Thursday, July 30, 2009

the waiting game

About this time every year I get antsy. Not for fall and cooler weather as one might expect. I get excited for tomatoes. Not the tomatoes in the stores or at the farmer's market. I'm talking about the kind I can walk out my back door and pick straight from the vine. I get excited for cherry tomatoes I can snack on as soon as I walk through the gate. Unfortunately it's going to be a few more weeks before this will happen. In the mean time, I'm making a list of all the things I can make with all those tomatoes. First up is a tomato sandwich. It might sound boring to you. Add a little salt and pepper and a fresh picked tomato still warm from the garden and it reminds me of home. Do you have any tomato recipes you want to share? Feel free to comment below. Don't be shy.

In the mean time, I thought I would share a few photos from my garden. It's been so rainy this summer, everything is fluorescent green. And I'm loving it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

i have a secret

Without a doubt, I eat Mexican, or some version of Mexican weekly. I don't discriminate either. There's Tex-Mex, New Mex, California Mexican, traditional, southwestern and so on. I love it all. So much so I decided to make my own flour tortillas. I finally found a tortilla press at Sur la Table. I know, a bit of a novelty but if you know how much I love tortillas you would understand. The question now is, have you ever had fresh made tortillas? If so, you'll understand. If not, homemade are so much better than any store bought. I can't even begin to explain.

Like all things homemade, they require a little trial and error. At least this is my experience.
My first attempt was dry and cake like but had the right flavor. My second was more like a tortilla pancake. Too thick to even fold. I was in search of a thin and doughy tortilla. Something that would melt in my mouth. With a little tweaking I finally found something that more than works. My secret? I use leftover drippings from bacon in place of regular lard.

Flour Tortillas
makes 12 six inch tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lard (I like to use chilled bacon grease)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water

Special equipment: pastry blender, six to ten inch long wooden dowel (found in hardware stores), rolling pin or tortilla press.


Stir together flour with salt in a bowl, then cut in lard with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles course meal. Drizzle vegetable oil over mixture and stir in warm water until dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes, dusting hands occasionally with flour if dough is sticky.

Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 1 hour. Heat a dry well-seasoned cast-iron comal, regular griddle, or skillet over moderately low heat until hot. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and form into balls.

Roll out ball of dough one at a time. Use just enough flour to keep tortilla from sticking to the press or dowel. Don't try the assembly line method here or you'll be re pressing each tortilla. Like most dough, the tortillas shrink up after pressed if allowed to sit. Keep the remaining dough covered with plastic wrap while working. Roll out each ball into a 6 to 7 inch round, maintaining an even thinness. Place pressed tortilla on skillet and cook 1 minute on each side or until tortilla begins to brown. As one tortilla is cooking press another.

Tortilla will bubble and puff, and bottom will be browned in spots. Once browned flip tortilla and cook second side in same way, moving tortilla around to compensate for any hot spots. Transfer to a kitchen towel. Stack and cover tortillas once cooked. Tortillas can be made ahead of time, be sure to warm them before eating.

Friday, July 24, 2009

cocktail of the week - casa noble tequila

It's been a crazy week and not likely to let up for at least a few weeks. My remedy? A tequila to sip. Not officially a cocktail I realize, it's much more simple than a cocktail. One that requires no ice, mixer, lime, shaking or salt. All you really need is the vessel. How's that for simple?

One of my favorite tequilas is from Casa Noble Tequila Company. A tequila house that's been distilling tequila for over 200 years. And get this all their blue agave plants are 100% USDA organic. So far I have only tried the Crystal but am looking forward to sampling the reposado in the very near future.

Monday, July 20, 2009

jenny wilson - like a fading rainbow

Jevan has been reminding me for a few weeks to watch this video. I'm not great at taking time to watch videos and he knows that. Hence the reminding. It's not that I don't trust his recommendations, he's usually spot on when it comes to finding things that would be to my liking. My thoughts are, it's a video, what's so special? I'll check it out when I get a few minutes, if I remember.

As the video begins, it has everything to me that embodies the South. In fact, it easily could have been filmed outside the front door of the house I grew up in. The grey-blue skies just before dusk, grassy fields at the end of summer and a soulful voice singing the woes of a life without. All remind me of the South. Then the dancing begins. There is nothing Southern about these moves. It could only be that of a Swede. Jenny Wilson to be exact.

