Scott and I have schedules that mean during the workweek we only cook dinner together about two times a week. This makes it impractical to keep a lot of fresh food in our fridge (cleaning it out got depressing, so many unidentifiable items) so we tend to pick something up to cook earlier in the same day. To make it even easier I’ve been figuring out what half-prepared foods to keep in the freezer. For whatever reason if I made something complete (say lasagna) and freeze it we never seem to actually eat it, we prefer to make something we are craving so having components that will cut down on dirty dishes and chopping time have been making a big difference. It nearly makes me feel like I’m qualified to be an adult.
I’ve mentioned a few things I keep in the freezer before — kale, bacon layered so it’s easy to just grab a few slices, bolognese sauce — and the latest staple I’ve added is caramelized onions. I use the recipe from Tea and Cookies which mostly calls for “time, patience, and faith” which isn’t an exaggeration. The first time I caramelized onions I had to restrain myself from them off the stove too early. They need to be nice and dark:
Image by Tara Austen Weaver, Tea and Cookies.
Basic technique: two sliced onions in a 10-inch pan, 1/4 cup olive oil, medium high heat, stirring every five minutes and patience. It will take about 30 minutes. For a more detailed description go read the entry at Tea and Cookies and follow her tip about slicing bits a little thicker than others. I let these cool, put them in ziplock bags pressed flat and freeze them. Then I break off a tablespoon or so as I need it.
So far we’ve mostly been using them in egg dishes. For the omlette pictured above I used mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese left over from a salad with some of the caramelized onions to create a way more delicious breakfast than I usually have. Tara describes caramelized onions as the bacon of the vegetarian world, they are smoky and salty and add a hit of flavor whatever you add it to. And people, yum. Also, having them on hand will make you feel like a genius.
· comments  · 02-27-2014 · categories:food · freezerpantry ·
is this STILL the best chocolate chip cookie recipe, ever? At Shelterrific.
Orangette: A good person to know. A good steel cut oatmeal recipe, and she reports that it reheats well.
Check It Out: Ernest Hemingway’s Personal Burger Recipe | Man Made DIY.
How to: Make Edible Spoons – The Perfect Holiday Treat! | Man Made DIY.
Gin Gin Cocktail, at The Ginger People website. I’m a wee bit obsessed with their Ginger Juice and all the things it can do (ginger/lemon/bourbon toddy has been a regular this winter).
11 Healthy Kale Recipes – Health.com. I would eat every one of these, who wants to do the dishes for me? Via Swiss Miss.
Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To, and the follow up “Black Rust” and Cast Iron Seasoning. This is fantastic, the how and why and what for seasoning cast iron. Via Kottke.
Valentine’s Day Treat: Cupid’s Creme Brulee // Hostess with the Mostess®. She makes caramelized hearts inside a silicone mold, what a great use for it.
Perfect Soft Boiled Egg | Eat the Love. My only regret from getting to visit America’s Test Kitchen is not forcing them to answer their best technique for soft boiled eggs. Mine is still the Egg-Perfect Timer.
Tom’s Supermarket Picks: quality oils at good prices | Truth in Olive Oil. Great information when you want a good olive oil but are only headed to your local grocery store. The notes on inequality among lines at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are interesting. Via Kottke.
5 More Great Cocktail Blogs You Should Read | Serious Eats.
Sprizee :: A simple girl replete with complications: Roasted Vegetable Lemon Tahini Salad. This looks delicious and it’s so simple.
· comments  · 02-18-2014 · categories:food · links ·
Years ago I received a Scanpan 8-inch frying pan as part of some conference* schwag**. Sometime after that our regular small nonstick frying pan finally went to the cookware grave and we pulled out the Scanpan. We were pretty darn impressed with it’s nonstickablility and how easy it made it to cook an over-easy egg just right every time so we continued to use it. For four years. I’m just now taking note of how awesome it is. The pan is easy to use, it’s easy to clean, nothing ever sticks, it holds up to my clumsy handling and stacking beneath dirty dishes and, despite four years of near daily egg cooking, you have to look really close to see any scratches. Thumbs up.
I have to say though, when I went to find our pan over at Amazon I was a little aghast at the price ($120, on sale for $90). And then I thought a little bit about the psychology of how we value things, or fail to value them if they’ve been handed to us. And then I thought about all the nonstick pans we’ve owned that came before it, inexpensive numbers that scratched easily and flaked horrifyingly after only a few years. Each of those was $10 to $20 and, had we been more responsible, we’d have replaced after a year of use. (And then I thought about the Great Toxic Teflon Freakout of 2008ish and did a bunch of reading which made me conclude that I am not qualified to defend nonstick but I am confident that I’m not poisoning myself.) Added up the Scanpan has nearly already been worth the price tag and I anticipate it going strong for another four years. So if you know you’re going to use it well and you have the cash, Scanpan is worth it.
* It was a hefty bag of free items that has since become the stuff of legend. I am pretty sure it was the first International Food Bloggers Conference, but not absolutely certain. I do know that I paid to attend said conference so this wasn’t a case of a blogger getting free stuff just because.
