Thursday, December 4, 2008

Creamy Whole Wheat Spaghetti

I made a creamy spaghetti noodles dish with sauteed yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms last night. We had a roasted chicken from the store, and sauteed zucchini on the side. Since David's going to be home late tonight, so Vincent and I had leftovers. The difference tonight is that I added the chicken into the pasta, shredded. For Vincent, he had corn in his noodles as well, and his mushrooms & zucchini were pureed, then added back into the noodles as a sauce.

It is always so hard to know if your child will actually eat what you put in front of them. I made the mistake of giving Vincent a milkshake with dinner. I thought if I gave him just a small amount, then it would be okay, but he was doing a much better job eating before the milkshake. At least it was just banana, blueberries and milk only. And, he did end up eating half the amount of noodles I dished up for him, which means he got the mushrooms and zucchini (in pureed form) as well. I'm thinking this is going to be the new thing for me whenever possible: making a sauce out of whatever pureed good stuff I know he won't eat if in regular form.
Oh the darn milkshake!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Make Meat Loaf, Then Make Sliders

We had meat loaf earlier this week. This is the recipe I posted a couple months ago.
To tell you the truth, I don't follow a recipe for meat loaf (for much of anything for that matter).

This time, I made it with 2 pounds of ground beef, about 1/2 cup each of brunoise onions, carrots and celery, 2 eggs, and about 2 cups of bread crumbs. I also added some random dried herbs (stuff that probably doesn't have much "umph" left in them, so I used quite a bit), and seasoned with salt and pepper. I usually toss my cubes of bread in olive oil, salt and pepper, and dry them in the oven before putting them in a food processor for bread crumbs. My mushy pregnancy brain told me, this time, to cut up my bread, set it out overnight on a tray to dry, and then put in a food processor. The bread wasn't even that dry yet, so I don't know what I was thinking. I ended up tossing the "crumbs" in a bowl with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), salt & pepper, and letting it all dry in the oven on a tray at 200 degrees F, for about an hour or so.

I think in the end, the extra-virgin olive oil in the bread crumbs added a nice, subtle aroma to the meatloaf. It was a very tasty loaf!

Two days later, I turned our meat loaf into open-faced sliders. YUM! I went to the store to look for some dinner rolls and they had a new product: Schwartz Brothers Bakery makes a sourdough dinner roll that was perfect!

First, I sliced the rolls open, like a burger bun, and drizzled some CARM extra-virgin olive oil on the slices. Next, I topped each side with half a piece of thinly sliced meat loaf. On top of the meat loaf, I put three very thinly sliced apples on top, and then some crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I put these open-faced sandwiches into the oven to broil until the cheese was melted and slightly browned. After I pulled them out of the oven, I topped them with a mushroom gravy, made from sauteed mushrooms, marsala wine, chicken stock and butter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brussels Sprouts & Farro

Thank you, Alice Waters, for tonight's brussels sprouts inspiration. Let me just make a plug for her book, Chez Panisse Vegetables, because it really is a must have in your culinary library. I refer to it often when I need ideas on how to cook a vegetable. I also recommend her Fruit book, for the same reason. And, I like that some of her recipes are written like the way I like to cook - more with a method, and less with measurements. That's how all her brussels sprouts recipes were written.

My original thought on dinner was to make this recipe:
"Brussels Sprouts Pasta - Cut the stem out of each sprout and separate it into leaves. Thinly slice the tiny hearts if you can't tease apart all the leaves. Slice red onion very thinly and chop some garlic. Start cooking pasta (a sturdy dry type, such as farfalle or penne; orrechiette is good because it has the same size and shape as the brussels sprouts leaves).
-Heat a saute pan, add a little olive oil, toss in the sprout leaves, salt and pepper them, and saute for about a minute over high heat. Then add the sliced onions and a pinch of hot pepper flakes, and continue to saute until the sprouts are tender and a little browned, 2-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the garlic, and toss. If the garlic appears to be browning, add a splash of water to the pan. Squeeze a little lemon onto the sprouts, and when the pasta is done, add it, drained, to the saute pan and toss everything together. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve drizzled with good extra-virgin olive oil. If you want, toss the pasta with some toasted bread crumbs, but if the sprouts are very sweet and tasty, don't bother."

Since we had noodles for dinner last night, I decided to cook farro instead. And, I went with a combination of three recipes, plus a little more. To save myself from having to type all of them, I'll just go put down what I did.

Browned Butter Balsamic Brussels Sprouts & Delicata Squash -
Heat a pan on medium high until pretty hot. Add about one tablespoon of butter to the pan. Allow to sizzle until the butter starts to brown (taking care not to let it burn). Add the sprout leaves (follow Alice's method of separating leaves above), and toss to coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add chopped garlic & toss quickly. Add a little balsamic vinegar & toss. Add a little chicken stock (enough to make a little saucy).

If you can do this at the same time, in a separate pan (I'm not sure this was really necessary, but I had the pan & the space to do it), saute thinly sliced delicata squash with a little olive oil on medium heat. Add thinly sliced red onions & cook until squash & onions start to become tender. Season with salt & pepper, and add to the brussels sprouts. Finish the dish with another tablespoon of butter, and adjust the seasoning. Serve over farro.

For the farro, I cooked it just like I would cook risotto. Here's a basic method to cooking risotto (only I start with sweating finely diced onions before adding the grains):

Monday, November 10, 2008


Another noodle night at the Hunt household.

I sat down during Vincent's marathon nap & made a list of dinner ideas, based on the list of food we have on-hand that I put together the day before. It's amazing how much less groceries you need when you know just what is in your house.

I think my list looks good. I had in mind to make a pasta with Brussels sprouts, something I found in the Alice Waters Vegetables book. But, then realized that there were more things that needed to be used up for the other noodle dish.

We had Asian noodles. The package says "Product of Taiwan." But, they look like soba (somen?) noodles. They're about 6" long, and as thin as angel hair. I started with some canola & semsame oil & fresh tofu in the pan, giving them just a hint of color. Then added matchstick carrots, chopped garlic, and sliced red onions. I cooked those for a minute and added some sauteed mushrooms (from last night), chopped baby bok choy and sliced scallions. I added about 1/4 cup of soy sauce & transferred my cooked noodles (water drained) to the pan. Toss all those together & finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mushroom Gruyere Tart, Frisee Salad, Coppa Wrapped Dates

I felt like dinner tonight was pretty solid. I had done an inventory of what we had on hand in the house & asked David what he thought we should have for dinner. We have a lot of stuff, but nothing too obvious, so he said, "Mac 'n' cheese." WHAT?! That wasn't even on my list of stuff. Well, I did tell him my idea of the mushroom tart, so the mac n cheese was supposed to "go with" that & be for Vincent. In the end, I made the mushroom tart, the mac n cheese, and a little something extra...