If you need instant gratification, watch the Youtube version above. If you're really interested, you can watch the widescreen version that you will have to download if you're not on a mac. I highly recommend the latter, because the colors are more than gorgeous.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

wide open spaces - giveaway

Some time ago I came across the blog, Wide Open Spaces. I'm not sure who lead me there, I'm thinking it was from my cousin Jora, either way, I've been a regular reader ever since.

Emily has her first ever give away, and a great one at that. A pair of Current Elliot jeans. If you are interested in entering, because the chances of me actually winning are rare, head over here. While you are there, be sure to check out the rest of her lovely blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009

pimms cup

It's Friday and soon enough will be time for a cocktail. This is one of my favorite summertime drinks. Have you had a Pimms Cup yet? If not, you should.

Pour 1 jigger Pimm’s (I use Pimms No. 1) over ice cubes in a tall glass. Fill it with lemon soda or ginger ale and garnish the glass with a thin slice of cucumber, a slice of lemon, and a sprig of mint.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

7 questions, interview with beau & meggan of the world effect

Less than a handful of years ago a small group of friends and I took a weekend trip to Austin. We went for the micheladas, the brisket and the humidity, believe it or not. We also went for the culture indicative only in Austin, keep Austin weird has long been the motto. Most importantly we went for the music. The Austin City Limits music festival to be precise. Jevan, then boyfriend, and I rounded up a group of BBQ loving music goers and made our way South.

When planning a trip of this caliber, one in which people will be meeting for the very first time and there is only one hotel room, it's obvious everyone should get along. Because, Austin in September with 90,000 other festival goers isn't the most glamorous of vacations. Add sharing a hotel room with 4 adults and the anti is just upped. Unexplainable things happen after drinking Lone Stars all day, eating brisket and wearing sandals. One Meggan aptly dubbed body mud. Needless to say, it's close quarters and getting along with hotel-mates is required.

Little did anyone expect this little weekend getaway would spark a relationship. A relationship so perfect, everyone said, why didn't we think of that, even with 1200 miles separating the two. I was even in denial for a little while. Not because I didn't want it to happen. I didn't want it to not happen. Not soon enough, everything became real and Meggan picked up her world in Atlanta and moved to Denver. Finally I could uncross my fingers.

What began as a weekend trip, transformed into Meggan and Beau traveling the world to fulfill their dreams. As the name, The World Effect, implies, they want to see what effect the world will have on their lives. In turn they will do everything possible to make a positive effect on the world we live in. Impressive to say the least. Let them be your inspiration for the week, month or however long you decide. They are out there making something cool happen instead of waiting for it to come to them.

Recently, I Skyped with Meggan and Beau to check in on how their trip is going. They agreed to answer 7 questions for me.

1. Give me some trip stats (last updated June 17, 2009).
We have a trip score card we update regularly on the right side of our blog but here's the latest
Countries - 21
Travel Days - 125
Boats - 17
Trains - 12
Buses - 52
Airplanes - 29

2. What is the most unusual thing you have attempted to eat?
Guinea Pig in Peru. I (Meggan) picked out a live one at the market and it was promptly cooked for dinner. Probably won't do that one again. No, it wasn't like chicken.

3. What is your favorite place so far?
The 4 day hike to Machu Picchu and climbing the last 50 steps to a thick layer of fog. At first, the fog was disappointing because we wanted to see everything. Once it lifted we had the most incredible view. So surreal. The clouds, fog and mist only added to the drama.

4. You take incredible photos. Each time I look at your blog, I'm continually impressed. What kind of camera do you use?
We have 2 camera bodies: Canon 40D and a 50D (because we don't share well when it comes down to who gets to shoot, we both love photography). We have 4 lenses: an all around 17-85mm, a telephoto 70-300mm, a wide 10-22mm, and a macro 100mm. We also lug around a manfrotto tripod. Our video camera is a sony HD handycam.

5. You packed light, a rolling backpack and a small day pack for an entire year. What are a few things you can't live without?
For simply living, we would have to say sunscreen, bug spray, and bottled water. For non essentials, we use our laptop and cameras everyday.

