Viva Argentina!!!: Grilled Spicy Prawns with Chimichurri Dipping Sauce

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Chimichuri is a green sauce used in Argentinian cuisine to marinate grilled meats. Most often used is flank steak, but other meats and organs are also marinated and served with this chimichurri sauce. Comprised simply of parsley and/or cilantro, garlic, vinegar, oil and red pepper flakes, it's both cool and hot at the same time, and gives otherwise heavy and boring meats a blast of bright flavor and color.

Although the origins of the word are debatable, most hold it to derive from the Spanish mispronunciation of the English word "curry." Pick your legend for the etymology: either by English, Irish OR Scotsman Jimmy Curry asking for the green condiment ("give me curry" sounded like "chi-me-churri") or by British prisoners asking for the green salsa (Brits called a dipping condiment "curry" so in their mangled Spanglish said something like "dame curry" which evolved into "chimichurri"). Regardless, the sauce is authentic Argentinian but the name, funny enough, is not!

Chimichurri quite easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. Add you need is to place all of your ingredients in the bowl of the food processor, stream in oil, and you're done.

Although I serve it often with grilled steaks as in the Argentinian fashion, I also love it as a dipping sauce for grilled shrimp. I use prawns for this recipe because they are a bit larger and meatier, and can hold the thick sauce better than smaller shrimp. But by all means, use sweet smaller shrimp if you've got them.

Makes a great and colorful appetizer that would go perfect with a summer sangria or crisp white wine, or sturdy enough to be a main course. Either way, I'm sure you'll love it and make it often!

Grilled Spicy Prawns with Chimichurri
1 lb prawns (shells on)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp red pepper flakes + more to taste
1 bunch fresh cilantro (or parsley or combo parsley and cilantro)
4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
2 limes (or splash of white vinegar)

Take your prawns and wash them but leave the shells on. Pat dry very well and set aside in a bowl. Drizzle enough olive oil to coat the shrimp. Season with salt and black pepper, and one tablespoon of the pepper flakes. Toss with a spoon so shrimp are coated. Cover and let marinate for at least an hour (or overnight) in the fridge.

To make the chimichurri sauce, simply take the cilantro (and/or parsley) and run your knife against the stems, separating the leaves from the thick stems at the bottom. Discard the stems and place the leaves in the food processor. Add the garlic and lime juice, and add a good pinch of salt and some black pepper. Next add the remaining tablespoon of red pepper (or more or less to taste), cover and pulse it to chop it up. Then with the food processor on, add the oil through the feed tube (this is the part at the top with the hole in it) until the sauce becomes thick and delicious. Stop the processor and give it a taste; adjust with seasonings as needed. Place in bowl and serve or cover and refrigerate for later.

To make the prawns, bring them out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to grill them to take the chill off. Preheat a grill to medium-high (gas, charcoal or indoor stove-top grill works fine), and lay out the prawns on the grill with the shells still on. The shells will help insulate the meat inside from the direct heat, giving a moist and tender shrimp instead of a blackened rubbery mess. Cook the shrimp 3-4 minutes per side, depending on size, or until shrimp are bright orange and the white meat turns opaque. Remove and serve with lots of napkins!

Suphi's Favorite Guacamole

Monday, June 28, 2010

My good friend Suphi loves my guacamole. This is my basic recipe. I do a few variations, but this is the first and I think, the best. And since she loved it so much and always asked me to make it for her, I thought it only fitting to name it after her too.
Suphi's Favorite Guacamole
3 ripe Haas avocados
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2-1 jalapeno, minced
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 lemon)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried Mexican oregano
Cut the avocados in half and take out the seeds. Scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Using a fork, gently mash the avocado until you have nice chunks. Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice all at once. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the cumin and oregano. Mix and fold the ingredients together, careful not to overmix and puree it (you want this chunkier and not pastey). Serve immediately.
My Notes:
Use Haas avocados - they are the best. They are smaller and the skin turns deep purple when they are perfectly ripe. Although you may be tempted to buy the larger avocados, they do not have as much taste.

Summer Fruit Crostada

I finally had a proper chance to do this recipe. Ever since I saw it on Barefoot Contessa, I've wanted to make Ina Garten's recipe for Summer Fruit Crostada. I never did because the ingredients were always inferior, and with this recipe you need ripe, gorgeous fruit in their prime.
Enter random assortment of summer fruits delivery from the Organic Farms up here at the new house! And low and behold, we had peaches, blueberries and plums in their summer glory. Yesssssssss!!!!!!!
So I made, we ate, I conquered. This is a Must Do if you like these fruits (and even if you don't you'll find you will love them). There is low sugar as the fruits themselves are the natural sweetener, and it's rather easy to make. Extremely easy if you have a food processor; if not you can still make the dough by hand.
P.S. You can also substitute pears and strawberries or raspberries and keep the blueberries and make this for 4th of July!
Summer Fruit Crostada by Ina Garten

For the pastry (makes 2 crostatas):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water
For the filling (makes 1 crostata):
1 pound firm ripe peaches, peeled
1/2 pound firm ripe black plums, unpeeled
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
For the pastry:
Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and toss quickly (and carefully!) with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour. Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board, roll it into a ball, cut in half, and form into 2 flat disks. Wrap the disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you only need 1 disk of dough The other disk of dough can be frozen.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the baking sheet.
For the filling:
Cut the peaches and plums in wedges and place them in a bowl with the blueberries. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the flour, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the orange zest, and the orange juice. Place the mixed fruit on the dough circle, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.
Combine the 1/4 cup flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts to hold together. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit. Gently fold the border of the pastry over the fruit, pleating it to make an edge.
Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Let the crostata cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
My Notes:
She has you making 1 or 2 very large crostadas which are fine. But, my pastry rolling skills are not that great, so I have difficulty rolling out a large pastry dough. Let alone two. So I just make individual crostadas - cut the dough into portions depending on how many people I have, then roll out to same thickness and fill in as directed, fold, etc. Baking time is the same as well.
I also seem to have a Super Oven in my new house, so I need to bake on a lower level. I baked my crostadas for 23 minutes on 400 degrees and they came out great. You might have to do this once with a tester crostada if you're not sure how powerful your oven is. If you do, then go for it - 400-450 degrees is perfect. Anything more will burn, anything less will not get your dough crispy enough. And make sure you keep an eye on it! You don't want the delicate dough to burn!

