Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Poach an Egg

My husband is not a breakfast eater, but he will always go for Eggs Benedict (his favorite) or "eggs benny" as he calls it. The element of eggs benedict that can make or break the whole thing, but is also the most difficult part to get right. I had my method for poaching in a frying pan, and had even convince my friend to get rid of her egg poacher after claiming that you really could poach an egg just in water. I had recently started to doubt my egg poaching skills as I was constantly either overcooking the eggs or puncturing the yolks.

Reading Julie and Julie, I became aware that poaching an egg was a valuable skill. Considering that her book is titled "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" I thought, maybe Julia Child has a way to Master the Art of Poaching and Egg.

I was not disappointed. I followed her slightly numerous steps to a tee, of which I was skeptical, and it resulted in a perfectly poached egg. It seems tedious and as though it would be too time consuming (just going through my mental list of excuses), but really it takes the same amount of time, but works every time. So, for those of you who are doubting your egg poaching skills, want to step outside your egg poacher, or haven't tried poaching an egg before, enjoy...

STEP 1. Pick a fresh egg (freshness counts as the white will stick with the yolk better if the egg is fresh)

STEP 2. Assemble your equipment. You will need a medium sized pot of simmering water (not boiling), an egg timer, a few tablespoons of white vinegar, added to the water, a slotted spoon, a bowl of warm water (to rinse the vinegar off the eggs and help keep them warm), a cake tester or other small item to poke the egg.

STEP 3. Poke the smaller end of the egg with the cake tester without cracking the egg. Place the egg (still in shell) gently in the water and let the white set slightly for 15 seconds, remove from the water.

STEP 4. Crack the egg and quickly drop the egg into the water as close to the water as possible. Poach for 4 minutes (trust me, set the timer!)

STEP 5. Remove egg from water with the slotted spoon, and place in the water to rinse it off. It also helps keep the eggs warm , as they tend to cool off quickly.

Enjoy! (trust me on this one too, this is the best poached egg you will ever have)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kudos to...Nie

Just over a year ago, blogger Stephanie Nielson, her husband and their friend Doug were involved in a plane crash that killed their friend and left Nie in a coma. A year after the crash, a coma, and the beginning over recovery, she posted a pic of herself and the story of a climb, that was more than just another hike. Take a visit over to her blog, grab a box of Kleenex and be ready for inspiration and hope.

Kudos to you Nie on your bravery.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My fancy dessert

Did you know that if you put regular ice cream and mini chocolate chips into a purple anthropologie bowl it turns into a gourmet tastes-like-a million-bucks dessert? It's very enjoyable. I enjoyed it the other day, twice.

Just thought you'd want to know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I heart my new dishwasher

In January, my hubby and I decided that we were not going to eat out at restaurants for the entire month. Our food bills were skyrocketing and, as we have a perfectly good kitchen in which to cook, we really had no excuse. A week or so into this resolution of sorts, we discovered our kitchen floor wet and nasty water backed up into our dishwasher. We wet vacuumed it out but, unfortunately, it could not be save. Being that we knew we would soon be in need of a new refrigerator as well, we decided to go on without a dishwasher until we could go and buy a fridge and dishwasher together. I am proud to say we survived eight months of dish washing and are probably better for it. It allowed for talking time (and some dishes-induced yelling time) but it worked out alright. Having said that, I couldn't be happier with our new dishwasher. As a newer model, it uses less water and is far quieter than our old one, the latter being an important factor as our room is directly beside the kitchen. It is humming in the background as I type. ahh.....so nice.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kudos to...Scheduled Posting

In honour of my first day of the "Kudos" column ( and to use the new feature I just discovered), today will have 2 acknowledgments.

The second kudos goes to blogspot for allowing the scheduling of posts. As I am a newer blogger, I am frequently "discovering" standard features of blogspot.com. This may actually allow me to post consistently every Monday morning my latest ackowledgement of something that is well done.

So kudos to you, blogspot on your scheduled post feature.

Kudos to... New Column

For you fellow bloggers out there in blogger world, do you ever find that you are wanting to post, are loving the content on your favorite blogs, but are a little dry when it comes to ideas for your own blog? I feel that way frequently. So, in order to combat the bloggers-block, I thought I'd try coming up with a "column". This is not meant to be fancy, just a starting point for myself to blog. The first one I'd like to start is for Monday mornings (I'll do my best), titled "Kudos to...". It will focus on new, creative or interesting ideas or twists that I think are neat, which you might find interesting. I hope you enjoy.

The first well played goes to Design*Sponge. In honour of her 5th year of blogging, Grace Bonney introduced 5 new columns, my favorite of which is "Living In" by Amy Merrick of An Apple a Day. This takes a movie and dissects the overall style, including sources for items which fit the style. The first week focussed on Out of Africa, and featured a Safari-inspired theme. If you are someone who tends to notice the decor while watching a movie, or even if you're not, I highly recommend you check it out.

So, kudos to you, Design*Sponge, on your new columns and 5 years of blogging.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pasta Puttanesca

Pasta Puttanesca, otherwise known as 'Whore's Pasta' is one of my favorite easy, yet impressive dishes to make. This tastes authentically Italian. The history of the dish varies, whether it was developed late one night in an Italian restaurant, or by the ladies of the night, but the ingredients are still simple and would most likely be found in any good Italian cupboard. and vary slightly, depending on which recipe you find. I have included or left out one or 2 ingredients, depending on what I have in the house. Ingredients include: Tomatoes, Anchovy filets, Black Olives (I recommend Kalmata olives), Basil (fresh is best), Garlic, Onion, Olive Oil and Capers. Some recipes also include Red Pepper Flakes.

