Country Charm

When a country girl sweetly requests a ride into the city, she’s not trying to be cute. Her intention isn’t to steal your heart or dine with your family. A country girl is anything but incabable. She can rope a hundred cattle in a row and ride a horse bareback. Yes, a country girl is a force. Nothing frightens her, because there is nothing that spit, fire and bit of style can’t fix.

That is except for city streets and treacherous highways. When a strong woman of the prairie finds herself driving towards skyscrapers, like a bat out of hell, her breath quickens and her heart painfully flips in her chest. White knuckled at the wheel, she shoots prayers to the heavens that she will make it home unharmed and vows to never make the trek alone again. Seeking refuge from the massive trucks threatening to suck her into their wheels, this country girl drives down a residential street. A car heading straight for her honks violently. Ducking into a driveway, embarrassed that she missed the one way sign, her gas light screams at her. The blood pulses in her brain.

What a country girl lacks in city driving skills, she makes up for with classic charm and pretty teeth. She summons a sweet gent, whom is riding alongside her to roll his window down. “Hello, sir. Would you happen to know where the nearest gas station is? I seem to be frighteningly low!” The man, who always wished to live on a ranch, tips his imaginary hat. Exhausted from living in such a solitary place and craving human interaction, he finds this friendly lady refreshing. A country accent begins creeping into his bones. “Why yes, Ma’am. How ’bout you just follow me. I’ll guide you there,” he says warmly.

Wherever a country girl travels, she disperses simple kindness and warm sunshine. She reminds city people to talk to one another and laugh a little more. And when she drives back home, shaking from a place that holds a million people, a parade of cars follow her. They follow her into the lush fields of wheat and sunflowers, craving community and grilled peaches with rhubarb compote. The country girl offers the visitors tall glasses of sun tea, feeds them a hearty dinner, and thanks them for helping her navigate their treacherous roads.

Grilled Peaches With Rhubarb Compote-Serves 6 Hungry Folk

Ingredients

1 Cup Thinly Sliced Rhubarb

1/4 Cup Sugar

2-3 Tablespoons Water

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Pinch of Salt

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

3 Peaches

Butter

Sweetened Whipped Cream

Directions

To make your compote, place your rhubarb, sugar, water, lemon juice and salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium. Once the mixture starts to get hot, stir and simmer. You want the rhubarb to cook down and thicken. This takes about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla.

Turn your grill onto medium high heat. Rinse your peaches, cut each in half and remove pits. Brush all sides with melted butter. Place cut side down on the grill, and grill for about 3-4 minutes. Place each peach cut side up on a perty plate, top with compote and sweetened whipped cream. Beware, though….the city folk will never leave after eating this deliciousness.

Evan Kirsten – this is an awesome piece! Seriously you are amazing, make it the first chapter of your other book.

Kirsten Evan! You are so sweet!!

joe zawislan Beautiful!! You truly are that country girl! Really well-written and I totally loved it. Thanks for this great entry in your blog!

Kirsten Joe-Thanks so much for being a wonderful friend and fan of Slice of Feist. 🙂

SarahLaP You are so cute. I am such a city girl.

Kirsten Sarah!!!!! But you love country music…..so at heart you are a country girl.

Cookie Beautifully written. I’m so glad some people love living in cities. It leaves the country for the rest of us!

Kirsten Cookie- Thanks so much and I completely agree! 🙂

Kazia Jankowski This recipe looks delicious, and don’t worry, city driving is treacherous even for those of us that live there 🙂

Coffee and Electric Guitars

My first taste of coffee was provided to me by my father. Starting at the age of three, I was allowed a few tiny droplets each morning from his heavily sweetened cup of Joe. It was our secret ritual and my mother undoubtedly would have been quite upset if she had discovered that her toddler was already acquiring a liking to the caffeinated drink. But my dad has always been a rebel, vehemently trying to instill within me a craving for adventure and rock n’ roll.

My father has pushed me to observe everything as art, even a simple railing on the wall. If he notices a piece of trash on the side of the road, a small shard of plastic, he will most likely pick it up. Brushing it off and sticking it in his pocket, he will save it for a collage he’s been pondering. My father has made me listen closely to each lyric, to cease speaking and absorb. Every song has a story, history and energy. And if you can’t spot it on your own, he will uncover its truths for you. He has encouraged me to live as authentically as possible and resist allowing life to dull my spirit. If he ever senses that the world is shaping me into a “square”, he has no problem pointing it out.

