· comments  · 01-22-2015 · categories:food · links ·
The other day I found myself caught between being hungry and lazy. (You know how to know when you’ve become an adult? When you no longer have foodstuffs that don’t require thirty minutes of cooking and other ingredients to make them edible. That’s how.) We had almost nothing to eat in our house but I just couldn’t get myself to put on pants that were respectable enough to go to the grocery store. And then (!), accompanied by rays of sunlight and angelic music, I found a jar of homemade tomato sauce in the back of my freezer. Suddenly (or with ten-ish minutes of effort) I’d gone from So Hungry to eating delicious tomato sauce on polenta (always stock corn grits for times like this) topped with an egg. I ate this again for lunch since new food hadn’t magically appeared in my fridge. Having this tomato sauce in my freezer made me feel like a genius. Or at least somebody who is occasionally able to feed myself with dignity.
This sauce I refer to is Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter. Its an amazingly simple and delicious recipe so if you’re already familiar with it then high five, and if you’re not already familiar with it then you’re in for a treat. This is how it goes:
– a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, with the juice
– one onion peeled and cut in half
– 5 tablespoons of butter
– a pinch of salt if needed
Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes. Done.
Ok, there is a little more than that. You let the whole thing simmer slowly for about 45 minutes and near the end crush the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Discard the onion before serving. Done and done.
For a more detailed version of this see Orangette, or Amateur Gourmet, or Smitten Kitchen.
For this recipe I make a double batch. Doubled it fits in a 4-quart dutch oven nicely and I freeze the leftovers in portions for later. I’ve been using small canning jars (note: affiliate links) with the very handy plastic screw caps lately for freezing foods, it’s easy to take of the lid and thaw the whole thing in a microwave. Or at least I find the jars less fuss than I anticipated them to be. I bought a bunch of jars a few years back expecting they’d eventually be cycled out of my house when giving food gifts to friends and I’ve honestly been surprised at how much I enjoy using them for dry food storage and freezer storage. The caps, though, make all the difference. They are easier to remove and clean and keep track of and won’t rust.
This is a little tip I learned somewhere that I cannot recall. (I think Cook’s Illustrated?) If you want to break up whole canned tomatoes with as little mess as possible use kitchen scissors to cut them up while they are still in the can. This recipe doesn’t require you break up the tomatoes first but I do it anyway because I can get a little obsessive over smashing the tomatoes later on and I like to give myself a head start. I’ve read that when deciding whether to buy whole or diced or crushed canned tomatoes it’s better to buy whole because there is less processing time before the tomatoes hit the can so they are fresher. I’m not sure if this is true but it’s good to keep in mind. Maybe a taste test is in order?
While I’m here let me just say that I’m totally in love with my no-sharp-edges can opener. I know there are not exactly breaking news but every time I open a can I find myself being gushingly appreciative of not being able to cut my fingers on anything sharp. (Because I did, every time.) I own the Zyliss and have no complaints. Sweethome recommends the OXO Good Grips version. In conclusion: not having the culinary equivalent of a throwing star weapon in your trash is good.
Ok, go, make the easy sauce and feel like a genius.
This post is part of an occasional series that I consider my Freezer Pantry. Here is the link to the category: Freezer Pantry, and here is a list of all the previous posts:
· comments  · 01-12-2015 · categories:food · freezerpantry ·
What’s the best chip+PIN card I can get right now for a trip to Europe? | Ask MetaFilter.
I was addicted to Serial, now what?! by Third Coast – ThingLink.
Scent sucker revisited | dooce®. “It kind of smells beachy? Like you spent all day at a beach, but not a lame touristy beach, maybe like some secret cove where Daniel Craig would take Rachel Weisz and then later he’d shower before dinner and put on a crinkly button-down shirt and this is how he would smell.” By Sarah Brown.
The Renovated Cinerama Deserves the Hype | Slog. (Ed note: the Cinerama is a movie theater in Seattle worth treating as something to check out if you’re visiting the city. They have chocolate popcorn. No, really.) “The huge space is now fitted with a 160 speakers, and each speaker is dedicated to a particular sound in a movie. All of this sonic richness is mixed and intensified by Dolby Atmos, a surround sound monster conjured by Dolby Laboratories. The goal of these improvements is of course to stun our senses in a way that no home theater system ever can.” Sold.
· comments  · 01-8-2015 · categories:links · misc ·
Winter Punch Recipe – 101 Cookbooks. Citrus, fresh ginger, gin and rosemary. Yum.
How candy canes are made by hand. at Kottke.
Gluing a gingersnap cottage (like a nerd), at Instructables. Directions on how to make your own sugar glue gun inserts.
Watch the Building of the Most Complicated Gingerbread House Ever | FWx. From the people behind Modernist Cuisine.
Holiday Music 2014 | The Amber Show.
How to Make Christmas Tree Napkin Fold – DIY & Crafts – Handimania. Via Swissmiss.
Why Tory MP is the father of all Bernards – Telegraph. Screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Three Weddings and a Funeral, etc) nearly always has a character named Bernard in his films, a character who is treated quite badly, this is why. I’m delighted to know that Bernard and the Genie is also named for this reason.
