15 November 2015

On NaBloPoMo Failure and Caldo Verde

dear lord this is an ugly picture
I have unsurprisingly failed in my NaBloPoMo quest. This has happened a lot more now than it did before. I think some of it was the encouragement I had when I actually knew other bloggers in Austin. A lot of it is because the seasons in my life have changed and my energy is directed elsewhere. I've been going to data science and machine learning meet ups whenever I can. I've been trying to attend community-building events to learn more about creating a diverse and inclusive culture both at my company and in tech in general. These do not leave much time for blogging, or cooking for that matter. Colby bears the brunt of the domestic responsibilities and I am very glad that he can cook.

I've been thinking about priorities a lot lately. I spend 2-4 nights per week doing after-work extracurricular activities. It's meant that I've been spending a lot of my mental capital on that and not on other things that I used to do (hello, paper crafting). It's also meant that I don't sleep and haven't been to my insanely expensive exercise place in 2 weeks (hello, Crossfit). This results in very quiet weekends. This isn't a bad thing, except that my weekends used to be the most interesting part of my week. Instead, I've been spending a lot of time snuggling with Ramona, watching Bob Ross, and catching up on my sleep.

The best part about quiet weekends has been that it's gotten much colder. This means that snuggling under piles of blankets is not uncomfortable and that soup for dinner is totally legit. This weekend, PBS Create had a soup-centric theme and that was awesome. America's Test Kitchen highlighted a recipe for caldo verde and it was amazing with nothing more than a side of crusty San Francisco sourdough.

03 November 2015

Data Science Meet Up Recap

nice picture of the back of someone's head. :) 

My favorite way to interact at conferences is twitter. It's easy to follow hashtags and use @messaging to connect with people. As a result, I often "meet" people on twitter and never really meet them in real life. Today I went to a data science meet up and got to actually meet someone I've been interacting with on twitter since SciPy.

The meet up was basically an intro to data science. We talked about why data science is having a moment, what the data science work flow looks like, and what skills are crucial in being an effective data scientist. We then went through a tutorial using a Jupyter notebook, scikit-learn, and the iris data set. I've actually given a tutorial in a research seminar using that data set, so I didn't really gain much technical insight out of this; however, I did come to this realization:
I also got to hang out with Sonya, Michelle and Michael, and some Hackbright grads, while meeting other people who are interested both in data science and building a culture of inclusion in the tech industry. Quality way to spend an evening.

01 November 2015

NaBloPoMo 2k15 Meal Plan #1

Can I actually just eat bacon all week instead?

It's November, which means that i get that itch to do something writing-related. i'm not saying that I'll success with NaBloPoMo, but whatever. Made this earlier today because we need to start eating better/cheaper:

Monday - rotisserie chicken, arugula
Tuesday - slow cooker pork, butternut squash in a brown butter and pine nut sauce, swiss chard
Wednesday - mac and cheese, leftover pork
Thursday - pan-fried chicken breast, roasted okra, swiss chard + lentil soup
Friday - chicken + vegetable pasta toss

I'll actually be out of the apartment for Monday and Wednesday to attend various events, so those are actually just for Colby to do while I'm gone.

31 August 2015

Coconut Raspberry Muffins, Part 1

Remember when I took actual pictures with a real camera in natural light?

Remember when this was a food blog?

Remember when I used to post recipes?

Remember when I planned and executed stupidly complicated dinner parties?

My new job keeps me busy, but I really love it. I was able to meet up with one of my Hackbright mentors today and had a chance to reflect on the last (gasp!) 7 months. It's been good, though there is always room for improvement.

These days, I rarely cook. Colby has proven to be a good cook and, given that he preps food daily, perhaps even better than me. While I miss being in my old kitchen (with the counter space, walk in pantry, center island, in a city where I have friends), I don't miss stress baking because I hate grad school. After watching enough America's Test Kitchen, I finally decided to bake something.

Are these any good? Ish. There should probably be more sugar (maybe even up to 1/3 c) and that would balance out the harsh flavor of whole wheat. It's also unsatisfying that these are made from a mix. However, I'll probably make these again with some modifications. It's a low-pressure way to ease my way back into the kitchen.

Coconut Raspberry Muffins

2 c Trader Joe's Multigrain Pancake Mix (or any Bisquik-like mix)
1 T granulated sugar
2/3 c culinary coconut milk
1 egg
1 T melted coconut oil
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 pint fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Whisk together pancake mix + sugar.
In a separate container, combine coconut milk, beaten egg, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined, some flour lumps are okay.
Add in raspberries and stir to distribute.
Bake for ~14 minutes, rotating halfway through.

08 February 2015

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Za'atar Spice

There's no way to take a picture of this that doesn't look terrible. See also: hummus
For the past 2 years, I've been telling myself that after some particular event happened, I was totally going to hop on the primal bandwagon. Obviously this has never happened, but we're trying to cook from home more often and choosing recipes that aren't just flour with potatoes and a side of sugar is probably to everyone's benefit.

