· comments  · 10-31-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
· comments  · 10-29-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
· comments  · 10-28-2010 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 10-26-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
I had some trouble when I came to creating the Tentacle Pot Pies, all my own fault of course. Learn from these mistakes.
Originally I had intended to makes spider pot pies and use black peppercorns for the eyes. My first try, which I didn’t get photos of, had the legs dangling over the edges of a bowl. While they cooked most fell off. It was pretty sad.
Then I draped the legs down to a plate to keep them in place, only to discover that the dough I had rolled up to create a spider body (I wrapped it round a piece of hot carrot) didn’t cook on the inside, leaving a wad of uncooked dough on top of the pot pie. Effective to give the creeps but not really edible.
And I found that one of my spider heads tilted down while cooking. Poor guy.
Originally I had intended to make the pot pies from puff pastry and mention the use of crescent roll dough as an option but I had some trouble while photographing. First I lost my light by the time I got to the puff pastry batch, I struggle enough to produce good photos so when the clouds gathered I was rushing and it probably led to the next problem.
I forgot to brush the puff pastry with an egg wash, meaning that even though it was yummy it looked sort of pale.
And so, the crescent dough photos were the ones I used. I had run out of time to redo everything (I would have had to make another batch of pot pie filling). But for the record I like the flavor of the puff pastry far more. It also cooks slower so your pot pie had more time to get nice and hot.
The following weekend Scott and I made a batch of pot pie filling from the chicken pot pie recipe at Simply Recipes and divided it into zip top bags that we flattened out and froze. We can buy frozen puff pastry and the next dark night when we need some comfort food we’ll have pot pie components that we just need to thaw and assemble. I’m excited. Seattle winters aren’t snowy but they are long and dark. So dark. We take excitement where we can find it. One additional note: These should be baked at about 325 instead of the usual high heat that puff pastry asks for, if not the tentacles cook far earlier than the body. If the tips of the tentacles start to brown too much tent them with foil.
Why freezing flat in plastic bags? They are easy to store in the freezer, and when you want to thaw them you can run the still sealed bags under hot water and it thaws far faster than something frozen into a block. I first heard this tip on The Splendid Table, though I forget which guest it came from. I use this for bolognese and thai curry as well, all good to have squirreled away for winter nights when you’re too zonked out for chopping stuff.
· comments  · 10-25-2010 · categories:food · halloween ·
Know what happens when you search Google for “tentacle pot pie”? Not much.* Let’s fix that! I created this tentacle pot pie for Babble using store bought dough. Easy and a wee bit creepy. Even if you’re not up for tentacles I found this chicken pot pie from Simply Recipes to be most delicious. Babble has also posted a short interview with me, thanks!
* (At least not when you have safe search turned on, oh my.)
· comments  · 10-21-2010 · categories:food · halloween ·
Pinch: a most lovely salt and pepper set by Craighton Berman. The top is a pepper shaker in the shape of a ball, which acts as a lid for the salt cellar below. We’ve long need a salt and pepper for our dining room table and this one couldn’t be more perfect. I also love that the first edition are being manufactured here in Seattle. Thanks to Cinnamon for the heads up on this one. (It’s only up for one more day so hurry, it would make an amazing gift for a foodie.)
Horribly Heartbroken at Hogwards: Help fund a trip for two heartbroken artists to the Harry Potter Wizarding World and get a comic book with a hand screen printed cover about the experience in return. I adore the comics of Lucy Knisley and cannot wait for my book to arrive. Check out her site and her books (French Milk is on my Christmas list).
· comments  · 10-21-2010 · categories:shopping ·
· comments  · 10-20-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
Scott and I spent last Saturday doing Autumn-y things here in Seattle. First we stopped at Minea Farms, they have a hundred year old apple press and make a variety of ciders. You can taste each variety, and they even have some hot spiced cider for you to try. They also have local honey, syrups, fruit butters and apples for sale. The place is tiny but well worth a visit, they owners are really enthusiastic about what they do. The nearby South 47 farm is very popular, they have a large produce market and lots of u-pick options.
Next we visited a winery tasting room in Woodinville to pick up some wine for dinner that night, and I fell for the Hoodsport Stella Raspberry wine, it’s not too sweet and smells amazingly like fresh raspberries. We passed by a whiskey tasting room and if we’d had more time we would have stopped for that as well.
Then it was off to Snohomish valley and the corn maze at Craven Farm. It was a good corn maze, dense and tall corn, lots of curves and no dead ends. We were lost almost right away. It was great. There are two rooms you have to find and in the second room you have the option of going back the easy way, or the hard way. We took the hard way and got so lost I actually tried to pull up a Google Earth image to see if we could find our way out, but the image was taken when the spot we were standing in was still a bare field. Seeing as we were lost we had time to make some observations.
Somebody wore heels into a corn maze! The first time Scott and I visited a corn maze we came up with the the first rule: Never wear cashmere to a corn maze. I wasn’t wearing the cashmere, on our way in we passed an unhappy couple on their way out. It appeared that the girl had slipped and gotten mud on her sweater and she was not happy. So now we have Rule #2: don’t wear heels into a corn maze.
Somebody wore Coach boots! I wonder if they were rubber boots?
We saw wooly bears!
When we came into the maze a family with two teenage boys came right behind us. The boys were loud and hurried us down an aisle walking too close. They kept pulling down corn stalks and breaking them so that they would hang, sad and broken. The parents didn’t do anything to stop the boys. I didn’t like them. Later on we spotted one of the boys marking Xes into the mud to mark their way. We started rubbing them out and covering the tracks whenever we’d come across them. What? I never claimed to be a nice person. (That boy you see at the end of the row there? Not one of the culprits in question, he was younger and kinder than our victims.)
