Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Fashion in Action

I don't know if it's my age, my awareness, the trends, or my access to see them via all these fashion blogs, or all of the above, but I'm really excited by fashion in a whole new way this year. Enjoy a bazillion more Tommy Ton photos of fashion in action at the shows in Paris, London, New York and Milan. Some of the shoes are AMAAAAAAAZING!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fashion in Action

I'm dying over the fashion at Milan Fashion Week, shown here by Tommy Ton. So many great looks.

Meri Meri Party


Now that cupcake toppers and garlands are all the rage, why spend your time cutting and gluing when you can buy all your party necessities at Meri Meri. Cute stuff.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dream Home for Sale

One of my most favorite Seattle homes is for sale. If only I had an extra 5 mill laying around, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Click here for the virtual tour.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Keeping Kids Healthy

Interesting article about probiotics and how they can help keep your kids healthy.

"Probiotics: Powerful Prevention?" via Dr. Greene

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Obsessed: September 2010


Here's a quick list of all the things I'm currently obsessed with...

- Seared Halibut Fishwich from Matt's in the Market (minus the rude server, it was amazing).

- Padron pizza (add sausage!) at Delancey. My husband and I jones for this weekly.

- Ginger beer from Rachel at Delancey. An explosion of new flavor to your palate. So refreshing.

- Thai iced coffee from Thai Simple Curry (so good it's worth waking up in the middle of the night from the caffeine).

- Strawberry danish from Cafe Bessalu.

- Coffee from Caffe Fiore.

- Pizza Margherita from Luc.

- Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sweet Onion and Mint from Olaiya Land Catering (recipe in previous post).

Polished Pony

Cute puffy pony Rachey!
Courtesy of Who What Wear.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Spy: New York Fashion Week

My friend Marly works in fashion and marketing so she's been in New York for fashion week. She sent me a quick email yesterday telling me what everyone is wearing. She knows me too well because of course, I'm dying to know. So here you have it...

Short Booties with dresses

Wedge heels + clogs (wedge short boots, wedge chunky clogs, wedge chunky shoes)

Leopard print


Mixing of prints (florals with stripes or leopard with another print)

Chunky shoes (clogs) with socks

Thick strappy heels

Open toe boots - lots

Short boots with socks

Blazers/jackets + shorts

Rayban Wayfarers (still)

Hair up in messy bun (still)

Less jeans and more skirts/dresses

Big statement necklaces

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emotional Cooking / Tomatoes Four Ways


I love reading Alyssa's Apron Anxiety blog. I love her wit and her creative humor. It's my first stop on the weekly blog catch-up tour I take. Reading blogs used to be a daily affair until baby numero deux arrived. Now I'm happy with a few sleepy minutes of blog catch-up once a week. Anyway, the other day Alyssa said she "dirty-danced with emotional eating" which gave me a chuckle. Maybe it was because somehow I knew I'd soon be on a similar track, although if we're using dating lingo as our reference point, I'd have to say I "went all the way with emotional cooking".
So armed with some new recipes and inspiration, I was ready for my bout of emotional cooking. I rolled up my sleeves, turned that frown upside down, and dug into some new recipes.
I had two great recipes from my Olaiya Land tomatoes class and had been dying to try my hand at recreating Delancey's INSANE(!) tomato salad. And finally, you can't have a summer come and go without at least one good, cold corn salad. In addition to those four, I also made pesto pasta, broccoli and broiled salmon. Nothing will take your mind off your crappy day like managing 83 ingredients and 7 recipes. Yowser. So after all that emotional cooking, I had to get down and dirty with some serious emotional eating. Big thanks to my sister for coming over and helping me gobble it up. Here's what 2 big plates of Billy's tomatoes turned into...
I should note that the first one is so fantastic that I've made it 5 times since the class!

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Sweet Onion and Mint
Olaiya Land Catering
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T sherry vinegar
1 t Dijon mustard (she said no Grey Poupon. All I had was Whole Foods brand and it seemed fine)
1 garlic cloves, minced and mashed into a paste
1/2 t sugar (I forgot this and it was fine)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil (I used a touch less)
4-6 medium sized heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4" slices
1/2 cup very thinly sliced sweet onion (Walla Walla is best)
1 medium shallot, very thinly sliced (optional)
3 T torn mint leaves
In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, mustard, garlic, sugar, a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. Add the oil in a slow stream while whisking. Continue to whisk until the vinaigrette has emulsified and thickened a bit. (I just put it all in a jar and shake vigorously.) Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Arrange the tomato slices on a serving dish and salt lightly. Scatter the onion and shallot (if using) over the tomatoes. Spoon about half the vinaigrette over the salad. Rest the salad for 5-10 minutes to let the flavors come together, then taste and add more vinaigrette if you like. Sprinkle the mint over the salad and serve immediately.

