Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Strawberry Balsamic Creme Fraîche Cheesecake

Strawberry Balsamic Creme Fraîche Cheesecake by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

There's been a lot going on the past few weeks, and I have some pretty exciting stuff that I want to share with you guys (!) but am waiting on the final word before I say anything. In the meantime, I've been really busy with work and have been trying my best to get things looking semi-decent for when my friend and First We Eat partner Carey comes tomorrow. Everything is a bit topsy turvy because our second floor is being remodeled, and like any old house, there have been lots of interesting surprises as walls have been opened up and areas examined, the biggest surprise being that the entire original master bathroom wasn't plumbed up to code, so we had to have it re-piped which meant opening up walls on the main floor in several rooms to give the new pipes somewhere to go. Cooking and shooting with a lot of the furniture moved into the kitchen area has been a bit tricky, and I'm still not 100% sure where Carey is going to sleep when she visits because pretty much the entire main floor is packed with the furniture that used to be on the second floor. Regardless, though, I am SO excited to show her around Oregon for the first time and then hop on a plane to our New Mexico workshop, wheeeeee !

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Scratch Session | Edible Flowers + Spring Wreaths

Floral Scratch Session by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Floral Scratch Session by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Floral Scratch Session by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

A couple weeks ago I hosted another homesteading workshop at my house here in Portland, and this time we dove into floral design and working with edible flowers. The incredibly talented Sarah from Selva Floral Design hosted the floral design portion of the workshop and Christiann and I co-hosted the edible flower portion. Since it was mother's day weekend, Sarah's mom, Jo, and my mom, Jill, also joined us, which, along with the mother-daughter attendees that came, made for a really fun gathering of wonderful women. We started off by candying edible flowers (I have a blog post about how to do this here), and while they were drying we made wreaths with fresh spring flowers. Sarah brought florals that would dry well, too, so that we could re-use our wreaths year after year, and we use dried grape vine wreaths from Afloral as the base. After that we had a wide-ranging spread of edible flowers for lunch, including jasmine green tea-braised pork shoulder, feta with radish blossoms from my garden, blueberry soup topped with calendula, and roasted brussels sprouts with hazelnuts and lavender. It was really interesting to taste and see edible flowers applied in such a variety of dishes, since most folks usually just stick to using them in sweet applications. All the beautiful dishes, glassware, and flatware on the table were from the kind folks at anthropologie who let us use them for the workshop. After that, Christiann and I pull out the mini-caked we had baked the day previously and everyone got to decorate them with glaze and the edible flowers they candied which had now dried. It was such a fun afternoon and I felt so lucky to have such a warm, friendly, and funny group of women in my home for the day.

I'm opening registration for my next Scratch Session, where we'll get down and dirty with organic gardening! It takes place on Saturday July 16th here at my home in my big vegetable garden. You can read through all the details and register via the link below, would love to have you join!!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quick & Easy Ember-Grilled Lobster Tails With A Shallot Butter Broth

Ember Grilled Lobster Tails by Eva Kosmas Flores

Sometimes I wonder what our neighbors think about us based on the observable changes occurring in the areas of our yard visible from the street. First, we turned a perfectly good lawn into a giant vegetable garden/tiny farm. Then, we turned a little gated area along the side of our house into a bustling chicken run. And now, we've dug an enormous fire pit in the backyard which we're using on a weekly basis, over which we've cooked everything from flatbread to oysters to an entire lamb. Some things are cooked on a grate over the flames, some are cooked in cast iron pans sitting on the grate over the fire, and others are cooked directly in the hot embers and ash, the latter bring my favorite method so far. Placing food items directly in the embers imparts a distinctly smokey flavor to them, (yum!), and also helps them cook very quickly, which my impatient side finds deeply appealing. Out of all the things I've cooked in it, though, my hands-down favorite has been these spitefully delicious lobster tails. I call them spitefully delicious because they're so good it seems like they're doing it just to taunt you, like "Oh, you thought chocolate cake was your favorite food of all time? We'll I'm about to BLOW. YOUR. MIND." It's the kind of tasty that makes you a little sad because you know that almost nothing you're going to eat in the next several months will even come close to measuring up to it, but so good that it's worth the tinge of preemptive sorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Croatia Photography & Styling Workshop {Sold Out}

