Saturday, July 26, 2008

Caprese Salad

Last night we went out with a few friends to Il Capretto D'Oro, the Golden Goat, in Woodinville. I never make it over to the Eastside--seems like yuppy country to me--but of course I'll get over there for good food, or possibly a shopping spree at Bellevue Square. I was raised mostly on Mercer Island and lived in Bellevue and Redmond at points in my life, but I definitely prefer the city and living in Seattle to being on the Eastside. I'm such an urban girl at heart. The restaurant was very authentic and wonderful and I told Lee we needed to go back just to take a tour of all the little wineries around there, so I guess I will be back to the place I never go. I had no idea we had our own Napa just half hour from our house!

One of the many things I've already done today was make yet another version of caprese salad. It's on every menu in America and has become so mainstream- it can be terrible and it can be the best tasting thing summer has to offer. I'm always experimenting with different ways to do it since I like it so much and recently found a way to have it in the winter months (AKA : October through June if you live up here in the Northwest). Lee got me the Molto Mario cookbook by Mario Batali and it's got a great way to fix this salad so that it still tastes good despite the main ingredients being out of season. It basically roasts the tomatoes for a couple of hours so their sweetness comes out and uses pesto that was made and frozen in the summer, so all is fresh and yummy. The version I made today was with red and yellow organic grape tomatoes, basil from the Phinney Market and buffalo mozzerella. The difference this time was that I marinated and salted the tomatoes for a few hours before adding the rest of the ingredients in order to get some of the moisture out of the tomatoes--I let it sit in a colander in the sink and they drained. Then right before serving I tossed the drained tomatoes with the basil, mozzerella, olive oil, balsamic and pepper (no extra salt needed) and it was a much better salad to bring to a party or BBQ (which I did). It still had a dressing of sorts due to the olive oil and vinegar, but it was much less 'soupy' overall and tasted great. It was also good for all those people that don't like tomato innards--that juicy, seedy stuff that sometimes makes people not like the wonderful tomato.

Lee and I are headed for a long evening of crazy with drinking and the Nine Inch Nails concert, should be a good time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chicken with Wild Mushroom and Herb Pasta

I writing to say that today I have done nothing but been a complete homebody. This kind of day is extremely rare and I can't tell you the last time I got to spend my day like this. I made myself iced Victrola coffee this morning, went for a long walk down Phinney Ave, walked to the store to pick up items for dinner, surfed the net, trimmed all my hedges outside, weeded, made homemade yogurt, harvested my veggies from the garden, washed them and stored them, read a book and made dinner for Lee and I that had lots of stuff from my garden.

At this point I'm normally still out with Lee and friends, dining out or doing something with them all, and I come home later and get a few things done and pass out. It's 8:30 and I don't know what to do! I guess I could watch a movie. Or take a bath. You know what?? I'm going to do something totally self indulgent and unnecessary and make myself a Facebook profile while drinking a glass of wine. I do have to get up way too early tomorrow morning to bring the car in for an oil change, so maybe I'll get to bed before midnight as well. I'll let you know when I get my new Facebook profile and then I'll have yet one more place to display my life for everyone to see. This is what happens when people are bored. They spend too much time online and get a Facebook profile. Geez, I can't believe this is happening to me. I'm becoming one of 'those' people. Hehe.

Dinner tonight was my first that had many garden ingredients--my onions, thyme, parsley. Morels and lobster mushrooms from the market. Local free range chicken and summer squash. I've worked out a sweet deal with my friend and neighbor, April, to trade a pedicure for her wonderful bounty coming from her garden, which is significantly larger than mine. She's even got chickens!

I'm enjoying this quietness and time to do the things I rarely get to do. This weekend will be packed full of dinner with friends out in Woodinville at Il Capretto D'Oro, my godchild's 2nd birthday bbq, Nine Inch Nails concert at Key Arena and working extra hours on Sunday. Monday I've got a cooking class focused on duck and peaches, yummmm.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Changing My Perspective

You may have noticed I took the subtitle of my blog off that I had initially intended on writing about....'making Greenwood the other Cap Hill of Seattle'. Yea, that's just not going to happen. I still love Capital Hill and all of it quirks and it will never be Greenwood. That being said, I really like it here, I really love our home and my life is one that I could never complain about. In fact, I don't know how I got so damn lucky. So I'm continuing to blog about my food related activities and all the wine I currently drink ( I think it's a summer thing), but I also write about my life and the love of my life, Lee, and our family and friends. I'm back to the beginning of this outlet being a journal, sometimes personal and sometimes not, but something that gives me a way to tell people what's going on around here and talk about who I am.

So what exactly has been happening? Well, turns out summer is even busier than winter was, but in a more 'sure, I'll have a margarita with lunch'!, kind of way. It's hot and sticky and I need to stay hydrated, and my mind needs to be a little more laid back on these kinds of days. So we started our vacation to Michigan with this in mind and have been enjoying our summer to the fullest. All of my siblings and my Dad and Step-Mom were in Michigan and we don't get together all at once very often, so we had a really good time. We laid in the hammock, picked cherries, lit fireworks, had a bonfire, ate Moose Tracks ice cream every day, went to Chef Charles every other day, went pirate mini golfing, swam in Lake Michigan and read a bunch. Chef Charles has the best pizza on earth and I have to fly across the country to get there, therefore I go as much as possible when I'm there. Also, we don't have Moose Tracks ice cream here. It's vanilla with little peanut butter cups and Macinac Island Fudge all throughout the whole thing. It's the best! I think Lee's highlight was finding that you could buy fireworks, alcohol and junk food all at one grocery store. You just don't find that in Seattle.

Since we've been home, we have been going out almost every night and enjoying summer while we can. My old friend from high school came to visit and we caught up on all the things I forgot about, apparently my memory isn't so good, but we had fun and I hope we can visit her in Sonoma, California soon. We also went to Molly Moon's again, the new ice cream place with funky flavors--still think that caramel salt is the best. We had dinner at Palace Kitchen and went to see 'The Dark Knight' last weekend, I recommend you go out and see it. There were many other things that went on, but most recent in my memory since I just ate the leftovers, is the fabulous dinner that Lee cooked for us last night. And Katie, our own personal CIA chef, helped out as well. I just like to say that cause it makes me feel like Oprah. Well, not really just like Oprah. Anyway, we went to the Ballard Market twice yesterday to fill up on the things we missed the last few weeks (Seattle dogs, Veraci Pizza, Buckwheat Crepes), and also picked up some dinner items for an impromptu party.

Here's our menu for our Sunday dinner, much of which includes herbs from our garden:
Caprese salad on a stick with balsamic jelly
Green beans with shallots and pinenuts
BBQed shrimp with garlic and herbs
Gnocchi with morel sauce
Chocolate cherry malts (honoring our trip to Michigan)

I love morels. They are heaven in my mouth. I'm out.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back Home Again

We've been on vacation in Michigan for about two weeks, which is why I haven't blogged. All is well and more to come tomorrow....Stay tuned.