Fresh Corn Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Mint & Basil
Inspired by my friend Tara who loves a good corn salad

3-5 ears of fresh corn
1-2 T kosher salt.
2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes
2 T minced shallots
Good olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh mint leaves, broken by hand
Fresh basil leaves, broken by hand

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add kosher salt and corn. Boil for 3 minutes, then remove and let cool. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a large bowl. Mix in other ingredients. Check flavor and adjust with more shallots, vinegar or herbs.

Tomato & Green Bean Salad with Homemade Pesto
Olaiya Land Catering

3/4lb thin green beans, stemmed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2-4 T toasted pine nuts
3-4 T good olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
lemon juice to taste

Place basil, parmesan, 2 T pine nuts, 3 T olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 t lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until the pesto reaches desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. If you want a bolder pesto, add the other garlic clove; if you want it to be nuttier add the remaining pine nuts; if you want it to be thinner, add the additional olive oil; if you want more zing, add more lemon juice.

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Salt the water so it tastes like the ocean and cook the green beans for 3-5 minutes until tender depending on their size. Drain and dry the beans on a towel. The pesto won't stick to the beans if they're wet. When dry, toss with pesto. Lightly salt the tomato halves and scatter over the dressed beans.

Tomato Salad with Basil Shallot Vinaigrette
My best effort to copy Delancey's

1lb medium sized GOOD tomatoes (Billy's if you can), quartered
2-3 T minced shallot
1 t preserved meyer lemon peel, minced
Good olive oil
Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good quality sheeps milk feta
Fresh basil leaves, broken by hand

Toss tomatoes with the shallot, preserved meyer lemon, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Top with feta and basil.

Salmon Sandwiches on Rye Bread

I've been on quite the salmon kick all summer long and can't believe I haven't shared this one yet. Sometimes I have a weird craving for Rye bread and this is a perfect excuse to buy a great loaf.



Rye Bread


Butter Lettuce
a delicious sandwich!

Jello Mold Farms

I came across Jello Mold Farm at the Queen Anne farmers market. This local and sustainable grower has some unique and beautiful varieties of flowers along with the most beautiful arrangements with vintage flowers, tomatoes and more. LOVED. I am tucking this name in my pocket for the next time I need an amazing bouquet for the house or a gift.

And to my darling - feel free to order me flowers from Jello Mold Farm any time! No need to wait the whole year for our anniversary when you could call right now. I'll even dial for you!

Skip the New Couch. Go on Vacation.

I like articles like this one: "But Will It Make You Happy?"

We know what the obvious answer is (no, buying things won't make you happy) but it's always nice to see the research behind it, like how to reap the most happiness for your dollar. So read the article, then skip the new couch and book a vacation.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Go Easy on the Detergent


So at least I'm doing one thing right in my house and that's not over-doing it on detergent and dishwashing soap. Interesting article courtesy of my hubby...

"For the Dishwasher’s Sake, Go Easy on the Detergent"

I only use about a tablespoon (or less) of powder soap for the dishwasher and a few tablespoons of liquid soap for the washing machine (both Seventh Generation). I actually use the scoops from coffee grounds or formula for the dishwashing soap because one of those teeny tiny scoops is always enough.

I Want! I Want!


Darn you Tony Bianco! Why do you not ship outside of New Zealand or Australia? I'm drooling all over my keyboard for these ankle boots.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cooking Class with Olaiya Land Catering

My friends and I did a great cooking class all about tomatoes with Olaiya Land Catering held in Delancey's dining area on one of their off nights. We walked away with four great recipes that we're all excited to make again on our own. In fact, I've already made three out of the four and am making her salad and tian again tomorrow. I actually can't get enough of her Tomato Salad with Sweet Onion & Mint. Stay tuned for that. It's a refreshing new summer tomato salad that'll knock your socks off.
For now though... cooking tips we learned or had reinforced in class...

- "Never EVER" put tomatoes in the fridge - this causes them to lose flavor and get mealy

- When blanching or boiling vegetables you want to salt the water to the point that it tastes like sea water. Salt is what brings out the flavor of the vegetable.

- Cook with kosher salt, finish your food with other salts.

- Buy a good quality Dijon for salad dressings. Don't use Grey Poupon. (oops, that's what I always use.)

- Cut out the center of the garlic if it has turned green because it will have a bitter taste.

- Toast pine nuts before using them in pesto. This helps bring out the nutty flavor.

- Buy basil that is young and soft versus large and leathery.

- Use fresh corn within a day or two of buying it.

- When buying green beans, break off a piece and try one. A good green bean will taste good raw.

- To cut down on the strength of an onion, and to minimize the eye-sting when cutting it, you can soak it in water to tone down the sulfuric acids.

