Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The little Delights of life

Recently, I arrived home from a classical concert, completely fatigued after being away from home most of the day. I had arrived at Heidelberg University (where I study the piano and have a few informal classes) at ten in the morning for a music theory class, and was there for six hours, with very little break in events.

After such a day, I would generally have collapsed on an overstuffed chair, pulled out my latest piece of literature, and shifted my brain into neutral. Instead, I found myself pulling out our recipes. There’s something relaxing about creative activity. I rediscovered a recipe for carrot-pineapple cake, and deciding that it was abnormal enough to interest me, I made one:

The recipe:

Carrot-Pineapple Cake

2 ¼ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 ½ cups finely shredded carrot
¾ cup crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Mix dry ingredients. Mix remaining ingredients and add, mixing on low speed. Place evenly in two 9” round cake pans, greased and lightly floured. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely and apply cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ½ tablespoons butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sifted confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

In medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until light. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. If necessary, add a small amount of milk to make of spreading consistency.

This is how my cake looked the next day:

Other assorted things of life:

Bonnie’s purple flowers that dried and are now immortal, arranged in a Japanese vase:

The book of medieval castles my brother bought in Seattle:

Some excellent Hillary Hahn cds I’ve been listening to recently:

The Italian cookbook Phillip bought for me. I have yet to try the recipes therein:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

culinary experiment...without pictures.

Because I have several vegetarian friends, I've been trying out some meatless dishes. I found this recipe online. I was skeptical at first, but it ended up turning out better than our regular chilli recipe. I added a few things and subtracted some others, resulting in this recipe. It is spicy (but not overpowering) and colorful, with an attractive variety of ingredients. The Cheyenne pepper (one of my additions) gives it an excellent flavor, and a hint of hotness.

Vegetarian Chilli

-1 tablespoon vegetable oil
-1 cup chopped onion
-3/4 cup chopped carrot
-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
-1 cup chopped green bell pepper
-1 cup chopped red bell pepper
-3/4 cup chopped celery
-3/4 tablespoon chilli powder
-1 (5 ounce) can mushrooms
-28 ounces canned tomato, diced
-1 (19 ounce) can red kidney beans (with liquid)
-11 ounces corn
-1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
-1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
-1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
-1/4 teaspoon Cheyenne red pepper

1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, garlic, green pepper, red pepper, and celery. Season with salt, black pepper, and Cheyenne pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in the mushrooms and cook about four minutes. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, and corn. Add the cumin, oregano, and basil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer at least twenty minutes, stirring frequently.

Friday, April 10, 2009


“No, not my visit to Seattle,” I say with regret. My brothers, Phillip and Richard. They recently visited my oldest sister, who lives there. They rode horses, bought antique Shakespeare books, visited an incredible Chinese teashop, and other things of which I am vastly envious. I’m hoping my parents will let me go with them next time.

However, Phillip did pick up a gift for me. (He and my sister split the price.) It is this lovely journal:

And the best part is the secret pocket, as pictured:

P.S. The culinary experiment is coming, but I realized that I don’t really have pictures. So, my culinary experiment, featuring a recipe and no pictures. I’m guessing nobody will try my recipe, because hey, who tries a recipe without a delectable picture? I certainly don’t.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Entertaining Times At Heidelberg

Most of you (or at least, those of you who know me) are aware that I spend an excessive amount of time at Heidelberg, a local liberal arts university. With piano, orchestra, studio class, orchestra sectionals, theory class, and the concerts I attend frquently, I end up being there almost every day.

Today, I went for theory class at 10 AM, and had a piano lesson at 2 PM. My mom was going to be gone for the day, so she asked if I would be able to occupy myself there for three extra hours. Not wishing to inconvenience her, I agreed. I'm rather glad I did agree. To describe briefly the events of my stay:

-I practiced piano for almost two hours
-I ate sesame-honey almonds. They look weird, but I could eat an entire bag of them in one sitting. I also drank Earl Grey tea (cold).
-I played candy-land with Joe, one of my awesome studio class friends. It's actually his own version of candy-land, which includes hand-drawn pictures, Mario mushrooms, and squirrels you can collect. Yeah, Joe's pretty uniquely cool.