Saturday, April 24, 2010

Workin on it...

Dove Vivi has this super yummy cornmeal crust pizza. I had some on Friday and now I'm jonsing for their crust. It's like focaccia but with little crunchy bits, both chewy and crispy, and it oozes with olive oil. I'm not trying to replicate that crust, I'm just going in that direction. It's a pretty small recipe, here's what's in it:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1T flour
3/4 tsp instant yeast

Mix these things together and let them sit until they're all foamy, then mix in well:

Another 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/3 cup olive oil. Use something nice and fruity.
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary

Let the batter sit in a warm place for at least 4 hours. I bet overnight would be better, it would get really well fermented. Then mix in about another 3/4 cup of flour. I wasn't really paying attention to it, I was really just trying to get the texture right. After about 10 minutes of kneading, it should be somewhat soft, but not gooshy, and shouldn't stick to your hands. Oil it well and let it double in bulk. I usually put my dough back in the mixing bowl and cover it with a plate; saves a dish that way. When the dough has risen, pre-heat the oven- I did 425, but now I think it should have been hotter. Then oil a thin, non-insulated sheetpan and sprinkle a little more cornmeal on it. Dump the dough out onto the pan and just sort of poke it down a little bit. You aren't really trying to deflate it, you just want it to have some dimples to hold another splash of oil, a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and more rosemary if you want. I really liked the way the fresh rosemary got all crispy on mine. But then, since the oven wasn't as hot as I I think it should have been, after about 15 minutes I turned the oven up to broil, moved up the rack and browned the top for about 3 more minutes.

This is my first round, next time I won't stretch it out so thin. It does make really good salami and tomato bites though. Ah, fermentation, I love it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I updated my OpenOffice suite because I wanted their excel clone. Why did I care? Because it's spring, and once again I am in love with my plants. I created a spreadsheet with all my gardening data on it. I'd show you, but I can't figure out how to get a screen capture of the stupid thing. Last year, I just scrawled things on my calendar and by December I was so done with it that I recycled the whole thing. Duh. I regret it now, of course, but such is life...

But I do have a couple pictures of my plants. That thing up there is salad burnett. I started 3 kinds of basil: regular, purple and lemon. I saved the seed from last year, which I hear is an iffy proposition with basil because it tends to cross pollinate. I guess I'll find out. I have carrots and chard coming up, too, but they don't look very interesting.

Also on my want list: a bigger squirty bottle. I need something to rinse the aphids off my poor strawberry plant already, like Holy Arthropoda, Batman! It isn't even may yet.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Spinach with Pink Grapefruit & Pecans

I don't like to eat salad in the winter, because eating cold things in cold weather makes me feel dreary. I think that when the weather has gotten warm enough to actually grow leafy things outdoors, that's time enough to eat them. This year the growing part wasn't just a theoretical guide; this is my first spinach crop. After I grew a bunch, I read the seed package; apparently it isn't really spinach (spinacia oleracea), it's New Zealand Spinach (tetragonia tetragonioides). Who knew. Who cares. It looks and tastes the same, as far as I can tell. And it went extremely well with the pink grapefruit I had sitting around.

a handful of spinach
a few pink grapefruit sections
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

The thing about salads is that every item in it should be something you'd want to eat on its own. Keep it simple. For this one, use very fresh spinach, a very ripe sweet grapefruit, and a lashings of  olive oil. Mine has a medium amount of both fruity and peppery flavors to it. The grapefruit has enough acidity that you don't need a lot of balsamic, but it adds something, so pick a kind you really like. Plus, it makes it more fun to look at before you eat it, and who wouldn't want that?

To completely change the subject: inappropriate workplace conversations.  My manager at my retail hell tells me this story. It is useful to know at the beginning that his dog is a pug.

Him: So, my dad sends me a text message and asks me if you need a USB cable to play your ipod through the car stereo. I texted him back, and said no, you use a receiver because an ipod doesn't have a standard, USB port. Then he texts me back and says so, your ipod doesn't play through the car stereo?

(slight pause, with roll of eyes)
Him again: So I texted him right back and said No, it plays through my dog's vagina. I waited a second, then texted him again and said, Of course it plays through the car stereo, it's an ipod. Then a minute later my mom calls me and she says "I don't know what you said to your dad, but he was laughing so hard he had to pull over and stop driving." So I told my friend what I said, and he starts laughing, he goes, Yeah, it sounds a little tinny coming out of there, but other than that... (mimes small surprised dog)

Me: Tell him he needs to trade up to a St. Bernard, you get better woofers in those things.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Last year I read about this stuff: indian black salt. It took me forever to find a place that had it, and that I could get to without a great hassle. The label says it smells like boiled eggs. It actually smells much worse. I'm very excited about it. I read some recipes that call for using a smidge of this on tofu scrambles to give them an eggy flavor. I'll tell you how it goes when I get some made up.

