Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stuffed acorn squash

Last night we had a bit of a pre-Thanksgiving meal: stuffed acorn squash, courtesy of Alton Brown (we skipped the pork though).

My god, were the tops hard to cut off. I think it took me 20 minutes to saw them off and scoop out the seeds.

Here's the stuffing, pre-mixed.

Out of the oven, after an hour of baking at 400 degrees.

We bought a few sides at Whole Foods to accompany it, but we did not need them at all. This thing is a meal in itself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

San Pellegrino appreciation

Lately I have been drinking a lot of San Pellegrino, specifically their aranciata. In addition to simply liking the drink, the package design is pretty appealing too. I'm kind of a sucker for good packaging--sometimes I'll find myself wanting to buy things at the grocery store simply because I like the design on the label. And then of course I want to save the label, and I end up with a lot of clutter. But I digress.

One thing I don't quite understand about the package is the foil over the top. Other than protecting the top of the can from dust and dirt, I can't really imagine any practical application. It looks good though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sweet potato biscuits

Last week I made these sweet potato biscuits, and they were as delicious as they sound.

They weren't quite as fluffy as I was expecting, though they were nice and flaky. I don't know whether the mashed sweet potato made it denser, or if it was something I did. Either way they were pretty tasty. I'm going to make them again this week—perfect for Thanksgiving.

The recipe can be found here.

P.S. I just made them again last night. I tried making the biscuits thicker from the outset and that seemed to do the trick. They were still a bit dense but not as flat. Either way they were a definite success.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vintage wooden crate as planter

Well, the days have really been getting away from me. The apartment is slowly coming together. Very slowly. After one or two more days of serious cleaning (and the purchase of a few more storage items--ugh) I think it'll be at the point where I wouldn't be embarrassed to invite someone over.

Anyway...last week I learned of a store called Pretty Funny Vintage, in Tarrytown, NY, which is about 20 minutes away from me. From the photos on their website it looked like there was a ton of great stuff in the store, and I had Wednesday afternoon off due to a work-related conference, so I decided to check it out.

I discovered that while the store does have an incredible array of vintage offerings, particularly of the weathered/industrial variety that I love so much, it is also incredibly expensive. Most of the time I found myself gasping first at a particular item's awesomeness, and then gasping at the price. I did walk away with one thing: an old wooden cream cheese crate.

There was a whole display of these identical crates, and upon closer look it seems as though someone was using them at one time for hardware storage (hence the knob drilled into the side and label stapled in).

I had two uses for it in mind: to store recipes, or to use as a planter for various herbs (drilling a few holes in the bottom for drainage). I ultimately decided that it was a little too narrow for recipe cards, and then as I was staring at my windowsill I had the thought that these little succulents would look very nice inside of it. The next day I took an after-work shopping trip to Sprout Home and picked up a few more. I need to procure some stones for the bottom to elevate them a bit so you can actually see them over the top of the box. But overall I really like the way they look together.

I'm not quite satisfied with the arrangement in the kitchen windowsill just yet, as it's a bit cluttered, but I like the crate juxtaposed with the bottles. A shelf for some of my various pitchers and other ceramic objects should solve this dilemma.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A tour of the signage in Woodlawn

Saturday afternoon Dave and I took a short walk on the two main streets in our neighborhood: Katonah Ave and McLean Ave (the latter is technically in Yonkers, but it's more or less a continuation of the same neighborhood). The majority of local businesses are Irish pubs and restaurants, which is all well and good if you like Guinness and boiled bacon (sorry to say, I enjoy neither), but there are a few bakeries, restaurants, and delis that caught my eye. All told, it's not a particularly glamorous place, but it has its charms, and there's an abundance of great, old signs and lettering, on storefronts that look as though they've gone unchanged for decades. Here's a sampling:

Anna, I think I'll be dropping in on you soon...

I love that we have a chemist, not a pharmacy.

The lettering casts such great shadows in this storefront.

I don't believe I've ever seen a shop that specializes in hearing aids. The neon sign is particularly great.

On the way back home I noticed these bird footprints in the concrete, which I find totally adorable. It was a good walk.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Penguin Halloween party 2009

Some companies throw a big holiday party at the end of the year. Not Penguin. We like to mix it up with a company-wide Halloween party, and my department is on the host floor so we're kind of in the thick of it. It's kind of funny to wander down to other floors where people are quietly working, while upstairs the lights are out and people are getting wasted while wearing silly costumes.

Many of the departments decorate around a theme, and it's always fun to wander around to see what people have come up with using the color printer, foam core, and other DIY materials. This year we did "under the sea," and after talking up the idea of a shipwreck so much, I was tasked with seeing it through to reality. In the end I don't think I did such a bad job, though I can't take credit for the best parts, as they weren't my ideas: the fish in the porthole, and naming it after a competitor (sorry Bantam, the name just screams old oceanliner, if you think about it).

My boss made this giant sea turtle, and I really hated to take it down. One of our publicists rescued it and hung it in her office before we could throw it in a dumpster.

Promo art's theme was The Book of Bunny Suicides, and I have to say, this giant bunny blender was a bit of genius. All the photos were taken this morning, as I forgot my camera on Friday, but last week there were bits of fake fur and red and white pieces of foam core strewn all over the floor behind it. Gross, sure, but in such an awesome way.

Monday, November 2, 2009

One man's trash...

As promised, here are the items that I picked up while exploring the beach at Brooklyn's Dead Horse Bay last month.

In my last apartment I'd placed a few seashells and rocks in the bathroom window. This time around the bathroom window ledge features a collection of beach detritus of a different sort: what I believe to be an old perfume bottle, pill bottle, tea pot spout, ceramic plate shard, and the bottom of a Noxzema jar.

While it would have been better to find the whole thing, the thick, smoothed bottom of this cobalt glass Noxzema jar seemed like a great find to me. I like the raised lettering with giant "Z".

And again, though an entire teapot would have been incredible, there's something about just having the spout, with its gold details, that's kind of intriguing--you wonder what the whole thing used to look like. Same with the bit of broken plate. I love the cracks in the porcelain.

One of the two whole items I picked up--it looks to me like an old perfume bottle, sans lid. I like the ridges in the glass.

All in all, not a bad collection of stuff for one visit to the beach. It kind of makes me want to go back to see what else gets washed ashore.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Boxes boxes boxes

Still hard at work on getting set up in the apartment. Some real progress has been made this weekend (for instance, finding the missing camera cord!), but it still seems like it'll be awhile before we can sit back and relax.

I've been feeling a bit swallowed by all the boxes lately, but thankfully they'll be gone soon. We'd been piling them up in the living room as we unpacked them, for eventual cutting down into LP-sized squares for mailing purposes. Believe it or not, there's actually a chair and a record cabinet under there.

(I'm happy to report that as I type, the boxes are diminishing into small piles, soon to be stored away until the next round of eBay sales.)