Friday, September 4, 2020

What We've Been Eating


 

 Dear long-time desserts for breakfast friends,
I hope that this missive finds you well, or at least, as well as can be in 2020. I know it's been a long time, that desserts for breakfast has run silent since February of 2018, and I beg your patience for me barging back into your inboxes and blog feeds (wow! this is highly presumptuous of me that I'm even still have some platform).
It's been several years since this blog was active, and a big part of that is personal, which I won't get into here, out in the open. The other major part of it was that, towards the end of its lifetime, I started feeling really uneasy with the pressure to constantly be producing novel and exciting and "perfect" looking bites on a weekly schedule: blogging expectations are punishing, and I greatly admire all those who consistently and frequently produce such wonderful content for all of us. For me, however, I started craving projects that were longer, allowed time for an idea to sink in and marinate, gave space for me to rummage around the complex innards of an idea before having to show it to the world. And for a while, that took the form of other art mediums (mostly, dance).
But, at the beginning of this year's quarantine here in California, I was given a really beautiful gift of an opportunity, to do a big project and produce the art to help launch a food and produce company's delivery platform—they, a family-run, local company, needed to pivot really quickly to survive in this new reality, and I got to sink my teeth into developing a full set of looks for the website and packaging using their beautiful fruit and vegetables. I am so grateful at having had this opportunity, because that, and the sudden increase of time (and need!) to cook at home every day, really brought me back to my camera, back to my food eye, and back to creating with food. Turns out, I missed it dearly.
Though I couldn't come back to blogging, what this return to my photography and cooking love did produce was the kind of longer-term, larger project that I've been wanting to do for a while. The idea started out as a way for me to write a long letter to friends in quarantine, sharing my favourite things I'd been cooking and eating along the way—originally, something super informal. But the collection of recipes and photographs actually started to coalesce into a gestalt, and out came What We've Been Eating, a colloquial home-cooking zine!


I did a very small first run, sending it out to friends as had been originally intended, and some of you on Instagram asked for the zine as well (I am so grateful for your encouragements: thank you). In return, I collected donations from the net proceeds for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and together we raised nearly $200 in donations. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was so heart-warming to me, that this tiny little project of mine, dipping my toes back into these waters, and everyone's support in this work could make a contribution to helping others during these really hard times.
So now, we've been in quarantine (at least here in California), for six months, and I've collected even more recipes to share, in a second issue of What We've Been Eating. Twelve more recipes I've been cooking at home.


It's a small something, but if you're still out there, still reading, still cooking, still eating, and still interested, please check out What We've Been Eating. It's something from me, to you, that instead of reading on a screen, you can hold in your hand, and hopefully get wet and sticky and splattered from cooking with. And, as always, net proceeds will be donated to LA Regional Food Bank after each run of the zine, to help with families and individuals struggling with food instability, especially during this time.
(For WWBE pre-orders, click here. For more previews of WWBE 1 and 2, follow along on instagram.)
I'm looking forward to sharing food and more with you all again, in one form or another. Please drop a line for a hello and such—I'd love to hear what you've been eating.
xx,
Stephanie

Monday, February 5, 2018

Runeberg Redux



Happy Runeberg Day!

I've moved, and taken up a new job, and now I'm back in a place with at least one Finnish colleague. A conversation we had made me reminisce about the days in graduate school when I would make Runebergintorttuja -- aka: Runeberg cakes -- for my Finnish professors on Runeberg Day, aka: February 5th, the national day in Finland celebrating the poet Runeberg (more about Runeberg here).


So I decided to brush off my rusty baking skillz and dig the cupcake molds out of their box (in my still-box-filled new apartment), and revisit my old Runeberg recipe. This time around, I made the cakes in cupcake molds, rather than their usual, tall 3-inch cylinders, so that they would be easier to transport to campus. I also took a bit of artistic license with the icing: traditional Runeberg cakes have only a simple ring of icing around the raspberry jam topping. There are other licenses as well, just because I could. ☺️ The cakes are now soaked in a syrup of calvados (apple brandy) rather than straight up rum, and the jam is now a combination of raspberry and grapefruit marmalade. You know, cause I can't help but make things schmancier. :P


Now I just have to suffer through having these cupcakes sit in my office all day until teatime! With the ginger and icing and almond and raspberry wafting out, they smell too good! Woe.


Continue for recipe...