Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Salt Cod Fritters (Page 49)

RECIPE #1262

  • Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Adam, Chris C., Tom J., Ron, and a bunch of other mathematicians...
  • Recipe Rating: B

My special gentleman's friend and collaborator Adam stayed at our house for a couple weeks this winter. Normally when visitors come I try to make a nice meal from The Book. Adam has some dietary restrictions though that made that difficult. So instead we had an appetizers and desserts reception for him at our house, with a bunch of topologists/geometers from our department. I made a bunch of food (mostly not from The Book), but also this recipe from The Book, which Adam could eat. I started by soaking salt cod for 2 days, changing the water occasionally. I ground the cod in a food processor, then added flour, milk, egg, baking powder, allspice, and garlic, and blended it some more. I stirred in some green chiles, scallions, and cilantro, then deep fried the mixture by the spoonful. These little fritters had the potential to be amazing, but as it turned out they were just OK. Strangely, the problem was that the cod mixture desperately needed more salt. Salt cod is extremely salty, but the point of soaking it (and changing the water) is to draw out much of that salt. I soaked it as directed, but apparently it was too long. My Portuguese friend Ana told me afterward that salt cod in the US is not nearly as salty as the salt cod in Portugal, and that often if you soak it for the recommended time it ends up bland. Live and learn! So, the fritters were pretty bland, but what little flavor they had was appealing. I think that if the batter had been properly seasoned this recipe would have been a winner!

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Hello from Germany! We are having a wonderful time in Europe so far. Our first destination was Lausanne, Switzerland, where I attended a conference in my field. It had been years since I attended a conference where I was neither giving a talk, nor organizing the conference. It was gloriously relaxing to just be a conference participant again! Neither me nor my special gentleman had ever spent any significant time in Switzerland before, and we discovered that the country definitely lives up to its reputation for being gorgeous. Lausanne is a beautiful city. Here is one view:

One of the mathematicians in my field, Christian, is from that area originally and he was kind enough to give me and my special gentleman a tour of the city. Here is my special gentleman with Christian, enjoying the view:

Our friend (and my former post-doc advisor) Mike was also at the conference. Here's a picture of Mike and my special gentleman wandering back through the city after dinner one evening:

I didn't get as much time to see Lausanne as I would have liked. The conference schedule was busy and I was pretty jet-lagged. My special gentleman had a great time wandering around though, and he declared Lausanne possibly the nicest city he has ever been to (and he has been a lot of places!). I tried to take a picture of the two of us together, walking near Lake Geneva, but it didn't quite come out right...

On Sunday we drove from Switzerland to Germany. (Note: When I say that "we" drove, I really mean that my special gentleman drove, seeing as how I still haven't learned to drive our stick shift rental car.) We are at a conference center in the Black Forest now, where I am attending a workshop in my field. I gave a talk on Monday, which was a little stressful. I am the only woman at the conference, and one of only a handful of people under the age of 35. The audience contained quite a few very famous mathematicians, some of whom basically invented the field I do research in. Not exactly an easy audience to lecture in front of for an hour. My talk went fine though, and the nice thing about talking on the first day is that it makes the rest of the week a lot less stressful. Here is a picture of where we are staying. Those buildings are the conference center, where we eat, work, attend talks, and sleep.
This is my fourth trip to this particular conference center, and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful it is. Here is my special gentleman on one of the trails leading into the forest:

In addition to the natural beauty of the surroundings, I have also been very much enjoying the mathematics this week. This workshop has been particularly interesting/inspiring. It ends on Friday and over the weekend we are headed back to Switzerland, this time for a conference in my special gentleman's field. I will only spend a few days there with him before flying to England to visit my friend Chris. Fun times!


Karen said...

What a beautiful setting! Looks like you are having a fabulous time!

Teena said...

We are having a great time! It has been such a fun trip so far.