Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bulgogi: Korean Stirfry

I picked up some pork stir-fry from Skagit River Ranch at the Ballard Farmers Market last week, along with their recipe for Bulgogi (Korean Stirfry). I marinated it two nights ago and then cooked it last night. It's hard not to love a main course recipe that literally says "the meat should not need to cook for more than 1 minute"! I made a batch of white rice (Niko Niko Calrose Rice is the only way to go) and some of my uncle's asparagus. (I blanched asparagus and then used half for the stir-fry and half for my uncle's recipe. Definitely not necessary to have it both ways but I'm crazy like that.) Super easy dinner.

I recommend doing 1.5 or 2 times the recipe so you have leftovers.

Bulgogi (Korean Stirfry)

Adapted from Skagit River Ranch
1lb thinly sliced pork or beef stir-fry meat, cut into 2" x 1/2" strips (I used pork)
1 T peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 bunch asparagus

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T mirin or sherry (I used sherry)
3 T sugar or honey (I used honey)
1 t salt
1 bunch green onion, chopped into 1" pieces
6 cloves garlic, minced

Place all the ingredients for marinade in a large ziploc. Add the meat and moosh around in your hands. Marinate for at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight (I refrigerated overnight) making sure to moosh it around every so often (my own weird habit).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 1 minute 45 seconds. Transfer immediately to an ice bath. Once cooled, drain and cut into 2" spears on the diagonal. This can be done the night before, then stored in the fridge overnight.

Bring meat to room temperature. Mix in mini asparagus spears. Heat a large wok over medium-high heat (I used a large All Clad saute pan because I haven't seasoned my new Mother's Day wok yet). Heat oil, then add the meat until it is nicely browned. Be careful not to overcook. The meat should not need to cook for more than 1 minute. Depending on the size and shape of your pan, you may need to cook the meat in batches to avoid overcooking. You want to stir-fry the meat - quickly, over high heat to brown it and lock in the moisture. If you overcrowd or overcook the meat, it will get chewy and/or dry. I overcrowded my pan and it ended up steaming instead of browning. I now know better for next time.
Serves 2-3

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Broiled Salmon in Parchment Paper

My friend Stephanie gave me this recipe over five years ago for Broiled Salmon in Parchment Paper. I still remember sitting at her dining room table when she pulled these little parchment pockets out of the oven and unveiled beautiful fillets of perfectly cooked salmon. I've been making it ever since.

Broiled Salmon in Parchment Paper

1 lb salmon fillet, rinsed and cut into two pieces
2 lemons
2 T butter
few sprigs dill (my addition, optional)
salt & pepper
parchment paper

Turn oven to broil.

Lay out two pieces of parchment paper. Set one fillet on each piece. Squeeze a quarter of a lemon over each piece. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the springs of dill on the fillet (if using). Thinly slice the butter and lay on top of the dill, then top with slices of lemon. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and fold the edges to create a little pocket. You don't want the air to get out so it will steam the fish. Place parchment pockets on a cookie sheet and into the oven for 10-12 minutes. Transfer fish to a plate and pour liquid from parchment pocket over the top.

Sur La Table Sale


I stopped into Sur la Table today and was delighted to see they were having a huge sale. I love all the melamine outdoor dinnerware they marked down. Perfect for summer entertaining. Also on sale are their basic Italian whiteware serving platters which come in so handy for dinner parties big or small. I couldn't resist the fleur de lys ceramic oval platter for $20. Deal of the day! Lots of good stuff on sale in the store and online.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Little Puffs of Heaven


My sister-in-law recently introduced me to Popchips and now I'm completely addicted. I'm averaging a bag a day. And from the sounds of it, these little puffs of heaven are sweeping the nation. I love original flavor but salt & pepper really rocked my world today when I tried them. Going back for those tomorrow plus some sea salt & vinegar. What a healthy alternative to unhealthy chips and just as good, if not better!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Die

. .
I love this room and I ADORE the monogrammed pillows on this bed. How fun to do each person's own initials versus your combined monogram. So fun and different. I have never seen this done. I couldn't love it more.

Courtesy of Elle Decor via Habitually Chic.


