06 November 2010

Cleanup Duty at Fargassa




After the windstorm, and left to my own devices, I made a short film. It's hard for me to describe here how much I like this place and the people I share it with.

10 October 2010

Where Am I?

By the time you read this I won't be there anymore, but I've been working hard in the middle of nowhere. Up the chalk rock road, past the owls nests and through the trees that tinge the light of the sun green, loneliness set in. My satisfaction and release was through the work I accomplished while I was there. I occasionally weeded, mowed or dug out and moved rocks, but my principal work was all woodwork.



The first and biggest task was replacing a large section of attic floor that was rotting through from water leaking in. After that, with the same tongue and groove boards from the floor, I built 4 large shelves in a closet. And finally, throughout the project while waiting on supplies, I would cut and split firewood.

I wish I had recipes and food stories to tell you, but my host was on a very strict diet that left variety to be desired. I do have a new found appreciation for leeks however, so I'll be sure to do something on them soon.

Up in the Hay Loft

06 September 2010

Torre de Collserola

the rocket appears to be falling...


Once again, I'm sorry to put your download and browser through the struggle of a 6.6MB animated gif, but I just love making them.

I was thrilled to see that this monstrosity of a tower had an observation deck and was just a 30 minute march from where I'm staying here in the hills of Barcelona. What a sight!

03 September 2010

La Pedrera



I have a love/hate relationship with Gaudi, but in this case it's all love, especially because it's a rooftop. La Pedrera, or "The Quarry" is an apartment complex representative of his style and control of the entire process of construction. Every surface has a smoothed, wind blown and eroded touch to it that I loved running my hands over.

28 August 2010

Makyo



The ambient tent at Boom was one of my favorite places to relax and still enjoy music. The audience averaged ~50% asleep any time of the day. One of my friends, listening to this performance said she couldn't tell if they were performing or just doing sound check/warmup, but I guess that's what happens when you listen to breakbeats all the time. :)

27 August 2010

The World Mercer



Huddled together in this smokey tent we passed over gold coins for chai. The rhythm of the music was ever-present but not overwhelming. We happily chatted away as the festival pulsed around us, revelers going every direction with or without purpose in their steps. Some stopped staggering to stare at the brightly lit statues or the scintillating reflections in the lake. Others marched urgently, to new stages, new drugs, new consciousnesses. The world was ours and we knew it. We held it in our hands and passed it over our lips, and its warmth swelled between us.

18 August 2010

Yann Tiersen at le Route du Rock

Definitely a stark transition from Owen Palett, this particular video starts quite harshly. Yann Tiersen was a wildman on stage, and only provoked further by his incredible band. There were fifteen people performing together at times.

14 August 2010

Route Du Rock Panorama

Le Route Du Rock

I'm camping at a festival in Saint-Malo after being talked into it by my cohort Evan. I've never camped at a music festival before, and so although I have nothing to compare it to, it seems quite small and intimate. There is only one stage, and acts go from ~ 6:30pm-4am. Tonight the headliner is Massive Attack. Yesterday the stunner of the day was Owen Pallett.

Here's a short I shot of him, peeking through the crowd.

06 August 2010

Trois Semaines de Travail

Blended in with all the easy living I've been doing was the construction of a greenhouse for my gentle hosts Raymond and Janine. Much thanks go to my intrepid assistant Evan, without whom I certainly would not have finished. I'm sorry I don't have work in progress pictures. I was afraid in part that I would begin the project and leave before it was completed, and have it all on the blog for the world to see. But no! It's built, I put the final touches on it with one day to spare.

Oh, and in case anyone's confused or suspicious, the squash and melons were already there. We just built around them.







Trois Vues du Jardin

My new home now gone looks back at me from three overlapping panoramas.







28 July 2010

Barszcz, Barszcz, Barszcz

With the exception of perhaps fruit roll ups from 15 years ago, this is the hottest pink (hot pink-est?) thing I've ever eaten. Janine went on a kitchen rampage tonight, large portions of the garden are ripening. We started with the Polish barszcz, similar to Ukranian cold borscht with a mint garnish, then a cheese soufflé with a courgette and red lettuce salad, and finally a giant currant torte. Délicieux!