Mushroom gruyere tart - store bought puff pastry dough, grated gruyere cheese, sauteed mushrooms. Bake in 400 degree F oven for 16 minutes. Frisee salad - David got to have his with a poached egg, which is what you see here. The frisee was tossed with bacon lardons, shallots, salt, pepper, and sherry vinaigrette. Coppa wrapped dates - stuffed with plain, lowfat cream cheese, these Medjool dates were wrapped with thinly sliced coppa, then baked in a 400 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. I drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil on top, just because the meat became a little dry, but I'm not sure it made much of a difference in flavor or dryness.

Mac n cheese - from a box, but Annie's organic brand. I added frozen edamamme, corn, and a few pieces of the bacon. Vincent took a bath while I was making dinner, and when he back came out, the first thing he said was, "bacon." Apparently, my child knows what bacon smells like. I couldn't not give him any bacon.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Welcome Back!

Our 30 day dinner challenge has come to an end. I am back to posting on this site.

We took a day off of cooking at home yesterday and headed to the mall for dinner. Actually, I still did some cooking - made a batch of potstickers. Vincent didn't have much time to run around yesterday, so the mall was the alternative to running around outside in the sloppy rain. It was just convenient to eat there as well.
For dinner tonight, we had baked potato bar and sauteed escarole on the side. It was yummy & fun, but the best part of it was the unsolicited help given by my husband. Now, that was sexy! I was on my way home from an outing with Vincent & I called to ask him to turn on the oven & get the potatoes back in there, if they had cooled. He told me he's got the bacon & chili going, and the potatoes are still hot. I'm in love all over again.
His potato:

Her potato:

Junior's potato (sweet & de-composed):

Sauteed escarole:
Sweat sliced garlic & red onions in oil until slightly tender. Deglaze the pan with white wine & add the chopped escarole. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, season with salt & pepper, and allow to wilt down. Add toasted pinenuts and dried cranberries. When the greens have fully wilted down and are cooked, you are done!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

30 Day Dinner Challenge

If you've been a regular reader of this blog, thanks! I just wanted to say that I'll be blogging somewhere else (though, actually still from my own home) for 30 days, starting October 8th. I'm doing a 30 day dinner challenge, that I've started with a couple of friends. They will all be starting tomorrow (I think), but our family is going out of town tomorrow for 5 days. I've decided to delay our start one week because I can't actually be cooking us dinner while on vacation (I'm not that ambitious, even if we have a hotel kitchenette!), and I need 2 days upon returning to prepare.

So, visit the other blog: I will not be the only writer, so there should be plenty of recipes, cooking tips and techniques, and what not there for you to read! Enjoy, and happy eating!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


OH. MY. GOD. I've run out of onions in the house! I can't believe it. I haven't had to buy onions all summer long, and at long last, I've run out. We've been getting them in our CSA box all summer long. Spring onions. Walla Walla sweet onions, & red onions. Suddenly, no more.

Luckily, I had shallots and scallions from the grocery store on hand.

1 cup carrots, 1/4" dice
1 cup celery, 1/4" dice
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 shallot, rough chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1/2 cup of bacon, diced
1 lb ground beef
beef stock, as needed
1/2 cranberry beans, fresh (or other beans are fine, too)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups roma tomatoes, *peeled & chopped

-Render the bacon pieces in a pan. Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and sweat until they just start to become tender.
-Brown the ground beef in a pot with a little olive oil. Add the spices, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to combine the spices & meat.
-Add the vegetables and bacon to the ground beef, and cover with beef stock.
-Add the cranberry beans. If you are using canned beans, do not add them yet.
-Add the tomatoes, and any additional stock if needed.
-Cook for two hours.

*A popular way to peel tomatoes is to remove the core stem, score the opposite end in a small "x" with a paring knife, and boil them for 15 seconds. After boiling, plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. The scored end will have loosened the skin, and the tomato is ready to be peeled, ready to be chopped to desired shape. This blanching method may also be used with peaches and nuts. Also known as concasse tomatoes.

This is just what I did for my chili. I feel like everyone has a chili recipe they like. I actually don't, not that I think any are bad. I'm just not good at sticking to a particular one. I picked one out of a chili recipes book, a friend bought for me with her Marlboro cigarette points, just as a reference. I encourage you to do tweak my recipe all you want. I know I probably will in the future!

Monday, September 22, 2008


David and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary tonight (even though our actual anniversary is on Thursday). We had dinner reservations for 7:30pm at Campagne. We dropped my dad off at the airport, which was much quicker than we had expected. We got to Pike Place Market at 6pm, and decided to see if they could squeeze us in early. No problem.

Dinner was fantastic! Here's what we had:

David - Beef tartare with slices of potato fried in duck fat & arugula & parmesan salad; Veal sweetbread with curry carrots.
Anny - charcuterie plate with house cured duck proscuitto, bresaola, country-style pate, and rillette; sea scallops & gulf prawns with halibut brandade & sauteed Chinese spinach.
For dessert, we shared a lemon-ginger creme brulee.

It was all so delicious!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Marsala Wine Braised Chicken Legs with Shitake Mushrooms

*may use chicken thighs as well/instead
**if using dried mushrooms, reconsistute them in hot water first

Sear chicken, on all sides, in a hot saute pan with oil.
Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup marsala wine & allow to reduce slightly.
Add the mushrooms with the soaking liquid.
Bring to a boil.
Transfer to an oven proof dish, cover with foil, and cook in 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
*hang on to the saute pan
Pour the liquid back into the saute pan and reduce by half. Whisk in a teaspoon of butter into the reduction, and pour the sauce back over the chicken and mushrooms.

What do I do with these chicken legs?

I did a freezer pull earlier this week. In that pull was a pack of 3 chicken legs. They sat in the fridge, thawing. Then, they thawed. And, they continued to sit in the fridge some more.

The truth is, I had cooked 5 nights straight, and I was a bit burned out. Wednesday morning I woke up and said to my husband & dad, "We're eating out tonight." But, by that afternoon, I suddenly felt inspired, and those lettuce wraps made it to the table. So, yesterday was Saturday, and I had successfully gotten dinner on the table for all of us 5 nights in a row. I looked at those chicken legs and annouced, "Sushi tonight?"

Guilt ridden by a full day of eating out for the last four meals, mostly junk (Crossroads foodcourt food for lunch yesterday, Japanese for dinner dinner last night, Top Pot Doughnuts this morning, and Subway for lunch today), I felt that I needed to check out those chicken legs.

