Tuesday, August 23, 2011

 Anthony Bourdain is pretty much my idol.
part badass highly opinionated chef
part sexy silver fox.

so when my mother said "lets go to Seattle for a couple of days, what should we.."
"OMG SALUMI" i exclaimed before she could even finish.

so then my idea was hatched. i wanted to re create the pacific NW episode of no reservations.

our first stop was  at salumi, open for 4 hours a day and the line is around the block the whole time.
its owned by Mario Batali's father, who in his retirement learned to make artisan salami's.
but look! its the table Anthony bourdain sat at! i even sat in the same spot! we got the Porchetta sandwich (the one everyone was ordering) and because you don't wait in an hour line and not get salami, we took home two very pretty (and expensive) salami's. more on those when we break them out.

after checking in at our hotel and letting that food coma pass some. we headed out to do a mini tour of the enigma that is the tom douglas family of restaurants.
the palace was our first stop for fried olives and squash pancakes. i think the only thing memorable was when my mother discovered that watermelon juice and vodka was a delicious pairing.
for me, the Dahlia lounge was the highlight, i got to try geoduck! even though i wasn't digging it out of the sand and eating it on a beach like the episode, i am counting it.
it was served sashimi style with honeydew and fennel. and in case you are wondering. it tastes like the chewy part of a clam. it was delicious.
there was also maple smoked chevre with honey and pistachios.  simple and good.
but the hero here was the doughnuts. listen. i don't like sweet food. but these were pillowy and delicate. and served with mascarpone cheese and apricot jam. so even though i am not a fan of
giada de laurentiis i have to say she was spot on about these.

the next day we braved pikes place. first stop was another long line for piroshky, piroshky. for well...a piroshky. i was trying to google which kind anthony bourdain had but in the end i got a potato mushroom and onion one.

pikes places is a nut house. we walked around looking at the all of the different stalls, fighting though hundreds of people.

can you believe I've had nearly all of these hot sauces! i couldn't find one i haven't tried. clearly i have a problem.

i did score these flowers for $5. if i had realized i would be carrying them around like a pageant winner for day i may have re thought this idea.

we then went to the ballard neighborhood to do some more shopping (i scored some amazing things)
and we stumbled in to cupcake royale  to share a strawberry shortcake cupcake before heading home.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

i have been guilty of wanting a bloody mary at inappropriate times.
7am before work....3pm before a test.
2am after i am already 3 sheets.

but its been nearly a year since one has found its way to me and on this fine birthday i decided i have had enough of the run around.
so i am patiently waiting for vodka to infuse. and everything you see is everything in there soo its pretty easy to replicate. letting it sit for 4 days, now that is going to kill me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

i have always loved veggies, there are numerous "all about me" posters from elementary school would list my favorite food as spinach. 
that is, except one.
man, did i hate beets.

now in my house, the only beets ever consumed were in cans. and the only time i ever had one was because my father made me eat one before i could spend the night at a friends house. 
and that rancid mushy blood tasting bite has haunted me since.

until last year. i went though this crazy anemic phase where i craved nothing but beet juice and raw tuna. 
and since i hate the texture of raw meat this not a fun time.
so i decided to take the plunge and buy beets. 
have i ever been wrong about a vegetable. dear god beets are delicious
and in the summer its all about cold beets with goat cheese and a little balsamic for a dinner salad. i have made this salad at least 4 times in the past 2 weeks and if things go to plan. i will also be making it tonight as well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

failure in execution

pork tastrophy.

so in an effort to help the boyfriend gain some confidence in cooking we hatched a plan to make pulled pork tacos.

now i am am a slow cooked pork master. i have done it many many times for christmas tamales.
each time i would hoist the shoulder out of the crock pot it would splash on the counter into heaps of shredded pork before i even had a chance to set it down. (not bad for a non meat eater!)

So I helped him set up and get the piggy started at about 7pm knowing it would be done at 1am
(and again this was during another food related chaos)
at 1am its not done, the connective tissue is still in tact.
at 2am its not done.
3am its not done. jason decideds to turn it off and go to bed.

7am i go and remove the shoulder. the meat is done but not shredding. so i hack it a part and throw it in to a pan with liquid to simmer it in to submission.
yes picture this. me, crazy haired. uncaffinated wildly pulling apart 4 pounds of greasy meat.
but in the end it was some decent meat
no recipe for the failed meat project BUT the best salsa ever.