25 July 2010

Summer Lovin', Happened so Fast





This one warrants a bit of an explanation I think. Here in the north of France and also Belgium there is a type of cheese called fromage frais (fresh cheese), which is what I used today. However, I can't recall seeing it in the United States. It is somewhere between yogurt and sour cream, so feel free to use either if you're preparing this recipe. The real appeal of this dish for me was the contrast of sweet from the sugar and fruit and sour from the lime and dairy. It's perfect for a late summer dessert.

15 July 2010

Panorama Part V - Purple Haze



This town I'm in, Valenciennes, is much bigger and more exciting than I had expected. I'm staying right outside in a suburb named Marly, but it's a 20 minute walk to the centre, where there was an awesome free concert by Alpha Blondy for Bastille Day. He's from Côte d'Ivoire and sings reggae in French, English, Arabic, and Dioula. What a great day and night. The surprise of the night is how many families with their babies were in the middle of this crowd, and how they had to ram their way out with their baby strollers.

14 July 2010

Lasagne



News to me in making this, instead of ricotta cheese mixed with bolognese sauce, lasagna can be made with bechamel. If that all sounded like greek,

Ricotta - like cottage cheese
Bolognese - tomato spaghetti sauce with ground hamburger
Bechamel - a thick sauce made from butter, flour, and milk

So this is a lasagna with 3 layers of bechamel and bolognese with a bit of red wine, a zucchini, a red bell pepper, half a serrano pepper, two shredded carrots, and 5 mushrooms.

13 July 2010

Homemade Sundae



Fresh fruit picked right out of the backyard is turned into raspberry and rhubarb sorbet, blackcurrant sorbet, and frozen currants. Thrown into the mix, a homemade melty banana ice cream base, a bit of caramel syrup, and a little cake.

Panorama Part IV - Journey to Jupiter's Big Spot


Waiting for the Storm

05 July 2010

02 July 2010

Panorama part 2

The central hall at the Natural History Museum



The mammal hall

30 June 2010

Panorama!

I took these at the London Science Museum and the Victoria Train station. These pictures are quite large. I'm putting in thumbs, but click through for the full size.



11 June 2010

Spicy Papaya!

This was a recipe of necessity. (I know that rhymes) I had half a papaya to use up and went looking for something that work with other stuff in the fridge. What a delight it was though, really an exciting mix of sweet, sour, and spicy. It would be a good mix for Southeast Asian food I think.

04 June 2010

Apple Pie Salad

In an attempt to try out something new I stumbled onto a nice refreshing salad that tastes eerily of apple pie. Jicama has a texture very similar to fresh apples when it's cut thinly. A note on blanching the yam, if you're preparing this you're just trying to get it to the right toothyness, raw yams are a little hard to eat. Don't boil them so long as to be mush though, this is a fresh crunchy salad. I'm also certain this is the healthiest thing I've posted so far.

30 May 2010

Eggplant Parmesan







I have made this several times recently, and it was extremely well received. Upon request, here are the approximate recipes.

One thing I do want to suggest that I didn't include above is that at the beginning of prepping the eggplant take a peeler or a knife and cut about half the skin off in alternating ribbons down the eggplant. What this does is section the remaining skin of the eggplant in manageable pieces, so that you don't end up pulling the whole skin off of a slice in one piece while you're trying to cut and eat it.


Buon Appetito!

29 May 2010

Writing contest for my bike



Specifications
~'92 Novara Trionfo
58cm frame
Shimano 105 gruppo
Selle Italia saddle

Also Included
Bell Triton helmet (the one for fat headed people. It will probably adjust down to normal sized heads)
Kryptonite cable lock
Cateye Uno headlight
cheap flashing taillight


The Summary:
I'm having a creative writing contest for my bicycle, which I'll be giving away to the winner of my choosing June 7th.

The Explanation.

My name is Creighton and I have been traveling across the country from Seattle on my way to Europe. No, not bicycling the whole way, I'm not nearly tough enough for that. I road tripped in my car and then would pull my bike out when I arrived somewhere I wanted to ride around. I sold my car a couple days ago, and the bike/subway/feet are my transportation in town until I leave on the 8th. Originally I had planned to leave my bike with my family, but I decided I wanted to ride it in New York. Also the idea of it slowly rusting and rotting away above the garage made me sad. It is only a bicycle when it is being used, otherwise it's just clutter.

I thought about selling it here, but the more I thought about it the harder it became to name a price. This bike is my very favorite possession. I find it painful to imagine thinking, "Well, all those good times and feelings I had were worth $300."

