Friday, June 25, 2010


Enjoy this picture that has nothing to do with anything!  I haven't abandoned you, I promise!  Life has been busy busy busy lately and sometimes that just gets in the way of blogging!  I am working on a post to share the recipes that I used to cater a wonderful casual lunch this past weekend, and gearing up to go on a million adventures (or four).  We are moving into a different apartment this weekend, and school just ended last week.  Busy, like I said!  I am going to try to get back on a regular blogging schedule once we're settled into the new place a little more- and I promise I'm not going anywhere!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wild Fennel & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Wild fennel is coming up like crazy all over Seattle right now.  There just so happens to be a gigantic bush on very public property growing less than a block from our apartment.  We've been adding it to salads and scrambles here and there, but last weekend I decided that I wanted to do something a bit different with it.  So, last night I did!

This is a very, very basic recipe that makes for a much lighter ice cream.  Most call for cooking egg yolks into a custard, or using three to four different types of cream, which I don't keep on hand.  This recipe simply uses milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and fennel.  Subtract the fennel and it is a good base for whatever flavors you'd like to add.

- 2 cups whole or 2% milk
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 4 six-inch stalks of wild fennel, coarsley chopped (grocery store variety fennel can be used as well- use the tops and fronds rather than the bulb)
- 1 tbsp dried fennel seeds
- 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tbsp vanilla extract

- Gently heat milk, cream, and sugar over medium heat until sugar is melted and mixture is hot but not boiling.
- Turn heat to low.  Add both fresh and dried fennel, as well as vanilla bean (scrape out the insides, and add whole bean as well).
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes, carefully tasting until mixture has reached desired taste.
- Stain mixture into a bowl, pressing the liquid out of the fennel, and refrigerate until cool.
- If using an ice cream maker- pour liquid into base, and run machine until ice cream is desired consistency.  I store mine in a yogurt container in the freezer.
- If you aren't using an ice cream maker- freeze mixture into a container first, then once frozen put through a food processor or blender in batches until smooth, and re-freeze.

Wild fennel is a weed, and grows well all over the place.  It's easy to find in Seattle neighborhoods, and I'm sure in many other areas as well.  If you aren't sure of a source that's okay to pick - ask around.  I don't mind sharing my location either, if you want to send me an email (renai.marie(at)gmail(dot)com). It's easy to identify- as it has tall feathery stalks, and smells just like licorice when broken.  Make sure to carefully wash any that you find, and try to avoid picking along roadways, and never out of someones yard or garden.

Monday, June 7, 2010


“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit” -Edward Abbey

Despite the fact that July 4th weekend is still nearly a month away- I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about newly developed plans.

It all has to do with this crazy amazing place.

Aside from that, there is also a bike camping trip, winery camping trip, and other assorted camping trips planned for the summer already.  I love Seattle- but sometimes I love not being in Seattle even more. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Little Weekend Dining

I don't post about food as much as I'd like to- but our regular weekly meals don't seem that exciting since I'm so used to them!  We've made a weekly ritual out of picking up eggs, bacon, and veggies at the Ballard farmers market every Sunday morning and making an absolutely ridiculous brunch.  That definitely happened today.  I also made a few other things that I felt were kind of special.

On Friday night before heading out to the Fremont Art Walk I whipped together this little creation.  And you'll have to excuse my sloppy poached eggs.  I am not the most gentle of egg poachers.  This is beer braised kale with garlic scrapes and spring onions, topped with teenie tiny poached quail eggs.  Yes, quail.  Their yolk to white ratio is fantastic.

This beautiful creation was breakfast on Saturday morning.  Yes, we had cake for breakfast.  We also ate half of it in one sitting.  I am not ashamed.  The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and I've made it twice now.  This time I used plain yogurt in place of the buttermilk, and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour.  It was still light and perfectly moist.  I am really, really in love with this cake.  Really.

Ughhhh look at that.  I want to eat it again.  It's full of beautiful little raspberry craters and lemon zest.  We are made for each other.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Our Shelter Cats

I just realized that I've never posted any pictures of Ollie, aside from the day we adopted her.  She has settled in so well.  She was really unhealthy and scared when we got her, and she has done a complete 180 in the past few months.

I honestly can't say enough good things about adopting adult cats.  Luna was a year and a half when we got her (now two), and Ollie is just over four.  We don't know much of Luna's history other than she was picked up as a stray- but she seems to have been well socialized.  She had only been at the shelter for two weeks when we adopted her in October.  Ollie's story isn't quite as lovely, but it makes me feel so good that we took her home.  She was found in the woods near a local hiking area (meaning she was dumped) and had been at the shelter for nearly seven months when we adopted her.  She didn't know how to play, had signs of bad previous mite and flea infestations, hated to be touched on her backside, and was very nervous and mean.  We've only had her since February, but her personality is so wonderful already.  She is playful, affectionate, goofy, vocal, and bossy, just like a healthy happy cat should be.

I know that it's tempting to adopt kittens or get free animals on Craigslist- but if you are thinking about adopting- please, please, please check out a local shelter first.  Shelter animals come with all of their vaccinations and are spayed or neutered before going home.  "Free" animals don't come with any of these guarantees and often end up costing much more in the long run.  We did have to be patient and understanding with both of our cats- but with lots of love they are both absolute joys.  We haven't had any issues with them- behavioral or otherwise.  I can't imagine that someone ever didn't want them.

And Luna being super helpful, as always. 

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