Sunday, May 21, 2006

Cubicle Makeovers
I used to work in an office with scuffed white walls. With a little competitive spirit and a bit of cash, folks at work have turned their workspaces into islands of personal expression. Take a look.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

LA County Fair 2005
Last fall Chris and I went to one of our favorite LA events. The LA County fair is overwhelming, corny, and a lot of fun. The wine tasting bar offers hundreds of mostly Californian gold medal-winning wines, and gives us a great way to scope out local wineries for weekend trips. Carl and Forest joined us in this FoodGroup outing. Check out the photos.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Everyone is in love
With molasses cookies. This is a nice flat cookie with crisp edges and a slightly chewy center. They're rather spicy and are very good with a cup of hot milky tea. Make them for the holidays this weekend.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Chicken in a Solar Cooker

After last week's cobbler and lots of talk, I decided to test the (food) safety limits of my Cookit cooker. I boned a few chicken thighs, cut the meat into chunks, and tossed in a few chopped carrots and leeks. Since I couldn't rely on the browning process for flavor, I was generous with the thyme, rosemary, and pepper. I also kept the bones in the mix, reasoning that every little bit of flavor would help in what is essentially a steam cooker. The raw ingredients:
Raw Chicken
Chicken is in a dark pan that will absorb the sun's reflected rays and placed in an oven bag that forms a pocket of insulating air.
Chicken cooking

Rosa, in weekend mode, stirs the chicken. The vegetables are releasing enough liquid to create steam. When using a solar cooker, avoid adding extra water to minimize the initial heating stage.

Stirring the chicken

After an hour, the chicken is mostly white on the outside, with traces of pink on the larger pieces. The outside of the pan is registering 175 degrees F.

Partly cooked chicken
2 1/2 hours from the start, the stew is ready: steamy, peppery, and quite flavorful. The next time I think I'll start cooking at 11/11:30am rather than noon. The larger pieces of chicken reached 168 on an instant read thermometer, the carrots were tender, and the leeks very soft, but I think another 30 minutes of strong sun would have melded the flavors. For a lazy day of stoveless cooking, though, it was just right.
Ready to serve

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Solar Cooker - Blackberry-Cherry Cobbler

I cook with the sun

On Sunday I made a blackberry-cherry cobbler with sunlight. Click to see the Flickr Slide Show.

The day before, I had developed Cardboard Eye, giving me a special alertness to every alley, dumpster and delivery entrance. I needed cardboard, nice, clean and big. I felt uneasy until I found the smoothest piece of 3' x 4' corrugated ever. Then I relaxed.

Until the next day, when I couldn't find my drafting tools. I poked the place apart, for naught. Resigned, I picked up sharp pencil and deadly steel ruler (scar is healed, tyvm) and pored over the instructions for the Cookit. I was measuring to the half-centimeter and diving by fractions. On a Sunday.

Just when I was about to start with the dropped lines to form right triangles, and etc., I let go. If these can be made under poor conditions in refugee camps in Africa, I decided my solar cooker could tolerate some freehand. A little utility knifing and some undextrous gluing yielded a stand-on-its-own, tip-you-a-wink, ready to cook Cookit.

Next up: Chicken

Which everyone seems to describe as a "dangerous" dish to try making.

Watch out, I'm dangerous.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Good recommendations on using plain vs. prepared masa. Suggests yield of 12 tamales per lb.Eat a Tamale at Tamara's Tamales

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Congratulations to Chris on a fantastic presentation!