A couple weeks ago, I passed this store downtown and thought "Hm." The place is a little intimidating from the outside, it's all schmantzy lookin, and it has dim lighting, and all the spice jars are on these imposing looking dark wood cases with display lighting. But the saleswoman was very approachable and friendly, and didn't purse up her lip at me when I said that all I wanted was to try this stinky salt because hey, it sounded really weird. In fact she was really encouraging, and told me to feel free to open up the jars and smell things. (Free Smells!)

I also took some pictures of my ninja shoes. I loaded them onto my Flickr account, but I didn't put any tags on them, because when I put up the photos of my tabi socks, I immediately got a bunch of messages from foot-and-asian fetishists which sorta crept me out.

Go 'way, ya creepy creepist creeper! Sheeesh!!!

Ninja Shoes

IMG_2346, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

I made these last year, probably in November. No, it had to be December? After I made the white pair anyway. I found the clogs at goodwill for $1.99 and knew I had to make some booties to go with.
I think the purple laces look pretty fetching.

I made them almost entirely on my 1917 White brand treadle sewing machine. I used a different machine to zigzag the soles to the uppers, and did little bit of hand finishing (blah).

The top stitching on the toes and heels reminds me of a baseball.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Whatcha been up to?

cowboy shirt, originally uploaded by Chinkypin.

I get asked that sometimes. Mostly I say " Oh, you know. This and that." Here's some of the this n that. I made this shirt for a fella. I showed him the plaid and he looked hesitant, then cautiously enthusiastic. I showed him the cowboy shirt pattern and he perked up and said "Awright!" He approved the pearl buttons. I told him that the cuffs would have to be green on the inside because I ran out of cloth and he was taken aback. But he said "Baby, make it however you want." And when I was done with it, he put it on and said "Man! This is a sweet-ass shirt! This is gonna be my new shirt for wearing out!"

So, you see why I like it so much.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm Martha Stewart, Bitch!

...but really, I did use a recipe out of her pie book. It even looks like it worked. It seems to have worked so well that I'm still suspicious. I don't even know why I fixated on this recipe, maybe because to me, it looked like an impossible pie. I'd used the crust recipe before, here it is:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter
3 T sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
4 T very cold water

Cut the flour, sugar, salt and sugar together until the biggest butter globs are about the size of rice grains. I mix the water with the egg yolks before adding it to the flour, but it's not crucial. Don't over-work the wet dough! Just smash it together enough to get it all evenly combined. There's enough butter in it to make it act just like play-doh. This makes enough pastry for a 2-crusted 11 inch pie. I only have an 8 inch pan, so I've got some extra. You can make the dough ahead of time and chill it until you need to use it, if you want.

Ok, well and good. But the filling sounded too simple to be true. It goes like this:

2 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs and 1 egg white

Cut one lemon into paper thin slices, rind and all. Cut the rind and pith off the other lemon, and slice it as thin as you can. Toss the lemons with the sugar and cover, leave it in the fridge for about 24 hours. The next day, preheat the oven to 450. Roll out your crust, beat the eggs and mix them with the lemons & sugar, and pour it into the pie shell.  Weird, huh? There's no fat or starch in the filling, it's all about the eggs.

I can't say I had high hopes about this. I was sure the filling would do something awful. But it seems to have set up, unlike many other pies I have attempted in the past. I will say though, that you need to use a mandoline to prep the lemon with the rind on it. Don't try to make pretty slices, nobody will see it anyway. The idea is for the long period of soaking in their own juice to de-bitter the rinds. A good sharp knife is fine for the other lemon.

Top it with another round of crust. I cut the slashes in the crust before putting it on the pie, the filling is totally liquid so if you want decorative cuts you gotta do it first. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, turn down the heat to 375 and cook for another half hour. I lay a sheet of tinfoil over mine after the first 15 min because this crust recipe tends to get burn-y faster than crusts without added sugar.

It's like a big lemon bar, with a little texture. Next time, I'm gonna add some herbs. I bet lavender flowers, or rosemary, or mint would be pretty good.  Maybe even oregano.