Saturday, May 31, 2008

High Hopes! Recipe Contest #2

The first one didn't go exactly like I planned, but what the heck. I don't know why I do this to myself, but let's see how this one goes. I haven't set my hopes too high as Cooking Light has some pretty specific "brand name" ingredients that they want you to use. I'll sit by my phone and wait. Here it is again.....a wonderful and easy appetizer!



Wild Mushroom And Brie Bruschetta

This quick and easy appetizer is best served with a dry, medium bodied white wine(ie: French Burgundy - Pouilly-Fuissé is a dry, medium-full bodied, white wine)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 18 Minutes

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 lb mixed fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelle, oyster and morels, cleaned with a damp cloth and chopped
1 small finely chopped garlic clove
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8 oz Brie (French import; Isigny Ste Mere or equivalent); rind removed
1 French baguette or similar bread

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Heat 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in skillet over medium high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 7 minutes.
3. Add garlic clove and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
4. Add wine, thyme, salt, and pepper and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3-5 minutes.
5. Slice baguette on a bias (I angled my cuts down so that there is more surface area on my slices; about ¾ inch thick). Brush the tops with olive oil and place in the oven for a few minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown.
6. Remove the bread from the oven and top with a couple of spoonfuls of the mushroom mix.
7. On top of each slice of bread, lay two slices of brie cheese.
8. Return bread to the oven, allowing the brie to melt, 1-2 minutes.
9. Remove and serve.Recipe serves 8 (two pieces of bread per serving)

Recipe serves 8 (two pieces of bread per serving)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Old Photo Friday: The Running Man

Click on picture to enlarge

Date: 9/19/1999
Who: Brian
What: Brian used to run in quite a few road races, 5-10K races throughout the Seattle area when he first moved to Seattle. I came across this photo a few months ago and barely recognized him. He looks so skinny!



Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Chicken with Tomato Mint Salsa

For this weeks ROTW I found this simple salsa. It packs a lot of flavor and is very versitle so instead of chicken, try it with a flank steak or pork tenderloin.




2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 small jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and minced
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mint leaves, fresh, chopped
Cooking Spray
1 pound uncooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

1. To prepare the salsa, combine tomatoes, jalapeno, onion, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle on mint and set aside.
2. Coat a large pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat*.
3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and place in a single layer in pan until chicken turns white around the edges, about 1-2 minutes; flip chicken and cook another 2-3 minutes until done.
4. Arrange chicken on plate and spoon over salsa; garnish with a lemon wedge.

Yields about 3 ounces of chicken and 1/2 cup salsa
* You could also prepare chicken on BBQ

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Farmer's Market Summer: Market #1 - Olympia, WA

So my goal this summer is to try as many farmer's markets as possible (in and around Portland and Seattle) and create a menu around the fresh, locally grown items that I purchase. Call it a little Locavore Experiment of my own.

On Saturday, Brian and I hit the Olympia Farmers Market. It was an unexpected beautiful, sunny and hot day. The market was packed when we got there and we spent about 30 minutes wandering around and formulating our plan for dinner.

I quickly bought a bunch of spring onions and a large yellow onion from Walla Walla - along with some asparagus. My mind swirled around a pasta primavera, but to be honest....there wasn't a lot of variety. Aside from apples, pears and asparagus - the market just doesn't have many veggies this time of year.

Brian and I contemplated our meal over a glass of wine on an outdoor patio across from the market and decided to cook two chicken breasts and top each with a ragu of onions, garlic, mushrooms and roma tomatoes and grill our asparagus in the oven. Brian also added his red parsley potatoes and our first "Market Dinner" of the spring/summer was born.

Not as many market ingredients as I'd like, but a good start. I even managed to make an apple upside down cake for dessert!

Stacy with Chicken Olympia in her new apron (thanks Mom)

AppleUpside Down Cake

Brian and I enjoyed ending our evening on the back patio.



Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Here is this "short" weeks menu! With the Memorial Day holiday, I've only planned dinners Tues-Thursday. I'll be grilling 2 out of 3 days so let's hope our weather gets warmer!


