Monthly Archives: July 2015

Recent recipes

Smitten Kitchen (both the blog and the book) is one of our favorite go-to sources for recipes, and we’ve been using it a lot lately. Some of the recipes are a little time- and/or labor-intensive so it’s nice to have two pairs of hands, but others – like her dill pickles – are incredibly easy. And delicious!

Herbed summer squash pasta bake: Excellent. It’s as creamy and satisfying as mashed potatoes or chicken pot pie, but a little lighter for the summer. A great way to use up those zucchini and summer squash that are in the farmers’ market now. We made it with orecchiette pasta but like she says, any kind will work.

Thick, chewy granola bars: Immensely satisfying between-meal snack, also good for breakfast on the go. They didn’t stay together perfectly, but we left out the nut butter, which might have helped with binding. Otherwise, we used dried cranberries, dried apricots, chocolate chips, hazelnuts, and chopped candied ginger. I’d leave the ginger out next time but the hazelnuts worked really well.

Easiest fridge dill pickles: I got three pickling cucumbers at the farmers’ market, sliced them up and put them in a jar with other ingredients as directed, and…pickles!

Anything-but-clementine clafoutis: Clementines in a clafoutis seem weird to me too, plus it’s summer and all the fruits and berries are in season! Unfortunately we didn’t get plums or peaches in enough time for them to ripen (poor planning on our part), but this was very good with blueberries. I’d make it again in the future with a tarter/tangier berry or fruit, or maybe a little lemon zest; it was fairly mild with just blueberries. Similar to the equally delicious purple plum torte, also from SK.

What have you been cooking, baking, or assembling this summer?

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What’s with today, today? ’90s flashback week

Gin Blossoms in concert (on the Boston Common as part of the Outside the Box festival): check

Gin Blossoms on the Beacon Stage on the Boston Common

Guster live (same festival, two days later): check

Guster onstage at the Outside the Box festival

Empire Records and High Fidelity double feature on the big screen: check and check

Arlington Capitol Theater marquee

Empire Records sign outside movie theater

High Fidelity on movie theater sign

It was a good decade.

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Oregon

Vacation this summer was a trip to visit my dad in Oregon, in a town so small the post office second-guesses me when I try to send mail there. It’s lovely! (If you don’t think too hard about the subduction zone and imminent earthquake/tsunami disaster. Fortunately, we didn’t see that article until we were already there.)

It was a very relaxing trip, starting with a few hours in Powell’s in Portland before heading to the coast.

Stone pillar carved to look like books

Jenny in front of a wall of YA books in Powell's

I only bought one book! Such restraint.

Cliff with pine trees, ocean, coastline

Sunlight and clouds above silvery ocean and sand

Blue sky with streaky white clouds, grass and sand dunes and ocean

Sunset with shafts of sunlight coming down through clouds onto the ocean

We also visited the tiny local library, which is open even on weekends!

Library building exterior

We read some picture books in the children’s room.

Children's room of the public library, with low bookshelves, table and chairs, a window seat, and stuffed animals

Reading, walking, eating, and sleeping – all while escaping some particularly hot and humid days back east – makes for a pretty good summer vacation.

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Innocent face, guilty face

The face of an innocent dog enjoying the sunshine in the recliner:

Sudo in recliner, front feet hanging off, mouth open

The face of a guilty, library-book-chewing dog:

Sudo lying on couch with head raised looking at camera

“Who, me?” Yes, you.

This was hours after the crime was committed. You can’t hold a grudge against dogs because they don’t remember what they did, but she was in the metaphorical doghouse for a few hours anyway. I’m a librarian! I can’t have a dog who eats books. Now I’ll have to replace I Capture the Castle. I hope it was delicious.

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Perennials

A red rose, partly open

This is the same little rose I got for Ben for Valentine’s Day a couple of years ago. Despite my doubts, it comes back every time I prune it, and I prune it after each time it blooms. Here are its most recent flowers.

Two red roses, one open, one opening

I didn’t think the perennials I planted in the front yard last summer would come back, either, not after the winter we had, but – o me of little faith – at least one of them is proving me wrong.

Green plant with one purple flower open and one about to open

Also, we had the soil around the house tested, and the amount of lead is off the charts (well, technically a chart could accommodate it, but it is 5x+ the maximum recommended levels, so it’s a good thing we’re only looking at these flowers and not eating them). It’s kind of amazing anything is growing at all.

Close up of purple flower on green plant

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de Cordova Sculpture Park

After years of hearing from various people how cool the de Cordova Sculpture Park & Museum was, we finally visited, using a museum pass from the library. (Ask at your local library – lots of Friends of the Library groups provide museum passes to local institutions so library users can get free or discounted admission.) It was a lovely, sunny, not-too-terribly-hot day, so we spent most of it in the sculpture park.

I didn’t take photos of everything we liked. The musical fence was a neat one, appealing for all ages, and there was a piece that looked like a large branch or piece of driftwood set upright that made an interesting shape against the sky. Here are some others:

One of the Two Big Black Hearts

(One of) Two Big Black Hearts, Jim Dine, 1985

Newspaper sculpture with flora on top

Big, with Rift, Steven Siegel, 2009

Big metal leaf sculptures

These leaf sculptures aren’t listed on the de Cordova website – maybe they’re new or temporary?

Ice sculpture close up

Closeup of Elegantka, Ursula von Rydingsvard, 2010

Marble head in profile

Humming, Jaume Plensa, 2011

White marble statue of a face in front of some trees

Humming, Jaume Plensa, 2011

It seems like a sculpture park would be a great way to get young kids interested in art, more so than walking around a museum. However, it’s not a playground: there is absolutely no climbing on the art.

Steel cylinders, stacked on a gentle hillside

Lincoln, DeWitt Godfrey, 2012

Sign reading "Absolutely no climbing on the art"

Tower, Monika Sosnowska, 2014

Dogs are welcome in the sculpture park, which is also pretty cool. We left Sudo at home for our first outing, but we may bring her if we go back, weather permitting.

Sudo on couch, with a stuffed blue dog resting on her back

“I can come too?”

 

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