Latkes for Lunch, Indian Pizza for Dinner

We took our usual Farmers’ Market walk today even though the Farmers’ Market was closed for Christmas; the streets and trail were much less crowded than usual (as we’d hoped). Safeway was open and we stopped in to pick up some cheesecloth for our lunch experiment: “family-style” latkes, following Micah Siva’s recipe. The version that we saw in the Merc a couple of weeks ago called for putting the skillet in the oven for part of the cooking, while the original recipe didn’t – we went with the original. We used up an entire package of cheesecloth squeezing out the moisture from the onions and potatoes; luckily, Safeway was running a two-for-one deal on the cheesecloth!

I forgot to take a picture of the latke, but you can see that we ate it all (I can’t take credit for the results – Diane did the work).

Dinner was one of our favorites, Chicken Tikka Pizza from Curry Pizza House.

When I rebuilt my Mac mini last month, something happened to the Photos library – that machine has 13000 photos, but iCloud (and my other Mac) only have 7000. And the backup copy of the Photos library I made before the rebuild has nearly 18000. I spent a good part of this afternoon and evening exporting all of those libraries; the next step is to combine those exports into one library and get rid of the dupes, then I’ll import everything into Lightroom.

My goal is to have only my best (most meaningful) photos in Apple Photos; Lightroom will have everything that’s worth keeping. It may take a while to get there.


Several people responded to my plea for help yesterday, all with the same basic suggestion: take the sheet pans out halfway through cooking and swap them (also turn them 180 degrees). Today, I made chocolate chip cookies and followed that advice, and both sets of cookies came out with a very similar degree of doneness. Thanks, Jessica, Lucinda, Mike, and Fran├žoise!

We went out for a walk before going to services at Shir Hadash; the vultures were back at our neighbor’s house. I don’t know what they’re looking for, but they seem to have found a home.

We’re about to watch Die Hard for the first time ever; it seems appropriate for tonight.

Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, I hope you enjoy it! Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Blessed Yule!

A pretzel conundrum

I made pretzels this afternoon, following the King Arthur recipe as usual. I always need two baking sheets to hold the entire batch, and the pretzels on the top sheet always cook faster than the ones on the bottom sheet.

Today, the pretzels on the top sheet were completely baked to a nice dark color in 14 minutes. After I took them out, I moved the bottom sheet to the top rack and baked them for three more minutes, but they were still not nearly as dark as the ones that had been on the top rack the whole time, as you can see in the photo below.

Baking friends, any suggestions on ways to get the two batches to cook more evenly? I guess I could bake the two batches serially – if I did that, would I have to wait to boil the second batch, too?

Committee Meeting

Today was the last Silver Tongued Cats meeting for the year, followed by a get-together at Panera Bread. I left the house a little later than I planned, so I was walking very briskly (and listening to a podcast) when I noticed a woman across the street gesturing to get my attention.

I removed my headphones; she pointed behind me and asked “what are those birds called?”

I hadn’t noticed any birds. I turned around and saw that there was a committee (more than a dozen, in fact) of vultures (thanks for the ID, Google!) on the roof of the house next to me.

Neither of us had seen anything like that in the neighborhood before. We chatted for a couple of minutes and I resumed my power walk to Panera.

An hour later, I was going home. I stopped at the same place; there were still a lot of vultures waiting at the same house.

There were also a lot more ducks in Ross Creek (next to the house) than usual, and they were pretty active.

Diane and I went back to Ross Creek this evening; there were still a lot of ducks there, which is unusual that late in the day.

I didn’t see any vultures this evening, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.