A Romantic Dinner: Chateaubriand with A Bernaise Sauce I Can Actually Do and Pasta with Truffle Alfredo

Friday, June 25, 2010

While at Whole Foods the other day, I came across a cut of steak I'd never had before: chateaubriand (pictured above). It looks like a boneless rib-eye in terms of thickness, but in fact is a super-thick cut of the tenderloin. The very center of the chateaubriand cut is the more commonly known filet mignon, so this gives you an indication of where it is and how tender the meat can be. Chateaubriand is not technically the accurate term for the cut, but has sort of developed into such because butchers today cut the tenderloin larger and thicker for the purpose of making Chateaubriand, the recipe.
Chateaubriand also refers to the preparation. Historically, it is held that the dish was created by personal chef, Montmireil, for Vicomte Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand, an author and diplomat who served as an ambassador for Napolean and as SEcretary of State for Louis XVIII. It involved the large steak (prepared and served for two people), roasted until medium-rare, and served with a sauce of white wine, shallot, demi-glace, butter, tarragon, and lemon. The classic Bernaise sauce has come to replace it as a classic sauce pairing for the Chateaubriand. Also, Chateau Potatoes were served, which involved peeling and shaping the potatoes into the shape of large olives or footballs, par-boiling them and then finishing them off in butter.
Decadent? Yes.
French? You betcha!
But let's face it, all of us don't have the time nor the money to deal with all of this. Instead, I decided to update this classic dish but adding a decidedly comforting flare with the substitution of pasta with a rich alfredo sauce for the potatoes. The addition of truffle oil made the pasta rich and "expensive." I also took the steak and prepared it in the traditional style of Steak au Poivre, and configured a super easy Bernaise-type sauce without the demi-glace but that still had the flavor, texture, and fortitude to stand up to this rich meat.
Andrew was very impressed with the outcome, and when I told him it all took me 30 minutes he barely believed me. Although you can make demi-glace at home (it takes 2 days) or buy it made at Williams-Sonoma (for $20), you can achieve a pretty damn close effect with the reduction of beef broth and pan drippings.
Given the cut of the meat, this recipe is perfect for a date night at home. Add a roaring fireplace and good bottle of wine and the rest is up to you!

Chateaubriand with Quick-Bernaise Sauce and Pasta with Truffled Alfredo
1 chateaubriand steak
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns
1/4 tsp Creole seasoning or cayenne pepper
olive oil
unsalted butter
all-purpose flour
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup beef stock
1/2 cup half n half or cream (heated or at room temperature)
1 cup pasta (recommend: pasta shells or fettucine)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp truffle oil (optional)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Take the steak and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Season the steak very liberally with kosher salt and black pepper on the top and bottom sides (don't worry about seasoning the sides of the steak). Gently press in the salt and pepper with the flat part of the palm of your hand. Set aside.
In a large oven-proof pan or skillet*, heat about a tablespoon and half of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter together. The butter will provide flavor while the oil will enable you to cook at high heat and not burn the butter. Once the pan is very hot (but not smoking yet), add the steak carefully right into the butter-oil. Let stand for 3 minutes. A gorgeous golden crust will form on the bottom. Flip the steak over and sear on the other side, 3 minutes to achieve the same result.
Searing both sides for a steak is extremely important. What's happening is you're creating a crust on both sides. This crust acts as a shield against the heat, so the steak inside can get done but remain juicy. The crust is also going to provide you with the base for your Bernaise sauce later. So make sure you invest proper attention in your seasoning and searing process as it's the crux of this whole recipe!
After the steak has been seared on both sides, place it in the oven (still in the pan, hence the oven-proofness) and roast uncovered for 15 minutes for medium-rare; 20 minutes for medium; 25 minutes for medium-well. If you prefer your steak well done, do not make this recipe and waste your time on this cut. Buy flank steak instead.
While the steak is roasting, prepare your pasta.
Bring some water to a boil. Salt the water with kosher salt and add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, make your quick alfredo sauce. In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of butter until just melted. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and whisk, creating a roux. Cook the roux for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minutes. Then add the cream a little at a time, whisking out the lumps as you add. The liquid will make the roux clump up every time you add it, so don't panic; just keep stirring and it will smooth out. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Switch to a wooden spoon and remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese and incorporate until it melts. Add the truffle oil if desired and set aside.
Toss the pasta right in the saucepan you made the alfredo sauce in (if they're room; if not then combine it all in another large bowl) and mix, evenly coating the pasta with the sauce. Cover to keep warm or transfer to oven-safe dish to keep warm in oven.
At this point the steak will be done. Take out from the oven and very carefully remove the steak onto a plate to rest. Take the pan it roasted in back to the stove top and place on medium heat. The pan should leave some oil and butter and lots of "brown bits"; these are the caramelization from the steak and will serve as the base of your sauce! If you need more fat then add a tablespoon of butter, but you really should have enough in the pan.
To make the sauce, add a tablespoon of flour to the butter-oil mixture and begin whisking. Make sure to take off the brown bits from the bottom and sides as best you can and just incorporate it all. You'll get another roux formed. Add the beef broth a little at a time again, whisking to smooth it out again. Add the peppercorns and thyme, and let simmer on medium-low heat to reduce. By reducing the liquid, you're concentrating the flavors. The liquid will reduce until you're left with a thick sauce. Remove the thyme sprigs and now it's ready to serve.
To assemble.
Cut the steak into two portions and place on plates. Spoon the sauce all over the steaks and a little on the sides. Add the pasta to the side and serve hot.

