More restaurant

Little pieces getting done. I can’t tell you how much I love our crew. All these guys with their mussy hair, big hearts and goofy humor.

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We might still be a month away from opening, but it’s starting to feel different; a little more real!

 

                                   Cheers~

                                                          Marica

Onward and Forward

I always feel a sigh of relief when the holiday season wraps up. I hate the kids going back to school, but there is a definite release of pressure and the calm new year to make friends with.

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This is an especially exciting January. This year we are entrusting real walls with our food dream and creating a restaurant that will hopefully house customers all year at a semi continues rate. Food trucks are lovely, but winter and summer both hold their challenges from frozen pipes (and frozen customers—almost no customers) to hotbox days where you open the freezer just to cool your face down as you stand wondering what the F#%^*CK you were ever thinking. Nobody comes out for food when it’s a hundred degrees, so you just open to open and watch an empty concrete lot simmer in the sunshine. Yes, four walls, a ceiling, a floor and some good old-fashion tables accompanied by full backed chairs will surely go a long way.

Our house has made some exciting steps forward too, and our giant children are continuing to be more and more giant. I have written myself a list—still to be completed— of what I need to do this month:

 

Foodtruck:

  • Clean Floors
  • Empty and clean fridges
  • Empty of all equipment
  • Power-wash back
  • Take down signs
  • Light sand outside?
  • Scrub walls
  • Scrub steam table
  • Clean shed
  • Move fridges
  • List truck for sale

Restaurant:

  • Paint
  • Wainscot
  • Sand tables
  • Assemble tables
  • Steam clean chairs
  • Purchase dishes/cups/bowls/silverware
  • Figure out bar top
  • Make wood signs
  • Complete menu
  • Make official ordering and shopping lists for each vendor
  • Choose and hang artwork/decorate restaurant space
  • Make bathrooms wonderful/paint and decorate

House:

  • Trim door to basement
  • Install wood floor from kitchen to hall
  • Cap floor to dining room
  • Paint kitchen walls
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Sand and paint bath tub
  • Organize sewing room
  • Hang kitchen doors
  • Hang bamboo on driveway gate
  • Dog door???

 

I also hope to get a little time to relax and recoup. I got some big paper, pastels and charcoal out. I figure maybe I’ll play a bit and see where that goes. I haven’t used charcoal or pastels in a long time.  In fact, I’ve been feeling artistically rusty lately. Not sure whether it’s just been a while, or if I am now past the age of being in tune and my personal flow of creativey has gone away. But that’s a post for another time. . .

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Happy January Everyone!

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A gift made my my dear friend Robin.

                                                           Cheers ~

                                                                            Marica

Better Blogging and big projects to come!

I realized—and I have realized this before— that I feel better when I blog. It’s almost like a chance to sneak away into my own mind/space/creative (for lack of a better word) time. I am so busy that it is much more rare that I sit down to write a post, but it sure does feel good. And when I say was busy, I’m a little scared of what is to come. We are taking a big step and opening a restaurant. Our food truck has been a wonderful chance to get ourselves prepped for this, but now we feel we have outgrown our food truck kitchen and are ready to plunge into full brick and mortar mode.

The shop will be only a 2-3 minute walk from our house, which is incredible as the kids as well as my husband and I can just jaunt over there as we are needed and whenever we please. It’s small, probably seats between 38-44 guests, and the kitchen is going to be AMAZING! I have dreamed restaurant for my entire life. As a child I wanted a place called The Secret Garden, a place where customers dined amongst shrubs and flowering bushes. This place is neither secret, or a garden, but it is going to be special, and a chance to have the atmosphere and coziness that a food truck just can’t offer. The contractors say it will be ready late January to mid February. This actually gives me a whole month of time at home and time to prepare for the restaurant. I’ll add more pictures as there is more progress. IMG_2872IMG_2777IMG_2647

                          Happy Friday Everyone!

