Monday, May 31, 2010

The Power of Women

My friend Johnny loaned me the documentary Pray The Devil Back To Hell which "tells the extraordinary story of a group of Liberian women who banded together to end their nation's second bloody civil war." Read more about the documentary via NPR's interview with one of the women. Definitely worth renting if you're a fan of documentaries.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon


I came across the blog Fish & Veggies by way of my new favorite daily read, Apron Anxiety. I figured, if Alyssa likes this blog, I might too so I took a quick look. I came across this post about olive oil poached salmon that intrigued me. So off I went to learn more. I found two other recipes because come on, you should know me by now, I can't follow just one recipe for a new dish. Three minimum actually (it's a crazy mind I live in!). I found a recipe from the New York Times and one from Serious Eats. I'm sure there are more elaborate and fussy recipes but I wanted to start with the basics. I bought a beautiful fillet of red King Salmon from Wilson Fish at the market yesterday and in the hour since my last post I have prepped, cooked and eaten the most delicious fillet of olive oil poached salmon with asparagus. It was fantastic. I combined the recipes as always and came up with this version. The salmon was so moist and perfectly cooked.

Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Asparagus

10 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
2-4 cups olive oil, enough to cover fish so it depends how large your pot is and how much fish you have
1.25 pounds salmon fillet, room temperature, skinned and cut into 3 pieces
1 lemon
Salt and black pepper to taste
Minced chives
1 bunch asparagus

In a small sauce pan, combine olive oil, garlic and thyme. Peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler, removing only the yellow part, in strips and add to oil.

Heat oil over medium-low heat until it reaches 180 degrees or has tiny bubbles rising occasionally. While you wait, season fish on both sides with salt and pepper.

Add fish and make sure it is covered with oil. (I had to add a little more oil.)

Cook fish for roughly 10 minutes. (The other recipes called for longer but my pieces weren't that large. Plus, better to pull it out too early than too late. I pulled mine when the inside was still a bit rare which I recommend too.)

While you wait, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon or two of salt, then add asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the water and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Cut asparagus on the diagonal into 1-2" pieces. Return to pan and spoon a little of the oil from the cooking salmon to that pan. Squeeze half a lemon over asparagus and re-heat.

Remove salmon to a plate lined with paper towels, let drain. Place on serving platter and surround with asparagus. Sprinkle with chives, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.



I made Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Scrambled Egg Toast this morning and it was delicious. I couldn't agree with her more about scrambled eggs and how anything less than perfect (and piping hot) scrambled eggs are not even worth eating, even if that means you only eat the ones you cook yourself. I have always slow cooked mine, Ina-style (low heat, stir constantly, remove before fully cooked and add butter). I have to say Smitten's recipe rivals Ina's. And piled high on the delicious goat cheese toast with chives... Heeeeeeeaven!

Domestic Detox and a Few More Things to Worry About

I just read the article Domestic Detox: Extreme Home Cleaning. Yikes.
I can only allow myself to worry about so much though. I think I'll continue to worry about the cell phones and a short list of other potential killers and ignore the rest. I just can't take it all on or I'll lose my sanity.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Rumor has it the lasagne from Jamie Oliver's new cookbook, Jamie's Food Revolution, is amazing. My friend Nicole's brother said it's "the best he's ever had". That's all I needed to hear. I'm making it this week.

I'm intrigued by this recipe since there's no mozzarella whatsoever. But anything with 2 cups of creme fraiche has got to be delicious.

Recipe available online via Jenny Loves Food. Cookbook on sale at Costco.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fashionista: Melanie Huynh

I love the look of French stylist, Melanie Huynh. Even though these photos are from December 2008, they are still fantastic looks a year and a half later. Oh to have such a knack for fashion, and a career in it to boot. Photos courtesy of Crystal Baller.

Braised Chicken & Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato & Green Olives

My friend Ali told me about Pacific Food Importers (PFI) and all the great specialty items she gets there - cheese, meat, olives, sauces, noodles and much much more. She specifically told me about a jar of Greek style eggplant that she uses for a quick and easy braised chicken and pasta dinner. Sold. I was there by week's end.

I made this dinner on Wednesday and loved it. My sister was over and loved it. The next day, I served leftovers to three friends, and they all loved it. Clearly it was a hit. Thanks Ali!

It's so flavorful, a cinch to prepare and makes fantastic leftovers. After dinner that first night I cut the chicken off the bone and mixed it into the pasta for the next day. It was even better after all the flavors melded overnight.

One thing I loved about PFI was the selection of pastas that you can't find in your typical grocery store. For example, I bought a Greek noodle that's similar to a bucatini or perciatelli noodle (long tubular pasta). I loved them for this dish.

Bon appetit!

