27 June 2011

Family recipe Monday: hot and sweet

View from the front door, June 24. That's rain + 50 mph wind + hail. 

Impressionistic view of the street completely awash. 

Yeah, about the weather up here.....it's still raining. And hailing. With dangerously high winds. And no one in the family enclaves of West Texas and New Mexico will speak to me about it, because they have triple-digit temperatures, fires everywhere and no signs of a let-up in the drought. No one is going to have any kinds of crops this year, I'm thinking. 

But the farmers' market has started up again, perilously close to the swollen Rapid Creek, and we are able again to get thick-shelled eggs with neon-orange yolks, gorgeous rhubarb stalks, and the world's most decadent triple-berry cinnamon rolls. It will be interesting to see how the selection of produce expands this summer. I have tomato and pepper plants that have not left the kitchen sill yet due to rain and hail outside. Look for recipes calling for three miniature tomatoes and two microscopic peppers later in the summer. 

Tartan Girl sent the following recipe, which turns out to be a winner. Caveat: if you are not a chile head, this may not be for you. Peaches and peppers are a magical combination, blending the heat and the sweet perfectly. Peach salsa is also another dynamite combination. I used mild Hatch green chiles (is there any other kind?) and fresh peaches. The cobbler was better the second day. Somehow it suited the aberrant chilly, wet summer day. 

From The New Mexican Connection

 Fiery fruit cobbler

2 cups flour
 3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
2 tbsp water 
1 lemon, juiced for zest
3 pints of fresh peaches
3 frozen NMC Chiles, chopped
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 450ยบ. Mix dry ingredients well, then cut in the shortening until fine crumbs appear. Mix in the milk to form a ball that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. On a floured board, knead the dough to about 1/2" thick and cut into 2" rounds using a floured cutter.

Mix water, sugar and lemon juice and set aside until thickened. Sprinkle peaches and chile with syrup and stir. Place in the bottom of a 9x12 glass baking dish. Cover mixture with rounds. Brush dough with sweetened milk and dust with sugar. Bake for 30-45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or drizzled sweet milk. 

Make that high-quality vanilla ice cream and you're all set. Happy Monday. Hope everyone's weather improves. 

20 June 2011

Quarries and discoveries

Evidence of early (ca. 2010) Viking occupation of  Sundance, WY

Everyone thinks that museum work is refined, quiet, clean....just as everyone without cats seems to think that they are dainty, finicky, and aloof. Wrong on both counts, at least for this museum (and for all the cats I've been saddled with). Between the ongoing move to the new building and our ongoing field program, I've dealt with more heavy equipment than I knew existed. That's not saying much, since I'm no heavy equipment expert, but it does mean that I know exactly what my hair looks like after a day of wearing a hard hat. (Answer: even more like Beethoven than usual.) (And not in a good way.)

Last week we took a day to go up to our quarry in Wyoming to watch the good guys of the Wyoming DOT move some boulders from the site so that it can be opened for the summer field season. I've had major home appliances that were smaller than these blocks. Thanks to heavy equipment, we're ready to roll.

Classic Morrison Formation school colors, sombre greens and purples

The evil boulders in place. The blue tarp is over the fossils, buried for the year for protection. 

A modern dinosaur clears the way for working on the older ones

The quarry is ready to go, as long as the rain holds off

12 June 2011

Stormy weather

Rapid City, 12 June 2011

Dear Powers That Be,
Look. We have too much water up here. Everything around the Missouri River is in trouble and will be basically under water for the next two months. Rapid Creek is about to go over its banks, and, if I needed quarter-sized hail, I'd have asked you for it already. (BTW, why is hail measured by coin size up here? The Texas measurement system is pea, marble, ping-pong ball, orange, grapefruit, and softball.) We don't need a replay of 1972

Meanwhile, the Lubbock folks have had an inch of rain in the past ten months. 


Can the entity in charge of the weather settings up there please use a setting somewhere between 1 for Texas and 11 for South Dakota, somewhere in the median range, and leave the dials untouched for a few months?