Tuesday, June 28

Eggs y Pantalones

Not eggs, but a delicious, citrusy beer: Orange Kush, from Ale Industries. Possibly the perfect combination of soda and beer characteristics.

Generally unrelated but equally wonderful: Carrot Pants!!!

Kind of creepy, yes. Still, how could anyone NOT want to build a quirky whole-bodied carrot person on that base?

The Carrot Pants spent a long time in the produce drawer before either one of us could bring ourselves to sacrifice them to dinner.

Wednesday, June 22

Half New Year

If folks can have half-birthdays, I can have a half-new-year. My absence stretches out past Josh's and highlights her diligence in starting back up. I don't have much to say for myself. Instead, I'll just post a few pictures from the start of the calendar year now, with pledges to fill in some gaps in weeks while I try to get back in the blogging spirit.

As you can see (poorly lit photos aside), we had a wild New Year's Eve with friends dropping by to share drinks and jig-saw angst. Most everyone lost steam after a few hours, though, leaving us to soldier on by ourselves.

Now we know better than to take on 2000 piece puzzles. We put away the incomplete puzzle in March, when we wanted our table back.

I've always liked going for a walk on the first day of a new year,
and Josh kindly humored me. We wound our way
around the island, getting our fill of greyness.

She also humored my request for a new year's picture.
You might be amazed how many times we had to try for non-ridiculous pics.

Then, shockingly, we got side-tracked on the walk home.

...and clearly I need to remind myself of some formatting shortcuts.

Thursday, June 9

Now that's an OSX upgrade

When's Apple going to go for a truly powerful feline?

Friday, June 3

pizza progress

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I've been working on my sourdough pizza-making. It's been going super-well, and we've been eating tasty pizza every 2 weeks or so. My sister says it's the best in the Bay Area. She is my sister, after all.

Here's the recipe:

Josh's Sourdough Pizza
Note: always use a plastic or wooden spoon when working with sourdough. And non-metallic bowls.

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. w.w. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2–3 tbsp. warm water
1 1/2 c. active sourdough starter*
2 tbsp. olive oil

1. Prepare 2 smallish mixing bowls by spraying with olive oil spray
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours and salt.
3. Add starter and water and combine into a tough dough. Usually, I start with 2 tbsp. water and it's plenty, but you can add a little more if the dough seems too dry.
4. Add olive oil to the dough and work in. This is a weird, messy step, but it's OK.
5. Once the oil has absorbed into the dough, knead it for 5 min. I do it on the (clean) counter with no flour. The oil should keep it from sticking.
6. Once it's smooth and slightly elastic, cut the dough into 2 balls and put them in the 2 bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and set them in a warmish place to rise. After about 2-2 1/2 hours, they should at least double in size.

At this point you can proceed with your pizza making (see below) or stick the dough in the fridge to use later. It should keep for 2–3 days. Just be sure to take it out at least 1 hour before you want to use it to bring it back to room temp or so.

7. Preheat oven to 500° with pizza stone inside. (If you don't have a pizza stone, I'm not sure what to tell you. Go get a bunch of bricks?)
8. While oven is preheating, roll crusts out onto heavily floured boards to about 12 inch circles (or close to circles). Cover loosely with dishtowels to rest while you collect your cheeses and toppings and warm up some sauce.
9. When oven is ready, dust a pizza paddle (again, if you don't have one, hmmm... back of a cookie sheet?) generously with cornmeal and place your first crust on it.
10. IMPORTANT: spray or wipe the entire crust with olive oil all the way to the edges. This will help keep your sauce and toppings from soaking in.
11. Dress 'er up. Try to be moderate with your toppings and cheese because a) a little goes a long way on a pizza with a good-tasting crust, and b) you have to get this thing in the oven in one piece.
12. Optional: if you have some fancy coarse salt, sprinkle a little around the edges of the crust.
13. Slide the pizza off the paddle onto the hot stone. Cook for about 8–10 min. I keep the oven light on so I can watch it. When the cheese starts to brown, it's done. Bring it out and cut it.

TIP: If you're using fresh herbs, don't put them on 'til the cheese just starts to brown. They only need about 45 seconds–1 minute in the oven. You don't want them to be brown and dry.

ANOTHER TIP: Break an egg in the middle of the pie right as the cheese starts to melt. Don't be scared. Num.

* On sourdough: there are literally thousands of books and websites about making sourdough starters, so I can't pretend to be an kind of authority or give much advice other than look up a recipe and try it. You do have to commit to keeping the baby alive which really isn't hard. In a nutshell: put equal parts flour and water in a non-metallic container and leave it loosely covered on your counter for a few days until it starts to smell sour and make hooch (alcohol). Discard the hooch, pour about half of the starter out and add 1 c. flour/ 3/4 c. warm water. Repeat this 2 or 3 times until your starter basically doubles in size when you feed it. It's now "active" and ready to use in a recipe. Then, you stick the remainder in the fridge and feed it at least every 2 weeks. Really, you know, you should just watch this video. I've been maintaining my starter for about 2 years now and it's totally worth it. 

salami, green garlic, red pepper, goat cheese, italian parsley

hot italian sausage, nm green chile, fancy (oyster?) mushrooms