Tuesday: Flank Steak with Tomato Salsa and a Garden Salad

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with a Scallion Sauce* and Sauteed Garlic Green Beans

Thursday: BBQ Salmon with Jasmine Rice and Grilled Summer Veggies (Yellow Squash, Zuchinni, Sweet Onion, Portabella Mushrooms and Red/Yellow Bell Peppers)

*Chicken with Scallion Sauce
14 oz fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 sprays cooking spray
1 pound uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, (four 4-oz pieces)
1/3 cup scallion(s), finely chopped, divided
black pepper

1. Combine 1⁄4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining broth, garlic and thyme; set aside.

2. Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken, and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken; add 2 tablespoons scallions.

3. Pour broth mixture over chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done, basting often.

4. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

5. Bring sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Scrape bottom and sides of pan, using a rubber spatula. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce is reduced to 3⁄4 cup.

6. Pour sauce evenly over chicken, and top with remaining scallions.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Old Photo Friday: The "Hoodie" Girls

Date: Early 1990's
Location: Florence, OR
Who: Mom and Gram
What: I can't say for certain that it was "rhody" weekend, but I think it was late spring. Mom, Gram and I - hanging out in Florence on our way either to or from "Jerry's" tavern (I think). Mom and Gram had the same cute "hoodies" and I snapped this cute pose. Look at my Gram in her pedal pushers! She was always so cute, hip and full of life (especially with her girls).



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Penne with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Penne with Sausage and Tomato Cream Sauce

Sandra had a wonderful creamy penne pasta at Jo-Bar on NW 23rd Ave last week and I've been craving pasta ever since. I dug up this week's ROTW and it sounds like a perfect way to stop my cravings!

Serves: 8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 pound penne or other shaped pasta
1 pound sausage
15-ounce can tomato sauce or 2 cups pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
red pepper flakes - to taste
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet, brown sausage, breaking it into some smaller pieces and some larger chunks. When cooked through, add tomato sauce and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any sausage that has stuck.
3. Add cream, and season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.
4. Add the basil and pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat pasta with sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Cox News Service
Images from Google

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Restaurant Review: Autentica

Brian and I joined friend Bryan Hagen on Tuesday night at Autentica, voted "Best Mexican Food 2007" by CitySearch website.

The place is small and casual with a dining room decorated in a rustic terra cotta, framed pictures of Mexican bandits line the walls with a small bar and an open kitchen (it was fun to watch them cook).

The style of Mexican food served at Autentica is not your typical "American" Mexican food. Autentica's menu is inspired from the Guerrero region of Mexico near Acapulco, clean and true to that area. The menu clearly states that local ingredients are used throughout the menu, but it is a very different experience from any other Mexican restaurant in town (which is one of the reasons it was so packed on a Tuesday night).

The menu is broken down into five sections: Seafood Cocktails, Small Plates, Salads, Soups and Large Plates. Our meals started off with a complimentary small bowl of pickled vegetables, a combination of potatoes, carrots and cauliflower - served as a way to cleanse your palate while looking over the menu.
The guys had Mexican beer and I opted for the house margarita - pomegranate. Very good!
Brian and I looked to Bryan Hagen for help as he and his wife have been to Autentica before. Bryan is a real "foodie" so I knew he wouldn't steer us wrong.

We started out with two dishes from the Seafood Cocktail section:
Ceviche del Norte - large Mexican prawns cooked in epazote broth, mixed with habanero puree, onions, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro served on large saltine-like crackers for $13
Pulpo del Dia (which changes daily) - Octopus, charred with a wonderful sweet dark Mexican chile sauce served on a bed of rice for $12
They also brought us three small ramekins of "salsa" which we experimented with.
Both starters were fabulous and a great serving size for the price.
Our Large Plates were an eclectic mix:
Acarne a la plancha con frijoles charros y chiles toreados - cascade natural flat iron steak, cooked on the flat top with charro beans and serrano peppers for $18
Filete de bagre con chile macho - seared catfish filet over serrano and jalapeno chile sauce, served with lime beet salad for $18
Papas con mulato
russet potatoes simmered in a dark chile sauce with cojita cheese and crispy tortilla for $15
We all shared the large plates, but out of the three, I think B. Hagen's catfish pick was simply divine and cooked to perfection - served with a beet salad that was so unique that Bryan asked our server for the recipe (and he claims to not be a beet fan).
Brian's potatoes were interesting, but I found the whole dish lacking something - perhaps a hunk of meat on the side! My flat iron steak lacked seasoning although it was smothered in onions and surrounded by beans and cactus (which I thought were Mexican green beans) all of which were flavorful.
Homemade tortillas were also a nice added touch.
Our evening ended with a wonderful lemon tart accompanied by Kiwi fruit (I couldn't quite get that combination) - but the tart was lovely with a hint of coconut in the crust. They also have a nice selection of dessert tequilas (go figure). Bryan was tempted by the almond tequila which smelled and tasted unlike any tequila I've ever had.
All in all - a unique dining experience. I'd love to try more of the menu and also check out their weekend brunch.
Authentica Mexican Cuisine 5507 NE 30th Ave, Portland, OR 97211

