Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May It Please the Court

All this talk about cheeseburgling may have been a little misleading. In fact, it's "burgling" only in the sense that it occurs mysteriously and anonymously in the middle of the night. The thing is, whomever the cheeseburgler is, he/she is most certainly an individual who pays for a share of the groceries. As it happens, there's a far more insidious form of burgling afoot at the Rowe School. Please note Exhibit A, above. Everything looks normal, right? Ha! That's where you're wrong. Where, viewer, is our beer? Gone! Snatched! Imbibed! But not by us. The reader may also be interested to know that an undisclosed quantity of Elix's vodka has likewise evaporated. Mysterious indeed.

But now for more pleasant subjects, or at least different ones. I (we) survived Evan's family reunion and Newport Beach. One of the activities of the trip was a boatride around the islands, and let me assure you, it was obscene. "To the left you'll see a grey house with blue awnings, once owned by so-and-so, but purchased recently for $20 million by what's-his-face. Mr. What's-his-face didn't want his $2 million yacht blocking the view, so he bought a $17 million home down the beach and docks it there. No one lives there but his boat." No joke. But I (we) met some fun relatives and drank enough wine to make up for the rest. So happy to be home, though. For reals.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Delirious Cooking

I couldn't sleep all weekend. Really. I think I got a total of about 4 (a generous estimate) hours in, and not for lack of trying. And everyone had to hear about how weird I felt. Sorry about that, guys. Anyway, I'm feeling much better today. I didn't sleep well, but I slept some.

In my early morning frenzy yesterday I made carrot cupcakes for Melissa's birthday. Devon helped me decorate. When I thought about it yesterday afternoon, I realized that I could hardly even remember doing it, or at least, it seemed like some other day. While I was finishing up the baking, Evan and Devon made these baked egg and pita thingies, the recipe for which I found on 101 Cookbooks. They were pretty freaking adorable.

Speaking of food websites, I've been incessantly combing and have come to the conclusion that I seriously need to do something about my food photography skills. It's sort of embarrassing, really.

Anyway, Evan and I are off to Orange County at the end of the week for family time. Wish me luck in locating some excellent tacos.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Fabric

So, these are some, but not all, of the fabrics I got in last week. I really, really love them. In fact, everything that came in looked pretty much as I expected it to. My only disappointment is that one fabric turned out to be decorator weight (which is heavier, for those of you who don't deal with fabric) and won't work for quilts, so I'll have to return it. Even that ends up okay, though, since the fabric I was going to pair it with was discontinued.

Band practice went well as did the Cigar Box meeting. I've got some work to do on cover art for David's album and Rodney, Adam, and I are getting together Thursday to talk about the design of the website (something I know nothing about, but I'll be providing the graphics, so).

I've got a lot to do in the next month or so. Everything should be finished for Napoleon by then–the website, tags, labels, and samples–and I'll have to start selling my wares. And then there are my various non-business endeavors. Sounds like my dvd watching is gonna slow down considerably, but I'm excited to start cranking things out.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not a Complete Failure

Tomato! I grew one! Yay!!

Band practice tonight, which I'm really excited about. It feels like it's been forever, even though it's only been a week.

Also, I decided not to go to Quilt Market because the plane ticket was too know, just in case you were wondering. But some of my fabric came in and it's all really cool. Pictures soon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Forty Theagues.

Hiding for a century and a half in the footnotes of Sir Richard Burton's first translation of One Thousand and One Nights, purportedly fabricated during Scheherazade's nine hundred thirteenth night, creamily woven into the sixth tale of Sinbad, wherein he falls victim to the pleasantest of doldrums as his vessel is stranded in a sea of the most delicious hummus:

Made-Up Hummus

2 cans of chick peas
1 large clove of garlic
2 lemons, juice of
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy milk
3 tbsp tahini
1/2 tbsp cholula (or other hot sauce)
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder

Add chick peas to the food processor, setting aside the liquid from one of the cans. Combine all ingredients in the food processor and puree. Add chickpea liquid until you reach the consistency you like. Salt to taste.


