Archive for March, 2007

Dish of the Day: Quick Pasta for One

pasta.jpgWhen I don’t feel much like cooking, I tend to fall back on a handful of old favorite recipes. This pasta recipe is one of my standbys. I can prepare it in under thirty minutes.

3 ounces dried pasta*
1 Vegetarian Italian Sausage*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 generous pinch chili pepper flakes
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh greens*
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted until golden brown
Salt and pepper to taste

*Ingredient Notes:

  • Pasta: I’ve prepared this recipe with all sorts of pasta from spaghetti (as in the picture) to penne. The best pasta shapes have been those with indentations to hold the topping: fusilli, orechiette, etc.
  • Vegetarian Sausage: I’ve been using Boca brand Italian “sausage,” which have a nice fennel and sage flavor. If sausage is frozen, you’ll need to thaw it.
  • Greens: When I first came up with this recipe, I always used spinach, but now I’ve started to try other greens. Lately I’ve been favoring broccoli rabe. I cut off the top part of the stalk, from the point where the leaves start, and discard the tougher bottom portion of the stem. Eight to twelve stalks yield around two cups of chopped greens.
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
  2. While the water boils and the pasta cooks, prepare the “sausage” and greens.
  3. Mash the sausage with a fork and chop lightly with a knife until the consistency of ground meat.
    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, and sauté until the garlic is just golden. This usually takes no more than 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  5. Reduce heat to medium high and add sausage. Sauté the sausage until crispy and lightly browned.
  6. Add the greens and toss with the sausage. Sauté until just wilted.
  7. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the sausage and greens. Sprinkle with grated cheese, and stir to blend.
  8. Season to taste, and top with toasted pine nuts.

Serves: 1

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13 March 2007 at 23:49 1 comment

Springing Forward

It’s 10 p.m., and I just got home from my linguistics class. Part of me wants to post something more substantial to the blog, and part of me wants to go directly to bed.

Typically I spend the next few weeks after the spring time change fighting off a lingering chest cold, so I think I’ll listen to the part of me that needs sleep.

I’ll leave you with this interesting piece of information. When I lived in the Washington area my doctor told me that the rate of auto accidents goes up during the week after we turn the clocks back or forward.

Of course, I have no documentation to back this up (and, frankly, I’m even too tired to Google it), but it’s an intuitively appealing statistic.

12 March 2007 at 22:13 1 comment

Tapeworm Tourism

I may have to move Tokyo up on my list of future travel destinations after reading this Inkling magazine travel piece on the Meguro Parasitological Museum. (Gotta love the headline: “Putting the ‘Ew!’ in Museum.”)

The exhibits include a wide assortment of pickled parasites in jars including one standout specimen, a twenty-nine-foot-long tapeworm (8.8 meters). And the gift shop sells parasite-themed jewelry and t-shirts.

11 March 2007 at 22:33 Leave a comment

All the President’s Slime Mold Beetles

A few months ago, my boss found something brown and fuzzy growing out of the molding in one of the offices at work. When she called me in to look at the mystery growth, I realized it was a slime mold (I knew there was a reason I took those botany classes in college) and headed off to try to find it on Google.

Before I could figure out what kind of slime mold it was, I got distracted by this Cornell University news release. Apparently two entomologists named three new species of slime mold beetles after Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, among others:

The entomologists also named some of the new species after their wives and a former wife, Pocahontas, Hernan Cortez, the Aztecs, the fictional “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader (“who shares with A. vaderi a broad, shiny, helmetlike head”), Frances Fawcett (their scientific illustrator) and the Greek words for “ugly” and “having prominent teeth” and the Latin word for “strange.”

Strangely enough, the scientists said this was a tribute

10 March 2007 at 23:44 Leave a comment

A Fair d’État Encore

Why oh why didn’t I get my act together to go to Paris for the Salon d’Agriculture?

As if I weren’t envious enough before, now Kelly Sans Culotte and her friend Harriet have posted a video chronicling their visit to this year’s Salon.

You can find more photos and video at Kelly’s Salon blog.

9 March 2007 at 23:11 Leave a comment

Petri Dish Paintings

Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob from Tel Aviv University photographs the patterns made by bacteria growing on petri dishes.

Ben-Jacob’s Web site features a gallery of microbial art. He writes:

While the colors and shading are artistic additions, the image templates are actual colonies of tens of billions of these microorganisms. The colony structures form as adaptive responses to laboratory-imposed stresses that mimic hostile environments faced in nature.

(Via Pruned)

8 March 2007 at 23:25 1 comment

Low-Tech Support

I’ve never officially worked tech support, but I’ve been the unofficial techie in a lot of places where I’ve worked. And I’ve fielded my share of frantic late-night computer questions from my parents.

All of which means that I spent far too much time watching and rewatching this video and laughing.

7 March 2007 at 20:39 Leave a comment

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