                                                              ~ Marica

Ginger Love (and a recipe for how to make sweet pickled ginger at home)

I am a ginger devotee. It is probably one of my most favorite ingredients to eat or cook with. At Japanese restaurants there is never enough pickled ginger on my plate and I am willing to endure the hollow, sour feeling in my stomach that comes free eating far too much pickled food in one seating. Oddly, I have never attempted to make my own pickled ginger. Today, however is a new day, and guess what, I made what will now most likely become a staple in my kitchen—pickled ginger! 
What brought it all to the forefront was a batch of fast pickled radishes I put together at the food truck yesterday. I was needing a little salad pizazz and had a small bin full of fresh pink radishes (I’ll actually give you all that recipe another time, once I figure out the precise proportions to use.) Either way, yesterday evening I was too tired to bother with ginger but my mind was already running with ginger thoughts and laughing at the idea I had never before even tried to make my own fast pickled ginger. Well today it was my priority. Between biscuits and omelets, pies and ice tea, I shuffled aside some time for ginger experimentation. 
The result is utterly satisfying. After eight hours of soaking, the pickles are fantastic; bright, extremely potent, sweet and with a true bite. I will bet tomorrow and even the day after, they will have come to terms with their fate and settled down to a somewhat milder delivery of their pickled ginger charm.  <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>

ginger

ginger, pickling, sweet pickled ginger, Japanese style pickled ginger
Pickled Ginger Recipe
First wash and peel your ginger then slice very thinly until you have about one cup. I used a peeler, but a cheese slicer could work as well. Be sure to follow the grain or the ginger will be rougher in texture. Also note, the ginger gets more stringy as it gets closer to the center so optimally just use the outer portion for this recipe. Place the ginger in a bowl and mix with the following ingredients and then let sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours: 
1+1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 cup water
Please enjoy and let me know how they come out!
                                                        ~Marica

Vegan Sweet Potato and Lime Soup Recipe

BLOG OVERLAP FROM DEAR COUNTRY MOUSE

Dear Country Mouse,

Oh my gosh it is so dark and rainy up here. I do love it, but seriously it is rain, rain, rain right now. I’m trying to send some of this dripping, wet, goodness southward, but I have yet to succeed.

Your succulents are so wonderful! How fun to find the old pieces of ceramic-ware to turn into pots. Come spring, I think I will do that with a couple of my cracked tea pots I’ve been holding on to.

I made a nice sweet potato and lime soup today. Just note, I kept it vegan for the sake of some of my regular customers that I was expecting, though it would be lovely with chicken stock instead. You’d think my food truck was vegan as lately all the recipes I send you tend to be vegan. But truth is, as you know, we are far from it.


food truck, swwet potato soup



Vegan Cream of Sweet Potato Soup


Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until soft:

2 lbs sweet potatoes


In a decent size pot sauté for several minutes:

1 teaspoon safflower oil

1 large sweet yellow onion chopped


Add and continue to sauté for several more minutes:

2 cloves garlicchopped


Add and simmer for 20 minutes:

4 cups vegetable stock


Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and blend with:

1 14-ounce can coconut milk


Continue to blend adding the soup stock and add:

2 limes zest and juice

3 tablespoons molasses

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon saltor more to taste

1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 


Return to the pot and bring to a desired temperature.


Also, I liked it with tabasco and  fresh parsley or cilantro on top. 



Anyway, I love you to pieces! Thanks for the cool idea on plant pots, I will be on that soon.


Hugs and hugs again,


City Mouse



Vegan Banana Muffins Recipe

I have a real soft spot for banana muffins. These particular muffins are yummy and yet still a tiny bit healthy. I often make a batch at the pie truck and then bring them home at the end of the day for my kiddos—They love when I bring treats. These days it’s hard to keep my fifteen-year-old from eating us out of house and home. Seriously! As an added piece—so you can get in the mind of a crazy pie-maker/mother/obsesser-of-story-books—I have an old love affair with the Betsy Tacy and Tib books. I read each and every one multiple times as a child, and to be truthful, I even read some of her later books not so very long ago. Either way, in the stories the house keeper/cook always makes the family muffins on their first day back to school. I found this tradition so romantic. Every time I make my children muffins I think of Betsy and her family and the simple tradition that somehow has made a lasting impression on me. Silly as it sounds, I feel like these are the things that matter. These bits and pieces are what keeps us inspired, warm and decent people in a very complicated world.
vegan, baking, recipes, muffins, banana, healthy

