Chef's Collaborative Beach Weekend

We just returned from a weekend at the Oregon Coast. To our delight Evan’s sister, Jamie, and our friend Laura (who might as well be a sister) joined us. Aside from being family we just love these girls. Each one ferociously smart, excruciatingly hilarious, gifted chefs in their own right, and most importantly perfect compliments to a cooking storm beach trip. I say we spend about 85% of our time together cooking food, eating food, or talking about food. The other 15% of the time is spent acting like little kids who laugh hard enough to make their bladders leak. Well, in all fairness I might say 14% of the time is spent doing that while the other 1% is sitting watching Laura effortlessly complete crosswords with little to no help from her counterparts. Simply put, we Adore these girls, emphasis on the capital A.

If there ever was a drizzly Portland night where nothing made more sense in the world than to rustle up an impeccable cheese plate, and stuff your cheeks with salty marcona almonds and fill your belly with a luxurious red wine these would be the girls to call. When a sultry Sunday arrives and the heat is heavy and nothing fills airy, light, or weightless you can count on one of these girls to whip up fluffy champagne cupcakes to counteract the density. When you want a backyard tea party complete with crumpets lathered in fresh preserves, cucumber tea sandwiches, and petits fours layered in velvety butter cream frosting, you know who will be helping you in the kitchen. Did I mention I love these girls?

We came with the recipes that burned our brains, creating a seemingly non-stop “rotation” revolving around the Kitchenaid and the oven. There were hits and misses but a few of the highlights from the Chef’s Collaborative Weekend were:

Roasted Banana Bread w/ Rum Soaked Golden Raisins & Toasted Pepitas

Egg Frittata w/ Shitake Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Shaved Parmesan

Roasted Lemon Rosemary Chicken w/ Cauliflower Fried Rice

Berry Buttermilk Milkshakes

And last but not least...Fried Egg Sandwiches w/ Sharp Cheddar, Avocado, and Tomato

There is something indescribably brilliant about our time at the beach. When we are down there our culinary proficiency is at its peak, inspiration overwhelms, the energy irrefutable. We are not the only ones who feel it. Many in the family have mentioned feeling “it,” an inexplicable encompassing energy when staying at the beach house. There are some speculations: some believe it's the ghost of Evan’s beloved grandmother, Leah, neighbors next door have told stories of supposed strangers who arrive in the middle of night and leave early in the morning. Sure there have been a few odd occurrences: water faucets being turned on, alarm being turned off, mysterious trash in the garbage, windows left open…Like I said, mostly we can just feel it. I like to think it is Evan and Jamie's Neana. From what I understand she had a presence in the room; her laugh was full and hearty, and she was a talented cook; Evan still raves about her baked potato pie; her deviled egg recipe is one of my favorites. Sometimes it will feel like you've drank too many cups of coffee-buzzed and a little anxious. Sometimes you feel like someone is behind you, creeping up. But most of the time it's a nice feeling--I like having her in the kitchen with me, I can feel her Presence, the presence of years of wisdom, secret recipes, air-dried laundry, old tricks, and soft hands,a Grandmother's presence. While I can acknowledge Evan and I possess some degree of capability in the kitchen and certainly a passion, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we are our best at the beach house. Thanks, Nan.

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