Friday, February 29, 2008

Note to self

Do not open email after 5:00. Even if my conscience says that I am on three search committees this semester, and that I have students who might need to ask me questions, and that the responsible thing to do would be to check email, I should not listen to it. My conscience clearly took quite a few recreational drugs in its youth, and its opinions are not to be trusted.

Further note to self: if, in spite of knowing that this is a bad idea, I do, in fact check email and find horrible bomb-like messages waiting for me, I must not give in to the temptation to pour myself a stiff belt of Talisker and wander around the house ranting and raving about the family connections of the writers of said missives. They are, in fact, not misbegotten newt-spawn, and I should remember not to insinuate that they are. Furthermore, I should not turn over my email program password to my children, cackling madly, and suggest that they write responses for me. If I do manage not to take these dramatic steps, I should not take the alternative route of locking myself in the bathroom with a gallon of ice cream, a jar of chocolate sauce, and a spoon, to while away an hour or two sobbing into the frozen dairy products, only to be brought out by representatives of the local fire department. (Further note to self: planning to flirt with the aforementioned members of the fire department will not go over well if one is a bloated wreck covered in ice cream drippings and chocolate sauce.)

The good news is that these little hints to myself on the appropriate response to stressful events at my place of employment seem to have worked. After posting last night, and listening to my drug-addled conscience, and finding more hideous email yuckiness, I neither drank myself to distraction nor ate the lovely Double Rainbow vanilla ice cream calling from the freezer. I instead turned to two of the most soothing activities I could think of besides the drinking/overeating options. First, I made dinner. In my 12-inch cast-iron skillet. I don't know about you all, but nothing in my kitchen makes me happier than the combination of my cast-iron skillet and my stove. Nothing. So, I made a frittata, which is one of those lovely things that comes together quickly and makes everyone happy (I've put my "recipe" at the end of the post; it ain't classy, but it works). After that was done cooking, I cleaned out the skillet and made Irish soda bread. Mmmm....

While everything cooked, I sat down and began knitting my bracelet with my handspun silk yarn. Remember how I said that spinning was more fun than a basket full of kittens? Well, knitting with one's own handspun is more fun than a basket full of kittens with whipped cream and cherries on top. OK, ewww, but you know what I mean. Honestly, though, when it was knitted up, it kind of looked like, well, you know -- yarn. Real yarn, I mean, not yarn I made. This could get addictive.

I'm off to Clear Lake tomorrow for fieldwork, and then back again. With luck, Sunday will be a day to recover, get some grading done, and maybe do some more knitting.

Frittata recipe: Get out the skillet and some olive oil. Turn the oven on to about 350, or, if you're baking something else, to whatever temperature that thing needs (I am all about flexibility in the kitchen). Heat some oil in the skillet while you chop up whatever vegetables you've got that look good. If you're a meat-eating sort of person, you could also cut up some sliced ham or prosciutto, or a bit of bacon or sausage, or something else of that nature. Saute all of that, either together, or, if they have different cooking times, add the longest-cooking stuff first, and keep adding the rest until everything's in the pan. Cook until they're not quite done. While everything cooks, crack between 8 and 10 eggs into a bowl and mix. Grate some cheese and throw it in with the eggs (or crumble in some goat cheese or feta). Put in salt and pepper, or paprika, or herbes de provence, or whatever floats your boat. When everything in the skillet is done, turn the stove off and spread the cooked veggies evenly across the bottom of the pan. Pour the eggs and cheese in on top. Chuck the whole thing in the oven (see why I love cast-iron?) until the eggs are set and the top is browned. It actually took me longer to write this than it does to make it. And the kids like it. Sometimes I do potatoes and bacon and goat cheese. Last night I did broccoli and cheddar. Sometimes it's leeks and goat cheese and herbes de provence. You can chop up veggies like bell peppers to put on the side if you like, or make a salad. Buttered toast is a nice accompaniment.

12 comments:

EGunn said...

Avoid. Email. At. All. Costs. Just why is it so tempting, anyway? Very good notes to self, and even better judgement in facing stress with cast iron. Always a good way to go. =)

Helen said...

I think the difference between bannock and soda bread is that soda is the raising agent in soda bread, and there isn't any raising agent in bannock. But don't quote me. They're both round and cut into farls or quarters, and they're both very good with butter and jam. Mmmm, Talisker.

Bea said...

Sorry about all the work crap. At least you can knit with handspun to make up for it! I guess if the stress gets to you too much you can always use a heavy cast iron skillet for something besides cooking.

I have a cast iron skillet, we usually use it on the grill, but I will be trying your recipe. A scaled down version (I'm not sure between the two of us that we can eat between 8 and 10 eggs, plus whatever else goes in it!)

Lynne said...

Note to self: Frittata sounds delicious, give it a try!

Anne said...

I like Bea's idea about using the skillet for other things besides cooking. Today we were watching Jamie at Home and it was followed, oddly enough, bu a long commercial for California, with the closing season featuring your governor and his wife. Because we are poor, and I could not afford to replace the tv if damaged, I did not chuck things at his on-screen face but I apostrophized him fiercely on your behalf. Let me know if it helps.

twinsetellen said...

I have found out the hard way what you probably already know - emails are a very bad medium to handle hot topics. So good choice avoiding them after work, and I suggest avoiding them during work, too, if a phone call or face-to-face chat is at all possible.

Frittata - yum. I do like a nice frittata. Even though I ate dinner earlier, your post makes me want to go make one.

And thinking about your bracelet - one thought for the clasp is to do a twisted cord. The end where you fold the cord back on itself becomes the loop to go over your bead. Because it wants to twist, it stays snug, but you can untwist to release. You'll have to play with how to attach the other end, if you try this. Looking forward to seeing the bracelet and whatever solve you develop!

gwen said...

I make frittatas with about 2 eggs, cook on top of the stove so bottom sets, then stick under the broiler. In my cast iron skillet. Usually only me eating it, unless I have a friend over. Kiddo's not interested, and the husband already ate. Always.

One of these days I'll figure out that cooking a decent (quick) dinner, then eating it, is a good thing to do when I'm exhausted. Especially when I'm exhausted. (dishes, on the other hand...)

I want to go to Clear Lake. I am curious about the place. A client's family lived between there and Oakland. Complained about problems with police there. (Probably complained about Oakland police too, but at least in Oakland, there's safety in numbers and one individual is less likely to get picked on often in a large group - like zebras and their predators).

Marianne said...

Oh please, just 'avert your eyes' when it comes to 'those' emails... especially after a certain hour weekdays and seriously... all through the weekend...

I use a smaller cast iron skillet for frittata for two :^) I have several cast iron skillets that I use all.the.time.

I hope your Sunday is great.

Willow said...

Cast iron is good for non cooking activities, too. I can think of a few...

I hope you've had a restful day before you go back at it.


Note to self: don't take anything seriously tomorrow, especially not colleagues or self.

Carrie K said...

That's why I try not to answer my phone during tax season. It's just going to be bad.

Fritatta, yum. There's a good idea.

KnitNana said...

yup. Email is Poison sometimes.

But wow, I like your Frittata ideas, hmmm..I have to admit I no longer have a cast iron skillet. Might have to get one. I'm all about making cooking easy-peasy.

Hang in there!
(((hugs)))

DomesticShorthair said...

Frittatas are so handy; I've only made it from one recipe I found in a magazine, but I'll have to give your "freestyle" method a shot. I've been wanting to get a cast iron, but husband won't relinquish his hold on our last nonstick pan in the house for his weekend pancakes. Until I get cast iron, I've been using a regular pan (without nonstick coating).