I Still Like to Cook

15 02 2011

It seems my little online diary and collection of recipes has turned for the baby. Baby this, baby that. He’s precious. And all-consuming. But I’ve still been taking culinary adventures here and again. I just find pictures of my food aren’t nearly as cute as pictures of my little valentine.

the table is set

Scott and I have a tradition of making a picnic on the floor, listening to music, eating stinky cheeses, and drinking a nice glass of wine for Valentine’s day. Well…I can’t eat the cheese this year. And I sit on the floor all too often. So I stepped it up a notch and made Osso Buco. Woweee was it tasty! I served it over fresh pappardelle with a side of wilted spinach tossed with olive oil and a bit of crisped coppa. We shared an amazing Brunello di Montalcino (the wine we brought back with us from our honeymoon in Italy).

osso buco con gremolata

I gave Scott a little bar of gourmet chocolate and he gave me a CD – that we listened to while we ate! It was a perfect way to spend valentine’s day!

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Soupe a L’oignon Gratinee

18 04 2010

Yum. Last night, Scott and I went to a little french place in an adjoining neighborhood. We’re trying to hit up all the less kid-friendly places now while we still have the chance. We  had a delicious meal. Mine started with a little gratined onion soup and Scott with some sautéed sardines over roasted tomatoes with a green, pesto like sauce on a toasted baguette. The sardines were the big winner of the night. SOOOO tasty. I have a can at home and am thinking of trying to recreate this deliciousness.

Their frites are delightful too. Of course, served with mayonnaise. The ONLY way to have frites (don’t argue with me, you will not win :)).

l'oignon lpod

Happy Sunday, we’re off to play at the Arboretum in this almost 70° day!!!





Let the Games Begin!

12 02 2010

As I might have mentioned on this blog before, I love Canada. Specifically Vancouver and Whistler. LOVE THEM! I’ve been feeling kind of sad and left out this week with all of the big networks hanging out in one of my favorite cities. I hope they don’t uncover all of our favorite little spots to hang out so they’re overly crowded when we go back to visit.

Speaking of favorite spots, Fritz’s European Fry House is close to the top of that list. I told you all about Fritz’s and their signature dish, Poutine when Marisa & Ashley were in town last spring. In honor of tonight’s 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony, I decided to make the dish that will assist my further departure from olympic athleticism.

It really is about the cheese curds. Regular old cheese just won’t give the dish the oomph you need. Fortunately, we have a cheese maker down in Pike Place Market that sells their curds all around town.

beecher's fresh cheese curds

I made some homemade french fries and some basic beef flavored gravy. Layer with the french fries on the bottom, top with curds, and a little brown gravy. As a warning, this is not a low fat dish. It’s a pure indulgence, but so so worth it every now and again!

not endorsed by the national heart association

Want to know what else is on my list of favorite spots in Vancouver? You can come visit and hop a train with me to BC and I’ll show you in person. 🙂 Happy Olympics!





Sunday Supper: Steamed Cod with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

26 01 2010

My sister Sharla gave me a great set of bamboo steaming baskets for Christmas this year. I need all the help I can get with healthy, quick meals for week nights. I have endless recipes for the long, labored Sunday dinner, but I fail miserably when it comes to the quick ones!

The concept of the stacked baskets is to put the items that require more steam to cook on the bottom and keep going on up. For example, if you had three layers, you would do potatoes on the bottom, fish in the middle, and spinach or greens on the top. Each one needs less steam to cook in the same amount of time, so everything finishes at once!

I lined my baskets with parchment paper to keep the fish from seeping into them, but many say you can line them with a piece of cabbage or lettuce. I’ll give that a try next time!

In one layer, I put two filets of True Cod (the only fresh/wild fish at the market this week – so ready for summer now) with a tiny drizzle of EVOO, some salt, pepper, a little fresh cilantro, and a 1/2 lemon.

true cod fillets

On the next layer, I put some chunks of sweet potatoes (red garnet, my favorite) with a little EVOO, salt, pepper, and sprinkle of curry powder.

red garnet sweet potatoes

Because my fish fillets were so thin, I decided to  let the potatoes get a good blast of steam before I added the fish to make sure it was all done at the same time.

potatoes on alone - be sure to put the lid on!

