Thursday, July 30, 2009

citizens of Atlanta, untie!

Throw off the shackles of corporate chain restaurant PR! Shake your fist at that lame bar in VaHighlands whose owner happens to have a lot of friends! Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of VOTING.

Tomorrow, being Friday, the 31st of July, will be the last day to vote in Creative Loafing's Best Of Atlanta 2009! You should care about this because I really can't stand to live here anymore if my fellow citizens vote for fucking Outback Steakhouse again because some of my friends maybe have a decent shot at winning things because it's your community, copatriots! And yes, you already support your favorite local establishments with your hard- and/or barely-earned dollars, but probably those proprietors & creators don't drag their asses into that restaurant/pub/club/shop/bar/theater/studio every day just for your dollars. Probably they also need affection. Appreciation. Sweet, soft luvins. (And your dollars.) (Except for Dave Blanchard, Mike Gallagher, and Tom Moore. They're some kind of success robots.)

The voting form is actually completely nifty... you can submit your answers, and then (assuming you've entered your email address correctly) come back later to change them/submit more. This is helpful if, like me, you find it mildly impossible to remember the names of the places you go every week off the top of your head.

I'm not gonna tell you who all I voted for or who you should vote for, but you can (in general!) assume that I pimped the holy cats out of the nice people listed on my linky sidebar under "Local", and that I think you're a lamer if you didn't do the same. But hey, I don't know your life! You go vote for whoever & whatever you want.

p.s. Does anyone else always read "unite" as "untie" and kind of prefer the nonsensicalness of the latter?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

the littlest zombie

Things that maybe you're not thinking about when you're trying to make a relatively healthy banana bread-based, raspberry-filled, red crab-themed birthday cake for your just-turned-one-year-old daughter to have a traditional cakeSMASH photo-op with:

  • Red food coloring is incredibly insidious for something that's water soluble. Sure it'll wash off, but first it will get everywhere.

  • Banana bread has a sort of lumpy, spongey texture. Like zombie-flick flesh.

  • Crushed raspberries have a definitely lumpy, clumpy texture. Like zombie-flick brains.

  • Giving your generally low-sugar'd child free reign to eat cake is like giving a tiny lady who doesn't drink often a pint of hunch punch: drunkenness will ensue.

  • If Lauren is the photographer, she'll think the carnage is hilarious.

From Aurora's First Birthday Party

Glad I could be part of your bash, Aurora. Happy birthday! And congratulations to your mom & dad for making it through your first year with their brains intact.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

side effects may include cute

I think I've mentioned that I work as a copyeditor for a medical journal? Yes. So sometimes (mostly when I'm bored, which is mostly a lot) I read a lot of medical periodicals. It's a strange sort of self-educational roulette for the squeamish (ie, me). I think overall I'd prefer a job where I have a <50% chance of randomly tripping over a photograph of necrotizing tissue, but the whee-science stories are worth the risk of the totally gross ones.

Ph34r my stalwart dedication to technical medical language.

Things that make all those close-ups of advanced scleroderma worthwhile include the story I found in my Inbox this morning that I will now share with you. Folks, this is BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS:


I forgive you all your wrongs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and would totally ask you out if you weren't an inanimate object.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

family photos

I was That Yearbook Staffer in high school. With the old analog Canon AE-1, the free access to as much film & developing as I could use, and the resulting paparazzi tendencies. I've cut back since then, for the general good of my bank account, the betterment of my conversation skills (it's hard to carry on witty repartee when you're trying to be a silent & invisible photoninja), and the protection of the not-so-innocent, except for on special occasions. Like y'know when my best friends have babies.

I might not get the film developed for 8 months, though.

Happy 8th month in the world, little Moose. Miss you & your big brother & parents -- hope I'll see you all again soon!

From family nouveau

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

go Team Girl

Life is being all contrary right now which means less writing around here, but haylookit: My dearest ladyfriend Maria is trying to pack for BlogHer (I'm either jealous of or terrified for her), so she asked me to guestblog over at Mommy Melee today!

She has, like, a readership. Of grown-ass, possibly responsible adults. And I wrote about some t-shirts I kinda want. Hiiiii.

It's weird! I've known Maria since... for a long time? Since mid-college. Mostly when I think of her, the top of my brain is still filled with visions of tequila shots and 80s nights at Market Street Pub, of so much awful André and Jesus Christ Superstar, of playing Halo until 4 in the morning and roadtripping to anime conventions and continually losing games that involve karaoke.

