Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, November 11, 2013
It's the time of year to put your hat on and brave the rain. Things are growing out there--differently than they do in the springtime--in that slow, snailish way that things happen in the northwest. A friend reminded me tonight how good fall can feel around here. He reminded me that while people in the rest of the world are perpetually blessed with sunlight, we, at least, can appreciate what it means to feel cozy. I like that sentiment.
I took a day trip to Roslyn this weekend. We walked up into the hills above all of those fields of gravestones and filled our pockets with that alien moss that reminds me of building fairy houses with my mom. This time of year is so great because its cold and gray but we haven't gotten sick of it yet; we're still riding that two month wave of perfect 75-and-sunny summer. The fog and dusk-like light that last all day are kind of beautiful, temporarily, and it's nice to be outside and feel them.
Saturday, October 26, 2013
We took an early morning flight out of SeaTac, the whole day stretching ahead of us, full of being lost and overwhelmed and (just a little bit) disoriented because of the alcohol. And this is what I'll say about the lit-up city in the desert: it's fucking weird. It's like spending a week at the glitziest mall you can think of, only all the patrons are tripping over their stilettos and sucking on cigarettes while they down their sixty-dollar-a-plate designer dinners. Needless to say I won't be back for a while.
I have to hand it to those casino designers, though, because the buildings themselves are pretty impressive in their vastness and detail, down to the fake little plants in the miniature apartment window boxes in New York, New York, their plastic leaves waving gently beneath the air conditioner's breeze. And hey, everybody loves a fake exploding volcano and a massive dancing fountain, so there's that.
To be quite frank, my favorite part of the whole trip was flying in and out. That desert is awesome, and next time I'm renting a car and leaving the mess and expense of the strip behind. The last thing I'd like to do on vacation is watch ladies older than my grandmother spend their last time on those whirling 7s and pairs of cherries while they sip watered-down cocktails, but I guess everyone's got their own priorities.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Fall is officially here. Though the leaves have been falling for weeks, the wet, dark season really showed its face yesterday just in time for an all-day outdoor tailgate party I'd signed up to attend. I was really excited to peel off my socks at the end of the day, to say the least.
Despite the dreary, disgusting and bone-soaking winter season we have around here, there are some perks to fall that we can't deny: The general appeal of tea increases. Pumpkin spice and pumpkin puree are suddenly finding their way into my shopping basket. Yoga pants and Ugg boots are acceptable in public (although I can't quite stomach the leggings-as-pants-please-check-out-my-crotch style that so many people seem to find appealing).
Anyway, one other thing that I love about fall is Pie. And, perhaps more importantly (to this post, anyway), pie's sloppier younger sister Cobbler, also known as "Crisp" to her nearest and dearest. Crisp is a great end to any meal, easy to make and not too hard on your wallet, either. I was given a big bag of apples straight from their tree this past week, and right away I knew where they were headed.
Peach Apple Crisp, adapted from Betty Crocker
- 4 Medium Apples, peeled and sliced (roughly 4 cups, although I just basically filled my baking dish)
- 1 to 2 peaches (nectarines are also good), sliced
- 3/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 Cup almond meal*
- 1/2 Cup oats (quick-cook or regular or fine)
- 1/3 Cup butter, softened
- 3/4 Tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
- Cream or ice cream (to serve-optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, grease the bottom and sides of your baking dish
2. Spread the apples and peaches in your baking dish evenly
3. Mix together all other ingredients well (except the cream) and sprinkle over top of the apples
4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.
5. Serve with cream over top or with vanilla ice cream if you'd like
*Note that I used half almond meal and half all purpose flour to save on the carb count a tiny bit. You can use all regular flour if you have no almond meal, or all almond meal if you'd rather!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
|The easiest way to look gourmet: the tart.|
Today was a typical Sunday in our little house. Tom slept in while I woke up early and drank my coffee, painted and started a baking project. This past Friday was Tom's sister's birthday, and she had requested a fruit tart for her family celebration this evening. I busted this guy out in just about an hour...and I'm pretty sure I'll be making it again. And again. For so much fruit and crust going on, it's pretty low-sugar, but certainly satisfied my sweet tooth anyway.
Here's the recipe:
For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the topping:
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar (or xylitol)
3 cups mixed fruit of your choice (I used kiwis, strawberries, nectarines and blueberries)
*You'll also need an 8-or-9 inch tart pan, with removable bottom
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F*
2. Lightly grease your tart pan
3. In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients and pulse to combine.
4. Add the pieces of butter into the food processor and pulse until the mixture begins to combine and clump.
5. Take the dough out of the processor and using your hands, spread it evenly in the pan over the bottom and sides. Use the tines of a fork to pierce the bottom of the crust in a few places.
6. Cover the crust and put it into the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
7. Remove the crust and put it into the oven at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
8. Take the crust from the oven and let it stand on a wire rack until cool.
While the crust is cooling:
9. In your electric mixer, combine mascarpone, whipping cream, vanilla and sugar. Beat until soft peaks begin to form.
10. Slice fruit as you desire, set aside.
11. When crust is cool, spread whipped topping evenly across the crust and add fruit to the top as you wish.
Eat it all up! (Refrigerate if not serving immediately)
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Not too many people even read my blog anyway, but I'm posting this everywhere because it's really important to me.
I'm not an enormous fan of using my personal accounts for promotion - I see enough commercials and advertisements in my day-to-day life as it is without my contacts bombarding me with suggestions about how to spend my time or money - but today I feel like I need to make an exception to my personal policy:
Twelve years ago our country was faced with an enormous tragedy that unified us as a country and rudely reminded us all to live our lives to the fullest. An outpouring of goodwill and support enveloped the people of New York, enabling humanitarian aid, many recovery efforts, and eventually the construction of memorials at Ground Zero.
Yet as I spoke with the families of those who were lost yesterday, and the survivors, and the first responders who made it out alive, something became clear: people are beginning to forget. In this, there is no blame. Our lives are busy and full and we all have our own personal struggles that push to the forefront of our daily transactions. But these people who lost so much that day, and/or who gave up so freely their own safety and well-being to protect others, aren't really asking for much at all. These people only want to be remembered, want their loved ones to be remembered, not only as one conglomerate group of unfortunate people but as individuals who were cherished and admired by their families and communities.
As a part of the Tribute Flag Project, I have been able to see the profoundly positive consequences of making personal connections with these survivors. I have witnessed the way that art, in its incredibly unique way, can touch a part of someone's heart they thought they'd hardened. For the last 12 years,Dianne Brudnicki has personally funded each project, recruited and rallied volunteers, formed and cultivated relationships with people across the country, and (probably) pulled her hair out while shlepping big groups of PNW kids around New York just so that they can have the opportunity to make these profound connections with others. Most of all she has set a practically unmatched standard for remembering this day in history. I could not be more proud to be a part of this project or to have been privileged enough to work with Dianne all of this time.
If you are looking for a way to make your "remembering" just a little bit more meaningful this year, please don't hesitate to visit our project's website at www.TributeFlagProject.com to donate your time or money to a truly worthwhile cause.