Showing posts from September, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb, Strawberry-Peach Tarts

I had been looking up different recipes to try, and found one that featured a vegetable I don't enjoy: rhubarb. I never understood the whole "strawberry-rhubarb pie" thing, and ever since tasting some raw, I avoided it altogether. However, because the point of the trying new recipes goal was to make something new, I decided to revisit my dislike and try out this recipe from epicurious.

The recipe seemed straightforward, so I picked the ingredients up at the market. As I unpacked the puff pastry, something terrible happened -- I could not unstick the crusts from each other! Who am I to ignore such clear instruction from the baking gods? I made plans to double the recipe.

One lesson I've learned over the course of cooking and baking is that if the flavor of your recipe hangs on an ingredient whose flavor may vary, taste that ingredient before using it! After tasting the rhubarb, it became clear that the tartness would not be mitigated by the sugar and orange juice alon…

The Only Cloudy Week in Florida

Florida narrowly escaped the wrath of Irene, but they couldn't avoid all the weather that accompanied it. So instead of flying into sunny skies, I managed to arrive in Venice during the only cloudy week they've had in a while. Still, I didn't mind too much as it lowered the temperature to a comfortable 90°F.

I happened to arrive a few days before my great-aunt and great-uncle's 60th wedding anniversary, which meant that I was able to see relatives that I had either not seen in 10 years, or had never met! Before the family started to pour in, I got to enjoy some quality time with my grandparents. I quickly discovered that their house was surrounded by animals I hadn't seen since I left Texas: lizards! Can you spot the one I found amongst the flora?

We drove out to Nokomis Groves -- an orange grove that was also supposed to have the most amazing soft serve. Sadly, you couldn't explore the actual groves themselves, so I made do with the painted depiction.

I had what …

Stumbling Upon Irene, or, how to drive into a hurricane

When I made my travel plans, it didn't occur to me to take into consideration things like natural disasters. I booked a flight into Norfolk, Virginia to visit my grandmother, completely oblivious to the fact that I'd be flying straight into the path of a Category 3 hurricane. What's a trip without a little adventure?

The flight that was supposed to take me there was an absolute disaster. A mere 20 minute delay out of Rochester combined with some extraordinarily terrible customer service meant that I would not get into Norfolk until noon the following day -- a nearly 24 hour delay! I won't divulge the story of how I got to Norfolk here, but I did manage to pick up my rental car before the end of the day.

Straightaway, we launched into Irene preparations. Styrofoam blocks lined the windows, in case water had the audacity to attempt entry. My grandmother and I planned meals, but we quickly discovered that we had no idea how to cook without a stove, a microwave or a refrig…

Stop #2: Rochester, NY

After one of many disastrous flights on my East Coast tour, I landed in Rochester nearly three hours after the scheduled arrival time. This leg of the trip was filled with the last bits of sun I would see before returning home to Seattle. I stuck close to home, participating in the family barbecues, playing with the dog and working on some of my Done Is Good list.

One of the first things that happened was the last in a long line of attempted pie making instruction. My mom is the Queen of Pie Crust, and has been kind enough to instruct me over the years. We collaborated on a blueberry pie, which vanished mysteriously over the course of a few days.

I may have stirred, folded and brushed, but I believe that the secret of the perfect pie crust is an innate quality -- double-jointedness in the fingers. My proof is anecdotal, I won't deny, but everyone I've ever met that can create the perfect pie crust has been double-jointed. This characteristic lets the baker manipulate the dough…

Philadelphia (or thereabouts)

I spent about four days in the Philadelphia area, the first of four stops on my familial tour of the East Coast. My original plan was to try and make it for my niece's first birthday, but I was a week too early. However, Lily and I made the most of it by running around, waving stuffed elephants and sticking out our tongues at each other. I'm a wonderful influence!

My sister, Suzannah, had a few days off after getting her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (go Suz!), so we had fun running about the yard. We also relived a tasty childhood memory by making no-bake chocolate peanut butter bars that are always a hit with everyone.  I highly recommend that recipe during the summer because you don't have to heat up your kitchen by baking cookies in an oven. They also freeze exceptionally well!

Being so close to the mothership (which, as all Bryn Mawr College alumnae know, is what we call Bryn Mawr) meant that I got to give the campus a visit! I lucked out and had a wonderfully sunny da…