Thursday, August 30, 2012

Plum Berry Crisp (Page 827)

RECIPE #21

  • Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: Saugatuck, MI
  • Kitchen: Our Vacation Rental
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Deniz, Brad, Karen H, Dave, Aylin, Dennis, and Tulin
  • Recipe Rating: B


I made this summer dessert when we were on vacation with my special gentleman's family. The plums at the market weren't looking great, but the pluots were, so I made this with pluots instead (close enough!). I started by pitting the pluots, cutting them into wedges, and tossing them with blueberries, blackberries, and brown sugar. I put the fruit in a baking dish and baked it until the pluots softened a bit. I made a topping with oats, flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt and I sprinkled it over the fruit. Then I put it back into the oven and baked the dessert until the topping was crisp and golden. It's hard to go too wrong with this kind of thing, and indeed this dessert was pretty tasty. The topping was appropriately sweet with a good crispiness to it. The fruit tasted good with it, although I have to admit that this wasn't my favorite of fruit combinations. I enjoyed it, but it seemed to me that an all-berry crisp would have been even tastier than this plum-berry combination. That said, I made two huge dishes of this dessert and it all got eaten. It was pretty good!

This recipe isn't online.

21 recipes down, 1085 to go!

I am feeling, today, desperate for some time to reflect. In many ways I am not ready for the school year to start, and this week has certainly been a rough transition. But beyond wishing I had more time to prepare for my classes and get other work done, I wish I had more time so I could reflect back on this summer.

Typically at the end of the academic year I am exhausted -- desperate for a break from the grind of the semester. I welcome the flexible schedule of summer and increased time for research and hobbies with utter delight and glee. I dream of summer for months in advance, and its arrival is one of my favorite parts of the year. This year, however, was a little different. When May rolled around I was certainly ready for a break. But what I had ahead of me was not a relaxing summer with decreased responsibilities, but rather a summer packed full of travel and talks. I spoke at 5 different conferences this summer, plus a few other random seminar talks. In total I was traveling for 10 and a half weeks of the summer. At the beginning of the summer I felt unsure that I could even do it. A number of the things I had ahead of me were quite stressful. Truth be told, for the first time I was dreading the summer a little bit. But here I am, on the other side of it, and everything went fine. Sure, there are some things I would do differently if I could go back and do it again, but for the most part the talks, the organizing, the research, it all went quite well. And I have the rare feeling that I really accomplished something. I made it through a challenging summer successfully. I just wish I had a little time to reflect back on it. But instead the semester has started and I have a whole new set of challenges in front of me. I doubt there will be much time for reflection in the next 15 weeks!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce (Page 512)

RECIPE #20

  • Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: Saugatuck, MI
  • Kitchen: Our Vacation Rental
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Brad, Deniz, Karen H, Dave, Aylin, Dennis, and Tulin
  • Recipe Rating: B+


I was looking for something quick and summery to make for dinner when we were on vacation with my special gentleman's family earlier this summer. This recipe fit the bill! I started by combining garlic, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender. I added melted butter and blended some more. I then seasoned salmon fillets with salt and pepper. My special gentleman oiled the rack on a gas grill and grilled the salmon, turning once, until cooked through. I sprinkled the fillets with lime zest and topped them with the lime butter sauce. This salmon preparation was quite nice. My special gentleman was frustrated that the fillets fell apart a bit on the grill, but I thought they ended up looking fine. The salmon was flavorful and nicely cooked, and the lime complemented the fish nicely. Indeed, the combination of lime zest and lime butter sauce made the dish very bright with citrus flavor. It would have been nice if the sauce had been a little thicker so it would have adhered to the meat more. Overall this simple salmon preparation was tasty, and enjoyed by all. Here's a picture of some of us sitting around the dinner table, relaxing after a meal together:

Oh, how this picture makes me long for more summer!

The recipe is here.

20 recipes down, 1086 to go!

