Archive for March, 2009

Dinner for 9 in a Tiny Kitchen

Now I know 9 people doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when I think back to my mom’s holiday feasts for crowds of 20 or 30, but when your kitchen is tiny and you only have 7 chairs in the apartment, it’s quite a feat to pull off a sit-down meal for a group of friends.

Our friend Caroline brought over some extra chairs, so we all had a place to sit at the table, and I got to work cooking pretty early in the day. On the menu:

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Bread (which I forgot to serve, though Orso baked some mini cheese puffs which were delicious and we did eat)
  • Salad (which I also forgot to serve — just plain forgot it was in the fridge all ready to go)
  • Stuffed Peppers
  • Baked Eggplant
  • Herbed Rice
  • Pear Clafouti with Vanilla Ice Cream

The cooking was hectic and used a ton of pots and pans, but it wasn’t too bad. The soup turned out perfectly — and was my first pureed soup made with our new immersion blender. The stuffed peppers, a dish I’ve been making for a few years now, turned out a little watery — I blame increasing the recipe and the oven not being as hot as it says it was. The baked eggplant basically tasted like an eggplant stuffing you could serve on Thanksgiving, not my favorite dish, just because I’m not a huge stuffing fan, but it turned out well. And the rice was just what was needed to accompany the pepper.

Everyone’s favorite dish, though, was definitely the pear clafouti. I didn’t even know what a clafouti was until a day or two before the dinner party, but Evan’s parents have made them, so I looked up a recipe. It turned out to be remarkably simple, requiring few ingredients, and I was able to bake it while we ate and serve it hot at the end of the meal.

It came out of the oven puffed up and golden, a sort of fruit-filled pancake souffle. And despite how decadent it tasted, it actually wasn’t too unhealthy, with no butter or oil save for what greased the pan, and made with non-fat milk and non-fat yogurt instead of whole milk and cream. Of course, we did put ice cream on top, which made the dessert extra delicious, especially since the clafouti was still steaming as we served it.

messy kitchen

The devoured clafouti (only a few crumbs left) and our storage-space stovetop

The clafouti was supposed to take only 20 minutes to cook and ended up taking about 40, but I think my oven was having an off night and wasn’t as hot as it should be.

Of course, we didn’t manage to get any photos of the food before it was devoured. I was busy checking everything in the kitchen and Evan was busy entertaining everyone else. We did get a couple photos of the aftermath, which show just how small a space we were working with — we have to use the oven as extra counter space, the cookbooks were on the floor outside the kitchen for most of the night, and we used every piece of silverware we have, as well as almost all the pots and pans, baking dishes and plates.


The other side of the kitchen. Yup, that' all the counter space we have.

We finished up the night with a Wii Sports and Outdoor Adventure tournament. There was some impressive tennis and boxing and some hilarious mine-carting, too.

Playing Wii after dinner

Playing Wii after dinner

Tuttle LA #3 Friday, March 27


Sorry for the lack of advance notice on this post, but it’s been a hectic week! Tuttle Club LA #3 will be happening Friday, March 27 at 10:30 a.m. at The Library Coffee House in Long Beach.

So far, it sounds like there will be a nice crowd, including some new people. We’ll probably be in the strange T-shirt shop/massage chair/free magazine room on the right because it’ll be a bigger group and it’ll probably get pretty loud. Maybe we’ll take some more videos, too.

We’ll be setting up the Tuttle LA blog soon, but for now, leave a comment to let us know you’ll be showing up to share some coffee, conversation and social media talk, and we’ll look out for you.

The Basics

When: Friday, March 27, 2009, 10:30 a.m.

Where: The Library Coffee House
3412 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 433-2393

Hello New France To Go!

I’ve been meaning to work on my blog’s design for a long time and just kept putting it off. But when Evan purchased a theme for his new knowledge base site from Woo Themes, they were (and still are) having a buy one get one free deal, so I found one I liked, called Thick, and started playing around.

It’s quite different from the barely modified WordPress default theme I had for nearly a year and a half, and I’m excited about the new possibilities for showcasing more content, more photos and more updates from my social sites.

The old France to Go

The old France to Go

I am sad to see my old header go — I did love that canoe photo Evan took of me in Big Bear. You can still find it on my About Me page.

Next up will be a redesign of my portfolio site, which is much needed since I’m doing so much more work than just magazine/website writing.

Let me know what you think of the changes and if there’s anything you feel is missing. I’m not qute sure about the background yet, but I did have a lot of fun going through all those photos from my travels over the past couple of years. Look closely — there are 64 different travel shots in there.

