Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Christmas gifts...

These are the cookies I made for Rosie's friends at work. There are homemade caramels (but not gingerbread), sugar cookies topped with Rhonda's almond frosting recipe, and a new one for me: honey-ginger bites. I didn't take photos of my other homemade treats, because I wasn't thinking. It happens.
I am still planning on making a few new things for my local pals. I will try to remember to take pictures of them.

We made a few non-food gifts this year, but really not much. More details after the holidays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Awesome businesses that were at the bazaar bizarre

We bought from a few of these, but they were really some awesome vendors this weekend.

My newest find is called Moth Written. Their slogan: "Encouraging positive dialuge about the Arabic speaking world." Delightfully charming tees and buttons (I purchased the buttons).

I bought some Dirty Ass Soaps.

Giant Dwarf had beautiful hats and lovely wool felts.

Sarah Ahearn
who we bought two prints from at TWIST in Northampton in 08.

Sugarbee Books I can't remember what they sold! But I must have liked it because I picked up their card.

I couldn't afford, but boy did I love Pansey Maiden's beautiful bags. Her prices were totally reasonable, I just was on a strict craft fair budget.

Jenn Ski had delightful art. Her blog is here.
The Small Object was also around from which I secured a tiny moustache on a stick.

We met a few of the super nice kids who hang with Boston Comics and I believe Marshall has befriended.

Sarah Coyne is a super sweetheart and the proprietor of egg-a-go-go.

Weller Wishes had some cute prints (one looked like 2 Kobes).

I bought a bib at Buckaroo's Mercantile which also has a store in Central Square.

I was very thrilled to see Jaime Zollars who unfortunately had her website hacked and is having to start over. Her prints are deliciously youthful and whimsical. I own a few little ones.

The button and sticker maniacs of fishcakes were there too.

the girls can tell had the most awesome screen printed stuff! LOVED it!

Figs and Ginger were there with their simple and beautiful jewelry.

zeal had beautiful coasters made with amy butler paper or fabrics. Super nice. was also a cool dude. His business card is funny: "It's pronounced like that Destiny's Child Song- If no on is around you, say baby I love you-- Just cut off the 'if no on is around you' and '-by I love you". had adorable stuffed animals!

We saw the Candy Thief again (saw her and purchased from her at Twist). She makes amazing felt headbands. was also around as well as boston handmade.

The Last Few Christmas Craft Fairs

The Bazaar Bizarre was last weekend in Boston. I picked up info on a few other upcoming shows.

Stars and Skulls Crafty Craft Fair on Sunday 12/13, 10am-5pm, American Legion Hall , 162 Route 9, Hadley MA featuring the Roller Derby folks from Pioneer Valley

6th Annual Sowa Holiday Saturday and Sunday, 12/12 and 12/13, 10am-6pm. $5 admission. Free parking. It's going to be inside the Cathedral High School Gym, 74 Union Park St, Boston.

Mass Market 5 at the Mass Art Gym. $1 cover. December 13, 11-5pm. A DIY flea market of the hipster variety. I have heard great things about this annual event. I am seriously thinking of hitting it! 621 Huntington Ave.

Craftland Show in Rhode Island. Word round the BB this weekend was that this is an awesome thing and it's ongoing through December 31st. Everyday, 10am-6pm. Open late Thursday-Saturday, 10am-8pm. 235 Westminster St, Providence. 2 hours free valet parking for validated shoppers.

And while I am sure there are others (particularly in Cambridge) that I am forgetting, Boston Handmade has a shop in Downtown Crossing that is open Wed-Sun until Dec 24. 505 Washington St.

Recipe: Baked Potato Soup

5 yukon gold potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups milk (I used whole b/c it was what we had for some baking projects)
4 cups stock (I used chicken, but you can surely use veggie)
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion(yellow or white)
1/4 lb of bacon cut into small pieces
1 bulb of garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Baby it's cold outside which to means soup soup soup! This soup requires you to bake the potatoes and then making the actual soup.

Preheat oven to 375.
Quarter potatoes into wedges (skin on is fine), sprinkle with olive oil and salt and set on a cookie sheet. Make sure that you roll the wedges around so they get a little coating of olive oil one each of the cut sides.

