Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cooking up a storm

I'm a very lucky just gets better and better these days. Winter in Seattle has been unusually warm this year, so I got an early start on the garden. Now, let's just see if it grows (which seems to be my challenge). We are traveling nearly every weekend in April--to Disneyland with the family, a wine weekend in Walla Walla, a girls scrapbooking trip to Leavenworth and recently I got back from both Denver and Calgary. I've been working more than usual and I signed up for a 10 week boot camp to get in shape before summer. Or whatever 'shape' means to me. I took an amazing veggie gardening class from Tilth and I am convinced I can color my own hair after attempting a new coat of blue today. Of course, Lee has to help me with this, but he's actually getting good at it. Scary. That sums some of it up. And here are some of the tasty treats I've been concocting.

Shrimp and Tofu Panang Curry, 5 Star, with broccoli. SO much better when you make thai food yourself.
Happy St. Pat's Day to us! Best Guinness Irish Beef Stew and Soda Bread I've ever had, and I made it all from scratch. Kind of impressed myself on this one. I'm trying to live up to my Irish name!
We bought a semi-professional ice cream maker and had a winter ice cream social. I have to say, my salted caramel was a hit. We also had strawberry, vanilla bean, chocolate, pear and rocky road.
Lettuce this year has been awful, but one week this year (one sad little week) the lettuce looked good enough to buy and make a salad. You'll be happy to know the farmer's market started having salad greens this week and I got myself a bag this morning. Thank God!
Baked Chicken with lot of roasted garlic, baby red potatoes and mushrooms.
Chicken enchiladas with homemade guacamole and broccoli.
Always wanted to make Celeriac Salad after having it nearly every day in Provence, France and it was just as good as I remember it. We had it with fried chicken, and it was a nice, crispy and light side.
And finally, spaghetti and Meatballs! These were fabulous, simmered for hours too. The best I've ever done when it comes to adding meatballs. I froze some, as I typically do with my tomato sauces for future quick dinners, and I think I'll make spinach manicotti this week with the leftovers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting Lost Quickly

The final season of Lost will end on May 23rd after six seasons on the air.  If you've been a fan of the show since the beginning, this final season is leaving you with anxious anticipation, teasing you with revelations that may once and for all reveal the mysteries of the island.  If you're instead like me, you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about.  I decided that I didn't want to miss out on what could potentially be definitive scifi cultural moment, so I decided to watch the entire series and catch up in time to watch the final episode with my friends.
Because Lost is known for having a very intricate, detailed, and at time convoluted plot I kept notes to make sure I wouldn't forget details, plot points, and my own questions as the story unfolded.  Very stream of conciousness. Because it think it's interesting I've posted my notes for season 1 after the jump.  Obligatory spoiler warnings here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Much better than crabby patties.

I'm not sure if dungeness crab is always this inexpensive, but for some reason I don't remember it being $6 a pound last year or the year before or the year before. I've asked a few butchers why it's so cheap and no one can explain, so we are in crab heaven. It ends up being about $10 per crab, which isn't particularly inexpensive, but it beats going out to a restaurant for crab any day. And it's cooked and cleaned and ready to be taken home and cracked. Typically I make homemade thousand island dressing and lemon butter for it and we just eat it like a crab cocktail, but we had got so much meat out of these two crabs that I decided to make crab melts. This was the best idea ever, they were amazing. We had crab melts and crab salad with avacado. I was in so much crab heaven that Lee got annoyed with the sounds I was making while eating it, but really, it was soooo good.

There is a new food writer in town, he's replaced Jonathan Kauffman at Seattle Weekly. His name is Jason Sheehan and I've been following the Voracious food blog (aka Seattle Weekly's food blog) since he started his job a little over a week ago. I wasn't sure I liked him at first since he's a meat and potatoes guy from Denver that didn't seem to know much about the Pacific Northwest food scene, but he's really grown on me and now I comment all the time on his posts. I really like that he writes every single day (yay!) and that he has a no nonsense attitude about food. He has sort of an edge and he doesn't say he likes something just because it's local and organic. He also seems to be obsessed with Grant Achatz of Alinea, which Lee and I are too (we went there on our honeymoon.) I put his Voracious blog on the sidebar of this blog if you want to check him out.

