17 August 12 • SCB

We spent all of last week away from home. First, a road trip to pick up my daughter who has been staying with her aunts in San Francisco, then five days of camping in Northern California and Central Oregon. It was fantastic. We came home happy and relaxed (if a bit dirty and sunburnt).

Tired of camping food, (I am a lazy and unimaginative camp cook), I was excited to get back in the kitchen, but we are having a rare heat wave here. It’s HOT in a way our Northwest home and kitchen is not set up to handle. I didn’t even want to stand over the grill in the yard.

Salad rolls were the answer. We made them in the morning, so that in the end of the day heat, all we had to do was pull them out of the fridge and mix a cocktail. If you have not worked with the paper-thin rice wrappers before, they can be a little frustrating. Take your time and you will get the hang of it.

Our Salad Rolls

Rice spring roll wrappers

Rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in boiling water until soft (3-5 minutes), then drained and rinsed with cool water

Filling options (pick and choose to suit your own tastes):

Baked tofu, cut in strips

Prawns, halved

Shredded lettuce or cabbage

Carrot (in strips or grated)

Cucumber strips

Green onion, sliced lengthwise

Steamed and cooled asparagus

Bean sprouts

Micro-greens or pea shoots

Ground peanuts

Fresh herbs (mint, basil, cilantro)

Instructions:

Prep and gather all your ingredients. Wet a clean dish towel and lay it out on your work surface. Fill a shallow container that is large enough to fit a sheet of the rice wrapper with hot water (a cake pan works great).

Dip the rice wrapper in the water and swirl just to soften a bit. Gently lay it flat on the wet towel. Place a few tablespoons of the noodles on the bottom third of the wrapper then add the rest of your fillings. As you are learning to work with the rice wrapper, less filling is easier to work with than an overfilled roll. Fold in the bottom portion of the wrapper around the filling followed by the sides, as you would a burrito. Gently roll up, tucking the fillings inside as you go. This may take some practice. The rice wrapper may tear—take a deep breath and start again. We like to tuck a basil or mint leaf in the last portion of the wrapper before we roll it up.. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge covered with a damp towel. Serve with peanut sauce or hoisin sauce thinned with a bit of water.

 

10 August 12 • MAV

Above: Charlie this morning

By now you all know Charlie, right? Well, somewhere in these weeks of late August/early September he is turning 10 years old. Charlie and I have lived together since he was just about 10 weeks old. I thought I would take a minute to dedicate a dispatch to this cat and all that he means to our friends and family.

Charlie was born on the streets of Chicago. Ever since the first day I met him, he has been an anxious cat. He is never quite comfortable or settled, always rigid in his body and very tense. He does not relax. Someone said it best to me when they said, “Charlie’s dream life is a completely quiet house, with no one coming or going ever, and just the two of you living together in peace.” And it’s true. Charlie wouldn’t know what to do without me.

His schedule is fixed. Up at 6 a.m. Eat. Clean. Sleep. Up at Noon to look around for me. Find me. Annoy me for 30 minutes. Then back to sleep until 4 p.m. when he starts looking for dinner. Annoy us. (His meow is unmatched. So loud. Like a baby’s cry, really.) Eat dinner. Clean. Sleep. Up at 8 p.m. looking for his nightly treat. Treat. Clean. Bed. He rotates where he sleeps between either our bed or off somewhere by himself. Wherever it is he’s wrapped up in a tight ball. Charlie never lounges or sleeps in a laid back fashion. He would never be caught in a haphazard stance whether sitting, laying down or walking. He’s precise.

Charlie is the cleanest cat we have ever known. Never a hair out of place! He gives himself several baths each day and after being picked up, even cleans the spot where you might have touched him. He’s very fit and does just enough daily exercise to keep it that way. He’s very strong. Most people can’t believe he is 10 years old. Sometimes I can’t either … except I have started to see him slow down just a bit this year. Our Charlie is getting older.

Charlie can be downright nasty. He’s a punk. He goes out of his way to swipe his paw at the kids when they come over to play (they, on the whole, don’t like Charlie at all) and he jumps on us rudely while we are trying to sleep. He punches people in the face if they pick him up and he’s not feeling it. I always say that he understands English. He knows when we are going to leave town, he knows when we are going to leave the house, he understands everything. I’ve had many a time where I might be crying and he’ll come to me to check on me. He will not cuddle (he rarely does) but will sit just near me letting me know he’s there by crying out loud too. He’s a very sensitive cat.