1 huge can of tomatillos 
3/4 of an onion
an entire bunch of cilantro

whirl together in a food processor until finely minced. then put on everything. salads, eggs, tofu. at least this is pretty hard to screw up.
a quick note

so 4th of july jason and i were lucky enough to be invited to go down to the waterfront and watch the fireworks from my mother's friend dana.

(considering we had been camping the past 3 days, had gotten home and had gone to work before this. i'd say we are lookin pretty good.)
it was such a blast, the food spread was amazing and the view...well look at it. we are on the water surrounded by boats, the blues festival  is right behind us. did i mention we were lucky?

so my mother was asking us about a deli near our house when jason piped in saying "we dont really buy prepared food, we just cook alot"
how could i not be gushing over that? that's exactly it. we do cook a lot. its the best part of my day. its the reason we don't need a TV. making dinner is our entertainment and i love being with someone who shares that philosophy. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

the failure in presentation

So sometime last week culinary chaos ensued.
I had made the decision to try and make an Alfredo sauce from raw cashews.
The first step in this sauce is soaking them for hours, so as I was boiling water for coffee my buttery little cashews went in for their day long soak.
The plan was to put them on fettucini noodles, until over coffee the boyfriend informed me that we would be having company, gluten free company.

an aside: this is also when we hatched the plan for what ended up being the next post "a failure in execution"

I always get so nervous making something new for people I don't know, hell I get nervous making something for people I do know, but I had been dreaming of this sauce for days, so I decided to still go ahead. and in place of noodles I had a spaghetti squash that needed to get used. boyfriend was in charge of a side and I went off to work worry free.

I didn't expect to have to cook in front of anyone but here I was. My oven started smoking trying to make the squash, I was cursing and dropping things while the boyfriend was calmly throwing together a salad.
here is the result.
sick looking right? The sauce is laying over the squash like a dead squid. I had intentionally made it thicker since experience has taught me that squash has a lot of water, apparently, not this one though.
So we present this to our guest who said "is this dinner all vegetables?" (I am panicking) we all timidly and silently grab a forkful and take a bite.
 Suddenly it was exclamation about how good it was, and it was! it was actually really incredible. it tasted exactly like Alfredo, maybe even more savory? the squash wasn't even a weird flavor for it. it was...maybe my favorite dish I've made in a long time.  next time though I will toss the sauce with the squash instead of pouring it over. presentation is key.

in a blender
1 1/2 cup raw cashews (soaked for 4ish hours and drained)
2 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons (or a healthy pinch if you are like me and don't measure) of onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, rosemary and parsley
1 tablespoon of mustard
salt to taste
1/2 cup daiya cheese
almond milk

add just a little almond milk and start blending, you will need to add more of the milk until consistency is a little thinner than you want, it will take awhile to get those cashews smooth. pour mixture into a saucepan and heat on low until hot, it will get thicker pretty fast. then just pour over your favorite noodle. easy easy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I have been vegetarian since I was 11 (although i was never much of a meat person) so I am pretty accustomed to having portobello mushrooms in lieu of steak. I have done so many variations...steak seasoning, Italian seasoning...garlic.. all wonderful ways to make an already delicious fungi into a better one.
but this one, this is THE one.

in a large baggie combine
2 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
a couple tablespoons olive oil (just enough to coat the mushrooms, really you want more vinegar than oil)
3 finely minced cloves of garlic
1/4 of an onion sliced. 
salt and pepper.

Smush around and toss in the fridge (it's better to do in the morning and let it marinade all day but a couple of hours will do.)
now you can either:
  • throw them on a grill (get some foil out! those onions are the second best part, grill them on foil for balsamic glazed onions on your shroom)
  • Throw them in a pan on medium high heat with the onions (save the marinade!). Towards the end when they are getting soft get out another pan and smash down the mushrooms. This will remove the excess water and make it more meaty.

Put the onions and mushrooms (and in this version provolone for the boy) between thick slices of ciabatta bread (this one is from grand central bakery) and throw it back in the pan (or grill) until its crispy and the cheese is melted.
One last (highly important) step, take the balsamic marinade and put it in the pan on high heat and start stirring. reduce it to half its volume and drizzle it over the sandwich.

The potato salad is a recipe I have liberally stolen from The Post Punk Kitchen . I have now made it 4 times in the last 2 weeks, once for over 15 people for a potluck picnic (that I didn't even go to!) with rave reviews. So you  really need to try it. Add whatever veggies you have in the fridge, I've done radishes or red bell pepper... it will make your friends think you are some sort of creative genius.

Next up: a fail post in two forms.