Our Garden

Bibb Lettuce Bowl

We did some planting at Rebecca Lane a few weeks ago. I put my herbs in individual pots this year - hoping they will grow better. It was so wet last year that nothing did very well.

This year I planted....

Yellow Pear Tomatoes (little ones to pop into your mouth)

Roma Tomatoes (patio variety so hopefully we will get a few to slice on our salad)

Chives (always reminds me of my Gram Virginia's place in Eugene. I used to eat the chives in her front yard)

Basil (this already smells so wonderful)

Rosemary (so versatile)

Coriander/Cilantro (this is one herb I probably use the most. Great in Asian dishes)
I also planted a big bowl of lettuce - let's hope there is enough for one salad this year!

Good Luck little plants!



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Friend

I picked up a new client and a new friend this week. Meet Phoebe!

She's a very sweet Golden Retriever and I am house-sitting for her and her "sisters", Baxter, Gabby and Sophie (three cats) this week.

Phoebe loves to go for walks and Brian and I took her to the "secret woods" on Monday night where she explored and chased the ball! Brian was a big help as Phoebe is a bit neurotic, but very sweet. She'll be a handful for me this week.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Girl's Weekend

Sandra and I hit the streets of Portland on Saturday (in 95 degree heat) to do a bit of shopping along NW 23rd Avenue and to have lunch at Jo Bar. We had a great day and it was fun to spend some time doing "girl" things.



Friday, May 16, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Girl's Day

Click on picture to enlarge

Date: Spring 2002-2003
Washington County Winery Tour (Memorial Day Tasting Tour)
Who: Chick and Princess
What: Girl's Weekend

In honor of another "Girl's Weekend" I found this photo of Sandra and I taken a few years ago at one of the Washington County Wineries.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Creamy Tomato and Summer Herb Soup

Since I am house-sitting next week and eating most of my meals out, I won't be publishing a Menu Plan Monday this week. I still wanted to post this week's ROTW. This soups sounds light and with fresh herbs - a very refreshing heathly meal. Grab a loaf of crusty bread to soak up all the L-O-V-E!


Creamy Tomato and Summer Herb Soup

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 large ripe tomatoes, diced (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium. Add the onion and saute until softened, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes and water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, in batches if necessary (use caution when blending hot liquids).

4. Set a strainer over the saucepan. Pour the puree through the strainer, pressing on the solids with a wooden spoon or spatula to extract as much of the pulp as possible; discard the seeds and skin.

5. Whisk the sour cream and tarragon into the soup. Stir over low heat until the soup is hot, but not boiling. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe courtesy of the Associated Press

Images from Google Images

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Brian and I visited my Mom and Kenny on Sunday to celebrate Mother's Day (and a belated b-day for me).

Brian cooked two wonderful quiches (Broccoli Cheddar and Lorraine) and my Mom put together a wonderful fruit salad and a relish tray.

These are the flowers I had shipped over from Maui for Mother's Day. Maui Protea send fresh, affordable arrangements anywhere in the country. The bouquet is beautiful! Brian and I visited the florist in Kula (up country) when we were there in April.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our First M's Game of 2008

Brian and I went to our first M's game of 2008 on Saturday night. Safeco Field was damp and cold (roof extended) and the M's lost to the Chicago White Sox, 8-4.

We walked around and tried to take a few pictures, but it was pretty dark!

Our next game is July 4th weekend so hopefully we will warm up a bit!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Here is my first Menu Plan Monday (I hope I get everything posted correctly)! My goal each week is to create a menu that is full of healthy, low-fat, weight-watchers inspired dinners that are quick and easy to prepare. Usually one meal a week is vegetarian! There are two mouths to feed at Rebecca Lane so each meal usually prepares 4 servings (with leftovers for lunch the next day). Meals are Monday-Thursday as I travel every Friday. I'll try and post as many recipes as I can, although to be honest....following them is quite hard for me (lost of improvising in my kitchen).

