GIVEAWAY: Starry Recipe Box and Custom Recipe Cards!

One more week to comment, link, and reblog your way to winning this box and recipe cards! Feel free to share post on social media for another entry as well! 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot about the community that participates in blogs, either by writing them or commenting on them or just finding recipes on them and making them. It’s a beautiful thing, and it makes me want to give back.

I’m doing a giveaway that isn’t really super flashy – this is what you get with homemade – I have painted an astronomy-themed recipe box (see picture) and I have some beautiful recipe cards just waiting to be filled with your favorite recipes. If you make a pinterest board or a list of links for your favorite recipes, I’ll make up to 20 custom recipe cards for you. If you prefer your own handwriting, I’ll just mail you the box and the cards. 🙂

The way you enter is simple: just comment on the bottom of this post! If you want more chances to win, I’ll add a chance for the first time you do these things:

I’ll also enter you once for every comment you make on my blog in the next month (until November 9th). How often do you get to promote good dialogue online while also giving presents? I feel like blogger Santa.

The goal is to get more people talking about recipes and the stories behind them, as well as the processes, like cooking and writing and running and crafting and gardening, that we go through every day. I’m excited to read everyone’s responses and comments, and very excited to get a few more recipes in my inbox!

 

GIVEAWAY: Starry Recipe Box and Custom Recipe Cards!

There is still plenty of time to read through the archives, submit recipes, and comment to enter! 🙂

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the community that participates in blogs, either by writing them or commenting on them or just finding recipes on them and making them. It’s a beautiful thing, and it makes me want to give back.

I’m doing a giveaway that isn’t really super flashy – this is what you get with homemade – I have painted an astronomy-themed recipe box (see picture) and I have some beautiful recipe cards just waiting to be filled with your favorite recipes. If you make a pinterest board or a list of links for your favorite recipes, I’ll make up to 20 custom recipe cards for you. If you prefer your own handwriting, I’ll just mail you the box and the cards. 🙂

The way you enter is simple: just comment on the bottom of this post! If you want more chances to win, I’ll add a chance for the first time you do these things:

I’ll also enter you once for every comment you make on my blog in the next month (until November 9th). How often do you get to promote good dialogue online while also giving presents? I feel like blogger Santa.

The goal is to get more people talking about recipes and the stories behind them, as well as the processes, like cooking and writing and running and crafting and gardening, that we go through every day. I’m excited to read everyone’s responses and comments, and very excited to get a few more recipes in my inbox!

 

GIVEAWAY: Starry Recipe Box and Custom Recipe Cards!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the community that participates in blogs, either by writing them or commenting on them or just finding recipes on them and making them. It’s a beautiful thing, and it makes me want to give back.

I’m doing a giveaway that isn’t really super flashy – this is what you get with homemade – I have painted an astronomy-themed recipe box (see picture) and I have some beautiful recipe cards just waiting to be filled with your favorite recipes. If you make a pinterest board or a list of links for your favorite recipes, I’ll make up to 20 custom recipe cards for you. If you prefer your own handwriting, I’ll just mail you the box and the cards. 🙂

The way you enter is simple: just comment on the bottom of this post! If you want more chances to win, I’ll add a chance for the first time you do these things:

I’ll also enter you once for every comment you make on my blog in the next month (until November 9th). How often do you get to promote good dialogue online while also giving presents? I feel like blogger Santa.

The goal is to get more people talking about recipes and the stories behind them, as well as the processes, like cooking and writing and running and crafting and gardening, that we go through every day. I’m excited to read everyone’s responses and comments, and very excited to get a few more recipes in my inbox!

 

The Ritual of Slow Coffee

Coffee starts in fields, in trees, in beans. Coffee arrives, however it is grown, in bags of green beans from Ethiopia, sent to Husband by a roast-your-own-coffee company.

Coffee gets roasted on our back porch, in a used popcorn popper, while Husband pokes at it with a wooden spoon handle and listens for the telltale crack that means it is ready. I sit with him, enjoying the roasting smell and crocheting something, usually a square for a quilt.

Coffee gets stored in a pan while it cools, then in a mason jar, then in the coffee grinder’s reservoir for the day or two before we use it. I stumble into the kitchen, freshly dressed for work, and press the big start button. 30 seconds of loud whirring later, the freshest of coffee is ready.

I wash the french press while the kettle vibrates on the stove. I pour the rush of boiling water over the grounds and wait impatiently for it to steep. Husband gets out of the shower and joins me.

We are not as slow with our coffee on weekdays as we are on weekends, when one french press pot of coffee can turn into two while we read books or clean the house or plan our days together. But those 5 or 10 minutes, lingering over the quality coffee and maybe a bagel or some recent pastry I’ve whipped up, they are what make all the hard work that is poured into this simple bean juice worth it.

