the end

For the holidays
You can't beat home, sweet home!  But
From here?  Who can know?

It's all settled.  My graduation is done; I had a million cords dangling off my robe, hoping to trip me.  Projects and finals are finished, grades are in.  The CERN thing is formalized (assuming I can get a Swiss visa in time... eek).  I even did my sprint to the end: across all five terminals of O'Hare to catch a flight that I missed, anyway.

Now comes, I hope, a chance to relax and enjoy not doing anything for a little while.  Well, unless you count my grad party or extended family Christmas or visit from my German friends or packing as "anything."  It seems there really is no rest for the wicked.

Since I guess I've missed a fair amount of time between posts here, there are a few things I want to share, first is recipes!

Lentil Loaf (taken from My Vegan Cookbook) :
    Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 1 6oz Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • Lentil Loaf
  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Topping Mixture
  • 3 Tablespoons Plain Yellow Corn Meal
  • 3/4 Cup Cooked & Drained Lentils
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Mustard

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix the tomato topping mixture together first because you will need a tablespoon to mix into the lentil loaf. The rest will be set aside to coat the loaf when completed.

Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a skillet on medium heat, add chopped onions, red and green bell pepper and let cook until onions are transparent (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.

In a food processor chop oats for 5 quick pulses.

Drain tofu well and press with hands until all excess water comes out. In a mixing bowl mash tofu with a fork or use grater to coarsely grate.

In the same mixing bowl combine, cooked onions and peppers, 1 tablespoon of tomato mixture, oats, corn meal, lentils, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon olive oil, thyme, cumin, chili powder, parsley, garlic and onion salt, dried mustard and mix until well combined.

Spray a large sheet of tin foil with cooking spray to form loaf on, place on cookie sheet. On top and in the middle of tin foil form loaf mixture into loaf that is 2 1/2 inches tall and 4 1/2 inches square. Coat top and sides with tomato mixture (you will probably have some left over to spoon on later).

Cook loaf for 20 minutes, then cover with tin foil and cook for another 10 minutes. After cooking let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Red Lentil Stew (modified from 101 Cookbooks) :

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons red-pepper flakes
6 cups good-tasting vegetable stock (or water)
2 1/2 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice
1 tsp curry powder
as much fine grain sea salt as you need

In a big soup pot, over medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Let them brown, and caramelize a bit, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the broth, bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and rice. Also add any delicious spices you feel like (but mainly the ones that are mentioned in the list). Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is very tender, and not at all toothsome. By this time, the lentils will have collapsed into a thick slop of sorts. If you need to add more water/broth at any point do so a splash at a time, until the soup thins out to the point you prefer.

Eggplant chips (invented on the spot) :


  • 4-ish Japanese (long) eggplant, sliced into thin disks
  • enough oil to fry them in
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (creamy is better)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • vigour
Whilst frying the eggplant slices (they should be really shrinky and crispy when you're done), combine all the rest of the stuff in a bowl with a fork.  The peanut butter is hard to combine, but super worth it.  After the eggplant is sufficiently fried, which is around 10 minutes (if I recall correctly), just put them on a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil before dousing them in sauce.  Yum!

Stuffed portobellos (also made up) :

  • 5 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb whole barley
  • 3 figs
  • some brandy
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 lb walnuts, chopped
  • 300g feta cheese
  • some olive oil
  • some parsley
  • seasonings you think are interesting
See, this is why I don't write recipes.  Anyway, do the boiling thing with the barley until it's nice and mushy.  Then mix the barley, onion, and walnuts together.  Crumble in the feta, shred in the parsley, and drizzle on some olive oil (not too much or it'll be greasy and gross).  Pull out the stems of the portobellos and lump this stuff on top, as high as you like.  Bake these delicious dudes in the oven at 425 for 17-ish minutes.  While that's happening, heat the brandy in a skillet over medium heat, slice the figs into 5 pieces each, then throw them in and light that stuff on fire.  I've never made a flambé before, but it's pretty great fun.  When the mushrooms are done, put the figs on top and make them pretty.

Okay, I think that covers it for recipes.  What have I been doing?

  • Throwing computers off parking garages (and giving lessons about what's inside)
  • Learning how to skid on a fixed gear bike
  • Nerfing my friends with tacky-ass nerf guns
  • Making gingerbread teepees and trucks
  • Hanging out
  • Watching Doctor Who
  • Finishing Silent Hill
  • Playing Metal Gear Solid
  • Shopping for pots
  • Gearing up for Switzerland (and I do need gear!)
  • Wearing silly earmuffs and hats
  • Christmasing
  • Practising dive rolls
  • Movie-ing
  • Re-learning chess strategies
  • Playing a bit of piano (only a bit... urgh)
....maybe that's all.  I'm sure there're things that have been left out.  Oh, I've been trying to think of a name for my new blog (for when I go to Switzerland I need one with a new name!).  Any ideas?  I'm thinking about "Swiss ABCs", where A = Alps, B = Black holes, and C = cheese, clocks, or chocolate.  Hrm.  But nothing's really springing to mind....

Addition: "Cerntainly" has been suggested.  I kinda like that.

Agh!  Things are so close!

Happy holidays, all!  And possibly happy new year, too, if I don't get off my bum and write this stuff more often.  <3