brownies for all!

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When I lived in Bucharest, Romania in high school I longed for those famous ‘box mix’ brownies from the States… if I would have known about this recipe I would have realized… this from scratch recipe is the best!

It is quick and delicious… easy to fancy up by adding 1) freshly whipped cream (use mixer to mix up 1C whipping cream with 2 tbps raw sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract), 2) strawberries or seasonal fruit finely chopped, 3) a sprinkle of freshly ground espresso…. YUM!!

Serve with a glass of pinot noir and you have yourself and gourmet dessert…..

Adapted from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/best-brownies/detail.aspx

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into pan greased with butter.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Chewy brownies mean watching carefully to make sure they stay gooey and don’t get over done ūüôā

 

 

 

don’t worry we’re here and so is fall… aka pizza with seasonal ingredients

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We so enjoy Seattle’s love for local and its restaurants with seasonal menus… we enjoyed dinner at Bastille (http://bastilleseattle.com)¬†¬†in Ballard… Nate of course enjoyed the fact that ‘dijestivs’ were offered on the menu as this always reminds us of our incredible French friend Mario in Romania. So today we created our own seasonal pizza….

For the crust you can either purchase the dough from Trader Joe’s if you are in a hurry or make your own dough with a recipe borrowed from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle written by the amazing Barbara Kingsolver (http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Pizza.pdf)

Local seasonal ingredients we included:

1) sliced organic yellow squash

2) bacon

3)  yellow onion sliced/chopped

4) chanterelle mushrooms

5) spinach (one handful thrown on about 5 min before pizza is finished baking).

– sauce (I use basic organic spaghetti sauce, add some balsamic vinegar, a tsp of sugar and Italian spices).

-shredded cheese

I threw the sauce on, the cheese and the fresh ingredients then baked at 425 for 20-30 min on a pizza stone dusted with steel cut oats (to keep the dough from sticking to stone).

simple sunday lunch

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There is a time to be gourmet and a time to fake it….. Sundays we get home from church very hungry and the overcast sky made us desire a soul-warming lunch. Here it is… the comfort of grilled cheese and tomato soup with a little twist.

Arugula is a great basic to have on hand and adds an invigorating kick to any dish- we just had arugula last night on pulled pork sliders with pickled leeks at our friends’ wedding reception!

Sunday lunchWe spread horse radish dijon mustard on thinly sliced sour dough bread. ¬†We placed white extra sharp cheddar cheese in the sandwich and grilled them up on the cast iron skillet. Meanwhile we heated up Trader Joe’s creamy tomato soup on the stove. When sandwiches were evenly toasted, we took them off the grill and stuffed them with arugula.

 

Delicious!

green flash west coast ipa

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It’s good, really good.

look: 3.8 smell: 3.8 taste: 3.7 feel:3.9 (scale 1-5, 5=perfection)

The first time I had this beer was in it’s homeland, Southern California. It was on tap at a local pub. To me, it greatly lives up to it’s name. Very hop forward, and very typical west coast flavor with much resinous pine and citrus notes. I was much more impressed when it was on tap than when I had it out of the bottle. I remember it tasting much more complex. More intense hop aromas, and more flavor lingering throughout the mouth as it goes down. I could not find a bottling date on it anywhere. But nonetheless, It was still great. I noticed more proteins from the pint out of the tap, and an overall cloudier color. They were still present though out of the bottle. Certainly Not for the faint of palate. at 95 IBU’s and 7.2% ABV it sure packs a punch. A- for the tap experience, and a B+ out of the bottle.

broiled asian salmon & spanish rice

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It's what's for dinner...

A tasty and affordable dish for two or company… we bought our wild Alaskan sockeye salmon at Costco and made our own marinade… broiling it is perfect because it is so quick! The rice is not so quick but is delicious and healthy.

The midwife in me would now also like to christen this dish as some sort of ‘welcome baby’ dish because we recently made it for friends of ours who had a lovely homebirth as their first ‘welcome baby’ meal!!

