Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jersey Salad

I took a pizza cooking class at The Pantry at Delancey several months back and loved it. It took months to even get into a class because they sell out so far in advance and in the blink of an eye. When I finally got in it was well worth the wait. I learned recipes and tricks for making dough and sauce, tips about cheese and toppings, and strategies for making great crust. I learned how to stretch and throw pizza dough without a rolling pin which is a fun skill to have under your belt.

In addition to all the tips and recipes, Brandon told us how to make their delicious Jersey Salad. Now anytime I make pizza at home, I have to make this as well. It's never as good as it is at Delancey, but neither is my pizza, and it's still dreamy to get a bit of Delancey at home.

I highly recommend the pizza class they offer (if you can get in). It's informative, fun and you get to eat pizza and jersey salad! Heaven!

Jersey Salad

Carrots, long shreds
Red Cabbage, sliced thin
Croutons, I like PCC brand from their deli department
Parmesan cheese, finely grated


Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Garlic powder - "way more than you would think"
Freshly grated parmesan - "more than you would think and close to rind if possible"
Dried oregano
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Splash of fish sauce or worschester sauce ("for MSG feel"), optional

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's Not to Love?

My friends Marly and Rachel are going to Il Pellicano on the Tuscan coast. This place looks so amazing. I cannot wait to hear every last detail of the hotel, the pool, the food and more. Heaven on earth, truly.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye Asparagus. Hello Zucchini!

No more asparagus from my favorite vendors at the farmers market. Time to pull out all my favorite zucchini recipes. I'm so excited to start in on this list. I've already been making grilled zucchini every week which my husband and I both gobble up. Healthy and delicious.

In addition to these, zucchini is great in minestrone and other hearty soups.

Grilled Zucchini

Zucchini Bread 

Pan Grilled Zucchini

Fried Zucchini Spaghetti

Vegetable Tian

Zucchini Salads

Veggie Enchiladas

Zucchini and Summer Squash with Chili, Mint and Toasted Almonds

Vij's Kitchen Staff Zucchini Soup

The Farm Pizza

Monday, June 25, 2012

How a Mexican Drug Cartel Makes Its Billions

I find this topic fascinating. Great article. 

"Cocaine Incorporated"
Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is a complex, multi-billion-dollar business operating in more than a dozen countries

These are a few of my favorite things....

I have no self control at Delaurenti so this is the appetizer I brought for our father's day dinner at the in-laws (along with a second tray of open-faced prosciutto sandwiches). You can buy everything you need at Delaurenti for a great appetizer platter. There are so many more things to include but I was getting "the look" from hubby so I had to speed it up.

Some faves:

Garlic rubbed crostinis
Fra'mani Nostrano Salami
Kerrygold Dubliner
Roasted garlic (make or buy)
Fresh chevre
Lesley Stowe Cranberry Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Father, a Son and a Fighting Chance

I enjoy all the Modern Love articles, but some are more moving than others. This one brought tears to my eyes. A must-read.

"A Father, a Son and a Fighting Chance"

Pasta alla Amanda

My friend Amanda is a great cook and always makes it look easy. She threw together this pasta the other night and I loved it. Typical Colleen, I'm making it tomorrow night. I'd make it tonight but I'm missing some ingredients.

She used Lagana Foods fresh pasta which is great. You can buy it at Delaurenti, Whole Foods and other stores around the Seattle area.

Pasta alla Amanda

Lagana Foods Campanelle pasta
Yellow onion

Red pepper
Yellow pepper
Orange pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper
Parmesan, freshly grated
Feta, optional

Preheat oven to 350.

Slice the peppers and onion into thin strips (maybe 3/4"-1"). Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't burn.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When veggies are done roasting, season water with salt and cook noodles. Sprinkle veggies with lots of freshly grated parmesan. When noodles are done, drain and toss with the peppers and onion mixture. Add more balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with feta and serve.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happiness is....


I told my husband we could go anywhere he wanted for Father's Day.  Usually this is his chance to get Chinese food since I normally veto it but his #1 request was Delancey. I couldn't have been more thrilled. To mix it up I tried the Romana, a favorite from long ago. I ordered it without anchovies and added sheeps milk feta. Perfection. I'm counting the days until I can get back for it. As usual, hubby ordered the sausage and couldn't be happier. A perfect meal to celebrate Father's Day.

