Tuesday, March 31, 2015

13/52: Home Alone










It was just me and Sammy this weekend in West Seattle.  Brian flew to Delaware for business on Wednesday, then stayed through the weekend to see friends and family.  

In all honesty, I was quite lonely, but extremely content. Having just spent a pretty wild week with family at Rebecca Lane, Sammy and I found Seattle to be extremely quiet, but refreshing!

On Saturday, we decorated the house for Easter!  Our pear tree is in full bloom and each time I walked past the dinning room window it brought a smile to my face.  I just love Spring!

Most of the rest of Saturday was spent wrapped up in a blanket reading my new book, The Girl on The Train (I...could not...put...this...book...down).  It took me 52 hours to read it from start to finish!

There were afternoon naps with Sammy...a bit of basketball in the late afternoon and a wonderfully easy pasta dish.

How was your weekend?

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome April 2015


Welcome Monday and Welcome April!

We've got a big month ahead of us so let's get started.  Easter...check.  Maui....check.  My birthday....check!!

And don't forget to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.

Enjoy!
Stacy


Monday: Weight Watchers Asparagus Fettuccine with Salad
Tuesday: Poached Salmon with Cucumber-Dill Sauce over Brown Rice with Steamed Broccoli
Wednesday: Grilled Steak over Fried Polenta with Avocado and Salsa and a Side Salad
Thursday: Shrimp Fried Rice

Friday, March 27, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Remembering Lowell

WHO: Crowe and My Pop, Jim

Remembering Lowell Crowe who would have celebrated a birthday on March 23rd.  Gone from this earth, but never far from our heart and soul.

OU812!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Chinese Char Siu


We are three weeks away from another glorious week in Maui.  As you know, I love the food of Hawaii, rich in cultural diversity.

The cuisine of Hawaii incorporates many distinct styles representing the settlement and immigration of the Hawaiian Islands.  Native Hawaiians settled the area and fished and raised taro for poi, sugarcane, sweet potatoes and coconuts.  Europeans and American explorers and whalers built large plantations and introduced salted fish which eventually transformed into the side dish lomilomi.   Between 1850 and 1930, immigrants from China, Korea, Japan and the Philippines arrived in Hawaii, introducing new foods such as Chinese Char Siu (Bao).

Char Siu Bao is a Cantonese BBQ pork filled bun, flavored with Char Siu Pork.  In Hawaii, this is called manapua meaning "delicious pork thing".  The recipe can be adapted to exclude the bun.  Hawaiians enjoy the pork sliced with salads.  It is super simple and perfect for potlucks and tailgating.


Hawaiian Char Siu


Ingredients:

1/4 cup hoisin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry or sake
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 1/2 pound pork spare ribs or pork butt, cut into 2 inch strips (you could also use a loin or pork belly)


Directions:

Combine ingredients together and add pork.  Marinate overnight.

Place pork in a pre-heated oven at 400 F and roast for 30 minutes (or until the internal temp reaches at least 145 F).  Alternatively, you could easily grill or smoke.

If oven cooking, broil for the last 10-15 minutes checking every 5 minutes.  The pork should have nice charring on the edge of the pieces.



Notes:  "Kaukau" is pidgin slang word meaning "food" or "to eat".  The Hawaiian term for food is `ai. The two theories of the origin of the word "kaukau" are the Hawaiian word for table, pakaukau and the Chinese word for food, "chow chow".  




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

12/52: Final Four Wrap Up


We had an awesome week at Rebecca Lane with my Pop, Brian, Uncle Steve, Chick and a weekend guest, Chick's childhood friend, Terry.


One of the highlights of the week is the traditional March Madness Box from my Aunt Judy in Ohio.  She picks up various fun items, packs them in a box and sends it to us in time for the tournament.  Even though she is miles and miles away, it feels like she is right with us.

We had some incredible food over the weekend....

Corned Beef and Cabbage






Mini Apple Pies





















Corned Beef Hash and Poached Eggs


Some of the games went our way and some didn't.  We screamed, cried, whooped and hollered for 4 days straight.



MADNESS!!!!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: March 23-26, 2015


Happy Monday!

My Pop leaves this morning after a week in Portland.  We watched tons of basketball and ate wonderful meals.  Uncle Steve is staying on until later in the week, but it's time to get back to some lighter and easy meals for the last week of the month.

