25 February 2009

Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan

Tara Donovan's work is amazing. I love the styrofoam cups, buttons, toothpicks and scotch tape.

22 February 2009

X-Rays of birds breathing.

17 February 2009

The Trials of Truffle Making

I don't know why, but I felt like making truffles. I don't even like chocolate. I thought it would be fun, though. I like their small size, and I came across a recipe that sounded simple and interesting: truffles with lime and honey. I also liked that I could hand them out to many people, so the work seemed worthwhile.

My biggest lesson learned: CHOP UP THE CHOCOLATE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I didn't do this - I left it in medium sized chunks, and I certainly paid for this mistake. Let's take a look...

Here's the butter.

Here's the chocolate. Note the size of the pieces. DO NOT DO THIS. MAKE THEM MUCH SMALLER.

The lime zest was added to some creme fraiche, and the lime juice was added to some honey.

I had to pound the chocolate, and it still wouldn't get smooth. I phoned a friend for help. I wasn't sure if putting it in the microwave would ruin it, so I asked, and she thought it would be fine. It worked!

This is what went into the fridge. While it chilled, I went to the grocery store to buy a pastry bag and No. 9 tip. They didn't have either, so I went to a fancy cookware store (Sur La Table) and bought a pastry bag and No. 10 tip. They didn't have a 9.

My first job was as a cake decorator at an ice cream shop, so I was excited to use the pastry bag. When I took the chocolate out of the fridge, though, disaster! It was very hard.

So back in the microwave it went. I tried to be neat and tidy as I made these truffles, so I wrapped the softened chocolate with plastic wrap before putting it in the pastry bag.

Sure enough, the chunks of chocolate stopped me in my path again. There were blocks of chocolate in the bag, and they clogged the No. 10 tip. I tried to use a chopstick to the chunk out. But then there was another one. And another one. Finally, I pulled out the chocolate and removed the No. 10 tip. Using just the bag was better, but pretty much every truffle now has a little hard block of chocolate in it.

And here is the final mess. Success! Now they are chilling again, and I will dust them with cocoa powder, sugar, and lime zest later tonight.

Here they are close up. Not very attractive, are they?

15 February 2009


Broken ice sheets are totally fascinating! Captured while on weekend adventure in rural Wisconsin.

06 February 2009

04 February 2009

RIP lady slipper

This experience began in the middle of November. Check the Nov and Dec archives if you didn't see its emergence and growth. In the night, the lady slipper bloom finally wilted and fell off. Here it is. Last bloom lasted only one week. This one lasted so long I stopped counting the weeks.