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.)


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.)


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…)


-cvj Click to continue reading this post

Red and Round…


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

On the Road, with Whiskey…

I’m on the road. I gave a seminar at the University of Michigan yesterday, and spent the working day chatting with various physicists at the department there, exchanging ideas, catching up on what people are up to, etc. The seminar itself went ok. I’ve been talking about extended gravitational thermodynamics, the subject of all my papers so far this year. I think I paced things a bit poorly (trying to squeeze in results from two papers while at the same time being pedagogical about the basic material since it is not familiar to most), so had to rush at the end, but I got the main points in. Lots of good questions.

At the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by the offer of whiskey in the break room. Apparently it is a Friday tradition. I began to wonder, and made some inquiries and found out to my delight that it is a direct decendant of a tradition that I (co-) started back in the mid-90s in Santa Barbara!


It was a long time ago, so I am hazy on who the core people were who regularly kept […] Click to continue reading this post

Baby Mothra!!!

So I discovered a terrifying (but also kind of fascinating and beautiful at the same time) new element to the garden this morning. We’re having a heat wave here, and so this morning before leaving for work I thought I’d give the tomato plants a spot of moisture. I passed one of the tomato clusters and noticed that one of the (still green) tomatoes had a large bite taken out of it. I assumed it was an experimental bite from a squirrel (my nemesis – or one of them), and muttered dark things under my breath and then prepared to move away the strange coiled leaf that seemed to be on top of it. Then I noticed.

It wasn’t a leaf.


It was a HUGE caterpillar! Enormous! Giant and green with spots and even a red horn at one end! There’s a moment when you’re unexpectedly close to a creature like that where your skin crawls for a bit. Well, mine did for a while […] Click to continue reading this post