Monday, November 29, 2010

The Winter Situation

Ahhhhh winter. How I hate your stinkin' rottin' frozen guts! As many times as we have sworn to do anything to avoid cold weather it seems like we always end up getting caught in it time and again. This is mainly due to the other thing I hate dealing with which is a thing called Money. Lack of Money equals living in cold weather. Simple as that. If we were bank rolled right now we would be living it up in the Airstream somewhere warm. Warmer than here anyway. Dang it!

Winter on Nantucket is a force to be reckoned with. It does not get down to 30 below or anything.... but it does blow with wet, gray, gale force wind frequently and you do feel as though the rest of the world may be partying it up in Tahiti without you. It gets to feeling melancholy, isolated and other worldly out here come February. So let's hope I discover a trunk of gold doubloons washed up on the beach in January! For now have Christmas to keep us distracted. This is one area where the island does not skimp. They pull out all the stops. Downtown is decked out like you want it to be. Old school with lights, bows and baubles. There are dozens of trees lit and the windows of all the shops are tricked out with decorations, lights and $800 cashmere sweaters. Deeelicious. I snapped a couple of shots late this afternoon on Main St when they had first turned the trees on.

Before we hit town we took Rudy to run his booty off at Tupancy Links which is the equivalent to a dog park on conservation lands here on ACK. It was a beautiful albeit freezing cold afternoon. The ocean was just amazingly icy blue.

I loooove the atmosphere in this black and white shot... look at the light reflecting just below the horizon line on the water. So beautiful!

Rudy had a blast at the park although he did get busted for not listening to orders and running crazy far away to get at a dog named Dinah on the other side of the field. I mean... take a gander at Dinah and you will see why but still.... rule breaker! Click through on these to see the doggie details.

End result of long distance disobedience? The leash! The worst possible dog park punishment.

Here he is watching so hard. Soooo hard. See how his butt is not even touching the ground? Agony. There were two greyhounds peeling the F*ck out all over the field and it was nearly killing him to watch it. Livin' ain't easy Rudy.

Hope you all survived the weekend shopping mania over there on the mainland. Nobody got smashed up at Target!? Yikes!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Your Weekly Dose of Cynicism and Frosting

Gosh I just realized I have been layin' down on the bloggin' job again. Oops! This month has ripped past like a .... like aaaaaah, like something fast as all heck. I can't think of a good comparison right now. Quick like a bunny. There ya go. November of 2010 will go down in history as a money sucking black hole. Our truck broke down and we battled the doofis service department at the Ford dealership here on the island for over a week... I'm not sure they could fix a hot wheels car with a busted wheel. While the truck was in "in for service" (ha! funny concept Ford!) we rode our bikes to work each day. Let me tell you... I guess I am not much of a bike rider any more. It felt so dramatic each time. Painful and dramatic. It was the usual sore butt bones thing that you get when your patootie is not used to sitting on a bike seat but it was also my freakin' legs. Holy crap. I was getting charlie horses and all manner of random shooting pains. And hills? HA! Put me on the lowest gear possible and it'll take me about an hour to go two blocks up a slight grade.... say .35%. Not 35% but POINT 35%. Got it? I just need to call it and get myself a weasel scooter. One of the motorized chairs. What are they called again? I always remember it as weasel and I know that's not correct. Whatever. Mine would be a weasel.

I paid big bucks to have my Nikon lens repaired (after I dropped it) and much like the Ford dealership.... I was dealing with poor customer service. It took this place (Precision Camera in CT) over three weeks to repair my lens and turn it around to ship back when they claim 3 to 4 days turn around time for repairs on their website. Also... no one answers the phone there. Ever. Don't send your camera stuff to this place. They stink.

There was also an incident involving pharmaceuticals that cost way too much and then turned out to be the wrong pills (for me.) I spent the entire month feeling dizzy and like I was about to throw up and it was because of a "generic equivalent" pill for one of my prescriptions. Neat! Some equivalent! But hey guess what? I just had to buy new pills and eat the cost on the old ones because that is how the cookie crumbles folks.

