Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eating My Way Through Blacksburg

So I went to Blacksburg for a week, and all I did was eat. Well, not really, but here are some of the highlights:
Lasagna made with zucchini from my mom's garden instead of noodles. Also features spinach, as well as homegrown peppers, basil, and parsley


More after the jump!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Barbecue with the New Roomies

For those of you who don't know, I moved recently. Like a whole six blocks. Somehow still a lot of work. Anyhow, my new roommates decided we should have a party, and I'm really never going to say no. As luck would have it (and as I mentioned in my previous entry),  I got a pretty sweet haul from a show I was working the other night, including several heirloom tomatoes, 2 fennel bulbs, 1/3 of a box of olive oil, a couple lemons, a big ol' clamshell of micro greens, a bunch of organic kale, a pint of grape tomatoes, a pint of raspberries, a quart of blueberries, several dozen beautiful macarons handmade by the lovely Christine Manke, and enough stone fruit to sate an army of the most voracious fruit bats.

My contributions to the party were as follows: sliced heirloom tomatoes with thyme; kale salad with citrus, fennel, grape tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro pepita dressing; Manke macarons; and mint juleps (which have nothing to do with the aforementioned awesomeness. Items I actually purchased for all this? Thyme, 2 oranges, mint, and bourbon. Some stuff I just had in the house already. Like homemade cilantro pesto.

Really wish I had a close-up of the kale salad. Alas. I thinned out some cilantro pepita pesto I made recently with lemon juice and olive oil, and tossed the kale with that. Then I added shaved fennel, grape tomatoes, orange slices, and avocado. It was delish. And so pretty. You can see it at about 10 o'clock in this photo.

Here's a nice porn-y pic of my 'maters.

Somehow I forgot that I also made little single serving fruit pies. Not sure how that slipped my mind. They were kind of a pain in the ass. Oh, I know why. I didn't take any pictures. I'm so old and senile now that I only remember things if I photograph them. Or maybe I'm like the guy in Memento.

I made a couple dozen: raspberry; blueberry; mixed peach, plum, apricot, nectarine. I had a hell of a time with the crust though. I'm not sure what the problem was, but I suspect it was the butter. I followed a recipe. A recipe I had just used the other night, no less! The only thing wrong when I used it before was that it was perhaps too tough, too strong. My first batch this time just wouldn't hold together at all. Now I would blame the almond flour (I subbed in a little for the GF all-purpose), but my second batch, where I followed the recipe to the letter, was not much better. Anybody know anything about making pie crust with Plugra butter? Thank goodness it's "when all the berries and stone fruit are ripe and cheap" season, so the fruit was sweet and delicious enough to make up for the shortcomings of the crust. Because really, all I did was put fruit in the pie shells and bake 'em. No sugar, no lemon juice, no nothin'.

And now for something completely different:

Here's a series of my attempts to take a selfie with a baby eating crackers.

This lil' guy is Greyson. He's my buddy. He belongs to these nice people:

That's my Jam!

It's the return of the blog. No fanfare necessary. I was working on a movie about a chef, and I had the good fortune to come home with what we nice Southern girls call a f*@kload of fruit. So I made a metric ton of jam. Footnote: For the film, I also got to work in the kitchen of Hatfields with Roy Choi. NBD. We had to clear out a walk-in fridge worth of food at the end of the night, so I took home as much as I could realistically use. This included several heirloom tomatoes, 2 fennel bulbs, 1/3 of a box of olive oil, a couple lemons, a big ol' clamshell of micro greens, a bunch of organic kale, a pint of grape tomatoes, several dozen beautiful macarons handmade by the lovely Christine Manke, a quart of blueberries, and more stone fruit than you can shake a stick at. Even hosting a barbecue, I was hard-pressed to use all this stuff. But I do love a challenge. Let's talk jam.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Winter Woodland Walk

This is an appendix of sorts to Thanksgiven. The day after Thanksgiving, I took a walk around the property of our rental house with my mom and my sister, and this is what we saw.

