Not Martha

I got a Cup-A-Cake container and decided to submit it to a rigorous daily testing routine. I put a cupcake with the sticky marshmallow frosting in one and threw it in my bag, upside down. Over the course of the day I dug through my bag for keys and my phone, the bag was tossed onto couches, floors, and the back of my car. For good measure we played catch with the unopened container and even kicked it about a little (we were sort of giddy from hunger). It was even accidentally dropped onto a hard tile kitchen floor. The cupcake emerged with a few crumbs on it* but otherwise completely intact, I’m very pleased. The plastic is a nice heavy weight and there is plenty of room for mounds of frosting. Of course, I’ll have to do more testing with many more cupcakes.

*Which very well may have come from opening the container to peek inside a few times during the day – a few plastic parts do stick into the side of the cupcake to keep in from moving.

· comments [0] · 05-13-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

I really like the capsule of savory granola shown among the photos of the 28-course tasting menu at Alinea. Don’t the pictures of the ginger and the bacon put you in mind of BDSM? Or is that just me? via kottke.

Also at Kottke: much advice on how to clean up maple syrup.

· comments [0] · 05-12-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Cooking For Engineers on marshmallows.

· comments [0] · 05-11-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Note to self: I like these Ecco Solo Tie shoes in Kiwi, maybe Plum.

· comments [0] · 05-11-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Marshmallow icing project update: After a few screw ups — overcooked sugar, deflated egg whites, and for a while the lack of a standing mixer — I have finally made something that turned out! I have found dozens of variations of seven minute frosting recipes and this time I tried one Conny (thanks Conny!) suggested because it tends to hold it’s shape. It’s the recipe for Marshmallow Icing seen halfway down the page for Chiffon Cake. Note to vegetarians, this recipe includes gelatin.

I used real egg whites instead of powdered or meringue powder. I did not include the butter because I really wanted a marshmallow-y frosting, and Conny wrote to warn me that the frosting is really tempremental after you add the butter. I didn’t cover the sugar mixture, instead I boiled it until the “thread” point on a candy thermometer, around 230 degrees.

I don’t think this recipe is really doable if you don’t have a standing mixer. I found you have to get the sugar mixture to the right temperature and use it right away so it doesn’t start to cool and harden, and you have to have the eggs whites whipped to the right point at the same moment. I needed to stall the eggs for a minute so I set the mixer to a low speed to avoid it deflating. (Note: I have never really dealt with whipped egg whites before on this serious a basis, perhaps I could have left them and they would have been fine – ?) Also, pouring boiling sugar syrup while whipping the egg whites is difficult and really dangerous using a hand mixer. I got a standing mixer because I had been wanting one for a while and Amazon is running a wicked good deal on really basic KitchenAid mixers if you include the $25 off code. I didn’t buy a standing mixer just because I wouldn’t let this recipe kick my butt, nope, not the reason at all.

Always keep a large bowl of ice water right there with you whenever you boil sugar. If you drip boiled sugar syrup on yourself you’ll wanna be able to plunge the affected skin area with as little trouble as possible. I learned this from Martha Stewart. (Also, I found manipulating the parts of my mixer suspciously easy because I’d watched her smoothly tip it back and disengage the whisk so many times on tv.)

Yay KitchenAid!

How high can the fluffy frosting go before falling over?

Easy to spread, I’ll let you know how it sets.

p.s. The Dark Chocolate Cupcakes recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that everybody was loving is kindly posted by Sarah (of McGoose) here on Flickr, along with the recipe for Easy Vanilla Bean Buttercream. Mmm. Also, if you’re like me and just sort of refuse to buy Hershey’s Dutch cocoa but cannot seem to find any other Dutch cocoa even in your fancy grocery stores, be aware that the cheery red box of Droste is in fact Dutch process, you just have to be smart enough to check the ingredients to find that out. I suspect it was at every grocery store I visited, but you can find it for sure at the U Village QFC in Seattle.

p.p.s. I should mention again the inspiration for my marshmallow frosting madness is this lovely cupcake from Miette.

