Archive for the ‘Activities’ Category

Food writing class: Cooking, photographing, eating, writing

I’m taking a class at The Muse, a local writer’s center that offers writing and photography workshops. This is my third class there. This time, I’m taking “Expressions in Food” taught by Patrick Evans-Hylton, food and wine editor of Hampton Roads Magazine and a well-known local food writer and TV and radio personality.

Cooking, gardening and photography are some of my passions, along with writing, which is why I started this food blog years ago. But I haven’t been as consistent with it as I would like, so I signed up for this class, hoping for inspiration and feedback.

I also really enjoy the people and the atmosphere at The Muse, so this keeps me coming back there, as well 🙂

So, for the first class on Oct. 16, Patrick, my classmates and I all brought a dish to share, as well as cameras to record the yummies and paper and pen to record the aromas and flavors.

Classmates photographing yummies during class
Classmates photographing yummies during class

Becky brought cinnamon bread, caraway bread and stewed apples. The stewed apples in particular stirred fun memories for me. Whenever I have homemade stewed apples or applesauce, I think of visiting my great-grandmother Frances on the farm in Monroe, Mich., when I was growing up. She was famous (to me as a child, at least) for peeling apples, freshly picked from the tree out front, with one long peel. I’ve never been able to accomplish this.

Cinnamon bread, caraway bread and stewed apples
Cinnamon bread, caraway bread and stewed apples

My offering was a tasty treat I’ve made a few times now – Honey-Rosemary Scones with Goat Cheese. This recipe is from a book I won in an online contest a few years ago. I love the unusual combination of the sweet honey, a gift from our friend and Portsmouth beekeeper Paul, and the savory rosemary, from our garden.

Honey-Rosemary-Goat Cheese Scones
Honey-Rosemary-Goat Cheese Scones

Patrick also encouraged us to purchase a few books to use as resources in the class; I picked these:

The first class was a lot of fun, and I’ve blogged more in the last two weeks than I did in the last month. And I have more food-related reading materials (as if I need more, but hey …). I think I’m gonna like this class.

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Cranberry-Orange Scones, with a Low-Fat Option

Have I told you I’m on the board of the League of Women Voters of South Hampton Roads? Yesterday was our annual program planning/general membership/holiday party meeting, and traditionally, board members, and sometimes others, bring brunch-type goodies to have during the meeting.

I got up early to make scones and realized I was out of whipping cream. So I used what I had – I substituted a few tbsp. of low-fat cream cheese and a half cup of skim milk for the whipping cream. I’ve made these scones for this event for several years now, and I got more compliments than ever, so I guess low-fat is the way to go.

Ingredients for cranberry-orange scones

Cranberry-Orange Scones

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) firm unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries (such as Craisins)
2 tsp. grated orange peel
1/4 tsp. orange extract

Optional: Instead of whipping cream, cut 3 tbsp. low-fat cream cheese into flour with the butter and add 1/2 cup skim milk with the liquid ingredients.

Optional: Sprinkle with candy sprinkles – I used fall colors with leaves.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or spray with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix butter, and optional cream cheese, into dry ingredients until mixture is the size of small peas. Add remaining ingredients, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist.

Using a small spoon, scoop out golf-ball size pieces of dough, put on the baking sheet, and pat down lightly, or you can turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a circle 3/4-inch thick, then cut dough into 8 to 10 wedges. I like a more rustic look, so I spoon it out.

Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and optional candy sprinkles. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 20 scones.

Platter of cranberry-orange scones

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Pix from Nelson Downriver Race

The organization that sponsors the Nelson Downriver Canoe and Kayak Race recently posted photos of the racers. There was a glitch and Dan B’s photo did not make it into the gallery, but we hope that will be rectified soon. In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure:

Kim in the Tequila Sunrise (this is my blog, so I get to go first) 😉
Kim in the Tequila Sunrise

Dan in the new yellow playboat – a tad low in the water there!
Dan in the new yellow playboat

Alex looking cool and comfortable in the Mighty Pungo
Alex in the Mighty Pungo

And the second-place winners of the Tandem Canoe category – Paul and Nick

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Weekend at James River State Park

Last weekend, Dan and I rented a lodge at James River State Park with two other families (Danny, Sally and Alex, and Paul, Terry, Katie and Nick), our dog Pippen, and Danny and Sally’s dog Cody. The occasion was the Nelson Downriver Canoe and Kayak Race in Nelson County. After the race, we enjoyed a picnic by the river and then medals were awarded. Paul and Nick won second place in the Open Canoe/Father & Son class. Way to go, guys!

The lodge has a fully equipped kitchen, six bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a back porch with rocking chairs, a picnic table and a large grill. We brought food and drinks, grilled dinner, and generally had a great time. I beat Sally and Terry at Scrabble, Danny beat everyone at poker, and we had a fabulous Sunday breakfast cooked by Paul.

When I have time, I’ll put up a regular photo album of the weekend, but here are some snaps for now:

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The Final Stop in Richmond

Forgot to mention – after the boys went kayaking in Richmond on Sunday, we stopped at Legend Brewing, a microbrewery, for dinner. After their trip on the water, the guys needed some warming up, apparently, because they both ordered chili 🙂 Spicy! I had a blackened tuna steak over linguine Alfredo – not bad, but the tuna was overdone. Still good. And they had live music! So that was fun.

Legend Brewing, microbrewery in Richmond, VA

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First Kayaking Trip to Richmond in 2008

So, last weekend, Dan, Danny B. and I decided to head up to James River Park in Richmond and get some kayaking in. Saturday was bright, warm and beautiful – we spent that day weeding and planting in the herb and veggie gardens. Sunday I was expecting more of the same weather, but nooooooo – it was cool and overcast. And on the drive up to Richmond, it started raining. Well, gee, that doesn’t sound like much fun – rainy, cloudy, cool and on the river, in 6-foot high water.

Dan and Danny went, but … I changed my mind, and went shopping instead 🙂 Got some lovely pressed glass dessert dishes at Tuesday Morning, and wandered around an Asian grocery store. Didn’t see anything I had to have, but it was interesting to look around.

So here are Dan and Danny, checking out the river. Hmmm, do we really want to do this?

Dan and Danny checking out the James River

Yes! Yes, we do! Kim, are you sure you don’t want to go? Yes, I’m sure, you guys have fun. I’ll pick you up at the takeout.

And here they are actually going in. We got lucky – Danny had been in touch with a couple of people from Richmond’s wild and crazy paddling group, the Corn Youth Alliance, and they waited for us, so Dan and Danny had some people to paddle with.

Dan and Danny taking off

Bye, guys! See you at Reedy Creek!

Going down the river

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