Not Martha

up to

eating:
Dave’s Killer Bread
Tasty bread with no weird ingredients. This stuff is substantial and organic. Right now we have the Powerseed.

Dave's Killer Bread

watching:
How I Met Your Mother
People have recommended this show in the past and I didn’t listen, I’m so sorry we waited this long to get into it. It’s lighthearted and funny and sharp and I’ve become a devoted fan. Bonus if you can spot the Whedonverse actors who pop up for an episode or two.

How I Met Your Mother DVD Season One

reading:
Ladies of Grace Adeiu
I picked this book up from the library because the cover was interestingly vintage/old middle school cloth and screenprint looking. A library sticker was covering up the front of the book so that all I saw was “Susanna _____, author of the bestselling Jonathan _____”. That tured out to actually be “Susanna Clarke, author of the bestselling Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell“. The Ladies of Grace Adieu is a collection of retold fairy tales and I find them to be completely enchanting. There are illustrations by Charles Vess which could be taken from the pages of your favorite old storybook. This has been an unexpectedly, magically, lovely impulse.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu

loving:
wrap sweaters
It started with a marked down DKNY sweater from TJ Maxx which I wore so often I went and bought a similar one from Target to wear around the house so I could keep the first one nice. Now I want more because they are very cozy.

wrap sweater from Target

playing:
Bobby Carrot Forever
(For the iPhone.) This is among the Chip’s Challenge style of games. It’s been surprisingly engaging and fun.

Bobby Carrot Forever

· comments [21] · 02-27-2009 · categories:up to ·

giveaway: Starbucks Via ReadyBrew instant coffee

Lucky you! I have some of the not yet in stores Starbucks Via instant coffee to give away. I really like this, and you can read about my adventures in getting to taste it here.

I have enough for ten winners, each will get a package of the Colombia and Italian Roast varieties and each package has three servings in it. To enter please leave a comment at with this entry, the winners will be chosen by random number and as usual the fine print applies.

You have until this Thursday, Feb. 26th at 5 p.m. PST to enter. Winners have been chosen, thanks to everybody for entering! I’ll let the Random Number Generator pick the winners and I’ll get the samples in the mail as soon as I can, hopefully they will reach you before the official release date of March 3rd.

· comments [787] · 02-24-2009 · categories:food ·

bacon stuffed waffles

Here is something to try should you find yourself with all the ingredients in your house: bacon stuffed waffles. We came across the idea in Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. Very simple, just pour a little batter in the waffle iron and lay a couple of slices of bacon on top before closing it. Leave a bit of space between the bacon slices so the batter can puff up and over the bacon:

We topped the waffles with an over-easy egg, and I drizzled a little maple syrup on top, Scott preferred his without the syrup. He is clearly crazy.

Then Scott found a face in his second waffle:

· comments [37] · 02-23-2009 · categories:food ·

Starbucks VIA ReadyBrew instant coffee

Earlier today I had the luck to attend a brunch held by Starbucks where they were going to present a Big New Thing. News of the thing, a new form of instant, or soluble, coffee called VIA Ready Brew, broke a little early so there wasn’t much surprise to what the news would be. The brunch was held at the Boat Street Cafe and of course the food was outstanding (reminder to self: make that kale gratin). I was so happy to have Mary T. from Shelterrific there with me.

update: Mary is holding a gift bag giveaway over here at Shelterrific and has more pictures from the brunch, some featuring my hands.

So here’s what I learned. The process of extracing the coffee took 20 years to perfect and was done by Don Valencia, who wanted to be able to drink good coffee on camping trips. The VIA name is in honor of him. It comes as a fine powder in the familiar skinny packet, you dump it into a mug and pour hot or cold water on top and stir. It’s 100% coffee, no additives. VIA will be available in Starbucks stores in Seattle, Chicago and the UK on March 3rd, and afterward everywhere. You can purchase it online at Starbucksvia.com, it will ship starting March 3rd. A pack of three will be $2.95 and a pack of 12 will be $9.95. Apparently samples were available at Fashion Week and will be included in the Oscars gift bags. There were free samples and those who heard about them early from Starbucks on Twitter grabbed them very quickly. They have not yet cracked the code on making a decaf version. The pack of three comes in this tidy package, which opens like a matchbook:

During the meal we got to try two varieties of VIA, the Italian Roast and the Colombian. I’m not a coffee snob but I did spend a summer working in a coffee shop (the critical early morning shift) and I can honestly tell you the coffee was delicious. There was no hint of bitterness or off taste to me and I was instantly thinking of all the ways having a few packets of this around would be ideal, mostly traveling. I was also thinking back to all the unfortunate past trips where we stayed with non-coffee drinkers and the touchy mornings because these people just didn’t understand and no peppermint tea won’t stave off my need for caffeine. Having a few of these would have solved all those problems. Anyhow, Ad Age reporters tried the coffee (note: video) alongside coffee brewed in the store and called it “virtually indistinguishable”. (That link is via The Food Section.)

