Sunday, December 25, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas: Gingerbread + Geek Edition

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Enterprise

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: two small stormtroopers and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Stormtroopers

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread AT-AT

Gingerbread AT-AT

Gingerbread AT-AT

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Star Trek

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Portal Companion Cube

Gingerbread Portal Companion Cube

Gingerbread Portal Companion Cube

Gingerbread Portal Companion Cube

Gingerbread Portal Companion Cube

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.



Gingerbread Android Cookie

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Daleks

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: eight ninjas kicking, seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Ninjas

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: nine Serenity crew, eight ninjas kicking, seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Firefly Serenity Crew

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 10 yogis stretching, nine Serenity crew, eight ninjas kicking, seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Yogis

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 11 TARDIS ships, 10 yogis stretching, nine Serenity crew, eight ninjas kicking, seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS


Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

Gingerbread TARDIS

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 12 comic heroes, 11 TARDIS ships, 10 yogis stretching, nine Serenity crew, eight ninjas kicking, seven Daleks floating, six Android mascots, five Portal Cubes, four Starfleet crew, three AT-ATs, two small stormtroopers, and a gingerbread Enterprise-C.

Gingerbread Superheroes

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to The Mary Sue, Geeks are Sexy, Where's the TARDIS?, Imgur, Inhabitat, Walyou, Dorkly, Smosh, Daily Bits, Frøken Trondsen, Fandomnia, Mon Pays, Livejournal, Metallicar on Deviant Art, Texas Kiwi on Deviant Art, Merdog7 on Deviant Art, Buzzfeed, Gamefrosting, Makey-Cakey, Neatorama, ThinkGeek, Sangofairy on Deviant Art, Android Forums, Brainfood, rKrovs on Flickr, Smcgee on Flickr, and Kewing on Flickr.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Musical Glasses

musical glasses

Imagine touring Europe for 16 days with a bus full of high school band geeks. It was awesome being one of the high schoolers. But I imagine it was less awesome being one of the chaperones. Especially when we did things like play with the crystal glasses in a semi-formal Swiss restaurant. Hey! It's real! At least we were all musicians.

Some creative person decided to make life better for chaperones of musically-inclined, crystal-playing high schoolers (and those of us who would still play with their wine glasses on occasion, even into adulthood). Instead of guessing at pitches, these glasses conveniently mark how much water needs to be filled in order to get specific notes. The set of 12 glasses gives you a full octave.

My question: but in what key?

Found at Luna and Curious.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recipe: Vincent and the Doctor

Vincent and the Doctor CocktailTry to see what I see... Look at the sky. It's not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there! Lights are blue. And blue in through the blueness, and the blackness, the winds swirling through the air. And then shining. Burning, bursting through! The stars, can you see how they roll their light? Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.

Yes, I've named a cocktail in honor of one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes. If you're an artist, if you grasp the beauty and wonder of the world in a way that others don't quite seem to understand, if you're one of the many that works hard and excels at your craft but still can't live well from it, you will appreciate Van Gogh's appearance in this episode. If you're a geek (or British), well, it's Doctor Who. For everyone else: watch it anyway. It's fun, and you'll gain a new appreciation for Van Gogh and the creative people in your life.

Vincent and the Doctor


Ingredients:


  • 1½ oz. ABSOLUT Ruby Red
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • simple syrup, to taste
  • blackberries, for garnish

Combine ABSOLUT, orange juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a rocks glass. Pack with ice and garnish with blackberries.

Tip: Maximize the amount of juice you can get from citrus by starting with fruit at room temperature. Roll the fruit around a few times on a hard surface with heavy pressure before cutting and squeezing.

Vincent and the Doctor Cocktail

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Cake is a Lie

Portal 2 Cake

Boy meets girl. Wedding bells play. A Katamari cake is served. Three years later, they commission a Portal 2 cake for their anniversary. I think they have many more happy years ahead of them.

Image courtesy of Flickr. Made by Mike's Amazing Cakes in Redmond, WA.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gingerbread AT-AT Says Merry Christmas

Gingerbread AT-AT

Gingerbread AT-AT will destroy your rebel candy cane defenses. Where are Luke and Wedge when you need them?

Courtesy of 9GAG.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Millennium Falcon as a Pancake

Jim over at Jim's Pancake is a a nerdy genius. Proof:

Millennium Falcon Pancake

His site has a time-lapse video so you can see how to put all of this together. Doesn't this make you want to cook breakfast now?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble, Gobble

In honor of the annual turkey feast, I've rounded up some of the cutest Thanksgiving foods on the internet. Enjoy!

Beautiful sugar cookies from Annie at Annie's Eats:

Cute Thanksgiving Cookies

A turkey bento from Cute Food for Kids:

Cute Thanksgiving Bento

Turkey cookies from Cheryl at Tidy Mom:

Turkey sugar cookies


And my personal favorite: Pilgrim Cupcakes from Tonya Staab (she has a complete how-to on her site as well).

Cute Pilgrim Cupcakes

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cream Soup Base

Bacon, Broccoli, and Red Pepper Soup with Sliced Portabella Mushrooms

Remember Stone Soup? As a kid, I was fond of making what I dubbed "Stone Soup without the Stone" - since, as we all read, the stone wasn't actually a necessary ingredient. It just got the townsfolk involved in making a good soup. So I saved myself the trouble of washing a stone and simply dumped whatever combination of things I could lay my hands on into a pot. The results were usually quite edible, although on occasion, they were uncomfortably green. (Thankfully, my parents were always encouraging of my culinary experiments.)

