Monday, October 31, 2011

Bear Stuffs

Angel Biscuits from John Besh's My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking  How great is that title?  Yum, yum, flaky yum.

Wreaths Across America - for $30 one wreath will be sent to the recipient of your choice, and another will be placed on the grave of a veteran (you may specify a state or specific cemetery if you choose).  A wonderful way to honor the sacrifices of other families during the holidays.

This tee from Anthropologie.  I bought it in a grey-chartreuse-cream small polka dot print that isn't online. Not much to look at in a photo but is so flattering.  Definitely worth the price- this is no ordinary tee shirt.

The word anoesis (this popped up as the word of the day on Luke's dictionary app).

noun \-ˈwē-səs\

Definition of ANOESIS

: consciousness that is pure passive receptiveness without understanding or intellectual organization of the materials presented

So great there is a word for this!  But I prefer to call it... bear stuffs.


Can't wait to read Joan Didion's new book. I am number 14 of 14 holds when the library finishes accessioning it.  In the meantime, plan to audiobook Year of Magical Thinking (I read it a couple of years ago) and read Where I Was From and Play It As It Lays... I've deveoped a habit of reading (or listening to) one author at a time...  after three Cormac McCarthy books it's time for some nonfiction and a female author.

These beautiful watercolors.

Parsnips - so good!  Who knew?

Gorgeous upcycled fur accessories from my friend in St Louis. 

Po'girl..  A while ago, my friend Scott made me CD with the song Movin' On on it, and I loved it and added A Po'girl station to my Pandora account. When they came through St Louis, I was there-- a rather unique concert because though at a standard bar venue, it was a seated affair and I went by myself.  Fast forward to Chicago summer 2010- Luke and I are hanging out in his kitchen when his roommate Alex Maryol (a fantastically talented musician) comes with a friend back from a jog.  I look at the friend and exclaim, Are you Ally [the lead singer] from Po'girl????  And she said yes, I am!  How do you know me?  I replied I was a huge fan of their band and saw them in St Louis a few months before.
     Acccording to Alex, Ally thought this meeting-a-fan was pretty awesome even as their band tours Europe and enjoys increasing success.
     So whenever I hear their music and in particular this song, which Pandora played during my marathon cooking weekend, I have to think what a very small world it is, and how very wonderful.

Scott and I, New Years 2008.  If you're happy and you know it show your molars.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Scoop

Egg yolks, cream, milk, cocoa, chocolate,  sugar.








     Gelato is in the freezer!

Recipe from Ciao Bella

The Lovely Day


How cute is that face?
Bachelorette Saturday- a beautiful day and I was in a picture-taking mood...
I headed to Pearl Brewery to drop off knives to be sharpened at Melissa Guerra, a kitchen shop, and peruse the farmer's market.  But first I woke up, reached over and picked up the book on my nightstand and finished reading it.  A rare sort of luxury, to have nowhere to be.
Then to Pearl.  While at Melissa Guerra I met Melissa herself, who graciously let me take photos of her store and let me know about some upcoming events. (Texans, the friendliest).  The store has cookware, bakeware, kitchen gadgets, dinnerware... it's fabulous.  Should you need any gifts for others (or yourself!) check out the website - and support a female entrepreneur who in turn utilizes Latin American craft cooperatives to employ and empower women in those countries.  Rock on, MG! Rock. On.

Melissa Guerra

I wish there were a person in this for scale- the upright paella pan is enormous.

Paper collage

Specialty foods.
Le Creuset; appliances

Hand mixers... that come in PINK!

Behind the Full Goods building is a year-round farmer's market.  Great finds; fun folks.


This is Julie; I bought eggs from her for my ice cream.
And there were some very cute dogs!


Max and little bro Allen


Captain Wyatt

Ate a bear claw from Sol y Luna Bakery and took it all in; the first day of fall with a slight chill; band playing; families; soundcheck for tonight's concert in the nearby amphitheatre on the river.

Gooey brown sugar center
Next up, a poached egg and asparagus salad at Il Sogne (following the giant pastry hors d'oeuvre) and to the library to return some books and movies.  The Landa branch of the San Antonio public library is a restored mansion on lovely grounds:

This is the parking lot!

Fall foliage in San Antonio

Wonderful shade of salmon.

Parking lot; there is also a playground behind the library.

