\Calendar 06.10.2011

June 11, 2011

June Calendar



\Life Decoration 4.10.2011

April 11, 2011

April Calendar

curiosity group

\Foodie 4.10.2011

April 11, 2011

Banana Bread Croutons

Once the banana bread is finished put in the oven 3 times to get crunchy delicious croutons, cut each time out of the oven.


\Foodie 4.10.2011

April 11, 2011

Meyer Lemon & Sour Cream Donuts

Makes about 20

1 cup (125gr) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140gr) cake flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
4 oz (120gr) sour cream
2 large eggs
zest and juice from one lemon
1 tablespoon (15gr) olive oil
canola oil for frying (about 1 cup or 250ml)
Powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Reserve.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, sour cream, eggs, zest and lemon juice, and the olive oil, until smooth. Add the reserved flour mixture, and stir with a spatula until the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the batter for about 1 hour.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy bottomed cast iron pan or Dutch oven until it reaches 325F. Scoop the batter using either 1/4 cup full (you will get less donuts) or a two-tablespoon ice cream/cookie scoop like I did and fry 4-5 at a time without overcrowding your pan (turns the oil temperature down which makes your donuts greasy). Fry each batch for 4-6 minutes, occasionally monitoring the temperature of the oil.

tartlette blog

\Foodie 04.01.2011

April 1, 2011

Clay-Pot Miso Chicken

* 16 chicken thighs with skin and bone (5 pounds)
* 1/2 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
* 10 cups water, divided
* About 4 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth (32 fluid ounces)
* 2 (c) stalks burdock root (sometimes called gobo) or salsify (optional)
* 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
* 3 tablespoons canola oil
* 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
* 1 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, large caps quartered
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
* 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
* 1 cup mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
* 1 cup white miso (also called shiro miso)
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 1 lb mustard greens, tough stems and ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (16 cups)

Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.

Pat chicken dry, then roast, skin side up, in 1 layer in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan until skin is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

While chicken roasts, soak wood ear mushrooms in 4 cups water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, then rinse well and discard any hard pieces. Drain well, squeezing out excess water.

Transfer roasted chicken to a bowl and pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure. Let stand until fat rises to top, 1 to 2 minutes, then skim off and discard fat. Add enough stock to bring total to 4 cups liquid.

Reduce oven to 300°F and move rack to lower third.

Peel burdock root, and, if more than 1-inch-thick, halve lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Transfer burdock root to a bowl, then add vinegar and 2 cups water.

Heat oil in a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté onions until softened and beginning to brown. Add shiitakes, ginger, and garlic and sauté until garlic is golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add mirin and boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Stir in miso and soy sauce, then stir in chicken, wood ear mushrooms, burdock (drained), stock mixture, and remaining 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any froth.

Cover pot and braise in oven until chicken is tender, about 1 hour.

Stir in mustard greens and continue to braise, covered, 5 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls.


\DIY 3.31.2011

March 31, 2011

Bleach Tie Dye

1. 100% cotton black shirt (extracting color with bleach works best on natural materials – especially cotton), a few cups of bleach, a bucket, a pair of gloves, a few rubber bands and 2 flat shaped objects.

2. To make a grid-like pattern, fold the shirt like an accordion and bind it between two pieces of wood or other flat shaped objects. Hold the shirt in place by wrapping a series of rubber bands around the bind. Anything used to bind the clothing will prevent the bleach from penetrating, and the rest of the exposed fabric will bleach and turn color. Click here for more binding alternatives.

3. Before you start bleaching, make sure you are wearing gloves and working outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Dilute approximately 4 cups of bleach with 1 cup of water. Submerge the shirt into the bleach for only a couple of seconds. Watch it very carefully because depending on the thread count of the clothing, the color can turn very quickly and the bleach may start to erode the fabric. As soon as the black transforms into a rusty brown color, immediately remove it from the bleach. Give it a quick rinse, unbind it, and then hang it

The rusty brown color will slowly fade into a beautiful lighter shade as it begins to set. Once its dry, wash the shirt in a washing machine.