Grand gestures, twisted stories, insightful, motorcycle riding, eccentric, wise, musician, artist, punk rocker. Thank the Lord that’s my daddy-o.

When I was 13 my dad took me to see the band above, Saint Etienne. It was an all ages show at a popular club in a sketchy part of D.C. For over a year I had been begging him to take me to a gig, but once we entered the venue I became terrified. The people scared me and I was convinced that the clumsy man standing behind me was going to burn me with his cigarette. But it also got me so excited about growing up. There was so much music to look forward to and so many strange people to meet.

Thanks Dad for being an incredible teacher.

Make your dad a tall glass of iced coffee this Sunday. So simple yet so thoughtful, it’s all you really need to do for him to let him know you care.

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee recipe from The New York Times
Makes Two Drinks

Ingredients

1/3 Cup Of Your Favorite Coffee, Medium Ground
1& ½ Cup Filtered Or Spring Water
Milk and Sugar, Optional

Directions

In a large jar or bowl, combine your coffee grinds and 1 & ½ cups water. Cover and leave to rest overnight at room temperature. Once ready, strain mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Fill two glasses with desired amount of ice and equal parts coffee concentrate and water. If your dad is like mine and needs a good jolt to wake up, add 75% coffee concentrate to 25% water.
Add milk and sugar to your liking. Sip and smile.

Cookie What a sweet tribute to your dad, Kirsten. I like how he views life. A rebel lives inside of me, too. I’m glad you’ve had such a powerful guide. He has given you the best eyes to see the world through.

I’ve already started making my cold coffee drinks for the summer. Happy Summer Solstice on Tuesday! I’ll salute it with this cold coffee!!

Pass the Flame

Anyone who tells you that running a business with your romantic partner is a good idea….. well they’re lying to you. Fibbing through their sharp little teeth, they are surely experiencing a sort of internal ruckus, which of course you cannot hear. Perhaps they are sadistic and humming this song in their funny brains or maybe they are just plain delusional. Or could they be such devoted romantics that they actually believe their words?

Although Evan and I don’t own a business together, he has certainly helped me shape this blog, for which I could not be more grateful. His gorgeous photography has graced this space from the very beginning and will continue to from time to time. But there comes a time when we must strike out on our own and stop talking about shadows and fabric wrinkles during dinner.  Venturing off to devote his energy to stuff like this and this, he will be stepping away from food photography and passing me the flame. Not only will I be taking pictures for this space, but in the next few weeks you will be able to purchase Slice of Feist pastries at Niwot Market along with other wonderful places in Boulder County!

As for the pictures, though, brace yourself. I am a cook, not a photographer. Just squint and you’ll feel better. I promise Evan will eventually train me well.

Gwyneth Paltrow, the ultimate renaissance woman, is now a published cookbook author. Filled with bright, easy and nutritious meals, her book only heightens my jealousy of her hair. All that talent and a glowing corn silk mane? Completely unfair.

Flipping through this month’s Bon Appetit magazine, I found that America’s favorite superwoman has graced half a dozen of their pages with her recipes. Paltrow’s grilled halibut with mango-avocado salsa looked so fresh and colorful that it inspired me to get a bit creative.

Broiled Salmon with Peach-Avocado Salsa adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow

Ingredients for Salmon

2 Pounds Thick Salmon Fillets, cut into 6 oz wedges

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Lime

2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed

Salt and Pepper

Directions for Salmon

Combine oil, lime juice and crushed garlic. Place your salmon in a large baking dish and pour all of your marinade over top. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 16-20 minutes or until just cooked through. Serve smothered with salsa and topped with freshly chopped basil.

Ingredients for Salsa

1 Ripe Avocado, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes

2 Ripe Peaches, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch cubes

1/4 Cup Chopped Onion

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

The Juice of 1/2-1 Lime, according to your taste

1 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper

Directions for Salsa

Combine everything in a bowl and allow to rest at room temperature while your fish is cooking. This stuff is so good that I even ate it as a salad one night.

