Not Martha

links: food

Eat This Now: Soufflé Potatoes (Fried Puffed Potatoes) From Antoine’s in New Orleans | Serious Eats. Fascinating! With a little bit of history and a link to this Jacques Pepin tutorial with Julia Child on the Martha Stewart’s show.

The Science of Fat-Washing Cocktails | Serious Eats.

Wine Tasting Notes: When Less is More—Why Lower-Alcohol Wines Are Sometimes Just Right | The Feed. We are looking at a lot of lower-alcohol options for our drinks this summer, session IPAs I’m looking at you.

Sprinkle Bakes: Bubble Gum Frosting Cupcakes with Gelatin Bubbles. Gelatin bubbles!!

Behind the Scenes: Making Edible Blown Glass at Aureole, NYC | Serious Eats. Sugar bubbles filled with flavored cream so they shatter when you eat them. Please allow me to say: amazeballs.

· comments [4] · 05-1-2014 · categories:food · links ·

links: misc

How To Clean Tarnished Silver Jewelry — Jewelry Making Journal. Getting rid of the tarnish on silver jewelry using stuff you have in the house already and without (much) polishing, nice.

Back Of The House: The Life of a Cook’s Illustrated Test Cook | Serious Eats.

NPR’s April Fool’s Day Prank Was An Absolute Masterpiece, at Filmdrunk. Very clever!

Cool Tools – Kitebuilder. A site all about building kites, with tips and plans.

A Goose That Lays Golden Eggs by Geraint Krumpe of Y Line Product Design — Kickstarter. This product scrambles eggs inside the shell without piercing the shell at all. Nicely thought out and I kindasorta want one, but I also really like an egg with a runny yolk.

Campfire Boyfriend Sweater | Mighty Girl. Need-want all of these things. We are without fire in my house and I miss it.

· comments [9] · 04-22-2014 · categories:links · misc ·

Easter Egg Food Color Palette

If you need to do some last moment Easter Egg dying these instructions will help you create simple, vibrant eggs using supplies from the grocery store.

A few years back I spent some time using good old fashioned food color to dye very saturated and vibrant eggs for my Easter Surprise Eggs project. I wasn’t quite happy with a few of the colors made back then so this week I set out to refine the process and what went from an easy and cheerful activity quickly turned into obsessive madness as my kitchen and dining room were turned into an egg dying laboratory. Timers were used, results were carefully examined and tweaked, charts were made, home production assembly lines were perfected. (A whole lot of my manic energy came from the fact that most of my week was spent with various crews of workers fixing our ceiling. I’m glad to report that the room is very nearly back to normal.)

The most fun part? I had an excuse to buy eggs in those large flats of 30. I never get to do that!
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· comments [11] · 04-18-2014 · categories:holidays ·

Giant Kinder Surprise Eggs

My Easter treat for this year is a couple of giant Kinder Surprise eggs. Look at how big they are! It’s shown here with a regular sized Kinder Surprise Egg for scale and a Mini Kinder Egg which I added because I happened to find them in a local shop.

The Mini Kinder Eggs are filed with hazelnut paste and bits of hazelnut. They are delicious and I recommend you grab some if you see them.

If you’d like to see what was in my giant Kinder Surprise eggs click through for all the details. (If not I’ll be back later with a spectrum of vibrant eggs dyed using food coloring!)
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· comments [28] · 04-16-2014 · categories:holidays · kindereggaday ·

links: technology

PSA: How To Take Good Care Of Your PC | Best Of MetaFilter. I still primarily use PCs.

Solidoodle 4: Testing the home 3-D printer. At Slate, via The Morning News. “Consider: Once upon a time, people purchased sewing patterns (like a program from Thingiverse) and yards of fabric (like filament) and they made their own clothes. I wasn’t alive back then, but I’m pretty sure the process sucked. It took lots of time and effort and the clothes were often amateurishly constructed. … Most people would much rather just get their clothes from a store—already assembled by people employing industrial-level efficiency and a wide variety of materials.”

THREES – The Rip-offs & Making Our Original Game. Some in depth exploration and conflicted feelings on the clones. Via Waxy.

