Friday, October 29, 2010

More Roast Chicken Inspiration


Here's another round of meals using a roasted chicken that may inspire you to buy a whole bird. I've been getting a little guy every week from Stokesberry Sustainable Farms at the Ballard farmers market and using it for meals all week. This is last weeks but I'm repeating it again this week.

Day 1: Roast Chicken

A version of this roast chicken recipe because I never seem to make it the same way twice.

Day 2: Chicken Caesar

I love my chicken caesar dinner. I made this one with homemade croutons and PCC's Vegan Caesar Dressing (my new favorite caesar dressing that you can buy in their deli case).

Day 2-3: Chicken Stock

I always make this basic chicken stock recipe, sometimes using a ham hock but not always. I cut all the meat off the bones day 1 so I can use all the meat for leftovers and the bones for the stock.

Day 4: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

There is nothing like chicken noodle soup with homemade stock. I pretty much followed Tyler Florence's recipe but added a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream at the very end, inspired by Paula Deen's recipe. I baked 2 small chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper, then cubed it for the soup. I topped with freshly grated parmesan and more minced parsley.

Do you ever cook a whole chicken and use it for multiple meals? Would love to know what you're cooking with your little bird.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pantalones I'm loving this season...

Don't want to throw down a small fortune for leather skinny pants this season? Me neither so I opted for a pair of J Brand Sparkle Low Rise Coated Leggings in Black Pearl (pictured above). They're a happy medium between a black skinny jean and a rockin' pair of leather pants. I've dressed them up for night and down for day. I'm a huge fan.
Shiny sheen not for you? Another favorite this season is the J Brand High-Waist Black Skinny Jean. Wear them with something tight tucked in and a cardigan or blazer over the top. Always fun to sport a new look and high wasted skinnies are a fun trend to try this fall.
I'm also loving the look of a slightly oversized trouser paired with a shorter blazers or sweaters, and a hot pair of shoes.
photo courtesy of The Sartorialist


Little Bullies


"The Playground Gets Even Tougher" is an interesting article from The New York Times on mean-girl behavior. Mothers of girls should give it a quick read. A good reminder to make sure we're not enabling mean-girl behavior at any age to help set clear standards of what is acceptable and what is not.

Simple Perfection

I'm obsessed with ballet flats, especially simple ones you can wear daily. A good comfortable pair can be your best investment year round. I'm generally partial to black but I love these by Porselli (above) and Anna Baiguera (below). Simple perfection.

Q&A with Mark Bittman


Interesting Q&A with NYT columnist and cookbook author Mark Bittman (courtesy of The Seattle Times).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Farmers Market Dinner: Chestnut Troffie with Sausage & Chantrelles Served with Ina's Sauteed Spinach

I love speaking with the vendors and other customers at the farmers market. They're a great resource for how to select, store and prepare foods you buy at the market. These are the people who grow and make the food, and the customers enjoying it, so who better to talk to for information and inspiration?!
This last Sunday I was chatting with the molto friendly Samuele Lucchese, owner of Pasteria Lucchese, and a few of his regulars. They were discussing how much they all loved the Chestnut Troffie. I've never prepared or even eaten Chestnut Troffie so I didn't have the first clue how to prepare a sauce for it, so I asked. Samuele is so passionate about his handmade pastas that it's fun to hear him describe how he'd prepare a sauce. He explained it with hand gestures and passion, but it was as simple as this: grate some shallot, slice open a sausage link, throw in some mushrooms, finish with a little cream. Voila! Too good to be true? No! It's fabulous. I made it last night start to finish in less than 30 minutes and between my husband, one year-old son and I, we polished off every last morsel. I'll be buying the Chestnut Troffie again this Sunday for sure.
I served it with Ina's Garlic Sauteed Spinach.
I have to give a shout out to my friend Marly who first introduced me to Pasteria Lucchese when she used their delicious handmade tagliatelle at a dinner party she hosted (stay tuned for photos and recipes from that amazing dinner!). I've since been hooked on the pasta. Thanks Marly!

