Here in Aspen there was a pleasant party over at the apartment of one of the visiting physicists this evening. I know it seems odd, but it has been a while since I’ve been at a party with a lot of physicists (I’m not counting the official dinners at the Strings conference a fews weeks back), and I enjoyed it. I heard a little about what some old friends were up to, and met some spouses and learned what they do, and so forth. For the first time, I think, I spoke at length to some curious physicists about the graphic book project, and the associated frustrating adventures in the publishing world (short version: most people love it, but they just don’t want to take a risk on an unusual project…), and they were excited about it, which was nice of them.
It was a pot luck, and so although I was thinking I’d be tired and just take along a six-pack of beer, by lunchtime I decided that I’d make a little something and take it along. Then, as I tend to do, it became two little somethings…and I went and bought the ingredients at the supermarket nearby and worked down at the centre until later. Well, first I made a simple syrup from sugar and water and muddled and worried a lot of tarragon into it.
Then in the evening, there was a lot of peeling and chopping. This is usually one of my favourite things, but the knives in the apartment I am staying in are as blunt as sticks of warm butter, and so chopping was long and fretful. (And dangerous… don’t people realise that blunt knives are actually more dangerous than sharp ones?)
Some more random progress shots (click any photos in this post for a larger view):
The idea for the first dish was to have a salad of red grapefruit and navel oranges with a tarragon flavour. That came from the syrup (by now nicely infused with the tarragon flavour) dribbled over all the slices, and the tarragon garnishes on top. That went very well, is full of flavour, and takes almost no effort. The other dish was simply a mixture of carrots, parsnips and red pepper, tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt, and thrown into the over to roast. They should caramelise a bit and be really tasty. Well, two thirds of the way through the operation, the oven stopped. Just stopped producing heat! I gave up on it after a while and finished the dish off in a skillet. It was an attempt to get the (cooked enough) vegetables to go that next step and get caramelised… It did not quite happen in the pan, but I got something edible I think. A photo of the finished dished is at the top of the post.
People seemed to like everything…