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Updated: 17 min 7 sec ago

Perfected the Hand Pies

Thu, 04/19/2012 - 21:42

I've tried them both with homemade puff pastry, pastaworks puff pastry and just the standard storebought stuff. 

If you want flaky light crust, go with storebought. If you want rich but hard to manage, go with pastaworks. If you want to spend a billion years, go with homemade. 


Candied tomatoes: Slice up a package of grape tomatoes, toss with salt and olive oil. Toss in a 400 degree oven until crispy and delicious, about 40 minutes. 

As those are going, take half a package of cream cheese and put it in a heat proof bowl. (I use a silicon mixing bowl.) Toss that in the oven for ~10 minutes. Take out, add dried oregano, dried basil and dried tarragon in equal measure. Mix. 

For the tops? No egg wash. Just sprinkles of kosher salt, oregano, basil and tarragon in roughly equal parts. 


If you get the tomatoes going, the cream cheese set up, and the pastry thawing at the same time, this is about an hour and a half of passive 'do a thing every so often'. These are not fast. But they are sure delicious. 


Upcoming Summer Projects: Coolers

Wed, 02/08/2012 - 01:32

Now that I have a house with a backyard, I'm starting to think about spring + summer + outdoor projects.

So this looks like a project that will involve a lot of sawing and perhaps even some welding if I wanted to make the frame work right. However, I love the look of it, and I don't really need to have a 'Full Wine Barrel' cooler for the backdeck. 

I'm not convinced that this will stay looking good in the rain  - how attractive is a green moldy wine barrel? 

So I'll need to see this in the wild.



This one looks intense and arty. Still, not the worse thing in the world and very cute. 



Ana-White is always a great resource for things you could actually do. The Rustic Cooler is definitely rustic, but it has a lot of charm going for it. 


Tags: projects

Winning This Game

Fri, 09/16/2011 - 13:45


An epic lunch from this week, taken with an Olympus evolt e-300.
Figs with prosciutto, mozzarella, basil and a honey vinaigrette.

Now taking applications for dinner parties this winter.

Tags: high octane living

Tomato Sauce: A Creation in 5 Parts

Sun, 09/11/2011 - 19:56


I nearly put a death in four parts, but really, it’s 5.   Part 1: Part 2:  Part 3:   Boiled down goodness   Part 4:   Part 5: And done.   Tags: high octane living

This evening is brought to you by insomnia baking

Sun, 08/28/2011 - 23:35


I attempted to go to sleep ridiculously early. This did not work.
Instead, after contemplating my sins for a good 2 hours, I got up and made these:

Savory Tasty-Pie Things.

* 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed (I know, I suck. I didn’t make my own this time.)
* Candied Tomatoes (Recipe and cheating version follows)
* Herbed Yogurt Cheese (Recipe and cheating version follows)
* 1 egg, farm fresh. ( This is Portland, kids. )
* salt, dried basil + oregano + god knows what else

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees when you think the apartment will not melt from turning the oven on. In the middle of Portland summer, this is about 10:30pm. Turn on OPB’s In House, it’ll keep you company. Feed the cat because he’s going to want to keep you company too. (Turns out.)

Grab a baking sheet, throw the puff pastry sheet down on it. Cut it into 3rds and 3rds again so that you have an equal number of squares. If they kindof match in size, you should have been a Math major in school.

Add: 1 spoonful of yogurt cheese on each bottom piece. Make a volcano out of that, add the candied tomatoes on top. Top with the other semi-matching piece of puff pastry. Smoosh it together to seal the edges, stab with knife so that they don’t do something untoward in the oven. Break an egg, separate the yolk out and whisk it with a little water. Brush on top of your completed tart-things.
Sprinkle salt, dried basil and dried oregano over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. During that 15 minutes, do the following: clean up the kitchen, microwave the egg white with a little salsa because the reason you weren’t sleeping was because you were starving and made a pot of coffee at 4:30, and clean up your disaster of a kitchen. Sing along with the Decemberists.