Fresh? YES! Gotta love the Foodsaver !

Here's what made it to the table:
-Marsala wine braised chicken legs with shitake mushrooms
-a HUGE salad with lettuce, lemon cucumbers, green bell peppers, & spiced pecans from Trader Joe's, with this blackberry vinaigrette my inlaws got us from Snoqualmie
-corn on the cob
-Red Baron French bread pizza boats
-leftover lettuce wrap filling

Weird variety of foods, but everything go eaten! I was delighted. I do have to admit that my dad, husband, and son seem to eat most things. Well, maybe not my son, but neither my dad or husband are that picky...especially not my dad.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Breakfast Sandwiches


I ordered croissants from Boulangerie Nantaise through , but I think these sandwiches would've worked with any croissants.

I made two with sliced ham and two with strips of bacon. Each of the sandwiches got one of those meats, a fried egg (medium), and a slice of swiss cheese. I put them open faced under the broiler for a couple of minutes. As a side item, we had low fat, vanilla, organic yogurt with diced fresh peaches.

Pretty simple meal, but everyone enjoyed it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Clam Chowder

Yup, that's what I made tonight. Let's see if I can remember what I did...

Okay, so I just started to type up a recipe, and I realized that I just don't remember the exact measurements. Sorry. So, please use what you think you would like, depending on the size of the party you are serving. Remember, it's soup, so making a big batch is okay!

onions, chopped 1/2" dice
carrots, chopped 1/2" dice
celery, chopped 1/2" dice
yukon pototoes (although, I think russets are better if you want a little more starch for thickening), peeled, cut to 1/2" dice
corn, fresh, kernels removed
bacon, 1/4" diced (optional)
1 can of clams
1 pint cream

-Heat a pot with oil. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery & sweat until the onions are transluscent. Add the chopped bacon. *If your bacon is on the fattier side (mine wasn't), start with the bacon, and use the rendered fat from the bacon to cook the vegetables.
-Add the potatoes, corn, and clams
-Add just enough water to reach the top of the vegetables, bring to a boil
-Add cream, and any additional water if you would like more liquid
-Allow to simmer until all the vegetables are soft & the soup has a nice thick consistency - mine went for 2 hours

**if you would like a little more corn flavor to the soup, you could throw in the cob of the corn while cooking and fish it out before serving; or put it in a pot of cold water, and let it cook for 30-45 minutes, for a tasty corn broth to use some other time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lettuce Wraps - Again

Tonight, we had lettuce wraps, once again. This time, I used ground beef instead of ground pork. In addition, we had fried rice made from leftovers of our lunch today. I had picked up some chicken katsu and chicken yakisoba from a nearby teriyaki joint. I added a little chopped garlic, some green beans, and an egg...PRESTO! Dinner was served!

It was a real hit with the family, including my dad, who loves to wrap anything edible in lettuce.This is my dad, the happy lettuce wrapper.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wild Mushroom Risotto and Sesame Green Beans

Big hit with the boys tonight, this risotto. I bought this dry wild mushroom mix from Trader Joe's that I ended up being a little disappointed with. There was a ton of wood ear mushrooms in the mix. I'm a fan of them, but I would've preferred some dried porcinis, chanterelles, even shitake. I also felt like the mix didn't taste mushroomy enough. But, in the end, the dish was a hit, so that's what matters most. I also bought the only arborio rice I could find at QFC, which was just a generic brand. It definitely was not as nice as the stuff I've gotten at DeLaurenti's.

These green beans, on the other hand, bought at the farmers' market this afternoon, were off the hook. Fresh, beautiful, tasty. I blanched them, cooled them, and then cut them into thirds. To finish them, I browned about a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, added the beans, seasoned with salt & pepper, and let them cook on medium/high heat for about a minute. I added just a touch of water, as the pan was very dry, then chopped garlic. I tossed that around and cooked for another minute or so, added a teaspoon of Banyul vinegar and about a teaspoon for toasted seasame seeds. Very yummy indeed!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Home Grown

Not the clearest photo, but these are some of the sungold tomatoes we have been enjoying this summer, grown right outside our door in our own little garden. We don't have much growing in our boxes this year, but plenty of these little gems. Our other tomatoes are starting to ripen as well. We have some San Marzano (Roma) and I believe Black Beauty (I forget their name), which are an heirloom variety.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pork Spare Ribs - Part 2

So how did it turn out? Pretty darn good, if I say so myself...
These are the beans I made as a side dish. I'll share my confession when I talk more about them.
These are the ribs.

Two hours into the roasting, I checked on my ribs. Pretty tender, but could be more. I let them go for another half hour. Seemed to be just right. I removed all the ribs from their pans onto another pan to cool. I strained all the juices from the ribs and skimmed off as much fat as I could. Then I started to make my beans.

For the beans, I rendered some diced bacon pieces. (I bought a pack of bacon ends from Thundering Hooves, which was perfect for this purpose.) Then, I added about a cup of chopped onions and two chopped garlic cloves. The bacon didn't give off much fat, so I added a little of the fat from the pork ribs to help the onions & garlic sweat a little. Here's the cheatin' part for the beans...I added one can of pinto beans, rinsed, to the pan. I covered everything with the strained liquid from the ribs, and brought it to a simmer.

The flavor of the beans was incredible, but pretty salty and it was a bit brothy. I took out about a cup of beans with liquid and pureed it with a little water & about a tablespoon of bbq sauce until very smooth. I added that back into the beans to give it a little thickness, without reducing the liquid and making the flavor saltier. This made the dish look a little like refried beans. I still felt it was a bit salty, so I added about a tablespoon of brown sugar and a splash of red wine vinegar. That seemed to do the trick.

To finish the ribs, we threw them on a charcoal grill and slathered them with bbq sauce, flipped, added more sauce, flipped again for another minute and pulled them off the grill. Sadly, I didn't make the sauce. America's Test Kitchen recommended Bullseye, so that's what we used.

I feel pretty proud of myself for making these ribs. They were actually quite simple to prepare, and didn't take a ton of time.

Pork Spare Ribs - Part 1

I bought two packs of pork spare ribs from Thundering Hooves a couple of months ago. They've been sitting in my freezer, just waiting to be thawed. I've sort of been intimidated by these spare ribs, afraid it would be such a long process to make.

Last week, David and I watched an episode of America's Test Kitchen that has inspired me to thaw out the ribs.

As I type, they are sitting in 3 pans in the oven, rubbed with some spices and covered in foil, slow roasting at 275 degrees F. How long will they roast for? I'm not sure. My plan is to check in 2 hours...maybe 3.

