30 April 2009

may day!


a may day surprise for you!

i thought instead of flowers that you would love these beautiful succulents left at your doorstep! i took these pictures not looking because my succulents are on a ledge of our fence above my head. i rose my arm up high and let the camera and sun do there thing. i love the patterns in these plants and i love that the sun was so bright on the fence, but it only makes them more vibrant. i also love the shadows...did i just say everything about these photos and now you have nothing to say? oops. well, anyway, they are for you to celebrate spring!

a question for those of you outside the U.S.: do you have the may day tradition of leaving flowers on people's doorsteps? is there anything special about may 1st for you?

today i am listening to (more) leonard cohen. this song was sung by the webb sisters at his concert, and i have the leonard cohen i'm your man soundtrack where antony sings it. you know how i like antony, right? here's some lines from if it be your will:

if it be your will that i speak no more
and my voice be still as it was before.
i wont speak no more
i shall abide until i am spoken for,
if it be your will.

if it be your will, that there is a voice
from the broken hill
i will sing to you from this broken hill
your praises they shall ring
if it be your will to let me sing.

i think it's beautiful.
check to see if your favorite local record store carries the soundtrack, it's great.

happy may day!!

28 April 2009

i have a recipe for you...

yes, i have already shown you this photo, but i didn't tell you what they were...or did i? i didn't give you the recipe, that i know for sure. and i just remade these the other night and they were (again) so delicious that i decided to bring the photo out again and tell you about these amazing things. they are savory scones. i'm so enamored with this recipe because it is both simple in ingredients and scrumptious in taste. i've been using molly's scone recipe in her new book and trading the sweetness for savory ingredients. that's what i love about the recipe, she says to add whatver you want, so one brunch i made them with frozen cherries with sugar on top and then a week later i made them with chedar and green onion with salt on top. that's what these are. the ones in the photo above are made from fresh ground wheat flour that i made at frog hill farm. i liked the flavor so much that i used half wheat flour in this last batch. i also added parmesan to the mix and used the chives from my garden in stead of green onions. i also cut them even smaller so they would feed a lot of people. but it didn't do much good because once i set these scones out at work, they were gone! also, i think the big punch in these savory scones is the black pepper i added. it gives just enough spice and boldness and it blends perfectly with the cheesy cheddar flavor.

cheddar green-onion savory scones
adapted from molly wizenberg's scottish scones

2 cups flour (i think it tastes best with 1c wheat and 1cup white. the wheat gives a great heartiness to it and adds a lot of flavor)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 stick (4tbsp) butter, cubed and chilled

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesean cheese
1 cup chopped green onions or chives
lots and lots of fresh ground pepper

1/2 cup milk
1 egg

preheat oven to 425 degrees. whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. add butter and with you hands squish and combine the flour with butter until you get pea sized lumps. add cheese, green onions and pepper (this would be the point, if these were sweet where you would add your fruit and 3tbs sugar). stir to combine.

in another small bowl whisk together milk and egg. pour wet into dry and stir with wooden spoon until just combined. (molly says it's okay if there is flour at the bottom of the bowl and i love that she is so reassuring!)

dump dough out onto floured surface and knead about 12 times (no more). roll into a circle, 1/2 inch thick and cut into 8 or 16. with a splash of milk in a cup, glaze the tops of scones and sprinkle kosher salt and finely grated parmesean on top. place on parchment papered baking pan and bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown on top. cool and serve.

i'm telling you, these are the most delicious things! for breakfast, lunch or snack, the wheat flour makes them filling and the combination of cheese and herb is so savory an mouth-watering. i am ready to experiment with different cheese-herb combinations. gruyere and rosemary? sundried tomato and oregano?

be sure to visit noddyboom for more recipe swaps.


27 April 2009

a lovely weekend

it seems to be the day for what i did this weekend lists, so i will join in too:

this weekend i...
ate wonderful oaxacan food on a patio
sat outside at night
saw fields of tulips
cooked lovely salmon
lied in the grass
took pictures
pulled weeds
made flickr contacts
planted flower seedlings in pots
drank iced coffee

...and you?

fyi: notice the new inspired photo! it is a tmicklin, but not one of his pinholes. it is my current favorite because it resembles i beautiful blooming flower, but when you look closer, you see it is a shriveled leaf. enjoy!

