Friday, November 30, 2007

Keen Friday

And a Merry Keen Friday to you all! May your Keen-ness be Big and Bright and full of Wonder! I have had so much fun this morning with my mug full of organic coffee (Melita, no less) and cinnamon toast. It is going to be very cold in Boston this weekend, in the teens apparently, which gives me all the incentive I need to finish off that turkey soup I made. I am also going to don the apron and work on my chocolate and dried cherry fruitcake recipe this weekend. It has to be Just Right you know. It has to rescue the honor of the old yucky version of fruitcake. You know. That one that is oft used as a doorstop during the Christmas Season. Just don't tell Auntie Dot that you do that to her Wonderful Holiday Gift each year. She would be, like, hurt.

Your Daily Cool Things:

Signs For Tomorrow

I want some of these for bumper stickers. Don't you?


Your Daily Wonderful Design:

Hemp to the Rescue!

Don't bogart that, ah, chair, my friend.


Zelfo is a solid wood-like and mouldable material made from natural fibres, recycled paper or other cellulose raw materials. Zelfo is a strong, light and produced by means of a sustainable process.

The Zelfo process is a solution to 'green' versions of eco-homeware, eco-lighting, eco-musical instruments, eco-jewellery and other environmentally friendly products. Watch soon for speaker cabinets, plant pots, bowls, vases, office furniture, home furniture, table lamps, floor lamps and much more.

What will you tell your children? Were you part of the problem or part of the solution? ( From Z

Zelfo:Sustainable Eco-Matieral from Cellulose


Your Daily Inspiring Words:
"If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?" - Steven Wright.

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans are suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you." - Rita Mae Brown.


Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

Fortnum and Mason:Wicked Good Teas

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Near the End

I find it difficult to really *get* that we have made it all the way to the end of November already. To me, it seems like it was JUST Summer. What happened??? The Christmas decorations are coming fast now, yards filled with lights, rooms with trees, twinkling. Ack! I AM NOT READY FOR THIS YET. Slow down today, and take wonder in the waning days of Fall. Fall into some nifty stuff!


Your Daily Cool Things:

Reuben Miller

The aforementioned Holidays are nigh upon us, so it is a great time to be looking at awe inspiring packaging and wrapping designs. How cool is this???!!! Look around the web for "packing tape design" and you will find a plethora of kewlness.


Your Daily Wonderful Design:

Sam Johnson Design

Ball Fire Tealight


Your Daily Inspiring Words:

"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse gift will find a fitting place."
—Margaret Mead

"I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances."
—Martha Washington


Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

Roasted Onions with Maple Pepper

6 large onions
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
Maple Pepper (you may use 3 Tblsp. maple syrup and 1/2 tsp. salt with 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper instead, but I highly recommend looking for this maple pepper. It is great!)

Cut onions in to quarters and toss with the olive oil and salt. Place in a backing pan and sprinkle maple pepper mixture on top. Bake at 375 degrees

Black Friday

Whoa, Nelly! That was one fast and furious holiday. Before you head out for the hellish crowds ('cause I just *know* you all want to run to Wal-Mart and stand in line with the 5 thousand Others) check out your Daily Stuff:

Your Daily Cool Thing(s):
You need more than one after surviving that family crisis around the Thanksgiving table, eh?

New things in counter tops!

Squak Mountain Stone
I have always loved the look of concrete counters, and this is just one or two steps Mo Betta.

I am not sure why I am experiencing this sudden addiction to paper cutting design. I am okay with not knowing. Aren't you?

Peter Callesen

Su Blackwell

Your Daily Wonderful Design:

De Zeen
A company had the Very Cool Idea to print their annual report in a small booklet that had to be COOKED in the oven! The heat sensitive ink would appear and the booklet could then be read. GO CHECK THIS OUT RIGHT AWAY! Yeah, like NOW! I think all of our tax returns should be designed this way. Heh. Heh. Heh.


