What a year it has been

I can’t believe another year has come and gone. What is so amazing to me is how slow time seems to move when you are a kid and how quickly it moves when you are an adult – if only you knew that the last birthday you would look forward to was your 21st.

While I hate NYE as a holiday (sorry its just over hyped with way too much expectations) there is something so refreshing about a new year. It allows you the possibility to start over and to create new hopes and dreams for the upcoming year.

2011 was definitely a year – my little sister got married, my brother-in-law got engaged, my hubby and I survived year one of marriage, I found a new job that I actually love, and I started this blog. Needless to say I was busy. As I look forward to the new year it will be a little hard to top 2011 but I already have some ideas in mind and they are definitely around food, writing, and wine! So that new job I started – its with a wine company in Napa. AMAZING! It has definitely been keeping me busy but also teaching me a ton, so look out for some wine pairing and suggestions with my upcoming posts.

Just because I have been so busy doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking up a ton in my kitchen (I just might not have had the time or energy to write about it). So I thought I would start off 2012 recapping some of my fun cooking memories from 2011 (not previously shared in other posts).

  • I made my first pumpkin pie from scratch!  Yes it is that beauty at the top of this post and it was delicious. It was for a pot luck at the new office and from what I could tell there were no left overs. I used Alice Waters’ recipe and while I was cursing myself as a whisked milk for a good 15 to 20 minutes over heat (thank you crossfit classes) it was totally worth it in the end.

  • I made this beautiful apple and pear galette and yes it tasted as delicious as it looked! Real Simple I ❤ U.

  • I had the AMAZING opportunity of being a test kitchen guest for my friends Warren & Rachel’s Thanksgiving trial. Warren has to be one of the BEST cooks I know – the potatoes were delish, his chicken two ways ridiculously good, but the kicker was the homemade pumpkin bread pudding and homemade ice cream. Warren’s ice cream would give bi-rite in SF a run for its money – yes it is really that good. Check out his blog:  http://eatstuff.tumblr.com/

  • Last, but certainly not least, was cooking in my favorite kitchen with my favorite chef – my mom. I was so excited to be able to make it home for Thanksgiving and help my mom cook up this delicious Thanksgiving day feast. We started with home-made currant scones and finished with a traditional T-day dinner: Ritz Cracker Stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn souffle, and roast turkey. Yum! It was definitely up there with some of my favorite days of 2011.

Here’s to a great 2011 and an even better 2012.


A Farewell To Summer

I had big plans to post my kitchen salute to the end of summer on the official first day of fall (last Friday). As I am learning, life happens, and so I find myself writing all about the end of summer when it is far from it in California. The sun is shining and my iPhone tells me it is 89 degrees in San Francisco!

Fall has always been my favorite season, I love to watch the leaves change color from green to shades of bright orange, red, and yellow. I love the cool crispness in the air and seeing your breath when you go out for an early morning run. I love that there are apples everywhere (more on that later on this week). Fall might not be quite the same on the west coast, well at least not San Francisco, but it is still my favorite season because it truly is when San Francisco shows what a beautiful city she is.

So in honor of the end of summer and beginning of fall the hubby and I opened up some beers, fired up the George Foreman and had ourselves a little urban BBQ.

The hubby was on burger duty again and this time he made a delicious combination: dark turkey meat, an egg, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, and sliced basil.

We topped it off with some more shredded basil, avocado (my favorite!) and some romaine hearts. To complete the perfect good-bye-summer-meal we boiled up some corn and cooked up some french fries.

We toasted good-bye to summer, hello to fall and dug in. The burgers did not disappoint. The corn, however, totally gave away that summer was hours from being over. No amount of butter could save its blandness. We decided to put it aside and look forward to the squash, eggplant, chard, and kale in our future. Bring on fall!

The Best Meal I Ever Ate – Part II

The amazing dining experience continues with our fish, meat, and dessert courses (plus a little intermezzo). If you are just checking in I am recounting the best meal I ever ate at a small restaurant in Seattle, Art of the Table.  Check The Best Meal I Ever Ate – Part I for more background on the restaurant and the first half of our meal.

Ok jumping right back into it . . .

Before the third course was served, the waitress/sommelier came around with the wine pairing, a 2010 Grignolino Rose from Heitz Cellars. She explained how Grignolino was a blending grape and usually never featured on its own in a wine but how the winemaker at Heitz Cellars thought it would make a great Rose. She also shared, though hesitantly, that she thought it tasted and smelled of cured meat but that it would work perfectly with the meal. She was right on both fronts! The hubby could not get beyond the cured meat until the third course showed up.

Third Course: Pacific Black Cod with Fricasse of Corn, Cauliflower, Chantrelle & Lobster Mushrooms, Tasso Ham, Creamed Corn Broth, Fried Parsley

This course was hands down both of our favorites. The fish was perfectly cooked and the skin crisped so that you could eat the entire thing. The house cured ham added this amazing smokey flavor to the dish. All in all it was absolute perfection.

We were then served an intermezzo of homemade cantaloupe sorbet with house-cured Tasso ham. It tasted exactly like prosciutto and melon and was genius!

Fourth Course: Harissa Smoked Goat with Eggplant Puree, Grilled Zucchini, Cumin-Corriander Carrot Slaw, Curnips

Confession – I have never had Goat before nor have ever had a desire to eat Goat. This Goat was deliciousness and smoked by Chef Dustin in the backyard of the restaurant. It was the perfect Mediterranean meal and among one of our favorite dishes for the night. The wine pairing worked quite well as well, it was a 2003 Tempranillo from Montecillo Gran Reserva in Rioja, Spain.

