31 December 2008

this is.

longest night of the year. , originally uploaded by vofvendredi.

one evening, late
on the longest night of the year
while the white 'scape
turned whiter.

roasted pumpkin, whole
filled with cheese
and wine
and bread.

rustic in it's simplicity
and charred orange skin
atop a well-worn baking sheet
and less ancient textiles from Japan.

30 December 2008

for today a song.

Keri Smith is perpetually and unwaveringly inspiring. If ever lost in a stagnant state of inability--intellectually and otherwise--there is nothing more reassuring than her always comforting words and findings. 

A song a day, a photo a day, a film a day, a quote a day, an illustration a day or something said. This doesn't seem like such an impossibility but in its simple demand is challenging. I hope we can't help but try. 

For today, a song. 

28 December 2008

catching up

A few mornings and one afternoon beginning on Christmas. Honoring the impending absence of one fellow photographer and one who perhaps shares my sentiment that this morning ritual is meditative--energizing and inspiring thoughts of the day ahead--where possibility opens endlessly past the early {usually} hour. Here are a few of my meditative beginnings. 

More of my mornings here

19 December 2008

come in.

, originally uploaded by vofvendredi.

welcome to a place neglected
even with hours of school-free time and overflowing
but as yet unmaterialized

05 November 2008

was election day.
so I wrote in blue to bolster my hopes for one Barack Obama.

the air felt like approaching holidays,
like Thanksgiving and warm foods and such.

it was a new day after a night of uncomfortable dreaming.

i drove to Macrina before breakfast and picked up whole wheat cider bread, rustic potato bread and a turkey-shaped brown sugar cookie decorated with orange and brown frosting from a girl in opaque yellow tights. the warm bakery was abuzz with excitement not only at the soon-to-be-eaten pastry but for the soon-to-be-decided election.

i only wanted to revel in the November chill and light.

i hoped our country would move in the right direction.

i hoped Americans would make the right decision.

i hoped.
and we did. 

02 October 2008

Thursday Breakfast

Squash harvest bread from Macrina Bakery via Stumptown. Pears of autumn. In the gray of early morning as the first October rains gently tease the misty morning air. And I peruse the Style section of a paper 2,412 miles away. 

Back to School

There is something about filling in the as yet blank pages of a red, Moleskine planner at the onset of autumn quarter, in the dark of the night... 

22 September 2008


Moving... back to Seattle, back to friends and away from family.

The drawings of Miroslav Sasek always provide the happy image for events that may be in need of some whimsy.

And whimsy is often needed.

18 September 2008

last minute relaxation

ahh... on the porch, originally uploaded by vofvendredi.

anticipating the return to Seattle and work and city, taking a few moments to revisit the times when taking out colored pencils during class was a certainty. The smell marked an immediate lightening of the soul. Warm and encompassing and refreshing, the feeling of them in a bouquet in my palm, fingers clutching tightly and barley able to reach around the whole bunch. And the sound of their smooth, curved shiny wood, gliding against the others...

10 September 2008


truly. madly. deeply. HONestly.

facebook really? well... yeah.

This is quite like a pop-up book.
All links are like pop-up books.
Electronic ones, linking to other pages
of a global storybook on humanity.

03 September 2008

Upon Return...

And now for some lightness; some autumn lust to add luster to the fading summer glow. I allow the thought to enter my mind, creeping as it will around the edges of my waking consciousness, nagging me, "what if? what if?" Dare I?

I've never owned any Valentino, yet a certain black dress by the same name first caught my eye at, oh, perhaps ten or twelve at the oldest. Perusing a Vogue, about this time of year, I still remember the moment of clairity when my fingers flipped the first few pages and my eyes zeroed in upon the shadowy girl swathed in black satin with a big bow near her neck. It was then that I realized the fantasy of film could be found in the physicality of fashion. My short list of idols at the time -- Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Hayley Mills -- all from another era far more glamorous than the 1990s, would have worn such a dress for their romantic escapades and windswept adventures, their figure admired by, say, a Cary Grant or perhaps some unknown actor, young and tan and glowing. But always at once accessible and untouchable. Untouchable because, if still living, they no longer touched the world with the same cinematic flourish; accessible because I was young and had yet to experience things as one of the world, not only in the world. They occupied my dreams and future projections of what the world most certainly must be like, of course, filled with opportunity fueled by fashion worthy of Hitchcock.

24 July 2008

show some love.

What were you doing at twelve? I was putting on shows out of my basement, writing stories, watching films, reading... But I definitely wasn’t doing this!

I stumbled across this blog yesterday via a post from NY Mag's blog. Before I say anything -- this love is TWELVE!!! -- check her out... then give her some love, for it seems a certain blog post from a certain magazine (that I certainly find entertaining... most of the time) discouraged her.

