Monday, August 23, 2010

off to the cabin!


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a very happy young lady...see you all when I'm not up north!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

State Fair!




Minnesota State Fair. I miss you. (rad poster from Allan Peters, a Minnesota graphic designer, via Twig and Thistle)

Friday, August 20, 2010

...I promise I'm still alive

Enough so to mess up my experiments and ruin a week of work. Awesome, as they say. But the good news is, we're building a lab website so I had to go through my picture archives to find some pictures. Including this gem from the State Fair two years ago:


So---this Saturday is all about catching up...to the food in my fridge, the work I have to do, the pictures I still need to organize and post, all that. Until then - enjoy your Friday!

Monday, August 16, 2010

the patented weekend packing guide!


As so many of my fine friends asked where my suitcase was this weekend and just looked at me like I was nuts as I pointed to my bright blue bag and said, "Well, this is it!" --- here's how I was able to make it work.

-Weekender bag (from H&M for $5 two years ago; I loved the color!)

-Envirosax bag that easily rolls up and adds more space just in case there happens to be an unplanned shopping trip, or to carry wine, bread, and cheese to a picnic

-magazines to read while waiting for my plane and then leave in the airport

-toiletries; small bottles since I'm carrying things on to the plane; I brought shampoo, facewash, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, some extra hair bands, and dental floss.

-Sigg water bottle (the small one); hydration is key on planes and on vacations

-Sunscreen. SPF 55 for my fair Irish face.

-One dress (it's white with green ovals on it and a brown belt)

-One navy blue skirt

-Two shirts (one cotton, one viscose; nice since they don't wrinkle too badly)

-Two camisoles for modesty-based layering

-Gray cardigan

Note on clothes: I usually think about what I'll be doing on a vacation or weekend while I'm gone, and go from there. This weekend had a bit of walking, but no fancy events, so I went for two casual summer shoes; one open toe, one closed toe. From there you think, okay, so what shoes do I have that are comfy and open vs. closed toe? I have had a really hard time finding sandals that fit my unfortunate sausage feet, so flip flops it is. And then most of my flats are not so comfortable for super long 3 miles plus of walking. So--the Toms shoes it is. I can chose brown or black flip flops, and then my Toms are red. So, to figure out things that go with them, I pick one bottom, one dress (since I love dresses) and then two different tops that jive with red shoes. Piece of cake. Things get harder (much harder) when I'm going home for two weeks around Christmas and it's freezing and I have a New Year's party to attend, or a family thing to go to, or I'm going sledding---so I can't always pack this light. But when I do, it's great!

-Flip flops

-Toms shoes; super comfy and perfect for the plane rides and walking to and from the T and the airport, if nothing else...my feet always get cold

-Plastic bag (gallon size) for shoes. This is great since it doesn't get the rest of your stuff dirty from anything on the ground, and it's an extra bag in case they get wet.

-Nude bike shorts (ok so here's the deal. I hate shorts. HATE shorts. Ugh. Which means that I wear skirts and dresses all summer long...which means that I had to come up with a way to be modest enough when sitting on a picnic blanket without flashing half the world. Hence, nude bike shorts. You can also wear normal black ones, but they sometimes show more obviously through the dress)

-Oak leaf hammered silver necklace (from here)


-Green peridot choker from my grandmother

-Wallet (gotta remember that ID!)

-Boarding pass

-a few sheets of blank paper and a pen...just in case you need it for something

-Bottle of tylenol which contains a rudimentary first aid kit. For me, that means a few tylenol, some ibprofen, a couple bandaids. But if you're the person that is lactose intolerant, obviously you'd need to add lactaid...it's very customizable.

-2 granola bars (=emergency rations)

-four cough drops--one for each flight to suck on

-pajama shirt and jersey skirt (lightweight, squishable, and no one cares if your pjs are wrinkly)

-camera with rechargeable batteries

-phone and phone charger

Ta-da! Everything fits, and it weighs less than the bag I normally carry to school with my laptop. Perfect.

Now, if it was winter, this would be a lot harder due to the actual puffiness and/or general size of winter clothes. But you can still plan things the same way. Another issue was a small gift to bring to my hosts...I had planned to fill up my envirosax bag with lots of puppy chow, but the dilation of my eyes got in my way (I was walking around like an impaled cyclops the night before I left, and couldn't really do anything. I couldn't trust myself with the oven, that's for sure).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Ikea, the mini, and meatballs.