This is the rub:
1 T smoked paprika
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T kosher salt
2 T light brown sugar

"Ribs have a papery membrane on the underside that can make it hard to pull the meat off the bone. Before cooking, loosen this membrane with the tip of a paring knife and, with the aid of a paper towel, pull it off slowly, all in one piece." - from

Step-by-Step: How to Make Tender Ribs
Remove the Membrane: Ribs have a papery membrane on the underside that can make it hard to pull the meat off the bone. Before cooking, loosen this membrane with the tip of a paring knife and, with the aid of a paper towel, pull it off slowly, all in one piece.

To be continued...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Taco Night

I must thank my husband for making dinner tonight. Hard tacos, with Spanish rice. He did all the work. All I had to do was play with my son, and then cut up the watermelon we had for dessert.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Pesto, Sungold Tomatoes, and Chicken

A couple of weeks ago, we received a beautiful bunch of basil in our CSA box. I decided to make some pesto and freeze it in little cubes. I forgot all about the pesto until this afternoon. It's so fun whenever I remember I have stuff I can make for dinner, so that I don't have to make a mad dash to the store. This is what I threw together tonight.

chopped garlic
sungold tomatoes
one chicken breast, cooked and diced
pine nuts
whole wheat spaghetti
chopped green onions
chopped parsley

I cooked the pasta...Okay, I accidentally overcooked it. But, it still worked fine.

Sauteed garlic with zucchini, added the cooked noodles, added the pesto, and stirred to coat all the noodles. Added the pinenuts & chicken, then added the tomatoes at the very end. Turned off the heat and added the chopped green onions and parsley.

This is what I should've done:
Heat the oil, saute the zucchini, then added the garlic. Add the diced chicken, then the pesto. Add the cooked pasta. Make sure everthing is nicely coated with the pesto. Finish with pine nuts, tomatoes, chopped green onions and parsley.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Dinner tonight was at a bar...Smith. It used to be 21 and over only. I don't know why the owner, Linda, decided to put the railing in between the bar and the dining area to allow children in. Business has been going well since they opened. Whatever the reason, we are pleased.

Vincent accompanied us to our "neighborhood pub" tonight. It's hip, it's loud, there's no play pit. We felt sort of cool. Although, how cool can you really feel when you come strollin' into a place like this with a giant jogging stroller?

Our experience? So so. Service was actually pretty decent. Vincent was like a wild man in there. Must've been the loud music getting him all hyped up. It's hard to sit and enjoy your meal as much when your tot is not at his best restaurant behavior. But, I have to admit that the food was just alright. And, I'm not being biased, just because I know the former chef and sous chef. It wasn't bad, it just simply wasn't great. What did we eat?

Poutine -( Sadly, it was not like I remembered. It was fine & tasty, but just not as good as it used to be. It was a chunky gravy that had a strong black pepper flavor.

Crispy oxtail terrine with orange and parsley - It was sort of like Chicken Cordon Bleu, or at least it looked like it. I was imagining something like a pork pave, lightly dusted with flour and fried in a saute pan until crispy. I guess I was warned that it would be breaded and deep fried, but I still had a different imagine in my mind. There was some sort of tangy reduction drizzled all over the plate, which I felt overpowered the "terrine." The "terrine" could have been seasoned a bit more, and there was hardly any oxtail in the middle. It was mostly breading.

Heirloom tomato with arugula, green beans & bacon - I am picky about my salad greens. I like them crisp and green (or whatever color they're supposed to be). It irritates me when I get yellow or brown leaves, especially when it's so obvious that they should've been picked out before it got to the table. There was a whole lot of arugula on top of the tomatoes. More than I think necessary. The green beans in the salad were cooked just right and quiet tasty. I also enjoyed the crispy pieces of bacon. The salad as a whole, though, was a bit flat. There seemed to be more oil to vinegar ratio in the dressing. Maybe they thought the tomato would make up for the lack of acidity.

Roasted chicken with potato puree - This dish was great, actually! The chicken was cooked perfectly, with crispy skin and the right amount of seasoning. And, the potato puree was just right.

So there you have it. Our family meal tonight was at a pub. Not great, not bad. We will likely go back, but it probably won't be the first place to come to mind.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

French Dip Sandwiches

I racked my brain for something to cook for dinner. I looked in the fridge, the freezer, the cupboard...just couldn't pull it together. I probably could've scrounged up enough ingredients to make clam chowder, but I just didn't have the motivation to cut up all the vegetables. I came up with French dips. But, it did require that I go to the store, which I wasn't in the mood to do. Can you tell I was sort of on lazy mode this afternoon? But, I managed to get myself (and toddler) out the door and we strolled up to QFC.

Here's what you will need for these sandwiches:
-roast beef; see if the deli guy can give you something a little on the rare side
-French bread baguette or hoagie folls; I prefer the taste & texture of the baguette
-beef broth

That's about it! You may want to add a cheese and maybe caramelize some onions to go with it. That's what I did.
Bring your beef broth to a boil, add the roast beef, and turn the heat down to a low simmer. Cook until the beef is no longer rare. I cut the baguette to the desired sized pieces, split them open down the middle, and buttered them. I also sprinkled a little garlic powder and sea salt on them and topped with Asiago cheese. I toasted them in the oven to melt the cheese, then topped with the beef & onions. Serve with the beef broth used to cook the beef on the side for dipping.

Meat Loaf

We had friends over Sunday night (yeah, a little late here), and I completely forgot to post about it.

The main dish was meat loaf, with some grilled zucchini & grilled radicchio on the side, as well as a salad with grilled bread croutons. We also had a few cheeses and some olive bread from Macrina Bakery. By the way, if you haven't had Macrina's Rustic Potato bread before, it is a must have. I love it sliced with a little Plugra butter and a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt.

My meat loaf (or at least what I did this time):
2# ground beef
1/2 c onions, finely chopped
1/2 c carrots, finely chopped
1/2 c celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 tsp parsley, picked & chopped
1 tsp thyme, picked
1 tsp rosemary, picked & chopped
1 tbl dill, picked & chopped
1/4 c ketchup
1 tsp sugar
TT smoked paprika (optional)
TT salt & pepper

*Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
*Sautee the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil until slightly soft but not completely cooked. Transfer to a plate or sheet try for cooling.
*When vegetables have cooled, combine the vegetables, beef, bread crumbs, eggs and herbs in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt & pepper (and smoked paprika if you wish). Mix well.
*Test a small bit of the mixture by cooking it in a pan until done. Adjust seasoning as needed.
*Form into desired loaf. I formed mine in a bread pan, and then turned it out on to a sheet tray.
*Cook for 1 hour. Combine ketchup and sugar, and glaze all over the top of the loaf. Return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, with the internal temperature reading at 165 F.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dragon's Tongue Beans

These came in our CSA box last week. I've had them before, and I've even cooked them before. But, for some reason, I look at them in my fridge, and I think, "oh, I don't have time for those..." But, why? I honestly don't know why. Maybe because I'm just not sure how I want to prepare them. Really, there's no reason. So, I made them recently. They were delicious!

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the beans in and cook until just about tender. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water. Cut cooked beans into bite sized pieces. In a sautee pan, heat a small amount of olive oil with one tablespoon of butter on medium high heat. Add chopped garlic and beans to the pan. Season with salt & pepper, and cook for about 3 - 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Carmelized Onion Tart

It occurred to me today that I have not been taking photos of our family meals. It's a shame, because seeing photos of food is very helpful. It's tough to remember something like snapping a shot of dinner as I'm scrambling to get everything together, while my tot is running around my legs, or asking me to pick him up, or saying, "try, try, try...", or getting himself into trouble. Lucky for me, something like a tart can still be picture ready after it's been dug into, even if it's not the whole tart. So, here you go:

Timing dinner can also be a bit of tricky thing. I didn't know if I would actually pull off this onion tart tonight. Everything was being made from scratch, starting at about 4pm, to be served at 6pm. Two hours should be enough time. But, I hadn't read the recipe ahead of time. What if I needed to let the dough rest, or chill? Dinner was actually done just after 6pm! Yippie!

Okay, here's the recipe:

Pate Brisee (tart dough), adapted from

1-1/3 cup (5.5 oz) all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 cup (4 oz) cold butter, cut into chunks

approx. 1/4 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse to combine flour, salt and sugar. Add in chunks of butter and pulse carefully until the mixture resembles very coarse sand.Pour in ice water in a slow stream and continue to pulse (slightly longer pulses here) until the dough comes together into a large, rough ball. It should not be too wet or sticky, but if it is too crumbly to hold together, add an additional tbsp or two of ice water.Divide dough into two discs and wrap each tightly in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator, or store (even more tightly wrapped) in the freezer for 1-2 months. Refrigerated dough should be fine to work with for about a week.Makes 2 single crust (9 to 11-in.) tart shells (or 1 double-crust pie)
Basic Single Tart Crust
Preheat oven to 350F.Roll out half of the dough (one disc, from recipe above) into a circle large enough to fit a 9-10-inch tart pan.Press dough into pan without stretching it and pinch any excess off along the top edge. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork several times, line with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights.Bake for 25 minutes, remove foil and pie weights.

Tart filling:

1 tbl olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced

2 tsp all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

2/3 cup heavy cream

1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic, and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes. Add the butter & swirl it around the pan until it melts, then add the onions. Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, golden brown, & caramelized, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Set aside to cool at least 2o minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, nutmeg, salt & pepper. Spread the cooled onions on the bottom of the tart crust. Pour the egg mixture into the crust, filling it to the top. Sprinkle the goat cheese all over the top of the tart. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the custard is set and the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve immediately.

*This recipe can be made for up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat in the oven before serving.

*May use Gruyere cheese instead of goat cheese. May also add oil-cured black olives, pitted & chopped, and 1 tsp each of chopped parsley & chopped basil (to be added into egg mixture).

*I baked for 25 minutes. It was done, but it probably wouldn't have hurt to go an extra 5 minutes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Vegetable Barley Soup

Lots of veggies in the fridge? Try making a vegetable soup! That's what I did tonight. You can pretty much put vegetables you have around in a soup like this, but I like to make sure I have a few basics, otherwise I would just not make it. Mirepoix. I love mirepoix. Three ingredients go into mirepoix: onions, carrots and celery. I like to have these three ingredients on hand in my home at all times. When there are no other vegetables in the house, at least I can find those.

My soup tonight had onions, carrots, celery, fennel bulb, zucchini, brocoli stems, garlic, and russet potatoes. I sauted all but the potatoes together with olive oil, added a little white wine, and put everything into a crock pot. I added the potatoes, about 1/2 cup of pearl barley (rinsed), covered everything with water, seasoned with salt & pepper, turned the crock pot to high, covered, and walked away. A few hours later, I finished it with sherry vinegar, a little extra virgin olive oil, adjusted the seasoning, and VOILA! Dinner is served. My cheatin' heart made asiago cheese bread with (YIKES!) garlic powder!!!! At least I used nice sea salt.

My Cheatin' Heart

Not all the meals I prepare for my family are made from scratch. Heck! Some of the stuff I serve up to the fam aren't even made by me. Let's see, there's the puttenesca from La Pasta, the tamales from Patty Pan, and there was even the oxtail soup made by my friend, just to name a few. I do try my best to cook from scratch, and when I do, I try even harder to buy locally & organically. But, the point of all this isn't to showcase my cooking skills or creativity. It's to have some record for myself of stuff I've made, what I did, if the family enjoyed or hated it, and what I could do to improve, if needed.

Why do I bring all this up? Because I feel guilt for some of the cheating I've been doing with cooking. Not a ton, but there is one that has been a success, and it's SO cheating! I need to come clean.

Gnocchi al Gorgonzola from Trader Joe's. Vincent hasn't liked gnocchi very much. Trader Joe's was sampling it one afternoon. I was hungry, so I took one. Vincent wants to eat whatever I'm eating, so I let him try it. His response: "Mmmmm!" I snuck another sample and gave him a little more. LOVED it. I decided to buy a bag. Here's the guilty part. It's so darn simple to make, one of my cats could make it. It's not cooking. It's heating up. I thought I'd at least need to boil a pot of water, then heat the sauce up separately. Nope. Just open the bag and empty the contents into a pan. Seven minutes later, delicious gnocchi that my 19 month old (and his daddy) will eat.

