The moment we step into September I get in the mood for autumn. All year long I crave cable-knit sweaters, apple cider, barren trees, and delicious warm breads + vegetables that I would never attempt to make in the sweltering Dallas summer. In the fall I suddenly pick up old books that I’ve cherished for years, flipping through their musty pages giggling at my notes and highlights and scrawled definitions from years past- proof that I can even over analyze things that I enjoy tremendously. Memories of starting school again, the excitement of a new fall wardrobe, a new year to prove yourself and move ahead. Fall symbolizes comfort for me, where summer fades and I become more of who I am. I think that’s why I’ve daydreamed of living in the Pacific Northwest, or Vermont and Maine the majority of my life. I’m drawn to foggy mornings and the scent of treats baking in the oven.
When I finally got the chance to visit the dreamy PNW, I made an abundance of unexpected friends. One being a down to earth political figure in Clallam County, Washington named Mark. Every visit he would take us on guided fishing trips through the Dungeness, Hoh, and Sol Duc rivers where I learned to fish and caught my first big fighting fish, a Steelhead. After long cold mornings littered with fish blood and granola bars we’d make the trek to his sleek modern cabin in the hills where he’d combine some of the most unique flavors in well plated dished while he “educated” us on good music: The Talking Heads, Jorane, Muse, and Crash Test Dummies. We’d sip exceptional wine, dance across the bare wooden floors in our socks, admiring the art he collected and his eloquent way of speaking.
Most of my favorite recipes have been learned from people just like Mark. Although I haven’t been to the PNW or visited him for quite some time, the memories of his open heart, home, and kitchen bring a smile to my face in the dusty-hued months. I’m thankful to have learned this simple appetizer from someone who sparked my love for cooking + baking. This is one of the first food “shoots” I did, last year in my home after spending a full day at the McKinney Farmer’s Market and the Local Yocal where I discovered Texas Olive Ranch olive oil.