The Hubby’s 40th

Last Friday we celebrated the Hubby’s 40th birthday. He decided that his ideal celebration would be dinner and a movie with friends, which over a few conversations evolved into renting a movie theater, showing one of his favorite movies of all time, and sharing dinner with ALL THE FRIENDS!

We decided to make the Hubby’s 40th birthday party kind of a big deal.

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Dining Out for Life 2013

A bright and early good morning from Victor’s 1959 Cafe!

IMAG0502 (1024x632)

Aside from my love of fried plantains, I’m out with two of my best friends, the Hubby and Courtney, for the annual fundraiser, Dining Out for Life.

DOFL

Dining Out for Life: Dine Out, Fight AIDS!

I’ve been to several of the Dining Out for Life events and they’ve always been fun. Dining Out for Life Ambassadors are in every restaurant to give out stickers and information about the event.  In Minnesota, the funds raised go to The Aliveness Project, a community center in South Minneapolis that provides services to members of the AIDS community, and the Rural AIDS Action Network, which serves those affected by HIV/AIDS throughout Greater Minnesota.

TAP          RAAN

The Aliveness Project and Rural AIDS Actions Network logos. Click on either for more information about these groups.

Dining Out for Life is a project that recruits restaurants to donate a portion of each meal sold. Cities across the United States and in British Columbia have Dining Out for Life events. Many of them are happening today, but they can occur at any time. Click on the image below to go to the DOFL website to learn when the cities below are hosting events.

DOFL Sites

In Minnesota you can find participating restaurants in many major cities: Twin Cities, Duluth, Harris, Lanesboro, Mankato, Rochester, Alexandria, Stillwater and St. Cloud!

So now for the really important question: What did we order?

Me: Dia y Noche

IMAG0505 (1024x577)Eggs, black beans over white rice, fried plantains.

The Hubby: Create Your Own Omlette

IMAG0504 (1024x577)Omelette-y goodness with wild rice, cheese and peppers. English muffin with butter

Courtney: Cuban Hash

IMAG0501 (1024x559)Ground beef, creole sauce, green olives, capers, raisins. Eggs and fried plantains.

It’s not too late to participate in Dining Out for Life. Head out for lunch, maybe grab some coworkers for happy hour, take a friend out for dinner. You can find a list of participating restaurants and the amounts of their contributions here. There are many different styles and costs – even a few coffee houses if you want to participate but don’t have a lot of cash to spare. If you can get out and want to get out, then today’s your day to Dine Out, Fight AIDS!

DSC_0003 (1024x681)The awesome Dining Out for Life ambassador for Victor’s 1959 Cafe, moi and Rena Sarigianopoulos, a KARE 11 TV anchor, reporter and Dining Out for Life supporter.

Twitter hashtag for Dining Out for Life: #DOLMN (Minnesota) and #DOFL (Dining Out For Life)

Happy New Year – With Butter!

Eye-roll warning – Below is way too much modern city-person excitement about discovering a process that’s been known to this world for thousands of years and probably a number of young students who have done cooler science experiments in class than I did.

You guys – I made BUTTER!

I made some whipped cream for the New Year’s Eve party that I attended, and while I was there one of the guests asked if I had ever let the cream whip too far and accidentally made butter. And I was all like, SHUT UP I CAN MAKE MY OWN BUTTER JUST BY WHIPPING CREAM FOR TOO LONG!?

This was happening. But, you know, after lots of caipirinhas and ringing in the new year.

Fireworks

Happy New Year, 2013! Photo by bayasaa on Flickr (CC-BY)

The next morning:

I had a half pint of heavy cream left over so I threw it in the Kitchen Aid mixer and set that puppy to eight and waited eagerly for sticks of butter to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

After about seven minutes I had thick whipped cream, but it wasn’t until the fifteen minute mark that I started hearing slurping, splashing noises from the bowl. After about another minute I had this:

Fresh Butter

Fresh butter caught in the whisk and buttermilk left in the bottom of the bowl.

I pulled out the butter from the whisk and strained the buttermilk. All of the butter went into a bowl and then I smooshed as much liquid as I could from it with the back of a spoon. Then I transferred the butter onto some wax paper and made a butter stick…err…roll:

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Mmmm…agitated fat globules.

