truer words from my older sister were never spoken about my younger sister. so proud of each of them!
For the past 2 years, my little sister Kirby, one third of Birch and Basil,has been a passionate beekeeper and advocate for the tiny pollinators. Her never ceasing enthusiasm to educate and act on behalf of the bees is incredibly inspiring. This past year, I’ve seen her passion grow from something she shared strictly with the bees to being an active advocate and educator as she spends her days teaching workshops, visiting elementary schools to give lectures, holding screenings for her award winning short film shot last year and others interested in helping the bees, to visiting surrounding keepers and their boxes.
She has come out of her shell in a way I can only think comes from the confidence she feels for the bees. I’m so proud of her and she is such an inspiration to me. And she’s just 18 y’all— never let anything get in the way of pursuing your passions. Live, breathe, explore, educate, and share that which you care for. You can change the world just being you. Kirb taught me that.
say hello to my latest snack obsession. and yes, it’s an obsession. these puppies are so simple to make (just a quick mix of six ingredients) and they taste wonderful, and their colors are a bright bits of green and red.
1.5 c raw oats
2 T assorted seeds (i use pepitas, sunflower and brown flax)
1 c dried cranberries
1 c raw, shelled, unsalted pistachios
1/2 c honey
1 c dates, chopped lightly
to make: combine the seeds, honey and dates in a food processor until smooth and uniformly mixed. in a bowl, combine this goop with the oats, craisins and pistachios. once mixed, put them in the refrigerator for about a half hour, as they’re easier to form when slightly firmed and cold. when ready to form, use a small scoop or spoon to make about ping pong ball sized bites. return these to the fridge, and grab a few to nibble on when you’re in the need for a quick lil somthing.
yesterday was far from the typical tuesday, as it was the birthday of a certain special someone. my dear madre was born on january 8th, you see, and thus it is quite the celebratory date in our household. the day began with some pj and coffee time and concluded with a festive feast.
contrary to our usual fashion, kirb and i were able to keep this one a secret. she was completely taken by pleasant surprise, and treated like the most decadent queen for this special night. the menu was complete with some of her favorites, which we rarely have.
a birthday feast
dressed greens with tart apple, prosciutto crisp
seared scallops with white wine herb reduction
red Himalayan rice
oven-roasted carrots, caramelized pearl onions
cakebread cellars chardonnay, 2011
the pastry chef, doing her thang.
i’d never cooked scallops before, and was a bit intimidated at the thought of overcooking their delicate flesh, yielding that notoriously unpleasant rubbery texture of the insulted fish. but, after reading quite a few articles and tips about searing the seafood, they were well-crisped on the outside, buttery and easily sliced by our knives and subtly sweet to taste.
happiest of birthdays, dear mom, and may many more come to you.
the morning after our festive feast, we whipped up a health-filled batch of muffins. rather than being the typical cake-ish pastry, these were wholesome and chock full of variety in each bite. you never knew whether you were going to get a hearty mouthful of carrot ribbons, a plumped raisin or bunch of spice-warmed cake goodness. you can find the recipe for these babies here!
this past new year’s eve was quite the classy affair at the engelman house. kirby doubled as decorator and pastry cheff, creating a most elegant table setting and dainty desserts to match. the menu for the celebration was composed largely of finger foods and small bites, but filled us up with satisfaction nonetheless.
Menu for a new year
butternut pizzette with balsamic sautéed spinach and caramelized shallot
italian pizzette with mozzarella and roasted tomato
wedge salad with bleu cheese and honey Dijon dressing, crisp prosciutto
cheese board with fruit, sea salt and rosemary flatbreads
almond macaroon with sweet vanilla buttercream
chocolate ganache spoons with coconut, pistachio and chocolate nibs
our in-house pastry chef went to town on new years and delivered these little beauties.
almond macaroons with sweet vanilla buttercream. perfectly sweet and subtly nutty, the most delicious close to a fantastic year.
this is a bit of a tardy post, but better late than never i suppose. the last week of this past semester, gab and i ventured to the farmer’s market at the outset of the week to stock up on glorious produce to feast on throughout the coming days. we came back with quite the bounty, which you can see part of here.
and this is one of the meals that we created with said bounty.
i roasted the squash lightly before stuffing them, and made sure to cook the stuffing on the stovetop and added it to the squash still warm. while they finished baking, we reduced some red wine, scented it with various herbs, and added the syrupy goodness to some sauteed greens we had working in another skillet. overall, quite warming and filling for a purely veg dish!
savory stuffed squash
one acorn squash
stems from 1/2 bunch rainbow chard and 1/2 bunch kale, chopped small
1/4 c raisins
1/3 c walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 c baby bella mushrooms, cut into small pieces
salt and pepper
to make:roast the squash halves briefly in a 400 degree oven until they are slightly softened. meanwhile, atop the stove saute the cut stems in a bit of oil until softened, then add the mushrooms, raisins and walnuts. heat together briefly to bring together the flavors. mingle these with a heavy drizzle of honey and a few shakes of cayenne, depending on your affinity for a bit of heat. season with salt and pepper. spoon into the squash halves, and return them to the oven until softened completely and heated thoroughly.
red wine winter greens
1/2 bunch kale (any variety), cut into strips
1/2 bunch chard (any variety), cut into strips
1/2 white onion, diced
1 c red wine
rosemary and thyme
salt and pepper
to make: begin by pouring the wine into a small saucepan, and shaking your desired amount of herbs into it. reduce this over medium low heat until decreased by almost 3/4 and slightly syrupy in viscosity. in a skillet, heat a bit of oil and saute the onion until golden and softened. add the leaf strips, and wilt lightly. once the wine is reduced, pour it over the greens, maintaining heat on the skillet, and stir to combine and melt flavors together. season with salt and pepper.
so, i’m not sure if any of you are subscribers to bon appetit, or if you’re more the casual “i’ll grab one when i’m in line at the grocery store type”…but either way, the 2013 series is surely the time to start reading!
check out the latest issue, but don’t dive within the pages quite yet. instead, peak at the spine. it features a snippet of a drawing by my most talented sister, lucy engelman, and if you collect the issues for the next year and stack em all together, the spines will together create the most beauteous of images!
congrats big sis, on the big feature. only the beginning of more great things to come :)