Croatia Photography Workshop in Istria by Eva Kosmas Flores

This past fall Carey and I hosted a photography workshop in Croatia. Linda, Maggie, and Zhanna came to host alongside us, and we arrived in Zagreb a few days before the workshop began to pick up our rental car and drive 3 hours into the countryside. We'd rented a huge old stone farmhouse at the top of a hill overlooking a huge valley in Istria, the heart of Croatian wine and truffle country. I'd never been to Croatia before and wasn't sure what to expect, but when we rounded the corner at the top of the hill and pulled into the winding road leading up to the house we'd call home over the next week, what I saw took my breath away. Perched at the very top of an enormous hill (I think it also qualified as a small mountain), we could see the entire valley stretching out towards the setting sun.  Rows of vineyards graced the curves of the hills around us, and across the valley you could see an ancient hilltop town winding it's way up to the fortress at the tippy top. Fog settled to the bottom of the valley the next morning, and I watched it dissipate in my jet lagged state (awake much earlier than I would have normally been), and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. It's hard to find words to describe the scenery and the feeling of that place. Stone buildings scattered throughout the countryside like bread crumbs on a cutting board; some inhabited with the same families for generations, some given into time and overgrown with trees. Dense old forests that have existed in the same place for thousands of years, holding a treasure trove of delicious treasures if you know where to dig. People so friendly and excited to share their country with you, that they smile and wave at you from their front yard as they see you drive past. Food so fresh and purely good that you understand why people have fought wars over things like salt and spices. The only one other place I've traveled to that gave me the same sense of awe, majesty, and just pure unadulterated joy at the experience of existing in that particular location was Iceland.

Then the attendees arrived, and everything turned to magic. We had the most incredible  group of women attend, and I miss all of them very very much. Laurie, Beryl, Noreen, Megan, Lisa, Annika, and Helene, thank you all so much for joining us in our adventure. Actually makes that adventures, we had quite a few! They included helping a lone Croatian man push a stranded 'truffle train, through a narrow dirt road, enduring my first-ever speeding ticket, befriending the three Croatian kitties that lived around the outside of the farmhouse (which Maggie and Linda aptly named Butternut, Acorn, and Grumpy), witnessing the loudest crack of thunder of all time from the farmhouse's balcony, and climbing a small mountain road in a giant van (props to Carey for being the best van/bus driver ever). It was pretttttty  epic. I could probably write about it forever, but instead I'll just recommend giving our Croatia podcast episode a listen (Maggie guest stars!) if you want to hear all the sordid details.

When the workshop ended and it was time to leave the house, it was hard. Something about that house made you feel instantly at home the moment you stepped inside, like it was giving you a big hug. Everything there was so perfect, that we knew we had to go back. {UPDATE: We sold out within 3 days of announcing registration, thanks so much for everyone who signed up! To stay in the loop on registration openings for future workshops, you can join our email list here} So, I'm really really  REALLY excited to announce that we're going back again for the exact same week this year, and we'd love to have you join us! The workshop takes place September 30th - October 4th in the same home on the same hill in the same town. On the technical side, we'll be going over shooting with mirrorless, DSLR, and iPhone cameras, styling, social media, and Adobe Lightroom. On the food side, we'll be going on a guided truffle foraging excursion, picnicking in nearby villages, wandering through the smallest town in the world, and attending a truffle festival where we'll be trying wines and truffles from around the region.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Garden | Spring