Today was the first day of class. So it begins again! We returned from Europe late Sunday night, after nearly 24 hours of travel. That left me with two days to fight off jetlag and get ready for the start of classes. Needless to say, two days was not enough and when I woke up this morning I was feeling far from ready! I am teaching two courses this semester: a third semester calculus course, and an honors real analysis course. I have taught Calc III before, but this analysis class is a new one for me. The students seem great but I predict that it is going to be a lot of work to teach! I am also organizing a conference this semester, teaching an undergraduate directed reading course, etc, so I think this semester is going to be a little rough. Certainly the first day was exhausting! This evening at 8:30pm I closed my eyes for a minute and woke up 90 minutes later, disoriented and groggy. Apparently I was tired.

Usually by the end of the summer I feel more or less ready for school to start again. I have to admit, this year this is not the case. I spent a huge portion of the summer on the road (Albuquerque, Chicago, Boston, Virginia, Saugatuck, California, France, Switzerland...) and in particular I have been out of town for five and a half of the last six weeks. So starting up school at this point is a little tough. I could definitely use another couple weeks of summer! But school starts when school starts. My plan for the moment is to try to power through this week, keeping my head above water as much as possible, and then spend labor day weekend getting caught up and better prepared before the semester gets into full swing.  I can't believe that summer is already over. It absolutely flew by.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Orzo with Feta and Cherry Tomatoes (Page 182)

RECIPE #19
  • Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: Saugatuck, MI
  • Kitchen: Our Vacation Rental
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Brad, Deniz, Aylin, Dennis, and Tulin
  • Recipe Rating: B+


This simple pasta salad seemed appropriate for a family dinner on a lovely summer evening, so I made this as a component of dinner while on vacation with my special gentleman's family a couple months ago. I started by mashing garlic to a paste with salt, then I whisked in olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. I cooked the orzo while my special gentleman toasted pine nuts in olive oil. I tossed the cooked orzo with the vinaigrette, the pine nuts, quartered cherry tomatoes, chopped parsley, and crumbled feta. This pasta salad was quite tasty. It was exactly what you would expect from a pasta-feta-tomato-garlic salad. I make this kind of thing often, and I liked this version. In particular, I like both the vinaigrette and the addition of toasted pine nuts. There was nothing terribly surprising or exciting about this salad, but if you are looking for a quick summer pasta salad that it sure to be a crowd pleaser, this is a good one!

The recipe in The Book is similar to this one.

19 recipes down, 1087 to go!

I am writing this from the Amsterdam airport (where we are lucky enough to be able to spend our long layover in a cushy airline lounge!). My special gentleman and I have been in Europe for the last 10 days, and it has been absolutely lovely. A week ago Thursday we flew from Detroit to Paris. Last weekend we spent a fabulous three days in Paris with our dear friends Helen and Charles and their daughter Clara. This summer has been a bit crazy with work and travel, but I had three virtually work-free days in Paris eating delicious food with good friends and it was absolutely perfect. Here's a picture of me and Helen (who is very pregnant and looking amazing!) in Paris:


Here is one of my special gentleman and Clara playing in the backyard at Charles' grandmother's house outside Paris where we spent a beautiful summer Sunday:



On Monday we took a train from Paris to Switzerland. I was speaking this past week at a conference in the Swiss Alps. Many math conferences are held at universities or institutes, but occasionally they are held at hotels. This conference was housed in a hotel about a mile up in the Alps. There were 80ish participants at the conference and we were the only guests at the hotel. This hotel is hard to describe. It was old and sort of falling apart, in a totally charming way. I liked it. Overall, it was an intense and enjoyable week. A typical day was structured with 3 hour-long talks between breakfast and lunch. The morning talks ended at 12:30pm and the afternoon talks didn't start until 5pm. After a couple more talks in the late afternoon we sat down as a group for a long, multi-course dinner served by the awesome hotel staff. After dinner most of us would retire to the cozy bar in the basement to drink beer, talk math, and hang out. The afternoon break was left in order to provide ample time for hiking in the Alps! The hiking and the views were truly spectacular. Plus, I got to walk on a glacier, which was cool. Here's a picture of my friends Jonathan and Angelica with a glacier in the distance:


