Browsing Category: Method

Pro-Tip Tuesday: Messaging your ‘Mate on a Plane

This one’s going to have terrible photos, people. Also, it’s random. What? You got a video yesterday..

If you’ve ever had the privilege to take a plane ride, but the simultaneous misfortune of being seated separately –or maybe coincidentally bumped into your friend you haven’t seen in for_ever on a plane– AND you have bluetooth on your smartphone, here’s a solution to messaging each other after they close the doors and you are required to turn to airplane mode:
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Video Post: the World is Your Oyster!
Just Try One…

My friend T.J. will hopefully get a kick out of this post. He’s a big fan of oysters. Everybody say, “Hi T.J.!”

Earlier this Fall, K____ and I went on a short road trip up Chuckanut Drive just north of Seattle to celebrate our anniversary. After an acutely alarming night in Burlington spent in the hotel across from an active shooter incident happening live, we were really feeling the gratitude for being alive, and  savoring the world at hand. On top of that, I was also feeling reflective given that it was our anniversary, observed.

I even ate a burger with the pickle intact. This, from some one who used to avoid them at all costs. I thank Korean banchan (side dishes which tend to have pickled vegetables) for that shift. A great day for observing my “try eating things you didn’t like about every 10 years,” guideline.

The last stop coming back south from Bellingham was at Taylor Shellfish Farm. I was not fond of seafood as a kid, and growing up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and no saltwater, who could blame me for only eating the fresh sunnies and walleye my parents would catch on a day off?* Given my crustacean allergy, the bivalves have gotten a free pass lately with me, with the exception of seared scallops. Them bivalves just didn’t hold very much appeal for me.

So, at the Farm, we drank in the beautiful view of the Puget Sound, and were about to get back in the car for the long drive home,

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Pro-Tip Tuesday: Pouring without Spilling

Are you a klutz like me, always spilling liquids when you pour them from one container to another?

Try this trick I learned from my father, the chemist!
I like to imagine him pouring oodles of liquids from beaker to beaker in his multiple decades of work.

Hint: having a utensil helps.

In summary, if you have an unreliable container you know will spill, knowing this trick can really help. I favor a chopstick for best results, and most recently found this useful when pouring home made chicken stock into ice cube trays to save for later. Revision: since doing this, I now favor a spoon, it guide the liquid to spread a bit better at the bottom.

P.S. Thanks to K_____ for the spontaneous cinematography.

Bank Your DIY Holiday Gift Game with..
Beeswax Coconut Candles

One of these days I will finally sort through my reflections from hiking Sahale Arm and seeing a glacier up close, or adventures in the Catskill Mountains of New York, but in the mean time, this:

The days are getting shorter, the weather’s getting crisper early in the morning. School supply ads reign supreme on live television between sports games. Before you know it, it’ll be Fall, and then Winter, and you might find yourself scrambling to put together a gift for that office party exchange, or family get-together where everyone draws a number from a hat. Well..

Do you have lots of leftover expired coconut oil?

No no, I mean LOTS.

Do you have a weakness for collecting empty containers your spouse/housemate/talking cat keeps suggesting you recycle, but perhaps they are the classy-looking “biscuit” tins you brought back from London last November, and they make you nostalgic for your travels to the the land of tea time, so you keep saying you’ll make candles with them?

Primary inspiration from internet research:
I did some other research on soy wax, and paraffin wax and decided beeswax was my preferred option, as I try to avoid ingesting processed soy for myself and paraffin is a petroleum byproduct, so it strikes me as a little odd to be breathing either in. See citations at bottom of post for more. Mad props to my co-conspirator Jillian who balanced out my OCD-craziness with wingin’ it like a boss, plus ensuring I didn’t burn my house down in the process somehow.
Amass your supplies, pioneer!
Amass your supplies, pioneer!

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Kelp Noodle Japchae – Low Carb Noodle-mania!

Okay folks, I admit, I’ve been a little distracted by the glorious Pacific Northwest summer, traipsing about in the mountains. Between that, work, and other personal projects, feeding the Internet Blog Machine has gotten a little backlogged. So without further ado, here’s one more..

 

Quite some time ago, I went to school in the other Washington -the District of Columbia. While there, I was exposed to the experience of an even more humid climate than my native Midwest summer. Wandering the concrete jungle blocks from my job at a nonprofit and nerd-exciting statistics classes, I was exposed to my first taste of Korean food ever. It was ironically a vegan Korean shop, and my favorite dish was tofu japchae. In retrospect it was an easy gateway crossover from my beloved childhood Cantonese restaurant dish of beef chow fun (see fellow pun lovers’ recipe at Woks of Life, and really, anything noodle. That first taste opened me up to a whole other cuisine full of spicier, more vegetable-filled and bbq-beef-laden meals like dolsot bibimbap and tofu soup!

