Thursday, September 30, 2010

canning and preserving classes-October 2010

lots and lots of classes all over the place for the holidays...this is the perfect time to learn how to preserve food while making some awesome gifts for the holidays!  i have organized the classes by location, but check them all out because some of them are really unique and worth the drive.

*ANGELI CAFFE w/ Evan Kleiman*
-The Art of Fermentation 10/24, 11-2PM: Join Evan Kleiman & Master Preserver Delilah Snell on a trip through traditional fermented foods from all over the world.
Learn about the history, science and techniques that make traditional sauerkraut, Korean kimichi, New York-style Clausen pickles, fermented tea tonics and more.
In addition to recipes, hands-on preparation, take-home starters and snacks, Evan will demonstrate how fermented foods can be incorporated into savory meals like Choucroute Garni. Email me for info on this class.

*SANTA ANA @ The Road Less Traveled Store*
-Pickle party 10/3, 10-3PM: relish, chutney, fermented, quick, spicy...a little of each, plus small meal while we explore the tangy-side of preserves.
-A Season in Jars 10/9, 10-1PM: home food preservation basics.
-Fermentation 1, 10/23, 10-noon: kraut & kimchi making.
-Fermentation 2, 10/9, 10-noon: yogurt, vinegars and kombucha *taught by Chef Ernie Miller
-Foraged Foods: 10/30, 10-2: learn to make acorn bread and preserves from the wild!

*SANTA MONICA @ The Urban Craft Center*
-Autumn in a Jar 10/17, 10-1 *THIS CLASS IS SOLD OUT*

*HOLLYWOOD @ The Farmers' Market*
Note: I am in the center of the market available to answer questions, this will not be a class but rather discussion time/problem solving.
-all dates are 9AM-12:30PM :  10/3, 10/31 (maybe in costume!), 12/19

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

affordable art: roosters!

(just the feet!- by Liz Scott, a local gal!)

(art by Erica Harris)
 having chickens are becoming a pretty big thing these days, the eggs really can't be beat and they make great pets (my guy used to have one when he was young and always speaks fondly of her)...
unfortunately, here at the apartment homestead, chickens are not an option-there simply isn't enough room to fit them (and there are 3 wandering cats in the complex)-we simply need a yard for this.
but that doesn't mean that we can't celebrate chickens or the rooster which most people around here don't have b/c of the noise-though i actually like it a lot it's a better alarm clock than some screeching bell.

(super cute and country paper cuts by Rural Pearl)

so to compensate, we have brought the rooster indoors with art. we have a few items most of our rooster/chicken art is in the kitchen, some from friends shops and others that we picked up on 127.  I love the mix of old-school with new-school rooster art, they really compliment each other!

(this poster from VGoT is available at the shop!)

(i LOVE this collage idea from Sparklepants Industries-a great project to do with children too!)
(we used this flower pot with a rooster on it as a paper towel holder)

 (this is one of my favorite prints-very modern and so Industrial Folk-sale!-by Brigittes Haus)

(this fave print of ours was purchased at an art show at Avanti Cafe)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Book Lovers in a Small Space

so when a journalist and an English-Philosophy major live together, one thing is certain-a lot of books!


as much as i love them, i did NOT want to go the IKEA route with this venture...i think if you go over 30% IKEA pieces in the home, it ends up looking like the showroom.  so how do you manage 12 bookshelves of books??

over the years, I am starting to realize that my personal style is a cross between country/flea market mixed with industrial minimalist tendencies and a large scoop of cheap....i guess you can call it Industrial Folk-sale?  hopefully this will help me figure something out.

i LOVE this piece from Nobody & Co called the Bibliochase-gotta love the Italians. if i had the money i would buy this in a heartbeat! but the idea of storage and function is quite interesting....

(me want, me want now!)
(this ain't bad either...)

while looking for some inspiration, i stumbled upon this article in Design Sponge where this couple used galvanized steel shelving for their books-LOVE this idea and totally Industrial Folk-sale!

(boring now, but not in a little!)
most local hardware stores have these deals (now in jet black) for around $70 a pop, that is just as much or less than one you would find anywhere else-save a flea market/yard sale. they come in 6' and 4' so there is a little diversity as well.  but the one thing that makes this option perfect for us is the strength of the shelving-these shelves were meant for tires, tools and a crap-load of garage stuff...they can FOR SURE handle dictionaries, Thoreau, Art Spiegelman, Romantic poetry, the histories of various foods and a stereo-bring it!

i used the upper shelves of the cases to showcase some of our fave books, similar collections, tall colored glass and other cute pieces that softened up the hardness of the garage shelves.

(a 1/2' gap in the corner makes 2 of them fit quite nicely)

now, all was not completely solved with this solution.  for sure the double stacking of books solved at least 8 of the 12 bookshelves, but we still had to put about 20 cases of books in a large storage area in the bedroom and gustavo had to take some of his Orange County books (nerd!) to work.
one of the great things about the new kitchen was that it had its own closet/pantry which i turned into my little canning room. in there, i store all of my canning, cookbooks, canning pots and jars-perfectly out of the way and really easy to see what items i have-i love showing this little room off!


