Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pink Christmas


My friend Jennie bought these Nammoura Dessert Plates from Anthropologie for her Christmas dinner. She opted for the ones with the lime colored background. She's setting these on white dinner plates and then topping them with the pink Ikat Mini Bowls. She'll finish her place setting with pink water glasses and gold rimmed wine glasses and lots of beautiful floral arrangements. Can't you just picture it? Too chic.
My friend Danielle did a pink and gold Christmas tree this year. Sounds fabulous. I think these two ought to get together and throw a pink & gold party.

Breakfast Chez Moi

One of our favorite things to do on weekend mornings is make breakfast and hang out in our jams. When the weather is cold and during the holidays (especially once the tree goes up), it's all the more fun and cozy. So, I thought I would share some links to all my breakfast posts from the past to inspire you to cook a breakfast with friends or family this holiday season.


Dutch Babies


Zucchini bread

Bagel Sannies

Toasted Oats with Strawberries & Milk

Prosciutto, Cheese & Fig Biscuits

Pancakes or Waffles with Sears Famous Pancake Mix

Scrumptious Eggs

Scrambled Egg Toast

Baked French Toast

Individual Baked Eggs (oeufs plats variation)

Spinach & Cheese Strata


Orange Ricotta Pancakes

Urth Cafe Oatmeal

Aloha Oatmeal

Lynne's Joe's Special

Banana Muffins


Saveur's Breakfast Issue

What's for breakfast at your house? Frittatas? Quiche? Breakfast burritos? Any favorite recipes to share?

Four Heads of Minced Garlic? No Problem!

. . .

My husband and I were cooking a new dish for Thanksgiving and needed four heads of minced garlic. Now I'm one of those people who likes to mince garlic but I draw the line at one head, let alone four. We were busy prepping for the holiday so I needed a fast solution. My aunt's method came in handy.
Break apart your heads of garlic. Lay the cloves out on a cloth napkin or kitchen towel. Fold over the towel. Use a meat tenderizer to smash the cloves. Remove the skins and mince them in a mini Cuisinart. Easy!
My aunt actually does this every Sunday and stores the minced garlic in a container in the fridge with a bit of olive oil. Every night when she goes to make dinner she has one less thing to prep. She does the same thing with shallots. I use garlic and shallot almost every night so I might have to implement this great time-saving trick.

Attention Michael Pollan Fans

Michael Pollan is returning to Seattle. He'll be speaking January 15th at Benaroya Hall. Click here for tickets. I've seen him speak before and highly recommend it. Great event for your book or dinner club!

The Great Food Divide

My friend Jen sent me the article United We Eat from the latest issue of Newsweek. It's quite interesting.



Oeuf neckies for little ladies and little studs. Pricey but adorable.


Christmas Gift Idea #4


It was my first year hosting Thanksgiving, and my first time ever cooking a turkey, so I was so glad to have my All-Clad Oven-Probe Thermometer. I was able to manipulate the oven temperature when I felt that the bird was cooking too fast and knew the exact moment it hit the right temperature. Use this probe when you roast a chicken, cook prime rib, or any other meat where you need to pull it out at a specific temp. This was a life saver for me. No dry bird thanks to you All-Clad Oven Probe Thermometer!

Christmas Gift Idea #3

You know I'm a sucker for these desk calendars. This little lovely courtesy of Gumps.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Broccoli Carbonara

I'm always trying to figure out new meals for my bambinos and more importantly, trying to figure out new recipes where I can sneak veggies into their tummies. Yesterday I thought I'd whip up a little pasta with broccoli. I did a twist on a carbonara, substituting broccoli for the pork. They both gobbled it up, and my friend and I just polished off the rest. Perfect kid pasta that mommy can enjoy too!
Broccoli Carbonara

1-2 heads broccoli, cut into large florets
1-2 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 T shallot, minced
2 T garlic, minced
freshly ground pepper
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
zest from one whole lemon
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 package penne noodles

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for noodles. Season with salt and add broccoli florets. Cook for 2 minutes and remove with a strainer. Leave boiling water for noodles. Set broccoli aside to cool. Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until cooked, being careful not to burn. Chop broccoli finely and add to the saute pan. Season with a touch of pepper and add more butter if you like (I like). Turn off heat. Add a bit more salt to the boiling water and add penne noodles. In a bowl, mix egg yolk, cream, lemon zest, and parmesan. Once noodles are cooked al dente, reserve a bit of the water, then strain and add noodles to saute pan. Quickly pour in the egg/cream mixture and stir. The heat from the noodles will cook the egg. You want a light creamy sauce and want to avoid anything gooey. Add a little pasta water as needed. Season with pepper and salt if needed. Spoon into bowls and top with a bit more parmesan.


My Review: Din Tai Fung


While I don't think I would brave the wait again anytime soon, I did really enjoy it. We'll be back for sure, maybe after the hype and lines wear off a bit.


Hot & Sour Soup
Shrimp Fried Noodle
Noodle Soup with Pickled Mustard Green & Shredded Pork


Juicy Pork Dumplings
Shrimp & Pork Wonton in Spicy Sauce

Too bland...

