Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Pear's Perspective

I took these two pictures while I was at Reed Valley Orchard this past Saturday.

See any differences?

f/11, 1/125, ISO 200

f/11, 1/125, ISO 200

They are the same pear but taken at a different angle. I took the first photo facing the sun, hence creating that shadow on the pear. While the latter one I took with my back to the sun. To me, the second one screams "Pick me! Eat me! Look how juicy and sweet I am!". The sun light brought "life" to the pear picture. The first one seemed sad and lonely under the sun. What a difference 180 degrees make. What do you think? Which pear would you pick?

p.s. That pear turned out to be one delicious fruit I have ever had for a while.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apples, Apples, Apples

I kicked off the beginning of fall with an annual apple picking trip. Jake and I went to Reed Valley in Paris, Kentucky, just north of Lexington. We just missed the picking time for my favorites McIntosh and Gala since everything here ripens much earlier than up north.

f/20, 1/100, ISO 200

Within this acres and acres of orchard, we found Golden Delicious, Stayman Winesap, Empire, and some apples with pink flesh.

f/22, 1/40, ISO 200

It was too good to be true

f/18, 1/50, ISO 200

I almost felt like they were being wasted.

Apple cider?

f/5.3, 1/160, ISO 200

f/4.5, 1/1000, ISO 200

f/5.3, 1/500, ISO 200

We came home with 25 pounds of apples, which will last us the entire fall season and later.

Apple pie, anyone?

f/9, 1/20, ISO 200

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Banananana Bread

Rainy days are the best time  for chicken noodle soup or chili or chocolate chip cookie or a cup of hot tea. For me, rainy days = bake time! 

f/5, 1/13, ISO 1600, +0.3EV

You see, my smart idea of buying-extra-banana-so-that-we-would-have-enough-of-it-until-end-of-the-week plan did not work out so well. It's Wednesday and three very aged banana are attracting fruit flies like no other. So making banana bread was my brilliant idea for rainy days.

Here are the casts: brown sugar, white sugar, flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all spice, yogurt, butter ,eggs, and banana!

f/7.1, 1/15, ISO 1600

Mash up da banana.

f/5, 1/40, ISO 1600

Combine yogurt, melted butter (a vital ingredient that I almost forgot), eggs, and sugar.

f/5, 1/50, ISO 1600

Mix em' up!

f/5, 1/50, ISO 1600

Then fold in the dry ingredients.

f/5, 1/125, ISO 1600

Pour the batter in a loaf size pan.

f/5, 1/13, ISO 1600

Wait patiently for 55 minutes....

f/4.2, 1/30, ISO 1600

f/5, 1/15, ISO 1600

The bananananana bread recipe:

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1.5 cups mashed banana
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup yogurt

1. Mix flour and the first few 6 ingredients (through allspice) together, set aside.
2. Mix banana, sugar, eggs, butter, and yogurt until well combined.
3. Combine dry and wet ingredients together, don't over mix.
4. Pour the batter in a 9x5 loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or so at 350.
5. Wait 10 minutes for bread to cool, cut yourself a slice, enjoy.

p.s. I forgot to add in butter (it was sitting in the microwave) until the batter was in the over for 15 minutes. I pulled the pan out and added the butter with a fork into the gooey batter. It worked.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Busy Days

Here is my excuse for not posting something new for 5 days, school and work. Fair enough?
This would be my last semester as a real student (by real I mean I have one more credit in the spring) and I would like to make the best of it. I remember earlier this year when I first started school again after working for two years, and I love it. Call me a nerd, but I am actually working something I want and something I care deeply about. It is not like undergrad where half of my time is spent socializing (like in bars, just an example) and staying pass 11:30pm.

I like to tell myself to enjoy school right now. What happens after school is another mystery. Kind of like treading in muddy water...and caramelizing onion.

f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 100

Enough self-reflecting for now.
A real post coming later this week.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carmalizing Onion

The first exam of my fall semester is tomorrow. The reality that summer is over started three weeks ago, interestingly it was when school started. Sometimes when I am studying for exam I wonder where this is all going. Whether getting a master's degree would land me a job, what if I don't get a job, what if all the sudden I loose all of my taste buds, what if I don't remember what is insulin's role on protein metabolism and I get fired...all these what if, what not, and why.

