Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Chickens

My Chickens | Bebe 1 week old by Eva Kosmas Flores of Adventures in Cooking

Those of you who follow my blog and instagram regularly know that I expanded my little brood of animals a little over a month ago with the addition of 8 baby chicks. I've always wanted to own my own chickens, not just for their eggs (although it is going to be SO awesome once they start laying and I can have a steady supply of tasty and organic ones), but I've always been fascinated by birds and their mannerisms. My yiayia kept chickens and wild turkeys on their pistachio farm back in Greece, and my parents have always had a fondness for birds, loading their backyard with several well-stocked bird feeders placed in key bird-watching positions, so it appears that love of fluffy feathers and weirdly jilted head movements has been passed on to me.

I wanted a wide variety of egg colors, so we wended up opting for 8 different chicken varieties and got them online. Yep, you can order live chicks off the internet and have them delivered to your house. While the idea of this kinda freaked me out, it is safe because the chicks absorb the yolk right before they hatch, which gives them all the nutrients they need to survive without food or water for a couple days while they're being shipped. This is because, out in the wilds of nature, the mama bird has to wait for all the eggs to hatch before she can take her chicks over to the water source (if she leaves the unhatched eggs they're vulnerable to predators), which can take a few days.

When they come, they're just little balls of down and fluff, and so damn cute it's frightening. Like the kind where you find yourself uncontrollably cooing ".....eeeeeeee!" out loud while you stare at them. They stay like that for a few days, but then, they start to change. It's insane how quickly they grow; I thought our chihuahua Ralph grew fast when he was a puppy, but that was nothing compared to these guys. I have photos below of each of the birds, the first one is taken at 1 week old and the next is taken at 1 month old, so there's about 3 weeks of time that's passed between the two, and the chicks look  so different. Right around the 1-month mark, they've hit their awkward teenager phase. They're starting to loose their fluffy down in patches, and their actual feathers are coming in in its place. It's pretty funny-looking, the remaining down is sticking out in weird places, especially on Daphne and Maris' heads. Oh, and I forgot to mention, they're all named after characters from Frasier. You might not think that there's 8 female characters on the show, but as it turns out, there are! And most of them are oddly fitting for hens (Lilith!)

So I have a little about each one and their breed below, I hope you enjoy looking through my brood of  chicks (pardon the paint on Jeremy's hands, it's from coop-painting!), and if any of you are current/former chicken owners and have any tips on raising them, I'd be much obliged! I read these two books to cover, but firsthand experience is always the best kind. We'll be moving them out to the coop Jeremy just is nearly finished building (will share that another time), so any tips on transitioning them from the brooder to the coop would be much appreciated!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cabernet Rack of Lamb With A Mint, Pistachio, & Fennel Pesto + A Portland Dinner Series

Cabernet Rack of Lamb with a Mint, Pistachio, & Fennel Pesto by Eva Kosmas Flores

I have another awesome event coming up that I'm really excited to share with you guys. I'm hosting a pop-up summer dinner series here in Portland with Christiann of Portland Fresh and Suzanne of Pink Slip Jam. The first dinner takes place on Saturday July 18th; we'll be making an insane amount of delicious pacific northwest summer fare, and there's going to be lots of delicious wine, refreshing cocktails, and of course, lots and lots of cheese. I'm particularly excited for this because I really, really, love throwing dinner parties, especially in the summer when everyone can sit outside and enjoy the lush green garden. There's just something about people sharing good food and drink right under the stars and laughing until the sun goes down that makes me more content than anything else in the world. I'd love to have you join us! You can purchase tickets and read more about it below, and if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Croatia Photography, Styling, & Truffle Foraging Workshop + Strawberry Vanilla Toasted Oak Ice Cream

Croatia Photography Workshop + Strawberry Vanilla Toasted Oak Ice Cream

I am *so* excited to announce that registration is now open for my Croatia styling, photography, and truffle foraging workshop. Yes, you read that correctly, there will be a guided excursion into the Croatian forest for hands-on truffle foraging (and eventual truffle eating). I'll be hosting along with Carey as a part of our First We Eat travel-based workshop series. We'll spend our days in a restored stone farmhouse perched a top a hill overlooking the Mirna river valley, right in the middle of Istrian wine and truffle country (you can see photos of the location on the workshop registration page). The home is complete with a large stone hearth in the kitchen, where we'll be making many a wood fire-roasted meal, and is equipped with all the modern luxuries, including a large tranquil swimming pool where we'll lay back in the evenings and take in the incredible surroundings. In addition to the truffle foraging, we'll also be going on a trip to a neighboring farmhouse to view the beekeeping process. There will also be an afternoon picnic outing to the ancient town of Porec, Croatia's answer to Venice, as well as a trip to the nearby Hum, a medieval stone village known as the smallest town in the world. I'd love nothing more than to have you join me in this incredible experience, you can read more details about the event and register at the link below, if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out.

