Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Picture Post!

I have all these pictures of food that I've made in the past year and it's time I organize and catalog their existence here. Without further ado, in chronological order:

Last fall I started seriously experimenting with our local fungi and made these deliciously fluffy Sparassis Souffles ...Sparassis (Sparassis brevapis) is latin for Cauliflower Mushroom - they look like a brain, or coral, and have a very delicate flavor with a surprisingly crisp texture.

Then there were whole wheat mini croissants; entirely made from scratch and by hand - it was quite the process/work out. I still dream of Phil's pastries at Harmony Bakery in the Bay Area, or Santa Cruz, or wherever he has ended up. Anyway, I attempted to make something like the mini whole wheat croissnats Phil made.

As winter creaped up on us, I did a survey of winter squash. The verdict: Delicata is by far the best!(bottom right). Delicata has incredible flavorful, almost reminds me of something between a butternut and a spagetthi squash but with the smoothest texture of any squash I've ever had! All the other squashes in this picture had very mild, simple stereotypical "squash" flavors.

This picture illustrates the colorful bounty of winter - all locally grown Washington vegetables in the dead of winter! yay purple! (left to right: Onions, Garlic, Three types of Carrots, Potatoes, Kale, Chioga Beets, Red Beets, and some thyme)

This is my self-portrait. And one of Alex too. Made out of buckwheat pancake batter - a Fischer Family classic.

As if pancake portraits were not enough, we topped some pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup, my own cardamom-butterscotch ice cream, and bacon (the essential ingredient).

Finally, I would like to introduce one of my best friends, the waffle iron. I got this one at a garage sale for $10, it's from the 1940's and has reversible cast-iron plates - it makes my favorite waffles
The End!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crisp Summer

Well with the unseasonably crisp weather we've been having, I thought it was time for a summer crisp. I tossed together the farmers markets finest apples and apricots with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, butterscotch powder, cardamom, and freshly grated nutmeg. Topped it with some traditional crisp topping (equal parts butter, flour, and brown sugar) then baked it till the top was good and crispy. I ran over the water and up the hill to Eat Local for some vanilla Molly Moon's Ice Cream to make this crisp a-la-mode. We sat outside on the balcony watching dusk approach and the sun cast it's eerie light on downtown while sipping brandy and savoring this perfect end to a summer day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gastronomy in the Woods

Alex and I are reluctantly home from our 4-day expedition from Sol Duc to the Seven Lakes Basin and down the Bogachiel River Trail in the Olympic Mountains. We're still adjusting to civilization and cleaning/drying out all of our gear. The bars turned out great and I only wish we had packed more..actually we should have packed more of everything, we just barely had enough food (in contrast to our last backpacking trip when we had WAY too much food). I made 2 more batches of the bars, and took some of both of the final batches with us. Here is an amalgamation of the two recipes:
1/2 # Unsalted Butter
4 Eggs
2 cups Honey
1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Bread Flour
2 cups Oats
1 cup Hemp Seeds
1 handful Date Pieces
2-3 handfuls Almonds
2-3 handfuls Cashews
3 handfuls Raisins
1 handful Chocolate Chips
3 good shakes Cinnamon
1 large dash Nutmeg, grated

*Grind the oats, almonds, and cashews in a food processor
*Thoroughly mix everything together and spread evenly on a half-sheet pan lined with a Silpat (or parchment)
*Bake at 350 for about an hour until it's good and brown. Let cool, then cut into bars.

The Bar in action at Lunch Lake in the Seven Lakes Basin
(Best July 4th Ever!)

In addition to the usual suspects of trail mix, dried fruit, and hiking bars we packed out some amazing cured meats and cheese to munch on for breakfast, second breakfast, first lunch, and second lunch. The cheese was Golden Glen Creamery's Queso Con Salsa - medium cheddar cheese with spicy salsa mixed in, yum!! We also ate Olsen Farm's Summer Sausage which was a tad spicy, not too sweet, and absolutely delicious. The Smoked Ham Nugget from Skagit River Ranch was absolutely incredible; essentially a lump of amazing ham that we gnawed on and savored all day long. A hot meal is always a treat when camping. For two out of three dinners we had PCC's Curry Lentil Soup with some Just Veggies added to the mix, it's all dehydrated of course. The Just Veggies dehydrated carrots, corn, peas, bell peppers and tomatoes is a brilliant find for any back packer! Our second dinner was Annie's Mac 'n Cheese with added Queso Con Salsa and Summer Sausage, as shown below:

As we began to descend into the Bogachiel rain forest on our third day the understory got thick, tall, moist, and eventually completely covered the trail and us as we swam through a sea of leaves and branches . We got drenched from the feet up and despite the sheer beauty of it all, one thing made it worth it: Berries!!

Vaccinium ovalifolium

Black Raspberries!! -my new favorite berry
Rubus leucodermis

Salmon Berries ..pretty, not so tasty
Rubus spectabilis

We spent our final day on the trail planning out what our first real meal back in civilization was going to be as we began dreaming of cheese burgers, Elysian Brewery beer, fries, and Jameson. To our dismay, the Penninsula is huge and we ended up getting back to Seattle long after everything we were craving was closed. So we went to Jai Thai for a shot and a beer and some acceptable Thai food. Despite our fantastic waiter, it simply did not hit the spot, I was craving the perfect food. So last night we finaly made it to The Elysian Brewery where we found the end of our trail in exceptional cheese burgers and beer-battered french fries. It's good to be home...I've been thinking about pork chops with a savory-herby-carmelized onion bread pudding sort of thing made out of brioche scraps...