Friday, September 26, 2014

Braised Chicken With Hot Hungarian Paprika & Homemade Spatzle

Braised Chicken With Hot Hungarian Paprika & Homemade Spatzle by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Growing up, my diet consisted almost entirely Greek food. It was delicious and well-prepared and I was incredibly lucky to have two parents who were both very gifted in the kitchen, but it was a pretty sheltered diet that at times left me in situations similar to the little girl in My Big Fat Greek Wedding ('You're eating moose kaka?!?' Ummmm it's moussaka....ahem.) Eventually, my mom's parents moved from Indiana to be closer to us here in Oregon, and that's the first time I ever had something strikingly different, and that was Hungarian food. My grandmother was born in Chicago to two Hungarian immigrants and my great-grandmother was, as the family gossip goes, a ridiculously good cook. Poppy seed rolls, spatzle, goulash, paprikash (pretty much all the -ashes), this woman could make it all and make it damn good. My grandma and Grandpa made Hungarian food from time to time for us grandkids, and my favorite dish they made was onions and cabbage sautéed with pork sausage. It was salty, sour, and full of smokey pork flavor. Not the type of dish most children love, but I also ate pickled octopus as an after school snack, so the childhood delicacy of my tastebuds was long gone by that point.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Oregano Honey Cake With Blackberry Buttercream + A Cookbook

Oregano Honey Cake With Blackberry Buttercream + A Cookbook

I made this cake a few weeks ago for a celebration. A celebration of something I've wanted and worked towards for a very, very, very long time. My dearest friends, I am writing a cookbook! And I could not be more ecstatic about it!! A Chicken In Every Pot is set for a fall 2016 publishing date with the wonderful Haughton Mifflin Harcourt. The deepest thanks goes to my literary agent, Holly Smith, and to my Editor, Justin Schwartz for helping bring this to fruition. I'll be working on this for a good long while, but I'll still be posting here of course, just perhaps not quite as often at the end of this year and the beginning of the new one. But it will all be for a delicious, savory cookbook that I know you will all love, so I hope you'll forgive me for any gaps in posts, however long or short they may be. And I also want to thank you all for your readership, kind words, and comments. Without your continued support I wouldn't even be writing this book.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Late Summer Heirloom Tomato Tasting Guide + Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Heirloom tomatoes used to be very difficult to find outside of niche farmer's markets, but with each passing year more and more of them are finding their way into large national supermarkets. Like apples, each heirloom tomato variety has its own unique taste, texture, and use, but they're usually lumped together in a generic 'heirloom tomato' bin at the grocery store, and the different varieties are never explained or highlighted. Well, today I am going to do just that. I have a tasting guide below for the various varieties I grow, but there are hundreds more varieties out there so don't be surprised if the availability at your farmer's market is slightly different than what's listed here. This is just a general guide to get you started and familiarize you with what to look for in tomatoes when you're determining what to use them for. As a rule of thumb, roma tomatoes are not great for fresh-eating since they're drier inside, but make for perfect sauce stock. The tomatoes listed below in the guide can be enjoyed both fresh and cooked, however, and any personal recommendations one way or the other are also included.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wall Mounted Staghorn Fern

Wall Mounted Staghorn Fern by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

I know I haven't mentioned the kitchen remodel very much recently, and that's because it's been going very, verrrry slowly. A couple weeks ago Jeremy was pulling up the old linoleum flooring and found even older orange and brown-flowered vinyl flooring underneath (hello, 1970.) We had a good laugh about it until I googled old flooring under existing flooring out of curiosity and realized that it was left in place because it was likely asbestos-filled vinyl, which you should not remove unless absolutely necessary. Luckily, Jeremy hadn't started ripping out the vinyl floor quite yet so we didn't have any asbestos floating around, but it delayed the whole process by a few weeks. And we bit the bullet and finally took the oven and stove top range out of the kitchen (literally the last thing we demo-ed from the kitchen) so it's officially just a big empty room.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Stone Fruit Skillet Pie With Basil Blossoms + A Finex Cast Iron Giveaway

Stone Fruit Skillet Pie + A Finex Cast Iron Giveaway by Eva Kosmas Flores | Adventures in Cooking

Last weekend was me and Jeremy's one-year wedding anniversary, so we went up to the Seattle area in Washington for a little weekend getaway. Work on the kitchen remodel had been going insanely slowly (more on that later), so it was especially nice to be able to get away from work and the house for a couple days with no set plans in place. We wandered around Seattle the first day and headed over to Whidbey Island the second day. For those of you unfamiliar with Washington state, there are dozens of small and large islands off its coastline. The San Juan Islands are the most popular but Whidbey is a fun and rural choice, too. We drove around taking in the scenic views, and I ended up collecting a large amount of props and plants from the various antique stores we stopped at on the drive. Our last stop before driving off the island was a little farm stand on the side of the road. What originally drew me in was their homemade ice cream (I will eat ice cream at any time of the day or night) but they had big bushels of ripe peaches out front that seemed to be staring at me, challenging me to either eat or bake them immediately. So I bought a couple pounds and took them home later that day, brainstorming what to make with them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Portland Travel Guide | Eating Your Way Through The Rose City