The conclusion I came to is that I will get much greater satisfaction giving it away to a deserving winner. I want a starving artist to benefit from their skill. Please do not enter if you already have a functioning bike. I would, however, appreciate if you suggested the contest to someone you know who could use the bike.

So here are the rules.

I want a short written entry of 500 words or less demonstrating your skills as a writer.
Submissions must include either an email address or a phone number which you will respond to. Including both is better.
It can be any type, style, format, etc.
It does not need to be originally written for this contest.
If poetry, multiple pieces are allowed.
I am the final judge on the winner.
Entries will be accepted no later than 12:01 am June 5th.
The winner will be announced and contacted June 6th at 12:00 pm by email and telephone.
If no response is received by 2:00 pm I will contact the runner-up, and so on, until the prize is awarded.


Thank you for reading this, please help me find a good home for my bicycle.

Creighton

10 May 2010

Back on the Road

I've taken a little time off, visiting my family, my hometown, and what's left of my friends there. I kept looking around, expecting to see people I knew and being surprised by their absence.

It was a great trip, but I missed you too, internet.

24 April 2010

Where have all the Hippies gone?

They're all hanging out together, down at Eeyore's Birthday Party!


No, it's not cool if you call it Frolf

My friend Paul and my two new friends Albert and Bird teeing off a couple times at the amazing frisbee golf course in South Austin.



22 April 2010

Swimming Rama

Thanks to a new friend in Tucson, I've been experimenting with variations on old recipes.  In this case, I wanted to make Swimming Rama for someone not eating peanuts.  I made this dish as a trial in Tucson, then documented it with my friend Mary in Abilene.

Swimming Rama is a delicious Thai dish of rice, spinach leaves, meat or tofu, and drowned in peanut sauce  (Thus "swimming").  It is a combination of light and fresh from the bed of spinach and rice, with the dense calories and flavors of the peanut sauce and protein.

However, since I wasn't using peanuts, I decided to go with almond butter instead.  If you haven't had it, almond butter has the same texture and nutty saltiness as peanut butter, but a lighter sweeter taste.  Buuut, it'll cost you an arm and a leg in the store, and we had time to kill, so I bought raw almonds and roasted them.



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If you've never roasted nuts before, welcome. I'm quite new to it myself. In this case all I did was put the almonds in a big skillet with a tablespoon of oil, and swirled them around with a spoon on medium high. They'll gradually turn golden brown, take them off before they crisp and burn. I set them to the side to cool off for a bit before throwing them in the food processor.



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This is what it looks like when they're chopped nice and fine. You'll want to add just a little bit of oil to smooth it into butter. You don't need very much at all, the almonds have their own oil that will come out and make the butter.

From 1 pound of almonds we yielded about 2 cups of almond butter, but we only need one for the swimming rama, so leftovers for AB&J sandwiches!



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With the sauce simmering in the skillet I breaded and fried tofu. The main trick I've learned in frying on the stove with a skillet is to turn up the heat once i put the food in the oil. Proper cooking in oil shouldn't leave the food soggy, but if the oil is too cold it can't cook fast enough.



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Once both the sauce and tofu are done, it's time to enjoy! It was a little spicy for Mary. :-) If in doubt about the crushed red pepper it can be added at the table to taste.



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10 April 2010

La Canchita

The hockey version of futbol, indoor games are really exciting to watch. There's less dribbling and passing, and more maneuvering and scoring.


08 April 2010

Tres Leches

If you've never had the opportunity to eat tres leches cake, seek it out at a pasteleria (cake bakery) wherever Mexicans congregate.  It's a traditional dessert for big celebrations like quinceañeras or weddings.  I have a strong preference for pie, but tres leches is a close second in the cake department.  It can be made in a number of different ways but it's generally very spongy, sometimes with a layer of strawberry jam and fruit in the middle, and then drenched in a combination of whole milk/cream, evaporated milk, and condensed milk, thus tres leches (three milks). 

My lovely host mother here in El Grullo runs a pasteleria, and bakes all of the cakes out of her house.  When I first arrived I was overwhelmed by the smell of cake, but I don't even notice it anymore.  One night was especially busy, as you can see by the mountain of cakes cooling on the table.



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03 April 2010

Let's go shopping!

First of all, let me apologize for referring to myself with the royal we.  I'd like to think that I was imagining you the viewer coming along with me...  Also, I totally understand the magic of a gyroscopic camera balance now, the shakiness just adds to the Mexican market chaos.