We are considering heading back to the west and living out of a mine shaft, panning for gold, eating opossum and squirrel, and drinking whiskey til we go blind or die from injuries incurred from this life style. It could be the stuff of legend. And way cheaper than trying to live like real people. Being real people seems to kind of suck. It's way over rated anyway.

So yeah... Whatever. Life goes on. Baking goes on. With no transportation and no camera lens I don't have too much in the way of photos to share. The old 50 mm just does not cut it for everyday shooting. Want to see more stuff I baked? Sure. Why not?

More whoopie pies... man are they popular. People are way into the whoopie. They are pretty fun to make so I guess I am into them too.

I had to make this super funny birthday cake.... a friends kid is in Peter Pan (the play) out here on island this month and his birthday happened to fall on opening night. She asked me if I could make a cake that looked like the "Poison Cake" in the play so here it is folks.... A green funky poison cake (no actual poison involved... it's just visually poisonous.)

Billy said it reminded him of a poison tree frog...

And just because they were super huge and ridiculous here are some gluten free cakes I made. I called them Cake Bombs because, well, look at them. They were about the size of a grapefruit and filled with two flavors of rich butter cream. Cake Bombs.

Ok! Off to work! Tonight is the Thanksgiving baking throw down. Everything goes out tomorrow because we are closed on the holiday so the eggs, sugar and flour will be flyin' tonight. Have a great holiday peeps and I'll be back for the weekend!

Sunday, November 07, 2010


God Gawd it descended upon us just today. 40 mph wind, 42 degrees outside, rain and it's generally miserable as all Hell. What. Ev. Er. What can be done? You must bake things. That's what can be done. I direct you to Smitten Kitchen (as I have done so many times in the past) and I have probably even linked to this very cake recipe before. So that should really be telling you something. Make the stinkin' cake already.

My Mom sent us a boat load of canned stuff this fall.... Thanks Mom! And in the mix were peaches canned in honey with cloves. We busted in to them to eat with the cake tonight. Sick! I tell ya! Sick!

Other than cake news... we are still getting settled in. Today we managed to clear out most of the random boxes that were loitering around the living room and kitchen. Rudy is still pouting. He always hates it for the first few weeks when we move. At least he has finally started to emerge from the depths of his cave bed. For the past two days you could not even see him he was so deep in there.

We are down to 4 days a week at the bakery so it leaves us with plenty of time to get projects done... Billy will be painting of course and I have a bunch of stuff I want to accomplish this winter. Art projects, recipe testing and plotting for the future. The biggest project of all will be not gaining 30 pounds over the course of the Nantucket winter. Not sure yet how I will tackle THAT one. So far I am not exactly headed in the right direction (glancing sideways at the giant cake on the kitchen counter.)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Still Moving....

Well, kinda. We are moved in and the old place is cleaned out but it's that whole thing where we are sitting here all sore and tired in a pile of boxes wondering where the Hell to put stuff now. Words of advice.... if you can help it, don't move from one upstairs apartment to another upstairs apartment. Toooo many staaaairs y'all. I was trying to be all bad ass yesterday carrying heavy boxes and bins up to the new place. Billy kept saying... "That's too heavy! Let me get it!" and I was all "HA! I can carry this with my pinkie finger!" Right up until the moment that my knees lit up like someone had poured gasoline on them and then flicked a Zippo open mid shin. Busted. Up. Knees. This my fine friends is one of those "I'm getting OLD" moments. I CAN still carry the heavy shit upstairs.... but I SHOULDN'T carry it upstairs (apparently, according to my stupid knees.) So yeah, I'm still dealing with that, pain.

Otherwise the new digs are great. Clean. Warm. Big. Real Bed. Bath tub. Big Improvement. We are like straight up George and Louise Jefferson up in here.

