Archive for October, 2014

Recipe: Strange Squash and Additions

Friday, October 17th, 2014

This one of the odder meals that started one way and ended up another.

It was quick and very much used ingredients at hand.

I had baked what I thought might be a pumpkin, with another renegade squash that was totally alien. When they were done, the small alien was okay and the pumpkin was much meatier and tastier than a typical pumpkin.

I was tired, and ready for dinner and was craving pasta. But no tomato sauce on hand. So I started with a bit of the squash, and began to doctor it thinking to put it on pasta. Half way through I though Quinoa might be better and almost as quick, so I shifted intent.

To the cup or so of combined squash I added grated carrots, cashews, and then spiced it with generous amounts of nutmeg cinnamon and cloves. I added a tiny bit of olive oil, and then maple syrup. A little salt as well. And then a bit more maple syrup. This was blended with a stick blender although it was still lumpy. I think the cashews are are important part of making this a great tasting “sauce”. And they are good lumps.

Served over the cooked quinoa it tastes like an in season fall meal treat. And tomorrow I’ll make pumpkin pie from the rest of the squash.

Crosswalks and Pedestrian Safety

Monday, October 6th, 2014

There is a joke I first heard on Car Talk about a woman asking that the “Deer Crossing” signs be moved to places safer for cars to see them and to stop. I think Ann Arbor’s difficulties with crosswalks is similarly confused. And also provides a very good and real metaphor for considering pedestrian safety.

Volvo has come out with a car that has pedestrian airbags. Europe is far ahead of the US in looking at bumper design, pedestrian detection systems, and other design changes that can protect pedestrians. This is an approach to an increase percentage of pedestrian deaths that has a chance to make a real difference.

Laws and ordinances and better rules and even outrage doesn’t seem to change pedestrian behavior. Better access to safe crosswalks probably will, I don’t know many pedestrians who will walk a block out of their way to get to a safer crosswalk. And when the distance is 1/2 mile or more it is even less likely. Well engineered crosswalks help, great signage, scaring people with enforcement. But the most concerning thing is how to get people to pay better attention and be aware.

The metaphor is that pedestrians are like deer. You can’t really control their behavior, if you have a well behaved bunch there will still be those who are darting out into the roadway who are hidden form few until the last minute, who are a bit wilder. An experienced driver will see a deer and expect erratic movement. A good driver will see the glint of a deers eyes in teir headlights and SLOW DOWN.

Anytime we see a pedestrian, any time there are people near the roadway, any time someone seems to be approaching a crosswalk a driver has to SLOW DOWN and consider the many unexpected ways that pedestrian might move.

Hitting a deer is a serious accident. There is usually property damage, and drivers and passengers can also be seriously injured. Hitting a pedestrian is far more likely to cause injury and death. And with every bit of increase in speed, the injuries also increase.

As we have more pedestrians around, driver awareness and caution increases. I know when I drive on campus I always anticipate very erratic behavior by students. I watch for it. I’m more cautious around schools with young kids. I see a kid with a ball near the road and I’m even more concerned and slow down.

We can design and then move all the crosswalks so it is the best possible fit for drivers and pedestrians. We can carefully instruct people on how to be safe. But the best design also assumes human error, and also human nature. Which isn’t – in the end – a whole lot different than wandering deer.

Salsa Verde – A Recipe Very Worth Sharing

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

This salsa made my cells dance with joy. I made it with all home grown Tomatillas, Cilantro, Chiles and Garlic with a bit of (purchased) salt. That’s it. Oh my.
Here is the link, to Rick Bayless’ Recipe for raw green salsa.

I didn’t add any of the suggested water, put in a bit more garlic, and decreased the chiles for this first time. I froze a lot of it which I expect will still taste great, but may be an odd texture. The cilantro I have growing in my yard as well, and I used a large amount of the later frondy leaves with flowers.
You obviously have to like cilantro to like this recipe. I do I do I do.

The recipe was suggested to me at lunch this afternoon, by a member of our group A2B3. It is an eclectic group who has lunch every Thursday. A great source of information, inspiration, ideas, and sometimes great recipes! While most of the members are tech oriented and computer geeks the group varies a lot and is always interesting. And we laugh a lot. It is a great way to meet people who I wouldn’t normally find, and engage in (or overhear) conversations on nearly any subject.
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I forgot to add a photo before I ate it all. But here is a photo of some tomatillas I still have left, the lovely cilantro, and one of the bags of frozen salsa.

Today I hit the jackpot with a truly outstanding recipe!
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