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Friday, October 28, 2005

cupcake relief

I made the most delicious cupcakes last night from a recipe in the "More from Magnolia" cookbook. I've never been to Magnolia (although I remember hearing Martha Stewart say it was amazing), but I fully intend to go there some day. These cupcakes made me so so happy yesterday when I was stressing about work and grad stuff!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cookies are a sometime food *bah*

I have to work this evening, so I'm taking the afternoon off at a local bakery and cafe (I really came here for the free wireless access and a warm place to sit and work out piles of reccommendation stuff for my grad apps). They bake all their goodies fresh themselves (not like other large 'gourmet' coffee chains that make generic too sweet things). I also happened to get a yummy 8oz americano. My only beef is that they don't put a pitcher of water out (I normally use a little cool water to cool my americano down to drinkable temperature immediately), and I really just can't be bothered to go up and ask for a cup of water when I only need maybe 1/2 an inch of water.

Anyway, I got distracted and fell in love with this cookie in their display.

Rest assured, the chocolatey kitty cookie has been put safely away in my tummy. *yum* Cookie Monster sometimes you just gotta give in to the cookie cravings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

knitting tragedy!

All I can say is, at least it wasn't an Addi. In fact, these are some of the early needles I bought (hence the humongoid size 17) to whip things up quickly. I believe these needles met their fate in the car... I possibly slammed the car door on them? It still seems to work for knitting... it's kinda like a mix between a knitting needle and a crochet hook. I've currently been using them to knit a quick drop stitch stole for a preschool charity auction. It's about halfway done.

up close

This weekend ervy and I bought some heirloom tomatoes at the Farmer's Market at $1/lb. What to do with the tasty tomaters? Well, it just so happens that I just bought a hot water bath canner and I have a ton of canning jars. So...

hot steamy canning goodness! All 5 of the jars sealed (we heard three 'plink', and we could tell the other two had sealed by morning since the domed lids curved downward). Huzzah! I forsee more fun canning in my future.

Which of course is why I was testing out a lemon curd recipe... OMG. I've never had lemon curd before, but man, it's SO GOOD! Wow, I especially like it while it's still warm! Of course I had to make some scones immediately to go with my curd.

Cranberry Almond Scone Recipe
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbl baking powder
3 tbl butter
2 tbl sugar
some milk
1 egg
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
a small handful (1/2 cup?) dried cranberries

Put flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a bowl and mix. Cut the butter into the mixture with a dough blender. Whisk egg in another bowl and add to dough mixture and stir. Add milk and mix in until you've got a workable dough (not too sticky, but wet enough to thickly hold together well). Turn onto floured surface and knead a bit. Roll out into 1/2 inch sheet. Use triangle cookie cutters to cut out scones. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 450 F for 10-15 minutes or until tops are golden brown

Thursday, October 20, 2005

40 cloves of garlic, Ervy, and me...

Last week, evvie and I sat down and stared garlic in the face. I finally got a chance to try out Ina's recipe for Forty Clove Garlic Chicken.

Let me take you with me on my garlicky experience. :)

First I browned the chicken (I used 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs) in our much cherished le creuset casserole.

Then, I browned the 40 or so cloves of garlic.

Pair it with a young Bordeaux. It must have been from the right bank since it was mostly the merlot grape.

Serve chicken and sauce over mashed potatoes and you have a great meal

Just beware, while you may "think" you've beaten down the garlic, the next day you'll realize the garlic has beaten you. OMG, I was oozing garlic. I swear it was all I could smell the next day. I was ecstatic to leave work and take a shower. tmi? call it fair warning should you choose to take the garlic challenge and make this fabulous recipe.

While on the subject of food, check out this Guiness Book of World Records Pumpkin Pie from the Windsor Farmer's Market. It's 6' across, and they wrote, "World's Largest 2005" on the top of it.

Like a 1st grade book report about a dog book...

Meet Molly...

She's not mine. She's my friend Katie's puppy. Molly got to sit on my lap while I did work at the Business school the other day. My favorite thing about Molly is that she blushes when she gets really excited.

ok. Animals just bring out the little girl in me. I'm just like, "Ooh it's alive, and it's furry/feathered/soft/huggable" and I go all Animaniac's Elmira "I'm gonna love 'em and squeeze 'em."