\DIY 3.31.2011

March 31, 2011


1. Arashi (Japanese for “storm”) shibori a pole-wrapping technique. The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole or cylindrical object (we used old PVC and copper piping) and then tightly bound by wrapping thread or wire up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched down on the pole. The patterns are on a diagonal in arashi shibori which suggests the rain from a heavy storm.

2. Kumo shibori is a twist and bind resist technique. This technique involves wrapping sections of the cloth over a found object, usually small stones or pebbles. Then the cloth is bound in very close sections with rubber bands. The result is a very specific circular spider-like design.

3. Itajime shibori is a shape-resist technique. The cloth is folded like an accordion and sandwiched between two pieces of wood or any flat shaped object, which are held in place with string or rubber bands. The shapes prevent the dye from penetrating the fabric they cover and give an endless variety of patterns depending on the fold, binding object and placement of rubber bands.

Following the dye preparation directions from the Indigo Tie Dye Kit were easy; first rinse your fabric with water, dip in the indigo vat that was premixed before binding the fabric, let it oxidize and dry for 20 minutes and then repeat the steps for darker shades of indigo. Be aware that the color is much darker when wet and will fade after rinsing.

Rinse the fabric with water and undo the bindings to reveal the surprising creations.

Our patterns revealed: Arashi, Kumo and Itajime. The possibilities are endless–try varying and even combining the techniques to see what you are able to create. Your indigo dye vat will keep for several days and dye at least 15 pieces of clothing.


\DIY 3.31.2011

March 31, 2011

Box Braid Necklace

1. You’ll need 12 yards of micro-fiber faux suede (we highly recommend using micro-fiber suede because it’s super soft, flexible and easy to work with), 4 rubber bands and an assortment of small, medium and large washers.

2. Start by cutting the suede in 4 three-yard pieces. Tie them together in a knot, leaving about 15 inches of slack which will serve as ties for the necklace. Because the strands are so long, tying them into bundles using rubber bands makes them more manageable and prevents tangling. Starting at the knot, spread the strands to form a cross. Fold the first vertical strand to the opposite side, creating a loop. Fold the opposing vertical strand to the opposite side, creating another loop. Hold the parallel loops in place with one hand. With the other hand, weave a horizontal strand over the closest loop and under the next loop. Do the exact opposite with the last horizontal strand. Pull the four strands tightly.

3. Repeat the box braid until you are ready to add washers to the necklace. We started braiding in the smallest washer after the first 3 inches. Undo one of the bundles. Thread on a washer and let it fall to the base of box braid. Continue with the box braid weave and tighten, securing the washer. Keep the bundle unwrapped as it will be the only strand to which you’ll add washers. And to keep the washers on one side of the box braid, add washers to every other weave. Gradually add larger washers for a graduated effect.

4. Once the necklace is finished, trim the ends. You can either finish the necklace with another knot like the first knot or undo the first knot – whichever you prefer. The necklace is adjustable in length and can be secured by a knot or a bow.


\Foodie 03.30.2011

March 30, 2011

Blueberry Almond Macroons


Powdered blueberries from Trader Joe’s or buy a package of freeze-dried blueberries, dump the entire package into a food processor and run it until the berries are pulverized into powder. You won’t be able to get them all crushed but since you’ll be adding them to the dry ingredients through the sifter the large pieces will be sifted out.

Add 3 tablespoons of the blueberry powder to the dry ingredients.

1 cup (100 g) almond flour 1 1/2 cups (175 g) powdered sugar 3 large (1/3 cup, 100 g) egg whites 2 T (30 g) granulated sugar

Prepare 2 sheet pans by lining with either Silpats or parchment paper.

Prepare a pastry bag with a plain tip (I like Ateco #12, but most small-sized plain tips will work.)

