7 Quick Takes (4/20/12)

— 1 —

The anti-gnostic cooking project continues on apace.  This week I made cheddar-chive scones (the second thing I’ve ever cooked!).

Some friends came over and nommed them up with me while we watched Of Gods and Men which is (a) stellar and (b) also helpfully anti-gnostic in its own way.

I’d appreciate any easy recipes I could attempt in the future (but be patient, I’m travelling the next two weekends).  And keep in mind that I’m picky eater and I hate most food (but especially meat, tomato sauce, and many colloids).


— 2 —

While I’m trying to cultivate an appreciation for the concrete and physical, maybe some of you want to spend more time getting into the abstract.  It’s your last chance to sign up for Udacity’s new set of seven week computer science classes.  I just did the p-set for my Web Application Engineering class and I’m pretty excited.  The intro class has no prerequisites and by the end of the term, you’ll have build a bare-bones search engine.  Woo!


— 3 —

What does it say about me that I’ve never (to my knowledge) heard a Tupac song, but I have heard of the Pepper’s Ghost setup that was used to set up a faux-holograph for his performance?  The trick is pretty cool (and Ars Technica has a good explanation) and it’s the kind of thing you can try at home for Halloween depending on the layout of your house.


— 4 —

The Tupac hologram turned out to be an illusory illusion instead of true hologram, but you have my word of honor that the picture below is not any kind of trick:

An Italian art museum, frustrated by a lack of funding, has started burning paintings.  Like a supervillian, they’ve pledged to burn three paintings a week until their demands are met.  So far, all the artists have consented to their works being torched, but that could change at any time.

— 5 —

The last Quick Take featured a questionable use of fire, but I’m sure we can all agree that the below video (via Win!) is objectively awesome:

— 6 —

To continue the theme of objective awesomeness, here’s Jim Henson’s original pitch for the Muppet Show:

— 7 —

And to close it off, the only thing cooler than pennyfarthings:


For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

"Well, I would love to know if you now believe that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered."

Go Ahead, Tell Me What’s Wrong ..."
"Any chance of you ever addressing the evidence that led you to accept the truth ..."

Letting Go of the Goal of ..."
""Wow, an unevidenced assertion from a religious dipshite. "Your quotes are the evidence and reason ..."

This is my last post for ..."
""Congrats on leaving your brain behind!"Comments like yours are why lots of atheists leave atheism. ..."

This is my last post for ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Wow, burning paintings…sounds, well, like something an artist might do.

  • #4 If its a modern art museum, Italy might be better off for letting the paintings all burn.

  • Sara

    Well done on the scones! Cheddar-chive scones are always a good idea. Perhaps a sweet variety next time http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2012/02/20/blueberry-scones-american-makeover-for-a-british-classic/

  • deiseach

    Ah, I think I know where the Italian museum is going wrong. See, when you’re pulling an arson insurance scam, you torch the whole joint all at once, instead of burning it piecemeal.

    There you go, impecunious curator! (And I have to agree: based on the photo of the sculpture, a bonfire is probably a better aesthetic effect generated by some of these works).

  • deiseach

    As for cooking, I’m hopeless myself but I can recommend what I just tried lately: roast vegetables. There’s probably a ton of recipes online, but if you don’t like meat or sauces (and I had to look up colloids, so that’s no milk, cream, jelly or blood) then this should be okay.

    Depending on how fancy you want to get (e.g. do you just want to stick to root vegetables like carrots or branch out with peppers), you just heat your oven fairly (but not too) hot, sloosh a glug of olive oil into the bottom of a roasting dish, dump in your chopped up vegetables, stick ’em in the oven, go away for about half an hour to do whatever you want then come back and look at them to check they’re not burning or sticking, stir the veggies around to turn them over to do on the other side, and leave ’em for about another twenty minutes/half an hour (root vegetables will be tougher so might need longer).

    There you go! If you want to use flavoured olive oils, I’m sure they’d work well, and if you did a load of garlic, red, yellow, green peppers, courgettes (um – zucchinis in American, I think), onions – leave out tomatoes if you don’t like them -, maybe some mushrooms, whatever tickles your fancy, then plate them up with some decent bread to mop up the lovely oily juices, or just spoon them onto pasta, I imagine you’re laughing!

