Thursday, August 11, 2011

Apple Bones

Apple bones breakfast tart.
Recently I’ve been on a bit of a baking kick; breads and pastries for the most part, with a  primary focus on artisan breads. I’ve had the help of Peter Reinhart’s amazing book Artisan breads Everyday. Now it hasn’t been an everyday thing, more like 3 or 4 times a week, mainly because there is only so much bread I can eat in a given week. A man can only take so many carbs before he explodes into an enormous blimp with a resemblance of a human being. Nevertheless I have been pushing the limits of my carb intake in order to achieve baking mastery, and if you have read my prior post The Muffin Man I'm not doing half bad. This week I decided to venture away from the book to try my hand at my own creation, a trial by fire so to speak. I came up with something with the semblance of a pair of fruit filled thumbprint pastries joined at birth and coated with sugary goodness, I'll call them apple bones. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Muffin Man

Homemade english muffin om nom nom
When I was a child it seemed like I would have english muffins almost daily for breakfast. Not only were they inexpensive (89 cents for a package of 6 if memory serves me well) they were also absolutely delicious.  Filled with a seemingly infinite amount of little nooks and crannies which either by design or fate make perfect homes for butter or jam. With the right topping these were essentially the breakfast food of the gods, delicious, nutritious, and cheap, nothing could match.

That was the case until I moved to Colorado; for some reason english muffins were a rarity in stores there, no matter where I looked they couldn't be found, and if I did find them they were $3.50/6 Thomas english muffins which never seemed to go on sale. Nothing against Thomas english muffins, but that's an awful lot to pay for something which is included in every continental breakfast across America. Seriously there has to be another (more economical way).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Orchids in Bloom

Lady slippers surrounding a rotting stump
The mere sight of a lady’s slipper takes your breath away, but when you become aware of their germination process, and what it takes to produce a plant, they become even more of a wonder. According to Jack Sanders in The Secrets of Wildflowers, the seed of a lady’s slipper is extremely small, and has no food to provide it with sustenance. However, there is a certain fungus, Rhizoctonia, which can digest the outer cells of a lady’s slipper’s seeds. If this fungus and a lady’s slipper seed come in contact with each other, and if the fungus digests the outer cells of the seed but not the inner cells, and if the inner cells absorb some of the fungus’s nutrients that it obtained from the soil then germination may take place. Given all these ifs, it’s a wonder that there are as many of these beauties in our woodlands as there are!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Belgian Delicacies

Selection of Belgian pralines we ate today.
Early this morning I walked the few blocks to London St. Pancras station and departed for Brussels, Belgium. The security at the train station was surprisingly lax, reminiscent of the way airports used to be before everyone became paranoid; metal detector, belt for luggage, and you're finished, bring all the liquids you please. About 2 hours later and we left our first train and boarded a 2nd for Antwerp.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Google Sketchup

Google Sketchup high power bicycle light.
From time to time I find myself trying random 3d design programs just to play around and see what comes of it. Not sticking to one is somewhat cumbersome because I generally forget most of the workflow and commands from one to the next, however it is fun while it lasts. Yesterday I decided to give Google's 3d modeler a try; Google Sketchup 8. The aim of this program seems to be ease of use over shiny beautiful hyperrealistic models that you see coming out of 3DS Max and Maya, but the end results are still impressive nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Church's Footwear Service

Casual suede Church's brand shoes - The culprit
A little bit of a rant today. During my last trip to London in January I picked up a pair of high end shoes to replace a pair of sneakers that were both out of fashion and destroyed. After a few recommendations from my fiance, who as you all know knows more about shoes than most I decided on a great pair of casual suede leather shoes from Church's Footwear.

Church's Footwear began as a family shoe making business in 1873 and built up a remarkable reputation as  some of the finest men's shoes coming out of England. They received such wide acclaim that they became James Bond's (Pierce Bronsan era 1995-2002) go to shoe. Know for their extraordinarily high quality, and classic men's styling they became a well known gentleman's shoe.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Holiest of Beers

I'm not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy trying new beers from time to time. My most recent tasting was of a very unique beer brewed by Belgian Trappist monks called Achel 8° Blonde. The beer was served in a Trappist style glass (similar in shape to a goblet) and had a huge foamy head that looks like a french vanilla float. Underneath all that foam was a nice dark blonde beer with a wonderfully pleasant rich fruit and floral yeast aroma. The taste is of sweet malt with some hop bitterness, light bodied with creamy texture, just amazing.