February 2010

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Ah!  Life grows lovely where you are.

Matilde Blind


I’ve got two gems in the eating department for you today.  The cabbage, dressed rather simply in a lemon-parmesan-garlic bit of heaven (adapted from the lovely Molly Wizenberg book A Homemade Life – link to her Orangette blog under YUMMY) and scallops with an orange sherry reduction, conceived by moi under a red roofed kitchen.  Both are quite delicious.

First, the cabbage, because it can sit while you make the scallops.  I am a recent convert to cabbage, probably within the last two years.  I’m not really sure why.  I have no ill memories of it as a child.  To be more precise, I have no memories of it at all as a child.  Maybe I don’t come from cabbage people.  Alas, this has changed.  I love it in slaw of all varieties, steamed with apples, and raw (especially good with Thai Som Tum salad).  The hubster is a pretty big fan, too.

Red Cabbage Salad

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, diced fine or pressed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 small-medium head of red cabbage

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.  Set aside.  Remove any bruised leaves from the cabbage and cut in quarters.  Remove the core from each quarter, and slice the remaining cabbage as thin as you can.  Add to the serving bowl and toss with the dressing.  Add the parmesan cheese and toss together.

Scallops and Orange Sherry Reduction

My apologies, in advance, as this recipe is much less precise than the previous one, but certainly worth a shot.

1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry

3 tablespoons butter, divided


12 fennel seeds

juice of 1 orange, about 1/3 – 1/2 cup

1-2 tablespoons sherry (not cooking sherry)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, once hot, add two tablespoons of butter.  Allow to bubble briskly and gently add the scallops, one at a time, paying attention to where you started.  I like to place them in a spiral around the pan.  Don’t add them too quickly or they will start to steam and release too much juice – they won’t be pretty and golden in the end, either.  Once you’ve placed your last scallop, sprinkle them lightly and evenly with salt before turning them over in the order you put them down.  Once you’ve flipped your final scallop, remove them from the pan in the order you put them down and onto a plate.

Add the orange juice, sherry, remaining butter, and fennel seeds to the pan, being careful not to get burned by the steam created.  Scrape any bits of scallop off the bottom, and allow to reduce until it is slightly thick and syrupy.  Turn off the heat and strain the liquid into a bowl, squeezing out as much of the yumminess as possible with the back of a spoon.  Return to the pan over medium heat.  Add the scallops and heat until warmed through.

Serve with the cabbage, delighting in the bits of reduction that mingle with the cabbage.


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What a lovely weekend it was around here – lots of activity, but not at all busy, full of fresh air, exercise, beauty, good company, and good food.  The highlight was another Portland City Walk.  It had been a while since we last ventured out on one, and it was wonderful to see yet another neighborhood, especially one so very close to home, in a new light.  Terrific, I must say.  Having the hubster home for an extra day was the veritable cherry on top!

Now, to the walk.  Near our beginning point is the stunning gold statue of Joan of Arc – donated in remembrance of American soldiers who fought in World War I.  For non Portlanders, Joan is located at the center of a traffic circle, and not at all easy to access on foot.  We braved the waves of cars and were glad to appreciate an up close and personal view of this luminous lady.

The violets are in bloom!  I want a patch of these in my yard – the scent is intoxicating, and they taste lovely, too.  Choward’s Violet Candy, anyone?

A funky red-roofed abode, you know why.

Charming hellebores.

The beautiful east wall at Laurelhurst Park.

The first of the camellia blooms, too bad they don’t have a scent to match their good looks.

Much further into the walk – the Historic Belmont Fire Station.  Open the second Saturday of each month (lucky us!), it is a tribute to fire fighting and safety in the Portland area.  A real gem!  We took our lunch break across the street at the India Oven.  We love this place, especially now that they’ve moved into this new and improved location.  Malai Kofta, Chana Masala, naan, and Chai.  Double yum!

I’m not a firefighter, but I play one on my blog.

This truck cab is a simulator.  Hop in, buckle up, and go for a ride on a call to an emergency.  It feels very real.

Did you know that fire hats were originally made of leather?

The original bell to the fire house.  Look at the size of it.  Ooh la, la! I can only imagine the sound it made.

Light on Alder Street.

Mighty Oak leaves.

This walk is a hoot!


The mansion on the hill.

This giant tree and, rather unfortunately, impossibly hard to view sculpture of Shiva Nataraja, are on the grounds of a beautiful Edwardian (best guess) mansion built as an Old People’s Home in 1910.  It is now the Portland home of The Movement Center, offering a multitude of yoga and meditation classes.  I can’t tell you how many times I passed this building without knowing it was here.  I am so excited to have found it!

One of the grand entrances to the Laurelhurst neighborhood.

A fine end to our super day – pizza from Wy’East.  Run by two kind-hearted pizza lovers, Red and Squish, it’s cart food at it’s finest, and a great way to support the neighborhood.

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There’s been a lot of dying happening in the world lately, earth quake victims in Haiti, avalanche victims in Afghanistan, and on a more personal level, a dear, sweet neighbor and a kindly mother-in-law (my cousin Allie’s).  When someone dies, particularly someone I have known personally, it always creates a flood of memories of  other endings, not necessarily passings into the great hereafter, but of broken friendships and hearts, dreams and hopes dashed, too.

