raspberry

almond-oat berry bars

almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land

Around this time of year, I usually get a bad case of end-of-summer FOMO. As the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, I feel an overwhelming urge to cram in as many summer-only activities as I can manage. A picnic at the shore. A trip to the fair. Just a few more melty popsicles.

More camping.

More swims.

More pie.

But this year, something’s different. I head to Paris in just over a week; when I get back, summer will be long gone. I keep waiting for the panic to set in, but it has yet to make an appearance.

almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land

I have a hopeful theory as to why this might be; this year, I haven’t been pushing myself like a crazy person. I’ve realized that my body usually knows what I need--all I have to do is listen. (Which is of course much harder than it sounds, especially when your head is swimming with tons of “shoulds” and “ought tos” and other annoying thoughts.) 

This summer, I’ve managed to stay tuned in to what my intuition and my body are telling me. If my body says it wants pancakes for breakfast, we have pancakes. If it says it isn’t hungry, we wait to eat until it is. If it says it’s tired of sitting at the computer and wants to take a walk in the middle of the day, we lace up our shoes and head out the door. If it says take a nap, we snuggle up on the couch. (Mostly. Naps still aren’t my fave.)

almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land
almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land

I still struggle with not going to bed when I’m tired. And zoning out on Instagram when I’m bored. And eating chocolate when I know I’m not hungry. But I’ve been amazed at how much better I feel when I listen to my body and trust my intuition. 

When I was first experimenting with listening more closely to what my inner compass had to tell me, I was afraid I’d never want to do work again and slide down into a black hole of sloth. The opposite has been true. When I tune into what I really want and need, whether it be a nap or a new pair of shoes, I have more energy and enthusiasm for work. Some days I spend most of my time doing things I find fun and energizing: shooting with my camera, walking, knitting, cooking for pleasure, reading. Then when my tank is full, I usually feel like getting some work done. The part I’ve been most astonished by is that when I engage from a full tank, I can turn out better quality work in a fraction of the time--and not feel drained by it. For someone who has always been more stick than carrot with herself, this feels like an absolute miracle.

almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land

I think all the pleasures--large and small--I’ve managed to fit into my summer have chased the FOMO away. If summer ended tomorrow, I wouldn’t feel cheated. That said, in the time I have left before I take off for France, I intend to relish all the summer treasures that come my way--including more sweet summer berries from the farmers market. 

These jammy bars are about as simple as summer baking gets and a delicious way to work a few more juicy berries into your life before we head into fall. I hope you’re soaking up all the goodness the season brings, with lots of sunshine and very little FOMO.

xo,
Olaiya


Almond-Oat Berry Bars

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) butter, softened, plus more for the pan
  • 9 ½ oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup mixed berries (I used raspberries and blackberries)
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)

*Note: baking these in an 8- or 9-inch pan yields a fairly thick, cake-like bar. If you want a thinner, crisper bar, bake them in a larger pan.

almond oat berry bars. Styling/Image: Olaiya Land
almond oat berry bars. Image/styling: Olaiya Land

Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine the flour, sugars, oats, almonds, salt and ginger in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just to combine. Add in the butter and pulse to combine. Add the egg and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, scraping down the bowl as needed. Set aside 1 ½ cups of the crumble mixture.

Press the remaining mixture into the bottom the prepared pan. Spread the berry preserves over the mixture, leaving 1/2-inch border. Press the berries into the preserves then crumble the reserved 1 ½ cups mixture over the preserves. Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting into bars.

Take your berry bars to the next level by serving them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe adapted from Anne Thornton

peach-raspberry pie

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

At 6:42 Monday evening I could be found standing on my (somewhat precarious) kitchen table in my pajamas photographing a slice of pie. This slice, to be precise:

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

The past weeks have been a bit frenzied around here and so I had decided to forgo my usual routine of putting on real clothing, applying makeup and perhaps even showering that day. (Who can keep track of such details?) Which is why, frizzy-haired and bra-less, I hesitated for a long moment before answering the door when I heard a knock. 

