In Which My Train of Thought Goes Full Speed Ahead

Bear with me. Lots of coffee has been consumed this morning. I'm a bit of a motor mouth right now...

The other day Barry and I drove to Kruger's Farm for our second round of berry picking. We've vowed to go weekly until there are no more berries to be had. The road we take there runs happily alongside a train track and an industrial area full of great sights. It all had me feeling a bit giddy. The sights and sounds of the working farm had me swooning, too. And while the bushes didn't have loads of berries, there were enough to bring home a couple pints to make this:

Blackberry Cornmeal Cake
(adapted from Everyday Food Magazine's September 2005 issue)
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c plus 2t sugar, and 1/4 c for sprinkling
1/2 c reduced-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
7 T unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 t for skillet
2 pints fresh blackberries (or berries of your choice)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the dry ingredients (first five above) in a large bowl, leaving out the 1/4 c sugar for later. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, leaving out the 1T butter. Pour wet mix into dry mix bowl and whisk to combine. In a 10 inch skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in the oven until it melts and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides of skillet. Pour batter into skillet and scatter berries on top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c sugar over top. Bake for 45-50 minutes (you may want to put the skillet on a baking sheet to catch drips). Let cool for 30 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and serve.

Here's where the train of thought veers in a random direction. The morning that we headed out for berry picking, Barry and I were enjoying a pastry and coffee at a local bakery where I was snapping photos like mad. I took a few shots of Barry, and allowed him to take a couple of me (I almost never let him take pictures of me - I'm one of those annoying people). Anyhow that's how we ended up with this:

My newest earrings, made with pieces I picked up in Klamath Falls last week. And this leads me to my most recent sulu-design etsy shop update, full of earrings made with distressed discs, my most recent obsession.

Oh, and the last stop on my train of thought this morning: my friend, Holly. I made the earrings above while hanging out at her place this weekend. Aside from the fact that she didn't bat an eye at the rat's nest of unwashed hair I had perched above my head or the trashy tank top I wore over to her place, she has an awesome sense of humor and gives great advice. And I've been thinking recently about how lucky I am to have a friend like her.
Lucky for you, I have to stop my rambling now and get to work. Have a lovely day, friends.


Monday Nights This Summer...

are for bike racing at Portland International Raceway.

While Barry warms up, I enjoy the sights.

And while he rides, I enjoy the crowd.
That's Barry there on the right, Mister 494.
And that's a spectator there on the left.
In his underwear and a helmet.
The bike scene here in Portland is interesting to say the least.


Drew's Boots, Klamath Falls

I'm a sucker for durable, functional, traditionally designed outdoor clothing and accessories. Smart wool, sturdy leather, waxed canvas... I just love 'em. You, too? Do your read Archival Clothing? Anyhow, while in Klamath Falls (a detour on our trip home from Crater Lake) last week, Barry and I stumbled upon Drew's, where they carry a great selection of Pendleton blankets, Filson bags, and some of the most beautiful, classic-looking boots I'd ever seen: White's.

If only I was a cowgirl. Or a mountaineer. They'd be totally justifiable.
A side note/wondering... If you search within the pages of each of the above links, you will find tastefully designed clothing and accessories. You will not find tastefully designed websites. Why the disconnect between product and marketing?


The Comings and the Goings

The sights at Crater Lake knocked my socks off last weekend. But honestly, one of the best parts of our getaway was the getting there and the getting back. I love a good road trip, especially one that takes us through little towns that are too small to appear on our maps. We took the long way getting home from the park this week. And even though I'm the queen of car sickness, I have the say, the long way is always worth it.

Just one more post about our weekend away to follow...
and then I swear I'm done.


Postcards from Crater Lake

Took me long enough to send 'em, huh? Getting back from a vacation, even a mini two-day vacation, always requires more re-entry time than I plan on. The loads of laundry, the grocery shopping, the repeated shampooings (it seems to take weeks to get campfire smell out of one's hair)... But we're back. And Crater Lake was glorious.

We dipped our toes in the bluest water ever.
The shores of Sicily and Greece got nothin' on the hues in this park.

We hiked up mountains that offered unbelievable vantage points.
We took snapshots without end.

I laid in the grass and let the world pass by for hours.
I wore shorts. In public. For the first time in over a decade.
I fell in love with the National Park Service all over again.


Checking in Before Checking Out

The second I get off of work today, Barry and I are headed to Crater Lake for a weekend of camping. I wanted to restock the sulu-design etsy shop with a few pieces before we race out of here. These, my recent favorites:

And these for the ladies who like a little sparkle and shine:

Click on images for links to the earrings' listings. Oh... I put a few things on sale in the shop, too. Please note that I'll be shipping all orders place between today and Tuesday on Tuesday when we return. Thanks, and have a awesome weekend! (I still say awesome.)


Intense Heat, Long Walks, and a Camera

I feel an Original Intent relapse coming on...


Did I Say I Don't Dig Flowers?

I was wrong. It was just a matter of my perspective.

These guys are making me want to draw again.
It's been a long time.
Maybe I'll share. We'll see...