Cut the onion into large wedged and separate. Toss in a bowl with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a scant tablespoon of olive oil. Let me tell you, this step makes a huge difference in the flavor of the soup. The cidery bite is subtle, but very well worth the $2.00 for the vinegar. Leave in the bowl while the potatoes and garlic are cooking.

Cut the top off a head of garlic and set the head on a small square of foil. Pour about a teaspoon to a tablespoon of olive oil over top, and salt generously (I used fancy pants Fleur de Sel, but whatever salt you have will work fine). Wrap the foil up and around the garlic so that all the open edges are sealed together at the top. Set on the same cookie sheet as the potato wedges.

Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes until fork tender. HALF way through the cooking, add the onions to the cookie sheet and flip the potatoes over to insure even cooking. You do not want the potatoes to brown, just a light coloring and fork tender.

Once all the veggies are cooked (about 50 minutes total) remove from the oven and check on the status of the garlic. The garlic should be a deep golden color, opaque, and soft. The bulb will be hot to handle so let it set before removing the cloves. The garlic may require a bit more time.

Let the potatoes cool to the point you can touch them. I tend to peel off the skin at this point since it's very easy and wastes little of the potato. If you are a pre-peel type of cook, then by all means, peel them before you bake them. Once the potatoes are peeled, scoop the potatoes and onions into a bowl. Add the entire head of garlic by gently squeezing the bulb. The individual cloves should ooze out without much effort. You can also do this with a spoon by pressing the garlic out of the paper. Either way, add it all. Roasted garlic is sweet and nutty and adds a wonderful depth of flavor for very little cost and effort.

So now, in a large bowl (or in a food processor bowl or blender) you should have all your veggies. I used an immersion blender but you can use whatever tool you have to pulverize the veggies. Don't do it dry, oh no-- at this point, add your sour cream, milk, and about a cup to two cups of the chicken stock. The mixture may be a little pasty-- you don't want that. If it is paste like, add more stock. I ended up using about 4 cups of stock TOTAL, but it's entirely dependent on the viscosity of your mixture. I did not add butter but I did pour a little of the excess olive oil into the mix from the cookie sheet. Up to you about how you would like to control the fat content. Remember, there's bacon in it to, so keep it all in mind. Set the soup base aside while you begin to prepare the next step-- the bacon.

In the pot you will be heating your soup, cook the bits of bacon. Trader Joe's has a new applewood smoked bacon that is OUT OF THIS WORLD on the bacon scale. By all means, if you have access to a TJ's get this bacon. Once the bacon is browned and crispy, remove it from the pot and set it aside. At this point, I tend to use a paper towel or two to soak up the excess fat in the pot. I want the brown bits but not the grease. So I get out as much as I can. Then, before pouring the soup in deglaze the pot.

To deglaze, take about a cup of your stock and pour it into the hot pot. Scrape the brown bits down and let the bacony residue cook off. Slowly pour your soup base into the bacony stock and mix them together. Heat the soup through. If you think it is too thick, then by all means, add more stock. Just make sure to stir it to incorporate the stock to the soup.

Immediately before serving return half of the bacon to the soup (use the other half for garnish on top).

I served the soup with a generous shaving of smoked gouda on top and a few bacony bits of goodness. I also added a good amount of ground pepper as I served it.

This recipe made six very sizable portions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ice Cream

Places to go or have been that are ice cream mavens:

Franklin Fountain
in Philly (missed in on the convomoon ;()

Ici in Berkeley TOTALLY fanfrickingtastic.

I am thinking ice cream is a major possibility for our business venture. We might need to make one of these.


Make your own bows for the holidays!

Directions here.

Supermarket Sarah

This is a very cool thing. She sells all of her flea market finds off her walls; she sets up these cool displays and then you purchase right out of her house.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Busniess plan ruminations

We are contemplating an endeavor, details to come later. I wish Lowell, Mass wasn't so far away. I wish we could set up shop here. If only there was a similar thing in the South Shore area. More details to come shortly.

Ornaments from Anthropologie


Just in case anyone has $1300 sitting around for a turntable, this one is at Anthropologie.