Mesclun and Some Salad Basics

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You've seen it at the grocery store and it's been served to you at restaurants. Previously considered a "gourmet" salad, mesclun has managed to take its place (rightfully) on the shelves of local grocery stores and farmers markets as an every day lettuce. It's colorful, tasty, and...what the hell are we supposed to do with it?

Mesclun is a French reference for a combination of young lettuce. Traditionally the mixture includes baby leafy lettuces, chervil, argulala, and endive. However, modern mixtures often include spinach, kale, frisee, radicchio, and others. The general "point" of this mixture is to pic leafy greens at their most tender - when they just come out of the ground. Also, the flavors of the more bitter lettuces (radicchio, frisee for example) haven't developed their characteristic pungent taste yet, so many people find this mixture quite agreeable to their palate.

Because the leafs are so tender, a heavy cream-based dressing is not recommended when working with this salad. If you've noticed, when you have this salad at a restaurant it's often served with a simple vinaigrette. Oil, vinegar and perhaps a touch of sweetness from honey or a jam are all you need to dress these greens.

Given the different flavors of the mixture ranging from the bitter frisee to the sweet butter lettuce, many accoutrements compliment the leafs for a composed salad. A classic combination of nut-fruit-cheese is the pecan, dried cranberry, and bleu cheese.

When doing a composed salad (meaning - there's other "stuff" besides leafs and lettuce) you want to aim for both balance of flavors as well as textures. By adding crunchy nuts, chewy cranberries and creamy bleus you're adding 3 more dimensions to the whole salad. And now you're in Gourmet Territory.

I have two rules:

For a great vinaigrette, I use Oil-Acid-Sweet. This means I pick an oil (usually a good extra virgin olive oil, but I also love hazelnut oil or grapeseed), add a splash of some kind of acid (meaning lemon, lime or fresh orange juice, a good aged balsamic vinegar or white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar...whatever), and for something sweet I love doing honey or a 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of jam. This is one of my secrets. There are so many fabulous jams out there from fig to mixed berry, spicy mango chutney to jalapeno jelly! All of them act like natural emulsifiers in making a fabulous vinaigrette with a hint of sweetness. I've found also that the sweetness balances out the tart acidity of a citrus or vinegar very nicely, giving an overall balanced flavor that's both complimentary and complex.

The options are literally endless, so play around with what you've got in your pantry for a new vinaigrette dressing!

The second rule is Nut-Fruit-Cheese. Again, options are endless. Nuts offer a healthy crunch that's a nice compliment to the overall salad. Fruits can be dried or fresh and literally anything that's in season or that you have on hand. And cheese is same thing - anything from creamy Roquefort to aged cheddar. You can put in whatever combination you like!

That's all you need for a fabulous salad!

To use the ingredients picture above, try this classic recipe for:

Mesclun with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Pecans, Cranberry and Bleu Cheese
1 bag organic mesclun blend
1/4 cup dried canberries
2 Tbsp chopped pecans, toasted*
2-3 Tbsp good quality bleu cheese (recommend Roquefort, Point Reyes, or English Stilton)
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar from Modena
1 heaping Tbsp honey
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Wash and dry the salad greens. Set aside.

Make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegar and honey until combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while still whisking - this is called "emulsifying" the oil. You want to keep whisking rather vigorously until the vinegar, honey and oil have combined into a creamy dressing and the oil is not separating from the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle over the greens using a spoon. Very gently toss the salad in the vinaigrette using tongs or a large fork and spoon, making sure not to bruise the tender leaves. Add the cranberries, pecans and cheese and give another light toss.

Serve immediately.

*To toast the pecans, place them in a shallow pan over low heat (not butter or oil is needed). Heat through stirring constantly until very lightly toasted and become fragrant. Remove promptly and set aside or serve (if you leave them in the pan even after turning the heat off, they will burn).

The Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's a classic side dish.
Creamy. Fluffy. Smooth, white goodness that goes with everything and yet is the perfect, comforting bite all on its own.
Mashed Potatoes.
You'd be surprised how often I get asked for advice on making mashed potatoes. Of course, like with anything, there is the basic version and the "good" version. People have their own tricks for getting that perfect consistency (not to thick, not too runny), that exact taste and balance of flavor. Some people swear by adding some box mix. I hate these people and think they should be rounded outside and shot. Mashed potatoes need not involve a box mix of salt and preservative. Might as well lick a stick of MSG and be done with it.
Still others insist you need to add a whole slew of extra "things" to make it great. Some add garlic while others add cheese. Some people add both. Some add vegetables (colecannon anyone?) while still others add infused oils with truffle or herb.
All great. Done them. All. Love them. All.
Simple but perfect mashed potatoes are great on their own, and need just four ingredients: potatoes, butter, cream, and salt. These ingredients must be top quality, fresh, in no way cheap or chinzy and you cannot deviate from this recipe one. single. bit. Not even substituting milk for cream. If you don't have cream, then go out and buy some or don't make them.
Technique. This is just as important if not more important than the ingredients themselves. If you execute the technique just as written in this recipe, following every single step to the letter, I guarantee you will have the best mashed potatoes of your life.
Yes, I'm serious.
I'll break it down for you now with commonly made mistakes.
Use the wrong kind of potatoes. There is one kind of potato that yields itself perfectly for mashed potatoes. They are called Yukon Gold Potatoes. They are buttery in texture and flavor, boil very easily and cream very well. A lot of people use Russett potatoes which are also fine, but after trying this recipe with every single potato available to most people at your local grocery store, the Yukon Golds are the best in my opinion.
You don't peel them. If you think this is "rustic," you're full of shit. Just cop to it - you're lazy and don't want to peel potatoes. When the skin is left on and incorporated in the mashing, it is not mashed potatoes, but rather Smashed Potatoes. With an "s." Yes there is a difference. Mashed potatoes is a derivative of "potato puree" which does not include potato skins for the simple fact that the skin gets in the way of the puree process. Smashed potatoes are great but they are not, in fact, mashed potatoes.

