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Friday, November 28, 2008

Biking in high heels is oddly fun...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Coffee Shop!

Oh, really really good news. There is finally a coffee shop, spitting distance from my house. A resident in my building was moving out recently and she said, "I just need to be somewhere, you know, where I can walk to a coffee shop...." It's true. That matters. And this place just opened up where I always ride my bike out to the main street - Bakery Bar. I guess they have another location in southeast, but boy am I glad to see them up here! Yum yum yum.  They have Stumptown coffee too. Bonus.

Bacon Scallion Scone and Coffee

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the Splendid Table

Phil's mom made this soup the night of the VP debates and I've been thinking about it ever since. It is wicked easy to make - toss everything into the Cuisinart, then into the pot. 

The only deviation from the original recipe I made was adding oregano as well. We're out of fresh tomato season, so I opted for organic Muir Glen whole tomatoes, crushing them with my hands as I scooped them out of the can.  It's more appropriate to top with asiago, or a stinky goat cheese, but fresh mozarella was in the super discount bin at the store for $2! So my soup is topped with fresh mozarella and homegrown basil. I'm going to go ladle up seconds now....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Morning radio funny

From Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, "In keeping with his promise to meet with hostile world leaders, under no pre-conditions, Barack Obama went to the White House this week."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Everyone responds to the rising food prices in one way or another. I make a bunch of fake meat.


Do you love sausage, but know it's horrible for you, so you avoid it? Do you love vegetarians sausages as well, but they are so friggin' expensive they have become a luxury food item?  Solution - make your own vegetarian sausage. This has become an awesome concept for me, because I don't like mushrooms and a lot of vegetarian pretend meat products are diced up mushrooms (yeck), or they are shoved full of sundried tomatoes (double yeck).  

I found this recipe from VeganDad and as with all fake meat recipes, it is very tweakable.  His recipe called for 1/2 cup pinto peans, and I used an old bag of navy beans that Logan gave me 3 years ago when he moved out of the 14th street house. 

For this recipe, I used my cuisinart, but VeganDad and other folks just say to mash with a fork.

For 10, 3 ounce sausages:
  • 1 1/2 cups beans (I used navy)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Braggs or Soy sauce
  • 2 2/3 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups cold water (important that it is super cold) 
  • LOTS of hot pepper flakes - I used 2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
PROCEDURE: Get steamer going. I used a two tiered food steamer with lots of surface area, but a pot steamer will work as long as you keep rotating the sausages and don't let them crowd each other too much.

Put the beans, garlic cloves, olive oil, and Braggs in the food processor and chop the hell out of it till everything is all chopped up. You don't want any whole beans in there. 

Next, add the wheat gluten, yeast and water, and pulse about thirty times until the mixture is homogenous, but not being overly kneaded.  

Put all your spices in, and pulse a dozen more times, just to make sure everything is distributed. Some people say not to overly mix this, but I turned my processor on and walked away to get more spices, and it turned out awesome.  

**I used a food scale to weigh my whole dough hunk, then lopped off sections which were the weight of the total divided by ten.  Um. You can just grab some off the hunk, and try to make about ten.

Take some dough and lay it onto a strip of foil, then roll the dough into it, and twist the ends tight. It is not important to shape them perfectly, they will just fill the foil tube on their own. Layer in the steamer and cook for 40 minutes. 

When they are done, carefully pull them out of the steamer and lay them across the counter to cool. When safe to touch, unroll them from their foil, but let them sit there cooling more. They may seem gooey and weird, but when they dry out, their consistency is perfect. 

Enjoy grilled, sauteed, sliced up for soups, or in a bun. Yum! *** I'm packaging mine up in freezer ziplocks to store. Way better than buying the Tofurkey ones at the market, and this way you can style them out with your own flavor preferences. 

3 years of blogging

I have been blogging for THREE years! What in the world have i been talking about?

Well, in the beginning, Phil and I had just moved to Colorado, and I was trying to keep the family updated on our whereabouts and roundabouts. We had just started a garden. Blue house was our home, at the base of the College hill. Sometimes Durango sounds like a nice place to be again, in my mind. But then I remember how cold/unfriendly/small it was, which outweighs the pretty mountains. We can always find pretty mountains in Oregon.

Eventually I stopped blogging because life was boring. Then I realized that it's the boring stuff that's actually quite beautiful - the gardening, the close up photos of kitty, the food, (oh god, the food!), and all those funny weekend projects I was making in Corvallis. 

