Thursday, March 31, 2011



It could happen any time, tornado,
earthquake, Armageddon. It could happen.
Or sunshine, love, salvation.

It could, you know. That's why we wake
and look out - no guarantees
in this life.

But some bonuses, like morning,
like right now, like noon
like evening.

-William Stafford

Some blossoms and a pretty poem, just because.

Happy Thursday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

marion cunningham's yeast raised waffles

As I've mentioned before, I love breakfast. In particular, I love waffles. I love the way they taste and I also love saying the word "waffle" so it's really just a great thing all around. But the thing is, I really only like homemade waffles. I've found that waffles sold at breakfast establishments are often too crunchy in texture and lack in any real flavor. Since I do take breakfast seriously, I usually try to avoid such disappointments by ordering other things. So long story short, waffles and I don't cross paths very often.

Until now. Now, I am now the proud owner of a Chef's Choice WafflePro (!) and am thus free to make and eat waffles whenever I want

Like this morning. This morning, I made Marion Cunningham's yeast-raised waffles* and they were delicious.

You start the night before by preparing the batter and then letting it sit out overnight to rise. 

Then in the morning, you wake up, make some coffee.

Then add eggs and some baking soda to the batter and pour said batter onto the waffle iron.

If, unlike me, you are intelligent, you will refrain from overfilling the waffle maker to the extent that it overflows and pours liquid all down the sides onto the counter and sends you running from the kitchen shrieking for help. Just saying.

And then poof! Waffles!

And, boy, are they tasty. Light as a feather and crisp around the edges. Pre-syrup, they are almost more savory than sweet, sort of the way a croissant is, and I can tell you from experience that it is possible for even a smallish eater to put quite a few of them away in a single sitting. 

*Here is the recipe, should you be curious.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

a little light entertainment

Since I spent most of the early part of this week bedridden, I somehow made it to Wednesday morning without even a glimpse at my weekly planner. So Wednesday morning I discovered, with some surprise, that I was going to a Foster the People show that evening at the Independent.

And the show was good.

A band called the Steel Wells opened, and I quite liked them. The guy who played the tambourine (and drums. and a few other instruments I couldn't identify) looked just like Justin Long. They were followed by another band, Grouplove, that I found tolerable, and finally by Foster the People. They took their sweet time coming onstage and by the By the time Foster the People came onstage I was feeling sleepy and a little bit grouchy at being up past my bedtime (I'm old) but the songs were irresistably catchy and we got to hear "Pumped up Kicks."

A good way to spend a rainy evening in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

seafood heaven

On our last night in Seattle, we cooked a feast.

Actually, I shouldn't say "we" since my only contribution to the preparation of the meal was washing swiss chard and then sitting in the corner of the kitchen with a glass of wine. But a feast was prepared. And it was amazing.

And the result.

Seafood heaven. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

four days in seattle

We are officially back from Seattle and it was an absolutely splendid trip. But on Monday morning I woke up sick as a dog with a dreadful case of the stomach flu- so I've spent the last few days in bed recuperating. All I can say is thank goodness for Gatorade. And hot water bottles. And chicken flavored ramen noodles. 

Anyway. About Seattle.

We flew in on Wednesday night after work, rented a car and drove straight to the Melrose Market for dinner at the absurdly charming Sitka & Spruce. Sheep's milk feta with stinging nettles, lamb merguez with yogurt, poached chicken with saffron.... Mmm.

Afterwards, we drove to the Columbia City neighborhood to meet Daniel's friends Evan and Marissa who had very graciously offered to host us during our trip. They have a dog. Her name is Lola. She is a good girl.


I wanted to steal her and take her home with us.

We spent our first night staying up late, drinking beer and talking, happy to be in Seattle and on vacation.

The next morning dawned clear and pleasant and we drove out to the Hi Spot to visit Marissa at work and binge on cinnamon roles, eggs, cups of coffee and french toast. After breakfast, Evan spent some time touring us around downtown. Of course, we saw Pike Place Market

{Pike Place Market}

Then we drove over to the Capitol Hill neighborhood for a cup of coffee and some continued neighborhood exploration.

{latte @caffe vita}
 Evan had to go to work, so Daniel and I went home to meet Marissa and Lola for a walk in Seward Park. Lola swam in the lake and we took turns throwing her sticks. I really want a dog.

On Friday, we got up (relatively) early and we stopped for breakfast at the Colombia City Bakery, which was heartstoppingly good. Then we drove to Deception Pass. 

We hiked around and spied on bald eagles.

We walked down to the pebbly beaches, through piles of driftwood. We could see to Canada.

In the evening, we took a ferry boat home and then hurried out to dinner at the Corson Building in Georgetown. The restaurant was unspeakably lovely, with soft lighting from Edison bulbs, exposed brick, and big farm tables for communal dining. Every detail was just so, and it was a wonderful dinner after a full day.

On Sunday we fished. Well, some of us fished. I mostly just sat on a pier and drank beer and soaked up some unexpected sun. I also examined various types of bait that Marissa had in her tackle-box.

No fishies were caught, but everyone had a very nice time in the attempt. And we consoled ourselves by buying an obscene amount of seafood and cooking a decadent seafood feast for dinner.

On Sunday, we drove out to Ballard for the farmers market. We stopped by Gasworks Park.

{Gasworks park}
We walked through the farmers market and met up with my friend from college, Bri, and her fiance Robert. We breakfasted on such delicacies as chicken fried chicken and biscuits with gravy at Hattie's Hat and then went for bloody marys at King's hardware.

