Going Off the Grid

I'm on vacation as of 5:01 pm today. It's been a break that I sorely need. A break that I've been longing for. And it's coming just in time (my poor co-workers have felt the sharp edges of my crispy-crunchiness for days now.) So tomorrow morning, I'm setting off for this place. I'll walk along the beach - a lot. I'll decompress, de-stress, and just generally unwind some of those tightly-wound knots in my psyche. I'll even dive into a few of those arcane printed devices that some might know as 'books.' While I was talking to a colleague today, he told me that although the surrounding hotels didn't offer much in the way of wifi, I could always walk down a few [Read more...]

Chocolate Mojito Pie

Once again, I tempted fate by entering a pie in this year's Portland Pie-Off.  Since I count two of the pie commissioners as friends, I also helped at the event itself, slicing pies and even answering questions, thanks to the 'official' status wearing an apron seems to grant one at an event like the Portland Pie-Off! Last year, both my 10 year old daughter and I attended the inaugural event.  We went shopping for pie ingredients together... bought new pie equipment together... schemed and strategized about our respective pies together... and then she took home the blue ribbon for best Mash-Up Pie.  Hmmmph. This year, I knew she wasn't going to be there (she was at sleepaway [Read more...]

Bread & Butter Pickles

The refrigerator pickle craze continues apace, spurred on by the rest of the empty wide-mouth pint jars sitting on the kitchen table mocking me...! As per usual, I mashed a few different recipes together, and make a few substitutions (instead of garlic, I add chunks of walla walla onion.) And after stops at 3 different grocery stores in search of pickling spice, well - I did a quick Google search while in the last store, raided their bulk spice section (aided by a 20% off bulk spice sale - thank you, New Seasons!), and made my own. Bread & Butter Refrigerator Pickles (makes 4 pints) 2 pounds pickling cucumbers 2 1/2 cups sugar (see note below) 1 cup distilled white vinegar [Read more...]

The Never-Ending Vat of Sangria

What do you do when you... a) have several overlapping commitments for the next few days (i.e - no time to fuss and/or muss) b) a requirement that you bring a festive contribution to at least 2 of those commitments, and c) days on end of triple-digit heat forcing you out of your humble abode and into the houses of generous friends with air conditioning that they're willing to share? Answer? You make a big batch of easily-replenished sangria, that's what! While I have enjoyed sangria before, I'd never made sangria before. But thanks to my good friend Food Dude (in particular, this timely sangria post), a creatively stocked bar/pantry, and a strong predilection to [Read more...]