· comments  · 12-23-2014 · categories:christmas · holidays · misc ·
· comments  · 12-15-2014 · categories:food · links ·
I love gift guides but, honestly, I find myself using them most often for the sources they draw from so please allow me to just go ahead and tell you about the spots I’m using for ideas this year:
Kickstarter at MoMA – That neat stuff that was on Kickstarter but you might have since lost track of? Here it is! Also see: the whole gifts section. (I’ve been eyeing that Bubble Necklace for a few years now. Not a hint. Ok, yes, it’s a hint.)
Good Gift Games at The Morning News – An annual curated list of tabletop games by Matthew Baldwin and one of those things I look forward to every year. I know the guy in person and can vouch that all these games have been well tested over rounds of beer with good people at good pubs. I’m going to throw my support on the Marrying Mr. Darcy: The Pride and Prejudice Card Game and also call up a past game that is a most-played in my house: Forbidden Island.
Cool Tools: Mark’s Picks and Under $10 – Have somebody on your list who is a Maker or very practical or just plain hard to shop for? Cool Tools will have a suggestion for that one thing that they might not already know about. Among the most well received gifts to family that I’ve given have come from past Cool Tools recommendations including a craft assistant setup for a model-making family member and guitar tuning devices for my part-time rock star husband. (If said giftee just likes knowing about neat things they might love the Cool Tools book, which I fully admit to becoming engrossed in myself, it’s huge like a coffee table book and packed with information like a catalog.)
Brit+Co Shop – Among the many awesome things in this shop I’m particularly in love with the Gold Leaf Valet Kit with Lovely Indeed, the customizable wood burnt Cheese Board with Design*Sponge and the wooden Pop-Out Ornament Cards. See also: the whole Tech (Bluetooth Camera Shutter Remote for an iPhone!) and Merrymaking Color Block Muddler!) selections. Full disclosure and blatant self promotion: this winter I have my own collaboration with Brit+Co for a set of mini gingerbread house mug topper cookie cutters which, as of me typing this,
should be back in stock to purchase on Friday 12/12/14. Update: The DIY Kits have sold out, thanks to everybody who purchased one!
What are your favorite sources for the difficult to shop for?
· comments  · 12-8-2014 · categories:christmas · shopping ·
Shapeways Blog – Target Opens Up Shapeways Shop With Customizable, Exclusive 3D Printed Gifts for Your Holiday.
The Stars Are Right | Neat Hobby. Possibly the truth behind what the series Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson is getting to. Maybe. Dunno. But I’ll be ready.
Coming Soon – Butter Up. A knife that allows you to take refrigerator cold butter and get it spreadable with very little fuss. I know somebody for whom this will be the perfect gift.
‘Serial’ and White Reporter Privilege – The Awl.
Karl Stefanovic’s sexism experiment: Today presenter wears same suit for a year. Not one viewer noticed and all the while his female counterparts were being heavily judged on their outfits.
“That’s right, my little spider-egg-carriers, we are already on Take Level Meta and the podcast’s season hasn’t even finished. Life is truly a miracle.” Today In Tabs sums up how I feel about Serial.
I Tried a Bunch of Those Viral “Life Hacks” So You Don’t Have To— off the (meat)hook. I’m linking to this for one reason, which is to dispute the review of “Doritos as kindling”. At lady camp one of the tips we were given was that a small bag of Fritos was good for many things: 1. gluten-free food source, 2. kindling (oil in the chips is very flammable), 3. bag for reflecting sun (if needed for signaling to aircraft, and good luck). This past summer at a cookout in a public park we managed to prove #2 true, Fritos work as kindling in an otherwise damp-ish environment. Many hot dogs and veggie burgers were enjoyed.
How to fold the world’s best paper airplane, at Kottke.
Pamie » Barbie Fucks It Up Again.
· comments  · 12-3-2014 · categories:links · misc ·
· comments  · 11-26-2014 · categories:food · links ·
Here are the decorations I’ve collected to decorate the tiny gingerbread houses that decorate mugs which I’ll be making this year. The houses are so small that decorations to be sprinkled on are all you need. I tend to keep an eye out for holiday worthy sprinkles and decorations all year long, so some of these might have had me contemplating the holidays in the middle of July.
Crushed candy canes – Easy, colorful and festive. Also, candy canes are easy to find at the corner store or, say, in the lobby of your bank so you don’t need to make a special trip to find sprinkles. (If you use the pre-crushed sort I promise I won’t tell.)
Nonpareils – Tiny and crunchy and if you get one of those containers with sections for six different colors you can create your own color mix.
Sugar pearls – These are like giant nonpareils, I found these at a discount store.
Itty bitty edible gold foil stars – Itty bitty edible gold stars! These are amazingly cute. I’ve found these sold by Wilton in the baking aisles of Michael’s and Joann stores as well as specialty cooking shops.
Gold dragée – I want more gold in my holidays so I was thrilled when I found these. Unlike their silver counterparts these are safe to eat since they’re made using edible metallic dust.