{margaritas @ King's Hardware}

Because we still hadn't eaten quite enough, Bri took us to Cupcake Royale. Holy buttercream.

{chocolate & vanilla}

I got vanilla. Daniel got chocolate.

Bri got bacon whiskey maple, and I took paparazzi shots of her eating.

Oh my, it was hard to leave Seattle. We are already looking at tickets to go back in August. 

Sitka & Spruce

The Hi Spot
1410 34th Ave.
Seattle, Wa

Columbia City Bakery
4865 Rainier S.
Seattle, WA 98118

The Corson Building
5609 Corson Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98108

Hattie's Hat
5231 Ballard Ave NW
SeattleWA 98107

King's Hardware
5225 Ballard Avenue Northwest
Seattle, WA 98107

Cupcake Royale
1111 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

off to seattle

For Daniel's birthday, I gave him a trip to Seattle. I get to go, too, so it was really also a present to myself and I'm very excited about it. When I was still in college, I went to the Sasquatch music festival at the Gorge, a few hours drive from Seattle- but I never got a chance to really see Seattle proper. So this is pretty much a brand new, fresh experience.

Anyway, we'll be spending several days there, visiting friends, eating lots of delicious food (I have my sights set on dinner here and here), walking around in the rain, and making a little trip to the Hoh rain forest. Also, lots of reading, coffee-drinking, and general relaxation. We'll be back Sunday, so until then, I say adios.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

a machine named vince

For Christmas, my mother gave me the gift of a sewing machine. A wonderful gift, except I don't know how to sew. My grandmother taught me a bit about sewing when I was little, but the last time I was around a machine was probably ten years ago and I'd forgotten most everything. So far, the only use I've gotten out of my new machine is using the box as a table in the living room before we bought a coffee table. 

Not the most productive use of a sewing machine.

Anyway, I decided to do something about it and signed up for a sewing class at WorkshopSF. It's a sort of studio that offers a variety of classes, from how to brew ginger beer to how to make a glass terrarium. And they offer basic sewing.

So after work on Wednesday, I strolled over to the workshop. There were only three of us students and the teacher walked us through the basics of using a sewing machine.

My machine's name was Vince. 

It was exciting to be learning something new and tangible. We made beer cozies and little sock monsters- nothing terribly skill-intensive, but I'm going to actually unpack my sewing machine from the box and start trying to figure this thing out.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Recently, I've been considering hacking all my hair off. 

It's gotten awfully long and I worry that it looks unkempt.
I started daydreaming about a choppy cropped cut and how easy it would be.

But then I panicked because you cant do this with bob

or this

and definitely not this.

I'm terribly torn.

Images via A Cup of Jo

patricia wells' gratin dauphinois madame cartet

Right after my graduation from college, I took a short trip to New York and  stayed with my aunt Roseanne and uncle Robert in Bronxville for a few days. Both my aunt and uncle are excellent cooks. My uncle is both an investment banker and a barbecue aficionado, who owns a smoker the size of my car and regularly caters foodie events. My aunt is a marvelous baker and has a special gift for delicate, flaky pie crusts. I marveled over their extensive collection of cookbooks when I was in their home. I also ate very well.

Cut to a few days later and I found myself back at home in San Diego with a large Amazon box waiting for me. It was full of cookbooks- a graduation present from Aunt Roseanne and Uncle Robert.

Not only does my aunt have a gift for pie crusts, she has a gift for giving gifts.

The other night, I asked Daniel to tell me what he'd like for dinner. Without hesitating, he asked for roast chicken, potatoes gratin, and chocolate chip cookies. I knew how to roast a chicken, and I had a great recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but I'd never made potatoes gratin before. In recent months, I've found myself mainly cooking from food blogs- but after my recent disaster with the gateaux bastilles, I decided I should go back to the tried-and-true and cook more from my fabulous stash of cookbooks.

Enter Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells.

I love Patricia Wells. My parents have her At Home in Provence cookbook, which is home to one of my most beloved desserts ever- a honey almond tart with fresh raspberries. But I'd never made anything from Bistro Cooking (the shame!) and decided that it was high time to change that.

There are no fewer than six recipes for potatoes gratin in Bistro Cooking. Some include onions and lardons, while others add nutmeg and bay leaf.  I decided to make the very first one- the most basic, Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet. I served it alongside roast chicken and a simple green salad. Daniel provided the wine.


It was delicious, and it made for a perfect evening, of simple, wholesome food. It also made me all the more eager to begin a more thorough exploration of my cookbook library. Bon appetit!

Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet
1 garlic clove, cut in half
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup grated Gruyere
1 cup creme fraiche*

Preheat oven to 350F
Rub the inside of a 6-cup gratin dish with the cut side of the garlic clove
Layer half of the potatoes in the bottom of the gratin dish. Spread half of the creme fraiche over the top and then sprinkle with half of the cheese and season with salt.
Repeat the previous step with remaining potatoes, creme fraiche, cheese and salt.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
Serve immediately.

*I actually used a 1/2 cup of creme fraiche and a 1/2 cup of heavy cream, because that's what I had in the refrigerator. It turned out just peachy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Tonight, there will be champagne.

Daniel and I celebrate our two year anniversary today.

It'll be a quiet celebration at home, just the two of us, a simple dinner and some nice wine- but I can't imagine a better way to spend an evening.

Image: Plush Palate
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