Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Lite

Spent the day brainstorming for the press' 2011 projects, test driving some new typefaces, and failing to patch my new jeans that were ripped on hog wire during a wood's walk.

Snuggling with the cat now and contemplating a midnight screening of The Bridges of Madison County (always a good idea or never a good idea depending on who you talk to).

Photos taken by Alexis Boling, my superhuman brother.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ginger Kidding Around

Team 1 Submission: A Live-In Volkswagen Bus
Complete with Grateful Dead Bumper Sticker

Team 2 Submission: Edible Replica of the Mule Barn
Complete with Three Cent's Animal Friends

Team 3 Submission: Geometric/ Color Candy Land
aka, Josef Alber's Funhouse.

Any redneck sports cup series worth it's salt needs a good acronym (for example), and what you see before you are the end results of the first annual BFGBR (Boling/ Fowler Gingerbread Battle Royale). The Competition consists of three teams that are presented with the same amount of dough, icing, and toppings. Each team is charged with the task of creating a ginger structure that could be livable for any healthy gingerbread man, woman, or family. Each team gets a planning period and alternates baking rounds in the oven. The main problem we ran up against was impartial judging, so, I open it up to anyone who'd like to place their vote for the winning structure. Nothing wrong with a little healthy competition for the Holidays.

BFGBR doesn't roll off the tongue yet, but it will.

**Also, I can't help but mention, I woke up to a White Christmas. Thanks Santa, you're the best!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pictures from the "Antique Tractors" 2011 Calendar

Before I moved to the farm I wasn't ignorant in the ways of country living, but I certainly wasn't an expert. I guess you could say the past eight months have been Country Education 101. I'm still learning the various social graces of this part of the world, but I think i'm making steady progress. Exhibit A: In the past week I have been "gifted" three 2011 calendars from two separate businesses, the G&S Gas Company and the Hill Farm Feed Store. I consider these calendars to be badges of my growing ability to navigate and feel comfortable in this part of the world. I think to understand why I'm proud of such an accomplishment you have to understand Hancock County and it's occupants.

The poorest county in Georgia, the population of Sparta and it's surrounding towns have been slowly diminishing over the past few decades. As jobs dried up here, the majority of financial opportunities went with it, and the people that live here seem to be committed to sticking it out because it's home, wish they could go somewhere else and can't, or wish they could go somewhere else and won't. What this means is that there are very few, as in no, girls below the age of twenty-five that show up in feed stores wearing muck boots that clearly "aren't from around here". If the moon pies and pork rinds behind the cash register at Hill Farm Store don't tell you, the picture of a toddler sitting on a dead deer with a caption below it that says, "Santa, if I don't get everything on my Christmas list Prancer and Dancer are next!" will. I believe I am somewhat of an anomaly in this town. To be clear, I don't at all confuse this with superiority, on the contrary, there's a lot I could learn from people around here, but every time I start to patronize a new business here I can almost predict how the initial interaction will go down; confusion, suspicion, reservation, and finally acceptance or ambivalence. I'd probably go through the same mental process if I were in their shoes, and it probably doesn't help that the Prius is the designated car for feed pick-up, but the phrase "Can I help you?" really seems to mean "Please explain" when it's coming in my direction.

In small towns, newcomers are an adjustment for everyone, but in time a newcomer becomes a neighbor. Take that Leave it to Beaver. In the meantime, i'm three calendars richer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Flying Burrito/ Flying Biscuit

Good light in the pole barn.

A morning full of sausage n' gravy biscuits and the vocal stylings of Gram Parsons. Heading out for a run before a cold day in the studio.... Sadie ate the tongue off of one of my running shoes yesterday so here's to making do with what you've got.

I feel happy as a clam these days.... what's the secret you say? Take a deep breath, listen to the Flying Burrito Brothers cover of "Do Right Woman", eat a handful of salted peanuts, and call me in the morning.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Once is Good. Twice is Better.

Crunchy, nutty, and served with a beverage.... my kind of cookie. I've been wanting to try my hand at making biscotti for a good long while and finally a free moment presented itself for baking. Admittedly the recipe comes from a
Martha Stewart Holiday Cookie Special I purchased at Target a few weeks ago in a moment of weakness. In my defense, Martha fills one with the illusion that giving away cookie care packages for the Holidays, each containing over a variety of 20 different beautiful and comfortably exotic cookies, is well within the reach of any lady (or gent) who can dream or bake big enough. And so, with Martha bolstering my confidence, I took my first crack at the world of biscotti (according to Wikipedia this word is derived from the Medieval Latin word biscoctus, meaning twice baked). The recipe's trademark ingredients are orange zest, fennel seed, and almonds.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that biscotti making is relatively forgiving. I'm almost positive I over mixed the dough, as the second car of the day pulled into the driveway to tell me the goats were out just as the final ingredient was being incorporated into the mixture. Because the cookies naturally share some qualities with hard tack and have a coarse crumb, the texture did not appear to be adversely affected by the goats unannounced vacation plans. My baking efforts resulted in a cookie that had a slightly savory edge to it, which I contributed to the fennel, and was delicious with my afternoon cup of tea. See recipe below.

Rolled into logs before going in the oven.

Slicing with our Appalachian Bow Saw before the 2nd bake

Fennel, Orange, and Nut Biscotti

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest (from 2 large oranges)
3 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup raw almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk to combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, fennel seed, and zest in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and yolk with olive oil. With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, raise speed to medium, and mix until well combined. Mix in nuts.

2. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Using you palms, shape each piece into a log about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Arrange logs on a parchment- lined baking sheet, spacing at least 2 inches apart. Flatten logs slightly.

3. Bake. rotating sheet halfway through, until firm to the touch, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices on the diagonal.

4. Place slices, cut side down, on the sheet. Bake until firm when pressed in center and golden brown at edges.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen