Friday, November 20, 2009


Even though I usually think of cooking as a solo activity--something I do when I'm alone in the house, or to decompress for an hour after a stressful day--I also like to cook with friends. It's good for me, because I learn other people's tricks and favorite flavor combinations, and I end up making things I wouldn't come up with on my own. Case in point: cooking with Martin the other day. I had officially declared it "sandwich night" at my house, but also had a date to hang out with Martin all afternoon and cook, so we invented a sandwich filling. A crazy sandwich filling. Rutabacon!

Yes, it's bacon made from rutabaga. I can't give you a recipe, but I can tell you that we sliced all the root veggies we could find (carrot, parsnip, sweet potato, rutabaga, celeriac, etc) into thin, bacon-shaped strips, marinated them in a nice salty, oily sauce that was really a bit more like barbecue sauce than bacon flavoring, and cooked the strips on a cast-iron griddle until they were good and burnt the way bacon should be. They made a great rutabacon, arugula, tomato, and avocado sandwich that I wanted to take a picture of, but couldn't find my camera and I was too hungry to go searching for it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Making things happen!

Do you ever have trouble getting up the activation energy to start a project? For me, a art project will roll along just fine for hours once I get started, but it takes somewhere in the days to months range for me to actually start on something I've been meaning to do. Luckily, there is a catalyst for these creative reactions: my friend Rob. Every time I see him we make and do dozens of things in a very short time. He came to visit me for less than 24 hours...and we made a delicious and beautiful vegetable pot pie complete with perfect pie crust from scratch; baked brownies; went on a walk wherein we talked and talked and also filled our pockets with persimmons, kiwi berries, and grapes; finished a knitted hat that I was 95% done with (a lot of my projects get to that stage and stay there forever); read Jip and Janneke out loud; and made one-bean salad with home-grown greens for breakfast (along with migas--southwestern scrambled eggs with tortilla chip crumbs).

Not only that, but I began to feel excited about giving hand-made Christmas presents, and then once Rob headed for home, I used my remaining motivation to print a ton of "I've Moved On" cards that have been on my to-do list for a month and to try taking pictures with my digital camera, which I was afraid was permanently broken. And now a blog post too! And I'm really feeling the urge to make a Christmas gift spreadsheet next.

Luckily, cooking seems immune to the activation energy problem. I can cook any time!

This lovely little lunch has fortified me for the afternoon and proved to me that my digital camera, although it is seven years old and takes the imperfect pictures to prove it, still works:

Toast with avocado, a few leftover salad greens, and fresh basil; one of my first Satsumas of the year; and a little pot of green tea. Yum.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Catch Up

It's been so long, and I have so many pictures to share, that I'm going to make this post almost all pictures. Enjoy, and try making some Fromage Fort (pictured below in the little green crock) next time you find your cheese drawer full of little bits of all kinds of cheese. Also, do you see the spiral plate with kiwi berries and fresh figs in it? I found all of those on a walk around the neighborhood. Also, two of my cherry tomato plants are still producing good-tasting, uncracked tomatoes in the middle of November!

I have tons of this amazing apple cider in my new chest freezer! Remember when I went to Hood River for a super-fun cider squeeze? I never got to show off this picture.

Corn from my CSA--I turned some of it into DIY corn-nuts, and ground some to make cornmeal that got used in corn muffins and waffles.

We didn't find very many edible mushrooms during a recent mushroom hunt, but we did get to see these lovely fairy birdbaths and spend some time in the dripping, mossy woods. Also, there are a lot of things the color of a chanterelle: a glowing yellow-orange maple leaf; a wet chunk of Douglas Fir heartwood; an orange peel tossed out of a car window. I bet I'll still find a load of chanterelles before Thanksgiving.

Fall is really pretty. I don't have any pictures of the 17 pounds of big, crisp Fuyu persimmons I brought home last weekend after picking with the Portland Fruit Tree Project, so instead I will leave you with this Laurelhurst Park duck swimming with the fallen leaves.