California Conclusion/Manhattan Introduction

My final pie of the California pie series was not very photogenic, although it tasted great considering I had to stoop to using canned cherries (why aren't there any sour cherries in California grocery stores?!?). It was a basic cherry pie with store-bought crust, made quickly for a summer barbeque. Here's a close-up:

And that concludes my summer baking spree! We shall now return to the subject this blog is really about, which is architecture/design/stuff I like. This week I begin my master of architecture program at Columbia's GSAPP. But since I don't have any work to show yet - I haven't actually had any classes yet - here are some "progess shots" of my brand-new apartment!

Some of you have doubtless heard about my apartment-hunting difficulties... After several months of fruitlessly searching for roommates, I finally found (and rented) a sublet room, only to visit it upon my arrival in the city and find that it was not at all what I expected. Within 24 hours I managed to find a new place, a 4th floor studio apartment (it's much easier when you're actually here!), and here it is:

Since I took these photos I have put up posters, and eventually I'll replace the bedspread, put a cover on the futon, change the curtains, etc. For more pictures, see my Picasa web album here: Picasa.

My building is an old early 1900s rowhouse, completely surrounded by Columbia-owned dormitories and just one block from campus. The location couldn't be better! The only downside is dealing with 100-year-old floors, creaky stairs (no elevator), and a tiny kitchen. But I'll survive!

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts & well-wishes for my move... everything went well and I'm excited for classes to begin!


Cake, Please!

When the question is "cake or ...," I choose cake.

This week I made a pineapple upside-down cake, with a few modifications from necessity. I used Alton Brown's recipe, which calls for cornmeal - a bit unusual but I think it added an interesting consistency. I don't have a cast-iron skillet, or even a cake pan, so I simply used a square 8x8 glass dish. It worked just fine. The cake came out chewy and sweet and pineapple-y, just what I wanted! And overall, it was very easy to make. I'd give it 5 stars. And even Justin admitted that it was very good, despite having seen how much butter and sugar went into it!


Coconut "Macaringues"

For a party this week I tried - emphasis on tried - to make coconut macaroons. However, we inadverently bought finely grated, untoasted, unsweetened coconut, not the larger shredded sweetened coconut called for in the recipe. So I toasted the coconut myself and added extra sugar, but the end result favored the meringue, meant to hold the cookie together, over the coconut, which nearly disappeared. The cookies were still quite tasty, and I have decided simply to pass this off as an invention: the coconut macaringue. Enjoy!




Pies Part Two

This week I finally made pie #2: peach-blueberry pie with homemade vegetable oil crust. Since Justin doesn't like butter and I rely on him to eat a large percentage of any pie I make, I decided to try making a crust without butter. I also don't have the necessary equipment for cutting in the butter (ie a food processor) so an oil-based crust seemed simpler. Unfortunately, the crust didn't hold together well, and although it tastes fine with the pie, it's a bit tough. I think I'll go back to store-bought crusts for now! The filling was good, even though I used store-bought frozen blueberries; the peaches were ones I got fresh, then cut up and froze. They tasted much better in the pie than they did on their own!

This week I also got a CSA (community-supported agriculture) box, and here's what was inside:

I got two types of squash that I thought were zucchini, but one actually turned out to be round cucumbers! Even more surprisingly, they were tasty! I don't usually like regular English cucumbers, of the long dark green variety, but these cucumbers were milder and much tastier. The plums were also very good.

I forgot to post a photo of the previous box I got:

CSA boxes are fun because you never know exactly what you'll get inside. I signed up for a service where I can decide each week whether or not I want the box, based on how much food I already have and what's supposed to be in the box for that week. So far I've only gotten two boxes, but they're certainly fun, and it makes you be more flexible with what you're cooking.

Stone fruit is in season here in California - so my next pie will have to incorporate that. Not sure yet what I'll make, though!


California Bakin'

So though I promised to try to post more often this summer than I usually do, I haven't had the time! What have I been doing? Well, aside from working and cleaning (note to self: must get a dishwasher for my next apartment), I've been baking. So far I've made banana bread, zucchini bread, and an apple pie.

