The Sound of…the CIA

Now, if you know me, you know that I know my way around a kitchen–or so I thought! Recently I had an experience that made me question this knowledge. I was visiting the CIA–that’s the Culinary Institute of America, not the Central Intelligence agency (though a visit to their kitchen would’ve been equally as interesting). In this sound clip I ask a student chef what he’s making…he casually says, “a mirepoix.” “What’s that?” I ask? Then, he kindly explains, but what you can’t hear in the audio clip: he does a double eye roll before that explanation. A sting to the heart–I’ve lost all my foodie cred!

In case I wasn’t the last to know…a mirepoix is basically a mix of carrots, celery and onions–it’s a base for all things stock to casseroles. And this base is different all around the world. Oh Wikipedia, always there when you find yourself stupefied, which happens a lot more than I’d like to admit…

 Similar combinations, both in and out of the French culinary repertoire, may include leeks, parsnips, garlic, tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bell peppers, chilies, and ginger, according to the requirements of the regional cuisine or the instructions of the particular chef or recipe. The analogous soffritto (frequently containing parsley) is the basis for many traditional dishes in classic Italian cuisine, and the sofrito serves a similar purpose in Spanish cuisines. In Cajun cuisine, a mirepoix or (jocularly so-called) “holy trinity” is a combination of onions, celery and bell peppers.

Another thought inspired by the sound of chopping (by the way, can you hear in the sound that he’s chopping celery? Take another listen if not, I bet you’ll recognize it now.)…Are there cuter chef outfits out there? Well I investigated, and yes indeed there is some fun culinary fashion!

Though in my kitchen I prefer this route…

(one, two, three)

Did you know about mirepoix?

xox, Jess

PS: I was at the CIA to record this piece.


ReUse: The Coffee Bag

So I know most of you are always curious about how not to waste things or how to find another use for them rather than shoving them into the recycling or garbage bin. Such items may consist of: beer cans, grocery bags, bag ties (including the metal twist or the plastic bag tie thingy), those thin green velcro vegetable ties, etc. This week, I’m focusing on one use for one item: The Coffee Bag.

I imagine that most of you keep your coffee bags lying around, collecting dust, hoping for that perfect something to put inside so you can use it again. Now you can. The brown paper coffee bag is perfect for sending gifts in…small gifts. I recently sent some baked goods (Lemon Coconut Cranberry Cake with Lemon Curd on the Bottom–See recipe below) and I was in a tight spot. I couldn’t find a brown bag to cover the box I had, then it appeared, like an aura in the sky –the lonely brown coffee bag. It was a match made in mail heaven.


Lemon Coconut Cranberry Cake with Lemon Curd on the Bottom — I tweaked the recipe to include the juices from two lemons, three tablespoons of coconut, and added a handful of cranberries.  I also added the zest from one lemon. I omitted the glaze.

BTW: The coffee bags are free at the grocery store should you also be in a tight spot.

Happy Shipping!


A Few Of My Favorite Things…Beer

This is officially my first post. What you should know about me: I’m into everything. I like cooking, baking, brewing beer, crafting, using my hands, playing music, romancing, dancing, writing songs, horticulture, mountain biking, skiing, etc…What can I say, I’m a curious human being.

At this time though, I’m sharing with you Jess and my most recent home-brew – Pliny The Elder Imperial IPA Clone by Russian River Brewing Company, California. We brewed it on Sunday and will bottle it in a few weeks.

In the meantime let me tell you about this special brew. We first learned about Pliny from our California friends, who after a recent visit, brought back an entire case of the good stuff. Pliny can only be found out west (as far as my sources tell me). Let me tell you. This stuff is delicious–crisp, clean, fruity, amazing. Beer Advocate gives it a score of 100 and is 8% ABV. Check out Beer Advocate for a full write up on Pliny.

This was an epic brew, with over 7 hop additions. The aromas in our house are still fresh like freshly cut grapefruits.

Step one: Brew


Step two: Add Hops


Step Three: Cool Down

Step Four: Pour into fermenting bucket, add water, yeast, and place in a dark place for 7-10 days.

For those of you interested in making this tasty beer, see below.


Check back in a couple weeks for an update on Pliny.


Talking about the weather

“Everyone is always complaining about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.” Mark Twain

Mark Twain got it right with this one. When the clouds roll in, and the skies start to turn dark, my mood mimics the gloominess. I’m a lover of the sun, what can I say. But reading this quote reminds me that I can be “sunny” regardless of the weather. It’s sometimes a struggle to remember this on the darkest days of a Boston winter…but that’s why I did a little experiment this winter (extremely mild winter I have to admit). I tried wearing bright lipstick to see if it would bring a little sunshine to my day. And it worked!

I know that bright colors and lipstick are all the rage these days…but for me it was more about lifting the winter mood than keeping up with the Jonses.

Here’s my bright lipstick of choice. I love this brand: the fact that it’s natural, cruelty free, and an awesome color to boot. This photo doesn’t do the bright pop of color justice…it’s called Ripe Cherry, and it b-o-l-d.

At first I felt self-conscious…walking into my extremely casual office (this is radio folks, the public hears, not sees us) with such a bold color on my lips. It not only made me happy, but also meant that in a very small, personal way, I was doing something other than complaining about the weather. Maybe Mark Twain would agree.


Jess AND Jesse

Well, here is an exciting update to The Sound of Raspberries! I’m going to be a co-contributor to this blog (I’m Jessica’s husband Jesse). My posts will generally be focused on DIY’s, music and cooking. 

Check back soon…


The Sound of Raspberries

So, after thinking about, dreaming about, talking about starting a blog, the time finally felt right today. Why today? Maybe it’s in honor of the first unseasonably-late snow of the year (well, that’s not counting the actual first, unseasonably-early Halloween snowstorm); maybe it’s inspired by that great feeling that comes with it just being a Friday–a whole two days of  possibilities ahead of me; or maybe I just let the idea of blogging marinate for so long that I came to the now or never moment.

Let me introduce myself. I’m a producer/reporter for a national public radio show by day, and many things by night (I realize that doesn’t sound so good).

List of likes: Crafting, hosting dinner parties, fake internet shopping (that is, adding amazing finds to my shopping cart, and then realizing that my public radio job doesn’t bring home the big bucks, and proceeding to close the window), cooking, traveling, and listening to and recording sound. And that last one brings me to the title of this blog.

The Sound of Raspberries.

I’ve always been a poor sleeper, I blame it on my ultra-sensitive ears. My parents joke that my favorite phrase as a kid was, “mommy, what’s that noise.” Any little sound pulls me out of the deepest of sleep and gets my mind rolling. But lately, instead of jumping straight to fear I’ve been able realize sound’s beauty. Now, not to get all esoteric on y’all, but sound really is beautiful. Close your eyes and think about what you hear around you.

Probably not the sound of raspberries…but I bet that you can you imagine it? Perhaps it’s this scene: a nice big bowl of the berries on a summer day, the windows cracked open, cars blasting music as they drive by. Or it could be the sound of blowing air onto a baby’s smooth stomach. Or perhaps it conjures up an entirely different sound for you (in which case, I’d love to know in the comments section).

This blog will be my inspiration pad, and I’m hoping to use different sounds as a jumping off point to write about and curate those above-mentioned likes.

And with that, I leave you with this…it’s me writing my very first post…