Tuesday, August 31, 2010

M's Vs. Twins

Brian and I went to a day game at Safeco Field last Saturday.

Unfortunately for this team and this city, there will be no post season play this year.

We still had a wonderful afternoon despite the 1-0 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Twins (what was with all the Twins/Mauer fans). Opposing teams are turning out in droves (it's not just the Red Sox anymore).

King Felix's Bullpen Session

It was a beautiful summer Saturday....with just a little hint of fall in the air.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bon Voyage! Brian's Birthday

Bon Voyage!

I am taking a few days off this week to celebrate Brian's 50th birthday! We've got a few fun northwest activities planned, including an overnight stay at Tulalip Casino and a road trip to Levinworth.... then a couple of days kicking around the Seattle area.

I'll blog when I can so... as a result, there will be no Menu Plan Monday post today (not much cooking this week). I've got a new recipe on Thursday and of course, Old Photo Friday on Friday morning.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Happy Anniversary, Pop and Rosemary

WHO: Pop and Rosemary
WHAT: Riding the ski lift gondola
WHERE: Lake Tahoe, CA
WHEN: January 2001

This is late....I guess better late than never. Happy Silver Anniversary to Pop and Rosemary, on August 24th.

They were married in the backyard at E Street with friends and family and their two children, as attendants.

This isn't the picture I wanted to post.....so check back next week and I'll have a wedding photo in it's place (technical difficulties with new scanner that isn't set up properly).


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Ever seen one of these?

The tomatillo is part of the tomato family (related to the cape gooseberry). Generally referred to as green tomatoes (Spanish: tomate verde) in Mexico, they are a staple in Mexican cuisine. When buying them, it is best to pick tomatillos that have completely filled their paper husk, they’re not fully mature if they haven’t. An average size for tomatillos is about one and a half ounces. Larger ones have less flavor and can be a little bitter. Unlike most tomatoes, tomatillos won’t change color much when they’re ripe.

I've seen these in recent years at the grocery store and farmers markets but had no clue how to use them. I think this salsa would be great on grilled chicken or fish tacos.


Roasted Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

Adapted from Washington Growers Association


1/2 pound fresh tomatillos
1/2 small red onion
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 fresh jalapeño chile
2 ripe avocados


Preheat broiler or grill.

Remove husks and rinse tomatillos under warm water to remove stickiness. Slice onion in large rings and leave intact then arrange on rack of a broiler pan with tomatillos and garlic.

Broil/Grill vegetables 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning them once, until softened and slightly charred, about 10 minutes.

Peel garlic and put in a food processor with tomatillos, onion, cilantro, and salt. Wearing rubber gloves, discard seeds from jalapeño if desired and coarsely chop. Add jalapeño to tomatillo mixture and puree until mixture is almost smooth.

Transfer tomatillo mixture to a bowl. Halve and pit avocados and scoop flesh into tomatillo mixture. With a fork mash avocado into mixture, leaving texture coarse.

Makes 2 cups

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Saturday Snaps

Time to admire wild fuchsia in front garden. Our front garden is amazing!

Toes polished in the morning sun, while sipping coffee on the front step.

A five mile walk along beach drive with a rest to watch the ferries cross the Puget Sound and to rest our weary legs.

Our grand reward! Living so close to an amazing pub with a completely empty patio at 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon. We had the whole place to ourselves for an hour....heaven!

An adorable two year old's birthday party and an amazing mom who made ladybug, butterfly and bumblebee cakes.

When you look back upon what was thought to be a quiet weekend...you realize all that you took in and all that it gave you back.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Rocket Man!

Recent conversation heard in West Seattle.....

Me: Is that a parachute in our tree?
Brian: uh-huh

Brian got the ladder from the side of the house on Saturday morning and retrieved the parachute I had spotted on Friday night hanging from the cherry tree in the front yard.

It appears that someone launched this Sling Chute into the air....from where we do not know... and it ended up in our tree.

It's on our front porch, if you'd like your toy back (although I think Brian might want to play with it for a few days).


