Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cooking by Ear

(And no, I'm not talking about Mike Tyson.)

I believe the roles of taste, smell, and sight in cooking are fairly well-known. Those three senses provide easy and obvious ways to track the progress of food preparation, i.e., to determine what stage one has reached in cooking and whether the food is "done."

And also touch - though frequently mediated with a spoon.  (For example, one gets feedback about the progress of certain dishes from the physical resistance of the dish when stirred.),

But it occurs to me now that I use hearing as well, for certain dishes.  For example, it has been many years since I've set a timer for my slow-cooked stove-top oatmeal; instead, I listen for a shift in the sound of cooking that tells me the oatmeal is ready.  The ideal moment is indicated by the sound just before the slight crackle that indicates the oatmeal is beginning to stick.  But even when it first starts to crackle, it's fine.  (It's only when I'm absorbed in another project that I sometimes miss it until the fierce crackling as it starts to brown.)

And it's often the sense of sound that tells me a liquid has reached boiling, or that the burner for a simmering pot needs adjustment.

Of course, cooking by ear in this way is only practical when the noise level is low and there are few distractions...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chelsea Market

It was a gloomy day, but good to catch up a bit with G-san, U-chan, and Chris.  I'd never been to Chelsea Market before, so after brunch we browsed around a while -- some amazing food stores there.  Then we went to REI - I got a new skirt which I like a lot.

Bright hyacinths on a rainy day... The sign was just the perfect touch.

We dined at the Green Table.  Meh.  But the company was excellent!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bright Sunshiny Day in the Garden

A beautiful day for a stroll with Amanda, Kat, and Wendy.  We walked through the garden, then went to Tom's Restaurant for brunch.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Persistence of Memory

I was at my previous job for 6.5 years, but I've now been at my current job for 5.6 years (truncated rather than rounded, for aesthetic purposes).

And yet I still sometimes remember my old office telephone number instead of my current one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Urgent Notice to the Community

One of my neighbors sent around an urgent email to the 500+ folks who happen to share the same street address:
If you were as shocked as we were to find out that [Convenience Store Directly Across the Street] were no longer carrying [Favorite Brand of Ice Cream] then we completely understand.  For some reason they have decided that they weren't selling enough . "REALLY" How many times have you went to [Store] and they were completely sold out of [Favorite Ice Cream Product], even the cashiers are in shock . 
So in an effort to save all residents from [Favorite Product] withdrawal [Store] has agreed to stock [Favorite Brand] low fat Ice Cream [Favorite Product] this weekend and if they sell well they will continue to carry them for us, the residents of [Building]. 
So if you love [Favorite Brand] and you want [Store] to continue carrying them then please purchase them this weekend .Don't let our [Punning Reference to Favorite Product] get away !!!! 
Reluctantly leaving aside the fact that I'd never heard of this particular brand of ice cream before -- let alone this particular product -- I found this heartfelt plea quite astonishing.

This is, after all, Manhattan.  The heart of New York City.  We have a lot of convenience stores and supermarkets and specialty stores that sell a spectacular variety of ice cream products; available brands range from the obscure to the inescapably omnipresent.  If the convenience store across the street stops stocking it, well - just walk one block further to get to the next convenience store.  There are 5 grocery stores within a 20-minute walk (including one very large upscale supermarket).  A quick subway ride will take us to numerous other food emporia.  Failing all that, a reliable and well-known online grocery delivery service happens to carry this particular brand of ice cream and can deliver it to our very doorstep.

Then again, I suppose it's good to be passionately committed to a cause -- and as causes go, this one is harmless enough.  I don't know the sender personally, but I certainly hope he is able to enjoy his favorite ice cream product to his heart's delight for many years to come.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I did a Nelsonville-based loop: Undercliff (Y) to Washburn (W) over Mt Taurus to Nelsonville (G). Including the walk to and from downtown Cold Spring, it was 7.5 miles total. It took me 3.5 hours, including photo stops.

There were some lovely gardens and flowering trees as I walked up the main drag to Nelsonville.

Before I even got to the trailhead, I saw two cardinals.  They were rather camera-shy; every time I got close to setting up for a good shot, they moved to another tree, or behind another branch.  I was still able to observe them for a quite a while....


He is taunting me.

A whimsical Easter egg and anti-gravity flowerpot display.

This reminded me of a friend's super-cool poem about green dots and Seurats.... 

A few violets sprang up from time to time, mid-trail

A cost-saving measure?  Or sheer apathy?

I don't think I've seen a tree trunk quite like this one before...


Sun shines through the new leaves
I also spent a fair amount of time watching 5 or 6 hawks flying around at the top of a hill.  One flew so low, it cast a giant shadow over me as it passed directly overhead.  One of these days, I hope to capture that - simply amazing.

I stopped again at the Foundry Cafe, and got the middle eastern salad platter.  The hummus was really, really good; the rest of the selections were only so-so.

On the way to the train, I stopped to capture more garden images: