Monday, September 29, 2008

Breakfast slider

We hosted a wedding shower for Meghan yesterday and had a few leftovers so I decided to play like it was the day after Thanksgiving today. Yesterday we had goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in proscuitto, roasted chicken, fennel and apple salad with gorgonzola, tomato pie, freshly baked rolls and russian cream with berries. I took those great little rolls and made myself the best breakfast ever. A 2 1/2 inch slider with a fried egg (from A&J Meats on Queen Anne, they've got the freshest eggs around), Dutch goat cheese and soy sausage (Morningstar Farms sausage patties, they are spicy and good). Then I used the leftover chicken to make a chicken salad with walnuts and dried cherries to put on the rolls for lunch. Food is always better the day after. Well, some food.

We also took Celia and Cypress to the zoo last week and saw the most adorable gorillas. They are similar to humans in so many ways that when I see them, I feel like they feel even more trapped than the other animals and they must want to come home with me. I think in my own crazy head that I'd get in their cage, ask them over for dinner (perhaps some duck and eggplant curry?), and they'd say 'Of course we'll come over'. Then we'd have a great time watching a comedy and they'd snuggle down in our guest room for a good nights sleep. I know it's strange, but they seem so much like a near cousin to our species and they must have some of the same wants?

And in personal overall happiness news, I helped cook for my first Vagabond. There were about 5 of us cooking for Paulette's Vagabond dinner, and 36 guests, including Lee and other friends. I was on a high and after 12 hours of cooking and standing up, I felt like I could do it all over again. It really was everything I thought it would be and hopefully I get invited to cook for more Vagabond's in the future. I made the Irish Brown Bread which turned out to be wonderful, even though I was terrified because I'm not a baker. And I assisted making everything else. I really thought I could go on forever, until we sat down at the end of the night for family meal and I quickly faded and went home and passed out. You just can't sit down. Then it's all over.

By the way...17 days til Vegas. I'm counting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The week in pictures

I don't have much time to do a full blog this week--Lee and I are taking care of Celia and Cypress this weekend and I'm trying to spend time just with them. I suppose someday when I am a Mom, I'll relax about this kind of thing and do some things I want to do, but not when I only have my nieces for one weekend. It's all rainy and cold today, but I think we will still go to the zoo and look at the monkeys.

Here is a picture of the bounty from my first garden. I now have tomatoes, onions, jalepenos and corn from our Norweigan neighbors.

We went to the Fremont Oktoberfest on Friday night and had so much fun! I did Meghan's makeup and then we all went and sampled one too many beers. After that we went to Beth's Cafe and checked out the local 'wildlife' and had 6 egg omelets. Yum.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A week of cooking

I had some down time this week, mostly during the day, due to a future schedule change. So I took full advantage of it and helped out with a couple of cooking classes and did some at home as well. Katie is a CIA trained chef from South Carolina and I never say 'no' when she wants to come over and cook for us, so that's what we did on Monday. She made us BLT panzanella salad with shrimp and a lovely peach pie with caramel salt ice cream.

Then, I took the pie further, by taking a pie class at CC. I finally got over my fear of making pie crust, it's so easy. My favorites were the savory pies, as I'm much more a salt lover than a sweet lover. The tomato pie was incredible, as was the swiss chard pie.

Today I took Thai cooking class and it was definitely one of my top three classes so far. The flavors in Thai food are amazing, there just isn't anything like them. The best? Green curry with eggplant and duck.

Sarah also came over this last week and we had this salad I really liked. I made it with arugula, mangoes, chicken, goat cheese and avocado--with a balsamic dressing. I have to have cheese on my salads, I'd rather have cheese than dressing any day of the week. Then add a little fruit to that, you've got salty and sweet and the perfect combo.

Yes, we eat well around here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Omnivore's 100 List

There's this thing going around called the Omnivore's 100. It's a list of 100 foods that every omnivore should eat, and the more you have already eaten, the more praise you get from other foodies. I was reading the blog post about the 'scores' of others and I'm so very impressed with myself! Apparently I have really tried some new things in the past year or so. Only I, Kelley Elizabeth Ramee, could be proud of eating head cheese. Or other crazy people like me might think highly of themselves for these sorts of things. The one's that are in italics and larger sized are the foods I haven't tried......yet.

81/100 My Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted Cream Tea

38. Vodka Jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects

43. Phaal

44. Goat's milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth $120 or more

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. Mcdonald's Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine (you all know I've had this!!!)

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. kaolin

64. Currywurst

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings or andouillette

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost or brunost

75. Roadkill

76. Baijiu

77.Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang Souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom Yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. 3 Michelin Star Tasting Menu [Will be doing this very soon, at Joel Robuchon in Vegas!!)

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gardening With Kelley

I dread gardening. I'm trying really hard to like it and look forward to it, but there are so many other things to do at this time in life. Lee and I are active and young and we are almost always busy with exciting new things to do, so working in the garden is the last thing on our list. We contemplated hiring a gardener, but I figured with a little work we could do the weeding and the removal of the grass ourselves. I've been saying this since we bought the house and we did choose a home with the most minimal outdoor upkeep we could find, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Still, I'd rather read a book, take a walk, watch a movie, write or have our friends over for dinner than pull weeds. You'd think with a grandmother, mother and Lee's mom being excellent gardeners, I'd catch some of the gardening fever, but I guess not. Although I can see me doing more of it as I get older and my social life isn't going strong 7 days a week.

