Sunday, October 31, 2010

You or Someone Like You

My favorite excerpt, particularly beginning about halfway through: "I have just transplanted..."
I finished "You or Someone Like You" by Chandler Burr a week or two ago, and it has encouraged me to continue grabbing random books from the library shelves. Usually my trips to the library are strategic and carefully plotted: I keep a list of books I'd like to read on my phone and add to it regularly. I know what I'm looking for, I get it, and I move on.

But in an effort to find other gems (and because there are just SO many books out there) I started just snagging anything that looked interesting. This has resulted in more than a few duds, including at least one that I didn't bother finishing (I've only done this twice before in my 20-some years of reading. "Anna Karenina" and "Return of the Native," if you're wondering.) I've also gotten some pretty decent ones, like "Under a Million Shadows," "Stones into Schools," and "Too Much Happiness," which I'm still a bit on the fence about. Anyway...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tabular conclusion

Turns out that table had it in for us. "That table" being the one I refinished several weeks ago and brought inside last week. The polyurethane finish was still curing, which means it was stinking up our house (room) and keeping us from sleeping. We are feeling very thankful that our friend who teaches shop at one of the high schools is letting us keep it there over the weekend. Hopefully by Tuesday, it'll be dry. What a pain!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chocolate zucchini cake, take 2

So the cake overflowed, which is lovely. But it has redeemed itself...
Because that is a very good way to spend a few minutes in the afternoon. And it just might be my new favorite chocolate cake recipe. Next time, though, I'll use my springform pan and avoid the spillage.
And hopefully those jagged edges that looks like I bit around the outside of the cake. (I didn't. Though I did eat some of those pieces.) This would be a great cake to layer, because it's so tall. It'd look like three layers with the work of two. (Three-layer cakes are my nemesis: one layer heads east, another west, and pretty soon it's just a disaster.)

Coming up later: reaction from our landlords (who pay our utilities) when they find out I left the windows open and the heat running all day to air our apartment from a) burnt cake and b) the fumes from the table I refinished, which we suspect are trying to kill us while we sleep.

Musings on hose-able kitchens + choc zucchini cake

At the moment, I am mid-cake. By which I mean, the cake is partway done baking. I have just finished dealing with this disaster:
Maybe someday someone will invent a kitchen that can be sealed and hosed down after use. On the other hand, I ADORE my dishwasher. You put dirty dishes in, and magically, they come out clean. (For those not tuning in from the houseblog, the dishwasher in my house--not apartment--does the opposite. You put them in semi-clean, and they come out dirty. This is revolutionary.)

Anyway, will update on how this cake comes out in a bit. The recipe (doubled) produced what seemed to be in the neighborhood of a gallon of batter. (That blue bowl.) That seemed excessive to me, but as long as the pans don't overflow in the oven, I suppose it doesn't matter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


There's a 95% chance I will be baking today. Likely this chocolate zucchini cake, but maybe another apple crostata. I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath to find out which I pick. Well, to keep you entertained while I drain the hot water heater and fish my coziest SmartWools out from the back of the closet, here's this picture.
More later.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adventures as a "hacker"

We have a lot of computers. Once of these computers is an antique laptop (craptop, which is what I named it) from a place I used to work. It functions ok, but I wanted to network it with my desktop. (The laptop has Photoshop, the desktop doesn't. The desktop has pictures, the laptop doesn't.)

So like any good, well-seasoned hacker, I googled what I wanted to do. And proceeded to use the directions provided by (it's what the pros use). The directions led me down an increasingly rocky path of requiring administrator passwords (note to company administrators: company name + current year is not a secure password) and other such things. Finally, I changed all the settings required (not understanding what, exactly, I was changing) and restarted. Perfect. I glanced gleefully at Todd to make sure he was suitably impressed.

I then entered the password that had always worked, and BEEEEP. That shrill, technologically primitive "screw you" sound. CRAP. More googling yielded no answers, and so, on a whim, I left it blank. Lo and behold, it worked. (It also erased pretty much everything on the hard drive, mysteriously.)

So, in a half an hour on a Saturday afternoon, with the help of Google, eHow, and my own luck, I created a network. Or, as I prefer, hacked. And Photoshopped this picture, among others.Yes, that red flower really is that color. Better, actually.

Last night's tweeted crostata

I couldn't describe the scent (well, I could, but it totally wouldn't cut it), but I can post a pic. Link to recipe on Twitter.
Note: Good for breakfast.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The story of the purloined pizza stone

Not the story of the blog. The story of the stone that inspired the blog. It was, as you may have gathered, obtained under less-than-honest circumstances. But college student I was, homemade pizza I desired, and a stone my parents did have. (Is that an awkward sentence, or is it just me?)

So the pizza stone headed back to California, shanghaied in my suitcase. I reasoned that it was rarely used by the folks, and I'd return it, eventually. That was seven years ago, and the pizza stone, still in my custody, has been used countless times for pizza, calzones and bread and has now inspired a blog. So, world, meet The Purloined Pizza Stone (the blog and the real thing).