Monday, June 8, 2015

How to Start Seeds & Transplant Plants

How To Start Seeds by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I've been gardening since as far back as I can remember, my actual earliest memory ever is of working out in the yard with my dad. I was attempting to help him harvest carrots, but when I pulled up on my carrot the top broke off, and when I flipped it over to look at it, saw that it was completely full of bugs (apparently they had eaten through the carrot part). I screamed, threw it across the yard, and ran inside. Luckily, that experience didn't mar my future gardening endeavors, and I got over it as quickly as most three year-olds do. Once we moved to our new house when I was about 3 and a half, each of us three kids got to pick a seed we wanted to start and those three veggies would be the first harvest from the new garden. I planted a radish, my sister planted a carrot, and I can't remember what my little brother planted. A melon maybe? I don't know. But the only one that came up was my radish, and I could hardly believe that this little speck I dropped in the ground actually turned into something. As I got bigger I attributed this to my green thumb, but having worked with seeds and plants for many years, I know that this was most definitely because radishes are pretty much the easiest things to grow from seed, ever. Carrots take their time to sprout, and melons need some pretty warm weather to get going, so mine was the first to come up. Still, it gave me a firm footing in the garden, and many years and plants later, I still get a huge burst of excitement every time I see the tip of a little green sprout start to break through the soil's surface. It's like each one is a little friend poking out to say hello! (If you weren't sure if I was a weird plant lady or not, I'm pretty sure that question has now been answered). So today I am going to go over how to start your own seeds, so that you can not only experience this wonder first hand, but end up with some delicious home-grown fruits and veggies, too! Because the vegetables and fruits from your garden will taste soooo much better than the stuff you can buy at the store, plus you can grow old heirloom varieties that you straight up cannot buy anywhere.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cape Cod Photography + Styling + Cheesemaking Workshop

Cape Cod Photography + Styling Workshop by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

A couple weeks ago Carey and I held our Cape Cod First We Eat workshop; we got to meet so many outstanding people and had the most brilliant time shooting, styling, and making and eating cheese. It was my first time in the state of Massachusetts and I was completely awed by the natural beauty of New England. The sea breeze crept up the hill our saltbox house was perched atop of, bristling the branches of the old growth trees that surrounded the home. The deck of the home was built around each tree, with a little forest coming up through the planks, and it looked out over the ponds of Plymouth with the most awe-inspiring view. A wild turkey roamed the property, and greeted us with loud squaks from time to time (sometimes obnoxiously early in the morning), and we were lucky enough to arrive just in time to catch the large lilac bushes around the property in bloom. We ate crab-stuffed French toast, mussels in white wine, homemade clam chowder, strawberry dutch babies, caramelized ramps, rhubarb tarte tartin, and roasted radishes among other tasty seasonal bites. We went out to the sea and ate 'lobsta' rolls, fish n' chips, and fried clams at a little beach shack. We drank Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays and ate a truly astounding amount of cheese. There was Bonne Bouche, Bijou, Coupole, Crottin, Cremont, feta, and goat's cheese from Vermont Creamery, wheels of Bay Blue and Original Blue from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Moses Sleeper, Weybridge, Oma, and the much relished Harbison from Jasper Hill Farm, Mt Tam, Red Hawk, St Pat, and the petal-covered Pierce Pt from Cowgirl Creamery, Ricotta, Soft Fresh Original, Soft Ripened, and Chive Cream Cheese almond milk cheeses from Kite Hill, Clothbound Cheddar, Sage Cheddar1 Year Aged Cheddar, 2 Year Aged Cheddar, and Smoked Chili Cheddar from Grafton Village Cheese. I stretched cheese curds to make mozzarella and we all enjoyed the perfectly creamy simplicity of homemade ricotta, still warm from the stovetop. We got a visit from cheese expert extraordinaire, Molly of Jasper Hill Farm, and picked her brain about all things cheese, while eating even more cheese. It was a cheese-tastic workshop, indeed.