While the potatoes cooked, I washed some spinach and put it on the serving platter. After 5 minutes, I added the fish basket to the top and let it go for another 5 minutes.

added the fish after letting the potatoes steam for 5 minutes

both baskets steaming away happily

I put the hot fish & potatoes on the spinach to wilt it just  a bit. After 10 minutes prep, and 10 minutes cooking, I had a healthy, tasty, beautiful meal on the table!

healthy, fast, delicious dinner!





Sunday Supper: Stuffed Savoy Cabbage

10 01 2010

Dear Martha Stewart,

I love you. I love your magazine, I TiVo your show every day, I peruse your website daily, sometimes I even read your tweets. I wish I had been crafty enough to be MS before MS was cool. That said, sometimes your projects, crafts, and recipes aren’t nearly as easy as you make them look. I’m sure it’s just because you are so darn good at everything, but it has kept me from testing your recipes lately.

Tonight, I tried out the Stuffed Savoy Cabbage from your January 2010 issue. While it was quite a bit more time intensive — is that why you don’t put durations on your recipes? — than I expected, I planned ahead for such a difficulty. Thankfully, you caught me on Sunday Supper.

The grocery store was out of ground pork, so I went with ground lamb, the cabbage heads available were small, so I made more than 12, but Martha? Wow. These little pockets of savory meat tucked into perfectly cooked cabbage and topped with a fresh, slightly spicy tomato sauce = perfect.

Thanks for making my first Sunday Supper of 2010 great. I hope you are recovering well from your trip to Thailand (don’t be scared readers, she talked about it on her show this week – I’m not a stalker) and you, Francesca, and Sharkey have had a great start to the year. I’ll be giving some more of the recipes in Jan 2010 a try.

Signed,
Mrs. Lpod

Stuffed Savoy Cabbage
Martha Stewart Living, January 2010

image of different stuffed cabbage via marthastewart.com

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

for the tomato sauce (makes 3 cups)
1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
coarse salt

for the stuffed cabbage
coarse salt
1 large head savoy cabbage (2-3 lbs)
12 ounces ground chuck (90% lean)
12 ounces ground pork
2 cups cooked brown rice (from 1 cup dry)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon hot paprika

1. Make the tomato sauce: pulse tomatoes with juice in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes and juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick, about 20 minutes. Season with salt. Let cool completely.

2. Make the stuffed cabbage: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage head, and cook until outer leaves are just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Peel outer layer of leaves, and drain. Return remaining cabbage to water, and repeat until all leaves are cooked and removed. Pat each leaf dry with a kitchen towel. Select 12 large light-green leaves. Reserve remaining leaves for another use.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Using 2 forks, gently stir together beef, pork, rice, onion, parsley, paprika and 1 tablespoon salt.

4. Working with 1 leaf at a time, trim the thick part of the rib with a paring knife, leaving the leaf intact. Arrange about 1/2 cup filling (less for smaller leaves) in center of each leaf. Fold stem end of cabbage over filling. Fold in sides of cabbage. Carefully roll cabbage over to form a package, overlapping ends to seal. Transfer each, seam side down, to a large, shallow baking dish.

5. Spreads sauce over stuffed cabbage leaves. Cover with parchment-lined foil, and bake until cooked through and cabbage is tender, about 1 hour.

Make ahead: tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Notes: I used 10 fresh tomatoes instead of canned. I happened to have 10 tomatoes that might go bad this week, so I used them up. It made for a very fresh sauce! I also could not find ground pork today, so I used ground lamb instead (I get the impression that any ground meat would work just fine).

Lastly, I think the entire step 2 took a long time, hurt my hands, and made a mess. Other recipes I’ve read indicate you can cut the leaves off the raw head of cabbage and boil them for 2-3 minutes instead of the long process I did. I’ll give that a try next time for sure!





Sunday Supper: Breakfast Edition

2 08 2009

Excuse my lack of posting. It’s been too hot to use the computer outside of work, much less think or be clever (am I giving myself too much credit for being clever?). We broke the all-time heat record in Seattle this week. At our house we hit 103° on Wednesday and it hasn’t been much under 90° in the last 8-10 days.

This is really, really unusual for the Pacific Northwest. We just don’t have the infrastructure to handle this kind of heat. A lot of local businesses had to close due to the heat because most buildings here are not equipped with air conditioners. Including the Lpod house. Whew, it got to 96° in the upstairs of our house and about 85° in the basement. We’ve been living in the basement, only going upstairs to the fridge for cold water and consideration of moving into the fridge.

