Friday, July 30, 2010

A New Use For Corn

I've never seen this before, even in Nebraska. In front of a bar on the edge of Lincoln's Haymarket, they're using corn as a decorative landscaping plant. I guess it's not any dumber than a rose bush, plus it might yield a few ears for eating.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making a Blueberry Pie...One Berry at a Time

When we made our blueberry pie a few weeks ago Jack helped about by counting out the berries for us...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cupcake Craziness

In a matter of two months Folsom, CA will have gone from a town with zero cupcake shops to a town with three cupcake shops! It's cupcake craziness!

Jack and I have a goal of visiting them all before Labor Day. Here's report number one from Icing on the Cupcake.

Pretty non-chalent location next to a Game Stop - my guess is they don't get a lot of spill-over Game Stop business.

Now when you walk in to this place it appears as though they don't actually bake their cakes on location - seemingly problematic. Cake selection was pretty good. We went on Thursday - the day dictates your selection as you can see from their menu.

(click picture to enlarge and notice the maple bacon flavored cake!)

Jack was excited about getting the cakes home to open and eat them!

Jack opted for the Pinkelicious cake while I chose the basic chocolate cake. Here they are boxed.

Jack went straight for the pink frosting and ate most of it - not sure he really touched much of the actual cake! I wolfed my entire cake down and would give them good marks... Maybe a 4/5 though at $2.75 a pop you wouldn't want to eat too many!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

DC Cupcake

On my recent trip to Washington D.C. I stumbled upon what appeared to be a high end cupcakery called "Georgetown Cupcake". I approached the store excitedly, as Erin and I have both been rather taken with the fancy five-dollar cupcake phenomena started by Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. Sadly, I found that Georgetown Cupcake had just closed for the evening. I pressed my nose against the glass as I watched employees cleaning up. I took this picture with my cell phone.

Fast forward to today. Erin and I sat down to watch a new show we had tivoed called "DC Cupcake". We didn't know much about the show when we decided to tivo it, only that it was a reality type show documenting the daily adventures of a Washington D.C. area cupcake shop. Well, you guessed it, the cupcake shop where the show takes place is none other than Georgetown Cupcake.

We weren't that impressed with the show, but hope to one day sample one of their cupcakes.

The Perfect Blueberry Pie

I'm on a quest to produce the perfect blueberry pie. I made a pie earlier this year that was too sweet (the flour to sugar ratio was too low) and that didn't cook enough - most of the blueberries didn't burst and congeal in the pie. I may have put too much butter in as well.

Round two was just pulled from the oven. Here's a snap:

Here are the ingredients and directions:

4.5 cups of blueberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 ounce of butter
2 pie crusts

Pre-heat oven to 450.

Wash and dry the blueberries picking out any funny colored berries and ensuring all berry stems are removed. Set aside.

In a fairly large bowl mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir. Then add the blueberries to the mixture and continue to stir until berries covered.

Pull the pie crusts from the freezer and put one crust in the oven for ~1 minute or two until it begins to soften (not cook!!!) Then pull it out.

Pour the berry mixture into the still frozen crust (saving about a tablespoon of poweder in the bowl) and squeeze the juice from the lemon over the top of the unbaked pie. Now slice the butter into small buttons and dot the blueberries to ensure good coverage upon melting.

Flip the slightly warmed pie crust over the top (may want to loosen first) and pull it out so it is centered over the pie. Don't worry if it isn't perfect. Doubling over adds character. Slice 5 slits in the top crust and sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture over the top.

Put alumnimum foil around the crust edges (usually takes about three strips) and place pie in oven. After 12 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 and continue cooking for 40 more minutes. Then remove the foil strips - if it looks like you can cook the pie for 5 more minutes do so.

Tasting report to follow.

Update on the 2010 edition. Again the above produced a "perfect pie". I actually forgot the butter this time and it was still very good. Took the 2009 advice and did a better job sealing the two crusts in the middle. You can't really beat this recipe. Here's the picture of the pie - which by the way features Oregon berries. CA berries peaked a few weeks back.

