Sleepless Friday Night

28 09 2008

Scott and I were uninterested in sleeping on Friday night. So, at midnight we started in on making a homemade tomato quiche for Saturday morning’s breakfast. Now, I am not known for my baking skills. I love to create in the kitchen, but baking is just too precise for my tastes – so the pie crust and I are known mortal enemies. Lucky for me, Scott was well trained by his Granny on how to make a delicious pie crust. We worked together on this one.

With my recently homemade tortilla making, I figured my dough rolling capabilities were as honed as they are gonna get. Not too bad! I certainly can’t roll and shape like my mom, but that’s a skill that I may never have.

Next is slicing and prepping the tomatoes. I sliced the homegrown tomatoes and lightly dusted each with flour, salt & pepper. I then sauteed them for about a minute per side to soften them a little bit.

After the maters were nice and soft, I put some cheese at the bottom of the pie crust and then added the tomatoes topped by the the egg beater & milk mixture.

Top with a little more cheese and left it in the fridge over night. We woke up in the morning and tossed the quiche in the oven for 40 minutes or so and had an absolutely delicious homemade breakfast. Thanks to my barista, we also had yummy coffee.


Sleepless Friday Night Tomato Quiche
Granny’s Pie Crust
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
3 Tbsp cold water (added one at a time)

Mix flour & salt together. Add shortening to mixture using Scott’s knife method or a pastry knife (please don’t ask me to explain this, I so don’t get it). Add cold water one tablespoon at a time until dough is no longer sticky and forms a ball.

Roll out dough to fit a 9 inch pie round. Place dough in pie pan and bake at 400° for 8 minutes. While cooking the pie crust, prepare the filling:

Tomato Quiche
Extra virgin olive oil
4 regular tomatoes, sliced
All-purpose flour
3 eggs (I use egg beaters)
1/2 cup milk (I used non-fat)
1 1/2 cups colby-jack cheese, split
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in large skillet. While waiting, slice tomatoes and sprinkle flour, salt & pepper on one side. Saute tomatoes (floured side down) and sprinkle 2nd side with flour, salt & pepper. Only saute one minute per side. Whisk together eggs & milk. Fill prepared pie crust shell with 1/2 of the colby-jack cheese. Layer in the tomatoes. Top with milk & egg mixture, salt and pepper to taste and remaining cheeses.

Bake at 400° for 10 minutes and reduce the temperature to 350° and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned and puffy. Yum!


The Great Microwave Debate

22 09 2008

Well, at least in my house it’s a debate. I’ve been struggling with the microwave for about 7 years. Since I moved to Seattle, none of my apartments or houses have been furnished with one. I think I left mine in an Addison, TX apartment years ago as it had “you are fat” written on it from some hilariously insane night in good ole Krueger Hall. Karmonocky might remember it.

Anyhow, I lived for 18 months without my microwave, very happily. Then I moved to an old 1900s building with a bad oven, no garbage disposal, and no dishwasher and decided the modern convenience known as a microwave needed to be reintroduced in my life.

Face it. The microwave is not sexy. It’s no pretty, shiny kitchen-aid stand mixer, or sleek stainless toaster oven. It’s glaringly bulky and white with pink and green buttons. Ew. I have no pastel pink incorporated into my kitchen. Don’t even get me started on when you open it. No matter how well you clean it out, there are still nasty red splatters and a regular sheen of grease all the way around.

Last month I got fed up with my microwave. It’s on the floor of our guest bedroom. It’s a test. Can I survive 60 days without it?

A month in, and I think I’ve mastered it. I’m tempted to put it up on Craigslist this week.

Queso? No problem. I reheated it on the stove top. With non-stick pans these days, it’s a breeze to clean up – AND you heat up a more manageable amount when you have to make a decision up front. Less cheesey velveeta fat and calories.

Butter? Well, set it out when you know you need to use it. Maybe it will make me less lazy and forgetful somehow.