Braised Chicken & Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato & Olives

2 chicken breasts, cut in half
2 chicken legs, drumsticks and thighs separated
2 T olive oil
2-3 T minced garlic
1 cup white wine
1 jar Alidoro Greek-style eggplants (PFI is currently out of stock, darn it!)
roughly 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes (smashed with your hand) and the juices too
1 cup green olives, chopped
2 T minced parsley
1 package perciatelli-style noodles (or any other noodle)

Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large braiser over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces for a few minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. Lower heat and remove pan for a second. Add garlic and return to heat (I let the pan cool for a second so the garlic doesn't burn.) Cook garlic for a few minutes over medium heat. Add white wine and stir to deglaze the pan. Cook for a minute or two. Add jar of eggplants, tomatoes, olives and half the parsley. Cook for a few minutes, stirring to combine. Put the chicken back in the pan, turn once or twice to cover with sauce, cover the pan and lower the heat. Cook for 30-60 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and cook noodles until just shy of being done. While noodles are cooking, remove chicken from pan and set aside. Drain noodles and add to the sauce. Finish cooking the noodles in the sauce. Stir to combine and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve alongside the chicken pieces.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Say Cheese!

My sister-in-law got me these Marsh Baby Camera Cards when our little guy was born. If you can remember to pull the card out each month, it's cute to have a series of these photos capturing how your little bambino is changing over the course of their first year. Perfect baby shower gift.

Recharge - the Natural Sports Drink


My friend Tara introduced me to Recharge, the natural sports drink, and now I'm hooked. Like Gatorade, it's refreshing and replenishes the fluids and electrolytes your body needs after working out. But(!) Recharge does it without adding sugar, high fructose corn syrup or unnatural flavors and colors.

"Recharge provides pure, filtered water to keep you hydrated, flavorful fruit juice to encourage gulping, and sea salt to replace the crucial electrolytes lost during exercise. It's the natural solution for today's athlete."
I'm hooked on the Tropical Recharge. Thirst-quenching and just the right amount of sweetness.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bar Method Transformation

Congratulations to my sister-in-law Allison who won the 2010 Seattle-Eastside Bar Method Fitness Transformation Challenge! She really has transformed her body in a very short amount of time and looks amazing. She inspires me to brave the traffic and swallow the expense to hit Bar Method classes and I only wish I could do it more than once or twice a week. While I can't see my deltoids, I can definitely tell a difference in my ass. Bar Method can't perform miracles so I'm still struggling with gravity, but for the first time in my entire life, I can clench my cheeks and there's a solid muscle in there. It's the craziest thing to feel that for the first time in 35 years.

Here's Allison's testimonial letter to the Seattle Eastside Bar Method team (Bev, Luke and Maika). It's so inspiring...

After two pregnancies within two and a half years (during which I gained 40 pounds each time!), I knew it was time to find a new exercise regime to "kick start" getting me back to my old self. My intent was to try Bar Method in the hopes that it would ease me back into the hardcore running and weight lifting I had always done prior to having my kids. So to Redmond I went and boy was it interesting. The first class I attended, which was on the studio's opening day and taught by Burr Leonard the founder of The Bar Method, is a blur to me now. What was all of this stretching and flexing of the foot? What was this tuck? Why were my thighs quivering, why did it seem so hard to move my leg only an inch during seat work and what in the heck were kickstand curls??? I may have left class feeling confused about the moves I just did, after all they are so different than the aerobics classes of the 90's and even early 2000's, but my body sure felt like I had really done something challenging. From there I was hooked.....

After a few weeks of class I started to see my tummy tightening up a bit, my thighs appeared leaner and stronger and my seat was beginning to "lift". Any new Mom knows that the beloved spare tire that child birth leaves you with is very very difficult to get rid of and here it was starting to disappear. I decided that this wasn't going to be a program to "kick start" getting me back to my old routine, but rather going to takeover as the only program I would need to get myself not only back into the shape I was once in, but maybe even tackle some of my troubled areas that have never been affected by lifting heavy weights and/or doing cardio - namely arm definition. My confidence was growing as I felt I was getting stronger in class, attempting some of the more advanced positions/options and learning to love hearing Bev call my name accompanied with the order to "relax your shoulders". J I started with 2 classes a week, but quickly begin wanting to attend more ultimately settling on 4-5 classes per week. The results at 4-5 days really blew my mind. I now crave the release I get from the hour workout and the muscle fatigue I feel after each class! The long and short of it, it really works. Not only has my body changed tremendously (I now can fit into clothing that I haven't worn since before I was pregnant over 3 years ago), but I also see my classmates transforming and gaining the same confidence that I feel too. And guess what, I can actually see my deltoids!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!