Here is our menu for the week ahead.  Don't forget to check out Laura's site for more organizing tips.

Enjoy!
Stacy


MONDAY:  Crockpot Greek Chicken over Egg Noodles with Salad
TUESDAY: BLTs with Chips
WEDNESDAY: Easy Ground Beef Tacos
THURSDAY: Yum Bowls

Friday, March 20, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Friends

WHO: Terry and Sandra
WHERE: Eugene
WHEN: Back of pictures says Monday 8:30 (my guess is 1977)


It's bound to get a bit crazy tomorrow.  We've got an added guest for Saturday's March Madness PARTY!  Welcome, Terry to all our MADNESS!!!  Something tells me that you know us all well enough to not be at all bothered!!

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Easy Buttermilk Biscuits


Today is like Christmas Morning.....

It's the start of the NCAA Basketball Tournament otherwise knows as MARCH MADNESS.

I am on vacation and my Pop is in Portland visiting for an entire week.  This morning the tournament kicks off at 9AM and our traditional breakfast is biscuits and gravy.  My Pop makes the best gravy, but unfortunately...he doesn't make his biscuits from scratch.  Perhaps this year I can convince him!

Enjoy!
Stacy


Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold 
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450F

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl or food processor

Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.  If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.

Add the buttermilk and mix just until combined.  If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more milk.

Turn the dough on to a floured board.  Gently pat (do not roll) the dough out until its about 1/2 inch thick.  Fold the dough about 5 times, gently pressing the dough down to a thickness of about 1 inch.

Use a round cutter to cut out each biscuit (do not turn your cutter, simply just press down once).

Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until they are light golden brown on top.  DO NOT OVER BAKE!


Notes: 

The key to a good biscuit is not over handling the dough.  

If possible, use a food processor because the ingredients stay colder and there is less chance of over mixing.


Picture found on Google Images




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

11/52: Leftover week/weekend


A bit of this and that this past week/weekend.

On Friday I took the Bolt Bus up to Seattle.  I had an hour to kill which I took advantage of at Starbucks...sipping on an Oprah Chai Tea, nibbling on a butterfly cookie and reading my book.

Last Wednesday night, Chick and I used a LivingSocial "coupon" to one of our favorite bistro/cafes in West Linn, OR called Allium.

Chick had the Wild Boar Pasta which was delicious and I had three sensational scallops over a cassoulet broth with smoked pork and hominy.



The highlight of the evening was the cauliflower/mushroom veloute (soup), which is a silky smooth french sauce (adapted into a soup), which was topped with fresh crab meat and roasted chesnuts.



Saturday night we celebrated an early St. Patrick's Day/upcoming Spring with dinner at my Mom and Kenny's.  I brought St. Patty's chocolate Petit Fours, which were quite good despite being filled with almond paste (how was I to know?).



Mom's table was lovely!



The rains came down hard on Sunday and we packed up and headed back down to Portland leaving behind this precious birthday boy, Sammy who turned 7 over the weekend.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Middle March 2015

Welcome Monday!

Next to Christmas week, March Madness has to be the best week on the planet!!

It's 4 days of 12+ hours of basketball, great food, booze, family times and just plain old FUN!!!

Our menu is super good this week (not at all healthy) but fun meals that everyone will enjoy!

So fill out your bracket and turn on your TV...MARCH MADNESS IS ON!!

Enjoy!
Stacy

MONDAY: Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema and Home-Baked Cookies
St. Patrick's Day: Corned Beef, Cabbage, Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Carrots with Peanut Butter Pie for dessert
WEDNESDAY:  Lasagna with Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread and Italian Gelatto for dessert
THURSDAY: White Bean Chicken Chili and Corn Bread
FRIDAY: BBQ Pork Ribs, Herb Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob and Mini Apple Pies for dessert
SATURDAY: Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin, mini Crab Cakes and Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Pound Cake for dessert
SUNDAY:  Bloody Mary Bar!  Pizza

Friday, March 13, 2015

Old Photo Friday: Grandpa Don Cooking

WHO: Donald Young Brady (my Dad's Dad)
WHAT: Cooking
WHERE: At the restaurant in Oakridge, OR
WHEN: 1940-41


My love of cooking comes primarily from my Pop, Jim.  His love of cooking was passed to him by several people, including his father, Don who along with his wife, (my grandma) Marie ran a restaurant in Oakridge, OR that catered to railroaders and loggers in the early 1940's.

