31 May 2011

project 365 | 2011 | Week 21

05 21 11
05 21 11 | what a grind.
Jacky takes a break from his "laptop" number-crunching.

05 22 11
05 22 11 | know what's good?
meyer lemon water.
segmenting, chopping and general fussing
over marmalade makes a lady thirsty.

05 23 11
05 23 11 | know what's better?
marmalade on toast.
with butter.
uh huh.

05 24 11
05 24 11 | is this uncool?
who posts photos of their kid on the potty??
I guess... me, that's who.
I think he's cute. so does "potty doggy."

05 25 11
05 25 11 | makin' it old school.
I love me some pattern.
brush and ink style.

05 26 11
05 26 11 | field trip & pilgrimage.
for art-making advice
and some blue skies & sun.

05 27 11
05 27 11 | cheers
this particular Friday called for...

Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail
(soak a sugar cube with blood orange (or other) bitters;
top up with champagne; garnish with lemon zest spiral)

27 May 2011

darth helmet, jr.

a boy & his bilibo

a boy & his bilibo

a boy & his bilibo

a boy & his bilibo

a boy and his Bilibo. (-- anyone else have one? I thought it was so... random? But I guess that's the whole point. Such a winner.)

have a great holiday weekend!


22 May 2011

project 365 | 2011 | Week 20

05 14 11
05 14 11 | tis the season
for garden roses

05 15 11
05 15 11 | a new project
for idle moments...
stitch by stitch
|| from Embroidery Companion, by Alicia Paulson ||

05 16 11
05 16 11 | self-portrait
Jacky 2.5

05 17 11
05 17 11 | special visit from Mimi
reading, drawing and lunching
with the Jacky man

05 18 11
05 18 11 | spring pizza
basically, sort of a redux of this one from last year,
plus jarred Mezzetta hot peppers (yum)

05 19 11
05 19 11 | guilty
I love linen.
Made a special trip to Britex
to make real some ideas.

05 20 11
05 20 11 | just pickle me
I wish.
For now, 5# of asparagus
will have to do.

20 May 2011

today was a good day

this is the life
{there may or may not be big boy ki-ki's on my head. you be the judge.}

1. wee wee in the potty... x4!
2. my two children (actual & fur) hung out. Like, in the same room without anyone leaving in a furry, panicky state. There was petting, almost-screaming-for-joy, being-quiet-practicing, treat-giving, general hangin'. This hasn't happened in almost a year.
3. I canned some stuff.
4. Said canning went well enough during naptime that I kept the elliptical in a good working order.
5. I didn't even have to use my AK*
6. Friday gin & tonic
7. Husband played Black Flag while we washed up. Somehow, it works.

*some items not from my actual life.

18 May 2011

just bag it

As I was driving out to this beautiful spot today, listening to the local public radio station with the shorter pledge breaks, they were talking about the new documentary, Bag It. Anyone seen it (heard of it?)... I don't see many movies lately (ok, ever), but it sounded like a good, informative, non-preachy movie about not just too many plastic bags, but plastic in general: the ever-present BPA, phthalates, etc. Sounded like a good movie not just for the "converted" -- you know?

(PS: if you're into this sort of thing, check out Tapped. Motivating. Like, I'm steering clear of plastic bottles forever.)

When I worked for my now ex-employer (manufacturer of mostly plastic toys), we were super aware of these harmful substances, since there are some helpful bans concerning children's products. We couldn't put harmful chemicals in kid's toys (which is good seeing that they all go in the mouth)... but other industries can put 'em in other stuff you ingest. Super bad news, especially for pregnant ladies. (As you all probably are very well aware.)

So, this stuff is on my radar. I may not see this film right away, but hearing about Bag It was just a good reminder that although our household has already cut out some harmful stuff--we don't microwave any food in plastics (super bad), we've mostly stopped eating canned beans/other food (I'm soaking some gorgeous beans this very minute), and we mostly try to avoid lotions etc that contain all that crap (exhibit A)--we still have some areas to cut out the plastic.

For one, we still have a little zip-loc bag habit going. I still use 'em to freeze home-baked bread... store crackers... granola. I guess I could switch to glass for some of this stuff. Maybe foil? It's a little confusing.

Anyone else trying to tackle the plastic? Any good ideas?

16 May 2011

project 365 | 2011 | Week 19

05 07 11
05 07 11 | P is for pesto
I couldn't help myself; we've started in on the pesto-making
a tad early this year. I just love it so much...
those first whiffs of spicy, summery basil make me crazy.

This batch (my 3rd so far) was a little experiment:
I heard you can use pistachios in place of pine nuts (we were almost out).
Sorry to say I'm not sold: best batch lately was when I forgot all nuts.
Nuts? maybe. But tasty? yep.

05 08 11
05 08 11 | they're here
first of many waves of perfect green little wonders, let's hope

05 09 11
05 09 11 | finally
step-stool + good mood (mine)
= long-awaited access to The Junk Corner.
Pandora's box is open.

05 10 11
05 10 11 | don't forget to look up
I've turned into an incorrigible cloud-watcher.

05 11 11
05 11 11 | a must...
for my new workspace
(photos coming very soon!)

05 12 11
05 12 11 | ramps
why, hello there.
should I pickle you??

05 13 11
05 13 11 | quiet moment
a boy, his "boat" and a good read.
Let me never get enough of this.

11 May 2011

do you hollandaise?

egg & asparagus hollandaise
asparagus benedict
(w/side of Toby's "bistro potatoes" and oven-roasted bacon, natch)

Behold my mother's day brunch. (You'll have to imagine the mimosa I had in my other hand.) And by brunch, I of course am referring to the glamorous hour of, oh... 8:30am. Ah, yes, toddler time.