VERSION ONE (the one I use): Saute onions and garlic in oilve oil, set aside. Rinse anchovy filets. Slice fresh tomatoes into thin slices and score the end pieces, pit and half olives. Layer olive oil, tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, onions and garlic, anchovy filets, and capers in a lasagne dish, top with fresh ground pepper. Repeat two more times. Place in oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or so, remove from oven, tear tomatoes apart, place in oven until tomatoes are completely soft. Spoon over spaghetti and serve.

VERSION TWO: Saute onions, garlic and anchovies in olive oil. Add canned tomatoes, diced black olives, capers, red pepper flakes and fresh basil. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve over spaghetti.

This makes a salty tomato sauce. If you want it less salty, rise the capers before adding. Seafood makes a great addition to this sauce, if you are inclined to add it to make the meal a bit heartier.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On - Finished Project

Have you ever noticed how one thing leads to another and suddenly you're in the middle of 10 projects, when you started out with 2? I do realize that given the fact that it's my hubby and I, that it will get bigger than it would with other people, but we just figure if you're starting, why not finish? That's the situation I am currently in with my house, but I have completed my poster project.

I started with the idea that I would like to have a keep calm and carry on poster that I had seen on a variety of websites. I mentioned this to my husband who has a screen printing company and he offered to make me one. To clarify, he actually offered to make me several of them since it's not worth it to set up to print one poster. As I was sleuthing to find out the name of the font used on the poster (note: it's actually a hand drawn font), we actually came upon the other 2 posters that were created in 1939 to go along with the keep calm poster. He then offered to make these as well. I selected my 3 ink colors that I wanted the posters to be, but one of his employees, as she was printing the posters, decided she wanted to try out some other colors they had in stock to see what they would look like. As well, she misunderstood and thought that 80 posters meant 80 of each color, not 80 total. So now, I have hundreds of these posters.

I wanted to put them in our kitchen, where a floating shelf was threatening, on a daily basis, to hit us it the head. I took down the shelf, and the paint and some of the drywall peeled off. Not knowing what color the previous owners had painted the wall, I decided I might as well paint the whole kitchen. So last week I painted my kitchen a cheery "Cloud White". I have to say it looks better than before and provided an even better backdrop to the brightly colored posters. Stay tuned for more finished projects.

What projects do you have that have become bigger than you originally planned?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Five Years!

I've been married to my wonderful husband for 5 years today! It's strange to think that it has been 5 years since our wedding, it seems both shorter and longer at the same time. I asked my husband if it seemed longer, her said, "No", I asked him if it seemed shorter and he said, "No". Over a yummy Italian dinner tonight, my hubby mentioned that he ran into a friend of his who is getting married in a month and the guy asked my hubby how marriage is, to which he replied, "Good" (a usual response for him). However, when asked if he had any marriage advice my husband gave him 3 pieces of advice that I was both impressed by, and agreed with.
1) Don't fight over little things or you'll fight all the time
2) Although it's a cliche, try your best not to go to bed angry (if the fight starts at 2 am, it might be hard)
3) Men are always told to get used to and to practice saying "I'm sorry", but don't be afraid to hold your wife accountable when she is wrong.
Awesome advice, Hon. Love you, Happy 5th Anniversary.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Travels-Weekend in Minneapolis

As my hubby and I approach our 5th anniversary this Friday, we were looking for a way to celebrate and get away for a bit as we weren't able to coordinate our vacation until October. We decided to go to Minneapolis for the weekend for shopping (both the window and, more expensive, real type) and some relaxation.

We went to a few places we hadn't been before. My hubby has been dreaming of purchasing a Gold Top Les Paul for some time, so we frequented a few guitar shops and Best Buy. Apparently Best Buy sells Gibson guitars (among others) but sadly doesn't carry a gold top Les Paul. One items that we did pick up was a Demetri Martin DVD and CD. If you haven't checked out his comedy, you really should. There were many points on the drive home at which I nearly spit out my Starbucks while laughing.

Crafty Planet was one of my requests for this trip. Located in Minneapolis, it is the closest thing to fabric heaven I have encountered. From every Amy Butler fabric imaginable, to a huge selection of designer quilting patterns, to japanese cotton-linen imports, and the cutest (and well-priced trims), this place is definitely worth the time to stop by. I picked up the new digital pattern collection from Amy Butler, a Favorite pattern for easy skirts, pink rick rack and some Anna Maria Horner fabric for a skirt. For those of use who aren't within regular visiting distance, they also have an online store which has a great selection with the same prices as the store and very reasonable shipping rates, even to Canada.

After stopping by a Best Buy on our way to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch (a new and very enjoyable experience for us), we had the discovery of the trip. As we turned the corner, I saw the window displays and the sign revealed...Anthropologie (was that too dramatic of a reveal??) The had a huge clothing sale, where I picked up a cute long t-shirt with pockets (I have a thing for skirts, dresses, shirts etc with pockets). I also selected some of their latte bowls, of which I have read so much. I selected 2 each of light blue, dark blue, white, and purple. Their displays were gorgeous, as usual and unfortunately I left the CF card out of my camera when I went in to shop.

Next time, I would like to make it to other shops not available around here like Whole Foods, and The Container Store. In which stores could you spend hours browsing?