Romana - my way

Tomato sauce
Kalamata olive
Chile oil
+ Sheeps milk feta


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Test-Tube Food

My friend Ali just tweeted about this article. More interesting stuff on GMOs:

"Test-Tube Food"

Schoooooooooooool's Out For SUMMER!

My daughter's last day of school is tomorrow so I've been gathering a list of fun things to do this summer. I was a bit nervous about how to fill the days before making the list. Now I'm worried there's not enough time to do all these fun things.

There are obviously a million other parks in the city. I tried to just list parks that offer more than just a play area.

Have I missed anything great? If so, let me know and I'll update.

Summer in Seattle with Bambinos List

Japanese Garden - one of my favorite places to take the kids or to hit solo

UW Water Activities Center - rent canoes or rowboats (they are open for business during Sound Transit construction, call 206-543-9433 for more info)

Local Farmers Markets - Ballard, University, Queen Anne, Capitol Hill, Columbia City and more

U-Pick Farms - take the kids to pick berries, then home to eat them fresh, freeze them or make delicious pies, crisps and cobblers (then bring me one since I don't bake)

Woodland Park Zoo

Seward Park - kids play area, ride around on bikes, walk through trails, make sure to hit Columbia City Bakery on the way!

Magnuson Park - play area, ride bikes

Madison Park - kids play area and beach area, pack a picnic

Matthews Beach

Ella Bailey Park - love this park, great view of Seattle

South Lake Union Park

Seattle Mini-Ferry from UW to South Lake Union

Volunteer Park - kids play area, wading pool, conservatory and museum

Golden Gardens

Burke Gilman Trail

Discovery Park

Sculpture Park & the Seattle Waterfront

Pike Place Market

Kelsey Creek Farm Park

Ballard Locks


Pacific Science Center

Space Needle

Mountlake Terrace pool - with lazy river

Seattle Aquarium

Chihuly Garden & Glass - "they say" it's great for kids too

Jetty Island

Bainbridge Island - dying to try Hitchcock but without the kiddos

Vashon Island - perfect day trip... stop in at Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle on your way to the ferry, hit the farmers market, grab lunch at Monkey Tree, play at the park (if you have kids), then head home and catch the beautiful view of Seattle from the ferry.

West Seattle - what to do? where to go? open for feedback!

Gas Works Park - picnic and kite flying

Ride the Duck

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Museum of Flight

Seattle Art Museum

Snoqualmie Falls

Enchanted Village

Mariners Game

Sounders Game

Quote of the Day

Your higher-self is what brings you forward, and your ego is what pulls you back.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Robbcakes cont.

I've made these Robbcakes (Buckwheat Banana Pancakes) a few different ways now, but my most recent version is my new favorite. I add a little ground flax seed to make them feel healthy. Then I don't feel so bad serving them with a good smear of Nutella. They are so good. The kids gobble them up too.


Buckwheat pancake mix which also requires:

1 egg
2 tsp canola oil
2 tsp honey
3/4 cup milk

Mix above ingredients until smooth, then also add:

1 t ground flax seed
1/2-1 banana, diced, then mashed until there are no more chunks
1/3 or 1/2 cup rolled oats (roughly 2 small handfuls)

Cook pancakes in a hot pan with:

Coconut oil

Then top with:


Serve to children with big smiles!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dreaming of Italy

Back when we could travel internationally (pre - two, wild and crazy bambinos), my husband and I fell in love with Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio on the Amalfi Coast, sharing a bottle every day for lunch. We just cracked a bottle last weekend and it was as good as I remembered it. Now we just need to stock up for summer!

Photos: Simple Steamed Salmon on the Grill

Our friend Fran is an amazing photographer so when he was over for dinner a few weeks ago, I asked him to snap some pics of the dinner I was preparing. So here are some pretty photos of my Simple Steamed Salmon on the Grill. I made it again last night for the third week in a row and can't get enough of it. 