We finally made it out and headed over to the vast pumpkin patch.
Above us guy in a parachute fan came past and circled over the corn maze a few times. We joked that he was looking for all the people lost inside.
As the sun was setting some hot air balloons rose up from the horizon.
We spent some time at the pumpkin slings. If you hit a target you’d get a prize! We didn’t hit the target.
Craven Farm also has food (chili in a bag! which I think was Frito pie), coffee drinks and pumpkin donuts, roasted corn, produce, many varieties of squash and pumpkins, a hay ride, a petting zoo and lots of stuff for kids to play on. If you only have time to visit one farm I recommend this one. They even have plenty of parking.
On the way back to the car I felt drunk on fresh air. Yay autumn!
· comments  · 10-20-2010 · categories:seattle · travel ·
Help disabuse me of some historical falsehoods. | Ask MetaFilter. Interesting list of things we think we know but aren’t actually true.
I have always found skunk odor and roses to share similar scent. In my opinion, it’s strikingly similar, but almost nobody agrees with me. What chemical, if any, do they have in common? | Ask MetaFilter. Some fantastic responses with links to lots more information on how scent and our brains work.
The Reverse Geocache™ Puzzle Box | Arduiniana. Oh wow is this cool. A guy constructs a box that will only open when it’s taken to a specific spot on Earth, it was created as a wedding present. The project was so popular he started taking commissions, and one of them is a engagement ring box. Via Waxy.
The stencils used to cut topiaries at versailles – NOTCOT. So that’s how it’s done.
Real Wedding: Brittany + Paul « 100 Layer Cake. I am completely smitten with the huge paper flowers that decorate this wedding. Thanks to Oh Happy Day for pointing is to this.
Follow-up: Gapgate – Brand New. It’s been a whirlwind few days since the Gap logo redesign, if you blinked and missed it here is a timeline of the drama.
Four things about Mr. Snuffleupagus, at Kottke. He has a first name! It’s Aloysius.
Lucky Farmer Finds 21-Leaf Clover in His Garden – TOKYOMANGO.
· comments  · 10-19-2010 · categories:links · misc ·
A few weekends ago some friends and I headed up to Jones Creek Farms to do some apple picking. They have a huge number of trees available for you to wander among and pick. You’re encouraged to take a taste of everything. It’s a lot of fun, wear shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. They have a few carts you can use if you’re planning on bringing back a huge amount of apples.
The farm is located in the Skagit Valley and you can see mountains in all directions. The day we went was overcast and misty.
I have never really shined an apple before, it really works!
We found a few of the famed Bramley trees. There weren’t many apples left for this season.
This Asian pear tasted a bit like butterscotch, it was amazing.
They have a baby cow! They also have chickens and sell cider. If you’re there ask about buying eggs and garlic as well.
· comments  · 10-18-2010 · categories:seattle · travel ·
· comments  · 10-15-2010 · categories:halloween · links ·
Last week Maggi and I took a little trip out to see Bakerella at a book singing for her best selling (yay!) book Cake Pops here in Seattle. It was so great to finally meet her in person (hi!). Delightfully we bumped into Jessie of Cakespy and Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture while we were there (hi!).
And, hooray, I have an extra copy of Cake Pops to give away. Want to win? Please leave a comment with this entry, the fine print applies, US and Canadian entries only this time please. Winner chosen by the exalted Random Number Generator. You’ve got until this Friday, Oct. 15th at 12 noon, Pacific time.
I adore this book. Everything is clearly laid out, all the photography is charming, but of course, and the directions are very clear.
I love this photo index.
And obviously I love all the Halloween cake pop options.
Ok, you can enter now. Good luck! Contest over, thanks so much to everybody for entering!
· comments  · 10-13-2010 · categories:books · food ·
· comments  · 10-12-2010 · categories:links · the home ·
This past weekend was my birthday. Scott was in New York for a gig but before he left he set up a little treasure hunt in our own house to keep me amused since I had some work I needed to get done before Monday. He left me a card labeled “1 of 2″, inside was a perfectly normal birthday card and this mysterious piece of vellum offered with no further hints:
I knew it was a location map but it didn’t line up to anything I could find. I tried seeing if it fit over the card to mark specific letters that would spell something, or maybe a book or magazine that had recently appeared on the dining room table, or something. I figured perhaps it was locations in the house but it didn’t seem to correspond with the layout. Nothing quite fit. Later that night I had dinner with friends and at the end of the evening they presented me with card #2. Inside that one was the other half of the map, the layout of our house:
Putting one on top of the other reveals, a ha!, locations:
It’s hard to tell from the photo but one spot is located out in the car. I slipped out to there close to midnight in the pouring rain, still wearing my birthday dress, to retrieve the treasure he’d slipped into the glove compartment.
And what did I find hidden in those spots? Like tiny Easter eggs I found colorful capsules containing toy rings. One was in the planter for our huge rubber plant, one tucked behind a picture on a shelf, one in waiting inside a cup in the cabinet, one inside a box of kleenex. All (well, almost all) sat unnoticed by me for two full days.
(Why toy rings? They echo my engagement ring.)
Scott you’re the greatest! And thanks to go my dear friends who were all in on the secret and managed to keep it all the way through dinner.
· comments  · 10-11-2010 · categories:things I think are neat ·