Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Link Love!

This post is dedicated to Ellie!  My meanest, bossiest friend, who I adore.

- Lemon Curd Squares with Rosemary are oh-so going to happen in my kitchen this week.  Don't tell Renee.

- Pears in Sweet Tea Syrup sound like the grown-up version of canned pears, which I still have a soft-spot for!  I'm definitely going to try these out.

- Yes and Yes has an awesome post titled The Podcast Fantastic that I'm so excited about.  I'm about to start commuting via bus again, and it's my favorite time to listen to podcasts and catch up on reading!

- Megan from Not Martha did a great write-up of the Theo Chocolate Factory Tour.  Um, can you believe that one of my favorite people works for Theo and I've still never been on the tour?  Shameful, I know.

- Do You Want To Be A Mermaid or A Whale? is just awesome.  (I pick whale).

- Sunday, September 26th- Christina from Nettletown is hosting Hot Town Dinner, featuring hot cakes by Autumn Martin and beautiful fall savories made by Christina.  Nettletown was also recently written up in The Stranger!  Check out the article here!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce Canning Extravaganza!

Yesterday, after a bit of calling around- Amy and I found what is probably one of the best deals on local tomatoes in Seattle.  We paid $27 for a 24 pound box of beautiful ripe lovelies from Top Banana here in Ballard.  I called a nearby U-pick farm, who was selling theirs for nearly $4 a pound!  Nonsense!

We had expected to end up with 12 pint jars full of our beautiful sauce- but the recipe we used somehow led us astray.  It may have been because we seeded our tomatoes, but the proportions were a bit out of whack.  However- we ended up with 6 jars of absolutely decadent, rich, garlicy sauce, and couldn't have been any more pleased.

The recipe that we used is here, and I absolutely recommend it.  We added a splash of red wine, three whole heads of roasted garlic (for our doubled recipe), herbs de provence, plus extra salt and lots of pepper.  I love bold flavors, and the freshness of the tomatoes and the basil still cut through perfectly.  

We started off by peeling the tomatoes:

 This was serious business.  Go ahead and ignore my sink full of dirty dishes.

Can we take a quick second and admire my gorgeous hand thrown bowls?  If you've ever been to my apartment for more than 5 minutes you probably already know all about them.  They were each under $4 and I really like to talk about them.   
From there: garlic was roasted, basil was diced, and pureed tomatoes and spices were added to the biggest pot I could find.

After the sauce had cooked down for quite some time- we were ready to get seriously serious.  Seriously though.

Once the garlic and basil were added to the sauce- we pulled it off the heat, added a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to each of our warm, sterilized jars, and got down to business.

The fun and exciting action shots of me ladling sauce into jars all turned out grainy and dark!  The horror!

Once filled they went into a hot water bath for 35 long and excruciating minutes (I don't have/use a canning rack so I'm always a little nervous about breaking jars or killing someone with botulism- no big deal!)

They came out perfectly- all sealed up within seconds of coming out of the pot, and Matao and I busted one of them open for dinner tonight and about died from the goodness (not botulism).  Amy and I are planning on picking up another box of tomatoes for salsa, and maybe another round of tomato sauce.  I'd love to do some small jars to share.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Food, Lately

Clockwise from top left: Popped amaranth salad with summer veggies and fresh goat cheese; upside-down tomato tart; grilled sockeye, arugula, and re-fried black beans with leeks and white wine; frozen Discovery Park blackberries.

I realized the other day that I barely post recipes anymore.  This isn't due to a lack of cooking- I am in my kitchen cooking from scratch almost every single day.  The problem is that I forget that it's exciting and new.  It's just dinner- who cares, right?  Most of my cooking is about using up the things that we have in our fridge and cupboards, and more often than not- I don't have a clue how much of what I put into a dish.  That popped amaranth salad is actually from a few months ago, and I was so excited about sharing it- but then I never did.  It seemed so simple, and so obvious that I felt a little like I might be insulting some of you by posting it here!  I forget that everyone thinks and cooks differently, and often we don't think to change our routines unless prompted.  My cooking style is unique to me, and my recipes are too.  The recipes that I get the most excited about are the ones that use ingredients that I already know and love- but put them together in new (to me) ways. 

I'm working on writing things down, taking more pictures, and remembering to share.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sea Monsters!

