Monday, June 18, 2012

Steak sauce

Earlier in the spring, I pickled ramps for the first time using a reduced recipe from Preservation Kitchen. I didn't have a use for them until I saw this recipe on the Local Beet

While putting together my Artizone ordera strip steak was one of the first items added to my cart. The delivered steak was large enough to be cut it in half for us to share.  I came home from work late that evening, so Aaron proceeded to prepare dinner for us. He said the sauce was quick and easy to prepare.This unique sauce was bold in flavor and paired really well with the steak. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My first brunch in Seattle

I arrived into Seatac yesterday and spent the day running around buying things for the apartment like dishes and bedding. Since I didn't have any groceries in the house yet, I wanted to treat myself to a nice brunch in the neighborhood before checking out the West Seattle Farmers Market. After surfing the internet for nearby brunch options, I decided on Fiddlehead Cafe. It had just opened this past spring, and I liked that it was a small, independently run operation. I knew I had made the right choice when I arrived to a long wait. Fortunately, my table was ready much sooner than expected. I placed my order at the counter before going to my table. Since it was a Sunday, I ordered the salmon potato cakes since 1) I'm in Seattle, 2) it's only available on weekends, which makes is even more special, and 3) because it's salmon season.

My patience paid off when my dish arrived: two salmon potato cakes were topped with two perfectly poached eggs swimming in a lemon cream sauce with some fresh spinach to cut the richness. There were large chunks of tender potato and moist salmon in every bite. Amazingly enough, the exterior of the cakes maintained a nice crispness under the egg and the sauce.

After brunch, I walked over a couple of blocks to pick up some gorgeous carrots, mixed salad greens, and heirloom tomatoes for salad during the week. I'm really looking forward to making this a weekly routine.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto

Last year, we received a bunch of garlic scapes in our CSA. They are the wild, curly part that shoots up from the garlic being grown underground. I'd never had them before, but our CSA newsletter recommended Dorie Greenspan's pesto. Being a fan of Dorie's and seeing the Amateur Gourmet's enthusiasm for this recipe, I decided to go for it. I am so glad I did! As much as I love basil and in spite of the cult following for ramp pesto, garlic scape pesto is where it's at! It's a gorgeous verdant green that remains vibrant! It doesn't darken or brown with time. The scapes have a wonderfully garlic aroma to them, and the almonds are a nice alternative to pine nuts. I used raw, whole almonds that I toasted in place of the slivered almonds. I think this adds a nice crunchy texture. I have used this pesto for pasta, a dip, and a condiment for portobello burgers, eggs, or a baguette. I have smeared it on bread with fresh mozzarella and a local tomato, and my tastebuds do the happy dance. Keep an eye out for it before it disappears from the market.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birthday brunch at Longman and Eagle

Last summer we enjoyed a memorable dinner at Longman and Eagle, which put it on Aaron's radar for his birthday brunch. As you may have noticed, we don't often dine out for brunch, and so when we do, it has to be extraordinary. Thankfully, Longman and Eagle did not disappoint. 

We sat outside, hence, the crazy tree shadows on our plates. We were both tempted to order the chicken and waffle, but our server's strong endorsement of the duck hash convinced us to order it.

Sunny Side Duck Egg Hash with Duck Confit, Nichols Farm Spring Onions, Yukon Gold Potato, Black Truffle Vinaigrette. Aaron loved this rich and indulgent hash. 

Fried Chicken, Waffles, Sweet Potato & Pork Belly Hash, Maple Syrup - While the skin was perfectly crisp, I didn't love the chicken. I felt like the coating for the batter was too floury. I loved the other components though. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Aaron!

With the move out to Seattle, I won't be able to bring all my kitchen goodies with me, including my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm definitely going to miss having homemade ice cream and homebaked goods while out there, but I'm hoping to eat more healthful by enjoying the abundantly fresh seafood and produce instead. 

For my last baked good using the Kitchen Aid mixer, I baked Aaron's birthday cake - the Grasshopper Cake from Baked: New Frontiers in BakingThe grasshopper cake is made of three layers of rich chocolate cake filled with mint chocolate ganache and mint frosting.  I normally don't like cold cake, but when eaten straight out of the fridge after the first day this cake had the refreshing qualities of Aaron's favorite ice cream flavors: mint chocolate chip. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012


A new delivery service launched in Chicago earlier this year: Artizone. I've never used grocery delivery services like Peapod before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I saw that there was a special coupon to buy a $120 gift certificate for only $65. Given the list of stores using Artizone, I leapt at the deal. I really liked that Artizone gathered groceries from local artisans and specialty businesses. With my impending departure from Chicago, I had to use the deal soon before it expired. 

