Monthly Archives: September 2010

EARTH GIRLS

Amy has the most beautiful collection of shells + crystals + fossilized ephemera, so for her birthday I gave her a terrarium filled with baby succulents and rose quartz, full of healing power + a full year’s worth of good wishes. I couldn’t afford any of the beautiful objects at Artemisia, so I built one myself. Hard to imagine going back now — so simple to build them yourself + you save so much money + so fun to arrange how you see fit.  Thanks to the good people at the Portland Nursery, I bought the proper soils to sustain tiny plant in a drainless vessel. With more than enough supplies, I also constructed a properly masculine-energy centered terrarium for my friend Justin.

Don’t forget to check back at the end of the week for Windy Weber’s guest post on gardening + the magic of vegetables…

IT MIGHT TAKE US A LIFETIME

If you needed any more encouragement to have a final end-of-summer picnic, this Louis le Brocquy painting should do the trick. [via Old Paint]

And, some new things that surfaced today:

New Foxy Digitalis website, nice little podcast by friend Eric Hardiman.

I love Jeff Witscher’s addictive little interview blog, 3.D piano.

Another brilliant vintage interview with Emmit Gowin.

It might take us a lifetime to find out what it is we need to say. Most of us fall into where our feelings are headed while we’re quite young. But the beauty of all this uncertainty would be that in the process of exhausting all the possibilities, we might actually stumble unconsciously into the recognition of something that’s useful to us, that speaks to a deep need within ourselves. At the same time, I like to think that in order for any of us to really do anything new, we can’t know exactly what it is we are doing.

I’ve linked to him before. His interview with BOMB magazine the year prior is equally astounding.

And finally, some truly exciting news — my beautiful friend Windy Weber will be contributing her thoughts on gardening and the harvest on this little blog later this week! Not only is she a brilliant musician, writer, and record shop owner, Windy also happens to be an ace gardener. Although we live far apart, I have long gazed with envy at her descriptions and photos of recently harvested baskets of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. I’m thrilled to have her be a bpart of Popcorn Plays. Please check back soon!!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPZgN4i78rA]

DEFINITE WINDFALL

Another classic Portland summer activity — blackberry picking at a remote bush (more like a bramble the size of a small house, really) deep into the twilight hours. Managed to get several baskets of herbs (rosemary, sage and lavender for drying + cooking) and flowers, as well. Macerated several handfuls of the wild blackberries in a few bottles of sparkling white wine and, coupled with a few sleeves of saltines, had another impromptu boozy late-night picnic. The multitude of cuts and scratches were well worth it.

I’M A FUN-GI

This mycological crop top is pretty much perfect.

[Via hello lindello]

RECIPE TO PREP A PICNIC

RECIPE FOR THE PERFECT PICNIC:

A seasonal salad served cold, or barely warm. We also made an on-site caprese. (This is all from the farmer’s market: 2 ears of corn, shucked, 3 tomatoes, diced, 1/2 lb green beans, halved, and minced garlic, all braised in butter + a bit of vegetable stock. Finish with lemon juice + red pepper flakes + salt and pepper. Delicious cold.)

The perfect location. Labyrinthine + deeply magical + with the deep scent of roses wafting throughout.

A deep basket to hold everything (including four bottles of contraband rosé.)

Mixtapes your boyfriend gave you and a cutting-edge portable sound system.

Plenty of charcuterie, cheeses, fruits, spreads, and crackers.

An adorable dog.

She is gorgeous. This looks like the beginnings of a very promising black velvet painting.

If you live in Portland, proper picnic attire means always being dressed for inclement weather, i.e. waterproof rain jacket.

With summer almost being over, the urge go picnicking has died down. I spend more time daydreaming about lamb stews + a roaring fireplace. But if you haven’t done a proper picnic at least once this summer, find a grassy spot + stay for at least five hours. Don’t forget to bring enough tapes.

FREQUENT VARIATION

“COOKING” FOR EVERY OCCASION

Dinner in bed: Cilantro + basmati rice + red onion + lime zest + pat of butter. Rainbow chard fried with browned garlic + red pepper flakes + baby fennel + chopped bacon + lemon squeezes over all.

Picnic sandwiches: Smoked turkey + cheddar + baby arugula dressed in lemon + broiled bacon + warmed baguette + spicy mustard.

Movie snacks: “Jojos”. Quartered and roasted potatoes + smoked paprika + olive oil + leftover scallions + plenty of sea salt. More than you think you need. Roast until tender, fluffy and crispy. Always better with skins still on. Serve with homemade aioli or sour cream or ranch. (Note to self: find homemade ranch dressing recipe.)

