Ring in the new year with 4 stories from 2016 that will give you hope for the future

2017 Happy New Year!

A lot of people have bemoaned 2016 for being a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. Negative news smacked us in the face every time we powered up our digital devices or turned on the television and I can understand why so many people are looking forward to 2017. But 2016 wasn’t a total waste of time. A lot of great things happened that could change the course of the human race in the years to come. Here are four of my favorite science stories from 2016 that give me hope for our future.

Scott Kelly returns to Earth: After spending 340 days on the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly returned safely to Earth on March, 2. This brave man sacrificed a year of his life to help us understand how the human body reacts to prolonged periods in space. His time in space will ultimately help us understand what it will take to send humans to other planets, like Mars.

Elon Musk announced his plans to colonize Mars: Speaking of space travel, did you know that it’s been 44 years since the last person walked on the moon? We basically got to the moon and collectively decided that was far enough. Elon Musk wants to change that…soon. If his plans go off without a hitch, we’ll send the first humans to Mars by 2025! Sure, his ambitious plan to have 1 million people living on Mars by 2074 seems a bit far-fetched but his company, SpaceX, has already figured out how to make reusable rockets that can be landed back on Earth. This achievement is one of the requirements for making flights to Mars affordable. If this video doesn’t get you excited for the future of space exploration and the human race, nothing will.

The Ice Bucket Challenge worked: Researchers, funded by donations received through the Ice Bucket Challenge, have found a gene they believe contributes to the development of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). This is an important step in developing therapies to prevent or cure this terrible disease. While we’re still a long way from a cure, if the Ice Bucket Challenge taught us anything, it’s that money you give to charity can work wonders (and also, watching Donald Trump getting ice dumped on his head is very satisfying).

Dinosaurs feathers found in amber: This may not be huge, world-changing news, but I am looking forward to seeing the remastered version of “Jurassic Park” featuring realistically feathered dinosaurs! Come on, Spielberg, get on it!

 

 

Thanks, Hudson!

Thank You, Hudson Flea

 

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Hudson Flea on Saturday! We had a great time meeting everyone and slinging our handmade soap.

If you’re checking out the blog for the first time because you meet us at the flea, welcome! We have all our customer favorites from the flea for sale in the Emmet Street Creations Etsy shop. Be sure to check it out!

Shop Emmet Street Creations at the Hudson Flea on September 24

Come to the Hudson Flea on June 25Come out and see us at The Hudson Flea on Saturday, September 24th from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M! This is the last flea of the season and it’s a great place to do some early holiday shopping. This month’s flea boasts many spectacular local vendors, music, food and even FREE shuttle service from the Jo-Ann Fabrics parking lot. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our delicious scent flavors. I’ll have all of my customer favorite handmade soaps including Blueberry and Blue Agave.

Be sure to like (and share) the The Hudson Flea Facebook page to see featured vendors.

We’d love it if you spread the word to friends who love handmade and supporting local businesses! It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

Fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta

Cherry tomatoes from Martha's Farm

The farmers markets are currently bursting with tomatoes of all sizes and varieties, from big fat beefsteaks to pints of colorful cherry tomatoes. One of my favorite ways to use up a surplus of tomatoes is with a recipe I call “squish.” Or, if you prefer the more appetizing name, “fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta.” I love this dish because it highlights the fresh vibrant taste of raw tomatoes and it’s incredibly quick to make. The only cooking involved is boiling water for the pasta.

The sauce for this pasta uses only four ingredients: Tomatoes, as much blue cheese as you can stand, fresh basil and olive oil.

Blue Cheese

I usually use cherry tomatoes that I cut in half, although I’ve used larger tomatoes cut into smaller pieces as well. Once all the tomatoes are cut and placed in a large bowl, I use my hands (cleansed with handmade soap, of course) to squish all the amazing juice out of them. I don’t fuss with straining seeds or peeling off the skins or cooking the tomatoes down. On a busy weeknight, who has time? Plus, I love having nice chunks of raw tomatoes mixed in with the warm pasta and creamy blue cheese.

Once I’m satisfied with the amount of tomato juice at the bottom of the bowl, I drizzle in some olive oil and stir in crumbled blue cheese. (If you hate blue cheese, I’m not sure why you are reading this but in case you are still here, I think goat cheese would be equally wonderful.) Add some freshly chopped basil and Bob’s your uncle, you’re done with the sauce. It’ll look a little lumpy and, well, raw. But don’t fret, it’s about to be transformed.

