Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Squirt and Swirl

Do you need a new trick to woo your guests? Do you want to add some flavor to your soups? Flavored oils!
You can make flavored oils by mixing any fresh herbs with olive oil in the food processor.
My favorite is rosemary but you can do it with any fresh herbs. It adds taste without being overpowering.

Rosemary Oil Recipe

1. Pull leaves off a few sprigs of rosemary.
2. Place in food processor with a bit of olive oil.
3. Process for a few seconds and then transfer to a squirt bottle.
Use the squirt bottle to squirt a nice swirl design in your soup or decorate your mashed potatoes.
The only downfall with flavored oils is that they go bad quickly. So keep the oil in the fridge for a day or two. I tried to research this, some internet sites say that it is good for 3-4 days but I wouldn't take the chance.

I found a recipe on Emerill's site for cilantro oil.
His voice kind of annoys me but his food always looks so terrific!

This recipe for lemon oil looks really interesting too.

Have fun squirting and swirling your oily designs!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Will be Away for a Few days...

I will be away for a few days. I am going to San Francisco.
Any suggestions?

Art of the Table

Seattle foodies come together. The Art of the Table has a great restaurant concept,
communal dining.

The Weekend Supper Club
A dinner with guests sitting together. Every supper has a different theme. A great
way to meet other guests who like to eat while savoring a dinner composed of local ingredients.
48 dollars for a four course meal.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Softest Salmon Ever

I am trying to eat more salmon. I need to get some omega 3. All this hype about omega 3 is scaring me. It's some guilt thing. The media makes me feel like I will croak if I don't eat omega 3. My hair will fall out, my teeth will drop like the coins on a Vegas slot machine and I will be an old woman in a rocking chair in the next 5 years. Okay, okay I am sucked in. I will eat some fish!

In a cooking class I attended at The Art Institute, we made poached salmon with a royal glacage sauce (a creamy sauce that took quite a long time to make) but tasted heavenly. We poached the salmon in Ziploc bags.
We stirred up a hot mix of liquids and then poured it into a bag with the fish. The fish was ready in 10 minutes.
Shocked at the simplicity of this, I bombarded the chef with questions. Are you sure it's okay to eat? What about salmonella? Don't you think we should leave it in longer? The chef calmed me down. No, there is no salmonella in salmon (how ironic!).

I decided to try the salmon in a bag technique at home. I thought I would try a different recipe, one that I found in an old issue of Food and Wine magazine. The salad was mediocre, but the salmon was unbelievable. It was flaky, tender and moist.

Poached Salmon Salad with Lettuce and Asparagus

Monday, July 23, 2007

Surprise, Surprise!

Yesterday my fiance told me to wear something nice because we are going to some party at work.
Okay, so I was dressed and ready to go and then he took me to this place and surprise! All my friends were there. A surprise engagement Party! My fiance knew because he had to give my friends the phone numbers but he
kept it a secret! I loved it!
The theme: Brown and Pink
The favors for the guests.... heart shaped cookie cutters.
Check out the lovely desserts!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tortilla Recipe

One day in cooking class we were really hungry. I suggested that we make these tortillas. We used the tortilla press until we realized it was a waste of time. Rolling them by hand and stretching them with the tips of our fingers came out best. We looked for toppings. No salsa in sight. We found dark chocolate and some maple sauce. Perfect tortilla toppings!

I made these many times with my grade 4 students. They would do all the rolling and then we would go over the school materials while I would cook them in the hot pans.


4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/4 cups of warm water
1/4 a cup of olive oil

1. Mix all ingredients until you get a nice shiny dough.
2. Divide the dough into 15 pieces and form into balls. Let rest for 15 minutes.
3. Use your rolling pin to flatten them into thin pancakes.
4. Heat a frying pan on high heat. Do not add oil. (Use an old frying pan because it is hard to clean.) Stretch the tortilla with your hand if needed. Place on heat for about 1 minute on each side
or until you see little hole marks.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Perfect Salad Dressing Recipe

My cousin Maya, who is actually my cousin Roy's wife but I call her my cousin since we look more alike then Roy and I do, makes this dressing at every family meal. When the salad is placed on the table, it is only minutes before it disappears.
There is always the polite person who asks if anyone wants any before he/she finishes it, hoping deep down inside that everyone will say no so he/she could engulph the last lettuce leaf.
No need for anything except for lettuce and croutons(see previous post).
So here it is:

Maya's Magnificent Dressing

2 tablespoons of balsamic vingegar
1 teaspoon of mustard
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 lemon
2 garlic cloves
Half a cup of olive oil

I mix all ingredients except the oil. Then I drop the oil in, tablespoon at a time for an extra smooth consistency.
If you want, you can just mix all the ingredients in a container and shake.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Croutons, You'd Better Not Be Buying Them!

