Friday, February 27, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Las Vegas Memories

WHO: Stacy and Sandra
WHAT: Wine at Bertolini's (now called Trevi Italian Restaurant)
WHERE: The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
WHEN: May 1998
WHY: Girl's trip to Las Vegas

Brian's teaching in Las Vegas this week and I am a bit jealous. I haven't been to Las Vegas in a long time. Chick and I went a few times in the late 90's and we loved it. We found this cool Italian restaurant (back then) called Bertolini's. They had a bar that was inside the Forum Shops, but gave you the impression of an outdoor Italian dining experience (right next to the replica of Trevi fountain. The ceiling looks like the sky and is constantly changing colors - with all these different colored cloud formations. Even to this day, when Sandra and I see a sky at home that reminds us of Bertolini's we call it a Bertolini sky.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Ad's Pasta

Way back my other life - I had a good friend named Adam. He was an excellent "scratch" cook (and a excellent yachtsman) and I don't think he ever cooked a bad meal (even in his tiny galley). This pasta not only reminds me of Adam - but of all my wonderful Australian friends and my time living down under.


Ad's Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 pound Penne Pasta
2 oz Boar's Head Hard Salami - sliced in thin strips (or similar brand)
2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
1 Pint Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon Pesto Sauce
6 oz Tomato Paste (you may or may not use the whole can - depending on thickness)
Parmesan Cheese
Sambal Ulek (hot chili paste), Optional

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook salami until brown. Remove salami from the pan and wipe most of the grease from the pan - leave a bit to brown your shrooms.
3. Add the mushrooms and brown, 5-7 minutes; return the salami to the pan and add the heavy cream, pesto and 2 tablespoons of the tomato paste. Season with pepper (you may or may not need salt). Cook until sauce thickens; adding more tomato paste and or heavy cream if needed (also add chili paste if using).
4. Drain pasta and add to sauce. Serve a generous portion in a large bowl with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top.
Thanks to Adam!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jukebox Addiction

I just can't stay away from an ols fashioned jukebox. If I see one - my eyes glaze over and I ask anyone who is with me for ALL of the $1 bills in their possession ($5's work too). Strangely I don't care if I hear all the songs, because I usually drop at least a $20 (and that's a lot of songs) but I know that good music and good vibes will fill whatever bar I am in.

Do you know the history of the Jukebox?

The word Jook is an old African-American term, meaning to dance, sometimes used with sexual connotations (but this isn't THAT kind of blog). It has also been suggested that the Southern jute crop fields had workers who frequented low class road houses or makeshift bars, which were called juke (or Jute) joints, where these early Jukeboxes would appear. Cool!

By 1927, The Automatic Music Instrument Company created the world's first electrically amplified multi selection phonograph. With this amplification, suddenly the Jukebox could compete with a large orchestra, for the cost of a nickel.

Today, with the exception of the Jukebox at the Burgerville in Beaverton, compact discs have become the norm. Towards the end of the 20th century several companies started introducing completely digital jukeboxes which did not use physical recordings. The music selection and playback system was replaced by a dedicated proprietary computer. A selection of songs suitable to the venue (BORING) where the jukebox is located are generally cached in the local storage of the machine. The true advantage of this design is the seemingly endless selection of music available instantly to the customer by automatic download from an internet connection - which to me misses the point.

Last Friday night we visited one of my favorite jukeboxes, and yes.....I blew an easy $10 - listening to Coldplay's "Green Eyes", Death Cab For Cutie's "Soul Meets Body", CCR's "Suzie Q" and Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road".


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Last Sunday in February

Can't you just feel Spring around the corner? February is such a short month - it prepares my soul for Spring. Longer days are just around the corner.

Here is our menu plan for the week of February 22nd. BIG OSCAR PARTY TONIGHT followed by a great week of really yummy meals.
As a reminder, click on the banner above to be directed to Laura's site for more great meal plans.


Sunday: 82nd Annual Academy Awards - Great Oscar inspired tapas night!
Monday: Spanish Tortilla with a Big Garden Salad (Thanks, Cathy)
Wednesday: BBQ Chicken with Green Beans

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscar Party 2009!