26 April 2009

a shot through a hole

today is worldwide pinhole photography day!
i'm not going to pretend that i do pinhole, but i do want to direct you to the worldwide pinhole day site. already, there are over 100 uploads from pinhole photographers around the world. check out the gallery here. some of-actually most of-these photos are stunning! beautiful and soft, bright and blurry. i just love it.

for my own part, i have decided to feature my favorite pinhole photographer, master of subtlety and softness, thomas micklin. two of tom's digital pinholes were featured in eric renner's newest book pinhole photography 4th ed: from historic technique to digital application. tom has a background in bromoil prints and platinum/palladium kallitypes. his work spans ireland, budapest and cracow, but he is best known for capturing the beautiful scenery of the pacific northwest.

here are two of his zone plate shots, the first is brand new!
the whole process of pinhole is great. i like the simplicity of being able to make a camera out of anything with a little whole poked into it, but i really like the philosophy of choosing and composing your shot and then exposing it for 3, 4, sometimes up to 15 minutes! your camera open and exposed to light for so long while you just stand there, still and contemplating. how cool.

has anyone experimented in pinole? do you have any online somewhere? do share!

check out tom's site and the pinhole photography day site for more beautiful pinholes.

as for me, i have finally put up a flickr badge. i started flickr a while ago, but have been a little distant and inactive. it is my goal to be more active and make more friends on flickr. so come say hi to me and remind me that's it's not so scary! and i will probably be saying hi soon, too.

(two side notes to tom micklin's feature: 1. i'll be putting him on my inspired photos tab this week, stop by tomorrow to view it! 2. he's my dad)

enjoy national pinhole day and have a slow, still and contemplative day :)

24 April 2009

ring the bells

we had the nicest walk this evening. we walked to dinner, ate fish soup and halibut tacos on the patio here, met new people, then walked home. it was a three hour adventure. i love when the evenings are warm enough to take your time outside. tomorrow we will go see the tulips (motivated by lecia, thanks!).

last night we saw leonard cohen. four hours of him! here are some of his beautiful words i have running through my head:

...ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets it...

...and i'll dance with you in vienna, i'll be wearing a river's disguise...

any enjoyable weekend plans for you?
hope its sunny and beautiful wherever you are :)

22 April 2009

recipe swap

thank you all for the sweet comments about my blog and it's simple header. i'm still toying with the header, but i really appreciate an outsider's perspective. thanks.

today's recipe isn't quite a recipe. it's more of a concoction that i put together a few weeks ago and just had to remake last monday. one thing about me and putting meals together is that i like a lot of 'components.' i can take a concept and keep expanding it with all the delicious and fun ingredients that might fit together. that's what i'm going to show you today. every ingredient was beautiful and fresh, but the taste of each together...well...it was amazing. i'm not even going to name it or give you any sort of hint as to what it is. besides these photos of chives i picked from my yard right before i set the table outside to eat. that's your only hint. beyond that, you'll have to put all the ingredients together and see what comes out!

i like to think that this meal celebrates earth day a bit, if only for the hand picked and fresh local ingredients. not all the ingredients are local, though, so i'm not going to get on my high shopping-local horse.

here's what i used:

-local wild caught smoked salmon, smoked in brown sugar and garlic! (the man at the farmer's market showed me a trick: the squishier the smoked salmon, the oilier and moister it will be.)
-fresh picked and washed chives (green onion, of course will work)
-white basmati rice, 1 cup cooked in 2 cups water (i used brown basmati last time, but the flavor of the white basmati was much lighter and worked better)
-creme fraiche (2 tsp, or to taste)
-avacado (we used a 1/4 avacado, chopped up, per person)
-fresh lettuce (none in my garden yet, but this head came from a co-op grocery store and a washington based organic farm)
-lemon, if desired
-salt and pepper

the thing that's the most fun about these types of meals is mixing and matching. i love getting creative as to what i want to put in the bowl first and how i want to mix it all together. yum! this photo thanks to jon:

the perfect spring meal!
happy earth day!

20 April 2009

inspired photo 2

hello. take a look over at my inspired photo section. over there. to your right. this week it is a picture of brian ferry's from his blog, the blue hour. it is brooklyn in the morning...or was it evening? you'll have to click on the link to find out. either way, the photo really left me breathless. i think it portrays the dim industrial side of brooklyn really well, but it also shows the beauty and intensity of the borough. my profile picture is similar. it was taken in brooklyn, as well. makes me want to go back!

also, i think i'm going to take a break from a header photo. not forever. i just need a fresh start.

i just had an amazing dinner, which i can't wait to share with you on wednesday. here is a hint: it starts with smoked salmon, ends with white rice and has creme fraiche and freshly picked chives in the middle. mmmm...

happy monday.

19 April 2009

congratulations roses

a beautiful mini bouquet of roses. during the day and at night. playing with aperture settings.

