Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter in Eden

I'd like you to take a moment and stare into the face of evil. 

The ingredients:  strawberries, pineapple, grapes, papaya and kiwi. 
The cost: oh, I don't know.  Probably like $10 or $15.  The whole meal is expensive.
THE TRUE COST!!  Hundreds of gallons of fuel!  The livelihoods of impoverished farmers!  A culinary heritage built around seasons and savoring, not instant gratification and greed!!!!!

So I kind of didn't do so fantastic staying on the sustainable soapbox for Easter brunch.  I tried... kinda.  No, I didn't find my local asparagus.  There were no signs leading me down to some farm euphoria just off 99W, and in the midst of trying to cook and entertain my relatives, I was running extremely low on patience for technical tedium.

While I may have suffered in sticking to my vague and delusion ethical food code this holiday, the food turned out f-ing fantastic.  Quiche take 2 was a hit with everyone, including my father-in-law, who had never had it before - ever.  Ina made everyone fall in love with her sticky buns and cheddar biscuits, the deviled eggs disappeared, and the no-recipe pasta salad (salami and cheddar cubes, diced red onion, scallions, frozen green peas, enough light mayo to look right and enough dijon to stay a hint, a guess at champagne vinegar and a good squeeze of lemon juice - add salt and pepper liberally and refrigerate overnight until you have made order out of chaos) did not let the bunny-shaped pasta down. 

Again, as in family tradition passed down from every one of my mom-side relatives I've ever known, I had more than the four of us could have hoped to finish the entire weekend, not just an unsuspecting lunch.  I'm still full and feeling fat, even in sweatpants, swearing that Wii Fit is going to totally get turned on... tomorrow. 

Aside from brunch, there were a few other food-related triumphs and surprises this weekend.  First off, Matt's dad brought me a gift that one would hope not to find in their Easter basket, but was more than welcome with a nearby fridge - a huge ruby Spring Chinook salmon filet, caught just this morning on the river not six hours before.  I could have just torn it open, threw it raw on some vinegared rice and been in heaven.  But as much as I love sashimi, I'll spread the love and enjoy it tomorrow night.  When I'm not so beyond-full that I can savor it. 

While I was busy shopping and getting spoiled-rotten with a Coldwater Creek Spa deluxe pedicure yesterday, Matt was turning our nasty garage fridge (it came with the house, and used to be old owner's fishing/crabbing/hunting/stinky storage stash) into a pony keg for his homebrew.  Like a good Portland man, Matt's favorite consumable hobby is beer brewing.  I'm not a big beer drinker, but I do like the homemade stuff.  It's not as carbonated, so it doesn't feel as harsh to drink.  Seeing the smile on his face and the pride as he talked about the steeping, selection and careful processing of this curious yeast-and-hops stew is one of my favorite things.  If he can get as excited about a handmade IPA as I can about a grass-grazing cow, that's perfect.  It all boils down to the same thing - loving and appreciating the beautiful simplicity of what we eat, and taking an active journey in its birth and origins to its final resting place on a joyful table.

Third, my Powell's order was ready.  And at the bottom of the pile of many practical books to read for my first MFA project (and, just maybe, first novel... please!!!) was The Best Casserole Cookbook.  Over 500 casseroles!  I've been looking for this book for about 6 months, ever since seeing it at Metropolitan Market and having it suddenly drop off the face of the planet when I made the conscious decision to purchase.  Now all I need is to plot a potluck.

Tuesday, the Schwan's man cometh.  It looks to be a wonderful spring.


  1. Um, next holiday, can I be a long lost third cousin or something? ;)

  2. I'm slobbering and drooling all over your postings, as always! (this is Brynne as Dan)

  3. Oh, to have a casserole again. Patrick does not eat casseroles, therefore I cannot make them. If I make one, I will eat the entire thing because I love them so. It might take me a few days, it might not. But the entire thing will get consumed and that's NOT a good thing. Enjoy the jumbled goodness the casserole book will bring you!

  4. Won't eat casseroles!? That's communism.

  5. I wasn't going to comment on EVERY post... but I do have to say, I think this is the third apron I've seen you in and they are so cute!! Where do you get them? I'm hoping to bust out the sewing machine this summer and make a few, but I want mine to look like yours!

  6. LOL! Well, for a few years I collected vintage aprons I found around. Correction. My mom found these beautiful vintage aprons at neat antique shops or wherever, and I got them for a few years. I got three of them that way. I got the toile one at Cost Plus World Market, and the green one in my little 'profile' picture was also a gift from my mom. In fact, I think I've only actually bought one apron. It seems to be one of those things, like, "Tabitha would like that!" They are right.

    You'll have to tell me if you start making your own, because I love the fabric selections I see but don't know how to sew! I might have to put you in my employ, if you are at all willing :)

  7. Let me make a few and see how they go :) I'll keep you posted!