First, sift the dry ingredients — in this case, the powdered sugar and the almond flour.
Sift into a large bowl. Refining the dry stuff this way will ensure that the macarons don’t end up with coarse looking shells. If you have a teaspoon or so of large pieces left in the sifter, just discard.

In a separate bowl, whisk the whites. You can also do it with a hand mixer or a standing mixer if you prefer. I like a hand whisk, because there’s less chance of overbeating.

Once they start to froth up and get meringue- like, sprinkle in the sugar. This little bit of granulated sugar helps stabilize the whites, so there is less risk of overwhipping.
Continue to whisk. Here, the whites are still quite loose and soft, barely holding any peak. The mix starts to take on a smooth, glossy appearance, thanks to the addition of sugar. A little more whisking results in firm peaks. You MUST whisk until the peaks are firm, or the finished macarons will suffer, with a too- liquid batter. Once the whites are whipped, incorporate the dry, slowly, so the egg whites don’t deflate. Sprinkle half the dry stuff over the egg whites.

Start folding the dry in carefully. The whites will start to look broken and curdled and that’s ok. It’s not necessary to get every last speck folded in at this point. Once it’s mostly mixed in, dump the egg whites back into the bowl with the rest of the dry stuff. Now fold everything together.

The dry ingredients tend to collect at the bottom of the bowl. Fold by scraping from the bottom, and turning the mixture over on itself. This process does deflate the eggs somewhat, and that’s ok. You WANT to deflate them a little.

Pipe nickel-sized dots. They will continue to spread on the sheet pan for up to five minutes, so it’s best to space them about half an inch apart. As much as I try to keep them the same size, I tend to end up with slight variations, and that’s ok.

A skin needs to form, and it can take 30-90 minutes, depending on the weather. If you touch them lightly and some batter sticks to your finger, they are not ready to bake. If you feel the top has dried, and nothing sticks to your finger, they’re ready.

Bake at 280 degrees F for about 17 minutes.

Vanilla Butter Cream Filling

1/3 cup (75 g) egg whites
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup (40 g) powdered sugar
2 sticks (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Have the egg whites ready to whip in the bowl of a stand mixer. You can also do this with a hand mixer.

The granulated sugar and water go in a small pot over medium-high heat, along with a candy thermometer. Make sure the thermometer bulb is submerged. We’re aiming for 250 degrees F (or 121 C). Since there is so little sugar, it will come to temperature FAST. Keep an eye on it.

While the sugar is cooking, start whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed. Here’s a dirty trick that we sometimes used at the restaurant. Since there is only a small amount of egg whites, the whisk may have a hard time reaching the bottom, so we’d prop up the bowl a little. See the arrow? The bowl is not holstered. If you try this, the machine may not like it, so proceed with caution. I snapped off the back clip once.

Once the whites get thick and creamy (in a couple of minutes), I start adding the powdered sugar.

Pour in the powdered sugar in 2 additions while whites are whipping.

A couple of minutes later, the whites and sugar mix should be thick, and begin to get peaks. By now, the boiling sugar should be either ready or close-to-ready in temperature.

Once sugar reaches 250 degrees F, pour it down the side of the bowl SLOWLY, in a steady stream, all while whipping the whites on high speed. If you pour it too fast, the whites may deflate.

Once the hot sugar is in, continue to whip for a couple more minutes on high speed. It should become thick and look like marshmallow fluff.

Continue whipping on high and seed in the butter, a few pieces at a time.

Once all the butter is in, the mix will take on a slightly yellow hue. Keep whipping.

At first, the buttercream will look like it broke, like a wet and curdled mess. That’s ok, this is correct.

Continue to whip for about 5 more minutes, and it will all come together and whip up properly.

Right at the end, scrape in the vanilla bean seeds, and whip for another minute to incorporate.

tryityoumightlikeit , pastrypal

\DIY 2.23.11

February 24, 2011

another braided bracelet. so pretty.

step 1.

step 2.

step 3.

step 4.