[Me and the mini after the Ikea trip that yielded oh-so-much deliciousness and home goods in June. Posted now just because I'm hungry for meatballs. Although, when am I ever not hungry for good meatballs?]

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In the Kitchen: Summer pies and tarts

I have come to the most obvious realization of the century: when it is hot outside and you are making pies, do not make them on a school night. Because of all of the chilling and time and all that, wow. I was up until 2 am. Bad plan. Baaaaad plan.

But pie? Good plan. Always a good plan.


Sour cherry pie with almond crumble



adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

----Almond crumble
2/3 cup whole oats, ground to a flour in a food processor (yielding 1/2 cup oat flour---this is super easy! love it.)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds (so---I kind of cheated and used almond flour since I had some. I know, I'm a pumpkin eater)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

----Filling
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted, or 2 pounds frozen sour cherries, partially thawed

Instructions

1. Roll out the chilled pie dough into a 12 inch round. Gently fit into a 9- or 9.5-inch pie plate. Fold the edges under and crimp decoratively. Either refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes (if you don’t wish to blind-bake the crust first) or preheat oven to 425ºF, line dough with foil and weigh it down with pie weights. (pie weights are ceramic dealy-bobs, or you can use beans. I used mung beans, because that's what I had. Big mistake. They got all gross while blind-baking). Bake until crust is light golden brown, about 30 minutes (for a more stable, crisp bottom crust).
2. R educe temperature to 375°F.
3. Grind oats to an oat flour in a food processor with pulses. (this is pretty nifty to watch) then add the all-purpose flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and whole almonds. Grind them together until the nuts are coarsely ground (again, I used almond flour).
4. Stir together with melted butter in a bowl.
5. In a large bowl, mix the cherries with the sugar, cornstarch and kosher salt. Taste the mixture to see if you want more sugar than is called for...(be sure to try and see. Always do little taste tests of batters and such to make sure you haven't totally messed up the salty or sweetness)
6. Pour the cherries into your unbaked or blind-baked pie shell. Sprinkle the almond crumble over the cherries. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.


Blueberry Tart


(this one definitely got a little oozy, all over my oven. Whoops)

adapted from Wild Berry Tart (Skogsbär flan)

Originally from The Food and Cooking of Sweden

Ingredients

500 grams / 1 ¼ pound fresh berries
7 oz / 1 cup sugar

----Pastry
10 oz / 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 oz unsalted butter
2 oz / ¼ cup confectioners sugar
1 egg, beaten

Instructions

1. To make the pastry, put the flour in a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the flour, and then mix together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (make sure to pulse! You don't want to heat up the butter)
2. Stir in the sugar and add the egg to the mixture and combine to form a dough. Wrap in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for one hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry thinly and use to line an 8 inch tart pan. (I kind of just pushed it into the tin...my kitchen was a mess by the time it was midnight, and I just...kind of...uh...caved).
4. Put a circle of wax paper in the pie shell and fill with baking beans to weight down the crust. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the pastry has set. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for five minutes until the base is dry.
5. Fill the tart with berries and sprinkle the sugar on top. (I only used about 1/4 cup of sugar; 1 cup just seemed insane after I got to the 1/4 cup mark and the tart seemed very covered in sugar. Since the blueberries were fresh and sweet, I did just go with 1/4 cup. If you're using raspberries or sour-er fruits, douse on the sugar).
6. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Govenor's Island


Next year, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to get to Govenor's Island--the dresses, oh my, the dresses!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

mourning the triceratops, the latest scientific casualty

What is with you, science?

First you kill off the planet Pluto, then you decide that protons are smaller than we thought, and now that the triceratops is actual the juvenile form of the lesser-known torosaurus. What gives?

Progress, my friends. Knowledge. But sometimes with new discoveries come the fact that, tear, adult triceratops, well...they don't exist. Or, they don't exist as triceratops like we think of them today. Thank goodness that Cera (the bossy one from The Land Before Time) will never really get old.


(speaking of, they're on Land Before Time XIII (that's 13) and according to Wikipedia includes such characters as Loofah and Doofah. No joke)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

more favorite colors!




I found this print of Stensoat linen and just loved the colors! (colormatching done with Inkscape with inspiration from Design Seeds).


...not surprising, given that I bought these cute little mugs about two months ago with the same color scheme.



I think the world is telling me something.