Here's a yummy breakfast sandwich I made with farm fresh eggs. I'm on a quest to find the best bacon in Seattle, so this one is made with Hemplers. I say no to that one.

This is a risotto I made with wild mushrooms, asparagus and chicken. I used the mushroom glace that Lee and I bought at a specialty spice store when we were in Chicago for our honeymoon. It was excellent, but too filling, so I had to bring it to work.

Monday, January 25, 2010

When all else fails, I cook.

I'm sure you know me enough by now to know that my biggest hobby is cooking. This is something creative that Lee and I share, and although we like being in our kitchen together, I definitely end up there more often. Especially if I'm stressed out or need some down time. Want to know what makes me feel better? Or, I guess you could say, want to know what I'm doing when I'm not feeling so great? I'm cooking. That always cheers me up. Not baking, by the way, although this week I did break down late one evening and make cupcakes. From a box, because that's the only way I bake. And there were fake confetti sprinkles in the frosting, with ingredients I co
uldn't pronounce. That's not my style, but frosting something sounded like a great thing to look forward to the next morning, and then I brought them to work and left a couple at home for Lee. I prefer the salty over the sweet, but I do like a good buttercream frosting once in a while.

So, I'm working on a couple of cookbooks. One of them is 'The Complete Book of Greek Orthodox Cooking: The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Gre
ek Orthodox Cathedral'. Long name, I know. Last night I made Eggplant Tomato Sauce, or Saltsa me Melitzana. It was a recipe that reminded me of a dish I ate nearly every day when I lived in Montana and my friend worked at a Turkish restaurant. I also worked there and learned every recipe, so this one is really more turkish to me, but I absolutely love it in any case. And it turned out just as I remembered it. It's so richly tomato-ey and the eggplant has the silkiest texture. I put it over polenta, but I remember eating it with garlic yogurt in Montana. It real
ly was good. I'm impressed I could remember how I made it, but I did need this recipe for a base.

Tonight I made a recipe from 'Lidia's Italy' by Lidia Bastianich. I chose her version of polenta that uses evoo and chicken stock, which is different from my norm and I liked it better. Typically I use milk, but this was nice. I made Beans and Sausages with Polenta, or Polenta E Fasoi. Fabulous! It's sauce is rich with tomatoes, bacon, onions and cannellini beans, then the sweet italian sausages are braised in it for quite a while. I served it over the polenta with a side of broccoli rabe sauteed in shallots and lemon. I don't think you can go wrong with either of these books, they are very authentic and simple, plus I love Greek and Italian foods.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Winter Photo Update

Here are a few of the things we did this winter, since spring seems to be well on it's way.

We got married! November 14th, 2009. And we love each other more and more every day, really.

Lee played video games while Celia wore my snuggie and played her Gameboy and Cypress sucked her thumb, I just like this picture I guess. :)

Our friends and family volunteered at Christmastime to stuff stockings for children all over the Seattle area. It was started by Coast Guard wives and has become a huge help to families in need and a tradition for us.

Cypress and I made a leaning gingerbread house.

New Year's Eve was Chinese Food and yet another game night with friends.

Had to have one food picture! This is an app plate we made up just one evening. Apples, cheese, almonds, prosciutto, gruyere pinwheels and spanish flatbread.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Allow Myself to Introduce Myself....

So here's the new-ish blog. Now that Kelley and I are married, we no longer have to spend every waking moment planning the wedding and we find ourselves with a ton of free time, so we decided to start blogging together so that people would only have to go to one place to find out what we're up to. It'll be nice to write more frequently, it's something I fell out of the habit of doing and I've missed it. Seeing as how I'm the nerdy side of the equation expect all kinds of geeky musings in the months to come. Until then Belated Happy New Year everyone!

Happy New Decade Everyone!