Pan Fried Halibut with Horseradish

If you need a quick and easy dinner, this one takes the cake.

These measurements are not exact because I threw it together so fast.

Pan Fried Halibut with Horseradish

1 fresh fillet halibut, skinned
2 T horseradish sauce (I used Captain Toady's)
1 cup panko
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Smear with the horseradish, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dip into panko and cover both sides. Press firmly so it sticks. Pan fry the halibut in a hot pan with oil until golden on each side. Finish in a warm oven. Serve with grilled veggies for a quick and healthy dinner.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dreaming of Leftovers

The more I go to Delaurenti, the more I get addicted to their products. I love their grilled artichokes so much. I have eaten them plain, in salads, and served them on antipasto platters. Tonight I tried them in pasta for the first time and loved it. I made the Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes. It was AMAAAAAAAAAZING.

I used Delaurenti's grilled artichokes and their fresh pasta (1lb of the fettuccine noodles). The noodles were great and cooked in 1 minute! Yes, 1 minute! The Pioneer Woman's recipe called for 1 cup of cream which seemed like overkill to me. I used half that amount and it was still creamy and delicious. I also always use canned whole tomatoes instead of diced or crushed. When you buy the whole ones, you get the best tomatoes, rather than the ones where they cut out the ugly parts. They also taste better because they don't absorb as much from the can and taste metallic or tinny. Finally, you don't get all the chopped white parts or ends. It's just a better way to go (a tip I learned from Mario Batali's show many years ago and again from Brandon at Delancey). Just use your hand to crush them. Works great and takes only a minute or two longer. Worth every second.

Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 T olive oil
1 T butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 medium container grilled artichoke hearts from Delaurenti, cut in half
3/4 can (28oz) whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed in your hand, plus juices

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock

1/8 t (or less) nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb fresh noodles (spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1-2 T fresh chives, minced

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, roughly 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a few more minutes.

Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and reduce heat to low. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and increase heat to medium. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the temp has reduced, stir in cream.

Salt the pasta water and add noodles. Boil according to directions. Scoop out noodles and transfer to the bowl with the sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan and chives, then stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Les Tartines

Ever since I had les tartines at Le Pichet, I've been really into making them at home for lunch. They take two minutes to make and you feel like you're picnicking in Paris. This recipe with Dijon and prosciutto is my favorite, but the butter and chevre is also delicious.

I've been buying the Pain du George from Essential Bakery. It is sold at the bakery, Delaurenti, PCC, and other grocery stores. Any fresh country bread will do though.

With Prosciutto

Country bread
Prosciutto (I like the Italian Prosciutto di Parma from Delaurenti)
Good quality Dijon

Spread dijon over piece of bread and top with prosciutto. Serve open-faced with cornichons on the side.

With Chevre

Country bread
Fresh chevre (I like the basil flavored one from Delaurenti)

Spread bread first with butter, then with chevre. Serve open-faced with cornichons on the side.

Inspiration for the Day

I was flipping through the channels and something caught my attention. It was a KCTS 9 special with Dr. Wayne Dyer. I watched only a few minutes but enough to hear that he was voted one of the top three most spiritually influential people in the world (following Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama). I recorded the show and have since caught bits and pieces. I looked him up on the Internet to get a quick version (rather than the 3 hour special) and came across this list of quotes from him. I thought a lot of them were really great and worth sharing. Enjoy.

Quotes from Wayne Dyer, PhD.

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.

When you stop needing more of everything, more of what you desire seems to arrive in your life.

Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul.

Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

Deficiency motivation doesn’t work. It will lead to a life-long pursuit of try to fix me. Learn to appreciate what you have and where and who you are.

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.

You cannot solve a problem with the mind that created it. First you must change the mind.

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.

Everything you are against weakens you. Everything you are for empowers you.

Freedom means you are unobstructed in living your life as you choose. Anything less is a form of slavery.

If you are living out of a sense of obligation you are slave.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.

You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.

Only the insecure strive for security.

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.

Successful people make money. It’s not that people who make money become successful, but that successful people attract money. They bring success to what they do.

The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of the state of your mind.