I poked my head cautiously around the door to find...our neighbor Lindsay. She and her boyfriend had just returned from Vashon Island with an abundance of oysters. And did we want to come over and have some? 

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com
peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

Every fiber of my un-scrubbed being wanted to say no. The light was changing quickly and I needed to shoot this pie for the blog. Beau was off running errands so I’d be on my own making small talk with neighbors I don’t know very well (an introvert’s nightmare). I’d be forced to emerge from my state of unkempt comfort and make myself presentable to the world. 

But a tiny piece of me thought: Why not? You’re tired of working anyway. Plus, oysters! I told Lindsay I’d finish up my shoot and be right over. 

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re having a heatwave. (Yes, temperatures above 80°F constitute a heatwave in Seattle. Don’t laugh.) Or because I’ve logged a lot of hours on various projects in the past weeks. Or because I figured our neighbors’ kitchen window looks right into our house and so they’re probably going to see me in my pyjamas many, many times in the coming years. But I decided I couldn’t be bothered to change out of my PJs for a trip across the lawn. I did, however, wrangle a little of the frizz out of my curls and put on a bra. I slid on a pair of flip-flops for good measure and headed out the door. 

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com
peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

Sitting on Mark and Lindsay’s front porch slurping briny oysters out of their shells turned out to be the most relaxing, carefree evening I’ve spent in ages. Beau showed up at some point. Mark poured us several glasses of a beautiful rosé. We learned about our neighbors’ jobs and hobbies and favorite restaurants in town. We discovered that Mark assembled a traditional Italian pizza oven at his family’s house on Vashon that we might one day be able to help put to good use. They informed us that we definitely shouldn’t miss the upcoming block party in our street. And that there are so many fruit trees in our neighborhood because it was once an orchard. 

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

The next day, I took over a couple slices of pie to thank Mark and Lindsay for their hospitality. I would have baked this pie regardless, because it’s summer and summer = pie. But after I dropped it off, I felt extremely grateful to be living in a neighborhood that’s as diverse and neighborly as ours. On our multicultural street, people know each other. We wave when walking past or stop to chat about each other’s gardens. We share oysters and pie. In the midst of all the hate and violence that have monopolized headlines in the past months, this feels like a small miracle. And a huge comfort. 

I’m happier than ever that we managed to find our way into a sense of community here on Findlay Street. And that I’ve got so many pies to bake in the summers to come.

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

Peach-Raspberry Pie

  • 1 recipe flaky pie dough (see below)
  • 3 lbs firm-ripe peaches (about 6 large)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 9 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 oz raspberries (about 2 cups)

Flaky Pie Dough

  • 1 lb + 2 oz (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 oz (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 5 oz (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) lard, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cream or milk (or a whole egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), to glaze
  • 1-2 tablespoons turbinado, demerara or sanding sugar (regular old sugar will work, too)

*Notes: Peaches can release a lot of juice once you sprinkle sugar on them. If your peaches give off a lot of liquid, you’ll need to pour most of it off before baking to avoid a soggy crust and loose filling.

- Cutting your peaches into large slices (about 1 inch) limits the surface area and also helps limit the amount of liquid they give off.

- Lots of recipes say you need to blanch and peel your peaches. I don’t recommend it. I think it’s fussy and also makes the peaches feel a little slimy. Plus leaving the peels on gives your filling beautiful blush tones.

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

Prepare the crust according to this recipe.

When you are ready to bake the pie, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 425°F.  

Cut the peaches into slices about 1-inch thick and place them in a large mixing bowl. Gently toss with the lemon juice and ½ cup of the sugar. Set aside to rest for 20-30 minutes. Pour off the juice from the peaches discarding all of it except for ½ cup. Toss the peaches (and ½ cup juice) with two tablespoons of the cornstarch, the ginger and a pinch of salt. 

