Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Cleaning Guide + A Giveaway

Spring Cleaning Guide by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

This is the first spring in my life that I can call myself a homeowner, and it's definitely been an adventure so far. The main reason Jeremy and I moved up to Portland was to be closer to our families, but coming in at a close second was the idea of having actual space in our living quarters that didn't involve a couple small cabinets in the kitchen for me to stuff my insane amount of cooking supplies and serving dishes in, as well as a single cabinet out in the hall for all our other stuff. So when we went house hunting, space was a huge draw for us, and we ended up getting  house that was at the opposite end of the spectrum from our apartment. Our house is three stories tall, including a huge basement that runs the entire perimeter of the first floor. There's a lot of remodeling to do, for sure, but the house has good bones and the storage area down in the basement is pretty ridiculously huge. So we definitely got the space we were looking for, but what I didn't quite realize at the time was what a challenge it would be to keep that entire space clean. Crazy cobwebs in stairwells were never something I had to deal with in our apartment, but now they've become the bane of my height-challenged existence. So, after a long and lazy winter, I decided to spend a solid day giving the whole place a deep clean. And after my 12-hour cleaning binge, I learned a lot more about cleaning an old house than I'd expected and generally found that old-fashioned cleaning methods tended to be the most effective ones. So I'm sharing that journey here, along with a fun little spring cleaning giveaway with Murchinson-Hume's  all-natural counter safe all-purpose spray, boys' bathroom cleaner, and furniture and upholstery cleaner,  and Sawyer Ceramics white ceramic sponge holder and white ceramic spoon rest. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway ends April 14th at 11:59 pm, good luck everyone, and read on for more spring cleaning tips!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gateau Basque

Gateau Basque by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Tomorrow is my birthday and I'll be on a plane at 6 am for work out of town, but I was able to celebrate earlier this week with family and friends. I'm still in the process of remodeling the living/dining room areas of our house, but the major parts are pretty much done so it was nice to be able to have people over to eat in a space that felt more like our own. One of my best friends came to visit from Los Angeles, too, so it made for a really memorable weekend. And right before she arrived, I made this buttery little jam-filled tart.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Kitchen

The Kitchen Remodel by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking
After
Kitchen Before by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking
Before
After months of hard work and utter madness, the kitchen remodel finally finished at the end of November. And after the craziness of the holidays and the bustling new year, I finally have time to talk about it. When we moved in, the kitchen was the eyesore of the house, which is saying a lot since the colors of the various other rooms in our home ranged from sunshine yellow, to cranberry red, to tan, and neon sky blue (yes, there was a loooot  of painting involved in the move-in process). The kitchen was a dated mint green, and that and the almond cabinets with golden oak trim, formica everything, linoleum floors, and appliances from 1970, gave it a really antique feel (and not in the good way). The electric stovetop jutted out into the middle of the room awkwardly, and that along with an archway separated the kitchen from an extremely tiny breakfast nook and sliding glass door at the end of the room. The breakfast nook was so small, though, that a little table with two chairs wouldn't leave much room for whoever was walking by to use the sliding glass door, and it just added more foot traffic to the cooking area.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Asheville Photography + Styling + Fly Fishing Workshop

Asheville Food Photography + Styling + Fly Fishing Workshop by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

A little over a week ago Carey and I hosted our Asheville First We Eat workshop. We stayed in a beautiful home nestled in the foothills of Cold Mountain, right between an old red barn and a babbling stream. There was food, photography lessons, fire pits, s'mores, fishing, waders, Lightroom, & styling. Days spent going over camera functions, nerding out about food, manipulating light, and shooting to our hearts' content. Nights where a rich dinner faded into long bouts of laughter and full glasses of wine. We cooked, we climbed on the countertops, we ate, we went to a giant old barn filled with antiques, we laughed, we made Carey hook worms on a fishing line (okay that was mostly me), we practiced, we learned, we became friends.

Thank you so much to all of our attendees. Kelly, Shelly, Grace, Patty, Jordan, Rebecca. I miss you all so much already, I can't even put into words the insane amount of fun I had with you guys. And a very special thanks to Molly of My Name is Yeh for coming all the way from North Dakota and generously giving us a hand with everything. And a very very special thanks to Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Catering for the most incredible farewell dinner possible. Brown sugar crusted pork shoulder with salsa verde, ruby streaks, homemade savory croutons, and micro greens was just one of the seven ridiculously delicious courses he prepared. Seriously mind blowing, if you're ever in need of a caterer he's your guy.

The wonderful long weekend we had has left me even more exited for our next workshop in New England in May. We'll be going over photography & styling, but also incorporating cheese making lessons, too, as well as cheese/wine/chocolate tastings! There's still a couple spaces left, we'd love to have you join us!


Asheville Food Photography + Styling + Fly Fishing Workshop by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I'd also like to thank all of our sponsors for making it such a memorable weekend and allowing us the opportunity to shoot, eat, & drink so many wonderful things!