Of course, then I needed something on which to try out my new butter, so I made pancakes (gluten-free).

Pancakes with Butter

Butter on cherry pancakes.

Oh, and then I used the buttermilk in some alfredo sauce that night.

Yum.

And because I read a lot of time travel books, one of my thoughts during this process was how I’m now totally set for work if I ever accidentally get transported back in time (I assume that most of my science know-how will be a bust because if I start talking about little tiny bugs that make us sick, or other up to 21st century science, I’ll get burned as a witch or locked in an asylum). I’m going to be the butter QUEEN! But I’ll have to figure out how to harness electricity and invent a Kitchen Aid first because that churning crap looks like way too much work.

Cross-Country Connections: Lunch

Cross-Country Connections is a Biodork weekly blog entry dedicated to telling stories in pictures of three family members – me, my sister and Mom – living in very different locations across the country. Every week we choose a different theme and then take or contribute a personal photo that fits the theme. This week’s theme is Lunch.

From Erin in Takoma Park, Maryland:

Nom nom nom. Lunchtime treat for Ivan.

From Mom in Carbondale, Illinois:

Lunch at Burano which was about 40 minutes by water taxi from Venice.  Great food – very strange company.

From me in Minneapolis, Minnesota:

Sunday’s sushi lunch. Yummmmm.

Pareidolia 5: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to Pareidolia 5: Your Results May Vary.

Pareidolia 5 Reveal: There’s a Light at the End of the Tunnel!

Most of you literal folks could tell it was food, something of a flat and grain-flour based and fried nature. It is not a tortilla or a cannoli. What it is, is a dosa, which is kind of an Indian crepe, but huge. What you are seeing out beyond the dosa is another table full of happy diners, gobbling up all kinds of good breads and fritters and snacks and washing them down with cold beer and cocktails and lassi.

Delicious Dosa © Ellen Bulger

I took the shot a couple of years ago. I was on Broadway in New Haven, waiting for a friend. We had plans to get some shawarma. You know how good a Connecticut autumn can smell? Even in the city, it makes you flare your nostrils and take deep breaths.

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Weekend Report

I was hoping to get a lot of writing done this weekend because there is SO MUCH TO WRITE ABOUT! I got exactly zero writing done, but looking back on my weekend, it turns out I did some pretty cool stuff.

Friday night was supposed to be a night of relaxing and hanging out with the Virtual Drinking Skeptically (VDS) gang. Unfortunately, work setbacks trashed that idea. I didn’t have all my ducks in a row and ended up working until midnight :(  Long story short, I grabbed some material (calibrators) for a study and forgot to check the expiration date. After doing all of the set-up on Friday morning, I went to use the calibrators and discovered that they were expired. No problem, I’ll just go grab a new lot, right? Ohhhh…so sad for me: there are no unexpired lots left in the freezer. Luckily, my company makes the darned things on site, so I’ll just go over to manufacturing and pick some up. Three hours later…

At some point during the morning’s series of fiascoes I noted with that sort of inappropriate hilarity that often precludes a mental breakdown that I was going through various stages of grief as my Friday night went up in flames.

  • Shock/Denial: WHAT? How the hell are the calibrators expired? What do you mean we don’t have any extra calibrators in the building? How is that possible? I am NOT letting this get in the way of Virtual Drinking Skeptically tonight.
  • Pain/Guilt: How could I be so stupid as to not check the expiration date before I started!? How could I have everything in place and forget that? I haven’t been to a VDS in months and I feel horrible for not showing up and supporting it because it’s awesome and I can’t believe I’ve ruined my evening like this!
  • Anger/Bargaining: How did NO ONE stock calibrators? Why did this have to happen tonight!? Maybe I could use the expired cals and write some sort of justification. No? Okay, if I can just get the study started, I can sneak away and come in over the weekend to finish things up.
  • Depression/Loneliness: This sucks. I hate working late on Friday nights. Everyone goes home to relax and start their weekend and I’m going to be stuck here pipetting samples until kingdom come. Which isn’t coming, so that means FOREVER. I’m not making it to VDS.
  • Upward Turn: Okay… I have new calibrators. The instruments are all ready to go. Let’s calibrate and see if the controls pass. Samples are thawed, time to start pipetting. If I can load 20 samples per hour and I’ve got 149 samples to load… awwww, man. Wait, calm…I can do this.
  • Acceptance/Hope: Okay, there’s no way I’m getting out of here in time for VDS, but I’ll just have to plan to make the next one. And hey, everything’s running well and I’m going to make it through at least half of these samples today. I’ll come back on Sunday and finish ‘em up. And I’ll still have all of Saturday. Every little thing… is gonna be alright.

