Friday, April 30, 2010


Friday mornings are my favorite. The week is almost over (even if I will be moving my studio Saturday and working on Sunday.... still, it feels like Friday is an event), it's time to enjoy the day etc. I love Friday mornings.

The daily fruit smoothie, about to be whizzed into smoothness by my handy immersion blender (thank you PPP1!).

Ah, coffee. The elixir of life. (Stumptown blend, half to 1/3 decaf).

Challah, in production. I use my mixer so much. I don't know what I did before it. I love it. I would really like to get the kind with the bowl that lifts up (it's better for bread dough, apparently), and mine just hasn't been the same since it took a disastrous dive off of the counter headfirst....

Ready to rise into sweet white bread perfection.

New reads from Powell's, scored yesterday night. Peanut and I went to see his youngest brother get auctioned off for charity (he went for 75 bones...I feel that he was super brave to put himself out there like that. It was also awesome to see his parents there as well). The event was held at this place in NW that was just full to the brim with douche canoes. (P and I decided that out of 10 douche canoes, at least 7 are also ass-hats (foul language courtesy of The Bloggess....douche canoe is now my favorite insult)). I hadn't fully realized until this year why Kellie always despised going to the west side. Now I know why: douche canoes.

But Powell's in on the west side. And Powell's is probably one of my favorite places on earth. I would buy a perfume if it smelled like the inside of Powell's. New books, old musty books, leather bound books, with a slightest note of coffee. The smell alone makes me relax. More books than you could ever read in a lifetime. A full city block of books. It's heaven.

Ok, enough for now. Have a happy weekend everyone. I know I will....Kellie is in town from Phoenix!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Demon Pug Returns

We had, for a short while, thought that the Demon Pug had vanished, leaving us with only the Dieter Pug to love and squeeze. But we were wrong.

Apparently, it was only the calm before the storm. He had been doing so good with his housebreaking etc. (Except, of course, the time last week where he took a deuce on my bedroom floor while we were laying in bed....but that wasn't his fault, the pooping schedule was off and I had just switched food to boot). But he really had been being so good. I was patting myself on the back, thinking "wow, this pug is so much better behaved than even Gunter at this age..."

But recently, Demon Pug has decided that the witching hour is sometime between dawn and and when I get out of bed. Today it was my bag and my lip balms, yesterday it was Jonathan's shoes and my house slippers (he didn't do any damage), the day before it was the new pillows for the couch, before that a packing box filled with styrofoam peanuts and newspapers, before that an electrical cord...

He's still a sweetie, but I'm hoping this won't continue, otherwise I will have to crate him for the night. I think things will get better when he can come to work with me, instead of being in the crate for a good part of the day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shabbas Dinners

I've decided to keep a diary of the dinners I make for the Peanut (AKA Shop Monkey) on Friday nights. We have a nice little thing going, involving a bottle of wine, candles, and a quiet evening together. I love it!

I'm not really a chicken person. In fact, I'm not really a meat eater. I like it, sometimes. But I made the BEST chicken ever last Friday night. Seriously fantastic chicken. My own creation.

I'm not a big measurer of ingredients, so you just have to go with what you feel is right.

Fresh thyme (a good small sized half handful of leaves and tender stems)
Fresh oregano (1 medium to loose packed tblsp leaves)
Fresh rosemary (3 to 4 good pinches of fresh needles)
juice of one half lemon
lemon zest from that half lemon
olive oil, maybe a quarter cup?
sea salt (a tsp or so)
sugar (half a tsp or so)
2-3 fat cloves garlic
red pepper flakes

Grind all of these ingredients together in a big mortar and pestle. You want to end up with a fine paste. Use a food processor if you have one. Squish all this paste together with the chicken slices in container and refrigerate for a few hours. You will also need of course:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch or so slices, lengthwise

Move an oven rack to the top portion of the oven. Turn your oven on to 500 deg. When it comes up to heat, switch it to broil.

Fold chicken slices into flat S shapes, and push 4 or 5 slices together (flat) on a cookie sheet. I'm not sure if that makes sense? Just pretend you are making chicken skewers without the skewers. Sprinkle with the paprika.

Cook for 3-4 minutes and flip over. It will cook super fast, so watch out. I just put it all in a bowl and served it with tabouli and hummus, with pita and tzatziki.

Bean's Hummus (I'm just guessing on the salt, sugar and cumin, you will need to adjust to your own tastes):

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp smoked salt (plain sea salt is fine too)
1 tsp+ ground cumin
1/2 tsp sugar
5 fat garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup warm water (you might need more, I just add it until I get to the right consistency)

I put all of these in my blender, and mix until super smooth and creamy. Easy Peasy! Some people say to add lemon juice, but I think it isn't really necessary and can make it really sour. Maybe a squeeze, but that is all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why housekeeping is so hard for me

See these adorable pugs:

They are the most adorable things that you will ever see. It's true. They are even cuter than your baby. I'm sorry to say it, but it is a fact.