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: August 22-26

If you are like me, you are still trying to squeeze the life out of summer. Here in the Pacific NW, our summers are short so we savor every little bit.

I plan on spending less time in the kitchen and more time outside this week. Let's face it....Summer is fading!

Here is my simple menu for the week. Many of these dishes can be made in less than 45 minutes or prepped the day before for easier cooking.


Monday: BBQ Fish (Salmon, Tuna or Halibut) with Brown Rice and Grilled Asparagus
Tuesday: Five Minute Southwestern Layered Salad
Wednesday: Garden Bounty Stuffed Pork Chops with Green Beans and Jasmine Rice (prep this one ahead)
Thursday: Grilled Asian Burgers with Onion and Pineapple

Friday, August 20, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Vegas Chick!

WHO: Sandra K (Chick)
WHAT: Hanging out in Las Vegas
WHERE: In front of the Mirage on Las Vegas Strip
WHEN: 1998 or 99 - perhaps 1990 (girls trip that they typically took in May)

Chick's coming with me to Seattle this weekend to hang out with Brian and Sammy. It isn't Las Vegas....but we will still have a good time. Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Thai Chicken Salad

Okay, we are in the dog days of summer and the weather is hot, so I found this amazing quick and easy chicken salad that's packed with a ton of flavors. We've been eating a salad "meal" at least once a week for the past month.

My favorite part of the Sunday paper is the Parade Magazine and every once in a while they feature a wonderful recipe. I found this one a few months ago and saved it for one of those hot, muggy nights when you don't feel like spending time in the kitchen.


Thai Chicken Salad
Slightly adapted by Katie Lee (Billy Joel's ex-wife, no joke)

6 cups mixed greens
1 red or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 English cucumber, peeled, and chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup cooked rice noodles (about 3 oz.)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 Tbsp peanuts, chopped

2 Tbsp fish sauce
Juice of one lime, fresh-squeezed
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

In a large bowl, toss lettuce, pepper, carrot, cucumber, onion and sprouts. Divide among four plates. Top each with rice noodles and chicken. Garnish with cilantro, mint, and peanuts. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified. Drizzle and serve.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer Evening on the Patio

Brian and I spent a very quiet (and hot) weekend in West Seattle. Temps soared up into the mid-90's, which is quite warm for our area.

We spent most of the evening outside...trying to stay cool. There was an amazing breeze and neither one of us wanted to go inside.

Brian rigged a clothesline and I hung sheets to dry in the afternoon sun.....made amazing curry basmati rice, kebobs, spicy sausages and Cuban Lime marinated chicken thighs (all from the freezer) and we ate al fresco on the patio.

Enjoying summer!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Deschutes Brewery Street Fare

Last Thursday night, Chick and I headed down to the pearl district for the Deschutes Brewery Street Fare, benefiting Morrison Child and Family Services.

It was a warm summer evening in the city and our first opportunity to check out some of the amazing Portland Food Carts.

In Oregon, food carts remain a mostly urban Portland phenomenon, with a small smattering of carts elsewhere in the state. While other cities, including New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, also boast high numbers of food carts, the Portland scene has exploded like nowhere else.

$5 at the entrance got us one beer/food tasting and for $4 we were able to try a myriad of other offerings, each exclusively paired with a Deschutes beer.

Here is what we chowed down on.....

The Grilled Cheese Grill - The Jalapeno Popper, which was extremely spicy! Gooey cheddar and fired roasted peppers (burnt the crap out of our mouths).
Slow and Low Sandwich - Our favorite of the night! Cantonese Inspired Hook Roasted Pork Belly
Housemade Kimchi, Horseradish Mayo, Fennel, Cilantro and Iceberg Lettuce (I gotta find this cart again soon and eat a whole sammy).
The FlavourSpot - The Dutch Taco - Pork sausage patties and 100% pure organic maple spread between a waffle. Sweet, salty, delicious! This was dessert!
Mum's Kitchen -
Spicy Garlic Pork & Cabbage - Tender curried pork braised with sweet cabbage, wrapped up like a burrito (citrus beer pairing was our least favorite of the night).

