This weekend I wanted to share a recipe… to be more precise a lemon yogurt cake recipe. This is a simple recipe and is often a “Side Effect” of making raclette cheese (raclette recipe). A very good side effect not like the ones you often have from medicine.
hmm… writing that makes we want to search for “weird side effects”.
Being a person prone to impulses. Here is a small list of weird side effects found while searching for “weird side effects”:
Blue Urine – antidepressant Elavil (amitriptyline) or the common pain reliever Indocin (indomethacin)
Black Urine (how awesome) – antibiotic Flagyl (metronidazole)
Purple Urine – phenolphthalein (laxative…)
Tinting your vision blue or green – Viagra
Priapism (I am not going to explain this one look it up) – antidepressant Desyrel (trazodone).
Amnesia – Mirapax (for restless leg syndrome… which is weird) and Lipitor
Anosmia (loosing sense of smell) – Vasotec (blood pressure medicine)\
That is probably enough… very interesting stuff but nothing to do with my lemon yogurt cake recipe. (I have not had any of these side effects… but I don’t think I would mind the different urine color side effects.)
Again… (I need to repeat myself because I went so far off topic) when I make raclette I have to make yogurt and I often (almost always) make yogurt cake from the left over yogurt.
You don’t need to make the yogurt or the cheese to enjoy this recipe and I promise while the recipe is very simple… you will end up with a very delicious cake.
Step 1: Mix together the eggs, yogurt (plain), and butter. My butter was cold… so it was lumpy in the batter (which means lots of stirring)
Step 2: Grate the lemon zest and then add the freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you are like me you will probably end up putting lemon seeds in by accident. This should probably be avoided.
Step 3: Mix in the rest of the ingredients (sugar, flour, and baking soda). If you have kids let them measure with the yogurt pot.. it is kind of fun… and messy
Step 4: Put batter in a greased pan, mold… or maybe even cup cakes. This cake doesn’t take to “fancy” molds very well… seems to crumb a little… Or I just don’t know what I am doing. I would also recommend small molds the batter seems to cook better.
Step 5: Bake at 350º f for at least 30 minutes. (Until it is baked all the way… poke it with a tooth pick and it should come up dry. The time really depends on the size of the pan it is cooked in).
VOILA… the delicious end result.(trust me) You can also see ones I made in a smaller mold below… (I posted this picture over a year ago in my raclette making post… back then I thought I should share this recipe and it has only taken me a year to do that!)
This week I find myself in Westminster Colorado. I am attending ÜberConf… and no this is not a conference for uber drivers. (although an uber drivers conference would have the most diverse and interesting attendees… just not sure what they would talk about} When I started this blog I stated that I would not talk about work… (Oh the duplicity…). I still will try to omit work details and just show some interestingly weird things from Westminster.
There is going to be a little bit of story telling as well… (sorry)
My family and I are a bit sad that I am gone again. I was sitting at the airport a little down and on a very “tense” conference call when I noticed that the coke I had purchased had my name on the bottle. This made me smile… I took this picture… and then everything seemed much better. Isn’t it strange how little things can make such a difference. (Wonder if it is because I am an incredibly simple guy… or maybe I am just narcissistic)… oh ya… don’t tell my family that I stopped missing them after I saw that my coke had my name.
I arrived early in Westminster and my co-worker suggested that we visit the “Butterfly Pavilion” near the conference hotel. I thought this sounded like an interesting name for a lounge or bar and said sure. It was neither bar, lounge, nor restaurant. It is exactly what it sounds like… a bug place.