Journals are great, but I never stick with them. Seeing all of this before me, in a format I am comfortable navigating (the computer, as opposed to a book) makes it pretty cool to live through memories again. And now I've shifted again. How about... Less words, more photos. Or just photos. Maybe that will help me perfect the new camera skills. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The WETTEST Day of the Year

Now I know mom really doesn't want to hear this... but biking home tonight felt like one of the craziest things I have ever done in my life. I thought I could avoid having to buy a new jacket just because I'm biking in Portland, and compensate with blinkie lights. NO. Wearing black Gortex with black rain pants is entirely unacceptable. I totally believe the biker is responsible for just about any accident that could ever be imagined - if you're out there, you know you can die at any second - and I'm finding that wearing my work shoes on the ride home when it rained seven inches in the past three days is not going to work. I have to be maneuverable and super duper quick. It is just loads of fun and I feel so accomplished every time I get home and carry my bike upstairs. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sunchoke Soup

Made this great soup for dinner, Cream of Sunchoke Soup. Phil and I ordered it at Lovely Hula Hands for my birthday dinner, where it was WAY better, but hey, I'm trying. I've totally messed up the "read more" thing, but if you click on it you'll get the list of ingredients.
Ingredients

Chop, chop chop chop chop.

Sunchokes look really weird.

Some for me, some for the soup!

Final product.

Sunchoke Soup
1 lb sunchokes, washed, peeled, sliced thin, and soaked in a bowl of cold water and fresh lemon juice
1 med onion, diced
2 med new potatoes, diced small
1/2 lb celariac, diced small
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tbs stone ground mustard
1 cup of dry white wine
1 cup of half and half
4 cups broth
Thyme
Rosemary
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Bring 2tbs olive oil to medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Sautee onion, rosemary, thyme, and celery for 8 minutes, but do not brown. 
Add the other vegetables and mustard, and sautee for 10 minutes. 
Add white wine and increase heat, boiling off nearly all the liquid.
Add the broth and keep at a light boil for 30 minutes with no lid.
In batches, puree the soup mixture in a food processor or blender, then transfer back to pot. 
Add half and half, and stir while bringing heat up to just a boil. Add salt and peper to taste. Serve hot immediately with a celery leaf to garnish. 

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

New camera is lots of fun.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's no secret that I love pizza... Here are the first food shots with my new camera. I'll have to work on the lighting... Nasty kitchen lighting makes everything yellow, but super bright flash makes everything sharp.  Click on "read more" for recipe. 






Super Quick Pizza Nite

What you need....
1lb bag of Trader Joes whole wheat pizza dough (set on counter 60 minutes before using for best results)
Whatever veggiesare flying around your fridge. I had roasted red peppers, capers, onion, garlic, and some extra firm tofu.
Olive oil
Herbs and spices
Some cheese
This is super simple and actually not pizza I guess, since I had no sauce. 

Preheat oven to 450. Roll out dough into a rectangle or circle, and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle dough with crushed red peppers for a spicy zing, or dried parsley/basil/thyme/orgeano. Slice onion extremely thin and layer on top of olive oil. Mince garlic and sprinkle over the onion. Now layer on your other random veggies, spinkle with a small amount of cheese (1/4 cup) to keep things sticking on there. I sliced the tofu super super thin and layered on top like pepperoni. Spinkle something on top of the tofu to give it some flavor to take in. Bake for 12-18 minutes till crust is browned and cheese is bubbly. Yuuuum

November 4th, 2008 FTW

I shot a bunch of pictures around the NE Killingsworth Campaign for Change office while Phil and I were volunteering on Monday night and Tuesday. You can see all of the shots at my flickr site, but here are a few of what will be the most memorable for me. 







Wednesday, November 05, 2008

This sums it up.

OBAMA wins from BrownBomber on Vimeo.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Birthday Dinner

My birthday was yesterday, and I have been celebrating since Friday. Mom and grandma took me out to lunch and we had a great time eating the famous ruben sandwiches at Rose's in Portland, then we had a sleep over at mom's house. On Saturday, Phil and I had dinner with dad at his house, and we ate a decedent meal of homegrown tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar and fresh basil, with slices of fresh mozzarella; fingerling potato au gratin with stinky blue-veined cheese (yum); and 2 inch thick steaks. Oh my oh my.... For desert, dad picked up some yummy stinky cheeses which we had with slices of crispy red pears and honey crisp apples. A true Northwest dinner, paired with Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon.  

On my actual birthday, Phil and I slept in (big surprise), and went for an afternoon hike in Forest Park, 
where I took 380 photos with my new camera, a Nikon digital SLR from dad. It was a crispy col day to go hunting
for mushrooms, and although we didn't have much luck, we had a great day.
We had a late dinner at the gorgeous and delicious, Lovely Hula Hands . I couldn't help myself, I ordered steak
and fingerling potatoes!!! For the second night in a row! Phil had an incredible hamburger which was too big to
squish into your mouth, but somehow he managed. Yuuuummy. And we had an awesome Spanish tempernillo to
go with dinner, which began with sunchoke soup with mint oil, and a baby oak leaf salad with feta and lemon 
vinegarette. I'm a pretty spoiled lady.