summer squash & zucchini lattice tart

28 August 2009

This beautiful savory tart was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. I made this for a Fourth of July BBQ and have been meaning to write up the recipe for awhile now. This is not really a particularly complicated tart to make. It really looks much more labor intensive than it is. The squash and zucchini for this particular tart were courtesy of Heather Q's garden.

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Here is what you need:
1 sheet of puff pastry (or pie dough would also work!) - thawed
2 medium zucchini
2 medium yellow squash
1 medium onion
1 large egg
1/4 cup of cream
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/2 cup feta cheese

Start by laying out your pastry crust on a tart pan and pressing up the sides. If you don't have a tart pan, you can also use a pie pan and only fill to about half way if you're using a pie pan. Poke a few holes in the bottom to help it ventilate and stay flat in the pan. Prebake the crust in a 375 degree oven for 7-10 minutes.
Remove the crust from the oven and allow it to cool a bit.

Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to collect a few long thin strips of the zucchini and the squash...you want enough of each to be able to lay flat across the top of the tart pan. Once you have your strips, pat them off between two paper towels and put aside. Chop the remaining squash and zucchini as well as the onion. Sauté the chopped veggies (not the strips) in oil and salt and pepper to taste for about 5-7 minutes until softened. Take the vegetables off the heat and mix the goat cheese and feta in until everything is well blended. Transfer this mixture to the crust. Whisk the egg into the cream and pour over the vegetable mixture.

Now, you can either make an open face tart and just throw it in the oven now if you don't want to fuss with the lattice top, but I think the beauty of the lattice top makes it completely worth the effort! To make the lattice, you will do it just like you would a pie (see this link for instructions) and squash has your horizontal stripes and the zucchini as your vertical stripes. Once you weave them, you will get this lovely effect. I obviously didn't have perfect shape and length on all the strips, but it's easy to overlap strips and just make it work. Brush the top with olive oil.

Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

honey roasted plums!

27 August 2009

Yesterday was farmer's market day! Well, I guess every day is usually farmer's market day somewhere in Portland when it's summertime, but I love to stop at the market next to overlook park on my way home from work. This is just the perfect time of year for the market and there is so much in season. I bought some fresh eggplants, cucumber, zuchinni blossoms, plums, and some other wonderful bounty so I can cook up a storm in the next few days.

Last night, I made some amazing honey roasted plums that I cannot seem to get enough of...

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This addiction to the honey roasted plums started last summer when Summer made a post on her blog that rocked my world. A very simple way to make late summer plums into a masterpeice. I reworked her recipe a little to fit what I had in the cabinet and combined 6oz of honey + 2 tablespoons of butter + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice + 1 teaspoon of vanilla + 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. The almond extract helps to work with the vanilla to make the plum flavor pop.

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I also made a really basic cream cheese topping

4 ounces of cream cheese (1/2 package)
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Just combine all these things in a blender (or you can use a stick blender) for a few moments until the cream starts to froth and thicken. i make this topping all the time because it is so basic and so wonderful. It also makes perfect side for dipping fruit (like strawberries!) or adding to sweet crepes.

new tattoos = home made cat & dog treats!

25 August 2009

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Last week, I got a pair of new tattoos that I am really excited about. They are the paw prints of two of my favorite things in the world : my cat (Milo) and dog (Ellie). In honor of my new tattoos, I thought it might be time for a pet themed blog post!

My pets are my kids and as much as I love to bake special treats for my loved ones, sometimes it is also nice to bake some little treats for my furry loves. Also, most comerical pet foods and treats are made from sub-standard ingredients and a lot of chemical fillers and perservatives that are not exactly the best things for our pets to be eating, so it's nice to make something and know exactly what you are feeding your animals.

Peanut Butter and Parsley Dog Treats
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The addition of parsely in this is completely optional. I added it because I happened to have it on hand and parsely is a safe natural breath freshener and my dog has some STINK breath, so I figured it was worth throwing in there!

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


Mix all your ingredients with a wooden spoon in a medium mixing bowl. Roll the dough out to about 1/4" thickness and cut the treats out to a size that fits your dog. I used a tiny little heart cookie cutter because I have a 7 pound min pin with a tiny mouth, but you can use a bigger cookie cutter or just cut a few rectangles out for a more no fuss approach. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until brown.


Tuna & Nori Cat Treats
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My cat's favorite thing in the entire world is nori (seaweed). I buy little boxes full of nori strips at the asian market and he goes comepletely insane for them, so I decided to attempt to make treats using nori. You can skip the nori part if you don't have it readily accessable.


6 ounce can of tuna - undrained
1/3 cup nori (dried seaweed)
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour


Tear your nori up into tiny peices or pulse it in the blender for a moment. Combine all your ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a spoon untill well blended. The dough for these is rather gooey, so I suggest using a silpad or spraying your pan with oil before you bake. You can roll these out and cut them up, or just grab little balls and flatten them as you might with people cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until brown.


