This last week was pretty busy around here. There were so many things I wanted to do with our Japanese exchange students, Saya and Hitomi, and it seems that our time together went by so very fast!
Last Tuesday I gave them a couple of baking lessons – the first to make pecan shortbread cookies – and the next was to bake a chocolate cake for one of their classmates. They really seemed to enjoy the process and were delighted to present Yuta with his birthday cake!
Saya holding pastry bag as Hitomi adds more whipped cream
Putting the finishing touches on the cake
A very happy Yuta – on his 20th Birthday!
We also were able to squeeze in a trip to Grant’s Pass to visit Cary’s of Oregon (they make the best english toffee ever!) And on our last night with our girls, we took them and a few friends out to dinner. It was a great evening.
The next morning, as we helped the girls prepare for their trip to San Francisco, and then home to Tokyo, they presented us with a photo book that they had stayed up to the wee hours of the morning making. It is so amazingly thoughtful – and filled with pictures of all the things we’d done together. At the very end of the book they’d pasted hand-printed thank you letters to us; as you might imagine, we were both in tears. We feel so very fortunate that we were asked to host these girls. It’s been such a wonderful experience.
Our lovely photo book from Saya and Hitomi
Lest you thought I forgot, I did find time to make a few pies this week. The first was for my friend Ken who was celebrating his birthday Friday evening. His favorite pie? Blackberry. Knowing this, earlier in the week I found a blackberry patch and picked a large bowlful of berries – and escaped with only a few scratches! Once the pie was constructed and in the oven, I made one of my favorite appetizers for Ken’s party – Spanakopita! It was one of the first things I learned to make at the Culinary Institute of America (taught by Chef Vitoulis). A delicious treat that is really quite simple to make. Here is a recipe I found that is very similar to the way I learned to prepare it. It’s definitely worth the time and effort!
Spanakopita and Blackberry Pie
The second pie I made was for our good friend Anny who recently completed her studies at Seattle Culinary Academy , a branch of Seattle Central Community College. Anny earned perfect scores on her final baking projects – one of only a handful of people who have done so in the last ten years! We are so very proud of her accomplishment and are very excited about her upcoming paid internship in Paris. Way to go Anny!
Prep for Anny’s Pie
As for today – I plan to spend a quiet day at home – and will likely bake something yummy to give away – and I’ll be thinking of my sister Nancy on her 18th anniversary in heaven.