Berries with Barry

If you live in Portland or if you read a blog by any other Porltander, surely by now you are familiar with the glory that is Kruger's Farm on Sauvie Island. I've only been on the farm when it's been closed for the season (remember my rotting pumpkin original intent photo?), so this morning Barry and I figured it was high time we make our way there for some good old fashioned U-Pick. We came home with several pints of marionberries and raspberries which are going to be used in a couple yummy baked goods - if we can stop snacking on them long enough for me to fold them into some batter. Kruger's is going to be a weekly stop until the end of berry season if I have anything to say about it. And since I delinquently mentioned a berry crumble last week without providing the recipe, now seems like the perfect time to post it (just for you, Ma). It's loosely based on the apple crisp recipe in my kitchen go-to, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bitman.
Simple Crispy Crumble
6 c peeled, cored fruit (last week I used nectarines and raspberries - this week it's berries all the way)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Juice of half a lime (Mark says lemon, but I'm all about limes)
1 T sugar
2/3 c brown sugar
5 T unsalted butter (Mark calls for it cold, but I let it soften just a bit... you'll see why)
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c flour
1/4 c chopped nuts
dash salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the fruit with half the cinnamon, lime juice, and sugar. Spread it in a buttered 9 inch round baking pan. Combine all of the remaining ingredients and pulse in a food processor or mix by hand (this is where softened butter is your friend). Spread this topping over the fruit and bake 30-40 minutes, until topping is browned. Serve with something cold and creamy. Make your belly full. Go to bed happy.


Food, Folks, and Fun

I'm wrapping up a week packed with lots of good friends and good food... always a great combination. To continue that theme tonight, I hope to see some of you at Alma Chocolate between 5 and 8 for Kristi's opening. In between all of my socializing and eating, I've managed to find time to add a few summery pieces to the sulu-design shop:

I'll have more on the way next week. Speaking of shops, for a while now I've been meaning to make mention here of my boss's adorable on-line store for children's clothing and toys. I'm sitting here thinking about it as I wiggle my freshly pedicured toes (boss lady treated me super well yesterday)!
Have a wonderful weekend, all. I'll be catching up with my missed blog reading this weekend (something had to give this week, and honestly, it wasn't going to be the raspberry nectarine lime crumble I made earlier this week). I hope to hear that you're enjoying this beautiful summer.



When I Get Antsy...

I rearrange furniture. I know I've said that here before. However, our teeny apartment only allows for so much furniture movement. And at this point, I think I may have covered all of the furniture arrangements that are possible in this space. But I get antsy a lot. So recently I attacked a couple of counter tops around our place, just to keep my fingers busy.

Sometimes just changing the distance that the candlesticks stand apart from one another satisfies my rearranging urges. Or moving our kitchen canisters from shortest - tallest to tallest - shortest. But sometimes entire cupboards get emptied out on the kitchen floor. And Barry puts up with it all. Oh, these itchy fingers...


Honestly, Kristi!

Walking across the Broadway Bridge the other day, I was reminded ofa few photos posted by fellow-Portlander, Kristi. Check her Broadway Bridge photos out here.

I snapped my homage (read: copycat) shot in anticipation of this post, in which I tell you about Kristi's show at Alma Chocolate that's up during the month of July. The opening is this Friday, July 11th, from 5-8. Go. See her beautiful artwork. Eat yummy treats. And be honest.


Two Flower Posts in Two Days?

Yeah, flowers are pretty and smell good and symbolize spring and summer and all that kind of nice stuff, but I tend to get more excited looking at buildings in states of disrepair or at the geometry of industrial pieces than I do by floral growth. However, seeing as Barry and I live within walking distance of Portland's Rose Garden in Washington Park, we thought it was high time we get our butts over there and see what all the fuss over this place is about. And holy cow. This is one idyllic setting. Enough to blow away this brick and metal loving girl. I'll never trash talk a flower again.

My favorites, of course, were the flowers that had begun to wilt and shrivel up a bit. Some morbidly dark roses caught my eye, too.

Actually, though, my favorite part of visiting the Rose Garden was lying on a blanket there, watching the clouds and the day float on by.


Getting Bossed Around on Independence Day

Funny that Abby should mention her lovely boss today. I've been thinking about our Ms. Boss Lady all morning. (Did you know Abby and I have the same boss? Of course not, why would you?) Ms. Boss Lady brought me these pretty flowers from her garden to thank me for dealing with an obnoxious customer the other day. I've been admiring them on my kitchen windowsill as I've been cooking and baking for the barbecue that said boss is hosting this evening.

I've taken a few tastes of the dishes I've prepared, and so far, two recipes from the June 2005 issue of Everyday Food haven't disappointed. Hey, what's wrong with 2005? I swear I'm not a pack rat; I make use of those oldie-but-goodie magazines. Since I can't find them on-line (did they have the internet back then?), here are my somewhat edited versions:
Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss 2 1/2 pounds of sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch chunks, 1 T olive oil, 1 tsp coarse salt, and 1/4 tsp ground pepper on a non-stick rimmed baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes, until fork-tender. In a large bowl, whisk 2 T fresh orange juice, 1 T oil, 1 T minced fresh ginger, and 2 tsp Dijon mustard. Add 3 thinly sliced scallions and potatoes to the bowl and toss with dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. If preparing in advance, wait to toss dressing, scallions, and potatoes together until just before serving. Side dish complete.
Lemon Fig Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil the sides of a 9 inch cake pan and line bottom with parchment. I freaking love parchment. Whisk 1/2 c olive oil, 1/2 c milk, and one large egg in a bowl. In another large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 c flour, 3/4 c sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, stirring gently with a rubber spatula. Fold in 10 oz coarsely chopped dried figs (stems removed) and 1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest. Spread batter in pan, put pan on baking sheet, bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes in pan, unmold and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Wouldn't this be good with some fresh cream? Dessert done. And now I'm off to enjoy a day off of work, 'cause even when you have an awesome boss, it's good to have time off, too.
Happy 4th of July fellow US residents, and happy eating, friends.


I Wasn't Going to List Today

I'd figured the sulu-design etsy shop was now well-stocked enough to go a few days without adding to it. But the light this morning was again marvelous, and when I went to take a peek at the pieces I'd list later this week, I got all excited by their colors and, well... couldn't help myself. So these guys are in the shop now:

You know how it goes... click images above for links to listings.
I'm off to work. Enjoy your day!