Today Julia Collin Davison and Jack Bishop of America’s Test Kitchen take on the challenges of gluten-free baking. The interview is full of tips and recipes to help you navigate this tricky territory. ATK’s Jack Bishop says:
“People don’t really want to make two batches of cookies, one with wheat flour and one with gluten-free flour…They want to make one batch of whatever it is that’s going to be good enough for everybody and isn’t going to be a question of one person who is satisfied and everyone else is suffering in silence. It needed to be good enough that everyone would be happy.”
You can find recipes and more info about their book, The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook on the interview page:
'Test Kitchen:' Have Your (Gluten-Free) Cake And Love Eating It Too
(PS: The Fresh Air staff taste tested these chocolate chip cookies and they are amazing)
photo courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen
Narwhals are Magic.
Now with proof! Secrets of the narwhal’s tusk have recently been revealed in research headed by Martin Nweeia, a practicing dentist and clinical instructor at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, who just happens to also be a member of the Vertebrate Zoology Department of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. With a team of researchers/coauthors, including Jim Mead, Vertebrate Zoology Curator Emeritus and Charlie Potter, Marine Mammals Collection Manager, Nweeia just published a paper in the journal The Anatomical Record about the discovery of neural pathways that run from the narwhal’s tusk to its brain. The arctic whale’s unicorn-like tusk acts as a sensor, specifically detecting variations in water salinity. Read more on the Smithsonian Science blog, or see the original article at Anatomical Record (You might want to head to your local library to see if they have access since it’s behind a paywall).
There are some pretty great images of narwhal’s over on the Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr page, too.
Here’s Who’s Hot at the 2014 RAMMY Awards | Awards | Washingtonian -
My husband and I rarely get out, especially to DC, but it’s good to stay in the loop about good restaurants and eateries in the area.
Anonymous asked: I know that to be a great artist takes a lot of discipline, and I am worried that I am way way way too lazy right now. How can I make myself more disciplined? How much time do you spend a day on making things?
It’s funny that you ask this, because I’ve recently been playing around with this idea of “how can I make myself more disciplined.” Here’s what’s working for me.
I randomly stumbled across a time-management system (?) called the Pomodoro technique awhile ago, and decided to try it out. Normally, I’d roll my eyes at any “technique” that has a trademark after it, but this one was simple enough that it didn’t seem too affected. The basic idea is as follows:
- Give yourself 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time.
- After 25 mins, take a short break to stretch, do other tasks, assess.
- Every 4x 25min blocs, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
- Track all metrics, including: start times, tasks completed, times interrupted, break times, stop times.
Here’s an example of my absolutely incomprehensible metric tracking:
Every 25 min bloc, I make a line, eventually creating a box. So every Box on my chart is 4x 25min blocs (or 4 Pomodoros, I guess).
So what does this chart say: first off, I start off really late. 10:30 AM! I tend to wake up really slow, and do other things like run, eat too much breakfast, and dick around on the net.
Second, my peak productive hours are between 10:30AM-5PM, as I was actually increasing my rate of productivity (I started off taking 4x Pomodoros per piece, or two hours, but then as I worked, I cut it down to 3x, and even 2x right before dinner.)
Thirdly, right after my peak productive hours, I get distracted. Hence the one interruption, then failing to complete a Box and going straight to dinner. My productivity drops as well (I’m back to 4x Pomodoros per piece).
And this is just one day’s worth of data! I can compare this to other days to see if my assumptions really are patterns, AND most importantly, if I’m making progress.
The biggest thing for me though is the 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time. I got that timer above to solidify that as opposed to using a digital timer— I found that the tactile sensation of setting it and hearing it tick makes my brain go into “OK it’s work time” mode much easier. Make this time sacred: hide your phone, close your browser, pick music/podcasts ahead of time, gather all your supplies around you. Physically minimize your distractions when possible.
As far as time per day goes, I consider myself a full-time illustrator, so I put in at least a full days worth of work: 8 hours minimum. But as noted above, it’s not uncommon to put in 12. I think it is important to have designated START and STOP time though, just to help put boundaries on your life. Too much work is unhealthy. Health, family, and friends always come before work in my book.
Hope this helps! I think everyone probably has their own ways of doing things, but this is really working for me lately.
I probably need a system like this so I concentrate my efforts on work instead of getting distracted. I’d add to this: set 1~3 goals before starting so I know what I need to accomplish (or attempt to accomplish) by the end of the day.
In Capitol Hill cafeterias, even lunch is partisan -
"This small story about a group of Capitol Hill vegetarians trying to get better options in the place that they go to work every day is evidence of everything that is wrong with Washington," says reporter Marin Cogan. "It became a big, theatrical, partisan fight and it didn’t need to be."
Pure Geniuses Have Created A Milk Shot In A Cookie Glass -
Dominique Ansel Bakery is making a limited batch of chocolate-chip cookies shaped like shot glasses and filling them with organic milk.
UPDATED 3/15/14: I found this article about the Milk and Cookie Shot going on sale at Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC.
The Culinary History You Missed In '12 Years A Slave' | African American Cooks | Sylvia Wong Lewis -
The Morris-Jumel Mansion illuminates the nearly lost history of Northern black cooks’ cuisine as “12 Years a Slave” builds interest in Anne Northup.
The Austin 100: A SXSW 2014 Mix -
For 30 days starting March 3, download or stream 100 handpicked songs by artists worth discovering at this year’s SXSW Music Festival.