6. On a trip like this, you take the minimum. I know you both paired down your bags. Now that you've been traveling for over 100 days, are there things you can live without?
Beau would say his solar power charger. I would say maybe I could have done with less clothes, but I have worn everything I brought.

7. What's next?
We have been in Africa since early June, mostly in a tent. We are heading north and planning to visit Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Egypt through the beginning of August. Then on to a new continent.

photos: the World Effect LLC.

Monday, July 13, 2009

san miguel de allende wedding

Back in March, Jevan and I went to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for our friend's, Meggan and Beau's, wedding. I, somehow, let four months slip without sharing anything with you about this incredible place. Incredible in a perfect weather, Mexican food, tequila, all your good friends in one place kind of perfect. My ideal perfect, in case you are wondering.

The wedding was held at the Hyder House, a seemingly unassuming place from street side. As are most places in San Miguel. Once inside the massive wood doors and beyond the story and a half stucco walls, a series of three different houses were unveiled, all with elaborately decorated rooms full of antiques. The wedding was a fiesta of a wedding and a perfect place for Meggan and Beau to celebrate a new beginning together. A new beginning in more ways than one. For those of you who aren't familiar, the two quit their jobs just prior to the wedding and are now traveling for the next year to begin a business together. Inspiring to say the least.

If you are interested in seeing more photos of the wedding, be sure to check out the photographer's blog. Meggan and Beau also have some photo's up on their blog, the World Effect. Check back later this week for my interview with the World Effect to really get the details on what they have been up to post wedding.

moments before the wedding

domingo, our tequila donkey

photos: the 1st and last 2 photos are from the wedding photographer, Anahi Navarro Photography.

Monday, July 6, 2009

phoenix - wolfgang amadeus phoenix

Just over a week ago I saw Phoenix. It was a sold out show and the intensity was not to be missed. Also not to be missed is the new trend in denim. You know what I'm talking about, denim on denim? I think 3 of the 5 band members are wearing this. Back in college I remember trying to pull this off. It got a few laughs. Not exactly what I was going for. I guess it works better for dudes.

Phoenix: 1901

Thursday, July 2, 2009

winston the pup

As I'm sitting here listening to this puppy snore, the least I can do is introduce you. His name is Winston, he is around 3 months old, and as far as what kind of pup he is, we aren't really sure. Maybe a little hound, there could be some great dane, and he has the markings of a pointer. Like I said, we don't know, and probably won't ever but it is fun to guess. What we do know is there is a whole lot of goodness in this guy. At this exact moment, he's lying on his back with his belly to the world, snoring.

While I'm telling you about him, I should probably tell you where we found him, because that's worth a story in itself. Boulder, Colorado has an incredible Human Society. Not only do they treat the animals well, they take care of vaccinations, provide spaying/neutering, 30 days worth of pet insurance and a microchip in case your little guy is ever lost. They do all of this for over 8,000 animals annually as a private, non profit organization. If you are looking for an animal, I recommend you check here first because there are a ton of sweet looking faces who could use some love.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

handsome furs - live at the larimer lounge

Handsome Furs - Larimer Lounge from casey keasler on Vimeo.

Live video of the Handsome Furs song Nyet Spasiba at the Larimer Lounge on Sunday, June 14, 2009

I haven't posted much of anything in a few weeks. You may wonder why, you may not care. In case you are interested, my lack of posting is not for lack of want. I wish I could write everyday. At this point, other obligations have kept me from this here blog. I won't bore you with details. As it happens, they are rather boring. But what I'm about to share with you is far from boring. It's a great show I caught two Sunday's ago.

Jevan turned me on to the Handsome Furs a few years back. I put their song, What We Had, on repeat for at least a month. This year, they released, Face Control. They are still the husband wife duo they started as and are rocking just as strong. A guitar and a drum machine. That's all they really need.

They came through town a few weeks back and played the Larimer Lounge. I happened to stand on a stool and catch one song on video. The sound isn't great, blame it on the hand held digital camera, not that I was three drinks into the evening. The energy and dance moves do however, make up for the sound quality. At least I think so. I hope you feel the same.