What a fun Summer event! A great turn out to support a wonderful charity. I hope the pearl continues to put on these little gems all through the year.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Mid August!

Studies have shown that it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to let your brain know it’s satisfied. Start with smaller portions and then wait 20 minutes before digging in for seconds. You may find that you’re no longer hungry.

Enjoy this week's menu!
Brian is teaching this week in Portland....Oh Yeah!


Sunday: Alaskan Amber Beer Brats on the Grill with Baked Beans, Mustard Potato Salad and Corn on the Cob
Monday: Homemade Tacos (quick and easy and it's going to be 98 today)
Tuesday: M & S Grill's Happy Hour with Brian and Sandra @ Bridgeport Village
Wednesday: Company BBQ and Portland Beavers Game at PGE Park
Thursday: Fend 4 Yourself Night (errands and packing for Seattle; Chick and I pull outta town tomorrow at 2PM)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Pop with hoodie

WHO: Jim Brady (AKA Pop)
WHAT: Hanging out....it must be cold
WHERE: Um.....in front of a house? Who's house is it?
WHEN: Pop looks to be about 8 or 9 so I'll say 1951 or 52


I just love this picture...hands in pocket perhaps getting ready for school. Pop do you remember?

Thanks for the visit! We really enjoyed your company.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Stuffed Squash Blossoms

I never thought to harvest my amazing squash blossoms.

Did you know you can eat those too?

This unusual recipe featuring the delicate flowers of baby summer squash, is an elegant and delicious appetizer would make a great start to any dinner party. The scallop mousse is very elegant, but the recipe would work with crab or shrimp as well.



Stuffed Summer Squash Flowers


4 cups vegetable oil for frying


1/2 pound raw scallops (you could also use raw shrimp or crab)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 shallot, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

16 summer squash or zucchini flowers

Tempura batter:

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for coating the blossoms

1/2 cup corn starch

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup ice water

Sea salt


Heat the oil in a large pot to 375 degrees F.

In a food processor, make a smooth paste of the scallops, eggs, cream, and shallots. Fold in the basil, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Gently wash the squash blossoms and set on paper towels to dry. Using a tablespoon, carefully stuff the blossoms with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the scallop mousse. Set aside.

To make the tempera batter, whisk together the 1/2 cup flour, cornstarch, pepper, and baking soda. Slowly add the ice water and whisk to incorporate.

Gently roll the stuffed blossoms in the extra flour and then into the tempura batter. Carefully lower half of the blossoms into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Remove from the oil very carefully, and transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining blossoms.

Season with sea salt and serve immediately, 2 per person.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Billy Quon Lee (no relation to Brian, at least not that I know of).

Images courtesy of moi...are those not the cutest blossoms you've ever seen. I am very proud of them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First Harvest!

Our garden this year has been a struggle, but I am pleased to say that this past Wednesday we had our first official harvest! WOO HOO!

I picked two small yellow squash and grilled them to perfection with some yummy caramelized garlic, huge button mushrooms and asparagus.

I think it's time to start exploring some fall garden options....broccoli, lettuce....anyone? I'll be planting next week. Wish me luck. I kinda like this harvest thing!!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: August 9-12 "International Week"

Our food pyramid has gone global! The dietitian's trusty tool has been reshaped for Asian, Latino and Mediterranean tastes. Believe it or not, you can incorporate international cuisine into your healthy eating plan, but stick with traditions NOT the higher in fat American versions.

Growing evidence demonstrates that the Mediterranean diet as well as the macrobiotic Asian diet are beneficial to your health. Diets of these regions consist of high monounsaturated/saturated fat ratio; moderate levels of wine; high consumption of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains; moderate consumption of milk and dairy products, mostly in the form of cheese; and low consumption of meat and meat products.

My Pop is coming for a visit this week. Here is our "international" menu.


