Category Archives: Just for Fun

Happy Thanksgiving, and Reposting a Recipe

I wish all of you a happy and restful Thanksgiving! I look forward to seeing you all next week as we head into the home stretch toward semester exams. In the spirit of the season, I am posting my butternut squash soup recipe which I originally posted two years ago.

Ingredients

1 large onion, rough chopped

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into eighths.

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled, halved, seeded, and then rough chopped

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup half and half

Sour cream or plain yogurt and chopped chives or scallions as a garnish

Directions

1. The prep work is the most difficult part of the recipe, so leave enough time, especially for dealing with the squash. Butternut squash can be peeled with a knife, or better, with a potato peeler. Be careful and use a sharp knife with the squash, since it is notoriously hard to chop. First slice off the top and bottom, and then peel the squash. Seed the squash after halving it lengthwise by scraping out the seeds and fiber with a spoon, then rough chop.

2. Saute the onion and garlic in your stock pot (or whatever large pot you’re cooking the soup in) for about four minutes, or until soft. Be careful not to brown the garlic.

3. Add the potatoes and squash. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add chicken or vegetable stock to cover. Bring to a boil, and then turn stove down to medium heat and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are soft.

4. Take the pot off the heat. Blend the soup either with a stick blender, or in batches in a blender (carefully–you don’t really want boiling soup flying about the kitchen!)

5. Add the spices and half and half. Stir well, and simmer for a few minutes. Keep warm until you are planning to serve.

6. Serve with ground nutmeg, sour cream or plain yogurt, and chives or chopped scallions. This is awesome with grilled cheese, or leftover turkey sandwiches.

7. Fortified with soup, you can now finish reading McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom.

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PSA: National Bow Tie Day

Tomorrow is National Bow Tie Day, a holiday I plan to celebrate wholeheartedly. I know at least some seniors and juniors will be observing the day–free lessons in how to tie a bow tie might be offered before school if you ask nicely.

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Belated 100 Years Ago Today: July Crisis Edition

Two days ago, July 5, marked the hundredth anniversary of Kaiser Wilhelm’s assurance to Austria-Hungary that he would back any action they took with regard to Serbia and its purported role in the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. This assurance was later named “the Black Check.” The situation was made much worse by Austria-Hungary’s delay in carrying out what ended up being an overly harsh ultimatum, giving Russia an opportunity and reason to become involved. Germany was now committed, and its war plan would bring France and the British Empire into the war, by virtue of violating Belgian neutrality.

Yesterday’s anniversary is also interesting. Unstable nationalism, a massive naval arms race, and secret treaties had helped create an unstable, dangerous world. Europe had been rocked by crises that almost led to war in 1905-6, 1911, 1912, and 1913. Serb nationalists had just given an excuse to Austria-Hungary for starting a war of conquest against Serbia, while simultaneously assassinating one of the most powerful opponents of war with Serbia in the Austro-Hungarian government. Kaiser Wilhelm then had just made the situation worse by all but encouraging Austria-Hungary to go to war. At this point, on July 6, he went on his summer vacation on his royal yacht.

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Filed under IB History Year 1, IB History Year 2, Just for Fun

Today in History

Today is the hundredth anniversary of the gunning down of Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. As all my IB History students know, this spark precipitated the opening guns of the First World War. I’ll be posting about these anniversaries as the year progresses.

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Huzzah!

Despite the loss to Germany, the U.S. advances to the last 16!

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Check Out the Weekend Wall Street Journal!

The “Review” section of this weekend’s Wall Street Journal is entirely devoted to the First World War. Margaret MacMillan wrote the first article, and it includes contributions from Gary Sheffield, Andrew Roberts, Max Hastings, and other historians who come up in the first year IB History course. Be looking in the media as we are approaching the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the conflict.

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Happy Thanksgiving, and a Recipe

Please accept my belated best wishes for a happy time of thanksgiving and fellowship with your family and loved ones.  I promised my butternut squash soup recipe to fourth period, but we ran out of time Tuesday.  I realize it’s too late for Thanksgiving this year, but here it is for what it’s worth.

Ingredients

1 large onion, rough chopped

3 cloves garlic, rough chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into eighths.

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled, halved, seeded, and then rough chopped

1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup half and half

Sour cream or plain yogurt and chopped chives or scallions as a garnish

Directions

1.  The prep work is the most difficult part of the recipe, so leave enough time, especially for dealing with the squash.  Butternut squash can be peeled with a knife, or better, with a potato peeler.  Be careful and use a sharp knife with the squash, since it is notoriously hard to chop.  First slice off the top and bottom, and then peel the squash.  Seed the squash after halving it lengthwise by scraping out the seeds and fiber with a spoon, then rough chop.

2.  Saute the onion and garlic in your stock pot (or whatever large pot you’re cooking the soup in) for about four minutes, or until soft.  Be careful not to brown the garlic.

3.  Add the potatoes and squash.  Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add chicken or vegetable stock to cover.  Bring to a boil, and then turn stove down to medium heat and simmer for twenty minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are soft.

4.  Take the pot off the heat.  Blend the soup either with a stick blender, or in batches in a blender (carefully–you don’t really want boiling soup flying about the kitchen!)

5.  Add the spices and half and half.  Stir well, and simmer for a few minutes.  Keep warm until you are planning to serve.

6.  Serve with ground nutmeg, sour cream or plain yogurt, and chives or chopped scallions.  This is awesome with grilled cheese, or leftover turkey sandwiches.

7.  Fortified with hot soup, now you can work on your extended essay revisions!

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Filed under Extended Essays, Just for Fun