One of the first things I saw were domino cockroaches. Probably the only cockroach you could consider cute. (Cute relative to other bugs… not “cuter” than my daughters Gwen and Hanna)
OK… hmm (not sure that I should I write this). In the museum they had a display that allowed you to smell… well… smells. They had tall smell holes and short smell holes connected for some odd reason. When I saw someone use this smelling contraption for the first time I noticed that as they put their nose to the top smell hole… the bottom hole was positioned… well exactly at their… hmm crotch. I initially thought this was some weird thing to allow weirdoos to smell themselves or a way to help you understand dog greetings without offending another person…. but nope…
And they had bees… along with a bee counter. (not to be confused with a bean counter). Most importantly… they had a large butterfly section. It was in a very large net enclosed area with beautiful plants an of course a scary amount of butterflies. There is something incredibly calming when you watch butterflies flittering around… well that is until you step on one. You are not suppose to do that… but it requires much more attention than I initially thought. (It was an accident… promise) I thought I would have awesome butterfly pictures but after taking three or four pictures my phone died… (I immediately regretted wasting batteries on the cockroach, smelling thingy, and bee pictures…) Here are the butterfly pictures I took. (I didn’t take one of the dead butterfly on the walk way… you know… could be used as evidence)
Our mission is to foster and appreciation of invertebrates while educating the public about the importance of conservation of threatened habitats in the tropics and around the world
Butterfly Pavilion Mission:
After this visit I definitely gained a appreciation for invertebrates… even the detritivores… Big word that I learned and I am going to just throw it out here like I know what I am saying. The Butterfly Pavilion was earnestly committed to their mission statement insomuch that if just visiting didn’t foster appreciation…. they offered the chance to eat invertebrates with beer.
I guess you will need several beers before you will be willing to eat some of their “unique, delectable dishes”. (I wonder if they server butterflies… I actually think I could eat one)… They also have an alternative for those who don’t drink alcohol…
“INSECTIVAL”… kind of reminds me of “Festivus”…
OK… enough bug stuff… and a little bit about the conference venue… By the way this conference has a tag line of “no fluff, just stuff”. I am not going to focus on the stuff… I will just share some of the fluff…. I found while being out and around.
The hotel where the conference is being held is fantastic and has some amazing grounds. I have really enjoyed walking around during the breaks… (my fluff time). While walking around I noticed that there are wild rabbits everywhere. I think they should advertise this hotel as a “Rabbit Pavilion”. The pictures below are just a small sample of the rabbits I saw… and no… they are not the same rabbit. (Different sizes, colors and locations)
LOTS of rabbits… I have a great idea I am going to go “sell” to this hotel
I just arrived home after a long flight. I was fortunate (read that with sarcasm) to sit in the same row as two very large men. I was by the window and every time someone would walk down the aisle, or bring the cart down the aisle, the two gentleman would have to squish into the row which crushed me into the side of the airplane. This happened the entire flight… twice while I was asleep… knocking the wind out of me. Luckily the flight was only 11 hours (read that again with sarcasm). I didn’t think that things could get worse but the very large man in the middle seat fell asleep on me. When he finally woke up the left side of me was soaking wet with his sweat. (wow I probably shouldn’t complain… I am sure it could have been a little bit worse… you know like the plane going down and killing us all)
I want to share my last day with all of you. I had hoped to have at least half of a day open to go visit somewhere cool… or even just somewhere other than work and the hotel. Unfortunately I had too much work… or maybe it was not enough time… either way I was not able to go site seeing. (I am going to just share my last day… next time I will make sure I have enough time… maybe even visit Petra)
Here was my last breakfast… yep… desert for breakfast. I am going to have to go on a serious diet to make up for all of the eating I have done this past week. I tried supplementing my meals with a little bit of healthy options. (Enough to take away the guilt… ) I fell in love with the pears in the picture below. I have no idea what kind of pear they are but they are “mini” sized. I was able to eat one of these and not ruin my appetite for the real food… you know cheese cakes, fruit tartes, Belgium waffles and of course halva.
After my breakfast feast I went on my last morning walk. Here are some picture from that walk.