Tuesday: Pasta Alla Vodka with leftover Garden Salad

Wednesday: Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Jasmine Rice (lots of fresh veggies mixed with ginger, garlic, chili paste and a splash of coconut milk)
Thursday: Baked Shrimp in a Lemon Garlic Sauce with rest of leftover Jasmine Rice*
*Peel 1 1/2 pounds of raw shrimp and toss with the juice of two lemons, three minced garlic cloves and a tsp of lemon pepper. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. Place shrimp and marinade in an oven proof baking dish and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque (stir it a couple of times during cooking). Serve atop rice with a sprinkle of chopped parsley. YUMMY!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Happy Mother's Day

Date: September 2001
Location: Tukwila, Washington (aka the Pine Cone Inn my Mom and Kenny's home)
Who: Stacy and Mom
What: My friend, Simon was in the States visiting from Australia and we took a road trip up to Seattle to visit my mom and Kenny and show Simon all the sights and sound of the Pacific NW.



Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Steak with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

It’s that time of year again! Grilling Season! I grill 365 days a year, but many of you out there are just getting your BBQ’s warmed up. Here is an easy, yet elegant pre-summer meal. Serve with a big garden salad or torn romaine lettuce leaves. You don’t want to let this dressing go to waste!



Grilled Steak with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

Serves 4

Yields about 3 ounces of meat and 1/3 cup of roasted pepper dressing per serving.


1 pound lean beef (round), use top round cut, sliced ¾-inch thick
½ cup fat-free Italian salad dressing, or fat-free vinaigrette
2 large sweet red peppers
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp capers
1 medium shallot, chopped
1 Tbsp basil, fresh, chopped
2 Tbsp fat-free Italian salad dressing or fat-free vinaigrette
Cooking Spray


1. Place steak in zip-lock bag. Pour ½ cup dressing over steak. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours - turn frequently.
2. Meanwhile, prepare roasted red pepper dressing – place whole peppers on top of gas stove over open flame (or place over hot grill/BBQ). Char peppers on all sides, about 8-10 minutes in total.
3. Remove the peppers from heat and place in a glass bowl with plastic wrap covering the top. Set aside until cool (approx 45 min to 1 hour).
4. Remove peppers from bowl and scrape off skin with a paring knife. Core peppers, remove seeds and cut into chunks.
5. Place peppers, garlic, capers, shallot, basil, 2 tablespoons of dressing, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender; puree.
6. Coat grill with cooking spray and heat. To cook steak – drain off and discard dressing/marinade. Grill until steak is browned on the outside and medium rare on the inside, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from grill.
7. Cut steak across the grain into thin strips to serve.
Note: The dressing can be made up to a day in advance and kept refrigerated

Image courtesy of Google Images

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greenlake - Sunny Sunday

Brian (the Dog father) and I looked after Elliott and Kui over the weekend as Sonja and Geoff are in England visiting family.

We took the dogs to Greenlake for a walk on Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day in Seattle and Brian and I loved being in the city once again.

After Emerald Downs on Saturday, we walked from Sonja and Geoff's to the 74th Street Ale House one of Brian's favorite pubs.
We had a great dinner (their chicken breast sandwhich has been voted one of the best in Seattle) and a few ales to wash it all down with. Fun day!



Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kentucky Derby Day

Brian and I went to Emerald Downs on Saturday for the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby.

We didn't bet on the favorite, Big Brown (we never pick the favorite) so needless to say, we didn't cash a ticket the entire day. It was cold and wet so we didn't walk to the railing to see many races at the track, but we still had a fun afternoon (here is a picture of another winning horse that we didn't bet on).



Monday, May 5, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: My First One!

As many of you know, I have a tendency to plan. One of the things I enjoy doing is planning our weekly menu at Rebecca Lane. I love to cook and I think you save more money at the grocery store if you have a set plan. I found this website and so going forward (next Sunday), I'll be posting our weekly menu sometime over the weekend in addition to our recipe of the week on Thursdays!


Friday, May 2, 2008

Old Photo Friday: Snorkel Jim

Date: April 2004
Location: Lahaina Maui - waiting to board the Lahaina Princess
Who: My Pop, Diamond Jim
What: On our way out to Molakini and Turtle Cove for the first time ever!