One can become a member of Mensa by passing a test.
One can do this at almost any age, and, once a member, one stays a member for the rest of one’s life (providing dues are current, naturally).
There is no provision for re-testing.
Some think there should be.
Some are just grateful there isn’t.
I have always been of the strong conviction that purchasing a beverage from a vending machine is not, shall we say, rocket science.
That conviction no longer stands.
As the sun was coming up over the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport I decided to get a dose of caffeine via a Coca Light.
I went to the nearest and, coincidentally, only vending machine in the area. It had my Coca Light. But I couldn’t see a price.
Was it one euro? Two euro?
I tried keying in my selection…. nothing.
I looked for instructions….. nothing.
I finally, out of desperation (and thirst) just put two euro in.
All the prices magically displayed and I was told I had a two euro credit to spend.
I made my selection, got my Coke, my change, and slunk away, hoping no one had noticed how long it took to figure it all out.
Fast forward three days, another vending machine, another quest for a Coke.
I glanced at the machine, found my choice and keyed in the number.
Been here before…. Put a dollar in and hit 75 again.
Okay, fine. Pay attention.
I actually looked at the machine.
Funny…. All the soft drinks had the same number, not just the Coke.
As the light bulb finally went on, I looked more closely and saw the price was 75 cents….
The number was E7.
I, for one, am glad re-testing is not an option.
Before I left I mentioned that I was getting a bit burned out about blogging, cooking and life in general.
The 2 weeks off were wonderful.
So much so that when mon mari suggested I make home-made ravioli for dinner I happily agreed.
As it was Friday (aka: fish hell night) I decided smoked salmon would be the filling.
One of the things I decided on my hiatus was a more careful use of ingredients.
Some foods are enhanced by the use of herbs and spices; others are best unadorned.
I have always disliked guests (or family) who add salt or hot sauce to their food before tasting.
I was becoming guilty of the same thing while cooking – the mindless (almost) addition of ingredients.
I resolved to become a more thoughtful cook.
We were most pleased with this first effort.
1 cup flour
1 tbs olive oil
1 – 2 tbs water
Put the flour on your work surface and make a well in the center. Add the egg, olive oil and salt in the center and, using a fork, slowly incorporate the flour. Once it’s mostly combined start kneading it, adding water a few drops at a time, just until the dough stays together. Knead until smooth. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
7oz (200gr) smoked salmon
4oz (120gr) soft goat cheese
Chop the salmon and mix with the goat cheese.
Roll out the dough, using half at a time.
When one sheet is rolled out, lay it flat and cut it in half (the short way). Mound 1 teaspoonful of filling in 2 columns about 2 inches apart on one sheet (space evenly). With a pastry brush – or your finger, slightly dampen a line between all of the future raviolis.
Lay the other sheet on top, allowing it to sag between the fillings. With the side of your hand press the top sheet to the bottom sheet, forming the ravioli. With a sharp knife, cut them apart. With your fingers, seal around the edges of each ravioli – should be where you moistened it….
Lay them on towels to dry slightly.
While the ravioli rest, bring a large pot of water to boil.
And make the sauce. I used frozen, peeled, chopped white tomatoes from my garden for this. There is a lot of ‘water’ after thawing. I didn’t want to waste it, so I just cooked the sauce down. It was fantastic! (She says, humbly)
Simple Tomato Sauce
4 cups (30oz, 900gr) whole white tomatoes, peeled and chopped, all juices retained
3 shallots, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
Sauté shallots in oil until tender. Add tomatoes, juices, and bring to a boil. Simmer hard for 20 – 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half and very thick.
12 – 15 fresh sage leaves
1 tbs olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan to taste
Fry sage leaves in oil.
Cook the ravioli in boiling, salted water, 3 – 4 minutes, or until done. Remove with a large slotted spoon and drain.
Divide ravioli between two plates. Spoon tomato sauce on top, sprinkle with Parmesan, add sage leaves and dig in.