Monday, August 2, 2010

In the Kitchen: Greek pie


Greek Pie

Originally from Lizzy Dishes Portland (but adapted by me slightly)

Ingredients

----Pie crust
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled unsalted butter
1/2 cup water

----Filling
2 lbs ground lamb
1/2 red onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon (don't be scared---this is actually a delicious thing to add to meat)
pinch of anise seed (whoops, no anise)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 oz. goat cheese + extra for garnish (I used an 11 oz package)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 eggs
fresh oregano
1/2 cup minced kalamata olives
1 leek, cleaned and minced (they are sandy, so be sure to clean thoroughly!)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (I didn't have time to add these, but I'm sure they'd add a wonderful taste to the whole dish)
olive oil

Instructions

1. To make the pie crust, mix flour and salt, cut in butter (or use food processor) and add water. Form into a ball and chill for 2 hours before using. (ha. so...yeah...um...I was running late. Which means I hand-pressed the crust into a pie pan and chilled for about 30 minutes. I'm sure this could have tasted better had I taken more time with it)

2. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

3. To make the filling, add ground lamb to saucepan. Cook over medium high heat. While it is cooking, add the red onion and the cinnamon, cumin and anise seed, salt and pepper.

4. Cook until onions are translucent and the lamb is completely cooked. Drain the meat/onion mixture to get rid of excess grease from the lamb. Add the mixture back into the saucepan.

5. Add the olive oil and the flour. Stir until meat is coated and cook over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

6. While meat is cooling, cut cherry tomatoes into halves, toss in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven on 450 for 15 minutes, until tomatoes are burst and starting to char. Remove from oven and let cool.

7. In a saute pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and the leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium high until caramelized, stirring occasionally, (or they'll get a little, uh, crispy) for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. (all these let cool steps, sheesh. Not meant for people setting up for a party, that's for sure)

8. When the meat is cooled, add the goat cheese, bread crumbs, a few leaves of fresh oregano, 1/4 cup of chopped olives and eggs. Mix together thoroughly.

9. To assemble the pie, add the meat mixture to the empty pie crust. Cover the top of the mixture with the caramelized leeks, remaining olives and roasted tomatoes. If desired, dot the top of the pie with goat cheese (YES! Sometimes the texture of room temperature goat cheese doesn't sit well with me, but this is perfect. So good.)

10. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Garnish with fresh oregano (from the garden, woo!) and serve warm. Preferably to a group of your friends, who will rant and rave and make you feel like a rockstar. (thanks guys! It means a lot!)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 2010

[it's been a month of reading. From Mists of Avalon to a biography of women of the confederacy to finally perusing The Sartorialist's book to a book about the topographical history of Boston, lying down on my bed with a cold washcloth on my forehead and a book in my hands has occupied many of my evenings. It's just too hot to cook sometimes, it seems]



Inspiration:


from here. VraiFaux makes each ring using wax and makes a casting using bronze and then powdercoats each ring to give it a phenomenally beautiful skeleton.




Math used as art, from Shannon May





Amazing stop motion video --- I can't get enough of the music. (see the behind-the-scenes video here)







Incredible video from the geniuses at Olympus PEN Cameras (via Swissmiss)



My friends. I mean, look at all this food....jalapeño cornbread, banoffee pie, empanadas, herb and goat cheese linguine, dueling red and green roast chickens, peanut butter oatmeal cookie sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, sweet corn, kebabs, guacamole...how did I manage to find such good cooks as friends? I live a good life, that's for sure.


Things to look forward to:


--wedding number three this summer! I'm playing horn in the one, which fulfills one of my "Fifty Things in Five Years" goals---and let's just say, there will be some Star Wars, some Copland, a bit of Moreau, and, you know, a couple hymns for good measure.


--more of the anatomy physiology class. Today was the heart dissection, and things went just fabulous. I love teaching.


--Chicago! I'll be taking off for a brief three-day Chicago extravaganza, which currently includes a early-biology-girl breakfast, an evening of concerts, and just seeing friends. Friends are just so wonderful.


--McCormick girls move back in starting August 11th. Freshman orientation begins August 29th. I am excited to meet all the new girls, start a new tradition (tea every night from 10:30-11...I need to get myself into a better routine), more muffins, study breaks, and having people over for visits.


--Shakespeare in the Park here in Boston Common


--Going to the cabin. Since my mom will be visiting in October, I don't think I'll be going home between now and then...but I just want to go hang out at the cabin and do nothing. I think this would be good for my heart.