Oversized sprinkles – Colorful like twinkle lights. These are from Wilton and they make me very happy.
The next three options are great for creating a simple snowy roof:
White nonpareils – I like the details of a sweet covering of precious little snowy white balls.
Sanding sugar – The larger sugar crystals sparkle nicely.
Edible glitter – I bought this at a specialty cake supply store where the owner assured me that the edible glitter is the best for reflecting the sparkle from twinkle lights. I’ve done a terrible job at conveying that in this photo.
The last row are all from a decoration set that came in one container.
Holly leaves and berries – Sweetly festive.
Tiny snowflakes – You can place these individually if you want, or just sprinkle them on and let randomness do it’s job.
Tiny candy canes – Much to my dismay they don’t actually taste of peppermint, but all is forgiven because they are terribly cute.
Don’t forget! This winter I’ve collaborated with Brit+Co on a DIY kit which includes cookie cutters for my tiny gingerbread houses! It makes creating the gingerbread houses very easy. Go have a peek!
· comments  · 11-24-2014 · categories:holidays ·
Last year Maggi, Jameson and I created the Nog Crawl and this year it’s evolved into the Nog Ball! It’s gonna be fun, if you’re in Seattle you should definitely get tickets for this!
As you may know, here at Sun Liquor we make a special batch of hand-made aged Eggnog every year. It has gained in popularity since our first batch in 2006, and now we are bottling and making it available to the public for the first time! With the help of some wonderful friends we made during last years Nog Crawl, we have decided to host Seattle’s First Annual Nog Ball.
The event will be held in our production facility on Pike Street and all proceeds for this event will be donated to Wellspring Family Services a local charity that help families in crisis take the next step forward, tap into their own resilience and strength, and build community.
We will offer guests a taste of this years batch of Aged Eggnog as well as tastings from our partners:
Off the Rez
Snoqualmie Ice Cream
Snowdrift Cider Co.
Top Pot Doughnuts
Vinum Importing’s For a Song Wine
& more to be announced!
· comments  · 11-20-2014 · categories:events ·
I’m so utterly thrilled to announce this collaboration with Brit+Co to create a DIY kit for my tiny gingerbread houses that sit on the edge of a mug!
The kit includes two cookie cutters that are 3D printed (!!!) and each kit comes with a mug, a pen for decorating or personalizing the mug and recipes for gingerbread and royal icing. May I suggest that the kit would make a wonderful holiday gift? Even if just for yourself?
They’ve created a complete DIY tutorial for baking and assembling the house.
I couldn’t be more pleased, go have a look!
· comments  · 11-17-2014 · categories:christmas · food · holidays ·
· comments  · 11-13-2014 · categories:food · links ·
These are the games for iPad that I find particularly relaxing and keep around to replay after enough time has passed that I’ve forgotten how to solve most levels.
This is a stunningly beautiful and simple game that plays with Escher style geometry and has a slightly spooky story. For iOS, Google Play and Kindle Fire.
This is a short and exceedingly sweet game about what a dog dreams about. An especially stylish version of a point and click style adventure. For iOS, Google Play and Kindle Fire.
Find the Line
In this game you slide a few lines until they compose a picture and watching the lines dance through their patterns, which work as hints, is beautiful and mesmerizing. One downside: while the game is free the distributor has put video ads between each level and you cannot pay to make the ads go away. Bummer. Just in iOS.
Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake
A cartoonish and funny puzzle game with a surprising amount of levels. I thoroughly loved this game and the levels are satisfyingly tricky while the story is well developed. For iOS, Google Play, Amazon Apps and Steam.
See also the previously mentioned: Tiny Thief and Little Inferno.
· comments  · 11-6-2014 · categories:technology ·
Lately tiny cheeses have been making me happy as an inexpensive and low commitment indulgence. My friend Leslie introduced me to the concept of tiny cheese, which are the smaller odd bits and ends of cheese left over when a grocery store has portioned out and packaged chunks off of a larger wheel. There is usually a small basket of cheese ends tucked in the display case, most for $1 or $2. These tiny cheeses had always been there in grocery stores but for some reason I had never noticed them, so thank you Leslie! Just in case you overlook them too consider this a gentle nudge to have a peek next time you pass them. This past summer the tiny cheeses have provided me with timely moments of fresh mozzarella, queso fresco to accompany a few grilled peppers for dinner, parmesan when I only needed a small portion as I’d be leaving on a trip in a few days. You get the idea, tiny cheeses are great.
This small collection of cheese cost me under $7 and include:
· comments  · 10-28-2014 · categories:uncategorized ·
The Very Worst Video Game Ever Made – Gamefilter. Desert Bus is released for iPhone and iPad and Android. Yessss!
The Eye-Fi mobi card is the real deal | A Whole Lotta Nothing.
New study says more adult women play video games than teenage boys · Newswire · The A.V. Club. “Before anyone pins this on Kim Kardashian: Hollywood or whatever, the study also says the average adult woman has played games for 13 years”.
· comments  · 10-22-2014 · categories:links · technology ·