Tuesday, June 22, 2010

pdx to oc, day three

On the road again, after a stop in the Bay Area to visit my sisters and nephews...I stayed up too late and got up too early, but I was eager to get the trip down that desolate stretch of Interstate 5 over with. Not much to look at but gently rolling golden hills and cows. Lot of cows. Down around Coalinga, you can smell the feedlots from miles away. A truly awful way to raise food. I'm not a vegetarian, but why we feel as if it's our right to treat these animals as if they're just inanimate, non-feeling things is a mystery to me.

Further south the rolling hills give way to the enormous San Joaquin Valley, a formerly fertile, now incredibly arid place full of orchards and vineyards and orange groves fed by broad, manmade canals moving water from North to South. Farm is such a quaint word. This is Agribusiness.

It's easy to be critical, but not so easy to reconcile that criticism when I pull into an oasis to fill up my car with gas and have a breakfast of fast food at Burger King.
However, nature is not quite so critical...the wild things see opportunity in the very things I'm criticizing.

Hours later, I make the long, hot climb up and over the final pass

into LA smog and traffic.

It seemed fitting that I was listening to this song at the time:

Welcome to LA...

did I mention it was hot?

Monday, June 21, 2010

pdx to oc, day two

Back on the road after a one night stopover at my cousin's place. By 7:45 am I've already seen two dead deer and a small orange tabby on the side of the road. We humans sure have made this planet a dangerous place for our fellow creatures.
On the bright side, I narrowly avoid hitting a confused squirrel trying to cross the interstate, so I console myself with that for awhile.

By mid morning I've climbed up and over quite a few mountain passes:

The first three were hills, really...

but then they got a bit higher...

Still, nothing like going over the Rockies, but the highest point on I-5 nevertheless.
And then I got to see the last little bit of cool, green Northwest scenery for about a week:

stuff and nonsense

Sunday, June 20, 2010

pdx to oc, day one

Driving down I-5 near Roseburg, Oregon listening to Jumping Jack Flash loud on the stereo. I'm doing 75, trying to pass a log truck, when out of nowhere a big maroon Pontiac comes up on my tail. I slip the Honda in front of the truck, and watch the Pontiac blow past me. It's a car full of blue-haired, little old ladies bobbing their heads and laughing animatedly, doing at least 85. I wonder what they're listening to?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

friday potluck: it's an all-pie event!

This week's potluck theme is...pie! What's your favorite? There are so many kinds to choose from: sweet or savory. One crust, two crust, pies you can hold in your hand. One-bite pies.

Let's see if we can come up with enough pie recipes to make up a balanced meal.

I'll do the veggie course.

~ Veggie Pie ~

(Recipe adapted a million years ago from the "Eat It" cookbook.
Written by Dana Crumb and illustrated by her husband, R. Crumb!)

1/2 onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
about 1 and 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
(I use cremini mushrooms, but you could experiment with any kind you like)
about 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup each of two other veggies, like:
green beans
lima beans
or whatever
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 TBS olive oil
2TBS butter
3-4 TBS soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
crust for a 2-crust pie
(I'm a terrible pie crust maker, so I use Pillsbury, but don't let me be a bad influence)

Preheat your oven to 400ยบ

chop your celery, onions, garlic, carrots,
and any other veggies you like

heat olive oil in a large skillet and saute the veggies on medium heat until they're soft and fragrant and the onions are translucent

chop your mushrooms (halve or quarter them first if they're large)

Add the butter and throw in the mushrooms

While the mushrooms get all fragrant and start to soften and soak up all that lovely butter, chop 4 cups of spinach

throw the spinach in, too.
It will be a big pile, but stir and it will cook down to practically nothing in about 30 seconds.

see what I mean?

Add the soy sauce and freshly ground pepper to taste
(the whole 4 TBS of soy sauce might be too salty for some so take it easy and taste as you go)

then mix in the cheese until the whole mess melts into a mass of gooey goodness.

put your bottom crust into your pie pan, and fill with the veggie mixture.

put on the top crust, crimping the edges, and cut a few slits in the top to let steam escape

Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. (But don't do what I did
and take your dogs for a long walk while it's baking)

Let it cool for a few minutes, and Eat It!

Okay, now it's your turn...got a yummy pie recipe? Here are a couple of ways to share:
  1. Post a comment with a link to the recipe on your blog, or
  2. Post a link to someone else's recipe on their blog, or
  3. If you don't have a blog, email it to me, and I'll post it here as soon as I get it.

So what are you waiting for? Let's have a potluck!

P.S. When I decided on the pie theme, I thought I'd google it to see if anyone else had done it before, and whaddaya know? There was an all-pie potluck right here in my hometown of Portland back in January. Check it out here: Mile Post 73.

friday potluck, anyone?

Several years ago, back when we lived in San Francisco, I belonged to a loosely-organized potluck group. We usually met once a month, with everyone taking turns hosting the gatherings. The host got to choose the theme, and because we were a pretty eclectic bunch, ranging from bookkeepers and artists to microbiologists and musicians, the themes got pretty interesting.

I've tried once or twice to drum up interest in forming a new group in my Portland neighborhood, but we all seem to be too busy these days to commit to a regular thing. It's a shame, really - my friends are awesome cooks. The closest we've come to a regular thing has been the five-plus years that three or four families have been pitching in to cook dinner for our local Ronald McDonald House.
It's been a great experience, but cooking a meal for 25 people you don't know generally tends to limit your creative choices. I'm not sure the residents would fully appreciate a meal composed entirely of bite-sized foods or the color purple.

So, in the spirit of my old potluck group, I thought it would be fun to start a virtual potluck, where bloggers could take turns hosting and choosing a theme.

Here's how it would work:
  1. The host chooses a theme and posts a recipe on their blog on a Friday evening.
  2. Other bloggers will leave links to their recipes in the comments section.
  3. The first person to post a recipe link becomes the next week's host, who then gets to choose a theme. The themes can be as elaborate or a simple as you like, and the recipes don't have to look like these, by any means...you can simply post a recipe, or even a link to another blogger's recipe. (Just make sure to give credit where credit is due!)
I'll post the link to the next host's site here every Thursday evening.

So stop by here tomorrow for the first week's potluck theme and recipe!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

just checking in...

I haven't been around here a whole lot in the last week.

My friends appear to be checking up on me.

It's kinda nice to know I'm missed by somebody.