The Pig, the Puff, and the Pie of Portland...

I'm scrawling down these thoughts as I sit (gratefully) inside our well-heated car, awaiting Eric's exit from within the tire store. Apparently one should possess snow tires to cross the rockies in the middle of January so as to safely move from Portland to Santa Fe.

So I decide to wait (gratefully) inside our well-heated car and scrawl thoughts while he did quintessential manly things - like buy snow tires.

It's pouring rain in Portland for about the 4th day in a row, and I listen as the guy on the radio confidently announces, amidst trying to sell outdoor gear, that we are in fact in the middle of a Pacific Northwest winter.
You think? Genius that one is.

I check Santa Fe weather on my phone. (I got tech-saavy for Christmas)
A big fat yellow dot plops itself on my screen. Part smiley. Part snarky...
The sun.
It still exists!
All the way across the Rockies.

Now I fully recognize that this here blog has had its own bit of a holiday vacation. It was all, "I need to sleep in, take a hot bath, and probably buy a Christmas tree or something." Low blow. Who can argue with Christmas? I surrendered - Vacation it had.

Christmas Tree 2011

I also fully recognize that this here blog has deviated a bit from its intended path - the making of a Mennonite cookbook. Partly out of its own (and mine) organic evolution, partly out of that fantastically fun French cooking course, and maybe partly out of that lil' decision to move cross country with the author's man.

But rest assured dear readers, 2012 will surely beckon us back on track! The desert pulls at the writer in me, and thus I declare...
There shall be a book! (or at least part of one) There shall be a hunt for a publisher, book proposals, decisions on recipes, interviews, probably a few chiles (cause you know... when in Rome), and a Mennonite Writer's Conference. Seems audacious doesn't it? I figure you, dear readers, will help keep me on track.

Meanwhile however, Portland is not leaving me wanting. And my attempts to revel in it are going quite well...

The sis Sarah came in for a visit!  Certainly there was a need for pizza (duh) and among other treats - the Chicken and Rice cart. It's so good you don't even mind eating off a newspaper stand, next to a parked car, in the freezing cold.

I then got in on the handiwork of an in-home pig butchery with some folks from the The Collective, Portland Meat Collective and The Farm. Thanks be to Bubba who raised the pig on many hazelnuts and much love!

Amidst the rush, I planned a much-needed moment of solitude at Breitenbush, one of my favorite spots in Oregon. I had to go back one last time - for the drive, the soak, the hike, the sauna. And of course that yummy, hippie, free-range, vegan lunch! 

A weekend with the girls to celebrate: a birthday, a pregnancy, a departure, surprise guests, and the Oregon coast...

photo by Emily Shirk Birky
photo by Emily Shirk Birky

A Goodbye Party with a Grapefruit Cake Disaster:

Salvaged Grapefruit Cake Bites:

Solstice Dinner with my first-ever attempt at Puff Pastry... 

photo by Janan Markee

They puffed!!!!

Janan, who has spent some time next to a Kenyan woman at a Kenyan stove, taught me the art of chapatis... It's all in the roll, the flip, and the fat. Yumm!!

And finally... my family, even from afar, celebrates Christmas with a Secret Santa Gift Exchange (though it's never all that secret-y by the end... surprises have never been our strong suit). 

Sister Jenny blessed me with a beautiful cookbook, which I immediately put to use on a Christmas Apple Tart. 
Thanks Alice and Jenny. I mean... Secret Santa... ahem. 

photo by Sarah Boyts Yoder

Happy New Years Dear Readers! 
Thanks for seeing 2011 close alongside me... 

Love love, 


  1. looks yummy! puff pastry is my trick for pot pie too! Try it over small ramekins. Makes really good individual portions of pot pie really easy! puff & pie

  2. Thanks for the comment and puff wisdom! Your thoughts on pot pie pretty much have me starry-eyed... dreaming of some tiny little mason jar donned with a majestic puff. Your site looks intriguing!