This morning, yes, Sunday morning, Lee and I woke up at 6:30 and did some weeding and yardwork. I was sweating up a storm by 7:30 and we had filled up both yard waste bins, so that was my signal to call it a day. This is when Lee felt the need to have a beer at 8:30am, due to the stress of weeding and the many spiders and bugs we encountered. I still feel itchy.

Then, continuing on with my gardening day, we did the Phinney Garden Tour. Despite my adversity to gardening myself, I truly appreciate other people's work and gardens. I love flowers and I marvel at how they can, and actually want to, spend most of their time planting and pruning and weeding. Good for them! I'm glad I get to enjoy all their hard work.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

All About Bacon

So, I thought I'd take some pictures of the fabulous food I've been munching on this week and tell you a few of my favs. I took the 'All About Bacon' Class at Culinary Communion on Tuesday, so you can imagine how good that can be. If I was ever a vegetarian, which I was once for a year in college, it would be bacon or cured pork that would make me go back to eating meat. We did a blind bacon taste test of about 10 different kinds of the lovely pig and I found out that not all bacon is made equally. In fact, most of it is kind of yucky, or chemical tasting (especially Oscar Meyer, no surprise there.) The good stuff is really good though, and we used bacon from the pig that we saw slaughtered in January-- a very big, healthy, free range, organic piggy.

I made BLT panzanella with grilled shrimp and I will definitely be making this again. It's a great salad to have at a BBQ or for a potluck. It's got a few grilled baguettes, grilled shrimp, bacon lardons, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and some goat cheese. We used warm bacon fat for the dressing, which was awesome, and also useful since it's a by product of cooking up some good bacon or pancetta. Of course it has some vinegar for tang, and seasoned.

I also made grilled collard greens. Katie showed me a wonderful way to grill greens, which is one thing I have yet to throw on the grill. Basically you take your greens, de-stem them, and blanch them in very salty boiling water with a few tablespoons of fat added to the water (in this case we used bacon fat, or course). So after a few minutes of boiling, you take them out and shock them in ice water. Now they have this lovely layer of filmy fat on each leaf so you can stack them up neatly like a stack of paper and throw them on the grill in stacks of 10 or so. They get all charred on the outside and soft and tasy on the inside. Take them inside, salt them again if needed and sprinkle a little sherry vinegar on them, then cut into triangles. These are so good.

For desert we had a spicy chocolate bacon pecan pie and bacon baklava. SO MUCH BETTER than regular baklava. The salty bacon really makes that sweet, sticky baklava taste like heaven.

In addition, I went to Cafe Besalu this morning. A place I've been wanting to go for years and in our neighborhood as well! After waiting 15 minutes in line (which I don't ever do) for a nectarine croissant and a ham and cheese one as well, it was well worth it. This is officially the best French pastry shop in Seattle, ever better than Bakery Nouveau. Amazing. Like flaky butter, but not too flaky, somewhat substansial, with some of the best flavor and texture I've ever had in a croissant. I can't wait to go back.

Yes, I know I told you I was going to walk the half marathon. I am still going to do that. I also still like bacon and croissants from time to time.

Monday, September 1, 2008


No, not Angelina and Brad's kid. This is what Lee and I did this weekend-we went to PAX 2008, the Penny Arcade Convention that is held in downtown Seattle every year. Penny Arcade is a web comic and I would say the expo is mostly about gaming. We checked out the MC Frontalot movie, 'Nercore Rising', which I liked so much that we went and got MCF's CD's and I had him sign a t-shirt for me. Nerdcore hip hop, check it out, it's very addictive. It's in my head right now, in fact. We also went to the 'How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Gaming' forum which was way more informative than I would have thought, and also made me feel a little better about my lack of gaming skills, or the fact that I like 'girly' games. Lee went out and got me my own pink DS plus two games that appeal to me--one called 'Harvest Moon' that's about starting your own civilization and one called 'Cooking Mama' in which you have to cook really well to unlock new recipes. I'm already so addicted, and this is possibly why I shouldn't be into gaming, but it's something Lee and I can do together and I'm pretty excited to use it on the bus and on trips and such. Right now I'm just using it all the time. I'm sure you will all get a big laugh out of this picture of Lee and I in a D&D book cover. Awesome.

Last night I did Katie's makeup for the evening and we all went out to Heidi's birthday party. It was a dance party and I do like to dance, but it needs to be a little bit of hip hop, booty shaking stuff. I can do that much better than formal dancing, although I would like to learn some more structured dance moves. Katie and I went tuxedo style, me in black and her in white. Makes a good picture!

I'm feeling a little guilty and giddy about going out way too much this week. We went to Maschiko for the best sushi on earth, Lark (one that is on the list of places I've always wanted go go), Entre Nous (French tapas and my craving for cheese fondue is satisfied), Sambar (another great French place with amazing mussels and drinks) and Dragonfish, cause there wasn't anywhere else we could think of going while at PAX. Then we went out to the Original Pancake House this morning to sop up the week of alcohol, and then off to Rob's birthday BBQ where Dannie made the most incredible Phillipino food. Lumpia is yummy.

I'm saying it here, so hopefully this will keep me honest and give me the motivation to train--I really am going to walk the Seattle half marathon this year! I'm not just sayin it, really. I walk everyday, but not 13 miles, more like 3 or 4 if I'm lucky. I know I can do this, it's mostly just the intimidation of walking next to people running a marathon that freaks me out, but I'm doing it anyway. Walking is one of my favorite hobbies, so this will give me a little time for myself this fall and a chance to see every adorable little city street and quaint home in our hood.