· comments [3] · 04-11-2014 · categories:links · technology ·

My Favorite Fancy Toast: Ajvar and cheese

I’m sure you’ve seen the stories about artisinal toast in San Francisco and lately news has been talking about the toast trend hitting Seattle, but I remember fancy toast being here years ago. There was a cafe called Nervous Nellie’s (now closed) that offered coffee and interesting toast. There was cheese, and jam, and jam and cheese, and cheese and a red pepper relish. I tried the relish because I’d never heard of it and, quite shockingly honestly, I really liked it. A whole lot. It was savory and tangy and a nice change from the usual sweet breakfast offerings.

Nervous Nellies is closed now but I tracked down the ingredients to make the same style of toast. A bit of snooping around archived web pages and my old notes leave me believing that the ingredients I remember are Lappi cheese (a very mild cheese, havariti will work just as well), and Ajvar, a red pepper spread.

To assemble

Add butter and a sprinkling of good salt to the toast, then slices of cheese and spread the Ajvar on top. The toppings are cold and creamy and a little spicy and tangy. I don’t think everybody will like Ajvar but I highly recommend giving it a try should you come across it.

Some notes

Nervous Nellie’s listed their red pepper relish as “Lutenica” on the menu but after doing a tasting of a few relishes I’m convinced that they were using something closer to Ajvar. At an imports store I found both hot and mild Ajvar as well as Pepptizer and Lutenica. They all looked similar with the exception of a few different ingredients. Clearly there had to be a taste test.

Mild Ajvar: This is what I remember, it’s got a very mild heat. Mostly tangy and a little sweet, very fresh tasting. (Top left.)

Hot Ajvar: There is a extra zing of spiciness but no acid (no tomatoes). It’s a still a relatively gentle heat. (Top right.)

Lutenica: This one is more blended and looks more like a sauce than a relish. This is definitely not what I remember from the Nervous Nellie’s toast. It’s got more garlic and the taste of cooked tomatoes, and it doesn’t taste fresh. (Bottom left.)

Peppetizer: Too much onion and something tastes off, like stewed vegetables. Not what I’d want on toast. (Bottom right.)

If you’re in Seattle and interested in sources: I tracked down Ajvar at Big John’s Pacific Foods Imports in SODO and the Lappi cheese at Scandinavian Specialties in Ballard. This winter Trader Joe’s had a red pepper relish that I suspect is the Zergut brand with a TJs label and last time I was in the store they still had a number of jars available. (I had the opportunity to ask a TJs employee and he said it was almost certainly one of those seasonal items that they won’t be stocking again after the run is sold out.) Update: mims mentioned in the comments below that the red pepper spread carried by Trader Joe’s is actually a year round product, and sure enough it’s been there on the shelves every time I’ve checked for it. It’s stocked down near the floor and easy to overlook, look for it and give it a try!

· comments [24] · 04-9-2014 · categories:food ·

links: food

Vegan: Crispy Smoked Mushroom “Bacon” | Serious Eats.

Dominique Ansel to Debut Milk & Cookie Shots at SXSW – Eater. Milk served in a chocolate chip cookie shot glass, lovely. From the guy who brought the cronut to the world.

How To Make Amazing Cold Brew Coffee – Business Insider. Via a post about how to have coffee in a coffee-less office over at Ask Metafilter.

Hungry Cravings: Adventures in Extruded Pasta.

Have You Ever Tried an Opal Apple? | Serious Eats.

Carbonated Celery Gimlet – Recipe – ChefSteps. (Video.) From The GastroGnome’s Best of 2013.

A Beginner’s Guide to Italian Wine | Serious Eats.

Just 1 Bottle: 15 Cocktails to Make With Gin and a Trip to the Grocery Store | Serious Eats.

Best beer bars in Seattle – Thrillist Seattle. Naomi nailed this list.

Rise and shine: Kouign aman achieves pastry perfection | OregonLive.com. Two recipes and tips on making the best possible.

Gin and Tonic with Cucumber Bursting Boba | Gratuitous Foodity. A recreation of The Aviary’s gin and tonic with encapsulated cucumber juice and a good explanation on how to make popping boba of any flavor. Via this question on Ask Metafilter about making alcoholic boba drinks.