Meat? Again, set it out, tuck it in the fridge the night before and you’ll have a more naturally defrosted chicken breast rather than a half cooked-in-the-microwave nasty grayish breast.

Eggs? Ew. A childhood memory everyone in my age group hopes they’ll forget. Eggs should never be microwaved.

I feel a burden lifted and think my countertops are so much happier with only pretty (yet useful) appliances on it. 🙂 What am I missing? What are the other things you use your microwave for that I haven’t encountered in the last month?

Update 25 Sep:

It appears I have actually started a bit of a debate. I love it! Some comments…

Peep Puffing: Mel, this is a tough one. You are right, I have no avenues for blowing up peeps anymore. I kind of forgot about doing that after putting one on a certain neighbor’s pillow in college. I got in trouble. Big trouble.

Chocolate: My pots and pans came with a very nice double boiler. It may take a while, but burned chocolate is kinda gross. I’m the type that would forget and BURN it in the microwave.

Popcorn: Jess is the master here. She taught me ALL ABOUT how absolutely yummy popcorn on the stove top is. In fact, I just had some on Sunday evening. No more microwave crap for me…it reminds me of being at work (ew, don’t you hate it when someone in the office forgets about a bag and burns it to the point of everything being black…stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinky)

S’mores: Well, I just don’t like soggy graham crackers, Mel. I’ll save my s’mores for camping.

Beer? Dad, come on. I remember sparks from your Baylor plate. Imagine a can of beer.

Not Camping: Suncadia Resort

14 09 2008

This weekend we headed out to the Cascade mountains for Scott’s company retreat at Suncadia Lodge. It was absolutely beautiful and a fun weekend. I spent most of the day Saturday in the spa where they have 4 saltwater pools of various temperatures. It was so relaxing and just what I needed after some really hard workouts this week.

Scott was on a team that spent the last two months learning how to make cocktails “Cocktail style.” They performed at a company wide event on Saturday night, it was so cool! Here is him practicing a “stall” where he catches the bottle on the top of his hand. His knuckles have been quite bruised and my hardwood floors are quite dinged.

Saturday morning, we headed into Roslyn (the town where Northern Exposure was filmed) for a late breakfast and to check out the cute little town. Cute it is! There is really one main street with some pubs, a couple restaurants, and some gift shops.

If you remember the opening scenes in Northern Exposure, they have a moose in front of the wall with Roslyn Cafe painted on the brick. Well, I hope I’m not as big as a moose, but….

Some of the funky decor at the cafe:

Checking out some of the other buildings. Most of these are the original buildings from the early 1900s (sounds so young when you go back to my London post, no?)

And what would a “travel in Washington” post be without some mountains and the start of a sunset? Well, nothing. So – here it is. We were in a hurry to get to dinner, so I don’t give it justice. The views and grounds were simply stunning!

I still love draw bridges

10 09 2008

The Fremont Bridge made me late to my afternoon meetings today. I still love it though. Note the beautiful never ending blue sky. September in Seattle rules!!!

Honey, bring home some Mozzarella di Bufala

9 09 2008

After 4 months, I proudly present my first real crop of tomatoes. There are at least 150 total tomatoes ready to start or finish ripening, let’s hope the summer sun keeps it up for a few more weeks!

Dinner was a delicious caprese salad. Thanks sunshine, that was a delicious dinner!

Camping: Dungeness Spit

8 09 2008

Two weekends in a row? Camping? ME???

Yeah, we went two weekends in a row. We decided that our chances for getting back out this year were slim to none and the forecast called for two consecutive, perfect September days on a weekend. You really can’t pass that up.

This time we headed out to the Olympic Peninsula to a spot in between Port Angeles and Sequim called Dungeness Spit Recreation Area. Dungeness Spit is the country’s longest natural sand spit – out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, facing Vancouver Island. “What is a spit?” you ask? Well, it’s really just a beach out in the middle of the water. This one extends 5.5 miles out, with a lighthouse at the very end. At it’s widest it is only 100 meters wide. This one in particular is home to over 200 species of birds, and has been deemed a National Wildlife Refuge.