The zucchini bread came out a little drier than I expected, and with pretty obvious pieces of zucchini in it, but it was still tasty. I didn't have a grater so I just chopped the pieces - maybe next time I'll cut them up a little finer! But for a bread using only oil, no butter, it came out well.

The apple pie was great! I used a store-bought crust and cobbled together a recipe based on several in my new "Killer Pies" cookbook. The only thing I didn't like was how much the apples cooked down, leaving a crust "dome" over the pie filled with nothing but air. But it was tasty. For my next attempt I think I'll try making my own oil-based crust, probably a peach and blueberry pie.

This isn't a baked good but still interesting - Justin & I made paneer, Indian farmer cheese. It wasn't even very difficult, and turned out well. We used the paneer in matar paneer, which was delicious. We had more difficulty with the masala dal (yellow split peas) we tried to make, and will have to try them again. But overall, much success in the kitchen so far this summer!


Xtreme Quilting

While I was home the past three weeks (I'm now in California, and starting work in a few days), I worked night and day on my t-shirt quilt, which ended up being a much bigger enterprise than I had initially suspected. My special thanks go to Mrs. Geri Thomas for letting me borrow her sewing machine for two weeks!

I cut out fifty 15" squares from old t-shirts (using a total of 48 t-shirts), ironed fusible interface onto the back of each square, and then sewed all the squares together with 3" of navy sashing in between. The final dimensions for my 5x5 square quilt are around 86"x86", a full/queen size quilt. Unfortunately I was only able to finish one side of the quilt before I left, but I did get pretty far on the other side. Since I don't have a sewing machine here and it's a lot of fabric to ship, I will have to wait until I return home in August to try to finish the quilt.

The raw materials: t-shirts, fusible interfacing, and sashing (navy cloth) - plus, of course, yards and yards of thread!

Midway progress on one side: the shirts are now in strips which need to be sewn together into the final shape

One complete side!

The other side will be exactly similar in size and layout, but with different shirts. Although making the quilt has been an interesting and challenging project, I don't think I'm quite ready to take on any more sewing projects in the near future.

In addition to working on the quilt, I started organizing my scrapbooking materials to try to catch up a bit on my large backlog of scrapbooking. I plan to have my photos and materials shipped out to me here so I can work on them. My last scrapbook was for senior year of high school, so I have four years of materials to work with!

A sample of the stuff piled in my room...

I hope to start my cooking series next week. I didn't want to cook while I was home since I didn't want to tempt my family into eating pie while they're dieting! Aren't I a good daughter?

Next up: Stanford graduation!


Return of the Updated Blog

Hello friends,

This summer I decided - among my many projects to fill time since I won't be working full time - to keep my blog updated. Huzzah! So from now on, it's probably safe to expect new posts on a more than bimonthly basis.

Duke graduation was two weekends ago; you can see my photos on my Picasa Web Album here.

If you are interested in my future plans, you should be happy to know that I will be working in the San Francisco Bay area again this summer. I'll be assisting at AP+I Design in Mountain View. In the fall I will attend Columbia to begin the hazardous process of acquiring my M Arch.

But what of the many projects, you may ask? I plan to:
1. Convert 8 years of t-shirts to quilt format (that's 50 t-shirts)
2. Convert 4 years of photos to scrapbook format
3. Augment 2 years of cooking experience by baking through my new "Killer Pies" cookbook and the Westminster Fellowship Cookbook

I will try to post photos of said projects as they develop.

Hurrah for the summer!


Graduate School Update

This week I was overjoyed to learn that I have been accepted at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP). Although I am still awaiting several other decision letters, I can now celebrate the fact that I will be going to architecture school in the fall! Huzzah!

Pictures & details from Santa Fe will be up sometime soon - in the meantime, you can check out my photos on my Picasa Web Album here:
Santa Fe Album.

UPDATED UPDATE: I will be attending Columbia in the fall!


Santa Fe Itinerary

Here is the itinerary (below) for our trip, so you can get a sense of what we'll be up to! The group is composed of four Duke students, four ECU (Eastern Carolina) students, and two campus ministers. During the trip we'll split into "teams" that will rotate between working at the homeless shelter and working on the local farm.