Fast forward to years later on a warm Seattle summer day, living with some one who eats low carb, and here is my experiment in turning Japchae paleo friendly.

Japchae Ingredients
Japchae Ingredients

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Tricking Yourself into Exercise:
Recipe for an Active Day on Two Wheels with City Fruit

Apple trees in Meridian Park, approximately 100 years old. Netted by City Fruit to protect fruit from pests.

I really wanted you to know this:

Apples most likely originated in Kazakhstan from the Malus sieversii and brought over to America with European colonists then became a part of American culture with a little help from Mr. Appleseed himself, John Chapman. Around the turn of the 19th century, Johnny Appleseed bought some apple seeds from a Pennsylvania cider mill and headed to the Midwest to develop his orchards. At the time, the Homestead Act required settlers to plant 50 apple trees within the first year of holding their land and soon the apples, along with the settlers, began to establish their roots in America.
Layla Eplett, Scientific American: Food Matters

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How to Beat the Heat: Office Edition (Skill Level: Beginner Cook)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, folks are still getting used to having more than a week’s worth of 80+F degree weather. Many houses don’t have air conditioning, and even offices can feel pretty warm. Mine is LEED-aspirational, which means the temps swing up and down just outside most people’s comfort zone, and certainly outside mine.
If you’re lucky enough to have fridge access at work, with ice cubes, and you haven’t struck on this yet, here’s a couple things to try:*

“Instant” Ice Tea!

Ingredients:
1 tea bag of your choice
2 cups
~7 ice cubes
~8 oz hot water
Optional: your choice of creams or sugars

Steps: Continue Reading

Run Away and Nurse Your Broken Heart in the Woods with a Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy Mix

Sometimes, don’t you just want to set the world on fire?
No? Well, maybe at least shake it around a little to tell it to behave itself better? Doesn’t the state of it just break your heart some days?
Let’s go back to setting things on fire. I extra-think plenty on the things that are hugely wrong with the world when I’m in the city, but let’s take 10 here for a fireside break of something to warm your heart (and belly). Not discounting it: my sincerest condolences to the families who have suffered losses by the products of our institutional racism and other issues built up over decades of bias. I’m sorry the rest of the post may land tone-deaf, I have no reasonable segue to such a trivial topic below. :(..
Stay tuned for some scenic photos that will hopefully prove a little calming and restful.

French Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
China Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

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What CAN you eat off the ground?

Forest Fire Fruit: Morels!

Morels, with their buddy thyme.
Morels, with their buddy thyme.

I was lucky enough to score some wild-foraged morels from my friend Tesia, after she came back from a good weekend of collecting them. Apparently, her s.o. even maps out last year’s forest fires to track where good spots to find some morel treasure. It definitely peaked my interest, especially after a stint earlier in the year at a local community garden prepping for summer, when we found a morel poking out through the cardboard laid over a garden patch for winter. No- I didn’t eat it, my fellow volunteers warned me it was ‘a city mushroom,’ with unknown consequences. Even NPR did a segment on it.

From Northern California to Alaska, commercial and amateur mushroom hunters will be scouring hills that were ravaged by fires last summer and fall. Their prey? Morel mushrooms.
“Sometimes we call it ‘chasing the burns,’ ” mushroom enthusiast Kevin Sadlier says, in search of the black morel mushrooms that grow in the springtime after a forest fire.
After Fires In West, Mushroom Hunters ‘Chase The Burn’

Apologies, much of the ingredients are amounts “to taste,” and I was trying to track too many things so don’t have any exact times on here. The Serious Eats article did not specify times either.

Now, a rare medium on this blog thus far: a video.*

Ingredients:
Morels from your friend, the mushroom-gatherer (or from your friend at the farmer’s market)
1/2 onion, minced (alternatives: garlic, shallots, minced)
High heat oil for pan
Butter, about 1 pat
soy sauce, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
lemon juice, 1 tsp (to taste)
chicken stock, 1 Tbs (or less, to taste)
optional: chives, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

Optional but very useful supply:

pastry brush (or in my case, an extra toothbrush from my travels, because my pastry brush is silicone and the bristles would have been too big) Continue Reading