Category Archives: Food

Bread and Circuses

August 4 has been pretty busy through the centuries, so I am leaving this blog post pretty open for the weekend for Baboons to comment on three pretty fun things.

In 1693, Dom Perignon is said to have invented Champagne.

In 1777,  Retired British cavalry officer Philip Astley established his riding school with performances in London,  a precursor of the circus.

in 1919,  The Rodin Museum opens in Paris in The Hôtel Biron containing works left to the state by the sculptor Auguste Rodin.

Say what you will about Champagne, circuses, and sculpture.

Haute Eats

In three weeks we are flying to Tacoma to see our daughter and celebrate the successful completion of her first semester of graduate school. She is aiming for a Master’s Degree in Social Work from USC.  She has done very well thus far. If all goes according to plan, she will be done in May.

Daughter decided that the Washington wine country around Woodinville was the place to spend the bulk of our visit.  She booked a dinner there for us (at our expense, but we don’t mind) at a place called the Herb Farm for a nine course dinner lasting four hours, with foods and local wines sourced within 100 miles of Woodinville. She says we are taking Uber so we don’t need a designated driver. We will dine, in an intimate group,  with other people we have never met. I think it sounds fun, and possibly alarming.

Daughter hates fish, but is willing to try Geoduck with turnip, Dungeness crab with shiso, purslane, and cucumber, along with Fried oyster with spicy egg yolk sauce, not to mention Lummi Island Tribal Reef-netted sockeye salmon in Zucchini blossom and green coriander sauce. She says she can tolerate it because the portions are small, and she will be brave.

We are to dine on 7-year old, pastured Snohomish Valley Black Angus (I think that means tough, chewy cow) with black currants, bone marrow, beets, and bachelor buttons.  Let us not forget the marigold buttermilk sherbet, Skagit Valley purple barley malt Ice cream, Gravenstein apples, cabbage with crispy duck confit, green field-burned rye berries with mushroom sauce,  house-churned Holstein butter,  and sourdough loaf.  I have left out many other things we will be served, but you get the picture.

We never eat  like this, and I don’t expect we will do it again, but what fun!

What is the hautest of cuisines you have eaten? What makes for good food in your book?

 

 

Over the Hill, Not Over the Thrill

I’m all set for my birthday week. As an adult, I don’t expect everybody to get all worked up about my birthday.  In fact, when I came home from China with Baby, my mother said to me “You know, it’s not about you anymore.”

Several years ago I started cultivating companies that will help me celebrate. If you sign up online, they’ll send you a coupon on your birthday.  This year I have coupons from Panera, Jamba Juice, Ben & Jerry’s, Brueggers, Nothing Bundt Cake, Noodles, Caribou and Dairy Queen. Except for Caribou which needs to be used on my actual birthday, I have planned to spread the others out over the upcoming few days.

I don’t give myself a card; it seems a little overkill to make a card and then give it to myself. However some years I do bake myself a birthday cake or a birthday pie; some years I even throw myself a party.  No party this year and the jury is still out about the cake/pie.  I gave my BFF theatre tickets for her birthday and turns out that the date that was good for her was my actual birthday, so I guess technically I gifted myself with theatre tickets this year!

What’s a great gift you’ve received?

 

Slice-o-matic

Although I love cooking, I also love any gadget that makes it easier or quicker. So when I saw a strawberry huller online last week, I was intrigued.  Between the jam and the bags of  berries that I freeze every summer, I spend a lot of time over the sink hulling strawberries with a little sharp knife.  I searched around, discovered that the huller was carried at Bed Bath & Beyond and headed over there on my way down to Northfield to get strawberries. I faced the wall of kitchen gadgets and finally found it, a steal at $7.99 if it made the hulling process easier!  Here’s a quick look at how it works:

And it does work, however, not better than my little sharp knife. After all these years I’m pretty fast, transferring the hulled berry to a bowl while picking up the next strawberry with the hand holding the knife.  With the huller, I ended up having to add an extra step of pushing the button to “dump” the stem and sometimes having to pull twisted stem out of the berry.  After the first batch of jam, I went back to the knife.  It does make a very nice uniform hole if you want to fill the strawberries with something but for a big project, it’s not helpful.  Oh well.

This means that my cherry tomato slicer is still my favorite summertime gadget. I usually have tons of cherry tomatoes every year and the little slicer quickly and easily slices the little tomatoes into four bits.  Did I mention it’s fast?  And easy?  At this time of year I use it almost every day.

What’s your favorite summer gadget?

Strawberry Cheese Toast

You all know I love strawberries. My favorite picking place lost their pick-your-own field in a nasty early spring storm but I went down on Friday to Northfield and got two flats of pre-picked.  It was still cheaper than getting them at the grocery store and much tastier.

After 14 jars of jam, we’re scrambling to get them finished up before they get too mushy. Lots of strawberry shortcake and spinach strawberry salad.  Thinking back to a breakfast that YA ordered at the Highland Grill last January (ricotta and jam on toast), I came up with this recipe this morning:

Strawberry Cheese Toast (for 1)

1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
2 slices of pepper jack cheese
4 T. strawberries, mashed up a bit
2 T. blueberries

Put slices of cheese on top of the toast. Spread mashed strawberries over the cheese and then sprinkle blueberries on top.

It was fabulous – I’m having it again tomorrow!

What’s one of your favorite summer recipes?

Stay-cation

For the most part I’m not a fan of new words. I like the words we have and I always have to remind myself that we only have the words we have because at some point somebody made them up.

But every now and then a word comes along that I can embrace wholeheartedly. One of those words is “staycation” – a perfect way to say you are vacationing at home.

Today begins my first day of a nice, long staycation. Because  I’ve been with my company for quite some time, I have a generous number of vacation days and also because of my workload, I don’t get to use too many of them for a chunk of the year.  Now that my big program is out the door, I have to get cracking on these vacation days.  This means a week plus off now, the rest of the Mondays in the summer off and then the entire of State Fair off.

This week though is strictly for hanging out and working on some of the stuff that hasn’t been getting done the last few months – cleaning, straightening, cleaning, yardwork, cleaning. Did I mention cleaning?

On Day One I’m going to make strawberry jam and make some basil-infused oil. I know that doesn’t sound like cleaning, but I do have a mammoth list and it has cleaning projects for every day as well as some of the more fun stuff.

What new word can you embrace?

Oven Graveyard

My range/oven is dead. After never giving me a minute’s grief in 27 years, it has given up the ghost. The technician came today; two of the three needed parts are no longer made. I can send the board to be “rebuilt” but it’s only a 50/50 chance that it can be fixed and I’ll be without my oven for at least a month.

Got any good appliance shopping advice?