Monday, February 27, 2012

How to Chop Chocolate Like a Ninja

Checked out these DVDs from the library -- learned some technique, found out I really need one of these pans and downloaded pdfs of the demonstrated recipes.  (Insert disc in computer and open Special Features).  Other goodies: taste tests and equipment reviews.

Just discovered: Curious Shortcuts including

ATK and I... a love whose month is ever May.

And they're on Pinterest!
Image and DVDs via

Image and DVDs via

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Pinterest

My friend Aaron Abbott directed me to this article today, on the Pinterest phenomenon and, in particular, Mormons on Pinterest (Mitt Romney's wife among them), and this quote from Rosalynde Welch (herself a Mormon, totally beside the point) struck a chord:

You can read her excellent column here -- what do you think about her statement

The real temptation of Pinterest, I would suggest, is the lure of an imaginary identity, a Pinterest-self for display only, a profile created entirely by the visual consumption of images rather than imaginative production.
 and the phenomenon of Pinterest?  Is it healthy?  Is it for status-seeking?  Is it harmless mind candy, a treasure trove of tutorials?  Inspirational-aspirational?  Or defeating, demoralizing, a keeping-up with the Joneses, the Joneses being the

most organized
most devout
most fit
most domestic
most stylish

A visual catalog of things you like or speak to you in some way... or a public scroll of insecurities and neuroses?

Would love to hear your thoughts, gentle readers.

p.s.  You should follow Aaron's pins - he has exquisite, masculine taste!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Make an American Quilt

I sent this link for a scrap map to my craft-inclined mother-in-law Pat, thinking she would enjoy it... and she made one for me!

The original:

Image and tutorial via Apartment Therapy
Pat's, and now, ours:

[Sorry for the dull and less-than-crisp photos that do not do it justice!  We hung the framed quilt in the guest room, and Alex is arriving in a couple of hours to stay for several days and I don't want to invade his space while he's here.  Photos in daylight to follow!  Wherein my reflection does not betray my striped-pajama-shirted torso.]

Thank you for this wonderful work of art and craftmanship, Pat!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stop What You're Doing and Broil a Grapefruit

Saw this recipe for broiled grapefruit on Pinterest and was intrigued - grapefruit is something I've tried hard to like but can't quite past the pucker and tartness.  (My new find, the pummelo, a larger but milder version of the grapefruit, has already vanished from the citrus section.  To everything there is a season and, alas, the pummelo's but a brief winter one).

Hello, sugar and butter.  So long, doubts.

So delicious, y'all - Luke and I agreed it was so good we were surprised we had not heard of it before, at home or at breakfast-brunch places.
photo via Running Foodie

Halve grapefruit and run a serrated knife around the edge and between segments.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and some cinnamon.  Spread mixture over the grapefruit halves and broil with the oven rack on the highest placement for 4-6 minutes.

This plus the six-minute soft-boiled egg tutorial in the March Rachael Ray (on toast that takes 6 minutes in the toaster oven) = quick scrumptious brunch.

[Soft boiled eggs: let eggs sit on counter for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.  Add eggs to plenty of boiling water; let boil for 6 minutes, less for smaller eggs.  Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of ice water.  Peel and enjoy!]

Oh, eggs!  Like little packets of cheese sauce... yum.

clip via

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mighty Good Man

This Valentine's Day...

I wanna take a minute or two, and give much respect due
To the man that's made a difference in my world.

Salt-n-Pepa, Very Necessary, 1993

Luke bought an old piano (gutted of the strings/hammers/keys) and retrofitted it for his keyboard.

[He takes his time and does everything right]

Sawed it in half:

[You so crazy, I think I wanna have your baby!]

[He always has heavy conversation for the mind]

Worked on it through the night:
[He's a real smooth brother, never in a rush]


[So here's to the future cuz we got through the past]

Then debuted it two days later at 502 Bar:

Working on set list:

[He's not a fake wannabe tryin' to be a pimp]

[My man is smooth like Barry, and his voice got bass]

Strong Enough to Hold Me:

Maybe I'm Amazed:

Florida Morning:

Piano Man:

 This is all the more impressive when the piano is viewed in transit mode: in two pieces in the car.

[Yeah, the ritual, highway to heaven]

Pretty amazing!
[He's a God-sent original, the man of my dreams.]

Monday, February 6, 2012



It turned up in the dairy section close to the Chobani and Everything Else (which I don't like/buy).  Delicious.  Hello, 3 pm nosh.  Or should I say, g'day?

Other recent finds:

Shrimp with poblano cream pasta

I hope you've listened to the Secret Sisters!

Cetaphil's new products: love the sunscreen.