Spring Garden by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Spring Garden by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking
Wisteria
Spring Garden by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I've gotten a lot of requests to do a post about my garden over the past year, but I've been putting it off because it looks so different at different points of the year that I wanted to shoot it over the year and put one big post together. But, life is crazy and I didn't have the motivation to make that happen (also my winter garden this year looked very sad), so instead I'm going to break it up into a few different posts. This one, as you can see, is spring! This is one of my busiest times in the garden because this is when I have to get the soil in tip top shape for planting, and actually start all my little seeds. I'm going to talk about all the steps I go through to get things in swing for the season, so if you're into plants or gardening, strap in! If not, you can at least enjoy some pretty garden and plant pictures :)

Monday, May 2, 2016

Salted Swedish Cardamom Buns + A Workshop in Tuscany

Salted Swedish Cardamom Buns by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I made these guys a few weeks back and have been dreaming about them ever since. My favorite desserts are always the ones that play sweet and salty off of each other, and these definitely deliver on that front. I had cardamom buns while I was traveling through Europe last month, they're traditionally a Swedish pastry but their popularity is spreading all over the place, and for good reason. They're like a nice and sticky cinnamon roll, but with cardamom inside and twisted up into the prettiest little knot rather than rolled up in a spiral. To make them, you basically make and roll out cardamom dough, then spread a cardamom paste filling over it, fold it in on itself, roll it out flat again, cut it into little strips, twist the little strip around your fingers to make the knot, and then bake the rolls in the oven. While they're baking, you make a delicious cardamom syrup that you brush over the buns as soon as you take them out of the oven, because when they're hot they absorb the syrup and it makes the buns incredibly moist and slightly sticky. Once they're all sticky from the syrup, I sprinkle a bunch of sea salt onto them to add a little crunch and a nice salty contrast to the sweet little buns (insert devilish grin here).

They're crazy, stupid good, and although the knot looks complicated, I have a little cinemagraph below to help you visualize the twisting process (I'm working on getting some cooking videos together for you guys, more on that soon!) Also, note that the filling and syrup in this recipe call for whole cardamom seeds, which is different than ground cardamom (which is ground cardamom seeds) and also different from the green cardamom pods (if you open the pods you'll see the little black seeds inside them, though, and that's what you want). Just something to be aware of when you're putting your grocery list together.

Also, I have a workshop coming up this October in Tuscany that I'd love for you to join! The first 3 days will be photography lessons, and the other 4 will be a food tour of all the best food and wine that Tuscany has to offer. It's pretty much going to be the greatest, ever. I'll be hosting it with Jennifer of Savory Simple and Cintia of Nostrale Tour. You can read more and register here, hope to see you soon!

And on a side note, I have an interview up on the anthropologie blog talking all about gardening and decorating with plants and cut flowers. Basically my other two obsessions in life besides food. You can take a look at it here :) Hope you're enjoying the spring!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Simple Rhubarb Almond Cake

Rhubarb Cake by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Rhubarb Cake by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Spring has sprung so much that it's beginning to feel like summer. It was 87 degrees here in Portland today, and while my baby tomato sprouts seem to be enjoying the heat, I must say I didn't enjoy the reminder of what it's like to sleep in a former attic with no air conditioning. Jeremy and I are going to get one of those air humidifier cooler things to see if that helps, but I'm hoping that the temperature goes down again, though, if not for our sake than at least for my spring produce that's baking under the hot glaring sun (I'm looking at you, peas).

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Secret Supper | Fire + Ice | {Sold Out}

Secret Supper | Fire + Ice | By Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking

Secret Supper | Fire + Ice | By Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking

Secret Supper | Fire + Ice | By Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking

Five weeks ago I hosted my third Secret Supper pop-up dinner here in the Pacific Northwest. We held it in a clearing in the middle of a grove of sweeping douglas fir trees, located at the magical Miller Farm Retreat. Co-hosting alongside me were my amazing friends and fellow food-lovers Christiann and Danielle, and Mona and Jaret of Tournant PDX. This supper was particularly challenging because, in tune with our Fire + Ice theme, every course was prepared over an open fire or directly in ambers and ash, and we had many hands helping in and outside of the kitchen to pull it all off. A huge thanks goes to Joe, Christi, Holly, Tiffany, Jeremy, Jacob, Caitlyn, Ariana, and Eleni.

