Some intellectual stimulation…and good dinner

February 17, 2007 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today I spent a brisk afternoon at The Mall perusing the various free exhibits. First stop, a fun little exhibit at the Library of Congress called Cartoon America, which featured a cartoonist’s collection of classic animation, comic strips, political cartoons and illustrations. A fascinating look at American history told through humor. I’ve always been a fan of the funnies–I own every Calvin & Hobbes publication, along with quite a few Fox Trots and Get Fuzzys. So I found this exhibit interesting–especially how cultural attitudes are reflected in comics and political cartoons.

Next stop, a reprieve from winter at the Botanical Garden. I was able to shed my coat and chill out on a bench next to some pretty flowers. Nice 🙂

On my way to Air and Space, I saw that the pond in front of the Capitol was frozen over–except for a little part in the middle where the ducks were huddled en masse. I’d never seen The Mall with a blanket of snow, and it seemed to make the whole place a little more serene. It also made the normally gleaming marble facades a little duller, heh.

Air and Space was absolutely packed, so I walked right back out and opted for the Natural History museum instead. There I took in the Orchid exhibit (more pretty flowers, ahhhh. Orchids are my fav.), and stumbled into a very cool photography exhibit featuring some absolutely stunning scenes.

Tonight I cooked a very simple, fab meal I got from one of those online recipe exchanges. It was so good, i want to share:

Pasta with Ricotta, Herbs and Lemon
Hands on Time: 10 min
total time: 20 min
makes 4 servings

1 1-lbs box of penne pasta
2 tbsp unsalted butter cut into pieces
1 cup fresh ricotta
1/3 cup roughly chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as chervil, tarragon, flat leaf parsley, basil, oregano)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
zest of one lemon, grate (i substituted lemon pepper here)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

cook pasta according to package directions. Reserving 1/3 cup of the water, drain the pasta, then return it to the pot. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, ricotta, and pasta water until a rich, creamy sauce forms. Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Add the herbs, zest, salt and pepper, and toss.

Tip: Ricotta can vary dramatically in taste and texture. Depending on the brand you use, you may need to add extra pasta water and butter to create a sauce that’s sufficiently creamy.

Books for this week:
I just finished I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of Jane Austin, except it took place in the ’30s, and the story was told in journal form. Next on my reading list is Marley and Me, a book about a very bad dog that’s been recommended to me by several people.


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