Today, I had half a bag leftover in the freezer. David wanted to have lunch at home (we usually eat lunch out on the weekends). I decided to get creative. Sauted some sliced mushrooms (sadly, just crimini), chopped shallots, & chopped garlic with a little olive oil, dump in the remainder contents of the bag o' gnocchi...7 minutes later, a little chopped parsley for garnish & lunch was served. And, my cheatin' heart will likely buy this product again, cuz it's a hit!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Fennel Fronds

Oh. My. God. I got a whole fennel in my CSA box last week, fronds and all! Should I use the whole thing? What do I do with the fronds? Will my family eat it?
For the record, I love fennel. I quite enjoy its anise flavor, even though I've only recently become a fan of black licorice. And, even though I started this post with such drama, that's not exactly how I felt when I got my whole fennel. I know what to do with the bulb, no problem. I even had an idea what to do with the fronds. The questions was if my family would care for it.
For the bulb, I sliced it very thinly & tossed it into a salad. My husband didn't even seem to notice them. Then, the fronds...My dad was the one to introduce me to fennel. He would see it growing wild on the side of the road in Southern California, and threaten to pull over and harvest some. One day, he did. Boy, was he a happy man. He joyfully brought those precious (to him) fronds home and would wax poetic about how he's going to cook this up for us and it's going to be the best thing we've ever tasted.
Indeed, it was delicious, but I was a kid. Even for a kid whole loved vegetables, I wasn't blown away by this thing. I just thought, "Okay, I tried it, it's good. May I have some french fries now?"
Much later in life, in culinary school maybe, I was reintroduced to fennel. But, I never made the connection of fennel being the green, feathery looking (vegetable?) thing my dad loves because it was just the bulb. Eventually, I figured it out, and since then, I've been wanting to cook the fronds the way Dad does.
Friday afternoon, I called home to ask my dad about it. My mom answered the phone and seemed pleasantly surprised to hear me say, "I was wondering if you or Dad could tell me how you cook your fennel."
Here's what you do:
1. Wash, then pick the fronds off the main stem.
2. Heat a little oil in a pot, add sliced ginger & saute for about 1 minute.
3. Add water (what you think would be enough to just cover the fronds) & bring to a boil.
4. Add the fronds and allow, slightly reduce heat, and allow to simmer until tender.
5. Check for tenderness, ajust seasoning, and finish with a splash of cooking wine.
The result? Not quite like Dad's, but my 19 month old son quite enjoyed it, and the broth was so tasty. My husband couldn't quite get the hang of it, but he did enjoy the broth as well.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Catching up!

Last week, I believe I hit a personal record...I cooked 6 days in a row! Be it big or small, I still cooked at least one item for dinner. I think Thursday night was the lettuce wraps, and now I can't remember what I made on Friday or Saturday!

Oh yes! Friday night we had oxtail soup made by my friend, Jen. So, no, I didn't make that, but I did pair it up with some brown rice and roasted new red potatoes. Yeah, yeah, not much, but like I said, I cooked something.

Saturday night I was really proud of all that made it to the table. Our main course was beef kabobs from Thundering Hooves. We had various leftovers to go with the kabobs and a few new items. We combines the roasted potatoes & carrots & wrapped them together in foil & threw them on the grill with the kabobs. We also finished off the mac n cheese. We had a salad with lettuces from Oxbow Farm and some homemade creamy sherry vinaigrette. Lastly, we had sweet potato fries (from Trader Joe's).

I took Sunday and Monday nights off from cooking. Tuesday night we had store bought gnocchi & a salad and garlic bread I picked up at Olympia Pizza. Last night was my first major meal since Saturday: Grilled Thundering Hooves pork chops, roasted Oxbow Farm baby carrots, grilled peaches, and a fantastic salad. Here's what went into the salad:
-red leaf & romaine lettuce
-green onions from Oxbow Farm
-shaved fennel from Oxbow Farm
-goat cheese
-small beef steak tomatoes from Pilchuck Farm
-chunks of grilled crusty bread from Columbia City Bakery
-sea salt & fresh cracked pepper
-dressed with some store bought balsamic vinaigrette

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Spicy Ground Chicken in Lettuce Bundles

Adapted from The Farm to Table Cookbook - The Art of Eating Locally, by Ivy Manning

1 lb ground chicken
1 T olive oil
2 t finely chopped garlic
2 green onions, finely chopped
1.5 t fresh ginger, minced
1.5 t sesame oil
2 T soy sauce
1.5 t Sriracha, or other hot chili paste or sauce
3 T cilantro leaves, picked and chopped
2 T fresh mint, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 head butter lettuce, washed and leaves separated

**Okay, so I didn't use mint because I didn't have any. But, I think it would've been nice, so I'm making sure to include it with this recipe. Also the recipe called for pork loin or lean boneless chops that you hand chop yourself. I had ground chicken on hand, so I used that instead.

Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add garlic, green onions and ginger, and stir-fry for one minute. Add the ground meat & continue to stir-fry until it is cooked through.

Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl. Gently stir in cilantro, mint and lime juice.

Serve with lettuce leaves.

**I included brown rice that we wrapped along with the meat. The dish is very flavorful itself, but I kept feeling like I needed to dip it in something a little sweet and tangy. We also had corn on the cob (because I needed to cook it up) served on the side. Dinner went over very well with the fam. I was afraid David was going to eat everything up and not leave much for me. Vincent ate his first (small) helping, and asked for more! This one will be added to my repertoire.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Macaroni & Cheese

I have been all about recipes this week. It's a change from my usual ways of cooking at home. I'm liking this recipe following thing. It makes planning out my dinner a little more organized. That, or just having planned out specific meals for the week has been helpful. I've been on a cooking frenzy, since we've been eating out A LOT lately.

Here's my version of mac 'n' cheese I made last night, taken from Back To The Table, by Art Smith, Oprah's guy:

1 lb penne or elbow macaroni (Ha! I used campanelle pasta)
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 C all-purpose flour
4 C milk, heated (I forgot to warm the milk ahead of time)
2 C (8 oz) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook, white)
2 C (8 oz) finely chopped American cheese (I used shredded Monterey Jack)
Salt & freshly ground pepper
Hot pepper sauce (I omitted)
1/4 C (1 oz) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Ha! Why measure?! Parmesan cheese is so good!!)

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with olive oil and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a deep 4-quart casserole.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Reduce the heat to low & simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat & stir in 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of monterey jack cheese. Season to taste.

Combine the remaining cheeses. Spread one third of the noodles over the bottom of the dish. Top with half of the cheese & a third of the sauce. Repeat, using another third of noodles with remaining cheese & half of sauce. Finish with remaining noodles and sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake until bubbly & golden brown around edges, about 30 minutes. **You can pre-assemble the dish and refrigerate until you are ready to bake. If you do that, I suggest you bake it covered with foil for the first 20 or so minutes, and then remove the foil and continue to bake until done.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saag Paneer

Yesterday, my friend, Jen, invited us over to make saag paneer. Included in this lesson was paneer making. Sadly, my son did not wake up from his nap (um, nor did I get my slow booty out the door) in time to catch the cheese making lesson, but I did get to see the final results, and most importantly, taste it. Later that night, Jen emailed me the recipe, along with a whole cookbook she put together. Awesome!