VEGAN BANANA MUFFINS
In a large bowl mix:
3 ripe bananas 
1 cup orange juice 
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup ground walnuts
In a separate bowl sift together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix both sets of ingredients together. Pour into an oiled muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes and then rotate the the pan and bake for another 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

                                                                    Cheers ~
                                                                                Marica

Holidays… Pie Days…

It’s happening fast. December has nearly doubled its speed. 
Make way for Christmas, make way for New Years, hold onto your hat! Here we go…
  
 
                                                                     Cheers ~ 
                                                                                   Marica

Pie Truck Post

I feel like I have very little time to take pictures right now. My days are soooo busy and filled to the brim with children, pies, house cleaning, and all the other little tidbits of things that have to be done. Gone are the days of toddlers and the four meals that happened before the sun even reached it’s peak in the sky. I miss that slower pace. I miss it a lot. At the same time my current adventures are exciting. I am serving the world up pie. Real, handmade, scratch-made, flour-all-over-me-made pies, every week. There is surely monotony, but there is also that burst of life that can happen when I make a connection with a customer. There are the mornings where all that takes me through is, strong brewed chai, a dabble of music and the revelation that I AM MAKING PIE for complete strangers. This is my art, in the form of the word meaning expression, and I better make use of it while I choose to indulge in such indulgences. 
Like with anything, working out of a truck has its ups and downs. It is a very personal, very connected feeling situation. I see the weather—the windshield and other windows of the truck gift me the sensation of being part of each day as its shifts in and out of clouds, sun, rain, or the rare snowflake that will certainly make me giddy as a child. I am in conversation with each and every customer. They see me wash my hands and attend to their meal, from start to finish. Not so much the cooking, I’m in the truck, and they usually wander off to sit down, but as in the way you are a friend to a barista; they remember your drink and make it themselves. I am my own boss. I hesitate to use that word, it is so ugly and unbecoming of what the meaning of that is. I have the weight of making sure I cross my Ts and put tails on my Qs. I often am ready to turn off the propane-powered ovens, lock the door and leave the mess for another day. But I don’t. But I do dream of it, sometimes. 

 I taste food, constantly. I actually realized something the other day—I recommend you give it a whirl—I realized that if you stop to taste food it tastes more. I am often beside myself with how amazing and unbelievably out of this world a simple thing like a mushroom sauteed in butter can be. What I noticed was, even if you eat something less than incredible, if you stop and let your tongue fully communicate to your brain before you swallow it down, it is remarkably more tasty. I tend to be a scarfer. I can eat a burrito faster than my stomach will enjoy, only near the end when I am already quite full do I slow down enough to truly taste. I am planning to adjust my tendencies. 

And I like how magical people find pie. I like touching the piece of a person that goes straight to their, for lack of a better word, “inner child”—the part of us that gets excited by windstorms and soft about Christmas lights. So often pie sounds good, but when it is delivered, it’s a lukewarm, over-sweet, rancid butter lingering disappointment. I love knowing that what I set before these people is the right amount sweet, freshly baked with real butter, and the kind of care I would want someone else to put into my food. Even our sweet pecan pie, though sweet, makes the mark, at least in my opinion. 
 
I wanted a place to serve food from. The goal was good, real food—kind you read about in storybooks—at a price where it isn’t only available to the aloof, fortunate eaters. That would make my stomach turn. It is an almost impossible balance, but so far we are hanging on. 
 
Well, long winded and pie oriented, I better get to bed. Tomorrow is Monday, lovely, lovely Monday. 


                                              Hope you all have a good night!

                                                                                         Marica