Tuesday, August 30, 2011

radiators, still lifes, and b&w.

[in preparation of my Black & White Film Photography Class coming up in October]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

rainy day, poached eggs.

With dark and heavy clouds already looming in the skies as we rolled out of bed this morning, and with the promise of residual storms from Hurricane Irene to continue throughout the weekend, Christopher and I decided to make our way down to the farmer's market a little earlier than usual this morning.  As we reached in our pockets to purchase our last few items on the list, those raindrops we had been anticipating made their debut appearance, causing us to walk 5 blocks home in the pouring rain.  It was a beautiful start to the morning, believe it or not.  And it only got better when we arrived home and decided to make poached eggs for the first time ever.

Poached eggs have intimidated me for a while, but Christopher was all about trying it, so we gave it a go! We followed Thomas Keller's directions from ad hoc at home.  As you can see from the picture above, our first try was a success!  Woooo-oooooo!

Here's how to do it... should you want to do it:

Bring 6 to 8 inches of water to a boil in a large deep saucepan.  While you wait for water to boil, prepare an ice bath.  Add 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Crack 1 egg into a small cup or bowl.  Using a wooden spoon, stir the water at the edges of the pan a few times to create a gentle whirlpool effect, then add the egg to the center of the pan.  Simmer gently for 1-1.5 minutes, or until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.  Taking a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the egg to the ice bath.  Skim and discard any foam from the top of the hot water.  Cook remaining eggs one at a time.

I just happened to bake some delicious gluten free bread yesterday, which was perfect for dipping. And, of course, we just always happen to have bacon from our local butcher!

To all you East Coasters out there, stay dry and let me know what you're cooking this weekend while you're stuck indoors!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

cuddle magics.

A little while back, you might perhaps recall the mentioning of a certain Cuddle Magic photo shoot I did.  Well, it's about time I share some of the results from that shoot with you and the rest of the world.  This was my first ever shoot with real, live, and multiple people, so it was a real learning experience.  Looking back on it, I know some of the things I did right and am now very aware of the things that I didn't do so well.  But, nonetheless, I do have a few personal favorites!

And while we're on the subject, Cuddle Magic's Kickstarter Campaign is coming to a close in 8 days!  They've already met their goal of $10,000--which is amazing!  They're so thankful for the generosity of all those who have donated so far (and thank you! to those of you reading this who have!)  Even as they've met their target, they're just now learning of unexpected expenses.  They're still hoping to raise a few thousand more.... so check them out!  By donating, you'll be pre-ordering your own copy of the album (sweet!).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

chilled carrot vichyssoise

Our cooking this summer has been unstoppable.  We're grilling, we're pan frying, we're baking things in the oven--making delicious food that we just want to share but always seem to chow down before realizing that we didn't take any pictures.  Over the past few months, we've made so many tasty things, I wish I could share it all.  Seriously, I'm drooling just thinking about it.

Last week, after a lovely visit with my good friend Kelly (who just moved to town with her hubby and their adorable baby girl Lydia!), I was inspired to make some chilled soups before the summer ends!   We made this Carrot Vichyssoise a few days ago and, just this afternoon, I made some gazpacho, which I'll share with you soon!

Chilled Carrot Vichyssoise

One sweet potato, peeled and diced
3 medium leeks, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon (or more) bacon fat (optional, but soooo recommended)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (we used leftover oxtail broth!)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 cup coconut milk
Bacon pieces (optional garnish)
Walnuts (optional garnish)
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large stock pot, melt butter and bacon fat.  Add sweet potato and leeks, sweating over medium heat until translucent.

2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat and cover until the sweet potato is soft.

3. Add carrots and cook 10-15 minutes, until tender.

4. Using a food processor or blender, puree until smooth.

5. Stir in coconut milk and use salt and pepper to taste.

6. Chill for at least 3 hours.

7. Add your preferred garnish before serving. (The first night we made this, we garnished with bacon and walnuts--YUM!  Parsley works nicely, too.)

8. Find a seat outside and ENJOY!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday: what to do......

This is precisely how I feel today.

Where does today's path lead?

So much to do, but I can't seem to get myself started!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

info nympho: an analog record

You might, perhaps, recall a few particular occasions when I've mentioned the band Cuddle Magic.  Hopefully you've all had the opportunity, at some point, to bounce over to their website and listen to some of their music.

Cuddle Magic comes up frequently in my everyday thoughts and conversations because I happen to be married to one of the bandmates, but even if this wasn't the case (and I didn't have such a deep bias), I'd still be a major proponent of their music.

As I mentioned previously, last month I spent a few hours doing a photo shoot with the band.  It was quite a bit of fun (I learned a TON!) and we came out with a few keepers for them to use as possible promo photos.  (The photo displayed in the little widget down below is a one of them.)

Anyway, I could give you a huge back-story, but last week Cuddle Magic started a Kickstarter fundraising campaign and they're in need of help and donations.

If you happen to enjoy friendly people, artistic & thought-provoking music, vinyl records, bass clarinets, penguins, quirky poetry, or even my photo below.... why don't you at least check out their video on Kickstarter.  And, if you're able, even a small donation would be soooo appreciated.  (Plus, they have "rewards" for each donation amount.... and you could totally acquire the album, should you like.  Which I think you'd like.)

Hugs! and thank you.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

the difficulties with beautiful gifts.

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes it's difficult to bring oneself to the point of actually opening and using a gift for the first time.

Upon receiving a gift with such beautiful packaging as this, a common series of events often occurs: it starts with a gasp of excitement, proceeded by a moment or two spent marveling at it's artful packaging, followed by a warm exchanging of hugs with the gift giver.  After all this, you very intentionally place the gift on the dining room table or somewhere centrally located--a place you can pass by and admire it multiple times per day--a place which appropriately reflects and enhances it's visual beauty.

It's so beautifully packaged, in fact, that you forget that it's tea and that it actually has other uses besides looking pretty.

After weeks of looking at it, I've finally enjoyed my first cup this morning.

Thanks to my wonderful Mom-in-law!