Here’s the important part. Do not drain the pasta when it’s ready. Instead, use a pasta scoop to carefully transfer the pasta from the water, directly into the bowl of tomatoes. The heat from the pasta melts the blue cheese and the little bit of water that gets transferred with the pasta helps make the sauce creamy. Once you’ve transferred all of the pasta, give everything a good stir so the pasta is coated with cheesy, juicy goodness. If you feel the sauce is too dry, add a bit of the cooking water from the pot and stir again. If you seem to have a lot of liquid in the bottom of the bowl, use a spoon to drizzle it over individual servings.

Fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta

This recipe serves about 2 people and on the rare occasion that we have leftovers it reheats well.

Fresh tomato and blue cheese pasta (a.k.a. Squish)

The measurements below are a starting point. If you want more tomatoes, add them. If you want less cheese, use less. Want it to be a bit tangy? Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. There are a lot of ways to tweak this recipe and make it your own. 

12 oz fresh cherry tomatoes (or any kind of tomato you have on hand)

4 oz container of crumbled blue cheese

3 tbsp olive oil

Chopped basil to taste

2 servings of angel hair pasta

Cook the angel hair pasta according to package directions.

As the pasta cooks, roughly chop the tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and squish them with your hands until you have a nice puddle of juice at the bottom of the bowl. Add olive oil, blue cheese and basil and stir well.

When the pasta has cooked, use a pasta scoop to transfer pasta to the bowl of tomatoes. Stir until pasta is well coated. If needed, add a small amount of the pasta cooking water to make the sauce more creamy.

Serve immediately.

Shop Emmet Street Creations at the Hudson Flea on August 20

Come to the Hudson Flea on June 25Come out and see us at The Hudson Flea on Saturday, August 20 from 9 A.M. until 4 P.M ! This year, the flea boasts over 80 spectacular local vendors, music, food and even FREE shuttle service from the Jo-Ann Fabrics parking lot. We look forward to seeing you and sharing our delicious scent flavors! We’ll have all of our customer favorite handmade soaps including Rosemary Mint and Blue Agave.

Be sure to like (and share) the The Hudson Flea Facebook page to see featured vendors.

We’d love it if you spread the word to friends who love handmade and supporting local businesses! It’s easy! Simply use one of the sharing buttons below (Note: If you’re reading this via e-mail or reader, you’ll need to link to our website to use the sharing buttons).

Tarragon, parsley and sunflower seed pesto

TARRAGON PESTO

 

A few years ago, I decided to plant a herb garden and one of the herbs I planted was tarragon. I love the way it smells and I have fond memories of a tarragon and red wine vinegar salad dressing my mother used to make. When I planted it, I had grand ideas for recreating that dressing. Sadly, I’ve never been able to duplicate it.

Every year my tarragon plant survives our harsh Cleveland winter and grows back bigger and better than the year before but I haven’t really put the herb to good use in my cooking. This year, all that changed when I stumbled upon the idea of using it for pesto.

I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first. Tarragon has a strong, anise-like flavor that can be extremely overpowering so highlighting it in a pesto seemed risky. As I researched different recipes, a common theme was to cut the tarragon with an equal amount of parsley, which has a fresh, bright flavor.

The result was surprisingly delightful. (Unfortunately, I didn’t think to take pictures but it looked like pesto.) Blending up the tarragon with the other ingredients helped to mellow out the flavor, while still giving a slight anise note. Since tarragon is part of the sunflower family I used sunflower seeds instead of traditional (and expensive) pine nuts and they gave it a nice nutty texture. You’ll notice the recipe doesn’t include garlic, which seems like blasphemy when talking about a pesto recipe. I left it out for fear of having too many strong flavors but I think you could add a clove or two and still have a wonderful dish.

Tarragon, parsley & sunflower seed pesto

1/2 cup tightly packed fresh tarragon

1/2 cup tightly packed parsley

4 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 tsp lemon juice

6 tbsp olive oil

Add the first 4 ingredients to a food processor or blender. Start blending on a low speed and gradually add the olive oil until the pesto is a creamy consistency. You may need more or less olive oil, depending on the consistency you’re going for. If needed, increase the mixing speed to fully incorporate the ingredients.

Just like any other pesto, you can serve this immediately on pasta, as a spread for bruschetta or as a fancy homemade pizza sauce. It also freezes very well. I plan to use my left-over pesto the next time I make my quick and easy pesto salad.

Have you tried making pesto with something other than basil? Share your experiments in the comments. I’m always looking for new recipes!