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Archive for July, 2012

Summertime Summer Rolls

Although this morning has been typically Portland grey, it’s been toasty around here. Adam and I get a lot of unfiltered western sunshine in our apartment making our evenings just on the verge of too warm to cook. I suspect a lot of you step into the kitchen these days gaze at the stove hesitantly and wonder what the heck are you going to make for dinner. Enter, summer rolls. I found the inspiration for these in the current issue of Sunset Magazine. Definitely check it out. It’s incredibly simple and quick to make and the variations are endless. Grab a few veggies from your crisper and have at it. The only tricky part, at least at first, is rolling the rolls. Alas, after you resist the urge to over-stuff them (which will result in haphazard, slightly torn, bulging yet still delicious, rice paper), rolling them becomes a breeze.

Cheers!

Summertime Summer Rolls

I think adding roasted chicken to these rolls would make
them a perfect summer dinner or lunch.

Ingredients:

One carrot, julienned
One zucchini, julienned
Handful of fresh arugula
Half an avocado, sliced
One tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
Rice or tapioca paper

For the sauce:

Juice from one lemon
1/4 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
Sprinkle of red chile flakes

~

Working with one sheet at a time, gently dip one sheet of rice paper in a large bowl of warm water for about 3 seconds.

Remove from water and place on a damp plate. Let sit for about 10 seconds to allow the paper to absorb the water.

Place your veggies, in no particular order, on the bottom 1/3 of the wrapper.

Begin rolling slowly over the filling while folding in the sides. Tuck tuck the veggies in gently but firmly. Think burrito.

Whisk all of the dipping sauce ingredients together and serve in a small bowl.

Serve rolls chilled and dusted with dill, although they’re still tasty at room temperature.

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Tarragon Lemonade

This is my favorite image from our wedding. I felt it genuinely captured the moment. Sweet, cozy, perfect.

Despite all of our complaining and whining, summer arrived at its usual leisurely pace. Adam and I were gone for most of June and, luckily, had a healthy dose of summer in Hawaii, but it seems our friends back in Portland experienced what us Portlanders are now calling, June-uary. Cool, grey and wet, June has become a month many of us miserably wallow through, while the rest of the country starts working on their tans, until summer bursts from the sky in July. And, boy, has she. It’s toasty. Not HOT, not melting and panting hot, but it’s pretty warm. And what better way to enjoy the dog days of July than with lemonade.

My mom recently assured me that somewhere in our genes is a touch of French blood. We don’t know this for sure, but as (I believe the story goes, and perhaps I should research it before making assertions) the French colonized the island her grandparents, and beyond, are from, São Miguel, Azores, and she believes, as a result, we are just a little bit French. I’ve decided to go with this as an explanation for my love of and attraction to all things French. It’s in my blood, right? It will at least explain my on-the-verge-of-unhealthy use of French tarragon. Damn, I love that herb. I sprinkle it on just about anything. Adam and I recently bought a tarragon plant and I’ve been resisting nibbling on the leaves. Although I think our kitty might be in the dark of night. Evidenced by dusty paw prints on the kitchen table.

Fresh French tarragon with lemons seemed to me a match made in heaven. A little bit of summery bliss in my mouth. This version is on the tart side as I decided to make my simple syrup with raw honey instead of sugar. Feel free to substitute if you prefer a sweeter lemonade.

Cheers!

P.S. If you’d like to see more wedding photos, feel free to “friend” me on Facebook. I have a little gallery there :)
Disclaimer: Not looking to increase my FB friend numbers here, just don’t want to bombard uninterested readers with boring wedding photos ;)

Summer Tarragon Lemonade

Now wouldn’t this be fantastic with a splash or two of gin?

Ingredients:

8 organic lemons, juiced 

For the simple syrup: 

1/2 cup raw honey or sugar

1 bunch fresh tarragon, or other herb

Pour the lemon juice into a large (about a quart) pitcher and set aside.

In a small saucepan warm the honey with 1/2 cup water. Stir in the tarragon.