Place the raspberries in a medium mixing bowl and toss with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons of the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of sugar. 

To fill the pie crust, pour half of the peach slices onto your well-chilled or frozen bottom crust. Arrange half of the raspberries over the peaches. Top with the rest of the peach slices and then the rest of the raspberries. Cover your fruit with your top crust. (Here’s a great tutorial on how to weave a lattice-top crust if you want to go that route.) Trim the edges to overhang by 1/2 inch. Fold the top edges of the lattice inside the bottom crust. Place the filled and topped pie back in the freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes. 

I know, I know. There’s a lot of chilling and freezing and waiting around. But taking the time to par-freeze your pie will keep the crust from slumping in the oven and make sure that lattice turns out gorgeously. :)

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

Brush the top crust with cream, milk or egg wash and then sprinkle with the turbinado, demerara or sanding sugar. Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake until the crust is lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking until the crust is dark golden brown, about 45-60 minutes longer. I like my crust deeply caramelized; if you like yours less dark, feel free to take your pie out earlier.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool a bit and firm up before slicing. Leftovers keep best covered at room temperature overnight. If you need to keep your pie for more than a day, cover tightly and store in the fridge.
 
Makes 6-8 servings.

P.S. Try to save at least one piece for breakfast the next day. Coffee + pie = breakfast perfection!

peach-raspberry pie on millys-kitchen.com

the love list

the love list on millys-kitchen.com

Hello!

This week I’m working on some new features for the blog. My friend Kyle stopped by yesterday to cook up an amazing dish I’ll be posting next week. I’ll also be announcing the dates of the pop-up dinner I’ve been talking about for what feels like ever. Kyle and I will be teaming up to bring you a menu of bright summer fare served under the stars. I’m thrilled it’s finally happening! Stay tuned for details.

the love list on millys-kitchen.com

I’ve been having so much fun collaborating up with other cooks, photographers and creative souls lately, I’ve decided to make that more of a regular occurrence around here. So I’ll be sharing more recipes and stories from some of my creative friends here on the blog.

If you are interested in working on a food, photography or travel project together, shoot me a mail. I love getting to know new folks and sharing knowledge and inspiration with each other!

While I edit the pile of images I shot with Kyle, here’s a little Love List to brighten your weekend!


- First up: The delightful instagram feed of Elie Obeid. I met Elie at Fragments coffee shop the last time I was in Paris. Not only does he make a perfect cup of coffee, he also takes beautiful pictures of his favorite spots in the city. Following along via his feed, I feel like I’m taking a little walk through the streets of Paris every day!

- As long as we're on the topic of photography, there’s an Eggleston exhibit at the Portland Art Museum until August 21. I’m super jazzed to take a little road trip down the coast and check it out. Also, it’s a great excuse to go eat at my favorite spots in Portland. (Hello, Blue Star Donuts!) All my PNW people: see you there!

- If you’re looking for a great recipe for your next bbq or summer shindig, check out this Potato-less Potato Salad. (Is your brain hurting yet?) Sherrie over at With Food + Love made this little gem of a salad from lightly blanched, perfectly tender radishes. It has all the classic flavors of potato salad, without all the carbs. Even if you aren’t trying to lay off the simple starches like me, this salad is a refreshing reinterpretation of a classic that’s delicious in its own right.

- I love, love, love this article on scruffy hospitality my friend Lillian posted on Facebook! Scruffy hospitality entails: “Not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home.” I’m definitely guilty of feeling like I can’t have friends over if the house isn’t in perfect order. This was a good reminder that inviting friends into our home is first and foremost about connecting with the people we love.

- And no Love List would be complete without a cocktail! Check out these Golden Raspberry Lillet Cocktails Heidi Swanson posted over at Quitokeeto. Lillet cocktails, always and forever.

photo:  Heidi Swanson

Happy Weekend, friends!

Olaiya

the love list on millys-kitchen.com