A place to store and share the things I make.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lillian Gail

I got to greet a baby girl and welcome her into the world last week. I started this post and wanted to tell the whole story, but have been sitting on it. Because, well, it's not my story to tell. My story is that I got to rub mama's back, keep her and her family company between contractions, and experience the amazing miracle of birth firsthand (well, not really firsthand). It was beautiful. Lilly is beautiful. And her mama too. These are from a couple days after she arrived when they were back home. And some of the photos were taken by her big brother Jacob. I hope you can tell which ones...

And what's a blog post without something I made? Nothing says "welcome to the world" like baked goods, right? Smitten's Perfect Blueberry Muffins hit the spot. 

Welcome to the world, sweet child.


Summer is (kind of) arriving here in Portland, meaning that we've had 2 days in a row of sun! Sun means markets, and in the Pacific Northwest it means meals that are made from things grown in our neighborhood. Dinner last night consisted of grilled asparagus, portabella mushroom steaks, and a home-grown mixed green salad. Dessert? A strawberry-rhubarb sorbet. The color was fantastic! And all natural! Ingredient list? Short. Process? Easy. Presentation? Beautiful. I attempted to make an ice bowl, but I think I didn't take enough time to let it freeze, so it was partially cracked. Lovely nonetheless. And it will be made again.

These beet greens and some arugula, both from our garden, mixed with some kale to create a tasty little salad. I massaged them with olive oil, and actually forgot to dress it. The greens have so much flavor they could hold their own without anything else.

 The herbs in the bowl were from the front yard--lavendar, rosemary, and lemon balm. They are in fact the exact same herbs from the same plants I used in the boutonnieres for our wedding three years ago. Lovely.

 Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet 
 (adapted from Canadian Living via Kitchen Vignettes)

4 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
A cup or so of sugar (I used Turbinado which may have made it thicker? Unsure...)

Cook the rhubarb with a little water (about 1/4 cup) until soft, around 10 minutes. (I think my rhubarb may have been on the dry side because I had to add a little more water as I went; I also cooked it on high, but a simmer might have been better.) Add the sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Allow to cool. Puree the rhubarb with the strawberries in a food processor and freeze in a shallow pan for about 4 hours (I did 3 hours and it was plenty frozen). Break up the frozen mix into chunks (with a sturdy fork!) and return it to the food processor. Puree until very smooth and velvety, then put in a bowl and return to the freezer till serving time. 

I whipped up some coconut whipped cream to cut the sorbet. It was so rich and thick! We might have also added a bit of gin to add a little kick. Yum. 

Tom, one of our favorite dinner guests
 The ice bowl was super easy to put together, though as I said I didn't fully succeed with it. Basically get 2 plastic bowls which can nest. Put some water in the bottom of the big one and freeze until solid (I think this is where I messed up--not solid). When it is frozen, place the smaller bowl inside (it now has a little base); put something heavy (I used a tiny cast iron pan) in the bowl so it doesn't float. Place edible herbs and flowers between the two bowls, then fill the space between the bowls with water. Freeze till solid. Run a little hot water around the edge of the big bowl and a little inside the small bowl to get it apart, and you've got yourself a one-of-a-kind beauty of a bowl. There's a great video here that shows how to make it too.

 And in the morning, this is what was left:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quinoa Black Bean Salad

I've made this salad three times now in the past week or so. It's super easy, nutritious, and delicious. Plus it's great to take camping...especially when you remember that neither you nor your husband are scouts and sometimes fail to get logs to ignite when attempting to make a campfire. Enough said about that. We still ate well. And managed to roast one marshmallow apiece on the fire starter.

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango
adapted from Veganomicon

1 mango
1 pepper (red is prettiest!)
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
-Mix mix mix in a big bowl.
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir stir stir.
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

Tada! Yum. And versatile: think basil or tarragon instead of cilantro; rice instead of quinoa, chickpeas or white beans instead of black; oranges or melon instead of mango. The possibilities are endless! Do share if you come up with a magical combination and enjoy!