Asian Salmon Glaze, for 2 large filets 

– 1/2 C honey (for two large pieces of salmon)

-6 tablespoons or so of rice vinegar

-dash of soy sauce

optional- teaspoons of toasted sesame seed oil (for some this is overpowering, others love it!)

optional- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish (ps- if you have never toasted sesame seeds, you can buy the raw seeds at PCC then toast them for a few minutes in a cast iron skillet with a small pat of butter until they are golden brown)
Marinate the salmon for 10 minutes up to hours before (the night before works if the salmon is wrapped in the fridge so as not to release any odor). Broil for 10 to 15 minutes about 3 inches from broiler (until cooked as you desire- we like it ‘medium done’)- keep a close eye as broilers vary in temperature and heat. As an alternative you can grill the salmon on high heat, flipping once and taking off the grill…. this gives the glaze a nice ‘crisp’ and allows the inside juices to remain locked in and flavorful. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if desired.
Spanish Rice
– 2 C brown rice (serves 4-5)
– 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
– 1 small bunch cilantro
– 1/4 red onion minced
– 3 tbs fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
– dash of cumin
Start cooking rice per package directions. We are currently enjoying the Lundberg farms brown jasmine rice. While rice is cooking, chop tomatoes in halves, finely chop cilantro & onion, throw all into small bowl with citrus juice and dash of cumin. When rice is cooked, gently fold in tomato mixture and serve immediately. Garnish with leftover cilantro as desired.
We served this with a tossed spinach salads, topped with walnuts & balsamic reduction. 
Wine pairing: Green Fin cab sav organic wine from Trader Joe’s (cheap and organic!)

plain, cultured yogurt with freshly picked wild blackberries

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I love this time of year in Seattle. Blackberries are everywhere. Just a little intention and you can harvest a whole bucket’s worth in minimal time. They go great on many things, Including Yogurt! ¬†Just add 1 part blackberries to every 2 parts of yogurt. ¬†This tasty healthy creation makes for a delicious side to a nice big breakfast, and it is great on the go too!

Here’s to bountiful sunshine and delicious wild fruit this time of year.

-Nate

an introduction to beer

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When I first got to Seattle I liked beer that was smooth, and highly drinkable, low bitterness and straightforward. It took me about 3 or 4 months to start warming up to the west coast India Pale Ales which are very hop forward. The first beer i enjoyed in Seattle was a Seattle staple: Manny’s Pale ale, from Georgetown. Classic beer. For any Seattle transplant from another place that hasnt gotten too ambitious with their beer pallet, this is a great one to start on. Very drinkable, low ibu’s — somwhere in the 30-40 range, and of course the most important thing, unfiltered. Unfiltered beer is important because the yeasts and proteins are still present which provide extra health benefits ;), and of course they taste better too! (If you want to really nerd out and present yourself a little more snotty at your next restaurant experience, ask the waiter what unfiltered beers they have. I have gotten blank stares and stumped many a waiter asking this question. Ha.)¬†One day I got excited and went down to georgetown and picked up a growler–which is darn cheap at georgetown $6-$7–and the beer is great. It was my first visit to this place where I sampled their Lucille IPA. at 85 IBUS and ¬†nearly 7% and hopped aggressively with cascade family hops, I tasted pine, citrus, and resin, and thought “dear God, this is the promised land” from that November day almost a year ago, My pallet has grown and my endeavors have stretched far and wide all over the west coast to find good beer. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of stouts here in Seattle compared to other parts of the west coast like Portland and San Diego. But, we are entering the fall and that typically means the darker winter warmers will be coming up. Yes! Much to look forward to. I love Seattle, and I love that beer is important here. So, on that note, I decided since there is so much beer in the kitchen, I might write about it. ¬†So, expect these beer posts to be stories. ¬†they may also be ratings. Here is one I am going to throw out here:

Currently drinking: Ninkasi Total Domination IPA from Eugene OR

Grading: B

look: 4, smell: 3 taste: 3.28 feel:3.5

Overall its a nice drinkable beer and nicely balanced. Nice citrusy/hoppy aroma and flavor ¬†It’s enjoyable, but nothing too unique. ¬†If you want better from Ninkasi, go bigger and go for the Tricerihops double IPA (DIPA)
. Personally I think its got more flavor and complexity, Much brighter than most Northwest IPA’s, more tropical fruits. It certainly stands out on its own in a region saturated with the style. Total Domination could easily get lost in the crowd.

cheers.