2009-11-25

<3

What I give the most thanks for,

cyberpower

and I wouldn't have it any other way.

2009-11-23

student action at UC Davis

Generally I sympathize.

UCD Mrak Hall
Mrak Hall November 19


UCD Dutton
Dutton Hall November 23


Dutton closeup
Dutton Hall door November 23


Mrak Lobby
Mrak Hall lobby November 23

2009-11-18

2009-11-15

Cream Puffs

Yesterday we had dinner with some friends, who have graciously hosted the last, oh, 25 times we've gotten together. Feeling shitty about not having cooked them a dinner in so long I decided to make an ambitious looking "fancy dessert" to bring along.

Luckily it turns out fancy-looking cream puffs are ridiculously easy to make!

cream puffs

Last night I made a half batch of the puffs. Since I still had several cups of the filling left this morning I decided to make a full batch, I got 33 puffs, and still have lots of cream left.

They are made from a versatile choux paste, and chantilly cream. Both recipes are via the amazing Pastry by Michel Roux.

awesome cookbook

For the Choux Paste you will need:
  • 1 stick / 8 Tbsp unsalted butter diced
  • .5 cup whole milk
  • .5 cup water
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 1 generous cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature


IMG_2311

  1. preheat oven, the original recipe calls for 350 degrees, but I found almost 375 worked better for me
  2. in a large sauce pan combine milk, water, butter sugar and salt


  3. IMG_2310

  4. bring to a boil over low heat and immediately remove from the heat
  5. dump in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth


  6. IMG_2320
IMG_2322

IMG_2323


  1. return the pan to medium heat and stir constantly for one minute
  2. transfer paste to a large bowl and let cool a bit




  3. beat the eggs into the paste, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next
  4. line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper

  5. beating in eggs

    choux paste

  6. scrape all the paste into a large ziplock or pastry bag
  7. snip off a small corner of the bag and pipe the paste into .5 inch mounds, staggering rows
  8. gently brush the tops with egg-wash and mark with the back of a fork

  9. ready to bake

  10. bake for 25 minutes or until golden-brown and just crisp on top (be very careful not to remove them from the oven too soon or the choux buns will collapse, it happened with my first batch, the recipe said to bake for 15-20 minutes, but mine needed 25 before they were strong enough to keep their shape)
  11. remove to a wire rack and let cool
choux buns


For Chantilly Cream:
  • 1 pint / 2 cups whipping cream
  • .5 cup caster sugar
  • scrapings from the inside of one vanilla bean
  1. Chill bowl of electric mixer
  2. beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla bean together for 1-2 minutes on low speed
  3. increase speed and beat together 3-4 for minutes
  4. if you want true Chantilly cream be careful not to over-whip, I turned up the speed a little too much and made whipped cream, still delicious, but less dense than might be desired
IMG_2314

Once the choux buns are fully cooled it's time to fill them. Yesterday I piped poked little holes into the buns and piped in the cream using a ziplock. Today I just broke them open and spooned a tablespoon of cream into each one then closed it back up like a little sandwich. Do whatever you prefer, the final result tastes so good that no one will judge.

These would also be delicious as a savory pastry, just fold in some grated cheese before piping the choux buns and don't fill with the sweet cream.

cream puffs

Enjoy!

And just because choux makes me think shmoo!



This totally turned into Scooby Doo.

2009-11-06

Winter Knitting

As the weather is getting colder here I've been inspired to pick up knitting again. So far I haven't had any crippling wrist and hand pain, so the prospect of more projects is looking good.

This scarf is the first thing I've completed in a year!

In general I'm much more intrigued by texture knitting than by the garment or color/pattern knitting like intarsia. That means I tend to only knit scarves and hats; I find a stitch I like, and focus on it over and over, without having to worry about gauging the stitch, or losing patience before the whole garment is finished (see box of 1/4 done sweaters and one mitten with fingers too short to fit husband's hand.)

scarf

The scarf is done mostly in moss stitch:

Cast on multiples of four stitches.
Rows 1 (RS) *K2, p2; rep from * to end. Rows 2 and 3 *P2, k2; rep from * to end. Row 4 *K2, p2; rep from * to end. Rep rows 1-4.

I think I used rows of 16 stitches.

stitch detail

I ended up putting in several rows of ribbing. The ribs started as a mistake, but I liked the visual interest they added to an otherwise boring white scarf (not totally boring, look at the sparkles!)

fringe detail

I finished it off with a variation on double-knotted fringe. The yarn was too bulky to double-knot all the strands, so I only used 2/3 of each tassel. The whole project used one skein of some cheapo poly-blend yarn I'd gotten years before, and I think it looks fantastic.

The scarf and fringe are still curly in these pictures, and I might need to block it. But hey, it's a scarf and I'm a lazy knitter.

If you're looking for a good knitting book my go-to book is a late '70s/ early '80s version of Vogue Knitting, although this is on my wish-list.

I'm currently looking for an easy pattern for knitting flowers if anyone has suggestions I'd love to hear them!