Monday, July 30, 2012

As American As Apple Pie

Since 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year, N and I decided to do a bunch of random things like try out this apple pie recipe borrowed from a friend.  And because I have extremely strange ideas about things, what is more American than an apple pie decorated with an American flag design?

This pie was totally from scratch.  Homemade pie crust and apples grown in the garden!  And I cut those stars by hand because we didn't have any cookie cutters.  When I have ideas, I go to extremes to execute them, haha.

P.S. I taxed my GIMP-ing skills so much by trying to make this simple collage even though I usually collage things in Picasa.

The recipe! (As notated by the friend)
Needs 6-7 cups of cored peeled apples

Put the following into a bowl
2 c flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 c (maybe a little less) shortening

Cut the shortening into the flour with a fork. The goal here is to leave pea sized chunks of shortening (not fully incorporating the shortening leads to a flakier crust)
Mix 5 1/2 tbsp of cold water in 1/4 c flour and add to the above
Form into a ball and wrap in plastic. The less you handle it, the less your body heat melts the shortening, and the flakier the crust is. Chill for half an hour.
To roll  out the dough, place 2/3 or so on a floured surface (the rest will be used for lattice). Roll until larger than the pie tin so that you have some dough hanging over to make fancy edges. Fold in half and then in half again to transfer to the tin.
Put in filling.
Roll out and cut the lattice strips.
Finish by dotting with butter
Cook on 400 for 45 minutes.

Apple pie filling
Combine 1-2 tsp lemon juice, lemon zest (optional), 2/3-3/4 c sugar, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp little pieces of butter
Peel, core, slice apples
Layer pie with half of the apples with the sharp edges in so they don't poke holes in the crust
Pour on half of mixture
Layer other half of apples
Pour on top rest of mixture

Friday, July 27, 2012

Venus of Transit

 As I may have mentioned before, I am especially privy to strange astronomical events.  We headed out to a more remote viewing location in Boulevard out on the 8 to try and avoid any marine layer closer to the ocean.  I must say, it is pretty inspiring to witness what is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.  This was the June 5th transit, and it won't happen again until the year 2117, isn't that crazy?

One of the guys from the San Diego Astronomical Association had a really cool rear projection set up on his telescope (fitted with a sun lens).

That teeny black dot is the planet Venus moving across the disk of the sun.  If you look closely, you can also see some other small black dots; those are sun spots.

Oh and the title of this post is a nod to my apparent inability to say phrases of words in their correct order.  I also have problems with common phrases and idioms.  It's not actually a real thing, just an idiosyncrasy of mine, I guess :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Egg Drop Soup

This was pretty tasty and pretty easy.  Well, pretty easy after the first mishap.  The first time, we didn't stir the soup before dripping in the egg so we just got giant clumps of poached egg in the bottom of the pot.  The second time (pictured) I added more water to the egg to get a runnier consistency and it turned out!  Plus, we stirred the soup up so that it was actually moving a bit when I dropped the egg in.  Egg drop soup always reminds me of this Chinese soup dish that I always ask my mom to make for me with some crazy leafy vegetable that only my grandma knows where to buy!  We topped off the dish with some thin rice noodles, and it was a pretty balanced meal considering my..limitations.  This was when I was not quite up to eating solid foods after getting my wisdom teeth out so we opted for the softest and most liquid foods we could find.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Annular Solar Eclipse

 We were fortunate that San Diego had a pretty good view of the annular solar eclipse from May 20, 2012.  An annular eclipse is when the apparent diameter of the moon is not large enough to completely block out the sun.  See?  These are the kinds of things you learn when you date an astrophysicist.

This was a really cool hydrogen alpha telescope that is used only for sun viewing and shows emissions in that bright red.  You could actually see all the solar flares coming off the surface of the sun.

This was a really cool set-up where they projected the image onto a piece of cardboard behind the eyepiece.  The round shadow is where the moon is blocking out the light from the sun.  And if you look really closely you can see that little black speck in the left picture that is actually a sun spot! The picture on the right shows the most that the moon covered the sun during the eclipse.

 And N and I planned ahead with some mango lemonade, London broil sandwiches, and a crossword.  We, however, did not think to pack any chairs since the nature preserve did not really have any benches or anywhere to sit.

All in all, pretty neat event that doesn't come around too often.  Too bad the next total eclipse is only going to be visible in Australia.

P.S. It's Moon Day today!  At least according to some extremely questionable sources a.k.a. my roommate and some website she found.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hopping on the Bunting Trend

 I guess I can't avoid hopping on some of the most popular trends on Craftgawker (there are 113 projects/tutorials on Craftgawker alone!).  Case in point, bunting on everything!

Obviously I'm not terribly original as I've duplicated the same craft twice, but that's basically two different crafts, right?  The little succulent was for N successfully advancing his candidacy towards his Ph.D!

And this little coffee cake bought at the local coffee shop was for a lab mate who finished her master's defense!

The top bunting was made with yarn, skewers pilfered from a fondue event, and construction paper and glue.  The glue didn't hold up very well after a day or so.
The bottom bunting was made with yarn, skewers, and "label tape" that we use at the lab for labeling glassware and other things. The ever-popular washi tape would probably be better here, but I craft last minute, ok? I bought the cake and made the bunting about an hour before her defense started.

I guess the bunting trifecta will only be complete once I make some fabric bunting.  I do have some bare walls to decorate...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Animals Acting Weird

This must be the weirdest animal thing that I have seen in a long time.  It might be a little hard to tell but the lizard on the right is biting the head of the lizard on the left.  I have a feeling that they were both dead since I got close enough to snap this picture with my 2mp cell phone camera.  I am still completely baffled by this.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Smitten Kitchen's Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

Yum, these amazing garlic butter roasted mushrooms by Smitten Kitchen were seriously easy and so delicious.  We served them up over rice and with baked breaded chicken.  I seriously spend so much time drooling over yummy recipes at SK, but sometimes they are a little bit too gourmet and take a lot of effort to make. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Aloha Kitty!

A deceptively difficult project despite the fairly easy pattern.  I thought I'd try my hand at some faux-intarsia (faux in that I just kind of made it up as I went based on how I thought it would look) in order to make a classically seal point-marked Siamese.  I think that hers turned out really cute, but somehow, mine turned out with a huuuge head.  And that grass skirt, so tedious!  Still, I think it is a great pattern that I may have to make again.