Home.  Made a big batch of marinara, a pasta dish and cherry-almond buckles in ramekins to freeze for the upcoming week.
Soundtrack: Po'girl and Those Darlins Pandora Stations. 
Suggested bitchin' kitchen dances moves:
    Jump jump jump during feisty songs; bounce a little while stirring for slower songs.

A cooking song about love/ a love song about cooking:

The ice cream!  I opted for making gelato since the cream cheese required for ice cream wasn't at room temperature.  Made the custard.  Took forever.  Chilling now, to be placed in ice cream maker and whipped into gelato tomorrow.  Stay tuned.
Soundtrack: Lady Gaga with segue into Aretha Franklin Pandora stations.

Whisk whisk emulsion baby Work it move that whisk like crazy
Whisk whisk emulsion baby This takes freakin' forever baby

Suggested bitchin' kitchen dance moves: Monster dance, obviously, for LG.  For Aretha, deep shoulder action, hip swivels and slight knee bends, especially for "Do Right Woman- Do Right Man".  Slow it down a bit for "Tell It Like It Is".

       Yours truly,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Go Carbs; Go Cards!

I really love how Mod and Susie make a little list of things they like/think are interesting/funny y'know y'know.

On my mind this fall day - the first of the season cool enough to wear a light jacket.

Floppy hats! with the right size brim (not to big or too small) and just enough flop so that it doesn't sag in your face. (p.s. are you familiar with Shopstyle?  So fantastic when you are looking for something specific, like orange corduroys, capelets and purses with fringe.  Oh wait that's what I'm looking for.  And then you can sort by price, color, size, etc).

Cooking Light's list of best general cookbooks.  Martha Stewart's Cooking School is checked from the library, on the nightstand.  Teach me, Martha!

Jeni's Ice Creams  Granted, I have only had one pint of her ice cream (it was $9.99) but it was crazy delicious.  I read her book last night about making ice cream at home and it was simply charming- her voice and creative vision and commitment to using thoughtfully sourced (ergo, expensive) ingredients.  The bowl of my newly purchased ice cream maker is frozen, and I purchased a bunch of heavy cream, whole milk and cream cheese this afternoon.  This evening, I make ice cream!

Good Time from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams on Vimeo.

How cute is she?

Warby Parker glasses - I think I might need another regulation pair as my pink pair and the ones with the gold leathuh temples don't cut it.  Under $150, free shipping, and they donate a pair to charity for every pair you buy.  Plus home try-on of frames.

Deadwood is an HBO show that ran for three seasons from 2002-2006.  I have watched the series before but Luke hasn't; we are watching it together and have one season to go.  The language is rough but probably accurate for the time; the dialogue is superb; the plotlines gripping; the sets/costumes fantastically detailed.  Also fascinating is the behind-the-scenes bonus features with the show's creator and head writer David Milch-- he draws on broad social themes (such that it is not a soap opera but a treatise on civilization and the need for community) and mindspinningly diverse sources of inspiration.  You get the feeling he is a little crazy.  But a genius storyteller.  A highly recommended viewing experience.

The elation of my dear city St Louis over the Cardinals' World Series victory.  Woohoo!  Makes me think of all my beloved friends and family there.  Love and miss you all!

Miss Gracie Mac and I at a Cardinals game, spring 2009

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Veggie Monologues

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.
                     Albert Einstein

Recently I read Mark Bittman's Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating as part of my growing interest in cooking, nutrition, meal planning.  It's a very short book - half of it is recipes- but very eye-opening in terming of shocking statistics regarding the American diet such as

           The average American eats a half-pound of meat a day.

                    We raise 60 billion animals a year for consumption; that's 10 per person.

[In terms of energy consumption], if we ate three fewer cheeseburgers a week it
would be the equivalent of canceling the effects of all SUVs on the road.

8 ounces of meat a day?  60 billion animals?  Who could eat that much meat?  Incidentally yesterday I was reading an email from a year ago that I sent to Luke when I hired a personal trainer that answers this question:

Here is what I am supposed to eat, per nutrition guru/gym owner --> protein shake for breakfast (7 oz water, 8 frozen strawberries, 1 T flax seed oil, 1 scoop protein powder) I did this this morning... I am so FULL.  I need to experiment with ways to make it colder (just add ice, I guess, and blend) because things always taste better cold.  For lunch: 7 OUNCES of meat (pref chicken or fish) and unlimited veggies with negative energy balance (takes more to digest them than they contain- asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc) + little bit of sauce/seasoning to make these things palatable.  Snack: 20 cashews or 20 almonds or 2 pieces of string cheese.  Dinner: same as lunch.  After dinner snack: 1.5 T peanut butter or a yogurt.
      On Wednesday night, to replace liver glycogen stores, have beef and broccoli with rice from some Chinese place.  On Saturday night, eat whatever you want. ...

