Monday, October 26

Friday, October 23

The natural future

Scientific illustrations by Cornelia Hess-Honegger documenting insects found in nuclear and radiation contaminated areas. Gives me the chills, but can't stop looking. via but does it float

Thursday, October 22

Wednesday, October 21


Guess I have a soft spot for independently published pictures of houseplants. This book and poster from MINIATUREGARDEN.

Tuesday, October 20

Friday, October 16

Banana Bread with Chocolate

This is a very majestic banana bread. The photo may not encapsulate that as well as I hoped -- perhaps due to my continued bad habit of smothering every baked good with Greek yogurt and Sarabeth preserves, then taking the picture. But believe me, it's good. I was hoping the entire cake would last me a week of breakfast but I only got by on a few days. Still, not bad for having passed a half of it on to Kat, my baking partner, and a slice stolen here and there from a boy on his way out early in the morning.

Recipe notes:

Instead of chocolate chips Kat cut up a bar of dark chocolate. I don't like too-sweet baked goods, so the bitterness of the dark chocolate was perfectly off-set against the bread. We discovered that a good way to cut a bar of chocolate up without it crumbling is by heating the bar slightly so that it's just a tad soft, then proceed to cut into pieces.

Instead of regular yogurt, I used Greek yogurt since that's all I had. It turned out just fine, but I noticed the bread was very dense, perhaps denser than the author of this recipe may have intended.

Banana Bread with Chocolate
Adapted from A Homemade Life's "Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger" as posted here. I did not use the crystallized ginger because I didn't have any on hand, and also because I wanted a more traditional banana bread this time.

6tablespoons unsalted butter
2cups all-purpose flour
3/4cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4cup well-stirred whole-milk plain yogurt (not low or nonfat)
1teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan or an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter. (note: I used a round cake pan. It was my first time baking banana bread in a round cake pan and it was truly great. I will do it this way from now on. I cannot explain why.)

2. Melt the butter on the stove or in a microwave and set aside to cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and whisk well to combine. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla and stir to mix well. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter with be thick and somewhat lumpy, just make sure all the flour has been incorporated. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

5. Bake into the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 mins to an hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with foil.

6. Cool the loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip out onto the rack, and let it cool completely before slicing. The loaf freezes well wrapped in plastic wrap and again in foil to protect from freezer burn.

Thursday, October 15

Wednesday, October 14

White House art in the age of Obama

A few favorites of the artworks on loan to the Obamas. Nicolas De Stael, Richard Diebenkorn and Alma Thomas. via Design Observer

Tuesday, October 13

Bright Star

Completely enamored with Bright Star's online production scrapbook. So many beautiful pieces of ephemera displayed in such a sweet and simple way. via all the mountains...

Saturday, October 10

Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Scones

Divine scone recipe from Cook's Illustrated.

I'm eating my home-baked goods these days with a heaping spoonful of Fage Greek yogurt and a dollop of Sarabeth's Strawberry Raspberry preserves.

Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal Scones

From Cook's Illustrated, September 2003

This recipe was developed using Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour; best results will be achieved if you use the same or a similar flour, such as Pillsbury unbleached. King Arthur flour has more protein; if you use it, add an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons milk. Half-and-half is a suitable substitute for the milk/cream combination.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (4 1/2 ounces) or quick oats
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 1/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup raisins
1 tablespoon granulated sugar for sprinkling

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread oats evenly on baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes; cool on wire rack. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Line second baking sheet with parchment paper. When oats are cooled, measure out 2 tablespoons and set aside.

Whisk milk, cream, and egg in large measuring cup until incorporated; remove 1 tablespoon to small bowl and reserve for glazing.

Pulse flour, cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined, about four 1-second pulses. Scatter cold butter evenly over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, twelve to fourteen 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; stir in cooled oats and raisins. Using rubber spatula, fold in liquid ingredients until large clumps form. Mix dough by hand in bowl until dough forms cohesive mass.

Dust work surface with half of reserved oats (note: I also dusted with some flour as the dough was a bit sticky), turn dough out onto work surface, and dust top with remaining oats. Gently pat into 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick. Using bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut dough into 8 wedges and set on parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Brush surfaces with reserved egg mixture and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes (note: they baked fast in my oven and needed no more than 12 minutes); cool scones on baking sheet on wire rack 5 minutes, then remove scones to cooling rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Serve.

Friday, October 9

Tina Jonsbu

Spotted Tina Jonsbu's work at a NY Art Book Fair table. Ethereal.

Wednesday, October 7

Lace fence

By Dutch Design House, DEMAKERSVAN.