Chestnut Troffie with Sausage & Chantrelles

1-2 T olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced (roughly 3-4 T)
3 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
2 hot Italian sausage links (from Skagit River Ranch)
3 cups chantrelles, roughly chopped or sliced (from Foraged & Found Edibles)
1 cup chicken stock (I buy the Whole Foods Organic Chicken Stock set of three 8.45oz containers because they're perfect when you just need about a cup)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Chestnut Troffie (from Pasteria Lucchese)
freshly grated parmesan
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook for a few minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two, then sprinkle with pepper. Slice open sausage links and break sausage into small pieces before adding it to the pan. Saute until almost cooked through. Add chantrelles and saute for several minutes. Once they've softened and cooked down a bit, add chicken stock and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat and cook for several minutes so flavors come together and sauce reduces.
Pasteria Lucchese noodles go straight from the freezer to boiling water so grab them from the freezer at this time. Add salt to the boiling water, then add noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Drain noodles and add to the sauce. Let pasta finish cooking in the sauce. Serve with parmesan on top.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Perfect Lasagne Dinner


My friend Nicole's brother made Jamie Oliver's Lasagne from his latest cookbook "Food Revolution" and said it was the best lasagne he'd ever had. Those are some strong words so of course Nicole was itching to make it. She also raved about it. My friend Lynne was having us over for dinner so she decided to try it too. Well lucky me because I love lasagne and hate making it so there's nothing quite as great as showing up and eating a delicious homemade lasagne that I didn't have to slave over for hours. Heaven on all accounts because it really was incredible lasagne. I know I had seconds. I may have even had thirds.
Lynne served the lasagne with Ina's Sauteed Broccolini and Caesar salad with homemade croutons and Pasta & Co. dressing. Such a perfect dinner!

Notes on Lasagne:

Nicole used 1/2 Sweet Italian Sausage and 1/2 Spicy Italian Sausage.

Lynne used chicken sausage.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sucker for All Things Chinoiserie


Gumps has cute things sometimes so it's worth clicking around the website from time to time. I'm a sucker for antique Chinoiserie tray tables and they offer this cute reproduction. I love this style table as a little side table in your living room or it could be cute as a nightstand too. You could even paint one to match a room because it's such a perfect little shape.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chips, Dips & Dorks

What better thing to serve your man and his buddies the next time they're watching football than this Mexican Casserole. It's basically a kick-ass seven layer dip. Thanks to my sister-in-law for sharing the recipe almost a decade ago. It's always a hit.

Mexican Casserole

1 bottle mild taco sauce
1 can refried beans
1 pkg Schilling taco seasoning
1 lb ground beef
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. shredded jack cheese

1 onion sliced

½-1 container sour cream

For serving: Tostidos brand SCOOPS tortilla chips

1. Brown beef with taco seasoning and onion, add ¾ c. water, mix well.
2. In a deep casserole dish, spread refried beans on bottom.
3. Top with cooked beef and onions.
4. Pour bottle of taco sauce.
5. Add sour cream.
6. Sprinkle both cheeses on top.
7. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with a big bowl of chips and cold brewski.

* You can also add small can of jalapenos to make it a little bit spicy.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ham & Cheese "Bagelini"

I love this bagel panini sandwich and make it regularly. It takes 5 minutes and is a great lunch.

The Bagelini

plain bagel
dijon mustard
black forest ham
cheddar cheese
olive oil

Pre-heat panini press. Slice bagel in half and spread dijon on one or both sides. Layer ham and cheese (more than you'd think since bagels are usually thick). Assemble sandwich and brush outsides of bagel with a bit of olive oil. Place on a hot panini press. Put panini press on a low setting so it flattens the sandwich a bit. Remove once cheese has melted and it's piping hot. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mis en Place

I'm a frantic cook, always taking on more than I should considering I have 2 kids running around the house while I'm trying to cook. So mis en place is just not happening for me, unless I'm making chicken piccata. In that case, I always like to have everything prepped. For pretty much everything else I cook, I'm usually sauteing the onion while I chop the garlic and so on. So I can appreciate this article...

NYTs article: Cooking With Dexter: Prep School


The Four Day Bird


I thought I might inspire you to roast a chicken...