Where have I been!?  Baking cakes, and going on adventures, and being a silly little ball of stress and anxiety!  That's where.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend half of my work day helping out on a fishing trip that my company had donated as an auction item.  One of my co-workers wasn't able to go, so I got to take his place!


Our plan was to spend four or five hours salmon fishing on Elliot Bay, but due to the lack of salmon and the fact that two of our ship-mates were 9 and 11 year old boys- we made a slight adjustment to the plan.

Flounder fishing!  They're small, easy to catch, and a lot more entertaining than sitting around staring at each other for hours on end.  I taught the boys how to cast and we had them running all over the boat reeling in fish after fish.  One of the boys caught a shark (seriously!) but the most exciting and dramatic catch of the day was this crazy beast:

It's actually two sea anemones attached to a rock, although it looks like some sort of insane monstrous sea cucumber.  It weighed a good five pounds!  All in all we had a fantastic time.  I hadn't driven a boat in a while, and I can't even remember the last time I went fishing just for fun.

Also- I promise right now that I'm going to try to get back on a regular posting schedule.  I've been going non-stop lately and haven't had much time to sit down and process things, let alone write about them!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Etsy Hunt: Pine Cone

One of my favorite ways to browse Etsy is by typing one keyword into the search bar, and seeing where it takes me.  I love to do this as the seasons change, hunting for items that invoke Spring or Autumn.  It's also great for the silly- I love searching for terms like "ghost", or "cats".  Quite often I end up falling in love with items that had nothing to do with my original search.  It leads me to artists I wouldn't have found otherwise, and pieces I wouldn't have sought out individually.  I'm not a huge impulse shopper by any means- but my Etsy purchases are more often items that I come across by accident, rather than items that I sought out or planned on purchasing.  I am a bit of a "favorite shop" collector, and I love to go back and visit favorite shops when I have a gift to give or a crafty idea that needs a little more inspiration or direction.

My favorite term lately has been "pine cone".  Just ask Brittany (and most of my Twitter friends!)  It's been fun though.  I've found some great items.

- For Strange Women is featured on the front page today, and I laughed when I saw that their featured item is Pine Cone Lip Balm!  Destiny, I think.  Her shop also features some other wonderful woodland inspired items, such as this Cabin Fever Botanical Candle, Lichen Bath Salts, and Moss and Ivy Perfume Oil.  Her products are made with lots of love, and beautiful packaging.

- Darling Press is run by a couple based out of Portland, Oregon.  Their focus is on creating beautiful work while keeping their environmental impact to a minimum.  Their Pine Cone Card is what caught my eye at first, but their Happy Birthday Monsters Card made me laugh, and their Variety Pack is a fantastic deal.

- I'm a sucker for hand thrown pottery, and combined with imagery from old children's books, nature photographs, and her own back yard- the work from Just Mare makes me want to throw out all of my kitchenwares and start new.  Shown above is the Bradshaw Meadow Lidded Jar.  The Pine Cone Mug,  darling Nesting Spice Bowls, Just a Pretty Little Bowl, and Wild Rose Vessel are all equally as charming.

- Banoo sucked me in right off the bat with her bio: "As a student of Natural Resource Conservation I draw most of my inspiration from the natural beauty of the landscapes that surround me. Committed to conservation and sustainability I strive to integrate reused, recycled or reclaimed elements into my pieces without compromising style, quality or function."  Her pieces are simple, yet beautifully made.  Above is the Pine Cone Motif Wool Felt Wallet.  Some of my other favorites of hers are the Alder Cone Motif Wallet, sweet little Floral Bobby Pins, and Cute as a Button Pouch

What's your favorite way to search for treasures on Etsy?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Discovery Park; Blackberries, Nettles & Snails

We went on a short hike and picked blackberries at Discovery Park on Wednesday night.  I about fell down the hill when I saw this little dude cruising along.  I love snails.  It's unhealthy how much.  They don't seem to have much interest in me, however.

Hi buddy!  Matao was not amused.

He was in a bit more of a hurry than I was, as he wanted to get down to the beach before the sun set.  What a mush.

All in all- a great little hike.  It's short and sweet, and for being so smack-dab in the middle of Seattle- it feels fantastically far away.  We picked two yogurt containers full of blackberries and I walked through a bunch of nettles wearing Teva's.  Perfection!

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