I can't wait to spend next week cooking for and entertaining my family.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Cream of Asparagus Soup

March is prime asparagus season.  As spring arrives, the sweetest and greenest asparagus begins to hit the stores.

It's hard to imagine that my Dad for years ate asparagus out of a can!  Yuck!  

Quite simply, roasting asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper is my favorite way to eat it, but I've had asparagus soup on a few occasions and really enjoyed it.

Happy Spring!

Enjoy!
Stacy



CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP


Ingredients:

2 pounds green asparagus
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
5-6 cups chicken broth (you could use vegetarian)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Cut tips from 12 asparagus spears and reserve for garnish

Cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces (discard 1/2 at bottom).

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4 quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring until softened.  Add asparagus pieces and season with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, then add 5 cups of broth and simmer, covered until the asparagus is very tender, about 15-20 minutes.

While soup simmers, cook reserved asparagus tips in boiling salted water until just tender, about 3-4 minutes, then drain.

Puree soup in batches in blender until smooth, transferring back to pot.  Next, add heavy cream, you may also want to add a bit more broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil and whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter.

Add soup to four bowls then add lemon juice and garnish with 3 asparagus tips.


Cook's notes:

Soup keeps, covered and chilled for 3 days in fridge.  
If making ahead, add the lemon juice and butter after reheating

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10/52: Another Spring-Like Weekend in West Seattle


It's hard to imagine that my Spring bulbs are already starting to bloom in West Seattle.  Last year, they didn't pop up in the front bed until the end of April!!



We are very much enjoying this amazing spring-like weather which started at the beginning of February.  While the rest of the country is covered in snow and freezing conditions, our weather has been beautiful.

Brian is already starting on the spring clean up!  Laying some bark, mowing and weeding.



Who says it rains in the Pacific Northwest!!


We enjoyed peace and quiet and lots of home time this weekend (much to Sammy's pleasure).


How did you spend the first full weekend in March?

Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: March 9-12, 2015


Welcome Monday!

I am super exited that we turned the clocks forward on Sunday.  I am so ready for longer days and more sunshine.  It's been a long winter and I am already looking forward to planting my garden.

Here is our menu for the week ahead and remember to check out Laura's site for great organizing ideas.

Enjoy!
Stacy

Monday: Pork Chops with Acorn Squash
Tuesday: Salmon with Wild Rice and Asparagus
Wednesday: We need to use our Groupon at Allium Bistro
Thursday: Cashew Chicken with Brown Rice

Friday, March 6, 2015

Old Photo Friday: All Aboard


WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: Toddler and train lover
WHERE: Springfield, OR (I believe this choo-choo was at the local grocery store)
WHEN: April 1971 (age 2)

All aboard!!  As this posts today, I'll make my way down to the Amtrak Station in Portland for my weekly commute to Seattle.  People ask me if I ever tire of the journey, but I suppose it's just in my blood.  My first big trip away from home was at 11 months on the train from Eugene to Seattle.  This June will mark 11 years of regular commuting between Portland and Seattle aboard the Amtrak Cascades

My journey on the rails was inherited.  My paternal great-grandfather and maternal grandfather were both engineers (or hogheads).  My maternal grandma worked for Southern Pacific railroad most of her working life, including being an original "call girl" at the round house in Oakridge, OR (she rounded up the engineers for jobs prior to telephones).

I would encourage those who have never ridden a train to explore trip options at Amtrak.com.  This week, in a rare bipartisan vote, the house approved an Amtrak funding bill that will keep trains running for another 4 years (in addition to allowing some pets to ride along on the intercity passenger rail service).

Enjoy!
Stacy

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Recipe of the Week: Egg...stra Special!?



Is it just me, or is the new food trend to place a perfectly fried egg on top of everything?  
To me, everything just tastes better with a fried egg on top!

In reality, there is nothing new or trendy about finishing off a dish with a friend egg.  I've seen fried eggs on top of burgers, pizzas, pasta and salads for years.

Koreans top kimchi with eggs.  Brazilians place a runny egg over steak. In Spain, I'll take my fried egg over rice and tomato sauce, please.  And...let's NOT forget what the do in Hawaii!!!

