Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fall/Winter List and a Thanksgiving Staple

As the summer of 2012 was coming to an end, Adam and I sat next to the ocean, ate fish tacos, and made our "fall/winter lists". Making seasonal to do lists has been a tradition of ours for a few years now. Mostly though, we've put our energy into the summer lists. As two young teachers in love, summer was the time of year that the "good stuff" happened. It's when we jumped off of bridges into rivers, trained for a races (be it on a bike or in running shoes), traveled to new places, and found new and exciting establishments for happy hour and yummy food. And, even though we still love summer (damn, was the summer of 2012 one for the books), we've decided that fall and winter deserve the same amount of productivity as we were giving to summer. Really, it's only fair.

Well, in case you didn't notice, fall is nearly over! So, I decided to check on my productivity...

Number 4 on fall/winter list- return to the blog... so, here I am! Back at it and just in time to share with you the story of one of the best Saturday's I've ever had in the kitchen yesterday...making an old recipe for the Thanksgiving table.

Cranberry chutney was by far my least favorite dish at Thanksgiving when I was kid. I'm not sure if it was the tart fruit or the curry spice but when I was little I did not love it. However, the smell of my mother cooking it was always bliss. The house would fill with beautiful aromas that simply smelled like the holidays. The moment mom began to cook it, the best season of the year had officially begun.

As I've gotten older, I've learned to not only like the famed chutney but it's become my favorite dish. And even though this is not my first Thanksgiving away from the Pittsburgh homestead, I knew I couldn't live without it this year. So, when those Southern California rains set in yesterday I woke up saying, "It's time to make some chutney". By the end of the day the house smelled divine, the cranberries were popping, and Adam, who said earlier that morning that he's never like chutney, tasted it saying "That's damn good".

1 cup thinly sliced onions
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tart apples- peeled, seeded, and diced
grated rhine of 2 oranges (save juice for later)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp of curry
4 cups of cranberries (or 1 pound)
1/2 cup currants
juice of 2 oranges

Simmer onions for 30 minutes with sugars and water. After 30 min, stir in apple cider vinegar, apples, orange rhine, and spices- simmer 1/2 hour longer. Stir in cranberries, currants, and strained juice from the oranges. Boil slowly for 10 minutes until cranberries have burst (note amazing popping sound- so festive!). Add sugar if needed, but note that chutney should not be too sweet.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Our second "baby"

A and I are working on our second "baby" this weekend. Who is our first you may ask? Well, the answer is obvious...

Don't worry, number two isn't a screaming child. There will be no pregger bellies in this Topanga house for a while. But rather, this beautiful garden is our new labor of love...
I can't write much, because we have to plant our seeds before our Super Bowl party this afternoon. But, it's very exciting to watch this project grow (literally and figuratively). A has been working his butt off and I've been helping as much as I can. While I was making our potluck item for the party I caught him making this little diagram for the seeds:
...color coordinated and everything. I knew I was marrying an artist after all. 

Here we go! Carrots, chard, and spinach oh my! Tom Brady doesn't have shit on this vegetable garden.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Species spotlight

Last year in Nashville, A use to do a lesson called species spotlight for his 7th grade science class. Each week he would introduce them to a different species, show them a video of it in the wild, and then talk about how we need to preserve our environment in order to keep the animals alive.

I remember thinking how genius this was. I so wished desperately that I could go back to 7th grade and truly appreciate when my teachers did stuff like that for me. Not just teaching me something  to pass a test or get into the next grade, but teaching me for my own awareness. Teaching me for life.

I'm re-reading The Crucible this weekend for the fifth time. I'll start to teach it on Tuesday and I am trying of figure out how I can balance literary themes with life awareness. If you have any ideas let me know and I'll let you know what I come up with. But for now, go here  for your very own species spot light to start off your weekend. Provided of course, by these outstanding naturalist and their magazine. Maybe A will use it next week!!!

Happy Friday!