This fish was on the walk way… being guarded by a cat. I pulled out my camera and the cat ran off and hid. I have never seen a camera shy cat before… imagine… scared enough to leave behind this prize (still got his picture of it… see below)
I didn’t have much time for this walk otherwise I would have sat on this toilet… pretending to go…you know… just to watch other people’s reactions. (Next time I really need to plan to have more time for the important things like toilet pranks)
In Israel Sunday is the beginning day for work and Thursday is Israel’s “Friday”. In our office Thursday you can count on two large challah loafs on every floor. I am going to have to find a recipe for this brioche like bread… (am still working on my halva recipe… looking for help if you know how to make halva… please leave a comment)
When I visit other countries I love visiting the grocery stores. It is always fun to see what is the same and what is different. Plus it is free to visit unlike a lot of monuments and museums… you just have to put yourself in a “zoo visiting” state of mind. Especially when looking at the people. People watching is fantastic at the store since people are most like themselves while shopping. (you know… seeing them in their natural habitat… just don’t try to feed them… ). I love seeing everything written in Hebrew… I am still struggling to learn Hebrew and my mind keeps changing the Hebrew characters into English ones. I didn’t realize that the store’s logo was English and Hebrew. I thought it read “stop! Open”. I noticed that the second word was not English on the last day.
Speaking of Hebrew… “Shin” is the first letter I learned… and it’s sound is “sh”. (This was also the first letter in a word I learned during a meeting שתוק … “shutup”) I remember this letter because you see it alone everywhere. Many of you know what you are looking at… but I had no clue until I asked. This was on my hotel door and you will find these little tubes with this letter on many doors. (Every door at my office has one). I learned that these are called mezuzah and have a small prayer written inside.
Not all of the stores have Hebrew words… like this store… “Gentleman It’s a Man’s World”…. what a long name for a store. When I entered I was glad I had a beard… you know proving my manliness. I wonder if they let women shop there?
And then there are places with no English… (other than a coke advertisement). This is where I had lunch on my last day. I went with co-workers and they wanted to eat hummus. I thought I didn’t like hummus, since I had only eaten the hummus you buy in the store… plus in my ignorance I thought hummus was just a chip dip. They offered to go somewhere else but I wanted to see how you could make a meal out of this adult baby food.
I practiced the name of what I wanted… which meant everything… and ordered it here. (picture above and darn it… I have already forgotten how to say the name). Watching this gentleman prepare my dish was like watching an artist. He painted on tahini and hummus, plopped in onions, parsley, and courser ground chickpeas (not quit hummus), and swirled in sauces and oils. I caught him before he plunged the egg… not sure I wanted hard boiled egg mixed with all of that stuff. He signed the work of art with red spices… not sure what kind of spice but I imagine paprika.
Here is my lunch and I was not sure how I was going to eat this… But it was fantastic. I was completely wrong about hummus and it is definitely “meal worthy”. I think I only got about half of the bowl eaten. I mentioned not being able to do any site seeing but this lunch on its own was an interesting view of this regions culture. I think we often forget that a meal can be an exotic vacation alone in itself… plus the food doesn’t mind when you stare or take pictures.
The day quickly ended and I had a plane to catch… but had three hours to waste and I spent it on the beach.
I got to spend the last night on the beach with a sunset… so romantic… made me really miss Isabelle. (I am not sure I should say it was romantic without her… don’t want her to get any ideas.)
I am going to post some pictures with possibly boring words talking about and showing where I work while in Israel. This post is “self/life logging” at its worse…
Don’t hate….this is acting as my personal journal and I wanted to “remember” where I spent the majority of my time while in Israel. Above is my work’s office building located in the city of Ra’anana (it has taken me three visits here before I learned how to say the city’s name)
This is going to make me sound dumb but the first thing I had to learn in this office, to fit in, was how to operate the elevator. Yes… I know how to push buttons and the numbers are in English… but it is different. The picture below is the outside of the elevator. They are “too cool” to have just an up arrow and a down arrow… they have an LED screen and a key pad.
In the elevator you have only five buttons… one to close the door, one to open the door, one to sound an alarm… and well two others that I have no clue what they do. (see picture below)… Of course I had to push the other buttons several times and those two “dot” buttons did nothing.