At the end of the meal waiters brought around carafes of hot water and we were able to make our own coffee, but I had already taken the opportunity to dump a packet into my glass of ice water:

It dissolved (mixed?) quickly and didn’t have any bitter or sourness. I am completely taken with how easy this will make having a glass of iced coffee in the summer.

We were sent home with a swag bag with a few samples and this amazing I Am Not A Paper Cup from the MoMA store. Thanks Starbucks!

(I suspect, or like to think, that had the news of VIA not been so thoroughly leaked early the brunch would have included a reveal at the end of the meal that we’d been drinking instant coffee all along. As in, “we’ve secretly replaced their coffee with…”. That would have been awesome, no?)

I also wanted to say hello to the people I bumped into or met for the first time: Melody from Crave Party, Keren from Frantic Foodie, Ronald from Cornichon and Orangette‘s own Brandon, who reports his restaurant Delancey is set to open in April. Delancey is located in the neighborhood that Scott and I lived in for a year and a half and I really wish our time there had overlapped. Excellent pizza made by excellent people within walking distance? That would have been great.

· comments [27] · 02-19-2009 · categories:drink · food · things I think are neat ·

links: food

Best Food Finds at Costco and Tastiest Canned Tomatoes at Chow

cocktail apps for the iPhone, at the WSJ, via The Food Section

Beaba Multiportion Freezer Tray at Mighty Haus

Tea Spot on non-digital ways of checking water temperature for your tea: “my method is usually a finger in the water: If it’s too hot for me to do that, it’s too hot for green tea.”

best-ever roasted kale at Tuesday Recipe via Hogwash, who also points us towards her Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip at the Edible Seattle website. Yum.

Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe at 101 Cookbooks

Hooker’s Delight, a hook for the olives in your martini, at Shelterrific

Overlap between Mark Bittman’s cookbooks? at Ask Metafilter

These were the pot pie recipes recommended to me, we ended up making the Martha Stewart Double Crust Chicken and Mushroom Pie because at the last second I decided a pie shaped pot pie would be fun. But, the recipe makes enough filling for three big pie dishes. Half way through cooking I had to break out my other very large skillet and divide the ingredients between them. Too much pot pie is hardly a problem but the recipe makes way more that the single pie it claims.

Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken and Fall Vegetable Pot Pie from Bon Appetit

Umble Pie’s chicken pot pie, from Cover and Bake

chicken pot pies with herbed crust, at Sunday Baker

and I got two separate recommendations for Alton Brown’s Curry Chicken Pot Pie, which I must try soon

· comments [14] · 02-18-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·

Grassroots meet up tomorrow

The next Grassroots Business Association meetup is tomorrow night, Wed. Feb. 18th, 7 p.m. at Vermillion. Corey Gutch & Michael Ellsworth of Dumb Eyes will be talking about web sites for small businesses. If you’d like to attend you can find more details on the site and over at Meetup.com. If you’re already a member of Meetup.com please do RSVP so we know how many people to expect, thanks.

· comments [0] · 02-17-2009 · categories:events · seattle ·

digging for Razor clams

The other weekend we had the opportunity to go digging clams with friends. We drove down to Aberdeen Washington and out to a large beach at low tide. The beach seemed endless, and we could drive right out onto it. There were a huge number of people out there but there was so much space it hardly felt crowded. Digging clams was a lot of fun, it’s part treasure hunt and part brute force. Thanks so much to Mary, Dave, Tiffany and Chris for the fantastic day!

I didn’t take any pictures of the process of cleaning the clams, for those you can take a look at Mary’s Night of the Living Clams post over at Shelterrific. Let’s just say it was creepy and fascinating. She also posted about making the clam chowder recipe taken from the State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We have not yet cooked any of our clams, I’ll be sure to post if we do anything good with them (or at least anything successful!).

what I got for Valentine’s Day

This is the Duracell Powerpack 600 which I mentioned last week as what I wanted for Valentine’s Day. I was only partly joking, and I’m thrilled to have this. You charge up the battery inside and if you lose electricity, like we frequently do in Seattle, you have a good amount of power to draw from. It has three three-prong sockets, a DC outlet, an AC charger, an AM/FM radio, a light on one side, an alarm clock and a pair of jumper cables to jump start your car. So, the next time the power goes out or we drive through some remote parts of the country we’ll at least have a backup power supply. How sweet, thanks Scott!

And while shopping for pot pie ingredients I also came across the locally grown and processed flour from Stone-Buhr which I’ve talked about previously. This was found at my local QFC grocery store:

· comments [10] · 02-14-2009 · categories:food · shopping · the home ·

Valentine’s Day Wishes

We’ve developed a Valentine’s Day tradition in our house, we skip the cards and chocolates and instead I take the day off and spend the whole time cooking something fantastic for dinner. Last year I made Everyday Food’s Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce which is completely amazing. I bought the tenderloin at Whole Foods, where I rarely shop, and had to ask the butcher for a small enough cut. They handed me back at $27 (!!) piece of meat and I was too embarrassed to protest about the price. Turns out? It was absolutely worth it, that night I finally understood how beef could be melt in your mouth tender. I also made Alton Brown’s Sour Cream Cheesecake which I can recommend with a Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer crust. Just, make sure you give yourself enough time to let it set, last year we used the middle of the cake as a cold fondue for pretzels.

