Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pie, Frost, Sun, Pumpkins

It's Pietober around here. If I have a signature dish, it's apple pie, and I've been refining my technique of late. Two apple pies in two weeks, the second one revolutionized by the use of this handy gadget:

How, exactly, did I get by all these years without one? Saves a million minutes of peeling, slicing and coring, and is so much fun to use! This one belongs to Bill, loaned to me in hopes of inspiring continued pie making, and of course that ploy succeeded. 

I won't share my recipe (there are many good apple pie recipes out there), but the other change to my pie-making style has been a tip passed from a friend of a friend. Instead of using a pastry blender to cut the butter into the crust, I now grate frozen butter using a cheese grater. Perfect texture, less work. 

Apple pie for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert keeps the doctor away, I say.

It's been such a gorgeous October, bright and sunny and warm, and now the last couple nights it's gotten truly cold- I rode to work this morning on roads coated in frost. The light has been amazing, slanting down with incredible color in the morning and evening as the days get shorter and we head toward the daylight savings change over. Wanders around the bluffs of my neighborhood in the early morning, and a trip to Sauvie Island of a Sunday evening for jack-o-lantern pumpkins have yielded lovely opportunities for soaking up those incredibly atmospheric times of day.

This October leaves me feeling incredibly satiated with sunshine and fall food, scarves, hats, sweaters and soapmaking (more about that another time), knitting and many cozy moments both inside and out. Bring it on, November!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Apples on Fire

On Saturday Bill and I went to a local apple tasting and had a great time tasting 40-odd varieties of apples with my cousin and her husband. I came home with big bags of apples. That night, Bill busted out yet another surprising talent.

Apples foster with vanilla ice cream for dessert on an October evening, cooked by this fellow: supreme goodness. Also, since I am doing Sober October, it's a fun way to get the flavor of good alcohol (in this case, brandy) without any actual alcohol content. Hooray for delicious loopholes!

Friday, October 18, 2013


For as long as I've had a favorite month, October has been it. So much goodness, indoors and out. There's something in the air that brings up nostalgia, even for memories that didn't take place in the fall. This October has been particularly beautiful, bright crisp days and incredible leaves. I've been eating squash on a multiple-times-per-week basis. I made the first apple pie of the season last weekend. I've been knitting away for upcoming babies and Christmas presents--needles and wool are perfect for this time of year. I had to dig out my earband, insulated gloves and wool knee socks for my morning bike commute. Also, can I recommend taking a photography class in the fall? Being able to soak up the beauty of fall while learning how to make the best use of my camera is incredibly fulfilling. Thank you, October, for being wonderful.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall Settling

Fall came in like a lion this year. The first half of September was sunshine and the hottest days of the summer, then the universe flipped a switch and then CRASH-BANG: storms and wind and branches falling on power lines and record rainfall.

It rained sideways a lot last weekend. 

Wonderfully, the last two days have been gorgeous and blue.

I was still in summer mode and sudden fall weather was a bit of a shock to my system, but I'm adjusting now. I'm home in Portland after gallivanting all over the place all summer, and it's wonderful to not have to think about packing for trips, to be able to lay in bed on a weekend morning and think of all the things that can be done that day, here.

My routine is changing a little bit now. One of the main reasons is this excellent person:

Meet Bill, who has been rocking my socks off for the last 2+ months. He's an incredibly talented woodworker, teacher and outdoorsman. He has designed a beautiful shaker-style island/cabinet for my kitchen, which is being built from entirely reclaimed wood. I know nothing about cabinetmaking, and he insists on teaching me as we go. I have no complaints.

Drafting the plan for the cabinet.

All summer I got out of the habit of cooking much, because with so much traveling I had to limit the fresh food that was in the house, so it wouldn't go bad while I was away for several days. Now I am adjusting back to thinking differently about cooking and shopping, while taking into account that I'm at Bill's a couple evenings a week, and he is at mine another couple evenings. I'm reveling in cooking and eating fresh baked goods, squash and apples, and hot soups and stews to counteract the horrific weather of late. This is a new favorite recipe.

At the garden, things have mostly been put to bed for the winter. Leeks, cabbages and collards are still growing, my seed garlic should be arriving any day, and the last of the green tomatoes are ripening on my windowsill.

These days I'm job searching, looking to start my public health career, and I'm excited about some of the opportunities that are coming my way. I'm taking a photography class at a local arts center, and stoked to learn more about using my new camera, but disgruntled that my ancient computer has a hard time handling the big, best quality photos.

Soaking up autumn, taking a ridiculous number of photos, a shot at my dream job, a great guy, and the coziness of the shift in seasons. I try not to take any of these moments for granted, when happiness is so easy.