Monday, April 25, 2011

sick week

I wasn't feeling well for the better part of week 16. I started to feel kind of icky around the previous Friday, actually, so I didn't try very hard with that white chocolate duck shot. Since I spent several days with a vague feeling of nausea/motion sickness, I ended up with a few rather half-assed shots. Looking through the viewfinder of my camera just wasn't helping. (And no, I'm not pregnant.)

On Saturday, I was still feeling okay enough to go to the Ferry Building with Steve. I could have done without the stuffy, warm BART ride each way, though. At least I was mostly fine once we got there. The first stop was at Far West Fungi to get some mushrooms for the tacos were planning to have for lunch the next day. They didn't have plain Chanterelles, so Steve picked out some Black Trumpets and some Yellowfoots—the ones in the foreground in this picture, actually. He grabbed some of the fiddlehead ferns too, bought a squab from the butcher, and we had the makings for our dinner that night, using the extra mushrooms.

106/365 far west

Sunday was a work day for me, and Steve made the Chanterelle Tacos from Heidi Swanson's new book, Super Natural Every Day, for our lunch. I was feeling fine for work, but my appetite for food and my patience for styling it was a little smaller than usual. While they might not have sounded terribly appealing to me at the time, the mushroom tacos were very good. I was a bit less enthused with my picture of them.

107/365 mushroom tacos

The feeling of "ick" continued on Monday, and I was even less motivated to take pictures. Luckily, we had a Miette gingerbread cupcake in the fridge from Saturday's Ferry Building excursion. I was a little disappointed to get it out of its takeout box and see that it wasn't the most perfect example of a cupcake, especially since I've taken numerous pictures of gingerbread cupcakes before. But it was the only idea I had for the day. To make it slightly different from all those pictures I had taken previously, I put the macro extension tube on my 50mm lens and got closer. That was less than awesome for the nausea, but the picture came out pretty well.

108/365 gingerbread cupcake

Tuesday was the worst for being sick. I spent the first part of the day curled up on the couch and the second half (after showering) curled up on the bed. Knowing I still needed a picture of the day, I dragged out the camera around 4pm. I halfheartedly shot a few frames of my fuzzy socks hanging on the drying rack and then a few frames of the view from the bed, with our expensive throw pillow from Room & Board in the foreground. That was about the extent of my creativity for the day. (The picture of the fuzzy socks was later deemed too boring to post.)

109/365 view from a nap

I went to the doctor on Wednesday, even though I was starting to feel a little better. The real stomach buggy part of the sickness appeared to have passed on Tuesday, even though I was still really hesitant about eating much. The doctor decided it was probably some sort of virus giving me gastroenteritis. She told me to eat bland foods until I felt better, and that was that. After returning home, I stopped downstairs to see Carmen's new purchase from Paxton Gate's Curiosities for Kids: a stuffed (literally) and mounted horse head. I helped her figured out where she wanted to hang it in the nursery, but I took a picture of it in a temporary location in their dining room first.

110/365 meet coco

I had to go to Noe Valley to run an errand on Thursday. It might have been smarter to just drive, rather than walk the mile there and back, but walking afforded more opportunities for pictures. After so many days of blah pictures in a row, I was in need of something more interesting. Easter decorations in a shop window did the trick. I felt dehydrated again by the time I got home, but at least I felt like I had accomplished more.

111/365 rabbit herd

Because I'm nice, I agreed to help a student with some audition material on Friday afternoon. The drive to the studio and back made me a little motion sick again; however, I was starting to feel better overall. When I got back to the city, I took a walk around the block to look for pictures. Little flowers peaking out of a crack in a fence? Works for me. It ties in with "Fence Friday" and with Earth Day.