And here I am, huddled under the edge of the glacier:



On Wednesday the morning session ended early and there was no afternoon session. The organizers led three different hikes of different difficulties and lengths. I went on a challenging, but really spectacular five and a half hour hike way up to a cabin and then down to a beautiful lake, then back to the hotel. Here is a picture of me with me special gentleman on a very rare flat stretch on the way up the mountain:



And one of me and Angelica at the lake:


It was a fun, productive conference. My talk went pretty well I think, so that was good too. Because it was at a hotel there were no chalkboards so all the speakers had to give slide talks. I am a big fan of chalk talks, so I had actually never given an hour long research talk with slides before. I wasn't sure how it would go but it turned out to be fine, so that was a relief!

It was a great trip but I am looking forward to being home. I can't believe that classes start in three days! To say that I am not ready for the start of this semester would be a huge understatement. But I will worry about that tomorrow, after a long sleep! A conference disco last night plus a 5:30am bus this morning means that I entered this long day of travel already quite tired. Hopefully I will sleep on the plane! Speaking of, it's about time to board.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Green Leaf Lettuce, Pomegranate, and Almond Salad (Page 161)

RECIPE #18

  • Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: Saugatuck, MI
  • Kitchen: Our Vacation Rental
  • Book: Gourmet Today
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Brad, Deniz, Aylin, Dennis, and Tulin
  • Recipe Rating: B


I picked this salad because my sister-in-law Deniz LOVES pomegranates, as does my special gentleman. So it seemed like an appropriate salad to make while on vacation with my special gentleman's family. To prepare this salad I started by whisking together fresh lime juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. I added olive oil to complete the dressing. I then combined green leaf lettuce, watercress with stems discarded, and some pomegranate seeds. I tossed the greens with the dressing, then sprinkled with toasted sliced almonds and more pomegranate seeds. This salad was pretty good. The dressing had a nice refreshing citrus flavor. The pomegranates and almonds went well with the greens and paired nicely with the dressing. My only real complaint about this salad was that it was a bit dull. The ratio of greens to other ingredients was pretty high. I have nothing against dressed greens by themselves, but it's not particularly exciting. That said, the pomegranate seeds did add some good textural contrast. I hadn't thought to add pomegranate seeds to salad before, and they were a nice addition. I will keep that in mind!

The recipe is here.

18 recipes down, 1088 to go!

Today has been one of those days! Nothing particularly bad happened and I'm not in a particularly bad mood, but it was the kind of day where little things went wrong all day. So I immediately had a bad feeling when we got home from work and our big kitty didn't greet us at the door. We have two cats: Michigan and Indiana. When you walk through the door, Michigan may or may not bother to leave whatever comfortable spot he is in to come greet you. But Indiana ALWAYS comes to the door. That is, unless he find himself in one of two situations:

  1. He knows he has done something bad. 
  2. He is trapped somewhere. 
So for instance, when he dumps an entire plate of cookies on the floor in order to eat them, he doesn't come running to the door. And every so often he gets curious about the cage in the basement that our laundry shoot empties into. He can get into the cage by dropping in off the rafters and pipes hanging from the basement ceiling, but he can't get out of the cage. So he gets stuck until one of us rescues him.

So today when he didn't come running, we first looked in the kitchen for some food related disaster. Seeing none, we then looked in the laundry cage in the basement. Still nothing. Calling him yielded no results. I had a moment of panic, thinking that something terrible had happened to him. But then we heard him crying from upstairs. I ran up to the second floor to see two of his white paws sticking out from under our bedroom door. My special gentleman had accidentally shut him in our bedroom before leaving for work. Whoops! So Indiana had spent a long day in our bedroom without food, water, or a litter box. He apparently managed to not pee all day (phew!), but he did poop. And where did he poop? Right on my special gentleman's spot in bed! Apparently he knew exactly who had locked him in there. 