Too bad, because she has effectively acknowledged her age and gone with it, seemingly not trying to be an older or younger version of herself... she's having fun with her twelve-year-old identity! Plus, she is ridiculously hilarious. We should all have fun with our ___-year-old identities.

So I revisit past conversations about not giving intellectual and/or creative credit to the younger set... She already has an amazing voice.

All photos from the blog Style Rookie.

22 July 2008


Ok, if I had a bakery, it would most definitely have its own jingle... just like Bakesale Betty does, in Oakland, California.

Only mine would include a mandolin. Why haven't more people jumped onto the jingle bandwagon??


Crafting a life, a world is a wonderful and exciting affair... Blogs are like looking through the keyhole into a persons inner brain, inner life, inner artist, inner manic... So when the chance arises to not only spy through the keyhole, but actually step through the door, I often feel like Alice in her Wonderland as opposed to Harriet the Spy (although each are equally adored).

This new blog cracks me entirely up--it's a home tour blog of various artists lairs (for the main course) followed by a charming and hilarious exchange between photographer Todd Selby and his chosen creative charmers.

First photo, me.
Logo and last two photos from Todd Selby.
Via Joanna Goddard.

11 July 2008

It hurts me...

This is the image that started it all.
Before I became fascinated and completely captured by the artistry and anguish of La Nouvelle Vague, I stumbled upon this picture of the lovely Jean Seberg. Such a sad life for such a beautiful and arresting visage... though it seems that is often the way of it.
And then came a long overdue viewing of "A Bout de Souffle," or "Breathless," whereupon Seberg -- safely stored and temporarily forgotten within the far reaches of my mind -- charmed me once again (American accented French aside).

There is a gritty charm indeed, buried beneath an exterior sweetness of color and smiles and structured innocence... An anomaly still jaunting around the world today.

Images via

Film of Summer, of Love, of Death...

"In life, in order to understand, to really understand the world, you must die at least once. So it's better to die young, when there's still time left to recover and live again."

From "The Garden of the Finzi-Contini's," actor Romolo Valli as said to his son, speaking of Love, lost. The best summation of the most tragic state of being that I've come across in a long while.

Beautifully tragic film...

The filmy visual quality is mesmerizing, as is the "dream world" in which the Finzi-Contini's delicately dwell. It makes me want to move to a small Italian village, play tennis and ride (now) vintage bicycles through shaded lanes...

But the undertone of sorrow never ducks into hibernation. Death is worn on the edge of everyone's sleeve; the lover's death and the untimely death bred by human hatred.

I don't doubt that the book would disappoint...

Images thanks to:

03 July 2008

Impossible Reincarnation

If only I could capture the smell of cinnamon rolls rising, the soft yellow brioche dough expanding and exuding that warmness that adds delicacy to this otherwise heavy, humid afternoon. Sight is the closest I can come... aside from providing the steps that will allow you to fill your own address with such aroma. Luckily, I can do both.

And these cinnamon rolls have done something for me, as well. They’ve provided a temporary bane for my distressed summer soul – lethargy, unstructured days and unimaginative future prospects will force dss upon many people. Lets revolt by way of the senses... sight, taste and smell, that is.

Inspiration often arises from heart wrenching loss, when one’s mind is violently forced to reorient itself around some new vacancy. There are degrees of such violence, of course: travel, moving, death of friend or family... Here, however, I refrain from comparing the loss of a bakery to the death of a loved one; I find such comparison slightly depressing for a number of reasons. However, concerning what they say about taste, sense memory and the like, the psychological implications could be comparable... though still enough to incite a worthy cringe at lamenting the disappearance of a baked good. (The loss of this particular bakery, however, incites another, loss-of-independent-business tinged dialogue altogether...)

So, I must insert here that this recipe is an attempt at recreating the perhaps un re- creatable. Unfortunately -- or perhaps fortunately –- we can’t bring the dead back to life. Even when it comes to life given at the hand of a human – a baker more specifically. So when Bower’s Bakery closed for good last Spring (ah! Spring is now last spring!), and I took the final bite of the cinnamon rolls so coveted for reasons I will let your own mind put into words...

... I decided that my taste buds would not settle for any concept of finality a propos cinnamon roll. Behold, attempt number one.

The results? Well, I would call these more cinnamon sugar brioche rolls than the classics-by-a-shorter-name I had envisioned. But while even I don’t want to be caught with ten cinnamon rolls waiting impatiently in the refrigerator, suffocating in plastic wrap as the mornings slowly open -- one by one -- to breakfast, these lighter versions don’t seem as fatigue-inducing as the full bodied originals. In fact, I don’t even know why I am comparing them, for the brioche version has its own personality altogether.

