walnut-pear tart

Hey, there. It’s the middle of July, already! We’ve grown weeds in our garden beds and kept a mama raccoon out of the house after she tore into a bag of cat food. What’s in that cat food? The neighborhood wildlife loves the stuff: we caught an opossum hovering over the cat’s dish and traced the shredded food bag back to the raccoon. Luckily, the local bears have stayed away. Life in the wild hills of New England…

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As for the rest of our days, we’re stumbling through teething and sleepless nights and summer camps just fine. Our annual hurrah on Cape Cod came and went with the sunrises and sunsets we were lucky enough to witness (the perks of having two early risers in the house).

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I reread To Kill A Mockingbird at the beach, and was blown away once again by Harper Lee’s storytelling: the way she slowly reveals characters and paces the novel like a slow accordion fanning in and out. Lee also addresses large themes like race, class, justice, and growing up in a small Southern town during the Depression with wit and compassion.

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I can’t seem to start another novel after this one. The two I recently picked up from the library fell flat. I’m still caught in Lee’s Maycomb, Alabama in the 1930s.

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Despite time away and stolen moments in books, our kitchen has been bustling with jam, jellies, sauces, and tarts. A month or so ago, the good folks at USA Pears sent a box of organic green anjou pears to try. They looked as good as they tasted straight from the box. We ate half the pears unadorned — sweet and juicy with a hint of citrus — and the rest were split between Homemade Vanilla Pear Sauce (think stove top applesauce with seeds from a vanilla bean added in) and this raw walnut-pear tart, subtle yet sweet endings to summer dinners. Now I’m thinking about a plum variation as well.

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Pears on Film | Pentax K1000 | Fujicolor 200

 

Walnut-Pear Tart
makes one 9-inch tart or two 4 1/2-inch tarts
adapted from Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods by Renee Loux Underkoffler

Walnut Crust
2 cups walnuts
5 medjool (or other soft variety) dates, pitted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of sea salt

Vanilla Cream
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (whole cashews or cashew pieces)
1 cup medjool (or other soft variety) dates, pitted
1/4 cup lemon juice
seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean pod
1 tablespoon coconut butter

4 firm ripe pears

Garnish
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon zest

To make the walnut crust: In a food processor or high-speed blender, chop the walnuts into a fine meal. Add the dates, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt and process until the mixture comes together. Press into the bottom of a tart pan.

To make the vanilla cream: Soak cashews in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse. Soak dates in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain and save the soak water for the next step. In a blender or food processor, blend cashews, dates, lemon juice, vanilla seeds, and coconut butter into silky smooth yet firm. Spread the cream evenly over the crust.

To prepare the pears: Peel and halve the pears. Remove the seeds. Cut the pears into thin slices and arrange them over the cream in a decorative fan (or other) pattern. Garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon and lemon zest. Refrigerate the tart for 1 to 2 hours before serving to allow enough time for it to set.

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the view from here

Some recent film shot with Impossible color spectra of the annual trek to Cape Cod. Off for more summer fun. See you back here soon.

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

from the Cape

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lately in black and white

(before) on the verge of summer

spring 2014106

spring afternoon bw118

spring afternoon bw117

spring 2014107

spring afternoon bw120

with the Yashica Mat 124 | Tri-X 400

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almost there

I’m typing this note with one hand, cradling my sleeping babe with the other. Summer vacation begins soon, which means picnics, novels, sandcastles, afternoons at the lake. A night at the drive-in. Whoopee!

still life of tea

still life of tea | Polaroid Spectra | Impossible Color Film

Off to it, ready for summer to begin and to wrap up projects in the making. Plus a few photos from a new series: still life of…

(read more about my inspiration for the photos at Mortal Muses.)

still life of fruit (close)

still life of fruit (close) | Polaroid Spectra | Impossible Color Film

still life of fruit

still life of fruit | Polaroid Spectra | Impossible Color Film

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cherry almond granola bars (vegan + gluten-free)

I started a recipe journal several years ago. It’s more of a sketchbook than a journal though since most of it is written in code: ingredients list, notes, scratch outs, rewrites, coffee stains, musings. Months go by without pulling it off the kitchen shelf, until the day comes along when I need to make granola bars, stat as the boxed variety just won’t do.

almond cherry granola bars

I tested a cookie-like bar and wrote something about those cherry almond bars. Yep. Here they are. Butter toasted oats, almonds, and cherries dunked in a maple brown sugar caramel-y syrup. The little one approves and can’t wait to get his face into these. A few more months I tell him, he has to work the pancake angle first, I say. Not a bad place to be, not at all.

the little one makes his move

Cherry-Almond Granola Bars

makes 16 square bars

1/4 cup vegan butter

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Leave a 1-inch overhang around the sides of the pan to help remove the granola bars.

Melt the vegan butter in a wide sturdy-bottomed pot or cast iron skillet. Turn the heat to medium, add the oats, and cook for 6 minutes or so, stirring frequently. The oats should be evenly toasted with a nice golden brown hue to them.

