Thursday, May 31, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Denver Omelette

Last week while coming home from my east coast trip, I had a Denver Omelette in Chicago.  Omelets have never been a favorite of mine, but recently the few that I have had on my travels have been extraordinary.

The omelette is commonly thought to have originated in the Ancient Near East.  Beaten eggs were mixed with chopped herbs, fried until firm, then sliced into wedges. This dish is thought to have traveled to Western Europe via the Middle East and North Africa, with each country adapting the original recipe to produce the Italian frittata, the Spanish tortilla and the French omelette.

A Denver omelette, also known as a Southwest omelette or Western omelette, is an omelette filled with diced ham, onions, and green bell peppers, though there are many variations on fillings. Often served in the Southwestern U.S., this omelette sometimes has a topping of cheese and a side dish of fried potatoes.


Classic Denver Omelette

Serves 2


4 teaspoons butter or margarine

4 tablespoons chopped fully cooked ham
2 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat butter in 8-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat just until butter begins to brown. As butter melts, tilt pan to coat bottom. Cook ham, bell pepper and onion in butter 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Quickly pour eggs into pan. While sliding pan back and forth rapidly over heat, quickly stir with fork to spread eggs continuously over bottom of pan as they thicken. Let stand over heat a few seconds to lightly brown bottom of omelet. (Do not overcook; omelet will continue to cook after folding.)

Tilt pan and run fork under edge of omelet, then jerk pan sharply to loosen eggs from bottom of pan. Add cheese.  Fold portion of omelet nearest you just to center. (Allow for portion of omelet to slide up side of pan.) Turn omelet onto warm plate, flipping folded portion of omelet over so it rolls over the bottom. Tuck sides of omelet under if necessary.

Picture courtesy of Moi; this was my breakfast in Chicago at Midway (Miller's Pub)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

West Seattle Weekend Wrap-Up: Memorial Day!

Narrows Bridge - Tacoma

We had a wonderful LONG weekend in West Seattle.  I especially enjoyed being at home for three nights in a row (there is just something about that third night that makes me very relaxed).

Friday night "date" night kicked off at Elliott Bay Brewery.  We never tire of this West Seattle staple.  They are always packed on Friday nights but the food is always well-prepared and the hip vibe (minus the screaming kids) keeps us coming back.

Saturday was my favorite day of the weekend.  I spent some extra cuddle time with Sammy, sipping coffee and reading the paper. 

On a whim, I asked Brian if I could buy him breakfast, so we walked up the street to grab a bite and map out the rest of our weekend plans.  We loved Meander's Kitchen....basically a little hole in the wall breakfast-all-day joint with an amazing menu and awesome food.  Best breakfast in West Seattle!

Saturday was the best day of the long weekend....not too hot (high of 74) but enough sunshine to play in the yard, plant a few more flowers and cook-out on the grill.

Vanilla Bourbon Fresh Toast

On Monday, we were invited to my cousin Matt and his wife, Rose's Memorial Day BBQ/Party.

 Slow Roasted Pig

I have not seen Matt in 10 years and come to find out, they live just 1/2 mile from our front door in West Seattle.

They have a huge network of friends from all walks of life and it was a wonderful gathering.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: End of May!

The un-official kick off of summer occurs this weekend.  Woo Hoo!

Happy Memorial Day to all those who served our country so bravely.  We owe you a huge debt of gratitude!

Please enjoy a safe long weekend!  Here is our menu for the upcoming last bit of May.


Sunday:  Brian's Favorite Cook-out; burgers, corn on the cob and Aunt Kay's baked beans!

Monday: Happy Memorial Day; going to my Cousin Matt's Party in West Seattle.  I have not seen him in at least 10 years.  Rumor has it...they are roasting a pig?!
Tuesday: Back in Portland!  Black Bean Tacos with Corn Salsa

Wednesday: Mediterranean Chicken with Brown Rice

Thursday: Grilled Fish (Halibut/Cod) with Grilled Summer Veggies

Friday, May 25, 2012

Old Photo Friday: Happy Memorial Day!

WHO: Allen K. Lee and Ann P. Lee
WHAT: Brian's Dad getting ready to leave for Korea?
WHERE: Delaware?
WHEN: Mid 1050's

Happy Memorial Day and a special thank you to all who served this country, including Brian's Dad, Allen.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Hush Puppies

A hush puppy is a savory, starch-based food made from cornmeal batter that is deep fried or baked in small ball or sphere shapes.  They are frequently served as a side dish and a staple of southern cuisine.

Native Americans were using ground corn for cooking long before European explorers arrived in the New World. Southern Native American culture (Cherokee, Chicksaw, Choctaw and Creek) is the "cornerstone" of Southern cuisine.  From their culture came one of the main staples of the Southern diet: Corn (maize), either ground into meal or limed with an alkaline salt to make hominy.