Cinnamon Sugar Brioche Rolls
Adapted from "Baking With Julia” by Dorie Greenspan

I cut the butter way down in this version. The brioche is as found in the original recipe, though the original roll recipe was for pecan sticky buns. I practically omitted the extra butter and step of rolling the dough and refolding it to create more layers, as one would do for croissants. The result was, as I said before, much more light and airy than had I used the four sticks of butter called for. If done again, I would add way more filling, using Saigon cinnamon rather than the generic brand. Also, you could easily add any glaze or topping to your own craving... I was just in a minimalist mood.

For the Brioche:

To make the sponge you will need:

1/3 cup whole milk, warmed to about 100° F
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the milk, yeast, egg and 1 cup of the flour. Mix with a spatula until blended. Dust the remaining cup of flour over the mixture. Set aside to rest for about 30 to 40 minutes. The flour coating the sponge should crack after this time.

To make the dough you will need:

1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fine quality sea salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (6 oz) plus 3 to 4 tablespoons, melted

To the sponge, add the sugar, salt, eggs and one cup of the flour. Mix in a heavy-duty mixer on low speed with the dough hook attachment until just combined, about 1 or 2 minutes. Keep the mixer on low speed and slowly add ½ cup of flour. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat for about 15 minutes. Here, what you are looking for is a dough that comes together, globing around the dough hook and slapping the sides of the bowl. After about 10 minutes, if still no slapping has sounded and dough is not sticking to the hook, add 2 to 3 additional tablespoons of flour. It is important for the dough to stay in the mixer for the full 15 minutes... the final texture of the brioche depends upon it.

***The mixer becomes quite hot after this amount of beating, so it will need to cool after finishing the dough. I also had trouble detaching the bowl from the stand of the mixer after such heavy beating... be forewarned.

To incorporate the butter into the dough, it must be of the same consistency; that is, smooth, creamy and cool, not at all oily. With a medium sized piece of parchment or wax paper, smear the butter with your hands or a spatula until it reaches the desired consistency. Add the butter to the dough, bit by bit, with the mixer on medium-low. The dough may fall apart while adding the butter. This is normal. After all the butter has been added, reduce the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough comes back together and slaps the sides of the bowl once again, about 5 minutes. If the dough refuses to come together after 2 or 3 minutes, add an additional tablespoon of flour. The dough should be soft, sticky and cool, clinging to the dough hook and sides of the bowl.

Butter a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 3 hours.

Collapse the dough by lifting its sides away from the bowl. Cover the bowl again and place in the refrigerator overnight or for 4 to 6 hours, letting the dough double in size once again.

Divide the dough in half, returning unused half to the refrigerator while working with the first half. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a long rectangle, roughly 11 inches wide, 13 inches long and ¼ inch thick.

Melt the 3 or 4 tablespoons butter and brush half of the butter over the dough. Sprinkle the filling (see recipe below) very generously over the butter, pressing it into the dough with the rolling pin. Roll the dough into a long log.

Wrap the log in plastic and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.

Repeat with the other half of dough.

When chilled, remove plastic wrap and using a serrated knife, cut each log into 7 equal parts. Butter two, 9-inch round cake pans and sprinkle with any leftover cinnamon sugar mixture. Place rolls into cake pans, one in the middle and a circle of six on the edge. Set aside to rise on last time, for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. They should touch each other after this final rise.

Preheat the oven to 350°F, placing the oven racks in the middle of the oven. Bake the rolls for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and immediately invert them onto a serving dish. If not removed from the pans quickly, they may become difficult to take out. Drizzle glaze (see recipe below) over hot rolls. Enjoy at room temperature or just warmed.

For the Filling:

3 tablespoons brown sugar, firmly packed
9 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 tablespoons Saigon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients.

For the Glaze:

3 or more tablespoons whole milk
1 cup powdered sugar
3 or more tablespoons Saigon cinnamon
1 or more tablespoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

01 July 2008


I’m leaving for India in four weeks, forcing my mind to re-orient itself in 30 days. Up until my departure, I will pepper my regular posts with India-related photos, writings, recipes or general inspiration. I call this an exercise in mind adjustment. (And probably a feeble one at that, as no amount of cooking or reading or photo perusing will do justice to the country itself).

The First:

Kat Heyes is an illustrator and photographer whose work is otherworldly and delicious. Among her many creative endeavors, she has in her portfolio a set of photographs of India.

(Along with Tess Carr, she has also created a guide for camping. I’m not one for camping, but wow... this version looks glorious. Happy camping indeed!)

27 June 2008

Life on a Cake Stand

I could be called fanatical, or obsessive, or fixated... But I prefer dedicated, passionate, devoted. Funny how the words mean roughly the same thing; it’s just that on one hand the glass is half empty, on the other it’s half full... but even that is disputable. I will say this: a cake stand half empty is more beautiful than when it is full.

Though the uncut cake may be pristine, untouched, a picture of elegance like children dressed in their white, lace finery, isn’t it much more provoking to see the layered and frosted and sometimes messy interior?