Tonight, I made saag paneer...with store bought paneer. Here's the recipe:
1.5 lb fresh spinach
1 lb paneer
3 T olive oil
6 T butter
1 ea onion, chopped
4cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled & grated
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t garam masala
1 t salt
pinch tumeric
1 C whole milk yogurt

**Okay, I did a little something different, so I'll only post what I actually did.

-Melt butter & 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat and cook the onion until just beginning to brown. Add garlic & cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger & spices, and stir well. Heat for a few minutes. **Add kale and beet greens, season with salt, and allow to wilt and cook until tender. I gently turned the greens around in the pan to help them wilt.
-Transfer contents of skillet into food processor or blender. Add the yogurt & process until smooth. (can be made a day ahead at this point)
-Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet. Fry the paneer in batches, turning over once or twice, until they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
-Transfer the greens mixture back to the skillet. Add paneer & simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until hot. Serve hot with rice. **I served with naan.

This was so delicious. The only thing that went wrong was that I think I reheated it too hot, too quickly, as the dish lost it's creaminess, and the yogurt seemed to curdle and separate a little. It didn't look bad, and it tasted just fine. I'm my own worst critic when it comes to my cooking, so I was pretty bummed that it turned out this way. Oh well. I will be making this dish again, so maybe next time I can keep it nice and creamy looking. Hit with the husband, so so with the tot.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Roasted Beet Salad

To make the beets, roast a single layer of beets in a pan with olive oil, salt & pepper, and cover with foil, at 350 degrees F, for 40 minutes, or until tender and skin rubs off easily. When the beets are cool enough to handle, rub the skins off with a towel. Allow to cool. When cooled, cut into desired shape; I cut into wedges.

The beets were dressed with a creamy sherry vinaigrette, with toasted pecans, and goat cheese. I didn't have shallots or chives, but I would definitely add those!

Ideally, the pecans should be toasted in a single layer in an oven for even toasting. I toasted them on the stove, and ended up with uneven toasting. At least I saved them before they were burned.

Creamy Sherry Vinaigrette:
dijon mustard
sherry vinegar
extra virgin olive oil

Smoked Salmon Chowder

I made this last week & forgot to post, so hopefully I can remember what I did.

1T butter
1T flour
**I sort of made a roux, but I'm not sure I really needed this part. I figured since I was using butter, I might as well add a little flour. There was so little added, I'm not sure it made a difference.
1 each chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 small head brocoli chopped, stems included
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 can whole kernel corn
6 oz smoked salmon
2 cups cream
water as needed
salt & pepper
nice vinegar of choice; I used banyuls; approximately 1/4 cup

*sweat onions, carrots, & celery in butter until onions are translucent (I like to season with some salt and pepper at this time)
*add flour, and cook for approx. 1 minute
*brocoli and potatoes, and just enough water to cover
*bring to a boil
*add corn, salmon, cream, and allow to cook until potatoes are tender and soup is thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning, and finish with vinegar to round out the flavor but not make it tart. You shouldn't even really notice the flavor of the vinegar.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Ahhhh...lovely orzo. I often forget how much I enjoy eating orzo. Shaped like a large grain of rice, it is such a fun pasta. I must cook it more often. But, I also remembered today why I don't.

I suppose I don't have to do what I do when I make an orzo dish, but if I did any different, I wouldn't feel quite right. What do I do? Orzo, is small. Therefore, I cut my vegetables small. And, by small, I mean tiny. It isn't difficult to do, just time consuming. Especially with a 19 month old who wants to pull up a stool and stand right next to you while you are chopping away with a 10 inch (sharp) chef's knife.

Here's the salad we had for dinner:
*dice the following items to approximately 1/4 inch - carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini
*finely dice shallots
*chop garlic; however you feel like it, but pretty small
*chop basil
*cook orzo pasta until done, & toss in plenty of olive oil; set aside to cool (I spread it out on sheet trays in a thin layer for faster cooling, but I don't think it was necessary)
*cook mushrooms in olive oil, adding garlic & shallots at the end for one minute
*sweat carrots and celery in olive oil, add zucchini and cook until desired tenderness
*combine orzo, mushrooms, & vegetable mixture in a bowl and toss well to mix everything up evenly. Season with salt, pepper, a little vinegar (I used plain red wine vinegar cuz it's what I had, but would've preferred something like sherry vinegar), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
*fold in chopped basil
*chill until ready to serve, or serve at room temperature

This was yummy. I think it needed more vinegar, but David thought it was just fine. It would've been fun to add some little nugs of goat cheese & maybe some cherry tomatoes, but I had neither available.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Refrigerator and Cherries

My excuse for not posting recently is that our fridge has been on the fritz for a couple of weeks, making it difficult to go grocery shopping, thus having very little in the house to actually cook. But, of course, that's just an excuse, because I can honestly come up with plenty of stuff to make that would require no refrigeration. I could even make some sort of meat, if I really tried. But, I used the fridge as an excuse to cook less because of my second excuse not to cook: our kitchen has been too darn hot. It really has been. A couple months out of the year, we actually get hot enough here that it makes cooking in my kitchen unbearable. And, then there's my 3rd excuse: my 18 month old toddler. Some days, he makes it very difficult to get any cooking done. But, again, all excuses. Truth is, I haven't felt much like it lately. But, every few days, I guilt myself into doing it, and then I slack on posting about it.

Here's what I can remember that I've made recently:
-Thai red curry; forgo the light coconut milk & go for the good stuff! Red curry paste, a little goes a long way. If there's no kaffir lime leaves for lemongrass, rice wine vinegar does the trick.
-collard greens
And, several other things that I've posted about before, like pasta puttanesca...

Cherries: I discovered the "van" cherry today at the farmers' market. I didn't take note of the farm. These cherries are a little darker, a little stumpier, and maybe slightly smaller than the bing cherries. My best adjective for for this cherry is robust. I like 'em. Rainiers are still my faves.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Delicious Meal by My Friend

I'd like to give credit to my dear friend, Lucy, who cooked us a delicious meal last night. I'm not going to talk about what all she did, but I will talk about what she made.

*champagne chicken
*baked mac n cheese
*sauteed brocoli
*cucumber salad
*brown rice
*mushroom sauce/gravy

I've got to get her mac n cheese and the champagne chicken recipes. Vincent LOVED the chicken. I'm not sure if it was hunger, a need for protein, or what, but he couldn't get enough of it. I'm gonna say it was because it was so tasty!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato - YUM!

*bacon - Thundering Hooves; cooked in the oven on 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, and then I got impatient and turned up the heat to 400, because it was barely cooking. I think it stayed in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. I just kept checking on it until it looked about how I wanted it.

*lettuce - butter lettuce from Oxbow Farm (probably freshly picked today!)