Your Daily Inspirational Words:

People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.
- Salma Hayek


Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

Rustic Apple Tart:

For the crust:

1 1/2 c flour
1 Tsp. salt
1 six of butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 ice water
1 Tsp. vinegar

Place dry ingredients in a food processor (or in a big bowl if doing by hand). Add butter and pulse for ten seconds until it resembles a coarse grain. Add vingar and pulse five times. Add water a tiny bit at a time while pulsing, until mixture clumps (no more than 30 seconds).

Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap (or wax paper) and mush together into a flat circle, about four inches in diameter. Place in fridge for 1 hour minimum.

For filling:

4 Granny Smith apples, cored and peeled thinly.
2/3 cup sugar
grated rind of 1 small lemon
cinnamon to taste
powdered ginger to tast
pinch of salt
1/2 c. flour

Mix all the above in a bowl until apple slices are well coated.

Roll out the chilled dough until it is fairly thin. The size should be around 12-15 inches at the biggest diameter. I tend to roll it out to a semi rectangular shape. The edges can be ragged. It makes it look more rustic. Pile the apples in the middle and spread out evenly leaving several inches of dough at the edges. Fold up the sides and press firmly along th esides and top, leaving a wide gap of apples peaking out. Spray the top with Pam or lighly brush with butter and sprinkl with sugar. Bake on a sheet pan in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees until the crust appears browned and the apples look and sound bubbly. Allow to cool for 20 minutes or so to avoid burning your mouth. I know. it is difficult to wait. Patience is a virtue.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sucked into the kitchen vortex

I am in a baking mood today. I have roasted veggies and made cookies and dumplings. I am making turkey soup (along with most of the nation, me thinketh). I keep finding more stuff to throw together. It is a blast.


Your Daily Cool Thing:

I am a firm believer in bringing one's own shopping bags to the store. Here is a link to a wonderful designer who has an online shop with some really spiffy shopping bags.

Susan Bijl


Your Daily Wonderful Design:

Jesse Sullivan, a former high-power lineman, lost both arms in 2001 after being shocked on the job. Here, he demonstrates the capabilities of the Proto 1 prosthetic arm system during clinical tests at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Credit: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Revolutionizing Prosthetics


Your Daily Inspiring Words:

Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying." - Studs Terkel


Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

3 Way Almond Dough

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tsp. baking powder
3 cups flour
1 tsp. Almond exract
1/2 c slivered almonds (optional)
additional sugar for dipping

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Using a food processor (or mix by hand) with the Steel Blade: Process eggs with sugar, oil and juice until blended.Add baking powder, flour. Process just until mixed, using on/off pulses. Do not over-process. THE DOUGH WILL BECOME TOUGH.

Here is where you can go several different ways:

1) You can roll the dough out flat on a floured surface and, using a cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake a 350 degrees for about 9 minutes. Keep an eye on these, so they don’t burn.

2) You can roll the dough in to a log shape and cut 1/4 inch slices from it. Place those on a cookie sheet. Continue to bake as described above. After the 9 minutes are up, reduce the heat to 250 degress and continue cooking until cookies are brittle, up to 45 more minutes.

3) You can roll the dough as described above but lower the slices into a simmering pot of water, essentially making a sweet dumpling. They will bob to the top and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Strain them out into a serving bowl, or onto single serving plates. Top with organic applesauce, or stewed fruit and if you are feeling extra decadent, crème fraiche or whipped cream. Sprinkle with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Temperate Tuesday

It is over 50 degrees here in Boston this morning. While heading out this morning my senses were tricked into the Spring smells and breezes. Just yesterday I was huffing the pine scent at the local farm stand which is already heavily laden with trees, leaning against the rails, waiting for the incoming families to take them home, adorn them and watch them die a slow, albeit glorious death. Perhaps if we decorated people like that in their waning years, it would be more fun. The light days are short now. I am ever thankful for full spectrum lights. And, of course, the interwebzez with all the Cool.

Your Daily Cool Things:

Zoe Keating:Amazing Cellist

I just adore this woman's music. I have wanted to learn to play the cello for several years now, and this just makes me want it all the more. Seriously sensual and ethereal as well.


