Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm here... (and grilling London broil)

I know.  It's been singularly silent here for about a month.  It's been a hectic month!  Lots of traveling, long periods without good internet access, and lots of big projects with not enough time to accomplish them.  Ironically, the summer is in some ways the busiest time of year for me.  I think it's the lack of routine that does it.

We're in Maine, which is gorgeous (see photo, taken on Monday at Witch Hole Pond).  Miriam is in Germany studying singing and opera (tough life).  Elizabeth is with us in Maine, teaching at a summer camp where she is making a sensation (of course).

I gave a lecture this past Tuesday that involved a lot of new research done very quickly, which partly accounts for my silence.  I showed how the design of the carriage roads in Acadia National Park was heavily influenced by the landscape paintings of Claude as transmitted by Constable, Turner, and the painters of the Hudson River School, and also by the landscape designs of "Capability" Brown.  It was enormously interesting; I got to scrabble around in some archives here on the island, and I made some wonderful new friends.  Who says scholarship has to be boring?

HOW TO MAKE A GREAT LONDON BROIL(more a method than a recipe).
Naturally, I'm cooking.  This evening, I grilled some shoulder steaks (i.e., London broil), and they were especially yummy.  To do it, just combine about 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar (we didn't have any, so I used cider vinegar, and it was just fine), about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, about 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, and about a tablespoon of whatever dried herbs you have around and like.  (I usually use thyme, but there wasn't much, so I threw in some oregano and some red pepper flakes.)  This will form more of a paste than a thin marinade.  Smear it on both sides of the steak(s) (I had 2 each weighing about a pound and a half), and let them sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, or cover them and set them in the fridge overnight.  Sprinkle the steaks generously on both sides with kosher salt and a liberal grinding of fresh pepper just before you throw them on the grill.  Cook 1-inch thick steaks on a hot grill for about 5 minutes per side for medium.  Take them off the grill and let them sit for about 5 minutes before you carve them.  You may have to stand over them, wielding your carving knife menacingly, because they will smell terrific, and everyone will want to nibble at them.  Enjoy.  We had baked sweet potatoes, steamed asparagus, and a tossed salad alongside. 

On a completely unrelated note, I am trying to reduce the quantity of junk email I receive.  It was getting to be 20 or 30 solicitation emails a day, and I just don't feel like going through all that stuff.  So I've been hitting "unsubscribe" a lot--it's working.  I am amused and slightly annoyed, however, by this message, which is typical when you unsubscribe:  "Your email address has been successfully removed from our email subscription list. Please keep in mind it can take 7-10 business days to completely remove your email address from our records."  Really?  Seven to ten DAYS?  When I hit "delete" on my computer, the stuff goes away pretty much instantaneously.  Haven't you hit "delete" when you didn't mean to and sat shouting at the computer, "No! No! Noooooo!!!!  I NEEDED that!!!!!!!"  So how come that kind of delete happens in about a nanosecond, but removing my address from a junk email list takes a week?  And my real question is this:  how do I get that 7-day grace period for the delete key on my computer?

Just one of the mysteries of modern life, I guess.  Hang in there.  Have a great summer.  Do something fun.

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