Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Wave

I hope everyone had a good holiday! I am glad it's over!

Right now, I'm reading a book I really recommend called The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean. It's about giant waves. The way she writes it and researches it is really interesting--she switches back and forth between the amazing surfers who surf these 60 to 80 foot gigantic waves to the scientists who study them. Both subcultures are pretty interesting. I enjoy the subject matter as well as her writing style--she writes it in the first person, but she doesn't have an annoying "voice"--her part in it all is fairly low-key and invisible.

She also wrote a book about great white sharks which I plan to read next.

Pictured above: Pro surfer Laird Hamilton, riding an insanely huge wave. He is married to 6-foot-three supermodel/volleyball pro Gabby Reece. They have three kids who, with that genetic mix, were probably born with superpowers.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Candied Nuts

Candied pecans and walnuts make a nice holiday gift and, if you happen to have pecans or walnuts lying around, it's an inexpensive gift too. My Southern relatives are always mailing us pecans which is convenient.

Since we blew so much money going to Hawaii, I don't have much money left over for Christmas presents this year, so for gifts at the office, I'm making everybody a (small) jar of these candied pecans. People are always really impressed with these ("You made these??") but the funny thing is, the recipe is so quick and simple. Here's the one I use:

2 cups raw walnuts or pecans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter a large baking pan, or better yet, use parchment paper (easier for clean up). Combine nuts, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 15 minutes, until mixture thickens. Spread nuts on baking pan and sprinkle with salt. Bake 15 minutes, then turn nuts using an oiled spatula and cook 15 minutes more. Let cool, then put into pretty glass jars.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


We saw Guy's favorite musical, Hair, at the Paramount last Saturday. Hearing his millions of versions of the soundtrack never had any effect on me, but apparently seeing the musical is the straw that broke the camel's back and made me a fan too. Damn the persuasive power of musical theater!

The movie looks very silly:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

This is a drawing that Guy did of me yesterday when I was finishing a silly suspense novel I was reading. It had a few twists that made me gasp with surprise. It was a very, very ridiculous book called The Perfect Husband, but sometimes I enjoy reading really crappy novels.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I spent last Sunday as well as this Sunday making pretzels. They're fun! I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking and it's really simple, you just need a lot of time for rising and it helps to have a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a dough hook. I love my dough hook; it means I don't have to do any kneading by hand.

The first time I made them (last week), I made the mistake of putting too much salt on them. This time, I'll lightly salt only half the batch, and leave the rest unsalted. Guy and I had them for dinner with (store bought) Queso sauce and salad.

I like this paragraph from Joy of Cooking in their chapter on yeast:

"Yeasts are tiny single-celled living organisms with approximately 3,200 billion cells to the pound--and not one is exactly like another. They feed on sugars and produce alcohols and carbon dioxide--the "riser" in batters and doughs. But you may prefer, as we do, to accept a Mexican attitude towards yeast doughs. They call them almas, or souls, because they seem so spirited."