I have no photos for you. Well, I do.... they are irrelevant to this post about moving. They are of Billy's croissants. I'm postin' them. Because they matter and I want to. FYI Billy is mastering from scratch real croissants people. Who does that, right? Billy does. And he knocks that shit right out the park. Check it....

Can you smell the butter? Because you actually may be able to. Take a deep sniff and let your mind get all doped out on the idea of the perfect flaky, crisp croissant. Yes! Look out Pierre Hermes! Billy's hot on your French pastry tail!

Cheers all.... catch you in a day or so once we get more settled.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sugar Rush

Howdy Doodies. It's late and it's rainin' and I am looking to curl up in bed with my book BUT I thought I would share a great recipe with ya before I hit the hay tonight. I have been making pumpkin whoopie pies for the bakery and man are they good. If you are headed to a Halloween party this coming weekend bring a mess of these and people will be lovin' you for real.

They are moist, loaded with spices and filled with a maple cream cheese frosting. Get back! It's delicious bitches! I have even had people that hate pumpkin say that these are damn fine eatin'.

Without further ado.... here's the recipe. It's from none other than Martha Freakin' Stewart y'all.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Martha uses a straight up cream cheese frosting filling but I prefer to add to the warm fuzziness of these treats by filling 'em with a maple cream cheese...

    For the maple cream cheese filling:
    3 cups powdered sugar
    ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    3 tbsp. maple syrup
    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    To make the cookies....

  • Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop* with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

  • * I use a medium sized scoop.... I like my cookies a bit larger.

    For the filling....

    To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to over beat the filling or it will lose structure.

    I keep these in the fridge after I put them together... they should keep pretty well for two or three days (Ha!)

    We are really cranking stuff out at the bakery trying to get stocked up for the coming weekend. I made some great gluten free chocolate cupcakes tonight that I am pretty stoked about. Yup, they are the ones you see on the new header. I also made gluten free chocolate chip cookies and then sandwiched them together with vanilla butter cream. Woo Hoo!

    Who has a great Halloween costume planned? Anybody? I am trying for one. I have a thing I am trying to do. Could be good... or it could end up being super stupid. We shall see come Sunday. We went to a pumpkin carving party just the other night... here are the faces we created. Please note Billy's creepy pumpkin off to the far left with the beady little eyes. Yuck Billy. Mine is the one on the top right. I always go for the classic, wicked jack-o-lantern face myself.

    We will be moving into our new apartment sometime in the next week so forgive me if I go MIA for a minute. Have a great Halloween weekend!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    More Troops Have Arrived

    And Rudy is still fearless in the face of the seal invasion....

    This last one is the "Do you guys SEE this shit?" face.

    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Little Dog Stories

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Sock Puppet Wars

    Coming soon on Animal Planet....

    Saturday, October 16, 2010

    The Seal Whisperer or.... The Seal Prediction of 2010

    So. The results are in. Rudy is not crazy ( at least not in a new even crazier way than we already knew about ) and he apparently has some Aquaman type skills that are straight up ACUTE!

    We went down to the beach late this afternoon... same spot the incident occurred yesterday. And here is what we were met with......

    Yeah. It's a seal invasion. A possible seal take over? There's way too many of them out there for it to be a casual get together. They are clearly up to no good. We stood gawking at them for a good ten minutes and they showed no signs of moving on or being the least bit concerned by our presence. In fact I think I saw a few of them sticking their tongues out and laughing at us. Let me tell you also.... this was not an isolated group. It was like this the length of the beach. There must have been a hundred seals out there.

    How did Rudy know? And what other mysteries of the universe is he solving even now? Incredible.

    Other than the gang of aggressive blood thirsty seals it was a lovely (if not quite windy and cold) afternoon.

    I can't remember if I mentioned it but I dropped our 18- 135 lens for the Nikon and I F'ing broke it. So we are shooting every lovin' thing with our 50 mm. It was a huge loss out there today to only have this tight little lens to shoot with. The sky was epic. I tried to capture it the best I could.

