It’s not all about drinks

February 26th, 2007

The first two posts to Monster Party Deluxe may give the impression that the theme of this blog is cocktails. While it may be true that one theme of this blog is cocktails, it is certainly not the only theme, or even the intended unifying theme. I don’t even drink very much. When I do, it is usually as a prelude or accompaniment to food. I believe that drinks are an important part of the experience of eating, and while they can certainly stand alone, they reach their fullest potential when integrated into a gustatory framework including both potables and comestibles.

Last evening, for example, we had a very simple meal, spread out over the course of the evening. It consisted of french bread, stilton and sharp cheddar cheese, and a soup of root vegetables, potatoes, and onions. This would go fairly well with a dry white wine, but I chose, instead, to drink a dry martini similar to the one described in the first post. I’ve long thought that blue-veined cheeses have an affinity for gin, and the dryness of the cocktail provided a nice contrast to the sweetness of the root vegetables.

I don’t really know that much about the theory of harmonizing flavors — I tend to experiment quite a bit. But that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Winter root and onion soup

  • 1 lb. sliced yellow onion
  • 1 lb. mixed turnips, carrots, and potatoes — all peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste (it doesn’t need much)

Put ingredients in a stockpot or large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, turn the heat down, and let it slowly boil for 50 minutes or so. Mash it all up with a wooden spoon. That’s it. You’re done. Simple, no?

A shelter from the wint’ry blast

February 24th, 2007

While spring is approaching fast, winter seems resolved to stay for a while. I am reminded of this fact daily by the treacherous icy path from my porch to my car and by the 2 foot snowdrifts on my lawn. We still get fairly strong, icy winds blowing through, and once the sun goes down, it’s not pleasant going out of doors.

These long winter nights lend themselves very well to the subdued evenings at home. They are a good time to curl up on the couch, talk to your sweetheart, read a mystery, and enjoy something with chocolate.

Now chocolate is a very versatile ingredient in all kinds of food and drink, and I will have a lot more to say about it in the future. Lately, though, I have been using chocolate in a very simple way that is perfect for winter nights when you’d rather be curled up in the living room than spending inordinate amounts of time at the kitchen or the bar. This particular recipe for a slightly bitter dark chocolate drink comes from my wife. You may wish to add a bit more sugar if you dislike the strong chocolate flavor.

Alhambra Royale

A blog by any other name

February 22nd, 2007

Greetings, mes amis! Those of you who have been paying attention have noticed that this blog is no longer called “Jonathan’s WebSpace.” You will also notice the lack of archives to old posts. All of this has a reason, friends.

You see, your host has been blogging off-and-on for quite a long time in internet years. The first posts to Jonathan’s WebSpace date from August of 2000. Now, as you regulars know, blogging has not really been a high priority for me in the last few years, but I still think of myself as a blogger in spirit. I have never, however, been happy with the focus my blog has taken. It started off as a public diary, moved into a way to comment on news, and then morphed into a platform for ramblings about my profession. And these foci, in addition to being somewhat poorly defined, are boring.

While I am sure some of you are interested in my allusions to Dante, comments on the nature of blogging, and half-informed expository on the future of information science, I assume that this interest is merely polite. In fact, I find these things rather dull myself. I would far rather have a conversation with you about enjoying life. It is in this spirit that I’ve renamed the blog from “Jonathan’s stuffy old WebSpace” to “Monster Party Deluxe.” To get started off on the right foot, let’s have a drink.

The Classic Martini