1. Smooth - Omit hot sauce add 2 tbsp cream cheese

2. Tangy - Replace hot sauce with crushed red pepper, add 1/3 cup cilantro and 1 tsp onion salt

3. Decadent - Replace soy milk and sugar with whipped cream (to taste)

4. Rasta - Replace lemons with 1/2 grapefruit, add 1/3 cup cilantro

5. Extreme - Replace all ingredients with Mountain Dew

Sunday, May 4, 2008


A pretty low-key weekend. Melissa brought over some awesome white wine on Friday night and we hung out at the house. On Saturday Dr. Jason hosted a Kentucky Derby party, which included many games of horseshoes (check out the double full lean above), mint juleps, and a gigantic cheese ball. Today was Family Band practice. We've got most of our songs down pretty well and just need to remember how we're doing things from one practice to the next. I'm going to finish up the day by making soup and then settling in for some Veronica Mars.

Elix brought me this bread cookbook everyone's talking about, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I made my first batch of dough Friday night (I used the Light Whole Wheat recipe) and baked a loaf on Saturday morning. It's as easy as the no-knead recipe from Mark Bittman's column, takes less time, and seems to have infinite variations. There are recipes for everything from panettone to classic white bread and all of them require a minimum of effort. You bake straight on a baking stone or cookie sheet (occasionally in a loaf pan). It takes whatever shape you give it, so I can make a regular boule, pita bread, or a baguette all from the same recipe and without any special equipment. Also, with this method you make enough dough for four or eight loaves at once. The rest of the dough keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks. So, no more good intentions and failed follow-through when it comes to bread baking. Evan doesn't like it as well as the other recipe, but I think it's fine.

The Cigar Box buttons came yesterday. Even though I checked the colors with my Pantone swatches, the gold on cigar band button came out way too green. It's a little disappointing, but overall they look nice. I'll post pictures soon. Next up Red Mountain Family Band logo.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Black Forest Cake

I made this pseudo-black forest cake for Andrew's birthday last weekend. It turned out alright, but only because I decided not to make a true black forest cake, which is apparently the hardest cake ever. I really like baking, and I think I'm pretty good at it, but the recipes I was reading were intimidating. For the real deal, the cake is initially extremely dry because you soak it in Kirsch after you bake it. The recipe for that part alone involved mixing with a handmixer for something like 20 minutes total. Then you coat the top and bottom of each layer in liqueur, fill with a whipped cream-ish filling, plus a cherry filling, frost the whole thing with whipped cream and cover it in chocolate shavings. For this one I just made regular chocolate cake, filled it with whipped cream and cherries and iced it with chocolated frosting. Unfortunately the whipped cream did a really poor job of keeping the layers together, but it tasted pretty good, so I don't mind. Thanks to Dr. Jason, a good bit of it was consumed at the party, leaving only a few pieces to eat in a hungover haze in the morning. And speaking of thanks, many many of them to Evan G. who cleaned up the whole house while we were at the afterparty and who also made awesome avocado deviled eggs (Oh! I can't believe I didn't take a picture!) on Sunday.

Last weekend was a lot of fun, but this week has been pretty stressful. I finally got my tax id for buying wholesale, so I've been planning and buying fabric. First of all, most manufacturers have what is for me a very large minimum first order. Second, it's a big commitment to make based on fabric that you're not seeing in person. I'm very particular about colors, and it's hard to say whether two fabrics will look good together when dealing with the inaccuracy of viewing something online. When it all arrives I'll have fabric for something like 80 quilts. Needless to say, that comes out to a whole lot of money, which makes it that much more stressful.

All this makes me think that I should go to the Spring Quilt Market in Portland, OR in a couple of weeks. That's where one goes to see all the new fabrics, etc. It's my chance to see the product up close. But since we're already going to Orange County to visit Evan's family this month, that would mean two trips to the West Coast in two weeks. I can't tell if it's worth it. The energy commitment is enormous. And the idea of walking around a trade-only quilt show sort of makes me feel like an imposter. But if I'm going to get stuck in the same situation in a few months if I don't go, then I should probably just suck it up. Oh, if only I had a quilting buddy to go with me.

I've gotten some other things done besides the fabric this week, thankfully. I'm having my labels printed and Press Charming has started work on my hangtags, which I'm very excited about. I took a look at Jenny's portfolio of name and business cards when we met and they were all amazing. Also, we had band practice on Tuesday, which could have gone better, but was at least helpful in figuring out what to do moving forward. And now off to work on the Cigar Box flier!