    Another epic event today that should be listed is the Whoopie Pie baking I peeled off at work tonight. I have been wanting to make these for awhile I finally had the chance tonight. Let me tell ya people.... I am a natural born killah in the whoopie pie department.

    I want to make whoopie pies for the whole world. It could really be the thing that stops the madness, ya know? If every single person got one at the same time? Cosmic. It would be like the reverse of a black hole.... it would be like Shangri-Whoopie- La!

    . I have to go to bed. Have a grand weekend!

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    Rudy Sees a Seal Ghost? Senses a Great White?

    Yesterday was a gorgeous, fabulous day. The sort of day that makes you feel like spinning around Julie Andrews "The Sound of Music" style, shouting out about how grand life is and laughing gleefully like you have not got a care in the world. Yeah... it was that nice. SO we decided to hop on down to the beach here in Sconset to hang out, soak up some sun and let Rudy peel out for awhile. Rudy loves to spend the afternoon on the beach. If there aren't any other people around we can just let him wander around to his hearts content sniffing, digging and lavishing his fur with pungent odors in the patented stink roll as seen here...

    He can usually keep himself occupied for hours. Every now and then he will come back to us and dig a bunker next to one of our chairs and crawl in to watch for birds to ambush. No worries for the birds. They always get away. As an aside let me just tell you that last week we were walking him off leash down the beach and he spied a seagull up ahead and took off after it. I watched in horror as I realized that the gull could not fly or even run away for that matter because it was injured. It was sort of washing back and forth in the surf at the waters edge. I started screaming at Rudy to "Leave It!" (this is what we say if we need him to drop some gnarly crap he is snacking on found on the ground, etc.) but he rushed right up to the thing and my mind was swirling with images of him ripping the thing up while it jabbed at his eyeballs with it's pointy seagull beak. So he ran up to it and then stopped a foot or so away and just stood there looking at it. He followed it as it washed up and down in the surf and sort of just puzzled at it. Billy made it to them first and he gently led Rudy away telling him what a "good boy" he was for leaving the seagull be. Every day since then of course Billy has scoffed at Rudy saying things like "You think you're a tough guy? You can't even kill a sick seagull!" This is their relationship. Billy and Rudy try to one up each other and make the other one look bad all the time. Like brothers. Like boys. Anyway... back to the original story.

    We were sitting on the beach reading and sort of gazing out at the water watching a couple of fishing boats that were tooling around way out by the sandbar (there were no other people on the beach for at least a quarter of a mile on either side of us) and Rudy was laying in his bunker next to my chair facing the ocean. All the sudden he exploded up out of his hole barking and snarling. All the hair was up on his back and he was really, really on the defense. We both whirled around to see what was coming or who was around and.... nothing. There was nothing. Rudy continued to slowly advance toward the water barking like he was getting ready to fight for his life or defend ours. It was nuts how freaked out he was. And there was NOTHING out there. We tried to distract him and bring him back to our seats but he was in full blown attack mode. This went on for a good 3 to 4 minutes until Billy finally dragged him away and made him sit facing away from the water. Rudy still tried to turn his head to look back and was whining and crying in worry. Eventually we calmed him down and went back to reading for a couple minutes when he suddenly went off again. This time we ended up having to leave because he would not cool his jets. Ok. Sooooo WTF, right? Either we have a delusional, neurotic terrier or there was an 18 foot great white trolling for seals twenty feet off the beach? Or perhaps Moby Dick's evil cousin was communicating telepathically with Rudy from the briny deep? It really makes ya wonder. It was a sunny, calm day with nothing going on. Either this dog has a wicked imagination and is a great play actor or some creepy shit was slinkin' around in the water not too far off. We will never know. It's not the first time The Rudester has faced off against the mighty Atlantic with a bit of an attitude. When hurricane Earl was peelin' through he was downright surly about it. Please do click through on this photo to see the look on his face.