Cauliflower is the darling of the paleo/primal community, so we had a head in our fridge to make it into *something*. After watching enough America's Test Kitchen, I made cauliflower soup this weekend. It was surprisingly good, although I'll definitely be playing with it to achieve a better depth of flavor. The next iteration will (hopefully) include actual bacon, I'll actually brown the onion, and look at adding other sources of umami.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 T za'atar spice
1/4 c whole, peeled garlic cloves
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 T butter
1 T bacon fat
2 c water
2 c stock
salt + pepper, extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t balsamic vinegar

1. Roast the cauliflower and garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil, za'atar spice, and salt + pepper at 375 for ~30 minutes or until everything is golden brown and delicious.

2. Meanwhile, saute the onion with a pinch of salt until softened.

3. Add in butter, bacon grease, bay leaf, water, stock, and the roasted cauliflower and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for ~15 minutes, until everything is softened.

4. Take off the heat and puree. Add in balsamic vinegar, and taste for seasoning.

02 February 2015

Home Makings and Other Announcements

I've been thinking about Austin a lot lately. I miss being part of a community that I know by heart and being close to so many of my good friends. One of the biggest differences between Austin and the Bay Area is that everything that I "need" is spread out here, whereas I could almost find everything I could possibly want north of the Colorado River in Austin.

Watercolor maps are awesome.

One of the biggest challenges is to find a replacement for Central Market. As absolutely ridiculous as it sounds, Central Market played a big role in our lives. We played on the playground and watched the turtles in the pond. We used it as a space to get to know people who would become dear friends. I worked on my thesis while drinking iced lattes and liters of mineral water. And even more plainly, we shopped for our groceries there. I miss being able to find the ingredients I cooked with in my Austin kitchens (my kingdom for some Cento crushed tomatoes) and being able to create the meals that I've fed my family and friends for the past six years.

whole milk lattes. forever

We do need to work on making the Bay Area feel like home, though, because we'll be here for awhile. After Hackbright ended, I put some serious legwork into applying for jobs. I even had a twitter hashtag that I used like three times (#getajobjanuary).  I'm happy to report that I start work as a data scientist today. Wish me luck.

30 January 2015

Birthday Month 2015!

My birthday month is fast approaching, so I figured it was time for me to put together my annual list of demands, erm.. I mean, wish list for Colby. Also, I should be studying right now, but I am a super wonderful procrastinator.

Raleigh Retroglide
I really want a bike for riding around Alameda. Since Alameda is completely flat and the speed limit is 25 MPH in most places, I don't need anything fancy. Therefore, I want something cute. Like, super cute.

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed that whenever I've tried a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, it's been a great success. Next on my list to try is his caramelized garlic tart. And now I want all of his cookbooks and have my Julie/Julia moment with him, except that Julie/Yotam is not nearly as alliterative.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook - Recipes from his restaurants

Jerusalem: A Cookbook - Written with Sami Tamimi, explores the cuisine of their home city

Plenty - Features all vegetarian recipes

Plenty More - Follow up to Plenty

Bonavita Electric Gooseneck Kettle

I've been getting into coffee again. I still haven't found a good replacement for my beloved Epoch, so making coffee at home is a must. I prefer pourover style to coffee machines and a gooseneck kettle allows for much better control. Even better than a gooseneck kettle? An electric kettle. Because I'm lazy.

27 January 2015

Biiiiiicycle, biiiiiiiiiiiiicycle

Please don't be intimidated by my kolourpaint4 skills. I'm an immensely talented individual.

I need some advice, so I'm crowd sourcing. I'm looking to buy a bicycle in the next few months. The idea would be to ride my bike from my apartment to the ferry station in Alameda, which is about 1.3 miles, and lock it up there.

Things to note:
I am so very incredibly short. As in, my inseam is 26 inches and I was really excited when crop pants were in because I could finally find pants that fit and didn't bunch around my ankles.

The last time I really rode a bike was in college. I had a Lance Armstrong approved Trek mountain bike that got stolen from in front of Owen Hall at Michigan State in the summer of 2005. I guess I learned my lesson about cable locks versus U-Locks.

I'd be okay with a used bike.

I've never used clip-in pedals, but maybe that would be okay? I don't know how necessary it is based on how short my commute will be.

I'm not currently planning on bicycling in San Francisco because I'm too young to die, but perhaps if I get comfortable around Alameda, I might try it in SF. Not sure if that changes the recommendations.

So, please send me all of your recommendations and suggestions! Also, I'd totally be into biking tips and safety info, too. :)

12 January 2015

Yerba Buena Gardens Children's Playground

It's hard to take pictures in San Francisco. This is due to a number of things conspiring against me, but mostly it's because the sun sets early and Ramona hates sleep. We went hung out in San Francisco this afternoon and I actually got to take a few pictures. I can't believe I have an almost 3 year old.