Sunday, July 24, 2011

Missing a Limb

So, I have entirely filled the 500GB hard drive I have on my laptop. Which means I need a new bigger and better hard drive. I'm having a 1TB one installed (because that's how much space I need for pictures of my pets and Mariah Carey songs) but it will take a few days so blogging will likely be sparse. This is coming at you from the Blogger app on my phone which is not the most...useful app designed. Hope you all had fantastic weekends and managed not to melt.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

Working as a kitchen assistant at Sur la Table I get to play with a lot of really fun and really amazing kitchen tools. It's actually a pretty sweet deal. I can use and work with and clean and have a true experience with most any item before I decide if I want to purchase it. So, why not share that with you?

Everyone knows Microplane graters are amazing. Most of the time though people buy them in long skinny stick form and use them for nuts or hard cheeses or chocolate. I have a couple, one for citrus and one for those other things but then I discovered Microplane makes a box grater. If you want the most amazing grater possible this is it. It's elevated so your cheese or whatever you're grating doesn't end up all mashed and compacted, but it's still super stable. And it's sharp. So sharp that the blade on the side for slicing cheese on a typical box grater can be used to slice vegetables. I have a mandoline but I'm tempted to give it away since it takes up too much room and is sort of a pain to actually use. This grater could easily replace it.

I'm not a total mother earth love peace hippie but I do try to not be a blatant asshole to the planet. For that reason I'm not really into using paper plates. These burger baskets with liners though way cut down on dishes for a large group and definitely seem way less wasteful. Plus they're cute and nostalgic. I used mine for the get together I had Saturday and plan to bring them to the cabin at the end of the month as well so we're not doing dishes for eight people three times a day.

I don't actually own this thermometer but it's on my wish list. We use these at work all the time. It works either the traditional way by inserting it into whatever you're cooking ooooor...are you ready for this? It also works with a LASER. So, say you have a big pot of oil you want to check the temp of. With this you don't have to put your hand within inches of a hot pot of oil and risk losing a limb. you can also use it to find hot spots on a grill or in your oven. The best part though is it never needs to be recalibrated. Most thermometers are off within a year or so, including the ones in your electrics. So you either have to get someone to make them right again or toss the thermometer. Never ever with this one.

I think I've mentioned this thing before but it's awesome so I'll do so again. Instead of cutting off the little end of a garlic clove then painstakingly peeling off every strip of that annoying garlic paper-y stuff with this you just put the whole clove in, roll back and forth, and out pops a clean and perfect clove of garlic. Also it comes in colors that don't suck. Mine's red.

Oh Le have such pretty and perfect cookware. Unfortunately you are also super heavy and I don't really want to move 800 pounds of you every time I want to make something. For that reason I will never be a total die hard Le Creuset fan. But, if you're going to get a grill pan for indoor grilling this is the one to get. Awesome heat distribution, cleans well, and great amount of space. Remember if you're using a grill pan though to let it sit on the heat a bit to get hot before you try to cook anything.

These citrus presses are by Chef'n and I love them. I have a traditional 50s style juicer and while it works it's like your first car. It gets you where you need to be but it makes a bit of a mess of things. This is definitely on my list of next purchases to make.

If you drink soda regularly (or cocktails) you need this. It's called a SodaStream and you will love it. All you do is fill one of the bottles with water, just regular tap or filtered water, and then screw it onto the SodaStream and pull down on the lever on the front until it makes this really weird noise. And now you have soda water! So you can go ahead and make a drink or have it plain or you can add syrup to flavor it and make it into soda. We use this every single class for drinks for people. Just make sure you don't let anyone who doesn't know what it is try to figure it out.

What I'm Wearing Today

Monday, July 18, 2011

What I'm Wearing Today

Bragging Rights

This weekend I did major cooking. And I loved it. I had a little get together on Saturday night for screenprinting but if I'm honest my motivation for having people over was more so I could cook food.

I wanted everything to be very snack-able and finger food-y so we could art project and eat at the same time. And I wanted it to be really summery fare. I decided on mini burgers and then as a substitute for french fries (which are a pain to make if you do it right) I wanted to do baby twice baked potatoes. I also made individual caprese salads, fruit skewers, salad skewers, and pasta salad.

I made these skewers using blackberries, kiwi, nectarine, and plum. I am pretty sure I could have eaten the entire plate. I originally intended to use watermelon as well but I think they turned out beautifully this way.

Javier and Tiger are always my favorites but they can be crazy face sometimes. When I cook they both just calm down and lay in the kitchen with me. It makes me happy.

I wanted to make a pasta salad but my goal was also to make everything edible sans utensils. I finally realized I could make it work by mixing together all my pasta salad ingredients minus the pasta and stuffing it in shells. It actually worked brilliantly and tasted wonderful. I made a mixtures of cheddar cheese, celery, carrots, black olives, and mayo seasoned with salt and pepper. Super simple.

I made these tiny individual caprese salads by coring grape and cherry tomatoes and then stuffing them with fresh mozzarella and basil. Before serving I drizzled basil infused olive oil (the same one I use in spaghetti sauce) and topped with fresh cracked pepper and salt.

There's this fantastic hidden little restaurant in Portland in the Pearl called Via Delizia. They used to just be a gelato and coffee shop but they started serving food and it's delicious. They have a salad there that consists of greens topped with pear, beets, and roasted carrots. And it's divine. I decided to use that as my inspiration for these skewers. I roasted the carrots in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary then let them chill in the fridge. Later I skewered them with pears and beets, drizzled them with a blush wine vinaigrette, and topped them with crumbled gorgonzola.

