Monday, May 26, 2008

Big Grey Whale

Hey there! This was an extremely full Memorial Day Weekend.

Starting on Friday we went to Assaggio's with Meghan and Andy--that place is always really yummy. Then we went to the Cinerama that evening to see 'Indiana Jones'. Not so good, really bad ending, don't go. I managed to work on Saturday after a good 4 hours of sleep, then came home and passed out before starting on my short ribs.

Sunday morning we got up early, went to the gym to work out and then walked over to the Ballard Sunday Farmer's Market to pick up fresh bread for the HITK party. Of course we got a crepe and a couple of Seattle Dog's as well, gotta love that street food grazing. Then we cooked all day and had our dinner party, which turned out to be very grown up. Or I guess you could say I kinda felt like an adult, with a nicely set table and all the pretty stuff--fancy. The next get together will be a BBQ with greasy burgers, you know, paper plates and such. Much more casual.

Monday we got up early again to go car shopping--isn't our new used car adorable?? My old Honda was falling apart and quickly, so the CRV seemed like a great choice. We laughed so hard throughout the process of buying a car that I think the car salesman got a complex, but we crack eachother up, what can I say. In the afternoon we went to Wingdome with Dannie, Rob, Devin and Ryan, then had them over for a little Wii Mario Kart. Oh, and I dared Lee to eat a super hot wing, which he did and survived. See picture above...still alive.

Tomorrow I'm holding Heidi's hand while she gets her nosed pierced, just like the one I've got. She wants to surprise her chef hubby, Gabe, with the fancy jewel when he arrives home from France. Then I'm finally planting my basil since I think it's warm enough and picking up Sarah and Sean from the airport (they took a trip to North and South Carolina). Then it's back to work and next weekend is already full, whew.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy In The Kitchen Club

It's our first, and who knows, maybe our last, Happy In the Kitchen Club dinner. The lineup of cooks are as follows: Me, Lee, Suzanne, Jennifer and guest chef Susan. Plus we have, Wendy, our own sommelier who is providing lovely wine pairings. We started this club because we wanted to cook difficult, but tasty recipes, so we chose a book that seemed to match our needs--Happy In The Kitchen, by Michel Richard. I did a quick search and found there is another HITK Club out there as well. Copy cats! Although I see they were the first, it still makes me want to show them up. The lady that wrote about her club said she started with the Syrah Braised Short Ribs, the same thing I'm making, and now I can't stand her. I guess I am competetive about some things, as long as it's not sports.

It takes about 3 days to make this recipe. One day to shop, one day to prep and do the initial cooking and the next day to finish it off. The shopping is extensive, I went to at least 5 places in the market to gather various ingredients, mainly Don and Joe's Meat Shoppe, Dilaurentis Specialty Store, Market Spice and various produce stands. I actually battled the tourists carrying at least 40 pounds of stuff through Pike Place and when each seller asked what I was making and how they could help me, they then proceeded to ask me if they could come to our party. I was very flattered--I guess the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I chose this recipe because it looked good and I didn't really pay much attention to the ingredients, but once I saw how many ingredients this called for, I realized this is a once a year kind of treat. It takes applewood smoked slab bacon, the best short ribs you can get, two bottles of syrah and a bottle of port--not cheap. Plus if you spend all that money on wine and such you are certainly going to get the best organic produce available which makes this whole thing add up. I read there will be plenty of leftovers, so I guess this makes it more worth while--short ribs for a week.

Fast forward to a few hours later after the HITK party---no leftovers. Another term for short ribs would be really good pot roast that takes tons of time and money. I'd order them in a restaurant anyday and appreciate all the work that went into them, but not so sure I'd be into making them for the heck of it again.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The garden!

I did it! With the help of my Mom, Lee's Mom and many others, I finally put my first veggie and herb garden together. Now, I'm going to shout for joy if these things actually grow and produce something I can cook with, but for now I'm just glad I did something I've always wanted to do. So far I've got 5 varieties of tomatoes, a spicy red pepper plant, garlic, chives, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, thyme, sage, dill and basil. I have friends that are planting the other herbs in a sort of neighborhood co-op so we can give and take what we want. I also added a hanging plant to our front porch, blue for Lee and red for me. Let's hope I don't kill that one too, I have a black thumb.

This was an extremely busy, but fun weekend--filled with lot's of beginning of summer festivities. We spent our first 85 degree day of the year at the University Farmer's Market, eating our first round of fair food (aka, Biringer Farms Strawberry Shortcake) and drinking way too much beer in the heat. Then we went out to eat at a wonderful Argentinian restaurant, the Buenos Aires Grill, with friends later that evening. We've been to three bbq's and I've worked in the yard quite a bit, plus listened to a lot of Lee's new favorite song, Booty Man. It's pretty funny if you want to check it out.