Around these parts, we kick off special days with a nice brunch. Lately, that means something or other drizzled with homemade hollandaise sauce. "Fill-in-the-blank benedict." For me, I wanted roasted asparagus under those poached eggs and plenty of tarragon in the sauce (a deviation). I just finished that Julia Child book and she and Avis Devoto wax poetic about tarragon for pages. It's a must-have in my kitchen lately.

So, do you hollandaise? Bear in mind, dearies, that this oh-so-rich sauce (I was not hungry again until 6pm that day) was once regularly served over steak. Oooof. My point is that it was once a sauce well-known to the home cook. Today, not so much.

Our hollandaise is a bit of short-cut: we buzz it up in the blender faster than you can open another bottle of bub. For serious. Give it a try.


Blender Hollandaise
adapted from Joy of Cooking

:: Combine in a blender:

3 large egg yolks
2 t. fresh lemon juice
Pinch ground red pepper
1/2 t. salt
1 sprig of fresh tarragon

:: Pulse until tarragon is chopped and everything is combined evenly.

:: Heat until bubbling:

1/2 c. (1 stick) butter

:: Remove from heat. Turn blender on again. After about 3 seconds, pour in the butter in a steady stream. By the time the butter is completely added, the sauce should be nicely uniform. If not fully incorporated, continue blending for 5 seconds longer (don't over-blend). If too thick, thin with warm water. Serve immediately.

If you want to be terribly retro, give it a sprinkle of paprika (we forgot). Mmm, tastes like 1962.



As for the other required player in the Benedict story... poached eggs. Want to know how we do it? I used to be super intimidated, but now it's easy. There are many techniques out there, but here's ours:

:: In a straight-sided pan, heat ~2" water until just barely under a simmer (tiny bubbles, no real movement in the water).

:: Add a splash of white vinegar (some say it's not necessary, but I err on the safe side and use it).

:: To poach: crack an egg into a small prep bowl. Bring the bowl very close to the surface of the water and gently tip it in, minimizing movement as much as possible. Now, leave the egg alone (no touching!) for a few moments, until the whites start to go opaque. Then--very gently--take a large serving spoon and gently nudge the edges of the egg over and onto itself, trying to coax it into a neat shape. Be very delicate; less is more. Basically, you just don't want to move the egg too much while it's setting or it'll get squirrelly and messy. Trust me, I've been there.

:: Let the egg gently cook until all the white is opaque and cooked through (~3 minutes). If you're feeling confident, you can do multiple eggs at once.

:: Either serve immediately (blot dry with a clean kitchen towel) or save for later by chilling cooked eggs in an ice bath. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, then re-heat in warm water for 5 minutes.

On Sunday, we did the cook-ahead method and I'll probably always do it this way. So easy!

10 May 2011

project 365 | 2011 | Week 18

04 30 11
04 30 11 | stow lake
glorious weather, beautiful day with Nancy
and her sweet fam

05 01 11
05 01 11 | flowers for moi
from moi

05 02 11
05 02 11 | when vegetables make bouquets
bolted rapini: so pretty, who knew?

05 03 11
05 03 11 | before
just a lonely blueberry bush, some weeds
and a very junior apple tree

05 04 11
05 04 11 | after!
my (mostly) california natives bed

05 05 11
05 05 11 | harvested
kale & peas
my good friends

05 06 11
05 06 11 | make this now
springtime on a plate: fava bean, strawberry
and pecorino salad
|| recipe from Incanto ||
(I added mint and served it on homegrown arugula)

07 May 2011

my mama, yo mama

On the occasion of my 3rd Mother's Day, as an actual mama...

How much has changed. 

mommy & me | her first mother's day
Since losing my own beloved mother to cancer in 1995, I spent almost a decade and a half avoiding Mother's Day. I limped around with a reopened heart wound each year. I avoided all signs of other people celebrating with their moms. In fact, witnessing any daughter and mother interacting (at any time of year) would sometimes send me into a spiral of envy and grief. How I wanted that type of connection--in our case, absolute love and understanding--back.

Now? Hmm, now Mother's Day is a mix. Which is, trust me, a huge improvement.

mama & J | my first mother's day

The painful, unchanged reality of her absence all these years is always in my face, but it's now soothed so greatly by the sweet, innocent, pure joy of a new, budding life. A house full of toddler shrieks and laughter. New beginnings every day. A young life that traces its roots back to her. Directly back to her denim-blue eyes and zany silliness. She is with me again.

Of course, it's the same way that Jacky embodies all those who love him: he has my mother-in-law's throaty laugh, my biological father's freckles (count 'em: 3 now!), his father's sweetly curved upper lip, my toes (like, exactly, since day one) and on and on.

Bringing this special little person into the world is an act of beautiful expression. And, this new job that I have, this mothering, is by far the best job that I've had. It's a privilege, and it brings me peace.

I hope you all, whether you're a mother, a mother's child or someone who simply cares and nurtures, I hope you have a day (and more) filled with hugs, kisses, fulfillment and peace. Pay that love forward.


05 May 2011

this garden, this morning

a bench with a view

pretty peas

peas, in utero

peas, fattening up

baby lettuces

yesterday's rose

garlic grove

Hauer Pippin apple

Red Onions

'aromatherapy' rose


hot day lettuce tent

my first garlic scape

alpine strawberry

peas & roses

fava forest

'heaven on earth' rose

blueberry clusters, coloring up

Señor Pabs
{feliz cumpleaños, gatito...#13!}

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