confab | current reads

nephews - reading time

august is here
summer is almost over

i could cry

instead,
let’s talk books

i don’t read as often
as i’d like
and i made the decision
this year that
there are so many, many, many
books & reading materials
out there
that should it not hold my attention
i will dump it.
life is too short
time is too scarce
to muddle through shitty words

currently on my kindle:
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

currently on my bookshelf:
On Such a Full Sea by Chang Rae-Lee
Califia’s Daughter by Leigh Richards (reread. because good books deserve to be read over & over & over again)

online:
1K project
networking for introverts
woman in the rainy season

and you.
what are you reading?

nephews - reading time

homemade thai iced tea

Homemade Thai Tea

it was a much anticipated week –
one that would bring
joy & laughter,
likely some self examination
(indeed, much reflection)
along with ample weather indecision:
storms & sunshine abound!
for 7 days dw & i hosted
our nephews,
jewel of boys,
long limbed and boisterous,
sweetly affectionate (still.)
(ps. please always be affectionate.)
infinitely curious
boundlessly active.
and so to add to all that frenzied energy
i made thai iced tea
because you know,
adding caffeine + sugar to all that
seemed like a good idea.
plus, it’s one of Q’s fave beverages.

thai iced tea

thai iced tea
serves 2-3

note: i am not a tea connoisseur, so i emailed a new fave blogger, Bonnie of Thirsty For Tea for some tips. bless her heart, she was so patient with my incessant questions. under her tutelage i bought the tea from teavana, because the three regular cafes and supermarkets i went to didn’t have what i was looking for. also, don’t be alarmed that the finished product doesn’t have a neon orange hue to it. i did all the freaking out for you. i was worried that i messed the recipe somehow. apparently, thai restaurants and cafes/shops that serve thai iced tea use a mix or add the color artificially. i didn’t know, now i do, and so do you. you’re welcome.

4 cups water
4-6 tsp thai black tea
3-4 tsp simple syrup (just water + sugar, i keep this on hand always in the fridge)

i brewed the tea in my coffee press. bring water to a boil. meanwhile, measure out the desired amount of tea. the package says 1-1.5 tsp for every 8oz/1 cup. i didn’t want too strong of a drink, as Q is only 12 and i’m not sure about giving kids too much caffeine or whatever.

pour boiled water into press carefully. allow to steep for 2-3 minutes. i may have let it go for 5 minutes, i was busy making dinner. carefully press down the plunger. pour the tea into a carafe or in my case, a jar. allow to cool. refrigerate.

to serve, fill a glass with ice. pour tea about 2/3 of way. sweeten with simple syrup to taste, top with half/half or non-dairy milk.

BAM!

Homemade Thai Tea

pickled beets + urban picnic

Pickled Beets

i’ve been into quick pickling
this summer,
mainly because we have a glut
of vegs,
also because
it’s good for digestion,
and because
we have a lot of jars,
either i chuck ‘em or use ‘em.

when i’m in a mood
and food is the last thing
i want to play with,
we have picnics,
stuffed heaped on bread,
though not as fancy as this,
still very satisfying.

what’s your fave pickled veg?
(and, can you send me some?)

pickled beets + urban picnic

pickled beets

*note: this is the kind of recipe that is going to require you to use some common sense. beets vary in size, you might like your beets more tender, or more al dente. this is just a guideline.

