Sunday, March 29, 2015

What's Cooking?

Last fall, Jeff got some mint pesto at the farmer's market. We weren't sure what to do with it, so we froze it.

Recently I googled recipes for mint pesto. Many involved lamb, which we don't have. Plus I have to be in the mood for lamb. So I checked out chicken-mint pesto recipes, and found this, a variation on another recipe. Then I made a few changes to the variation of the original.

We didn't have arugula (plus Jeff doesn't like it.)  I used the full amounts of wine, lemon and garlic, but half the bean and chicken. The full amount of lemon was a mistake, and I should have used more chicken. I used canned beans instead of dried beans and reduced the cooking time. Because I reduced the cooking time, I browned the chicken before baking it.

It was still very good, although a bit too lemony. I expected the mint pesto to be sweeter than it was. I'll make adjustments next time.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Netflix Movie Nights: Snowpiercer and World War Z


I had never heard of this film until I read a comment on Shakesville and decided to watch it. This gist is that an attempt to combat global warming backfired, freezing the entire world. The survivors boarded a train on an endless loop around the world.

The train is divided among class lines: Curtis (Chris Evans) from the back of the train--the "ghetto"--reluctantly leads a revolution. His plan: get to the front of the train and confront Wilford (Ed Harris) the leader of this new world.

I liked how the drastic class divide is shown as Curtis advances through the train cars: greenhouse, aquarium, schoolroom for the children of the affluent. I loved the cast which also included Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer.

I can suspend disbelief about a train running continually around the world. However, I did question two things: people thinking that eating insect-derived food is gross after many of those people resorted to cannibalism in the first days on the train. Also, why would John Hurt as Wilford's partner agree to live in the wretched conditions at the rear of the train?

World War Z

I'm not a zombie fan: mindless slow-moving hordes who eat brains don't interest me. But I suggested this film last Saturday night. It was pretty good: but I can't remember many details about it. So, maybe it wasn't that good after all. Well, it was enjoyable as it lasted. That's more than many films can claim. Basically, Brad Pitt saves the world when he figures out that zombies don't eat diseased people.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy 13th Anniversary!

A few photos of a happy guy.

Sometimes something happens in your life and you don't realize its importance. (Damn, that sounds like Miss White's one question test on Moby Dick in 11th grade--we laughed until we realized it was actually a good question.)

One of those moments was 13 years ago, when Spike joined us. We were happy to welcome him. There were issues; living with us was a big adjustment for him. Luckily, it didn't take long before Spike realized that we were good for each other.

This past year has been rough with many health challenges for Spike. But watching him run down the hall and play makes it all worth it.

Enjoy your day Spike.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

This is Spring?

I was so psyched for spring this year: it was a long, cold winter. And then--snow on the first day of spring. It started snowing about noon yesterday; I was shocked when I woke up this morning and it was still snowing.

I could write several paragraphs complaining about this winter. But, I don't want to. I'm happy that spring is here, even if yesterday's weather betrayed us.

We're looking forward to days at the dog park and fun.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Jeff and I continued our tradition of going out for lunch when work allows. We did have a bit of a dilemma selecting a restaurant. Our go-to place, the Sono Brewhouse closed about a month ago. We decided to go to Donovan's in South Norwalk. It offers its regular menu as well as Irish specials. I was psyched for the Irish nachos. Unfortunately, Donovan's didn't do them as well as the Brewhouse did. Donovan's uses shoestring fries as the base; the Brewhouse's waffle fries are, I mean, were much better.

We got to hear some bagpipers and received beads and funny hats. I got a plastic green derby with a Guinness ribbon. I can only describe Jeff's hat as a tall Cat in the Hat type designed to look like a pint of Guinness. I took a picture of it, but promised Jeff I wouldn't post it here. (I'm sure my four readers are distressed.)

Happy Half-Way Day Jeff.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Oh, Sweet Mystery of Pi

It takes me a few days (or more) to work my way through The Sunday New York Times. This morning I read this. "We should celebrate pi's combination of utility and enigma."

What's Cooking?

I had only my second Sunday off this year yesterday, and decided to do some cooking. I had seen this recipe in The New York Times a few weeks ago, got the ingredients and it was the perfect time to try it out.

Overall, Pasta alla Genovese is good, very good. But I'm not sure if it's worth the time. Cooking time is three-and-a-half hours. I've never been good at cutting (e.g. could never neatly cut out letters for the bulletin board in grammar school.) It took me awhile to cut the steak. Slicing boiled onions cut down on the tears, but it was challenging to cut the slippery onions.

I had bought rigatoni pasta--one of three mentioned in the recipe. I actually thought rice would have been a better match. That's not very Italian--maybe risotto instead.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Once in a Century Pi Day

Happy Pi Day!

And not just any Pi Day. Today, 3-14-15 at 9:26:53, Jeff and I toasted to the first 10 digits of pi.

We didn't eat pie of any kind. I didn't think of it until late afternoon. It was raining and foggy and I didn't want to make any extra stops on my way home from tutoring. I did some geometry problems with a student today, and pi made its appearance.

Here are some more pi facts.

Friday, March 13, 2015

What We're Watching

TV time--a review of shows that we've been watching.

In the past few weeks, we saw two season finales: Sleepy Hollow and Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce.

I never thought that Sleepy Hollow would become one of our go-to shows. We thought the promos were ridiculous. We watched the pilot because we weren't watching anything else in that timeslot. We figured we would just laugh at a stupid show about Ichabod Crane. Well, we were hooked. The stories are interesting, and the actors intriguing. Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie have a great team, or should I say, witness chemistry.

I liked A Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce. According to posts on Previously TV, I'm in the minority. It may have helped that I watched the series in bits and pieces--a few promos, a few scenes in first run episodes, a few in marathons, and full episodes on Demand. Some writing and characterizations are all over the place. I can ignore that and go with the flow. But I hated the last episode. In an entire series about divorce, the main characters decide not to divorce. Huh? At first, I thought it was going to be a situation of all the happy couples. I wouldn't have liked that. But even worse, I hate the idea that Abby would go back to Jake and then he might ditch her again because his young ex-girlfriend is pregnant.

We've also been watching Gotham. I was intrigued by the idea of a young Bruce Wayne. I liked the actor David Mazouz, who was in Touch, and Donal Logue. I suppose  many people are intrigued by the idea of seeing future bat-villains. I'm more intrigued by the settings: Gotham City is beautiful, dark, despairing and scary. We're in a hiatus now until some time in April.

New seasons of Face Off and Vikings have started. I still love Face Off though I'm concerned that the pool of contestants is drying up.The show now features three former winners as team leaders of new contestants. I wouldn't mind seeing a Face Off Masters Season, though I didn't like the Season Five set up when the veterans were pitted against the newcomers.

The new season of Vikings started last month. I'm enjoying seeing Ragnar and Lagertha in England and soon in Paris.

We've also discovered Outlander.I hadn't heard of this before, or maybe I thought it was Highlander. I saw a preview of the second season and it looked interesting. Jeff and I binge-watched Season One --catching most of it on one snow day. I'm looking forward to Season Two.