Monthly Archives: August 2015

In the Kitchen

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spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce

 

It has been such a long time since I have made an “In the Kitchen” post, and I have been missing doing them. This week has been a hot one for us, so most of our food has been light, fast, and with minimal cooking. While it isn’t my favorite weather, I do love eating this way, and hope I can start to cook this way more in general. It is nice to have a quick meal without a lot of fussing and with the focus being on the fresh ingredients. So, onto a few of the highlights from the past week in my kitchen.

1. This salad. I made it for the first time a few days ago following a recipe from The River Cottage Veg, one of my all time favorite cookbooks. The dressing was a tangy lemon tahini dressing over cooked zucchini, green beans, and a bed of greens. I have always thought I wasn’t much of a salad person, but this one and this dressing is changing my mind. It was creamy, savory and light all at the same time. Just another reason I am so obsessed with that book!

2. It has been hot and we have been indoors running the air. In order to switch things up a bit, I decided to have a little tiki party at home. Russ picked up a pineapple, some different juices, and we had fun mixing up some drinks.

3. Speaking of parties. Lucy and I had a tea party. She has been so into playing tea party, I thought it would be fun to have a real one. We made some indian spiced chai tea and served along side of it these raw key lime coconut tarts from the book My New Roots (which I reviewed here). They were delicious, though a bit time consuming, so it won’t be something we make regularly.

4. A simple dal with chickpea flour coated bell peppers.

5. This one. Nine months with four teeth, walking everywhere and not wanting to leave my side. Cooking has been a real game trying to distract her in order to get things done. She is such a sweet little thing though.

6. Coconut kheer with bronzed pineapple from Seven Spoons. I really wanted to love this book. It is filled to the brim with beautiful photographs on gorgeous heavy matte paper. The flavor combinations are unique and inspiring. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be one I will turn to often, for a number of reasons. First, the dinners are quite heavy on the meat, and while it all sounds (and looks) delicious, we just don’t eat a lot of meat at home. Second, many of the recipes are very involved. This isn’t really a book for the rushed cook, which I so often am these days.

I have made a handful of recipes from this book already, including this rice pudding, twice actually. While it turned out good, the pineapple just did not work out the way the recipe intended. The second time around I added more cardamom to the rice and was still disappointed that my pineapple didn’t get the lovely burnt marks on it that the picture showed.

In the future I will likely thumb through this one more for inspiration more than for the actual recipes. (I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.)

7. Spring Rolls have been our summer staple. They are a bit time consuming, but if you devote a good hour to it you can have a few easy lunches on hand for the week ahead, plus tons for the day of. We have been filling ours with mint, cilantro, mung bean sprouts, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers, sometimes tofu. Today our dipping sauce was a peanut coconut curry sauce, that was delicious, though a bit heavy on the peanut butter. I plan on reworking my recipe a bit.

On to a new week! I hope you are all staying cool and enjoying these late summer days. I for one am looking forward to fall’s arrival!

Huckleberry Pie

huckelberries

A month or two before our trip to Washington, I bought an Audubon field guide to the Pacific North West. Lucy and I sat and flipped through it for many days, we compared and contrasted some of the plants and animals to those in our California book. She asked me for stories about growing up in Washington and what it was like. I told her all about the flora and fauna that I was familiar with.

The one story that stuck with her was one about making huckleberry pie. In the woods behind our house we had a very well producing huckleberry bush. I told her about the year that my brother and sister and I gathered enough berries for our visiting grandmother to make us a huckleberry pie. What I failed to tell her was that it took us many, many hours to gather those tiny sour berries. Needless to say, that story stuck in her head.

Before we left for vacation I asked Lucy what she was most looking forward to on our Washington trip, and she told me multiple times; “picking huckleberries”. Naturally, I was afraid that this might be too tall an order to fill. I repeatedly told her that there was a good chance that we wouldn’t find a huckleberry bush. She insisted though, we absolutely had to pick huckleberries while we were in Washington.

On our first day, and almost every day to follow, we walked down the beach and back up through the forest to get back to our cabin. About two minutes into our first walk through the forest I spotted her, the very meager, but very present huckleberry bush. With only enough berries for one or two each, we were all ecstatic to be able to check this off our to-do list.

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tolmie state park

wild blackberries

tolmie state park

tolmie state park

tolmie state park

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sand dollars