Sauteed String Bean with Garlic
Sauteed Bok Choy with Garlic

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Kind of List


Seattle Times food critic divulges her 10 favorite new restaurants. I've tried a handful of these and I'd have to agree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Annual Holiday Bazaar


Every year some friends of mine throw a holiday bazaar with one-of-a-kind gifts and high-end clothes consignment. I've been going every year for almost a decade now and I never leave empty handed. I always find some great little treasures - leather frames, jewelry, cashmere scarves and more. If you live in Seattle and have a chance, check it out. You're sure to find something special for someone special. Proceeds to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Anne School.
Thursday, December 2nd - 10-7pm
Friday, December 3rd - 10-6pm
Saturday, December 4th - 10-4pm
The home of Helen Gleason
609 West Highland Dr.
Seattle, WA 98119


- Designer Consignment from Mary Bridget Pehl
- Fine Jewelry and Cashmere Scarves from Jennifer Hyde & Helen Gleason
- Jewelry by Juliet Roger
- Argentine Accessories from Kristin DeMartine
- Designer Hand Knitwear by Angelica Buri
- Gorgeous Ornaments
- Baby Raindrops - Hangers, Appliqued Onesies, Burp Clothes, & more by Dana Langworthy
- Ornaments, Letter Pressed Greeting Cards, & Holiday Napkins & Plates from Cheryl Papadakis
- and much, much more!

Roasted Golden Beet Salad


My friend Marly made an amazing golden beet salad the other night. She didn't follow a recipe so the measurements are a rough guess. Do the dressing more by taste. Delicious.

Roasted Golden Beet Salad

1 bunch golden beets
1/4 olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t honey
salt and pepper
Green onion, thinly sliced (green parts only)
Parmesan, shaved into thin pieces

Turn oven to 350. Wrap beets individually in foil. If they are big, cut them in half first. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Turn beets over and cook for another 25 minutes. Remove and open foil packets. Allow to cool, then peel off the skin. Cut up beets and set aside.

Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a jar and shake vigorously to combine. Toss beets with dressing and sprinkle with green onion and freshly shaved parmesan.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meet the Life You Change


My friend Jennie just went to a fundraiser for See Your Impact and sent me the link and rave reviews about the organization. I've been checking out the site and it looks like a really cool tool for donating. I love the idea that you see the impact of your donation with updates from those you've helped. Check out the blog too. I was reading the Good Reasons to Give post and linked to a charity site with tons of ideas on how to make a difference in 15 minutes. Pick a cause and see all the things you can do to make a difference. So many quick and easy ways.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kids Table

My husband wants a project for Thanksgiving dinner but keeps throwing out ideas like Chinese spareribs and other creations that will put him in my cooking space. This Paper Bag Popcorn Turkey could sure keep him, and his little sidekick (my daughter), busy for a few hours.


Salad du Jour


I've been buying Bosc pears at the farmers market every week and making delicious salads with them. This is my current creation...
Salad with Blue Cheese & Pear

Bosc pear, cut into slices or chunks (I do chunks)
Walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Blue cheese (a good wedge!), crumbled
Mixed greens
Balsamic dressing - I don't follow a recipe anymore because I've made these two so many times that I just throw it together with rough measurements. You could follow either one or make up your own:
My mother-in-law's Basic Balsamic Dressing

Another great salad with pear is my friend Tara's Simple Salad with Goat Cheese & Pear.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quick Lunch


Today for lunch I made this recipe for Welsh Rarebit with Spinach from Food 52. It took less than 15 minutes and was delicious. I even got my one year old to eat some. Love when I can sneak spinach in his mouth! I'm making it again tonight for dinner to go along with potato leek soup and a salad. Give this a try next time you have extra spinach in the fridge. It's quite tasty.

Corncakes With Caviar


At the book tour event for Amanda Hesser's new cookbook, The Essential New York Times Cookbook, they served an assortment of delicious recipes from the cookbook. I went crazy for the Corncakes With Caviar. They were so good. For the event they prepared them in large bite-sized pieces which made the perfect appetizer. I might have to try these for my next dinner party.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Christmas Gift Idea #2


Check out the new Anthousa Votive Candle Collection packaged in beautiful individual boxes. I love the packaging and I love the scents. These would make perfect hostess gifts or stocking stuffers. I love burning an Anthousa votive candle in my powder room when entertaining. It's just the right size.

White Bean & Ham Soup

.Photo courtesy of A Good Appetite

I bought some dried white cannellini beans at the farmers market on Sunday. I generally shy away from dried beans because I hate the process of soaking them and boiling them. No matter how long I cook them, they always seem undercooked and a bit dry. Well this past weekend I struck up conversation with a vendor about the dried white beans. He was raving about them and said they don't need to be soaked at all, they cook in 20-30 minutes and they are creamy and delicious. Sold! He was right too. The beans were significantly better than canned beans and the dried beans I've had in the past. This is why it pays to go to the market and talk to the people there. You discover new things.
There were so many soup options: white bean and kale, white bean and rosemary, white bean and ham. I had a ham hock in the freezer so I went that route, combining a few recipes. It was so simple and turned out great. As with most soups, it was even better the next day.