These neon oxfords don't fit into my life, but I appreciate their existence.

awww little lovebirds and such.

poems that say it just right:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cowboys, Indians, and Secret Sisters

On Saturday we went to Gruene to see Cowboy and Indian, a band we saw at Utopiafest.  Interestingly, the band was founded by Jesse Plemons, who played Landry Clarke in Friday Night Lights.  Here is his fictional heavy metal Christian band in the show, Crucifictorious:

A great Saturday afternoon show:

As we chatted with the band, they recommended another group called Secret Sisters - their voices are just lovely and I look forward to listening to more:

Chard Attack

It's about time to renew our CSA membership -I am toying with the idea of going to the meat-only share because I use most of the vegetables but not all and I hate being wasteful.  In the pro column, I use far more veggies now and have tried recipes I wouldn't otherwise...

But this week is off to a good start: I made these cheese and green chile enchiladas for lunch and added a bunch of chard (sauteed chopped stems and leaves separately, then added to filling mixture) and lo, the whole week's worth of chard was enveloped in cheese and creamy goodness, adding a bit of nutrition.  Mmm, so many International Units of vitamins.  The March 2012 Rachael Ray is mostly tex-mex, which I love.  Next up: poblano pasta with shrimp!


Cheese and Green Chile Enchiladas

3/4 pound monterey jack, shredded (3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 4 ounce cans diced green chiles, drained (use the hot variety for more kick)
  • 1 cup sour cream or mexican crema
  • 1 small yellow onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • A small handful cilantro leaves, chopped, plus whole leaves for topping
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (about 1/3 palmful)
  • vegetable oil or EVOO, for warming tortillas***
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Thinly sliced jalapeno chile peppers and red onions, for topping
  • Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees . In a medium bowl, combine the cheese, canned chiles, sour cream (or crema), yellow onion, garlic, chopped cilantro and cumin.
    2. ***Heat 1/4 inch oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Using tongs, add 1 tortilla at a time, turning in the oil to soften for a few seconds. Drain on paper towels.***
    3. Dollop a few tbsp. of the cheese mixture onto each tortilla and roll up like a cigar (you will use about half to two-thirds of your filling). Arrange the enchiladas in a single layer in a casserole dish. Cover with the remaining cheese mixture and bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Top with the jalapenos, red onions and whole cilantro leaves.

    ***Instead of this step, which seems oily and messy and adds an extra bit of unhealthfulness to an already fat-bomb recipe, I softened the tortillas per the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (page 220): Layer tortillas between paper towels (the little halfsies work well) and microwave for 60 seconds.  Mira, pliable tortillas.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Smut and a Superfood

    Recent activities: watching Downton Abbey (if you've seen it, you will like these photos of the cast outside of their Edwardian costumes, and if you haven't, get streaming!  It's pure highbrow camp.  I love it) and reading and Fab Ab Feb'ing and organizing my thoughts for a couple of lectures next week and cooking and turning all the black bananas in the freezer into:

    Cooking Light classic banana bread

    Banana chocolate chip muffins

    And then freezing those.

    Other culinary highlights:

    Truffled mac and cheese (Cooking Light 2012)  SOOO good!  Salty and savory and complex.  It's an umami tsunami and you should make it POSTHASTE.

    Italian sub salad (Food Network)  Deconstructed sub - tasty.  Doesn't keep so scale it down or serve it to a crowd.

    Broccoli and quinoa casserole (a Pinterest recipe that actually worked out)  A little gummy but maybe that's how quinoa is?  I have never cooked it before... maybe the quick-cooking variety turns out that way. A one cup serving has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber - so it's sort of like the Greek yogurt of the grain world - and I plan on using it more (it's a superfood!)

    Just finished Bonfire of the Vanities (Tom Wolfe) - whew.  A Very Long Book.  Now can turn attention to several library books on deck: Why We Believe in God(s): The Science of Faith (The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/ But in ourselves...); The United States of Americana: Backyard Chickens, Burlesque Beauties, and Handmade Bitters: A Field Guide to the New American Roots Movement (I have long maintained that knitting-by-the-under-40-crowd and burlesque is not so much a Venn diagram as ONE BIG CIRCLE and someone has written the book before me); Apartment Therapy's Big Book of Cool, Small Places (I keep reading books about design and yet my nightstand is full of clutter - vide supra- and shoes pile up at the door) and Smut: Stories (featured in New York Times and on NPR and where I heard about it, Oprah magazine)  It features a fabulous wink wink nudge nudge cover.  Little precious.  So sweet.  Oh my!

    Happy reading, happy cooking, happy February, gentle readers!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    In Others' Words Wednesday

                      They gave each other a smile with a future in it.

                                                          Ring Lardner

    Susie and Ben, to be wed July 2012

    Ashleigh and Ben, to be wed June 2012