Sunday, February 10, 2013

Making: Custom birthday goodie

A special mother/grandmother's necklace in fine silver (with lab grown ruby and amethyst stones) with the addition of a pendant celebrating her fifth year, cancer free. I am so fortunate to be a part of special family moments. Thank you Amy Q.

Blizzard Baking: Shaved Chocolate, Roasted Almond Cookies

Nice to have a few hours to work on a cookie recipe during the blizzard, and it's "not time to shovel yet, still snow" aftermath.

I had my heart set on chocolate chip cookies, but when I visited the baking cupboard I found 8 ounces of dark Callebaut chocolate that I purchased for baking at Christmas. (Then I got the stupid laryngitis-cold-thing that lingered, and when it came down to rest vs. bake - I chose rest. Or rather it chose itself.)

According to my Facebook and Instagram friends, chocolate chip cookies with Maldon salt were the hot item during the blizzard.  Having just done a salt test on pretzels during the Super Bowl, (and not having Maldon salt) I wasn't up for randomly salting a cookie. And yet, I wanted a salty-chocolately cookie.

I pulled out the ancient and honorable cookbooks. Books that have photos like these in them:

I knew I wanted a thin, slightly chewy, but still crispy on the edge cookie. (More sugar, less flour.) I worked out the basic chemistry, flour, butter, sugar, leavening, salt, egg, delicious chocolate -- and went at it. I found a handful of Trader Joe's less salt dry-roasted almonds in the snack cabinet, so I thought I would try those as my salt element.

Here's the recipe I hashed out:

2 sticks of butter (room temp, or for the lazy like me, 25 seconds in the microwave.)
1 cup brown sugar (I had light brown in the house)
3/4 granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups flour (scooped from the bag of regular King Arthur flour)
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz shaved dark chocolate
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted almonds (lightly salted version)

Pre-heat the oven the 375ยบ, oven shelves in the middle.

Using the stand mixer, I creamed the butter and sugars, then added vanilla and eggs. I sifted the flour, baking soda and salt, then mixed that it slowly.  Using a silicone spatula, I incorporated the chocolate and almonds. The batter looked like cookies and cream ice cream.

I used the big cookie scoop (about a tablespoon and a half) and put six scoops on un-lined, un-greased half sheet sheet pans. That was hard for me, I love my silpat mats, but needed crispy bottom on the cookie or it would collapse.

The first batch was in 12 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Chewy, but crispy. Me likey. I wanted more crispy, so subsequent batches went in for 14 minutes, turning the pans halfway through.

I'm really pleased with the taste and texture. Really chocolatey. I might try putting the chopped up nuts on top the next time I make these.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Blizzard baking: Bread

I like bread. I've written about it here before. And before that.

With the blizzard of 2013 bearing down I knew I wanted to make bread. So I pulled out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois, and prepped a bucket of dough. (Check out their website, it's awesome, they share so much info and many tips!)

I baked bread while the storm raged and the glorious aroma made being hunkered down against the wind and snow a pretty good thing.

I combined two of my favorite bread things. I LOVE the Artisan Bread recipe, and I LOVE the baking technique of the New York Times "no-knead" recipe. So I formed my loaf, let it rise for a couple of hours and then tossed it into a hot enamel roaster and ta-da, beautiful, delicious bread. Try it, you'll be happy you did.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Get your flu shot

The flu is very serious business this year.  Boston's Mayor, Tom Menino, has declared a health emergency due to the exceptional number of cases already reported.

You can get a flu shot many places, but please stay away from the van that says "free candy & flu shots".

I got my flu shot at CVS today.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Today brought lunch at the Bristol Lounge and a bit of shoe shopping (I shopped, but the store could not ring it up before the BUY BUY BUY impulse waned.) Are shoe salespeople not on commission anymore?

Presently at the bench filling another wishbone order. Pleased as punch that I cleaned enough of the bench to be able to do so.

Photo: The cement plant from the Leverett Circle off-ramp. It's steam - and totally epic.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Oh hai, blog...

Dining room light at Marcia & Henry's on New Year's Day

Oh hello there blog. Hello twenty-aught-thirteen. How the hell did that happen?

2012 was here, and then not. Facebook rabbit hole. Twitterhole. Instagramhole. Work, travel, jewelry, births, deaths, the longest campaign season ever. Shows, attempts at making a lawn (hah.) No snow to speak of, still went to Florida. Visited my Cali peeps, had a twinge of 'I could live here again' - then we had a reminder earthquake in Winchester, and I remembered why I moved back. Northridge quake still rather fresh after 18, almost 19 years.

I'll be here with pictures and words more often. I still have plenty to shout about. And show off.

Wishing everyone the best year ever - I expect it, I want it, I will it to happen.

PS, it wouldn't be right to post without Isabel the Cat:

Isabel the Cat, Christmas Day, 2012

Monday, January 02, 2012

Isabel Declares the Holidays Over

To no one's surprise, Miss Isabel the Cat has declared that she is over the holidays. Undecorating will begin almost immediately.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Merry to All!

Peace and joy and love and best wishes to all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Super sale-a-thon - The Lakshmi Clutch to buy a new clutch!

A new clutch! And hydraulic thingies. And I'm guessing things that I don't want named. These are things that are being done on my beloved 10 year-old wagon.

So - a sale of Lakshmi necklaces, kicking off on her special day (Diwali!) These are one of a kind. And away we go!

Lakshmi 1 - Fine silver Om, bronze Lakshmi, copper design and Garnet drop on an 18" sterling chain.
$90 (Regularly $135) - free shipping.

Lakshmi 2 - Copper disk with Fine Silver Lashmi & Elephant, red coral drop on an 18" sterling chain.
$90 (Regularly $135) - free shipping.

Lakshmi 3 - Fine silver flower, copper Lakshmi, bronze design and Turquoise drop on an 18" sterling chain.
$90 (Regularly $135) - free shipping.

Lakshmi 4 - Fine silver flower, copper Lakshmi, bronze design and faceted Gar drop on an 18" sterling chain.
$90 (Regularly $135) - free shipping.

Lakshmi 5 - Round Garnet beads in 6mm and 3mm with a bronze Lakshmi, sterling silver Bali daisies and a sterling silver lobster clasp. The necklace is 23" long.
$70 (Regularly $100) - free shipping.

Lakshmi 6 - Red Coral with a fine silver Lakshmi fragment, sterling silver toggle clasp. The necklace is 16.5" long.
$45 (Regularly $70) - free shipping.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Alligators Everywhere

Provincetown, Gloucester, Arlington - beware!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Um. Om.

Like many people, I am trying to remember to breath and be conscious of life and the world around me. Like many people, I enjoy stumbling on reminders.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busting Out

From recent travels on both coasts of the US. I think I'll be adding a bust to my shopping list.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pretty Things: Glass

From the Beauport Mansion in Gloucester, MA (and hither and yon.)  Shiny inspirations.