Here is a view of the spit (you can kind of see it at the end of the bluff toward the top of the picture). This bluff is behind our campsite. It was fantastic to listen to the ocean while sleeping. On Saturday morning the fog was really heavy and you could hear the fog horn every few minutes.

We went with Cara & Clint this weekend. Here is a nice family photo!

Saturday afternoon we drove into Olympic National Park to have a picnic at Lake Crescent. This lake really never gets boring to me. It’s so stunning when you turn the corner on Hwy 101. It’s a glacier carved, crystal clear lake with mountains just popping right out of it. Best.picnic.ever.

We got back to the campsite in time to relax a little bit before starting dinner.  There was a beautiful sunset over the Strait. We all missed it, except Clint, who was walking the dogs right at the time the sun dropped into the ocean.

We had a fantastic dinner and then visited by the campfire to make smores and such. Sophia was so engrossed in watching the embers from the fire going into the sky.

Sunday morning we decided to hike out onto the spit. Here is a picture of a viewpoint before the 1/2 mile trail down to the beach. You can see how the spit curves around to the east.

Goofing around on the beach…

It was so clear we could see Mt. Baker in the distance. The lighthouse is just under the mountain.

We had an awesome weekend, once again!

Camping: Wenatchee National Forest

8 09 2008

Braving the Labor Day weekend crowds at campgrounds is not generally my idea of a relaxing 3-day weekend, but didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to go camping with some friends to wrap up the summer. This trip was no exception to my general rule, but not because of the crazy crowds or loud campgrounds…

We drove out to Wenatchee National Forest (just east of Mt. Rainier National Park) on Friday and were lucky to spot the last available camp ground with enough space for two tents. The sun went down pretty quickly after getting there, so we set up camp and made a quick dinner. It was a coooooold night, so we woke up and made a fire to warm up over breakfast.

Apparently the fire wasn’t raging enough – we ladies were really chilled. Scott wanted to make sure there was enough small pieces of wood to flare up and catch the larger logs. In the process of breaking up an old dead tree, a piece of one lodged itself in Scott’s calf. Ew. (I know, you are scrolling back up, looking at that picture saying “why would he wear shorts when everyone else was so cold?” My thoughts exactly. Sigh.) The best part is the girls spotted it – he never felt it. Even when we were at the doctor’s office. The tetanus shot was more painful than the having a hole cut in his leg. Odd.

We tugged around on it and had no luck getting it out. We drove all over eastern washington – coming upon a town called Naches hoping a clinic of some sort might be open to help us get it out. No go. We got directions to a Yakima (70 miles from the campsite) emergency clinic.

I wasn’t going to take pictures, but in sharing text messages with mom about all of this, I share this exchange with my dad over text messaging:

Kim: Uh, Scott says no pics.
Dad: What about the blog??

That made me laugh so hard while the dr was trying to extract a tree from my husband’s leg. I was quite the disruption. For the sake of the blog, we have some lovely photos.

The culprit is below. Thankfully it didn’t get too infected and all was fine. He had to leave an open wound for a few days to make sure nothing else was in there, but all in all, it just took up his day of fishing and my day of curling up next to a fire with a book. And hey, on the way back we stopped at a farm stand and got an awesome watermelon for $1.99.

When we got back to the campsite we went over to the river to hang out. I was a little nervous to let him walk on the log. We survived 🙂

Saturday night fire. Our friends Kate & Alan (and Lupe). Alan is a friend of Scott’s from high school who lives up here! Kate is Alan’s wife’s sister who just moved up to Seattle from LA to begin a grad school program at UW. Lupe is Alan & Ciara’s pup – who was quite the trooper.

On the way home, we drove through Mt. Rainier National Park. It snowed!! Brr. Thankfully, when we got back into Seattle, it was sunny and warm. The below picture is of the snow (looks like rain, I know) at the entrance to MRNP.