Why am I rambling about the weather? Well…it has done GREAT things for the garden! Our first crop of tomatoes are about ready for harvest, as well as some serrano peppers. The watermelon plant has seemingly arrived and decided to take down literally everything in it’s path. I don’t know what to do with it.

This morning we were discussing our plans for the day (should we go see the Blue Angels? see tomorrow to find out), and I mentioned I needed to do some garden cleanup. I then suggested we get out during the cool morning hours and harvest what we can. Scott pulled up one potato plant and got a handful of taters for breakfast.

001_HarvestedPotatoes

our first harvest of 2009

As you can see above, they are of varying sizes. I prefer baby potatoes, I think they taste the best. And I consider myself to be a potato connoisseur (hello, french fries, I love you).

002_CleanedUpPotatoes

beautiful bright purple taters

You can also see that they are purple! They taste just the same as any regular less starchy potato (yukon gold, baby red, etc), but apparently they have more antioxidants and can provide better nutrients to you. Let’s not mention the real reason I love them… they are beautiful! I can’t get over what a pretty vegetable they are.

003_CutUpPotatoes

all cut up with some place to go

I quartered them up into small bite size pieces and cut up a poblano pepper and sauteed them both in some butter, salt, chili powder, and fresh cracked pepper until they were soft. Then I added some eggs to make up a potato, poblano scramble. Just as the eggs were firming up, I dabbled in some goat cheese (left over in the fridge from our dreamy Death Cab for Cutie picnic), but not too much. Just enough for bite and tang.

004_PoblanoandPotatoScramble

deliciousness awaiting eggs

All in all, a fantastic, fresh breakfast! Too bad I didn’t have chickens and goats to have ALL of it sourced from the backyard 😉

After a breakfast like that, I guess we should go bake in the 90+ degree temps on I-90 to watch the Blue Angels??





Sunday Supper: Concert Picnic

20 07 2009

Sunday night we went to a concert at a local county park, Marymoor Park in Redmond. Usually when bands come to town they play at one of downtown’s older theaters or the legendary night clubs (you know, where people like Pearl Jam & Nirvana played in the 90s). It was refreshing to be outdoors. Especially since our extremely dry summer is continuing.

Fortunately, this park allows you to take your own picnic, so you aren’t stuck eating mass produced “philly cheesesteaks” for $20 a pop. I made up some yumminess!

First course: just as we arrived at the park all hot and sweaty; cold Proscuitto e Melone. I never understood why my mom salted her cantaloupe. It grossed me out to no end. After my honeymoon to Italy, I SO UNDERSTAND HER! It’s a standard antipasto in almost every Italian Ristorante (in the summer, of course, when the melon is in season). The combo of salty & sweet is perfect.

DCFC 002

proscuitto (or thinly sliced ham) wrapped around cantaloupe

The first band to play was Ra Ra Riot. Scott’s main reason for wanting to go to this concert. They are from Syracuse, New York and have such a fresh, fun sound. They have a cellist and violinist in the band, which add a depth to the sound that you can’t find in most music. You can hear more of them on their My Space music page. They were seriously awesome.

DCFC 056

ra ra riot

Second Course: After Ra Ra Riot, we waited for the next band to come up and ate a tomato and mozzarella salad. I found some black cherry tomatoes at the market and some little pearls of fresh mozzarella. I drizzled it with EVOO, some kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped up a little basil out of my garden. Yum!

DCFC 001

mozzarella and tomato salad

Third Course: While the next band was playing, I made up some sandwiches. I started with some good ciabatta bread from the bakery. I topped it with a mixture of soft goat cheese mixed with ricotta (just to cut the tang, only a small spoonful), a squeeze of lime, and chopped cilantro. I took one whole roasted poblano pepper and put that on top of a grilled chicken breast. I also added some slices of avocado to mine. Mmmmmmmm.
DCFC 065

delicious sandwich!

The headliner was Death Cab for Cutie (plus some Oatmeal Scotchies). Death Cab for Cutie hails from Seattle, so it’s always fun when they play here. I LOVE DCFC. Their lyrics are witty and always entertaining. Their sound is fun and happy most of the time. This picture was taken during my favorite song by them: I’ll Follow You Into the Dark. I like the visual, big evergreens behind the stage as it’s getting glowy and dark.

DCFC 069

death cab for cutie

We had a really great time at our Sunday night concert! Yay for summer!

DCFC 067

perfect summer night