Sunday, February 28, 2010

New Camera

These mushrooms came in my CSA bag this week.

This post is just to see how my new camera is behaving. I decided to get one of those little Nikon Coolpix point-and-shoot jobbies so I will never again miss a photo op (friends, you've been forewarned). My big camera, a Canon eos Digital Rebel, is fantastic and has a big ol' flash and a couple of lenses, but it's heavy and kind of a pain to take out easily. My iphone is pretty great in a pinch, but there's no flash. I thought the Coolpix S570 might be a good compromise: it has a rechargeable battery and built-in flash, and when you turn it off it collapses the lens into no space at all. And the price is right. Here are a couple of photos I took right after I turned it on for the first time. Not bad....

Does it look like an olive in the middle of this banana bread? It's actually a chopped-up date!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Honey Wheat Cookies

On the heels of being completely grossed out by my discovery of chicken rings, I just finished watching Food Inc. and reading both In Defense of Food and Food Rules. While In Defense of Food reinforced my belief that my grandparents' diet (along with their lifestyle - i.e., walking a lot, socializing while eating, and generally maintaining a much more relaxed attitude in regard to just about everything) helped them live long, healthy lives, it also gave me a nice dose of additional stress to pile onto the normal everyday paranoia that seeps into virtually every one of my life choices. For example, bread. I now feel like I must plant ancestral grains and somehow harvest, thresh and grind them myself, little red hen-wise, before I can eat a sandwich. (It goes without saying that I will also have to figure out how to raise a pig, plan for its humane demise, and cure a ham from its eventual parts in La Jolla . Good luck with that.)

Anyway, that's all pretty ambitious. I do try to buy whole ingredients and cook a lot, and we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and I've been getting a CSA bag for the last month or so. This week I even bought some whole wheat flour to try to integrate more of that into my biiiiiiiiggggg weakness: homebaked anything. I love bread, pastries, cakes, etc., and I love them with real sugar, butter, and white flour. I don't think I'll ever be one of those people who can sub applesauce for butter and sugar, but I'm trying to use honey a little more (Yes, I know it's still sugar, but at least it's closer to its natural state than the white stuff.) and I'm backing off on using highly refined staples period. This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick by Flour Child was the recipe for Honey Wheat Cookies, so that fit in nicely with my plan.

There's still sugar and white flour in these cookies, but I subbed in half whole-wheat flour, and the recipe calls for honey in place of some of the sugar. The dough has to be refrigerated for a couple of hours and then you roll it in wheat germ before baking. The result is a subtly-flavored honey-lemon-toasty deliciousness that is perfect with a cup of tea. I loved these cookies. John said they were only okay but he did eat 10 of them, so I'm not sure you should listen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesdays with Dorie - Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

What can I say? I'm late for TWD again this week! I actually made the dough for these cookies a week and a half ago, baked off one batch, froze the rest, baked off another batch last night and only managed to get one grainy iPhone photo of the finished product. These cookies are the leftovers that my niece is taking to school for a friend's birthday - cute, no? I used Scharffenberger 60% chopped up for the chips and left out the nuts; they were pretty good! Kait of Kait's Plate chose the recipe - thank you!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Oscar Nominees!

A few years back John and I were invited to an Academy Awards-themed party at someone's house where we all got a ballot and got to choose our picks for for the Oscar winners, with a prize going to the couple who predicted the most. Now, I know some people have date nights and get out to the movies on a regular basis, but John and I have never gotten our acts together enough to organize actual dates, even when we were dating. We came in dead last because that year we'd managed to see exactly two movies on that entire list. One of them was Shrek 2, and the other one was some action movie that John had seen (Spiderman 2? Mission Impossible 3? I can't remember.) that was up for best lighting or something. Our huddled conversation: "Oh, well did they have good lighting in that movie?" "I can't remember the lighting. There were explosions."

So a few days ago I realized that I've actually seen a record-breaking number of movies this year (For me. Record-breaking for me.) . I have actually seen three - that's right, three! - of the best pic nominees! I've seen Avatar, Up in the Air, and Inglorious Basterds. I've also seen Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Julie and Julia. That's right, biatches, I've seen SIX Oscar nominees! I am that damn proud of myself.