Friday, December 9, 2011

A Foodie's Discovery

I stumbled upon a food blog that has excellent recipes. It has inspired me completely, and I have been cooking all week. I made a few of them, see pictures below, and have enjoyed everything! Moreover, I am inspired by my friend's, Julie and Amelia, weekly dinners that I attend.

The blog is here. I first made Mashed Potatoes w/Kale and Garlic, which was epically decadent and soooo good!

Simple Butternut Squash Soup (made w/Christopher)

Tomato Almond Spread

Tuscan Raw Kale Salad, with Tomato Almond Spread on crackers

Note on the potatoes: I recently made Colcannon, an Irish potato recipe and very similar to the one linked above. It, of course, was made with cabbage, and I added garlic to enrich the dish. It was very comforting. But hey, I'm Irish!

Monday, May 2, 2011


I went with many of you to Jamaica last year- there we tried many new foods. Brittany says that Jerry made us callaloo but unfortunately I have no recollection of that. I rediscovered this dish in my Jamaican cooking class- I am not stealing their recipe since there are copyright laws against reposting their recipes... I have tweaked it to make it easier/more accessible. Callaloo refers to a leaf veggie- amaranth or taro Xanthosoma. Here in the NW you can use any green leafy veggie such as kale, spinach, chard or collard greens. Traditionally it's used as a side dish or as a gravy for other foods but I am LAZY- I eat it as a stew with a side of cornbread. Also, I don't measure things for this- do what's right for you.

Pork chunks: I use a large handful of bacon
Onion, one, chopped
Garlic cloves, five to infinity, minced
Habenero pepper, one, minced
Fresh thyme, handful
Fresh chives, handful, chopped
Green leafies, 2-3 cups, chopped
Sea meats, handful, I use one can of crab meat but you can use lobster or conch (haha where you gonna find conch here?)
Squash, one half of a cooked butternut squash, cubed, freeze other half for later
Okra, one bag of frozen chopped
Coconut milk, one can
Chicken broth, two cups
Salt & pepper to taste
Lime to taste
Hot sauce to taste
brb I'm eating a bowl of this for breakfast...

Ok, I'm back. Get a big soup pot, put it over medium heat, put a pat of butter in there and cook your pork meats. Drain fat from pork meats. Add aromatics (onion, garlic, herbs, pepper) and saute/sweat them. (Pardon my cooking grammar) Add greens and squash, cook for a few minutes. Add sea meats, coconut milk and chicken broth, simmer and stir. ADD THE OKRA LAST. People hate okra because it's mushy and slimy- and it only gets mushy and slimy if you let it. You are in control of your okra! Put it in last so that it heats up enough but stays crunchy. This whole mess should look like a stew. Taste it. Maybe it needs more salt and pepper. Serve in bowl with lime wedge, more hot sauce (I use habanero hot sauce) and with whatever starch suits your fancy. Oops I forgot to take a photo... that's probably for the best since it's ugly... but D'LICIOUS

Beer Fest

Hi all,

I ate pretty much everything on the planet in April and I haven't posted anything! I also went to two beer festivals in Portland: the Spring Beer & Wine Fest and Portland's Cheers to Belgian Beers. I highly recommend going to any beer fest that's not on the
waterfront or in the Convention Center. The Belgian beer tasting was in a metal craft warehouse where they make the vats for breweries for fermenting beer. Genius! 40 beers on tap! Each tasting bringing you closer to forgetting what beer you're drinking! I went with a new friend of mine and I made him take photos. This first beer on the left here is Block 15 Brewing Co.'s St. Macarius. 5.9% ABV Belgian-style dark chocolate. I voted it the best, very bright, no aftertaste, not too syrupy, easily you could use it as a dessert beer and pair with berry pie.

The next beer we loved (see upper right) is Buckman Village Brewery's La Petite Mort (or at least I think so... my sun-fried brain only scribbled one illegible clue for photo #2) 5.0% ABV dark saison. Does it look like teriyaki to you? You can distinctly taste ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce- all elements of teriyaki. WILD! It didn't taste out of place even, it was very drinkable... easily paired with Asian food... which we did at the Koi Fusion cart- overrated Korean taco-cart fusion. It's not my favorite because it's greasy and expensive for cart food. We had a bulgolgi bbq beef burrito with kimchi and salsa verde- not impressive until I got to the butt of the burrito- maybe that's where all the kimchi and sauces shimmied down.
Alright, here's the final two beers we tried. I can't say for sure what they are because these were the final tastings when we were already drunk but I'll do my best. I think the one on the left is Old Market Pub & Brewery's Trappist Le Blonde Inlenet- 8.2% ABV Belgian-style golden. I gave it a minus sign. The one on the right is Philadelphia's Flemish Amber- 4.7% ABV... it has a plus sign. When you go beer tasting I recommend using a more sophisticated beer rating system.

I don't know when the next beer festival is but I hope it's not for a long time!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Plantain Breakfast Tacos

Hey food friends. My name is Julie, and I'm a newcomer to this blog, but certainly not new to loving good food. I cook the majority of my meals, and make a very conscious effort to use only local and organic ingredients. Last summer I read the book The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, and it kind of changed my life...or at least the decisions I make about the food I cook. I try to cook and eat seasonally, and get almost all of my produce at the Ballard farmer's market; for everything else I trot over to PCC. I may seem like a food snob, but I'm just trying to participate in supporting local and sustainable foods and businesses...and am not afraid to talk about it. I love to eat out and try new restaurants, but when it comes to what I prepare at home, I've got to feel good about all of the ingredients, not cut corners on prepared or processed foods, and try to make everything from scratch. Yep, food snob.

