21 March 2010

Boise State Capitol

I forgot to tell all of you about visiting the capitol building with Mom while she was here in February.  Idaho's state capitol building is made mostly of sandstone and marble, and was recently renovated (it's been closed for about 3 years and has finally reopened).  Some of the marble in the building is actually scagliola, a composite mix often spread over an existing surface to look like marble.  It is also the only state capitol to be heated by a geothermal well (the same source from which my apartment building derives its heat, which is why my heat is "free"!). 

Standing on the third floor, lookup up into the dome.  Note the tiny little spiral staircase which allows staff to access the roof and paint the gold eagle on the very top.

Looking down from the second floor past the first floor rotunda to the "garden level" floor.  The flooring and banisters seen here are original to the 1912 construction.

Looking south towards downtown Boise on Capitol Boulevard.  My apartment building is behind the pine trees on the right.

Martha's Blood Orange Glaze for cheesecake

Several years ago, I saw a beautiful cheesecake in Martha Stewart magazine (really, click on that link - see how perfect and precise hers looks!) that was topped with a blood orange glaze.  The glaze is really a gelatin, and I believe you can not only substitute regular orange juice, but probably several other kinds of fruit juices.  I made an excellent but time-consuming cheesecake from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours (which is a great baking book, by the way), and topped it with Martha's glaze.  Ironically, the glaze was easier than expected, and the cheesecake was harder than expected.  I had initially checked out Martha's cheesescake recipe as well, but it was even more complex than Dorie's, as expected.  Anyway, on to the cheesecake!  My mouth is watering remembering this light and fluffy, yet rich, treat we enjoyed at Bible study on Wednesday.  There were just enough pieces to go around for the 16 of us.

Juicing the oranges.

Preparing the glaze, after the cheesecake has chilled overnight.  The glaze is quite simple - just juice, sugar, cornstarch, and plain gelatin.  The gelatin (soaking in juice) is on the far left, cornstarch in the middle, and saucepan with sugar on the right.

Martha's recipe calls for making candied orange slices (well, just one!) but I simply shaved the pith off and used these fresh.  They worked fine and didn't seep any juice to interrupt the setting of the gelatin.

The final dessert.  It was so good!  The tart glaze balances the rich cheesecake really well.

Blood Oranges

I got 3 blood oranges in my produce box last week.  I never knew they were multi-hued!  They also have a distinct taste, like oranges and berries tossed together.  Want to know what I did with these beauties?  I ate one, and the other two you'll see again in the next post.

09 March 2010


What is it?

Just say it out loud and I'm sure you will guess.  It's an ingredient in a cake I made and brought to work last week.  My co-worker Linda loved it so much that she brought me a tube given to her by her friend in Finland so I could use the good stuff (grown in Guatemala) instead of the cheaper bottle I had.  Sweet!  A little of this will last a loooonng time.


What was the first thing that came into your mind when you read "wallflowers"?  I bet your first thought was a high school dance with shy kids standing off to the side, or maybe the 90's band The Wallflowers (which I listened to in high school... this is turning into a high school theme!).  Well, I put wallflowers in my bedroom, and the kind I used has nothing to do with either high school or pop bands.  They are a decoration!

Being a native Californian (think earthquakes), I have a special dislike for anything hanging on the wall above my bed. I can't hang pictures or anything remotely loose, for fear it will fall off in the middle of the night, bonk me in the head and scare the living daylights out of me.  These seemed like a good option...

They are lightweight plastic flowers that come in a multitude of colors (chrome, in my case) and attach to the wall very securely by popping onto little thumbtack nails you tap into the wall.  There's not much that could make these fall down, unless you purposely pulled on them of course.  Then they pop right off.  I got my Wallflowers randomly at Flying M in Nampa, but I first saw Wallflowers on Young House Love, which is a home design blog I frequent.  Young House Love is written by a young married couple living in Richmond, Virginia, who purchased an older home and chronicled every single home improvement project since the beginning on their blog.  They've done everything from painting to kitchen and bathroom remodeling.  They're a hilarious pair who even get their chihuahua in on the action from time to time.  While John and Sherry from YHL admired their flowers' "gentle shadow", I found mine to have a tad more of a "Psycho" effect...

I've decided to just leave the lamp off.  *shiver*

Wait! I'm not ready yet!

For March, that is.  Too late!  It's going to come whether I want it to or not.  Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy to see sunshine and feel warm sunrays on my arms, but time is flying and I don't feel like I fully appreciated February yet.  To wit....

I finally have time to show all of you the valentine my mom made for me!  Check it out...

Isn't she just the craftiest person you know?  Thanks Mom!

*This type of folded valentine was popular in Victorian times and is called a "puzzle purse".  Here are some instructions.