Kids these days…

Now that I’m in the quarter-century-plus club, I think it’s my job to complain about how much trouble undergrads are these days. A week or so ago our neighbors (who are attached to us and share a driveway) had a big party. This happens a few times a semester, but I guess this time they were loud and rowdy enough that one of our other neighbors called the cops. I was about to head to bed when I heard the cops banging on their door. After that the kids (very slowly) dispersed, but like a good paparazzi I took some pictures of them loitering around and urinating on someone else’s house…

Winter View

winter view smallWe’ve had a very snowy winter this year in Massachusetts. This animated image shows the view from my bedroom window looking out down our driveway. The pictures were taken sporadically since we had a big snow in early December. Click the picture for a full version (a large 2MB file).

Since I’m sure to forget how I made this, here is what I did using the Imagemagick program:

  • convert -delay 100 -loop 0 IMG*.jpg output.gif —– 1 second delay between fames, loops forever, uses all files like IMG_XXX.jpg to make the image
  • convert output.gif -resize 20% small.gif —– resizes the image to 20%

BHD #8 – Spanish Tapas

On my dinner night I made two spanish dishes for Megan and Filip. The first was Patatas Bravas, the quintessential spanish appetizer of fried potatoes in a spicy sauce. This was accompanied by grilled pork on a stick, marinated in a mix of Spanish and Arabic spices.

I had made Patatas Bravas twice over the summer with a different recipe which had a separate, mayonnaise based sauce. The new recipe instead had you cook up the potatoes in spices and hot peppers, which was good, but I don’t think my sauce to potato ratio was quite right. I also had trouble getting the potatoes to brown while frying… I think in the past I’ve had better luck using vegetable oil rather than olive oil.

The second dish of grilled (actually broiled) pork skewers were marinated in a nice mix of coriander and cumin seeds, garlic, and paprika. Just like the potatoes, I’d like to try these again, but make more sauce and marinate the meat for longer.

I need a bit more practice before I can compete with some of the tapas places we visited on our trip to spain last spring, but it was still pretty good. Having the food with Este, one of the better Spanish red wine’s I’ve tried lately ($9 at Whole Foods), didn’t hurt either.

BHD #7 – Megan’s Chili

After turning in an assignment for one of our classes, Filip, Gal and I decided that we should take the night easy and make ask Megan nicely if she would cook dinner for us. Luckily she agreed, so the rest of us went out to buy her ingredients and restock the wine cellar. She made an excellent chili with beef, black beans, tomatoes, lots of spices, and pasta shells. We were all starving, but the food was really hot, so we either dipped our bread in it or received third degree burns on our tongues (or more likely both). We had two dessert courses as well, the first was butternut squash and apples which I baked up with brown sugar, butter, and a little salt. I’m not sure how I feel about butternut squash–it didn’t have much flavor. Filip felt it grew on you, but next time I’ll try something different with it. This was followed by fruit salad. It was the first time I’d had fresh berries in a few months, so it should ward off scurvy for the time being.

After dinner we watched Prairie Home Companion (the movie) which was pretty funny, if a bit strange. They had some hilarious songs and it makes me want to listen to the full radio show again. Lately I’ve been downloading the podcasts of the show, but they only include the “News from Lake Woebegone” portion (which is arguably the best part).

BHD #6 – Filip’s Breaded Pork Hamburgers Made from Turkey

Filip told me the polish word for these, but I forget what it was. I think it was only a few syllables longer than the title above. In any case, our second polish dining experience included the two standard items: breaded meat and potatoes, plus beets and salad in a creamy dressing. Traditionally the meat was supposed to be ground pork, but the closest at the supermarket was ground turkey. The meat patties were like breaded hamburgers with extra onions and yummy spices inside. As usual it was a nice hearty meal.

Blue House Dinner Recap #0-5

We’ve started a tradition of having an approximately weekly “family” style dinner at my apartment where someone makes dinner for everyone to enjoy. There are four people in my house (Megan, Filip, Gal, and myself), plus we usually invite one or two others over for the event. It is great to let someone else cook dinner for a night, and it is nice to have an excuse to take a break, drink some wine, and enjoy some good food. Continue reading