This year Scott has a cold, which I’m likely to come down with, so I’m planning on putting together some chicken pot pies. Anybody have a trusty pot pie recipe? I think I’m even going to start with (dramatic music) making my own stock. And our dessert plans have us giddy with a combination of ease, deliciousness and our rarely possessed gift of forethought: we’re going to open the box of Trader Joe’s Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s that we’ve been keeping in the freezer since Christmas. Thank you to everybody who alerted me to the incomparable awesomeness of these cookies, and the TJ’s employee who admitted to us that she always gets extra boxes of cookies to freeze.

And if you’re not so into the idea of Valentine’s Day why not give yourself the excuse to develop a hangover while celebrating 1234567890 Day tonight.

Some V-day links for you:

Ribcage with Heart Card by xlessthan3 and sold at Etsy, via Swiss Miss

Large shortbread custom message hearts for Valentine’s Day, at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Geek Valentines at Waxy

I like the pen with a heart stamp and the secret message ring in the Cool Hunting gift guide

Looking for some delicious and deliciously simple recipes for a special date night. at Ask Metafilter

I like this M&Ms pixel cake at Cake Wrecks, I want to use this idea sometime

Happy Valentine’s Day, I hope you get to do exactly what you’d like to be doing!

· comments [25] · 02-13-2009 · categories:events · food · holidays · mumbling ·

links: craft

Craft magazine is shutting down, but will remain as an online entity. Sniff, we’ll miss you on the magazine racks!

Doctor Who Scarf, wow this site is still going, I linked to it (or something similar) in 2001

Craft table for 4 at Ikea Hacker

chocolate buttons, at Plush You!

kate’s fabric boxes at Design Sponge

Midori Ribbon outlet sales, monthly here in Seattle, the next one is March 6th

handmade nation *special edition* interview at Design Sponge

· comments [11] · 02-12-2009 · categories:craft ·

links: tech

Top 10 Free Blogging Platforms & Features For Web Designers at Specky Boy

I’m currently being tempted by the Roku player, though maybe it’s just a leftover desire from being snowed in this winter.

Questions about creating websites for small businesses. at Ask Metafilter

Twitteree Recommendations Wanted, a request from Kevin Kelly

Smarterware: Use your head (and great software). Via A Whole Lotta Nothing.

iPhone related:

iPhone CSS Design Gallery at Swiss Miss

Paper Pilot Review at Touch Arcade

Audioengine at Uncrate

Emergency Charger that uses regular batteries for those no-power situations, at Product Dose.

Google Book Search for the iPhone

WhatTheFont for the iPhone, at Swiss Miss.

· comments [7] · 02-11-2009 · categories:iphone · technology ·

Readymade issue #38

I forgot to grab issue #38 of Readymade magazine, and now that Shelterrific has alerted me to the whole staff being ditched by the company that bought it last year I really, really want to get a hold of one as it might be one of the last good issues. Unfortunately issue 39 is already on the stands. Does anybody happen to have a copy of issue #38 (Dec 2008/Jan 2009) that you would sell to me?

· comments [26] · 02-10-2009 · categories:misc · mumbling ·

the new Kindle

Amazon’s new Kindle reader is out today. The improvements sound nice: It’s thinner (about the thickness of a magazine and thinner than an iPhone) and has a larger screen. The new screen displays shades of gray so text and images appear crisper. It sill has superfast 3G so you can download books quickly. The page turning buttons have been redesigned and are now located on both sides of the device and are harder to accidentally trigger, the page buttons were one of the things that people seemed the most dissatisfied with in the first model. The battery life has been improved and the page turns are faster. Did you know you can download and listen to audiobooks on the Kindle? And I thought I wanted one before.

This is very tempting, but I didn’t exactly spend a lot of time feeling the lack of a Kindle in my life over the last few months. Still, so very convenient.

· comments [20] · 02-9-2009 · categories:shopping ·

links: the home

Half a Table, useful illusion for an entryway, at Better Living Through Design

Learn how to save energy—and money—with a home energy audit at Home By Sunset

I like this Ikea spice jar rack, at Door Sixteen

Making a Chandelier? at mirrormirror. I really, really need to replace the light in my dining room, which is a Lowe’s-generic.

Lazy Bastard, I think I like this, at least in theory. AT Product Dose.

Duracell Powerack 600, a big battery with a handle to power a few small things when the power goes out. I want this as a gift for Valentine’s Day. at Uncrate

· comments [7] · 02-6-2009 · categories:the home ·

links: food

Where to find realistic faux food? at Ask Metafilter

A guide to dim sum via Anh-Minh

Cashew Curry at 101 Cookbooks

How do I make white rice for one person? at Ask Metafilter

Salted Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Cookies at Joy the Baker

DIY vanilla extract at Chocolate&Zucchini

Splatgirl tried to recreate the McGriddle, complete with homemade maple syrup chips for the pancake buns.

· comments [2] · 02-5-2009 · categories:food · recipes ·