Friday, January 31, 2014

Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcakes with Orange Zest + Ginger

So, I'm not a baker. I will mess up any recipe you give me, in some random way...every. single. time. Even if I do EVERYTHING right, something still doesn't work. Does it stop me from trying? NOPE!

Beckett has been loving the TV on low while he's napping, so I've been leaving the Food Network on. I think I need to turn it because now I'm obsessed with watching all the cooking shows. All of them. PLUS, my good friend Tiffany has been posting all these amazing recipes on her blog, so I have been inspired to BAKE for awhile now!

Ina Garten is my absolute favorite cooking show host. I'd cook with her any day. And then she would beg me to leave the kitchen because I've messed up her recipe. Ugh. Anyway, I decided to try making her deconstructed strawberry shortcakes, because YUM.

TURNS OUT, I shouldn't just "eyeball the dough thickness." I don't "have this." I can't "figure it out without measuring." They turned out more like cookies instead of biscuits..but you know what?! They tasted AMAZING.

So, if you follow the recipe, yours will turn out more like the biscuits they should be. haha.

Her recipe doesn't use orange zest or ginger, but I love the flavor combo - especially with the strawberries. AND...perfect for Valentines Day!!

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon grated ginger root
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
2 pints fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons spiced rum
Sweetened whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Sift the flour, two tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend in the butter on low speed and mix until the butter is the size of peas. Add orange zest & ginger. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer still on low, add to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough ½-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut 16 biscuits with a two-inch plain round cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned and the insides are fully baked. Cool.
To serve, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar and spiced rum.  Serve on top of your shortcakes!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Antiques Under the Ground

Every spring and summer for the last 15 years, my parents have hunted for antiques...under the ground. They dig in old homesteads and old city dumps from the late 1800s to find treasures. The thrill of the hunt, the beauty of the artifacts, and the stories of generations long gone keep them going year after year. I decided to sit down and ask them a few questions about it, as I was completely uninterested as a teenager. Now, of course, I find it absolutely enchanting.

Why do you dig?

It's a lost art. If we don't resurrect these artifacts, they'll be lost forever. Digging, for us, is therapeutic and necessary. Most people love the sound of the New York symphony; we love hearing the sound of cans and bottles clinking together under the ground. Our hearts beat faster when a handful of dirt yields treasures from a life long forgotten.

What got you started?

When we moved to Idaho in 1996, we were walking around our property and knew that there were old homesteads and remnants of foundations right under our feet. Mark sat against an old burned snag from the 1910 fire, and happened to look down and see three old bottles ensnared in the roots of the tree. We've never stopped since.

What if I wanted to start digging? Where would I go?

Go to your local courthouse to find where old homes or farms were, or even where the old city dumps used to be. Dumps are a treasure trove. Look for old tin cans or shards of glass out in the forests. A lot of times in the 1800s to the turn of the century, they would throw their bottles and trash over hills and in gullies, and to hide the occasional flask, down the outhouses. You'll find a lot of good things if you dig deep (down a few inches), too.

What do you use to dig with?

The best tools for digging are common gardening tools like three-prong trowels and a garden spade. Gloves, a head lamp, and safety goggles are also very helpful. Make sure to take old newspaper to wrap up your treasures! If you have an old window screen, you can throw your dirt on that and sift through the silt to find artifacts that are often missed, i.e. bottle stoppers, coins, small toys, jewelry, etc. We throw all of our tools in a 5-gallon bucket, and carry a backpack with lunch and bottled water. Digging can be hard work! 

Whats the most unique thing you've dug?

Well, my most sought-after piece was a pumpkin seed flask that, after 14 years of digging, I found 6 inches beneath the ground, right beside an old tree. Women used these because they were inconspicuous and thin. They are absolutely gorgeous! Some other unique things we've found are: a jar of marbles at an old schoolhouse, celluloid hair combs, tin business cards…toys…I can't even begin to remember all of the things we've found over the years.

Is there anything dangerous about digging?

Depending on where you live, you need to be aware of snakes and insects that sting and bite! In the northwest, we have to watch for bears, mountain lions, and the rare patch of poison ivy! It's nice to dig in the Pacific Northwest...not a lot under the ground that can get you! Always get permission to dig on private land or in national forests. Cover up what you dig, pack out trash (obviously). Digging too deep or far back in a hole can create a hazard for cave-ins, so just be careful. Make sure you're up to date on your tetanus shot because there is a lot of sharp rusty metal under the earth! 

What do you do with all of the things that you find?