And the mushy looking triangles? Those are tofu. They taste much better than they look...I guess they're not that photogenic. Which when it comes down to it, is just ok.

Tangerine Baked Tofu
adapted from Veganomicon

1 heaping teaspoon tangerine zest (I used tangelos)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed citrus juice (about 2-3 tangerines if that's what you're using)
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground allspice
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dark rum (a shooter does it, plus a little sip for the cook ;) )

Preheat oven to 275F. Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Cut your pressed tofu into 8 or 16 pieces; poke holes in them with the fork, plop them in the marinade (it's kind of Tetris-ey to get them all to fit in the pan if you do triangles), flip them over, and let 'em soak for a bit. Bake them for 45 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes or so, till the marinade is reduced. Enjoy with the salad or on their own!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sometimes you gotta get away

It had been awhile since Graham and I spent time just Graham and I. We are blessed with a rich community and wonderful friends, so much that sometimes we forget to take care of just us. So we took advantage of Memorial Day weekend to get away. We headed to the coast, praying for blue skies and pulling for the no rain part of the 50% forecast, and we got what we asked for.

Blue Sky
Pelican Brewery in Pacific City
Time together
Time to write

Time to read
A stalking butterfly
A hike in the woods and much needed sunshine
Does this tree look like it's flipping you off?
And a sunset
 What more could you ask for from a day at the beach?

Melancholia Blooms

We watched Melancholia a couple weeks ago. It is a good movie: gets you feeling uncomfortable at times you're supposed to feel uncomfortable (so uncomfortable at times), anxious when you're supposed to feel anxious, etc. I mention it because I kind of feel like it is how I've been feeling lately. The premise is that a star (like a planet, not a movie star) is on course to collide with Earth, and all these things are happening in these two sisters' lives that they associate with the changes in the universe.

Now I don't typically associate my own life's events with what the stars are doing, but I was talking with a friend today about how things have just been crazy lately, I've felt crazy lately, a little manic and exhausted; she asked if I thought it had anything to do with the recent solar eclipse. Hmm. We saw it, and it was pretty cool. But could it really change my every day life and mood and motivation?

I think I could blame it more on the fact that I haven't been running due in part to a sore ankle and part to low motivation; I haven't been to yoga in about a month; we're talking about change in terms of G seeking out his path; my schedule changed so I'm working four-tens in a row (I had a day off in the middle previously). There is a lot going on, a lot. So couldn't it all be that? I guess I can't really answer it all. But I can move forward. Run. Shavasana. Pray. Spend time with myself and spend time with friends. Seek out and accept support and advice. I guess I can't really help what's going on in the solar system, but I know Someone is making it all work out. And I don't expect another star to overtake Earth anytime soon.

All that being said, here's a bit of the good stuff I've been up to over the past month. It hasn't all been melancholy, and I should mention it hasn't been anywhere near the level of emotions the characters in Melancholia experience. There have been nuggets, some really good nuggets actually. Here's a few.

Eggs: where babies come from. I mention babies because these eggs went into some flourless chocolate cupcakes that Kelly and I made to bring to work to meet baby Amelia today. We went to work on our day off...maybe that's something I should not make a habit. But for a baby, it's worth it. 

Paper+scissors+powdered sugar = art
After baking we got pedis
The garden is growing! Enough rain, now we need more sun!
 My lillies bloomed this weekend. I love when they bloom. Every summer they wilt and die and I pull them out and I think there is no way they'll come back next year. But life finds a way. They know what they're doing, and every spring, up they come and then with some sun and some rain they burst into firey color. I love it. And speaking of Lilly, another little Lilly came into the world last week, to our friends Chad and Charissa. I'll tell more about that later, when I have some pictures of her to share as well. I got to be present to welcome baby Lilly into the world; what an honor and a gift. More to come!

*I just scrolled back to the top of this post to see if I had titled it yet. I had originally just had "melancholia" as the title. But look at how it ended! Life and birth and color! Sometimes I need to remind myself of these gifts, even in the midst of melancholy times. I'm going to yoga tonight. I'm taking care of me. And I'm okay.