Last time I had a dinner party at my house. I made a salad with homemade croutons. My friend asked me if I made them myself. " Really, you made those from scratch?" Croutons are one of the easiest things to make. I can't understand why someone would buy fake Parmesan, preservative soaked, crusty old pieces of bread at the supermarket. Oh yeah and they are usually fried too! Making them at home literally takes 10 minutes. All you have to do is cut old bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, season and bake in the oven. The correct baking time varies. I usually put them in at 400 degrees for 10 minutes but some prefer to bake them at a lower heat for longer. Just keep checking, they burn easily. I have made my share of burnt to death croutons.
I like to season them with salt and pepper. Sometimes I make zaatar croutons. These taste great on Greek salads. You can find this spice at any spice store. I got mine at Market Spice. Other ideas for croutons can be parmesan, paprika or garlic powder. Just experiment.Any old bread is fine. The best croutons that I ever made were from a homemade Fucaccia bread that had dried out into a big hard block. Now I am crouton crazy. I buy an extra loaf of day old bread at the store which is usually half price and make the croutons while getting ready for bed. Keep in an air-tight container and hide from the snackers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Martha, You Lied Again!

I admire Martha for all her ideas; for the fact that she works so hard for everything she has accomplished. She really is a genius, an innovator, a trend setter for all women. The only problem, sometimes her recipes are not that great.

I was reading Martha Stewart Weddings when I came across an article that suggested using regular stamps to print on cookies. I was so excited. I spent 5 dollars a piece on two different stamps.
I followed her shortbread recipe religiously...............results....nada, no picture, just a flat cookie. Not even a
tiny sliver of a design in sight. I decided to try another peanut butter cookie recipe on the Internet that is also used for cookie stamping. No luck!!!
Then I read this post in Amateur Gourmet. He tried to make a pound cake from a Martha recipe. Okay, so it didn't work out. Things happen.
Read the comments on his post to see how many of Martha's recipes apparently don't succeed.
I still love Martha, even if she lies sometimes( she has a jail sentence to prove it) and the best thing about Martha is her daughter Alexis and Alexis' best friend Jennifer. They have a radio show on Satellite Radio.
Note: The pictures are from before. I didn't bother taking a picture of the mediocre cookies with no design.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Girls Night Out at Paper Source in Bellevue

My friends and I have this thing. We pretend not to be girly, we refuse to acknowledge that we like girly things and we pretend to be too cool for girls. The truth is that we are damn girly; let us ooh and ahh over kitchen stuff and were ecstatic. Leave us at Urban Oufitters and we will get lost in the clothes. This week we had girls night out at Paper Source. One of my friends heard they were having a girls night and she signed us all up. It was so much fun. First we got loot bags full of beautiful paper and things; origami instructions, lip gloss, recipes for drinks, stickers and a girly cd. The cd has songs like California Girls, Staying Alive and Tainted love. There was food from Mccormick and Shmick's. There were drinks, popcorn from the movie theater and lots of fresh fruit. There were craft demos. There was even a table where we could use all the craft stuff and make our own crafts. There was a raffle and I actually won something. I got a box for my pictures. Best part of all this: It was FREE!!!!

We had a blast and now it's time to toughen up. I think I will go clean the garborator.
Note: If you want to do something with the girls, this is really fun. Call them and sign up because I am sure there will be a waiting list for the next one.
Oh!!!!!!!!Don't forget to pretend to be macho later. It's part of the game.

Risotto Therapy

When I first started cooking, I looked for easy things to make. I obsessively watched Rachel Ray, trying to beat her at her 30 minute meals. Then I discovered the gracefulness of cooking, the art of it , the dance of it , the whole idea of focusing all your love in one place. You might think I am a freak but cooking has become a pleasure that I can afford to do endlessly without feeling the tiniest speck of guilt. This is of course as long as I don't eat endlessly.I realized I was hooked when I made risotto for the first time.RI- SOT- TO.The word rolls off my tongue softly and gracefully like when Nabokov chanted the word LO- LI- TA, in his controversial but extremely brilliant book.At first I just heard about Risotto. People would say : "Oh it's delicious but it's so much work!" The first time I made it, I had no idea how it was supposed to taste. I started with the basic, Risotto a la Milanese.The yellow, saffrony, creamy rice came out perfect the first time. ( This never happens to me!)I felt like I was eating a pot of gold.So for all those people who tried to scare me into making instant rice, you are missing out on something in this world. Risotto only takes about 30 minutes(including prep time), but a meaningful 30 minutes where all you do is focus on this one beautiful masterpiece of golden porridge-like, pasta textured rice.This is your time with your Risotto. No answering phones, No checking emails and no distractions.So... The next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed with work. Two words , Risotto therapy!
The technique in risotto is to have one pot of stock on the stove on a simmer so that it stays hot and to cook your rice in another pot by adding one ladle of hot stock at a time to your rice. Then, stir, stir and stir some more. Homemade stock is the best but if you are not ready to put that much effort into it you can use cartons of stock too. Just try not to use those cubes of soup powder, they taste really bland and are usually infested with M.S.G.The only inconvenience with risotto is that is tastes better when it's piping hot and just made. This is a bit more complicated for restaurants to make perfectly since it requires individual attention. This is one of those foods that taste just as great or even better when you make it.
So get some Arborio rice(the rice for risotto )and have some relaxing time with this creamy new friend.
Risotto A la Milanese Recipe