That is our favorite part. We bring everything home, wash it up, and spend the day researching where they came from. We can often find exactly where the items came from, some right down to the drugstore or business! We have never sold a single item, and we've found thousands of bottles and trinkets. For us, it's about the hunt and it's about treasuring each item and giving them new life.

They CAN be very valuable. You can find collectors willing to buy certain pieces, sell them on Ebay, etc. You can gift the items, or just keep them to treasure. My sister-in-law used old porcelain doll parts as ornaments on her Christmas tree one year. You can also bring back the shards of glass that are often colored by the sun and time to make mosaics.

Whats the worst thing that's happened to you while digging?

I tied a rope to a tree and used it to get down about 80 feet to a dump that was close to an old ghost town. I was digging back in to reach an old aqua cork-top Milk of Magnesia bottle (one of the first kind made) and I got it…along with a nest of hornets! I had untied the rope to dig, so instead of tying it back on and climbing out, I slid and fell down the shale cliffside and into the water. Totally worth it.

Have you ever been digging? What was the best thing you've ever found? If you haven't....does this make you want to start?

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Graphic Design for the Vintage Whites Market

When Vanessa and I started the Vintage Whites Market, we were excited about infusing some great design into our promotional materials. Over the course of four years, we've worked with some incredibly talented artists, designers, and illustrators; and we'll be highlighting them on the blog!

First up is Courtney Blair of Pattern Daily. She does all of our market posters, and they are phenomenal!! On top of designing and illustrating, she is a radio host in Salt Lake for KRCL 90.9FM, a music writer for SLUG Magazine, and illustrates many concert posters for the Twilight Concert Series in Salt Lake. Yep, we are PRETTY excited to have her on the VWM team!!

Below are a few examples of her work, and all the posters she's done for us since last year!! Thank you Courtney, we appreciate you so much! You can purchase select prints from Courtney HERE!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

An Update on Vanessa's Vintage Kitchen

The new (old) stove is in! A little history on this gorgeous piece: it belonged to my husband's great grandmother. My husband's dad remembers eating meals off of it when he was dating his mother. For many years it sat inside my husband's uncle's house, never hooked up. There it was kept safe and protected until we moved in and Uncle Mark gave it to us. 

If you remember in the previous kitchen post I told you that the appliance repair shop quoted us $1500 to $2000 to fix this stove. Well we knew maybe one or two burners worked and possibly one of the ovens. So my husband thought we should just put it in and he would work on it and see if he can fix it himself.

So I went out and bought a toaster oven and borrowed an electric grill and we put in the beautiful old stove. Now, my sweet husband had no experience working on appliances. But I'd say one of his greatest skills is learning as he goes. So I spent an entire day, researching on the internet and working on the stove. He was about to give up, he was putting the pieces back when all-of-a-sudden IT LIGHTS! He couldn't believe it! 

So he kept working on it. That night we laid in bed and he was reading more about stoves online. Then he jumped out of bed to go work on it just a little more. One by one, he fixed each burner. Then, he even fixed one of the ovens. And all we had to spend was a total of $60 on parts. 

So now we have a family heirloom to cook on. It works great and I absolutely love it! 

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Cottage Cheese Pancakes!

When I visit Vanessa in Montana, she always makes the most amazing cottage cheese pancakes. They are the best pancakes I’ve ever had, especially when served with sour cream and jam. Absolutely the best.

I’m a big fan of easy and quick recipes that taste delicious, so these are right up my alley. I’m not normally a fan of cottage cheese, but in these pancakes and in the orange salad that my mom and meemaw make, I love it.  For this recipe, you’ll need: an egg, flour, cottage cheese, cream, sour cream, and jam. That empty bowl up top is what I used for the batter. It belonged to my great-great-great-grandmother and it is absolutely gorgeous. There’s something special about using it for cooking; like I can almost picture her in the kitchen.

Crack your egg and stir it with the cottage cheese.

Add the flour…

…and the cream…
…and mix it together until you have a spoonable batter.

Spoon out pancakes of your desired size, and heat over medium until browned and ready to flip! Vanessa and I like the outsides crunchy, so we cook on a higher heat. The inside is delicious when still a bit runny, but it’s up to you and your taste to decide how you’d like them cooked.


1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup of sour cream or yogurt
1 cup of flour
4 eggs
1/2 cup of cream or milk

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

In the Vintage Kitchen

A kitchen isn't complete without the sweet details that make it cozy and lived in. Vanessa's kitchen sings in the natural light and all of the vintage treasures she's collected over the years add just the right touch!! Whats your favorite detail in your kitchen?

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