Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Few Stitches (and Baked Zucchini Dip)

Dinner is in the oven.  (By oven I mean the toaster oven I have had set up on the porch all summer to avoid heating up the kitchen when baking smaller items.)  
We are having a zucchini dip that tastes similar to spinach artichoke dip and was a raving success with the whole family a few days ago.  So I am making it again. 
The kids are at the park with Adam. 
I am supposed to be working on this: 


I am trying to finish this small quilt for Ivory's first day of school tomorrow.


Between our morning WIC appointment and our dentist appointments this afternoon, I have been stitching the details onto the little girl walking a path of hearts to her home.


My baby is going to school and I want her to know that my heart will be with her, wherever she may be.

The little girl on the quilt is almost done.
All she needs are eyes.
Then the batting needs to be cut, the layers pinned and quilted and binding stitched all around the edges. Crazy, I know, but what was really crazy is that I thought I would be able to bake bread today to go along with the Zucchini Dip in spite of everything else that has been happening today.
I bought a Le Petit Outre baguette instead.
I have my limits.

Baked Zucchini Dip  

2 cups shredded zucchini
1 teaspoon salt 
  • mix together in a bowl and let stand for an hour. Drain. Squeeze out the water and add:
1/2 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
4 green onions, thinly sliced (I use chives out of the herb garden)
1 garlic clove 
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
1 cup finely chopped kale (optional) 
  • combine the remaining ingredients and pour into a 8 by 8 pan or a glass pie dish
  • bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes. 



Friday, August 16, 2013

Foraged Finds

"There is a big seed in this one."
Sylvan is beaming at me, shoving the fourth plum into his mouth in under five minutes.
"Slow down. You are going to get a belly ache."

We went on a walk through the neighborhood and passed a tree tucked into an alley that had dropped the most perfectly ripe, pink and purple plums.  We picked them up and brought them home.
They are our latest edible find.


A few days ago we picked spearmint up the Rattlesnake in the Bugbee Nature Area.   
It is dried down and ready to be tea on cold winter nights. 
 

These beautiful and delicious shaggy parasols popped up in our neighbors yard (currently empty and we did ask the landlord's permission) and I used them in our frittata yesterday.  The remainder of the mushrooms are opening up and we will pick and grill them soon. (These mushrooms are what a portabello mushroom you can buy at the grocery store attains to be.  They are meaty and dense and juicy.)


Four solid cups of lamb's quarter leaves that I used in a lasagna.  
There are amazing edibles all around us and trying them is a new realm that we are exploring.  





Thursday, August 15, 2013

Our House - The Growing Stockpile

At this moment Adam is driving across town with a door strapped to the top of our tiny car.

We bought this door at Home ReSource a while ago, but as my house plan has been developing, it turns out that the door handle is on the wrong side and opens out rather than in...  oh. the details.

This is the wrong door..  the new door has identical carving except that the holes for the door handle and lock are on the opposite edge.   This door is intended to be our entry door someday.  

But while were were digging through the stacks of doors, I found an identical door.  Well, it is almost identical - except for one important feature: It has an opposite swing and is therefore more ideal in the grand scheme of what our house will become.

The new door as a few more dings and scratches so we are exchanging it for the door as well as handles and a dead bolt.  Great trade, right?

Our stockpile is up to:

9 windows
4 doors (with some hardware pieced together.  Digging through old piles of door parts takes a while.)

Old Door w/ Wavy Glass
Detail of door plate
Two sets of self brackets - kitchen
Agate door knobs, door plates (and latch not pictured) for kitchen door
Ceramic Castors - some future awesome project
1 bathroom sink (hand thrown ceramic)
1 super awesome kitchen sink
2 stained glass pendant lamps
a deck of thick walnut slabs to be kitchen counters someday
a deck of wood (larch) that is almost half of the siding to be
and a stack of beams that will finally flatten out our bouncy floors

The changes that will be almost feel tangible.

Almost.






Monday, August 12, 2013

A Bike, a Blue Dress and a White Hat

Ten years ago, two days after my twentieth birthday, I met a blond pony tailed boy.
He was riding his bike.
I was wearing a blue dress and a white hat.
I was on my way to see another man.
This man:

File:Denniskucinich1.jpg

That's right - Dennis Kucinich.

I was on my way to see Dennis Kucinich participate in a forum on the Oklahoma State University campus. He and eight of the other candidate competing for the democratic nomination to be the party's nominee for president (confusing) were to be present.
I was rounding up people to sit in the bleachers and listen - participate in our great electoral system. (Am I writing that with sarcasm?  I don't even know.) My best friend was there..  a few good friends from high school..  and my mom, of course.

We were meeting at a friend's place close to campus and walking to avoid the parking mess.
I had a handful of tickets.
This blond pony tailed boy rode up on a bike.
Doing my civic duty, I invited him to join us.
He rode on to pick up a ticket and we walked behind.
"He is cute," my mom whispered to me on the way.

We sat next to each other.
I'm sure I must have rattled off fun facts about the candidates - or just about Kucinich.
"Did you know he has never eaten at McDonalds?"
I never had the pleasure of voting for Dennis Kucinich.  Living in Oklahoma, he never even was on the ballot in the primaries. But, I changed my registration from Independent to Democrat just for the far fetched chance to maybe, maybe have the opportunity to have my voice heard.
I did have the pleasure of riding back to our meeting place on the handlebar of that blond pony tailed boy's bike - his name was Adam, I learned - clutching my hat with one hand, the handlebar and my dress in the other.  Laughing.