Last Course: Sable & Blueberry Jam Sandwich with Strawberry Salad, Poached Peach, Fennel-Basil Ice Cream, and Peach Syrup

The perfect ending to a beyond perfect meal. The jam sandwich was delicious and reminded me of all the linzer tarts I ate as a kid. The poached peach tasted exactly like the canned peaches I loved as a child and I could not get enough of the fennel-basil ice cream.  The combination just worked so well.  This was paired with a 2008 Viogner from Yalumba Botrytis in South Australia. Apparently Viogner is prone to a powdery fungus and when you harvest the grapes with this fungus and produce wine you get a delicious dessert wine. Who knew?

Thank you Chef Dustin for the most amazing meal my husband and I have ever eaten. We will definitely be back to visit next time we are up in Seattle to see what you are cooking up. The hubby and I also sincerely think you should try out for Top Chef, you would definitely kick some butt!

The Best Meal I Ever Ate – Part 1

supper club

Ok I know, that’s a pretty aggressive statement. I thought the same thing when I saw it written over and over again in Yelp reviews for a small restaurant in Seattle, Art of the Table.

Open two nights a week, with one seating for 2o people, and no menu it had the potential to be absolutely fabulous BUT it wasn’t on the foodie hit list carefully mapped out by a friend and former Seattle local. I found it on a whim when I was double checking my Seattle dinner choices. The debate with only two dinners in Seattle do I forego my friend’s foodie recommendations for a random Yelp discovery or stick to the plan. Having found many a restaurant gem on Yelp I went with the former and the hubby and I could not have been happier. We hit the jackpot!

Ok with only 20 diners in the place and 3 staff members I just could not be that person and take pictures of every course so you will have to imagine the deliciousness that was our four-hour meal!

We showed up at 6:30 when the doors opened and were the first guests to arrive, the manager/hostess/sommelier/waitress allowed us to choose from the 4 two top tables in the place and we nestled into one next to the open window and immediately perused the menu. The menu changes every weekend depending on what ingredients Chef Dustin can get his hands on from his local suppliers. The night’s menu looked absolutely amazing and we decided to splurge on the wine pairing.

We started with a delicious glass of champagne and munched on homemade potato chips as we waited for other diners to show up.

Once the last diners sat down the meal began with an amuse-bouche of fried squash blossom stuffed with home-made ricotta cheese (YUM!!!) and Chef Dustin explaining how Art of the Table came to be.

First Course: Chilled Cucumber Soup with Cilantro Cream, Cucumber & Melon Salsa, Ancho Chili Oil & Chives.

Ok I am not a huge chilled soup fan, in fact, I actually am not really a fan at all. It’s something about the texture and the concept that really throw me plus I always find them bland. But this was like no other chilled soup I have ever had it was creamy, rich, and complex. Simply put, it was delicious and devoured. It was also perfectly paired with an Alexandria Nicole Shepherds Mark 2010 Roussane/Viogner/Marsanne. The sweetness of the wine helped balance the heat from the oil.

Second Course: Salad of Heirloom Tomato, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Tomasins, Sungold Tomatoes, Olive Oil Poached Albacore Tuna, Feta, Shallot, Pepitas, and Pea Vines

Yes that was quite a complex salad but everything just worked some perfectly together. The poached Tuna was an interesting addition and even more interesting, Chef Dustin used Old Bay seasoning on that Tuna.  Growing up in a house with a father who spent close to a decade in Maryland eating blue crab I could recognize that flavor anywhere. The other surprise ingredient  Tomasins – which are exactly what you would think – dried tomatoes. They were super yummy as was the wine pairing a Vietti Roero Arneis 2010 from Piedmonte, Italy.

Just like you can’t sit straight through a four-hour meal without a break (or at least I can’t) it was so silly of me to assume you could sit through the recounting without a break.  Want to find out what the next courses were?  Check out the Best Meal I Ever Ate Part II.

7 Beds in 7 Nights

Last night as we were falling asleep the hubby turns to me and says, “Where did we sleep last night?”

Typically this question would totally freak me out, I mean how do you not remember where you slept the night before. Is this some early indicator of Alzheimer’s?  Then I realized that this was our 4th night in a row in a different bed and we had 3 more nights to go!

How our schedule got to be this hectic is sort of a combination of “life happens” and bad planning. But either way we are embracing the craziness and so excited to be able to see so many of our family and friends.

That being said you can understand why nothing has really been cooked in our kitchen for the past week or in any kitchen (commercial kitchen’s exempt) to be more specific. Sadly the streak will probably continue for the rest of the week.

Luckily for us, we have had some AMAZING food on our travels which I will hopefully be sharing tomorrow.

Check back to hear all about what has now been deemed – “the best meal I ever ate.”

Dreaming of my O’Henry Peach

O’Henry someone just stole my afternoon snack!!! My O’Henry Peach and the one thing left to get me through my day of never-ending meetings was stolen right under my nose! For those of you who have never had an O’Henry peach they are pure deliciousness.

No it did not roll of the table like my sister suggested it was stolen straight out of my office kitchen while I stood there cleaning my dishes from lunch.  The last of my O’Henry peaches was sitting in my pink lunch bag on the kitchen table as I cleaned my dishes in the sink.

I heard a rustle and before I could even realize what happened I saw the back of someone’s head as she held a peach in her hand and walked out of the kitchen.

I thought, “Couldn’t be my peach.”

I dropped my tupperware in the sink ran over to the bag and it was gone!  The unnamed woman (who I actually do not know) stole my O’Henry Peach. I stomped my foot like a small child and just stood there in absolute disbelief.  I know in a few hours I will laugh at the total and utter ridiculousness of the situation but right now I am still mourning the loss of what could have been my last O’Henry Peach of the season and my afternoon snack.

Seriously, who steals a peach!?!