Try A New Thing And Live In Zealous Ebbs.

try a new thing and live in zealous ebbs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

pastries with gram. 18.

Oh hi!

Have you noticed how when you live in a city you never end up seeing the touristy things because well, you LIVE there so why tour around our own city, right? I find the same to be true with having a mom who can cook really well, a tailor that hems pants just right, and a trusty mechanic that never cheats you and just changes the oil without adding extra stuff on at the end. Why learn/deal with/bother with things that other people are better at? Well, because they might not always be there, and it's fun to learn how to do things for yourself. It's even MORE fun when you learn them from an expert.

That was all very convoluted.

Today's TANTALIZE was baking some of my favorite pastries with my ninety (more than ninety??) year old Gram at her house this morning/afternoon. I guess what I was trying to get at was that for almost 30 years I've never bothered to learn because, well, she's the expert. But what an awesome chance to spend a lot of time one-on-one with my Gram, learning how to make this pastry from scratch (dough and all). I walked in, she handed me a sassy apron, and we got going, no recipe to read from (of course). We made five loaves in total, and I got to "do" everything on the last roll. I'd watch four times, and then try once. Getting to feel the dough and measure steps along the way.

It was obvious which lump of dough was mine, I couldn't get it into a perfect little ball to roll it out like she did...she showed me the trick again, making my left hand into a cup shape and then pressing the dough away from me with my right as it got rolled around in the flour. And everyone that says exact measurements in baking matter, I call bullshit. Maybe it's true for people under the age of 90, but once you reach 90 it doesn't really matter if the cups of flour are perfect, a pinch of salt is actually a pinch, and you add enough seltzer to the batter "until it looks right and you'll just know".  How do you know how much to roll it out so that it's the same length as the pan? "You'll just know." You'll just know indeed. When you're 90. I guess I should start practicing.

Even though my roll-up started to come apart a little in the oven (thanks, roll-up, I thought you were on my side. Way to throw me under the bus...), my Gram said that I did a great job and it's not a perfect shape but damn, does it taste good. I've also never had them straight out of the oven before. Usually they're at least a day or two old and the texture it totally different.

walnut, cocoa, and poppy filling. egg yolks into the dry ingredients.

finished dough

"pricking" the dough to insure proper cooking

Gram is quite popular and fielded several phone calls during the process


huzzah! perfect!

me and Gram in our sassy aprons

How did you TANTALIZE today?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

jameson's hands. 17.

Oh hi!

Perhaps a daily TANTALIZE was too lofty of a goal. I will continue to strive for that though, because it sure was a nice thing to look forward to. Well, I mean, it's hard to look forward to something you've never done before but it was fun looking forward to finding out what new thing I was going to try. At least for me. Anyway.

This evening I got to TANTALIZE in a fun artistic way. I had the pleasure of working with the Noah Ginex Puppet Company (which, I'll admit, I've done before) in the roll of Jameson's piano playing hands. This is a role I've never done and it was my first time running the hands of a puppet pretending to play a little toy piano.

I, like a moron, forgot to bring my camera. So I grabbed a screen shot from a video of Jameson. He's very cute and mild mannered. I enjoyed bringing his hands to life.

jameson is nice and has a great singing voice

How did you TANTALIZE today?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

crazy chocolate cake. 16.

Oh hi!
So, after last night's band gig, our fearless bass player Joe comes up to me and hands me a little brown box. "Shakey feelies??" I said as I started to do so. "I guess," he said, "though you might get it all over the place." WHAT'S IN THIS LITTLE BOX?! Well, turns out that not only is Joe an incredible bass player with a killer ear for arranging, an adorable wife and a crazy hilarious cute-as-hell dog (and cats which I'm yet to meet) but he also BRINGS YOU CHOCOLATE CAKE FOR NO REASON.

Apparently, a bakery near his house is going out of business (WHY?!) and he went in and got some cake to bring to people. The little box contained a large cupcake sized triple chocolate cake like thing that I'm TRYING to save some for Billy to try when he gets home from rehearsal but I can't make any promises. Ok ok. I won't eat the whole thing by myself. That'd be silly. ::wipes chocolate off of the keyboard::

So, today's TANTALIZE was tasting a crazy awesome piece of cake brought to me by the crazy awesome Joe.

I also did a second new thing today, which was to video tape Bodhi's service. I'd never run the camera before, and it was a fun way to be involved with the service this morning. And boy, was it an amazing one.

crazy eyes for crazy cake

How did you TANTALIZE today?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

music outdoors. 15.

Oh hi!
Oh my. Almost an entire week. TANTALIZE fail. No wonder I've been feeling down in the dumps.

