Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rumaki (Page 53)

RECIPE #1257

  • Date: Saturday, February 19, 2011 -- 6pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Mike, Tim, Helen, Charles, Clara, and Mark
  • Recipe Rating: C+
Mike and Tim came to Michigan back in February for a visit, and Mike requested a dinner from The Book full of dishes likely to be gross. This one seemed sure to be foul so I added it to the menu. I started by cutting some chicken livers into pieces. I added the liver pieces and some halved water chestnuts to a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and curry powder. I marinated the livers for an hour. I removed the water chestnuts and liver pieces from the marinade, and wrapped them together in small pieces of bacon. I used toothpicks which had been soaked in water to secure the little bacon wrapped packages. I broiled the rumaki until the bacon was crisp and the livers were cooked but still slightly pink. I thought this dish left a lot to be desired. I am not a huge liver fan, so that was part of my objection to the dish. But even setting that bias aside as best I could, I found this dish to be odd -- and not in a good way. It had both flavor and textural issues. The water chestnuts seemed out of place, and most of us agreed that the dish would have been better without them. The marinade left the liver and water chestnuts with a canned curry powder taste that I didn't appreciate. And when the liver was cooked properly, the bacon wasn't yet cooked as much as I would have wanted. I didn't care for this dish at all. However, several of my dining companions defended the dish. No one was willing to say it was fantastic, but several people found it enjoyable enough. The one thing we did agree on though was that in the wrap-something-tasty-in-bacon genre of food, this is not the best recipe out there.

The recipe is here.

Only 36 recipes left!

Almost four years ago I was talking to a friend and he was asking me about my job. At the time I was a post-doc. One of the first things he asked was, "So, is it a five-days-a-week kind of job?" I was surprised by the question, so much so that I remember it still. I answered honestly, "Well, no."

It is very rare that I only work on five days of the week. During a semester when I am teaching, it never happens. That said, on the weekends I do try to take it easy. My usual policy is that on Saturdays I only do work that I want to do. If a particular task sounds unappealing (grading comes to mind) I don't force myself to do it on Saturday. Indeed I often take most of the day off to do something fun, and squeeze in a few hours of enjoyable work when I feel like it. On Sundays after church I try to get ready for the week ahead, which often involves lecture writing, grading, etc... in addition to research-related work. Sundays don't have the same leisurely feel as Saturdays, but I still work from home and enjoy the company of my special gentleman and my kitties. So while my weekends aren't exactly work-free, they are still relaxing and rejuvenating.

When I don't have them, I miss them. Weekend conferences are a common thing in math, and the last few weeks, said conferences have robbed me of my precious weekends. This past weekend, our university was hosting a graduate student conference in my field. Two hundred graduate students from around the world descended on East Lansing for a two-day extravaganza. The conference was organized by graduate students, for graduate students, so I had no organizing responsibilities. I did however have a speaking responsibility. The conference mostly consisted of talks by graduate students, but they also had three senior faculty speakers and four junior faculty speakers from around the country. My special gentleman and I were both asked to give young faculty talks, not about our own research results, but rather about open problems in our respective fields. The point was to be inspirational! So on Saturday afternoon, when normally I would be sipping hot cocoa on the couch, I was attempting to inspire a big room full of graduate students. My special gentleman and I also did some entertaining of people in town for the event so it was a busy weekend.

The weekend before that, my special gentleman was speaking at a conference somewhere in Illinois. He had been in Canada for another conference, and flew straight from one conference to the next. I drove down to Illinois to pick him up, and went to the conference with him. The conference wasn't in my field so I did get some work done while I was there, but it wasn't a relaxing weekend at home.

The weekend before that I co-organized a special session of a conference in Iowa City. It was really fun! One benefit of organizing is that you get to pick the speakers -- so not only were the talks super-interesting to me, but I enjoy all the people who were there! The conference went smoothly, but I arrived home late that Sunday night, exhausted.

The weekend before that my special gentleman and I were driving back from our Spring Break "vacation" to the East Coast, where we both spoke at MIT and he also spoke at Princeton. The weekend before that we were headed to MIT for our talks.

It feels like a long time since I have had a real weekend. I really enjoy conferences, and I have heard some great talks and seen a lot of good friends over the last few weeks. But I am tired. Luckily, I will be home for the next FOUR weekends! I don't have to give any weekend talks. I am not going anywhere. It will be awesome! Five weekends from now I have to give another Saturday talk, and for the following five weekends after that I will be traveling. But right now I am not thinking about any of that. I am only thinking about my upcoming weekends at home and how lovely it will be! Maybe I will even have some time to do some cooking...


Anonymous said...

Only 36 recipes to go? I can't believe it. I've so appreciated having someone "test drive" my Gourmet cookbook and promote the best recipes while warning me off the lesser ones. You've done a wonderful job, and your index has been incredibly useful.
So are you contemplating taking on Gourmet Today? After a hiatus?

Teena said...

I can't believe it either! It is so strange to be almost done with this crazy project of mine!

Occasionally I consider taking on Gourmet Today, but it seems daunting to sign on for another long project. I am not sure what I will do once I finish this one!