What we think determines what happens to us, so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds.

Simply put, you believe that things or people make you unhappy, but this is not accurate. You make yourself unhappy.

Heaven is a state of mind, not a location.

The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.

There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.

What comes out of you when you are squeezed is what is inside of you.

When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.

When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.

You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.

You’ll see it when you believe it.

A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grilled Zucchini

Photo via Serious Eats

Zucchini is popping up at the farmers market so I've been looking for some fun new ways to prepare it. Last week I threw together this grilled zucchini and it was great. Making it again tonight to go with the salmon on the grill.

Grilled Zucchini

Several small to medium sized zucchinis
1 T olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
garlic salt
red pepper flakes
Parmesan, grated

Cut ends off zucchini and then slice lengthwise. Using a large Ziploc, drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic salt and red pepper flakes. Rub the sides of the bag together with your hands to get the seasoning mixed with the oil. Add zucchini to the bag and rub around to coat them with oil and seasoning. Remove and place on a hot grill cut side down. Once it's grilled, flip over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Let cheese melt while grilling the outside edge. Remove and serve.

Simple Steamed Salmon on the Grill

I got a beautiful piece of salmon from the farmers market last week and decided to throw a bunch of stuff in a foil pocket and throw it on the grill. It didn't dry out at all because the liquid (lemon juice and melted butter) helped it to steam. It was quite flavorful and delicious. Can't wait to make it again tonight.

Simple Steamed Salmon on the Grill

1.5 lb salmon fillet, skin on
3 lemons
2 T butter, thinly sliced
few handfuls of dill
1/2-1 cup thinly sliced fennel
salt and pepper

Preheat your BBQ on high heat.

Rinse salmon and pat dry. Set in the middle of a large piece of foil. Squeeze juice from one whole lemon over the top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay dill over top of salmon. Top with tons of thinly sliced lemon. Put butter slices on top of lemon slices. Toss fennel slices with a touch of lemon juice or olive oil, then put all around the outside of the salmon. Cover with foil and roll the edges of the foil together to create a pouch. Lower heat to medium and cook for 10-14 minutes depending on thickness and how you like it cooked. Open pouch and remove dill and lemon slices. Serve salmon with fennel and a wedge of lemon if desired.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Le Pichet Salad: Mastered

Yesterday I mastered the salad dressing for the Le Pichet salad I wrote about the other day. This is why it's always worth calling a restaurant and asking what was in a specific dish or dressing. Then you just fiddle with the ingredients until you get the flavor right. I feel this dressing was spot on.

I served the salad with open faced sandwiches, just like the ones from Le Pichet. It was the perfect meal.

Let Pichet Salad

Italian tuna (Loved Ortiz yellowfin tuna packed in olive oil from Delaurenti)
Nicoise olives
Artichoke hearts (grilled ones from Delaurentis if you can get them)
Garbanzo beans (dried beans are best, soak overnight, cook, then marinate in dressing for a few hours)
Fresh parsley, minced


1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from half a lemon
1 T Dijon
1/4 minced rosemary
1/4 t anchovy paste (I made from a fresh anchovy)
1/2 t garlic paste (made from 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced and mashed with garlic)
1-2 T minced shallot
freshly ground pepper

Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a Vitamix or other blender and combine until creamy. Marinate the garbanzo beans in the dressing for a few hours. Remove tuna from oil and separate into smaller pieces with a fork. Cut artichoke hearts in half. Toss everything together. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

The Seven Dollar Solution

My friend Angela told me about this $7 hanging jewelry organizer sold on Amazon which has become phase 2 of my efforts to control the chaos in my jewelry drawer. Remember phase 1 with my necklaces? I love having jewelry hanging in my closet, easy to see and easy to grab. I'm so much more likely to throw some on as I'm running out the door if it's right in front of me instead of tangled and hidden. Get creative and have fun with it!

Case of the Uglies

Sounds like people were not digging the new layout so I attemped to go back to the old version and it's not been easy. I've been trying to format the darn thing for 30+ minutes and this is the best I've got. It isn't pretty to look at but it never was to begin with so I hope you'll keep stopping by!