Summer Cheese Board

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I know, I know, it’s September, but it is technically still summer. I’ve been wanting to do a summer cheese board for some time and also show the grapes we grew! We were so excited to see them grow this year since we only planted them two years ago. It’s a pretty productive vine and I have no idea what to do with so many green grapes other than cheese boards and snacks. They were a challenge to photograph, mostly hiding behind the leaves, and being on the northern fence, it was almost always bad lighting. When light did reach the grapes, it was like a giant spotlight, and when it didn’t, it was all so dark. And green. But hey, here they are. After 6+ years creating on this blog, this is the first blog post without a recipe! I’ll post a list of what I have here for fruit and cheese because the Humbolt Fog with peach on a slice of baguette is amazing! I had fun arranging the cheese board with the end of summer fruits. I know strawberries don’t produce much into the summer in some areas, but in my backyard they just keep going and going, it’s one of those every-bearing varieties. The plums and peaches are truly reaching the end of the season here, when I was buying them the clerk said get them while you can because this is it. So this is it. End of summer folks, Autumn begins September 23rd. Soups are on the horizon!

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Summer Cheese Board

Pickled Kirby Cucumbers

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This is my favorite time of the year, the garden is in full swing and in addition to tomatoes ripening this week, I have a bunch of these cute Kirby cucumbers. I wanted to pickle them whole but they’re so fat I couldn’t even fit two of them in the mason jar, so I quartered them for this recipe. This version of pickling is the quick refrigerator pickle. There is no cooking involved and you simply let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days until it’s ready to eat. What I like most about this style is that the pickles stay crisp. I pickled some zucchini a couple weeks ago, which involved cooking the zucchini a bit, and while it tasted really good I think they were too soft. But hey, it’s all good.

The best pickle I ever had was Guss’ Pickles on the Lower East Side in NYC. It’s no longer there but it looks like they kept the business going in Brooklyn. And they sell them at Whole Foods? I’ll have to keep my eye out for them, but until then I have a good supply of pickles in the fridge. Hope you’re having a great summer, I’ll be back with some tomato recipes soon!

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Pickled Kirby Cucumbers

  • 2-3 Kirby Cucumbers, quartered

  • 1 cups white vinegar

  • 1 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Fresh dill, a few sprigs

Place the quartered pickles in a quart mason jar. Add all the spices, garlic and dill to the jar. Pour in the water and vinegar, top off with more if needed. Place the cap on and give it a good shake. Pickles will be ready in a week or so. Store in the refrigerator. They should last a couple months. But you will have eaten them by then  ;)


Zucchini Nut Bread

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Zucchini Nut Bread. I didn’t expect to make this so soon. Our zucchini plant is growing so quickly now and producing more than we anticipated. We’ve picked 4 zucchini in the past week and more are on the way. This is the first time we’ve grown it so I didn’t know what to expect. Last year I planted a yellow squash and that didn’t work out, all male blossoms and no squash. But we did some changes to our soil this year and it’s made a big difference. I’m not sure if I posted about this but we removed all our old soil in the garden beds (which was potting soil) and replaced it with a proper soil/compost mix and everything is growing great! The weather has been unusually mild so far this July, seriously rain in Portland in July? Almost unheard of. So it’s been more like a longer spring season. Which is ok with me, and the grass, but I think those tomatoes would appreciate a bit more heat. The weather forecast for this week is in the 70s!? Yep. Weird. 

The recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking addiction and it’s good! It has lots of cinnamon which I love. I almost wish it had more zucchini in it. I’ll add more next time because I’m certain there will be a next time with all this zucchini, and I’ll update on this post. The original recipe added chocolate chips, but I didn’t really want that for this bread (cake!) so I added what nuts I had on hand, about 1/4 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup crushed hazelnuts. This Zucchini Bread is light in texture, and I kinda wish it were a bit more dense, I’ll experiment some more and let you know how it works out. 

It’s super delicious, easy to make and I’m sure you will enjoy this recipe.

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Zucchini Nut Bread

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup chopped nuts 

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg, at room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9×5” loaf pan lined with parchment paper with butter.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together then stir in the nuts. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, vanilla, and zucchini together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Gently combine with a wooden spoon; do not over mix. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 5 days (I’m not sure I would leave it out this long, and I’m not sure it wouldn’t get eaten in 5 days!)