Here’s a non-faded, larger view of the background, including me sticking my head in an alligator’s mouth, tulips in Hyde Park, listening to sounds at Haus der Musik, Communist-era statues in Budapest, the London Eye, horseback riding in Spain, the Rose Bowl (in an Orange Bowl sweatshirt), Maui’s bamboo forest, the floating gate at Miyajima, the Osaka Sky Buildling, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Temple of the Dawn in Bangkok, and me stalking an albino peacock.

Photo Collage

Let me know what you think of the new look — and what your favorite photo is in the collage.

The Hammer Museum: ‘What Manner of Person Art Thou’ and other exhibits

Last weekend, Evan, my friend Laura and I went to the Hammer museum to see “What Manner of Person Art Thou” and the other exhibits. Though the Hammer is a small museum, it has some really wonderful works and frequently changing exhibits.

We started with the Francesca Gabbiani-curated collection of images that have to do with witchcraft, sorcery and the darker side of life. In a room filled with mostly old etching and prints, though also including some more modern ones, we were really delighted by the bizarre elements we found in many of the pieces, especially the extremely strange Pieter van der Heyden works from the 1500s.

There was also a neat portrait exhibit called “Other People,” which had a wide range of mostly contemporary portraiture. My favorite piece was a collection of baseball card style photos of baseball photographers. Of course, they were all in baseball poses and had baseball props, but were all in their normal clothes.

The real reason we went to the museum, though, was to see Erin Cosgrove’s animated film, “What Manner of Person Art Thou.” It was shown in a very small room, with just two couches and some chairs in the back. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but the film was quite funny, though a bit long. It followed two men from a religious sect, whose families had died, trying to find any other descendants to bring back to their community. They’re sorely disappointed by what they find out in the world, from pro-anorexia groups to dating shows. With each relative they meet, their journey becomes more absurd and more horrifying.

The film is only playing until tomorrow, but it’s worth checking out, as are the other exhibits.

Tuttle #2 – This Time With Video, and No, We Weren’t in a T-Shirt Shop

What is Tuttle LA? from Francine Kizner on Vimeo.

Tuttle #2 was even better than Tuttle #1. We met again at the Library, and started by meeting in the cozy room on the left that has lots of couches, but we had a special surprise — a video Skype chat with Lloyd Davis (aka the Tuttle mothership, as Geoff said), who is at SXSW this weekend. We were a bit loud when on the call, so one of the annoyed Library patrons suggested we head to the bizarre extra room off to the right, which was empty.

With talked about Austin, Tuttle, London and more (check out the video above).

Our new spot in the side room provided us more seating space and let us talk and move around more, but it was a really bizarre space. There were a few yellow walls, some mismatched paintings, a rack of T-shirts and hoodies (all in primary colors), a massage chair ($1 for 5 minutes) and some paper lanterns.

In addition to all the talk about tech, phones, Twitter, WordPress and SXSW, we also did some video interviews. Geoff’s phone died, so we took all the video on my Macbook Pro.

Tuttle LA: Interview with Mark Davidson from Francine Kizner on Vimeo.

Tuttle LA Interview with Amir Motlagh from Francine Kizner on Vimeo.

This week’s attendees: Me (@kizziefk), Geoff Hickman (@geoffsays), Jeb Brilliant (@jebbrilliant), Mark Davidson (@markdavidson), Amir Motlagh (@amirmotlagh, Vimeo), Christine (@christyxcore), Caroline (@thevixy)

Tuttle #2

Tomorrow will be the second-ever meeting of the LA Tuttle Club. We’ll be meeting again at the Library in Long Beach at 10:30 a.m. for coffee and discussion about work, social media, marketing, music… whatever it is that you’re into. The first meeting was great fun — we all met some new people and learned about some new technology and music.

Geoff, Jeb and I will definitely be showing up, and anyone else who’d like to drop by is welcome. Leave a note in the comments, email, or send me a message on Twitter if you’d like to learn more or let me know to look for you.

We’ll be in the second room (so don’t worry if you don’t see us right when you walk in the door), and we’ll try to grab enough couch and chair space for anyone who’ll be coming. And don’t worry about coming a bit late — we’re not on any schedule — this is what you make of it.

The basics:

Where: The Library Coffee House
3412 E Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 433-2393

When: Friday, March 13, 2009, 10:30 a.m.

See the Data + Art Exhibit (and more) for Free

10,000 cents by Aaron Koblin and Takashi Kawashima

If you were intrigued by my Data + Art exhibit writeup, or just need something fun to do this Friday night, the PMCA and 13 other Pasadena museums and arts organizations are opening their doors for free to the public — and providing a free shuttle around town as well as organized bicycle tours to get you from location to location.

When: Friday, March 13, 2009, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: All around Pasadena
Learn more: The Art Night website