Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tastes Like Home

Bellingham is our other home. It's where Joel and I began, it's where we graduated college, and is the first home we moved away from together. And, it took a long time for us to feel like this was home. Even after we bought our house, it took a while for here to be home instead of feeling like B'ham was still the place to be...

Luckily, we've come to love our current home very much and feel very connected here as well. And, we also have some very close friends North of Bellingham and family in Sudden Valley, so we get to enjoy fun times with wonderful people on our visits back there.

One of the many nice memories of B'ham is Village Books and the Colophon Cafe. And, thankfully, I've also got a little cookbook of theirs. I made their African Peanut Soup this weekend, and it is as lovely as I remember — spicy, complex and delicious with ginger and garlic, peanuts, tomato and chile. Trust me, it's a top seller. And, the recipe is even online right here. Really, I wouldn't steer you wrong. I do, however, cut the tomatoes in half since I like this less tomato-filled. But, that's just my preference. Try it! Even if Bellingham was never your home, but especially if it was!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Baking With Grammy

Making pulla with Grammy is always a good time...
from the kid-sized rolling pin,
to cutting out "Pulla Men" shapes,
to adding golden raisin buttons, eyes, noses and mouths.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Best Waffles Ever.

So, there's this wildly popular blog by the name of Orangette that you've probably read before, and Molly at Orangette also has an amazing book called A Homemade Life (read this book - it is wonderful!). I recently started reading the book, and love it. It's fabulous writing, and great recipes. We had her French Lemon Yogurt Cake last weekend, and it was amazing. Glorious. My favorite lemony cake ever. The recipe is online right here. And, along with marvelous desserts, she has numerous salad and vegetarian main dish recipes on her blog, as her husband is vegetarian.

And, this weekend, I tried one of the two waffles recipes that she recently posted here. I meant to do the overnight version, but ended up going to bed without making the batter, so... I tried the "morning of" recipe, and Oh. Oh, heaven. I've been looking for a waffle recipe that would rival the waffles the kids had eaten (and we'd tasted) at a cafe in downtown Olympia that is now out of business... they were the best waffles I'd ever had. Crisp on the outside, even after being adorned with butter and syrup and devoured by the kids. The remains that we tasted on their plates were still outside-crisp and inside-tender and delicious after 30 minutes of brunch eating... crazy good.
This is exactly what I was looking for, and it's not surprising that this recipe is often referred to as the Waffle of Insane Greatness. I'm interested to try the overnight recipe now since Molly at Orangette thinks it's superior. Either way... whip up some waffles this weekend!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Farewell, LOST

In honor of the series finale tonight, we had coconut shrimp, lemon sole, rocket salad with lemon, and mango-pineapple smoothies. And, earlier in the day, I made these:
Yep. I'm a dork. But I'm OK with that. Plus, I was making a gift bag for our buddies who adore LOST and would get a kick out of these. If you want to be a dork too, check out the easy labels and boarding passes right here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"Pie. Me, o my. I love pie!"

Name that movie quote... it's one of my faves.***

I made fresh peach pie this afternoon with the kiddos, and as ever, they loved it. The recipe called for blind baking the crust first, then cooling and adding the filling to bake for 30 mins, then the topping for another 30. A bit fussy, but it turned out to taste just like Summer!
We also made these...
... when I was little, and my mom made pie, we always made these tasty treats. Always. And Nick and I got to make them. Basically, roll out the dough scraps, brush on soft butter, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar, roll up, have mom slice, then bake until golden and delicious! Perfection. The kids love 'em!

*** From the movie, Michael with John Travolta. I love that he's an angel. He's such an excellently hilarious angel. A sexy, cigarette-smoking, bar-brawling, two-steppin', line dancing, pie eating sugar-fiend of an angel that is... and the song (according to IMDb) sung my Andie MacDowell:

"The Pie Song"
Music by Steve Dorff
Music by Lyrics by Roy Blount Jr.
Published by TNT Music Publishing, Inc./Techwood Music, Inc.


Me oh my
Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry
all at once o well it's pie
an' wet bottom. ("Wet Bottom" is Amish Shoofly Pie)
Come to your place everyday if you've got em'
Me o my
I love pie!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Farmer's Market Magic

I love the Farmer's Market. The variety, color, freshness, beauty, and I get to talk to farmers. That's always fun.
And, then I get to make a salad like this. This is magic salad. 17 different varieties of greens. A simple homemade orange vinaigrette, which means that I can tell the self-proclaimed "salad-hater" in our household that I've found a bunch of awesome new lettuces for him to try to see if he likes any of 'em. Guess what?
He tried. This is huge. Huge, I tell you!
But, did he like?
Yeah!! "These are Awesome!! Look at me, trying new foods. I'm getting to be a big boy. Hey, Mama, I love these new lettuces."
He cleaned his plate, and had seconds on the salad. Like I said, Magic Salad! He devoured the wild mushroom bucatelli, and the melon too.
What does the sister think? "Finally! I told you that salad is awesome, and you finally know!! Thank Goodness!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And, the Beat Goes On...

I say, when you're on a roll, just go with it... so, here's my rendition of Margarita Iced Tea! In the midst of running errands, Erik and I shared lunch at Taco Time the other day, and I was pleased to discover their delicious "Margarita Iced Tea." It was perfect. Black tea with "that great margarita flavor you love," not too sweet, and very refreshing. But, at $1.89 a pop for 16 oz., frugal me isn't going to keep buying it. Then, today I found margarita mix and cold brew Lipton tea bags on sale at the grocery. Mmm... You're welcome.

Do you love the re-use of my Taco Time cup?? So green of me...

Margarita Iced Tea
2 bags cold-brew Lipton tea
16 oz. cold water
4 oz. margarita mix
1/2 glass crushed ice

Brew the tea for 3 minutes in a tall glass. Pour over ice in another large glass (about 3/4 of the cup) then add the limey goodness (about 1/4 of the cup - I really eyeballed it). Stir. Add the rest of the tea as you sip (and adjust to taste). Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Very Merry Year: May

So, instead of going crazy with holiday baking last year, I decided that it would be much more fun to spread the joy out over the year and gift someone each month (or so) with something lovely from my kitchen.This month's treat is Margarita Cookies, yes, that's right. And, how appropriate for the month of Cinco celebrations. I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, right here (you can sub the tequila with orange juice, or 1 tsp. lime juice and 1 tsp. agave nectar whisked together).

And, luckily for Madeline's fabulous preschool teacher, today is also National Teachers' Day. So, Terri's getting a dozen, fresh out of the oven. They're buttery, citrusy and light with a tender crumb and the slightest hint of salty sweetness. Mmm... "They're awesome!" declared my favorite little male sous chef. Indeed they are, Erik! They're so good, we're also sharing these gems with a few other lucky friends... And, they are pretty too. The little flecks of orange and lime zest are bright in the buttery little circles, and the edges are sparkly with sugar and margarita salt. In fact, these are going to be added to our regular holiday baking rotation for sure. Whip these up - you won't be sorry!


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