112/365 good earth friday

That wraps up my week of sick. Good riddance. As of Saturday and Sunday, I'm back to eating normal food. I also seem to have finally kicked the weird nausea/vertigo. Happy Easter, indeed!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

triple digits

Last week, I finally got into the triple digits—day 100 and beyond—of Project 365. Since I planned to do something 100-related for Sunday, Saturday turned into new food day. It didn't hurt that I had to work from 11-5 that day; it was easy to just take a picture of dinner when I got home. That dinner was homemade goat cheese & sorrel ravioli with lime butter sauce, inspired by a dish we had at Range two years ago and made possible by Steve's discovery of sorrel at the farmers market the week before. Sorrel is a green that tastes kind of lemony, so it's good with goat cheese and pasta. Despite the ravioli looking a little deflated, they turned out well.

99/365 goat cheese & sorrel ravioli

For day 100 on Sunday, I suggested that Steve try making some beignets and a couple dipping sauces, similar to what we had at Gitane last month. By doing some regular doughnut hole-shaped beignets and some stick-shaped ones, Steve provided me with the pieces I needed to make "100." We also put the kumquat-vanilla honey and creme anglaise in squeeze bottles so I could put dots of both on the plate. The dots didn't come out as perfectly spaced as I would have liked, but it looked festive anyway.

100/365 festive beignets

Monday was the day of the long-awaited portrait shoot with Lydia for her acupuncture website. Carmen did her hair and makeup, and then we all went to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park to take the pictures. We got several good ones of her, and I also took some pictures of details in the garden that she can use. Although the sakura (cherry blossoms) were a candidate for picture of the day, I went with the Japanese maple instead.

101/365 japanese maple

The next day, I didn't feel like going anywhere. After taking all those portraits the day before, I decided that I'd turn the camera on myself. I didn't actually want to put on mascara, though, so I did the next best thing. I put on my camera t-shirt and shot headless pictures. I needed one more prop, so I got out my old camera: the Digital Rebel with the 50mm lens that I used to shoot the vast majority of my first 365 project. It feels so tiny and light now.

102/365 i like cameras

Wednesday's picture of the day was actually one of the easier ones of the week. We had some kumquats left from the honey that Steve made for day 100, and a picture of those in a little bowl on a window sill was the obvious choice. The main challenge was just to get them to look like they were filling the bowl when in reality, there were only enough to fill it about halfway. Some creatively placed Kleenex, a cork, and tricky propping against each other did the job.

103/365 kumquats

On Thursday, I had no picture of the day before dinner. Then, we went to Noe Valley for some sushi. The pictures I took of the sushi were kind of boring, so I kept shooting on the walk home. This was in the window of the toy store. It's busier than I really like, but I was tending more towards "beggar" than "chooser" at that point.

104/365 bunny band

The next day, I took the opportunity to shoot the white chocolate ducky that Steve and I bought in Noe Valley on Thursday after dinner. I went through a couple ideas before settling on the "bird in the hand" shot. It was just more interesting than a duck on a plate.

105/365 chocolate ducky, you're the one

That takes care of last week. A little later than usual, but done.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

food & flowers

Week 14 was apparently the week of food and flowers. I mean, I know I take lots of food and flower pictures anyway, but it was probably just short of getting out of hand last week. It really could have been worse, though. Our dinners for most of the week were new things that Steve was making with his purchases from the farmers market on Saturday. I didn't take pictures of most of it, since new food on weeknights usually means eating later—long after dark, in fact.

But back to Saturday. I had to work, of course, so I sent Steve to the farmer's market to get ingredients for our Sunday lunch. My main requests were peas and fava beans, since I had one recipe in mind for each and one that used both. Favas apparently aren't ready yet, but Steve was able to get English peas. He also found pea shoots, which I had been wanting to try for ages. I kept seeing them garnishing dishes on food blogs, but we never seemed to find them anywhere.

When I got home that evening, Steve showed me his purchases. For my picture of the day, I looked at the English peas and remembered the sweet peas we were served on our very first visit to Contigo. They make a lovely little snack with a tiny pinch of salt. I opened a couple of pods, plated one of them kind of similarly, grabbed our bowl of Maldon sea salt, picked out a few pea tendrils, and set up a shot on my wooden tray. Then, I ate the peas.