I made these twice baked potatoes by roasting red potatoes. I then cut them in half and used a melon baller to scoop out the insides (worked a thousand times better than a spoon). I threw all the inner potato into my Kitchen Aid mixer with carmelized onions I had made earlier, a bunch of grated smoked gruyere, some butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper and mixed it up with the whisk attachment on low. Then I scooped the filling into a ziploc bag, cut the corner off, and used it to pipe the filling back in. I baked them for a second time and topped them with diced chives. Everyone was a fan. The smoked cheese made it taste like there was bacon in there as well but kept them vegetarian.

I made the burgers using a Le Creuset grill pan I have for indoor grilling. I made tiny patties with a small pat of butter inside and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I'd actually never made real hamburgers before but apparently I'm good at it. I used dinner rolls from a local bakery as hamburger buns and made my secret delicious hamburger topping made from pimento stuffed green olives and mayo.

(Super Secret Editor's Note: I use those little bowls for dips and condiments all the time. Everyone thinks they're super gorgeous but they're actually candle holders I bought on sale at Anthropologie.)

This wasn't a part of the party but I was craving something sweet last night and since I tend to have nothing sweet but maybe some sprinkles for decorating in my home I had to make due with what I had. Also Craig had eaten all my popsicles. I decided to make a s'more in a jar by doing a graham cracker crust topped with mini chocolate chips then topped with marshmallows. I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes and it was perfect and amazing and delicious.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Time for Another Round of "I'm sorry you found my blog when you were actually looking for..."

I'm pretty sure I will never stop thinking that the random search terms leading to my blog are funny. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

West Highland Terriers

Okay, so yeah, I mentioned I wanted a West Highland Terrier. Once. I'm not even going to check and see how far down the list this here site is when you are Googling for Westies because I'm pretty positive it will be on page 8,000 of the search results.

I wouldn't stop here
I'm sure this led here because of the post about Kevin that I titled "But I wouldn't stop you if you wanted to stay..." Which is fine, that makes sense. But what I'm really intrigued by is what they were actually looking for. Where would you not stop?!

coloring page cat got wet
I sort of feel bad for this person because I'm imagining a child with a soaked coloring book and his partially colored picture of a cat looking for some kind of rescue solution for his work of art. And he finds this. 800 photos of Javier.

midget clothing/midget clothes
Okay, this by far gives me the most guilt. I once titled a post something like "Clothes for Little People (not midgets)" It was about a line of children's clothing that I thought was really cute and now I keep seeing that people are finding my blog by looking for midget clothing and it almost makes me want to actually write a post of clothing for little people, this time not children, so that when they end up here they don't just end up pissed off at me. Except if I Googled it I'd obviously just find my own blog.

pirate purse
People are always finding my blog by looking for pirate purses. I know they end up here because of the Marc Jacobs Miss Marc Pirate Mabel Tote but seriously, why are so many people looking for pirate purses year round? When I posted it it was the end of August so for awhile I figured there were just some people really eager to celebrate Halloween but this has continued to be a top search term. It makes me a little uneasy.

will smith

I feel sort of bad for Will Smith that someone was actually interested in things about him and they ended up seeing what I did for 4th of July.

tiger dogs
People are like, really into searching for tiger dogs. This is one of the few I don't feel bad about though because if you're seriously thinking about dying your pet to look like a different pet then you deserve to end up confused and lost in the internet.

west highlandi terjer

What I'm Wearing Today

I bought this skirt from Free People a year or two ago on a whim and have been in love with it ever since. It's super comfy without looking frumpy which makes it perfect for summer. I'm also on a big kate spade new york kick lately and am all about this bag. The vest/top is recent Free People, the cardigan is Nordstrom BP and always available, and the sandals are from Gap a few years ago. I feel like it's a bit old lady to match my shoes to my purse but I was in a hurry this morning and had no time to try to find different shoes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Unfortuantely Will Smith Was Not in Attendance

Yesterday was the 4th of July and while we kept it mellow here we definitely had fun. We had a little BBQ in the park, came back to my place for dessert, then watched a movie. No fireworks because I wasn't sure how Tiger would react but he did great. Our BBQ menu was salmon marinated in brown sugar, teriyaki, ginger, and beer, a potato salad with wilted spinach and a thyme buttermilk dressing, rosemary grilled veggies, corn on the cob with feta pepper butter, watermelon, and frozen caramel smores. Obviously it was amazing. I'm friends with Sur la Table the company, not just the Portland store, on Facebook and when they asked what everybody was making for the 4th my menu got "liked" by not only other posters but by Sur la Table themselves which I'm fairly proud of.

This was the beginning of the smores creation. Basically just chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, and caramel swirled together.

These were an absolute delicious mess.

His tail never stops moving.

Berryblosson tea with clover honey steeped in the sun.

My salmon experiment. Apparently it was the best salmon anyone has every had.

Rosemary marinated veggies. So delicious.

The pets were weirdly fascinated by the corn. Javi never gets in trouble and I had to tell him 800 times to go play.

This potato salad was a hit. I just roasted the spuds then cut them in half when they came out and mixed them with the dressing and spinach while still warm. I also ended up adding some mustard which was the key.

Most majestic puppy ever...

I made Tiger a daisy chain. Which he then ate. Because he's an ungrateful child.

Tiger and his stepfather.*

Trista and Zach. The couple where after you hang out with them everyone says "I really like them..."

This is one of my favorite photos of my little munchkin.

He was so exhausted by the end of the day. I don't know if it was that or because he is awesome that he had zero reaction to the fireworks. Also you will notice we are the same color.

*Craig is my pets' godfather. I've made him promise to take care of them in case I die. Before Tiger arrived I went over this with him again and told him he was going to be Tiger's stepfather. Then I corrected myself to say grandfather. It wasn't until 5 minutes later I realized neither of those were what I meant. Calling someone a godfather sounds weird though. And like you're in the mob. So stepfather has stuck.