On the outside of the elevator on the keypad you punch in the floor. That sounds simple… but here is the tricky part… there are 4 elevators marked A, B, C, and D. You have to watch the screen after you type in the floor and it will tell you what elevator (one of the four letters) will be going to that floor.
You can’t just get in the first elevator that opens the door… ummm like I did. It may not be going where you need to go and once you are in the elevator there is nothing you can do… you are at its mercy. I have no idea how the seeing impaired use these elevators. While the outside keypad has braille, the letter that shows up on the screen is not voiced… nor touchable… how would they know which elevator to go into? (see I am sensitive and think about accessibility…and yes… I am trying to make up for the previous blog’s “cripple beach” comment)
The building has great flower beds, lily ponds, and even a roof top garden. If it wasn’t so miserably hot and muggy I would have sat in the gardens during lunch. I am not sure that I like the heat and humidity here… but the views are fantastic. (Most of them I enjoyed from inside the air conditioned building.)
Very beautiful work environment at least when I am not “working”. When I am working I am often “parked” in a bomb shelter that moonlights as a conference room. I have to admit it kind of makes me think about where I actually am and my safety. I have never felt unsafe while in Israel but I have also not had to work in a bomb shelter. I keep thinking that there must be a reason for these. I am not sure I want to experience that reason…. hmmm if you think about it what a scary place… (with bad cell phone reception). As a side note… These bomb shelters are on each floor and they have hatches in the far corners that lead either up to the shelter above or down to the shelter below.
My co-workers are fantastic… love to argue but brilliant. The company is great and they are kind enough to give me a card that allows me to have “free lunch”… Everyone in the office enjoys complaining about the food but I found the cafeteria to be better than average(that is better than average for a cafeteria). It is kind of fun not knowing exactly what you are eating half of the time.
I hope you have enjoyed a small peak into my work day. Again I really appreciate you taking the time to read my words. As a reward I will leave you with this picture of a blue cow in front of the cafeteria.
I just arrived in Israel (yes I am here again… feel like I just left). I am back for work and everything about this trip is starting to feel familiar. I am staying at the same hotel, Herods in Herzliya, and in fact they put me in the exact same room… I am not going to tell you the room number you will just have to believe me. (You can see the hotel above in a photo I took this morning… and you can see my room in the photo below)
I know… the hotel and hotel room pictures are boring. One of the things about travelling to the same place frequently is that all of the newness goes away. I worry about sharing pictures of this trip with all of you because I have already shared so much. What I hope is that even if you are familiar with my posts and especially the posts from Israel I will still be able to offer something interesting, surprising, and hopefully weird. Often places that are very familiar can become “new and exciting” again if you just pay enough attention and try to truly see things. (Our minds tend to tune out so much… especially when we are familiar with the place)
A colleague and I arrived in Israel very late last night… darn flight delays. (six hours delay in New York) I didn’t feel like eating but he was “snack” hungry. (“Snack hungry” is a new term he taught me) We stopped by a “familiar” place McDonald’s. This seems to be very familiar even in Israel.
We realized that we were not exactly “home” when we tried to read the menu and noticed that everything was in Hebrew. We were both taken aback by the strange combination of familiar icons and food images along side very unfamiliar letters. My co-worker stated “you can’t even try to sound out the words”.
This was kind of interesting… Then… we looked closer…
It is not often you see a person in line before you with a live boa wrapped around his neck. Notice the counter worker looking around to see if the snake was real. I am not sure I would have looked or remained so calm. We decided to wait back a bit until this young man left with his order… (wonder if he shared his food with his pet snake and if he did… is McDonald’s food safe for snakes?).
Today (this morning) I went for a small walk around familiar places including the beach on the north side of my hotel (Acadia)… really a fantastic beach. A coworker from here said it is a “how you say it…. a cripple beach”. I looked around the entrance to see if I could find a sign stating the beach’s accessibility in the same way as my co-worker… but no luck. I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I am sure this is one of those things lost in translation and I think what she meant was that it is handicap accessible.
I followed up my walk with the now “familiar” and always “fantastic” breakfast… and yes I am going to share again pictures of the wonderful breakfast my hotel offers.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! I will try to post something new and interesting from this trip later this week!
