Sunday, August 28, 2011

little green fairy treats

On a recent visit to the local cheese shop, Matthew and I picked up a ball of Burrata. When Matthew asked, "what is burrata?" I just said, "oh, it's this ridiculously hip mozzarella cheese ball that all the foodies are excited about." The truth is, we just wanted to see what all the excitement was about, and to judge for ourselves if Burrata is worth all the hype and the 5 dollar price tag for one little ball of cheese (hardly as big as a tennis ball). It was delicious and fun to try something new, but, to be honest I'd be just as happy with a slice of fresh, plain old mozzarella.

What I loved, more than the Burrata itself, was the pretty little look of the green heirloom tomatoes atop leaves of fresh basil, with the milky white cheese on top. It really looked like fairy food with all those shades of green; the alternating stripes of dark and light green on the tomatoes along with the brightness of the basil were all very unusual and fun.

I would normally have used bright red or purple tomatoes for the color contrast against basil, which is the classic look that we are all used to and love to see, but I have discovered a new favorite tomato treat. And this one is fit for the greenest of woodland fairies.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Hello Kitty paper punch and a teeny garden update

I recently bought a Hello Kitty paper punch. I've used it once to Hello Kittyify stationary that I used to write a letter to a friend but other than that, I haven't had much chance to use it for anything. I have grand visions of using it to making cute decorations for Valentine's Day; we'll see if I ever get around to such an ambitious project. Also, I am hoping it will work on nori because it would be fun to make a Hello Kitty bento box or to send Matthew to work with Hello Kitty faces on his Onigiri(I'm sure he just can hardly wait).

The bottom of the paper punch has a small door that keeps the little paper bits contained. It makes it easier to collect them to use in decorating.

Also, just open the door to remove any stuck pieces of paper that can clog up the paper punch.

Hello Kitty cut-outs on Hello Kitty Sticky notes. I think it's appropriate and in no way going over board =)

Since the Hello Kitty paper punch doesn't make for the most exciting post, I thought I'd pad it out with an update on my teeny, tiny, sad garden.

The Basil has sprouted up beautifully. I guess the little "water me" spoon is working better than I expected.

The micro greens are not so micro, they have grown too big and must now be referred to as mini greens. As I was waiting for more of them to shoot up, and to therefore be useful in a salad, these little guys got out of hand. Now I suspect they will be very tough.

Maybe my little garden isn't quite as sad as it has been in the past. Of course, most of the seeds did not sprout but I'll just focus on the fact that a few of them did manage to show their shining faces.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Little Ice Bat

We found this little fellow at an adorable children's toy store in McMinnville, Oregon while we were there to attend my cousin's wedding (back in 2007). As soon as we got into our hotel room in Portland, he decided to take a little nap. He's pretty cute all snuggled up in a giant bed, and he insisted he needed all that room to get a good rest; we believed him.

If you ever feel too nerdy...just follow me to Comic-Con

So, on Sunday(July 24th), the last day of Comic-Con, Matthew and I were able to attend Comic-Con. We didn't pay for the tickets but they were very sweetly made available to us and we happily went to see what all the commotion was about. Every year we sort of shake our heads and think "wow, what a fuss. I wonder if it's fun?" This year we were able to take a few hours out of our weekend to see exactly what the fuss was about and to see that it is actually pretty fun. Maybe next year we'll even pay for our own tickets, at least for one day; more than one day might be too much!

We didn't take a lot of photos, since much of the time we didn't have breathing room and taking our camera out to pose for a photo was out of the question, it was just that crowded, but we did get a few fun pictures. Here they are:

Matthew standing next to some cute little yellow fellow.

A much larger version of the little ice bat that Matthew and I have sitting on our shelf.*

This was probably my favorite costume, just because it was so fun and adorable.

I know these funny looking guns aren't really my style but the names were just so funny. I hope the darling little, overly enthusiastic Australian fellow who was telling us all about these guns and the company didn't mind my uncontrollable giggling.

And those are about all the photos we got. Maybe next year we'll get a few more!

*I just realized that I never posted photos of the little ice bat and so will post a few photos of him in a post directly following this one, since he's adorable!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Ideal Belgian Waffle

I'll just preface this post by saying that, technically, this post has been in the works since last tuesday. I took the "ingredients" photos on tuesday afternoon because I'd planned to make the waffle for dessert that evening but dinner was too big and it just wasn't possible.

It wasn't until thursday night that I took a photo of the finished product and my goodness was this one of the best desserts I've ever put together (Yes, I know it's hard to tell from the bad angle and yellow lighting of the photos). I didn't even need to make or bake anything; it was just a matter of composing various fantastic ingredients.

These belgian waffles are the most authentic tasting Belgian-style waffles that I've had outside Belgium. I was, naturally, skeptical about their claim to authenticity when I bought them, even though they looked fairly close to the real thing with visible crystals of sugar embedded in the waffle. I knew they would need to have that perfect slightly chewy texture, with the toasty taste of caramelized crust to really bring back the memories of standing on the cobblestone street in front of Manneken Pis, with my freshly made Belgian waffle.

We tried the first of the waffles in it's plain state with only a little scoop of dark chocolate ice cream on the side to balance out the sweetness, but the second time around I really went all out decorating the little waffle. I had found this really fun dessert topping at Trader Joes on Tuesday afternoon and I desperately wanted to try it out.

I will say, the coffee bean, chocolate and sugar topping goes perfectly over most anything; I even sprinkled some of it over hot buttered toast with excellent results, so I was in no way surprised by how delicious it was over the hot, toasted Belgian waffle topped with dark chocolate ice cream and whipped cream. But, basically, the coffee/chocolate/sugar grind took this humble waffle to a whole new level of gourmet. It's a fun and extremely easy way to fancify any dessert.