18 April 2009

it's done!
my big poetry reading went really well and i can't tell you how glad i am to have it completed. i'm not really sad to have it over or nostalgic, yet. i'm just happy and relieved. it's done!

thank you for your well wishes.


today i am volunteering at the fabest (that's a word now, you know?) fundraiser in town.
local chefs come and donate their food and time all for the sake of art. and when i'm done signing people in, i get to eat their food! check it out.


also, i've got a new camera (!) pretty soon i will figure out how to upload the photos i've been experimenting with. can't wait. does anyone have a cannon g10? thoughts or special tricks to share?

have a great weekend and i hope it is sunny for you, wherever you are.

15 April 2009

national poetry month

hello again. national poetry month again.

this friday i am hosting a very special event at university book store. it is a celebration of the life and work of west indian poet, aimé césaire. i've invited 4 local writers to read their own work inspired by césaire and 3 other talented folks to do dramatic readings of césaire's work. themes are centered around surrealism, identity, colonization, human dignity, emotional processing of history...

i am very excited and soon to be very proud.
if you are in the seattle area, please come by at 7pm. it's free! if not, wish me luck!!

for more information:
ubookstore events page
cesaire's bio (written by my a while ago)

on another note, i've added a little 'inspired photo' section to the sidebar. i've just been seeing so many photographs that really blow me away and i want to share them. i think i will change these weekly and am excited to show you what i've come accross.

check this out! i love optrixx!

recipe swap, passover edition

this whole week i've been keeping passover, meaning that i am not eating any bread or grain or corn...i can't really retell all the details of what i can and can't eat and why, but trust me. no bread. no pasta or corn. not really anything with corn syrup either. for eight days. when i was growing up this used to be so hard for me. i was (and in some ways still am) a bread girl. i would get in it 4 days doing really well and then there would be bread on the table at some restaurant and i just couldn't let it go. i swear that bread stared at me, begging to be eaten. but in the recent years i've actually made it all the way through the eight days of passover without leavened products. last year i didn't even eat rice. this year i have been. (call it an identity complex: eastern european descendants traditionally do not eat rice during passover and spanish/middle eastern descendants do.) i think it's not so hard nowadays. there is a lot more support and options for gluten free living, which helps in my week of bread-free life. after eight days of no bread i always intend to keep it up. always. 'that wasn't so bad, why not cut out bread for good?' But then some coworker offers me a cookie or there is homemade bananna bread in the office and i just completly forget. oops? so, for now, i will bask in the glory of my bread-free week, as today is my last day. for lunches, i've been enjoying salads with cheese and snow peas and sliced turkey. for dinner i've been eating a lot of asparagus. passover really rings in the asparagus season.

it is recipe swap today, and i wanted to show you pictures of the food that is traditionally at my family's passover seder. i look forward to this day every year, where my family comes together over a fancy meal and its rare and delicious food. my grandma and her devoted sisters prepare for this meal weeks in advance, ordering the ground white fish and salmon for gefilte fish and dropping beet juice in the horseradish to make it pink. it is only now that i myself am in the business of hosting events that i appreciate the hard hard work that my grandma and great aunts put into these meals. from the hours of shaping little gefilte fishes and matzo balls down to the table setting and the color of flowers. they are an impressive bunch, those ladies!

the top picture is gefilte fish, which is served first after a long (or not so long in my family) passover service. it is a prized possesion in our family, coming out only once a year and one serving each, that my grandma has taken to calling it gold.
next is matzo ball soup. light and fluffy matzo balls in simple chicken broth. always two balls.
then we have our meal of chicken, asparagus (with the ends peeled!) and matzo meal kugel, or as my grandma calls it: pudding.
for dessert, matzo almond roca (yummy) and strawberries with whip cream.

my contribution this year:

rhubarb compote

1lb rhubarb
1/4 cup raspberry juice (any red juice will do, to brighten the color)
1/4 cup sugar
lemon zest (no more than half a lemon worth)

wash, peel and chop rhubarb into one inch pieces.
throw in sautee pan with sugar, juice and lemon.
cook on medium low covered for 5-7 minutes.
you are stewing the rhubarb and once the time is up you will be able to break down the rhubarb more by stirring.
taste for sweetness.


13 April 2009

bookshop love

my friend sent me this great link of interesting bookstores of the world.
i've only been to one of these bookstores (shakespeare and co. see photo above) but maybe i should start a checklist and go see them all!

take a look:
Most Interesting Bookstores of the World

don't you love the look of so many books cramped together in interesting patterns and shapes? i love how some of the walls of these stores are curved and the stacks curve right along with them.

what's your favorite bookstore?
any cool bookshelf photos?

11 April 2009


this is what the world looks like over in the pacific northwest.

10 April 2009

Dead Poets

Last night I listened to Langston Hughes sing and read his poetry

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go

Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

I think my mom would appreciate that from the back of my memory, I was able to recite this poem along with Langston.

