Virtuosic Bread Shaping

...sked her how she learned to shape pizzas. The bread being shaped here is called Markook, In Arabic, مرقوق، شراك. It’s a flatbread found throughout the Middle East (an Armenian friend who grew up in Lebanon told us about it). A casual Youtube search will reveal many different Markook shaping techniques. Here’s a pillow free version making the rounds on Facebook: Post by Akhilesh Sharma. Back to learning a difficult skill. In the...

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Get Baking and Share the Loaves

...he refrigerator. This deepens flavor, allows flexibility in your baking schedule and can help a hearth loaf hold its shape in the oven. Are you beginner? Make your bread in a loaf pan. It’s a lot more forgiving than trying to shape a boule. Use a tip sensitive thermometer to determine if your rye bread is done. Baker didn’t discuss the exact temp, but I shoot for 210°F. For wheat loaves let color be your guide–you want just shor...

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Have you ever wanted a uniform?

...den bowl. As of now, my wardrobe is limited in both type (practical) and color (cool neutrals), which helps, but its not as simple as it could be. I still end up standing in front of the closet wondering “Black short sleeved shirt? White long sleeved shirt? Or is this a t-shirt day?” I want even fewer options. The uniform fantasy has been with me for a long time, although the uniform type changes. I’ve never taken the leap into...

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Flowers from Vegetables

...e flowers go to seed the birds will move in. Of course this means that I’m “wasting space” and making my garden “unproductive” but the rewards outweigh any inconvenience. New gardeners are often surprised to see what amazing flowers different vegetables make. People with no connection to food plants whatsoever may not even know that vegetables make flowers, so it’s fun to show them a carrot flower, a squash blo...

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Summer Nights in the Garden at the Natural History Museum

Join us for an evening of music, art, nature and science at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum’s Summer Nights in the Garden. We’ll be part of the festivities this Friday July 25th where we’ll be: POTTING SUCCULENTS! They’re one of the most low maintenance plants out there, and one that’s perfect for our dry L.A. climate. Urban homesteading experts Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne are here to help you...

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Biodynamic Composting Workshop

...y Erik Knutzen of Root Simple. Erik Knutzen is the author, with his wife Kelly Coyne, of The Urban Homestead and Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World. He blogs and produces a podcast at www.rootsimple.com. Cost: $20 per person. Space is limited to 20 attendees. Children are free and welcome to participate under the supervision of their parents.  Register in advance here. What to bring: hat, gloves, sturdy shoes – be prepared...

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How to Keep Skunks Out of the Yard

...years I’ve used bird netting to keep them out of my vegetable beds. The problem with bird netting is that it’s a pain to work with–it catches on things, tangles up, and occasionally traps a bird. I hate the stuff. It took me 16 years to realize that I could exclude skunks from the entire backyard.  All it takes is a simple strategy: know thy enemy. Our new back gate. Hopefully the skunks will be scared by the...

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My Brand New Homebrew Soda Carbonator

...Erik won the good husband award this Valentine’s Day. He surprised me with my very own soda making machine. This is not a SodaStream–it’s better. It’s an industrial strength CO2 tank topped with sturdy dials and valves and whatnot, all sourced from the local homebrew shop. He’s going to do a how-to post soon (tomorrow maybe?) on how to put together the parts, and how to use it. So hold on for those det...

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Maintaining a Worm Bin

...terly starve, you’re going to be okay. Our worm bin is pretty big (5 feet long), and made of pine boards.  It bears an unfortunate resemblance to a coffin, but it works wonderfully. I used plastic storage totes for my worm bins before we built this, and while those worked fine, I really like my big bin for two main reasons. The first is the size. It can take whatever I throw at it. It takes all my kitchen scraps, except for the really choic...

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How Much Can You Carry on a Bicycle?

...We’re overdue for an update on our car-free Los Angeles lifestyle experiment, but one thing that has made it possible is the cargo bike I’ve had since 2006, the Xtracycle. Xtracycle pioneered the “longtail” bike, essentially a bike stretched out in order to accommodate large panier bags. My Xtracycle was an add-on to an existing mountain bike. Xtracycle and their competitors now sell complete longtail bikes. Tom Vanderbil...

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