I certainly drink coffee for fuel, to power me through long days and to get the live-wire buzz of caffeination to make me feel like my ideas are good ones and that I should keep working working working. But I would do all the steps in the coffee making process at home even if it was decaf. It’s a ritual, but I love it.

Quinoa with sweet tomato, onion, and summer herbs

On Friday, I really traipsed into the thicket of tomatoes in our backyard and emerged with tons – 30 or more cherry and 10 San Marzanos. I want to freeze some to eventually can sauce, but a more pressing need presented itself: my aunt and uncle were coming over for dinner! They are the sweetest folks and one is vegetarian and the other is dairy/gluten free, so quinoa was an obvious option.

I prepared about 1 cup of quinoa according to the directions on the bag, but the long roasting time meant that I did that much later. I started by cutting up the cherry tomatoes and some San Marzanos into the roasting pan pictured. I then sliced and diced one purple onion and 4 cloves of garlic, and added maybe a teaspoon of olive oil to keep it all from sticking. I roasted it at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

When they came out, I added cut chives, basil, and oregano – all fresh because I’d gotten packets of fresh herbs from the community garden, and that stuff doesn’t last long! I left the whole roasting pan on the stove to stay toasty while my aunt and uncle got a tour of the house, but then added the hot quinoa to the veggies to mix up together.

We had quite a feast – Husband obviously made a salad, and I whipped up guacamole to make sure that everyone had a hearty enough meal. Afterwards was a gluten-free banana bread that I was pleased with, even though it was drier than I expected; I’ll post about it at some point. But sitting around the table, passing dishes and eating off placemats made me realize how much I missed that. When we’ve had our dinner parties, there have been too many people to sit down to table together, and that makes me think the next dinner “party” will just be, perhaps, 4 other folks. Last night was a less boisterous evening, but I think that the niceness of sharing the bounty of the garden and the chat that we all had about plants and electronic circuits and family history made me miss a regular sit-down dinner with family.

A’s Gazpacho and Spain’s Salmorejo

I remember hearing about gazpacho when I was a kid; I thought most foods I had never tried were gross, but the idea of a cold soup was just nasty. I couldn’t imagine something savory tasting good all blended up and not even warm. If Young Me had received A’s gazpacho recipe tucked into her sweet wedding gift of a beautiful recipe book, I would not have been nearly so grateful as I am now.

My first cold soup was at a restaurant called La Soberbia in Madrid, Spain – my friend S had been living in Madrid for a year and she said their “salmorejo” was to die for. Sure enough, a big beautiful bowl of creamy red soup with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkling of hard boiled egg bits arrived, and it was wonderful. Salmorejo is different from gazpacho in that there is bread blended up with it, giving it more thickness and flavor of a cream-based soup, while gazpacho is almost like a savory smoothie, thin and veggie-packed.

I had been saving tomatoes for a few days and decided to try out this wonderful recipe, and it didn’t disappoint. I think gazpacho is wonderful for a night when you are sick of salads but don’t want to “cook” per se, rather want a cold meal that doesn’t get the house all heated up. This recipe is from a distant relative of my husband who is not Spanish, as far as I know, but the flavor reminds me of the kick of gazpacho in Spain, which is a wonderful memory to share across totally different experiences.

 

Penney’s Gaspacho (given to me by A)

Blend 4 tomatoes, 1.5 cucumbers, 1 clove of garlic, 1 onion, and 1 small green or red pepper. Then add one can chicken broth, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoons wine vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt and cilantro to taste. 

63. A’s Hearty Chili

A gave me this recipe as part of her wedding gift, which was a recipe book with pages to add all sorts of recipes to it – one of my goals, though not one I’ve been able to complete yet, is to put all the recipes I love onto the extra cards and fill up the book so I have it handy in the kitchen. A is Husband’s cousin, and she represents so much of what I love about his family: she’s a free spirit with an amazing sense of humor who is constantly going on adventures. She travels frequently and whenever I see her I get the biggest hug. Her sense of style is on point but also not like anyone else – she’s one of the most confident people I’ve ever met.

Her chili recipe was exactly what I needed the week before our trip – I needed something hearty and healthy, so I cut up a gazillion veggies for this dish as I listened to a podcast on the benefits of a plant based diet. Granted, I also threw the ground beef in there, but percentage wise, it was a very plant based dish. After two hours of cooking, it was one of the best entrees I’ve made – rich and flavorful but with most of the flavor coming from the veggies and spices and slow cooking, not from a bunch of butter and oil, which tends to be my go-to.

It took all week to finish the big pot, but unlike with most leftovers, I was happy to keep noshing on it throughout the week, happy that when I only had 20 minutes for lunch between engagements I could slip into the house, heat up a bowl, and feel warmed and fed. Good recipes seem to do that, though I’ll caution: this recipe is not for someone who wants the exact same results each time; there are almost no measurements, and while she uses bacon and steak, I used ground beef.