I feel very bad for him. It must have been scary for him being locked in there all day and not knowing when someone would let him out. I have no doubt that the two kitties spent hours laying on either side of our bedroom door swatting at each other through the space between the door and the floor, wondering why Indiana had been shut in there. 

Apparently we need to be more diligent about making sure we know where both cats are before we leave for work in the morning!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Green Beans with Ginger Butter (Page 568)

RECIPE #17

  • Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: Saugatuck, MI
  • Kitchen: Our Vacation Rental 
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Dave, Karen H, Brad, Deniz, Aylin, Dennis, and Tulin
  • Recipe Rating: B+


My special gentleman and I made these beans when we were on vacation with his family on Lake Michigan earlier this summer. We started by cooking green beans in boiling salted water until they were tender. Then my special gentleman cut fresh ginger into very thin matchsticks. I cooked the ginger in butter, then added the beans and cooked them until they were hot. We added lemon zest and seasoned with salt, and the beans were ready to serve! These beans were pretty good. They had a nice ginger flavor. The lemon from the zest was very subtle, and I would indeed add more zest in the future. I liked the buttery ginger matchsticks in the dish, but my special gentleman wasn't sure how he felt about them. The go-to recipe for green beans in our household is the Green Beans with Almonds recipe from the yellow book. I didn't like this recipe quite as well as that one, although these ginger beans were a bit lighter than the green beans with almonds, and hence would be better for certain occasions.

The recipe is here.

17 recipes down, 1089 to go!

Home sweet home! We traveled back from California yesterday after spending a month in Palo Alto, and I am very happy to be home! I had a great trip, but it feels wonderful to sleep in my own bed, cuddle my cats, and just be at home. The trip back yesterday was easy. We flew direct San Francisco to Detroit and rented a car for the hour and a half drive to Lansing. There is an airport in Lansing, but since I'm such a nervous flier, I would much rather drive that last leg than take a tiny plane from Detroit to Lansing! Our flight to Detroit was low-stress, even for me. There was basically no turbulence, the views out the window were beautiful, and there were tons of movie/TV/game choices. Plus I drank some wine, which helps me when I fly! We ran into a friend on the flight who was trying to get to North Carolina but who ended up stranded in Michigan overnight. So we took him home with us for the night. Another friend of ours, who lives in East Lansing, was on the flight too and he joined us for the drive back home. So we had a carful for the last leg of our trip, which was fun.

Today I slept late (very late!) and have spent the rest of this fine Sunday just enjoying being back at home. I went through a month's worth of mail, I started unpacking my luggage, I played with my kitties. For lunch we biked over to the Dairy Store on campus and got a milkshake! Plus I squeezed in some work. It's been a nice day. I am looking forward to being back in my office tomorrow morning.

I always used to say that I don't like to travel. I was reflecting on this on the flight home and realized that isn't quite right. I don't like to fly. But I do like to travel. On this trip I got to do lots of fun things, eat great food, learn interesting math, and most importantly, see good friends. Getting to hang out with Em, Brian, Sam, Joey, Spencer, Ellen, Grace, Chris, David, Mike, Teresa, Sami, Scarecrow, Brenda, Cate, Anna, Mike, Bert, etc, etc was completely wonderful. It was a good trip. As it turns out, I do like to travel. But I also like coming home!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Classic Daiquiri (Page 13)

RECIPE #16

  • Date: Saturday, June 16, 2012 -- 7pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B-


After two weeks on the road earlier this summer, I got home and wanted to relax with a drink! My special gentleman chose this daiquiri recipe. I started by filling a cocktail shaker mostly full with ice. I added gold run, fresh lime juice, and superfine sugar and shook it vigorously. I strained the drink into martini glasses and garnished with lime slices. So far I have been very delighted with the drink recipes from The Book. This one, though, was not so good. The drink was just way too sweet. That's an unusual criticism coming from me -- I like sweet drinks. However, in this case the balance was way off. The sweetness was cloying. That's not to say I didn't drink my daiquiri. I did! But it certainly wasn't one of the better daiquiris I have had.

