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Crispy Oven Baked French Fries RecipePIN

I love French Fries. Honestly, who doesn’t? Sometimes I’ll make them for lunch. Just French Fries. There’s something about their salty, crispy, soaked in olive oil perfection that I can’t get enough of. We go through so much olive oil in this house that we’ve taken to buying the restaurant size boxes of extra virgin olive oil. We pour through it like it’s… well, wine. Don’t worry, it’s good fat. These hot summer days with barbeques out front with our neighbors and many, many servings of fries.

The last couple of weeks have been a wonderful whirlwind of friends, family, wine tasting, popsicles, and many summer things. We’ve skipped a few of Gwyn’s nightly baths, gone to bed with dirty feet, forgone errands, and eaten too many cherries. Kyle is back in the brewery this week for the first time in months, following his shoulder surgery. He’s so happy to be back to the work he loves. Long days in the brew-house aren’t always easy, but they’re almost always rewarding. Kyle is so good at his job and I’m so proud of him… even though I sometimes forget to say it to him.

I’m still reveling in the joy and excitement of my acting work last week. I so rarely get an opportunity to work as an actress that when I do I try to soak up every single second of it and relive it over and over in my head. I love what I’m doing but there are days that I wish I could make a living as an actress. It’s so fulfilling.

This weekend we are going to see The Head and The Heart play at the Portland Zoo. It’s so great to have a chance to take Gigi to see them. Our friend Chris the band’s bass player and I hope we get to say hi and introduce him to G. Normally we can’t take her to shows but since this one is at the zoo, it’s totally kid friendly. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to pack up a gourmet picnic basket and a bottle of wine and relax on the grass. Our step-cousin is also getting hitched this weekend so we’re going to have a busy but fun next few days.

CRISP OVEN FRENCH FRIES WITH AIOLI

Ingredients for Fries.
3 pounds potatoes (you can use new or russet) cut into thin pieces
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
fresh parsley, minced (optional)

Ingredients for Aioli.
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
3/4 cup mayonnaise of Vegenaise
zest of one lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions for Fries.
In a large bowl toss the cut potatoes with 1/2-3/4 cup of the olive oil and two teaspoons of kosher salt. Dump the contents of the bowl onto a large cookie sheet. They should be really drenched in oil.

Place the fries in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 400° F. Toss the fries every twenty minutes. They will occasionally stick to the bottom of the cookie sheet. Use a firm spatula and scrape them up. It doesn’t matter what they look like. They will taste great. They will continue to soak up the olive oil (God bless them) so keep adding a drizzle each time you toss them.

After about an hour the fries will be cooked through and beginning to crisp up. Turn on the broiler and, watching the fries carefully, broil them, toss them, and broil them some more until they reach your desired crispness.

Remove them from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl or plate. Sprinkle with a large pinch of kosher salt and some parsley.

Directions for Aioli.
Toss the mayo, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and a few turns of black pepper in a small food processor and blend until combined. While the processor is running drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer to a small bowl and serve along side the fries.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
CRISP OVEN FRIES

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This weekend we escaped. Invited by our good friends, Jeremy and Tara, to their family’s lovely vacation home in Birch Bay, we loaded up the car and headed North. After so much hustling around the past couple of months, it was hard to leave again. But the promise of R&R beckoned so off we went.

We arrived in Birch Bay fairly late on Friday evening and got quickly settled in. I love the feeling when you walk into a new place and get to take it all in and say, “This is going to be my little home for the next 24 hours”. After getting Gigi cuddled up in bed, we made dinner and played board games.

Our darling girl woke us up early on Saturday morning and I felt like I was in a swamp. The thick comfy mattress and sleep deprivation from the last few weeks had an unexpected effect on me. I spent the whole morning rather, the whole day, in a haze of muddled half-sleep. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t forming my sentences properly. Kyle, always the early riser, headed down the stairs to the beach with our on-the-go-girl, and I followed, bed-head and all. Is there anything more enticing than a wooden staircase leading to the water?