They're still water-logged. A HUGE mistake most people make is they don't properly drain their potatoes. They dump them into the colander and in a desperate effort to keep the potatoes still hot, they transfer the half-drained potatoes back into the pot or into a bowl and begin mashing and adding the butter and liquid. This is the best way to get runny mashed potatoes. First and foremost, invest in a good colander! It can be plastic or metal, big or small. Just make sure it has enough holes to provide proper drainage. You'd be surprised how many actually don't. Then, when you dump your potatoes from the boiling water right into the colander, I want you to walk away. Literally step away five steps, take a breath, then walk back to it. You need to give it time to drain! They can stay there for 10 minutes if you like; they will still be hot when you rewarm them on the stove (see recipe below). Another trick to help get out every single piece of water is to put the potatoes back into the pot they boiled in (with water dumped obviously) and put them over a very low heat for 2 minutes. This will burn off any additional water and give you perfect potatoes to now work with.
People don't use cream. Milk, half n half, soy milk, almond milk...great stuff. Not good for mashed potatoes. You need heavy cream or whipping cream. Period. You can warm it up if you like to or keep it at room temperature. I don't care. Just don't substitute anything else for the cream. Yes it's fattier. That's what makes it good.
You use an inferior butter. No, not all butters are made alike. There is one kind of butter that absolutely rocks for mashed potatoes. It's called European Style Butter. You can find a French version, an Irish version, even a Romanian version. It must say European-style or reference Europe some way. This butter is also yellow in appearance whilst most American butters are whiter. Land O' Lakes unsalted butter is fabulous too (and the only butter I bake with personally), but for mashed potatoes or buttered bread or a fancy cut of steak, I always use European butter. It has a little salt in it and made with fattier cream so it tastes better.
You mash your potatoes...and expect them to do the rest of the work for you. Mashing is actually Part 1 of the process. Once you're ready and your potatoes are in the pot or bowl ready to be transformed into creamy goodness, mash them. You can use a fork or potato masher or run the potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill. Whatever. The point is to get them into teeny tiny pieces that will melt into the butter and cream easier, making one uniform dish rather than a collection of boiled potato pieces. Step 2 is you need to whip the mixture. Add your butter and cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and then switch up to a good and sturdy wooden spoon. Yes, wooden spoon. Then start to mix the ever-loving-shit out of it. You're whipping air into the mixture now to give it body as well as smoothing out any pieces left inside. You want to do this as vigorously as possible; your arm should hurt for a few seconds after you're done. A whisk won't work as well, actually, because the potato mixture is too thick. Whisks are better for liquids and batters (thinner compositions). So a wooden spoon will work great. If you're making a huge batch for say Thanksgiving or large dinner party, then throw the mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer and let the paddle attachment do the work for you. Just be careful not to overmix!

Now that you know the common pitfalls, look at the recipe for...
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
yukon gold potatoes, peeled
cold water
kosher salt
european butter, at room temperature
heavy cream (or whipping cream), at room temperature or gently warmed (not scalded)
Take each potato and cut them into small pieces, about 1 in x 1 inch in size. Make sure you cut all the potatoes the same size so they all cook evenly; larger pieces will take longer to cook than smaller ones, so you don't want half of your potatoes to be under and half to be over cooked! Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Add a good amount of kosher salt (depending on amount of potatoes, 1 tablespoon per pound of potatoes is a good rule). Set to boil on high heat.
Once potatoes are boiling, reduce heat a little so water doesn't over flow the pot and onto your stove top flame.
Cook potatoes until extremely tender. You'll know they are done when you pierce a fork through and the piece of potato just falls apart. If you encounter resistance from the potato, they are not boiled enough so keep going.
Once potatoes are thoroughly soft, drain in colander. Let stand in colander at least 3 minutes before mashing. Return potatoes back into the pot they boiled in (the pot will still be hot so be careful) and put the pot on top of a very low flame for 2 minutes. As described above, this will evaporate any more moisture hidden in the potatoes or the pot.
Next, taste a piece of potato. Add more salt to taste (you usually will have to add another pinch or two). Add a couple of tablespoons of butter (again this is proportional to the amount of potatoes you have) and begin mashing. I like to use a simple dinner fork. Gently mash the potatoes up against the sides of the pot, bringing the center back up against the side. Mix around and repeat this process until all the potato has been broken up and very crumbly.
Switch to a wooden spoon and begin stirring, incorporating the butter in to melt with the potato. Add a splash of cream until reached desired consistency. If you want stiffer potatoes then add less; softer potatoes then add more. But make sure to begin with a small amount as you can always add more and can't take out. Once you've added the cream, begin to whip vigorously until very fluffy.
Taste and adjust with seasoning again. If adding additional ingredients like cheese or garlic, add it now and give another stir. Serve hot.
My Notes:
Butter at room temperature will incorporate better and faster into the mashed potatoes. If you forget to bring the butter out, then don't worry. You can use butter straight out of the fridge (cold), but try to cut it up into smaller pieces then to help it melt in faster.
For the same reason, cream should be at room temperature also. You can also heat it in a small saucepan on the stove top on very low flame, removing it before scalding (means a skin forms on the top). If you forget to bring the cream out, pour desired amount to use in a microwave safe cup (a glass measuring cup works great or you can even use a tea cup!) and heat for 20-30 seconds just to take the chill off.
By not using cold butter or cream, you'll be able to incorporate those ingredients easier while also keep the potatoes hot as adding cold ingredients will bring the overall temperature down immediately.
If you need to keep your potatoes warm, place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap on top of a pot with a small amount of boiling water. In essence, creating a double boiler. You can keep potatoes warm like this for 20 minutes. Or, transfer to a casserole dish with lid and keep warm in a 250 degree oven for up to 30 minutes. Just make sure to cover the dish so the top doesn't burn!

