Thursday, July 30, 2009

Some things I've eaten recently...

A very good farmers market chicken roasted with olive oil, salt, and fresh thyme (courtesy of the mister).

Lots of salads.

Fresh organic raspberries (very good deal at CostCo right now) with maple syrup-sweetened local fromage blanc (thanks to a friend!).

(Yes, more) Homemade ice cream. This time strawberry, served here topped with whipped cream (organic strawberries are also a very good deal at CostCo right now) . I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine but I substituted the called for 3/4 cups sugar for 1/2 cup dark agave nectar, and it turned out really good. Better even than my last "best yet."

Lastly, and what this post really wouldn't be complete without because of how often I've been eating it, pizza.


I'm not too happy about this, but oh, the cheesy goodness. It's the latest crack of my diet, now that sugar's been out of the picture for awhile (I stopped eating it a couple months ago following a pact made with my mom and aunt). I blame this on Enrique. Not the sugar ban, the pizza habit. If it were healthier pizza (i.e., thinner, maybe whole wheat crust, less cheese, organic ingredients, that kind of thing) it wouldn't be such an issue, but this is your standard American pizza, and it has been tasting like just the most delicious thing in the world to me lately. We usually get Papa John's but this slice here is actually from CostCo, where you can get a giant take-out pizza pie for $9.99. I really do hope to move on from this obsession soon, though.

So we are off on our big east coast trip soon, in just 3 days in fact. So you may not hear from me much (or at all) between now and when we get back. Or maybe you will, we'll see.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Butterflies!

I walked into my mom's living room this morning and was met with these.

Tons and tons of mounted and framed butterflies! Wow.

Some of them are actually moths. I'm really not sure which ones, but I think maybe some of the ones pictured above and below. (What is the difference between a moth and a butterfly, anyway? I need to look that up.)

They all belong to a butterfly catcher friend who was visiting and displaying his goods. Most of them I think he actually gets through mail order from other countries, where they are farmed (hopefully this means they are eco-friendly? I don't really know, should've asked).

Give a hoot!

Front...

...and back (camouflaged to look like leaves).


For anyone interested, "Butterfly Joe" (as he calls himself) peddles his wares from a booth on S. Congress here in Austin.

Just amazing, folks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bulk Bin Bags

I just sewed these up to use for shopping from the bulk bins at the grocery store. You know, for dry stuff like rice and beans and things, which is what the little stuff I decorated the bags with is supposed to be. When I get home from the store, I'll transfer my goods from the bags to storage jars, which is what I normally do anyway. I originally had it in mind to make some of these for produce, too, but in the end didn't see the point. The things that don't need individual bags at home, like onions and apples, I just don't bag at the store in the first place, and the things that do need them, like cherries and lettuce, well, they need them to stay fresh longer and I don't think a cloth bag in the fridge would cut it. This is unfortunate, having to rely on plastic bags like that, but I don't see a way around it. I do try to re-use them, but they usually don't last too long (if something gets left in one too long I usually don't want to mess with washing the slimy ick out, and this happens more often than I'd like to admit). So remember how I was struggling with my first buttonhole awhile back? Well, it wasn't for clothing (unfortunately, still haven't progressed in that department), it was actually for the drawstrings for these bags, and I finally figured it out and can make buttholes (Update: oh my word, that was not what that was supposed to say! What is wrong with me??) with ease now!

And I got a chance to try out my new fabric markers for the first time on these bags. Even though I think embroidery would be way cuter, the idea is to keep the bags as lightweight as possible, so markers seemed the way to go. Or just plain, they look very nice plain too. I became obsessive at the craft store about getting every single color of marker, so I did, except for this one peach-y shade, which in order to get, I would have had to buy an entire 6-pack of colors, 5 of which I already had. Hopefully missing that color will not haunt me too much. Or they'll have it in stock in singles next time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frittatas. Yum.

These frittatas really hit the spot the other day. And they were so super simple to make, I don't know why I don't dress eggs up like this more often. The recipe I found in the current issue of Food & Wine and it can be found on-line here (I skipped the tomato salad part). It just so happens that the chef behind it, Alain Coumont, is also the founder of an international restaurant chain called Le Pain Quotidien (french for "Daily Bread") with locations in NYC, where we'll soon be going for three full days. So it's currently on the restaurant possibilities list. In my research for eateries in the areas we'll be travelling (Vermont, NYC, and Portland, Maine), I've been obsessing over Yelp reviews, a resource I didn't even know existed until a few months ago. But while I've got a long list of restaurant ideas, the activities list is looking sparse. I'm not too interested in the obvious, like Times Square and the Empire State Building, but if anyone has any off-the-beaten path recommendations, I'm all ears! There are the many museums, of course, but considering we'll have the baby in tow, I think we'll just go to one (I'm leaning towards the American Museum of Natural History). Maybe two.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Free Digital Download (for a very limited time!)

I just got this album today and it came with 4 free digital downloads, only 1 for which I have any use. So if anyone is interested, there are still 3 downloads left and here are the directions:

The downloads should work until noon tomorrow (central time) (or a little later, actually, I just don't know exactly how much later--I will pay closer attention next time!).

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ill-fated ABC's

These arrived for Zoë me in the mail today, ABC cards by Julie Morstad. I don't remember how I first came across them, another blog most likely, but boy are they great. Considering Zoë's recent treatment of some other ABC's (see "Exhibit A" below), I don't think I can bear to give them to her, not just yet anyway. Maybe when she's 19.

View 1 (of 2)

View 2 (of 2)

Note the binding and edge damage showing marks consistent with the dental characteristics of an immature homosapien, female, aged 6-18 months. (Refer to "Exhibit B" below for further character study discussion).

View 1 (of 1)

This was my very own duckie when I was a baby, nearly 30 years ago. Up until approximately 6 months ago, it still had two eyes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mammoth Garlic

Organic Gourmet Purple Garlic Clove
This came from Whole Foods and it is the biggest garlic clove I've ever seen (not sure if I've ever handled a clove of elephant garlic, I imagine it must be atleast this big too). And it wasn't just the one, the rest of the bulb was full of other oversized cloves too. I tried using one to make aïoli but it didn't work out at all. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, I was adding the oil bit by bit and whisking away and the mixture was staying quite thick, but then I accidently dumped more oil than I intended and the texture became irreperably runny and ruined. So I gave up for the time being and turned it into salad dressing (which was delicious, but I still really want to get aïoli/mayo-making down) .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More Ice Cream (Agave Success!)

1

2

Repeat


Ever since my first post about it over a month ago, I've been making ice cream regularly, with varying degrees of success. The other day's batch of mango-peach was one of the best yet, and it was sweetened with agave. I've been making up my own recipes and don't usually keep track of exact measurements, but I will share this one as best as I can estimate.
Whisk together the following ingredients, then transfer to ice cream maker:
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 mangoes, pureed
1/2 quart sliced peaches, pureed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
agave syrup (add last, tasting as you go, until desired level of sweetness is reached)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Shopping

I just got a pair of these, Salt Water sandals, made in the USA and not too expensive (especially gently used on Ebay!).
This photo really doesn't do them justice, the one here does a much better job (which is where I first saw them). The pair I just got:

They are great but red would have been my first choice, so maybe I will get that color too sometime down the road.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fruitcake

This little cake of sorts was presented to Zoë Belle yesterday for her first birthday / rite of passage into strawberry-eating. It is just thinly sliced strawberries and bananas, layered one after the other.