Tuesday, October 25, 2011

recently . . .

I've been making baseball bat sized zucchini into smooth zucchini soup; eating it my lawn chair by a spent squash patch.

I was in New York by myself once. I was hungry. With the sun down, wandering far and wide to find my meal was not on the menu. The lights of a nearby community table style bakery beckoned me. In order to save money, I chose the soup even though it sounded disgusting. Zucchini Soup? Slippery, slimy zucchini floating in broth? Still, with just a few bucks in my wallet I consoled myself with the thought of baguette.

Oh, was I wrong! As soon as I got home I was blending onion, garlic, zucchini, and chicken broth. Every year since, I plant an entire raised bed with zucchini and rarely unload them on neighbors. However, I do invite hoards over for soup!

My kids are allergic to the word soup.
Gravy they can handle. My children's zucchini soup turns into Green Gravy over Rice. I enjoy the kid version once in a while too.

Eating alfresco calls for old, cold coffee with a dash of vanilla cream. The end of the pot no longer goes down the sink. I keep a pitcher in the fridge, adding the morning's leftover coffee for an afternoon lift. I know that sounds pathetic. I'm addicted anyhow. At least until the winter rain drives me inside. Then I'll have to perk morning and afternoon.

The cold, wet spring made for a fantastic showing of August and September blueberries. Even after my kids ravaged the blueberry bushes daily, I had more than enough for pancakes, and lemon blueberry fools. This is so summer! But this is fall . . .

Time for my favorite breakfast. Homemade Fluffy Oat Bread. Grilled with a bit o' butter. Topped with an over-medium egg. I scoot the egg into the rounded corner of the toast to maximize the egg to thick bread ratio. A little more toast is dedicated to sopping up the yolk. The last bit of butter grilled bread gets a drip of honey.

Warm thick toast. Warm thick honey. Thank you God for grain, gluten, and bees.

A taste of honey leaves me wanting more honey. Dessert that day and breakfast the next day and dessert for a church group that weekend became nectarine halves drizzled with honey, filled with clouds of whipped cream, topped with simple granola, and drizzled with more honey. Think fresh stone-fruit crisp.

Bjorn's thinking. I believe that look says, "Mmmmmm."


Simple supper? Salmon, celery, a bit of mayo, grainy mustard, and dill on delicious french bread. Roth's Fresh Market a block away makes a big beautiful loaf for less than $2. Plus, they throw chocolate-chocolate chip bakery cookies at my kids. Everything else in the store is priced up to replace the hit they take on the bread and cookies. Still worth it. Top salmon salad with a slice of Roma straight from the garden. Add pepper.

Kill a late-night lingering appetite with leftover salmon salad and bits of green bell pepper. But whatever you do, don't save the salmon salad. Eat it. Eat it all up!

And the blackberries!
They are everywhere in the Willamette Valley. including the Mission Park trail we bike/run before swimming in the Willamette River.

Josephine rushes ahead simply to stop by the bridge and take in the view. Breathless, she turned around, "Mom, what took you so long?" Smiles all around. Love that kid! Why does every child do this at some point? I know I rushed ahead just to do a quick stop when I was a kid. Are Jo and I alone in this?

Then came Oktober Fest and feast. Again, Roth's. They make incredible rye buns and always stock a nitrate free option when it come to deli meats.

Can you believe this year marks the end of my sauerkraut virginity? Sweet and sour. Tender, crunchy, and slightly chewy. Sauerkraut is my new favorite sausage condiment edging out tender caramelized onion sauteed in Coca-Cola.
So yeah, better for me too and a bit more sophisticated.
Who knew sauerkraut could be high-brow? Still, just thinking about coke-grilled onion makes my mouth water for reindeer sausage street dogs from my hometown, Anchorage, Alaska. If you are ever in Anchorage, bust down to 4th Ave and get a reindeer dog from Mia, aka, the girl with the coke can.

I also found myself in Seattle this fall. Had to stop by my favorite blogger's restaurant. Thanks Molly and husband.

The tomato salad was delicious. Once home, I was making my own version for weeks. It was tomato season in my backyard so I was well stocked.

Take a couple handfuls of halved cherry tomatoes and quartered heirlooms, a teaspoon of marmalade, a generous squeeze of lemon, and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Mix. Crumble some feta over top. Mix again and serve. Surprising. Life changing. The lemon makes all the difference.

More grilled toast and egg. This time, with cheddar in the San Juan Islands. Try Calico Kitchen and bakery in Anacortes. You'll start stalking island real estate and looking for a new job just to be close to their hearth.

It must be that time of year. Josephine is obsessed with accessories and leaves are showing up everywhere . . .

along with pumpkin slime . . .

and frightening faces. Silly puppy, vampire princess, and kitty cat came with a price. I stabbed by thumb webbing. I can still move all my fingers. You can thank me now for not showing you that picture. Gore galore!

Now we are in the swing of Autumn.

Dancing our way through October.

Using the last of our zucchini and tomatoes.

Squeezing the most out of every last day of sunshine with friends and grilled pizza on the patio.

It's good to be back. It's good to be home.


  1. hellooooo! great blog you have here! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am now following you too! you are an extraordinary woman! OMG so inspiring! and sooooo coool you met Rachel Ray and went on her show!

  2. You have been busy! Love your son dancing in his underwear - so my son!

  3. Wow, you've been busy! Love the late summer bounty of berries in the PNW - I miss blueberries and blackberreies!

  4. That was your longest post yet and I loved it!! I want your zucchini soup recipe. You see I just discovered that I LOVE zucchini. My Mom never served it to me because she hates it and so I thought I did too. But it is fantastic!!
    You should have posted all of bjorn dance picture's!

  5. Makes me remember of my childhood before.