I want to give an especially grateful thank you to New England Cheesemaking Supply for giving us so many helpful and easy cheese making kits, and for providing all of us with the cultures and tools to make our own cheese at home.

A huge thank you to Renee Beaudoin for helping Carey and I with absolutely everything, for preemptively anticipating our needs like the best kind of psychic, and for leaving a fragrant trail of fresh lilacs and lilies of the valley wherever she went. And another big thank you to all of our awesome attendees for making the weekend such a blast. Becky, Jennifer, Jenn, Brandy, Leslie, Olga, Camaron, and C.J. We will have to have a cheese reunion again soon!!

And a particularly heartfelt thank you goes out to all of our sponsors who allowed us to have such a beautiful and cheese-filled long weekend.

Luna Moss | Beautiful seasonal flower arrangements & installations |
Repeat Press | Custom letterpress menus |
Alma Chocolate | toffee bars for each attendee |

If you'd like to be notified as registration opens for our future workshops, you can sign up at 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I made this lemon blueberry cheesecake a few weeks ago and have been wanting to post it realllllly badly since then because cheesecake = delicious, but things have been really hectic here. This past weekend was my and Carey's Cape Cod First We Eat workshop, so I flew in to Burlington (where Carey lives) a few days before and we made a stop at Vermont Creamery to eat cheese and see baby goats (OMGGGG (will talk more about the wonder that is baby goats, along with lots of pictures, in another post)) before driving over to Massachusetts and shooting, cooking, styling, and eating over the long weekend. I always think I can do more during workshops then I end up being able to, and completely thought I'd be able to get this up while I was out of town, but with my hands covered in homemade ricotta (amongst so many other cheeses) and between all the photo activities, it wasn't able to happen. Then once Carey and I were heading back up to Vermont, I thought I'd be able to work on it in the car, but I got a call from our mail man saying he was delivering our chicks. My mom was going to be at my house all day to be there when they came, the only window of time she was busy was for an appointment she'd set a while ago, and of course that's when the chicks arrived. So I, of course, promptly freaked out about the chicks just being in a box in the mudroom and my brain started imagining all the terrible things that could happen to them in there. A draft from the window making them too cold, a dexterous neighborhood cat learning to open the door and ripping open the box, the sun beating down on the room and making them too hot, them pecking each other to death, and so on. And with the mailman making me nervous by saying things like "they probably need water" and me replying "I KNOW." while being 3,000 miles away, it was just buoying the existing anxiety that was already coursing through my veins. In the end, Jeremy just took an early lunch break from work and got them settled in the little brooder we'd made for them and they were fine. But I had been so anxious about it that my brain just wasn't in a place to write. So. Now that I am finally back home surrounded by the familiar (+ some new chickies!) and back where I belong, I am going to share this delicious, sweet, and creamy recipe with you. Also, thanks for sticking with me through that long-winded, winding paragraph.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Eggs Benedict with Manchego, Tomatoes, Prosciutto & A Sage Hollandaise Sauce

Eggs Benedict with Manchego, Tomatoes, Prosciutto & A Sage Hollandaise Sauce by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Ever since the hint of spring appeared, I've been spending an increasing amount of time out in the garden shoving the 7 cubic yards of compost I ordered and transplanting all my seedlings. There's something about the sun shining and the warmer weather that makes me crave fresh tomatoes on everything. I've been eating them on bagels, salads, and just using them instead of crackers to eat cheese. And ever since I had one of the best brunches of my life in Seattle last fall, I've also been itching to try making a homemade eggs benedict (the one I had incorporated fresh crab and old bay seasoning hollandaise. SO GOOD.) So, I decided to give it a Mediterranean twist and use manchego cheese with fresh tomatoes and prosciutto. And I incorporated a generous portion of sage into the hollandaise for a cozy, herbal flavor. The result was a rich, comforting, and refreshing breakfast that combined the creaminess of hollandaise with the juicy freshness of a ripe tomato and the delicious gooey center of a poached egg. Yum, indeed.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chick'n Sliders with a Caramelized Green Onion Spread & Fresh Sheep's Cheese + A Spring Salad

