Monday, August 29, 2011

Lily Rose

Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing Miss Lily Rose into this world. It was a beautiful, heart wrenching and utterly life changing experience for everyone involved. Shannon was the strongest, most focused mama on the planet, bringing her little girl to the light in just over 6 hours. Born at 8:24 am, 6 pounds 6 ounces, 20 inches long, Rosie was born with her eyes wide open. Everything went so well, you could tell we were being watched over by angels, our little angel was home and sleeping with mamma and daddy by late afternoon on Sunday. She is so loved.

I have taken so many pictures, I'm still working on getting them all ready to share. In the meantime, here's a little Rosie footage to tide you over! 

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Birthday


But not Rainbow's. Yet. Father's birthday, and a party to go with it. I started the day off at Cranberry lake with Shan, sat for a bit then had a picnic on the beach. Home by about 3, I got to cooking! Peach pie, lamb, dip, garlic bread, and the antipasti salad that had been living in Kim's brain since the baby shower ( thanks cindy!) We had shopped the night before, had a great time at the olive bar, picking out all sorts of wonderful things. Putting it together was the easy part. No, I guess if i'm being honest here, there was really no easy part about it. But it was worth it, definitely the centerpiece of the meal. We had gone dairy free, and also left out the main starch of usual family dinners and ended up preparing and serving just about exactly enough for the diners to consume. No one was hungry ( I don't think, although they would never have said so) and there was very little left over. Huge difference from the usual family gatherings where we make enough for 20 and eat enough for 9. We're learning.

Artichoke dip in my favorite bowl
Doing my first ever lattice- next time i'll go about this a whole other way!

Peaches!

Lamb and peach pie = Best friends!


Corn for the salad



Kim helping serve up the pie!

Peach pie with homemade mascarpone


Mmmmm



Perfect amount of pie! 




Birthday hat

Birthday Ukulele

The salad



 For what it's worth, this salad was amazing. Beautiful, tasty, healthy, exotic. On a normal night, however, a dish in which every single ingredient needs separate prepping, cooking, and preparing is not something I go for. Unless of course i'm going to pay twelve bucks for a portion....in which case, bring it on. Put some cheese on top!

And then there was today.....Or yesterday, the clock tells me......

I woke this morning thinking about pancakes. I got up and went right for the flour, had to regroup when I discovered that the chocolate chips had all been eaten, but came up with a new plan very well. Fried ham and  cheese pancakes with fried eggs on top.

Adding the ham to the batter

Doesn't look like restaurant breakfast at all!


My mom rolled into town about 1, I went to meet the ladies at Shannon's. We went down to the farmer's market, did a quick walk through and then headed to lunch at Mosquito Fleet. As Shannon put it, when having lunch in Downtown Coupeville, there's Mosquito Fleet, Mosquito Fleet, and then....Mosquito Fleet. I'm not whether this is more a recommendation of one place or a warning of others but needless to say, we went to mosquito fleet. I had grilled cheese and tomato soup- amazing- Shannon had a tuna salad sandwich and my mom had salmon asparagus quiche and salad. The food is thoughtful, well made, and very tasty. The menu is small enough to make what they are doing doable, topped off with a case of baked goods to die for.  It was great, really, I hate to even give it a regular, impartial review because I want so badly to see good little local businesses survive in the vast wasteland of Whidbey island. So I won't. 

Lunch was a little bit like this.

 We went to Monroe landing beach after lunch and I threw the stick in the ocean for Sophie over and over and over. She swims! I'm so proud! Turns out she is an island dog. We all have to find our place in life, I guess. We headed to the farm after for a quick visit and to see the crops Shannon is growing up there. We picked beans, zucchini, and speculated about the winter squash and corn. Then we headed home to have it for dinner!

I love this picture! I swear it was a baby foot in her ribs causing this face, not me!


What?! Laura's in the kitchen?




We picked this lady up last Saturday, on the stop at the huge thrift store in Freeland. We knew we couldn't leave without her, she seemed to belong with Shannon. Every house needs a saint, I suppose, in one form or another.



Artichoke Corn Dip

2 c artichoke hearts- you can go for the nice, oil packed ones here,
 I had regular marinated ones from the olive bar. These are super vinegary so I rinsed them really well in a colander and then dried them on a paper towel.  
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, chopped up a bit
Leaves from 2 stems fresh oregano ( get fresh or leave it out)
Salt and Pepper
1/4 c olive oil
1 ear sweet corn, raw or charred just a bit over the bbq

This recipe depends a lot on what kind of artichokes you got. Give or take ingredient amounts depending on how they taste and what their moisture level is when you throw them in.
Start with your artichokes in the food processor. Grind as much as you can on their own, add salt, pepper and the lemon, garlic, and oregano leaves. Blend to a paste. Again, this is about consistency- start adding the oil and watch what is happening. Oil both thins and thickens, so add how much you need to make it a dip like substance. Taste, add more salt, taste, add more whatever you want. 
*On a side note here, I feel like there is a cut off of about 5 taste tests before you need someone else to taste in order to get an objective opinion. Having a taste helper from the beginning is great, also*
Cut the corn off the cob, pick the little string bits out. Stir into the dip after you take it out of the food processor bowl. 
Serve with cut veggies or crackers or corn chips or even spread on a pizza. 

Peach Pie

Crust:
3 c flour and a bit of salt, sifted into a food processor
Toss in 1 1/2 sticks of very cold butter, cut into little cubes.
Pulse for about 20-30 seconds
Add enough very cold water- while the machine is running- to make the dough come together,
 I used about a 1/4 cup.
Dump the whole processor bowl into a large bowl and bring the dough into a large ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate, 30 minutes or so.
Roll out 2/3 and lay into a deep pie dish (deep) roll out the rest for lattice. Or not, if you choose, do a top crust.