I bought a 3.4 lb fresh chicken at the Ballard farmers market from Stokesberry Sustainable Farms. That little bird provided dinner for four nights. Here's how:

Day 1: Roasted chicken and vegetables
Day 2: Leftover chicken and veggies (plus gravy that I made the night before but didn't use)
Day 3: Chicken stock used for
Pasta with Chantrelles
Day 4: Leftover chicken stock for
Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

This is a great way to stretch your meals and use up extra veggies you have on hand to make a stock. Homemade stock is especially good for reducing in sauces or for simple soups like your basic chicken noodle. Here's what I've been doing for a simple roast chicken on day 1...

Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Adapted from Ina's
Engagement Roast Chicken

3-4 lb chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
fresh herbs like thyme or parsley
2-3 T butter, melted slightly
Good olive oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and thickly sliced
4 carrots, peeled & cut in half or into chunks
2-4 parsnips, peeled and cut in half or into chunks (optional)

For gravy

1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Then add two lemon quarters, the garlic, some herbs, and some onion slices into the cavity. Slather the butter all over the outside of the bird and season with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan (I have used a lasagna pan and a smaller option depending on how many veggies I have). Place the reserved lemons, the sliced onions, carrots and parsnips if using into a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Transfer chicken pieces to a large platter and top with veggies.

You can make the gravy now or after dinner and use for leftovers. Directions for gravy backing up one step...
While the chicken rests, prepare the sauce. Remove the carrots and parsnips. Leaving the lemons and onions in the pan, place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken and allow too cook for a few minutes to combine flavors.
Chicken Stock
After dinner, throw the carcass and any loose bones in a large bowl and refrigerate overnight. The next morning throw it in a large pot with a yellow onion, shallot if you have it, carrots, celery, a whole head of garlic, whole black peppercorns, and any herbs you have on hand. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for several hours. Drain through a fine sieve and throw in the fridge over night, skim the fat and voila - homemade chicken stock.



I'm kind of freaking out over the chocolate pudding ice cream at Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream & Tea Room. It's SO yummy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Fall Dinner in my Rotation

Friday night I made my recipe for Pasta with Prosciutto and Asparagus minus the asparagus since it's no longer in season. It's my version of a carbonara and one of my favorite recipes as of late. It's easy, fast and flavorful. A huge hit in my house. Serve with a veggie or salad and crostinis for a perfect dinner. I'm making this for the fourth week in a row if that tells you how much I like it.

And here are a few random cooking tips I was thinking about while making this dinner on Friday. No-brainers for some, but for those new to cooking these might be helpful tips.

- Throw your parmesan rinds in a bag in the freezer and use them to season soups. I throw it in ribollita, lentil soup and minestrone.

- Best way to peel garlic is the use the side of a large knife. Place the blade on top of the garlic and hold the handle with your right hand. With the palm of your left hand, pound down on the blade. It cracks the skin on the garlic and makes it really easy to peel.

- If making pasta, always get your water going before you start any prep work. Turn it to medium so when you're almost ready to go, just increase the heat to high and it's boiling in a minute or so. You never want to be waiting around for the water to boil.

- Anytime you have leftover bread (preferably a good baguette or fresh loaf), don't let it go stale and throw it away. Toss it in the food processor, then in a ziploc and onto the freezer. Next time a recipe calls for bread crumbs, reach for these instead of the store bought option.

Hop on the D Train

I'm sure you've all been hearing for the last few years about the importance of Vitamin D and it's affect on your health. They're saying that so many of us are deficient in Vitamin D, especially those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest. More and more health providers are making strong recommendations to patients to take a daily Vitamin D supplement and more pediatricians are recommending it for children as well. You could spend hours on the Internet reading about Vitamin D or ask your doctor at your next visit. Click here for a quick overview. You can also have your Vitamin D levels tested, which I hear is especially important if you're undergoing surgery as it really helps your body recover.

Here are two brands that I have researched and found to be great. I've been able to find them at PCC, Pharmaca and Whole Foods.

I tuck mine by the mugs so every morning I take a drop or two while I make my coffee. I give it to my kids as well every few days.

