Thursday, October 30, 2008

The house that dreams are made of

Drool squared. ...Found while driving around beautiful Bend, OR. In reality, it's far too large for my tastes or needs, but I'd happy live in the detached garage. The colors are just amazing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pump it up

Spurred by the sight of some gorgeous gourds at the local farmer's market, I recently undertook the seemingly simple task of making homemade Pumpkin Tortelli. Little did I know we would be knee deep in pumpkin filling for a week! The process itself was pretty easy (the most gratifying part of which was using the back of a rather large metal spoon to press nearly a whole pumpkin through a mesh sieve... it's like Play-Doh for epicureans!), but it took us three rounds of pasta dough to use up all the filling. And since we were stuffed to the gills with pumpkin-parmesan goodness, we elected to freeze four servings for later. All in all, I'd say that's quite a good take for one measly little pumpkin.

Here's the recipe which could easily be halved for the less pumpkin-crazed.

Pumpkin Tortelli

From The Silver Spoon Cookbook

4 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (plus extra to serve)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 - 2 cups bread crumbs (I would use less, personally)
7 ounces fresh pasta dough
1/4 cup butter
8 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pumpkin in a roasting pan, drizzle with the oil, cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Pass the pumpkin through a food mill (or fine sieve), add the Parmesan and eggs, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in enough bread crumbs to make a fairly firm mixture. Roll out the pasta dough into a sheet and stamp out 3 inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Spoon a little of the pumpkin filling into the center of each round, fold in half and crimp the edges. Cook the tortelli in a large pan of salted, boiling water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet, add the sage, and cook for a few minutes.

Drain the tortelli, place in a warm serving dish and sprinkle with the sage butter and extra Parmesan. (I added a little curl of the pumpkin peel to each plate for an extra punch of color.)

Ellen Degeneres school of dancing

Well. In a dance off with me, he would totally lose. He's got the foundation but perhaps needs to spend some time with a master like myself to really hone those skillz.* However, I have yet to see John McCain step out and shake his money maker so I'm thinking it's Obama: 1, McCain: 0 at this point- just on dance credentials alone.

Regardless of who's the better dancer- don't forget to vote by November 4th.

*Sometimes when I'm watching video of people dancing and they're really struggling to find the rhythm or just look plain awkward, I actually find myself dancing a little bit in my seat like somehow I can will them to be better dancers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A dose of inspiration

Be. This. Girl.

Found at Blue Gardenia (coffee & treats) on Mississippi.

Un Be Lievable

This is the type of game I could get completely lost in.

The Unfinished Swan - Tech Demo 9/2008 from Ian Dallas on Vimeo.

Only available as a demo for the time being, I could see this totally kicking Myst's ASS.

(Via the always bleeding edge, How does one man do it?)

Culinary dispatches from the homeland

Via a friend from the motherland (aka Maine):

"Well, it has been a while since I heard from you. I am sure you are really busy, but I thought if I sent you a note, you might respond. And then I thought, maybe if I sent a note with a recipe for Pork Cake, you would definitely respond! Here goes:

Pork Cake
Recipe from Mrs. Joseph F. Landrigan
Hartford, CT

1/2 lb salt pork, ground fine
1 lb raisins
5 C flour
1/4 lb walnut meats, cut fine
1 C molasses
1 C Lincoln Dairy milk
2 C sugar
2 Lincoln Dairy Eggs
1 Tbsp soda in 1/4 C hot water
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Bake 1 1/4 hours at 350 degrees.

(That's the whole recipe. I guess if you have the balls to make pork cake, you don't worry too much about nuances like how to combine ingredients or what size pan to use.) Enjoy!"

Seriously? Part of me wants to cook this thing. Raise your hand if you think I should. It totally reminds me of the recipes I got handed down to me by my grandmothers. I imagine women relied so heavily on these standby favorites that there was nary a need to elaborate on the preparation.

Oh, and by the way- I did respond. How could I not? A girl sends you a recipe for Pork Cake and I'm pretty sure even Emily Post would agree that deserves a thank you note.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I heart Robert Downey, Jr.

Just a quick note to suggest this film. If you liked the slapstick comrade-kitsch of Lethal Weapon (admit it, you did) or the self-aware narrator-style of Ferris Bueller's Day Off, I promise you'll love it. And, Val Kilmer manages to pull off deadpan like you've never seen it before.

Seriously. Just go. Your queue is calling.

Oh, and watch it twice- it's even better the second time...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sugar... aww Honey, Honey

Having married into the Mr. clan, I count myself among the fortunate few to have a bonafide bee keeper in the family. Not only do we regularly enjoy a variety of new honeys at the holidays and special events but we were also able to offer small jars of a lavender varietal as gifts to our wedding guests. A sweet treat indeed. But now we face a challenge. You see, while it's widely known that honey makes almost anything better from pungent cheeses to tea- we can't seem to get through it fast enough. And to add to our dilemma, Mr.Mr. won some [significantly less high quality] honey in a silent auction some time ago.

So I'm wondering: What do you do with your honey? Do you have any recipes up your sleeves, on the internet, or in a reputable cookbook that would require anywhere from a 1/4 cup or more?