Charlie and Scotch have a true brotherly relationship, laying together one minute and fighting the next. They clean each other, well really it’s Charlie allowing Scotch to clean him, and run the length of the house together like wild cats. I can’t even let my mind wander to the idea that I might outlive Charlie. I love him so, so much. I always say, “he’ll live forever and drive us crazy every day.” Gosh I hope that’s true. Happy Birthday, Charlie!

: : :

Don’t miss the last week to get a few items in our shop. My last two tops, our prints (new ones go up August 24, 2012) and we even found a few issues of Q6 on the shelves. Next Friday we’re clearing the shop of these items … need to make room for new stuff! The new issues of Quarterly go out to subscribers on Monday/Tuesday!

10 August 12 • SCB

It’s hard to believe it’s August, and it’s hard to believe it is nearly time to share 3191 Quarterly, Issue No. 8 with you! It has been an amazing year of growth and change for MAV and me, and we are proud to be finishing out our subscription cycle. Subscribers will start to receive Issue No. 8 next week, and the official release in our shop will be on August 24th (along with new MAV and Found Collections. I will be back with a new personal collection in the fall.)

This week I am sharing some outtakes from just a few of the stories to which I contributed in Issue No 8. I feel as though this issue is full of life and adventure. I had a great time working on it.

I learned to weave on forked tree branches as a child and have been wanting to share this project with you for some time. A willing tree and some yarn are all you really need to make your own.

Seeds—not just for the birds! I share a few of my favorite recipes using seeds including the Chili Lime Pepitas seen above.

Join me on a day trip out east where the landscape changes dramatically, and you can visit Stonehenge!

Our recurring feature, At Home, shares quiet moments and thoughts from around our houses.

We started the year with Deep Summer and now we have made our way to Deep Spring—our glossy gallery insert reflecting on the past season in film, always a favorite part of 3191Q for me.

::

As we get ready to launch the new collections, this week (August 10-17) will be your last chance to grab the few items left from our first collections—this includes the prints and the few tops MAV has left. My daughter already has Crop No. 2. or I’d be getting it for myself to wear layered over a long tee in the fall. So excited to share new things with you in a few weeks!

3 August 12 • MAV

Make this bread now.

You will LOVE it.

That’s all I am going to say.

Except this: let me know what you think — mav(at)3191milesapart.com.

Carrot & Zucchini Bread
makes one loaf (and is easily doubled)

1 C spelt flour
1 C all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1-1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 C natural sugar
3/4 C canola oil
1/2 C pure maple syrup
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
3 C grated carrots & zucchini

Preheat to 325°F/170°C. Butter a loaf pan or square cake pan and set it aside. Prepare zucchini by grating it (in your food processor if you have one) and piling it all onto a towel to roll and wring out some of the excess water. Once the zucchini is dryer (might need two good wrings) put it into a bowl with your grated carrots. Set that aside. Combine well all dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a bowl and set aside. In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment beat sugar, oil and maple syrup until well combined (about 2 minutes). Add applesauce and beat for another minute. Add eggs and beat until well combined (about 2 minutes). Add dry ingredients into wet and mix very slowly until just combined. Fold in the carrots and zucchini gently. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50–60 minutes or until the sides of the bread have completely pulled away from the pan. Note – Be mindful with your baking time. This is a very moist cake and you don’t want to under-bake it accidentally. A knife should come out clean of crumbs and the sides of the cake should be pulling away all the way around the pan. Let your bread cool for at least a half-hour before slicing. Try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting!

3 August 12 • SCB

Recently, someone brought up the list of after school snacks in 3191Q Issue No. 7 and asked about the homemade tortilla chips I mentioned, so I thought I’d share how we make them here. They are really quite simple to make and both much healthier and more economical than the deep-fried varieties. Plus, with tomatoes and peppers ripening, it’s salsa time!

You can make just a few chips or enough for a fiesta. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Gather as many corn tortillas as you’d like. Brush each tortilla with oil  (I use olive oil) on both sides to cover then stack and cut them in wedges as you would a pie.

Spread the wedges out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. It is important that they are not crowded or overlapping. Squeeze a generous amount of lime over the top and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. I find these chips don’t store particularly well, so we make them in small batches.

On a hot summer night, chips and salsa counts as dinner, right?