Far too lazy to cook: Boston lettuce + tender carrots + dates + chopped almonds + basil vinaigrette.

Comfort food: Softened heirloom tomatoes + braised chickpeas + red onion + garlic + hot sauce + penne + parmesan from a can. (Don’t judge.)

Mooching off of your best friend: Roasted cauliflower in a cast iron skillet + broiled (homemade!) elk (shot by her mom in Idaho!) sausages + baby potatoes + red onion. Cucumber + feta + carrot hexagons + romaine + her famous oregano dressing. Unbelievable.

ATTEMPTING OLNEY

As much as I love running my own kitchen, there are few greater pleasures than having a meal entirely cooked for you. Upon our return from the Oregon coast, I was exhausted + implored to simply sit at the kitchen table and eat creamy French cheeses from Pastaworks while watching the chaos surrounding the task of boiling two pounds of live, extremely cranky crayfish. So happy to not have to help. The recipe in question was Richard Olney’s classic crayfish salad with fresh dill — or salade d’Ecrevisses a l’Aneth — from his thrilling tome, The French Menu Cookbook. In typical Olney style, the directions for preparing live crayfish were ambiguous and detached. He makes it seem so easy:

Starting with the largest, rinse the crayfish, and remove the intestine of each, grasping the animal just above the point at which the pincers join the body, to avoid being pinched — or holding it with a towel for protection, and with an abrupt motion to either side, tear loose the central fin from the tail fan, then pull gently in order to slip out the attached intestinal tract without breaking it.”

It seemed unusually cruel (and technically difficult) to rip out the crayfish’s little intestines while still writhing in the air, so after a few failed attempts we just tossed the crayfish in a huge pot of bubbling water, and then performed surgery on the cooked crustaceans. Still messy. Equally difficult was preparing the dressing, which required the carapaces (heads, claws, legs and coral) to be pounded in a stone mortar into a coarse puree. Yeah right. Even a few turns in the food processor produced nothing more than a spiky, thin sauce, but it was enough to produce a highly flavorful dressing. In any case, this was one of the best salads I have ever had, and as full as we were, we managed to cap the meal off with a tiny chocolate and hazelnut mousse called ‘The Royale’ from Pix.

COLOR SCHEME

Don’t you love it when your brain works in unknowing synchronicity with itself? The power of consistent thought, or being drawn to the same sort of things, over and over, without even knowing it — patterns of aesthetic, or maybe just taste. I recently reorganized my closet and was humbled by the overpowering amount of chambray. How did I never notice? Similarly, it wasn’t until well after I returned home from the farmer’s market that I realized that absolutely every item in my canvas bag was a deep, ominous shade of gothy purple-black. Burgundy beans. Black cherry tomatoes. Black baby artichokes. Purple scallions. A dish of ripe figs. Several avocados. I was unpacking my bag, pulling out each scarlet item one by one, and noticing a somber trend. I guess I was feeling moody?

COASTAL TRIP

I can’t believe summer is almost over. For roughly two full weeks I had the most intense craving for fish and chips. So, I drove out to Cannon Beach for some halibut. Normal. We made a beeline for Ecola Seafoods and picked up a shameful amount of seafaring snacks — besides the requisite fried halibut and chips — which included smoked mussels, lump crab meat, pickled herring, smoked BBQ salmon, and a few pounds of fresh salmon to take home. We brought our own rose and I was tipsy by 4pm, wandering the streets of Cannon Beach and impulse buying Haystack bread and Haystack chocolates, and then finally catching a glimpse of the actual Haystack Rock. Perfect summer afternoon.

SNUG FIT

So I bought Joni a XS Snuggie (for dogs) on clearance at a drug store the other day. It is definitely up there as one of my favorite purchases of the year. Earlier last month, I bought Joni a tiny white eyelet spaghetti strap dress at a thrift store in Portland for $1. It was so adorable on her. The first (and only) day she wore it, she ran outside, took it off, and then buried it somewhere in the front yard. We think. This Snuggie is harder for her to remove, thanks to multiple velcro snaps and a snug fit. She looks like so many things in her new outfit: a Walmart employee, a seeing eye dog, a fashionable cowl-neck straitjacket-wearing mental patient. I know that dressing up animals in clothing is borderline cruel + tacky, but part of me wants to be the kind of person who dresses up her pets in outrageous outfits. I mean LOOK at her. Teh cuteness.