braised chicken with peppers, tomatoes, and olives

chickenI made this recipe not long ago. I pretty much followed the recipe a specified, although I used thighs instead of legs as that is what the service meat department had. I also omitted the onion as Terry is allergic.

It came out very tasty and was very filling. I have to say though that with all of the other ingredients the capers got totally lost. That’s OK, though. It just gave me an excuse to make chicken piccata where I could really enjoy the capers.

a visit to the old campus

the Pitzer College campusSeveral weeks ago I received a phone call from a member of the Advancement Office at Pitzer College. Interestingly, he was not asking for money, but was wanting to make sure that Terry’s contact information was correct, which it wasn’t. He also has been talking to alumni around the country to learn what their lives have been like since graduation. He offered to come out to Hemet so he could buy me lunch and talk to me. Immediately after hanging up I had the thought, why would I want him to come to Hemet when I could go to Claremont and visit the old campus?

I did that last week. The campus is very much changed. There are new dorms, which are actually multi-the Pitzer brick I donated: "In appreciation of Profs. Greenberger, Glass, & all faculty who were part of my Pitzer experience. Mike Christie 1975."use buildings that also house administrative functions. The clock tower and McConnell Center, which housed and still houses the dining hall, have been painted. Other buildings have been remodeled. It was interesting and disorienting. I did, however, get to see for the first time the brick that I donated back in about 2006 or so when I was employed and could afford to do such things.

Steve from the Advancement office took me to a really nice bistro-style restaurant in the Village (so much bigger and so much changed!) where I described my life during and since Pitzer. I enjoyed an incredibly delicious Mexican pizza.

It was a great visit and an enjoyable day.

grilled swordfish with basil-caper butter

grilled swordfishI have been making this recipe for a number of years. It is always a delight. I recently made it for the first time since moving here to Hemet, using our outdoor gas grill.

I usually form the basil-caper butter into balls and put it into the freezer rather than the refrigerator. That’s simply due to my not making it far enough ahead.

I try not to have swordfish too often because of the mercury issue, but it’s a good treat every once in a while as it’s a nice, firm, meaty fish. This is, however, also a very rich dish.

Sacred Music Friday: Mothering God

First-Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska. Text by Jean Janzen, Tune: Maryton by Henry Percy Smith, Arranged by Tom Trenney.

Mothering God, you gave me birth in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath, you are my rain, my wind, my sun.

Mothering Christ, you took my form, offering me your food of light
Grain of of life, and grape of love, your very body for my peace.

Mothering Spirit, nurturing one, in arms of patience hold me close,
So that in faith I root and grow until I flower, until I know.

contributing to the cause

Ever since we moved here two years ago we have had three toters from our trash and recycling company: trash, recycling, and yard waste. But last year we were informed that we could start adding food waste to that toter. The company even gave us a plastic bucket for food waste.

biodegradable clamshell 2There was a reason for that. They have developed a new, state-of-the art facility that processes yard and food waste into natural gas and fertilizer. Amazing, no? The facility went online last November.

They even accept grease. The only problem is that you can’t put glass or plastic in the toter. I wanted to add the grease from our outdoor gas grill to the mix, but I needed an appropriate container for it. Amazon was no help, but what did our local Smart & Final have? These sugarcane recyclable biodegradable containers. We can add our gas grill grease to the mix.

How cool is that?

biodegradable clamshell 1

citrus-marinated beef fajitas

I very quickly get annoyed by Tiffani Thiessen and her fatuous repartee with her B-list celebrity friends on Dinner at Tiffani’s. She does, however, often have some really good recipes.

fajitasOne recipe that caught my attention was her Citrus-Marinated Beef Fajitas. I got around to making the dish recently and was quite pleased. Well, I sort of made it.

I followed the recipe for the marinade pretty closely. I bought three-fajitasquarters of a pound of flap meet at the service meat counter and I marinated it for close to eight hours. I pretty much ignored the instructions on the fajita mixture. I grilled the flap meat on the grill outside and threw on a green bell pepper from the garden. That was it.

However, as always with tacos and fajitas, we had olives, chopped green pepper, and shredded cheddar for our toppings. I indulged myself and got some guacamole. The taste of the marinade was absolutely marvelous, and with our toppings it made for a really nice dinner.


Invincible Summer

Invincible Summer coverInvincible Summer
Alice Adams
Little, Brown and Company (June 28, 2016), 321 pages
Kindle Edition $ 7 99, Amazon paperback $10.01

Invincible Summer covers twenty years in the lives of four friends in England. The story begins in 1995 when the group is finishing college. It ends twenty years later in 2015.

Eva comes from a lower middle class background, but forged a career in investment banking. Sylvie is an artist who had difficulty getting her act together until circumstances changed her perspective. Lucien spent years representing himself as a club promoter but actually paid the bills by selling drugs. Benedict is a physicist analyzing data from the Large Hadron Collider.

Each member of the group has his or her own struggles. They had varying degrees of staying in contact and being out of touch. Degrees of success varied as well. They all had serious relationship issues. The author does and excellent job of interweaving the stories and keeping the plot moving forward. Eva takes center stage in her efforts to succeed in the cutthroat world of investment banking, and I found myself wanting her to succeed in spite of the fact that her actions were not always entirely ethical. The others get their fair share of attention as well. While it was easy to be sympathetic towards Benedict and even Sylvie, it was hard for me to develop much sympathy for Lucien and his poor choices.

In the end, I enjoyed the novel, but things were wrapped up just a little to neatly at the close of the book.

still going

I wrote some months back that I was trying to use my old stove-top pressure cooker one evening to cook beans for tostadas and I couldn’t get the lid to close, so I used the electric pressure cooker instead. It turns out that I had had a brain lapse and I was trying to secure the lid left to right instead of right to left as I should have.

stove top pressure cookerRecently I pulled out the pressure cooker again. I got the lid properly closed, but when it came up to pressure I did not hear that reassuring jiggling. What I did see was steam coming out around the handle. Not good. I turned off the heat and let the pressure drop. The beans were not cooked and the water was mostly gone.

I ordered a new sealing ring. When it arrived I put it in and did a water test. I filled the cooker about a quarter full with water and turned on the heat. The cooker came up to pressure and I once again heard that reassuring jiggling. When I took off the lid I discovered there was very little water loss. That was a relief.

I’ve had that pressure cooker since some time in the 1980’s. It’s nice to know that it’s still going.

Secular Music Friday: Forever in Blue Jeans

simply to remind myself…

moving things around

I have written about my internet radio and how much I enjoy it. One of the things I like about it is that I can control it from an app on my iPad and iPhone. That works out well when we’re in another room and listening via one of our 900 mhz wireless speakers.

internet radioThe problem, though, after we moved to Hemet was that the output was not strong enough and when we were in the bedroom we would get clicking and popping. I therefore switched to listening via the stations’ web pages on my desktop computer, which also has a 900 mhz transmitter.

When me moved here I had set up my internet radio and transmitter on a side table to the left of my computer table. After I got my new hearing aid, however, I realized that it was silly to have it on the left when my good ear with the hearing aid was my right ear. This was especially the case since the top of the printer table on my right was empty due to the demise of my printer some months back and the fact that I was connecting to Terry’s printer wirelessly.

So I moved everything to the computer table. That shift of five feet or so means no more popping on the speaker in bedroom, so I can use the internet radio and control it from my iPad.

A small thing but a nice change.