Good Article from WSJ: Having a Cow About Steak


One of my favorite vendors at the Ballard farmer's market, Skagit River Ranch, has been putting out samples of their beef patties and pork sausages lately. It's all so SO good. Today I asked Eiko, one of the owners, how she seasons the beef patties and she said it's more about the quality of their grass-fed meat than the seasoning. She does use a bit of seasoning that they sell at the market but she was very clear that it has to do with the cattle they raise.
She handed over a print-out of the Wall Street Journal article, Having a Cow About Steak Quality addressing how "mass output and U.S. rules have diminished flavor".
You know I love sharing these kinds of articles so I couldn't resist.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Culture of Excess

I enjoyed the article "Dysregulation Nation" about our culture of excess and our "treadmill existence". Quite interesting and a bit disturbing. As a parent, scared for my children growing up in today's world, I like little reminders like this about the effects of our behavior as a society.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bar Method: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...


The other day I was taking a Bar Method class and while deep in the burn of one of the exercises, I escaped to a happy place. A place where I thought of all the reasons I come to this class and how much I love it, despite the burn. Here are some of the reasons that crossed my mind while I was going "up an inch" and "down an inch". If you heart Bar like I heart Bar, let me know if I missed anything.

1. You get a kick-ass workout but you never really sweat.

2. I'm always sore the next day, and if I really work hard, I'm usually sore within hours!

3. I'm developing muscles I didn't know I had.

4. Bar Method tones you without bulking you up like weight training often does.

5. I love all the stretching. It feels so good to stretch after working a muscle so hard. I never stretch on my own and you can just feel the difference once you start doing it regularly.

6. It has improved my posture.

7. Bar Method is good for all ages. Whether you're 16, 60 or somewhere in-between, you will get something from this class.

8. Bar Method is good for all body types. Whether you're skinny, fat, or "skinny-fat", you will get results in this class (whether it's losing inches or toning up).

9. Bar Method is good for all skill levels. Whether you're athletic or out of shape, and no matter you're exercise experience, you can get a lot from this class.

10. There is a certain camaraderie that comes with the pain and suffering. We're in it together! Everyone is happy and friendly at Bar Method.

11. You don't risk an injury. They are very specific about body alignment to avoid excess or incorrect weight on any joints.

12. Similar to yoga, everyone is at their own level and going for their own personal best. No need to keep up with the person near you or do the advanced version before you're ready.

13. Since you don't really sweat, you don't have to run home and shower like a traditional class and I never get red faced like I do after a cardio workout.

14. The studio feels so clean. You don't leave with that "ick" feeling like so many gyms or clubs.

15. The teachers adjust your form during class if you're not in the right position. Sometimes they'll move your leg a few inches and it will completely change the exercise. I love this about Bar. If you're going to take the time and spend the money to do a class, don't you want to do the moves properly so you can get the most out of it? Never take offense. They are only doing it to help you, and you will thank them later!

16. The teachers also give a lot of positive feedback which helps you not give up when you're feeling like you can't go on for one more second. Anytime I'm trying to step it up to the advance version of a move, they notice and cheer me on.

17. And for Seattleites thinking about taking a class in Redmond... I love my teachers Bev & Maika. They are so friendly, positive and encouraging.

Now go find your closest Bar class and get going.... tuck, tuck, tuck, tuck....

Choking Cont.

Just when I started to ease up from the last article about a child choking (on popcorn), there was a little girl who died this week from choking on a grape (read article here). Such a terrible accident.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Spice-Rubbed Salmon


After three weeks of Olive Oil Poached Salmon, it was time for a new preparation for my weekly fish night. My friend Marly said she and her mom made an amazing new salmon recipe using a homemade rub. I tried it this week and it was a hit. Combine a really fresh piece of salmon with this rub and you will be amazed at the flavor. I loved the golden crust that formed on top, and it was perfectly matched with the delicate, fresh flavor of the fish. I followed the directions to the minute and it was cooked to perfection (not an easy thing to do with fish as I generally over or undercook it). The flavor was actually quite different than I expected and had a teensy bit of a Cajun flare. Now that I know what to expect, I might serve it with something that complements that Cajuny flavor a little better (ideas?). If you want to mix it up a bit, give this recipe a try. I really liked it.
Notes: You let the fish marinate for one hour so don't wait until dinnertime to start prepping. I had four fillets so I doubled the recipe for the rub. Recipe calls for a mortar and pestle or herb-grinder. I just use a coffee bean grinder that I have for black peppercorns. Worked like a charm.