· comments [6] · 04-2-2014 · categories:food · links ·

thing I like: rug heater

Spring is technically here but we still have some cold nights ahead before things warm up so I’m going to tell you about one of my very favorite things in our house: the heated rug. Our living room has this cotton chenille shag rug for a few reasons: it wasn’t terribly expensive, it’s easy to clean (I’ve only spilled wine on it twice but both times the splatter was spectacular and far reaching) and it’s very comfortable to sprawl out on with laptops or game controllers. And most importantly it nicely covers a rug heater, which is glorious on cold nights.

When we were looking for houses to buy our realtor seemed to have heated flooring on the brain because she suggested putting in heated floors in every other place we toured. When we moved in I looked into installing heated floors and, whoa, it’s expensive. So I did the next best thing and got an under rug heater. There are a few options out there and we went with the SpeedHeat Rugbuddy which we got from Amazon (affiliate link). It has made the last three winters much more cozy. We have an open plan area around the living room so I can’t tell if it heats the room up but I can say that after a while I’m warm enough to take off a sweater, especially if we’re camped out binge watching something or if we’re sitting on the floor playing a video game. I love it and have found myself recommending rug heaters to a lot of people this year.

Some details: We have the 3′x5′ and it’s large enough for the area in front of a couch but I do wish we’d gone for a larger version. The mat will shift around under the rug as you scoot an ottoman or coffee table back and forth so do use rug tape the way the instructions recommend. I put a heatproof fabric between the heater and the room’s carpet (not needed, but I’m paranoid), I use the fabric that is sold to insulate ironing boards which I found at a local fabric store. The rug heater plugs into the wall (our cord is hidden under the couch) and has an on/off button. I cannot say with any certainty that it’s saved on heating bills, but I can say that we are much less likely to turn up the heat in the house if the area around the couch is warm. They come in in several sizes (up to 8′x11′!) and I’m considering getting this 3′x2′ mat for under my desk.

I’m really, really glad we bought this. It’s seems silly but it makes me very happy.

· comments [9] · 03-28-2014 · categories:the home ·

links: travel

secret-ish art adventures | Ask MetaFilter.

The Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio and new book! – Boing Boing. I loved the Exploratorium when we lived in San Francisco and am looking forward to seeing it’s new space next time I go back. Which will be any day now. Promise.

2 Lanes, 1 Life: The America Far From the Freeway – Pacific Standard. Her description of driving through the Palouse makes me want to take another Washington road trip.

What’s the best credit card for saving for a trip to France? | Ask MetaFilter. The advice given here applies to travel in general and there are lots of great suggestions for which cards are worth signing up for.

the UGC: Austin, Keeping it Gluten-Free. A tour of all the gf spots in Austin which makes me want to go there very very soon.

Portland Streets That Inspired the Names of Simpsons’ Characters | The Everywhereist. I had no idea!

· comments [1] · 03-26-2014 · categories:links · travel ·

Freezer Pantry: baked brown rice

I love brown rice but I’m too impatient to make it for dinner so I borrowed an idea from Trader Joe’s and cook it in advance and keep it in the freezer so it’s just a microwave away from being ready to eat. It’s also great to have around for a fast breakfast of an over easy egg on rice, which I default to a lot when I’m feeling lazy.

I’m terrible at cooking rice in a pot (burned rice, melted pots, other tragic results) so instead I bake it using instructions from Alton Brown and Good Eats and no pots have been ruined since.

To make: Put 1.5 cups brown rice and a teaspoon of salt in an 8×8 baking dish. Pour 2.5 cups boiling water over the top, stir and cover tightly with tin foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Allow to cool, divide into portions and freeze.

I do two or three batches at the same time and I’ve used larger baking dishes and even pie plates with good results, no need to have multiple 8×8 baking dishes hanging around. If you’re a rice texture snob this cooking method probably won’t make you happy, but hey, convenience.

· comments [10] · 03-24-2014 · categories:food ·

Vacation Slides: Finding a Four-leaf Clover in Ireland

I’ve mentioned before that I have a knack for finding four-leaf clovers but I didn’t talk about how that skill was a huge part of my identity growing up. It was. Any time when I was a kid bored at a community picnic in a park? Instant treasure hunt. When I went to summer camp and my cabin was sent on a scavenger hunt that included a four-leaf clover? I had that covered. I was the Irish girl with an Irish name who could find four-leaf clovers. My fixation even got me a boyfriend in college. (He wrote a poem about it! It was true love except for the fact that it really, really wasn’t.)