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Cookbook: 101 Classic Cookbooks

One of my activities this week has been reading 101 Classic Cookbooks, a present from my cousin for our wedding. It was a prescient present, given that I had asked for recipes from everyone but didn’t know that I would be so taken with blogging.

This book is very cool, because half of it is recipes, like a traditional cookbook, but the first half of the book is beautiful descriptions of the 101 cookbooks that the editors thought were most influential to the history of American cooking. It goes from hundreds of years ago right up to the most ultra-modern cuisine, and the reason I liked it was because it shows how the whole world has influenced American cooking. While it is a kind of cuisine in its own right, it can trace threads of influence from so many different groups of people who have immigrated, become Americans, and made their mark on our dining experience.

I’m excited to try more of the recipes they include because they’ve found 4 or 5 recipes from each book that are either indicative of the time or very delicious – there’s even a recipe for roasted possum, but I doubt that will be my choice to try! I’m excited to try their recipes for Spanish foods that I haven’t gotten a chance to attempt yet (I know I make a lackluster paella, so I need some help there).  It’s also fun to imagine a hundred or two hundred years ago, someone sharing a meal that I can still mostly recreate here and now, in the modern world.

Some of the folks who came to my wedding didn’t give me a single recipe but instead recommended cookbooks; while I’m not Julie of Julie and Julia, cooking a whole book worth of recipes, I’d sure like to know which cookbooks I can borrow from the library are standout good, like 101 Classic Cookbooks is. Any recommendations? I also love hearing if a cookbook has a special story for you – you know how it goes on this blog.

 

 

 

Sister’s Gouda and Butternut Squash Casserole

So the main stop on my road trip this summer has been to visit my sister, and last night, she cooked for us! I realized that I appreciate more than ever the space of my own kitchen, and it has translated into giving my sister space to cook the way she wants. She cooks like a person who works in a real kitchen: quick and high-heat and occasionally messy but always producing stunning food.

She made us a variation on this recipe: https://www.blueapron.com/recipes/baked-butternut-squash-gouda-pasta-with-brussels-sprouts-chestnut-breadcrumbs which she got from her Blue Apron subscription. With us, she substituted a few things: chestnuts were replaced with slivered almonds, the spice blend was her own (lots of rosemary and garlic), and there were no brussel sprouts. I know someday I will grow up enough to like brussel sprouts, but this day was not that day.

The result was a brimming full casserole dish with truly wonderful, grown-up macaroni-and-cheese feel: it had sweet bits with the squash, savory gouda and parmesan, and just the right crunch with the almonds. If I made it, I’d probably have done a little more sauce so it could fill each rigatoni tube, but honestly, her way was healthier so I should probably stick with her genius.

Watching my sister cook made me realize how far I’ve come: my sister has been interested in high quality cooking for a long time, but my experience with it is still new; these six months of blogging have taught me a lot though! I’m pretty excited to be rounding the bend on half a year cooking and blogging, and it’s neat to measure myself against someone whose cooking will always be better than mine, but who I now can almost keep up with in terms of knowledge of techniques, even if my results will always be less magical (at least a little bit). I am definitely trying this at home though!

 

26. The H’s Chicken Pot Pie

The whole H family have been in and out of my life since I met Husband. They are his aunt, uncle, and cousins, and they are fun – always with a smile, a story about recent travels, a kind word. I took a few meetings to really get to know them because I always saw them during a huge family gathering where I would be introduced to many people, often for the second or third time: by the time they were attending our wedding, though, we had the pleasure of speaking various times, and I knew they were passionate folks with lots of interests and plenty of travel stories to tell. I have to admit though, I was grateful for how homey the pot pie was, not a flight to an exciting new place but instead a walk through memories instead.

 

The process of making this pot pie was simple, as much comfort food is, but it makes a lot of food and it heats up so nicely the next day. The best part of fresh out of the oven is definitely the crust, which is out of a box and I don’t begrudge it that, because I’ve messed up a decent amount of pie crusts in my time. The combination of crisp and creamy is excellent and I am also comforted by the piles of veggies that go into this pie (alongside the creamy potatoes and milk).

 

I’ve been overstretching myself quite a bit lately, telling myself I’m never doing quite enough. Pot pie tells me that I’m fine, and that even if I need to clean some things while it is in the oven, and probably missed an email or a text message while I was stirring the mixture together, but lately, the prospect of getting to cook, especially soothing processes like making a pie, bring me to a place of not caring quite so much about all the things I should be doing. Providing food, at least, seems to be enough for a little while.

The H’s favorite easy Chicken Pot Pie

about 2 cups of cooked cubed chicken (occasionally check with can of chicken!) 2 cans cream of potato soup 1 bag frozen mixed vegetable (corn green beans carrots and peas) about 1 soup can of milk (mixture should be of moist consistency) 1 tsp thyme (important spices!) also pepper to taste.

Roll out Pillsbury pie crust. Oven 400 degrees; mix above and put in pie. Bake 50-65 minutes. Delicious.