That’s a whole lot of emotion to go through over the course of a day! Like I said earlier, I left at midnight, but I did get to come home to a sympathetic partner and a whiskey nightcap. So that was nice.

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6 O’Clock BS: Gluten-Free Pizza

Tonight I made gluten-free pizza! I used a Red Mill Mix, but it required yeast and mixing and other related baking shit, so I think it counts as fancy cooking.

First, the crust:

Pizza Mix, Olive Oil, Eggs, Yeast in warm water

The yeast had to sit for a few minutes, then I added the eggs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then the pizza flour mix was added in and mixed on medium for 1 to 2 minutes.

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Mmmm….Braaaaains.

Presented for your lunchtime consideration: Walnut Brains in Chocolate Skulls. Genius use of walnut!

From Street Anatomy:

These chocolate skulls with walnut/candy brains are genius and so well executed for such a small piece of chocolate!  They are hand-crafted by twin sisters from Spain, Ruth and Sira García Trigueros who also happen to run their own little design and illustration shop, Sparganum.

 

Dining Out for Life

Dining Out for Life Minnesota is tomorrow – Thursday, April 28th.

Go out to any one of a gazillion and ten participating restaurants, and the restaurant donates a portion of your food bill to The Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit agency which each year serves one out of four people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. The Aliveness Project offers an on-site hot meals program, food shelf, integrative therapies, case management, holiday baskets, HIV educational services.

I’m getting up early to have breakfast at Anodyne Coffeehouse in South Minneapolis before going in to work.


And for dinner I’m going to Joe’s Garage in Loring Park with a bunch of friends.

There’s an entire list of restaurants throughout Minnesota that are participating in Dining Out for Life.

Where are you eating?

Cuzzy’s Brick House Restaurant

My work group went out to lunch today, and I found another place that serves gluten-free pizza!

A wood-fired Brick House Pizza – Pepperoni, Sausage, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms & black olives all served on a gluten-free crust.

For those of you used to paying top dollar for gluten-free alternatives at Pizza Luce (a small Classic costs $12.59. The same pizza with a GF crust is a whopping $5 extra at $17.59), Cuzzy’s Brick House is a breath of fresh, oregano-scented air. Their small Brick House (shown above and pretty much the same as Pizza Luce’s Classic) is $12.99, and they will sub in a GF crust at NO additional cost.

Cuzzy’s Brick House is located in Chaska, MN. It’s a bit of a haul if you’re coming from Minneapolis or the east suburbs (oooo..take THAT St. Paul!)  However, their menu is phenomenal and I could see making the occasional special trip out here with friends. Cuzzy’s is several steps up from your average soup, salad and burger joint. I mean sure, you can snag any number of variations of hotdog or cheeseburger if that’s what you’re craving, but they’ve also got appetizers like Portabella & Brie Bruschetta, pastas like the Butternut Squash Ravioli, entrees like the Cabernet Mushroom Chops and a desert menu that will add a couple of pounds to your bottom just from seeing it as the waitress carries the tray across the room.

Burgers and sandwiches run in the $8-10 range and the entrees are around $10-18. Their drink prices are reasonable, and the open, classy interior makes Cuzzy’s a great place to have happy hour. Also, I’ve been told that they throw a mean weekend bar night!

Cuzzy’s also has a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis (but doesn’t show pizza in the online menu), and The Victoria House in Victoria, MN is in the same family.

2880 Chaska Blvd., Chaska MN
website: http://www.cuzzys.com/
phone: 952.448.5594
email: [email protected]