· comments [0] · 05-6-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Here is a recipe for Margarita Jelly Shots (scroll a bit). Did you know jello shots go back as far as 1862? Why not partake in a little history?

· comments [0] · 05-5-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Microrevolt is holding an online knitPro needlecraft art show. More about knitPro, more about Microrevolt.

(Thanks Claudine!)

· comments [0] · 05-5-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

two unexpected things that put me right to sleep: the movie Se7en and Batman The Animated Series.

· comments [0] · 05-5-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Things I worry about before taking even the smallest trip.

  • lip balm. Despite the constant presence of lip balm in my life the moment I lock the door behind me it vanishes from my bags.
  • pens. See lip balm. I like Uni-Ball Vision Exact, in case you’re the type who likes to know.
  • the house burning down. This fear has become stronger since the incident across the street. Consequently my careful setting of the VCR (yes, I live in the stone age) becomes worthless when I unplug absolutely everything in the house.
  • little Swiss Army knife being taken away. Oh wait, they already have it.
  • forgetting something, like toothpaste. Because I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that I can purchase things pretty much anywhere I go.
  • driving to the wrong airport. This happened to me when I was setting off to get on a plane to Italy for a group college class summer trip (which would have been much more embarrassing than missing a plane to Italy when it was just you). I wasn’t the one driving, in fact it was the mother of a friend so I couldn’t even really freak out about it. We made the plane.
  • purgatory. I don’t know why but I tend to overpack a carry on because I’m so afraid I’ll get stuck and be bored, but then if I do get stuck do I work through said activities? No, I spend four hours trying to locate a clicky pencil or a pencil sharpener in airport gift shops so I can do logic puzzles which I don’t even like. Then I give up and do the hateful puzzles in smeary pen and get them wrong.

You can probably tell I don’t travel much.

· comments [0] · 05-4-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

note to self: Keep up with bookstore events like those happening at Third Place Books, Todd Oldham was here and you didn’t even know! And people you like were even there! Shame! Also see Elliott Bay Book Co. Also, !!!, Wendy McClure is going to be here tonight. You have no excuses.

· comments [0] · 05-3-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

I’m going to be taking a quick trip to San Francisco next week — is there anything new in the city I should see? (We moved away in August of 2003.) The hotel I’m in is actually just a few blocks from my old apartment and I’m looking forward to visiting a city I already know how to get around in without peeking at metro maps.

· comments [0] · 05-2-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

how to make moss graffiti via kottke

bottle opening ring via make

· comments [0] · 05-2-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

Welcome to my new domain home. I have to admit while I was being lazy mooching from a friend’s generous hosting I was sneakily hoping that Not Martha the band would split up and I could grab the domain. But they are still around, more power to em.

The big news? I have added a (drumroll) RSS feed. Thank you to those who bugged me about it.

All of the projects are back in place, as well as the archives. Last week I gained both a cameraphone and a Flickr account, so I hope to be posting more picture-y goodness.

· comments [0] · 05-1-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

I have loved the stuff at Loop-d-Loop for a while now and I’m excited to see Teva Durham has put out a book!

· comments [0] · 04-29-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·

I recently discovered that I love oatmeal. I don’t know how I made it through my life so far without ever having actual oatmeal. I mean, I’ve had a few packets of sickly flavored instant oatmeal (my favorite being the kind with tiny brown sugar treasure chests that melt to reveal tinier candy keys and jewels, but I didn’t love that for the taste, I loved that because it was the food equivalent of a kids video game). But for the last few weeks I’ve been eating steel cut oats and I love it despite the time it takes to prepare. Next week I’m going to experiment with oatmeal and dried fruit pairings, I’m ridiculously excited about this.

· comments [0] · 04-28-2005 · categories:uncategorized ·