Friday, February 10, 2012

Whew - We Love This Room - Woody Crumbo

We completed remodeling the Woody Crumbo at the beginning of September. It turned into a three week project for me and Brad since everything had to be done in our spare time. What spare time you ask? Believe me an hour here and there is a wonderful chunk of time!

We tore out the carpet and the parquet out and poured in a concrete floor and then colored it with powered pigment. After a week of curing, Brad finished the floor and put an awesome shine on it. We also repainted the room in beautiful hues of sage, chocolaty brown, and tangerine orange. The room has new chairs and a gorgeous Virgin de Guadalupe hand painted cabinet.

Brad and I work together all the time and working on a remodel was a great experience. It allowed us to be creative and build a project with one another. We are both looking forward to the next little project that we take on.

This room is a great fit for families or friends traveling together as it has a Queen and Full size bed and is situated so that full access to the entire house is just a trip down the stairs.

Everchanging Mountain

The mountain has been amazing this week. Well every week. It is like watching performance art as it casts off clouds and gathers them up like a great swirling dress or a trail of smoke. Sometimes the whole thing is shrouded in mist. Sometimes it looks like the breath of a dragon or the battle of trolls and elves. Sometimes it is naked and raw.
Then at night and in the early morning it is painted by the light in so many ever changing hues. I love to sit in our yard or watch from our deck and see the next five minute surprise. I desperately want to go old school and find a battery for Brad's 35mm and get some 600 film. Every time I look at the mountain I say that would have made a good one

Touchstone Treehouse Complete

Many of you have been asking about the tree house. The boys will let you up to see it but I'm not sure that they would be excited about the idea of anyone sleeping up there. Yet. They haven't had the chance to campout in the tree house under the stars either well, they tried but they came home a bit early ;).

An architect and artist friend of ours, David Vedoe, and his helper, Simon -- who is very good at fixing machines too, built it and it is rated for load and all those sorts of official things. He designed it to melt into the background of the trees and it mostly does (but I have always known where it is) and will except in winter.

The tree house has doors and windows that open with great views of the mountain. There is a pulley rope to retrieve things like a picnic lunch or a basket of books. Inside there are shelves, a chair for reading, and boy decor - posters, drawings, photos, and such.

It is a very quiet and relaxing place to spend time. The door locks for privacy and security. The roof is water tight and the company is what matters most.

We do have plans for larger, rentable, tree houses on the property someday.

Gallery Opening Here

We had a gallery opening last weekend on the theme of  Surface and Delight. Many local artists submitted their work and this show will hang until September 2nd. Stop by if you can and wander through.

The opening itself was a nice little event, well attended but not packed. There were a couple of very small sales in the silent auction that went towards our foundation for education in the arts.

This was the first gallery opening in a few years and as you might imagine the timing was the most important thing to manage. I set up a call to artists with a submission deadline 6 days before the show and then mom hung the show starting 48 hours before the gallery opening. There were last minute details like directional signs (our property is rather large and the show is in the breakfast gallery, living room, dining room, and workshop space in front of our house) and last minute tags for some of the work.

Brad made all sorts of sauce for chips  Salsa, French onion, Chili con Queso. And I made Balsamic Vinegar and Basil Chocolate Gluten Free cupcakes and Grapefruit, Apricot and Walnut Scones. Everyone enjoyed all of the treats and we enjoyed the easy cleanup and breakdown.

Hatch Happening

The most amazing thing happens at the grocery store at this time of year. Imagine walking into the produce section and seeing a maze of bags ... Thirty pound burlap sacks containing Hatch green chilies stacked six feet high. Thirty pounds! Of chile! It is really odd to see this type of packaging when we are so used to being able to see the product through plastic and so used to being able to select items based on the way they look and smell. The bags of chile make it like buying a thirty pound secret.

Outside the grocers have brought in two huge propane tanks and barrel rosters. The rosters are turned by a hand crank and manned by grocery store employees. And there is a line all the way down the building of people waiting to have their thirty pound bags of Hatch green chile roasted. And day after day -- in the sun and the rain -- people stand in line and wait. They talk and read and listen to ipods and such. The smell is rich -- wonderful -- earthy and burnt and green.

So what's the big deal on Hatch? I wondered that myself ... we made nachos last night and I roasted some Hatch to put in the toppings. Hatch green chili is definitely different from Anaheim. Hatch is almost like jalapeno in heat. It lingers and dances and has less  flavor that spreads out evenly than an Anaheim. If you can get your hands on some -- do -- and enjoy!

International Eggs

I am wildly picky about eggs. When we go out to restaurants I won't order anything with eggs -- or if I do I plan on being disappointed because so few cooks and chefs know how to cook an egg to a proper temp. This is why I love it when Brad offers to cook me eggs -- I know that he will make them perfect every time.

I order my eggs over easy and here is what a perfectly cooked over easy egg is all about. First there is no color on it -- if there is that means the egg is burnt and it should go in the trash (this happens so often when we go out). When I cut into the whites I can see three layers -- the slight crust that is on both sides and the tender white that is like a soft boil in the center.  There is no dangly unsightly uncooked white running about. I can pull these two layers apart and undress the yolk (if you will). If I am feeling playful then I can also take the yolk and roll it about in its little sack before puncturing the barrier and allowing the yellow goodness to run freely.

I've asked Brad many times�if he has any special tricks for egg cookery and he always says ... practice and patience -- you can't hurry an egg.

Crepe Tips

Follow any crepe batter recipe you want. I tend to add a little spice here and there that isn't called for but would be well suited to the filling.

Try warming up the butter and milk in a sauce pan on low heat, then slowly pour the warm mix into the cold eggs (this is a process we call tempering).

When your batter is ready to go to the pan for cooking -- make sure to use a non-stick pan, and that it is hot enough. While cooking the crepes flip them one time and get some color on both sides. When I say color I mean just a bit of golden brown here and there. Crepes are color friendly while omelets are not (get color on an omlet and that indicates that the egg is burnt).

Enjoy your crepes with the filling of your choice!