So, it is obvious I feel a connection both in body and spirit to The Bar Method and am thrilled at the results I am seeing. The icing on the cake is the camaraderie, support and love I feel for the group of people I take with, and for my incredible teachers Bev and Maika. I can't thank them enough for making each day so enjoyable as we tuck, go lower in thigh and curl together day after day. It adds an element to the program that is un-talked about when discussing why a workout "works" for a person. My new found friends keep me looking forward to each class and that is an important factor in making sure that I stick with a program long term. I have met an incredible group of women that I hope are in my life for many many years to come!!

Bev. Luke and Maika - you have changed my life, and many others, in so many positive ways. I am forever grateful for your dedication to all of us students and your tenacity and drive to keep The Bar Method at such a high level. I feel better than I have in years and am continually amazed at my transformation and that of those around me. THANK YOU for everything you do!!! You are stuck with me for the long haul, I am hooked for life!!!

(Nerdy) Quote for the Day

I think about this quote a lot when I'm trying to accomplish something and feeling unable...

"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right!"
- Henry Ford

Choking 101

Did you know that choking continues to be one of the leading causes of death for children under age four or five? I did not. Yikes.

The article Labels Urged for Food That Can Choke is a good reminder that you can never be too careful. I've always been a Nazi about cutting up my daughter's grapes and slicing her carrots and hot dogs since I heard they were some of the worst choking hazards. We give her popcorn and nuts all the time though and often times we aren't even in the same room together (not that it matters since so many parents were "right there". Something to reconsider clearly.

The worst food choking hazards are:

whole grapes
peanuts and other nuts
hard candy and chewing gum
hard foods, including raw vegetables
soft foods, such as large cubes of cheese, caramels, etc.
chewy foods, such as thick spoonfuls of peanut butter
uncut hot dogs

Visit Baby Center for a reminder on Infant First Aid for Choking and CPR.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Feminine Mistake?

I found this (old) article The Feminine Mistake to be quite interesting. The book The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? might be worth reading. Right after I apply for a job.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cell Phones & Cancer


While in LA, we got together with some friends, one of whom is a doctor. She mentioned that she just treated and ordered an MRI for a 24-year-old mother-of-two who has a huge brain tumor (5" in diameter). This spawned a lengthy conversation about why so many young people are getting brain tumors. We were all in agreement that some, if not all, of the cause must be cell phones. My other friend alleged that "cell phones will be the cigarettes of our time". I fear she's right.

I sure hope we're wrong considering how many hours I've clocked talking on my cell phone in the last 10 years. Ay Caramba!

That night I lay awake trying to think of how I could survive without my phone. Could I only use it for email and texting? Could I only use it if running late, and never for casual conversation? Could I get rid of it entirely? I decided I'd just be more strict with myself on how often I use it, and that I'd only use my home phone when I'm at home. No excuses. Well...

Last night I tuned into Larry King and what do you know, the topic is whether or not cell phones cause cancer. I only caught a few minutes of the show (and haven't yet read the transcripts entirely) but I did hear one guest say that the most recent study by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, whose research was inconclusive, studied individuals whose average cell phone use was 2 hours per month. I want to know the effects of talking 2 hours per day, because yes(!), I am guilty of this. Between daily calls to my mom and husband, basic household calls and catching up with friends, yes, I'm guilty of an obscene amount of minutes. And no, I don't use a head-set or blue-tooth so I'm really in trouble. They also mentioned on the Larry King special that cordless phones could pose an even greater risk which now ruins my whole game-plan for how to get away from the cell phone. Double Ay Caramba!

Enter, old school land-line or rotary phone. The one with the long-ass cord that'll stretch across the kitchen. What will be the end of me first? A brain tumor or my sanity?

Now I'm not the best one to listen to (clearly), because I'm scared of everything... pesticides, genetically modified foods, PVCs, phthalates, parabens, BPA, mercury in fish, antibiotics being over-used on people and our food supply, the list goes on and on. But getting a brain tumor because I talk on the cell phone excessively is the new fear-of-choice to keep me up at night. Sweet dreams! I hope yours are much sweeter than mine.

