Tag Archives: Yuta

Baking and Love – One and the Same?

4 Sep

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.

Pies, pies, and more pies

28 Aug

It seems that I can always find a reason to make a pie for someone.   For example, two weeks ago I was catering a rehearsal dinner for a young man and his bride-to-be.  As I spoke to his Mom I found out that her son’s favorite pie is Lemon Meringue… and so of course I just “had” to make this pie for him.  It was my way of wishing him well as he steps into the next phase of his life.

Lemon Meringue Pie

And as you may recall, my husband and I are currently hosting two Japanese exchange students, Saya and Hitomi, through a program at Southern Oregon University.  What has been most interesting is that we have found ourselves trying to see the Rogue Valley through their eyes and are acting like tourists in our own town.

Last week, we took Saya and Hitomi to the Josephine County Fair – and they were treated to the sights and sounds of Monster trucks.  This is not something that we would have ordinarily sought out, but the girls really seemed to enjoy it – and that made it all the more fun.

Hitomi and Saya at the fair

We also spent two days up at Lake of the Woods and that was really quite fun.  We visited our friend Dean (who is also hosting two students – Yuta and Hiroaki) at his family’s cabin and he took all of the kids “tubing.”  They had a blast and we were so grateful for the chance to experience the beauty and majesty of the lake.  As part of our contribution to the weekend’s festivities, I made a Blueberry Peach Cobbler for us all to share.

Prepping the Blueberry Peach Cobbler

Which brings us to this last weekend – which was our last weekend with Saya and Hitomi.  I really wanted to take them to the beach because to me one of the best parts of Oregon is the coast.  Fortunately, our friends Mark and Connie live in Gold Beach and they were more than happy to have us come for a visit.   And to thank them for their generosity we brought along the makings of a lovely dinner, some good wine, and, you guessed it, a pie:  Blueberry Peach!  Who knew that last Friday was Peach Pie Day?

Saya, Connie, Mark, and Hitomi

Not only were we blessed with gorgeous weather and good company – but we were lucky to have a chance to shop at one of the biggest “rummage sales” I’ve ever seen (which benefitted Coastal Home Health Hospice of Curry County). There was more than 15,000 square feet of merchandise to choose from and the sale was held at the Hospice Market Place on Wedderburn Loop on the north bank of the Rogue River.   What a great weekend!

Before signing off, I would like to mention that I made one additional pie this past week.  It was made for a young person I’ve never met who late one night thought that they didn’t have any options.  Fortunately, someone came to their rescue and this young person has been given a second chance at life.  Upon hearing this story, I was very grateful for second chances… and had to send a gift to let that person know that there is someone out there who doesn’t even know them… but truly cares about them.  And I believe that we all deserve second chances… and that we all are loved.  It’s that simple… and that amazing.