Monday, August 31, 2015

Huckleberry Pie

Huckleberry Pie by Eva Kosmas Flores

It has finally cooled down here the past few days, and I've been *so* in love with the overcast skies and chilly mornings. It's amazing to wake up in the morning not covered in sweat and panting, but instead snuggled under the blanket nice and cozy-like with a pup on either side of me. Once it starts to get cool and crisp again, I begin to crave pie morning, noon and night. Full of the last berries of summer, I made this a few weeks ago when it was insanely hot, and while it was rough having the oven on, I still loved it then and would love it even more so now. (I am planning on making it again later today, YUM!) Also, we still have a couple spaces left for my Croatia workshop, where Linda Lomelino of Call Me Cupcake and Maggie Pate from Inks + Thread will be joining us. We'll be foraging for truffles in the Croatian countryside and enjoying amazing Istrian wines, you can read more about it and register at the link below. Would love to have you come!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Melon Agua Fresca

Melon Agua Fresca by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

The heat. The intense, searing, broiling, cruel cruel heat of this summer has been almost unbearable. This is the hottest I can ever remember Oregon being, and it has made any sort of oven-related cooking in our non-air conditioned house an intensely sweaty and unpleasant experience. This, coupled with the fact that I planted an absurd amount of tomatoes this year, means that I have been eating caprese salad at least once a day. But even with the juiciness of a fresh tomato, on especially hot days the heat still gets to me, and I find myself cursing at the sky, just angrily staring out the window at the sun, stuck inside avoiding heat stroke instead of actually enjoying the summer outside like I should be able to. Days like those, even water doesn't quench my thirst. And it's on those brutally hot days that I lean on my old friend, agua fresca. For those of you unfamiliar with agua fresca, it's one of the simplest things to make, ever. You literally just put chunks of juicy fruit in a blender with cold water, then drink it. When done right, it's the most refreshing thing, ever. And its name literally means fresh water.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer Vegetable Quiche + A Giveaway

Summer Vegetable Quiche by Eva Kosmas Flores

After staying green for several weeks, all the tomatoes in my garden decided to ripen at the same time and I am now left with literal bucketfuls. I've been making sauce with them, drying them, and eating caprese salad non-stop, but as soon as I eat them, even more of them ripen on the vine and take their place. So, I've just resigned myself to incorporating tomatoes into every meal, which to be honest, I am most certainly not opposed to.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Secret Supper | July

Secret Supper by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

A few weeks ago I hosted my first pop-up dinner here in Portland. It took place in southeast Portland in the home of Suzanne Fuoco, tucked away in her very private and beautiful garden. Suzanne and Christiann co-hosted along with me, and together we made a 5-course meal that was savory, sweet, rich, refreshing, and tasted entirely of summer, down to the last drop of Suzanne's incredible rhubarb chutney, harvested from her garden just a few weeks before. It was incredible to see so many of Portland's makers and food lovers come out for the event and have such a great time together relaxing, savoring delicious food and drink, and simply enjoying each other's company. The success was so much so that we decided to make the dinner a series. Update: we sold out for the next dinner within 24 hours of announcing registration, so if you'd like to be emailed when ticket sales open for upcoming secret suppers, you can sign up at the link below. If you have any questions at all don't hesitate to reach out, we'd love to hear from you. The dinner location will be disclosed to ticketed guests only three days prior to the event, it will take place within 1 hour of Portland's city limits.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Iceland Food + Landscape Photography Workshop

Iceland by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Iceland left me nearly speechless. I've never seen so much beauty in one place in all my life, especially such a diversity of it. Fields of lupines as far as your gaze can carry you, then just further down the road, a glacier peeking around an imposing mountain range. Beaches filled with black sand,   a bay filled with icebergs, waterfalls everywhere. Icelandic horses and rams roaming rolling hills, Icelandic sheepdogs herding everything that moves. Miles and miles of stones covered in alien-green moss, going all the way to the horizon. Deserts made of nothing but grey pebbles. The midnight sun letting you know it's time to go to bed, the only sense of time in this land of endless summer light. It's other worldly, I kept having to remind myself that I was in a real place that existed here on earth, that I wasn't just somehow transported to a make-believe world. Looking around at all these incredible things, you can understand why over half the Icelandic population believes in 'the hidden people' (their version of elves), and after a while you find it easier to believe, too. How else, why  else, could all of this ridiculous beauty occur in one island floating in the northern Atlantic, if not for a little elfish magic?

So, with much excitement, Carey and I are opening registration for our 4-day Iceland food and landscape photography workshop August 12th - 16th, 2016. We'll be roaming the countryside and  taking in the scenic surroundings through our camera lens while making, shooting, and eating delicious food. We'll soak in beautiful hot springs, feel mist from the waterfalls, and wander with majestic Icelandic horses. The scenery and people of Iceland will amaze and delight you, and we'd love for you to join us on this unforgettable journey. You can find more information and register at the link below, hope to see you soon!