This recipe isn't online.

16 recipes down, 1090 to go!

I miss the old days, when people were more satisfied doing one thing at a time. Now, multi-tasking seems to be the norm. Undergraduates text during class, not-so-subtly hiding their phone under the desk. And even in conference talks, many audience members (professors and graduate students) have their laptop, or iPad, or iPhone out, and are busily doing something else while the speaker is speaking. Multi-tasking is even the norm in social interactions it seems, with people often immersed in their phone, checking email or texting, while hanging out with other friends.

I got an iPhone a little over a year ago now. My special gentleman was very worried about this purchase. He was sure that I would become one of those people who is constantly engaged with his or her phone, checking email, checking facebook, etc. I assured him that this would not happen. I think that I have done a reasonable job keeping that promise. I do love my phone, but when I am with people I put it away and I make an effort not to take it out of my purse. That is not to say that I always succeed.  I had an experience earlier this summer that made me think very seriously about my technology use. I went on vacation. In fact, I went on vacation with my special gentleman's family. My special gentleman's family is awesome, and we have been on vacation with them several times. We typically do activities of various sorts during the day, someone makes dinner in the evening, and then traditionally after dinner we sit around and either talk, or play games together (Risk, Sheepshead, Kill Dr. Lucky, Rummikub, Apples to Apples, etc). It's great! This year on vacation many of the evenings were a bit different. After eating a delicious dinner together, we would all retreat to our own technology. A typical evening situation involved some people watching TV shows on their iPads, someone watching TV on the TV, a few people reading on their Kindles, some people doing work (or not work) on their laptops, people playing games on their iPads, and almost everyone with their phone right next to them, in order to maintain ongoing conversations via text. And as far as I know, no one was unhappy. It was relaxing and pleasant. But when we left at the end of the week, I felt like I had missed out. On those evenings, I had missed out on the opportunity to talk with people that I really like. I had missed out on the opportunity to play games together and engage with one another. I had neglected my relationships with people I value in favor of playing Monsters Ate My Condo and watching bad TV. And I wished that I had done things differently.

In the couple of months since then, I have been making more of an effort to detach from my technology. I stopped playing Monsters Ate My Condo. In fact, I stopped playing all computer/iPad/iPhone games entirely. I am checking my email less often. My phone has been spending more time inside my purse. And when I am with my friends, I try to make sure I am actually with them, not periodically checking my email. Before I pick up my phone, or laptop, or iPad, I have been thinking about whether whatever I am about to do is really a valuable use of time and concentration. That reflection has been very helpful, as often the answer is no.  It's nice to have some space from my technology. I won't be giving up my phone any time soon (I would be lost without the GPS!), but it turned out that my phone and I needed a little more space from one another!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Penne with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese (Page 209)

RECIPE #15

  • Date: Sunday, June 3, 2012 -- 6pm
  • Location: Cambridge, MA
  • Kitchen: My Temporary Apartment
  • Book: Gourmet Today
  • Recipe Rating: B-

I was in Boston a couple months ago, and was fortunate enough to be staying in an apartment rather than a hotel room. I decided to take advantage of the kitchen, and make something from The Book. I was looking for something with very few ingredients and that required little equipment, as the kitchen in question was incredibly poorly equipped! I settled on this recipe. I started by cooking some penne. Meanwhile, I halved cherry tomatoes and tossed them with salt. I tossed the hot cooked pasta with goat cheese, then added the tomatoes, some chopped Kalamata olives, torn basil, salt, and pepper. The dish looked delicious. And from the ingredients it also sounded delicious. But yet, it wasn't delicious. Perhaps the goat cheese I used was too strong, but the flavor of the goat cheese was very overpowering. I absolutely love goat cheese, but the way it dominated this dish made the whole thing one-note and unappealing. I rarely meet a pasta and cheese dish that I don't like, but this one left me pretty disappointed.

