1. I'd love to be one of those people who no longer needs recipes when cooking, but I don't see it happening. I have been wondering for a while, however, if recipes, by and large, are too cautious about flavor. I browned another batch of granola in the oven today and, being guided by a recipe I like, increased the amount of cinnamon, butter, vanilla, and honey/brown sugar the recipe called for. I also, by the way, left the granola in the oven for only 25 minutes instead of the 30 minutes the recipe stipulates (at 350 degrees). I thought punching up these flavors worked really well -- but, then again, I love cinnamon, butter, vanilla, and brown sugar. If others ate this, they might find these flavors overdone. But, I am almost always just doing food prep for myself, so I can push things more than, say, when I prepare family dinner. Next time I make a batch, I plan to grind up some cardamom pods with my mortar and pestle and see what it adds to the granola.
2. I got my legs moving today and walked to the Avista drop box and deposited my bill. This walk made me think how much I'm looking forward to the arrival of late winter and spring when I can return to trails and enjoy natural beauty along with exercise.
3. Watching Illinois defeat Penn State (62-56) and Creighton's triumph over Marquette (73-65) tonight made me wish (yet, again) that Gonzaga played in a conference like the Big East or the Big Ten where the teams are more equally talented and almost every game is a hard fought, tooth and nail affair. I think Gonzaga would do very well, but no way would they dominate these conferences the way they dominate the WCC.
Tonight I tried to imagine Gonzaga's guards going up against Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu or how they would fare against Creighton's sharp shooting trio of Mitch Ballock, Ty-Shon Alexander, and Marcus Zegarowski. Down low, tonight, the action in the Illinois/Penn State game was bruising, and I thought it would be great for Drew Timme and Filip Petrusev to body up against Illinois' Kofi Cockburn or Penn State's Mike Watkins. I dream of other matchups between Gonzaga and Maryland or Gonzaga and Seton Hall, thinking that Gonzaga would play these teams tough, but in both the Big Ten and the Big East (well, and in the Pac 12), the teams atop these conferences have multiple losses. It's inevitable. I'm sure Gonzaga would, too, and (obviously!) I think the more demanding competition would sharpen the Zags and we certainly would not see Gonzaga able to have subpar performances and still win by wide margins the way they can in the WCC.
Oh. Okay. I'll write my dream again. I think I do this every season.
The Big East only has one team, Butler, that is not a Catholic university.
It would be a blast if the USA were a smaller country, if Gonzaga had geographical proximity to these Big East schools, and if Gonzaga could join this conference and face, game after game, teams like Villanova, Marquette, Providence, Georgetown, the forty minutes of hell against St. John's, and the others and be challenged all through January, February, and March by rugged, aggressive, sharp-shooting teams who are either close to as talented or are equally talented as the Zags.
It's a dream I have that will never come true.