Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July Daring Bakers Challenge: Fresh Frasiers!

Mandatory Blog Checkin Lines: Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

This month's challenge was super-tasty and a wonderfully seasonal challenge.  While Jana suggested using strawberries and blueberries to complement a vanilla chiffon and pastry creme, I just couldn't see buying two types of fruit at the store when my garden was overflowing with other varieties.

My cherry tree has gone berserk, and we have a few lingering strawberries still on the plants.  The blueberries are dead.  Completely dead.  Blueberries, then, were a no-go.

Trouble is, cherries and vanilla are a fine combination, but not my definition of gotta have it.  Chocolate and cherries?  Well, that might be good....especially when combined with the disk of almond paste she directed us to put on top.  Wait a minute!  I've reinvented the black forest cake.  Inspiration was a long time coming, but this was an inspiration worth the wait.  Chocolate chiffon, kirsch-enriched simple syrup, and the last of the cherries from the tree.

Chirp-chirp, of course, just wanted chocolate. Straight chocolate. No fruit, no thank you.  None whatsoever. 

And, as a nod to Jana, here's the last of the strawberries for 2011...

Friday, July 22, 2011

How does this make sense?

I really like listening to Science Friday on NPR. Have you ever listened in? Sometimes the ramblings become too political, but generally speaking this radio show is totally golden.

Friday afternoons generally find me at home, cleaning up a week's worth of unfinished chores, washing the laundry and hanging it to dry, scrubbing the toilets, sweeping the floors, and altogether acting out the part of Cinderella, except for the good part at the end where she ends up with an entire staff to clean her sparkly castle. Well, like Cinderella, I did get a prince, so I won't complain! I am still waiting for the cook to appear, and one of the mice had a little something going for him which I wouldn't mind having at hand!

Anyway, the auditory backdrop for the day is Science Friday. Good stuff.

Today was different. Since I took yesterday off for our camping trip, I had to work today. There isn't a radio in my lab, which is really a hallway, so I usually listen to tunes on my Droid phone and try not to rock too hard, which could ruin my samples. Not that I'd know anything about that. At all.

Today, though, I wanted to listen to Science Friday. My Droid phone has a radio station listening function (oh wait! that's an ap, right?) so I turned that on. Well, you can only listen to the radio if you have earplugs in. I do not need any more wires hanging off my body while running samples, so that was out.

All righty, then, I'll listen online! Except that none of the "three easy ways to listen online" (please use your deepest testosterone tone when reading that phrase) work on my phone. I tried to download Windows Media Player, but it wouldn't download to my phone. I tried I-tunes, but that only works if you have an I-phone. The last choice was Real Player. I select that download, and the NPR page takes me to the Real Player page.

Where the page tells me to

THE $^%@!^

You know, the code that is on my phone's screen

in order to complete the download.

Excuse me, but how do I use my phone's camera to take a picture of my phone? Seriously, people. What the heck??????

I couldn't make this up.

And I didn't get to listen to Science Friday.

OH look! Here's the page so you can see it yourself!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Conversation whilst packing

Mr. Boom and I took a little camping trip yesterday. Chirp-chirp is away at her cousins' house*, so we decided to make the most of the opportunity by sneaking in a little car-camping excursion.

Where to go, where to go? We made a deal. I'd pack, and Mr. Boom would pick the location.

I finished up at the office at 3:00, went home, and packed the car. I also made sure all the animals had food and water to last overnight, and that the gardens all had enough water to survive a day without our love and care. Or something like that.

Anyway, I threw our sleeping mats, sleeping bags, and pillows in the car. I put cereal, peanut-butter, bread, crackers, and marshmallows into a box. Into the cooler went several shots of espresso, milk, goat cheese, jar cheese, frozen steaks, garlic, and cottage cheese. I grabbed our camping kitchen box, the Coleman stove, and a lighter. Car packed--hooray!

When Mr. Boom walked in the door just after 4:00, I told him to pack his own bag and we could hit the road. He had a few questions...

Him (with a hand on the cookie jar): Did you pack cookies?
Me: No, but I did pack the cheese!

Him: Insect repellant?
Me: No, but I packed the field guides?

Him: Something to start a fire?
Me: No, but I did bring the backlog of newspapers.
Him: That's what I meant.

Amazingly, we had all we needed, and not too much more. Perfect getaway. Well, it would be perfect if we didn't have to work in the morning!

So where'd we go? Little Naches River for the night, Ohanapecosh the next day. Cayuse Pass, Chinook Pass, and lots of high mountain driving in between!

*She's spent a lot of time at her cousins' this summer. The girl is two weeks older than her, the boy is two years younger. They have a hot tub, a movie theater, their own private bit of forest, and a three minute drive to the mall. Home just can't compete.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Okay, starting now…?

Funny how hard it is to just pick this blog-thang back up. Writing is a habit, I guess, and like any (good) habit not practiced, the ease with which it’s practiced can be totally lost. Engulfed. Desolately twinkling on the ocean floor.

I’ve fallen out of many good habits recently, and I’m sorry to say I can’t say the same about any of my bad habits. Why can’t those two be self-balancing? I’d like to complain to the management about that one. Someone should really write a letter. Of course, I could write the letter myself, except I’m out of practice, you see.

I think the dust has settled, finally, from the seemingly-endless turmoil I’ve been bashing my way through. This spring, we had five hens and four cats. Due to this death and that disappearance, we were down to one hen and two kitties. Hardest of all was the death of Cirrus, my big fat blue-eyed Siamese wonderboy of love. He was poisoned. Why??????? But now we have two new hens, and the missing kitty (Pablano) returned home after a week gone. He was in good health, but reeked of axle grease and garage. He didn’t stop meowing for days, and still wanders around crying at times. There’s lots more, of course, but stuff I can’t share (to protect the innocent, the not-so-innocent, and the just plain kooky elderly folks in my life).


We have tons and tons of cherries. I’ve frozen up five gallon bags full of cherries. My mother-in-law has picked cherries, my neighbor ahs picked cherries. The birds are eating the cherries. Still, you can’t even tell that a single cherry is missing from the ever-loving ever-fruitful tree. I don’t know what kind of cherries they are. They’re bright red—cherry red if I might say so—and sweet enough to eat off the tree, tart enough to cook with. Turns out it’s really easy to freeze cherries. Just pit the suckers, throw ‘em on a cookie sheet, and then roll the little fruit marbles into a bad after a night in the freezer.

I made a cherry clafouti with some of the crop. Clafoutis are so pretty, and spoken so well of—and of course they’re French—so how could it not be wonderful? It wasn’t. Bleh. I will NOT be posting that recipe!

I think I’m going to make wine with however many more I pick. Sweet cherry wine? Like the song? That should be good, right? There’s a joke in there about judging a book by a cover song, but it’s probably a really bad joke, so I’ll not look for it any further.

Josh Ritter. Oh, Josh Ritter.

Met him at his recent book reading, music playing, and book signing. Mr. Boom snapped a photo of Josh Ritter and me hugging. Dorkeist photo ever. I don’t care. Josh spoke a bit about the process of writing. He likened the first draft of a book to building a block of marble. Editing is the process of sculpting the statue out of the marble. I laughed when he said you edit and edit, sculpt and sculpt, and hope that at the end, when you whip off the sheet, you’ve got enough arms. I’m not putting quotes around that because I didn’t get it quite right. But you get the idea.

Okay, I’m saving the rest for another post. I can’t wait to tell you about the gardens, how well the trellises are working (I haven’t forgotten that I need to post the plans for them, Tanya!!), and a bee update.

All right. Off to work on reestablishing the good habits, and scaring some of the bad back into their corners,