The 81st Academy Awards will be broadcast tomorrow night at 5PM/PST. Chick and I always have an Oscar party - from the Red Carpet all the way through the Barbara Walters special.
Film buffs look forward to the Academy Awards to see which movies win, but at Rebecca Lane, we're more interested in planning the food and drink for our gathering.
Hoping to satisfy both film lovers and foodies, I've created my small plate menu based on this year's nominees. The menu plan wasn't easy (as I have not seen all the nominees) but I tried to feature specific dishes that make an appearance in the film or speak to the people and places in each film.
Here is our party plan:

Red Carpet Spiced Gonzo Garbanzo Beans served with Barefoot Bubby (let's get the party started with a 2 hour Red Carpet show)
Goats "Milk" Pistachio Crusted Cheese Log with an assortment of crackers (honoring Best Actor Nominee, Sean Penn for his portrayal of Harvey Milk).
Chorizo and Manchego Cheese Quesadillas served with a Salneval Albarino 2006 from Spain (honoring best supporting actress nominee Penelope Cruz for her role in Woody Allen's Vicky Christina Barcelona)

Tandoori Chicken Skewers with Indian Rice (honoring Best Picture nominee, Slumdog Millionaire)

Cajun Deep Fried Tiger Prawns (honoring Best Picture Nominee The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)

"Dark Night" Chocolate Lava Cakes served with Apolloni 2007 Dolce Vino Viognier (honoring best supporting actor nominee, Heath Ledger for his portrayal of the joker in the Dark Night).

Enjoy the show!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday Geoff!

Stacy, Brian, Geoff and Sonja
Date: July 4th Weekend, 2005
Location: Seattle Waterfront
Who: Stacy, Brian, Geoff and Sonja
What: At our annual meeting spot, having a patriotic cocktail!

Okay, we haven't know Geoff for very long, but it is his birthday on Monday, so I pulled up this old photo from 2005 - the first time we met Geoff, Fourth of July weekend.



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Recipe of the Week: KCTS Cooks Mac and Cheese

A few weekends ago, Brian and I watched the 2009 installment of KCTS Cooks. It's one of our favorite shows of the year. Local chef's, local recipes for 4 hours on public television.

This recipe caught our eye. Who doesn't love a good Macaroni and Cheese?


Morton’s of Chicago Macaroni and Cheese
Serves 6 to 8

12 ounces dried cavatappi or other small hollow, ridged pasta
4 tablespoons finely diced yellow onion
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
Kosher salt
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small cubes
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
1 ounce Swiss cheese, grated (about 6 tablespoons)
½ tablespoon chile paste, such as sambal oelek
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded (about 1 2/3 cups)
8 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs (about ½ cup)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain but leave a little water on the pasta to keep it moist. Reserve another ½ cup of pasta water to thin the sauce. Return to the cooking pot and cover to keep warm.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and sauté the onions for about 1 minute or until tender. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheddar, cream, Parmesan and Swiss cheeses and cook, stirring, until the cheeses melt and are fully incorporated into the cream. Let the sauce reach a simmer and stir in the chile paste. You will have about 2 ½ cups of sauce.
4. Remove from the heat and using an immersion blender or hand-held electric mixer, beat for about 45 seconds until the cheeses and onions are completely blended. The sauce will be thick; thin it with the reserved ½ cup of pasta water and mix well. Season to taste with salt.
5. Ladle the sauce over the pasta and mix well with a rubber spatula. Transfer to a deep, 2-quart baking dish and spread the pasta and cheese evenly. Sprinkle the coarsely shredded cheese over the casserole and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day

Brian and I spent Valentine's Day in West Seattle. It was a great day and a chance to walk along Alki Beach on a day when it wasn't too crowded.

We started up on Beach Drive, close to our house and drove the entire length....stopping a few times for a quick stroll and a couple of pictures.

Alki Beach Park, a long beach strip that runs from Alki Point to Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay. It's a great spot for a 2.5 mile walk any time of year, and in the summer draws joggers, rollerbladers, volleyball players, beachcombers, sunbathers and bicyclists out to enjoy the sun. In February, it's a chance to explore and plan for the longer warmer days ahead.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Pop's Visiting

Have you ever struggled with a dinner party or cringed knowing guests are coming over - and you don't want to fall off the "diet wagon"? Come on......low-fat, light "diet" food can't be good to serve to a guest, right?