Which of course explains why I get all googly-eyed when I see these beautiful owls. These gorgeous birds were at the Windsor Farmer's Market last weekend.
A barn owl

A Winnie the Pooh Owl

A poor tiny one-eyed owl

Monday, October 17, 2005

If only all wines could be Meeker

I had an absolutely fabulous time in wine country this past weekend. AdaLi, Pli, ervie and I headed out to a timeshare in Windsor on Friday. Actually, ervie and I went first, and we actually made it out to a tasting before they all closed. The first place we went to was Paradise Ridge where the owners of the winery/vineyard poured us some wonderful glasses of pinot noir (excellent), Cabernet Sauvignon (didn't like it, weird afternote), Zinfandel (yum), and Inspiration wine (double yum). The estate winery was gorgeous. The tasting room was at the top of the estate on a hill overlooking vineyards and the Russian River Valley.

We ended up buying the Zinfandel for dinner and stopped by Mulberry (?) Grocery on the way back to Windsor. We had a simple dinner of yummy cheeses, bread, a local jam, and some of the last heirloom tomatoes of the season.

Saturday was set to be a full day of tastings, and we headed out to Healdsburg's local farmer's market to check out the local produce and grab some lunch before the alcoholic part of our day began. We found these gems at the market:

They're lemon cucumbers. Yum. They don't taste like lemons (just look more lemony). They are a bit sweeter than normal and are wonderfully light. Apparently, they are a bit easier on the stomach than normal cucumbers for some people. After the farmers, we headed over to Costeaux french bakery for some yumminess. I had the best-quiche-ever. Here's minli+scone+a to-die-for chocolate thingy

Wouldn't you know it, but chance just took me to the town's yarn shop which was right next door to the bakery. I picked up some Lopi to make another Jayne hat for a friend which I had every intent of knitting Sat night except that plan was put on hold due to a wine headache.

the wine
We went to Silver Oak Cellars to begin our grapey journey. Their motto is "Life is a Cabernet." Well, their cabs were good. They had two available for sampling--one from Alexander Valley, and one from Napa. I found the Alexander Valley one to be harsher than the Napa, (I attribute this to the fact that the Napa Cab is actually a blend including merlot), but our group was in disagreement about which was better.y
On our way out we hit Geyser Peak Winery where we listened to Journey with a couple of the pouring staff who couldn't tell us very much about the wine... to be honest, the wines were not anything to write home about (so why is it on my blog? bah i'm such a rambler).
After that disappointment, we drove over to Meeker's tasting room. HUZZAH! OMG, I love their wine!

In fact, we all loved it so much that each couple joined their wine club (the Meekers refer to it as the Tribe, I think because their first tasting room was a very large teepee). All their reds were fantastic (even the merlot was good, and I don't even like merlots). Their dessert wines are created ice wine style and are soo yummy. Plus, this winery has no uppity stiffness about it. They have a wonderful sense of humor and love that goes into their wines that shows in the finished product. You can't help but smile at the wine names like Barberian, Pink Elephant, TaxiCab, etc. We tried 12 wines while we were there (we left rather tipsy, the Meeker man told us he had a tendency to end people's wine tastings... by giving out lots of yummy wine). They really specialize in red wines, the only white wines in our glasses were one of the dessert wines and some chardonnay he poured in our glasses to *wash* them out between tastings. Definitely make this a must visit if you go to Alexander Valley. The tasting room itself is situated in an old bank and the wines are actually stored in the old vault! It's kinda neat to look at!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blogging by Mail 3 - Home for the Holidays

omg, I'm going to sign up for the next Blogging By Mail!! It's like a foodie version of the Secret Pal program.

I have to tell you, I have been gearing up for this weekend's trip to Napa. I've been listening to my foodie podcasts (Dining on the Vine, and Good Food), surfing my favorite foodie blog reads (Chocolate & Zuchini, Bay Area Bites, Delicious Delicious, 101 Cookbooks, 52 Cupcakes, etc), and dreaming of visiting certain wineries.

yeah, that's basically it. I'm in love with food and wine. I'm also in love with these cheeses I saw at Whole Foods. I haven't bought one yet. I think I'll buy it and sneak it into the movie theater with some crackers.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


You must see this movie... Actually, you must buy/rent/netflix/borrow/steal the Firefly Series dvd set so you can fall in love with all the characters and then see this movie. You can enjoy the movie without doing this, but I think it will be best appreciated if you see the DVDs too!

As a proud knitting fiend, I happily sported my recently knitted Jayne Cobb Hat to the opening of the movie. I have been encouraging shy knit bloggers that have knit the hat to wear it to the movie, and honestly, I expected to see a few other hats in the audience.... NO ONE ELSE HAD A HAT! Not one. Which meant I got a lot of stares, and comments, and even a tap on the shoulder from another knitter (who apparently hadn't had time to make the hat before the movie) who proclaimed me something to the effect of one of the coolest people ever. There were even people who as I was leaving were talking about how they wanted to STEAL my cunning hat. Dang! I held on to my hat tightly, I assure you!