Cornbread was popular during the American Civil War because it was very cheap and could be made in many different sizes and forms. It could be fashioned into high-rising, fluffy loaves or simply fried for a fast meal.

Hush puppies, although available in many areas of America, are popular in the south.  The name "hush puppies" is often attributed to hunters, fishermen or other cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

Other hush puppy legends purport to date the etymology of the term "hush puppies" to the American Civil War.  Union soldiers are claimed to have tossed fried cornbread to quell the barks of Confederate dogs.

I ate several dozen (no joke) puppies earlier this week in Virginia! 


Hush Puppies - Justin Wilson Style


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped green onion (including the green part)
  • 3/4-1 cup buttermilk (add slowly so you don't get the batter too runny.)
  • vegetable oil (for frying)


  • Combine all dry ingredients
  • Add egg, onions and buttermilk
  • Mix well
  • Drop tablespoon size balls into hot oil and brown on all sides.
  • Drain on paper towel and serve

    Justin E. Wilson (April 24, 1914 - September 5, 2001) was a southern American Chef and humorist known for his brand of Cajun cuisine-inspired cooking and humor. He was a self-styled "raconteur" and a staunch political conservative....we also share a birthday!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How does your garden grow?! One Month Check

It's been a month since our first "main" planting and since then, I've added three tomato plants and a yellow zucchini.

Everything appears to be doing well and we've had some wonderful warm weather.  Unlike last year, I've not been fighting with pests/snails as much as this time last season.  Perhaps it is the dryer weather!?

I am now ready to put some additional herbs in the ground including some basil and thyme...probably later this week or after Memorial Day.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Virginia: Day Three

Dorothy and Mom at McDonald's 

Very humid and a bit warmer on Tuesday.  We started the day at McDonald's where my Mom is a part-time hostess.

They love her there and I can see why....all her work friends just love her and her bubbly personality.  She's made many friends (lady above is a store regular) and her store is beautiful.  They won the store of the year and she was employee of the year in 2011.


 Bella and Stacy playing

Mom and I did a bit of shopping in the afternoon and thankfully, we got a bit of outdoor time in on their patio which overlooks the water....very peaceful.

For dinner we drove up the road about 1/2 mile to Clayton's Seafood.  

Shrimp and Crab Stuffed Flounder

A local favorite for over 40 years, this family style restaurant is famous for their Oyster Rockefeller, Crab au gratin and Soft Shelled crabs.  

Tomorrow I head back to Portland with a full heart (and definitely a full belly).


Monday, May 21, 2012

Virginia: Day Two

We woke up to gray skies and a constant drizzle on Sunday. 

Since Sunday is fairly quiet in Old Town Portsmouth, we decided to check out a wonderful German Bar/Restaurant called the Bier Garden.

The Bier Garden bar boosts a menu of between 300-350 beers from around the world. Guests enjoy exotic beer selections from Germany, Belgium, Scotland, and many other beer producing countries. Trappist ales, world renowned German brews, and little known farm house ales are all ready for the sampling and celebrating.

They also have a wonderful menu consisting of authentic Bavarian cuisine. True to fashion each dish is prepared from scratch using the Osfolk family recipes. Guests enjoy bratwurst, rolladen, goulash and potato salad to name a few.  Mom tried a goulash soup and we all shared an appetizer of schnitzel bites.


Visiting Virginia: Arrival

One of the perks of being in Baltimore for my work conference was its proximity to my family in Virginia.  I was able to add a few days onto my trip and spend a long weekend with Mom and Kenny in Portsmouth, VA.

The purpose of my visit was to just "hang", but one of my requests was to eat some good southern cooking including some chicken at the world's famous, Moseberth's.
Since they are closed Sunday and Monday, we went straight from the airport and grabbed a "winner winner chicken dinner" family pack, including cole slaw and hushpuppies.  They have been serving the area since 1940 and I can understand why.  Really good!

 Mom and Kenny's Place

Here are a few shots of Mom and Kenny's place.  My Mom always does such a fabulous job decorating.

Kenny and Bella playing in the back yard (house sits on just over an acre and is on a man made lake)


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Traveling!

Welcome Monday!

Where in the world am I?  I woke up in Virginia this morning so I am fairly certain I am in the south!

I fly home on Tuesday and Chick is heading out of town so a short mostly non-cooking week before starting the long holiday weekend.


Tuesday:  Arrive back in Portland at 12:30; An early dinner of rotisserie chicken and a salad
Thursday: Pan-fried Oysters with Uncle Roy Potatoes and Creamed Corn
Friday:  Long Weekend in Seattle.  The early train to Seattle, then dinner out

Baltimore: The Wrap Up

I've moved on from Maryland and arrived in Virginia, but I wanted to leave with some thoughts and observations.

First up.....for anyone with the opportunity to fly in and out of BWI...congratulations!  I used to think that I (Portland) had the best airport in the WORLD, but BWI (especially the SW terminal) is first class.

