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

Snow and a tiramisu recipe…

 We got SNOW!!! They had talked about it coming on Christmas, but no such luck. Still, in some ways this was even better. Right when the after Christmas blues were about to hit, a snowball did instead. Yes, LOTS of snowballs. We had a good, finger freezing, rosy cheeked blasting, snowball frenzy. It was lovely. We played in the day and then by evening when we thought the best of the snow was over it started up again, this time even bigger flakes. The kids headed outside once more and built a snowman by the yellow glow of the street lights.
Thank you mini snowstorm, we miss you already!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for that tiramisu recipe: I have made tiramisu for years; this way and that way, with more ingredients and less. Sometimes using Kahlua sometimes with no alcohol at all. But this year I had an idea about using eggs which I usually omit. I don’t mind raw egg too much, but when we don’t have our own chickens to get them from I am more wary. So, what I did was make a custard instead. I am not a good judge when it comes to traditional tiramisu because I don’t know if I’ve ever had a truly traditional tiramisu. Most restaurants that sell tiramisu bring out something tasty but much sweeter than I can handle. Even this recipe is a little too sweet for me, but a far cry from what sugar load it could have. Sweet or not, it came out wonderfully, and I watched as in disappeared quickly from the refrigerator, nobody really fessing up as the one who gobbled the last slices.
Tiramisu Recipe
In a saucepan whisk until very smooth:
5 egg yolks
1 cup milk
2/3 cup white sugar
Put the sauce pan over medium heat and stir constantly until thick
about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Once the custard is cool add and whisk until smooth:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
Brew 2 cups very dark coffee and dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into it.
Let cool entirely then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey
Whip 4 cups heavy cream until stiff then add:
1 tablespoon whiskey
1 teaspoon vanilla
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Grate 2 cups worth of bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Take out about 36 ladyfingers. Dip each one in the cold coffee and place into a 9x11″ baking dish. Continue until the entire bottom is lined. Now spread half of the custard over the ladyfingers, then half of the unsweetened whipped cream. Sprinkle half of the grated chocolate and then repeat making a layer of dipped lady fingers, custard, whipped cream and then chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for several hours. I noticed the next day the tiramisu had aged into the perfect consistency, so if you have more ability to plan ahead then I do, make it a day in advanced.

Cheers to Everyone ~
Marica

Christmas Feasting…

From late-night cookie parties to Christmas Eve and Christmas day feasts, this was one of the most food laden holidays I can remember. And that’s not even including last month’s Thanksgiving extravaganza.

 

To start I made shortbread and thumbprint cookies. I think shortbread might be one of my favorite cookies of all. They always make me think of my mom because years ago she and I got on a shortbread kick buying the traditional English, quite expensive, shortbread cookies to have with tea every day. Eeks, I miss living near my mom!
 
Peppermint hot chocolate before opening presents. This was my token of compensation
to the kids for having to wait until everyone was up…
 Several decadent breakfasts…

 

 

 My first attempt at anti pasto to kick off our Italian inspired Christmas dinner…
 Stuffed onions that our friends came over and made with anise biscuits in the filling…
 Focaccia bread to appease my fifteen-year-old who will eat ANYTHING 
except risotto which was the main course of our Christmas dinner.
Ending with tiramisu, I hope to post the recipe soon…
 All in all, so much good food and good people to celebrate with.
Missing our faraway clan of family and friends!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
                                                              Cheers ~
                                                                    Marica

Pie and Capitalism

We finally got some rain… Whew…  And then I look at the weather and see Wednesday and Thursday are to hit the high nineties. What is going on? Come on dear planet, can we coax you just a bit into milder weather…?
Lately I have been struggling with the awkward chink of capitalism in a very visible, controlled environment. Having a food truck has been the most glorious ride. We coast through experiences and the sharp curves of learning at a very hippity-hop pace. Right now we are realizing the sour truth of how many landlords/owners truly count dollars before and above the flow of good camaraderie. It is disheartening. But, I don’t think pie will ever be a sorry sight, so here is a picture of why we all bother to do what we do… Pie.
                                                                                                       ~ Marica

One Treat After Another…

It is here, it has arrived, my newest book, One Treat After Another, has officially been released! We had a little trouble getting it out the door, there were cover problems and then a print mishap which led to the book coming out a month after its original release date. But now, hurray, here it is…
Thank you to Mayo, at Escargot Books, who so patiently helped the process through, the book is now possible to order on Amazon, and will be available at other major bookshops soon…
childrens books
Please go check it out… I am so excited, this book was made when my kiddos were little, which is quite a few years ago as the planet turns, and only now is finally in print form. Amazing how time and space are always trying to catch up with intention—
A rainy-day Monday, and bursting with the motion of forward, onward…
                                                                Hope Everyone is well!
                                                                      Cheers ~
                                                                                     Marica

Launching: Dear Country Mouse…

Hello Everyone Lovely,

I am so excited to post about a new blog my goodest friend Robin and I are Launching:

 

http://dearcountrymouse.blogspot.com/
Please stop by and check it out!
                                         All my best!
                                                         Marica