(image from a Russian Design company)

Karl Zahn lamps. Above, the Protea lamp which opens, like a morning glory, as the heat rises from the bulb. Below, the Dahlia-looking paper lamp I adore!

Karl Sahn: oboiler design

Your Daily Wonderful Design:

Now THIS is WAY COOL designing for a radiators!!!

(image source

The Zehnder Radiapaneel is a well designed heating accessory suitable for anyone interested in modern decor. Flat pipes from a continuously heated panel convecting radiant heat in a design which is elegant AND space saving. Using flat panels instead of rounded ones saves on energy, too.
Contact Zehnder for more information. Zehnder

Your Daily Inspiring Words:

"Start living life! Stop Sweating it!" -Secret Deodorant

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

Flourless Citrus "Cake"

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

6 eggs
1 cup nuts (I have made this with almonds, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts. I have also used ground flax seed) ground to a fine powder in blender or processor
1 cup sugar
2 lemons (or 1 lemons and 1 small orange)
1 tsp. almond extract
Springform pan
parchment paper

Separate the eggs. Whip the whites and the almond extract to stiff peaks adding half of the sugar slowly. Whip until frothy and glossy.

Delicately fold in the crushed nuts and using a spatula place the mixture into a greased spring form pan with parchment circle covering the bottom. Be sure to oil the top of the parchment as well so the cake does not stick. Bake it in the oven until lightly browned and "stable" (not wiggly) approximately 12 minutes (depending on your oven).

In a double boiler, place the egg yolks and using a whisk, stir constantly until the yolks are frothy and light. Add the juice of the lemons and 1 tespoon of finely grated rind. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until the mixture becomes think (think hollandaise sauce).

When you take the "cake" from the oven it will shrink quite a bit. Don't worry. It is okay.

Pour the topping on top of the "cake" and let cool to room temperature, OR place in the fridge until chilled.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the Real World

Well, now it is time to put down the drumsticks and head back to the Real World, the cubicle, the car pool, whatever defines you outside the holiday home front. Seems like a fabulous time for some Cool.

Your Daily Cool Things:

Animation gone wild!

This project took this kid 3 months to make. Well worth every second, I think. Go look at his other work. Really wonderful art, from a pretty cool kid.

Your Daily Wonderful Design:

Amazing Flat Stainless Bowl
Simple. Gorgeous. Wow!

Painting by Anna Greaves

Your Daily Inspiring Words: “When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space.”- Pema Chodron

Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

Yummy Vegan Apricot bars:

1 12 oz bag of dried apricots
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbls. sherry
2 Tbls. coconut oil
2 Tbls. corn starch

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1 Tsp. salt
2/3 cup Rice malt syrup
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Simmer the dried apricots in the water in a pan and add the sherry. Stew until soft.
While those are plumping, in a food processor or, if making by hand, in a large bowl, place the oats, flour, salt, olive oil and rice syrup. If necessary heat the syrup so it is easier to use, as rice malt is thick. Press the crust mix into a 9 x13 (or similar) greased (lube it up well, please) pan. Bake the crust at 375 for 10 minutes. While that is baking place the stewed apricots in a food processor. Whirl away while singing "Don't Fence Me In" at the top of your lungs. Add the coconut oil and the cornstarch and whirl a bit more until incorporated. Take out that crust before it gets brown, m'kay?

Next, take the apricot mixture and place it into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the starches are cooked and the mixture appears glossy. Pour this lovely goo onto the crust and return it all to the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Take the whole shebang out. Cut into squares while it is still warm and let it cool in the pan.

Amaze your Vegan Friends and Astound your Non-Vegan Peeps. See, Vegan does

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Minimum Daily Requirements

I read somewhere that there should be a minimum daily requirement of hugs. I think they settled on 8. To that effect, I think I will hand out hugs at the turkey dispensing unit at the market. Wouldn't that be fun?

And you don't even have to rip out my giblets. Say, pass those potatoes, m'kay?

Your MDR of Cool Things:

One tornado and One wedding ring later...

BLANCHARD, Okla. (AP) — In 1973, a tornado killed Elinda Hill and her newborn son, and left her gold wedding ring hidden in the dirt.