*sliced avocado & tomato (beefsteak) - from Madison Market & probably from somewhere in California; at least they're organic

*toast - sliced, buttered, toasted Como from Grand Central Bakery

*side of Annie's Organic Mac n Cheese

B.L.A.T.s were AWESOME! I think the bread was a little crusty on the edges. It would've been great with Macrina Bakery's potato bread, but I wasn't near any place that carries it when I went shopping.

Grilled Lamb Chops

A day late...

Last night we had grilled lamb chops from Thundering Hooves. So good.

*lamb chops - a few hours ahead of time: s&p, crushed garlic cloves, rosemary sprig

*sauteed mess o' greens - rainbow chard, beet greens, dino kale (yes, all from good ol' Oxbow),
-sweat sliced garlic and sliced shallots in olive oil, deglaze with white wine (I only had Lillet on hand, but that worked the same), add kale & let wilt down for a couple of minutes. Then add remaining greens, and a little water. Season to taste...and then season some more.

*steamed broccoli - I had small head from Oxbow that I cut up and cooked just for Vincent. It only made about a half cup, but he'll eat that over the greens.

The lamb chops were grilled to perfection by David and a HUGE hit with Vincent. Here's proof :

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Backyard Lunch

It was HOT today! I think it got up into the 90s, which is rare here. We decided to enjoy our lunch out in our very own backyard (in the shade).

So, what was on the menu? We had tamales (OMG, I totally blanked on what those were called for 30 seconds!!!), salad, raw carrots & sugar snap peas with almond butter, and roasted beets.

*chile & cheese tamales from Patty Pan Grill, purchased at the MLK/Union farmers' market.

*salad - chopped heart of romaine & baby bib lettuce, with pinenuts, and that Black Creek Buttery cheese from Estrella Family Creamery we had the other night, dressed in another one of Drew's All Natural dressings (I'm feeling too lazy to walk to the fridge to find the exact name off the bottle).

*raw baby carrots & sugar snap peas with almond butter - it is exactly as it sounds. I put out a few carrots and a few peas with a little dish of almond butter for dipping. That's pretty much all Vincent cared about for lunch (the almond butter, not the carrots or peas).

*roasted red baby beets - roasted with olive oil, s & p, peeled, chilled and eaten whole (the beet greens were eaten up a few nights ago).

Like I said, Vincent mostly liked the almond butter. He did take a few (tiny) bites of carrot, had half a tamale (which is the first time he actually seemed to like them out of 3 tries), and half of a beet. We, the parental units, loved the meal. All of our delicious veggies for this meal came from, you guessed it, Oxbow Farm!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pasta with wilted greens, Arugula & parsley salad, Roasted carrots

Last night's dinner was a bbq at a certain well known chef friend's house.

Here's tonight's meal:
*pasta - sauteed kale and beet greens with garlic and scallions, all from Oxbow Farm (we have their CSA this summer), and a touch of white wine vinegar, tossed into pasta, and finished with torn pieces of opal basil (from my small plant sitting on the kitchen window). Salted boiling water for the pasta, and salt & pepper for the greens, of course. Did not add anymore seasoning to the final dish.

*puttanesca sauce - from La Pasta, served on the side, to add as desired.

*salad - baby arugula from Willie Green's Organic Farm with whole flat leaf parsley (can't remember the name of the farm), with Black Creek Buttery cheese (see photo) from Estrella Family Creamery, dressed with Drew's All Natural Rosemary Balsamic vinaigrette (the last of our bottle), salt & pepper.
*roasted baby carrots - Also from Oxbow. Salt, pepper, olive oil, wrapped in foil and roasted at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes.

*couple of potato rolls from Essential Baking Co. with EVOO & balsamic vinegar for dipping.

**Given the small amount of basil I used, I could've just omitted it. If I had more, then it may have been a nice addition, but it's hard to say from tonight's meal, since I couldn't taste it at all.

Although the cheese was softer than a parmesan, I felt that it was a nice alternative with it's rich, buttery flavor. The salad could've used some shallots and chives. DOH! I had some shallots I forgot about it, and I had extra scallions. Oh well.

I used a few store bought stuff for this meal, but it was mostly from our local farmers. Even though I bought the rolls at QFC, it's still local.

Everything tasted delicious. I could've gone without the puttanesca, but I had & didn't want it to go to waste.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grilled Beef Kabobs

*Kabobs - Thundering Hooves beef kabobs, zucchini, Vidalia onion, and orange bell pepper; marinated in leftover chimichurri sauce

*Romanesco - Oxbow Farm romanesco blanched in salted water

*Gnocchi - La Pasta gnocchi, drizzled with olive oil

One of the challenges of grilling in our house is timing. By the time David gets home from work, gets the grill going and we start grilling, it's pretty late. Today, I decided to start the grill myself. We use these mesquite briquettes that come in pretty large chunks. I didn't use as much as I see David normally uses, and I had a bit of tough time getting the fire starting. But, in the end, I succeeded, and I'm happy to report that less briquettes worked very well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gnocchi with Puttanesca

*Gnocchi - half of a box bought at MLK/Union farmers' market from La Pasta

*Puttanesca sauce - 1 cup of the sauce bought at same place as gnocchi

*Sauteed sugar snap peas & pea vines - snap peas from Alvarez Farm, pea vines from Oxbow Farm (both organic)
-cleaned peas & sliced them in half lengthwise
-picked leaves off vines, leaving the top tendrils attached, but discarding tougher bottom stems
-placed peas in one layer in saute pan, added water to cover 3/4 of the way up the side of the peas; olive oil, S&P; covered and cooked on high for a couple minutes until most of water evaporates. Added pea vines and sauteed another minute. Added a nug of herb butter.

Although my peas and pea vines tasted great, I was disappointed in how overcooked I let them get. I thought that adding enough water to cover 3/4 of the way up was too much. I think about 1/4 of the way, and add more water as needed, or cooking with the lid off. It was quite delicious nonetheless. And, the puttanesca was better that it was the first time I had it, and it was great with the gnocchi. Oh, and I finished the gnocchi/puttanesca dish with chopped parsley.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Carne Asada #1

*carne asada beef - this was purchased from Thundering Hooves; already thinly sliced pieces
-lime juice
-garlic, sliced
(allow to marinate for a couple of hours)
-grill (I used the George Foreman, which doesn't produce as nice of a result/flavor, but we didn't have time to fire up the charcoal grill)
-chopped meat into bite sized pieces (1/4" diced)

*Box of Spanish rice - follow instructions on the box

*Rice wraps (bought at Madison Market)

-scallions, minced
-parsley, minced
**can add any other herbs on hand
-extra virgin olive oil
-smoked paprika

**extras - sour cream, chopped romaine lettuce

Wrap everything up in a rice wrap and enjoy!