92/365 time to pea

Our first meal with the farmers market loot was Sunday's lunch. Steve made Sea Bass Crudo with Vanilla Oil, English Peas, and Mint from Ethan Stowell's New Italian Kitchen, except that he got striped bass to use instead. I was mostly happy with the resulting picture, although I think there's one too many pea tendrils on the left. The food itself was really interesting. I don't know if I had had vanilla with fish before, but it went well with the peas and the mint. It all tasted very fresh.

93/365 more peas

On Monday, I had to go downtown in the afternoon. While I was out, I saw that Macy's was having its annual flower show, so I stopped there for a look around. I took a couple pictures on the ground floor, but I was mostly underwhelmed by the picture opportunities. Then, I went up to the 6th floor, where they often dress up some of the table settings to match the flower show theme. These didn't seem nearly as elaborate as the displays they had two years ago (day 100 the first time around), but I kind of liked the birds they used in one of them. 

94/365 put a bird on it!

I made another trip downtown on Tuesday morning, this time to see the dentist about my chipped tooth. He checked it out, took some new x-rays, and decided that the tooth didn't have enough decay to warrant a filling where I chipped it. (That would have involved removing more tooth.) So he just smoothed out the edge, and that was that.

Afterward, I walked by Macy's again on the way to look at photo props at CB2 and Crate & Barrel. I had taken a picture of the hyacinths in the window the previous day, but I wasn't happy with the reflections in the glass. I was able to get a better shot on Tuesday morning, and it ended up being my picture of the day.

95/365 flowers in the window

Wednesday was the day that I made cookies (and did laundry, but that's boring). We were thinking about going to a book signing and potluck event for Heidi Swanson (of 101 Cookbooks) at Omnivore Books the next day, so made some of the Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies from her first book. I made a couple dozen big ones, and then I switched to the smaller cookie scoop and made a little over two dozen smaller cookies to take. I had a hard time composing a picture of them that I liked; this was the one that I disliked the least.

96/365 cookie day

Thursday came, and it was a relatively busy afternoon. Despite threats of rain in the forecast, the weather was nice (albeit cold and windy) while I took some test shots outside of Lydia for her website. Carmen helped with styling, hair, and makeup; and we wanted to do a dry run before the real thing.

Then, Steve and I headed to Omnivore for the book signing. It was absolutely packed, but we managed to purchase our copy of Heidi's new book and get it signed. I was also able to add the cookies I brought to the food table, just as someone else's container of Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies was getting low. I hadn't brought a container other than a ziploc bag, so it was good that I was able to just dump my cookies in the one already there.

The picture of the day was largely unrelated to the other two events, though. I was killing time before meeting with Lydia, and I took some pictures of the strawberry plant that Steve had picked up from the farmers market on Saturday. I must have gotten it at the right time, because less than a week later, there are a few strawberries starting to weigh the flowers down more.

97/365 not raining

Friday was kind of a cop out. I decided to take a picture of the book we had gotten the night before, along with the little pack of postcards that Heidi was handing out to the people who came to the signing. Both the book and the postcards are really pretty, and I'm trying to decide on the best use for the postcards. Scrapbook? Magnetic board in the kitchen? Framed, in the dining room? Clearly, I won't be mailing them away. :)

98/365 super

So ends another week. Perhaps more variety next time? We'll see.

Monday, April 4, 2011

lucky thirteen

Week thirteen was certainly different, weather-wise, from week twelve. The dreariness was past, and we got some warm, summer weather—without the chilly fog that we get during the actual summer.

That Saturday was sunny and nice, but after so many rainy days, the freedom of having a beautiful day with nothing planned proved to be too much pressure. I was paralyzed by indecision, and we ended up just hanging around the house (and feeling slightly guilty). I still needed a picture of the day, so I went downstairs with Steve when he went to help Dan with some cabinets. At least I wasn't wandering around my own house looking for pictures this time.