Well, today's TANTALIZE was that I got to play outdoors (completely outdoors, no tent/barn/shelter/shell/etc.) with my band Left Turn At Albuquerque. I've played in ALMOST outdoor settings, but never totally out there, under a tree, on a little stage.
Playing out with those guys always makes me feel good, even if the audiences are sparse, or a huge group of Northwestern University freshmen, or non-existent. Tonight it went from sparse, to a huge group of Northwestern University freshmen, and then while it wasn't non-existent (there was the occasional dancing child, which, honestly, is pretty great when that happens) there weren't too many people there by the end of the night. Well, there were mosquitoes, but they're not people. They eat people.

Either way, it was really cool to reclaim the Evanston beach front for myself (long story) and play some music alongside two awesome guys with the full moon rising behind us.

goodnight, moon

Someday we'll play to a sea of thousands. Maybe at the Riv or when I make 50 million dollars and re-open the Uptown Theatre. Or the alien space ship crash site at Millennium Park. But, for now, I'll have to settle for some very playful dogs, a few happy children, bicyclists that stop to listen, our couple of die hard fans (family), and the moon. Could be worse.

How did you TANTALIZE today?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

painted ceilings. 14.

Oh hi!

Today I did some service with my beloved Bodhi Spiritual Center working at the soon to be new home base. My TANTALIZE was that I painted a ceiling! Three of them! I've painted a million walls, but never a ceiling. It was...drippy.

I also made home made mac and cheese for Billy, and though I have a few changes I'd like to make to the recipe, it turned out pretty darn good for my first try.

I'm going to see if I can snag a photo or two from the people taking them this afternoon. Otherwise, you'll just have to imagine me in an oversized t-shirt, a pair of jeans that I should stop wearing in public so I purposely made them my paintin' jeans, a splat of white paint in my hair (very "Bride of Frankenstein"), and a big smile on my face.

How did you TANTALIZE today?  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

bulgarian crackers. 13.

Oh hi!

I did NOTHING new yesterday. Fail. Moving on.

So today my TANTALIZE involved Google Translate and a few dozen websites to find out what in the world I was actually eating. Today, for the first time, I tasted "crunch biscuits" (a rough translation), "flavored with vanilla and milk". I thought the language on the package was Russian, but when I translated that it turned into a mess of Cyrillic letters and the words "hell" and "flavor". Hmmm...they didn't taste like hell, so I kept searching.

They were better with coffee. They'd probably be WAY better dipped in chocolate.

Not all days can be a ten on the risk scale, friendos.

harvest time has crazy stuff in the cookie aisle

How did you TANTALIZE today?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

first day of school. 12.

Oh hi!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, YA'LL!! (for the Cutest Cutes anyway...pre- and pre-pre school) The BoyCute 4 year old was going to his second year of pre-school and the GirlCute 2 year old was in her first alone-for-a-few-hours class EVER! Woo hoo! There was a little bit of crying, though mostly I think it had to do with the fact that OTHER kids were crying and they all just play copy-cry...but GUYS! TANTALIZE time! It was the first time that I've ever brought kids to their first day of school that weren't in my own family.

Their mother came with, and the BoyCute old was fine, went into the classroom with no problems. The usually incredibly social and talkative GirlCute lost her smile, wouldn't say a word, and was clingy with her mom for a good ten minutes. I suggested that she (Mom) wait in the hall and I'd stay with GirlCute for a few minutes and get her distracted. While she was clingy with me for a few minutes, as soon as I introduced her to the painting set (and her in her white dress, of course), she was distracted and I slipped out the door.
When I went to pick her up, she ran out and gave me the biggest leg hug I've ever gotten from her and chattered about that she'd had a great time and her new friends are very nice and she played some sort of beaver game. I have no idea what that means but I'm assuming it's innocent and apparently she's excited to do it again on Friday. BoyCute had a nice day as well, greeting me with a request for lemonade and was sweating from running around on the playground with a sweater vest on (why he didn't just take it off I have no idea).

We had traditions when I was growing up on the first day of school that involved taking a mug shot (photo) in front of a painting of our house in the front hallway. Every year we'd look back and along with seeing our various fashion faux pas, we also got to see how we'd grown or what year we got a new back pack or whatever. I got to take a photo with the Cutes on their front step (even though they were a little nervous and not smiling as much as usual) and I must say, some days are longer than others, and sometimes I get down on myself thinking "why am I cleaning a playroom with an MFA under my belt", but more often than not it's a pretty sweet job...and I hope I get to take another photo with them next year.

do i need to tickle monster you guys to get'cha to smile??

BoyCute happy. GirlCute nervous.

How did you TANTALIZE today?