Also, if you're interested in visiting Iceland and like what you see in the *ton* of photos below (seriously, this is the most photo-heavy blog post I have ever done), I'm listing the names of the places we went below. We stayed mostly in southern Iceland and drove along highway 1 with our rental car, which we promptly stranded on a turn-off in Thingeviller national park on our second day there. Luckily, we flagged down an awesome couple from San Fransisco and they helped me push the tiny car up the gravel incline while Carey gunned it and all was not lost. But long story short, renting a car is a great way to get around Iceland, just make sure to get insurance on it because the turn-offs can be pretty rough going. All in all, we went to Gulfoss, Skogafoss, Sejlandafoss, The Golden Circle, Thingvellir, Vik, Jokulsarlon, Blue Lagoon, and Rekjavik. So, I hope you enjoy the photos of this ridiculously beautiful place, I highly recommend going at least once in your lifetime, and can't wait to return next summer.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Sautéed Sherry Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, & Fresh Thyme + A Date Night Giveaway

Sautéed Sherry Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions & Thyme

I can’t believe another week has gone by already. Time just seems to be whizzing past these days; between work, taking care of all the pets and plants, and finishing up the living room remodel (aaaalmost  done painting the trim), I’m so exhausted by the time Jeremy comes home from work that all I want to do is curl up in the cool basement and watch Netflix until I fall asleep. The intense heat Oregon is experiencing this summer is depleting my will to cook lengthy meals, lest I leave the oven on too long and heat up the house more than it already is. But ordering out due to heat-induced laziness always makes me end up feeling even more lethargic.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Torta Della Nonna Italian Custard Tart

Italian Almond Custard by Eva Kosmas Flores-5

After traveling to Long Island for yet another trip this past week, it feels good to be back home again. Snuggling deep into a mound of pillows with Jeremy and the pups, knowing the contents of each and every kitchen cupboard, and being able to make whatever I want on a whim. The summer heat is still going strong here in Portland, and for a Greek, lemon custards set the bar for summer desserts. There's just something about the way the acidity of the lemon pairs with the smooth and sweet filling, plus all the richness from the egg tones down the lemon's bite perfectly. And you can serve it chilled or at room temperature, which gives you a bit of flexibility. But there's a little something extra in here, and that's almonds. You see, torta della nonna means 'grandmother's tart' in Italian, and it's a traditional dessert recipe recipe from Italy that calls for a rich pastry crust filled with a thick custard, usually involving lemons and garnished with almonds. Back in Sweden I learned that soaked cashews could be pureed with a dash of liquid to form a wonderfully thick and pudding-like mixture (it's like a magically healthy pudding/whipped cream hybrid), so I applied the same concept to the filling and soaked some blanched almonds for a few hours before pureeing them with a dash of milk and honey. I mixed this with the standard custard filling fare (sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and zest) and ended up creating one of the richest and silkiest custards, ever.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Caramelized Fennel & Goat's Cheese Tart + A Visit To Ayers Brook Goat Dairy

Caramelized Fennel and Goat's Cheese Tart by Eva Kosmas Flores

I was in Vermont this past May, prepping at Carey's apartment for our Cape Cod First We Eat workshop. We drove from Vermont to Massachusetts with all our supplies piled tetris-style in the back of Carey's Subaru, but the day before we left we made a special visit to Vermont farm country to visit Ayers Brook Goat Dairy and Vermont Creamery. At the creamery, we had an amazing tour of all the cheese making action, led by Betsy and Joey. One of my favorite parts of the visit was tasting the fresh whey that was draining off the different cheeses. If you're unfamiliar with whey, it is the liquid that drains off of cheese curds when you're making cheese. You can replace water with whey to make very flavorful bread, and it can also be used to make very tasty salad dressings. At the creamery, they give all their whey to local pig farmers, because apparently pigs love whey and its full of healthy probiotics for the pigs' tummies. We tasted whey that was draining off of the feta cheese, which was a more tart and tangy flavor, and the whey that was draining off the bijou, which had a very mild, slightly sweet, almost grassy flavor to it. The difference in flavor was due to the different cultures used to make the different types of goat cheese, it was really interesting to taste the flavor difference that early on in the cheese making process.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Make a Cocktail Shrub | Black Cherry Tarragon Shrub + The Silky Black Cocktail

Cherry Shrub by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

"It is hot."
Jeremy said the only thing that either of us could think of while standing under the searing July sun. 'Yes', I thought, 'it is terribly  hot.' But the heat rendered my reservoirs of speaking energy dry and I just solemnly nodded my head in agreement. Hot it was. And we still had so much of the chicken coop to build. Luckily, the coop was being built underneath an existing awning in the backyard, so we didn't have to be in the sun very much, but we did  have to pry up a bunch of concrete landscaping tiles to give the chicken run a dirt floor. This required using a crowbar to pry up each one, loading it into a wheelbarrow, and unloading them into the front yard to repurpose them as raised flower beds. Most of the walkway to the front is nice and shaded against the house, but once you actually get into the area where the raised beds are going to be, there is no relief from the sun. It just bores into your back as you pick up each concrete block and start stacking them together. It was the combination of this heat coupled with the intense physical activity that made me crave shrubs like a madwoman.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Plum & Summer Berry Lavender Crisp + A Falk Copper Giveaway

Plum & Summer Berry Lavender Crisp + A Copper Giveaway by Eva Kosmas Flores

After over two weeks away, I am finally back home in my little corner of Portland, riding the last of the heat wave that slammed the city while I was gone. Ten days in a row at over 90 degrees Fahrenheit is quite a lot for an area used to overcast skies and lots and lots of rain. The garden has exploded because of it, and the once uniform aisles are now overgrown with tomatoes, squash, and melon vines that have slowly but surely overtaken the yard. The chicks are now chickens, with all their fluffy down completely gone, and a whole new batch of flowers in the garden are blooming. It's crazy how much can change in just a couple of weeks, I almost feel like I was away for months with how different everything looks.