Before Go Mighty and the Life List I never really considered what things I wanted to do before I died except for this: as a kid I decided that one day I wanted to find a four-leaf clover in Ireland. And last November I did!

Last year Scott and I took a work/travel trip to the UK and Ireland. We only spent six days total in Ireland and on the second to last day I, ecstatically, found my four-leaf clover. It turns out that the urban parks, national monuments and historical locations in Ireland are very well tended — which means that patches of weeds (like clover) are not allowed to take over. So I felt that much more lucky to spy a four-leaf clover outside the Kilmalkeder Christian Site in Kerry, Ireland. According to the Rick Steves guide book it was a Norman center of worship that became a 12th-century church where the old graveyard is rising spookily above the soil line while on the other side there are new gravestones being inscribed. We visited as the sun was setting on our second to last day in Ireland and I was beginning to fear I’d be leaving cloverless.

I found a few four-leaf clovers in that precious patch and have them pressed inside a book. They aren’t the prettiest of clovers but they are my favorite because every time I see them middle school aged me is giddy.

· comments [4] · 03-19-2014 · categories:travel ·

links: misc

DIY Travel Size Toiletries in Drinking Straws | Mighty Girl. So smart.

Hot Male Cellists’ ‘Thunderstruck’ Cover Will Blow You Away (VIDEO) | The Stir. I had never heard of these two who do covers of modern songs. For this one in particular they really get into it near the middle of the video.

So You Think You Want to Open a Brewery… | Serious Eats. From my summer spent with Spinnaker Bay Brewing I can tell you everything he says here is spot on.

defective yeti — Board Games via Skype.

Lammily, a doll based on the average size of actual human girls. From what started as an idea to find out what the Barbie doll might look like if it were scaled to an average human comes this doll ready to be produced. The arms and legs articulate so she can were flats or heels, play sports and sit. It’s already 400% funded with 23 days to go. I might buy one for my office to remind myself that people are good.

Tagalongs vs. Peanut Butter Patties: The Great Girl Scout Cookie Regional Naming Rift | The Hairpin. See also: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Girl Scout Cookies at Baking Bites. “One of the two bakeries, ABC Bakers, produces four completely vegan cookie varieties: Lemonades, Thanks-A-Lot, Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties. These same cookie varieties are not vegan when they come from Little Brownie Bakers.”

· comments [5] · 03-12-2014 · categories:links · misc ·

links: craft

Alphabet Pompoms Tutorial – Mr Printables Blog. Via Our Finds over at Martha Stewart.

How-To: DIY Paper Turkey Surprise | MAKE. This is absolutely adorable.

9 Scent-sational DIY Perfumes and Body Sprays | Brit + Co. Terrific roundup to DIYs and good smelling things.

Are Grommets the New Studs? We Tried It | Brit + Co..

Bombs Away! 10 DIY Bath Bombs | Brit + Co..

Birthday in a Can at Oh Happy Day. This is such a great idea, I think I’ll be making a few of these this year.

The Cheapest & Best Online Sources for DIY Project & Craft Supplies | Apartment Therapy.

· comments [4] · 03-5-2014 · categories:craft · links ·

Freezer Pantry: fresh pasta

I recently received a KitchenAid pasta roller attachment as a gift. I asked for just the single pasta roller, none of the other cutter attachments, because my kitchen is tiny and I’m happy enough to cut my own noodles into wide strips. And if it comes down to something as thin as linguine I’m far more likely to used a boxed pasta anyhow.

It is so much fun to make pasta but with all the flour being scattered about it’s worth making a whole lot of noodles at the same time. A little research tells me that freezing fresh pasta will preserve the flavor better than drying it and the best way to freeze it is in bundles or nests.

Technique: Toss your just-made pasta with extra flour so it won’t stick together. Let it dry for a few minutes then fold and twist into bundles. Freeze those on a parchment lined baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container. When you are ready to cook simply drop one bundle into boiling water, the noodles should separate from each other easily. Also, voilà, fresh homemade pasta appears before you like magic!