Every time my Pop comes up from Springfield for a visit, I get out some of my favorite Weight Watcher's or light/low fat meals and he doesn't even know the difference. Let's see if we can pull the wool over his eyes with these dishes.

Check out Laura and all her friends for more menu ideas.


Monday: Easy Turkey Enchiladas (leftover recipe from last week) with a Big Garden Salad
Tuesday: Chicken and Artichoke Bundles with Jasmine Rice
Wednesday: Roasted Rib-Eye with Spiced Blue Cheese Sauce alongside Green Beans (I have a rib-eye roast from Christmas in the freezer that I will use instead of tenderloins)
Thursday: Shrimp Etouffee with Dirty Brown Curry Rice

Friday, February 13, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Love

Who: Allen K. Lee and Ann Peterson (Brian's parents)
What: It looks like Christmas Dinner to me (see pointsetta napkins on table)
Date: Approximatley 1952 - before Al and Ann married (they were married in 1953)
Location: Ann thinks this photo was taken at her sister, Nina's home

Brian's parents were married over 50 years. If that isn't love, I am not sure what is.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Flourless Raspberry Chocolate Cake

Everyone knows that I can't bake, but that never stops me from trying to find easy yummy looking desserts. My sweets LOVES raspberries so when I saw had Valentine's Day written all over it. Wish me luck!



1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
2 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
7 tablespoons seedless red raspberry jam, divided
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 large eggs
1/3 sugar
1/4 orange juice
Garnish: frozen whipped topping, fresh raspberries

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 2 ramekins using 1 tablespoon of butter. Line bottom of the ramekins with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine chocolates and remaining 1/3 cup butter. Microwave on high, in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted.
3. Add 4 tablespoons jam and the orange zest. Stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool slightly.
4. In a medium bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Whisk mixture into the cooled chocolate mix. Pour batter into prepared ramekins.
5. Place ramekins in a roasting pan. Fill the pan with water until it reaches halfway up the outside of the ramekins. Cover pan with foil, sealing well on edges. Bake for 1 hour.
6. Remove from oven and allow cakes to cool in water for 15 minutes before removing. Chill cakes in the fridge for 4 hours or up to overnight.
7. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of jam and orange juice. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until melted.

Serve sauce over cakes. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired

February 2009 - The Costo Connection Magazine

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sammy Update!

Sammy continues to be the gleam in our eye. He's a total "Daddy's boy".......he sits on Brian's lap most of the time.....he's so affectionate.

Friday nights I run in the door after we get home from the train station.....I can't wait to see him.
He loves play time.....his feather duster is one of his favorites.

I took this video on Saturday after we gave him a present....a new scratching post. He loves it!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Rules to live by in today's uncivil world

I love to make lists. I love to read lists. Lists are incorporated into my life on a daily basis. Without them....I would be lost.

I came across this list in the Washington Post last Spring and have kept it on my desk all year. Whenever I am having one of "those" days....I look at the list, gather myself and find at least one of the 25 to live by for the remainder of the day.


It's a rude, rude world. Between screams, honks and nasty looks or gestures, it seem the whole planet has forgotten its manners. Here's how to do your part towards a more civil society.

1. Pay attention
2. Acknowledge others
3. Think the best
4. Listen
5. Be inclusive
6. Speak kindly
7. Don't speak ill.
8. Accept and give praise
9. Respect even a subtle "no"
10. Respect others' opinions
11. Mind your body
12. Be agreeable
13. Keep it down (rediscover silence)
14. Respect other people's time
15. Respect other people's space
16. Apologize earnestly
17. Assert yourself
18. Avoid personal questions
19. Care for your guests
20. Be a considerate guest
21. Think twice before asking for favors
22. Refrain from idle complaints
23. Accept and give constructive criticism
24. Respect the environment and be kind to animals
25. Don't shift responsibility and blame

The Washington Post

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Learning Spanish!

Things are rolling along this year. We are still trying to cook light and healthy and a good menu plan will always help you stay on course.

Did I mention I am learning Spanish? In honor of my quest to become bi-lingual....I am finding many Mexican/Spanish dishes that sound wonderful.