Yes, I had a hankering for Random Order’s Savory Hand Pies at 10:30pm and knowing they were closed, I faked it.

When the house smells really good and the kitchen is super hot, you’re done. (15 minutes, like I said.) Pull them out, admire and wait 5 minutes before devouring one.

Remains to be seen if my office will see this post and beg for some tomorrow.


Candied Tomatoes:
Roast a few handfuls of grape tomatoes with kosher salt and olive oil at about 350 degrees until they are all crispy and delicious.
Cheating version: sun-dried tomatoes in oil from wherever you can find them.

Herbed Yogurt Cheese:
Stir together 1 pint of homemade whole milk yogurt with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 Tbsp oregano/ other favorite seasoning. (Yes, I know I’m a freak, I’ll do another post on the making of the yogurt, but just cope for a moment.) Suspend in cheesecloth, strain for as long as you can stand.
Cheating version: softened cream cheese with salt and oregano.


Tags: high octane living

This Week in Flowers

Thu, 07/14/2011 - 01:01

This week, I'm lucky enough that not only are a lot of things in the yard blooming, but the farmer's market is back too. Sunday mornings are the time to get a bouquet for the dining room table, and this week's has a bright orange lily.

The dahlias are blooming!  And so are the hydrangeas. 



Tags: this week in


Thu, 07/14/2011 - 00:06

Introducing Domestic Engineering: A Conceptual and Practical Overview

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 19:03

Domestic Engineering is a much better way to think about housecare and everything that you do that supports you. Let's be serious here. When your kitchen is full of dirty dishes and you can't get water out of the tap, you are not in a happy place. It is a gross unhappy place that lets everything pile up and it's deeply unfortunate and you really don't have to do that. 

Hence the 'Yes You Can' moment. It's just keeping up with the small things and not letting it get out of hand. In technical terms, "code rot" is alive and well in your house and we're going to clean it up, and you do this through continual maintenance and periodic point releases. 

I started this when I was living with a non-techy, semi-geeky roommate who wasn't on the same page as I was (this happens sometimes) and I was slowly losing my mind over a period of months, and I was either going to make a murder or apply some sort of structure to the chaos. 

I started off with a clean install of Remember The Milk. 'Clean' is important in that you get to choose what does / doesn't go in here. It's all very Dave Allen / Getting Things Done / stupid productivity hacking, but bear with me.  You could use NowDoThis, SwissMiss's very cute 'Teux Deux', or even Outlook Calendar or whatever. (Just don't use the work calendar that all of your co-workers see! I wish I didn't ever have to put this caveat here, but some things you just can't unsee and I'd like to save you all from that.)  

I created lists for 'Home | Garden', ' Money | Maintenance' , 'Planning' to be able to separate out what the heck I was doing with what. The approach of 'everything in a bucket' isn't where I was going for. 

In the Money |Maintenance lists, I went directly for Apartment Therapy's daily - weekly - monthly - quarterly task lists, which are in the book but are much longer than the minimalist approach I took. To summarize, in order to keep ahead of the cruft, there are some things that you should do daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly and then there's spring and fall or fritterbug cleaning. 


Bed. Plants. Dishes. Vacuum. Cat. Clothes. Mail. Garbage. Kitchen.

Daily Expanded: 

Make the bed. No, I'm serious, do this first thing the morning because it jumpstarts 'hey, look, this place isn't a mess.' 

Tend the houseplants. They'll appreciate it. You should at least think about the fact that they're there. This also is a placeholder for 'change the water in the flowers' if you have fresh flowers in the house. It's 50/50 with me, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but I try. 

Dishes: For god's sake, there will be no dishes in the sink. This is why we have a portable dishwasher (which shall be mentioned in future posts.)

Vacuum: Yeah, the nasty rug in the living room looks a lot better with a daily vacuum. Just a reminder to check it and see if it needs vacuuming.

Cat: You have one. You should make sure he's still here, fed, watered and hasn't done anything toward to the house. Also, he should probably be brushed daily (see the vacuuming note.)

