Henry is back in California this week. He was home for a short while after his last trip south, but now he’s helping his team place hives in the almond orchards just as the bloom begins and the bees go on contract. This kids and I are holding down the fort, and so far, like most of this winter, it’s been pleasantly mundane (except for the gnarly case of pinkeye that Levi has at the moment).
Because life around the homefront has been pretty dreary and somewhat boring to write about, I’m giving you a few links today to perk things up a bit.
I talked a little bit about my intentions to be less of a consumer this year, but this Radiolab podcast whacked me over the head on the subject, laying bare the tole of online retail on real human beings. So far, I’ve resisted buying any new clothes, shoes, or kitchen stuff (as laid out in my New Year’s resolutions), but now I don’t really want to buy anything except food to supplement what we have on hand already. I know I can’t completely drop out of the consumer world, but I’m going to try to participate as little as possible (thrift stores excluded). Also, I love Radiolab.
I’ve been following Tara Jensen on Instagram (@bakerhands) for a while, but I was thrilled to see her tutorial about making pies beautiful on the sort of new-to-me Nothing in the House blog. I also recently ordered (before I heard that Radiolab story!) a copy of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, which promises to be a font of pie-baking inspiration. Then again, I made an off-the-cuff raspberry-blueberry-brown sugar-orange zest pie (kinda like this one) that was pretty killer, so maybe I’ll just keep winging it.
I just finished reading Molly Wizenburg’s first book, A Homemade Life, which is part memoir and part cookbook. It’s seriously so good. I laughed, I cried, I felt a burning need to cook up every. single. recipe. In fact, I could probably be quite fulfilled by going all Julie and Julia on Molly’s book plus her blog archive. There’s a little bit of everything in there. I’m now anxiously awaiting the release of her second book, Delancy, that’s supposed to come out this spring. (Rest assured, I plan on buying it in a brick and mortar bookstore or better yet, at the restaurant in Seattle.)
I thought about starting a “2014 Food Preservation Season” series beginning with David Lebovitz‘s recipe for Moroccan preserved (meyer) lemons, but I’ll just give you these couple photos instead. Citrus fruits (and frozen blueberries) have really been getting us through this winter. I’d never made or used preserved lemons before, but I really liked the idea, and I had a bunch of meyer lemons that Henry brought back from his last trip to California. For the “Moroccan” part, all of the spices except the cinnamon were homegrown. This batch won’t be ready for another couple weeks, but I was hoping you might share any favorite recipes that utilize preserved lemons. Pretty please?
After our Portland honey sampling events in December, Henry and I had Lebanese food for dinner at Nicholas Restaurant. It was the kind of place where they give you a huge slab of flatbread as you sit down, and you get so full before the end of the meal that you want to die, but you just keep eating. And it was fabulous. I didn’t know the name of it at the time, but there was this weird but wonderful dark sesame seed sprinkle stuff all over several of the different dishes. Though I still don’t know how to pronounce it, I’m pretty sure it was za’atar, and yesterday, I bought the ingredients to assemble Heidi Swanson‘s za’atar recipe. I’m looking forward to sprinkling it on everything.
Last but not least, I need to sing the praises of Megan Gordon‘s new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings. It’s another new addition to my cookbook collection that I know won’t just sit on the shelf looking pretty. I’ve already (barbecue) baked her gingerbread cake and hazelnut-cacao nib granola, and my steel cut oats will never be the same after reading her tips.
I hope everyone is making it through the poler vortex(es) okay. It’s been pretty mild here, but we’re due for some snow again, and it’s supposed to get pretty chilly (for temperate Western Oregon) for a few days. Stay warm, and eat well, folks!