Evan Kirsten! Haha, I totally agree. I love your pictures already! You have got it for sure! Can’t wait to go out to Niwot and pick up a few goodies from your new biz!!

marie proud of you for venturing out. and the pastries !! please let us who knew you when invest before you “go public” with the stock.

Kirsten Marie- Thank you for all of your support….from the very beginning. 🙂 I’ll let you know when I start teaming up with martha stewart!! hehe

marie qwenyth’s mario battali/ spain project was very worth the time to watch, and also check out that book. not sure if you knew about that. she is the total package.

SarahLaP Yeah!!!

Kirsten sarah- ohhhhh yeahhhh

Cookie Kirsten, I am so excited about your cake business!!!! Cake is my favorite food in the world!!! I would love some gluten free cakes from a feisty someone!

…I’m sure your food photos will be just as amazing as your food!

Kirsten Cookie- Yayy!! thanks so much for all of your encouragement. 🙂 I should be up and running in a week or so!

Mossy Wings

If you yearn to turn your life upside down and leap off a cliff with homemade wings, just read The Renaissance Soul. It’s written for those of us who want to do a gazillion things at once and get overwhelmed trying to focus on just one or two. Lobenstine states with utter confidence that it is possible to make a living doing a ton of interesting little things, rather than putting food on the table by working one job that isn’t fulfilling our creative needs.

So I read the first 20 pages, closed the book, and resigned from my job. Well, that’s not quite what happened. Some completely bazaar opportunities began attacking me; encircling me and enticing me with fine chocolates and wild flowers. I am standing at the edge of the canyon wall with one foot gingerly testing gravity. My wings are composed of flannel patchwork, thick moss and reliable recipes. Ready to jump?

This couscous is loaded with intriguing textures and flavors. Small nips of dried apricots complement the satisfying crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds. A handful of juicy and salty green olives almost send the perfection of this dish over the top. So many seemingly unrelated ingredients come together here to create a lovely whole.

Renaissance Couscous– barely adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

1 & 1/4 Cups Water (you can also substitute half the water with chicken broth)

1 Teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Butter

1/4 Cup Turkish Apricots (preferably additive free), Chopped

6-10 Large Green Olives, Chopped

1 Cup Couscous

1/4 Cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, Optional

Directions

In a small pot, boil your water. Add butter and salt to water. Now stir in your couscous, olives and apricots. Immediately cover pot with a lid and remove from heat. After 5 minutes of resting, use a fork to fluff your couscous. Stir in your lemon juice and top with crunchy, salty pumpkin seeds.

Cookie This is an amazing recipe! I love all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing it. Have you ever used rice couscous for a gluten free version?

And, I always say, when tettering on an Edge, always leap. You WILL fly…always. I’ve jumped from many edges and I’m so glad I did!

Kirsten Cookie- I’ve tried rice cous cous and it really good! Thank you for reminding me to post more gluten free grain recipes. I love that. I am jumping and flying. I am starting a cake business!!!! I just got back from my first business consultation and things are happening. Once things are up and running I’ll have to send you some gluten free goodies. 🙂 Thanks for being a wonderful light.

Evan You Are quite the renaissance soul! Don’t worry about the leap – you will be fine, since you are sooooo freakin talented!

Peppercorns and Hammers

It’s almost laughable how insane technology is and how it just adds to people’s crazyness, aye? Out of control it is! Someone stole this entire website and tried to pass it off as their own. Oh, yes. I want to laugh and howl and run down a grassy hill while wildly tugging at my hair. I want to chew on ice cubes, crush peppercorns with a hammer and summon an enormous brainfreeze by devouring a milkshake. I should be laughing, right?

Let’s just relax and get a bit loopy with Joanna Newsom. I can’t handle any sort of music right now that is rooted in reality, so I rely on Newsom to whisk me away to her fantasy land. The fusion of her childish voice and brilliant harp skills is a bit disorienting, and that’s exactly what I’m seeking right now. Enjoy this delightful composition and send a tiny prayer out the thief will stop in their tracks.

Gerry Wow, did they think they could get away with the theft?? Unbelievable. Bad people suck.

Cookie I didn’t even know that could happen!

Kirsten Cookie- I know!!!!!! What the heck?

Cookie What the heck, indeed!!! Very Bad Karma!!!!