Just writing 'new decade' makes me feel old. I can be somewhat nostalgic about the '80's, since it's long enough gone to love the music and hate the fashion trends. And I can let go of the '90's, all full of the fear of having sex because of AIDS and douchebags and the Backstreet Boys-- we seem fairly far away from that decade. But to get past the fact that we are now past the 2000's (if that's what you call it), is very weird to me. I'm sure in another 10 years I'll figure out what that decade was about, but right now, I just feel old. Maybe because the 00's (I'm going to use my own word for this decade and call it the 'oh oh's'), were a full decade of me being an adult. There was no teenager or even young adult in the oh oh's for me, which means I've been getting old almost as long as I've been young and soon the tables will fully turn and I'll be just older all together. By the way, I don't REALLY feel old, I just don't like the idea of a new decade yet, so I'm adjusting. And the fact that my grandkids will think I'm ancient because I was born in the 1900's freaks me out a little. Or maybe they will think I'm wise. I'd like that better.

Here's a video of Lee and I. Not just dating, but married!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We are still here!

I disappeared for a while. This blogging is even more difficult to find time for when you are planning a wedding. I've been working 5-6 days a week, plus we are usually working on wedding stuff in the off time. This week I have my first dress fitting and a meeting with our florist. We also are sending off the invitations, finding a reading for Susan and hopefully finalizing the list for the DJ. Honestly, I don't think this will all get done this week, but we will try. If I didn't work until 8:30pm, more would get done--still, I really like my work schedule right now and I absolutely love my new job at Spa Scotta. I am starting my new, fewer hours this week, it's a good thing I am.

I like work, I love life, I adore my soon to be hubby and I've got this amazing family and group of friends to spend time with. There's so much to do in so little time and I want to do it all. I'm so blessed and so lucky! Still I am realizing I need to take more time to be still and just relax and I'm starting to see the effects of being busy ALL THE TIME. So even when I'm over the top busy, I'm approaching it a bit calmer. And I really will try hard to let go of some things, especially after our wedding. We just hired a gardener and that helps, what a relief! Can't wait to get back to walking as well, that always gives me peace of mind. It will be good to have our free time back to do what we used to do, even though this wedding planning has it's own sweet moments.

Here's some of the things we've been up to:

All my girls jumping on Lee at our End of Summer BBQ.

Fresh grilled corn, tomato and avacado salad.
Our wedding invite address party--we watched 'Bride Wars' and 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'. Hehe.
I picked at least 5 pounds of italian plums from our tree. Blanched them, peeled them, pitted them and made the best plum crumble ever!
Little apps we brought to April's house with dill chicken salad, tomatoes and gruyere.
The only thing we got from our garden this year--these two tomatoes. I'll still try again next year, it can only go up from here.
Me and a couple of co-workers at Tamara's wedding.
Caprese salad with local cheese curds and arugula.
Lee's homemade gazpacho with sour cream and avacado beads. Along with a sourdough panini filled with honey mustard, sharp white cheddar and granny smith apples. I loved dinner this evening.
Spa Scotta annual float trip in Leavenworth.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seattle has got some of that global warming

It's been warm here, for way too long. I'm not really complaining, but I also don't live here because I am a sun worshiper. I live here because I am a rain worshiper and currently we are way over the normal limit of sun that Seattle can handle in one summer. My veggie and herb garden started out the year with vigor, drinking in the sun and heat and growing by leaps and bounds. Now it's stunted, dried out (despite the fact that I water it every day) and seems to have stopped all forming life. I got out of it what I could when I could do it, now I just wait and watch it, hoping the tomatoes will turn red someday. Due to all this weather, we've been out nearly every night for a few months now so there are lot's of pictures to show you. My goal is to stay in as much as I can the next few months, or until our wedding. I need a rest. Still, I cherish all the great memories we've been making with eachother and with friends and family. Here's just a few......Lee staking our place at the Fremont Solstice Parade.
Cypress at her first dance recital.
Gabe showing me his porcine palace on the 4th of July.

The extremely large quantity of trail mix I've concocted for my road trip to Wyoming with Kimberly and the girls. I'm gonna need some help eating this.
West Seattle Street Fair.
Gabe and Katie getting ready to sell Swinery T-Shirts at the Gay Pride Parade.
Sarah came over for dinner and some wine, of course.
Lee and I at the Burning Beast in Arlington, WA.
Nice little after dinner romantic walk one warm summer evening at Golden Gardens.
Breakfast at Senor Moose with Lee's parents--always a good time.
Lot's of raw food at Anchovies and Olives.
Sarah's birthday at Harvest Vine, a favorite restaurant of Lee and I.
Katie and I eating vegetarian for the evening at Carmelita, near our house.