I just re-read that sentence and two things came to mind. First dye and die are awfully close… thank goodness I was not talking about death. Second.. several years ago I would have never guessed I would be fascinated with dyeing wool. This dye fascination (almost fetish) began with one of my first posts on this blog. (see Weekend with the Cochineals) Not only did I find a real joy in crushing beetles I was completely enamored with the wonderful resulting color.
This weekend I revisited two natural dye techniques I had previously tried. I dyed with black beans and red cabbage. In the picture above you can see the color you get when dyeing white wool. This time I decided to try dyeing another color of wool. Instead of starting with white wool I am using gray.
I have read and been warned that natural dye especially red cabbage is not ideal. The color will fade away etc… While all of this is probably true I really don’t care. (Umm don’t read that wrong. I like it when people offer advice. I just like the process more than I care about the end result)
The first step is getting the wool ready to accept the dye. This time I spun it into a single ply yarn than I “mordanted” the wool… yes I know that is probably not a word. Mordanting helps the wool absorb the color. I will quote myself from the first dyeing post instead of writing it out the instructions again. (I know I am being a bit lazy… but I followed the same process)
Mordanting the wool (from the french word mordant… My wife is french but I don’t find here “biting” or caustic… ). This step helps the wool absorb the dye as well as changes the end color… all depending upon what is added. I presoaked the wool (150 grams) for an hour than dissolved 12 grams of Alum and 10 grams of Tartaric Acid in 2 gallons of distilled water (mixed marriages do have their consequences… gallons mixed with grams… sorry). Added the wool (wet) and simmered at 93º F. for an hour. I than removed the wool and let sit overnight to dry.
My first dyeing experience has not yet been replace with a better experience. I loved the resulting color and the idea that it came from a “bug”.
Let me come back to this weekend… (jesh… need to stop living in the past)
Black Bean Instructions:
Black bean dye gives a nice gray blue color when dying white wool. It is also a very easy technique. I added water to dry black beans (2 gallons of distilled water for one large sack of beans) . I don’t believe you can do this with canned beans… in fact I bet that would make a huge mess. (Maybe I will try it) I let this sit 24 hours then removed the beans… (I made refried beans by cooking the beans then adding bacon, onions, and garlic and frying… no wasted food for this dye)
I warmed up the bean water to about 140 and added the yarn. I let this soak for several hours. The first time I let the yarn soak until I got the color I wanted… below is an example of the white wool color.
I really like the blue color from black beans… but the gray wool didn’t take the blue in the same way. I left it in the dye for about 3 hours and It actually turned to a “blackish” color… who would guess black beans making something black.
Later in the post I will show the yarn made from the combination of both but in the above picture you can see how dark the gray became. (I wont lie… I was a bit disappointed)
Red Cabbage Instructions:
Red cabbage is much more fun to play with and you have your choice of colors by changing the acidity of the water.
You cut up the cabbage place it in water and bring it to a boil. The water will be a dark purple… this is the starting color. I recommend doing this with your children or curious spouse (if they are curious… this kind of stresses Isabelle since she knows I can’t help making a mess). You should remove the cabbage if you do not want to waste it. I didn’t think about this until Ben (my 7 year old) asked me what smelt so good…. (weird kid… who thinks cabbage smells good). With cabbage acid takes it to the red hues and base takes it to the blue/green hues. I wanted blue/green so I added baking soda to the water.
I gradually added the backing soda and you can see the blue starting to happen. (I don’t have exact amounts… just play with this). I love the purple blue color. It would make a really interesting yarn if you plied the two colors together… similar color to these cabbage leaves in the above picture.
UMM… Sorry Ben… (who still wanted to eat the cabbage) this is what the cabbage looked like when it was finished cooking in the baking soda water. I didn’t taste it nor did I allow Ben to try the cabbage… although I was kind of tempted. Next time I will take the cabbage out first and will not waste it.