Portland Travel Guide | Adventures in Cooking

It's funny being back in Oregon, Portland has changed so much from when I was a teenager, but at the same time it feels like I never left. Different but the same, making no sense and complete sense at the same time. Like the time I saw a man in a business suit riding a unicycle to work while texting on his iPhone, literally the day after we moved here. Back when I was 17, that guy would have been wearing flannel, cut-offs, and birkenstocks with socks, but he still would have been riding that damned unicycle around town. Where am I going with this? I have no idea. But I can tell you that it feels good to be home. My forested, weird, hippie home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions + A Stitch Giveaway

Bacon, Pear, & Blue Cheese Macaroni with Caramelized Onions

While the temperatures have been soaring here in Oregon, I've found myself craving the fall. The sound of rain pittering against the window, the crunch of fallen autumn leaves underfoot, the abundance of squash and apples and pears at the market; I unreasonably want it all and want it now. But that's not quite how the seasons work, I'm afraid, so I decided to make a comforting dish that would incorporate one of my favorite fall fruits and keep my craving for autumn at bay for a week or two. Hopefully until this heatwave subsides, anyway.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Zucchini, Ricotta, & Paprika Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Zucchini & Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms | Adventures in Cooking

Life's been a bit crazy 'round here lately. We just got the quote for the countertops that I fell in love with in for the kitchen remodel and it was waaaaay more than what I was expecting. So now we're kinda sorta maybe thinking about DIYing it, which I know sounds crazy at first BUT, the more I research wood plank countertops the more doable (sort of) it seems. But I also have a knack for underestimating the complexity of DIY tasks (like the time I thought we could build a dining table without any wood working experience whatsoever. This ended up becoming my rickety prop table.) Sooooo we'll see what happens. But enough about countertops, and onto the food.

My older sister teaches kindergarten and one of the many projects she did with her students involved planting pumpkin seeds and watching them grow. Since most of the families didn't have room for a giant pumpkin plant, she ended up with dozens of the little green vining sprouts. Luckily, that was around the time that I moved back home, and because I can never say no to free plants, I ended up taking home eight of them. Most vining squash tend to take over large portions of the yard, so the lack of veggies I sowed this summer (just  squash and tomatoes) actually helped the pumpkins  sprawl out. And sprawl they did. About 1/3 of my yard is now a mass of pumpkin vines, awash with golden squash blossoms coming out from every crevasse and turn of the vine. There are dozens of new ones every day and, while I can't keep up with their current output, I've been doing my best to at least put a dent in them. They're one of the largest edible flowers, and perfect for stuffing and pan-frying.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Food Styling & Photography Workshop in Upstate New York With Reclaiming Provincial + Gooseberry Icebox Cake

Those of you who follow me on instagram know that I've been hinting about a gathering I've had in the works for a couple months now, and today I finally get to share it with you. Myself and Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial are hosting a Food Styling & Photography Workshop in upstate New York this fall. The 2 and 1/2 day workshop takes places in a renovated 19th century barn atop a picturesque mountain surrounded by 300 acres of fall foliage (think Thomas Kincade painting.)
Participants will arrive the evening of Friday October 3rd for a local feast, followed by a photography lesson. The following day will be spent in styling and shooting lessons, with an excursion to a local farmer's market in a historic round barn. Sunday will include more hands-on styling and shooting, with a lesson on post-processing images in Lightroom. Monday morning will begin with a farewell breakfast and we'll bid our goodbyes as everyone departs the barn by 10 am. All meals will be provided by myself and the lovely Miss Nershi. I'd love nothing more than to share this experience with you, so please feel free to email me with any questions!  You can follow the link below to register. I also made a little video for the workshop registration, I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Orange-Fennel Semifreddo with Spicy Chocolate Bits & Almond Streusel | Guest Post by Reclaiming Provincial

Orange-Fennel Semifreddo with Spicy Chocolate Bits & Almond Streusel

The past week has been filled with a flurry of activity. Organizing, coordinating, writing, cooking, shooting, repeat. I've been spending these toasty summer nights relaxing with either a popsicle, cocktail, or mircrobrew in hand to help wind down after the long days (and I mean long, the sun doesn't set around here until about 9:30!) I'd be hard-pressed to find something that goes down as a smooth as a creamy wheat beer on these hot and balmy evenings, and luckily Portland has plenty of those in ready supply. I've made plans to experiment with beer ice cream in the near future, but until then I have something even more delicious to share with you, and that's this Orange-Fennel Semifreddo with Spicy Chocolate Bits & Almond Streusel. Yes, you read that correctly, the most amazing semifreddo title OF ALL TIME. This sweet and spicy creation comes from my dearest friend on the web, Carey Nershi of Reclaiming Provincial. Carey is not only an incredibly talented cook, stylist, and food photographer, but she's one of the kindest ladies I know, and I am so incredibly excited to have her here with us today. Welcome, Carey!!!