Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stumbling Goat Bistro

The highlight of this week was definitely Lee's 27th birthday party at the Stumbling Goat Bistro up here in our neighborhood, Greenwood. We had nearly all of our dear friends and family around us at one time--something that rarely happens in life. We drank and ate and laughed and had the most amazing time, and I'll never forget it. The food is mostly local and very tasty, I think Lee and I will go back soon and just have a little romantic dinner a deux. They've got a great wine list too, which I appreciate more and more as I get a little older and need better wine for less hangovers.

Speaking of great wine, I forgot to mention that we went to Beato in West Seattle for Sarah's 27th birthday the other week and had some of the best wine I've ever had. I felt great, like running a marathon or something, after having 3 plus glasses. Is this what really good wine does to people?? They had a nice cheese plate as well and I'd love to go back there as well. That evening I got to spend with my siblings, minus Christopher who is getting his Masters Degree in Education in Michigan-- and it was really special to me. Even though we all live in the same city, we are extremely busy and don't get to spend much quality time together. Sometimes living closer makes it more difficult to really spend time together because we see eachother in passing so much that we forget to enjoy eachother.

Also, hallelujah, I've found really good Italian food in Seattle. Or really good pasta is what I'm trying to say. My friend Carrie and I went to Tavolata this week and it was amazing. I had a buffalo mozzarella and proscuitto salad, both ingredients were so fresh and quality. They even make the mozzarella there. Then I had gnocchi, they have three (!!!) different kinds! I chose the freshly made potato gnocchi with asparagus and morels. Everything comes with the lightest mound of shaved parm on top and very simple ingredients. Not too saucy or overdone, just right. I want this to be my new place I go to every week, like my regular place, because it was so incredible.

I was officially on vacation as of 8pm last night and I'm loving it! We are going to take care of my nieces for a couple of days, then we are off to Michigan to see my Dad and family. I plan on relaxing on the hammock, picking berries, drinking wine, eating Chef Charles pizza, reading on the beach, golfing, having a bonfire, sea dooing and being with family. Yay!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Chorizo and Kale Lasagne

So hey there, the lasagne I made up turned out quite well so I told you I'd give you the recipe if it was tasty. I don't really do recipes, or exact numbers, which is why I'm not a baker. I like to be creative even when I'm supposed to follow the recipe card--a little more of this and a little less of that. I'll tell you how I made it and you can go from there.

I got a ton of fresh herbs from my garden and veggies from the farmers market, which makes everything better. Start by carmelizing some garlic, onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Deglaze the pot with red wine. Then add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and hearty herbs (I used thyme, oregano and chives). Add your browned chorizo and simmer for an hour or so. Add your delicate herbs (I used flat leaf parsley and basil) and season, cook for a few more minutes and turn off the stove. Then, saute a big batch of kale in olive oil and add a splash of vinegar and season. All you have to do now is assemble--a bit of sauce on the bottom so the noodles don't stick to the pan, then noodles, sauce, kale and cheese. Repeat. Bake covered at 350 for 1/2 hour, don't forget to take the foil off the top and cook for another 15 minutes or until it's bubbly. Pretty darn easy.

I'd like to thank our chef and friend, Katie, for coming over last night and forcing me to make pate instead of buying it. It's so much less expensive and incredibly easy to make when you use a food processor instead of trying to press it through a tami, which is how I made it in France and I swore I'd never make it again. Pate is like cheese, I can't stop eating it--it's so good.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Lot's O Naked People

Lee, Sarah, Kelly and I all met up at the Fremont Solstice Parade today and saw more than most of you see on an average Saturday. You see, us Seattle-ites really have to celebrate the first day of summer because we don't get much of it and we like to thank the 'sun' gods. We saw naked bikers, naked rollerbladers and just plain naked people marching down the parade.

We saw pirates and bellydancers and monkeys and things I can't explain, but I absolutely loved it all. I like people watching and I like to know there are people as strange or stranger than I am out there, so this was my kind of thing. I also chuckled at the people that looked like they were simply out with there mate for a lovely weekend bike ride when they happened to end up in the middle of the naked biking festival. One lady just opened her jacket and let her chest bare while her hubby rode next to her--I'm sure she feels very liberated right now. By the way, no need to thank me for these super sexy, completely free pictures that I took of what could very likely be your next door neighbor. Especially the the guy that's abiding by the law by wearing his helmet.

The fair section was so crowded that is was nearly impossible to get food or check out the vendors, although Lee managed to work his way into this great tent that had handmade hanging planters and carried it all the way home for me. Aww. Getting a coffee, a clean bathroom or anything we really needed wasn't going to happen in Fremont amongst the thousands of people so we headed over to Ballard and got the last seat at La Carta De Oaxaca. It's so difficult to get into this place, but we thought we'd give it a shot and it all worked out. They have wonderful sangria and traditional mexican dishes--I think the chile rejeno was my favorite today.

This week we went out to eat quite a bit mostly because we were out doing other things at night. We went to Blue C on kickball night, Purple when we went to see "Forgetting Sarah Marshall", Luau's when I went for girl's night out, and Lombardi's when we went to see "Get Smart". Can you tell summer is in full swing?? It's the movie going thing.

