Week 09 – Ducks vs. Gauchos

#59 Son of Laughter

28 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

“He makes us promises about life. I do not know what he promises to the dead if he promises anything… He speaks to us sometimes in dreams that are like torches to light our way through the dark. He gives us daughters and sons so our seed may live after us and the promises he has made us may be kept to the world’s luck and blessing. Perhaps that is enough.”

–Frederick Buechner

I’ve always wanted to read something by Buechner, and Chris helped make that happen by letting me borrow Son of Laughter. It took me a while to open up this book, but once I did it was a smooth and fast read, but also one rich with story. It’s a reimagining of the Genesis story of the Hebrew patriarchs, mostly told through Jacob’s perspective. It’s one that demystifies and humanizes its storytellers far more than how they are usually depicted.

Good read! Now to spend the rest of my Sunday hanging out with Deanna and the other end of the storytelling spectrum by watching some of that Full House revamp.

#60 Workspace: The Beanery

29 February 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Here’s something worth celebrating… This week I finish up the results chapter of my thesis! It’s not a total finish line, I still need to enter in some pictures and format everything, but I just finished typing 90 something pages worth of stuff, so I’ll cheers to that.

But just a cheers with an espresso, because I haven’t shown any of this to my advisor as of yet so we can’t celebrate too much too soon.

I’ve been turning all of Eugene’s coffee shops into my workspaces lately. If the Beanery had somewhere you could park for more than two hours it would be much higher on my list. I love the look and light on the inside of this converted train station.

#61 Black Bread

01 March 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

More catching up on my cooking project! This was indeed a good week for catching up, as the rye bread was second among a few items I had the time to prepare. Rye bread, especially this recipe ends up being way heavier and richer-tasting in comparison to something like the baguette I made for week one. It’s still fairly dreary and wintery out in the Pacific Northwest, so this made for a perfect dinner companion.

This attempt didn’t quite turn out like I hoped. It was an ambitious bread, but I underestimated a flour ration, which led to this bread not rising quite like I would’ve liked. I thought it kind of looked like a giant molasses cookie.

But, despite the visual flaw, it was still a very rich and hearty loaf, and I’m quite pleased with the taste that resulted. I guess that’s the more important part, huh? Among the many things that went into this dough were sea salt, cocoa powder, home roasted espresso grounds, caraway seeds, and molasses.

#62 Long Trail Runs

02 March 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Today was the day I was supposed to tie the longest distance I’ve ever ran– five miles. And I did it… sort of. The trail by the Bonneville power lines I found unexpectedly led me up a mountain during mile two, which I thought would level out, but it never really did. Getting back down went even slower, since there were a number of tree fells in my way. The plan was to run without stopping, but that was hard to do when I needed to climb trees at some points. Mile two took over seventeen minutes and tired me out for the rest of the run more than I would’ve hoped, but I did make it to five at the end.

Thankfully, I’ve discovered a lot of new podcasts lately to go through while running.

NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour – This is the podcast that’s led to me developing an interest some of my favorite pop culture interests in the past few months. After all, they’ve had wonderful things to say about Jane the Virgin and the Hamilton Musical.

The Splendid Table – Along with Gastropod, this has become my new favorite food related podcast. They do a little Q&A and some interviews with a few of my favorite chefs and food writers, recently including Yotam Ottolenghi and J. Lopez Kenji-Alt.

Sounds Good with Branden Harvey – This is a new one. Apparently Branden is a social media star, but he’s also really good at finding pretty interesting people to interview.

#63 Three Whiskey Recipes

03 March 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Hope you’ve had a pleasant weekend… relaxing or otherwise.

The year-long cooking project I’ve been taking on also calls for learning a little mixology, and that’s a good skill to have. My first mixed-drink challenge was to come up with three using whiskey, a tricky cocktail base to use since you don’t want to overpower the subtleties found in good whiskey.

I highly recommend the cocktail episode of Good Eats… that was what I used as my base of information with this project, and I followed the directions to a tee to make a mint julep. Alton Brown puts together the coolest little tutorial using music chords and triads as an analogy to the anatomy of a cocktail.

I also made a South African inspired beverage and a whiskey sour on recent evenings. The julep remains my personal favorite, though.

#64 Workspace: Cozmic

04 March 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Cozmic… an eccentric little hangout in Downtown Eugene that brands itself at 50/50 coffee shop and pizza joint.

It’s also a pretty happenin’ music venue. Sir Mix-a-lot played here a few months ago, and I’ve seen a couple of solid live shows here.

This visit was a bit different, though. Work related. I finished the first draft of my thesis.

#65 Flat White

05 March 2016 // Eugene, Oregon

Spent another couple of days doing work with the espresso maker… Decided I wanted to try out some of my usual orders when I go to a coffee shop.

Flat whites are Australian in origin but I first discovered the flat white when I was in South Africa the first time around, as it’s a favorite drink in the country’s burgeoning coffee culture, especially around Cape Town. It seemed like one of the most frequently ordered beverages. They’ve gotten way more popular in the US in the past couple years thanks to Starbucks.

What’s the big deal with the milk foam and does this stuff really matter? In the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t, but if you want to have coffee snob discussions, sure! The idea that steaming milk to a lower temperature compared to lattes or cappuccinos retains more fats and proteins that give milk a slightly sweet flavor. This sweetness is intended to blend well with the flavor of the cappuccino.