Image courtesy of

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The grass is always greener

...At the house of the unemployed. In an earlier post I mentioned Mr.Mr. and I are the proud new owners of a small dirt patch behind our apartment. Having relocated from the land of third-floor apartments, the seemingly limitless potential for a green space of our own couldn't be passed up, and within a couple weeks we purchased a bag of grass seed and I began a sowin.' Or, mostly tossing, more accurately. For about thirteen bucks I didn't expect great results, especially after reading on the bag that the manufacturer expected me to rake, fertilize, and water non-stop our budding lawn. (I know, I was like, "for real?" too.) But lo and behold,* after a week of watering the lawn using the water we'd normally waste waiting for the shower to heat up, grass sprang forth like a mini-miracle oasis.

Since then I've worked on two more 4 x 8 sections (only one left to go), carefully tending my verdant gems and coaxing them into a [reasonably] well manicured plot. And with a heft of time on my hands, I've become borderline obsessive about raking our tiny lawn. I'm like my grade school neighbor, Mr. Daviero, who would spend all day raking, mowing, and watering his lawn on the weekends. It wasn't rare to see him as fall approached, out on his lawn to pick up an errant leaf marring the pristine sea of green. One. Leaf.

And now, I'm that guy.

Worse yet is the lack of foresight exercised early on in this project. Because while my grass is growing into a lush, thick carpet- I have absolutely no way to mow it. And. AND. It would require me to reach a brand new level of crazy to get out there with a pair of kitchen shears. I will not be that guy. I have better things to do. I swear.

*I had to look this up because all of a sudden I realized that I had absolutely no clue where this expression came from. It turns out, the word 'lo' as used is a shortening of 'look.' So, lo and behold! means look! - behold! Pffft. A little redundant if you ask me.

Not so Smart People

It would be a reasonable assumption to think that intelligent, awkward people would enjoy watching a film about intelligent, awkward people, right?

Nope. Don't watch Smart People. The title should have been "Grumpy, Awkward People [who struggle to carry on with life for 1 hour and 35 minutes]."

Friday, October 24, 2008

For the love of Mary, just click it!

Those clever Unbeige people are at it again.

Hear ye, Hear ye San Franciscans!

If you live in SF or know people that do, please allow me to live vicariously through you and attend the You Bazaar on November 2nd from 10am - 5pm. Admission is totally free which is great. This crazy awesome crafting event is brought to you by the clever people of Bazaar Bizarre and it's a great opportunity to put all your pre-election energy to work on an art project, shop handmade for the holidays, and meet creative people in the Bay area.

Mr.Mr. and I will be in SF shortly thereafter to visit his brother and check out the Plush You show opening at Double Punch Gallery on November 7th. Our friend Kristen from Schmancy is the creater and curator of the show and this is her first foray back to her old haunting ground for a follow-up to her wildly successful Seattle show. If you don't know Kristen yet, make it a priority. I hope you can make it.

Double Punch
1821 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

A long time coming

Some time ago I said I'd post the fru-its of my artistic labor. Then I quit my job, moved, got a job, got laid off from said job, and became a professional pajama model. So without further ado I present my three recent works shown back in August at Luxcollective.

I'm trying to carve out some time in my busy schedule of Facebooking, baking cookies, tending my tiny yard, and catching up on The Wire to make some more art but you'd be amazed at how easy it is to put off. However, the photos are out, I've gessoed my surfaces, and the paper is somewhere around here too. That's progress, friends- trust me. More later.

Oh, and every time I write "a long time coming" I think of
this song.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

She's as cold as ice

A few weeks back, Mr.Mr. and I headed north to Seattle for his sister's baby shower and we crashed with his parents like the seasoned couch surfers we are. And after a full day of mimosas, too much ranch dip, and whooping ass at at least one baby-related game, we retired for the night on warm flannel sheets with new down pillows. Before we left I convinced the in-laws to let me forage for fallen apples and pears in their yard. Unfortunately, my eyes are bigger than my stomach and fruit flies were descending on our kitchen as fall approached.

So what do you do when life hands you 20 quickly ripening pears and an army of advancing fruit flies? You make granita. Sweet, sweet, granita. Using the Pear Granita recipe from, you guessed it, my favorite- David Liebowitz' Perfect Scoop, I set to work on preserving these babies for a sweet, after meal treat. The recipe follows:

Pear Granita (makes about 1 Quart - enough for several servings)
6 ripe pears (3 lbs/1 1/2 kg)
1 cup water (250 ml)
6 tablespoons sugar (75g)

-Quarter the pears, peal them, and remove the cores.
- Dice the pears into 1-inch (3cm) pieces.
- Put them in a medium-sized, nonreactive saucepan with the water and sugar and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until completely soft, about 8 minutes. A knife inserted into a pear chunk should meet no resistance.
- Cool to room temperature, then puree the pears and their liquid in a blender or food processor (or with an immersion blender like Salty) until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a low casserole dish with 2 inch (5 cm) high walls and a 2 quart (2 liter) capacity.
- Place in the freezer and begin checking in about an hour. Once it begins to freeze around the edges, take a fork and stir the mixture, breaking up the frozen parts near the edges into small chunks and raking them toward the center.
- Return the dish to the freezer, checking the mixture every 30 minutes or so afterward, stirring each time, breaking up chunks and raking the surface. If at any time the granita becomes too hard, leave it out at room temperature for a few minutes and start raking again.