     Getting hungry now.  I am calling this regimen Meat Me in St Louis.

Of course I did not follow this regimen for more than 24 hours because I could not force myself to prepare or choke down 14 ounces of chicken a day.  It makes me nauseated just thinking about it.

(For the record, bringing my lunch and avoiding the cafeteria did the trick.)

So this small book has heightened my awareness of the personal and global perils of ever-increasing meat consumption and I've begun to consider seriously a more plant-based diet, either week on/week off vegetarian, overall reduction, or some plan to fit into our lives easily.  The challenge for me is not to simply omit meat and add more pasta and cheese but to branch out into grains and beans that I've never tasted or prepared before.  And tofu!  I've eaten it in little cubes but never cooked with it... Luke and I were just discussing how suspiciously protean soybeans are as apparently they can be made into spongy bricks, milk, eaten as edamame, made into fuel, fabrics...

A recent email to my vegetarian friend Jen:

Going vegetarian is easy!
Brownies and Diet Coke!
Cheese pizza and licorice!

So far I've checked out several cookbooks (Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, The Occasional Vegetarian, Southwestern Vegetarian) from the library to peruse before adding my shelf.  Bittman's is especially good as a general cookbook because it also includes instructional sidebars on pasta-making, buying produce in season, etc.  I also plan to read some of Michael Pollan's work (Omnivore's Dilemma)... am beginning to harbor some conspiracy-theorist tendencies when I contemplate the vast marketing schemes we live in (Bittman notes a 2007 study in which children 1) preferred food in McDonald's packaging and 2) preferred milk and carrots if they thought the items were from McDonald's) but moreover, striving to become a more conscientious, educated and pro-active consumer.

I recommend, readers!  It's a book that won't take you much more than an evening to read (and most of the main highlights are reiterated in the accompanying cookbook, The Food Matters Cookbook, should you pick that up too.)

This hunt for information started when I saw this in Rachael Ray magazine- there was no citation but I got googling.  I assume this calculation is for a family of four making dinner 5 nights a week or so... another cogent argument for going meatless at least some of the time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We Both Like Soup

As part of this blogblitz I have to mention the maiden voyage of the food processor, a tremendous success.  A warm, savory, creamy soup, perfect for a cold fall night it is 80 degrees outside right now at 10:30 p.m.  Luke liked it and he doesn't even like curry.  I thought it was fabulous and it looked like the picture, down to the cheese crisps.

                         Sweet Potato Soup with Curried Cheese Crisps

The Hutch

Luke and I are the lucky recipients of new family heirlooms, which my parents drove down to San Antonio this weekend.  One of my dad's many hobbies is woodworking; about two years ago he built me a glass-topped dining room table, and this time he built a hutch and sidetable to complete the set.  The pieces are just magnificent and I feel so lucky to own a one-of-a-kind Kunkel original :)

In the WashMO workshop

Parents are here!

Moving it in.  It looked heavy from where I was standing.

The installation.
Finished!  So beautiful!

The sides are glass to let in more light.  This was one of many design contributions by my mom, project manager.
Rounded edges- difficult to capture.
Oiled bronze hardware.
Storage galorage.

Storage with another gift-- food processor!  PUR-YAY!  It's grate :)

The side table.
Artwork I purchased at a street fair in London in 2003.  I still love it.
The dining room!  Stay tuned for a window treatment and more artwork.

My parents' neighbors had these brass plates made for my dad after he built them an entertainment center.  Such a great gift!

My parents got to visit Rick and Doris Brown, old USAF friends from Norway, current San Antonio surrogate family.  We had dinner at La Hacienda on the patio- perfect weather- while Luke performed.  On Saturday we installed the hutch and went on a mini-tour of the hospital where I work.  We met up with R & D again for dinner and then my parents were OFF!  Back to St Louis.  A too-brief visit but very fun!

At La Hacienda listening to Luke perform.

Thank you for the spectacular furniture and for all your hard work, Dad! You have made something functional and beautiful that will be treasured for years to come.