Bring the honey mix just to the verge of simmer, remove from heat and set aside.

Let sit for 30 minutes, strain and let cool completely.

Add cooled simple syrup to your lemon juice and top with about 4 cups of cold water, depending on the size of your pitcher.

Refrigerate for about an hour, toss in a few ice cubes and garnish with a sprig of tarragon in each glass.

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Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill Portraits

Did you know that I just LOVE doing portraits? I do. It’s true and, frankly, I just don’t do enough of them. A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of making portraits of the gorgeous Lisa Hill, of Lisa Hill PR, for her soon-to-be new website and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

The first shot is my especial favorite :)

Cheers!

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Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Barley Scones

Can you believe that I still haven’t edited my Hawaii pictures? You would think that by now I would have SOMETHING to share with you, but no. I’m lame. And I’m sorry.

Instead I’m taking you into the depths of Good to the Grain with a strawberry jam and strawberry scone recipe. I love this jam recipe because it is so unbelievably simple. I made a similar recipe last year in this post using raspberries and it was fantastic. It’ll take you an hour, max, to make this jam. Hull the berries, simmer the sugar, stir it all up on the stove for 20 minutes and bam! You have jam. Strawberry-licious jam. Oh yes, I went there. And since I was making jam, well it makes perfect sense that I would make Kim’s strawberry barley scones, right? I mean, how could I resist.

I should mention, that I just had an Eater Chef in the Kitchen shoot with Kim Boyce and she got me all kinds of inspired (again!) to bake from her book. Spend an hour with her (or Good to the Grain) and you’ll see what I mean. She is an inspiration…and as sweet as they come. If ever you’re in Portland you must visit her at her wonderful bakery, Bakeshop. Say hello and spend some time sipping coffee and nibbling on her wares. Sadly, those pictures aren’t up on Eater yet, and I can’t share them with you until they are….so keep your eyes on Eater!

Cheers!

Strawberry Jam

Adapted from Good to the Grain
The only change I made to Kim’s recipe was that I used rapadura sugar
as that is what I had on hand. Also, I halved the recipe as I needed to leave some whole berries
to satisfy Adam’s strawberry addiction. Seriously.
The recipe below is for a full batch.

Ingredients:

3 pounds strawberries, hulled

1 cup rapadura or regular sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional

~

Place several ice cubes in a large bowl and add a cup of water. Set a smaller bowl, and a spatula, next to the large bowl.

Cut any large strawberries in half.

Pour 1/2 cup water and the sugar into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Let sit for a minute to allow the sugar and water to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Do not stir.

Let boil, with the bubbles bubbling evenly and slowly across the surface. About 7 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the strawberries.

Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the jam begins to thicken. 15-20 minutes. A candy thermometer will read about 210 F.

Pour the finished jam into the smaller bowl and set the bowl in the ice water bath.

Stir the jam a few times to release the heat.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the jam to prevent a skin from forming.

Let jam cool completely before jarring.

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Strawberry Barley Scones

Oh, my, yes.

Ingredients:

Dry Mix:

1 cup plus two tablespoons barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rapadura sugar, or brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sea salt

Wet Mix:

4 ounces cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Finish:

Strawberry Jam
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon rapadura sugar

~

Place a rack in the center of your oven and warm the oven to 350.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

Cut the butter into 1/2″ chunks and add them to the dry mix.

Rub the butter with your fingers until the chunks of butter become the size of peas. Do this quickly so the butter stays solid.

Whisk the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. 

Add wet mix to the dry mix and stir until just combined. Add a splash of buttermilk or two if you find the dough to be too dry and flakey. Or flour if it’s too wet.

Flour your work surface and scrape your dough onto it.

 Divide the dough into two chunks. Flour your hands and press each chunk into a disk that’s about  7″ in diameter and about 3/4 ” thick.

Spread your jam over one of the disk. Place the other disk on top of the jam and gently press down.

Brush the dough with your melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 triangular wedges.

Place on a parchment lined baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the tops of your scones are golden and the jam is bubbling out.

 

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