Before I did nests I decided that individual pasta strands rolled up, frozen and stacked together would be charming. And they were, but obviously they stuck together like mad in the boiling water. Oops.

· comments [9] · 03-4-2014 · categories:food ·

iPad games that will keep you warm during the soggy end of winter

Here are the games that I’ve been playing on my iPad which have been keeping me distracted from the cold, wet darkness of winter.

Little Inferno

In this game you burn things. Toys and bricks and food and batteries and planets. For everything you burn you build up credit to buy more things to burn, which you order from catalogs. There is a plot that unfolds as you progress in the form of notes from your neighbor and updates from the weatherman as you cower indoors. This game is a criticism on video games and it skewers the way that modern games get you to obsessively play against odds and (spoiler alert) ultimately chides you for wasting your time playing this game. That said, I enjoyed every moment. The fire sound effects are soothing, each thing you burn has a different aspect or reaction (some scream, some explode) and it remains amusing throughout. The graphics are all lovingly created fun to toss around. You get a bonus when you burn things together from a pun-tastic list you can check off when you guess what “Duck Season” or “Nuclear Shave” means, which adds an extra completionist layer and will have you looking back through old objects to find a match.

This game manages to be simple fun while having you looking extra hard to find a deeper story, and you won’t be disappointed. The humor and a few subjects inside are not for young children. $4.99 in the App Store, see more at the Tomorrow Corporation website. Also for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Year Walk

This is a mysterious and emotionally dark exploration game based on Swedish folk tales. It starts without any guidance on how to play or where you are or what you are doing, all things you’ll uncover as you progress. It’s graphics and spooky atmosphere had me continue to poke around instead of giving up in frustration. The first time I played it I was on a plane and the guy next to me made a point to ask what I was playing, it really is that pretty.

One of the first objects you encounter doesn’t end up being used in the completion of the game but it does tie into the Companion game ,which is easy to simply not know about. The companion game is short but adds some explanation and depth to the original story and it, apparently, wasn’t released for a good long time after the main game which was a very interesting move.

This game deals with murder and ghost horses and dead babies and is really, really not for the young. $3.99 in the App Store, Year Walk Companion is free. Year Walk will also be available on Steam soon, see the Year Walk website.

Tengami

This is a recent addition to the app store but I’d had a preview of it last year at the Seattle Indies Expo. The graphic in this game are all inspired by origami and in the game you actually unfold objects to go deeper, it’s a fresh and intuative and frankly gorgeous form of gameplay. That said the unhappy reviews of this game focus on the fact that it’s short, which is true (but it’s worth the price) and slow, also true but the only aspect I had a problem with. Your character moves from location to location at a fairly slow pace and the first time you run through a new land it’s great to have a chance to look around and admire the origami landscape. When you backtrack to solve a try something it takes a little patience, when you have to go back for the eighth time to move something into another position in the midst of solving a puzzle you get downright impatient. A form of double-click-to-run option would solve all this and in the end it’s a trivial complaint in the midst of a deeply beautiful game. Available in the App Store now, $4.99, pre-order for OS X and Windows is on now. See more at the Nyamyam site.

Inner World

This is a new adventure game in the old school point and click style. Everything is hand drawn in a charming cartoon style and it’s set in a completely different world which is underground and dying out and guess what? That’s right! Your character is unwittingly set on the path to save it. I’ve loved this style of game since King’s Quest 1 and a thoroughly enjoyed this game, the gather-and-combine puzzles aren’t too obvious and aren’t too incomprehensible, the conversations with characters are funny (and skippable if you find yourself asking the same question), the world is quirky and unexpected. It’s a bit of a slower pace than (affect a “kids these days” tone of voice here) games these days but I loved it and played it in short bits as a sort of bedtime story for myself. There isn’t much objectionable in this game (it’s Despicable Me type grown up inside joke humor) but it probably won’t interest younger kids. $0.99 in the App store. Also available, DRM-free, for Windows and Mac on the Studio Fizbin website, it comes in German and English.

· comments [5] · 03-3-2014 · categories:technology ·