Holy Shit I Could Conceivably Eat An Entire Batch Of These...Oh Wait, I Did Blueberry Muffins

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Best. Blueberry muffins. Ever.

Trust me. I'm not even going to say more. Take a look at this picture and tell me you don't want to dive through your computer and eat this.

Make this. Now.

Blueberry Muffins
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (whole is best but nonfat/lowfat ok too)
2 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter cubed
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line muffin pan.
Combine 3 cups flour 1 1/2 cups sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 2 cup measuring cup. Add eggs and enough milk to fill to 2 cups.Mix this with the flour mixture.Gently fold in blueberries.Fill muffin cups right to the top and sprinkle with crumb topping Crumb topping: mix all topping ingredients until totally combined (turns a nice soft brown crumbly texture -- I use a fork to mash).

Bake 20-25 minutes. Makes 12-16 muffins.

P.S. A huge thank you to Rochelle for releasing this recipe she "stole" from her friend one morning. You know it's good when a food makes you commit a crime. ;)

Kid-Tested, Toddler Approved: Red Snapper Fajitas

Last night while at Whole Foods I didn't know what to make for dinner. My Fish Guy suggested the red snapper that had just come in, and it did look great. So I grabbed a large fillet and he suggested making fish fajitas. I thought that was a great idea; one of those "duh" moments.

We always do fish "tacos" whenever we don't know what to do with fish. But the fajita formula (peppers, onions, garlic, protein) yields itself nicely to a meaty white fish like red snapper or halibut. My addition of fresh thyme, lemon and meaty Spanish green olives gives a bright and salty top flavor that really brings out the brilliance in white fish. It's light, it's healthy, it's super easy to make, and a great week night meal for you and the kids.

Any white, flaky fish works well for this -- halibut, sea bass, snapper, grouper -- but snapper turned out particularly well and is a fraction of the cost of halibut or sea bass. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fillets, so keep that in mind when cooking yours.

Red Snapper Fajitas
1 very large red snapper fillet (skinned and cleaned by your fish guy)
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 medium-large sweet onion, sliced (recommended: vidalia or maui onion)
2 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, sliced
1/4 cup Spanish green olives
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
fresh tortillas for serving
Clean your red snapper and pat it very dry with paper towels. Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Cut it in half or thirds to fit your pan if necessary.
Heat about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet on high heat until almost smoking. Carefully place the fish fillets in the oil and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the fish carefully (it will stick, so use a sturdy spatula) and set aside on a plate. Fish will continue cooking so don't worry if it is still rare in the middle.
Add the bell peppers and onion to the pan, and more oil if necessary. Season with salt and pepper and saute on high heat about 5 minutes, or until softened and edges start to caramelize. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs and lemon all at once and cook another 3 minutes. Turn the heat lower if necessary so the vegetables and garlic don't burn.
While the veggies are cooking, cut your fish fillets into large chunks. Again, don't worry if it's not cooked all the way through; it will finish cooking shortly. Add the fish pieces back into the pan with the veggies and add the olives. Give everything a good stir with spatula or spoon, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with lid and let cook another 2-3 minutes or until fish is completely done. Fish should be white and firm, but still soft and flaky.
If using fresh tortillas, preheat a pancake griddle pan or a regular non-stick pan large enough to hold the tortilla on high heat. Cook the tortillas, turning as needed, until bubbles form on both sides and they turn white with very pale golden spots. Fold in half, then in half again to form triangles.
Serve fish fajitas with tortillas hot.

Week Night Yum Yum: Grilled Brined Pork Tenderloin

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My best friend Rochelle makes this insanely good pork loin. A family recipe courtesy of her aunt-in-law Kim, this quick and simple brining process will elevate an otherwise boring pork loin into melt-in-your-mouth goodness. She serves it up with one of two glazes, both fruit-based with a tart twist from vinegar. They're simple to make with ingredients available in your pantry and fridge, making this a very week night friendly recipe. You can roast the pork in the oven or for added smoky flavor, try grilling it. Expecting a larger group for dinner unexpectedly? This recipe is awesome as it can be made fast and easily doubled or even tripled to feed a crowd.

For a healthy week night meal, I like serving it with a steamed veggie like broccoli or a field-green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Oven-roasted sweet potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, and potato gratin would be awesome as well.

Enjoy it!

Grilled Brined Pork Tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 quart cool water

Make the brine first. Combine the salt, sugar and water in a medium bowl. Submerge the tenderloins in the water mixture and let stand about 45 minutes. Remove pork, rinse and pat dry.

To grill, preheat grill on high until fully heated about 10-15 minutes. Put the pork on the hot grill. Close the lid and grill for 7 minutes. Turn the pork over, close the lid again, and grill another 6 minutes. Turn off the heat (keeping the lid closed) and continue to cook the pork for another 5 minutes until an instant-read thermometer registers 145-150 degrees. Remove pork from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before carving.

To serve, cut the tenderloins into 1-inch thick medallions and serve with one of the following two sauces:

Orange Balsamic Sauce
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup orange marmalade
4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and rosemary and cook on low heat until fragrant and sizzling (about 30 seconds). Stir in marmalade and vinegar and heat through to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mango Chutney Sauce
1/3 cup mango chutney (recommended: Major Grey's)
4 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp minced fresh cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk. Serve.

