· comments  · 11-30-2009 · categories:food · links ·
I love, love this cleverly disguised Extreme Pumpkin Pie over at Extreme Holiday Ideas. (Whom you might recognize from long running Extreme Pumpkins fame.) The layers of this pie are propped up in a very clever way, using lengths of Pirouette cookies.
The The Pumpkin-Apple-Pecan Pie made by Cakespy is fun, and would make sure that everybody’s pie needs are filled if your gathering isn’t three full-sized pies large.
And the Pumpkin Pie Bites from Bakerella are adorable and I want to make them immediately. See also the Thanksgiving mini pies made by Rakka Deer.
I also wanted to give a shout out (shout back?) for some pies baked in jars love from Bakerella and Brownies For Dinner (I wish I’d used larger jars too!).
I hope you all have a very yummy Thanksgiving!
· comments  · 11-25-2009 · categories:food · holidays ·
Flipping through a Williams-Sonoma catalog I saw something familiar, they used a bacon lattice as the topping for their Home Skillet Frittata. The bacon lattice you might know as the Bacon Mat at Instructables, the inspiration for my Bacon Cups. Neat.
While I’m talking about Williams-Sonoma, did you see the Giant Sandwich Cookie Cake Pan? Or the Snowy Village Cakelet Pan? I want both, I need neither.
· comments  · 11-24-2009 · categories:food ·
· comments  · 11-23-2009 · categories:links · misc ·
I have come down with a cold, so yesterday I amused myself by making Gaufres de Liege, known to me as Belgian sugar waffles. These are amazing, and have left me uninterested in most all other waffles. They are made from a yeast dough and studded with big coarse sugar that melts and caramelizes as it cooks. They are so, so good.
I had my first one of these at Arosa cafe here in Seattle. (If you live in Seattle you can read more about Arosa’s two locations and Hans, whom everybody loves, here at Voracious.) Even when not fresh (I brought it home and heated in the oven for a moment) it was delicious. I tracked down a recipe over at The Kitchn and had a go.
First I needed to find pearl sugar (though the recipe calls for turbinado sugar and only pearl sugar “if you choose”). I know I’d seen it in the Scandinavian Specialties import store in Ballard, the stuff I had seen resembles the large, opaque salt you see on soft pretzels. I ended up finding some at my nearest Red Apple Market:
This brand had two kinds, Swedish Pearl Sugar (like described above) and this Belgian Pearl Sugar which is far larger than I was expecting:
But, right there on the back of the box is a recipe for Belgian Sugar Waffles:
I don’t know if you need sugar this large, but it certainly seemed to work well. You can also find this Lars Own Belgian Pearl Sugar at Amazon, along with hail sugar, the small kind, which is sold by Chef Shop (whose physical location just happens to be in Seattle). You can also find the Lars Swedish sized pear sugar occasionally at Ikea.
The recipe calls for 140 grams of sugar, which for me worked out to just over 3/4 cup, but I didn’t use all of it because the dough seemed so crammed with sugar.
You divide the dough into 12 parts, let them rise a bit more and put them in your waffle maker:
These aren’t meant to fill the space in your waffle maker, they are meant to be oddly shaped. The sugar bits melt, so if you have an older waffle maker you might want to use that one:
Here is my DIRE WARNING. The molten sugar bits will burn your fingers when you remove them from the waffle maker. So don’t pluck them from the waffle maker with your bare fingers (ow ow ow stupid ow), and don’t lift them from the waffle maker with tongs but place your bare hand protectively beneath it as the hot sugar will drip onto your lower hand (unexpected ow). Use tongs to pluck it out of the waffle maker, and a spatula beneath to steady it on it’s way to the cooling rack. You have been warned.
What emerges will be so good you almost won’t mind the amount of work it will be to clean out your waffle maker.
The waffle maker pictured here is on it’s way out and I suspect our next waffle maker will be chosen specifically with Gaufres de Liege in mind. Smaller, deeper squares and with temperature settings. (If you’re wondering what happened to the waffle maker I mentioned earlier, I returned it. It made a disturbing and obviously not right click when one closed it, something was catching and we couldn’t figure out what. Also, it seemed to only under or over cook waffles and for as much as it cost I wasn’t too pleased about that. I’d much rather have the 1/5th of an ottoman that it was worth.)