In addition to adding a decorative touch, eggs act as a flavor emulsifier and add protein to dishes...especially vegetarian fare.

Here are two dishes that I found which showcase the incredible...edible egg.

Enjoy!

Stacy



Warm Spinach Salad with Fried Egg















Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
2 bunches flat leaf spinach, stems removed, leaves washed and torn
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs

Directions:


In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.  Add potatoes; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, tossing occasionally, until potatoes are tender and browned, 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard and shallot.  season with salt and pepper.  Whisk to combine.  Add spinach and cheese (but do NOT toss); set aside.

When potatoes are done cooking, immediately transfer to the bowl with the spinach.  Toss salad until the spinach is slightly wilted, then divide among four plates.

Heat skillet that you cooked potatoes in over medium-high heat and gently crack the eggs in the skillet (I like to only cook 2 at a time).  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the egg white are almost set, about 2 minutes.  Cover and turn off heat, and let stand until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny, about 1-2 minutes more.  Top each salad with a fried egg and serve immediately.


Poletna with Mushroom Ragu and a Fried Egg












Ingredients:

1 cup Polenta
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
___

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced 
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
salt and pepper
1 spring fresh rosemary, chopped
2 springs, fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup vegetable broth (or dry white wine)
2 eggs

Directions:

Polenta

Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer in a sauce pan.

When liquid is simmering, stir in the polenta.  Whisk until it is incorporated.  Reduce heat slightly and let the polenta bubble gently.

Stir and scrape the sides of the pan occasionally, allowing the polenta to cook, about 30-40 minutes or until thick and creamy.

(While polenta is cooking, start the mushroom ragu)

Once the polenta is done, turn off the heat.  Whisk in the butter, milk and cheese.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, but keep on the bland side (the mushroom and egg will add flavor).

Mushroom ragu

Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat.  Add all but 1 clove of garlic and the shallots, cooking for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the fresh herbs, them tomato paste and stir.  Add the vegetable stock or wine and remaining garlic clove (you may need to add a bit more wine or broth).  Once sauce is mixed together, simmer on low.

Heat saute pan over medium-high heat and gently crack the eggs in the skillet. Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the egg white are almost set, about 2 minutes.  Cover and turn off heat, and let stand until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny, about 1-2 minutes more.  

To serve; scoop some polenta in the center of a plate or bowl.  Top with once scoop of ragu and add egg on top.  Dust with tablespoon of fresh Parmesan cheese.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

9/52: Harbor Seal Sighting in West Seattle


What an amazing treat to finally see a baby seal pup resting on the beach at Lincoln Park.  Seal pup birthing season is June through September (but they can be born as early as April).  This little guy is probably 5 or 6 months old, born last fall we suspect.

Harbor seal pups haul themselves out of the water to rest and enjoy the sunshine.  Brian was walking on the beach about 100 yards away from him when a passerby asked him to move off the beach.

There is a network of "Seal Sitters" who comb the beach regularly to assist in protecting these delicate creatures.  Only 50% of harbor seals survive their first year.  If you come across a seal, you are asked to call the seal sitters immediately.  Several people on the beach were already calling the sitters when we arrived.

It's a law that you must never touch a seal and dogs are strictly forbidden on the beach in this area.

It was amazing to just watch this little guy and snap a few pictures.



It was another beautiful and unseasonable weekend in the Pacific Northwest. On Thursday it was announced that we had our warmest winter ever on record.

We enjoyed the blue skies by walking through Lincoln Park both Saturday and Sunday for a total of over 5 miles combined.

As you can see by the video below, Saturday was a bit breezy resulting in some pounding waves.


Enjoy!
Stacy

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Menu Plan Monday: Welcome March 2015


Welcome Monday and welcome March!

Did I mention that March is once of my favorite months?  Spring has sprung early this year in the Pacific Northwest.  New produce and fresher items are all over the grocery stores.  It won't be long before the first of our Farmer's Markets are open for the season.

Here is our menu for the week ahead and remember to check out Laura's site for more menu planning ideas.

Enjoy!

Stacy

Monday: Fend for yourself!  Chick has a business dinner out.
Tuesday: Meatless Monday (on Tuesday) Mushroom Ragu over Grilled Polenta and a Garden Salad
Wednesday: Skirt Steak with German Potato Salad
Thursday: WW Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers