‘Tis the Season…

The fig trees in the garden are in full production mode. (As was my wife on the pancake side of things*.) Made for a delicious combination for family breakfast! There’s something magical about eating figs fresh from the tree that are still warm from the sun.

By the way, there are some major changes coming up for the garden which should allow me to expand some of the variety of things I grow there. I’ll fill you in on this later…

-cvj

*Thanks aef! Click to continue reading this post

The Big USC News You Haven’t Heard…

So here’s some big USC news that you’re probably not hearing about elsewhere. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened on campus for a long time, and it’s well worth noting. As of today (4th August, when I wrote this), there’s a Trader Joe’s on campus!

It opened (relatively quietly) today and I stopped by on my way home to pick up a few things – something I’ve fantasized about doing for some time. It’s a simple thing but it’s also a major thing in my opinion. Leaving aside the fact that I can now sometimes get groceries on the way home (with a subway stop just a couple of blocks away) – and also now more easily stock up my office with long workday essentials like Scottish shortbread and sardines in olive oil, there’s another reason this is big news. This part of the city (and points south) simply don’t have as many good options (when it comes to healthy food) as other parts of the city. It is still big news when a grocery store like this opens south the 10 freeway. In fact, away from over on the West side (where the demographic changes significantly), there were *no* Trader Joe’s stores south of the 10 until this one opened today**. (Yes, in 2017 – I can wait while you check your calendar.) I consider this at least as significant (if not more) as the Whole Foods opening in downtown at […] Click to continue reading this post

When Life Hands You…

When life hands you tomatoes, red onions, a little bit of garlic, ginger, some cardamom pods, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of paprika… make chutney! (It’s about as easy as lemonade, actually.)

chutney_10_mar_2016_montage

Oddly, a carmello tomato plant that had been struggling a bit during the Summer took rather well to the late Fall and Winter months, loved the rain, and kept producing more and more tomatoes. They were all green on the plant for a long while, and then we had a return to some long stretches of sun that […] Click to continue reading this post

Secret Pie

Yesterday’s secret pie. I tried to make it secretly over the course of the day while making a batch of bread at the same time, but my cover was blown when rolling out the pastry in the evening, which is too hard to hide. (Click for larger view.)

steak_onion_mushroom_etc_pie_small

It’s a large (so hopefully will last for a few days) pie of primarily steak, carrots, mushrooms and onions, flavored with herbs (bay leaves*, rosemary, thyme) and tomatoes from the garden. I wonder if this is one of the nine kinds favored by the wielder of the purple crayon? (Yes, children’s book references riddle my discourse these days…)

Roughly finished, but very delicious (I’m happy to report), it reminds me very […] Click to continue reading this post

Back to Basics

back_to_basicsHappy to say that I’m back to regular bread-making! The oven had some problems for a while and since I Was distracted by far too many things, I did not have time to get it fixed until recently. It is working again, and now I can make bread once more, and all is well with the world. Here is some of last week Sunday nights’s batch. (Seven other rolls were made, but those are bagged and frozen already…)

Hurrah!

-cvj Click to continue reading this post

Red and Round…

red_tomatoes_aug_2015

Some more good results from the garden, after I thought that the whole crop was again going to be prematurely doomed, like last year. I tried to photograph the other thing about this year’s gardening narrative that I intend to tell you about, but with poor results, but I’ll say more shortly. In the meantime, for the record here are some Carmello tomatoes and some of a type of Russian Black […] Click to continue reading this post

Almost Done

So Tuesday night, I decided that it was imperative that I paid a visit to one really good restaurant (at least) before leaving Santiago. My duties at ICMP2015 were over, and I was tired, so did not want to go too far, but I’d heard there were good ones in the area, so I asked the main organizer and he made a recommendation.

imageIt was an excellent choice. One odd thing: the hotel is in two separate towers, and I’d noticed this upon arrival and started calling it The Two Towers in my mind for the time was there. Obviously, right? Well, anyway, the restaurant is right around the corner from it plus a two minute walk, and…. Wait for it…it is called Le Due Tonni, which translates into The Two Towers, but apparently it has nothing to do with my observation about the hotel, since it got that name from a sister restaurant in a different part of town, I am told. So… An odd coincidence.

I will spare you the details of what I had for dinner save to say that if you get the fettuccini con salmon you’re on to a sure thing, and to warn that you don’t end up accidentally ordering a whole bottle of wine instead of a glass of it because you’re perhaps used to over-inflated wine prices in LA restaurants (caught it before it was opened and so saved myself having to polish off a whole bottle on my own)… Another amusing note is that one of my problems with getting my rusty Spanish out for use only occasionally is that I get logjams in my head because vocabulary from Spanish, French, and Italian all come to me mid sentence and I freeze sometimes. I’d just been getting past doing that by Tuesday, but then got very confused in the restaurant at one point until I realized my waiter was, oddly, speaking to me in Italian at times. I still am not sure why.

It was a good conference to come to, I think, because I connected […] Click to continue reading this post