Tag: cooking

insta.friday: because a little bit of summer’s what the whole year’s all about…

insta.friday, fresh scratch

Okay. Blog is still not perfect. But perfect is over-rated (? Right? That’s what I’m saying for now). As usual lately, keep those good thoughts coming. Where the heck is Miracle Max when you need him?!

I know it’s not technically summer yet, but when I can hear Pink Floyd’s lyrics to “School’s out for SUMMER!” in my head and the words ring true, we go with it. Week one of summer is officially down. And what a week it has been. But let’s hop back a smidge while I catch you up, also, on the last week of school.

Seat belts fastened?

Seriously. No one can top my students’ creativity! Those sophomores certainly figured out the way to an A this year – bake for me, and I will praise your creativity and take pictures of it! Look at that: Piggy cookies and Beast cupcakes for Lord of the Flies – complete with toothpick spears and bloody eyes. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Graduation rehearsal. All it takes is that last day of having them in class for me to suddenly feel crazy amounts of love for these whippersnappers.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I hosted the most fun al fresco dinner party for four a couple weeks ago, all French. It took me hours and hours to cook and prep for, but it was so worth it. We sent the girls to Grandma and Grandpa’s for slip-and-slide time and a sleepover. It was a FOUR HOUR dinner party. Four hours of eating.

My brother-in-law Mark just got engaged to the extremely lovely Dani. In France. On vacation. With a sapphire ring that rivals Princess Di’s. And here’s what I’m sayin’: here’s to second chances sometimes being way better than the first. If you’re out there with a broken heart, please know you will find your Mark or your Dani soon. Just not this Mark and Dani. They are taken. Hands off, frog face.

I’m telling you, we need scratch and sniff technology for phones. This was sea salt chocolate caramel sauce that went into a mousse. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. (not pictured: all the caramel burns on my arms. this was the second time I’d made caramel in a week…it’s not kind.)

It is. Go with it. Say yes to all the fun moments that you can think about later when it’s cold and dark and rainy and you can’t remember what a strawberry tastes like or how it feels to be hot or what a glass of rose’ tastes like.

Browsers Bookshop has got it goin’ ON, Olympians! Seriously. If you still haven’t stopped in to see all the ways my friend Andrea is absolutely killing it in the world of selling books charmingly, you are crazy. Her window display for summer is all blue books with little paper sailboats on top of them. It looks like a summer seascape, and it is so creative. Put down your e-readers and touch some paper. That’s what I’m saying.

Clementine and Mia, walking off into the kindergarten sunset. These two are going to be Romy and Michelle, Thelma and Louise, Kelly and Donna, Monica and Rachel. Long live the bestie!

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

The Car’s “Magic” – official summer song of 2015, vintage style. Who’s with me? Because, summer? You turn me up.side.down.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Here is my annual graduation selfie. We used to take it before we walked out to open the ceremony, then we started taking it at the end, and the last couple years I have said we should embrace our inappropriate social media times and just pull out the iPhone while we are right on the floor of the auditorium and in the middle of everything. Let the families see how young and cool we are!*

*we arrived in a motor home. Um.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

So. Last weekend. Last weekend has a lot of holes that I will never fill in.

But I will start off saying it was my 20th high school reunion. You know from my graduation post every year that it was a really small desert town in eastern Washington. It’s about a five hour drive if you’re not driving at the speed of sound (which I may have been) and stopping all along the way (I was doing that, too). Starting summer off with a solo road trip into the past on a sunny last day of school? I may as well have been straight up 18.

I stopped at all of my favorite folksy spots and stood in the middle of the highway (2-lanes) if I wanted to, taking pictures. Because road tripping the Cascades never, ever gets old. And road tripping the Cascades on a sunny afternoon with your Smashing Pumpkins Pandora station up so load you might have blown out your mom-mobile Volvo station wagon’s speakers? Priceless. And necessary. So are Twizzlers.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

This gym floor? I watched a gazillion basketball games here. The floor is still squeaky, and the entire place smells like being 17. I work in a high school, and it does not smell like this one. Nothing beats the one where your own memories live.

My advice? Go to your reunions. Go by yourself so you can be that little 18-year-old without judgement. Watch your old bestie’s face light up the second he sees you. Take it in. Have drinks, mingle, relax, talk about the goofy crap you used to do (egg wars, anyone?) with the people who were there with you. Tell your ex-boyfriend you’re sorry if you were mean and fickle. Love the ways that everyone has changed and grown and yet remained exactly the same. Sit on a pontoon boat until way past the time you were supposed to be at dinner, just because you don’t want the afternoon to end. Tiptoe into your little brother’s house at 3:30 am because when the heck do you ever stay out that late anymore? Assure him you were behaving yourself. Because he remembers how you were and will be suspicious.

Go.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Again, scratch and sniff, people. I made two of these in one afternoon. I may as well share with you my goals for the summer: bake. watch movies. read. paint the girls’ bathroom. That’s it.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

I have discovered the charms of almond paste. Mix it into creme fraiche and tell me you don’t understand. I dare you.