31 March 2010

The Cadillac of Stoves

This is an O'Keefe and Merritt gas stove from what I'm guessing was the 40's. It has features you've never imagined.  It's a treasure within a somewhat dirty dilapidated kitchen in Tucson.

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Underneath that pan is a full size gas griddle. It has a fold-down cover to protect the surface.  It has two electric outlets built into it, one of which can be set to a timer.  It has the Grillevator Broiler.   Two warming trays.  Built in Salt and Pepper shakers for crissakes!  It was just an inspiration to see and use.

The happy crosswalker

16 March 2010

St. Pat's Special

St Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  I've already cooked one round of corned beef, and I'm sure I'll get another one in before the season is passed.

Let me start with a little background.  If one was to go to Ireland and expect a meal of corned beef, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, few people would be familiar with the meal.  Corned beef was introduced to Irish immigrants in New York City by the Jewish people already living there.  Unprepared it is a tough cut of meat that is sold cheaply.  It is one of the cheapest Kosher cuts of beef, hence the Jewish influence.  It is called corned beef from the preserving/marinating process involving soaking in a brine.  Large pieces of salt added to the marinade are referred to as "corns".   The cut comes from the front of the chest of a cow, the brisket, and is available in either a "point" or a "flat".  A whole brisket is both of these pieces, but they are divided and packaged separately.  The flat is typically sold at a higher price, as it is a more photogenic piece of meat, but they are prepared and taste exactly the same, so I recommend purchasing points.  I got mine for $0.97/pound.  Unfortunately, prices like that only happen around St. Pat's.

Purchasing corned beef, one will find it prepackaged in brine with a small packet of herbs and spices waiting to be added.  All the pieces will have a large piece of fat attached to them, so I recommend buying thicker pieces to increase the proportion of meat to fat.

Ok, once the meat is bought, you're ready to go.  Get a big pot, cut open the pouch with the meat inside and put the it and all the juices with it into a pot.  Grab the spice packet, slice it open and pour it over the meat.  Cover the meat in water and set on the stove, bringing it to a boil.  Once it is boiling, leave the pot on a slow simmer for as many hours as you have pounds of meat, up to a maximum of 4 hours.  It's alright to cook it longer than that, but you may need a slotted spoon to pull the broken pieces of meat out of the pot.  Crock pots work well for this I've heard, but I don't have any practical experience with them.


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This is essentially what they should look like once they're done.  You can pull the meat out of the pot, but leave the broth, it's used to boil the vegetables.  This meal is a vegetarian's nightmare, even the vegetables have meat in them.  Some people serve it at this point, but I prefer to glaze mine with honey mustard in the oven for a bit first.  It really adds to the flavor, and particularly the visual appeal.  Naked corned beef isn't winning any beauty contests.  I'll take them out and set them fat side up in a pan.  Using a sharp knife, I score a checkerboard pattern into the meat to sink the glaze deep inside.



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I whipped up a mixture of mustard and honey at a 3 to 1 ratio, enough to coat the top of the brisket.  I used a mixture of brown and yellow mustard, but plain old french's mixed with honey works just fine.  If I am feeling particularly inspired though I'll finely chop mangos and add them to the glaze.  Now the pan goes in a 350 degree oven while you're waiting for the vegetables to cook.

For the vegetables I find that one carrot per person is sufficient, along with 1 and a half potatoes and a quarter head of cabbage.  I personally prefer yukon gold potatoes, but any waxy potato will work fine.  Starchy potatoes like russets tend to fall apart, but it's all a matter of preference.

Cut all of the potatoes in half so they cook faster, peel the carrots and cut them into two as well, and cut the cabbage into quarters, taking the core out.  Put the potatoes into the broth and bring it to a boil, adding the carrots before it begins boiling and the cabbage after.  If timed correctly all the vegetables should be cooked soft without being mush.  Once done the broth can be poured off.  The meat can come out of the oven to sit for a few minutes.

This final bit is very important.  In order for this very tough bit of meat to be palatable it's been broken down by salt and heat, but the last step is to cut it in slices against the grain.  Upon inspection or an experimental slice, the individual muscle fibers in the brisket should be observable.  Slicing the meat, one must cut perpendicular to the direction these fibers run.  This will make the individual fibers very short in length, and easy to cut on a plate.  Done properly, this meal shouldn't need a knife at the table.



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