Monday, November 8, 2010

I had 2 piles of laundry, a jar of almonds in the shell, and one squirrel to my name today (plus a condo, a car, and a mini food processor [which works swell for making fresh tomatoe sauce]).

I wanted to mix as much of these things together as I could all in one sitting because I've been feeling the pressure of a mental check-off list all week. So here we go, one squirrel crawling all over me, little pile of almonds on the carpet where I was sitting, and Mt. Clotheverest. Add a dash of Rear Window into the mix and you have my typical Monday night.

Truthfully, there's nothing worse than a squirrel getting overly excited over the prospect of too many hiding places. It's like ... giving my dad a Milton Berle joke book. Their little minds just can't handle that much joy. (Mostly I'm talking about the squirrel.)

Soon nuts are just dropped all over the place instead of buried because there are so many nooks and crannies in a laundry pile, even the squirrel knows a treasure will fall into a crevice. But then comes that little streak of independence. Perhaps life ON the pile would be better after all. But NO! "I will be found out and my heating element (ie: H) will run off to puree more tomatoes without me!"

Like I said, there's nothing worse than a squirrel getting overly excited. SMACK, right into the jugular. Here's the sloppiness and lack of consideration at work. Sometimes, I think squirrels forget their place and start acting like animals.

Admittedly, I can't get too upset when a little greying squirrel face pops out of a tube sock and wants to makes sure I'm still nearby. Have you ever seen static whiskers? Well, lemme just tell ya, it's a hoot.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Insert Title Here:

It's true. I struggle with this blog thing. I've always wanted to be one of those creative, snappy writers that smack you in the face with wit, but my thoughts usually don't get to the coherent stage without time.

When I was in school with a paper assignment, it was murder. Like my artwork, I need the mood to come over me. This meant that (during HS) Mom had to rather beat me over the head. And in college? Well. My roomies had to endure my random rush out of the middle of my shower while begging for complete silence as I plunked myself down, dripping to a puddle, to whip out that vital exegesis opening paragraph.

Being the sentimental sort, the tradition remains here. I have about 8 posts in draft that have 2 paragraphs each, most of them ending in the middle of a sentence.

Really. I have thoughts. They just like to stay as ... thoughts.

What to expect from upcoming posts? Commuter Life - By A Commuter

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

larytta - souvenir de chine - video directed by körner union

It's a little cruel and a lot strange, but it's pleasing. Ducks and chickens tend to be territorial, you know, and mirrors are the meanest of tricks for birds. You'll notice the bobbing and parading of the drake and the rooster with the threat they interpret in their own reflections (too bad that's instinct - it's almost deep).

(Please note the bunny appearance during the fade-out.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I arranged this shot in the winter last year, desperate for some color. And I think it pretty much says exactly what I was thinking at the time ...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Tale of the Butter Knife - Labor Day Weekend: Day 1

My day was filled with blue skies, lazy billowing curtains, warm delectable pastries, and .... a pictorial journey of my trusty little butter knife. Hurricane Earl couldn't have been more ideal for this transplanted Hoosier. The breeze that swept in smelled like a Michigan summer shore with a sky so perfectly blue and just enough cloud to keep the harshness of the sun down to a mild contrast. One can't help but think poetic thoughts on a day like today. It wasn't quite fall, but it certainly wasn't summer. It wasn't really a day to be in an apple orchard ... it was a day to be in a vineyard. A day to be in a vineyard with a camera, a good book, and a sheer white dress sweeping the edges of the grass.
I had an outing early in the morning that ended with me at home before lunch and inside for the rest of the day. Before the scoldings come my way, rest assured that my windows were all open, and my amazing wall of glass was all but knocked out. I could stand and lean on the pains and still feel the wind dance through my hair and rustle the curls. It. Was. Bliss. ~

I did manage to get quite a few things accomplished by way of the TV and KitchenAid. Nothing but silver screen was permitted though the tubes. And my baking? It all had to be ooey and gooey and comforting. But first - breakfast! I neglected it for hours this morning, but when it was all set up, a Safeway bagel was on the menu.