I'm posting these pictures because I want you, the audience reading at home or at work, to understand the depth of my devotion to these small monster like dogs.

See Gunter, on the left, all blurry? That is because he is getting ready to do a small shake. Or he might even be in the midst of the shake at that moment. Who knows. But please see below:

What I would like you to notice about this picture (you can even click on it to see it larger) is all of the floating hair and dog dust that was released by that minor shake. Imagine what it is like if you have a small sprinkler of hair going on 24-7. I sweep almost everyday, and each time I pick up enough pug hair to make a new pug. Seriously. While pugs are the most awesome dogs ever, think about them shedding their own body weight in hair every few days before you go to adopt one.

This a public service announcement.

And yes, I let my pugs lick the beaters. So if that is a problem for you, don't dine at my house.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Shakshuka

didn't turn out as pretty as Smitten Kitchens, but it was still delicious. Note to self: Do not touch poaching eggs in the future if you would like the whites to stay together.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Kitchen of Bean

I'm not sure if this will interest anyone, but since this is my blog I will do what I want.

So here is a post about my kitchen. The pantry and the butter crock, to be specific.

I like my butter to be of a nice consistency, not hard from the fridge, but not liquid. I'd been wanting to get a butter dish, but those long rectangular ones always seem dirty to me. I don't know why. So when I found this one, it just did it for me. It's hi-low-tech, if you know what I mean.

Let me explain how this works. The butter gets squished into the rounded crock part, and then you set it upside down in the second piece. When you put an inch or so of water in the bottom the water seals the butter from the air, and your butter stays fresh! I'm convinced that it also has a mild cooling effect as well, from evaporation. I love it.

Next, the pantry:

Do you see those giant mason jars? (Actually they are Bell, but everyone knows these jars to be mason jars, it's kind of like kleenex or Q-tip). I got them at the hardware store, they are gallon canning jars, but they are perfect for holding quinoa and dried beans etc. You might also notice those little bags of black beans? Those are beluga lentils and black (!!!) chickpeas. I can't wait to make hummus from them!

On the menu tonight:

Shakshuka from Smitten Kitchen.

I will also be making homemade pita, which I think I do once a week or so. Half of the recipe can be eaten by two people and the other half of the dough can be stored in the fridge and makes a terrific thin crust pizza dough. Recipe stolen from Gourmet via Epicurious.

Whole wheat pitas:

1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (105–115°F)
2 cups bread flour or high-gluten flour, plus additional for kneading
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup warm water in a large bowl, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Whisk 1/2 cup flour (either whole wheat or bread flour, doesn't really matter, just remember to adjust the total in the final addition of flour) into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes. You can let this sit for several hours with no ill effects. Really, I let mine go from breakfast until lunch, when I can get back home to add the rest of the ingredients.

Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, and remaining 2 1/2 cups flour mixture until a dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, working in just enough additional flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Form dough into a ball and put in an oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour (again this can sit for several hours without any issues).

Punch down dough and cut 2 pieces. Put one ball in plastic bag in refrigerator (for making pizza with later in the week). Cut remaining piece in to 4 pieces and roll into balls. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Doesn't have to be perfect, just make them pretty thin. Transfer round to 1 of 2 baking sheets lightly sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Make 3 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. I do all of this on one of those perforated pizza pans, and then just put the pan in the oven, but the rounds do transfer easily, so don't worry about it.

Set oven rack in lower third of oven and remove other racks. Preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto oven rack. Bake until just puffed and pale golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Cool pitas on a cooling rack 2 minutes, then stack and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel to keep pitas warm.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bodi, Protea, pugs, and CM's

These crazy flowers are a love offering from my Peanut.
He knows that I love crazy flowers, the crazier the better.

I finally feel that spring is here. The most dangerous part of winter is over (post holiday to pre-spring, approximately Jan. 7-March 27th). No major grey-blue funks to be combatted , a slight light blue funk was felt during early Jan. through middle of February, driven off by Hawaiian sunshine, then reoccurring again for almost the entire month of March. But I am confident that the funk season is over. Daylight savings really helps me, and I feel like when the days finally stay light into the evening time I am safe from a funk attack for the rest of the year.

My smart little niece, Bodi-kins. So adorable! I just want to squeeze her.

I adore this pug. (The pug pictured above, not below.)

Liquid pug.