One last note, the recipe below calls for a low temperature setting for your waffle maker. Mine just has On and Off and yet the waffles turned out just fine. I just checked to see if the outside was dark enough for me, they all seem to have cooked through just fine (I, um, ate half of them so it was a good sample). You can heat them in the toaster, but be aware of the molten sugar warnings above and if you are going to just eat it by hand wrap it in parchment paper instead of a paper towel (which will stick to the caramelized sugar exterior).
Recipe by Chichi of My Chalkboard Fridge, by way of Doc Doughtery, and was found here at The Kitchn. Presented here with a few notes by Megan from NotMartha.org.
Gaufres de Liege
makes 12 waffles
- 6 tablespoons warm milk (no hotter than 110°F)
- 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 cups (230 grams) bread flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 medium egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) unsalted butter, at slightly cooler than room temperature
- 140 grams turbinado sugar, or pearl sugar if you choose (I went with 3/4 cup. It’s worth seeking out Lars Belgian Pearl Sugar if you can find it.)
- Cooking spray
Dissolve the sugar in the warm milk; then add the yeast. Make sure that the milk is not too hot, lest it kill the yeast instead of promoting its growth. Place a plate or some kind of cover on top of the bowl with the milk, sugar and yeast. Set aside for about five minutes. When you check on it, the yeast should have bubbled up, looking light brown and spongy.
Meanwhile, mix the sifted bread flour with the cinnamon, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the yeast mixture; then add the whole egg and egg yolk. Mix on medium speed until it is fully combined. The dough will be yellow and stiff, yielding only slightly to a poke.
Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for about thirty minutes. (I always find the top of my fridge is the best spot in my house.)
Beat in the butter piece by piece; you do not have to wait for the prior piece to be fully incorporated before adding the next. When the dough has incorporated about half of the butter, the mixture will be like a very thick, somewhat broken-up paste. If you keep engaging the mixer on medium-high speed, the dough will eventually become a cohesive whole, looking smoother and more feeling more elastic. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
Kneading very gently, incorporate the sugar crystals just enough to get them evenly distributed. Work quickly so as not to soften the buttery dough too much.
Divide the dough into a dozen equal pieces, gently forming them into balls.
Place the balls of dough on a cutting board in a warmish place for fifteen minutes or so. During the last two minutes of this resting time, preheat your waffle iron until it is very warm, but not hot.
Spray the griddles with cooking oil. Place each ball of dough in a whole square or section of the waffle iron. (I could fit two in my smallish, round Belgian style waffle maker.) Like regular waffle batter, the dough will start to puff up. Cook the waffles until the surface is golden to dark brown. Be sure that the waffle iron you are using is appropriately deep, or else the interior of the waffle will not be cooked through. If you are using a vintage stovetop waffle iron, flip the iron every thirty to forty seconds, lifting the iron to check the rate of browning. The browning should be gradual to allow the interior to fully develop.
(Be careful when you lift them from the waffle maker! Very hot sugar can drip from the waffles and, trust me, it burns.)
Set the waffles on a cooling rack as they come out of the iron to promote a crispy exterior. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Any leftover waffles, if they are not dark brown, can be carefully re-cooked in a toaster for approximately thirty to sixty seconds. (Again, beware hot molten sugar.) Leftover waffles may also be kept in an airtight container between sheets of parchment paper, for up to three days.
· comments  · 11-20-2009 · categories:food ·
· comments  · 11-19-2009 · categories:beauty · links · shopping ·
Well look at that, I’ll be a speaker at the Altitude Design Summit conference this January. Those Kirtsy ladies, who are behind the creation of the event, are so charming that they got me to agree to speak in public. I’m terrified. Come watch me lose my composure!
If you were considering attending Alt this might help you make up your mind, they are offering their Early Bird pricing through November 20th, it’s a whole $100 off the normal price. Also Sundance will be taking place during the summit so there is a chance of celebrity spotting, and you might want to stay and attend a few screenings.
And while I’m at it I’d like to congratulate Laura Mayes on sending off her book Kirsty Takes A Bow: A Celebration of Women’s Online Favorites. You can preorder it on Amazon. Congrats Laura!
