jeudi, octobre 19, 2006

Out to Lunch Province

OK, so I'm helping chaperone a field trip for some of the students to Chartres and the Loire valley. I'm sure it'll be fun, but it will also be a couple of days away from the internet, and thus no blog posts. I'll still back-post some stuff for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and I'll post anything interesting that comes up during the field trip. However, since I don't like to blog about work and work is what I'll be doing, I doubt I'll post much about the trip. Anyway, hooray for the French countryside! Let's see if I can go 24 hours without saying "quaint" or, even better, "faux-quaint."

lundi, octobre 16, 2006

Maybe Monday

It may be Monday if you wake up, look at your alarm clock, and wonder whether your state of being falls into the category of "sick." I was so tempted to call in sick, but I had no good reason. My body was still recovering from that whole "you stayed up till WHEN?" thing. I think doing it two days in a row was what really re-set my circadian clocks.

Anyway, I eventually dragged myself to work, dragged myself around work, and then dragged myself home. Work itself was mercifully straightforward (which is not to say that it wasn't busy).

Last saturday, I had bought a package of "bourguignon beef," which is essentially huge cubes of stewing beef appropriate for making bœuf bourguignon. This meant, of course, that I needed to make the bœuf bourguignon tonight. In retrospect, I'm going to limit myself to one major, time-consuming recipe every other week, 'cause this took all night.

I took the recipe from the French Wikipedia article, since it provided a "generic" recipe. None of the "special touches" or "à la [chef]" here. Essentially, the recipe involves preparing frying up a bunch of aromatics, some lardons, and some cubed braising-quality (i.e., cheap) beef. Then you toss on a bit of flour (thickening agent), use it to make a roux-like base, then pour in a whole bottle of red wine, some beef (or veal) stock, and boil for 3-4 hours. Luckily, I had a pressure cooker, so 3-4 hours turned into 1-1/2 hours. Then you pull out all the solids from the mixture and put in a casserole dish (meat, veggies, etc) and boil the remaining liquid down to a demi-glace consistency (this took a while). In the meantime, you make glazed pearl onions and butter-sautéed mushrooms (separately). You also cook up some small new potatoes (optional). Then you mix the mushrooms in with the demi-glace and toss them over the beef and veggies. Serve with onions and potatoes. Mmm!!

Anyway, I used too much water for the braising liquid (I was worried about the pressure cooker), I left the onions to cook for too long, and the mushrooms were overcooked. So, I'm going to try it again in a couple of weeks and PHOTOBLOG it like I did my ají de gallina recipe last week. The recipe kept me busy until almost 23h00 that night, so I had a pretty late dinner. But it was delicious. The wonderful thing about pressure cookers and/or braising recipes is that I used approximately 5€ of meat and maybe another 5€ of veggies (5€ more for the side potatoes) and condiments to prepare at least 3 days of fantastic food. Cheap meat can taste delicious with a bit of braising and a lot of time. After this, I can eat pasta and salads for a week and not worry about my protein intake.

At midnight, I realized that the cleaning staff were scheduled to clean my room tomorrow, so I frantically put stuff away and did the dishes. (By the way, bœuf bourguignon creates a lot of dirty dishes.) At about 2am, I finally got into bed, chiding myself for being too much of a night owl for someone with a day job.

dimanche, octobre 15, 2006

Sleep it Off

So I went to bed at 8am, totally expecting to be woken up at any moment by students freaking out because one of the networks was down. They had a paper due (by email) by 10am, so Murphy's law predicted that there would be a colossal network outage. Mercifully, I was spared the pain and got to sleep in until the early afternoon. I eventually rolled out of bed, snacked on some food, and started catching up on my blogging. I did pretty much nothing else the rest of the evening (I had a lot of blogging to do) and tried to force myself back to sleep at a reasonable hour so that my body wouldn't be totally out of whack Monday morning. There you go! Sunday in a nutshell.

P.S. My bag cleaned up fine and shows no signs (or smells) of the trauma it endured the night before.