Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shoes. OMG shoes.

Toby gets excited about Japanese chef knives. I get excited about custom made dance shoes.

A fellow salsera who went to USC with me now designs dance shoes, so I ordered a pair from her. She asked for specific measurements of my feet so that the shoes could be made to fit me exactly. But the best part? LOOK AT THAT HEEL!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Brief Thorough Check-In

It was brought to my attention that peeps have been checking the blarg and wondering what happened to the updates. I told Maeve that it's because we're doing awesome stuff. For example, here is what we did this weekend: made and canned a bunch of chili, made and ate and froze some baguettes, hung artwork in the apartment, checked out the Ballard farmers market and bought some cherries, made vegetable stock, made pork liver pâté grandmère, washed/dried/folded three loads of laundry. So now we are both tired and not really up to writing extensively on our projects. Instead, here are some photos to give you a little glimpse into our daily life.

Toby's comments will be joining us in teletype.

A cabinet full of homemade stock.
Top left, vegetable stock; top right, chicken stock; bottom, veal stock.

Pressure canning is a way to turn low-acid foods (like stock or chili) into non-perishable goods. The stock shown here was made in one long long sunday's worth of work, but will last up to a year in the cabinet. Or not, because we've used almost all of it.

We saw some king salmon on sale at Central Market and were compelled to buy it. Bright pink flesh. Mmm... This was a new method: we poached it for most of the time, and broiled at the end as the liquid was almost gone. Result: crusty delicious. We used Julia Child's method for green beans, supposedly the french method. That means a whole lot of water real hot, little bits of vegs at a time. Means crisp green beans. We finished the beans with moar butter. Potatoes, real easy: roastville.

Another dinner.

Julia Child has been teaching us a lot. I love this method of cooking an egg, mostly because it's so cute.

We use a lot of olive oil, so I proposed to Toby that we order some from the orchard I visited in Spain.
He was totally on board once he found out we could get it in a 5L tin.

I made these flowers out of clay! Idea courtesy of Martha Stewart's Craft of the Day.

The Tobester searing some meat for beef pot pies.

You may notice that the gloves I'm wearing are not typical oven gloves. That is correct. We had some standard oven gloves that behaved pretty typically, but they couldn't hold the extra-hot stuff. Go out to the grill, get burned. Well, I went to an industrial supply catalog and ordered some real hot gloves. The ones I'm wearing are good up to 1000degF (intermittensly) and let me laugh at 500degF pans.
The finished filling for the beef pot pies.

Our first attempt at homemade ravioli.
Those are filled with dungeness crab that Toby bravely prepared and cooked himself.

Toby's first baguette. Crispy on the outside, spongey on the inside.
Beautiful and delicious.

It's going to take me years (literally) to get consistently good bread. It seems like the usual outcome is bread that tastes pretty good but looks awful. It turns out that the "artisan" bread you buy in the grocery store uses all kinds of shortcuts not available to the home baker. Baking a loaf the real way takes about 24 hours. With added enzymes, you can get in done in a few. The funny part is this: we do all this baking without a stand mixer. It turns out that you can fully develop bread dough without much work at all. Stretch, fold, wait. I've apparently been making bread wrong this whole time. The dough is way wetter than I thought was workable.

Another important thing I wish someone had told me: dough won't stick to wet hands; if you dip your hands in water before working dough, it won't stick to you.

My first attempt at a cherry pie. I pitted every single one of those cherries with a bobby pin.

Behold my flaky crust!

Cluttered desk, now with portraits I made in high school.

I don't really go swing dancing any more, but this is a cute photo so I included it.

Dancing with Alberto at Salsa Con Todo. This is the studio that I have joined in Fremont.
I taught a freestyle workshop there last weekend.