    What a majestic beast, right? I'll let ya know if we end up having to get him set up on anti psychotic drugs. Or if Sconset gets wiped out by a giant sea monster.

    Monday, October 11, 2010


    I can't even believe I am here. On this blog. I can't believe they let me in. "They" meaning the password gremlins that live inside the Internets caves and deep, dark hollows. I mean... I completely abandoned ship like 3 months ago, right? And I am totally talking to myself right now, right? Because I know that nobody else is out there pickin' up what I am puttin' down. Well, I'm doin' it anyway. I may as well hold a conversation with me, myself and I for awhile and see if anyone comes back around.

    How can I sum up the three months I have been absent in writing here? How about this... It sucked worse than anything has ever sucked before (for me personally) but somehow I survived it. It's not worth droning on about.... I had a job, it was not nice. We had an apartment which was also.... not nice. I worked 6 days a week in the dead of night and struggled to sleep for 4 hours a day through the heat and loud noise of a summer spent living above The 'Sconset Market. And now it's October. Let's pick up right here and now shall we?

    For anyone who lost track... we are living out on Nantucket Island off the coast of Massachusetts. The Airstream is in storage back in Illinois. Rudy is alive and well. Billy is Billy as always. I am a hot mess similar to a spilled pot of spaghetti on a white dining room rug. So nothing there has changed. We had planned to come out to Nantucket for the summer and then peel out for parts unknown again come September but that plan has changed. This is mostly due to lack of funding for random acts of traveling. These are seriously hard times for a couple of bums like us with a bug up their ass to move every 6 months. The other reasons for staying here are butter, flour and sugar. I continue to bake and surprisingly enough Billy is baking now too. We managed to pin down jobs at a brand new bakery right downtown which is cute as heck. It's called The Petticoat Row Bakery and is open year round which is not typical for Nantucket. Most everything shuts down in the off season here. The bakery was opened by the Re-Main Foundation which is striving to revitalize downtown Nantucket for the year round community. There are around 10,000 islanders in the winter here and in the summer the population shoots up to around 50,000. Quite a difference, no? Re-Main thinks that these 10,000 souls left to languish out here during the long cold months of a New England winter should still at least be able to get a fresh baguette or a cupcake with a coconut butter cream frosting or a gluten free brownie for pete's sake! So Billy and I are among the folks workin' to keep the dream alive. So far so good. Here are some images from our nights spent in the Petticoat kitchen.

    Starry Little Blueberry Pies....

    What I am now calling King Kong Cookies... they started as Thomas Keller's version of Nutter Butters and have transitioned into cookies monstrosities filled with peanut butter cream, chocolate butter cream and fresh banana butter cream. They should really be illegal.

    This is the bakery.....

    Billy's gorgeous and delicious baguettes...

    A chocolate linzer tart....

    Billy's hand painted cupcakes....

    Kinda makes you slobber a little bit and wish you had a cookie to cram in your face right now right? Yah, me too.

    We are still living above the market out in the village but will be moving in closer to town near the end of this month. Our winter rental has an art studio ( a full on real one) for Billy to work in so he will no longer be crammed in to a creepy corner or painting in the middle of the living room as he has had to do in the past. I can't say what this winter will hold for us.... the bakery is brand new and they really have no idea what to anticipate for the dead of winter. We have not spent a winter out her in almost ten years. It's an experience. I am going to do my best to photograph the island and some of our friends here to share on the blog.

    Today we took a long walk out at Sanford Farm. Rudy loooooves it out there. So do I actually. Here are some images from the walk.

    I imposed a sort of a vintage-y feeling to all these images because that was the way I was seeing things today. I guess it is the colors of fall that lead my mind in that direction.

    When we made it up to the old barn and Ram's Pasture, Billy grabbed an old school jump shot of Rudy and I because the time and place were just right for one....

    I am just glad I still have the jump in me. One of these times I'll probably throw out my back or break my hip or some shit trying to do it. And it will all be recorded on the camera.... so we have that to look forward to.