It turned out we were all headed to the same party.
We ran a few errands together.  He sat in the passenger seat of my car.
We went to a cook-out and he made guacamole - from scratch.
In the blur of faces and music and color, he remained crystal clear. We went from one party to the next. He twisted his ankle and I iced it.

At the end of the night I drove everyone home.
I was only twenty after all, and the designated driver.
I watched him walk into his house.
I had no last name, no phone number and no idea that I would ever see him again.
I had no idea I would want to see him again.

This is where his story and my story differ.

He claims I stalked him.

I claim I just enjoyed his company and wanted to hang out - just hang out - really!

Yes, I did drive over to his house and try to invite him to see a quirky cult classic film with me.  He wasn't home, but his friend Chase was, and he came with me instead.
Yes, I drove over to his house again, and left my phone number on his coffee table.
That doesn't constitute stalking - does it?
He called once. I was out of town.  He lost his wallet and my number.


Almost a month later I went to pick up a few of my friends.
My mom was grilling.
It was Labor Day.
I knocked on the door, wearing clay covered pants and a tank top.  I had just started my first ceramics class and had been trying to wrestle the clay into center all  morning with no success.  To my complete dismay and embarrassment Adam opened the door.  I must have blushed and tried to casually check if there was mud in my hair too.. on my face...  oh no.

He invited me back to his place to watch a movie.
I accepted.
I called my mom at two in the morning and asked if it was okay that I stayed the night.
I think her response was: "Heidi, you are twenty."
There was no hanky-panky.
 I wondered if this boy might be different.

I rode on his handle bars through campus.
We walked around town.
He borrowed my car.
We spent late nights studying.
We cooked.
We danced.
We hiked.
We breathed.
We voted in the 2004 election.
I went through the futile motion of voting for a candidate just because he was 'better?' than the other guy, but still was someone in which I did not believe.
We celebrated life - not the election.


The bike frame, sits in our yard, begging to be rebuilt.
The blue dress hangs in my closet.
I have no idea what happened to that hat.

That boy on a bike became my friend and somewhere a long the way the man who is my husband today.






Thursday, August 8, 2013

Huckles

3 Mamas
6 Kids
3 Dogs

We all piled into three cars and drove an hour to pick huckleberries.


Small, red and purple berries dot the understory. Each one falling, plunk, into the bottom of my container until finally the bottom is covered.


Our fingers red and sticky. 


Two mamas, six kids, three dogs, a hour drive there and back:  Totally worth the effort. 

Huckles, as Ivory calls them, in the freezer. 
Huckles in the scones. 
Huckles in this morning's pancakes.  



The sweet and tart juicy fruit reminding us that summer is almost over - it is Huckleberry time!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Short and Sweet - Savory Sweet Cherry Recipes

Cherry season is short and sweet.

The majority of the seventy pounds of cherries we picked are now stored in jars as brandied cherries, two kinds of cherry jam, frozen pie filling or simply pitted, bagged and frozen. 

There are still plenty of cherries for Sylvan and Ivory to open the fridge door and pull out dark red cherries by the handful.  

"Next week will be the last for cherries," the woman tells me at the farmers market info booth.

Short and Sweet.

I thank her and peruse the market booths. I am here for cucumbers - dark green and crisp cucumbers. Cucumbers that will be paired with cherries. 


Savory and Sweet.  

Sweet and Savory.  

Straight from the garden mint, thyme, onions, peppers, lettuce...  
and cherries.  

Cherry and Cucumber Crostini 



1 cup pitted and halved cherries
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 handful of mint leaves, finely chopped 
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 red jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
salt and pepper 
1/3 cup feta cheese
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 baguette, sliced and toasted (optional)
  • combine the cherries, cucumber, onion mint, balsamic vinegar, jalepeno and salt and pepper in a bowl and let sit for a little wile
  • mix the feta and cream cheese, add a little oil if it needs to be more spreadable
  • spread the feta mixture on the baguette slices and top each piece with the cherry mixture
  • serve on platter - perfect for summer potlucks 

Sweet Cherries and Brie



1 cup pitted and chopped cherries
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 wheel of brie 
1/2 baguette, sliced and toasted (optional)
  • combine cherries, sugar, salt and thyme in a bowl and allow flavors to blend while baking the brie
  • bake the brie at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, flip and bake 10 minutes more
  • top with the cherries and place under the broiler for a few minutes - until a few golden areas appear on the edges of the brie 
  • serve with slices of baguette or crackers

Grilled Pork Roast with Cherry Salsa 



1 cup pitted and halved cherries 
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon oil 
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of mint 
1/2 red jalepeno 
  • combine cherries, lemon juice, oil, onion, mint and jalepeno in a small bowl, cover and let sit overnight 
1 large handful of mint
1 small onion
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 pound pork roast 
  • combine mint, onion, lemon juice and marinate pork roast overnight
  • sear the roast on the grill and then cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allow the meat to rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving
  • slice the pork and serve it smothered in the cherry salsa (the salsa is great on a salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese as well) 
  • best if eaten outside  

Recipes Inspired by:
  • the changes I made to these recipes are based on the vegetables and herbs available in my garden or at the farmer's market