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

Whoop!

A photo posted by kellisamson (@mrsfreshscratch) on

While everything in my yard is already drying up (um, I should really familiarize myself with the hose at some point again), there are little nooks and crannies around Olympia that are this gorgeous.

Take a moment and be thankful for your messy, beautiful life.

xo, mrs. fresh scratch

mother’s day brunch: chili cheese puff & asparagus tart.

Recipes, Fresh Scratch

One of my favorite days of the year is right around the corner.

Mother’s Day and my birthday are the only two days a year that I completely take off from everything. I sleep in, I don’t cook, I don’t do laundry, I read “Sunset” magazine on the couch in the sunshine {my kids ask me what I’m doing and if I’m okay, but still.}. This year, it actually falls on my daughter Annabelle’s birthday. Since that apple didn’t fall too far from this tree, she suggested we spend the day together reading at one of our favorite spots. It’s a date!

You? Maybe you’re hosting. Maybe you’re going to someone’s house for brunch. Maybe you need to bring a dish.

May I help you?

Because half of this idea I have can be assembled the night before. The other part is super-simple. Sound promising? Hope so.

And a Happy Birthday this weekend to my friend Chris, who shared this casserole recipe with our entire book club years ago. It was her grandma’s, and this girl comes from a line of people who make good stuff that gets passed down. Love that!

Before we get started, a tip: don’t try to make this low-fat, okay? Just enjoy the dang thing. It is, after all, Mother’s Day. And whether you have children or not, you deserve to enjoy this dish in its full glory. I’m sure of it.

chili cheese puff ingredients

Chili Cheese Puff
Serves 12
Eggs. Cheese. Green Chilis. Oh, my.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 10 eggs
  2. 9x13 casserole pan (don't use stoneware, or it'll take forever and a day to bake)
  3. half cup of flour
  4. half tsp. salt
  5. 1 tsp. baking powder
  6. half cup of melted butter (one stick)
  7. 1 pint cottage cheese
  8. 8 oz. diced green chilis
  9. 1 lb. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Instructions
  1. 1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. 3. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix. It will be lumpy. Chill out.
  4. 4. Pour in the melted butter and mix.
  5. 5. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cottage cheese, the chilis, and the cheese.
  6. 6. Butter your pan.
  7. 7. Pour mixture into greased pan. At this point, you can refrigerate it and bake it the next morning, if you want - one of many things to love about this little number!
  8. 8. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and the dish is firmed-up.
Notes
  1. Cut into squares and enjoy with salsa on top...or not. This dish is one egg dish that is awesome reheated as leftovers, just to keep the happy, butter-laden times going.
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/
And for a little bit of vegetable to go with all that egg and cheese, how about an asparagus tart? Asparagus is at its peek right now, so enjoy it while you can! Just remember to trim the ends a centimeter or so once you’ve gotten a bunch of it home, then plunge it into a cup of water. It’ll keep like that in your fridge for a few days, staying nice and crisp.

When it’s time to use it, simply bend each stalk and let them snap at a natural breaking point. Keep the top end and compost the bottom.

Fresh Scratch, Asparagus Tart, Mother's DayThis tart can be made free-form on a pizza pan or cookie sheet {just be sure to put down some parchment first}, in a long, rectangular tart pan, or in a circular tart pan.

I’ve made this a bunch of times this spring, including last month when I hosted our book club.

Book Club, Fresh ScratchThese are some of my favorite mamas! I was the last one to have kids in this particular group, so they paved the way for me, in many respects. They gobbled up that asparagus tart, just so you know.

And if you’re curious about what we read…well, I gave no homework. We just came ready to talk about whatever book we’d recently had our nose in. I loved it!

Asparagus Tart
An easy, delicious addition to any springtime meal.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pre-made, flat pie crust {the one in Trader Joe's freezer section is my fave. It has big chunks of butter in it and everyone thinks I made it myself! Don't tell my secret.}
  2. 8 oz. whole-milk mozzarella {the really dry kind, not the fresh, wet kind}
  3. 1 lb. of asparagus, ends snapped off
  4. Olive oil
  5. Pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 2. Roll out dough to fit your pan - a tart pan may need the dough folded over onto itself before rolling. Fit it into the pan or onto the parchment if using a cookie sheet or pizza pan. Make a raised border, prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, and bake until nice and golden, about 12 minutes.
  3. 3. Line the tart with thinly sliced mozzarella {or experiment with other cheeses}.
  4. 4. Toss the asparagus pieces with a drizzle of olive oil. Arrange them on top of the cheese.
  5. 5. Bake tart for 15 minutes, until cheese is definitely melted and the crust has browned at the edges.
  6. 6. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Notes
  1. The great thing about a tart like this is that it will feed as many people as you'd like it to, depending on how big you cut it.
Adapted from "Sunset" Magazine
Adapted from "Sunset" Magazine
Fresh Scratch http://freshscratch.net/

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

Happy Birthday, Chris {she’s a mom of three girls!}!