Ooh, my favorite!

Happy Friday!
March 26, 2010, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Nostalgia, Photography

Let’s start the weekend off with “The King of Cool,” shall we?

I hope you have a killer weekend ahead. I hear there’s a Latin Salsa music festival this weekend, so I’m hoping to make it out to that tomorrow afternoon, and thankfully the weather’s supposed to be beautiful. Then I’m off to my friend Eve’s dance show, followed by drinks and snacks with the whole gang. It’s going to be a great Saturday.

What do you have planned? I hope you’re able to unwind, go crazy…or maybe have a healthy mix of both.

[Image via nights and days]

The Pig & The Butcher
March 26, 2010, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Food, Videos

My crazy-awesome foodie friend (and mentor) shared this video with me a few months ago. I know many of you will be turned away, but I urge you to watch this truly lovely video of butcher Vadim Akimenko. The way he works is an art form, with so much respect and meaning in every movement he makes.

From a 211-pound pig, only a single pound was thrown away.

This may not be something you’re interested in seeing, so let me just say that after watching this I was mesmerized and came away with a whole new respect for the art of butchery. I admire and respect vegetarians, and there is a part of me that wishes I could be one as well. But I am not, and I do not think I ever could be, so that is why it has become so important for me to understand and honor the food that I choose to consume.

Read more here, and pledge to help Akimenko Meats start a sustainable location in Cambridge, MA.

[Thanks, Brian]

Clean water
March 25, 2010, 11:47 am
Filed under: Clean, Health

Yesterday was World Water Day, and as I’ve written a lot about the importance water treatment reform and dirty water, I thought it was a good time to share my latest favorite kitchen accessory and finally focus on clean water.

I chose the Aquasana countertop filtration system since it was easy to install, filtered the most contaminants, and was also the most cost effective. It’s a funny feeling, but I’m actually able to drink water from the tap again. You just attach it to your faucet and pull a little nozzle to redirect the flow of water through the filters.I wasn’t expecting to notice a big difference, but I was actually stunned by the taste and texture of the filtered water. Somehow it’s silky and light…kind of hard to explain, but a welcomed difference none the less.

The unit itself was $100, but of course the filters are an on-going investment at $48 every six months, which works out to about $8 a month. It’s available through Amazon or directly from Aquasana.

Take a peek at this water filtration system comparison chart to see how each brand ranks. Sadly, I don’t have a standard shower head, so I can’t get the shower filter, but I’ve heard great things about it.

Organic Coconut Oil
March 25, 2010, 9:39 am
Filed under: Beauty, Organic

A few years ago, I started transitioning to organic products both in and out of the kitchen. While looking for organic produce and proteins are fairly simple, it is a very different story with health and beauty products. For one, many, many brands claim to be All Natural or Organic, but in reality there are not. Secondly, finding the organic product that’s right for you can be daunting and overwhelming. With on-going help and research with mom we now have a solid arsenal of products that we rely on every day.

One of our staples is organic cocnut oil; a wonderful treat for your skin and hair. (I haven’t tried the scalp massage method as my hair tends to be on the oily side, but hope to try one of these Sundays.) With its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, coconut oil not only acts as a great moisturizer but also a remedy for premature aging and various skin conditions. Also available for use in the kitchen, there are other benefits that come from using it in cooking as well.

Some tips:

–  Available online at Amazon, or from health food stores. Whole Foods has a few different brands to choose from.

–  I use it at few times a week, but as it’s an oil it’s not always practical to apply it if you shower just before bed. I’d say it takes about 15 minutes to absorb.

–  If you buy a big jar, split it into two jars so you can save the other half for later, and that way you’re only sticking your hands into one jar at a time. [via mom :)]

Anchor & Hope
March 24, 2010, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Food, Restaurants, San Francisco

A few weeks ago my friend Keri was visiting from Seattle. Before a night out on the town we stopped by Anchor & Hope for a few appetizers. For most people this might have constituted as a meal, but if you know me at all, you’d know this was my snack after a full meal; and to be honest I probably had a late-night snack later on.

I’ve been here a few times now, and each time I’ve had a wonderful meal. I always end up in SOMA before a night out, so it’s an easy stop that promises great seafood dishes in a warmly candle-lit, turn-of-the century warehouse. I’m sure I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve always been able to just stop by without a reservation.

On this particular night we split three appetizers, but while we sipped our wine we received paper baggie with french bread and a small ramekin of perfectly spreadable butter (not a fan of cold, right from the fridge butter) with a light sprinkling of fleur de sel. I usually hold off on starting with the bread and opt to save it for when the saucy dishes arrive–I’m quite an accomplished “dipper”.

Here’s how it went:

1.  Warm sea urchin and crab: Creamy and rich, with a nice taste of “ocean” from the sea urchin. (Perhaps a bit lost with all the cream, but still a lovely taste of the sea.)

2.  Warm asparagus salad with poached egg: Love asparagus, love poached eggs, love a proper hollandaise.

3.  They didn’t call it pork belly, but it pretty much was: Perfectly fatty and smokey; it went so well with the acid from the warm purple cabbage.

Bread and butter

Warm Sea Urchin with crab and lemon beurre blanc

Warm asparagus salad with poached egg and meyer lemon hollandaise

Pork belly and purple cabbage

Overall Anchor & Hope is one of my favorite destinations, especially when I’m craving a taste of the sea. In the past I’ve had an amazing bouillabaisse-style fish stew, perfectly cooked scallops, proscuitto-wrapped trout, and a crazy wonderful clam chowder. Service and atmosphere are great, and for all you beer aficionado’s I hear they have quite a selection.

Discovery Channel’s “life” series
March 24, 2010, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Nature, Simply Amazing, Uncategorized

Without cable TV I’m a bit slow to hear about the latest programming news, and while I don’t miss television there are some instances where I wish I could flip it on and watch something like Discovery Channels new Life series. The follow-up to the masterpiece that was Planet Earth promises new filming innovations and of course beautiful scenes, interesting creatures, and intense sequences.

It premiered last weekend, but you can catch it this week as well. I beyond adored the Planet Earth series, so I can’t wait for this to be released on Blu-ray.

Pre-order through Amazon: Blu-ray, DVD.

[Images via BBC]

Animal camouflage
March 23, 2010, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Nature, Photography, Simply Amazing

The Conservation Report has the coolest sets of animal camouflage on their blog. I’ve picked a few favorites to share with you, but be sure to click to see more from each of the photographers who were kind enough to share their images on flickr.

There’s a caterpillar here…

Image via WohinAuswandern

This humming bird is easier to spot, but so pretty among the flowers…

Image via Danny Perez Photography

I’m not a spider kind of girl, but have to give credit to the crab spider…

Image via Crfullmoon

The rare pygmy sea horse, just discovered not too long ago. Yes, he was that good at hiding…

[via Raymond]

[via Conservation Report]

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