Thirty-four years later, Eva McGrew was walking across the dirt in her backyard vegetable garden when she saw something shining in the sun.

She bent to pick it up and saw that it was a gold ring, with a cluster of three small diamonds.

"That ring was laying there on top of the ground just sparkling," she said.

Your MDR of Wonderful Design:

Wonderful use of Flash Design on a website!

The portfolio of Alex Cherry-
Alex Cherry

Your MDR of Inspiring Words:

"When photographing I’m always thinking of life, death, and hope. These three concepts act as a framework for each image. Sometimes the creative process is smooth, and ideas just flow. Other times the process isn’t as smooth and I just get lucky. Then of course, there are times when things just don’t work out at all. But I don’t mind because I know that eventually everything will turn out okay."--Carlos Tarrats

Your MDR of Wicked-Good Food:

Whole Wheat Cranberry Bread

adapted from Cranberry Thanksgiving

Preheat over to 350 degrees while you assemble the ingredients.

2 cups of flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour these days)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on how tart you like your baked goods, I opt for less, personally)
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (kosher if you have it)
1 stick of softened butter
1 beaten egg
The zest of one orange
3/4 cup of orange juice
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (if you must, you can use pre-ground)
1 bag of carefully rinsed and picked over cranberries
1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans (you are welcome to substitute your favorite nut, but I recommend you don't skip the toasting step. It just makes everything better)

Cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg, orange juice and orange zest. Mix dry ingredients together separately and then add in the wet ingredients. Stir until just mixed and fold in the cranberries and nuts. Spoon into a greased bread pan. If you want to go for an extra touch, sprinkle a little turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) over the top of the bread.

Bake for an hour at 350 degrees and then check with a skewer or toothpick. It made need another ten or fifteen minutes.

If you use whole wheat flour, the bread will have this gorgeous amber color when you cut into it and it will make you feel

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre Basting

This time of year is fraught with stress for some, depression for others, and some lucky ones float about in a cloud of joyful tinged with expectation. Aside from the constant onslaught of Turkeyday food shows and the brain smashing Christmas Decoration and Music from the Commercial Juggernaut of Retailers, there are some good things to be found. Thus:

Your Daily Cool Thing:

I dunno about YOU, but this thing makes me want to belt out "Oh Christmas Tree! Oh Christmas Tree!" at the top of my lungs in an elevator filled with stuffy lawyers.

Your Daily Wonderful Design:

I am ever thankful for those designers and artists who make me suck air into my body with a hiss through my teeth, in a "Wow!" kinda way. This makes me want to grab my scissors and glue and withstand a zillion paper cuts.

Your Daily Inspiring Words:

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” Albert Schweitzer

Your Daily Wicked-Good Food:

This ancient grain is a powerhouse of goodness. Packed with essential protein and other nutritional necessities, it was used extensively in the Pre-Columbian culture. The outer coating can be a bit bitter, so it is best to soak the quinoa prior to cooking it. Cooking quinoa is similar to rice. Simply use 2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil and simmer for 14-18 minutes until the seed pops open and a curly-que shaped inner "germ" (not THAT kind of germ, silly!) emerges. My favorite dish for quinoa is as follows:

Ingredients (serves two to four depending on appetite and, well, all sorts of things)

1 cup quinoa
1 medium acorn squash (delicata squash works nicely, too)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 package of Tempeh (3 grain is yummy)
8 ounces (or more) of feta cheese cubed or crumbled
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (Braggs amino acids are good, too)

Prepare quinoa as directed above. Set aside.
Split, and clean acorn squash and bake in an oven at 375 for 40- mins until moderately soft.
Chop onion, mince garlic and saute in olive oil until clear and soft.
Cut tempeh into cubes and add to onion mixture, stir and continue to cook until tempeh is browned and onions are caramelized.

In a bowl mix the tempeh/onion mixture with the quinoa and add the cubed cheese and walnuts. Fill the squash with this in a hugely bountiful and heaping way and return it to the oven to re-heat at 375 until the cheese is hot. Being feta, it won't melt, per se, but it will heat through after about 10 minutes.