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Monthly Archives: September 2012

I’ve left little bits of my heart all over the world. I say “heart bits” because I feel that there have been many events, places, and people to which I have connected deeply.

The Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon, is one of these heart-places. I’m not sure how to describe the feelings of familiarity, or the somewhat restless energy that comes from a place in which, relatively speaking, I’ve spent very little time.

I was fortunate to travel to Portland for a conference a few weeks ago. It was a cool experience to hear presentations from academics whose books and articles I cite frequently. I also reconnected with some of my old colleagues and professors.

The last day of the conference, some of my colleagues and I drove to Canon Beach, known for its tide pools and the monolith Haystack Rock. Next to it are The Needles . . . ha ha, get it? :)

      

I decided to stay another day in the Hawthorne Hostel. It’s located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Portland, sports a green roof (literally), and is one of the most sustainable hostels I’ve ever had the pleasure of staying at. They hold educational workshops there as well! So. Flippin’. Awesome. Here’s the street view:

My friend from “the Euge” came up to spend the day — I was so happy to re-connect with her, spend an hour or so in Powell’s, and walk about town taking in the many sights, smells, and libations that Portland has to offer. We even got to see Junot Diaz present at the Bagdad Theater and read excerpts from his new book This is How You Lose Her. All in all it was a pretty great day.

Several days later, as I was looking through the pictures I took during the trip, there was one that immediately struck me. It offers a glimpse of the amazing natural beauty that is the Oregon coast. For me, it relates an intimacy/warmth, as well as a bit of sadness. I wasn’t able to sit and meditate, like the picture seems to promise.

I know that I will always have a special place in my heart for Oregon. In the years to come I will continue to make the trip back to the Pacific NW, if only to feel that special rush from reuniting with a friend after several years and several thousand miles apart.

Con amor,

K

I have uncovered a secret weapon in the grocery store that I’d like to share with you. Behold!

This gluten-free baking mix got me thinking about how I could use it creatively . . and given my love of pancakes for dinner, I think I found a way to shake things up a bit.

Gluten-free Corn Cakes

1 c. Pamela’s gluten-free pancake mix

2 ears of cooked corn (cut the kernels off them)

1 small sweet red pepper

1/2 green jalapeño pepper

4 green onions

chili powder, ground cumin, sweet paprika, and salt to taste

1 egg

3/4 c. water

Mix it all together in a medium bowl and let sit for about 3-4 minutes.

Pour enough oil into a skillet to evenly coat the bottom. Heat on medium. Once the skillet is hot, spoon the batter onto the skillet, turn over when you can see a little bit of golden brown on the bottom edge.

To serve, garnish with some fresh avocado slices and some homemade pico de gallo. Trust me, your taste buds are going to go wild!

I’ve copied the description below from the site:

On September 10th, 2011 a band of knit-happy taggers took to the Devonport Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand to create a one-of-a-kind art piece. Collected knits from around the world were attached together to create The Woolly Walk Along, an eclectic and awe-inspiring testament to the creative spirit.

Early that foggy morning a team of volunteers led by Helene Dehmer set out to tag the length of Devonport Wharf with knit. Organised to celebrate the launch of the New Zealand Rugby World Cup, The Woolly-Walk-Along was made up of pieces knitted by over 90 people from 9 countries and mailed to New Zealand.

Several of the pieces were auctioned to support the city of Christchurch, which suffered an earthquake and aftershocks this year.

Conceived and organised by Knitting Artist and Woolly Tagger Helene Dehmer – knittygraffity.blogspot.com

Directed by Michael Cannon Miller – movie.geek.nz

Holy smokes Batman! This is out-of-this-world good! I scored the peaches at the Saturday Farmers’ Market, and was inspired by one of my favorite bakers: Joy.

Peach Mascarpone Pie

Crust:

Pie crust recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take out the dough from the fridge and let sit on the counter for 7-10 minutes before working it. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. You want to create a circle that, when gently placed into your pie pan, will slightly overlap the edges. Press it gently (it’s the key word!) into the form of the pan. If the dough breaks into chunks while you’re rolling it, don’t worry! Simply place the dough into your pie pan and work it gently with your fingers until it evenly covers the bottom, walls, and rim of the pan.

Next, use a fork to jab tiny holes in the bottom and sides of the pie. (This is so that it doesn’t bubble.) Finally, using the index and thumb of one hand, and the index finger of the other, crimp the edges of the dough to form a uniform scalloped edge.

  

Before you place it into the preheated oven, cut a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil so that it covers the dough. Then, pour pie weights or dried beans into it. This will ensure that the dough maintains the form of the pan while you bake it. Bake at 350 for about 22-25 minutes. You should see a light golden color on the edges. At this time, remove the crust from the oven, and take out the weights/beans and the parchment/foil. Return the crust to the oven for 5-7 minutes more to let the bottom set. You want the crust to be golden in color. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Let cool completely!

Filling: 

1 c. mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (DIY for next time here!)

6 fresh peaches, sliced

extra honey for drizzling (optional)

Combine the mascarpone and sour cream in a medium bowl and beat on low until smooth. Add honey and vanilla and stir with a spoon to combine it. Spread mixture evenly across the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Arrange sliced peaches in a design of your choice along the top. Drizzle with a little more honey, if you desire, and invite friends over for dessert!

   

I don’t care what people are saying about cupcakes, tarts, or cookies. Pie is still hottest thing since sliced bread.

This summer my sibs and I went to a beautiful pie shop in Brooklyn called Four and Twenty Blackbirds. They offer a rotating assortment of homemade pies (and slices), as well as other sweet and savory goodies. Naturally, we had to strategize our order so that we could taste as many as possible. Leave it to the middle kiddos to mess it up and order the same pie!! Sheesh :)

We sampled the Black Bottom Oatmeal, the Salted Honey, and the Strawberry Balsamic pies. We devoured them, as evidenced below:

In light of my love for pie — which, unlike the number is totally rational (he he) — I wanted to share with you a simple, delicious recipe for pie crust. I also use it for quiche, since it’s not sweet at all. Feel free to adapt it to meet your needs.

Pastry Crust (makes enough for two crusts)
2 sticks of cold butter
pinch of salt
2 3/4c. flour
1/4c. ice cold water
Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients together and add butter. Cut in the butter until it has become incorporated into the flour so as to give it a more “grainy” texture.
Some people prefer to use a food processor, but I like to do it by hand with a pastry blender/knife. Once it’s been thoroughly mixed add half of the ice water. You don’t always have to use up all the liquid and you may or may not need more flour. Get the dough to where it isn’t sticky (too much water) or overly dry (too much flour), as you want it to malleable. By this time the dough with be getting slightly warm, so either make a big ball or separate for 2 pies depending on how many you need. Cover them individually with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour, and up to twenty-four. Take it out of the fridge for 7-10 min. so that it has a chance to soften slightly prior to working the dough on a floured surface.
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