Thursday, August 24, 2006

bye bye Pluto

It's official - Pluto is no longer a planet. It is hereafter to be considered a dwarf planet. I have to admit, I have always been fond of the planet Pluto and I am not sure how I feel about its downgrade. I am curious, however, to see how quickly textbooks change and how much money these changes will cost...not that books aren't already expensive enough! I found myself faced with this problem today actually. I had planned on starting out the year reading Longitude (the book I talked about in an earlier post) but a class set is going to cost me over $650.00! That's WAY over my course budget for the year!! I'm applying for a grant that will hopefully cover a portion of it, but I will not get that for weeks at best, and so I'm now considering other options to begin the year. I have a few ideas and I'm not entirely upset that this one book will have to wait, but I find it really ironic/amusing/annoying that getting books to use in the classroom is remarkably expensive and difficult! On top of this, if I spend my very limited budget money on class sets of books that, once bought, are no longer my property...and then I have spent money that I could use for trips or other classroom supplies! I can't remember exactly what I spent on books and materials last year, but it was close to (and by close, I'm thinking it was over) the cost of this one set of books!! I can't believe it and I know it's even worse for other teachers - crazy!!

So, last night I went to a wine dinner with another teacher and her husband (Amy and Patrick). Actually, Mike and I met them last year at a wine dinner at this same place and then Amy came in an applied for a job at my school - and the rest, as they say, is history! Anyway, I know Mike was really bummed that he couldn't attend this dinner and I've promised not to go to another one until he returns, but the menu was great and I thought I'd share, for lack of anything better to write about! And no, Mike, I did not leave with any bottles of wine, but they have TONS of new stuff and you're going to go crazy when you come home and see it all! :)

We began with finger foods and a NV Nino Fanco Prosecco di Valdobbiaddene from Italy (like a champagne)...then dinner began.

Carpacio Toscano a thinly sliced filet mignon with arugula and shaved parmigiano reggiano paired with a 2005 Honig Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley

Penne Cornelia a penne pasta with mushrooms, peas and fresh basil in a rose cream sauce paired with a 2004 Cardwell Hill Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon

Insalata di pere mixed baby greens salad with thinly sliced pears, imported cheese and our light house dressing paired with a 1999 Mazza Rosso Toscano from Italy

Rotolo Lombardo a beef roll stuffed with proscuitto, fontina cheese and a tomato caper sauce paired with a 2003 Sinor-La Vallee Syrah from Paso Robles

and then dessert...
Zuppa inglese a pastry cream with fresh fruit paired with Graham's 10 Year Tawny Porto from Portugal.

My thoughts:
As I said, this dinner was great! I was not impressed at all with the Mazza Rosso. It tasted a bit too musky and flat, but other than that each of the wines were excellent and paired with great choices in food. Although I really hate peas, the penne cornelia was very tasty and the cream sauce matched the Pinot perfectly! The rotolo lombardo was, by far, the highlight of the meal and, even though I was pretty full by the time that course came out, I ate nearly the entire thing! My goal is to try and replicate this dish and I might have to butter up Francesco (the owner of Bacchus, where the dinners are held) a bit to get his trade secret! I also loved the dessert, mostly because it had great fresh kiwi and strawberries in a very smooth and light custard cream that complimented the port well. Ah, but this dinner was not nearly as good as it could have been if Mike had been sitting by my side and comparing his tasting notes and thoughts with mine! After a few of these dinners and other tastings, Mike and I decided to host our own wine bonanaza (his word, not mine!). We had the best time planning it all out and creating our food (we kept it pretty light at some really great cheeses and meats and also some fruit and chocolate) and wine lists. Our pours were also a tad too big and pretty much everyone got drunk, which was very fun but not really the point! ;) We were going to do another dinner the day after we moved into this new apartment and just before Mike deployed, (yes, it was a crazy idea) but the timing just wasn't right. So, we're both looking forward to his coming home and kicking the planning back into gear! This time, smaller pours!!

Well everyone, hopefully you've had a great work week and have nice plans for the upcoming weekend. I'll be planning for classes that begin on Monday!

Take care everyone!

I love you Mike!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Hi Mike -
Well, Colleen sounds as if she had a lovely wine dinner the other night. I think Amy and Patrick took her out as a "thank you" for steering Amy toward the job at Colleen's school. Cool. Gives you something to look forward to when you come home. Just think of all the research you can do!

I know how Colleen's feeling about the beginning of the school year. No matter how long you've been teaching, there are always those anxious moments when last minute things come up and you just have to roll with it. I've been at school most of this week and will be again next week, so I hope to be somewhat organized by the time the kids arrive.

So, are you getting used to hoofing it around base? For your sake, I hope the cloud cover continues and you all get some relief now that September is right around the corner. I just read a couple of good books, too. Reading Lolita in Tehren ( I don't know how to underline on this) and Suite Francaise. Both are very good.

It was so good to talk to you on the 17th! Take care of yourself. I'll write more later. Keep up the good work!

Love you, Mom