Friday, December 17, 2010

Steak with Jessica

Puree of Cauliflower
Spinach, Pear, almond salad
white wine
dolin blanc vermouth
a whole jar of pumpkin brittle
 the best conversation with a lovely friend

Monday, October 11, 2010

New embroideries from Luxury Dinner Party now ONLINE

I've posted more images from the Luxury Dinner Party entry on my site for sale!

swing by and check them out!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Jeremy's Birthday Feast, or Luxury Dinner Party, Project Food Blog Challenge #3

Birthday dinners are always a reason to celebrate with decadent food and drink, but sometimes our busy schedules leave us with little time to plan and less time for evening festivities. I had wanted to throw a wildy epic dinner party, but I was in the middle of packing and moving! There didn't seem to be any time to plan and cook and keep my head screwed on straight.
On top of my own crazy schedule, my beau, Jeremy, was having the craziest week of his life: his company was pitching big bold ideas to new clients, planning a lecture, organizing a photo shoot, building a bar, and somehow hoping to celebrate his birthday...

First Course
Pearl Unpasteurized Cow's milk Cheese
Sliced Baguette
 Captured By Porches Beer

Main Course
Grilled Skirt Steak
Wild Caprese Salad with Local Nectarines
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
Cameron Gehrtz Vineyard Pinot Noir

Salted Caramel and Coconut Toffee Ice cream
Stroopwaffle Honey Cookies
Moet Chandon Champagne

The Project Food Blog Challenge # 3 before me, I knew I could create a meal for him that was special, delicious, fit into my restricted diet, was quick to make. It also had to be fuel for the late night work he and his 2 partners still had to do after the dinner party concluded.

Pearl, unpasteurized cow's milk cheese

His business partner's wife, Victoria, and I planned the menu together, and with her tiny infant, Enzo, in tow, we braved the grocery store. I have actually never shopped with an infant, and this was quite the experience, getting lots of attention! And though he squirmed, our list was simple so we were surprisingly efficient.

Red Potatoes with Rosemary

Wild Caprese Salad with Local Nectarines

Back at her house, she hung a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, and set the table with dishes from her wedding. Lit candles around the warm room, and played the new record by The National on the stereo.
Meanwhile I chopped potatoes, tomatoes from her garden, nectarines. Tore the tiny mozzarella into bite sized morsels, and dressed the salad with large basil leaves, so fresh and green against the colorful mix of fruit and tomatoes.

Even thought the guests, totaling 8, would arrive within 20 minutes, I was calm and collected. What is the point of stressing out about things? I may have dropped potatoes on the floor, or dipped my finger in the cayenne instead of paprika, and threw this whole thing together in a matter of a few hours, but I wanted the evening to be fulfilling and special, free of pressure, free of stress. Like a back massage for the senses...

The steak I marinated in a mix of cumin, coriander, paprika, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple and elegant. My favorite combination. When Victoria's husband, Fritz, arrived, he threw them on the grill for me, and honestly they came out perfectly.

Skirt Steaks, medium rare...yumm!

My plate, with a heaping pile of salad and steak.

Captured by Porches is a great local brewery, The owner used to do DIY style parties where he would show up secretly and serve beer... don't know if that still happens...
Our friend Jack's birthday was the day before Jeremy's. He received this amazing bottle of local Pinot Noir, and decided to share it with the table...I LOVE THIS WINE.
A little fancy, eh? Moet Chandon
The bottle of Champagne was a gift to Victoria and Fritz when their son Enzo was born. It added a touch of class and took the dinner party to a new level of decadence. Sipping it out of mismatched tumbler glasses, sitting with my friends at a long wooden table, we were the perfect mix of high and low brow. Of casual and classy. I love to create an effortless atmosphere that makes you feel like you rolled out of bed instantly looking fabulous.

Lovely's 50/50 makes the best salted caramel ice cream ever.

The dessert was a Stroopwaffle, a sweet cookie of Danish origin, nestled into a scoop each of the delicious Lovely's 50/50 ice creams. Victoria had a box of mixed letter candles to put into Jeremy's dessert. We had the option of T, O, L, I, !, A. I thought about TAIL,  or TOIL, but settled on LIT as being the cleverest, and hopefully not reminding them too much that they were "TOIL"ing for sure with the intense workload.

In the end, everyone was gracious, happy, and full, A success for sure. Jeremy was able to have a luxury dinner party with his close friends, without too much stress.