As I mentioned before, during the trip we'll stay at First Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe. You can check out their website here: www.fpcsantafe.org.

Look for pictures, stories, and maybe even video to be posted here after the trip!

Santa Fe, NM New Hope Presbytery Intercollegiate Mission Trip
March 5-13, 2010
"Sleep, Eat, Pray, Love"

5 a.m. RDU
6:10 a.m. American Airlines Flight 1675 to Albuquerque, NM
10:05 a.m. Arrive in Albuquerque, NM
1 p.m. Tour with Ann M from FPC
5-8 p.m. Georgia O'Keefe Museum
8:15 p.m. Mara T with B'fast in the Park orientation
9:30 p.m. Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
7:30-9 a.m. Breakfast in the Park - Team 1
Team 2: Farm all day with Carolyn Stephenson
Team 1: New Mexico History Museum
5:15 p.m. Catholic Mass
9 p.m. Duke v. UNC
After the game: Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
7:30-9 a.m. Breakfast in the Park
11 a.m. Worship at FPC helping with liturgy/Moment for Mission
1:30-3:30 p.m Wheelwright Museum
5:15-9 p.m. Team 1 to Serve at Emergency Overflow Shelter for homeless
9:30 pm evening prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
7:30-9 a.m. Breakfast in the Park
9 a.m.-noon Tour and talk with Larry Rasmussen
1- 5 p.m. Team 1 help on farm
5-9 p.m. Team 2 Emergency Overflow Shelter evening meal
9:30 p.m. Reflections and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
7:30-9 a.m. Breakfast in the Park
9 a.m. Drive to a pueblo and see what happens
1 p.m. Tour of San Isidro Park
2:30-4 p.m. Park Clean up
5-9 p.m. Team 1 to Emergency Overflow Shelter for homeless
9:30 p.m. Reflections and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
7-10 a.m. Team 2 Work at Food Bank
Team 1: Farm all day with Carolyn Stephenson
Afternoon: Team 1 continues at farm until 5 p.m. / Team 2 tours New Mexico History Museum
5:15-9 p.m. Team 2 Emergency Overflow Shelter for homeless
9:30 p.m. Reflections and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast
Depart for Ghost Ranch
Hike : Chimney Rock, 2hrs.
Workshop with Jeannene

FRIDAY, 3/12
Morning Prayer and Breakfast (pack lunches)
11 a.m. Visit Christ in the Desert Monastery
12:50 Participate in midday prayer.
2:30-4:30 p.m. Travel back to Santa Fe
5:15-9 p.m. Team 2 Serve at Emergency Overflow Shelter for the homeless
9:30 p.m. Reflections and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer and Breakfast with Presbyterian Men at FPC Santa Fe
10:15 a.m. Depart FPC-Santa Fe
11:30 p.m. Arrive at airport (check in van) by 11:30 p.m.
12:56 pm. Depart Santa Fe on Frontier Airlines Flt: 1236


Next Up: Santa Fe!

Hello friends,

It's been almost a year since I last posted here, but in anticipation of my upcoming mission trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I have decided to give the blog a makeover. Since my time in Rome is finished, I thought a new title was appropriate: "Not Built in a Day" reflects the original Roman origins of the blog but also makes room for more general reflections on architecture and urbanism. From now on you can expect more posts from me about my general travels & work (travaux). I hope you enjoy!

So, Santa Fe! Thanks to the incredible support & generosity of my family and the Lilly Scholars program at Duke, I will be leaving on Friday the 5th for a mission trip with the Presbyterian Campus Ministries of Duke and ECU. We'll be hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe, where we will study and engage in issues of food policy, environmentalism, and interfaith dialogue. We are planning to work with local homeless shelters and a community farm, visit museums, and take time to reflect at Ghost Ranch and the Christ in the Desert Monastery.

Although I probably won't be able to update the blog during my trip, I'll take notes and pictures during the trip so I can post when I return. If you are interested in receiving e-mail updates as well, please let me know!

This should be an exciting & rewarding trip, and I am grateful to all of my family and to the Duke Chapel PathWays program for making this experience possible for me. Thank you!