Monday, May 3, 2010

A Pleasant Little Mini-Break (but first: Pie!)

I'm cross-posting today because I'm so proud of myself for finally hitting upon the PERFECT pie crust recipe. Came up with it myself! I figured I'd try and develop another gluten-free recipe to see if it would work, and it really did. There's a how-to, with the recipe, over at Nothing But An Apron (the homemaking blog I cowrite with my friend).

It was ridiculously easy to work with, too. Sometimes pie crust can be a real pain in the ass. This crust was smooth, perfectly malleable, and delicious. You can't overwork it, after all - it's gluten-free, and not going to glutenize like wheat does! And it was a lot more forgiving with the water; it didn't get all sticky like pie crust sometimes does. Seriously, anyone can make this pie crust, it was so easy. I'm really proud of it.

EDIT: I hadn't realized I already posted about the pie a couple days before I posted this. Haha. Oops. I guess you can tell I really was proud. This is me, blushing. Anyway...

Had a nice weekend, if a bit rushed. We went to the farmers' market on Saturday and got myself some groceries for the week; the strawberries are finally in and OHHHHH MAN, are they delicious. We ate the whole pint (okay, I ate about ¾ of it) on the way down to Ashland on Saturday afternoon. It was a gorgeous day for a road trip, sunny but not too hot, and we stopped on the way at the Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms for incredible bleu cheese sampling and chocolate truffles.

Once in Ashland, we visited my favorite sushi place in the whole wide world - yes, I, She Who Will Not Eat Raw Fish, have a favorite sushi place. It's called Kobe, and it's got a beautiful patio overlooking a wooded stream running through downtown Ashland, and it's my favorite sushi place because they have incredible beef tataki. It's so hard to find beef tataki, but I absolutely love it - steak marinated in ginger and miso, very lightly seared but left mostly raw, sliced thin and served over a bed of watercress. Keith got his raw fish on, so we were both happy, and after dinner we walked up the street and shared a cup of all-natural handmade ginger ice cream with chunks of candied ginger all throughout. It was the perfect dessert to complement the sushi.

At this point Keith had a speaking engagement, so we went to that, and even though he was sick he was on point with his trademark sharp wit. Afterwards we joined some of his associates at a local wine bar for a lovely glass of vino, and then he and I had to get some sleep.

We were up at 2:45 a.m. to head into California. It was right at 3 a.m. when we turned onto Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland's main drag, and had to brake for two unusual pedestrians: a pair of deer, both does, strolling across the crosswalk just like they were shopping downtown! (Jaywalking, however. Though in the crosswalk, they were crossing against the green light. Tsk, tsk.)

It was still dark when we pulled into Dunsmuir, California, a tiny town hidden so deep in the woods that you can't see it from the expressway even though it's right there. We only had to wait for a few minutes; the train pulled up right on time, so I kissed Keith goodbye and boarded while he continued on to L.A. I left Dunsmuir promptly at 5:04 a.m. and got myself settled comfortably in the lounge car to watch the sunrise. It came as we crossed the state line back into Oregon. The train tracks are way back in the mountains there, with no other visible signs of civilization, so the view was so incredible I don't even have a word for it. Deep wooded valleys, sharp mountains dolloped with snow, and every shade of orange and pink in that sunrise. I dozed off watching that and napped for awhile.

Spent the rest of the day on Amtrak enjoying the view and writing. I took a break for lunch in the dining car, where a vegetarian chipotle bean burger actually impressed me with how good it was. After lunch I went back to the lounge car for a cayenne pepper caramel truffle from Lillie Belle Farms, and about 3:30 p.m. we were back in Portland. I caught the light rail across town to the bus that took me home, and I was back in the house by 4:45 to feed the chickens and cats.

None too soon for the chicks in the garage - they are growing like government and eating us out of house and home! I filled their feeder yesterday about 5 p.m. and when I got up this morning at 8 it was empty again. I should get some pictures today; their wings have feathered out and they've reached that awkward in-between stage when they look all gangly and fuzzy. Later this week I think I'll be moving them outside. It wouldn't be warm enough for them if they didn't have Lana, but they do, and it'll be good for them to have access to grass and bugs so they won't eat so much feed. They've been in the garage long enough that the sunshine and outdoors will be good for them.

In the meantime today I'll be doing some gardening. We bought more strawberry starts at the farmers' market, and a friend gave me two more blueberry bushes, and another friend gave me a young bay leaf tree and a green tea tree. Off to do the planting in between the sporadic rain showers we've been getting today...

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