Friday, August 10, 2012

Speaking of Domestic Goddesses...

I was lucky enough to somehow convince Heather Earnhardt, Baker Extraordinaire, to demonstrate her luscious Huckleberry Pie (page 157) at Book Larder this past week. I was there to talk about Washington Food Artisans, but everyone else was there to eat Huckleberry Pie (and rightly so!).

If you live in the Seattle area, and you haven't been to Book Larder, and you are even remotely interested in cooking or cookbooks, you should check it out. The space is beautiful, and they have an amazing calendar of events. I was truly honored to be included. They made Dinah's Cheese with Caraway Onions (page 69, by Mark Fuller of Ma'ono) to nibble on while Heather was making pie, and Heather had made a pie earlier that she brought along for tastes. I also made Apricot Sorbet (page 123, by Adria Shimada of Parfait), so the event felt like a delicious party.

Heather is warm and funny, brimming with fun and personality, and it's obvious watching her work that she puts her whole self into everything she does - no wonder it all turns out so delicious. She's getting ready to open her new cafe, The Wandering Goose, on Capitol Hill, and I can't wait. Turns out I'm a well-trained fan of Heather's - every time I drive down 15th Avenue East (which is often) I get a serious hankering for a great big wedge of brown sugar caramel cake, a giant buttery cookie, or a super-decadent macaroni and cheese. I just have to be patient.

Heather talked a little about how she learned her way around the kitchen by watching her grandmother. With just a Hotpoint oven, a Sunbeam mixer, and not a single written recipe, Heather's grandmother would turn out elaborately decorated wedding cakes and other celebration cakes for everyone in town. That talent, dedication, and generosity of spirit is very much present in Heather. She's a lot of fun to watch in the kitchen, so when she starts offering classes at The Wandering Goose, go!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer is here! (for real)

Today was a perfect Northwest summer day - there wasn't a cloud in the sky, and it started off in the 60's and reached into the 80's with just the slightest breeze all day. It was the kind of day I remember from white water rafting trips with my Dad and my sister when I lived on the East coast, and we'd fly out here and then head to Idaho for a week on a river. I loved waking up in the crisp morning to sip hot cocoa around a fire, and then shedding layers all day until it was hot enough to swim and then some. And then right when I thought I couldn't stand it, it would start to cool down, and by the time dinner was over we'd be bundled up and roasting marshmallows around the fire again. So although the calendar says August 4, as far as I'm concerned, summer is just getting started.

And what a way to celebrate! This morning I took the ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where Suzanne from Liberty Bay Books picked me up. While I was waiting for her, an antique Camaro convertible drove by, and I thought to myself, "I sure wish I was being picked up in that." Suzanne and I found each other because we were both holding copies of Washington Food Artisans (aren't we smart?), and when we walked to her car I thought about how sometimes wishes do come true. Then I wished that Poulsbo was further away, but that one didn't happen. One per customer per day, I guess. We did take a little detour along Liberty Bay, where I got to imagine the characters in local author Kristin Hannah's Home Front, and through downtown, with its shops, restaurants, and marina (so cute it looks like a movie set to me) and soon enough we came to the Poulsbo Farmers Market.

Suzanne made Tom Douglas' Pepperonata (page 7) and I made Walter Pisano's Tomato Jam (page 63) with Port Madison Goat Farm's White Rose (brie), so we had a steady flow of people to talk to. It was a really lovely, sun-filled, morning. Spending time in towns like Poulsbo always make me happy - Suzanne knew so many of the people who came past, and everyone was so glad to see everybody else.

Afterwards, my family came to pick me up, and we had lunch at the market and stocked up on apricots, nectarines, and blueberries to take home. Then we headed to Winslow to see our old neighbors. They lived across the street from us for about ten years, and then moved to Bainbridge. It was so nice to see them and to catch up. When we sit on our porch at home we think it's peaceful with just the white noise of the traffic from I-5. They traded that loveliness in for real peace.
Still, it's good to be home.