28 October 12 • MAV

With a massive storm coming our way here on the east coast, I have been having a hard time not feeling sad for the leaves. Of course I feel worried for the people in harms way as well, that’s not us here in Maine really, but the leaves have been speaking to me directly. I see them on their branches, hanging on for dear life, and know by tomorrow evening most of them will be forced down to the ground. With winds of 45 mph or more here in Maine how could they not be?

Now, I know it’s the tree that is actually forcing the leaves off. It’s all a part of evolution and I totally get it. I understand that the trees are preparing for winter and they need all the sustenance they can muster so it’s goodbye leaves! But still … the extra wind … it’s going to be hard on my leaf friends.

So, today I took a leaf walk. I wanted to share a few quick photographs with you so we could take a moment of pause for the leaves. Those of you who have Issue No. 8 know how I feel about pressing leaves and keeping them “alive” in this way. I still remember the first leaf collection I made back in elementary school. (I wonder if my parents have it?)

I marvel … each leaf is unique and individual, colorful and ever-changing. Look at all the beautiful shapes! Even the little ones have something bold to say. And on a closer look the details are just so extraordinary.

I’ll be trying to keep calm tomorrow as I see them whipping around in the air. Leaves, I’m thinking of you. And moreover I wish everyone in the path of the storm safety and calm too. Be well, friends.

28 October 12 • SCB

This week I brought home walnuts for our table. They always remind me of the photo from which 3191 was born.

I was gifted the most fragrant and lovely pears.

They became a delicious galette. Wonderful both warm with ice cream at night and cold with a cup of coffee at breakfast.

The pears made their way into a roasted squash soup with ginger as well.

The leaves are afire and blanket our sidewalks. (This photo reminds me of this post—sister wasn’t with us this time). We have to dash out for walks between rainstorms.

I was inspired to make my own leaves in silk and leather. They will be a part of my collection, releasing November 16th. Sign up on our email list to be the first to know.

20 October 12 • MAV

Since I have officially closed the chapter on Summer, 2012 (meaning: I have looked through all of my film and chosen the photographs I’ll be featuring in our Quarterly No. 9 glossy gallery, Stephanie and my special place to remember each season) I thought I would take a moment in this space to remember some of my favorite bits. There are way too many to feature this week, so I might have to continue this at some point, but here’s a start. Goodbye Summer, 2012!

The top two photographs were taken just around the summer solstice. It’s such a time of promise! You have the whole summer ahead of you and so much adventure to come. I made these paintings (the large turqoise/grey piece just above is actually my sweethearts) at a time when I was feeling so joyous about it all. The world around felt about to burst! Of all of the doodles and paintings I did this summer I like these the best.

These two photographs above were taken on our family trip to Mount Desert Island. We saw the most extraordinary gardens and sunsets. The bottom image was taken from the screened-in deck of a great lobster pound. The colors that night were unmatched! Of all of my summer wanderings I think this was my favorite trip.

My family had a very special summer toast in early July out on the rocks at Two Lights State Park. You’re not supposed to drink there so don’t tell! It was a beautiful evening and best of all was that we were all together (something that happens more rarely these days).

My oldest nephew, Miles, made his first visit to our little rental cottage mid-summer and we had such a great day. We painted rocks (the ones in the photographs were actually ones that my sweetie and I painted last year; it was awesome to see they were still at the cottage after a whole year) and went for a row in the little boat. We stayed close to shore even though Miles wanted to go out further. He slept all the way home.

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To be straight, it was a very busy summer, and I felt tired and overwhelmed quite often, but ultimately, what I will remember the most, are the people. My parents and dear friends visiting and staying in our flat … sharing the day to day with us at the most beautiful time of the year. It really was a nice summer in so many ways. I hope it was for you as well.

20 October 12 • SCB

I am a little bit late to the game, but I am trying my best to get into the rhythm of autumn this week. This past month was so busy with work and travel that I was lucky if I thought ahead to dinner that evening, let alone stocking my pantry for fall cooking. Fortunately, I had some time to clear out my fridge and pantry this week (if I can’t remember when I bought it, into the compost it goes. I try to start each season fresh). A little planning and a trip to the market later, we are better prepared to eat well with minimum effort (instead of reaching for the take-out menus).

Some tips:

:: In the cooler months, I roast a chicken on Sunday, make a bone broth for soup on Monday, and use extra meat for a dish later in the week. This week we will have chicken soup with barley, lemon and kale and chicken hand pies later in the week.

:: Onions, carrots and celery will become mirepoix for the freezer, so I will be ready to make simple soups and stews quickly in a pinch.

:: My favorite fresh herbs from the summer are being replaced with warming dried spices—smoked paprika, cumin and curry blends are some of my favorite additions.

:: I don’t buy a lot of canned food, but I do like to have tomatoes, coconut milk (for a cauliflower curry), and chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (for lentil chili) in my pantry.

:: Squash and root veggies are really calling to me right now. We will have sweet potato biscuits with our soup.

:: Tender salad greens are being replaced by hardier kale and bitter greens like mustard. I eat these fresh or shredded as a topping for a brothy soup.

:: Dried lentils (I stock brown and the more tender red lentils in my pantry) are great to have around because they cook up so quickly.

:: Ditto for whole grains. My kids love pearled barley, quinoa, and wheat berries. Put them in soups, cook them in broth to serve on the side, or use them as you would rice.

Happy autumn eating!

ps: The bag holding the onions above is a sneak peek at an alternative use for a project that will be featured in the new Quarterly…coming soon, subscribe today!

14 October 12 • MAV

It’s my bro’s birthday today … happy birthday, RCV!

As long as I can remember my brother has always loved yellow cake. When we were young it was yellow cake out of a box with no frosting. That was his favorite birthday cake year after year. As an adult he not only loves plain yellow cake on his birthday but also as just an every day cake to have around the house on any given week day. Through his unwavering dedication to yellow cake over the years this little sis has learned to respect it herself.

Thank goodness last year we all found the Scratch Baking Co. recipe for yellow cake in the issue second of Baker’s Notes. (If you are interested in some good sweets recipes you should buy Issue 2 for sure. The chocolate cake is just as amazing)

It has been really nice to let go of the boxed yellow cake in favor of Scratch’s rich, versatile, simple “everyday yellow cake” recipe. I have to say, if my very picky bro can make the switch after years of boxed cake that must mean it’s good!

Scratch Baking Co. Everyday Yellow Cake
makes two generous 9-inch round layers

14 ounces cake flour
14 ounces sugar
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 lb unsalted butter softened
1 C whole milk
8 egg yolks
6 T whole milk
2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Butter two 9-inch round layer pans. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment mix for 30 seconds. Add softened butter and mix again until batter looks like wet sand. Add 1 cup of whole milk and mix well again stopping to scrape the sides. In a small bowl mix egg yolks, 6 tablespoons whole milk and vanilla together well and then add to the batter. Mix everything one last time until the batter is silky with no lumps. Pour into cake pans and bake for 40–45 minutes or until cakes have pulled away from the sides and a tester comes out clean.

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Now you might be wondering why you’re seeing in the photographs that the two layers were not made into one cake. I’ll tell you why. Although my bro has diversified and come around to eating a better yellow cake he’s still not sure about whether he prefers frosting or not. So, this year when I asked him, “do you want the chocolate ganache on the cake or on the side?” he answered, “half and half.” We’re making some progress toward change … slowly.