Monday: Grilled Lamb with Moroccan Sweet-Potato Salad and Basmati Rice
Tuesday: Rustic Grilled Veggie Pizza (ITALY)
Wednesday: Mongolian Beef with Brown Rice (omit noodles) (MONGOLIA)
Thursday: Deshutes Brewery Street Fair 5-9 (checking out Portland Food Carts)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Mom!

WHO: Mom (cute swimsuit)
WHAT: Summertime fun? Whose car is that?
WHERE: Summer in Washington State (perhaps visiting her dad, Jim and his wife, June)
WHEN: Picture says August 1963 (hopefully mom can shed some light on the story)

Happy Birthday to my mom who turns 65 today! I love you!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Summer Gratin

What is gratin?

Gratin is a widely used culinary technique in food prep in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. Traditionally it is served in its baking dish.

For my birthday in April, Brian got me the America's Test Kitchen 2009 cookbook and this was one of the recipes I immediately dog-eared for the summer.


Summer Vegetable Gratin

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (get a big round one)
1 pound yellow squash, sliced same as zucchini
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (3 or 4), sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and sliced thin pole to pole (I like Walla Walla sweets)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 medium garlic cloves, I like to grate mine or you can mince fine
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, if you are using dried, reduce amount by half
1 large slice of white bread, torn into 4 pieces
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 medium shallots, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (don't even bother using dried)

Preheat oven to 400. Brush 9 x 13 gratin dish with 1 teaspoon of oil; set aside.

Toss zucchini and squash with 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; transfer to a colander set over the bowl. Let it stand until zucchini and squash release their liquid, approximately 3 tablespoons (this will take about 1 hour). Arrange slices on a paper towel and top with a paper towel and press to release any additional liquid.

Slice tomatoes and place on a paper towel and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Put double layer of paper towels on top and press to release liquid.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat, add onions and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; cook stirring occasionally until onions are soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Combine garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and thyme in a small bowl. In a large bowl toss the zucchini and yellow squash with 1/2 the oil mixture, then arrange in gratin dish. Arrange onions on top in an even layer. Slightly overlap the tomato slices on top of the onions. Spoon remaining garlic/oil mixture on top.

Bake until vegetables are tender and tomatoes start to brown; about 40-45 minutes.

As gratin is cooking, pulse bread into crumbs and combine with remaining oil, Parmesan cheese and shallots in a small bowl. Remove gratin dish from oven and turn the oven up to 450. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top and put gratin back into the oven until cheese bubbles, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle top with basil and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Image courtesy of Google Images
Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen and Cooks Country. I love my b-day present, baby. So glad I got to use it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Green Does Your Garden Grow? UPDATE

A check on the garden this week brings mixed results. With the spring weather inconsistencies (June was the wettest on record in Portland) I didn't get as much planted as I had imagined.

Things in July really took off (including the weeds).....

Our first two basil plants died! Too wet and too cold and the third plant is being eaten alive. Our dill, thyme and rosemary are champions!

I've got blooms (finally) on my tomato, but let's face it.....with all the rain, cool and dampness, something still isn't right. I am still waiting to see signs of fruit.

The star of the garden is the yellow squash. In the past two weeks, it's really taken off and I've got some lovely bright yellowy/orange blossoms.

I am still hopeful that I can plant some broccoli in mid-August and also some lettuce for a fall harvest.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome August!

We are deep in the heart of summer and for me, nothing says summer more than visiting a local farmer's market. Here in Beaverton, we are so lucky not only to have a great Saturday market, but also a mid-week Wednesday night market. Please try and support your local vendors!

The impact to the earth and the environment is so much lower buying local and organic products. Animals, even being raised for strictly food, enjoy a life (no matter how short) that is relatively stress-free and on free-grazing land.

Organic farmers use less energy, less water resources, and NO pesticides. Trust me....I think the food even tastes better.



Monday: Chicken Taco Salad
Tuesday: Salmon with Green Beans
Wednesday: Dijon Pork Cutlets with Grilled Veggies and Jasmine Rice
Thursday: Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto and a slice of Texas Toast