Clothes: No one wants dirty or clean clothes strewn about, so fix that.

Garbage: This actually translates more into 'recycling in the appropriate places.'

Kitchen: Make sure it's usable. 




Weekly Schedule: Surfaces. Laundry. (Dry Cleaning). Recycling. Sheets. Plants. Kitchen + Bathroom. Vacuum. Sunday


Weekly Expanded: 

Surfaces: Yes, this means dusting and things. 

Laundry: Most of the time, I strip the bed as soon as I get up and start a load of laundry. Usually it's whites first, but who's keeping score here. 

Dry-cleaning: I usually don't have any to do, but if I do, I'll make a pile to get to the cleaners. 

Recycling: This is where everything goes out to the curb: Trash, glass and recycling. Everything out!

Sheets: Clean sheets on my bed. Guest bed only if someone's been here. 

Ktichen + Bathroom: Spray and wipe down pretty much everything, redo the cat box, the usual. Also, clean towels! 

Vacuum: This is the more serious vacuuming, wherein the hardwood floors get it. 



Monthly: Sweep the whole house. Clean the bathtub. Clean out the fridge. Clean out the car.


This is less minimalist, but it all still needs it. 

Quarterly is even easier: 

Quarterly: Wash windows. Declutter of paper.

At the bi-yearly mark, Apartment Therapy advises that you go through their process to make sure that your house is what you want it to be, etc. When I set this up, I was totally gung-ho on it. Have I done it since? Nope. I plan my house release cycle every six months now, but that's another post. 

But, for the sake of argument, the biyearly item:


BiYearly: Deep Treatment for Bedroom, Kitchen, Living Room, Office, Closets, Dining Room. Apartment Therapy.

More to come on all of this, but this is an inital introduction to Domestic Engineering.



Tags: domestic engineering


Mon, 07/04/2011 - 18:32

I'm Amye. I'm a project manager who really really likes webthings. I work at Acquia, which makes it a good thing that I like websites and mobile things and how to make the web better and how to make Drupal better too. (Acquia also makes Drupal Gardens, which powers this site and I can't say enough good things about it. Also, I like my runon sentences because I do write like I talk. Enjoy!) 

In the last few months, I noticed that I had gotten less excited (read: burnt out) on web things in my spare time and more excited about house things. It was a long wet winter here in Portland. I figured out how to keep everything from falling apart by maintaining a schedule,  how to throw kickass parties without killing yourself, replaced things around the house, discovered the seven wonders of the Kitchen, actually started seeds on time and haven't killed most of them yet, enjoyed a great many tulips, and other things besides.

Oh, and despite the fact that I like my apartment just fine, I'm going to try and buy a house, so that's keeping me busy too. I also like rowing too, but good lord if I know how to write about that. Little blurbs on twitter works. 

After I had done all of that, then I got excited about all of the cool things that I could talk about online, and neat things I could build here to show off, and this brings balance to the force. 

I like planning and order and structure because you can do crazy things in between. 

Kicking off.

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 18:09

I've been saying for some time that I'd wanted to separate out the 'domestic engineering' side from the general tech and other ridiculousness into a separate space, and traditionallysubversive is it. 

This is where the 'High Octane Living' posts  will show up, the 10 steps to a house (whenever that happens) and probably some excellent parties as those get documented. Oh, and as I'm running this in Drupal, expect new features periodically as I decide that it's absolutely necessary. 


  • A Project Manager Takes On A House 
  • Domestic Engineering - taking FOSS and software development practices to a new level 
  • Effective Househunting Strategies
  • Stupid Househunting Strategies
  • Awesome Things I Do That Make Life Easier
  • Cool things I found!
  • Cool things I found and did not take home with me! 
  • Stupid Cat Photos - hey, it's the internet. 

I'll still keep, but based on how much I write on that.. well, it's like that. 

- - amye 

Tags: high octane livinghousehuntdomestic engineeringneat tricks

Seattle Weekend

Mon, 06/20/2011 - 13:34

Spent the weekend in Seattle. Couldn't take these home with me. Darn.