Rocking chairs at BWI

A note to the Chamber of Commerce; you need to have, nurture and promote a reputable cab company and teach your drivers to navigate and know your city, without relying on GPS (or in my case, learning the new GPS system of my cabbie who had no clue how to use it and no clue where he was).

Kuddos to the wonderful food of Maryland, especially your soft shelled crabs, which I was lucky to experience (evidently they are only available a short time each year).
Southwest Flight to Norfolk, VA

Finally, to some of the incredibly wonderful, smart and fun people I met at my 2 day conference.  You have inspired me to be a better employee, mentor and care-taker to my clients.  Thank you.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Visiting Baltimore

Maryland, My Maryland - View from Hotel Window 

I landed in Baltimore on Thursday afternoon with just enough time to freshen up at my hotel and head out for a bite.

I did some research on restaurants in my immediate area and had mixed results.  Unfortunately, I am staying out by the airport and nowhere near downtown, so my restaurant list was limited (I didn't want to spend a bundle on cab fares to get a decent meal).

I was able to find a few non-chain (national) restaurants including a brewpub and a family owned seafood/Italian joint. 

Thursday night I settled on the Bonefish Grill.  Granted, I realize it's a "chain" (we even have one in the Seattle area) but they had just what I wanted....a nice full service bar (dining alone can be a tad bit intimidating), a good wine list and fresh seafood.

This place was a great place to people watch and had a wonderful friendly staff.  The dinner menu was incredible with a great selection of local seafood including, wood grilled Atlantic Salmon, Imperial Chilean Sea Bass stuffed with Crab and the "classic"; Maryland Crab Cake Dinner.

Any guesses as to what I ate???

Jumbo Lump Crab meat stuffed into a Soft Shelled Maryland Crab. 

The weather is beautiful and I am really looking forward to our conference, which is all day Friday through 3PM Saturday.



Yup. The suitcase is packed again and I'm off to the east coast for a work conference.  It's a short trip to Baltimore and hopefully in between our two day session there will be some time to explore (although I am staying at the Hilton at the airport so chances are slim).

After Baltimore, I head to Norfolk/Portsmouth, VA to visit my Mom and Kenny for a few days.

In the meantime - how about some Baltimore/Maryland trivia . . .

  • The United States Naval Academy was founded on October 10, 1845 at Annapolis. 
  • In 1830 the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company built the first railroad station in Baltimore.
  • The first dental school in the United States opened at the University of Maryland (I hope I don't have to use it).
  •  Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, was born in Baltimore and attended Saint Mary's Industrial School. 
  •  The National Aquarium is located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. 
  •  The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use. 
  • Maryland was first to enact Workmen's Compensation laws in 1902. 
  • Sixteen of the 23 Maryland counties border on tidal water. The combined length of tidal shoreline, including islands, is 4,431 miles. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Baltimore Style Crab Cakes

A crab cake is an American dish composed of crab meat and other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, milk, mayonnaise, eggs, yellow onions, and seasonings. Crab cakes are traditionally associated with the area surrounding the Chesapeake Bay, in particular the state of Maryland and the city of Baltimore.

Maryland Crab Cakes are the national food of The Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, a horse race that is run on the third Saturday of May each year.

I am heading to Baltimore this morning and I hope to eat my weight in crab cakes.  If not, I'll make this recipe when I get home.


Baltimore-Style Crab Cakes

Recipe makes about 25 3 oz cakes


3 cups mayonnaise
1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Coleman dry mustard
4  whole eggs
4 slices white bread (crust removed);  cut in 3/8” dice
8 scallions (chopped)
1b.  claw crab meat
1 lb.  lump crab
1 lb.  jumbo lump crab (* you can find Phillips seafood in many west coast grocery stores)


• Mix together mayonnaise, Old Bay seasoning, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard
• Fold in beaten eggs and mix well
• Add bread cubes and scallions
• Fold in claw meat and lump crab
• Very gently fold in jumbo lump crab; be careful not to break up the large pieces of crab
• Portion into 3-oz. cakes and brown lightly in clarified butter or oil; finish in a 400-degree oven until hot

Chef’s Note: The claw meat in this recipe gives the crab cakes a sweet flavor and unique texture. The simplicity of the ingredients is what makes them great. Serve them with just a wedge of fresh lemon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

West Seattle Weekend Wrap Up; Here Comes the Sun!

Sunset over the Puget Sound

What a wonderful weekend in West Seattle.

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since I have been home....a busy month of train trips and beach time in Maui.

Home Sweet Home!

We spent a fair amount of time outdoors this weekend.

Beets, Italian Parsley, Chives, Yellow Pear Tomatoes and two Early Girl Tomatoes

Brian worked in the yard, turned over the veggie garden, relocated our birdbath and helped me plant flowers.  We had temps in the upper 70's, just perfect for a bit of sun bathing and Chardonnay on the patio.