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Makeup Basics

24 August 2009

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For a long time, I had no interest in makeup. I felt like it was something people wore because of shame or to hide their flaws and feel shame, but I have recently made a new relationship with makeup and I want to share that with you. Makeup is about art and color and enhancing the things you love about yourself.

I do not think anyone should be made to feel like wearing makeup is the only thing that will ever make them "enough", but I do think if you want to wear makeup for yourself and no one else, then you should do it and not worry about the "right" and "wrong" ways to do it.

In the past year or so, I've done a lot or research to unlock the mystery of makeup application. I've read countless blogs, tutorials, and product reviews...and it is kind of complicated when you have so many different products on the market and you are trying to separate a good ad campaign from the product. My make up collection has become vast and honestly a little out of control and I have tried the dollar store brands and the high end pricey brands and I have learned a few things that I would like to share with you.

Decide what kind of things you want to achieve with makeup. Set some goals and decide what you like and don't like. If you don't like wearing mascara or putting it on, then don't buy it...sure, it's an "essential" to most people, but it is worthless if it doesn't make you feel good and you can always change your mind and try it out later. Don't let other people's rules about make up (including mine!) dictate your experience.

Here are a few of basic things I live by when it comes to make up:

+If you are going dramatic, try to pick either the eye or lip...doing both can be overwhelming. it's nice to do a subtle eye with a dramatic red or bright pink lip or a dramatic colored eye with a glossy simple lip.

+There are a few drugstore things that you don't have to spend a fortune on and then there are some items that are worth the extra money. I will try to go over a few of those things in upcoming posts. Always trust your gut, only buy what fits your budget that you think is really worth it, but also don't be afraid to splurge a little on yourself!

+A makeup collection takes time to build, don't get frustrated or break the bank all in one week. Pick a few things you want to learn about and collect those things over time. I personally decided to start with eyes...I wanted to master the eye make up first, so I collected a whole bunch of shadow colors to play with, then liners, mascaras...then I moved to learning about other things like new lip products and face products. It was a gradual process for me.

+Shop the sales! Drug store brands have a lot to offer and usually there are weekly specials like buy one get one free and that is a great time to try some things out.

+If you are not used to wearing makeup, bright colors might scare you at first and that is ok. The colors probably do not look bad on you, it can just be weird do see them on your face at first, so give yourself some time to get used them before you decide you hate them. And if you decide bright colors are not your thing, that is ok too...neutral colors can be used to make your face pop in different ways and really enhance the things you love about yourself.

+Makeup is not permanent. Take some time on a causal night in a fool around with it. It's easy to clean off.

+Get yourself the right tools. Brushes really are just as important as the products you are using...maybe even more important in a lot of cases. If you want to make some fancy eye shadow magic, it's just like a painting, you need some brushes that will make the look. They don't need to be fancy brushes, just get yourself a cheap set and learn about which brushes work best for which looks.

I am not sure if this is very interesting to any of you because it's not exactly the kind of thing I normally write about, but I would like to make a short series of posts in the next few weeks about make up tips, thrifty tricks, and general information. Is there anything in particular you are dying to know about?

I have not left you!!

07 August 2009

I did not forget about this blog, I promise. I've been thinking about it. It's just been such an overwhelming summer. Good overwhelming, but overwhelming nonetheless.

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I spent a lot of time making a new zine! 2 actually. The zine is a lot like this blog, so I maybe that is why I have not had the energy to update this blog AND write a zine. The first zine is called "New Wave Domesticity" and it is full of of recipes, tips on pie making, craft projects, how to can, how to remove stains, and lots of other nerdy domestic-ness. The other zine was a collection of cupcake recipes and it is called "Cute as a Cupcake". The zines debuted at the Portland Zine Symposium which was lovely. I will have both of these up for sale online in the next few weeks, I just have a busy summer in store!

Other wonderful things in the past two months:

+Portland is amazing in summer. It's full of so many events and sunny day plans. I have a lot of photos and things I will slowly be uploading. Lots of wonderful food and crafts that I will be updating and sharing with you soon!

+I got a promotion! Starting in Septemeber, I will be the "Cultural Director" at my work. This basically means planning events for my lovely coworkers, maintaining the office, working on in office and customer facing campaigns, and lots of other things. It's kind of a dream job and I am so excited to start!

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+Our kickball season just ended! It has been a total blast playing sports and drinking beer with my awesome friends and coworkers. I have often been really apprehensive about team sports (I haven't really played anything since

+I bought my tickets to Philadelphia for next month! I will be taking my best friend, Katy, home with me to visit my family and eat a ton of east coast foods that I have been missing like crazy! A much needed vacation in on the horizon.


+I have so many more updates coming soon! <3
 
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