We were infinitely lucky that the rain clouds stayed away and we were able to have an outdoor winter dinner, keeping everyone warm with fire pits along each side of the table and little pocket hand warmers given to them as they arrived. It was wonderful to see some of the same faces at this dinner that I've seen at previous ones, and so many fresh faces, too. Everyone dined under a blanket of stars and interwoven branches, nestled up against one of the biggest mountains in the state. The food was rich with flavor and perfect for the setting, and we had the most kind and joyous people join us for the evening. There's something particularly wondrous in that moment, when you know that all the beauty around you is just in that moment, just for that one night, where you all come together to enjoy a feast unlike any other you'll have again.

We've opened ticket sales for our next Secret Supper on June 18th, the theme is 'Thicket' and the 5-course dinner will be a celebration of spring. You can read more and register via the link below, and can sign up for our newsletter to be notified when registration opens for future events.

UPDATE: We sold out within 3 hours of opening registration, thank you so much everyone for your enthusiasm and support!!


Monday, April 4, 2016

New Mexico Food Photography + Textiles Workshop

New Mexico Photograhy Workshop with Eva Kosmas Flores

I'm still catching up on all the house and yard work I missed out on while I was gone, but just wanted to pop in and let you guys know that there's only 3 spaces left for my New Mexico food photography & textiles workshop, and they're going quickly! It is in Taos, New Mexico, where Carey and I will be teaching food photography, the business side of the creative industry, and styling. Maggie Pate from Nåde Studio will be teaching us how to make our own natural dyes (indigo specifically) and how to weave on our own small looms, which you'll get as a part of the welcome package (plus lots of other goodies!) We'll have gloves to keep your hands clean during the dying process if you want them, but there is something to be said about the beauty of those intensely blue palms and fingertips! I have the schedule of the workshop below for you to peek at, we'll also be staying in an amazing old adobe hacienda whose original walls date back to the late 1700's. Every room has a fireplace, and the beautiful adobe and stone structure mixed with the vibrant red and orange hills surrounding the home will make the perrrrrrfect backdrop for this workshop. And as per usual with the First We Eat workshops, we'll be making every meal from scratch, which means lots of delicious homemade southwestern dishes for all of us! I'd love to have you join me, and if you have any questions at all feel free to email me via the address in the sidebar of this blog. Hope to see you soon!!

Also, huge thanks to Maggie for all of the natural dying + weaving images for this post, and to Carey for all of the southwestern landscape shots :)

Schedule

| Friday June 3rd: Welcome dinner at 6 pm |

| Saturday June 4th: Photography lessons, indigo textile dying, hands on shooting & styling |

| Sunday June 5th: Styling lessons, weaving, business + social media roundtable |

| Monday June 6th: Group outing to Taos Pueblo, Adobe Lightroom demonstration |

| Tuesday June 7th: Farewell breakfast at 9 am, guests depart by 11 am |


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes

Blueberry Lemon Pancakes by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I've been home for a few days now and it has been so darned nice. There's just something especially wonderful about coming back to a place that's yours. Where you know where all your things are, where you get to cook whatever you want whenever you want, where you're greeting with two wagging tails and one fluffy one, and where your bed feels like its own little floating cloud of comfort and contentment. I don't know if it's just me getting older, but I really really REALLY just love being home. And Oregon has apparently reward me for returning, since the weather has been absolutely amazing here the past few days. The rain clouds of the typical northwest spring seem to have momentarily burned off, and instead have been replaced with sunshine and 70-degree weather. Huzzah!! As any human who has gone for 6 months without a warm and sunny day at home would do, I immediately tore off into the garden and firmly planted myself outside, determined to make the most of it.