    The fiddliest part is cleaning and chopping up the veggies, but then again supermarkets do all kinds of ready-prepared packs of veggies, so it’s a dead easy recipe: the only thing you have to be careful about is not forgetting you’ve got something in the oven and only remembering when it burns and you smell the smoke (that tends to be my downfall in cookery).

  • deiseach

    Here’s a link to a simple recipe – again, professional chefs and tv cookery programme types like fresh herbs, but I say that the jar of dried herbs is just as good (and a lot easier, if you can’t get or don’t want to mess around with the fresh stuff). Also, the great thing is that if you don’t like one particular ingredient, just substitute a vegetable or seasoning that you prefer – you can cook just about anything all mixed in together (though I don’t think I would recommend trying pineapple and potatoes – although why not, if you’re feeling adventurous? )

    Nice thing about the roast vegetables is that if you’re doing a roast meat of some kind, you can cook them all in the one oven (or even the one roasting dish, which is even better) which saves on pots and pans and cooker space and washing up, and if you don’t like meat (which you say you’re not too keen on) you can still do them on their own and save on pots and pans and cooker space and washing up 🙂

  • TheresaL

    Hi Leah,
    I am one of your Catholic readers that was directed to your blog from Mark Shea’s blog and I wanted to let you know that I enjoy reading it quite a lot. I won’t be leaving many comments because
    1. Although a previous boss prompted me to start reading classical philosophy, I’m an entomologist and don’t know enough about most of the topics to discuss them adequately.
    2. With a full time job and and a 10 month old I certainly don’t have time to follow up on replies.
    3. I think commenting on blogs of people you’ve never met might be a path to madness.

    As for cooking, maybe try a quick bread, such as banana bread. I also recommend the New Best Recipe cookbook from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated. Instead of just having recipes, it includes explanations of why that’s the best way to cook the food. Also, it summarizes the tests they did to find the best recipe. It appeals to the scientist part of me. The (possible) downside is their main consideration is taste, so if healthiness, cost of ingredients, or time are more important, this is not the cookbook for you.

    • leahlibresco

      Thanks for the comment and the advice, Theresa. My former roommate loved Cook’s Illustrated for exactly that experimental spirit, and it seems like they’d be right up my alley. Way above my skill level but in a similar vein is the Cooking Issues blog and podcast. I enjoy them only vicariously, but, as a fellow scientist, you seem like you might also appreciate a cooking website that has a big FAQ on safe use of liquid nitrogen.

      Oh, and keep in mind that I’m a giant geek, and entomology comments are always in order. 🙂

  • If you’re not a fan of meat, tomato sauce and colloids, it sounds like your tastes would run to breads, pastas and vegetables. I like the other commenter’s suggestion of banana bread, which is easy to find a recipe for. If you’re feeling ambitious and have some extra time on your hands, you can try a yeast-based bread instead: I’ve had good luck making focaccia. (The recipe I linked to is pretty standard, although personally I’d cut down on the cheese and use rosemary in place of thyme.)

    Lately I’ve been making a lot of risotto dishes. Most American rice is long-grain, which means it stays relatively intact during cooking, but short-grain rice absorbs more liquid and becomes sticky and very slightly sweet. Arborio rice, which you can find in a good supermarket, is the most common kind of short-grain. The basic idea of risotto is that you saute the dry rice briefly in melted butter or olive oil, then add chicken or vegetable stock (or even just water) a cup at a time, letting it be absorbed before you add more. This is a basic recipe that looks sound, and you can easily make it a full meal by adding mushrooms or chopped vegetables near the end of the cooking process. Believe me, it comes out tasting a lot better than you’d expect!

    What are your feelings about poultry? I eat very little red meat, but lots of chicken and turkey. A lot of good supermarkets these day sell chicken sausages which are low-fat, require little cooking, and are a fantastic way to add some heft to starchy dishes like pastas.

    • leahlibresco

      I also hate eating poultry. It’s a texture thing. Risotto I do like when I have it in restaurants. Is it very hard to make? I’ve not sauteed anything before and I have no idea wheter this is a finicky process.

      • It’s not that finicky, it just requires constant attention and a little patience. You only need to saute the rice for a minute or two, then it’s just adding the stock a cup at a time until it’s done. The most important thing is to keep stirring it throughout the cooking process.