Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Me as a Flickr Mosaic

I've seen this a few places in the blogosphere, and it seemed kinda fun, so I figured I'd go with it. Here's how it works:

Go to Flickr, and type in your answer to the following 12 questions in the Flickr search box. Using only the pictures returned on the first page of results, pick and image, and copy it's URL into the Big Huge Lab's Mosaic Maker.

Here is my mosaic:

And here are the questions that generated it (and my answers):

1. What is your first name? Sara

2. What is your favorite food? I had a hard time with this, but ended up going with dark chocolate. I picked this particular picture because blueberries are my favorite fruit, so what's better than chocolate with blueberries?

3. What high school did you go to? North Atlanta

4. What is your favorite color? Purple. I found it interesting to see what kinds of pictures pop up when you just search for a color. I had the hardest time choosing from this set.

5. Who is your celebrity crush? I don't really have one, but figured if I did, it would be Bono. Not only does he make amazing music, but I love how active he is in making the world a better place. And really, I'm a sucker for anyone who speaks in an Irish brogue.

6. What is your favorite drink? I had a hard time on this one too, but ended up going with dry red wine. Though gin and tonic is a close second. Not that I've been able to drink either in the past 8 months. I'm looking forward to a nice glass of wine as soon as I can!

7. What is your dream vacation? Patagonia. I've always been fascinated by it, and by Chile in general. But if I could only ever take one vacation , that would be it. Reykjavik, Iceland would be a close second.

8. What is your favorite dessert? I had to go with ice cream. I love it! I'm one of those people who will eat ice cream, no matter the weather...any kind (though love the chunky Ben & Jerry's), any time. I just love ice cream!

9. What did you want to be when you grow up? A dolphin trainer. For as long as I can remember, that's what I wanted to be. Dolphins are still my favorite animals, and I get a twinge of envy when I see the dolphin trainers doing their thing at an aquarium.

10. What do you love most in life? Unconditional love. It's amazing. Almost all the pictures that come up when you type "unconditional love" into the search function are animal pictures. I guess given how much I love animals, it made sense that I'd pick one of those.

11. What is one word that describes you? Whimsical. I loved this picture of the little girl, which was entitled whimsical. It seemed to capture all the imagination, creativity, and hope that I think are part of whimsy.

12. What is your flickr name? I don't have my own Flickr account. Psycling and I share one, and Surprise! Our user name is Psycling!! This is the only picture that comes up when you tupe "psycling" into the search function (I was searching for photos and not people) this came up. I have no idea who these two girls are, or what their association to psycling is, but I went with it.

And because I want to give credit where credit is due, here are the photo credits for my mosaic!

1. Sara Longwing, 2. Handmade chocolate cupcakes filled with blueberry cream and topped with dark chocolate ganache and some more of these absolutely delicious wild blueberries, 3. Interstate 85 North, 4. purple haze, 5. Bono @ Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man Premiere, 6. Dry red wine, 7. Cuernos del Paine, 8. Chocolate white chocolate chip cookie and vanilla bean ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip trimming, 9. Working Together, 10. Unconditional Love II, 11. Whimsical, 12. The birthday girl

So if this looks fun to you, go for it. And because photos get uploaded and tagged so quickly, the mosaic you make today could look quite different from the one you make next week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Squash

I scan many different food blogs...mostly for new ideas for things to cook and bake. But, even though there's LOTS out there that looks yummy, I'm actually pretty selective about which recipes I "star" in my google reader. If my only criteria is "that looks yummy" I'd star more in a day than I could make in a month. So I really try to limit to the recipes I think I will actually make (and I *try* to be realistic in this assessment...).

All this lead-up is to say that the other day, I found a recipe on Cupcake Muffin for Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Zucchini and Sausage. Given that I love love love goat cheese, and it looked like a simple weeknight meal, I starred it. Later that day, I went to pick up our CSA bag and discovered some gorgeous yellow summer squash!! I knew immediately that it was destined for this recipe!

I made a couple of slight modifications, based on what I had on hand...though to be honest, many fewer modifications than I might normally make to a recipe. I have to say, it was really good (and with all that goat cheese, how could it not be?). In my opinion, the freshness of our straight-from-the-farm squash made a huge difference in this dish. I can honestly say, it is the best squash I have ever had! Psycling and I both really enjoyed it, thought we also had different assessments of it. For instance, I thought the hot sausage almost overwhelmed the delicate taste of the squash, and thought it might have been better with mild sausage (or at least a mix of the two). Psycling, on the other hand, thought that the spiciness of the hot sausage added a punch to the dish that was critical, and that maybe it would be too bland with out it. Either way, we both quite enjoyed the meal!

I'll put my "tweaks" in italics. The tweaks I made were based almost solely on making the dish with what I had on hand, to avoid a shopping trip and make a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Zucchini and Sausage (adapted from Fine Cooking)
Serves 3

Kosher salt
1/2 lb. dried rigatoni (I used penne since it was what I had on hand)
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage (I used turkey sausage)
2 medium shallots, finely chopped (I used leeks, since we also got those in our CSA bag)
1 1/2 cups yellow and green summer squash, cut into 3/4 inch dice (I just used the yellow summer squash from our CSA bag)
3 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 tsp finely chopped parsley (I added a little bit of chopped fresh oregano too...I had some, and thought it would taste did!)
Freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano to serve (I actually left this out...I may have used a little extra goat cheese, and the pasta seemed cheesy enough without the parm. It may have been good with the extra cheese, but I didn't miss it at all.)

So there you have it. For a quick and delicious weeknight meal, this recipe definitely deserves a star. I would highly recommend giving it a try, and tweak it based on what you have on hand. I bet it will still be yummy!