Richard Hugo House held their annual Dead Poets Society event for National Poetry Month, where Sylvia Plath, Charles Bukowski, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot and Langston Hughes rose from the dead (in the carnation of other familiar poets) and read their work. It included much loved originals by these dead poets, some less familiar originals, and each set ended with the real alive poet reading their work in the likeness of the dead poet they immitated. We finally heard the lost hip-hop poem of T.S. Eliot!

Happy National Poetry Month!
(and i'll have info for another poetry event soon...)

06 April 2009

this time again

three years ago...has it already been three years? three years ago today, i landed in paris. or maybe it was three years ago today that i took a flight to paris. i don't know anymore, but april 6th is important because three years ago on april 6 i went to paris. i always get so nostalgic this time of year. so yearning for my short-lived parisienne life. spring time in paris. french. strong espresso, chausson aux pommes. cobblestones. lots and lots of cobblestones. it seemed like there were people playing music on the streets. maybe guitar. maybe that was just something i saw in la vie en rose and i transfused it into my own memory. i'm okay with that.

i lived in france for 3 months and in paris for 1. one whole month in a little parisienne apartment off of rue mouffetard in the quartier latin. the spring reminds me of everything paris. the jardin du luxembourg, galettes on the street, kebab, metro escalators rising into the fresh air and descending underground, into another whole and vibrant paris. the steep steps of montmartre and the little antique boutiques. african music at satellit cafe. museums, museums, museums. being alone, being with people, hunting for food, walking forever. getting lost, knowing exactly where you are. little bookshops. good literature: rimbaud, baudelaire, vistor hugo, breton, senghor. oh, everything! oh, paris!

i thought i would drudge up some pictures from the vaults to celebrate my memory. i only hope these wont be the only pictures i ever have of paris...

and these fabulous posts helped remind me even more : bloom, grow, love + godful food

have you been to paris? what do you love/miss most? your favorite food you had there? your favorite arrondisement?

03 April 2009

Last Farm Day

the top picture is compliments of caitlin, who so nicely let me visit her beautiful farm in port townsend; frog hill farm. these pictures are from my last day on the farm and my journey back. it was a gorgeous, gorgeous day.
up on the deck of the bainbridge-seattle ferry

and, finally, the view from my car as the ferry docked.
thanks for coming along on my farm journey! i hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as i enjoyed the trip!

01 April 2009

recipe swap, farm edition

i decided to combine showing you photos of my farm trip with the wednesday recipe swap. it turns out that most of the photos i took at the farm were of our cooking endeavors anyway, so go figure. before i share the recipe for these yummy muffins, i want to tell you that the farm i was on was called frog hill farm and i was visiting my best friend caitlin there. her house was beautiful! one whole half side of it was windows! it had a composting toilet, a front mud room that doubled as a 'refrigerator-pantry' because it was the same temperature as outside, a back porch and a nice long living space complete with a full kitchen, room for a table, a couch, a bed and a piano. these components might sound obvious to you, but you have to understand that the last farm she was on, we baked bread in her toaster oven and sat on her bed to eat dinner. it was very cute but very very small.

these muffins are really not ordinary cornmeal-cranberry muffins. we poured wheat berries into a flour mill and ground our own flour on the spot! absolute-fresh-milled-whole-wheat flour immediatly dumped into a bowl with baking powder and salt. you cannot get fresher than that. eggs from the frog hill farm chickens, salt that was boiled down by caitlin from ocean water and raw sugar. these muffins were special because of the ingredients, but i think they would be just as good with the same baking ingredients you have in your home (and i have in my house in the city). so i'm sharing them with you in a way that you can vary the ingredients depending on preference and availability.

farm fresh cornmeal cranberry muffins

2 cups flour (we used freshly milled whole wheat flour, but all purpose works or a 1 to 3 whole wheat to white combo.)
1 cup cornmeal (fine or course, depending on toothsome preference)
1-1/2 teas baking powder
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt (make your own for fun! boil a gallon of ocean water for 2-3 hours until it resembles salt)
2 large eggs, organic
3/4 cup sugar (we used raw, you can experiment with a mix of brown or white or even honey)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup sour cream (yes...sour cream!)
1/2 cup milk
3/4cup-1cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside.
Whisk egga in a second medium bowl until well combined. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously untill thick. Add the melted butter in three additions, whicking to combine after each addition.
Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined. Add dried cranberries and toss until incorporated.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix gently with rubber spatuale until batter is just combined and evenly moistened.
Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin. Do not flatten the surface of the mounds.
Bake for about 18 minutes, or until light golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then set on rack for 5 minutes longer.
They were elicious warm, but the flavors melded even more the longer they sat.


For more great recipes, check out some of my favorites: noddyboom, godful food, the wednesday chef, orangette, 3191 miles apart and pictures & pancakes.