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN
Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPINTravel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

One of the best things about spending time with our friends is seeing how much they love Gigi. They embrace her, love her, snuggle her, and play with her. It makes both Kyle and I so grateful to have such amazing friends. “Aunt” Tara and “Uncle” J hold an extra special place with me because of their love for our daughter.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPINTravel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN
Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

Since Gigi naps at 9am everyday, we were able to spend some time relaxing with our friends while she caught some zzzs. During her nap the clouds burned away and we were blessed with an outpouring of sunshine. When Gigi awoke we were all playing cornhole and relaxing in the sunshine. I loaded that girl up with sunscreen and proceeded to spend the next hour battling with her that she must keep her sunhat on! She just loves hats so, so much that she wants to hold them and present them to everyone around her. Jeremy had bought her some bubbles at the market and unwittingly, with the first blow of tiny bubbles, became the royal bubble master for the afternoon. Who can deny a sweet “more more more” from a child who adores you and thinks your bubble blowing skills are spectacular?

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

I could hardly wait for the tide to recede so we could take G out to explore the shore. When I was in L.A. with her she couldn’t get enough of the water and the waves. In Birch Bay, the shoreline is quite shallow so when the tide goes out you can walk out one hundred or so yards. We took off her shoes, rolled up her over-alls and trundled down the stairs with four dogs in tow to see what we could see.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPINTravel Birch Bay, WashingtonPINTravel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN
Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

By the time we walked back up the stairs from our long explore Gigi was nodding off. We rinsed her feet, stripped her of her wet clothes, kissed her sunscreened head, and plunked her into bed. The sun was high in the sky and everyone was sipping beer that Kyle had provided. Since I’m not much of a beer drinker I eventually accepted a glass of red wine, kicked my feet up, picked up my book, and ignored the clock that said it was only 2:30 in the afternoon. I’m in the middle of reading Very Fond of Food by Sophie Dahl. I’ve lately found myself reading cookbooks instead of novels. I am obsessed with the stories behind the recipes, the photography, the ingredients. Cooking has really become my main passion in life… other than being a mom it’s what I derive the most joy and satisfaction from.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

By the time Gigi woke from her afternoon siesta it was pouring rain and we were all taking shelter inside. It rained on and off for the rest of the evening. There was a lot of cuddling, cooking and eating to be done so perhaps it’s a good thing that the rain came down.

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We stayed up late playing games and drinking wine and whiskey, oh my. The sun didn’t set until nearly 10pm and when it did we were surprised with the most bizarre moonset! We tried to figure out why the moon might be setting, decided it may or may not be the apocalypse, bid each other goodnight/it’s been lovely to know you, and headed for bed.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

On Sunday morning we woke up early again, but this time I was ready. Ready for coooofffffffffeeeeeee!, for reading books on the couch, for walks on the beach. We were planning to head for home during Gigi

‘s morning nap so we spent the morning caffeinating and packing up. Gigi is in love with Who Will Comfort Toffle? which was a gift. It’s from Sweden and it’s beautifully illustrated. She spent the morning in her cozies, finding and comforting Toffle with kisses.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

We got dressed and headed down the waterfront to say goodbye to the great blue herons who flew by and the tiny little crab we discovered. When I was a kid I loved turning over “big” rocks to reveal scores of baby crabs living underneath. Despite my unshakeable fear of spiders, these eight legged creatures amuse me. I found this little guy living in a shell. Which, incidentally, is how Toffle’s story ends too.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN
Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

 

 

After draining our coffee, we saddled up and hit the road. We spent almost as much time in the car this weekend as we did in Birch Bay, but it was totally worth the trek. I love nothing more than spending time with my family.

Travel Birch Bay, WashingtonPIN

Nothing more.

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The other day we were walking home from a friends house and I decided I needed to make coleslaw (at 8:30pm).  I have never made coleslaw before, I don’t even like it normally!  I have no idea what made me want it but I sent Kyle to the store to get the some things and I was thrilled with the results!  I made it twice this week!  It’s easy and you can make it in just a few minutes.  It’s a great side dish to bring to a BBQ or to make at home.  Enjoy.

Fennel Coleslaw with Green Apple, Dried Cranberries and WalnutsPIN

Ingredients.
1/4 green cabbage, roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly (about 1 cup)
1 tart green apple, cubed
1/2 cup mayonaise or substitute
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup craisins
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions.
Throw all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Mix.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

PRINTABLE RECIPE.
FENNEL COLESLAW

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