We also went to the Phinney Farmer's Market, the one that is in our neighborhood. Karen and I got off the bus after a long day of work and walked around, all sweaty in our black work clothes, and thank goodness Lee came to pick us up so we didn't have to walk home, which was my intention. It was just too hot! We found some asparagus that we grilled, some fresh herbed cheese curds that are now gone and two beautiful local steaks. Plus the pizza guy was there and once again I want my own pizza oven in our back yard--it's the only way to have real, Italian style, thin crust, yummy pizza.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Summer Salad

I've kinda been 'off' cooking for a few months. Between moving and all the new stuff that has happened lately, I just haven't had the time to do that. Lee and I eat late and I look forward to our evenings together, but sometimes we fill them with movies and friends and walking--it ends up that cooking is the last option. I'm really determined to get back into it this summer, plus I've started the 'Happy In the Kitchen' Club and since I'm hosting the first one, I've got to do the main course. Why couldn't I do the appetizer??!! They are always much tastier and more interesting to concoct. I did find the time to make a salad that I think I'll make again. Mixed greens, strawberries, chicken, gorgonzola, tomato and avacado--very tasty and it's even seasonal right now.

Mother's Day is tomorrow and we are headed to Salty's on Alki with all the Mom's. I even got a Mom's Day card myself for being a God Mom! We are planning on working out in the morning, then getting eye exams, then having dinner with the family--if all goes accordingly. Things are always changing around here. Well, I'm off to watch a movie with my man--have a wonderful Mother's Day to all you Mother's!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Crimp in My Blog Style

This is a picture of our new dining room table and chairs, it even has a hutch to go with it. Lee and his Dad put it together and it fits perfectly into our dining room. This is the first time I've had a table to eat on in so many years, I'm not sure what to do about it, but right now the cats like to sleep on it and I put a couple of paintings from my nieces on top of it. It's got many uses!

I'm finding that life interferes with blogging quite a bit. I'd like to say I have time to blog at least once a week, but that is simply not proving to be true. Maybe it's just that the flowers are blooming and the weather is getting better and when I do get a chance, I'm outside or dreaming about something.

Moving has been a challenge for us. All these changes in so little time are scary and they take some mental time to wrap our heads around them. I'm kind of a schedule-type girl in some ways and I like having a routine, and right now we just haven't found much of a routine. We still hang out with friends a lot, but most of the time I just have so much house stuff to do, I'm not quite sure where to start. Then I sort of give up and watch 'Family Guy' because I can't figure out which to do first. This is when I realized that we've only been here for a month, so of course I still haven't completely settled in yet. We've accomplished more than most would have this month and seen and used nearly all of our new hood. Some of it isn't so great, like the sushi I had for lunch at Mori that is 2 blocks away. Don't Go. Ever. And the fact that restaurants close around 10pm, a little early for our taste. On the flip side, there's lots of good coffee. I like my bus better-- there aren't any crazies that sit next to me. And I live with Lee, so I'm the luckiest girl on earth.

Still, having a routine is boring to some, but for me it allows me to do things like blog more. And to feel better. To walk more, and to be more authentic when I do see people because I won't be so scattered. So I guess this is where we are at in the moving process. We've moved, but not really adjusted, and I guess that takes much longer. Until then, we keep our heads high and take one step at a time.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Better Late Than Never

I know, I know, I've been back from Maui for a while and still haven't blogged. People are noticing, both a nice surprise and a bit of guilt on my part have surfaced. What can I say? Life is truly busy, and in a good way. Vacation was wonderful and I came home ready for the onslaught of what the next couple of months will bring. It's about this time every year that I remember all the things I want to do in the summer and how there simply isn't enough time to do them all--summer just isn't long enough in Seattle. I've decided I'd like to start doing some anti-social things in the evenings since Lee and I are like the social King and Queen of Seattle, or it seems like that sometimes. I'd like to go to the gym or go for a walk. I'd like to cook more, especially from my new 'Happy In The Kitchen' Cookbook. I'd like to do more volunteering, or walks for good causes. I'd like to hit some of the farmers markets in the evenings. I'd like to take more baths. And I'd really like to grow herbs and veggies, and become more of a gardener.

Speaking of gardening, with the help of Lee's Mom and my own, I've started doing some things in our yard. I know nothing about plants and I have a black thumb, but I look like I really know what I'm doing now that we've moved into a house that is completely landscaped--it even has a sprinkler system. So every day is a new surprise in the garden. Most of the plants I've never seen and I've got flowers popping up everywhere. This sudden beauty really gives me the inspiration to keep it going and I've even decided to attempt a veggie and herb garden, something I've always wanted to do. I took pictures of our yard and all the things that are blooming, it's so pretty.

We've also been a on a Mexican binge this week and have gone to two local restaurants, Taqueria Tequila and El Chupacabra. They are both authentic and tasty, especially the margaritas at El Chupacabra. You should definitely try them if you are in our neighborhood--order the carnitas or carne asada tacos at both places, yumm. Tonight is also the last Gypsy dinner and we decided to go at the last minute. I'm grateful that with every ending, there is a new beginning just around the corner, so I'm not too sad about this. We have great memories of friends and food and drinks at many Gypsy's, and we will have great ones in the future as well. There we go, being all social again.