Here is our menu for this week and check out more menu ideas and great recipes at Laura's fantastic site.


Monday: Spanish Chicken and Rice with a BIG Garden Salad
Tuesday: Turkey Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Leftover Salad
Wednesday: Drinks with my friend, Jennifer (we haven't seen each other in a long time)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Karen!

WHO: Karen and Stacy
WHAT: Christmas Party
WHERE: Rebecca Lane - Beaverton, OR
WHEN: December 19, 1999
WHY: Sandra and I wanted to host our friends and family in a holiday celebration. We hired a bartender and I mixed some great CDs. We had about 50 people over that evening - legend has it that people are still talking about our holiday party to this day.

Today is a day of remembrance for a very special person in my life. I miss her everyday, but I know that where ever she is....she is without pain, and surrounded by light and love. Karen would have been 63 today and so I am honoring her memory with this special picture.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Pistacio-Crusted Halibut with Spicy Yogurt


We've been trying at Rebecca Lane to get more fish in our diet. Usually Chick has no objections to my crazy menu planning - but when I do ask her if anything sounds good - she usually replies, "FISH". I love anything crusted with pistachio, but I guess you could use macadamia nuts or hazelnuts if you prefer. Also, Tilapia is a nice-mild and inexpensive fish - when Halibut is not in season.

4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) pieces skinless halibut fillet (about 6 oz each) or any other fish preference
1 cup whole milk (you can use skim too)
1/3 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped - or any other nut choice
3 tablespoons cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For Spicy Yogurt:
1 cup thick Turkish or Greek yogurt (8 oz)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion, red
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Put fish in a shallow baking dish, pour milk over it, and chill, covered, turning over once, 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir together pistachios and cornmeal in a shallow bowl.Remove fish from milk, letting excess drip off. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in cornmeal-pistachio mixture.
3. Transfer to a clean plate as coated. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté fish, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total.
4. While fish cooks, stir together all ingredients for spicy yogurt.
Serve fish with spicy yogurt on the side. Sauteed veggies (yellow squash, zucchini also make a nice side).
Makes 4 servings.
Gourmet February 2007

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mississippi Avenue

Chick and I spent last weekend at home in Portland. It was another opportunity for a girl's weekend and so we decided to check out Mississippi Avenue on Saturday.
It was cool and foggy, but we walked up and down each side of the street and checked out every shop, bar and restaurant. This area is making a name for itself - with the newest hippest restaurants, unique shops and boutiques that only make up part of this new Portland "urban chic" neighborhood.
The avenue is culturally diverse, with a spirit and a sentiment that we felt as we explored. I loved the shopkeepers that we met on Saturday - you really felt the connection to their community.

Mississippi Avenue is definitely a place to come with an empty belly - eating, drinking, and entertaining - all in one place. We checked out the pastries at the Blue Gardenia, looking for bear claws for Sunday morning. Gravy serves classic home style breakfast/comfort food (totally packed with a wait out the door), Por Que No? Taqueria known as the "Sunniest Place in Portland” - has an amazing eclectic taco menu and Mississippi Pizza & Atlantis Lounge serves Stone Baked Pizza and live music (you could get lost on a Saturday afternoon in this "joint").

Chick outside of the White Eagle on Russell St (after our Mississippi Ave adventure)

Some of our favorite shops were Gumbo Gifts & Gallery - art, jewelry, home and garden décor (they also offer the complete Putumayo music library), Flutter - described as a delightful disarray of found objects - truly unique and Gypsy Chic “Where world fashion meets urban style”.
The next time you are looking for a laid back urban weekend - skip Belmont and NW 23rd avenue - head on over to Mississippi, you won't be disappointed.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome February

One month down in 2009! Welcome February!

January was long and cold (except for the Mexico getaway). We are still without an oven - but using the BBQ in unique ways. I made Super Bowl cupcakes on the grill!!

Here is the plan for this week. Remember to check out Laura for more planning ideas!


Sunday: Taco Soup (Super Bowl Sunday) - GO ARIZONA!!!!
Monday: Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese with a BIG GARDEN SALAD (thanks to Rachel's Bite)
Tuesday: Southwestern Chicken Salad with Spicy Buttermilk Dressing
Thursday: Grilled Herb Halibut with Broccoli