A kitchen that is almost done…

As per my usual way of doing things, I decided to fix our kitchen midst every other golly gosh thing going on—more on that soon. So here are some pictures of the before and almost after. I say almost because there are a few more steps in place before it becomes a finished ordeal. We are at a reasonable stopping place, but not a done spot.

I had this incredible helper who dug in with both hands. It was such a pleasure to work with him!

He got this picture of me proving my ever-lasting strength!
But true credit goes to the crowbar. Without a crowbar it would have been impossible…

This here is our new baby stove. Just in time to cook Christmas dinner too!

Happy Holidays!
                Marica

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving… Not just good food, but amazing friends too! There is a new baby in our periferal world, and the kids just LOVE  him!!!

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday as well!

                                       Cheers!

                                                        Marica

P.S.

 From a post a few years ago, this is my go to cranberry sauce:

Quite tart, but super tasty, this is the cranberry sauce I made for tonight’s feast.

Combine in a pot and simmer over medium heat until

cranberries are soft (about 10-12 minutes).

24 oz fresh cranberries washed and picked over

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup brandy

1/4 cup marmalade

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Birthday Dinner

September Garden…

For those who are not suckers for garden pictures, you might just skip this post. I happen to be a weak-at-the-knees flower lover, so my self-indulgence merely feels like a hurray for the bounty of still blooming life in my garden.

 Our summer was mostly rainless; a lot of August heat, an over deluge of wildfire smoke and some beautiful days tucked in here and there.
 
I believe my least favorite months are August and January. Around here, February has the timid hope of spring coming and September has turned the mild corner toward autumn. August and January just bring agghhk. Too much heat or such a daily cold rain that even I look out and dream of a little blue—and let me tell you, blue skies don’t bring me joy the way it does so many others. My perfect weather is a smattering. The best days are grey and blue; charcoal rain in the distance and then a bucket tipped so quickly onto the un-expecting walker that you feel like you got swept right into the whimsical weave of weather in a fairy book.
 
Either which way, I have relief that the torment of the hottest summer month is over and the following pictures are in my appreciation for the bits of garden that still thrive.
Oops!
Hope everyone is having a nice September.
                                          Cheers,
                                                   Marica

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

BLOG OVERLAP FROM DEAR COUNTRY MOUSE

Dear Country Mouse,

Happy September to you!

I indulged at the food truck and made this dreamy cookies and cream cheesecake. The best part was that I forgot I had made it, went into work the next day, opened the back refrigerator and POP, there it was un-sprung from the pan with just the one slice cut out of it. Somehow the surprise of it gave the cake an extra skip of charm.

cheesecake, desserts, portland or

Anyway, I thought I’d tuck the recipe here so that if you’re feeling cheese-cake-y you don’t have to search too far : )

COOKIES AND CREAM CHEESECAKE

FILLING:

Whip in a large bowl until smooth:
16 oz cream cheese (letting it warm first to room temperature makes it easiest)

Add to the cream cheese and continue to whip:
1 + 1/3 cups white sugar

Add and continue to whip:
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Add and continue to whip:
2 cups sour cream

Add and mix but try to keep some chucks:
1 + 1/2 cups Oreo style cookies (I use Newman O’s) broken into pieces. 

Add one at a time and mix until everything is combined:
4 eggs

CRUST:

Remove the cream from 2 cups of Oreo style cookies. 
Pulse the cookies in a food processor until they are crumbs. 
Add 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and pulse again. 
Add water until the mixture holds together (about 1 tablespoon).

Press into a buttered 10 inch spring form pan. Fill with the cream cheese filling and top with half a cup of cookies.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 24 minutes or until the center is only slightly jiggly. 

Alright lovely, I miss you and hope to hear from you soon!

Cheers,
City Mouse

Portland, Oregon Gardening

 I have had a wonderful spring and summer gardening. This year I put two feet forward and found that extra ummff to try to make the flower and vegetable gardens I have been dreaming about since childhood. Portland, Oregon is the place to do it, and if I am ever going to succeed, now is the time. So below are a splattering of corners and pockets that have made their mark thus far. Next year I hope these new perennials will be more established and the soil even better to work with:
 snap dragon
 nasturtium
 crocosmia
 shasta daisy
 gladiola
 spearmint

 

 French lavender
 strawberry
 shasta daisy
 sugar pumpkin
 Japanese eggplant
 cherry tomato

 

What did you plant this year?
                                                                    ~Marica

Refrigerator Pickles… a recipe

 I absolutely LOVE when it is pickle making time of year. I am not—yet—the best preserver when it comes to “putting by for winter” though ever since I was a child it has been a dreamy idea to me. I always pep myself that this will be the year. THE YEAR where I start a pantry of all I grew and canned and dried and all the rest of the fanciful notions that seem attainable when the short days and cold weather make it just story book enough to feel possible. As a child I would often play house and would spend uncountable hours foraging for mazanita berries and wild cherries; storing up good food for when the blizzards hit. We lived in Southern California.
Anyway, what follows is the pickle recipe that does get used in my kitchen. Maybe when my hair is white and I finally get to wear the muumuus I so intend to eventually wear, I will have more tried and true recipes for preserving summer’s harvest.

 

 

Refrigerator Pickles 
In a very clean 1 gallon jar place a washed strand of fresh dill weed.
If you don’t have fresh use a tablespoon of dried.
Add roughly 4 lb. pickling cucumbers washed (they are all over at the farmers market right now)
4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup salt
1 + 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper corns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole allspice
a few cloves
6-8 cups water or until jar is full.
optional: pepper flakes or a couple fresh hot peppers,
fresh strand tarragon. 
Cover with wax paper and fasten with string or a rubber band.

Let sit out for two days, out of direct sunlight, then refrigerate for up to two months.

Recipe is re posted from this post. 

Cheers ~
Marica