12 small – medium beets, scrubbed and peeled
drizzle of oil (olive oil, i used organic canola oil)
dry italian seasoning (though fresh rosemary or thyme would be nice)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vinegar
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice berries
2 -3 wide strips lemon zest
3 – 5 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks

heat oven to 400F.

meanwhile, with netflix going (i was watching Arrow, i think i’m gonna hit up The Returned next), scrub beets and peel. (i have a love hate relationship with this step. you can roast them first and then it’s easier to peel the skin away while warm, but i find that messy, with oil and random bits of herbs sticking to your hands. it’s up to you.) cut up any large beets so they’re all approximately the same size. place beets on baking dish lined with large piece of foil. drizzle with oil, top with italian seasoning, salt/pepper. cover with another sheet of foil and roast for 45min – 1 hour, until beets have reached desired doneness. this time around i made them tender, but the batch before that were toothier. do what you like.

when beets are warm to the touch, slice them up in either 3/8″ rounds or wedges. (i’ve done it where i sliced the beets before roasting, which made for much quicker roasting time, again, up to you.)

meanwhile, stir sugar, salt + 2 cups in sauce pan. bring to a gentle boil and stir until sugar dissolves. take off heat, stir in the vinegar and remaining seasonings. allow to cool.

in clean mason jars (or in our case, our huge 1/2 gallon mason jar) put the beets in a layer formation. (note: you can also add in sliced onions or cucumbers). half way up, pour a bit of the brine in, along with the various seasonings. continue to layer up with remaining beets and pour the rest of the brine into jar. if there is any leftover space in the jar, add a bit more water & vinegar (1:1 ratio) to top.

refrigerate for a day or so and consume. they do last awhile, just remember to use clean utensils when extracting the beets from the jar to keep from contamination etc.

BAM!

also pictured:
dutch oven bread
bruised cucumber salad

crochet | ombre granny square baby blanket

granny square blanket

a super quick post
you probably think
we’re not cooking much
these days,
what with all the crafty
stuff i’ve been posting lately.
in a way, you’re right
it’s been mainly raw csa salads
and playing with yarn
this summer

a baby blanket for a
new addition to the group
baby fig made her appearance
this week
early

my excitement for her existence,
and for fig mama’s venture into
mommyhood
is a stark contrast to
how i feel about
motherhood in general.
no matter.
this bebe will be doted on,
and i already have a
Date scheduled with her.
dw has diaper duty though.

the pattern i used
was poorly written
so i will just link to some
granny square patterns
i searched for on craftgawker.
if you want to follow along
on my yarn adventure,
i do have a ravelry account.

are you working on anything crafty, yarn or otherwise?
i’ve got another blanket to complete,
and then it’ll be scarf and cowl season…

blueberry clafoutis

Blueberry Clafoutis

i’ve talked about it before
living in the city
has its perks
the vibrancy
the nearness of things
the anonymity
and for me,
the hilarity of it
but sometimes,
just sometimes,
i get that inkling for country living.
the abundance of space
the friendliness
and the farmland for berry picking.
come the warmer months
you’ll likely find us
hands in the dirt
picking some gem or another
it’s just like heaven.
i like to think this dessert
has the perfect balance
of fancy urban life
and laid back country charm.

Blueberry Clafoutis

it’s quiet around here
that’s how summer is,
you know?
hope yours has been just a lovely.

Blueberry Clafoutis

blueberry clafoutis
note: to make this gluten free, use whatever gf flour you like to use, like almond flour. local milk made a gorgeous one recently.

1 ¼ cups coconut milk, i use SO Delicious
6 TBL sugar
6 eggs
¾ cup spelt flour
3 cups ​blueberries
​zest of lemon & juice of half lemon​
icing sugar, for dusting

preheat oven to 425°.

grease a 9″ baking dish/pie pan. set aside, forget about it.

in a vitamix or blender, add the coconut milk, eggs, salt & lemon juice. blend until combined, add in the flour and blend until smooth.

pour into prepared pan, then distribute the blueberries evenly throughout. sprinkle with the zest.

bake 30 – 40 minutes, though check on it at the 30 minute mark. depending on how deep your dish is, the middle might still be liquidy. you want the finished product to be nicely browned on top and have some jiggle in the middle. mine puffed up a smidge while in the oven but sank as it cooled.

to serve, sprinkle with icing sugar.

best at room temp, and i prefer it the next day. it reminds me of a denser flan.

BAM!

Blueberry Clafoutis