For me:

Carlson Labs D Drops, Vitamin D, 2000 IU


Biotics Research Corp Bio-D-Mulsion Forte, 2000 IU

For the bambinos:

Carlson Labs Baby D Drops, Vitamin D, 400 IU

My New Seattle Brunch Crush


My latest brunch crush is Cafe Flora. I've gone for brunch the last two weekends and am LOVING it. I'm dying to go back for the Breakfast Quesadilla and the Rancho Colorado Scramble with cheesy grits on the side.
Cafe Flora uses local, organic and sustainable produce and herbs which is another reason why I love it there. And it's vegetarian which I'm trying to do more often. Great lunch spot too!

Heeby Jeebies

Here are some tips on how to avoid dust mites from a Yahoo email my friend Lynne told me about. Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I just did and Google Image "dust mites". It took my heeby jeebies to a whole new level.

(HealthDay News) -- Dust mites, each smaller than a period at the end of a printed sentence, produce waste that's a common cause of allergies and asthma.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these suggestions to help you get rid of dust mites:
  • Cover your mattress in a dust-proof cover with a tight weave.
  • Wash all bed linens weekly in very hot water.
  • Place pillows in dust-proof covers or wash them weekly.
  • Avoid putting carpeting in your bedroom.
  • Vacuum all carpeting and upholstery in your home weekly.
  • Use an air filter that helps get rid of dust mites.
  • Wipe down hard surfaces with a moist rag each week.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Loving: Spike Bracelets


I love all the stacked and mismatched bracelets photographed by Tommy Ton in his fashion week photos from Paris, London and Milan. I'm especially wild about the spike bracelets and am officially on the hunt. Could they be any cooler?



Kind of funny that we go from this photograph right into a post about meatloaf. Could a dish be any less glamorous?


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Favorite: Meatloaf

Fall has arrived and everyone seems to be craving comfort food. My friend Marly found this amazing recipe for Not-So-Basic Meatloaf and served it to friends who just had a new baby for a cozy dinner party. They all loved it. She inspired our friend Lynne to make it tonight, and she too, went crazy for it. I'm not eating much beef lately, but with such rave reviews, I've got to try it. They both served it with potatoes (Marly did roasted, Lynne did mashed) and roasted vegetables. Marly also served a great green salad. Perfect meal to ring in the new season.

The recipe makes a huge amount so invite lots of friends or plan on meatloaf sandwiches for days. (yum!)

Thanks for sharing M & L! Please post a comment about the things you did different from the recipe. We'd love to know!

Are You Cooking Over Cocktails?

My friend Lynne had a request. She hoped I could get feedback from readers on their favorite recipes discovered on Over Cocktails. She'd love to know which ones people are enjoying so she can add them to her weekly meal plans. And I'm curious too. So, please email me with your favorite recipes from this blog (top 3 or 5 would be great) and I will compile a list to share.

I'd also love to know what else your cooking. Any favorite recipes from other food blogs that you couldn't live without now that they're in your life? Do share!


For Mothers of Girls...


Interesting article I tucked away years ago and just came across...

I'm a bit nervous to see what the expectations are of my daughter when she gets to high school, both externally and self-imposed. It's a whole different world out there from when I was a kid (I feel so old saying that) and only getting tougher for young girls.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Uno Spritz Per Favore


I just read about this "terribly fashionable aperitif" in the Departures Venice issue called "THE SPRITZ" (pronounced "spreetz"). This little cocktail combines prosecco (they had me at prosecco) with a dash of sparkling water or soda and Aperol or Campari.

Departures mag says it's always served on the rocks, with a slice of orange or twist of lemon and is most authentic when finished with a stuffed green olive. Basic recipe found on the Internet here.

What a fun drink to serve at a party because of the great orange color. I'll make one and let you know what I think (or vice- versa if you get to it first! And please share if you've had one already!).

Oh to be in Venice sipping a Spritz right now instead of blogging about one. Sober blogging on a Saturday night is not nearly as fun as ordering "uno spritz per favore" from a hot Venetian waiter. I've never actually done that before but something tells me it'd be more fun.


Worth Seeing


My husband and I saw The Social Network last night and loved it. It's so well cast and completely entertaining. I especially enjoyed watching JT. He was awesome. I have a whole new love for the guy.