Empty the toasted oats into a large mixing bowl. Wipe down the pot or skillet and set aside to use again for the syrup. Add 1/2 cup of flaxseed meal and the cinnamon to the bowl. Mix the dried cherries and toasted almonds with the remaining tablespoon of flaxseed meal and chop finely (the flaxseed meal prevents the cherries from clinging to the knife as you chop). Scrape them into to the oat mixture.

Pour the maple syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt into the reserved pot. Stir to combine then cook the syrup over medium heat until gently boiling throughout, about 6 minutes.

Add the cooked syrup to the oat mixture, using a spatula to scrape out all the syrup from the pot, and stir well. Be sure to coat all the oats with syrup.

Turn the oat mixture out into the prepared pan. Add a bit of butter to your hands and press the oats evenly into the pan to form the bars.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The bars should have a shiny coating with the edges slightly darker than the middle. Remove from the oven and cool or 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container.

(Inspired by Kim Boyce’s Granola Bars from “Good to the Grain”.)

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look back (summer with the holga)

Hanging out at Mortal Muses today with Holga shots of last summer. Come on over.

summer holga 1

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the poetic

winter interiors 1

winter interiors 2

The Poetic

Words between the hours,
morning. Novels read slower than slow. Letter
by letter we advance. Eight and a half months and counting.
Read out loud, Montana 1948. Recommended twice. Some nights
the story gets tangled in sheets, pressed into
paper and bound with glue. Something I wanted to tell you, lost
between coffee and diapers.
The camera remembers our untouchables
Look back, it’s all here.

Hasselblad 500cm | Kodak Portra 800

p.s. Though you might enjoy this list: Top ten food artists who turn edibles into elaborate art. I’m rather fond of Julie Lee’s food collages as well as Sarah Illenberger’s witty and clever food creations.

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‘roid week

Today is the last day of ‘Roid Week 2014 (round one) on Flickr. Polaroid Week dates back to 2006 as a place to celebrate instant film, push the boundaries of Polaroid images, and make some great work in the process. For a quick shot of Friday film inspiration, check out the talent from ‘Roid Week.

A few images I shot this week as part of a new black and white instant film project titled, Fleeting.

from the sea
from the sea | polaroid one | 600bw

 

our future
our future | polaroid one | 600bw

 

blossoms in window
blossoms in window | polaroid one | 600bw

 

weeping cherry
weeping cherry | polaroid one | 600bw

 

Tuesday Market (looking down)
tuesday market (looking down) | polaroid one | 600bw

 

found: triangles
found: triangles | polaroid one | 600bw

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‘chef,’ an indie culinary comedy

Last week I went to the movies, alone. Alone! It was so decadent. I went to an advance screening of “Chef” followed by a Q & A with writer/director/star Jon Favreau at Amherst Cinema.

JPCHEF-articleLarge
From left, John Leguizamo, Emjay Anthony and Jon Favreau in “Chef.” Credit Merrick Morton/Open Road Films

You may remember Favreau from “Swingers,” the hit indie comedy-drama he produced, wrote, and starred in back in 1996. Since then, he shifted to big budget films including “Elf,” the “Iron Man” series, and “The Avengers.” With “Chef”, he returns to fast-paced small budget filmmaking — the film was shot in a month — and a subject he’s passionate about, food.

In his new film, Favreau plays chef Carl Casper, once infamous for his soulful cuisine, turns out food to please the restaurant he’s worked in for the past ten years. He caves under pressure from his boss to serve the kind of banal restaurant food regular clientele expect: undistinguished French fare. Carl suffers from his mediocre routine, both professionally and personally, until food critic/blogger extraordinaire (Oliver Platt) reserves a seat for dinner. His boss (Dustin Hoffman) demands Carl prepare the regular menu, without flair. He plays it safe, dinner flops, and life tailspins from there. What follows is a trip with his ex-wife (Sofía Vergara) and son (Emjay Anthony), food truck, road trip, and reconciliation with his past. “Chef” is heartwarming and funny and takes us along on Carl’s noble albeit feel-good journey.

It’s the kind of film strangers bond over. After the credits rolled, I stood in line in the Ladies’ room. A woman struck up conversation with five of us waited near the door. “Did anyone see Chef?” The others replied no. “I did,” I said. “Didn’t you just love the film? It was so enjoyable to watch,” she said. “Yes and funny and well written. Plus Jon Favreau worked the line in Chef Roy Choi’s (Koji BBQ) food trucks and restaurants to get the life of a chef right.” She dried her hands and waved.

I left the theater thinking about beignets and barbecue.

chef poster

p.s. To learn more about the making of “Chef,” Jon Favreau talks food, family, and filmmaking in this interview at CNN’s Eatocracy.

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film friday in black and white

Hanging out over at Mortal Muses today with Black & White Impossible Film. Stop by if you like.

Trek in Black & White 1

Trek in Black & White 2

Trek in Black & White 3

Trek in Black & White 4

Trek in Black & White 5

Trek in Black & White 6

Trek in Black & White 7

Trek in Black & White 8

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