Highlights from today's archiving

Figure One. Hamburg Rathaus by night. Expect many many more photos like this here.
Figure Two. Blurry Christine having cocktails.
Figure Three. Silly (but cool) jumping Dan.


Clip Show: Where I left off

I've embarked on the project of digitizing my black and white negatives from the last five or six years (since I started shooting b/w...). That's a lot of negatives. In any case, I'll post highlights here. Please bear with me as I learn the ropes of scanning and editing (why, hello, Photoshop). Many, many more of these will be appearing over the next few weeks (months, more likely). I'll be posting them here.
Figure One. The Hipster Photo Shoot. Dan and I did a little photo shoot while living in Berlin. He wore a fedora and we set up in the garage of our apartment building, where the architectural details and graffiti are fabulous and it was almost completely dark.
Figure Two. Liz in the wild. Smith Senior Year (2004). We were in pursuit of interesting photos for the Yearbook. There are also many photos of Kelly.
Figure Three. Peeling posters in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. Also from 2007.


Last night, I had some friends over. One of my really good friends is moving from DC to Boston and was in town briefly, so we decided to have a bit of a celebration. The only problem was that our apartment was (as it is today) keeping at a steady 85+ degrees. The only solution for it was to make fizzy sweet drinks and huddle around a candle on the roof. Pardon the blurry photo, but you can take it as representative of the activities of the evening.
This morning, we were in the mood for hangover food and, having a car at our disposal, hied ourselves hence to Sofra, where we indulged in not one, but two rounds of delicious food. Try the Shakshuka next time you're there. It's divine.All in all, it's been a pretty great day (and night). Much love to all who attended and imbibed. Now if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to go snack on some Moroccan style goat cheese that I brought home with me.



I've lapsed. The one-a-day plan hasn't exactly worked out, for reasons of technology, laziness, and humidity, but I have been shooting and developing lots! The spirit of the project is not lost! For today, here are a couple of photos and one recipe.

After having a lovely breakfast and trip to the airport and watermelon ice and chat with the lovely author of Sweet Amandine (who I'm going to presumptuously say is becoming a dear friend), I felt hungry and decided to steal her recipe for Sesame Noodles. Knowing, however that I, like her sister, am very particular about my Sesame (and/or Peanut) Noodles, I adapted the recipe a bit. I used Angel Hair Pasta and made the whole thing cold. I also added a glop of chunky peanut butter and a little ginger paste. Delicious.
And this is my little hot puppy. Posing nicely for the camera. She needs a haircut, but I am loath to lose her big fuzzy bear paws.
In other news, I've been doing a good deal of for-fun reading and I have two EMPHATIC recommendations for you: 1. All Over Creation, by Ruth Ozeki and 2. Commencement, by J. Courtney Sullivan.

Both of these authors are Smithies. Ozeki has a way of being very political about farming practices while weaving a really riveting story on top of it. In her first book - My Year of Meats, Ozeki takes on the beef industry and in this one she takes aim at genetically engineered vegetables, specifically potatoes. While yes, this book makes me want to eat 100% organic vegetables, the most memorable part of it was the family's story that she tells along the way. It's kind of the opposite of my experience with The Jungle, where I remember the gruesome scenes in the meat packing plant, but don't remember the personal plight of the characters at all. Sullivan plumbs her personal experience in college and writes what amounts to a nostalgic ode to Smith. Yes, it does deal with illegal sex traffic in a pretty graphic and stirring way, but the book is really all about Smithies and love and friendship. It's like Sex and the City, but real and relevant to my life.

What strikes me about both of these books (granted, I did read the two of them in the space of about three days) is that maybe Smith did really leave a lot of us with a real desire to make a difference in the world, regardless of the arena in which we choose to work. And wasn't that the idea anyway? I still haven't found a way to do this in any concrete way in my life, unless you count the dissemination of German articles and adjective endings as some sort of social change. But these women, deeply invested in writing, which so often becomes a solitary, self-indulgent activity, find a way to comment on their (and our) lives and relationships while writing an entertaining story AND raising awareness about serious social issues. Well, done Smithies.

Rather upsettingly, Sullivan graduated a year ahead of me. I haven't published a (really great) novel yet, have you?


My beautiful friends!

One a Day... Number five

A photo and a story. I decided to make use of my brand new ice cream maker and whip up some fresh watermelon sorbet. So, I took about 3/4 of a small watermelon, cubed and seeded it and popped it into my (also brand new) food processor. Then I squeezed half a lime in and threw in a glug or two of the lime scented simple syrup I made the night before. Then I added a splash of vodka and popped it into the ice cream maker. Result: delicious intense watermelon-y flavor with just enough tart lime flavor and sugary sweetness. The texture was a little odd, but still tasty.

In other news, I've been shooting black and white medium format and rediscovering the joys of that. Will hopefully have scans soon. (Oh, scanner, how do I want you... Canoscan 8800f, maybe?)


One a day...Number three and four.

Well, I missed yesterday. Maybe because I was busy drinking these.Today: Three very happy packages arrived - food processor, ice cream maker, and film processing supplies, oh my!


One a day...Number two.

The only photos I've taken today have been analog - I finally got a new battery for my trusty old Mamiya and, oh, I've got big plans for her. So, in the spirit of at least uploading one photo every day in an effort to make myself be creative at least part-time, I give you last night's dinner. Nothing fancy, just some light buttery pasta with veg and a good, big, fat salad.

