Archive for July 2011

Lavender in the Kitchen

Lavender we got from the farm the other weekend dried up beautifully! There’s four varieties — I’ve never seen white ones but it smells very nice! The very very purple ones smells sweet almost like blueberries.

…What would we do with them? Well!…

Sliced brioche with lavender butter (butter, honey, lavender)

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Lavender biscuit.

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Lavender shortbread cookie.

The lavender shortbread cookies turned out quite well! I love shortbread cookies but I haven’t tried making them in a long long time because last time I tried, I had hard time shaping the dough into log shape and then having it retain it’s (already ugly) shape in the freezer where it’s suppose to chill for a while. Then I suddenly had the idea to use the sushi rolling thing! (I don’t know what it’s called see the pic below) I lined it with plastic wrap and it worked like a charm! I stuck it in the freezer wrapped in it, and it was SO EASY.

I also want to make some dryer sachets (you put it in the dryer with wet clothes and clothes come out smelling nice!) too, hopefully soon!

Baking Adventure

So I’m continuing on with the baking adventure! I told you that I’ve wanted to make breads for long time, but when I moved to Portland there are so many wonderful bakeries that I didn’t see much point in taking up baking. One of the reasons why I changed my mind about this lately is that when we go to the market and get super delicious bread on Saturday, it’s all gone by the next day — leaving us breadless for 6 days! So it’s nice to be able to have some kind of bread mid-week.

Moving on from pizza, I tried focaccia. It’s  onions and rosemary on top. Lucian LOVED this focaccia. It’s soft inside but flavorful probably because of olive oil in the dough.

I adopted a stuffed fougasse (I don’t know much about this bread, I just saw it in the book and thought — great! I can stuff all kinds of stuff in it!) instruction and baked in some left over meat sauce from last night’s pasta.

I didn’t want to waste sauteed onions left over from focaccia so I made a mini bun topped with onions and some meat sauce and scallion.

Hopefully at some point, I’ll gather up enough courage to bake REAL bread and not just a “flat” bread!

Superhero Princess Faery Wand

I made one for Immi. It’s designed to withstand beating (both the wand and the child). Though Immi is very good about not beating anything/anyone with it. Lucian and Ashland seems to want one too — Lucian is perfectly happy with silicon spatula I gave him instead but I’ll try to come up with something for Ashland.

Lavender Farm

It’s lavender season! We are at the lavender farm.

Here’s a chicken roaming around the premise.

I love lavender, it’s probably my favorite flower. Luckily for me, Portland loves lavender and past few years we’ve enjoyed lavender in all sorts of things — our favorites being lavender honey milkshake from foodcart in downtown, and lavender marionberry jam from the market.

There were many different varieties. They even had beautiful ones with white flower which smelled very nice!

Making Pizza

I’ve always wanted to bake bread. In my early teens, my mom’s friend brought us delicious bread she had baked and I thought — how romantic! Years later, armed with a book and packets of yeast, I finally decided to give it a try. I’m starting with pizza because I’ve also wanted to make pizza, it looked easiest for my first attempt and I thought immi would really enjoy making it with me.

As it turns out, it was totally easy! Pretty good pizza too, though it’s not that I’m trying to compete with Portland’s millions of fantastic woodfired pizza joints, it was fun to make with immi and she loved it because it only has on it what she likes.

I made the left over dough into cinnamon caramel treats!

 

Stitching Rainbow

I finished sewing and embroidering this little pouch. Embroidery is just my doodle, I meant only to stitch the rainbow but the needles & thread just kept going. Serendipitously, while I was working on this rainbow, the “double rainbow” clip went viral and many of my friends — not just in various parts of US but around the world — happened to encounter a rainbow or two. Isn’t that strange?

Bubbles Under the Grey Sky

Portland weather isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine. This summer weather has been perfect for me having been mostly in the better half of 70’s — lots of sunny days, some cloudy days, and smattering of rainy days. There’s nothing more depressing to me than weather forecasts that predicts (even knowing that they are wrong all the time!) sunshine above 78 °F (that’s my upper threshold for acceptable heat index) for entire week.

Anyhow, the sky looked like it was going to rain, but it hadn’t the entire morning. Since it’s pointless to wait for rain to come, we went out to the park to see if it doesn’t rain.

I think that grey sky is very pretty.

Cloudy with chance of bubbles!

It’s not raining yet, but Immi is prepared! She is probably hoping for rain.

We had 2+ hours of fun outside before it did finally start drizzling!

Making Incense

I was suddenly inspired to make some incense, which is something I haven’t done in a long while. I decided to make Kyphi-inspired incense. When I say “inspired” I mean I have liberally modified the recipe to suit my stash, but tried to keep the proportions of resin/herbs/raisins+wine/honey the same as the recipe. Basically it’s Kyphi-like because of wine soaked raisin and honey (which are rather unique combination of ingredients though I have seen honey listed in traditional Japanese incense recipe). The finished incense is the pebbles in the brass dish (it looks like kitty treats!) which is being dried and should be ready for burning on charcoal in a week or so — it does smell very nice.

 

Bibimbap and Pot Holder

We use our cast iron skillets a lot and so one of the most practical thing I make is a pot holder. For the past several years I have been crocheting them (after trying out variety of commercially available ones — some cheap and some kinda pricey — and realizing that crochet ones actually works the best!)  since crochet produces denser and therefore more insulating pot holder than knit, but I suddenly realized that I can knit a dense material if I used 2 yarns using stranded knitting technique! So here it is — my bibimbap-inspired lunch in vintage Griswold skillet with freshly knitted pot holder. It’s knit from cotton yarn which doesn’t catch flame like synthetic ones.

Free Corn

Since we spent the Saturday adventuring to Astoria, we decided to pick up some fresh fruits and veggies at the Tigard Farmers market which happens on Sundays. And there was a very nice lady there who was giving away FREE (no agenda, no advertisement, not even a tip jar, only to make people happy!) corn on the cob. And it wasn’t just free, it was amazingly delicious! Life in Portland has been amusingly full of random encounters and happenings — it’s definitely one of many things we love about living here.