A few interesting articles:
Mobile phones 'more dangerous than smoking'

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Coma

Well we've been here for roughly 24 hours and have already conquered three impressive meals. Dinner at Lucques last night was out of this world. I think it's safe to say I had the best fish I've ever had in my life. I begged my husband to go back tomorrow night but he's not crazy like me and said no way. This morning, we woke, hung over, and went straight to La Abeja for some life-changing huevos rancheros. My God they were good. The owner said we're the third couple to come in from Seattle. WHAT? Is someone beating us to the Saveur Tour? As ridiculous as it sounds, we drove straight from La Abeja to Los Cinco Puntos for some carnitas tacos. The deal was we'd split one. The man asked us what toppings we wanted and we told him to make it exactly how he would eat it. So there it was, piled high with seasoned pork, cactus (huh?), guac and HOT! sauce. We had to force ourselves to stop after 2 bites each, knowing we would end up in a food coma if we ate any more. Now a few hours of downtime before we strap on our cha cha shoes and head out for dinner at Osteria Mozza.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Food Crazy

I've never pretended to be anything but crazy when it comes to food. Obsessive, impulsive, compulsive, controlling, passionate, enthusiastic, even a touch grumpy (when I cook something gross or order the wrong thing) are all words that describe my relationship and love affair with food. Which is why my friends don't find it one bit shocking that my husband and I are going to LA to celebrate our anniversary and eat our way through Saveur's LA issue. If people who know me thought that's what our past trips to LA were all about, they ain't seen nothin' yet! The plans are: eat, rest the bellies, eat, rest the bellies, eat, you get it. Here's the current line-up. There are a few other places we would love to hit for breakfast or lunch as well (Urth Caffe, The Fountain Coffee Room) but we'll have to see how things shake out. If you have any favorite LA eateries, please post away! Would love any recommendations on must-eats!

Thursday Dinner

Friday Breakfast

Friday Lunch
Tacos (impossible to know which place to try)

Friday Dinner

Saturday Breakfast

Saturday Dinner
Spago (the veal wiener schnitzel is amazing!)

Sunday Breakfast

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I love the home of Christina and Chris Cuomo featured in Elle Decor and found via Habitually Chic. I could move right in. Aside from maybe swapping out the photos of their fam with mine, I don't think I'd change a thing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Anniversary Gift

My husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary yesterday. It's a bit scary how fast it's flown by. We blinked and here we are with two kids and a third on the way (ha! just kidding!).

We've been together for over 8 years which means we've celebrated 8 birthdays, 8 Christmases, 8 Valentine's Days, 6 wedding anniversaries, and 2 Father's Days. That's a lot of clever gift buying for a guy who's tough to buy for. He's a golf fanatic so I generally go the golf route... golf clubs, golf bags, golf shoes, golf clothes, golf hats, golf trips, golf lessons. You name it, I've given it.

Well walking downtown Seattle one day, fresh out of gift ideas, I came upon the Moore & Giles traveling trunk show on their customized Airsteam. The outside of the bus was dangling with the most handsome leather bags. I loved how masculine they were and that the style of leather just gets better with age. So I got my husband a Moore & Giles travel bag to celebrate many more years of traveling together. He loved the gift and will put it to use this weekend as we head down to LA to celebrate our anniversary eat our way through Saveur's LA issue.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I die...


My friend Therese introduced me to Shamballa Jewels and their amazing bracelets. There are so many bad-ass bracelets on the website. I love so many of them and would happily stack a few on my wrist (after I rob a bank to pay for them).

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Get 'em while they're hot!

My sister and brother-in-law introduced us to Sears Famous Pancake Mix from a restaurant they love called Sears Fine Foods in San Francisco. My husband went crazy for the pancakes at their house so they bought him a few bags for his birthday. Well happy birthday to me too. These bad boys are delicious. The batter is quite thin so it took my husband half a dozen times to get it down (he wanted to make them so that was a treat too). First one was a balled up mess, the next few were burned, then slowly, slowly each one was better than the last, until at last... perfection. They were so good, very thin, super light yet fluffy and perfectly golden brown.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Farmer's Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan

It was an exciting day at the market. The guys at Wilson Fish were all smiles selling the first halibut and king salmon of the season caught yesterday off the Washington Coast. I wasn't the only one anxiously awaiting this day as the line was stacking up seconds past 10am. From sea to fork in 24 hours. Talk about fresh fish!

I'm also giddy about it being asparagus season. So giddy, in fact, that I bought one bunch for each day. I can eat an obnoxious amount of asparagus - sometimes three meals a day... with scrambled eggs for breakfast, leftovers from the night before for lunch and a new batch broiled for dinner. You could throw in an asparagus appetizer and I would happily indulge. It's my number one green.

And a few new things this week... white pizza inspired by my sister-in-law and chicken Bahn Mi sandwiches from my friend Tara. Can't wait for those nights.

No meatless night this week. Ught-oh. Something to think about next week.


Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Yogurt Herb Sauce
Garlic & herb bread
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper
Simple salad with goat cheese & pear

Halibut fish tacos
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper

Trying the newly opened, Venetian-inspired cicchetti bar, Bisato

Homemade white pizza - hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, roasted garlic, fontina
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper

Bahn Mi sandwiches with chicken (recipe coming soon)
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper

Chicken Enchiladas