Approach making this soup with some of abandon of a nine-year-old playing in the kitchen. The soup base is extremely flexible - I sometimes use this as a way to use random bits of things that are hanging out in my fridge. In the photo above, I added baby portabella mushrooms, broccoli, and red peppers. Or you could just add chicken and call it a day. (You can also add additional spices or an extra bouillon cube at the end - I've found that roasted garlic powder or a touch of cinnamon are often good choices.) The most important thing is to make sure that your soup doesn't come to a full boil - this will scorch the bottom of your pot and cause the milk to separate, which produces a grainy texture. Trust me, the result isn't pretty. Never boil a cream soup. Otherwise, feel free to play!

Cream Soup Base


Servings: 8
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 8 tablespoons flour
  • 2-4 cups milk
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon (you can substitute vegetable bouillon)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Make roux: Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Slowly add flour to make a paste, stirring constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the color begins to darken slightly.

Stirring constantly, add 2 cups milk and bouillon cubes. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until the mixture has thickened. Add any ingredients for your soup here - chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, etc. - adding more milk if needed. Continue to stir occasionally until all of your ingredients are cooked and the soup is bubbling slightly around the edges. (Do not boil.) Remove from heat and add pepper to taste.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two Takes on Waffled Eggs

How to confuse your tongue: eggs with waffle texture!

Jessica at The Novice Chef came up with a creative twist on the traditional Croque Madame - instead of the usual toasted bread, ham, cheese, and poached egg, she replaced the bread with a waffle made from croissant dough and cooked the ham and egg on the waffle iron too. The result looks pretty amazing:

Waffle Croque Madame

Scott at Seattle Food Geek was inspired by this, but lacked a standard waffle iron. However, he did have a waffle cone iron. Cooking the egg white and yolk separately, he came up with this:

Waffled Eggs and Waffles

There you have it: waffled eggs! Simple, and quite clever. I'll be trying variants of this with other foods soon.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alice in Coffee

Latte art. It's one of those simple pleasures that makes life much better. (And it also tells me that the cafe cares about its coffee and knows how to steam milk properly.)

Alice in Wonderland Latte Art

Alice: who needs Wonderland?

Courtesy of Cutest Food.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poutine: La Banquise

Poutine from La Banquise

I have friends in Chicago who are obsessed with poutine. Michi makes vegan gravy from scratch (a concession to the vegan husband, though the meat eaters in the group are quite happy to devour it anyway), sources cheese curds from the farmers market, and tends to turn the fries + gravy + cheese curds combination into dinner for two or the perfect thing to feed a gathering of geeks watching the latest episodes of Doctor Who. Personally, I've never understood the fascination - in my world, poutine falls somewhere between Kraft mac and cheese (gross) and chili fries (possibly edible once every few years). But when visiting new cities, half the fun is trying regional cuisine. And in Montreal, that means poutine.

La Banquise Menu

Talk to any Montrealer about poutine, and they'll probably direct you to La Banquise, which started out as an ice cream shop in 1968. Back then, it was run by fireman Pierre Barsalou, who decided a few months after opening to turn the place into a 24-hour snack bar specializing in hot dogs and fries. Poutine appeared on the menu for the first time in the '80s with two choices: classic or Italian. Today, it's run by his youngest daughter and her partner, and La Banquise features a whopping 25 variations on the traditional cheese curds, gravy, and fries.

Montrealers found my friends' obsession with poutine rather amusing - most of them consider it primarily acceptable as late-night grub, the kind of stuff you eat at 3:00am because your options are limited and you've been drinking all night. That's when the craving for grease sets in, and poutine hits the spot.

Poutine from La Banquise

When I visited, we went for broke and ordered a classic poutine and a smoked meat poutine, otherwise known as heart-attack-on-a-plate and double-heart-attack-on-a-plate (yes, I just made that up - but believe me, it fits). I wasn't expecting much, but I was surprised: poutine in Montreal is far better than the examples I've tried elsewhere, and it's actually a decent late-night snack. I understood its appeal for the first time. But I'm with the locals: it's still not something I'd eat for dinner.

La Banquise
994, Rachel Est
Montréal, QC H2J 2J3
514.525.2415

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds

This is absolutely brilliant. Though I wouldn't suggest doing it if your roommate is asleep.

.

Thanks to Mike for the tip!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dr. Pepper Fail

This, my friends, is what we might call a marketing fail.

Dr. Pepper Ten

Really, this is so ridiculous that it's just comical. Watch the Dr. Pepper Ten TV ad for even more macho pretension. Roar! I am man! I throw footballs and shoot guns and get into fights! I drink only drinks with 10 manly calories (what the heck is that even supposed to mean? Who on earth came up with that as a tagline?). And ladies, sorry - we're out of luck. Dr. Pepper doesn't want us anywhere near their manly drink. It's back to girly cocktails and chick flicks for us, because we never drink non-diet pop or watch action movies. Ahem. But you know what, that's OK - I don't want to be near any of Dr. Pepper's drinks anyway.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Maple Taffy + Ice Cream

La Petite cabane a sucre de Quebec

Free samples, they'll get you every time.

Maple taffy

Walking through the streets of Old Quebec, my friend Steve and I were stopped by a woman offering free samples of maple taffy. It was my first introduction to the stuff - growing up in Michigan, maple sugar candy was a common treat at cider mills in the autumn, but I'd never seen taffy before. It was delicious, chewy and sweet. And from what I gathered from Steve, who grew up in Saskatchewan, it's quite simple to make: you heat up pure maple syrup, pour it on snow (or its closest relative), and wind the result around a stick. Voila!

Maple ice cream with Belgian chocolate

The taffy was so good that I decided to try maple soft serve ice cream, dipped in Belgian chocolate. Think of it as the Canadian version of the Dairy Queen dip. And as one might expect, it was far better.

La petite cabane à sucre de Québec
94 rue du Petit Champlain
Quebec, QC G1K 4H4
418.692.5875