I was really pleased with the transaction. My order arrived in two large coolers - one for shelf stable items, and another for cold items. My delivery person unpacked it all for me when he came upstairs. He was very gracious to Bailey's inquisitive excitement. 

Each store had their own separate boxes, which can be returned to Artizone with your next delivery. The items were in perfect condition - no broken or cracked eggs, perfect avocados, gorgeous lean strip steak.  As a token of gratitude, Artizone gifted me a packet of grilling rub from the Spice  House! It was such a pleasant surprise. I received two follow up calls to ensure that I was happy with products and service.

I would highly recommend this service to those within the delivery area of Artizone. It's a great time saver, and they are constantly adding new suppliers.  I'm looking forward to using their service again when I return to Chicago in December.

Here is what I purchased: 
Hagan Fish Market: Spruce Point Smoked Atlantic Salmon
Gepperth's Meat Market: Black Angus New York Strip and Beef Brisket
Pasta Puttana - Golden Egg pasta
Green Grocer: avocados, heavy cream, half and half, organic eggs
The Spice House: Pickling spice and curry powder
Hendrickx Belgian Bakery: 3 Croissants - Chocolate, almond, and pistachio
Italian Superior Bakery: frozen dough balls

Here's a picture of the brisket that Aaron smoked.
More pictures and posts to come of what else we cooked. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Lillie Q's

On a beautiful summer evening in Chicago, we opted to use an a la card before leaving for Seattle. We went to Lillie Q's nearby and snagged a great open window seat when the outdoor seats were unavailable. 

 For starters, we opted for the beer batter, fried pickles and ranch dressing. The batter was crisp and light. 
For the main course, we shared eight baby back ribs and a half pound of the trip tip. For our vegetable dish, we ordered the green beans with bacon. There were five different barbeque sauces to choose from, which made it fun to experiment. I liked having the sauce served on the side so I could taste the meat on its own and control how much sauce I wanted.. My personal favorite was the traditional Carolina sauce.

Monday, June 4, 2012


A year ago, I was quite discontent with my job and felt the need for a change. I didn't know if that change would be another job, another city, or another career altogether. I felt too antsy to wait it out for a job opportunity out of state to fall into place, so I went for a change in jobs. As with any change, I was initially weary and concerned that I had made the wrong decision.  Early in my career, I had never stayed within one department for more than two years, so leaving after five years in one group was a difficult task and bold move. 

Eight months later, I'm happy to report that God led me into making the right decision to change jobs. It has opened doors that I would never have otherwise encountered. More specifically, I have been given the amazing opportunity to move to Seattle! I will be working onsite at a client for six months! I am so incredibly grateful and blessed for this unique opportunity. 

As I had mentioned, I had an itch to relocate last year. I felt a bit of regret for having never lived outside of the greater Chicagoland area: I grew up in the northwest suburbs, attended Northwestern University just north of Chicago, and stayed in Chicago after graduating. I couldn't believe that I would now have that opportunity to temporarily relocate - risk free! And the best part?! Aaron and Bailey are going to join me! Seattle was the first vacation that Aaron and I took as a couple nine years ago. We are very excited to bring Bailey to explore the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.

It all happened very quickly, hence, the lack of posts on the blog. I was given the go ahead on  May 23, and had to book a trip out to Seattle for May 29 to apply for a security badge (a the client's office) and to look for temporary housing. During my search, I took a coffee break at Bakery Noveau in the Alaska Junction area of West Seattle. Their bakery case contained so many scrumptious goodies! I finally narrowed it down to two croissants: the chocolate and the almond. The barista recommended the almond croissant if I hadn't had it yet. The croissant was twice baked - crisp on the outside, flaky and luxurious on the inside. This was the afternoon treat that my headache was demanding.

The next day, prior to catching a flight back home to Chicago, I was determined to get lunch at il Corvo. I first heard about it from KennyZ's twitter feed. il Corvo is an artisanal pasta maker located inside a gelateria near Pike Place Market. They have very limited hours (T-F, 11am-3pm) and have been known to run out of pasta before the day's end! With a daily menu of only three pasta options, I was tempted to order two all for myself. I decided not to be too much of a pig before my flight. I went with the parpadelle with pork sugo, which is one of the my top three pasta dishes of all time. The parpadelle noodles were beautifully made, and the pork sugo was rich in flavor and so succulent. It was a great send off before returning home.