Today I'm making a chorizo and kale lasagne. I have these things in the fridge, I need to use them and they seem to go well together. If it's amazing, I'll post my 'on the fly' recipe. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pictures of the Week

A few pictures to tell you how my week has been going. My gardens flowery, English looking stepping stones. Lee and I with a fresh egg from our neighbor and good friends chickens. Our new knife magnet and 2 gorgeous new knives, courtesy of my Mom's Christmas gift certificate to Epicurian Edge. The beautiful Le Creuset teapot Lee gave me for our 1 year anniversary.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Evening With Anthony Bourdain

Being the foodies that we are, Lee and I get some unique offers and wind up in places I only dreamed we'd be someday. For instance, on Friday we were asked to cook for the after party for Anthony Bourdain at the Moore theatre. Now Anthony Bourdain is HUGE for me. I liked him..... really liked him if you know what I mean.... long ago before I ever knew any foodies or got involved with Lee and Culinary Communion. The fact that I eventually found out that he had gone to one of the Gypsy dinners for our little group, or that Lee had cooked for him before, was exciting enough for me. But now he was coming to town and not only did I get to meet him, but I got to cook for him and have him sign my books. Lee and I watched his lecture from the side of the theatre where it was dark and cozy and we could see Anthony up close. He talked about his travels and what he thought of the cuisine of the countries he had visited, much like his books speak of, and looked exactly like he does on TV. I'm sure he's a nice enough guy, but he seemed kink of aloof and jerky to me--I was very happy that the 'fantasy' of AB is nothing compared to the reality of canoodling with my honey while watching the show. Being cold and tough works much better for TV than reality for Mr. Bourdain. I do think getting married and having a baby has softened him though, and I didn't even see him smoking a cigarette once.

We served head cheese corndogs, bone marrow on toast, duck fat popcorn, raw beef tataki and pig trotter spring rolls. Not for the faint of heart. My favorite thing was the orange and kalamata olive ice cream sandwiches. I still can't seem to enjoy pig trotters--they are so chewy and fatty, yuck. After all was said and done, we had the 'Farwell to Gypsy' party at CC where I saw more local chefs and had a lime and anchovy jello shot, gross again. I was exhausted and when we got home around 1:30am I passed out and slept like a baby. Then we went to the Ballard Farmers Market the next morning for some street grub. Speaking of which, they have a new Mexican stand that has the best tamales I've ever eaten, at least the jalepeno and cheese one was!

Last night we had our Master's Class Dinner at CC. I chose something simple, but something I love, which your not really supposed to do for this event considering your supposed to showcase your culinary talent. I already know I'm talented and I'd never made cheese fondue before so that's what I made! Secretly, I think people may have been put off by my choice, but I wanted to make something good that I've never made before and Lee got me this gorgeous fondue pot that I wanted to try out. Well, after buying all these wonderful ingredients and following the directions to the 'T', my gruyere fondue failed miserably. It seized, or coagulated, or whatever you want to call it when your cheese ends up as a hard ball on the bottom of the pot. It tasted good, but it certainly wasn't fondue and I threw away the brick of cheese that finally loosened from the bottom of the pot this afternoon. Maybe I should have made something really fancy that took me 3 days, but I wanted fondue-what can I say? Now I'm going to be obsessed with making it correctly and won't stop until I get it right.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oh, the annoying cold....again.

Yes, I seem to be sick a lot. Nothing is wrong with me. No need to be worried. I have come to the conclusion that it is a lack of sleep, since I need more than most people, combined with an over-scheduling of social functions. It's fun, fun, fun, then I hit a wall and I've got three more things planned for the day. I'll be fine though and I've taken a couple of resting days after the weekend to get back to normal, plus TheraFlu at night works wonders. It's still a bit slow at work, so they aren't too upset with me if I go home early. See, sometimes it's good when summer doesn't hit Seattle 'til July--well, it's good when you do pedicures and your not feeling so well.

We had another excellent weekend with BBQ's, Celia's 6th birthday party and a concert I'll never forget. Lee has the job of being a 'monster' most of the time Celia and Cypress see him, but it was extra hilarious seeing 7 girls freak out and lose it when he chased them down. I hear they built a monster trap for him after we left and Kimberly found it in the yard. hehe.

I went to a new gyro place the other day and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It's 2 blocks away and it's called 'King Falafel', I had the chicken schwarma and it was so incredible. So I run home and tell Lee that it's even better than 'Mr. Gyros', our old standby. He doesn't believe me. So a week goes by and we get 'King Falafel' so I can prove my newfound love for chicken schwarma to him, and it's not good at all! I mean it's okay, but not like it was the first time. This happens to me all too often. I go somewhere new and it's awesome, I go back and it's terrible, only when I go back the second time I always take someone with me to show them how amazing the food is, then end up feeling like a shmuck that doesn't know what she's talking about. This is why McDonald's is running the world--consistency. You know you are going to get the same fries every time, and they are good without fail. I guess we are headed back to Mr. Gyros for the summer.