Why Organic Milk Lasts Longer

We recently switched to organic milk to avoid the growth hormones and antibiotics found in regular milk. We also discovered an additional benefit. Organic milk is much "longer date" than regular milk, often having a printed expiration date lasting well beyond a month from purchase. I wasn't sure exactly why this was the case, so I consulted my research pal, google. Turns out the reason organic milk lasts longer has nothing to do with it being organic. Rather, it is due to the ultra-pastuerization process which heats the milk to 280 degrees Fahrenheit for a few seconds killing all bacteria. This is a higher temperature than is used in normal pasteurization, which does not kill all bacteria in milk (only enough to prevent disease). Ultra-pastuerization is needed with organic milk because the methods for transporting it to market are less efficient, so it needs to have a longer shelf life. Since we are often slow to consume an entire container of milk, the switch to organic has meant that we never dump the stuff down the drain anymore.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bacon Bar!

I must admit I didn't try this because it was so spendy but I'm hoping to one day when I'm feeling flush. In the interim, here's the snap...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dylan Goes Electronica???

NEWPORT, RI—Audience members at the Newport Rock Festival were "outraged" Monday when rock icon Bob Dylan followed up such classic hits as "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Maggie's Farm" with an electronica set composed of atonal drones, hyperactive drumbeats, and the repeated mechanized lyric "Dance to the club life!" "We came here to see the authentic Dylan, the one with the Stratocaster guitar and signature wild blues-rock band behind him," audience member Robert Hochschild said. "Then he walks out with these puffy headphones, some turntables, and a laptop? The guy's a Judas." When asked later about his musical transformation by reporters, Dylan said he had nothing to say about the beats he programs, he just programs them.

Another story from the Onion

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Tangeman Girl!

We all thought Uncle Paul had cornered the market on Tangeman girls! No more!!!

Little xxxxxxx (or xxxx for short) Tangeman has been confirmed. The ultrasound lady was 100% confident it was a girl so we're hoping she's right since we promptly went down and orderd furniture - baby furniture tends to have long lead times...we were quoted delivery in mid-October!

Now on the DeBruyn side things are the opposite so there may not be quite as much excitement about a girl.

Steph and I are both thrilled. Jack's excited as well as he keeps proclaiming, "Momma's got a baby in her tummy." In fact, that's how the teachers at Jack's school learned of the pregnancy!

Ten Dollar Brownies

How good can brownies get? A matter of opinion, of course. But these are the best I can do, at least for now.

Mix the batter as directed on the box, using Ghirardelli's double chocolate mix. Then add to the batter: Two and a half cups pecan halves (Fisher are very good; this is a ten ounce bag selling for about $6.50.) One teaspoon bourbon whiskey. One teaspoon ground chipotle (these are smoked dried jalapenos. Spice Island makes a good version. Like the Ghirardelli, it comes from San Francisco.)

Pour into a six-by-nine (or whatever) cake pan and place into a 350 oven. Turn the oven down to 300, and bake for about 75 minutes. The key is slow baking, giving plenty of time so the brownies don't come out overly gooey.

Monday, July 05, 2010

July 4th Week-end Recap Part 1/2

Kind of sad that we're coming out of a 3 day week-end with nary a blog post. Lots of doing and little documenting which is the way you'd want it I guess :) We went to the Folsom cattle drive on Sutter Street Thursday night. It was a good time even though Jack didn't feel well - he made it through though and was rewarded with the sight of several longhorn style steers.

Here's Sutter Street during the pre-parade activities. They are still in the process of modernizing the entire street so things are a bit disheveled.

The parade begins with runners and then the Wells Fargo stagecoach!

As mentioned, Jack wasn't 100% and didn't eat much that night...he even turned his nose up at a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Later, he would throw up and then start to bounce back a bit...

Here he is laying on a gym towel waiting for the parade to begin...

By the time the steers came by Jack was feeling better and enjoyed seeing all the cows and horses.

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