October 8, 2011
September 12, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
In semi-chronological order, here are a few of the photos and memories that just made me smile:
Christmas 2008. Here's dessert, mincemeat pie and Christmas pudding. It was supposed to just be my parents and us gathered for a little Christmas Eve supper, but Liz and Jason and baby Hazel managed to make it through the snowy mountains just in time for dinner. Snow covered the roads but it was cozy and marvelous in our little apartment.
Spring 2009. We decided that we should never be without wine in our home. So we bought a case of Two-Buck Chuck to supplement. We had that cabernet sauvignon coming out of our ears for months because we would forget we had it and would go out to buy other wines for our Monday Night Dinners.
July 2009. My birthday. It was one of those crazy hot days. Nate took me out for dinner and then we got Molly Moon's ice cream while we walked around Capitol Hill.
October 2009, New Orleans. Beignets and chicory coffee at Cafe Du Monde. Seriously, one of our best vacations to date! I want to go to there (again).
June 2010. WIne barrels in Woodinville on my dad's 65th birthday. It was a relaxing cloudy day spent tasting wine and eating tasty food at various places.
January 2011, Leavenworth, WA. Our niece, Hazel, admiring pastries whilst out on a frigid walk. We all needed some hot cocoa and coffee to warm up from the snow outside.
January 2011, Seabrook on the coast. The intrepid Julia made mini-pies when the house we rented didn't have a pie plate. What can be better than pie for breakfast?
Each of these pictures just instantly transports me to the place and time they were taken. I can feel the sun on my neck in the park, smell the oak of the wine barrels, see the street musicians playing on the sidewalk in New Orleans, taste the warm berry filling of the pies all over again. I don't know why I am surprised how much food shared with those we love can hold such powerful memories. The times we eat with others are times we are vulnerable. We have a need that must be filled and one can't look proper and pulled together when biting into a pile of spareribs or swishing and swashing tastes of wine. Everyone needs to eat, we might as well make it enjoyable.
I am incredibly thankful for all the times we have shared with friends and family over food and wine and I cannot wait for more.
August 29, 2011
My little man, hanging out in his bouncy seat wondering why his mama is banging all those shiny things on that big box exuding heat.
I must say it is a lot different to cook and bake with a small human in the apartment. Before he was born, Nate and I had an idea that I would have "so much more time for cooking" since I would be at home full time. Let me just say, ha to the ha! Most days I'm lucky to make myself a smoothie for lunch, eat some fruit for a snack and by the time dinner rolls around I toss the baby at my husband with a "here hold this!" while I throw something together for us to eat. Which we do, normally around 8 or 9 after the baby is asleep. The other night we had tuna sandwiches and pickled things I had made last summer. Gourmet eh?
On the days I do get myself together enough to actually cook, bake or preserve something, I am invariably interrupted by someone waking early from his nap, a digestive issue (not my own) or just simply a cry of "Mama I'm bored now! Play with me!" (The kid is only two and a half months old after all, he can only self-entertain for so long.)
Therefore I've had to learn to plan ahead and do things in stages, which I had never truly done before. I'm not what you would call an organized person. Nate prefers to call it "thinking organically" (this is also known as forgetful, discombobulated or spastic, take your pick.) In order to make this pie I had to work in three stages: crust prep during play time, berry prep during nap time and baking during his lunch time.
My parents live out on the Kitsap Peninsula and as anyone from the Northwest knows, blackberries are basically a weed here. Their neighbor has an empty lot with bushes of berries just begging to be picked. My mum brought a container full of them over the other day and while I had used half of them for other things, the last portion needed to be used ASAP.
I must admit I cheated and used frozen pie dough. I happened to have some Trader Joe's brand in the freezer and I figured waste not, want not. If I was going to make my own from scratch I would use this recipe. I experimented with what I had in the kitchen and figured a little cinnamon and orange zest could kick the flavor up so this wouldn't be just another summer berry pie.
5-6 cups fresh blackberries
3/4-1 cup sugar + 1T for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup cornstarch
zest from one orange
2-3T lemon juice
pie dough (enough for the bottom and top crust)
Preheat oven to 375*
Roll out half of your pie dough and place in pie plate, allow to chill in fridge while the rest of the preparations are made.
Roll out other half and cut into 3/4" strips, chill as well.
Mix the blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, juice, cinnamon and orange zest in large bowl. Let macerate for 20 minutes or so. Taste juice and adjust seasonings as desired, more cinnamon or sugar here...etc.
Pull pie plate out of fridge and pour berries in.
Arrange lattice strips on top and crimp edges with a fork.
Sprinkle extra sugar on top
Bake on foil-lined cookie sheet for an hour or so until bubbly and crust is browned. Check after 40 minutes to make sure the top isn't getting too brown.
Cool on rack and enjoy!