Finex cast iron | beautiful 12" skillet & carved wood hot plates for each attendee
pi'lo | lovely & functional printed cotton honey bee bags for each attendee
Nershi Woodworks | hand carved wooden knives for each attendee

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homemade Lavender Black Currant & Vanilla Bean Rose Marshmallows

Lavender Black Currant & Vanilla Bean Rose Homemade Marshmallows by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

A few weeks back I got an itch to make some marshmallows. I'm not sure where the urge came from, but suddenly and very acutely, I wanted needed them. You see, homemade marshmallows are not like the kind you get from the store. Those marshmallows are not very enjoyable unless some sort of toasting or melting is involved. With homemade marshmallows, however, you can eat them plain and pop them in your mouth like popcorn without any heating needed to improve their texture. They are so absurdly and delightfully fluffy and soft that you can easily eat a dozen in a single sitting; no slightly tough exterior coating of any kind, it's just all good, smooshy airy sweetness. This is both a wonderful and very dangerous thing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cape Cod Photography, Styling, & Cheese Making Workshop + A Clamming Guide

Cape Cod Photography Workshop + A Clamming Guide

Carey and I have been working on getting this workshop finalized for a while now, and I am *so* incredibly excited for it. Not only will it combine both photography and cheese (two of my favorite things in the world) but it takes place on the gorgeous coastline of New England surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery on the eastern seaboard, and Jennifer Farley of Savory Simple will be joining us, too! The workshop takes place in a traditional turn of the century saltbox home overlooking the Ponds of Plymouth and will cover photography, adjusting internal camera settings and their effects on the image, lenses and their focal lengths, manipulating natural lighting, plating, styling, and cheese making using both cow and goat’s milk. Guests can expect to learn to make both soft and hard cheeses, and we’ll go over the necessary steps and environments for aging cheeses at home, as well! I’d love to have you join us, you can register and find out more information at the link below, hope to see you soon!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fennel Braised Short Ribs + A Le Creuset Giveaway

Braised Beef Short Ribs With Fennel + A Le Creuset Giveaway by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

We had a bit of a cold snap again here these past few days. Not crazy enough for snow, but cold enough to make taking the dogs out first thing in the morning especially unpleasant. This left me craving something warm, hearty, and comforting for dinner, and it brought back memories of a dish from my recent weekend in Seattle. Christiann and I went there this past weekend for a little getaway and ended up eating a crazy amount of food in a day and a half, but there were so many  good restaurants there that we had a hard time limiting ourselves. One of those was Oddfellows Cafe, which had one of the best brunch dishes I'd ever had. Braised beef short ribs with fennel, cherry tomatoes, and a fried egg on top, it was pretty much mind-blowing in the depth of its flavor and its all-around coziness. So, I decided to recreate it here for all of you; but to make it more of a dinner dish, I subtracted the fried egg (although you're more than welcome to top yours with one if it suits your fancy).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache & Vanilla Buttercream + A Portland Photography & Styling Workshop

Dark Chocolate Cake With Lavender Ganache + A Portland Workshop

I've been wanting to put a local event together for a really, realllly long time, so I am beyond excited to share that I'll be hosting my first workshop here in my hometown of Portland along with Christiann of Portland Fresh! The 1-day only workshop will take place in Tillamook Station's sweeping industrial event space in northeast Portland on Saturday, April 4th, from 9 am to 3 pm. Material covered will include hands-on styling and plating of dishes with an emphasis on greenery & spring flowers, adjusting internal camera settings and their effects on the image, lenses and their focal lengths, manipulation of natural light, as well as an hour long post-processing session in Adobe Lightroom 5. We'll also enjoy a full sit down, styled community lunch for a chance to get to know each other and unwind, and refreshments from the local Stumptown Coffee will be served. Students will walk away with content for a full blog post, a strong understanding of styling, composition, photography, and post processing, social media content, and gift bags from local Portland vendors. I'd love to have you join us. You can click the link below for registration at our early-bird rate, which will go up a teeny bit after February 25th, hope to see you soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Rosemary Jasmine Tea Rolls With A Whiskey Glaze

Rosemary Jasmine Buns With A Whiskey Glaze by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I've never been a huge Valentine's Day person. It feels kind of weird to me that we're expected to show extra affection on one particular day a year, plus the added emphasis on gifts and grand romantic gestures. I say, be affectionate all year long, and if you come across something you know your significant other will love, surprise them with it whenever, because unexpected gifts are the best kind. In keeping with our low-key Valentine's traditions, I went to a rose care class with my mom yesterday morning and learned all about growing them in the Portland climate (I've now decided that, once the compost comes and gets laid down, I am going to order an absurd amount of David Austen roses to line the yard with. Hurray!) Then I came home and made these gems, which Jeremy and I scarfed down happily. And we ended the evening with a screening of 'Harold and Maude' at a local second-run theater, accompanied by some tasty Portland beer. It was a wonderful day, indeed.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chocolate & Goat Cheese Soufflé + A Giveaway

Chocolate + Goat Cheese Souffle + A Valentine's Giveaway by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Life's been a whirlwind around these parts lately. The dining/living room floors are finally finished, after a lengthy staining mishap that required us to sand down the floors a second time (turns out iron + vinegar stain on red oak turns blue not grey), and the fancy new plaster I ordered arrived yesterday, so the next few days will be spent on a ladder with a trowel listening to history podcasts. Next week my big order of compost for the new garden is going to be dumped on the driveway and I'll be shoveling it all across the yard, (hoping that this makes for extra-large tomatoes this year!) And I'm getting all my upcoming workshops together, the one in Asheville happening next month, one here in Portland in April (registration opening next week!), one in Cape Cod in May, and one in Sweden in July. Whew! If you want to stay in the loop on when registration opens, you can sign up at the bottom of the First We Eat homepage.