Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sick Day

Uuuuuuuuggggghhh I woke up maybe 30-40 times last night with a seriously sore throat. I didn’t want to get up to get a glass of water because whenever I leave the room it wakes Megan up. Finally at about 6:15 in the morning I had to. All day I’ve been feeling sick sick sick!

So I got almost nothing done today. The barest bit of studying got done but even that flew right out of my head. I didn’t buy tires today because: A) I really didn’t want to get up off the couch all day and B) Megan needs new tires as well so we might do that together. I did make it out to the grocery store however. Dinner tonight was chicken breasts done on the stove top simply in olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. On the side we did sweet potatoes, carrots in dill (stole that from my mother), and green beans. Very satisfactory, not much effort.

While at the grocery store I found myself eyeballing the bottom round and thinking about doing another beef stew. There are a couple of variations in the book that I thought sounded very tasty so I might try one. Overall I have to say that my new cookbook has really impressed me.

The cookbook I have been using is called “Cooking Know-How” by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. It’s phenomenal. The book breaks down every step of every recipe. For the beef stew recipe each step takes up half a page to a page. It starts with describing how using different fats will effect the overall flavor profile of your stew. After the 5 pages or so of directions there are two pages of recipes. They are set up in a spreadsheet format that is very easy to read even with four recipes to a page! Once I knew what I was doing on a recipe I could just use the last page and flip to each specific step if I had a question about something.

I was so impressed by this cookbook I googled the authors and found out that they have a blog of their own! It’s I thought that was an extremely cute title. I saw that there was a little tool for sending a note to the authors and wrote up a quick paragraph telling them how much I enjoyed the book. Amazingly enough Mark responded to me within half an hour and was SUPER nice. He even asked me to “Let me know what else you cook from the book. And if you
ever take a digital photo of one of those dishes, send it to my real address above and I'll be so happy to post it on the blog along with your notions on how to customize it to your taste.”

I have taken photos with my iPhone of things I have cooked before, but I think will do so with my regular camera more now to post here. Maybe the next thing will be another beef stew, who knows?

One other thing I would like to cook is a large roasted meat. I’m thinking of a leg of lamb or a standing rib roast. The problem there is that the ingredients are a little pricier and it is a good bit of food. I don’t know how I feel about having company over for a first experiment with a recipe.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

M2 Done!

Exam Prep:
Last night I said that I wanted to finish the module I was studying and start the next one today. I didn’t realize how massive the module I was working on was. Looking back at my FM 1 class the material that was in this past module was the most critical to understanding the rest of the course. I’m glad it is out of the way and looking forward the next two modules are significantly shorter. I didn’t get started on the next module like I wanted to. Instead I made flashcards of the past two chapters to better memorize the formulas I need to know.

The last two weeks I’ve tried some new recipes that I have been very excited by. Yesterday I made a chicken soup from scratch. It was very basic soup and I think it’s a good start. Using a whole 4.25lb chicken was very cool. I got a cut up whole Purdue chicken which worked very well. I had trouble skimming as much of the fat and whatnot off the surface as I would have liked. I’m not sure what I can do to make it easier next time. The onions were floating on the surface as well, but I probably could have sacrificed more of them to clarify the soup better.

Last week I made “Carbonnades Flamandes” which is a Belgian style beef stew. I’ve been wanting to make a beef stew for a while and I never have before. I used a 2.5lb piece of beef chuck, carrots, onions, parsnip, turkey bacon, thyme, caraway seeds, beef broth, flour, and a beer. Building the stew flavors from the bottom up with the turkey bacon and browning the meat in the pot was an experience. I expected it to be done after 2 hours of slow simmering but the beef was not as tender as I’d hoped. At 2 and a half hours it was perfect. Right before serving the stew I added a Tbs of course-grained mustard which cut the flavors of the stew nicely. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Megan had never had a beef stew before so these were all new flavors for her. I don’t think it was her favorite dish, but I am going to try a different type of beef stew next time to see if we enjoy it more.

Also last week I introduced Megan to veal for the first time. I prepared a veal scallopini with rosemary, capers and tomatoes. She loved it! I bought veal scallopini at Stop and Shop but didn’t pound it out thinner. I wasn’t sure what to use, maybe I could have used the heel of my hand. I don’t have anything to pound it with and I think I’ll add that to my list of small items to register for.

Other Stuff:
I got my new glasses today! Very exciting stuff, I got two pairs because they were running a really great deal at the eye shop. The pair I’m wearing right now have a very good chance of being the EXACT SAME FRAMES that my brother Elliott has.

I’ve been getting some reading done, I’m partway through the 6th book in the wheel of time.


-Start and get through most of the next module for my FM prep exam.
-Get new tires for my car
-Get my grocery shopping done
-Prepare for a game of warhammer Thursday against Omar

That’s it for tonight, we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Been too long

So I haven't posted in way too long. I think I'll start by just posting up to do lists day by day and thoughts as I go.

I haven't made it nearly as far into my studying for the Financial Math actuarial exam yet. Each part is taking more time than I originally expected. I'm making flash cards of the TONS of formulas that need to be memorized. Tomorrow I'm planning on finishing the last part of the second module before lunch tomorrow.

After finishing the second module I'll figure out anything we need for dinner tomorrow. I'm not sure if we're going to do leftovers or if I'm going to cook something. If I need to go to the grocery store it will happen after lunch.

In the afternoon I will get through as much of the third module as I can. Right now it's the plan for tomorrow, we'll see if anything else gets added on.