Filling
8 ripe peaches. Buy the softest, most expensive peaches you can get your hands on.
Juice of 1 lemon ( yes, it matters here)
2 T sugar
2T cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 egg, beaten, and a sprinkle more sugar

Peel the peaches by dunking each one in scalding water for about 30 seconds and then pulling the peel off- starting with a little knife and finishing with your fingers. Scalding water is water that would scald you- it's not boiling but you sure wouldn't want to dip your hand in it.
CAREFULLY cut each peach in half, pull the pit out and cut each half into four slices. Put the slices in a bowl with the lemon juice. This is when I made my crust. Once crust is in the fridge, mix cornstarch- sifted- with sugar and cinnamon. Add the vanilla to the peaches, add sugar mixture, toss very well with your hands, let sit until crust is ready, at least 15 min. 

-If you are using a regular 9 inch pie pan with sloping edges that measure an inch or so, don't put all of the liquid into your pie! It will be sweet and gushy enough, get all the peaches in there, save out the juice-

 Get the bottom crust in the pie pan, have the lattice or top crust ready. Plop the peaches in the bottom crust, lay the top on, brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar. 
Bake 425 for 20 minutes, turn the oven down to 350, bake another 40 minutes, or until your pie is perfect. Put a cookie sheet under this pie or on the rack below it.  There is going to be juice at an unpredictable level based on the peaches you've chosen.

Mascarpone

16 oz whipping cream- this cream must say pasteurized, not ultra pasteurized. If you have a carton of the latter, it just won't work. 
1 T of fresh lemon juice, well strained.

Prepare a sieve, of whatever sorts you have, with a lining of 4 sheets of cheesecloth. Wet them and make sure they stick together quite a bit in the bottom of the sieve. Separating of these layers is just a pain when trying to scrape the cheese out of them later on, as i'm sure you can imagine,

Put the cream in a metal bowl over a saucepan with an inch or two of  boiling water in it. Heat the cream lightly until it hits 190* f. Stir it a bit but don't fuss over it too much. This is an infuriating process because the cream will heat to 175 degrees in about 5 minutes and then need another 10-15 to reach 190. Your thermometer is not broken. It's the nature of the beast.  Wait it out.
At 190 degrees, stir in the lemon juice. Continue heating for 5 minutes or so, until your mixture resembles a custard, thickly coating the back of a spoon. Pour into the prepared cheesecloth, let sit on the counter until cooled. Cover with plastic, refrigerate 24 hours. Scrape the cheesecloth, being mindful of what you are doing. 
This cheese can be used instead of cream cheese, mixed with a bit of whipping cream and powdered sugar and placed on top of pie, or served with smoked salmon and the whole bit. The possibilities are endless. 

What other recipes do you want? 
Let me know


Friday, August 26, 2011

Bham

Finally made it up to Bellingham for a visit, action packed day. Made it just in time for a bit of downtown time with my mom before her lunch meeting, then had a lovely lunch of my own with Debra. Brandywine Kitchen, in the slot that Tivoli left recently. I was kind of suprised to see Tivoli gone but not really, I guess. If Nimbus couldn't make it, who can? Brandywine, oddly named, is a sandwich place in a space very large for their offering. We had a great table outside, food was good- I had a chicken and roasted apple sandwich with house cut fries and Deb had soup and salad. Order at the counter and bus your own table, which is fine, but such an enormous dining room, clearly designed for fine dining, made the experience seem a little off. Like they were squatting, I guess. I was then off to Fairhaven to toodle around before meeting Brandi and Cindy at the wednesday market. I went in every shop looking for a hat and was unsuccessful, I was really and truly in buy something mode- I had just talked myself out of buying a lovely top at the downtown emporium due to it's cheap plastic strap fastenings- I had money to burn! Not a single thing made it in my bag except a wonderful new board book from village books, I am the biggest thing in the ocean! Love it. I arrived at the market to find the ladies and Jasper already in the grass. Such a wonderful place to spend a few hours, I got to chat with Cindy and Brandi, on and off while she chased Jasper around the square. He is walking- running- like crazy! He hi fives and hugs and kisses! He is really growing into his personality, it's so fun to see kids grow up!

After the market, Cindy and I walked to Vis seafood to get fish for dinner. Salmon was down to 7.99 a pound- beautiful, fresh, skin on stuff! We all got to have a nice, big piece. Cindy's new house is wonderful, of course, it's always inspiring to come to Cindy's house, she clearly does not compromise when it comes to her living space. She chooses the best for herself. I commend her for that.


Potato pocket for the bbq



Mama on the camera tonight- I hardly took any of these pictures!

Ok. I took this one









Lemon ice cream with blueberries and blackberries from the backyard. So wonderful. At this point in the evening, my poor, dying phone died... so I packed it on home. Nice drive in the still warm night, sunroof open. Chose to go through town though, which I regretted, night construction the whole way- at one point I waited fifteen minutes for my turn to go on the one open lane through the mess. Uck. I would not recommend driving though OH at night.

This morning (afternoon) I went with Shannon to her midwife appointment. Baby is not stressed. Check. Ready to go!
Shannon's beautiful sunflowers!



 Dad's bday tomorrow( today) big feast planned. I wouldn't mind having to miss it though for someone else's birthday. Just saying.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One last look...












Love you!