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction


Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

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Strawberries! I love this time of year, not only is it warm and sunny, but my little strawberry patch in the back yard starts producing berries. I didn’t have enough for a whole galette so what could be better than to add rhubarb? I haven’t had rhubarb in so long I forgot how much I like it. When we were kids my sister and I used to eat it raw with sugar. But I think it’s better in this Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. Oh, and when I was making the pie dough I ran out of flour, I had some cake flour on hand and used about one cup hoping it would turn out ok, I’ve never heard of cake flour in a pie dough, in any case not only did it turn out ok I think I like it better! The crust is very flaky and a bit softer than I’ve made before, a little closer to a pastry dough. So there’s that little magic to add if you like. Until next time, enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

  • 2 cups of Strawberries (cut in half or whole if they’re small)

  • 2 cups peeled and chopped rhubarb, about 1/2” pieces

  • Lemon juice, about a half a lemon

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 13” pie dough, recipe below

Preheat an oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 13-inch round. Transfer to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, mix together the fruit, lemon juice, sugar and flour. Spoon the filling onto the dough, leaving a 2-inch border uncovered around the edge. Fold the edge up and over the filling, forming loose pleats. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch galette

Pie Dough

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (you can swap out 1 cup of flour for cake flour for a softer crust)

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

  • 7-8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the chilled butter using a stand mixer, a food processor, or a pastry blender until the butter is evenly distributed but still in large, visible pieces. Add the ice water to the flour and butter and mix by hand or with a wooden spoon so you don’t overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy, place on floured workspace and work it together quickly until if forms a ball. Divide into two disks, wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to use it. 


Pear Galette with Blue Cheese, Hazelnut and Thyme

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This Pear Galette with Blue Cheese, Hazelnut and Thyme came out incredible, I created the recipe on the fly and it worked perfectly. So I kept notes on what I did so that I could share it with you here. I think you will enjoy it. As you know (or may not know) I’ve been doing some videos lately, I wanted to do a stop motion video and thought it might be fun to make a galette since there’s a lot of assembly involved. Well mostly assembly as there is very little to do other than chop and slice a few things, and if you already have pie dough on hand it’s even easier. Which I recommend, pie dough freezes great, this is what I had leftover from the holidays. 

The stop motion video was fun to make, although it does take quite a while to create. The video below contains 56 photos, by the time I got to arranging the pears, Jeff helped out by hitting the shutter so that I didn’t have to clean my hands each time, which is what I did while rolling out the dough and I was getting flour all over my laptop (I worked with my camera tethered to my computer), so that was really helpful (thank you Jeff!), I would recommend getting some assistance if you plan on doing a stop motion video like this, where there’s mess involved. I’m curious to know if you enjoy the videos and if there are any recipes that you would like to see in video format in addition to photos? You can leave comments here or Instagram or wherever you like. Recipe below! Enjoy!

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Pear Galette with Blue Cheese, Hazelnut and Thyme

  • 1 pear, halved and sliced 1/4” thick

  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 pie dough (recipe below)

  • 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)

Heat oven 400°

Roll out your pie dough to roughly a 10-inch round. Sprinkle the brown sugar on the dough leaving a 1-2 inch border. Add cheese, nuts and thyme (leaving a few ingredients aside for the top), then add sliced pears in a circular pattern, fold the edges in a circular pattern, top the center with the remaining cheese, nuts and thyme for color and texture.  Brush the egg wash on the dough. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and serve warm or room temp. 

Pie dough (this makes 2 pie crusts, you will have extra for next time, yay!)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

To make the dough in a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar and salt until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 5-10 pulses. Remove from processor and place dough in large bowl, add 6 tablespoons of the ice water, combine with wood spoon. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 teaspoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each into a disk. Wrap separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. You can freeze the extra pie dough for MONTHS, it holds up very well.


The 7-Minute Egg

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When it comes to boiling eggs, minutes really matter. I only recently discovered this. My whole life I’ve been starting them in cold water, bring to a boil, cook for an unknown amount of time, which resulted in a hard-boiled egg that was sometimes ok. But then I was watching Salt Fat Acid Heat recently and Samin mentioned the 7-minute egg, and it looked really good, not as runny as soft boiled but not hard boiled either. You start the eggs in boiling water. This makes an enormous difference. Not only the quality of the yolk, but the texture of the white, it’s fully cooked and kinda velvety, not rubbery which I thought all boiled eggs were just like that. And after 7 minutes you put them in an ice bath for a few minutes. Since I’ve been using this method the shell comes off the egg perfectly, no more moon craters of the past. The cooking times range from 6-12 minutes, with 12 minutes being hard boiled, everyone finds their favorite somewhere in-between, but I’m sold on 7-minutes. And, I made another video! If you like you can follow my Youtube channel here and Vimeo here

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Currant Almond Rosemary Crackers

Currant Almond Rosemary Crackers

I’ve been wanting to make these gourmet type crackers for a long time now, and I’m glad I did! They came out really good. I used currants and almonds since that’s what I had on hand, but you can add any kind of fruit or nut to this recipe.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread

It’s that time of year again. All things Pumpkin! And dark. Well actually this October has been unusually sunny for Portland, but this past week the rain finally kicked in, raining every. single. day. oh no! But this time of year is also an opportunity for walks on misty mornings.

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Honey Chocolate Fudge

Honey Chocolate Fudge

Healthy fudge!? For real? A few weeks ago Sprouted Kitchen started a Cooking Club. I like Sarah’s recipes and thought it would be fun to join, so I did. Each week she provides a shopping list and recipes for three meals and a snack.

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