And we still dabble in most of those things when I visit her & her family in Florida (though we spring for slightly better sparkling wine during our schmoopy JCS screenings). But from underneath my memories of all that, it always bubbles up in my mind that these days, Maria has shaped herself a career out of freelance writing and design, and of loving her two ridiculously photogenic & funny boys and husband, and of having some sixteen-hundred people be really fascinated by all her Tweets, apparently.

I'm so proud of her.

Kick social butt in Chicago, Marialady. And if anyone from Project Runway doesn't appreciate your bowling chic, don't worry, I'll be there in spirit to sneak up behind them like the pinkest, sparkliest ninja there ever has been and stick plamsa grenades to the backs of their heads for you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

recipe: tree-candy crumble

Summer = tree-candy. Every time I eat a piece of fresh, seasonal fruit, I'm a little stunned by how completely awesome it is, in non-Ninja Turtle senses of the word that I don't generally utilize. I like fruit best raw & straight, but acknowledge that nearly everything is more rad when a stick of butter is involved. And since I'm the unofficial dessert chef for my friends' movie days, the result of all of the above is that I make a lot of crumbles around this time of year. They're simple & quick to toss together while everyone, for example, perfects a St. Germain cocktail recipe or watches The Amazing Screw-On Head, they're adaptable to any tastes and whims, and they feel fresh and light for being such a comforty food, which makes them perfect on hot summer days.

My hero Deb posted a crumble recipe awhile back (hers was strawberry-rhubarb), and it's far superior to all other crumble recipes I've tried, yielding a perfectly tender, moist, crispy crumb that's just-sweet-enough. You can put any kind of fruits you please under it, but I've had particular success so far with rhubarb-mango and raspberry-blueberry-lime. For best results, use whatever is Nature's current equivalent of Hot-Fresh-Now in your area.

Tree-Candy Crumble
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yields 4 to 8 servings depending on deliciosity and whether you're serving boys.


1 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Zest of one lemon (or lime, or 1/2 of an orange)
Pinch of salt (if you like salty baked goods)

3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. brown sugar (or demerara sugar, or turbinado/Sugar in the Raw)
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (aka 1/4 lb. or 4 oz.)

Juice of 1 lemon (or lime, or 1/2 of an orange)
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar (to taste & depending on sweetness of fruits... can always sprinkle a bit more on top of crumble if it comes out a bit sour)
3 to 4 tbps cornstarch
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 cups of fruit (depending on depth of baking dish)
[For rhubarb-mango I used 2+ cups of rhubarb, sliced lengthwise and then chopped into 1-inch pieces, and then 2 red mangoes cut into slightly smaller pieces, and 1/4 c. sugar. For raspberry-blueberry I used 1 quart of each berry and 1/3 c. sugar.]


Get your oven heating up to 375.

In a deep-dish pie plate/crockery thingy/pan/what-have-you, add all your filling stuffs (fruit, citrus juice, sugar, salt, & cornstarch). Toss to combine -- I feel that hands are the best mixing implements throughout this recipe, unless like some bakers who shall not be named (IT WAS ME OKAY) you nicked your finger while zesting your citrus, in which case tossing cut fruit + citrus juice with your bare hands will hurt like a proverbial mother.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together your dry topping stuffs (flour, baking powder, optional salt, & citrus zest) and then add the sugars and melted butter. Mix (again, hands are the best tools here) until topping is holding together in clumps.

Sprinkle the topping in variable-sized clumps evenly over the fruit filling. Pop in the oven! Go watch half a movie! You'll be looking for the filling to be bubbling up through the crumb in places, and for the crumb to be golden and browning here & there -- 40 to 50 minutes, depending on exactly how much fruit you've got in there and how soft the fruit was to begin with.

Refrigerate any leftovers and dare yourself to not eat them for breakfast.


The next time I use rhubarb, I'm going to try macerating it in the sugar for 30 minutes or so before mixing it with the rest of the filling stuffs to help even out the sweet/tart flavors in the final product -- I ended up with sharp pockets of tart on that one, which wasn't BAD but was a little startling.

Combinations I want to try include pear-rhubarb, apricot-cherry, plum-other plum, raspberry-peach, and, later in the year, apple-cranberry. Am also contemplating (maybe in single-serving ramekins?) spreading a layer of lemon curd between the fruit and topping for extra punch.

Poke me if you have any consultationary questions! Am always happy to help.