(a few more images...)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shiitake Happens

(ready to shroom!)

with the move and catch-up with work i have had to delay my time with the my new little toy that i recently acquired in Oakland-a Shiitake mushroom brick!
i have been wanting to get something going in the ole root cellar and over the past month i had been doing random research on how to start, maintain and grown my own little edible fungi garden.  well the foodie gods were listening to my pleas because when i was in Oakland talking kimchi, i happened to find Far West Fungi, a retailer of delectable shrooms and more importantly-kits!

with a little over a week after bringing it home, i finally brought it out and started my garden-which happens to be about a 1 ft block of fungi goodness...although not too appetizing at first.

the plastic bag acted as a great miniature damp environment-perfect for the babies to start growing. i kept my "shroom bag" on top of the fridge where i could check on it everyday (too much moisture creates the blue-green-grey fungus, otherwise known as "no es bueno") and it was a great topic of conversation to people visiting.
nothing really happened the first few weeks, and honestly i was starting to think that i had a dud, when all of a sudden-little shiitake bumps started to form!

(week 2)

(week 3)

literally within the week, those "bumps" grew into a dozen shiitake shrooms that i harvested and put into a paper bag so they wouldnt get moldy.

i tried to start another batch right after but i guess the shiitake gods where finished with me and the "no es bueno" gods infested my kit and i had to say don't want to mess with them!

(see that blue-green stuff? time to go bye-bye)

with the dozen or so mushrooms, i ended up making this incredible soup, which was kind of like a super-sized miso soup with all the fixin's (very similar to my Sick Soup recipe) and it was INCREDIBLE!

i did eat the mushrooms first before anyone else-heck it was my first mushroom experience and i didnt want to poison anyone!  but i am now totally into growing my own and will be doing this a lot more!

Friday, September 24, 2010

the new, slightly bigger apartment homestead

(one of my niece Nicole's pieces and a photo my father took of me-happy baby!)
the nice thing about moving: everything is nice and "orderly", a feeling of starting over, total inspiration everywhere you turn, a reason to have people over...
the bad thing about moving: being behind on everything else that DOESNT have to do with the move-like blogging for starters...

yes it is quite apparent that i have taken a quasi-break from writing-i actually have several snippets of posts, but i havent managed to hit the "publish" button for a few weeks. the new place has literally zapped some much needed blogging time, along with some other things that i will be sharing over the next week-i am now back in the game as they say.

(before: living and bedroom)

(after: living room)

(before: kitchen)

(after: this is the first thing people compliment on-the fact that more than 3 people can be in here at the same time!)

without a doubt, i absolutely LOVE our new place, just across the way in another 100 year-old farmhouse. unlike our last place, it is about double the size and only a few steps up instead of 20...great for moving!
i have finally situated the last of our things-the larger space has given us many bonuses but also some challenges that on a budget of extreme proportions has come out quite nicely.
i will be taking the next few months to talk about cheap solutions to challenges (like my soda crate light) in the new place as well as the new garden and food projects that are already happening.

(Sweet Pea testing out the new bedroom-yep, it's comfy)

(after many years, i finally get to use my father's desk-my fave spot in the house)

one of the best things about the move however was that our apartment has become this sort of "hangout" for our little neighborhood. almost every day, we will have spontaneous visits from friends & neighbors for dinner, cocktails and on certain nights, really bad TV-moving has really brought our little community together.  we also receive a number of compliments from the neighbors on the "life" in the area-something as simple as plants and happy curtains have made a difference and encouraged interest in starting gardens...can't wait to see what happens next!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

cheap lights: soda crate lamp

a bigger place means some more room and unfortunately more things.  i am really trying to make it be as little and as cheap as possible though, limiting it to the things we REALLY need.-i am going to post over the next 2 months of solutions and projects that i have been working on that tries to accomplish these things.

one of the first things i noticed we needed was lighting in the living room, it has a dark corner and unlike our previous place, no ceiling lights, so we will need some sort of lighting solution to have proper light during the evening.
at first i was going to buy a few of those paper lanterns from IKEA, but . however, will searching the site GreenUpGrader, i saw this post on furniture from old shopping carts which got me thinking...

(furniture from Shelton Davis via GreenUpGrader)

i few weeks ago, i wrote about the Pop Shoppe bottles that we had. well,  i also had a bright red plastic crate that some of them came in-what a cute lamp that would be right!  then i remembered that several months ago i saved an image (i forgot where-sorry!) of this sweet light:

so now i know EXACTLY what i want to do!

-first thing was to was salvage the crate-it was very dirty and needed a little TLC.
-now the light part...again IKEA to the rescue.  they have these great light attachments that are really made for the paper lanterns, but i brought the crate in one evening and checked it out-and it fits! 
- i think the hardest part of this project was figuring out the how to make it balance without looking all rickety  and cheap...i want it to look sturdy not junky. while looking through some things from the move, i realized that i had this awesome little kit from-yes-IKEA, that was filled with little do-dads for speaker wires, home entertainment organizing (PS: this is a mist-have staple for any home).

(this +)
(this equals...)

-a couple ties and secures, proper hanging with the help of friends in the perfect dark corner and BAM!

total cost= $5