Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More unoriginal content

I've got a post culminating about baking ├ęclairs, but until I perfect the process here is a youtube video. The music is pretty awful so just turn it off and watch.

I don't know about you, but after seeing this I just want to hop on my bike and take off to the nearest forest.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mine field garden

Bit of a departure from my regular posts, but the following blog post has been percolating through my brain since I read it last week.

Alexander Trevi proposes that we turn mine fields into beautiful gardens / ecosystems that would be immune (at least partially) from human presence. Scientists are developing plants that turn colour when they are grown on mines and mushrooms that work away at the explosives, slowly rendering them harmless. Seeds/spores would be sprayed on or dropped from planes. Plant life would pop up and animal life would creep in. The quarantined area would turn into a garden, albeit a wild one. Eventually the area would become safe but in the mean time only the thrill seekers would enter, in turn creating a beautiful labyrinth of trails known to be safe.

I cringe at the thought of having mine fields in my country, near my city. I can't imagine the anxiety of knowing that even where I think it's safe to walk it's not. I can't imagine not being able to wander through the bush in Canada. I thank God for the blessing of not having to worry about land mines here.

I'll let you read it and let you form your own thoughts.
(image by madzoy)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Webster's Falls

On Sunday I went to Webster's Falls in Dundas with friends from work on a Photo Field Trip. I had never been, but I think everyone else in the party had. It's a great park but a little crowed.

We were there for 4 or 5 hours and we all took some amazing shots (plus some duds). It's amazing how 6 people can take 6 completely different styles of photos.

Here are the sites where photos from others in my party may show up (no guarantees):
Ryan (and Joy?)
and Me

A few of my favorites from the day:
Falls 3 Mine! Contemplating falls Frogger 2 Falls 8

Wedding details and photos

Some you have asked how the wedding went. The answer: splendidly, if a bit stressful. But really - what weddings aren't stressful.

Tara and I got to the church a bit early so I took a few shots before I had to get into my tux. The church was right on the edge of a gorge, but there were too many trees to get a good picture down below. Very disappointing.

The guests came and bride showed up (beautiful as always Vanessa!). The ceremony was great; nobody missed a cue, nobody objected, and nobody fainted. And just like that the two of them were married.

There were some extended family pictures at the church and then we went down to the waterfront for a bunch more. I didn't take too many as I needed to pose in the pictures, but Tara took a lot and man, does she ever have a good eye. I think we are going to have to get a camera for her :)

After pictures the reception. Great food, good music and speeches that weren't too long. Cutting of the cake and the first dance and all of a sudden it was midnight and the room was clearing out.

Yessiree - a good day.

A few of my shots:

Broken fence



And here are few that Tara shot.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Fine looking couple

My brother-in-law Tim got married yesterday. Lots of pictures were taken, but this is the best one of Tara and I. That's me on the left.

How on earth did I get to marry such a beautiful woman?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Grilled Pizza

My good friend George was looking to a recipe to server his parents that a) was good, b) used the grill, and c) was a little out of the ordinary. After a few recommendations I remembered the Grilled Pizza recipe from Fine Cooking magazine. Here is it with a couple of modifications by me.

This is really a great recipe for a BBQ with people that want to be involved with their food. Getting the ingredients ready is super easy, and grilling the pizza just requires a watchful eye. I've made this for my family (parents and sister's family) and it was a huge hit.

The process involves making a dough (a bit firmer thus usual), preparing the toppings, grilling the dough on one side, removing it to add toppings (by your guests if they so choose) and then putting back on the grill to heat up the toppings. It's not harder than that.

In the pictures below, I made a pizza with pesto, prosciutto, olives and goat cheese. Mmm mmm good.

Since this is on the BBQ and not in the oven, the ambient temperature is lower. This means that you need to put on toppings that are either precooked or can be eaten warmed up. The only thing cooked is the dough.

Step 1- Make the dough (recipe at then end). Let it rise for an hour and a half or stick it in the fridge over night (then remove it at least 45 minutes before it needs to be rolled).

Step 2- Gather your toppings. I recommend the following:
Cheese: mozzarella, goat, feta, blue
Meat: cooked bacon, cooked sausage, prosciutto, pepperoni
Veggies: olives, cooked onions, fried mushrooms, blanched asparagus, thinly sliced tomato, roasted garlic
Base: tomato sauce, pesto, roasted red pepper tapenade

Step 3 - Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll each out to a small dinner plate sized circle. Stack these between wax paper.
Step 4 - Bring dough, toppings, olive oil, tongs and spatula out to the preheated BBQ - heated to a medium heat. Make sure there is a top rack on the BBQ (if not, only heat one side)

Step 5 - Brush oil on one side of a dough round and place on the BBQ. When placing, try to stretch it out just a little. Repeat until the grill is full (I can get two on comfortably)

Step 6 - Watch the dough and turn if one spot is getting too dark. Remove to a cutting board, cooked side up, when blackened spots appear on the underside

Step 7 - As quickly as possible top the pizza with indredients and return to BBQ.

Step 8 - When bottom is browned, move to the top rack of the BBQ and then remove and serve when the toppings are hot enough and the cheese is melted (if it is a melting cheese :) )

Dough recipe
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/4 C warm water
1 1/4 lbs flour (about 4 1/4 C)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey or sugar
1/4 C olive oil

Dissolve the yeast in the water and let it rest for about 5 minutes

With a mixer (or by hand) combine and kneed the water, flour, salt, honey/sugar and oil together for 6-8 minutes until the dough is elastic and a little sticky.

Put the dough in a oiled bowl and let it rise for an hour or two.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Just busy

I'm alive and kicking but the past few weeks have been busy so no posts. I'm still rather busy so I'll keep this one short.

This week we started painting our bedroom. A nice shade of blue. I like to think of it as sky blue, but the real name of the colour is something more esoteric: 'summer mist'. The ceiling and walls have been painted and the first coat is on the trim. One more coat on the trim and a few touch-ups and we can get that room back to normal (and put up our new bed frame). I don't have any before pictures, but I'll post an after one when it's done.

Last weekend we were up in North Bay. It was a great weekend. There was fireworks and cake and fresh fish and cake and friends and cake (yes you read that right - three cakes for three dinner meals). I also got to see where Tara's parents cottage used to be (they are building a new one). Here are some pictures (there are a few pictures of the weekend on my flickr account).

Before the weekend, we also picked up a macro lens (105mm nikkor Micro). Tara will be using this as part of her residency to take photos of eyes for her case study. Of course I had to try it out first this weekend. Here are a few good shots.

Wee moth Lily 1 TMNT Hemaris thysbe