To me, the most important parts of a dinner party, are to sit and enjoy it with your guests, to not take things too seriously, and have fun. I think that these rules apply to every aspect of life. I am so grateful I get to enjoy it surrounded by such wonder and beauty, so many amazing things to eat, and incredible people to share meals, smiles, and birthday celebrations.

Monday, September 27, 2010

behind your shoulder while you cook

I have gotten a lot of reader response from people wanting to buy the illustrations I have been making.
So, I decided to set up an online store to sell them. I will update it with every blog post so you can get your hands on the most current artworks!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fruits of the Earth, Fruits of Longing

Moroccan Lamb and Asian Pear Tajine. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

Friday I was in a class all day, so i didn't get the news that I had advanced into the next round of "Project Food Blog" until 4pm that afternoon. How exciting!

The challenge: To cook a dish from another culture that is out of my comfort zone.

My initial thought was something Greek, or Turkish, because I love the cuisine, but I knew that it was also important to stay true to my purpose and my cleanse. I sat on my front stoop in the sun, in cut off jean shorts, sipping mint iced tea, the weather tricking me back to summer. I think of myself as an intuitive cook, rarely using recipes, but for this challenge I knew who to look to for inspiration, what tome would guide me on a spice tour that was delicious, nourishing body and soul, and honoring the ground rules that I have been following for the past 5 weeks.

An additional and self imposed challenge to go along with the cooking is to embroider and sometimes paint all of the food that I make. This time it proved very challenging! How does one embroider rice! I think I did a pretty good job, considering the time frame...
Preserved Lemon Rice. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

I decided to embroider this one last minute! The paint was still wet on the scanner! Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper
Diana Henry is my new favorite cookbook author. She is my foodie muse. Her book, "Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons" is, as one of my diners said: food porn. I browsed the many delectable North African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes, and arrived at a perfect late summer menu:


The rice isn't traditional. Couscous is, but that is a grain I just can't eat right now, so I substituted rice. Also, the recipe called for Quince, but there weren't any at the store, so I opted for asian pears instead.

My car was in the shop, so my boyfriend said I could borrow his:
My beau's awesome 1976 BMW 2002. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

I picked up the groceries, and arrived at his house to cook at 7:45. oops! dinner was planned to be at 9, but the recipes called for at least 1.5 hours of cooking, plus all the prep. He had at the very last minute gathered a party of 6 together, and I was excited and nervous to cook this meal, lamb shanks being something I had never prepared before.

the ingredients for everything:

olive oil
cinnamon stick
preserved lemon
stock(used homemade from a chicken I had made the week previous)
lemon rind
lamb shanks
asian pear
fresh figs: turkish and black mission
manouri sheep cheese (for the figs)
salt and pepper

A pretty simple list of ingredients for a delectable and complex meal...and no wheat! no dairy! (except for the manouri sheeps cheese, but that was for the other guests...)
Chilled Avocado and Cilantro Soup. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

The lamb was fairly easy to cook! hooray! I braised it briefly in my favorite Le Creuset pot (the one I found at the Goodwill for $2), and let everything simmer, stirring the spices into the butter, mixing the garlic, onions and rich spices and letting it cook for what seemed like hours, while the fruit reduced in water, filling the room with perfume. I could almost imagine the heat, scents and colors of the far away lands where this food was born.
The soup chilled in the fridge, and I took a hand blender to it. I love these things. The ease in which they blend!
Fresh Figs, Manouri Cheese, Chestnut Honey. Freehand Embroidery and Watercolor on Paper

Everything took a little longer than I expected, we didn't sit down to eat until 10:30, and I made a huge mess chopping onions for some reason...but the guests arrived and played cards, drank wine, ate dates, and joked, as the darkness grew around us, and the evening breeze tangled with the sweet heady scent of the stove.

The end result was a table of smiling, too full people, and one happy cook. Excited that I had challenged myself with a dish that was foreign to me, I tasted success with every taste bud, felt deep gratitude for and from the room of friends, and best of all, I didn't have to clean up the mess...

Vote for me here: Project Food Buzz

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday Monday...part two...

Bacon and rosemary Chicken

After such an amazing breakfast I had the energy to run around and take care of errands, clean my room, do a little vintage store browsing...
Sunday night after our woodland adventure, we stopped by New Seasons and picked up a chicken that I had mighty plans to roast the next day. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But in the spirit of my cleanse, my guidelines are

Only Meat and Veggies. Butter. Olive Oil. Vinegars, Eggs. Fruit, but only if it's local. Herbs.

