Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Max likes to read a website called Slashdot. It basically posts snippets of news articles and links to where they can be found. It's not just any news. Max affectionately refers to it as "nerd news." Once in a while the site will post an article like this one from the BBC News that interests me, too (I suppose that makes me a nerd, also, but we all already knew that). The article asserts that difficult-to-read fonts facilitate better learning. The study was conducted in a lab at Princeton and later recreated at a high school where the results held. When I first read the title of the article, part of me wondered if it was just a time factor (more time spent figuring out the font = more time spent on the material). But the researchers are attributing the change to "disfluency"- difficulty associated with a mental task. They claim that this results in more concentration and deeper processing. As a student, I wish I had known about this sooner so that I could have switched up the fonts on some of my reading : ) Sadly as a first grade teacher who's teaching her students how to read (period) I don't think this news will come in handy.
Monday, October 25, 2010
I've been really wanting to use fresh pumpkin instead of canned for a while now but since I had never done it, I kept putting it off. I had found a recipe for Pumpkin Cannelloni with Sage Brown-Butter Sauce that used fresh pumpkin on the Country Living website and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it. Finally, after staring at the cute sugar pumpkin I had bought at the grocery store for almost a week, I decided today was the day! I was going to do it!
- 1 1/2 pound(s) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup(s) ricotta
- 1/2 cup(s) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) finely chopped fresh sage, plus 4 large whole leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 package(s) (8-ounce) oven-ready lasagna sheets
- 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place pumpkin, along with 3/4 cup water, in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and steam until tender, 20 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl and mash until smooth.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet and sauté garlic until golden. Transfer garlic to a mortar and pestle, then crush to a paste. Stir cheeses, chopped sage, salt, pepper, and garlic paste into mashed pumpkin. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook lasagna sheets until tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking together. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.
- Liberally brush a medium baking dish with oil. Place a lasagna sheet on a cleanwork surface. Add 4 tablespoons pumpkin mixture to center of lasagna, roll into a cannelloni tube, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Repeat with remaining sheets.
- Pour reserved pasta water over lasagna and cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and pasta is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cook butter and sage leaves in small skillet over medium-high heat until golden-brown. Drizzle over pumpkin cannelloni and serve immediately.
But our real problem was getting rid of the old, heavy chandelier, which was hanging from a seventeen foot ceiling. For this we employed the help of Home Depot and their renting department. For the low price of $20 we got to take home a 14 foot A-Frame ladder for four hours (retail price over $600 so I think we got a deal). Maneuvering this thing around was quite interesting - it's not only really long but it's really heavy. Getting the ladder off the car and into the house actually took more effort and time than the actual project of removing the light, which went super quickly:
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I'm a little bit afraid of Martha Stewart. She doesn't seem very nice. I've caught her on the Today show a few times recently doing cooking demos and I cringe watching her interactions with the hosts. She just seems so harsh. I suppose that's what jail will do to you. Anyway, regardless of her attitude, she didn't become a household name in cooking, baking and entertaining for nothing so I decided to turn to Martha for my third pumpkin recipe: pumpkin bread! The recipe doesn't use the usual autumn-y spices (nutmeg, ground cloves, cinnamon) but it does call for ground ginger (the recipe is actually titled "Ginger Pumpkin Bread").
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
- 3 large eggs
- Sugar Glaze, (optional)
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 4-6 sprigs sage leaves(about 2 tablespoons), cut into chiffonade
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
- Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for grating
Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon EVOO to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon EVOO, followed by the garlic and onion. Sauté 3-5 minutes until the onions are tender.
Add bay leaf, sage and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan; reduce heat and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5-10 minutes to thicken sauce.
Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over the pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Yes, we took a four-day "Sister Trip" to Hawaii!