My Notes:
If you want to roast it in the oven, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and roast pork until 145-150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If you wanted to add vegetables to your meal, add carrots, parsnips and red onions tossed in olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Layer the vegetables on the bottom of your roasting pan, creating a "bed" for the pork to lay upon. One complete meal with 1 dirty pan to wash!

Simple Brunch: Smoked Salmon Bagel Bar

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just a couple of days before our move to Seattle, our great friends The Karrs invited us to their home (again) for brunch. They executed a traditional brunch item just perfectly. Assorted bagels laid out on a platter, good smoked salmon, and various accoutrement's for everyone to assemble their bagel as they wished.

This is a great example of how food doesn't need to be complicated or even cooked to be good!

Sliced red onions, boiled eggs (Adam even separated the yolks from the whites!) and capers along with cool plain cream cheese are classic perfection to a mild and sweet smoked salmon. And the best part was we all could spend time talking and hanging out instead of worrying about not burning a frittata.
Mimosas and pomegranate-champagne "splashes" were our drinks for the brunch. It was a perfect way to celebrate our last sunny and hot Saturday in Southern California.

And since you're basically assembling food, this menu can be expanded or contracted to fit anything from 2-200 people! So try out this menu for a simple and satisfying bagel bar for your next brunch.
Smoked Salmon Bagel Bar and Pomosas
assorted bagels cut in half, lengthwise
good quality Irish or Scottish style smoked salmon
hard-boiled eggs (yolks and whites separated if desired)
thinly sliced red onion
capers, drained
freshly ground black pepper
lemon wedges for garnish
pomegranate juice
To make the bagel bar, simple place each ingredient in a decorative bowl or platter as desired. If you got that pretty fish dish for your wedding you've never used, this is the perfect time to use it! Don't have one? Just use a regular dinner plate! And don't forget to provide forks or spoons as needed so people can help themselves.
To make the Pomosas, simply add a bit of pomegranate juice to the bottom of a champagne or wine glass and then top with chilled champagne! For kid-friendly or non-alcoholic versions, substitute the champagne with sparkling white grape juice or ginger ale.

First Dinner In Our New House: Zuni Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad

It's official - we've moved to Seattle! We're all settled in our new home here, and dogs and kids are happily doing their dog and kid things, while I of course, have been working in the kitchen. I'm beyond excited. First of all, I have a gourmet kitchen with awesome equipment to work with and all the counter and cabinet space I could dream of. Second, it's hard not to be inspired by the nature around me and the views on our property. And third, I've been so sick of eating out!

I made my first meal in our new house our second night here. My good friend Maryn gave me The Zuni Cafe Cookbook for my birthday a few weeks ago, and so I quickly flipped to the chicken section and found what I was looking for: a recipe for roasted chicken.

If I had to choose favorite foods, a good roasted chicken would definitely be top of the list. There is something about that juicy sweet bird that can take on any flavor profile you desire it to, slowly roasting and developing such depth of flavor. It's a perfect crescendo from your nose to mouth as the hour-long process already starts to get you salivating with the insanely good smells permeating through your kitchen as the bird perfects in the oven. Then that first taste - if done properly, it never disappoints.

So I made the recipe from Zuni's book for their roasted chicken and an absolutely UH-MAY-ZING bread salad (panzanella salad) that is to die for. The chicken is wonderful and simple, while the colorful and bittersweet salad offer every single texture you'd want as a sidekick to a perfectly juicy chicken.

The steps are a little involved but it's worth it in the end. Make this for your next family dinner to be the culinary hero.

Zuni Roasted Chicken

1 small chicken, 2 3/4-3 1/2 pounds
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 tender sprigs fresh thyme, marjoram, rosemary, or sage, about 1/2 inch long
1-3 days before serving:
Remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat very dry inside and out.
Approaching from the edge of the cavity, slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making 2 little pockets. Now use the tip of your finger to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Using your finger, shove an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets.
Season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper, seasoning the thickest sections a little more heavily than the skinny ankles and wings. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity, on the backbone, but otherwise don't worry about seasoning the inside. Twist and tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders. Cover loosely and refrigerate.
To Roast:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Choose a shallow flameproof roasting pan or dish barely larger than the chicken, or use a 10-inch skillet with an all-metal handle. Preheat the pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. It should sizzle.
Place in the center of the oven and listen and watch for it to start sizzling and browning within 20 minutes. If it doesn't, raise the temperature progressively until it does (depending on your oven, you may have to go up to as far as 500 degrees). The skin should blister, but if the chicken begins to char, or the fat is smoking, reduce the temperature by 25 degrees. After about 30 minutes, turn the bird over. Roast for another 10-20 minutes, depending on size, then flip back over to recrisp the breast skin another 5-10 minutes. Total oven time will be 45 minutes to an hour.
While the chicken is roasting, prepare the bread salad.
Zuni Bread Salad