It was a great evening though. I got to meet my friend Chris from livejournal, and a big group of us headed over to Passage to India's buffet for some yummy Indian food. Here are some blurry camera phone pics to commemorate the moment...
Me and Chris, Adam and Emi

Fu, Adam and Emi

Nick "I thought I could finish my second plate of food" Chan,

I actually think the lunch buffets I've been to at Passage are better. First of all, they didn't have those yummy fried honey soaked balls for dessert that I absolutely NEED when I go to Indian food. And they were so crowded that they couldn't keep up with having clean plates and bowls at the buffet line, so we were waiting around a bit. And while this doesn't affect me (I don't like mango), the mango soft serve was... um... too soft... or just liquid. Overall, they were just too busy. Go there for lunch.

As seen on my friend Chris's blog, here's a link to Orson Scott Card's review of Serenity. btw, Orson Scott Card totally ruled my middle school universe :) Does that make me geeky? bah.

Vintage Pattern(s) of the Day (from 1961 McCall's Needleworks)
Some cute knitted toys... (I have to knit the black sheep with 3 bags of wool!)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

knitting spinning content, I SWEAR!

So last Wed, when I started freaking out about a certain Monday Fellowship deadline that had slipped my mind, I came home after a day of stressin' to find a wonderful gifty from my Secret Pal!

She sent me one of the books I've been wanting FOREVER!!!!

From Interweave Press!! I've flipped through this book many times at the LYS, only to force myself to put it down as I grab more yarn to fit into my budget! Now, HUZZAH! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the dragon charted for the scarf in there. My dad was born in the year of the dragon, and I've wanted to knit him something with a dragon on it! I admit, even though I was supposed to be stressin' for the fellowhip, I did enjoy flipping through the book again anyway! I'm also really really tempted by the neat sort of patchworky type scarf and some more of the lace scarves (I have to admit, I'm loving working on the FBS! Lace is really really FUN now! Am I crazy?). Thank you thank you Secret Pal! Sorry it took a bit to post about it, I know how anxious I get about packages reaching their destination, I was just a bit crazy this past weekend... Oh and I'm super excited that you got an ingenuitea!! I personally believe everyone should own them. :)

Really, I do have to emphasize how much I love knitting the FBS. Everytime I get a chance, I knit a couple rows. The lace repeats are easier after getting to know them a bit, and everytime I need new markers (every 10 rows), I go over and make a few.
Here's my progress thus far:

I've also started knitting a couple squares for the Diva Knitting contest. I'm using some of my hand dyed yarn for one, and some handspun for another! Pics to come later :)

So yes, I actually can buy roving from several of the farmers that come to the Palo Alto farmers market! I've noticed a couple handspun skeins showing up at different stalls, but then 2 wks ago, one of the stalls also was selling roving! I got almost a pound of ivory shetland wool roving (from a sheep named Sunny) for $15.

Here's my progression on that lovely wool... from this:

to this:

to this:

to this:

It's a wonderfuly bulky two ply that I dyed to make a hat (although I think I'll have enough for two hats) for my friend who likes orange! I dip dyed it in the crock, And I was hoping where the orange and blue crossed I would get a more purple-y color... oh well. I LOVE how bright the colors came out. It will make a fabulous hat!

I heard the black eyed peas song "My Humps" in the car last night and this morning (a break from my all day npr listenings)....

i was open-mouthed about how stupid it sounded. its lyrics were uninspiring (ok, i wasn't expecting to be inspired, but still "my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps"?? wtf?), also the song construction is quite dull and monotonous. ick.

sort of back

oh the stress. I don't think I was speaking very coherently by the end of Monday... or even yesterday, blah. As I told ervy, "This is only the beginning of application season" to which he promptly turned green and died.

or at least, he turned to evil. Yes. My boyfriend is a thief. He has trespassed on the most sacred territory. HE STOLE MY BLOG POST!!!! or at least part of it. If you go to said post, you'll see some very cute pictures of a very naughty kitty. When we discovered Nikko had gotten into our dishes and ervy was going to go wash him off, it was me who said, "WAIT! I need to take pictures for the blog." Perhaps he was confused that I meant MY blog. While I was tearing my hair out over my personal statement, he quietly posted said pictures to his own blog.

pooh! pooh I say to you, thieving boyfriend! I will better protect the digital camera... see if you can find it now!!!