April 30, 2010

Snapshots of meals past

A couple of weekends ago, I made two dishes from some of my favorite food sites - Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes. SK provided a recipe for shakshuka, a brunch-ish meal of eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. You crumble some feta cheese into the pan and serve it all with toasted pita bread. The end result is a surprisingly hearty and delicious meal.

Here are the eggs, freshly cracked into the sauce. I think I overcooked them a touch, but that didn't stop Calli and me from devouring the thing.

toasted pita bread w/ kosher salt


The shakshuka was a pretty solid meal that will probably get thrown into my lazy saturday brunch rotation.

Later that day, I tried a dessert recipe from SR. We ate strawberry shortcake sliders, without a trip to White Castle or a carjacking from NPH.

These were pretty tasty, but I don't think my biscuits rose as much as they should have. I can't figure out why that is...I'm going to go ahead and blame faulty baking powder.

Maybe I'm just not a baker.

April 29, 2010

April 25th, Cubs v. Brewers

Last Sunday, I went to Miller Park with Calli's family for a Cubs/Brewers game. The Cubs won 12-2 behind 4 home runs and a strong pitching performance by Randy Wells, so I had zero complaints about the day.

The seats were pretty nice, as well - we were in the 20th row behind home plate. If home was the center of a clock, I'd guess were at about 7 o'clock...so certainly no complaints there.

One upsetting aspect of the game was this bizarre human sacrifice they conducted before the game:

Fielder, before he consumes his prey.

Maybe I misinterpreted this, but I'm pretty
sure it was some sort of combination of Bull Durham baseball voodoo and Fielder's insatiable appetite (vegetarians can eat small humans? Is that right?).

Other things I saw:

Real baseball teams don't have cheerleaders. Then again, they don't let mustachioed giant-men go down slides after homeruns. Real baseball teams let plants grow on their ballpark's walls.

Shameless. I don't want to vote for the All-Star Game anyway.

Addendum: Real baseball teams don't beg for all-star votes on their field.


I hope Kendra politely declined.

All in all, it was a delightful game. I had a blast, and am glad I got to tag along. The Cubs have a 1-0 record when I'm in attendance in 2010; they should start requiring my presence.

What's that? Coincidence? Schmall shmample shmize, I say to you. Get out.

April 28, 2010

Drawing maps

A while ago, I mentioned Slate's hand-drawn map contest. Well, they've published some of the entrants. They range from computer setup instructions to a famous artist's party invitations to a clever way to avoid the Delaware Turnpike. Later on in the article, they write about the Hand Drawn Map Association. I had to visit it, and it's a really creatively inspiring/interesting selection of hand drawn maps. Maybe I'll bring along some pens, paints, and paper next time I have to go in the field.

I think my favorite hand-drawn map is the kid's map to Treasure Island, complete with Blue Angels in the background. I'm not sure 'background' is appropriate; it's clear that the Blue Angels are the focus of the piece.

As they should be.

April 27, 2010

Cranky Camera

I am back in Madison for the week, and will try to have some posts up tomorrow. What to expect? It's tough to say - my camera really is opposed to the idea of uploading photos at the moment. If I can impose my will on it, then you'll be seeing:

Shakshuka, adapted (stolen) from Smitten Kitchen.

Strawberry Shortcake Sliders (featuring the saddest biscuits in town), from Simply Recipes.

Images from the Cubs game on April 25th against Dave "Batting Practice" Bush and the Brewers.

A roast chicken?

Plans for a Wisconsin Wine Tour

Also, this week I'm supposed to be getting accepted/rejected into UW's GIS certificate program. Let's hope for a Friday post involving a screenshot of an acceptance email.

Happy Tuesday.

April 19, 2010

Field Season 2010

I'm in the northwoods of Wisconsin for the week, working on a site in Burnett County. Today, the crew arrived at the site in the afternoon, and within 5 minutes I had already found (and savagely murdered) my first tick of the year. My total count for the day was 3 ticks, 1 artifact.

I just cannot understand how a tick ever got made into a comic book hero and star of a television show. Ticks are gross:


They are "blood-feeding parasites," and they don't ask your permission before tapping the keg. Even so, if that was all they did...we'd probably forgive them. Minor nuisances, circle of life, so on and so on. This is similar to the idea that mosquitoes are no big deal - until you remember a little bug called malaria. Ticks wouldn't be so bad if they weren't the prime carrier of Lyme Disease.


You'll never catch me laughing at this guy again.

April 16, 2010

sustainable seafood

One thing that I have a hard time keeping track of is which fishes are currently okay to eat. I never know what species are threatened, or which fish should be eaten from farms but not from the wild, or whatever. I'm not a fishmongerer or a chef, so it's not a crippling ignorance, but I still know that I could know more. Good published a transparency a little bit ago that shows which fishes are acceptable to eat - for me, the visual really helps my brain process the information.

I do understand that dolphins are off-limits, whether they're farmed or wild. Yikes.

