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Showing posts from February, 2012

My first food swap

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Today I went to a food swap in Troy. I am sure from my own experience organizing a cookie exchange that getting that all organized is not as easy as it looks. I got a New York state cookie cutter at The Hungry Fish Cafe this weekend and decided to make a speculoo cookie recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Check out what I made, and I'll mention what I got for it!



Check out the packaging I made and the signs for my table display:





There were over 40 people there at the Oakwood Community Center in Troy. It was super fun. You can't believe the creativity and skill people show in what they come up with to make. I did notice that the people who made alcoholic things were most popular. It seems like if you made infused vodka you get to choose between all the canned tomatoes. Also, I could not have expected that there would be so many vegans! It was weird that it kind of felt like speed dating or a high school popularity contest. The girl who made the beer was basic…

Taking Allergies Seriously

We always look forward to a trip to the superb Ala Shanghai, in Latham. We're not alone in thinking it's one of the best restaurants in the area. Unfortunately, despite repeated requests something in our dinner last night triggered my allergic reaction to nuts. (Based on timing, I'm almost certain it was something in the steamed spicy wontons, whether a carelessly cleaned pan, a stray nut in the sauce, or perhaps some peanut butter used as a binding agent -- common in vegetarian dumplings, so I always take extra care to ask before ordering.) I thought it was minor, since I was merely uncomfortable for the next hour -- sometimes a very small quantity of a nut product will make itself known without triggering a full-scale reaction. But after I got home, my already-swollen lower lip had attained Mick Jagger proportions, and then it took me several tries to even swallow a Benadryl. Choking to death not being the way I want to go, a trip to the emergency room was nec…

The Hungry Fish Cafe, Wynantskill

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I always look forward to President's Day because that means I usually get the Monday off after my birthday. This year, however, I am auditing a class at the conservation lab, so I ended up going into work anyway (it is a floating holiday for us). It is a fun class because I get to hear about all kinds of art related gossip, like how the people at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge put paintings where the pastry chef ended up burning them with his setting the cherries jubilee on fire. The conservators told them not to put the paintings near any food, so they put them above the boiling water of the coffee station, and five years later had to pay to get them fixed all over again. Also, The Clark's Bourgereau is getting conserved and every time we go it is a little different looking as the yellowed varnish gets removed gradually. Anyways, this class is making me tired as two days a week I get home at about 10:00 at night so I took today off.


We had originally sampled some food from t…

Art history sandwiches

 I have previously made art history cookies. I even mentioned to my boss about making art history inspired cake pops for when our new director starts (she suggested something more like this).

But now, check out these art history sandwiches!

Very cool.

Parties where you sell things

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Sometimes my boss and I sit around and try to come up with ways to make more money. Yesterday we thought Etsy was a good idea. Today we started talking about all these parties you can have where you sell things. I never knew about half of these.


Pampered ChefTastefully SimpleEven Dove ChocolatesThere are custom handbags.  (Made nearby in Troy)And the idea that started them all: Tupperware.The only one that actually seems like a good idea to me is Avon, because that is actually not a party and just a catalog. Still, there is something a little wrong about "Hi, I'm your friend - buy some eyeliner?!" Anyone have any thoughts on these? Does anyone actually make money or is it all a way for these companies to infiltrate your social circles and make your friends guilted into buying things from you?

TWD, Baking with Julia: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets

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As part of Tuesdays with Dorie using the book Baking with Julia, I made the chocolate truffle tartlets. Check out the full recipe here. I am going to start out by saying I did not find this recipe easy. I do feel like I knew a thing or two about pie crust, but I also learned more in trying this recipe (you've got to be careful and don't overwork it or force it too much!). One thing I have really enjoyed about this exercise it that I am encouraged to try recipes I might not normally try. But not only were these tartlets very laborious, but also expensive if you go for the Ghirardelli chocolate and if you buy the biscotti. They are also incredibly rich for regular consumption - but I think for a dinner party these would be amazing. If you had people coming over, it probably wouldn't matter so much about expensive ingredients or time consuming cooking techniques.

First, the dough! Dutch process cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, then chopped up pieces o…

Birthday at The Melting Pot

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Going out for my 30th birthday first started out with the question of what to wear. I took the approach that I learned worked best for my bachelorette party and showed up at Marshall's looking to spend about $20 and find something appropriate. I was looking for something that said "Hey, I am here to have fun, but I know it is not 21 that I am turning!" After finding that and checking out, I ran into Albany celebrity Erin Harkes who sang our first dance at our wedding. She is a great woman. I couldn't love her more. Anyways, here I model my 30th birthday party outfit for you:



Those heels I have only wore before down the aisle of my friend's wedding (we switched to flip flops not long after) and to my bachelorette party. Living in NYC for almost 5 years ballet flats became my go to for everything, but this seemed like an occasion for heels! Unfortunately, walking around Crossgates Mall in high heels turned out to be less than ideal. I did buy some great things with…

Happy Birthday to Me

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Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. I haven't thought about it too much, except when I heard this Tim McGraw song on the radio the other day (eating more salads, getting more sleep, laughing more - all good ideas for older people) . I feel a bit like with my wedding where my sister kept saying "Are you nervous?" and I kept saying no for months before, and then 10 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start, and I started saying "I'm getting married in 10 minutes?!!". My sister said "You are freaking out now?!"


 Part of it not meaning much to me has been that I have sort of felt old ever since I got a full-time job in an office. I bet people who work in bars, the music industry, or waiting tables don't feel old nearly as early as someone who has to figure out what blazer goes with which pencil skirt and boots. On the other hand, I still almost always get carded for alcohol, and being married to someone 10 years older than me makes it so for all…

The way to a woman's heart is through her stomach

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Back when I first moved in with my husband I baked him a cake. I went to the store to buy some baking powder, and the woman behind me didn't approve of the brand I was buying. I said my boyfriend was teaching me how to cook, and that I had actually never made a cake before. She said it should have been the other way around - that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Well, the opposite was true, and I didn't eat much of anything before I met him (well, this). This weekend, while doing some Valentine's Day baking I finally got to the end of that can of baking powder (if you want to lecture me about it not being fresh after 3 years, well go ahead). I got to thinking about food in our relationship.

We met in a diner where I'd pressure him to order milkshakes, and he'd try to talk me into eating some of his fries. I baked him a quiche. There was no air conditioning and there was a hot and sticky black leather futon. We spent a lot of time at a wine bar in…

Valentine's Day Gifts

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I'm no good at waiting for gifts, and Scott's present would have been a lot more expensive to arrive on Valentine's Day. What is funny is that I talked about heart shaped whoopie pies in this post and that seemed to have given a hint. Before I get into all that, let me just say I love this blog, and check out her Valentine's jello mold. Here are some ideas from some museums that are and are not that great. And here are some other artsy, and pretty good ideas (suggesting  macarons and Macallan shows a good current understanding of the tastes of different genders, or at least in this couple).

Without further ado, when I woke up this morning I was making coffee and Scott pretended to have to go get the recycling bin to put magazines in (he did say he was going to clean up the living room this weekend). He came back with a huge box. What could that be I wondered?





They were featured in the New York Times. Martha Stewart said "These are the best whoopie pies I've e…