I didn't take any photos of the freezing/raking process because not only did it take about four hours (kind of lame, admittedly), but it makes for an even less thrilling photo than that of an immersion blender at work on a nearly color-less liquid.

However, what results is a softly sweet, champagne-colored frost that tastes like a sno-cone's older, more mature sister that listens to Yo La Tengo and reads E. Annie Proulx stories (...but still loves her some Foreigner, of course).

Friday, October 17, 2008

Roasty toasty

Now that we have our very own patio with a complimentary dirt patch, I can't stop daydreaming of infinite ways to throw money down the drain at outdoor amenities and seasonal decor. First it was grass- which mostly worked until I realized buying tike-sized garden tools did save me money... but not enough to account for the push-mower I'd need once the grass actually grew. Then it was the hammock- which quickly went out of style when I realized we might pull down the fence with the weight of one body.

Now, I want this little ditty to heat up those gusty fall nights and satisfy my year-round cravings for smores. Not to mention the smell of a real fire gives a girl a nice, outdoorsy je ne sais quoi, non? So my real question is- does being unemployed give me a one-time pass to buy the cheapo version offered at... eh- gasp! Walmart? I know, I know. I swear to god I haven't shopped there since Bonne Bell lip gloss was the "it" thing on my list, but really... a girl's gotta be spend thrifty, right?

Okay, some of you are furrowing your brows, hands on hips, just waiting to point out that in an economic pinch, an outdoor fire pit would absolutely qualify as an unjustified expense. And I agree. Except that it would be so cool, right? I mean, come on. Think of it this way- if we go completely broke and can barely pay our rent but can't afford electricity to heat our apartment... problem solved, right?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You have no events scheduled today.

Ain't that the truth my Google Calendar friend. Did you feel that warm front that came through? 'Cause I'm shaking off the frost and coming back from hibernation just a few months early.
That's right, Salty got laid off on Tuesday. ...I know, I can hardly believe it myself. In keeping with my low-profile coverage of anything work-related, I'm not gonna say much beyond the following three lessons learned:

1. It absolutely stinks to have a great opportunity for growth and experience, only to have it cut short before you can fully realize and demonstrate your potential to seriously kick butt.
2. Timing truly can be everything.
And 3. Never underestimate the effects of negativity. Sometimes the shadow of an event or person can linger, and its darkness can do a lot to block out the light you bring.

That being said, I feel very fortunate to have had the time at the BMO that I did. I met some of the most driven, intelligent people I've come across in my professional career. And after spending a lot of time thinking about it, I think the crux of the difference is the concept of "service," and how a real prominent sense of service drives people to perform at a higher standard than others. I'll miss the challenge, the variety, and the people (in no specific order), and I'm truly disappointed.

BUT. But, my friends. ...There's always a but (and this one is big). I've got until Friday. Until Friday at noon, I can cry, rant, sleep for hours in the middle of the day, have angry outbursts, eat too much chocolate, drink too much wine, make small impulse purchases at the checkout of Fred Meyer, and curse at the gods all I want. And then I have to get to move on. Mr.Mr. and I talked a lot about it and while his initial suggestion was end of day, Wednesday... in the end, we decided it was more realistic to aim for Friday. And really, setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-based goals is the best path to success. (That's a little work-based joke for ya.) I get to sulk, mope, and grieve for a specific amount of time, and then he and I will sit on that bulging suitcase, jump up and down on the lid, and I'll latch that baby tight before sending it off into the ether.

There are new, different, and exciting opportunities on the horizon. Keep up, little salties- we're movin' on.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I don't know about you but I'm thinking this is a "third strike and you're out" sort of scenario. I know as an avid blog reader, very little frustrates me more than an endless string of excuses about why there are no entries. I mean, really. Don't bloggers know that I'm hanging on their every word? That it's part of my day to spend time on their site and it's their job to entertain me? I mean there are a skibbidygillion blogs out there on the interwebs and I chose to grant them at least ten minutes of my [semi]undivided attention, so they owe it to me to post regularly. Right? ...Not so much.

Well- facts are that life has gotten busier, nights shorter, and my social life perceptibly closer to flatlining- and I just don't have the steam lately to keep swinging the bat here. My brain keeps generating [presumably] clever ideas for topics and I've even been toting around ye old digital camera in an effort to round out what little text actually makes it onto the site. But I'm running on little more than fumes at this point.

So I'm taking an official break. No more of this, "ooohhh I'm so sorry, life is hard but I'll be better about writing next week" business. I've got to buckle down and see if I can work out some sort of plan to resuscitate my salty side. Do me a favor and check back in a couple of weeks. I'm convinced our little love story isn't over yet. Until then my salty friends.