When the children, ashamed but mostly invigorated, race indoors, their lace now dappled with remnants of pirates, deep expeditions, fights to the death? Yes. I prefer the dirty newness of birth, of flowers emerging, struggling at first, into the cool spring air. Of vegetables pulled easily from dark soil dampened by humid July thunderstorms, of green and purple lettuce, speckled brown from freshly composted soil, of jazz riffs, scratchy and dirty, and of flour buttermilk sugar eggs strawberries vanilla and baking powder, split into four layers and daintily built up into a tall pristine tower, only to be sliced away in deftly executed movements, revealing craggy, melting tiers, taking their first breaths of air tinged with laughter and anticipation. So much more interesting.

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Layer Cake
Adapted from Sara Bir’s adaptation from “The Cake Bible” by Rose Levy Beranbaum; The Oregonian, 10 June 2008

I followed the cake recipe closely, and came out with a perfectly fluffy and flavorful base for the berries. Before committing to this particular recipe, I searched for others for comparison and further inspiration, but could find none that incorporated fresh berries into the cake batter itself. That said, and being overly zealous about the idea of pureed berried IN the batter, I added about twice as much berry purée than called for in the original. I’ve incorporated my adaptations in recipe below.

1 pound whole strawberries
8 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk, divided
3 ¾ cups unsifted cake flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After buttering the sides and bottom of two, round 9-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the bottoms and flour the sides and bottoms. Set aside.

Hull all strawberries. Thinly slice about 1 cup and set aside to use in the filling. Purée the remaining berries in a blender or food processor (or smash berries as you would for jam) until you have medium sized chunks. [Here, the original recipe says that you should have about 1 ¼ cups of purée, I had much more]. Take about half of the purée and set aside.

In a separate container, combine the egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/3 cup buttermilk. Set aside.

Combine cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir. Add the butter and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk and beat mixture until moist, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture in a slow stream with the mixer on low speed. Beat for 1 minute. Add half of the strawberry purée, beat for about 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the two pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes [mine took at least this long and the center was still a bit gooey].

Cool pans for about 10 minutes, then invert and transfer to cool completely on a wire rack. Be sure to remove the parchment paper after inverting the pans, or the layers may split.

Make the frosting immediately before assembling the cake (recipe follows).

Make the filling: Place about 3 cups of the frosting into a medium bowl. Stir in the 1 cup sliced strawberries, remaining half strawberry purée, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside.

Assemble the cake: Split cake layers so that you have four thin layers. Beginning with one layer cut side up on a cake stand, thickly spread about 1/3 of the filling. Repeat with the following 2 layers. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake with a spatula or knife, in long, swirling strokes.

Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Whipped Cream Frosting
From “Caprial’s Desserts” by Caprial Pence and Melissa Carey

For the frosting, I used Caprial Pence’s Whipped Cream Frosting. I highly recommend it. It makes the cake tastes like strawberry shortcake in a more decadent form. I had about 1 ½ cups leftover frosting, which you can store in the refrigerator for a few days, using it for a simple dessert (or breakfast) by stirring in any sort of sweetly ripe berry or granola or both... or just pile it on the cake and toy with gravity.

5 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cream of tarter

Pour the whipping cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Beat on high speed until the cream thickens. Add the sugar, vanilla and cream of tarter. Beat until the cream holds a stiff peak. Use immediately.

26 June 2008

When Paths Cross...

Where is she and how can fall into such a “right place at the right time” trajectory? Two great photographers, two great design-minded eyes, two lucky girls. It’s fun to see how these two photographers captured the same girl... and amazing that their paths crossed on the same day.

Taken by Garance Doré

Taken by The Sartorialist

Taken by Garance Doré

Taken by The Sartorialist

23 June 2008

The Other Jones

A famous line if there ever was one, taken from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:

“Not that Jones, the other Jones!”

Exactly. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is “not those films but this film” (thanks to a certain theatre attendant for pointing it out so simply).

After hearing so much negative word of mouth, it was becoming hard to keep my mind above the din of heavy critique. I hoped the new film wouldn’t be like the old ones; what a sad attempt of a sequel that would be. Instead, the film portrayed age, youth, death and the appropriate era (the 50’s in all of its paranoid and kitschy exuberance), without losing the ruddy quality that pervades the Indiana Jones image. It was thankfully appropriate. And just when I felt the “oh no, here they go” welling up, ready to explode in a silent theatre-appropriate sigh; as Indy’s hat came dangerously close to functioning as the proverbial passing-of-the-torch to his son, the opposite happened...

No, there will never be another Indiana Jones, just as there will never be another Harrison Ford.

Images from http://www.theraider.net/
This blog is mostly an amalgamation of images culled from interweb wanderings, falling under categories inspiration and amusement. Please contact me if you would like your work removed from my site.