Sunday, July 22, 2012

the twenty-fifth week

Week 25 of Project 366 began with a Sunday afternoon trip downtown. It happened to be Father's Day, and we "celebrated" by going t-shirt shopping for Steve at the Gap and then lugging home a whole bunch of plastic containers from The Container Store on BART. The only pictures I took that day were of the t-shirts at the Gap store, so it was a good thing I stopped to take them. Steve's previous collection of graphic t's was sadly starting to show some wear, since he wears them pretty much every day. Unfortunately, the store where we got many of those—Martin + Osa—closed probably a year ago. The Gap has some decent options now, though, including some collaborations with Threadless.

As previously mentioned, we went to The Container Store after buying Steve's shirts. On our list: 5 plastic watertight file boxes and 2 larger watertight "totes." Steve carried 4 of the file boxes, which stacked pretty tall, and I carried the 2 totes with the last file box in the top tote. It was a tiring walk back to the house from the BART station, especially since my belly was just getting big enough to be slightly in the way when trying to carry things. I couldn't really rest the totes against my front without it being uncomfortable, so I had to shift them slightly to one side. I was just glad that we didn't wait any longer to buy our containers and bring them home.

169/366 t-shirt shopping

So those plastic containers are what we started packing things into for our closets. The two larger totes were assigned to hold my scrapbooks, the box with our wedding album, and my baby book. Meanwhile, I filled three of the file boxes with sheet music and scores from musicals. The other two file boxes went to Steve for actual files, some legal sized files, and a few board/card games. Beyond just being watertight, I'm hoping they're bugtight; we have issues with those creepy silverfish bugs. (Shudder.)

Monday was devoted to going through a box of old things from my childhood. The box's contents didn't get transferred to a plastic box, but I did at least sort through it and throw out some of the unnecessary stuff so I could fit a little more in there. (That whole box ultimately went into a larger rubbermaid tub to hopefully stay bug-free.) While I was looking through things, I found a couple birth announcements, my hospital bracelet, and a couple other items from when I was born. The picture of the day became those items with my baby book—a nice look at baby/hospital stuff circa 1982.

170/366 c. 1982

Getting out of the house on Tuesday afternoon, I went shopping for Elsa's birthday present(s) at Aldea NiƱos. That and the quest for a birthday card took me down Valencia Street, where I also looked for things to photograph. The most interesting shot I took was the stuffed baby ostrich in the window of Paxton Gate.

171/366 stuffed baby ostrich

Wednesday was the night we had tickets to see the musical American Idiot at the Orpheum, which meant dinner out beforehand. Steve and I decided on Fifth Floor, since they were doing specific foie gras courses before the CA ban went into effect July 1. It also seemed like a good choice, having been almost exactly a year since our first (and only) dinner there. This time, we had a foie gras and rhubarb first course, a cheese-filled pasta with mushrooms and peas for second course, a duck entree, and a foie gras and rhubarb dessert. Everything was really fabulous, but I decided that the colors and plating of our first course made for the most interesting picture for the day. 

172/366 hot and cold foie gras

On Thursday, I went for my apparently weekly walk to Noe Valley, no doubt to run some errands again. I went for a close-up shot of the top of a cake in the window of Noe Valley Bakery this time. The reds and browns happened to go well with the previous day's food picture anyway.

173/366 teddy bear picnic

In advance of Elsa's 1st birthday party the following Sunday, I was tasked by Carmen to make some brownies. Because I wanted to give myself ample time and also stay out of Steve's way in the kitchen over the weekend, I started the project on Friday afternoon. A couple hours later, I had made two pans of the brownie recipe from the first Baked cookbook. Carmen and I made the caramel version from the second book last December, but this was my first time making the original recipe. I figured/hoped it would be fudgy enough to hold together in the mustache shapes Carmen wanted. The actual brownie making ended up being pretty easy; I didn't have to make caramel for these. Instead, I just had to think through my strategy for making two batches back to back. Simultaneous measuring helped when I had enough bowls to prep both at once, but there were a couple things I just did twice. Needless to say, I got to know the recipe pretty well that day.

174/366 brownie making

I saved the actual cutting of the brownies for Saturday and Sunday, letting the pans chill in the fridge to make things easier. All didn't go quite according to plan, though... It turns out, using cookie cutters on brownies doesn't work all that well. Even greased, the brownies don't want to come out of the cutters. (It probably would have worked better with cutters that were just metal outlines of the shape, allowing me to push the brownie back out from the other side.) I did one brownie with each of the two chosen mustache cookie cutters before realizing the complications involved. Luckily, Steve managed to get each of those out in one piece with the small offset spatula, but we decided that a change in method would be a good idea. At Steve's suggestion, I tried using the cookie cutters to make indentations in the brownies, which I then cut out with a sharp steak knife, rinsing the knife with warm water every so often. It was rather labor intensive. While they certainly turned out to be cute, next time I think we'll go with brownies in the shapes of squares or rectangles—maybe even triangles if we're feeling daring!

175/366 brownie mustaches

Next up, Elsa's birthday week, with her party and various birthday-related things. I'm only about a month behind...

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