Tag Archives: friends

monkey bread for brunch

Good friends coming over for brunch is the perfect excuse to try that recipe you’ve been dying to try. For me that would be The Kitchn’s Monkey Bread with Bourbon Crème Anglaise.

I don’t think I’ve had monkey bread since I was a kid. I remember my aunt making a recipe that includes instant butterscotch pudding. This is a little labor intensive, but the beauty is that most of the work happens the night before. In the morning you just take it out of the fridge to rise for an hour and then bake. You can time it perfectly.

As if monkey bread isn’t magical enough, this recipe includes crème anglaise for dipping. Of course we decided to serve it in (what else?): mason jars.

Since bourbon is my favorite, I added a little extra. I also used some of my stash of vanilla bean in place of extract. I’d never made crème anglaise before. It is divine.

I recommend the recipe highly. Monkey bread is sort of like cinnamon rolls and donut holes had a baby. I will probably be making this for many brunches to come.

What are your favorite brunch recipes? I think I need to attempt a souffle next.


Filed under food

Her name is Cherry, we’ve just met

Jess, along with our good friend Jordan, worked some sort of miracle and scored local organic cherries for $2.50 a pound, with a couple bonus pounds thrown in for free. Last night we all convened at the Bearded Lady Food Company’s (literally) sweet commercial kitchen for a cherry processing pizza party.

In case you’re wondering, yes it was amazing to be in a commercial kitchen with a six burner gas range and a wall of deep sinks to wash everything. Jess could not stop talking about those sinks.

We all donned Bearded Lady aprons, even Levi, and went to town on 22 pounds of cherries. Levi looks grumpy here, but I assure you that is just intense focus. Together he & I stemmed and pitted all the cherries in record time. That kid can be a workhorse when we get him on board a project.

Okay, for the sake of complete accuracy we pitted all of the cherries except the two pounds that became Drunken Cherries.

We used the recipe from Sherri Brooks Vinton’s Put ’em Up but threw in a little vanilla bean. Sweet cherries, bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla bean? How can this go wrong? We also made her Classic Cherry Preserves from the same book, one batch with vanilla bean and the other with black pepper. BLACK PEPPER CHERRY PRESERVES? Tell me you don’t want to invite yourself over for scones.

We always joke about cooking all the way through a book, but Jess doesn’t know yet that I hope we can actually achieve that with this book.

I’ve also got cherries and sugar macerating in an attempt to make this cherry shrub recipe happen. You may recall we enjoyed cherry shrub cocktails for our anniversary recently. Learn more about shrubs here from serious eats. We are well on our way to our dreams of a house filled with all sorts of jams and jellies and syrups and shrubs, hooray!

In case you’re wondering what we ended up with from our 11 pounds:

3 half-pint jars cherry preserves
4 pint jars cherries preserved in simple syrup
1 quart jar of drunken cherries
1 gigantic batch of cherry shrub

and one leftover pound in the fridge – I’m leaning toward a fresh salad with cherries and cheese for dinner tonight.


Filed under canning


Before & After

Just a reminder: Our apple tree fell down. Fortunately, my friend Kate knows how to use a chainsaw. She came over Sunday and we spent the morning in the backyard. She missed her calling as a lumberjack, because she dissected that tree into “manageable pieces” in a matter of minutes.

The apple tree has been reduced to a pile of apple sticks and apple logs.

Now, we just have to decide what we’re going to do with the manageable pieces.


Filed under fall, home, urban farming

Celebrating our love

We did elope, but we wanted to have a party to celebrate our new marriage and share our love with our fantastic families! So, party we did. On October 10, 2008, we had an intimate get-together hosted by Deanna & Duane’s in their lovely home. Our beloved friends & family came from near and far – my Aunt Lynne held the record for miles traveled, all the way from New Jersey. It was catered by our friends, Jordan & Melanie, the Bearded Lady Catering Company. The feast was Southern-themed, vegan-friendly, and the food exceeded our wildest expectations!

For beer, we served two Fish Tale Brewery ales, a pale ale & an IPA obviously. These are delicious, organic beers made right here in Olympia, WA. They were even hand-delivered by one of our guests, Max. Thanks so much, Max! On one of my first trips to the PNW, I had a Fish Tale ale & knew that I could make do any place with brews like that.

We also had an organic 2006 chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from Bonterra Vineyards, in Mendocino County. We drove past there on our epic roadtrip! Special thanks to Deanna, Krista’s mom, for her tireless efforts to pair the wines with the party, with help from Khalilah. For our toast with the family legacy toasting flutes, Deanna also picked out a delicious prosecoo del vento brut, from Puntoevirgola, which came to us through the PCC Natural Market.

The food was so delicious. Roasted brocolli with pecans & veggie bacon, served alongside fried tomatoes, served with buttermilk lime creme.

The vegan protein came in the form of spicy peach glazed seitan wings. I have eaten some delicious seitan hot wings in my time, but these were especially good. The texture was great & the glaze was finger-lickin’ good; these are the two most important elements in a good vegan wing. In the background you can see the delicious macaroni & cheese that stole my heart – I even told Krista in the middle of the party that I had to leave her for the mac & cheese. I was kidding, of course, but it really was that good. So much good cheese, covered in the most delicate buttery bread crumbs. I hope the whole roasted chicken with citrus and applewood smoked bacon was good — did you try it? Will you tell me if it was good? You can leave a comment on this entry. Don’t forget to tell us who you are.

We also had biscuits & southern cream gravy and braised greens (mustard greens & kale) -this was the same first meal we shared. There were mountains of mashed potatoes with garlic that were a crowd-pleaser. You can see much of this lovely spread as plated by Jennifer Birch in this picture. Jen is one of my dearest friends from Pittsburgh, who relocated to Seattle before me, over a year ago. You may recognize her as one of the witnesses from our wedding.

All the food was dished up family-style on a small buffet. Here’s a few shots of my mom & myself.

Oh! Dessert! For the non-vegan, nut-eating party-goers, Jordan & Melanie produced the most exquisite individual pecan pies, with whiskey caramel sauce and cinnamon whipped cream. I saw Levi sweet-talking someone into extra caramel sauce for his pie. He’s a smart kid; that stuff was delicious.

For the vegan (hi, jen!) / non-nut-eaters (hi, daddy!), we had an amazing chocolate cake with layers upon delicious layers and chocolate icing from Honey Bear Bakery in Lake Forest Park, WA. Holy crap, those bakers outdid themselves. I saw a lot of people sampling and exclaiming over this cake. It also doesn’t hurt that it was gorgeous. (Look in the background and you can see the tiny pecan pies being prepared for slaughter)

We had some thoughtful, touching, wonderful toasts with the sparkling prosecco. Thanks so much for everyone’s well wishes. By the end of the night, I felt like my heart was spilling over with an infinite well of love from all of our family and friends. I even cried multiple times over the cards and letters and sweet diorama. We both want to thank everyone so much for coming & being so sweet to us. Laughter, stories, and our hearts full of love – is there a better way to start our lives together? I can’t think of one.

I especially want to thank anyone who told embarrassing baby Jessica stories to Krista! Ha!

I know a lot of people took group photos, but we didn’t — I don’t have many of them, so if you can email me your best shots, you can send to me at skirtmuseum at gmail dot com. Thanks in advance!

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Filed under marriage, wedding