Spice-Rubbed Salmon
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 salmon fillets, each 6-8oz with skin intact, pin bones removed
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
Heat a small fry pan over medium-high heat. Put coriander, cumin and fennel seeds in pan; toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Grind spices in a spice grinder or in a mortar with a pestle. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in brown sugar and salt.

Place salmon, skin side down, on a plate; rub top of each fillet with spice mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking Place salmon, skin side up , in pan and sear 2 minutes. Carefully turn salmon over and transfer pan to oven. Cook until fish is golden brown underneath and flesh is opaque throughout, 5-6 minutes. Transfer salmon to warmed plates and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Take Me Quickly


I was really moved by the article, "What Broke My Father’s Heart". I found it all so upsetting. I was heartbroken for the author's mom and found myself scared for my parent's old-age, as well as my own. I cringe at the thought of my husband having to take care of me in this way. I would never want that for him. This article also sheds light on, and is an appalling reminder of, how broken our health care system is.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's All Good

While you're at it, here's another interesting article to read:

Raising Girls

No surpirse but worth sharing...

"...sexualizing little girls - whether through images, music or play - actually undermines healthy sexuality rather than promoting it."

From an interesting article "Playing at Sexy"

More Bags to Drool Over

Visit Kirma Eliazov to see more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

It's the Little Things

Words cannot describe how excited I am to have a new laundry basket. This blue collapsible rectangular tote from Storables is the perfect hamper and the perfect replacement for the enormous wicker basket I inherited when I moved into my husband's bachelor pad. His hamper is so enormous that when full, I cannot carry it up or down the stairs. So annoying. This little navy beauty is a dream come true with it's size, shape, and handles. It also forces me to do laundry more often so I don't end up on Sunday with twelve loads ahead of me. This little hamper makes me happy.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Farmers Market Shopper Alert

Check out these 10 reusable shopping bags, courtesy of Saveur's latest issue, The Market Issue. And if you're headed to the farmer's market, do what I do... use a baby stroller with no baby. Why carry heavy bags of produce around the market if you can push a stroller piled high and have your arms free to shop and snack?!

Fashion Icon: Alexa Chung


I love the style of fashion icon Alexa Chung. See her "Today I'm Wearing" spread here, plus a huge gallery of photos here (note there are quite a few pages).


Monday, June 14, 2010

I Love

My friend Courtney just got this Meredith Wendell bag and it is RAD. I was drooling over it today when she showed me. I love how bright and different it is. The perfect bag for summer nights, wearing a bright floral dress, or to add a big splash of color to your (my!) black and white wardrobe. A girl does need a little color from time to time. I drool.

P.S. Lots of bags on sale!

Bravo Fans Read Here

I don't deny, I'm a sucker for a good Bravo reality TV show. If you also indulge in this madness (like the latest Real Housewives of New York train-wreck of a season), read the NYTs article We’ll Make You a Star (if the Web Agrees). It's interesting to read about how Bravo's reality TV shows, their story lines, coverage, and "Bravolebrities" came to be.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Organic Cafe in Seattle

You don't have to be a vegetarian to love Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe. I'm such a fan. I just got back from eating lunch there and am obsessed with their lentil burger. Whoever thought I'd be ordering a lentil burger but man it was good. And so flavorful. I also had some of the artichoke melt which is always a hit. And one of my favorite drinks ever is their flu buster. I crave it on cold gloomy days (so yes, all the time here in Seattle). Other things to try while you're there... the blue green blast smoothie and their zucchini ginger muffins. Delish!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemons and Green Olives


My friend Tara bought me this jar of Preserved Meyer Lemons from Amy Pennigton, author of Go Go Green Garden blog and the new cookbook Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen. I love. Such a pretty presentation and how exciting to have a new homemade specialty item to try. I always shy away from recipes with preserved meyer lemons (odd, I know) and now I have a reason to try them. Tonight I made a variation of a recipe I found on Epicurious for Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Meyer Lemons and Green Olives. I went to PFI and bought some fantastic pitted green olives for the dish. I served with cous cous and broccoli (boiled for 2 or 3 minutes, then seasoned with butter and chicken bouillon). It was light and flavorful. I will definitely make it again.

Do you have any great recipes calling for preserved meyer lemons? If so, please share. I'm antsy to keep using these while they're good.
Moroccan Chicken w/ Preserved Meyer Lemons & Green Olives
Adapted from Epicurious
4 chicken legs, cut apart into drumsticks and thighs (or 6 thighs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6-8 pieces preserved Meyer lemons (1 1/2 or 2 lemons)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups pitted green olives, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Scrape pulp from preserved lemon, reserving for another use. Cut rind into thin strips and set aside.

