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Amparo Bertram

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06:29 am: The Amazing Five Minute Cake and Other Adventures
Usually I leave my living room curtains closed to prevent the sunlight from heating up the apartment, but it cooled down sufficiently last night that I left them open. This morning I was greeted by a view of a sky splashed with stripes of bright pink and orange. By the time I stopped staring in dazed awe and grabbed my cell phone to take a picture, a lot of the pink had faded, but you can get the idea.



Yesterday was mostly devoted to Adventures in Cooking. First of all, I had bought a special cake pan that is designed to allow you to bake a sponge cake in the microwave in five minutes. We decided that this must be tested. After a shopping trip to gather all the ingredients we would need for the day, we followed the directions given on the cake pan box. For the particular recipe it provides, the ingredients are supposed to be mixed in a blender, so that's what I did. I popped the cake in the microwave and out popped...well, it was certainly a cake. It was denser than I would expect from a sponge cake; it felt rather more like a pound cake, though I don't know how much of that is due to using a blender and how much is from the microwave cooking method. We ate it with ice cream and chocolate and caramel syrup, though we decided that it would probably be really good as strawberry shortcake.

Our next cooking adventure was to make "baked scalloped potatoes with feta cheese and olives." It sounded simple enough. I even managed to find both black and green olives...with the seeds still inside. After shaving each olive like a mini-mango to get the seed out, I concluded that this recipe would be much simpler with seedless olives. Anyway, it tasted good enough when it was finished. (It's hard to go wrong with potatoes and cheese.)

I didn't take a vacation day today, since it was my busiest day of the week, so I have to go to work. It's only a half day, however, because the afternoon is devoted to allowing the students to prepare for the school festival that starts at the end of the month. (Next week there will be no classes at all, just festival preparation.) The plan for the afternoon is to take a trip to Kusatsu to buy a new couch.

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