- Sharp knives make all the difference (you're telling me, mine are so dull I go crazy every time I cook). If you can’t easily cut a tomato with your knife, it needs to be sharpened.

- Use good olive oil as much as possible when cooking. It really makes a difference in the flavor of your food.

- Buy local when possible, domestic at the very least.

Seattle's Thai Curry Simple


This past weekend I tried Thai Curry Simple for the first time and loved it. I read my friend Ali's review in Seattle Magazine so I was already inspired to go. But the real clincher for us was the Saturday special - KAO MAN GAI - aka steamed chicken with ginger rice and garlic-black bean dipping sauce. YUM! The sauce alone was so good that I asked for some to go and had it on white rice with tonight's dinner. We also tried the panang curry, Thai iced coffees, and a roti for dessert with condensed milk and sugar. All that (two entrees, two iced coffees, a cup of soup, and a roti) for $18. Reasonable, fast and DELICIOUS!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cucumbers in Vinegar


I made Cucumbers in Vinegar from the Mixed Greens blog and they were so yummy. Loved the flavor and the crisp. I used cucumbers from the farmers market with the vinegar. Skipped the onion. Perfect afternoon snack or a side dish with dinner.

Freezing Peaches

Take advantage of all those fresh ripe peaches at your local farmers market! Load up and freeze them for the winter. Great to have on hand for smoothies or desserts.
Wash and peel the peaches, then cut into wedges. Discard pits. Soak for a few minutes in water with absorbic or citric acid to prevent peaches from turning brown (1 quart water to 1/4 t powder). Drain wedges and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Then transfer wedges to ziploc bags and remove as much air as possible (I use a straw to suck out the air).

* Some people sprinkle them with sugar but the ones I had were so sweet that it wasn't necessary.

The #8 Crepe

We packed the car and headed east to Lake Chelan for a few final days of sunshine before hunkering down for nine months of gray skies and vitamin D deficiencies. Of course I wasn't taking any risks so I did a little googling on the way to check out the restaurant scene (or lack thereof I figured). Thanks again Ali Scheff for some direction on where I can over-eat. I found her Seattle Magazine article on Chelan and knew I had to head straight for the Bear Foods Cafe Creperie. Who knew that allergy friendly crepe batter could be so good?! Bear Foods developed a batter with no gluten, dairy, sugar, eggs or soy. After stressing over the menu I ordered a #8, and after inhaling it, I returned to the counter to order a second #8. Yes, it was that good. So good that I even returned the next day for, guess what, another #8. Some people think I'm crazy. They're right.

I even meandered back to the counter at one point to see if they'd sell me some of the sauce. They couldn't but they told me how to make it. Love them! They also have me the (complex!) recipe for their crepe batter. If you want it, please contact me and I'll scan it for you.

I figured I could re-create this little beauty on a hot crispy tortilla. It won't be the same without that perfect crepe batter, but it will have to do.

The #8

Delicious crepe batter
Black beans
Cherry tomatoes
Sharp cheddar
Roasted red peppers
Red onions
Chili lime sauce

Chili Lime Sauce

Chili garlic sauce (roughly 2 T)
Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce (roughly 1/2 cup)
Fresh lime juice (2 limes)

Fall Weather + Local Produce = Posole!

.Photo courtesy of Eliza Domestica

Fall is in the air and tomatillos are abundant at the farmers market. Two perfect excuses for a hearty batch of Posole. So good with all those garnishes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Clever Video Worth Watching

I learned about this "Chef & Father" yesterday at the farmers market while talking to one of the vendors about the trials and tribulations of getting little ones to eat healthy foods. I looked up the "Chef & Father" and found this clever and entertaining video called Chef Prodigy. It's so cute and will give you a good chuckle.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ethan Stowell Pasta Chez Moi

I picked up some Lagana Foods fresh pasta the other night and made it tonight with my chantrelle sauce. I loved the shape of the Casarecce noodle and thought they were much better than a dried noodle for a simple sauce like that. I will definitely buy them again.
Sold at the Queen Anne farmers market on Thursdays, select Whole Foods, DeLaurenti's and Picnic (which I've been dying to go to).

The Selby is in Your Place

I can't wait to get my hands on the book "The Selby is in Your Place". If you haven't visited The Selby website, it's a must. Very cool. And when you have a moment, read this interesting article from The New York Times: "The Rich and Boring Need Not Apply".

Love this room by the way....

