Recommended Baking Adventures May-June 2014

So many fun things to celebrate in May and June! We got married a few weeks ago and have a whole new set of toys to play with, which is a GREAT excuse to get adventurous.

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New stand mixer!!

First up: Barb’s Banana Bread

I got this great recipe from a family friend as a wedding shower present and it’s incredible. Easy, delicious, flexible.

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Cream: 3/4 cup butter

Add: 1 1/2 cups sugar gradually, cream well.

Blend in:

  • 1 1/2 cup mushed ripe banana (should be 4-6)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Add:

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Blend until just combined, bake for 50-60 minutes at 350.  Makes two loaves.

Julia Child’s Boef Aux Oignons (Guest kitchen post!)

While in California for graduation, I wanted to make a delicious thank you meal for the friends I was staying with, and this seemed like a good stretch for me (I don’t usually cook meat) but fairly foolproof. It turned out deliciously– very hearty. Yum!

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After returning home from California and lots of scrumptious happy graduation, happy birthday, happy vacation meals, we wanted to lighten up and turned to Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s awesome Appetite for Reduction cookbook. The vegan lasagna in it is suburb! If vegan lasagna isn’t your thing, just go for the cauliflower ricotta.

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With too much rhubarb and no time to shop, these Rhubarb Bars were a no-brainer. The recipe calls for strawberries as well, but I went full-on rhubarb. Originally, the recipe is from a book called One Bowl Baking. In this case, the only dishes used were the pan and the bowl I used to melt the butter. Brilliant and delicious. Super easy.

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Last, but certainly not least, I discovered baked risotto. It looks and tastes like stovetop risotto, but you don’t do much to it after you mix everything together. This is going to be my new potluck recipe– everyone loves it, it looks impressive, and it’s super flexible. I used veggie broth, corn, and spinach. I think I also fudged the cheese and used whatever was in the fridge and it was great.

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Bonus recipe: Marc’s Sangria

On our wedding weekend, we wanted to see as much of our guests as possible, so we hosted a wine and cheese party at our apartment. Marc made some killer sangria.

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Mix:

  • Two bottles of cheapish red wine
  • Chopped fruit (we used an orange, a couple of nectarines, and a couple of apples)
  • Chopped sour citrus (we used one lemon)
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • Sugar to taste
  • Lots of ice when you serve it

Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Add more wine, brandy, grand mariner, etc. throughout the night to keep it full. We used a box of Trader Joe’s wine and it worked well. (And was cost effective.)

 

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Learning Adventures

The last month has been a blur– living out of a suitcase, graduating with an MBA, and getting married in less than a month! It’s been a whirlwind, but there’s been a lot of fun, laughter, eating, and learning.

Creative Mornings: Oakland

During my last week in California, there was a Creative Mornings event at Impact HUB Oakland. Creative Mornings is an organization that puts together brief creative lecture/networking events during weekday mornings. Chapters generally have about one event a month, and I was lucky enough to catch Favianna Rodriguez, a Bay Area artist and activist.

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She covered a variety of issues, but these were some of the most memorable moments:

  • The power of art is that it can ultimately transform what you see.
  • Don’t only fight against what you don’t want, but fight for the work you want.
  • Language matters. The word homosexual vs. gay made a difference.
  • Define your own story. If you don’t, someone else will.
  • Art and culture are human rights.
  • Dichotomies are limited narratives. We need multi-dimensional narratives.

AIUX Workshop at Stanford d.school

I’ve been wanting to check out Stanford’s renowned d.school since learning about it a few years ago, and got a fantastic opportunity to do so the day before heading back home to Minnesota.

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I attended a morning workshop session around designing user experience for artificial intelligence. The format was more workshop than lecture and the group split into small teams to try out various strategic design/planning/foresight tools. The tools were the same as can be found here: Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation

We used the context map, progression curve, and paper prototyping tools. The most interesting was the progression curve. My group examined the relationship of humans and AI, and included milestones going back to punch card systems and the first computer to fictional characters like Data in Star Trek TNG. Currently, we’re looking at systems like Google Now, which is a proactive AI rather than a reactive one. It was helpful to watch the progression over time and line it up with other curves, like the development of data gathering.

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Eating but not writing…

Between the final weeks of school, planning a big move, and getting ready for an awesome vacation, I haven’t had time to post. I have had time, however, to have some lovely farewell meals at my favorite Bay Area spots. These places are awesome, and I hope you have the chance to check them out!

Which places would you have to say “goodbye” to if you moved?

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Pizza at the Cheese Board in Berkeley!
http://cheeseboardcollective.coop

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Coffee and Happy Fries at Baladie Cafe in SF!
http://www.baladiecafe.com

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Deliciousness at La Note in Berkeley.
http://www.lanoterestaurant.com

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Breakfast at Pizzaiolo in Oakland (A Thursday tradition I’ll miss sorely…)
http://www.pizzaiolooakland.com