Also a huge congratulations to Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge for sending off the final bits of her book, just months after she got married and had her wedding featured in Martha Stewart Weddings magazine. You are a superhero. Probably an exhausted one. Grace is also a speaker at Alt, I’m wowed to be in the same company.
· comments  · 11-18-2009 · categories:events ·
Last weekend Buick loaned me a car for the weekend* to drive down to Portland and attend the Northwest Food and Wine Festival. Scott was busy being a rock star with Explone so I took my friend Maggi, I couldn’t have had a better partner in crime for the weekend!
We ate so, so very well. Buick put us up at the Benson Hotel which has a beautiful lobby and a very comfortable bar in the lobby that invited a little lingering. We checked in and headed to Fenouil for a hosted Tweetup. Fenouil is fantastic and and full of energy, and the upstairs has a nice view down overhead the kitchen. The front of the restaurant has a patio just off of a small city park and I wished it was warm enough to sit outside, it must be amazing in the summer.
That night we had a late dinner at El Gaucho, which is connected to the lobby of the Benson by a secret door. We ate steaks and one delicious Caesar salad. We got to watch some very dramatic presentations of kebobs brought out on flaming swords, very entertaining and probably will be a destination for us in the depth of this upcoming winter when we are desperately needing some distraction from the cold and the gray.
The next day at lunch I had the pleasure to meet Brett, the man behind Food Carts Portland, and Valerie who keeps The Wine Dog Review and gave us some tips on what wines to make sure we sampled at the festival.
We had a few hours to explore in the afternoon and made our way to the Waffle Window. Yum, and the indoor seating was most welcome on the chilly afternoon. We happened to stumble across the Yarn Garden and couldn’t help but go in for a little look around.
The festival itself was a lot of fun, there was an overwhelming amount of things to sample and nibble. The standouts for me were the estate pinot noirs from Johan Vineyards. I also took note of the Phinny Hill Vineyard Carmenere from Tertulia Cellars that has an interesting story. Apparently it was thought mostly lost when it was rediscovered being grown in Chile and sold as Merlot, you can read more here at Wikipedia.
Amazingly we managed to find ourselves hungry later that night and walked a few blocks to Chez Joly, whose food we had sampled earlier at the festival, and had a lovely meal. Our waiter mentioned that they had a sparkling wine made from raspberries that night so we both ordered a glass. It was so lovely that we both ended up buying a bottle on our way out (and the waiter was sweet enough to comp us both a second glass, which made our walk home a bit tipsy!). The foil and the label are pink and it’s almost too cute to stand. I’m not normally a sweet drink type of girl but this was lovely, and has an alluring fresh raspberry flavor.
On Sunday we visited Pine State Biscuits. I ordered the grits sampler and was shocked to find it came with a piece of fried chicken, a very happy shocked. The food was amazing and very welcome on a cold dreary morning, but the process of ordering and waiting was quite a challenge on a Sunday as the very few tables are up for grabs. I’m glad we opted to get our food to go, even though all the patrons were perfectly nice I couldn’t have coped with vying for a table.
You’d think we would never be hungry again but on the drive back we needed an excuse to use the On Star service that was in the car, and which we’d been encouraged to take advantage of. The only thing I could think of was where the nearest Burgerville might be. (I couldn’t handle the idea of eating a burger, but a milkshake for lunch sounded quite nice). We were given the miles and exit number of the next one and milkshakes were acquired and enjoyed.
And how was the car? People, it was nice. I was driving a 2010 Buick LaCrosse and it was quite the experience. The drive to and from Portland is a familiar trip to me and often feels unending but this time I we were arriving well before I expected. I even found excuses to keep driving around after I dropped Maggi off at the end of the weekend.
* Being offered a car to try out for a weekend? Totally not something that happens to me. My thanks to Buick for giving me the opportunity.
· comments  · 11-17-2009 · categories:mumbling ·
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody – Santa Baby….. A chocolate and crushed peppermint dipped rim for this mug of cocoa, beautiful.
RobertSabuda.com: Simple Pop-Ups You Can Make!.
via Kirigami T-Rex » Curbly | DIY Design Community « Keywords: Kirigam, origami, pop-up, cards.
