Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five small reflections on my week

These could have five small blog posts, but I kept procrastinating. And so you get them all at once.

We took the KitchenAid mixer to the repair guy today. We pulled up to a 1950s-or-earlier house, and went up to the little door under the carport. And I mean "little": it was probably only about five feet tall and we had to crouch to get into the shop; the door had a laminated sign, stuck on with thumbtacks. We were greeted by a grey-haired man and ushered into a low-ceilinged shop full of tools and little boxes with hand-written labels that said things like "ball bearings". The repair man (who calls himself "Tom," but is called "Tommy" by everyone I've met) was straightforward and helpful, and said that he'd phone first if it turned out to be an expensive part that needed replacing.

As we walked to the car, Chris said, "He was the friendliest of the hobbits." And then said that he would love to have a shop like that (albeit with higher ceilings).

I went to a Christian-graduate-student small group this week, and there I met a fellow PhD student from my department, whom I'd never met before. And he's in his second year. Everyone was all, "Oh well of course you both probably know each other, considering the fact that you share an office..." I've heard his name before, and he knows a few of my friends, but I've somehow gone for a year and a half without meeting one of our PhDs. I should probably show up on campus a little more often.

(It was really funny, because we were all talking about how easy it is to become completely isolated on campus, and how most of us have only met people in our own department since we've moved here. But apparently I haven't even met everyone who shares my office!)

I find myself fascinated by the Microsoft OneNote website, and all the information about the newest version of Office being released this year. I seriously love that program; I spend more time using it than I do Word, because it works as if I had a stack of notebooks for my research and my comps reading notes, but also all my recipes and notes-to-self, but searchable and not a complete mess (as my life was when I was relying on physical notebooks).

I find it strange that I am rhapsodizing about a Microsoft product, while all my friends and family seem to be going full-out Apple. (I was amused when I found a Lifehacker review saying the same thing, but in more detail.)

I went a little overboard on the "but if we buy four it's cheaper!" school of grocery shopping today. Does anyone have a good recipe that calls for chickpeas? (Other than hummus? I already have a good one of those.) I find myself with five cans of chickpeas. And so very many cans of whole tomatoes.

I went to a talk given by a huge name in my field (seriously: he changed everything). It's nice to find out that someone who is your hero is also a nice person. (I also found out from a friend that another Big Name has a "prickly" personality, and this I find funny.)

It was also good to take off the "Writing My Dissertation" cardigan and put on my "Going to a Conference" blazer, and think of myself as a little bit ambitious for a while. (And stop mentally putting the word "just" in front of my description of my research.)


Teacher Lady said...

I have made chickpea soup before. You could also use them to make a veggie burrito.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Those are both excellent ideas. I think veggie burritos will be the first I'll attempt, because we have everything else for tacos on hand right now.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

When I make veggie chili, I always have chickpeas in the pot -- they give an illusion of meat.. Since you also have tomatoes, all you need are some chili beans, a few other misc. veggies, some v-8 and spices... I guess that's a lot :).

Keri said...


1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. chopped onion
3 c. cooked chickpeas (or 2x 15 oz. cans of chickpease, drained and rinsed)
1 c. water
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon (approx. 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over high heat and then cook union until some of the pieces begin to turn brown (about 4-5 min.), stirring a few times. Add chickpeas and water, season with salt & pepper, then cook for 5 min.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and flour until well-blended and smooth. Whisk several tablespoons of the hot liquid from the chickpeas into the lemon-flour mixture until well blended. Pour into chick peas, reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature; good over rice, quinoa or couscous.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Fantastic ideas! I told Chris that you guys are sending me chickpea recipes, and his response was, "You're not making hummus?"

Yes, honey. I'm making hummus. Just not five times in the next couple of weeks.

C said...

falafels are the best thing to make with chickpeas. make this in a chopper, just like hummus.
1. chop up your chickpeas, one onion, 3 cloves garlic, and a big handful of fresh parsley.
2. mix in 3 tablespoons of flour, and optional pinch of red pepper flakes or something hot, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander.
3. let rest for an hour or so.
4. make balls of the dough about the size you would for cookies.
5. fry in a frying pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom, like 2 tablespoons, flatten the balls when you put them on the frying pan. traditionally they are deep fried, you could do that also, but I find it too scary and stressful. if you do, leave them ball shaped.
6. sometimes I add grated zucchini and/or carrots to the dough as well
7. serve inside a pita with tzatziki and vegetables (salad greens, fresh tomato slices, cucumber slices, and pickle are traditional. especially the pickle)

C said...

also, this stuff keeps well (well as long as humus does) so you can either keep the dough and only fry up bits at a time, or fry up the entire batch and take the leftovers for lunch in the pitas for the rest of the week.

oh, i forgot, in the serving directions, depending on the size of the falafels and the size of the pitas, you can probably get 2 or 3 in each pita, or each half of a pita. get the pocket kind.

prairie nymph said...

my favourite, from the orphanage, is chick peas fried or baked with olive oil, (i think they used coconut oil which is even better and goes further) a little salt, and a little curry powder/chilli powder
serve it to Chris with chili sauce and you with parmesan cheese