November 30, 2009

Back from the Bay Area

We are back from a fabulous vacation in California and are now back to work. It is going to take a while to sort through the pictures from this trip and write about all the fun stuff we did. Here is one of my favorite picture of the Bay Area as we were leaving - we can see the Bay bridge, Alcatraz, Golden Gate bridge and the port of San Francisco!

November 18, 2009

Traveling - again!

For the thanksgiving we are taking off for California! Our plans are to be in San Francisco on Friday and fly out next Saturday. At this point, we don't have detailed plans, other than the cities we will be in. In SFO, we plan to go to the California Academy of Sciences, Fisherman's Wharf. In Yosemite, we have plans to spend two nights and go on one of their guided tours. Hopefully we will hit the beach when in Atascadero. Other than that - it is going to be an exciting trip meeting with friends we haven't seen in a few years, eating a lot of good food and generally being outside!

November 17, 2009

The perfect breakfast!

I am sure this technique has been around for a long time, but I just recently discovered it - cut out the bread in the middle with a cookie cutter, toast the bread on a pan, with an egg in the center! Yummy :)

November 16, 2009

Animals are Amazing!!!

How could I not share this? Paul Nicklen and a Leopard Seal.

Cataloging Books

Shankar got me "Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink", the latest book by Jane Goodall for my birthday last week. With each addition to our personal library, there is a need to electronically catalog all our books. I have been thinking about expanding my Amazon Listmania, to include all the books we have. But with the new ebook readers being able to sync with Google Books, I decided to go the google route! It was easy to search for and find the books, add to my library and label them. I finished adding most of my cookbooks (all those in English), and one other bookshelf in the house. Click here to access My Library!

November 15, 2009

Mango & Sweet Potatoes Curry from Laos

I made this really interesting curry last night in my soapstone cooking pot, after a similar curry we had in a Laotian restaurant in Madison. This is a pretty simple recipe and very easy to make. What made it interesting for us was the chili pepper I used for the sauce. I had picked out this extremely hot chili from the farmer's market from a Vietnamese person and he told me this was very hot (it looks like a Caribbean pepper). I got 5 for a dollar and hadn't had the chance to try it before. By now, they have dried pretty well, and I thought it would be perfect for a curry laden with coconut milk. I blended the following for the sauce: Peanuts, peanut butter, some tamarind paste, few shreds of coconut, the hot chili, some sugar, lemon grass and kafir lime leaves. The sauce became so hot with the pepper - I only used a few spoonfuls of it for the actual dish and have stored the rest as my favorite hot sauce. The chili turns out to be much more hotter than a Habenaro pepper!

I cut two sweet potatoes, one zucchini, squash (an Indian variety of winter squash - but any squash would be good), and half a mango, sautéed them for a few minutes. I added some water and let the vegetables soften before adding a few spoonfuls of the hot paste. Once the vegetables were completely cooked, I added a can of coconut milk and simmered for a few more minutes. In spite of adding an entire can of sweet coconut milk, the dish turned out to be still pretty hot and delicious :)

November 9, 2009

eBook Readers

I would actually like to have an eBook reader - when they get better. As much as I like to read my books hard copy - I just looked into the 'nook' and it supports PDFs. This got me so excited, that finally I can read [science] papers, on a reader, than on the computer. But one feature that I would like to have along with the ability to read PDFs is the text-to-speech option, which the nook lacks (present in kindle, but no pdfs). Alas! when is someone going to make a reader that supports both the features and make the life of an academic so much more geeky?!

November 5, 2009

Favorite Animal

As I was waiting for the little zoo train at the St. Louis Zoo yesterday morning, I ran into Natalia - a little girl from the Dominican Republic who is in the US to get a surgery on her leg. One of her legs is much shorter than the other, and she had recently been fixed with a shoe, that helps her walk (and run). Since the train was running late, we decided to walk around some of the exhibits. Natalia, who mostly speaks only spanish told me her favorite animal is the 'elefante', which is also one of my favorite animals :)

The St. Louis zoo has four Asian Elephants, and the male is in an enclosure by himself. The three females, one of which looked like a calf, are together. They also have a separate enclosure with a pool where they can go for a swim. It would have been so cool to see them also swim, along with the baby Hippo!

November 4, 2009

Hippo under the Water!

I spent this morning at the St. Louis Zoo. I had a great time, walking around and taking a ride in the train around the 90 acre zoo. The first part of the zoo was the River's Edge and had Rhino, Hippos, Cheetah, Bush dogs and elephants. In spite of having been to so many zoos before, I saw so many animals for the first time and it was thrilling. The most wonderful experience of the day was watching a baby hippo swim!

This is the first time I am witnessing a hippo actually swim - this baby was basically doing circles in his pool, with the mom and dad watching from a corner. He has gracious movements, and it was fun to watch him swim along with hundreds of fishes. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring our camera on this trip and the pictures were taken with my iPhone.

November 2, 2009

I am thinking of...

... all the birds of the Galapagos and the disease ecology of their parasites and pathogens...

Galapagos Hawk
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