The recipe is here.

15 recipes down, 1091 to go!

One very nice thing about math research is that it is tremendously portable. I can take my pen and paper anywhere, and most of the reference materials I could possibly need are either on my computer already or can be found on the internet. My research life would be very different if I were in a lab science, for instance, where you are tied to your lab and the equipment therein. I travel a lot, but on the road I can continue working, and that is wonderful. However, I am about a month in to this California trip now, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to focus. I miss my workspace at home. I miss getting up, packing my lunch, and heading in to my office each morning. Basically, I miss my routine. I don't mind working in libraries, and coffeeshops, and hotel rooms, but after a while (about a month apparently) I start to miss my own space. So far I have been managing to power through my increased restlessness and get work done anyway. But I am glad we are headed home in two days. I will only be home for 5 days before I leave on another trip, but I have high hopes for a productive and refreshing 5 days.

In the meantime, I am trying to get as much work done as I can. I don't really have the luxury of taking a few days off, as the semester is almost upon me and I am far from ready! Fortunately (or unfortunately, I suppose) I have tons of organizational and teaching-relating tasks to take care of, and that kind of thing is pretty easy to do even with my compromised focus level. So I will write syllabi and lecture schedules, etc. And the poor people who are co-organizing conferences and programs with me will be bombarded with emails for a couple days, as I check the things off my to-do list that I can rally to get done. Sorry guys!


Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Gin Rickey (Page 9)

RECIPE #14

  • Date: Friday, June 1, 2012 -- 8pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Book: Gourmet Today
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

It's hard to resist the Drinks section of The Book. Indeed, I feel pretty sure that is the section that will get finished off first! My special gentleman and I both enjoy gin, so this drink sounded great. I started by filling our cocktail shaker half full with ice. I added some gin and fresh lime juice and shook it for a few seconds. I strained the drink into glasses of ice, then topped it off with club soda. I squeezed the juice of a lime wedge into the drink, then dropped in the wedge. Then I gave it a quick stir and it was ready to serve! I've got nothing bad to say about this drink. It was crisp and refreshing with a perfect balance of ingredients. I used some good gin, and the drink had a great flavor. We thoroughly enjoyed these drinks, and truth be told, we have already made this recipe again!

This recipe isn't online.

14 recipes down, 1092 to go!

I love visiting California. In the 10 years since I graduated from Stanford I have been back here at least 20 times. There's lot of math happening in the San Francisco Bay Area of course, and my dearest friend lives here with her family, so I tend to jump at any opportunity for a trip. Being here for a whole month this trip has been delightful. I love living in Michigan. Indeed, I don't think I would actually want to live in Palo Alto permanently. But it does have its advantages. For one, the food in California is so good. It's hard not to be happy when you have this in front of you:


I have eaten tons of delicious food during this trip. A disproportional amount of it has been Mexican and Thai food -- two genres that aren't done particularly well near where we live. But here -- oh my gosh -- SO good!

Another highlight of this trip has been hanging out with Emilee and her family. She and Brian have two sons, Sam and Joe, and they are some of the most delightful children I have ever met. A picture of them just hanging out:


Sam has been watching some clips from the Olympics, so he was eager to show me some of his gymnastics skills:


He and I have had many athletic competitions over the past few weeks. He has challenged me in sprinting, tennis, basketball, baseball, croquet, etc. Somehow the rules are such that I seem to lose a lot. ;) It has been wonderful to be in the same place as them for a while. We have had some lovely summer evenings, drinking beer and eating yummy food from Brian's garden. Joe doesn't have any teeth, which makes it extra fun to watch him eat. That kid loves gnawing on delicious home-grown peaches!