I hadn't taken any good Enzo pictures in a while, so he was a good subject. I led him into the living room, told him to sit and stay, and he did! Carmen had him do a couple other tricks after that, but the first shot was still my favorite.

85/365 puppy-dog eyes

Sunday was easier, since it was a food (and work) day. We had decided on the Basque Clam Chowder from Gerald Hirigoyen's Pintxos. Steve did a nice job of plating it, as well as helping construct the perfect bite that I wanted on the soup spoon. I had my hands full of camera, and they weren't as steady as I'd have liked, since I had had coffee that morning. The soup had some nice flavors; however, a bit of rogue clam shell chipped one of my bottom teeth. I didn't notice until I was in the car, on my way to work, but it had made a little gash in one edge of a premolar. It's nothing serious, but a trip to the dentist will be happening tomorrow to fix the jagged edge.

86/365 basqua clam chowder

On Monday, I took a little walk to Anthony's Cookies. Anthony's has been on my "easy 365 ideas" list for a while, since it's so close. I didn't take any pictures there while I was purchasing my cookies, so I did a little milk & cookies photo shoot when I got home. (Our milk was expiring that day anyway.) I took pictures of the cookies & cream ones with a shot glass of milk, and then I took some with the classic chocolate chip cookies instead. The cookies & cream picture was better, but I ate one of the classic chocolate chip ones at the end of my shoot. I even drank the milk, instead of pouring it down the drain.

Surprisingly, this was the first time I had ever tried drinking milk with my cookies. Sad, but true. My refusal as a child to drink milk (unless it contained chocolate or strawberry) severely limited my cookie + milk experiences. No dunking for me. Anyway, I actually kind of liked it. I still have no desire to drink milk on its own, but it was pretty good in between bites of chocolate chip cookie.

87/365 milk & cookies

Tuesday was the day that we made our return to Contigo for dinner. We first ate there just over two years ago, one week after they opened. In the spring of 2009, we went to Contigo about every three weeks—March, April, and May. We've slowed down since then, but there's still something special about the first dinner on the back patio at Contigo every spring, once daylight savings time starts. A glass of cava, good food, and enough light to photograph it. It's hard to go wrong... especially if some of that good food is Sardine Toast with Avocado and Pickled Red Onion. Steve insisted that we order it this time, even though we order it every time.

88/365 annual spring contigo-ing

It had been a little chilly on Tuesday evening, but Wednesday warmed up considerably. Perfectly sunny, short-sleeve weather called for some sort of outing. It was even nicer than Saturday had been, so I really did need to decide on something to do and do it. Anything less than awesome would be a disappointment and a waste of a nice day. I settled on a walk up to Bernal Hill—a nice spring/summer activity. Good thing it's shady for most of those stairways, because it was actually pretty warm out there in the sun. But on top of the hill, there was a nice cool breeze. There was also a guy with an easel, painting, and I snuck some pictures of him.

89/365 the painter

Thursday was even warmer. I took a few pictures of some Padron peppers that Steve had gotten from Elan and Brett at Contigo, but they weren't terribly exciting. Then, Carmen called and asked if I wanted to go to Mitchell's for some ice cream. It was almost 5pm, but I didn't mind spoiling my dinner with some mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Once the guys got home, we all went to eat at SouthEnd (formerly Toad's). On the way, we saw a neighborhood kitty. She's one I've seen once or twice at the end of the block, but I had never taken pictures of her. Dan, Carmen, and Steve graciously waited while I took a few; and thus, the second cat picture of this 365 was taken. (Kitty count from 2009's project: 11, including Olive pictures.)

90/365 pretty kitty

And last, another calendar picture for Friday, April 1. I didn't really have any better ideas, so I taped it to the tied-up curtains, next to the open living room windows. It was warm again. Obviously.

91/365 april

And I am now one quarter of the way through Project 365. That also means we're a quarter of the way through the year already. How did that happen?