White Bean & Ham Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 1/4" thick slices
1 or 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4" thick slices
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 T tomato paste
few handfuls dry white cannellini beans (1 1/2 cups roughly)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ham hock
2 quarts chicken stock
1 T fresh chopped parsley
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes. Add the carrots and celery. Cook and stir for about six minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Add garlic for a minute or two. Season with pepper and a tiny bit of salt. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Add bay leaf, ham hock and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and cook over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove ham hock and stir in chopped parsley. Take out a few ladles full of soup and blend with an immersion blender in a small bowl or with a regular blender. Add pureed soup back to the pot. Pull meat from ham hock and chop or use your hands to break it into small pieces. Add to the soup, check for seasoning and serve.

Eat Your Leftovers


From one leftovers queen to another, I love this...


Monday, November 15, 2010

Perfect Sunday Supper

. .

Last night my friend Marly and I made the MOST delicious new chicken dish courtesy of Food 52. The dish was Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce and it is a keeper. It's good enough to serve for a dinner party in my opinion. I should add that part of what made the dinner so good (for me) was serving it with white rice topped with more of the creamy Dijon mustard sauce. You know I'm a sucker for white rice with sauce.

Marly brought over a delicious salad from our fave cook Ina: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. The salad was fantastic. Even my husband, who doesn't love butternut squash, gobbled it up.

All in all, it was a perfect Sunday supper for a cold fall night. Give these recipes a try. I promise they won't disappoint.

For the chicken: We followed the recipe to the tee except one itty bitty change because it's habit for me... I rinsed the chicken, patted it dry, and seasoned with salt and pepper at that time (versus doing salt and pepper later in the sauce).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Perfect Summer Bag


I love this Roberta Freymann Ikat Box Bag. It would make the perfect summer bag - part purse (sunglasses, wallet, lipgloss), part diaper bag (binkies, bottles, band aids). Perfect bag for the daily grind.


Vegetable Tian

I learned how to make this Vegetable Tian in the Olaiya Land cooking class I took this summer. I made it regularly for weeks while the summer squash, eggplant and tomatoes where in abundance at the farmers market. I wish I got my act together to post the recipe then, while the ingredients were at their best, but better late than never. This is a perfect summer side dish. Tuck it away for next year. You won't be sorry.

It's also quite beautiful. I prepped the leeks in my Le Creuset braiser and then just finished it off in the same pan. If serving for guests, I would transfer the leeks to a prettier baking dish (white preferably) and bake in there before serving.


Provencal Tian

6 T olive oil
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, quartered lengthwise, rinsed well, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 cups)
1 garlic clove, minced (I used 2 or 3 cloves)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 zucchini, unpeeled, very thinly sliced (1cup)
1 yellow squash, unpeeled, very thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 plum tomatoes, very thinly sliced (3 cups)
1 small Italian eggplant, unpeeled, very thinly sliced (1 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 T chopped fresh oregano
Freshly grated parmesan, for serving

Preheat oven to 375. Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and saute for a few minutes until soft, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Spread in a 9-inch gratin or round baking dish.

Arrange vegetables on leek in slightly overlapping circles, alternating zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and eggplant.

Top with wine, 1 tablespoon oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bake 30 minutes. Drizzle with remaining oil. (I also added some parmesan at this time). Bake until vegetables are tender, 30 minutes more. Serve with parmesan.

Makes one 9-inch tian.

Soup Dumplings


I can't wait for the new Din Tai Fung Dumpling House to open in Bellevue's Lincoln Square. How lucky are we, Seattle, to get the second one in the US. Kind of shocking really. Let us rejoice, and more importantly, let us pray these little xiao long bao live up to all the hype.


Christmas Gift Idea #1


My sister-in-law's friend has the most insanely gorgeous house I have EVER seen. It's insanity. I noticed that she has these Leontine Linens monogrammed tissue covers in every room of her house. I loved the attention to detail with even the tissue boxes covered beautifully. Perfect gift idea for a mom, sister, or friend. (Or me!)
Pottery Barn also offers tissue box covers which aren't as fantastic as Leontine Linens but they're still cuter than your basic cardboard Kleenex box.
I like buying gifts like this for people because it's something most people wouldn't buy for themselves. Plus it's thoughtful, personalized and fun for any home, no matter what their style is.
I would love to hear what's on your Christmas wish list this year or what great finds you're buying for others. Please post comments or email me your gift ideas!

Food 52 Inspires....

I was perusing the Food52 site for recipes when I came across this blurb about why cooking is important. Let this inspire you to cook more this holiday season...

We think cooking is really important — especially now. Over the past decade, many studies and books have shown that children from families who eat together do better in school, that eating "whole" foods is healthier, that eating sustainably will save the environment. But no one has pointed out that the only way to achieve all this in a comprehensive, lasting way is for people to cook.

If you cook, your family will eat dinner together.
If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household.
If you cook, you'll set a lifelong example for your children.
If you cook, you'll understand what goes into food and will eat more healthily.
If you cook, you'll make your home an important place in your life.
If you cook, you'll make others happy.
If you cook, people will remember you.