Friday, July 13, 2007

Food Writing Course

Do you love writing? Do you love food? How about taking a food writing course on line?
Candace Dempsey is teaching a course online. I enjoy her Italian food stories all the time especially reading about her obsession with Bourdain.
So what do you think? Are you ready to take the plunge?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I just recently realized I got mocked by Candy-O for listing circus peanuts as one of my favorite candies. What ever happened to freedom of sweets? I posted my candy list on my other blog in the Seattle PI. Who gives someone the right to mock my sugarness. Candy -O listed those sugar dipped fruit slices as one of her favorites " Those things that look like fruit slices dipped in sugar (but only the lemon and cherry)" . Those are nasty, they taste like an old person's gums.

Mock me if you will but I see that you were inspired to write up your own list.
I think this calls for a taffy wrestle!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Kirkland Uncorked 2007
July 13 - 15Th

Another food event close to Seattle. Wow, this summer is going to be a food fest. This time Kirkland's living it up! There will be food demonstrations, wine sampling, artist demonstrations, art for sale and of course all this next to the Kirkland waterfront. What a great way to enjoy the heat wave!
Admission is free! Tasting garden admission is 25 dollars in advance and 20 dollars at the door. Price includes a souvenir wine glass , 5 wine tastings or food sampling tickets.
For more info.......

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Apron Story

The story of my apron is a special one. There is this blog called Lucullian Delights and they want everyone to show off and talk about their apron. So here is my story.
I worked at this high end restaurant in New York where everyone had to wear pink striped aprons. You had to work their for a full year to earn an apron. I slaved day in and day out cutting onions until I finally got my pink apron. I then earned the respect that I deserved. I felt so proud. I wore it with a big smile and a pink scrunchie in my hair.

Just kidding. The story isn't true. I just thought I should make up something interesting. It's just a pink apron that I found at the Japanese dollar store(Daiso) for 3 dollars in the Westlake Center.

I added a coffee crisp in the front pocket. That's what pocket's are for.

I think the apron is tacky, cute, blond, cheesy, girly, nauseating.................

What do you think?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

This is what I made for dessert yesterday. It's Pavlova. A meringue cake topped with vanilla ice cream,
strawberry sauce and blueberries. I placed the strawberry sauce in a bottle and let my 3 year old guest do the squirting. She must be a chef in the making. I used a meringue recipe but substituted regular vinegar with orange vinegar for that extra touch.

Friday, July 6, 2007

So you think comics are innocent. Wrong! Kawaii not is not the kind you would want your kids to see. Actually they wouldn't understand. Hardcore comic for adults. There are so many too choose from so I chose a few that I thought were cute in a scary kind of way. I found this via Serious Eats. Their pick is the cookies with problems. I chose the cleanest options. It only gets worse. Great gift for that special someone.


Cinnamon rolls


Monday, July 2, 2007

Anthony Bourdain- Kitchen Confidential - Book Review

You can tell by the the opening sentence that Bourdain has to remind us that he loves his job. " Don't get me wrong , I love the restaurant business".
My initial response after reading this book is that either he is a really bitter person or he really despises the kitchen world. This book is about the life of a chef, the disturbing parts of it, the part about being treating like a nothing, drugs and all the other things chefs do.
Am I being negative enough?.

The truth is Bourdain is intriguing, incredibly articulate and bluntfully honest. His writing will keep you reading and suck you in though his crabiness will spit you out like a dead fish. He gives some tips about cooking, about what you need and when you should dine. Don't you dare order fish on a Monday, since the fish is not delivered on Saturday or Sunday and fish from Friday is not all that fresh. This book is for people who really like cooking and won't be affected by a few nasty words from one of the best chefs around.
Bourdain is like Paris Hilton, you want to hate him but you embarassingly care what he has to say.

Watch Bourdain eat live seal in Quebec

If you want to read this book, send me an email with a recipe and I will pop this used book in the mail. I figure that I would rather that another foodie read it then have it lying around my house. Email: kerenlovestocook2@gmail.com

So Easy to Please Mahimahi

Yesterday my fiance and I were a bit sick. Our noses were stuffed and our energy was zapped. I wanted to make something to eat that was fairly healthy and that required minimum effort. I took out some mahimahi fish from the freezer. I brushed it with hoisin sauce and squeezed some lemon on it. My fiance kept ranting about how good it tasted . I thought to myself ; yesterday when I made stuffed peppers and it took me over 2 hours, he said it was not bad . Today I just throw some fish in the oven and cover it with sauce and he is in heaven. Was the fish really that good or was it our blocked noses that played tricks on us?