In other exciting photo news, not only did I find TWO places that have rentable darkroom space, but I also dug out my old tank and ordered up some chemistry so that I can develop my own film again! It's been a long, long time since I did it and just reading a tutorial to remind myself how it goes made me go all misty/nostalgic. I remember so poignantly the feeling of my fingers going all puckery while washing freshly developed film combined with wafting chemical smells and everything being nice and cool and clean and dust-free. And come Wednesday (when my happy little shipment arrives) I'll be doing it again, theoretically. I am a little nervous to discover that I've lost my touch or that it's not as much fun as I remember it (as with so many foolish things we did in college), but I'm sure it'll come back in a snap and be even more satisfying now since I haven't done it in ages.

All this photo-Schwärmerei was brought about, in case you're wondering, by some fun shooting in Ireland and the decision that if I'm going to have the kind of well rounded life I really want, now is as good a time as any to get started. So here we go - I'm plunging back in.


One a day...

It may be time for another attempt at 365 photos. Keep your expectations in check.


Faux toes

This is a taste of my photos from our trip to Ireland. Many, many more can be seen here.

Hot weather equals ...

An urge, a craving, and, ultimately, sweet satisfaction

Yesterday I found myself with the urge to do something in the kitchen. These moods tend to strike at the least opportune times - as far as possible from mealtimes, when I have a ton of work to do, when the kitchen is dangerously low on supplies (which, admittedly, forces creativity, but usually ends with less than ideal results), and so forth. This was combined with a craving for bread, which - tragedy! - we did not have in the house.

And so I pulled out the book that is quickly becoming a Bible for me - The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and started to read recipes. I quickly decided against rolls, sandwich bread, and a variety of sweet options. I landed on their quick, easy recipe for Rosemary Focaccia (my rosemary needed a little pruning, after all).

The result, with a little fiddling and a lot of shameful ignoring (How long is it supposed to rise again?), was a crispy, yet soft, chewy focaccia with the tang of good olive oil and the bite of good, crunchy sea salt. In short, it hit the spot.
Rosemary Focaccia - The Book also provides suggestions for substituting parmesan, sage, or olive and thyme. They all sound delicious.

Note: don't use dried rosemary for fear of burning.

1 russet potato (I used Yukon Gold) - be sure you'll have enough for about 1 1/3 cups grated potato (for me, this meant two small ones)
3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. instant yeast
1 1/4 t. salt
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for the baking sheet and rising bowl (I didn't measure very carefully, which resulted in a rather too-oily bread. But it's good oil, so it tastes fine anyway.)
2 T. fresh rosemary (Again, I did not measure, but instead just liberally plopped the rosemary down on the top of the dough)
3/4 t. coarse sea salt (I used too much.)

  1. Cook the potato until it's easily pierced with a knife (~10 minutes). Allow to cool until it's comfortable to handle. Grate it on the large holes of a box grater. The recipe initially asks you to cut the potato into 1-inch chunks, but in the future (for the sake of grating it more easily) I would leave it in halves or quarters. The small chunks were rather unwieldy and quite messy to grate. Reserve 1 1/3 c. grated potato.
  2. Mix 3 1/4 c. of the flour with the other dry ingredients (yeast, table salt). On low, add potato, water and 2 T. olive oil until the dough comes together.
  3. Ratchet up the speed (medium-low) and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (~10 minutes). If the dough is too wet (sticking to sides of the bowl), add flour. I needed all of the extra flour, perhaps because of the massive humidity in Boston yesterday?
  4. Turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it to form a smooth ball (~1 minute).
  5. Put the dough-ball into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. I would also suggest oiling the plastic wrap, lest the plastic wrap stick to the dough, which mine did (tragedy!). Let rise for about an hour, or until it's doubled in size.
  6. Finagle the dough into a 12x18 rimmed baking sheet - just try to get it to stay in the corners - with WET HANDS. This part is very important. It calms down the dough a little and keeps your hands from sticking without drastically changing the flour/oil/water balance in the dough.
  7. Cover and let it rise for another 45-60 minutes. It should just about double in size and will slowly return to its original shape when prodded.
  8. Preheat oven to 425. Dimple the dough with your fingers in a more or less regular pattern. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and toss on the rosemary.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes (25 for me) until the bocaccia bottom is golden and crisp. (I found a normal spatula very very helpful in lifting up the focaccia to check the bottom.)
  10. Try to wait until it's cooled a little before slicing. You won't be able to.
**Another prop for this book - they have EXCELLENT descriptions and photos of how to know when the dough is too wet. Very useful for those who are uncertain about these sorts of things. It's a SERIOUSLY good cookbook for cooks at any level. Also, they provide rationales for a lot of their recipe and ingredient choices, which is reassuring.


Lessons I learned in Ireland

Figure One. Scones are better in Ireland. So is the butter.
Figure Two. Guinness is good for you.
Figure Three. When asked the question "Would you like a bit of cream with your raspberry crumble," say yes.
Figure Four. When making a sandwich, good bread is obviously a necessity (good Irish brown bread, in this case). Also highly recommended, however, is shredded cheese instead of sliced.
Figure Five. Even if it doesn't look like much, fish and chips is truly a memorable meal when you're near the sea and have lots of salt and vinegar at your disposal.
Figure Six. If you ever find yourself in Kenmare, County Kerry, go to Mulcahy's. Order the pork.


Radio Silent

I'm off to the land of Guinness, shamrocks, and Leprechauns. Don't expect to hear much from me for a couple of weeks.