Pat chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm, covered.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and reduce heat to moderate. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes (I threw in a little butter too since a little butter never hurt a recipe). Add turmeric and pepper and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Add wine and deglaze pan, scraping up brown bits. Add broth and bring to a quick boil. Add strips of preserved lemon and olives.
Return chicken to the pan, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Cover and braise chicken until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Check seasoning. (I added a little squeeze of lemon juice.)
Serve chicken over cous cous. Then spoon sauce over the top of the chicken and sprinkle with cilantro.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Entertaining

I found these great Ikat placemats and napkins at Anthropologie this weekend. Great for an outdoor dinner party. Pair with their pink fleur-de-lys glasses and white plates. Finish with a beautiful bouquet of flowers using colors from the Ikat pattern. I would love to see that table come together.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Where, oh where, have these been all my life?

Seriously, I'm ordering one of these calligraphy return address stamps immediately. I love! (Found via Swiss Miss.)

Naughty Little Snack

After eating a healthy lunch the other day (olive oil poached salmon salad), I needed something sweet and naughty. But what to do with no chocolate in the house? Ah-yes, a strawberry-nutella panini inspired by the one at Volunteer Park Cafe.
Strawberry-Nutella Panini
Good loaf of fresh white bread (I used a Giuseppe loaf from Macrina Bakery)
Strawberries, sliced and cut in half
Slice bread into 1/2" or 1" slices. Butter one side of each slice for the outside. Spread nutella on the other side of the bread. Top one slice (nutella side up) with strawberries and then finish with the other slice of bread (nutella side down). Place on a pre-heated panini press on medium heat for a few minutes. Slice in half and enjoy. (Great with coffee.)

Lunch in 5

I needed a quick lunch yesterday but wasn't in a PB&J kind of mood (let's be honest, I never am). So while at PCC, I picked up some falafel and lemon tahini dressing. I came home and pan-fried the falafel for a few minutes and re-heated some leftover broccoli. Threw it all in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon and voila, a delicious lunch in 5 minutes.
Do you have any quick non-PB&J lunches that you love? Please share with us!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chicken in the fridge and no inspiration...


I called my friend Lynne last night for some chicken inspiration and she threw out panko. I tracked down this recipe for Garlic Panko Chicken Strips and voila, a new favorite. Easy and delicious. I made two chicken breasts and it was gone lickety split. Next time I will make four and have leftovers.
It was great as is, but my husband started dipping his in chili garlic sauce (Huy Fong Foods brand) and once I started, I couldn't stop. Next time I will serve it with the chili garlic sauce, white rice and buttered broccoli.

Toxic America


Tune into CNN's upcoming specials Toxic America and Toxic Childhood, airing Wednesday and Thursday night respectively. Read more about it via Huffington Post or watch this video clip of Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Did you know that as many as 200 chemicals are found in the umbilical cord blood of newborns?
Did you know that federal policy is to consider chemicals "innocent until proven guilty". It can take decades for science to prove that something is harmful so we're potentially exposing ourselves to a lot of chemicals that will one day be found to be quite harmful.
Did you know that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air?
Did you know that new furniture can off-gas formaldehyde which is toxic to humans and the environment?
Did you know that breast-milk contains pesticides, dioxins, fire-retardents, toxic metals, phthalates and other toxic chemicals?
Watch the CNN specials to learn more!

Look I Love

I love the look of black tights and shorts (Kate and Keira-style, but not so much Katie Holmes)...


and NO...

Perfect Presentation

I'm inspired by this rustic Italian martini bar and dinner spread courtesy of the incredibly talented gals at Sunday Suppers. I wish I had a talent for presentation like them (and cooking, and photography, and creativity). Those gals rock!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Another Reason to Try: Olive Oil Poached Salmon

I woke up salivating. I couldn't wait for lunch. I was so excited to eat the rest of my olive oil poached salmon and asparagus. I threw together a quick vinaigrette and tossed it with some butter lettuce from the farmers market. I put the salad greens on a plate, topped it with the salmon and asparagus, and sprinkled with some leftover minced chives. It was light, refreshing and oh so good. It also looked really pretty and felt much fancier than most of the things I cook. It would make a great salad for a plated lunch (bridal shower, baby shower, lunch with friends on a hot summer day, you name it).