generous 8 ounces slightly stale chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)
6-8 Tbsp mild-tasting olive oil
1.5 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dried currants
1 tsp red wine vinegar or as needed
1 Tbsp warm water
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2-3 garlic cloves, slivered
1/4 cup slivered scallions
2 Tbsp lightly salted chicken stock
a few handfuls of arugula, frisee, or red mustard greens, washed and dried
Preheat the broiler.
Cut the bread into large, bite-sized chunks (remove the crust if you like but I like it kept). Brush or drizzle the bread with olive oil. Broil very briefly to to crisp and lightly color the surface, turning the bread once to brown on all sides.
Combine about 1/4 cup olive oil with the champagne or white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss about 1/4 cup of this vinaigrette with the toasted bread in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Place the dried currants in a small heat-proof bowl. Pour the warm water and red wine vinegar over them and set aside.
Heat about a tablespoon of the olive oil in a small pan and add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until softened. Don't let them color. Pour onto the bread. Drain the currants and add them in as well. Add some of the chicken stock as well (a splash at a time) if your bread turned out too crispy; no need to add it if your bread is still a little chewy. Add more vinegar if needed. Add a few tablespoons of the pan drippings from the chicken roasting pan. Toss.
Place the entire salad mixture in a large baking dish and tent with foil. Place in oven with the chicken for the final 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove from oven and toss with the greens and toasted pine nuts. Serve immediately with the chicken.
My Notes:
Yes, this is a very complicated recipe. I devised a way to incorporate all the flavors in a much easier way. Roast the chicken as stated and then add the bread directly to the roasting pan with the chicken. This does two things: (1) it's going to toast your bread for the salad, thus eliminating the step of having to dirty a separate pan or baking dish and (2) why let all that gorgeous chicken juice go to waste? especially since you have to use some in the salad anyway! By adding the bread to the pan juices, you're seasoning the bread and soaking up that heavenly taste, while crisping it all at the same one pan. If you do it this way, just make sure use a larger pan when roasting then so you have enough room to add the bread later, and make sure you really move the bread around and let every piece of it soak up and get browned. This means having to turn the bread once during the last 15 minute cooking process. Then when you're done, simply remove the chicken from the roasting pan and on to a cutting board and then spoon out your bread directly into your salad bowl and add the rest of your ingredients for the salad.
Yes you must soak your currants. What this does is basically reconstitute them; it plumps them back up. You're also adding some acidity and flavor by adding the vinegar with the warm water.
No need to rub your chicken with olive oil or butter before roasting. Just make sure your chicken is at room temperature before you place it in the oven and it let the high temperature do its thing to get a nice brown color on it.
You'll be roasting on very high heat. This usually means Smoke Detector Territory. Make sure your fan is on and you've opened a few windows before you start roasting, especially if you have an apartment or small condo.
For even easier clean up (I hate to clean roasting pans), you can use disposable aluminum roasting pans you can find in the baking or cooking section of your local grocery store. They work beautifully. Then just throw them away when you're done! If you prefer to use your roasting pan but find the chicken is burning, another trick I use that I borrowed from Ina Garten is to cut up a very large onion into large chunks and then place on the bottom of the pan, creating a sort of carpet. Not only will the onions act as a sort of barrier between the chicken and the hot pan, but they will also soak up the juices and also offer some flavor to the chicken as well. I always roast my chickens this way, and when I made this recipe I actually tossed in the roasted onions into the salad as well for a sweet and caramelized note that went just beautifully with the other components in the salad.

Kid Tested, Toddler Approved: Das German Cuisine! (no seriously)

I had some left over cabbage in the fridge that needed to be used up and not much time to work with it. I got inspired to make some German fare, so I quickly whipped up this German-inspired meal in literally less than 30 minutes and it was a big hit with the family, especially my 1 1/2 year old, Trajan. And don't let it fool you - if you choose the right sausage, this meal can be actually quite lean and low fat! And who doesn't love that?!

Grilled Turkey Kielbasa with Quick-Braised Cabbage
1 package low sodium turkey kielbasa sausage
1/2 head white cabbage, cut thinly
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1 large green apple, peeled and grated
kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper corns (or a few turns of the black pepper mill)
small pinch of nutmeg
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth + more if needed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Take the sausage and cut it into 4 large pieces. Take each piece and score it with a knife - this means, cut into the top of the sausage about 1/3 of the way through towards the bottom, creating "slits." Repeat this slice every inch or so. This will help the sausage cook evenly and thoroughly, and not burst while grilling. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and onion and season with salt. The salt will help the cabbage wilt and draw out the juices from the onion. Cook uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring often until softened and just beginning to caramelize on the edges. If starting to burn, reduce heat and continue to cook.

Add the apple, peppercorns and nutmeg and combine. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cover with lid and reduce heat to medium. Cook until cabbage is very tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more broth during the cooking process as needed so that there is enough liquid for the cabbage to braise in, a splash at a time. You don't want to boil it, but just let it cook in some liquid to help it get soft. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

While the cabbage is cooking, preheat your grill to medium-high. Grill your sausages about 5-10 minutes, turning often. Turkey kielbasa cooks a lot faster and will burn easier because it has less fat, so make sure you keep an eye on it. If using pork or beef sausage, you won't have to turn them as often.

Serve everything hot with a side of spicy German mustard (or Grey Poupon), and my kids like ketchup.

My Notes:
If making this meal for a larger dinner, you can easily double the cabbage recipe and use a whole head of cabbage for a larger portion side dish. Also, would go great with my Potato Pancakes recipe for appetizers!

Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Sour Cream

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love potato pancakes. Or "latkes" if you like. They're crispy, filling, delicious, and look a hell of a lot harder than they are to actually make. I whipped these suckers up for a German-inspired meal a few weeks ago and loved both how tasty and easy they were to make. This recipe makes around 14 small bite-sized ones, but the best part is you can easily double or even triple the recipe if you want to make them for a party.
They taste fresh, so unfortunately this is one of those appetizers best served hot for a small dinner party. Goes great with champagne, but we found them to go equally as well with good beer! If you must make them in advance for a party, fry them up about 30 minutes before you want to serve them, then keep them warm in a 300 degree oven for up to 20 minutes. Any longer than that and you'll burn them. But again, they are best served right out of the frying pan.
And you can top them with whatever you like. I simply added horseradish to sour cream for a sweet and spicy bite to the cold cream that paired nicely with the crispy mild cake. You can also top with caviar, smoked salmon, or even a fabulous spiced apple compote. The options are endless!
Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Sour Cream
2 large Russett potato
1 small white onion
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp grated prepared horseradish (not cream)
Combine the sour cream and horseradish (to taste) in a small bowl. Set aside.
Peel the potatoes and wash them. Using a box grater, carefully grate the potatoes. It helps if you cut the large poatoes in half, and then grate the two smaller pieces. Peel the onion and grate it also. Using a few paper towels, drain all the excess water out of the potatoes and onions. You'll be surprised how much water is actually retained in them. By doing this, you'll ensure a crispier cake and not a soggy one.
Set the grated potato and onion in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste (about a 1/4 tsp of salt and a small pinch of pepper is good as you're going to salt them again when they come out of the oil), add the egg and flour and with a spatula, gently fold the mixture together until well combined. Use flour as needed until the mixture holds.
*To see if the consistency is good, take a large pincyh of the mixture and gently press it into a ball in your hands - if it keeps its form it's good; if it falls apart then add more flour.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan. When oil is hot, add about a heaping teaspoon worth of the potato mixture right into the oil, then using the flat back of a spatula, gently press down on the top to flatten it out into a pancake shape. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you can fry about 4-8 at one time, but be careful not to overcrowd the pan as this will bring the temperature of the oil down and you'll end up steaming your potato cakes and not frying them crispy. You will have to do these in batches, so make sure you drain out the oil between batches and refill with fresh vegetable oil. This will also help get rid of any stray pieces of potato that will burn, and give each cake that perfect golden color.
Transfer cakes as they are fried to a baking sheet lined with a wire cooling rack. This will drain the excess oil for you.
Serve hot with the horseradish sour cream.
My Notes:
For easy clean-up, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the oil. This way when they are done draining, all you have to do is throw out the foil and not have to wash the whole sheet!
If you are making them in advance, place the cakes on the cooking rack on the baking sheet right in the oven, all together. This will help the cakes stay crisp as well.

We Made It!!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

We're heeeeeeeeere!!!!!!

We finally made it. Successfully. All of us. With no casualties, difficulties, and best of all, avoiding any major bodily function disasters along the way. True to form as has been the theme with this move, everything has seemed to fallen into place. Literally, our path to Seattle was laid brick by brick, with everything working out that needed to be worked out. Thank you, Universe.

We even successfully navigated through the airport. In a carefully coordinated effort reminiscent of The Storming of Normandy (by way of William the Conqueror, of course), we managed to maneuver through Orange County Airport and Seattle International with 2 kids, 4 dogs, 3 checked luggage bags, 4 carry-on bags, 1 diaper "system, 2 toddler backpacks, 2 car seats and a bottle of water. Check it out:

With some initial shockingly helpful assistance from my mother and brother this morning (which of course involved unnecessary nagging on my mother's part), Andrew and I were on our own in Seattle. So how did we do it?
1. pack up as much bullshit in the stroller as possible. For once, I was extremely happy to have such an insanely large stroller.
2. stack up all the luggage on one cart according to size, larger on bottom and ending with the smallest and lightest.
3. repeat step 2 with the dogs.
4. take a deep breath, pray to God that we don't lose a kid or a dog along the way, and go!
So to resounding cheers, gawks, pointed fingers and even a little laughter, we moved from the baggage claim all the way through the airport just the two of us pushing away, a stroller in one hand and a cart in the other.
Then Andrew and I parked to the side (as pictured above) and he ran out with both kids and both car seats, swung over his shoulder like a madman in war, to get our rental car.
I, of course, stayed behind with The Stuff. And had to figure out how to move all this shit outside to the curb to make it easier to load. I had consolidated into 2 carts and 1 stroller, and began to proceed when a very nice security guard exclaimed, "Oh. My. God." He must have caught the panicked expression on my face as I realized the incline to the outside was a bit steeper than I had originally thought, and Fiona was going down and fast. He asked if I needed help to which I replied something to the effect of "uh huh" and he helped me wheel everything out. I repositioned everything back onto 3 carts and 1 stroller and proceeded to wait the next year until Andrew arrived with our rental car.
I was expecting a dreaded minivan when a sleek black Tahoe drove up and Andrew, half-crazed with stress, flew out and quickly started to load everything. So quickly, in fact, he packed our phone...which we needed. So we had to unpack the entire trunk to find the phone, then repack it again.
Good times.
Well...we made it. Dogs are safely residing at their new pet hotel near town and we're checked in our posh Euro-style suite hotel in our new home town. The kids were champs on the airplane with Trajan sleeping through the entire flight, only occasionally dropping T-Bombs while remaining completely content and asleep. And Cati who drew, ate, and listened to the ipod the entire flight with not so much as a peep. And even Andrew only got on my nerves once.
Well, our luck was used up then because the kids were a nightmare for dinner. But no matter now - we're all safely tucked in bed and ready to pick up our keys tomorrow and meet Ramon and "Dude" to load up our stuff into our new place!
Wish us luck! Let's hope nothing is broken!

Seattle, Here We Come!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Enchanted Spoon with be on a brief hiatus for a week or two more as we are in the process of moving to Seattle! Scheduled to fly up this Monday, soon enough I'll be whipping up some insanely gourmet yums in my new gourmet kitchen (!) and ravaging through the food scene in downtown. I'm seriously looking forward to eating my way through Seattle and all the Pacific North West has to throw at me. I just found out today they have a salmon spawning festival in a couple of months, and a huge salmon cookout is involved so I'm making sure to RSVP to that STAT.

Until then, if you want to read about our misadventures and move, you can check out my personal blog called Rants and Raves: A Mishy's Perspective. Warning: cussing, swearing, and otherwise "offendable" language runs rampant as that's what makes for a good rant or rave. Take it with a grain of salt (or sugar), as it were. ;)

Can't wait to get back on the cooking scene and get some Pac NW inspired recipes up on here!