Last night I made green beans with carmalized onions, I realized something. That there is no short cut around all of my uncertainty. The ifs and buts will not disappear overnight until something is done.

f/5.3, 1/50, ISO 1600

Almost like carmalizing onions.
Yes, I am comparing my life to carmalizing onions.

f/5.3, 1/40, ISO 1600

There is no short cut to carmalizing onions.
It takes time, patience, and lots of stirring.

f/5.6, 1/20, ISO 1600

Then more stirring with some love and care.
You can't turn your back on it, or else it would burn instantly.
Stir it ten times more.

f/5.3, 1/20, ISO 1600

Of course, when it was almost reaching the carmalizing point I got lazy.
Hungry, is more appropriate.
I got hungry, so I added green beans into the pan.
It was yummy.
It was good enough for me.

f/5.3, 1/13, ISO 1600

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Thing That Neve Ends

The other day I found this.
Gross, you might think.
Yes, it's everywhere.
On the couch, in every corner of the apartment, and on everything.
By everything, I mean everything.
I knew, it was that season again.
The season that never ends.

f/5.6, 1/40, ISO 1600

Naturally I went to the source of this grossness.

f/5, 1/320, ISO 1600

"What?! Me? Never!" Lola claimed.

f/5, 1/100, ISO 1600

So I followed the suspect out to the balcony.
There it was...dog hair.
So much that it forms a giant hairball big enough to soak up all the spilled oil on the Gulf Coast.

f/13, 1/40, ISO 800

So I started brushing, day and night.
I kept brushing but more hair kept coming out.
There is no end to this.

f/5.6, 1/320, ISO 800

I am sure there are some happy birds out there thanking Lola for her hair.
Not me.

f/13, 1/25, ISO 800

I run my vacuum twice a week.
I brush her everyday, three times a day.
I don't know where all these hair is coming from.

But how do you say no to this cute face?

f/5, 1/1250, ISO 1600

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Photo Contest

Here is how I know whether my photography skills has improved since I got my camera in December: a photo contest has opened up at Henry Clay, the winner photos will be selected for the 2012 Ashland calendar. This contest only allows amateur photographers and all photos must be taken at Henry Clay Estate. Fair enough, I think I can take on the competitors.The immaculate gardens at Henry Clay makes it a great place for taking pictures, needless to say, I got plenty of pictures to choose from for this competition. Here are my finalists for submission:

f/3.5, 1/2500, ISO 400

f/18, 1/80, ISO 800

f/14, 1/200, ISO 400

f/5.6, 1/800, ISO 800

f/18, 1/100, ISO 800

I submitted with the last three photos. I will hear back in November if they even considered looking at my photos or if all three photos are in the calendar. We will see.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

I am a self-taught cook and gardener. Over the last few years my experience in cooking and gardening has taught me tremendously that no book can ever do so. I might sound like a wise old lady who knows all the tricks there is, I am not. I still have much to learn, for example photography. I have been doing a lot of wedding planning/researching and while I was looking at some amazing wedding photographs, I wonder what it would take to be that level of a professional photographer.

Then I reminded myself...practice. I did not become the cook and gardener that I am today without practice. Well, and of course some curiosity and experimenting.

My peppers were finally ready to be consumed. Jake kept reminding me that I would never get to the size of bell pepper that I see in grocery. So I settled with snack-size ones.

f/6.3, 1/60, ISO 400

Clean and cut the peppers in half...

f/6.3, 1/25, ISO 1600

....then in the goodies (onions, shredded zucchini, herbs, bread crumbs, sausage, and an egg)

f/5.6, 1/50, ISO 1600
Here are the important steps:


f/6.3, 1/20, ISO 1600
and bake!

f/6.3, 1/30, ISO 1600
For now I will be satisfied with with my snack-size stuffed peppers and I will think about my worries later.
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