Hunger Artist.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Warm pad, old cat

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This week's YouCapture theme: Warm.

This is our eldest cat on his K&H Thermo-Pet Mat. He sleeps on that mat year-round, pulling in every one of those 102 degrees to ease his aching, 20-year old bones. The TPM has been plugged in non-stop for over a year and continues to be worth every penny.

Don't forget to check out additional wonderful, warm thoughts for this week at:


After about an hour of quail hunting the dog vanished. BDog had been staying in range(mostly) and then he wasn't. No tell-tale rustling of mesquite or other sound to indicate where he was and no response to calls from either of us. As we headed in the direction we had last seen him, we began to worry...rattlesnake? No, still too cold at night but you never know... a big cat? There had been no yelps, no barks...nothing. "BDaaawg, come!" M found him standing a respectful distance from this:

On closer inspection, it turns out the porcupine had tagged BDog on the chest and chin, probably with one swipe of its tail. You'll have to look closely to see the extra chin whiskers. It's not a great photo; I only had one chance before we headed to the nearby truck for a little doggy 1st aid.

After a thorough plucking, a drink and some rest while we drove to the next swath of grassland, BDog was cleared to go back into the field. Good thing, 'cause there were scalies to be retrieved. Ah... no, no lizard, dragon or snake people were harmed but a few Callipepla squamata will wind up as confit for a lovely dinner salad some night this week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

YouCapture: Cold

A bouquet of fern frost for this week's YouCapture theme: cold. 
Found on my front sidewalk.

When I saw the theme over at I Should Be Folding Laundry I decided I might as well get the first post out of way, even though there's not much else here. Welcome! Next time you visit, you should be able to find out the approximate location of that sidewalk and a little more about what goes on in a seemingly stochastic life.  Yes, the blog background is fern frost, too.