Spring Salad by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

With all the traveling and long work hours I've been keeping up with lately, I haven't been paying much attention to what I've been eating. I'll just kind of eat whatever's around because I've been so focused on work that I haven't really put any thought into meal planning. The result of this has been dinners composed of 5 slices of salami, or jam and cheese on toast for both breakfast and lunch (sad, but true). Now that the cookbook is pretty much finished, I've been trying to get back into feeding myself properly and on a regular schedule. I've also been contemplating cutting down on the meat in my diet after our Asheville workshop, where we had vegetarian meals nearly the entire time, and I honestly felt a lot less groggy and weighed down after the long weekend. So when Gardein approached me about doing a sponsored post with some of their products, I was pleasantly surprised by the appropriate timing.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Portland Photography & Styling Workshop

Portland Food Styling & Photography Workshop | Adventures in Cooking

A little over a month ago I held a food photography & styling workshop here in Portland. It felt so good to have one in my hometown, and it was such a wonderful way to meet other local foodies and photographers like myself. The workshop was at Tillamook Station, a gorgeous and lofty event space on the east side of the river. Co-hosting along with me was Christiann, who did an incredible job of getting everything organized while I was out of town the weeks leading up to the workshop. You can peek at her recap of the event here. We started the day with tea, coffee, and donuts and ended it with a delicious seasonal sit down lunch, with lots of shooting, styling, and photography discussions in between. Woven Magazine visited us, too, and did a wonderful feature that you can check out here.

A huge thanks goes to the lovely Amanda Rohde and Sasha Swerdloff, who were the most helpful of assistants and prepared an incredible lunch for us. And a very special thank you to all of the attendees! Olaiya, Megan, Winter, Shauna, Aubrey, Tracey, Rina, Allison, and Karl, it was so wonderful getting to know all of you. I had an amazing time working with you and know I will see your faces again sometime soon. And I also want to thank all of our amazing sponsors below for helping make the workshop happen. Your thoughtful contributions made it an unforgettable event.

The Modern Proper | Stunning linen napkins |
Felt + Fat | Beautiful handmade ceramic place settings & serveware, make sure to peek at their kickstarter |
Oblation Papers & Press | Letterpress menus
Stumptown Coffee | Amazing cold brews to start the day |
Blue Star Donuts | Sweets for breakfast |
Steven Smith Tea | Delicious teas for a light pick-me-up |
Roman Candle Bakery | Gorgeously crusty bread for shooting & eating |
Pure Simple Juice | Delicious soups for lunch |
Vermont Creamery | Beautiful goat's cheese for shooting & nibbling |
New Seasons Market | Wholesome local ingredients |
Creminelli Fine Meats | Savory cured meats for shooting & savoring |
Jacobsen Salt Co. | Salty sweet caramels for each guest |
Treehouse Chocolate Co. | Rich & delightful gourmet hot chocolate |
Cocanú Chocolate | Artisan local chocolate makers | 
Madewell | Cards for each guest |
Bridge & Burn | Totes for each guest |
Trouve Magazine | Reading for each guest |
Brooklyn Candle Studio | Sumptuous scented soy candles |
Parcel Portland | Fresh spring flowers |

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Strawberry, Thyme, & Peach Buttermilk Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Peach, Strawberry, & Buttermilk Cake by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Life's funny sometimes. You plan and you plan and you plan, and then you realize your plans melt into your other plans and you try to figure out a way to make it all work, and somehow it does, but in the end all that working and planning and thinking and fretting just makes you oh so unbelievably tired. Does that make sense? I don't know. Lately I've felt like my mind's a giant black hole, just sucking everything in so fast that I can't even decipher what it all was in the first place. I answer questions while my mind is thinking about something entirely different, completely unaware of the words tumbling out of my mouth. I have a wonderful husband who is very kind and patient, and I can't help but feel awful about the number of times over the past month he's been talking to me about something and I've completely spaced out in the middle of the conversation. Or I'll be so deep into writing that I don't even hear that someone's spoken to me until a good 30 seconds goes by, and by that time they kinda hate me (I've done this to an unfortunate number of baristas in the Portland metro area, and I feel terrible). But I guess that's part of writing a book, you just give yourself over to it at a certain point, and it becomes your whole life.