Sunday, February 27, 2011

Penne Pasta with Tomato Sherry Sauce and Shrimp


Sometimes a little birdy will send comic strips in the mail.  My mom birdy is the only person I've ever known to do this.  Anybody else get those?  Here was the latest...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Green Lentil Soup with Sausage and Red Peppers

I knew I was taking a risk to try and get lentils past Chris for dinner.  Just the word itself sounded healthy.

I made this on my day off.  I wanted to have extra time to make it oh-so-good.  These kind of things have one chance, and if you screw it up- that first time will always get in the way of attempting to enjoy it a second time.  You can remember the first time you had brussel sprouts, or liver, or sardines, or you fill in the blank.  It made an impression.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (and some college memories)

Chocolate.  Zucchini.  Yes.  Just yes!

I keep coming across these old favorites of mine.  This chocolate zucchini bread was what my mom would send me in college.  These care packages started freshman year.  I didn't want anything else, BUT THIS BREAD!  It's like the best bread, in dense, chocolaty, moist cake form.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winery: Bethany Vineyard and Winery, Ridgefield, WA

You know it's good when you visit twice in one month.

Bethany Vineyard and Winery was an impressive find.  We heard the wine was worth the stop and the wine-maker was like no other.  Walt - he won us over from the moment we walked in.

Monday, February 21, 2011

White Lasagna with Roasted Chicken, Artichoke and Bell Pepper

Definitely still the season for comfort food.  And the more of it you can take credit for, the more comforting it is.

After morphing a few recipes, here is my version of WHITE lasagna.  And hear me out- there's no cream, and a lot of great veggies in it!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

I needed a side dish to take to our community group potluck.  "What do you think of something cauliflower?"-Me.  "Um... cauliflower?  to a potluck?  sounds like something your mom would try." -Chris.  PERFECT... time to shock em all.  Many will bring bread.  Some will bring cheese.  No one will bring cauliflower!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lemon Orzo with Roasted Shrimp and Snow Peas: Thank You Pasta Montana!

The other day I received my very first "blogger care package."  I remembered watching the scene on Julie and Julia when she received food items from her readers.  How cool is that?!

My Alaskan aunt and uncle, recently moved back to Great Falls, Montana.  Uncle Tom now works at Pasta Montana  and sent me some of their pastas to try!  It felt like Christmas!  I was SO excited!  Get ready to see a lot of fun pasta and grain experiments!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crostini with Goat Cheese, Fig and Parsley

Bite-size.  Party food.  Snack Saturdays.  Light dinner.  When in doubt, throw it on toast and you can't go wrong!

When building a Crostini, you want CREAM, ACID, HERB AND CRUNCH.  One of those ultimate palate joys.  Interested on my personal musing on this subject?

Stacey Snacks inspires again, so many wonderful crostini options, it's like why bother with dinner when these look so good?!

So, here was my little experiment... so fresh and delicious.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winery: Rusty Grape Vineyard, Battleground, WA

A co-worker asked me if I was "a wino."  I replied with "I am into wine."  He then caught me calling Pinot Noir a finicky grape because it's thin skin is a push-over to any weather changes- becoming more of  a gamble depending on the year.  But when they do it well, you'll know.  And when it was an average year, you'll know that too.  He corrected me and said "Noelle, anyone who calls a grape finicky..." OK I get your point.

Of all the wine we've tasted in the Northwest, we're a little partial to Washington grapes.  Granted, I know that good Oregonians are supposed to stand up for their Pinot Noir, but it's been just so hit and miss for us.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dining Out: Bijou Cafe, Portland OR

I polled clients, patients and co-workers of their favorite Breakfast spot in Portland.  The next day they brought me newspaper clippings and full on books just on Breakfast IN PORTLAND?!  A few kept getting brought up, one being "the classic Portland experience."  We needed to define "classic."

On the corner of Pine and 3rd, just over the river on the West side sits this humble cafe.  It opened St. Patty's day in 1978 and not a whole lot as changed since.  Bijou was among some of the first cafes in Portland to stress the importance of locally raised and organic ingredients.  Nowadays you have to search high and low for a restaurant that doesn't claim this mantra, but still they lead the pack.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Orange Sticky Buns

I do love a good sticky cinnamon roll.  Especially in the following scenarios:
-a half way stop on a bike ride, when you do the math and the roll cashes out your ride
-in college when you and your roommates were craving something other than boxed yellow cake
-in the airport because your plane was delayed and you think it may help ease the pain, plus the guy next to you has one.
-or just plain and simple, you have the time on a Saturday morning so WHY NOT?

These little delicious bites are smaller, (hey-yo portion control!), and are so fun to prep.  I just LOVE the orange zest.  The hint of orange on breakfast buns, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh makes me want to melt- so good with the cinnamon.  These were also inspired by Ina, but I'm not a fan of raisins and couldn't resist the citrus!!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Parmesan Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders. Something every kid would eat, unless you are raised in Portland, vegan fed as a toddler, and are handing out green peace flyers on the corner of Hawthorne by the ripe age of 12. If that's you, more power to ya, and more butter and meat for us- in a healthy/friendly sort of way of course. :-)

Meat on a stick... another phenomenon. When I looked up the history of this invention, I found the following quote... high quality source I doubt, but just had to put it in here.

"Food on a stick is created by impaling an item of food on an item of stick. An internationally celebrated form of cuisine, food on a stick is considered one of the four basic groups of food appealing only to people who are outdoors, sweaty, far from home and confused, or American. Food on a stick is also among the strongest supporting evidence for the famous scientific principle that "Everything is better on a stick.""

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Atomic Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

We were over at our friends house in Granite Bay, CA sometime last year.  I watched as Suzzanne Bonn, eccentric and loving mother of a more than full house, cooked us dinner.  As she brought out the salad to the dinner table, she put a few dressings on the table and then said "oh, and then there's THE ATOMIC."

"The Atomic WHAT?!"

Just plain "ATOMIC."  All the kids said, it's for garlic lovers only... and even they sometimes can't handle it.  I knew immediately this was up my alley.  Chris tried it, and we still recall him coughing surprisingly at the potency of it, but still loving every second.  Upon arriving home that night, I knew I had to develop my own ATOMIC.

I've tried several vinaigrette's, simple to complex, and when it comes down to it- all it takes is good olive oil, a vinegar you like, maybe another acid then add salt and pepper.

Below is my version of THE ATOMIC.  It's best made fresh (quick too) and dresses a Caesar or a Cob quite nicely. Thanks for the inspiration Suzzanne!

Atomic Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette 

2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3-4 cloves garlic
4-6 tbs extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
favorite greens