After such a delightful meal, I set to the task of filling my new butter dish (thank you Edie!).

Then, of course, I couldn't get cinnamon and raisins out of my head all morning, so by early afternoon, this emerged from the oven. (Chocolate chip cookies came later, but perhaps they didn't last long enough for a photo!)

To all, a very happy holiday and a GLORIOUS sleepy Monday!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I hope you like cherries and chocolate and batter folding techniques, cause that's what you're gonna see here today.

There are rules to baking. Some rules are stupid. Some rules don't count. Some rules only count some of the time. Some rules are pretty much an always and are widely accepted.

I don't use recipes (this falls under the 'Some rules are stupid' category). I will mention, however, tossing out the recipe also means tossing out exact duplication for the most part, and at times, necessary chemical reactions. I do not snub recipe users, therefore, unless there is no science behind their dependence. That said ...

Here is a recipe(ish) that I came up with tonight for some Chocolate Chip Cherry Muffins. They're good but not flabbergasting. I'm pretty sure I'm too guarded to give away my wow factor baking creations, but these are good, simple, and stay moist. Although I've adapted my version for something a bit more typical, feel free to substitute things for health benefits. For example, toss in apple sauce instead of the oil, you might try some cocoa powder to reduce your chocolate chips, pour in honey instead of all that sugar, etc.

2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

2/3 C Milk
2 Eggs
2/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Canola Oil
1/4 C Butter
1-2 t Almond Extract
1-2 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Bing Cherries (pitted, stems removed, cut into quarters)
2/3 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Muffins (like pancakes, scones, etc) are quickbreads. I'm gonna assume you are quickpeople who can assume this is because we use baking powder/soda to leaven instead of the slow-to-grow yeast. Something else we don't want meddling in our mix is gluten! Not for these suckers! For a good muffin, we want what I call a moist crumble. To achieve this, no kneading or unnecessary mixing, my precious, else you'll end up with cakey muffins (let's call them cupcakes) or dense rubber. Ew.

Just like most baking recipes, mix all the wet ingredients together (this includes sugar [why you ask? Unlike other 'dry' ingredients, sugar dissolves almost immediately in anything liquid.]) and then the dry in separate bowls. One day I may understand the necessity of sifting staple foods, but I don't have a sifter so I simply added a little air by thoroughly whisking all my dry stuffs.

(note: for the super finicky, the wet ingredients should be ALL at room temperature before adding the dry)

Here's my favorite part. Dump all the dry on top of the wet. Now fold to mix. Folding is different than creaming or simply mixing/stirring. To fold, place your utensil of choice under the dry ingredients and pull up the wet from the bottom to lay on top of (or fold over) your flour mixture. Do this gingerly only until your ingredients are moist, no more. Your batter should be blended, but you may have that ring of dry flour around the edges. Perfect! Now is the time to fold in your extra goodies (in this case, the chips and cherries). Again, fold only enough to evenly distribute your ingredients.

Plop into prepared muffin tins (around 325-350 degrees) and check your email. In about 15-25 minutes, leave cyberspace and start toothpicking.

Photo Credits: Me!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"When the moon hits your eye"

It all started with a hungry tummy, a batch of fresh tomatoes, and one simple little recipe for pizza dough that didn't require much rise time. Voilà! (oh crap. this is an Italian post)
Well my first batch was such a success (and how could it not be with my birthday present to help me [hello KitchenAid]), I had to make it again and again. And then I had to share it. So my dear friend and I met this week and we had ourselves a little dough throwing contest. Enjoy the progression! (those who leave really nice comments may find a random gift on their doorstep).
First you gotta appreciate how fresh all this was. It makes it almost uninfluenced and truly Italian. I'm pretty sure the only thing we didn't do was grow the wheat and mill it ourselves. But no, garden fresh tomatoes (which I turned into sauce), freshly plucked basil (which is growing on my bedroom windowsill) and sprigs of summer rosemary. Some pieces of fresh buffalo mozzarella would have been more authentic, but who has that kind of money? Instead we opted for my shrewd bargain from Target at $1.80 cheese.
Please note our fine array of accoutrement below.

Photo Credit: me!