Simple & Quick Dinner: Asian Salmon

Last night I decided to switch it up and make a new salmon recipe. My friend Michelle who posts her weekly meal plans on her blog, Conrad Family Weekly Dinners, has made Ina's Asian Grilled Salmon
multiple times so I figured it was worth trying. We don't have a BBQ at the moment so I did a little Googling for other Asian salmon recipes to see other preparations. I came across this recipe for Asian Salmon adapted from Ina's. I further adapted this one by broiling it in parchment paper since I'm used to that cooking method. I served it with white rice and broccoli. It was delicious and easy. I will make it again for sure. I adjusted the sauce a bit since I posted this recipe so I'd have more to spoon over white rice. I'm a sucker for white rice with sauce. It makes the world a better place.

Asian Salmon

1-1 1/4lb salmon fillet, skin on
1 T plus 1 t Dijon mustard
4 T good soy sauce
6 T good olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Chives, thinly sliced

Turn oven to broil.

Put the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a large Ziploc and rub together with hands on the outside to combine. Add salmon to the bag and toss to make sure the whole fillet is covered in sauce. Let sit for 20 minutes. Lay out a piece of parchment paper. Set the fillet on it and then pour the sauce from the Ziploc bag over the fillet. 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 pocket on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven for 8 minutes (longer if using a bigger fillet). Remove and let sit for a few minutes. Fish will continue to cook. Transfer fish to a plate and pour liquid from parchment pocket over the top. Garnish with chives and serve.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Updated Recipe: Moroccan Chicken w/ Preserved Meyer Lemons & Green Olives


This past Sunday at the market I purchased a fresh cut-up whole chicken from Stokesberry Sustainable Farms. I was craving a good braised chicken with lots of sauce to spoon over rice or cous cous. I didn't have a lot of time so I opted for something familiar. I further adapted this recipe for Moroccan Chicken w/ Preserved Meyer Lemons & Green Olives based on similar recipes I found. I used the breasts, legs and thighs this time and added ginger, saffron, cinnamon and potatoes to my recipe. I will make this revised version from now on.
I made cous cous to go with the chicken, using chicken stock instead of water. I had some leftover toasted pinenuts from making pesto the night before so I threw that into the cous cous. I served the cous cous in a large bowl, topped with a piece of chicken and lots of sauce. It was delicious.
So as not to waste the rest of the chicken, I used the wings and back to make chicken stock using up veggies and herbs hanging around in the fridge. Great way to use up the whole bird.

Revised recipe:
Moroccan Chicken w/ Preserved Meyer Lemons & Green Olives
Adapted from Epicurious

3 or 4lb whole chicken, cut up (I used breasts, drumsticks and thighs)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6-8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 t ginger, minced
1 cinnamon stick
3/4 t turmeric
1/2 t saffron
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 pieces preserved Meyer lemons (1 1/4 lemons)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cup chicken broth
2 cups good quality green olives, pitted and cut in half
1 or 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Scrape pulp from preserved lemon wedges and cut rind into thin strips and set aside.

Rinse chicken and pat dry, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick braiser over medium-high heat until hot. Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick and saute for a few minutes. Add saffron, rubbing it between your fingers to break up. Add turmeric, salt and pepper. Cook for a minute, then add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up brown bits. Add chicken stock and potatoes 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. Sprinkle with half the cilantro. Cover, lower heat and braise chicken until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check seasoning and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve over cous cous.

Photo courtesy of Epicurious (similar looking to mine, although I cut my lemons a bit thinner)

Turkey Baby

My friend Marly and I were just cruising the blogs while talking on the phone when we both came across this picture at the very same moment. How good does that burger look?! Now my buds (taste buds that is) have been on a beef strike ever since my second pregnancy, which is just plain evil. Needless to say, I was thrilled to make the connection between the picture and the recipe... TURKEY(!) Gorgonzola Burgers. There is a God!

(Thanks sfgirlbybay!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cheese Lovers Unite


The American Cheese Society held it's 2010 Awards Ceremony and Festival of Cheese in Seattle's Benaroya Hall this past weekend. I was a bit crushed to miss Cheese-a-Topia but got to live vicariously through my friend Jen who was there, in the flesh, surrounded by 1,400 different types of cheese, and more importantly in the presence of "the big cheese" (in my mind) Michael Pollan who was the guest speaker. She texted me a photo and shared her awards pamphlet with me so I thought I'd share the Best of Show winners with you all. You can also visit the website for a complete list of winners in all categories.

Uplands Cheese Co., WI
Extra Aged Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, VT
Bonne Bouche

Farms For City Kids Fountain, VT
Spring Brook Farm Tarentaise

Easy as 1-2-3

My friend Amanda had us over the other night for an amazing Russian themed dinner: perogis, cabbage rolls, and borscht soup with sausage. Stay tuned for the recipes. I'm dying to make all of it. She started the dinner with the simplest appetizer that I assembled with one hand while stealing my husband's dirty vodka martini with the other. Because really, with a dinner like this, only vodka seemed fitting. These little cracker numbers were going as fast as I could make them so please forgive the sad picture at the bottom.