I added the yarn to the cabbage water and let it simmer for two hours (not to hot). The color came to a gray-forest green color. I was not sure that I like this color either. Two fails… hmm… leaves me with only one option… combine the two by plying both colors together. This way it is only one fail or maybe two negatives will make a positive.
Here is the result…kind of a green gray. I am not sure that you can see the color well in the pictures… let me know what you think.
Quick Update (7/4)
I began a new scarf. with this yarn.. (the only thing I know how to knit… need to learn how to knit a sweater… next goal) I think you can see the color better when it is knitted.
I am late writing this… and I almost decided to skip this week. BUT…. I decided that I had best keep with my blogging goal (at least once a week) and write about my weekend family hike…
Before I begin… I just realized how fortunate for all of you who are still reading this that I didn’t just lay around in bed all weekend and watch TV… that would have made for a really boring post. Warning this might not be any better than that…
Isabelle has taken upon herself to ensure that the family becomes “active”. She purchased a year pass to all of the state parks and being extremely “frugal” she is going to make sure that we get our value. This weekend we hiked the Deer Creek trail starting from Soldier Hollow. ( this is the place of the 2002 winter Olympics and right next to my childhood home)
I do not believe this trail existed when I was a kid. I remember just walking the railroad tracks. At the beginning of the trail you can see a big rock. If you look closely you will see the profile of a face.
When I was a kid I remember the first time I hiked up to this rock. I was with a friend named John and he insisted that I sit in the “eye”. Once I did he explained to me that this was a “cursed” rock. If anyone sat in the eye… they would haunted by the spirit of a Indian warrior. I laughed when he said it but inside I was really freaked out. In fact if you add up all of the nights I woke up with nightmares of arrows being shot at me by this ghost I think I lost at least a weeks worth of sleep. John liked to scare me. I liked John… but just not that part of him. He was also the one that introduced me to the Ouija board with all of the related scary stories. Not cool now that I think about it… and well I might be just as bad because I wanted to have my kids sit in the eye and tell the same story.
When going on a hike it is important to heed all state park signs. This one told us that we couldn’t have motor vehicles. We also have to leave our pet dogs or our pet cows in the car… or maybe even home. Yep this is a “cow free” trail… (Cows are always unfairly excluded) The sign included a warning for snakes with a picture of a rattle snake. I told the boys (Gwen didn’t come) that I was big enough to not to have to worry about the bite being fatal… but they would probably die within minutes. (You can never be too careful). The boys laughed off my warning… little did they know what lied just up the trail.
YES… The first “wild” thing we saw was a snake! and as far as the boys were concerned this was a “baby rattler”. Not sure why they thought this other than they didn’t know what a gopher snake looked like and I happened to mention that it looked like a rattle snake. (Didn’t lie… it kind of looks like a rattle snake… without the rattle)
I mentioned that I used to catch lizards here and the boys asked if they could catch and keep one. I said sure. (Isabelle gave me the “look”) With this as a new goal, the boys began showing real enthusiasm for the hike. Lizards are pretty hard to catch and with my eyes they are now even more difficult to see. Can you see the lizard in the picture above?
Here is a close up… can you see it now? Fortunately for me the boys chased many but were not able to catch one. (Lizards stink and Isabelle would have been very angry with me for letting them believe they could keep one)
While the boys enjoyed the lizard hunting… (Next week we are bringing our blow guns) Isabelle and I enjoyed the view and the flowers. Here are some of those pictures.
We hiked 4 miles round trip and the boys actually were making plans for the next weekend hike. Isabelle and I were very happy that the children got out and spent some time away from all of their “screens”. Both Ben and Sam at least were able to touch a lizard… Isabelle said next hike we are going to bring hand sanitizer… and I re-lived some very dear childhood memories. I use to “skinny dip” on this side of the lake.
Here is the end of the trail and the end of this post. Before I finish I wanted to share a video. Ben and Isabelle went to a wedding reception later that evening and Ben proclaimed that he was the “KING OF DANCE”. I hope you enjoy some of his “moves”.