It seems like a difficult thing to do. Not have any grains. No bread. No Cheese. No Sugar. ALSO: no corn, potatoes, caffeine, alcohol, nuts, seeds, chips....

It stresses me out to think of all the things I CAN'T eat. But honestly the list above of the amazing things I CAN eat is pretty vast. And I am happily exploring it.

The Menu for our magic Monday Meal...

Artichokes with handmade aioli
Roast Chicken with bacon, rosemary, evoo, salt and pepper
Wild Chanterelle gravy with pan drippings, bacon grease, shallots, and arrowroot powder
Roasted root vegetables: parsnips, carrots, baby turnips, kolrabi, garlic
Baked apples with blueberries and cider reduction

I let myself in the garage door of my beau's house. It was empty and quiet. I put a Fela Kuti record on the stereo, let the meowing cat in the front door, and pulled the chicken out of the fridge.
the well salted chicken. I had ever put bacon on one before, but it seemed like a good idea, and helped keep it incredibly moist.

Below is the meal that I prepared and we thoroughly enjoyed.  It took 2 hours from start to finish, and I had enough time to work at my leisure, clean as I went, feed the cat some chicken liver, sweep the floor, and set the table...

The apple on the left was the tastiest one I have ever tried. And so pretty! pink inside!
And even though I am not supposed to have any alcohol, I did cheat a tiny bit with a few gulps of red wine, with which I will toast to many many more delicious everyday feasts that are healthy for my body and lifting of my spirits...

it was my first time making aioli, and I added too much oil too quickly, but it still made a tasty dip for the artichokes!

I cut open the apples, cored some of their insides to make little bowls for the blueberries, a dash of cardamon, apple cider, and a little red wine...baked at 400 for 45 mins.

Monday Monday...part one...

I was in a small auto accident last month, and I haven't been back to work. In fact I quit after a month of being unable to run food. Unable to cook for my father as much as I wanted. Unable to dance. But recently I have picked up the chef's knife and started making meals for my beau and his team of designer buddies over at OMFGco. I wake up there many mornings, and since I haven't been feeling motivated due to my hand and shoulder being injured, I decided that cooking for them would kill two birds with one stone: make me happy to feed them, and make them happy to be fed...

We went chanterelle hunting on Sunday, and Monday morning this was our breakfast:

our chanterelle bounty.
eggs over kale from the garden, chanterelles, shallots, and butter...
bacon from New Seasons on a T:BA paper

Fried Green tomatoes from the garden.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


This morning I decided to make breakfast for a team of friends. We had bacon from Olympic Provisions in the fridge, farm fresh eggs from the market (some with pink and blue shells!), and gluten free pancake mix (to honor my cleanse).
I just added water to the mix, a few eggs, whisked it together and voila!
I decided to make the pancakes into the shape of the letters in their names. Also, that is a giraffe on the left...just for fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Cleanse, that begins and ends in Feasts.

Seven years ago, I began my creative career as an artist/fashion designer. Embroidering whimsical designs on vintage clothing under the label Bonnie Heart Clyde, then creating 4 seasons of my eponymous eco-fashion collections.  But despite all the magazine articles, the rave reviews from countless women who loved my rainjackets, I was deeply craving a life that brought more pleasure and less stress.

So recently, I put down my needle and thread, said goodbye to the faster than light trends, the fickle nature of fashion, and decided to spend more time curating a fantastic and delicious life for myself.

I put the brakes on fashion, intending to return. But in the meantime I worked for one of Portland's restaurant sweethearts Clyde Common as a food runner. I loved this job. After being self employed for 7 years, I never realized how important working with such a wonderful and diverse group of people is.

But now I am embarking on a new adventure. Again, under the supervision of a  super Naturopath, I am 4 weeks into another crazy cleanse. My goal is to live a rich, long, and healthy life. And as much as I hate it, that might mean eliminating many of the foods I love.

The first words he said to me were:

no dairy

no wheat

no sugar

ok. so then what am I going to eat!!!?!?!???

So here is my mission: To come up the with most amazing delectable mouthwatering feasts, that fall into the realm of WHOLE FOOD. I want to write a cookbook, and pulling from my embroidered past, I plan to illustrate the dishes that I prepare, eat, and enjoy.

Bacon from Olympic Provisions, eggs and wild chanterelles, roasted padron peppers, strawberry salad with mint and lemon cucumbers.

the best part about this meal, besides sharing it with the man I love, is that everything we ate came from within 30 miles of home....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

summer dinner party