Intrepid explorer, Haley Bechtel, scouting the frontier with only her hoop, her wits, and her adorable hat



I was going to stay home in LA this Thanksgiving, but I got a wild hair to fly to VA and surprise everyone. Turns out no one was really that surprised, but I'm glad I did it anyway. My trip there was relatively painless. I seemed to bypass all the madness of traveling the day before Thanksgiving, and the rest of the trip was ever so relaxing. I didn't even mind so much that it was bloody freezing outside.
This was the lovely rental house we stayed in on a GORGEOUS Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving with my parents means Etaturk, a gathering dating back to my mother's days at Elon College, when the students in the liberal arts forum got together to eat and drink and carry on in a sort of high brow low brow fashion. The Etaturk group and ritual has fluctuated and evolved over the years, but it still involves eating at midnight on Wednesday and dressing up in costumes. You may recall from my previous post how much I love Halloween. Well, I love it so much, I do it twice!

Does this costume look familiar?

My sister with her roommate, Tierney

I love this photo. It looks like some bizarre 19th century French play

Mikey giving a traditional toast

Larry in a turkey coma. Not sure why he's got my wig.

My favorite thing about doing dinner Wednesday night is that Thursday, when everyone else is cooking and being busy, we just laze around and eat pie, cozy in the knowledge that we're loafing while people elsewhere are working hard.

The ceremonial Thanksgiving morning MFK eggs. The ceremonial pie has already been eaten.


Friday I was back to the grind a bit. I spent about 6 hours launching the fundraising campaign for my album from my laptop in the dining room. It was sort of grueling, but it really needed to get done. If you haven't heard about this already, check out our page:, and - no pressure - maybe give a little if you've got it.

So once the work was done, I got back to the serious business of having fun. Mom and I made dinner with some help from Haley and Sunil. The idea was to use up everything in the fridge before disbanding the next morning. I think we did pretty darn well. There was left-over split pea soup, more turkey, ham, and stuffing. Mom made a nice mess o' greens, and I made a what's-in-the-fridge soup that was out of this world. I was inspired to make something vichysoisse-esque with the leftover mashed potatoes and cauliflower, but that was just a jumping off point. I added leeks, turkey bacon, white wine, and a little buttermilk, and it was divine!

Mom makes greens next to my magical wonder-soup

Sweeties. I forgot to mention they made a souffle and some cornbread.

The Spread, aka, Larry Carves Another Turkey



I would be remiss if I did not mention a couple more things before I draw this to a close. We have a time-honored tradition at Etaturk of writing an illustrated verse about each year, in the voice of Etaturk himself, the turkey king. It is presented before dinner by the artist, Renny Johnson, and the bard, none other than Larry Bechtel (though Larry took up the mantle only a few years ago). Here is ETA XLV:

The other thing I thought important to acknowledge was the presence of our canine companions:


and Buddy, who lost his leg to a flock of angry geese.

Three cheers!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I love me some Halloween, y'all. I might love it more than Thanksgiving or Christmas. I love any occasion to get dressed up in a costume (which sometimes encompasses Thanksgiving too, in my circle). This year I didn't go as big as I have in the past. I was a bit more conservative with my spending, plus Alex had to work, so some of the grander plans were set aside. We had planned on going as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, but I could hardly be Zelda on my own, so I wore a different dress and called it Roxy Hart.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekend/Week of Epic Proportions

I lead a blessed life. I truly do. I live in a place with the most perfect climate. It's been just Fall-y enough lately to make me comfortably feel like it's Autumn, and I have been riding a wave of non-stop awesomeness. Let's just talk about the last 6 days, shall we?

Saturday I woke up early-ish, and for the first time in quite a while Alex didn't have a meeting on Saturday morning, so we had a lovely brunch at The Village Idiot. Then we went to the Beverly Center to pick up his new suit from J. Lindberg (which he looks extremely handsome in). He went off to a screening of his film at the Arclight (!!!), while I did a couple errands. We met up with some of his friends at The Cat and the Fiddle for drinks. It was the bar's 30th anniversary, so there was free champagne! We had a tasty dinner at Loteria Grill. I like that place, but $9 for chips and guacamole seems a little steep to me.

Sunday morning I packed mimosa supplies and chocolate chip cookies, and met up with my Picture and the Frame bandmates at our friends Justin and Clarissa's place to take some photos in their pool for our album cover. The water was freezing, but I was having a great time until the waterproof camera proved not to actually be waterproof. We'll be trying again in a couple of weeks, much to Rickett and Mark's chagrin, I'm afraid. We were so close, but we didn't quite get there before the camera ceased to function. But the shots we got convinced me that it was, in fact, a great idea, and worth pursuing.