April 15, 2010

The Answer to the Ultimate Question...

42, besides being the key to life, was also Jackie Robinson's number. Today is Jackie Robinson Day for Major League Baseball, where every player wears the number 42. Normally, the only player to wear 42 is Mariano Rivera - and he will be the last to do so. MLB retired #42 in 1997, and Rivera is the last active player who was wearing 42 at that time.

Flip Flop Fly Ball put together a cool graphic in commemoration of today, showing the last player on each team to wear #42. Go check it out - and also Go Cubs!

April 14, 2010

A Poll of Utmost Importance

Last night, I put together Simply Recipes' Strawberry Shortcake Sliders. The biscuits didn't exactly rise as much as Elise's did, but no matter. They tasted great.

However, making this dessert sparked a debate. What is the best component of strawberry shortcake? Vote on the left.

..and here's a hint. It's the whipped cream.

April 12, 2010

Charleston maps, in 3D!

While I was in Charleston, Calli pointed out a series of cool maps to me. A park on the east side of the peninsula has a set of four sculptures representing the city of Charleston as it was in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

In the 17th century, the city takes up just the southernmost tip of the peninsula. Of course, it only had 20 out of those 100 years to grow.

The 18th century saw some growth north on the peninsula. I like the emerging pier on the Cooper River.

Charleston exploded in the 19th century, reaching the base of the peninsula. The docks on the Cooper River expanded as well.

Charleston in the 20th century saw two significant changes reflected in the map - the giant bridge over the Cooper River, and the elimination of several piers for the construction of Riverside Park.

I can't decide if the bridge is more impressive while you're driving over it after an overnight drive from Wisconsin, or looking at it cast in bronze or whatever.

April 11, 2010


cup·ca·ni·ac /ˈkʌpˌkeɪˌniˌæk/
- noun
1. a person who displays overly fervent desire or enthusiasm for cupcakes

I first found out that Calli is a cupcaniac while we were in Charleston, although I didn't create the word until we were in Savannah. Charleston has a tremendous cupcake shop on King Street that we visited one day after lunch. I had a chocolate chip cheesecake cupcake:

...while Calli devoured a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting:

( I was a tad more patient at this particular restaurant).

Such is her love for cupcakes that she then debated getting another.

Ultimately, we left Charleston without a second helping of cupcakes (or manna, depending on your point of view/propensity to exaggerate). However, the vacation was not done yet. While we were on a ghost tour in Savannah, we happened across a cupcake emporium. This, of course, was the highlight of the day for one of us.

In the spirit of Easter, we had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting and a chocolate bunny garnish.

Calli Matzke: cupcaniac.

April 9, 2010

Excited anticipation

Why am I excited?

1. It's friday.

2. I get to hang out with JODY!??...

3. ...here. (arrow pointing down).

April 8, 2010

MtD Book Review: Sum

David Eagleman's book, Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives is an engrossing imagining of forty versions of what happens after we die. It clocks in at 109 pages, so you can easily read in one evening. Expect to keep it longer than one night (past its due date, like I did) because you'll keep skimming the various scenarios, thinking about what it would be like to:

live all the moments of your life over again, but with them rearranged and sorted by categories (sleep for decades, then shower for a while, etc. etc. etc)

walk through a heaven populated by all of the gods that have seen their followers disappear on earth. You know, play frisbee with Zeus and Thor.

get to heaven and be disappointed, what with all the heathens there too.

...and 37 more!

This book has the early lead for Jeff's favorite book of 2010, with Kitchen Knife Skills and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.

Get it here.

April 7, 2010

Favorite Thing Ever

I think I may have found the best website on the internet.

The Grilled Cheese Academy features 30 varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, narrated by Jenna Fischer. They look delicious, although sometimes the descriptions are a little...cheesy. I'm sorry.

Which would I be most interested in trying?

#6 - The Flatiron.
#7 - The Heartland.
#10 - The Monroe.
#29 - The Cheshire.

I can't imagine not enjoying any of them, though. They're full of cheese! Some of them have bacon! What's not to love?

April 6, 2010

Giving up

I've just returned to Wisconsin from a Spring Break trip to Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. Originally, I had planned to write a week's worth of posts prior to leaving for the southeast, but time ran short. Writing wasn't the only thing that I forgot, either. I remembered that I had completely missed a tux fitting deadline while walking through the Charleston Museum's exhibit on wedding dresses. Thankfully, that appears to have been more of a soft deadline, and I have remedied that mistake.

However, the missing blog posts are a different mess. I set a New Year's resolution to write something here each day. So far, I've been able to accomplish this (albeit with the considerable help of Blogger's feature that lets you post in the past. I've been using 14" of pine tar for this resolution, or HGH, or hair gel, or whatever. I cheat.).

Anyway, I'm giving up the strict one post/day resolution. The vacation set me back too far, and the feeling of having to catch up for those missing days is making me feel less likely to write new things. I can't quit while there are still rules to be written and muppet videos to be watched!