It's hard living so far away from many of the people that we are closest to in the world. But I do feel blessed that our jobs give us the freedom and opportunities to travel. This month in California has been wonderful. We will be living in Northern California for 5 months in 2014 and I am already looking forward to it! A week and a half from now we will be in Paris visiting other dear friends on our way to a conference in Switzerland. We are indeed lucky.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Blueberry Corn Hotcakes (Page 658)

RECIPE #13

  • Date: Friday, June 1, 2012 -- 10am
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Book: Gourmet Today
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Teri, and Terry
  • Recipe Rating: A-


I made these hotcakes for breakfast one day while my parents were visiting a couple months ago. I whisked together flour, stone-ground cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl I combined eggs, buttermilk, and melted butter. I whisked together the wet and dry ingredients, then folded in blueberries. I cooked them on the stovetop, in a small amount of vegetable oil. These pancakes were great! I really loved the addition of cornmeal, making them hearty and a little bit nutty. The ratio of pancake to blueberry was just right. They were flavorful and a little bit crunchy around the edges, which I loved! My special gentleman is very particular about his pancakes, but even he loved these and admitted that they were tastier than the pancakes we typically make. Yum! This recipe will definitely get added into our breakfast rotation.

This recipe isn't online.

13 recipes down, 1093 to go!

Three weeks into this California trip I am starting to feel as though I live here again! The time has just flown by. The first week I was here I was part of a team of six people that was running a summer school aimed at graduate students and post-docs. There were about 80 young mathematicians participating in the summer school. I had never been on the organizational end of that kind of thing before, and I found it fun but also pretty stressful. The structure of this particular summer school was that the week was focused on one subject area: Algebraic K-Theory. The organizers outlined 15 or so hour-long talks on that subject, and then assigned the talks to certain participants in the summer school in the weeks leading up to the school. The organizers also wrote problems for the participants to work on during the week to help cement their learning of the material. During the summer school the role of the organizers was to help participants with last-minute talk preparations, answer questions on the material, and generally be around to provide insight and guidance. Various organizers also gave talks throughout the week. For instance, I gave the introductory lecture, introducing the field and outlining what we would be learning about all week. There were about 3 talks per day, given by the participants, as well as lots of problem sessions, during which the participants worked on problems and asked the organizers questions. The school ran very smoothly. The participants gave nice talks and everyone worked hard. But it was exhausting. The days were pretty long and it was a bit stressful to be one of the persons of authority. I was the youngest of the organizers -- indeed I was only a few years older than many of the participants. So it felt strange to be one of the official go-to people for all the mathematical questions that the participants had. After the summer school ended on Saturday morning, I spent that entire afternoon just laying around, recovering. I was exhausted!

The second week was a totally different thing. It was a huge international conference, honoring the birthdays of three famous mathematicians in my field. I did have to give a talk, but not being one of the organizers for the conference made that week much less stressful than the first week had been! Indeed, it was a ton of fun. The conference had over 200 attendees, which is pretty huge for mathematics. I got to see lots of friends from all over the world, which was great! The week absolutely flew by and now I keep finding myself wishing I had had more time to talk to various people who were there.

This past week has been different still. The conference ended last weekend, and this past week and the coming week we are here for conferences in my special gentleman's field. After my two weeks of summer school and conference (and the weeks of hard work at home that led up to our trip), I needed a little break. So at the beginning of this week I went down to Los Angeles to visit my brother and his wife Ellen for a couple days. It was great to see them. We hung out, ate delicious food (tacos, Korean shabu shabu, etc), and went hiking. Here's a picture of Spencer and Ellen during our hike:


I came back up to Northern California on Wednesday, and since then I have been trying to get as much work done as I can, and hanging out with some of my dear friends who live here.

Overall, it has been a great trip! We have one more week at Stanford, then we are headed home for a few days before we leave on another trip (Paris and Switzerland). And then the semester starts! I can't believe it is already August. I am not ready for the summer to be over!