Monday, August 29, 2011

A Nip in the Air

August has been so amazingly gorgeous. The weather is impeccable. Some rain, some sun, some breezes, some chill. It turns out that I apparently love 70 degrees. You can still go to the beach and jump in, but you can wear a sweater or even socks without pouring sweat. I love it.  But there was a nip in the air today and it was crisp enough to feel like fall: cool morning and oh-so-divine 70-degree afternoon. It's been a great summer and I can hardly believe that it is winding down.

I got to thinking about our summer list and reflecting back on what we've done. Even though we squashed some extra things in (a couple house projects, a couple camping trips!) I found there were also some things that didn't quite get done. Or get done enough. So, we're extending these onto our Autumn list.

hammock hanging
cheese making
picnic blanket making and using

And in the meantime, doing quite a bit of the "hanging with friends and family". Yet we're not checking that off the list, if you know what I mean.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Notes from the Kitchen

Up in the north, we get a pretty short growing season. So we take our fresh produce seriously. And, as I've mentioned before, we signed up again for our CSA this summer. Things generally take a little while to get going, and so the early boxes are filled to brimming with greens. We like our salads and all, but geesh, we can be inundated with greens. And I don't much like sauteeing in the summer. Then we found Kale Chips. Our friend, Jaime, told us about them and I was hesitant. They sounded overly healthy, and undelicious, and Crunchy, like lentil loaf or some other dry health food concept. But the kale pile kept growing and was crowding "real" vegetables like zucchini out of the produce drawer. Action had to be taken.

Even though Jaime explained how easy they are to make, I found a recipe online, and discovered we're Johnny-come-latelys on this Kale chips thing. It's all over the place. I'm sure you all know about it. So then you of course know how crazy good, easy, fast, and healthy they are? I swear O ate about a bowl of them. Now we're experimenting with popcorn salts like Sea Salt and Vinegar or White Cheddar. MMMM good

We've also been living up to at least one of our summer wishes: make ice cream! With my Ciao Bella book by our side, we've made Blackberry Cabernet sorbet, Blueberry Lemon sorbet, and Strawberry gelato with balsamic glaze. Tonight, blueberry gelato.

And, since it's blueberry season in spades, a fresh blueberry pie. We use the recipe from the UP's own Hollyhocks and Radishes, one of those regional cookbooks full of character and questionable recipes. But we've found some goodies in there and that pie is one of 'em. [On a side note, one of Darling's other favorite cookbooks is also a regional one: Chesapeake Bay, by John Shields. We picked it up from the thrift for 69¢ (written in indelible ink on the spine) and it's made it through 3 cookbook purgings. Tasty stuff. I think Uncle Ben and Pap-pap would appreciate it as well.] 

Otherwise in the kitchen, we've been out of the kitchen. We had a big burn one weekend (brush piles and scrap wood) and decided to introduce the lad to mountain pies. [We even found the pie irons on the first try! This is happening more and more frequently as the clutter gets redistributed: ie. burned, sold, donated, put away, gifted, and simply thrown away.] We kept it simple with cheese pizza pies, but a spark was ignited. We're thinking we should haul the chiminea over and make some dinners. Or breakfast for that matter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Blacks and Blues

I'm no Farmer's Almanac kind of person. I have no idea if the hot weather followed by the cool weather was great, poor, or completely irrelevant. But I do know we've been having lots of beautiful afternoons and evenings picking and pruning blueberry (and huckleberry) patches. O has even transitioned from mostly eating to mostly putting in the pail. (Mostly)

  We've been using these lovelies in new ways like sorbet and gelato and also some old faves, like blueberry pie and blueberry pancakes. I think I may even try some blueberry freezer jam. But that would mean more kitchen time... and right now, it's just too gorgeous to be inside. Croquet and berries await!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Some exciting recent finds:

 Mushroom Dollhouse ($20 at St. Vinnie's) I know it doesn't seem like a bargain, but check out this link to a retailer.

 An (almost) unused croquet set! ($5, St. Vinnie's)

 A completely brand-new with tags, Blueberry One-Size diaper cover (59¢, St. Vinnie's)

Blues and Hucks (free w/labor, backyard) in a enamel FRUIT pail ($2, St. Vinnie's)

More on those blueberries soon - we've been picking and consuming with all our might and finally took some photos to share!