A recent assignment in bibliography sent me to major sources for Beethoven including an online resource for the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies based at San Jose State University. This free online resource indexes nearly 20,000 records having to do with this infamous character in history. While I am astounded by its complex thesaurus of 9000 search terms, specific ones like “Beethoven’s hair” and “personal habits” amused me the most. Who knew? Maybe you did, but I did not. In case you were wondering, one of this library’s most unusual holdings is a lock of his hair…
With all this Beethoven on my mind while eating lunch last week, I began to wonder what he liked to eat. Accounts from Ignaz Seyfried describe some of his eating habits, and it is rumored that one of his favorite foods was macaroni and cheese. Sound familiar? In hopes of combining the spirits of Beethoven and autumn into a meal, a skillet full of pasta shells, cheese, and butternut squash for dinner last night seemed to be the right dish. The coincidence of a friend’s recipe suggestion and the purchase of a squash within the week of this assignment could not have been more perfect!
I largely followed this recipe for butternut squash mac’n’cheese with a few exceptions, like the addition of bacon and omission of bread crumbs and butter. Rather than sautéing our squash cubes in olive oil, we used a bit of leftover fat left from cooking four thick slices of bacon. The chopped bacon eventually topped the dish before the skillet went into the oven. Other deviations included replacing whole wheat pasta with regular shells since that was on hand, and substituting whole milk for skim milk.
Rich and creamy as expected, this one-dish wonder boasted tons of flavor from the squash and freshly-grated nutmeg. Unfortunately, my appetite was not patient enough to wait for a crispy cheese top–alas, there is always next time.
We are five first-year graduate students in musicology and historical performance practice at Case Western Reserve University. Beside our ample bonding time in the reference room in preparation for bibliography class, run by baller-Mahler-scholar Dr. Stephen Hefling, we are responsible for refreshments at the department’s weekly colloquia series. It’s all part of the induction process. With a month of classes under our belts and countless discussions of potential blog-worthy material, we’ve decided it’s time to publish our thoughts. True story, Nick joked about making Fro-burgers and someone may or may not have volunteered to turn Mahler’s favorite dessert into a bundt cake. Here we go, combining two of our passions and blogging about them.
So you ask, nothing at stake in a bundt cake? We’ll get there soon. Until that time, a review of Friday’s food. Let’s start with the peach bundt cake. Yes, it is fall in Cleveland and the trees are just beginning to show off their autumnal pageantry. Sometimes though, I stumble upon that unseasonal recipe and want to try it.
Though this bundt turned out okay, last week’s Salted Caramel variety stole the show. Sometimes, the semi-homemade recipes turn out well, but you could really taste the boxed flavor in this one. Seems the general consensus was that the scratch made cake usually trumps!
Nick’s salty feature of the day was guacamole, a cross between recipes from Alton Brown and Rick Bayless. Supremely delicious with a kick, it was a hit. But a few of us agreed that less cayenne and more cilantro would take it to the next level. All three ingredients of heat were noticeable: the cayenne at first encounter, then the warmth of cumin, and finally the heat of the jalapeno pepper!
The faculty contribution was from Daniel Goldmark who made crème de menthe brownies, from a recipe handed down in his family. Not overwhelmingly sweet, these chewy morsels showcased rich flavors of dark chocolate and mint. He made sure that we all knew that the green color of the crème de menthe came from the nearly fifty-year old bottle of liqueur liberated from his parents’ cabinet, not food coloring. No recipe this time, but hopefully he will feel compelled to share the secret recipe in the future.