In the past, I would suffer these rushes of memory like one would an awful interloper, with little degree of kindness or patience.  I do not want to feel melancholy, for it is not the desired state, happiness, always happiness!  However, now, I have come to a new place about grief and memory, or any feeling really.  It arises naturally and will pass, too.  There is no need to fret and even a possibility of enjoyment.

Like thinking of the first person I remember dying, my Great Grandpa Briggs.  He was a silent one, so much so that I scarcely have a memory of him speaking, but I do remember his mischievous smile, his cigar smoking, and the fact that he walked me to the Western Motor Lodge near his home to buy me candy.  Or my Great Aunt Mary, there’s so much I remember about her: a kind voice, boundless generosity, the deepest faith I have ever known, mad crochet skills, the papery softness of her hands, and her beautiful penmanship.  Though I feel a little misty thinking about the two of them, these memories are small gifts of their continued presence in my life.

With all of this in mind, I crafted a playlist, one perfectly suited for honoring my time with grief, like curiously watching a stream from on high, the ebb, flow, and rush.  It is long, but not overly so, with a bit of sunshine at the end.

Nico – “These Days”

Neil Young – “The Old Laughing Lady”

My Morning Jacket – “Knot Comes Loose”

U2 – “Scarlet”

Sting – “Fragile”

Sinead O’Connor – “I am Stretched on Your Grave”

The Rolling Stones – “As Tears Go By”

Philip Aaberg – “Cinema Paradiso”

Peter Gabriel – “I Grieve”

Nina Simone – “I Loves You, Porgy”

Willie Nelson – “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

Feist – “The Limit to Your Love”

Eurythmics – “This City Never Sleeps”

Elvis – “Love Me Tender”

Elton John – “Goodbye”

The Dream Academy – “Life in a Northern Town”

Crosby, Stills, and Nash – “Helplessly Hoping”

The Counting Crows – “Sullivan Street”

Coldplay – “Sparks”

Bombay Dub Orchestra – “Sonata”

Bob Dylan – “Tomorrow is a Long Time”

Bjork – “Come to Me”

Bill Withers – “Ain’t No Sunshine”

The Beatles – “Blackbird”

Amy Winehouse – “Love is a Losing Game”

Tom Waits – “San Diego Serenade”

Tori Amos – “China”

Genesis – “It’s Gonna Get Better”

Shawn Colvin – “Ricochet in Time”

The Talking Heads – “This Must Be the Place”

The Who – “Love Reign O’er Me”

Hi there!

How are you today?  Confused, perhaps?  As in, where is the quotation that is usually posted here on Thursday?  That Colleen is like clockwork with those.  Well, I didn’t figure you wanted to be inundated with them, and therefore pulled a little switcheroo with my anniversary post on Tuesday.  Nineteen years.  Ms. Keller certainly got it right.  I love finding just the right combination of someone else’s words and my photo, not that the right combination of my own words is exactly simple.  Writing can be hard.

Tablecloths are easy, however.  I am really loving this one.  It is my latest find from the bins, and oh so adorable – how cute is that little lady next to my muffin?  It’s cheery, too, like a lemon yellow, full of sun and smiles kind of day, which, by the way, is what we’ve had in great abundance in these parts these past few weeks.  It has been wonderful and a bit odd, I must say.  I cannot recall a sunnier winter in my eleven here in Stumptown.

Hmmm, I have no segue way for what comes next, drat.  It’s tough going from writing about sunshine and cheer to um, fiber.  My naturopath wants me to eat 30 grams a day.  While I definitely appreciate the benefits of healthy bowel movements, lower cholesterol, lower risk of cancer, I have to say that, save for the not at all pleasant psyllium drink I have morning and evening, it is not so easy to get-r-done, and this is coming from someone who really strives for such things.  I eat beans, a lotta beans, whole grain everything, fruits, veges, but still have a hard time reaching the magic number.  Take these muffins, by my calculation, they’ve got three grams each, so I would need ten to get my recommended daily allowance, and while I really, really like them, that would just be too much.  Not that it will keep me from trying to get to 30 by other means (Yams!  Parsnips!), by golly, I will.

Just in case you’d like to try the muffins, here’s the recipe, and I hope you aren’t dissuaded by their healthfulness (that word is a mouthful) because they really are delicious, like carrot cake.  I like carrot cake.  Yum.

Carrot Muffins

2 beaten eggs

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 cup wheat bran

1/2 cup sugar (actually, I used 3/8 cup sugar and 1/8 cup agave nectar, but don’t know how easy it is to find everywhere)

1/2 teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups finely shredded carrots

3/8 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/8 olive and 1/4 sunflower)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped dates (I am a recent convert – slightly sweet and full of fiber!)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, agave (if using), carrots, and oil.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined.  Mix in walnuts, raisins, and dates.  Pour batter into greased or lined muffin tins.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

This made 11 muffins, but I fill my cups pretty high, so you might get 12, or you might get less.


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