On another note...I recently returned from a trip to Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico. My roommate and I stayed with a friend who lives there for a week and soaked up the sun, swam in the ocean, and cooked a lot of good food with all fresh local ingredients. A LOT OF TACOS. The most successful (and simply delicious) recipe we came up with was a breakfast taco, that I would like to share with you:

Plantain Breakfast Tacos with Black Beans, Tomatillo Salsa, and Lime Sour-cream
  • 2 plantains, sliced into thin rounds
  • 4 tomatillos, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 2 local eggs
  • 2 fresh tortillas, warmed up in a skillet
  • 1/2 cup of sour-cream
  • 1 small lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
Lightly saute the plantain in a sweet/light cooking oil, (we used coconut oil as it is everywhere in Mexico, but I'm sure vegetable oil would be fine), until the starches began to break down a bit; set aside.

If using dried black beans, soak overnight in water, then simmer for an hour 'till beans are fully cooked. Set aside.

Lightly saute the tomatillos, tomatoes, and onion in olive oil for a few minutes, just enough to bring out the flavors a bit more, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the two eggs over-easy, poached, or fried. Any method that leave the yolks a bit runny is best in my book..

To make lime sour-cream: squeeze the juice of one small lime into your sour-cream, mix thoroughly.

Assemble your breakfast tacos:
Layer your tortillas on a plate, top with plantains, black beans, tomatillo salsa, and eggs on top. Spoon a dollop of the lime sour-cream to finish, and get ready for some mouth-watering goodness. I recommend using a knife and fork, this dish tends to spill out and get messy...but is so worth it.

Until next time..adios amigos!

Food for Thought

I eat out quite a bit, especially lately as I started a new job and have been juggling the schedule. I'm sure you can relate or at least recognize, when you are busy you tend to eat out more frequently. So here are some good eats that I recommend. To the left we have an egg hash courtesy Smith's which is a bar with impressive bar food. We have spinach, carrots, potatoes, chanterelles and a poached egg on top. I will definitely replicate this.

Here we have the eggs benedict vegetarian with a side of potatoes from Portage Bay Cafe in
Ballard. I have tried eggs benedict at The Dish, Smith, Glo's and Hattie's Hat.While I enjoy the
dish almost anywhere, I have found I like PBC's the best. Granted, Hattie's makes their hollandaise with cream cheese which is lovely, but the hollandaise at PBC understands my taste bud's needs.

Goat Cheese Omelette at PBC. By the look on Ross' face, I can tell it was a good choice for him. Not only does he love omelette's but him and goat cheese are best friends. This was a perfect combination of love of food meets well combined and prepared food.

The peach tart at Besalu cafe in Ballard is a sweet treat that is my favorite and believe me, when you live close to this place you end up trying most of their baked goods. I haven't yet captured a picture of the onion and gruyere pastry as I eat it too quickly. If you haven't been here yet you are sorely missing out. If you visit Seattle, this is a must stop on your tour.

Moving away from restaurant dishes into homemade, I have to include these interesting and innovative items. As Easter was yesterday, I was working and missed a family celebration known at Bacon Fest, where 6 lbs. of bacon and a slew of delightful dishes are laid down to be devoured. After work, I was delivered not only the chocolate covered bacon with sea salt, but some of my favorite chocolate silk mousse pie, which you will see next. The c.c.bacon was all Aunt Joan, and man she is a chef extraordinaire, and I have not given her enough credit for all the wonderful things she has made!

Chocolate Silk Mousse Pie. Concocted by the famous cousin Christopher who bestowed his pie knowledge upon me. I am eternally grateful and this is a treat worth the work it takes to make it. My friend and coworker, after trying this pie yesterday, said she was a ruined woman and she wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it. She asked me what she should do and I offered to attempt to make it with her. I'll keep you informed when that happens.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winter Solstice Soup

Even though it is technically spring, it is still super cold and Winter Solstice Soup is a favorite among my friends and me. This simple recipe was introduced to me via Susan, the culinary student extraordinaire, before she started attending culinary school. Ingredients you will need:

2 TPSP butter
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, rc
2 potatoes, peeled and rc
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
1 Bay leaf
1 TBSP dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups milk

When chopping onions I recommend a pair of these chemistry goggles:

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat, add onions for 5 mins. Add garlic for a minute and then add carrots, potatoes, water, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Puree ingredients with a hand blender or in small batches with food processor or blender. Stir in milk and season with salt and pepper resulting in the pretty color below.

Enjoy with a side of bread and dip delectable slices in olive oil and vinegar or right into the soup!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Pie

Since pies are in this year, I thought I would post my pie endeavor from last fall.

I made this delicious pumpkin pie from scratch (minus the crust b/c I was tight on time) and it was mostly, incredibly easy. The hardest part was cutting the sweet pumpkin in half. I had a great time making it and especially, eating it. I shared it with people too of course, to their enjoyment.

The pictures below were inspired by the original recipe website but I have condensed the instructions:

Yields 1 10" pie or 3 small pies.

Sweet Pumpkin (makes 3 cups cooked)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1.5 cans (12 oz ea.) of evaporated milk

Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out insides. Feel free to sift out the seeds and toast in the oven. Remove stem.
Next cut the halves into halves and place in a double pot steamer. Steam for 20-30 minutes on medium heat. Can steam in a microwave for the same amount of time, just add some water to the microwave safe bowl.

Scoop out the cooked pumpkin and puree. Add remaining ingredients to pureed pumpkin. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 425 F for the first 15 minutes and then decrease to 350 F and back another 45-60 mins. or until clean when stuck with a knife.

Tada! Feel free to use a crust protector and then make slits in the center of the pie with a knife for kicks and giggles.

Posted by: Brittany