Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Visit to Eastern Oregon

Sorry for the long absence folks... I've had quite a busy last 10 days or so. Most notably, I went up to Camp Sherman in Eastern Oregon to visit my wonderful, wonderful great aunt. She is 92 and just absolutely amazing - so much heart and humor and grace - she's got it all! We had a lovely visit, very quiet... eating, fireside chats, sitting on the deck, telling stories...

Here's the view from her back porch - for reals!! Isn't that just astounding? It's so peaceful. The stream, the mountain, the animals... we saw so many different kinds of birds, deer, baby geese.

I didn't take pictures of all the food I made, but I did get a few nice pics. It was a fun cooking project. She had her fridge and shelves all stocked with vegan goodies and produce, and I just got to make up recipes based on whatever I could find. This was a sandwich made with some delicious Greek pita bread. I cooked up some chickpeas with some red bell pepper & tomato and a variety of nice indian spices. Then I mashed them up, and put them on the bread with some avocado, cilantro and tomato slices. Very yum!

This was a delicious apple crisp (well this is the last lonely piece), that we made for dinner with some friends one night. It turned out great! We used 6 or 7 huge apples, and didn't bother peeling them. We used some brown sugar and maple sugar as sweetner. Earth balance, spices, oats, flour, sugar in the topping. Mmmm. It was a bit hit - another score for vegan desserts!

I don't think you can see in this picture how huge and wonderful this cookie is! My aunt's friend made a batch of these vegan almond thumbprint cookies - they were huge and had crunchy bits of almonds, and a big dollop of local raspberry jam. MM, they were perfection!

One night we had her friends over for dinner, so I got some tofu marinating early in the day, for maximum flavor absorbtion. I baked the slices, and as you can see - they turned out great.

Look at her beautiful bowl. This is a big batch of onions, morel mushrooms, and cremini mushrooms - cooked with a little bit of olive oil and some veggie broth, slowly for about 30 minutes or so.
To go with the mushrooms and tofu, I took the marinade and turned it into a gravy. I just added some water, some flour, and heated until it thickened. It turned out amazing!!
For dessert, I made a delicious and beautiful little chocolate cake. This is the recipe for the vegan chocolate cake from the Joy Of Cooking. It was served with a lovely raspberry coulis made with some frozen raspberries - mmmm! I made the powdered sugar decoration with a paper snowflake:

Here's the paper snowflake for the design.
In case you want to make one, I folded it back up and this is the pattern. I just used a basic 8.5x11 piece of typing paper.

Here's a little golden mantel squirrel visiting with us on the back porch. So cute I can hardly stand it!


  1. great post! love the photos! the view is amazing! i will love to live there.

  2. What a great trip you had! I can't believe that view from the porch - it's breathtaking. Delicious looking food, too - again, you've outdone yourself with that fancy cake decorating! I feel so serene after looking at all that green (haha, I didn't intend for that to rhyme).

  3. Wow, the view is great and that chocolate cake looks amazing! I LOVE that decoration!

  4. Awww, your great-aunt sounds so amazing and lives in such a beautiful place! All the food looks amazing... I'm enthralled by your cake design. I have to try something like that soon. (I've been hanging on to your lemon tart recipe for a special occasion- and now I know I'll want to decorate it!)

    Sounds like you had a great time, I'm really happy you took us along for the ride.

  5. Your cake looks beautiful! And is that really a squirrel?? I've seen some strange looking combos lately, like squirrel breeds with rabbit, for example. Or maybe I just need to watch more Animal Planet...

  6. Your aunt is an amazing and very cool lady! And what an awesome view - unbelievable. Your food all looks wonderful as usual. Tofu looks perfect and the cake is beautiful. But those thumbprint cookies - wow!

  7. I LOVE the photo of that cake!

  8. What a beautiful view to have. I wish I had soemthing like that to look at from my windows! I love that cake so much...great idea for decorating it!

  9. what a wonderful trip! And I love how open-minded your 92yr old aunt is- stocking up on vegan ingredients for you...that cake looks absolutely stunning, you must have converted all that weekend through your yummy meals.

    And that squirrel- just too cute.
    what a perfect trip!

  10. you don't call that kind of squirrel a "chipmunk"??

  11. ha ha. No, the golden manteled squirrels look a lot like chipmunks, but are much larger and don't have stripes around their eyes. There were also lots of chipmunks around, so we had a chance to inspect the difference.


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