Make a pop-up paper garden! » Curbly | DIY Design Community « Keywords: paper, folding, greeting_cards, flower.
Gingerbread Caramels, marthastewart.com.
Amazon.com: Nordic Ware 3D Christmas Tree Pan: Home & Garden. Oooh!
Holiday Cards by theironcurtainpress on Etsy. Iron Curtain Press are the people who made my wedding reception favor cards and thank you cards, this is the holiday section of their Etsy shop full of good stuff.
What are some good online stores to buy cool, unique Christmas gifts? | Ask Metafilter.
· comments  · 11-16-2009 · categories:christmas · links ·
· comments  · 11-12-2009 · categories:food · links ·
3/8 Sleeve Circle Shirt organic hemp/cotton by gaiaconceptions. I love the style of this shirt, simple and interesting.
The Secret Garden Moss Terrarium Globe by doodlebirdie on Etsy. This is charming.
Unique Gifts and Classic Goods for Modern Men – Gent Supply Co. From the brilliant people behind Delight.com, this is good stuff.
Audrey and Grace by audreyandgrace on Etsy. I wish I knew about this shop earlier this year when I was looking for full skirted dresses!
Essentially Odd 826 National Design Catalog | Incredible Things. All the stuff from the 826 stores with comments from the designers, excellent.
· comments  · 11-11-2009 · categories:links · shopping ·
· comments  · 11-10-2009 · categories:links · technology ·
Cheap, Money-Saving Winterizing Moves Worth the Hassle – Winterize – Lifehacker. Including my DIY door draft stopper, thanks! I do love the bubble wrap over windows idea, we have sheer curtains over most of our windows anyhow so the visuals would work out. We’d still be able to open them, something I’m wary of with the heat shrink window proofing film.
Shopping: The search for designer doorknobs.
swissmiss | Luft Wall Shelf. I love how slim this is.
· comments  · 11-9-2009 · categories:links · the home ·
Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off, Fall 2009. It’s here! I learned this at Sock Summit and you can learn it now too.
angry chicken: screenprinting on fabric made easy (really!). With a discount for EZScreenPrint, a good excuse to try it out.
all buttoned up.: The New Stitch Magazine and My Perfect Cookie.. The thermal pot luck carrier is fantastic!
lovelydesign: perfect boxes + drawer dividers. With instructions.
swissmiss | Inkjet tattoo paper. For DIY temporary tattoos. Must keep in mind for future Halloween projects.
· comments  · 11-6-2009 · categories:craft · links ·
I lost 25 pounds this year, yay! It took me a while to figure out what worked for me. Here is the short version:
Slightly longer that would be: working out two to three times a week with the 30 Day Shred DVD and/or my Schwinn 430 elliptical machine while watching Gilmore Girls (or How I Met Your Mother) and eating carefully.
The Exercise Bits
I don’t want to be outdoors, running makes my knees hurt, it rains a lot here and it’s dark in the winter. I’m cranky and ugly when I break a sweat. I’m not motivated by competition or by being around people so a gym was not an option. I know I cannot be the only hermit who needs some exercise, so I’m writing about everything I’ve done in the hope that it will help somebody else. You can do it! Alone!
30 Day Shred was an easy choice, it’s 18 minutes of exercise with a bit of warm up and cool down. By the time I get to the point of either being exhausted or bored it’s over. It wasn’t easy, and I remember being able to do little more than standing and gasping for air during more than a few sessions, but once I got used to knowing it would be over sooner than later it made me work harder. It’s a good mix of strength and cardio and while I frequently swear at the television screen I still use it as my primary work out. I ignored the “30 days” in the title altogether and just did level one until I could get through it without stopping (which was a good long time). Then I’d do the next level and start all over again with the gasping. Levels two and three involve larger motions and are less repetitive, and to me feel like they go by faster. So if level one is making you nuts try level two.
I’ve written about this before so I’ll be brief, I love my elliptical machine. The big point for me about this particular one is this: After trying out a bunch of models I found that the Schwinn 430 (as well as the newer Schwinn 431) have foot pedals that are closer together and create a much more natural stance for me and my short legs. We’ve had ours for almost two years and we still both use it regularly.
[Click to read much, much more:] [Read more →]
· comments  · 11-5-2009 · categories:mumbling ·