Smash that Pumpkin

Recipe: Blueberry Pumpkin Muffins

I’m not going to make excuses for my blogging hiatus. Well, okay one. We had eighty days of pretty much straight sunshine here in Seattle. Really. Hardly any rain fell from mid-July through to the second week of October. Friends visited, trails were hiked, kayaks were paddled, day-trips were taken. And, I cooked of course – this year I really took my canning seriously – tomatoes, pickled peppers, creamed corn, and ketchup.

And I am, still delighted to be home. Delighted by everything I already take for granted in the is house, again, from the morning light, the 10 minute walk to Kerry Park, and the swing on the porch to the duel fuel stove.

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Homecoming Pie

I should be packing. We’re a few days away from moving home. In spite of boxes and painting projects, all the endless detail arrangements, I still don’t really believe. But every so often, I get close. Like the day I took the dogs over to play in the backyard and saw sheer joy in their body language.

Or when I realized that this week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe, for Blueberry Nectarine pie, was contributed to the book and TV show by Leslie Mackie. It’s not only that Mackie is based here in Seattle, but her bakery is four blocks from my house. Macrina’s second location opened on McGraw Street in 2001. K.M. and I moved into the neighborhood in 2003.

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Remember Biscotti?

When did biscotti become invisible? All the rage in the early ’90s, there is still a jar of these twice-baked Italian delights in nearly every coffee shop —some good, some bad, but nearly all just fine after a few seconds in a shot of espresso. But until this week’s Tuesday with Dorie challenge, Hazelnut Biscotti, I hadn’t tasted one in years.

I’m never going to let that happen again. If you leave the hazelnuts out of the equation, biscotti are easy to make. Make the dough – shape it into logs, bake it, cool it (I refrigerated mine overnight), slice it and bake again. The hands-on-time is way less than the average chocolate chip cookie, I promise.

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Bread Pudding Chez Nora

Recipe: Bread Pudding with Salted Butterscotch Sauce

I ate bread pudding for dinner last night.

My mother didn’t serve Yorkshire pudding [with roast beef]…My mother served potato pancakes instead. I serve Yorkshire pudding and potato pancakes. Why not, you only live once.”
-          From ‘Serial Monogamy’

One of my favorite writers died this week. Nora Ephron may be better known as the queen of  romantic comedy, but she was much more. She was a real writer, concerned with craft, timing and the art of storytelling.

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Crustacean Crush

Recipe: Vintage Crab Cocktail

I lived on the East Coast for seven years, but I never really fell for lobster or lobster rolls. They’re good, particularly in Maine, along the coast, but they just never made me swoon. It’s not just a West Coast bias – I still dream of the fried clams on Cape Cod, for instance.

But when it comes to crustaceans, I am a Dungeness crab-girl. It’s a treat I will forever associate with trips to the beach as a kid, and the taste of the summer. The Washington coast Dungeness season typically runs from December through September.

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Strawberries and Cream…and Cake

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge was a close call.  Who wouldn’t want to make a French strawberry cake: strawberries, cream and a chance to make a génoise? But what about the berries?  French rhubarb cake doesn’t have the same glamor. At least not in June.

Strawberries are delicate –the best ones really can’t travel very far, or wait very long.  And I’m stubborn. I’d rather wait for a local berry – one that is red all the way through, tender and truly sweet –  than make do with an imitation – something that exhibits all the mechanical characteristics of a strawberry without actually being one.*

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Carrots are Divine

Recipe: Spicy Carrot Pudding

I’m a child of the ’70s. If Bugs Bunny says it, believe it.*

Carrots are the first thing I ever grew from seed. My parents were big landscape gardeners, but not much into food gardening.  My mother planted cucumbers on the south side of our house one year, and the vines actually climbed up the house and under the siding – anything goes for heat-loving plants in the Pacific Northwest. Some years she grew corn, and almost always pumpkins and tomatoes – but it was too haphazard to be called a garden.

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