** Let’s discuss swag vs. schwag. I have a personal preference to use the word schwag because one of my theater professors in college was known to have occasional emotional outbursts over off-topic irrational things while teaching class and one of those that I had the privilege of being present for was a rant over the use of the word swag. He said: swag is used to describe the way that one drapes a curtain, schwag is the free stuff you get at a conference. The end. And so, because I believe he can still see into my very thoughts, I use the word schwag.
· comments  · 01-15-2014 · categories:food · shopping ·
· comments  · 01-7-2014 · categories:food · links ·
chalkboard birthday cake | a subtle revelry. I wish I’d thought of this.
One-Pot Wonders: Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Kale | Serious Eats. The kale negates all the ways this could possibly be bad for you. For real.
What’s the secret to a very fluffy omelette? – eggs | Ask MetaFilter. Really great tips in the answers here.
Diamonds for Dessert: Homemade Celebration Oreos. These are pretty darn cute.
Fresh Ginger Syrup | David Lebovitz. “Although the customers loved it, the reason I later found out why I was going through so much ginger syrup every week was that the staff liked it even more.”
Seattle News and Events | Five Apples to Try This Fall. Five varieties to try and a few suggestions for u-pick places. My friends take an annual trip to Jones Creek.
Help me find the kind of recipe that sticks in your memory for decades. | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of these look good, despite many of them counting as trashy. No mention of a glug of soy sauce over a block of cream cheese as the perfect holiday craker spread yet.
glitter pissing: doctor whoodles for you to scarf down. Dr. Who scarf colored noodles! Genius.
Must-Order Soup Dumplings and Wine Chicken at Long’s Noodle House in Vancouver | Serious Eats. For our next trip up to Canada.
· comments  · 12-3-2013 · categories:food · links ·
Wine Glass Ring Pops Make The World A Better Place, at The Frisky.
The best macaroni and cheese: traditional vs. Modernist at Science Fare. Fun experiment, have a macaroni party and let your diners choose which is better. I gotta try this.
Campari Shandy, by those geniuses behind Essex and Delancey. This is part of a new cocktail column and I bet each and every one will be outstanding. Evidence: The Queen Mary is my very favorite cocktail at Essex and only available when there are ripe tomatoes from their garden. Out of season now but well worth keeping around for late next summer.
Julia Child Was Wrong: Don’t Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks : The Salt : NPR. “But science, says Quinlan, is really giving the lazy a free pass — nay, an imperative — to cut out this step.” Lazy for the win!!
Food Worth Growing: Mexican Sour Gherkin | You Grow Girl. She calls them “Barbie Doll Watermelons” because they are so very wee.
Best Food Bloggers of All Time | FirstWeFeast.com. I have geeked out over most of these, some of them right to their face (which was awkward, I admit).
Bonavita’s Porcelain Immersion Coffee Dripper: The Best of All Worlds? | Serious Eats: Drinks. I think I need one of these.
Sprinkle Bakes: Raspberry-Champagne Layer Cake with Victorian Cake Pulls. A sweet lesson on cake pulls and how to keep them tidy.
· comments  · 11-26-2013 · categories:food · links ·
Last weekend I checked off an item on my life list and the first of four things I’m hoping to do while on my trip to the UK. I ate a Liege style waffle while standing firmly on Belgium soil. While standing in Bruges to be exact.
We found the first one within less than an hour of arriving in the city. It was delicious. Warm and yeasty and sweet and the perfect way to shake off the the slight panic brought on by finding all the train station listings in Belgium to be in Dutch and therefore completely incomprehensible to us and being without a SIM card for Belgium. Oh the horror.
The next day we set out to find more and, delightfully, it wasn’t difficult. I’m including the time stamps below so you can see how easy it is to stumble from one waffle place to the next. In all of these we bought the hot waffles from the window of a shop and ate them while wandering around.
And after that we really needed to stop and go find some salad for dinner.
The next morning we had a waffle from this adorable van. We ate it while standing in a park and looking at a Medieval cathedral. Bruges I love you.
· comments  · 10-21-2013 · categories:food · travel ·
· comments  · 08-12-2013 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 07-22-2013 · categories:food · links ·
We aren’t doing anything special for this July 4th, unless you count sitting on our deck reveling in the sunshine. Ahhhh. But I do want to point towards my post from earlier this year talking about star shaped foods. I made these for the Oscars but hey, stars are versatile. I’m definitely going to make the star shaped corn chips again, they were easy to make and strong enough to stand up to guacamole but not so strong that they Captain Crunch the inside of your mouth. You know?
Other star foods I’m eyeing include the star shaped mini pies at Say Yes to Hoboken and, of course, the star shaped watermelon slices for fruit salad.
· comments  · 07-3-2013 · categories:food · holidays ·
I accidentally bought this jar of caramel sauce. I mean, I did set out to buy caramel sauce but I accidentally bought the vegan version. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you but just in case I’ll point out that I am not a vegan.)
It turns out that it was a wonderful mistake because this is made with coconut milk and when poured over vanilla or chocolate ice cream the combination of flavors closely approximates the anticipation/love/scarcity I feel when eating a Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I will need to file this away for the “Girl-Scout-Cookie-!” mental alert that my brain gives me about three months too early each year.
· comments  · 06-25-2013 · categories:food ·
· comments  · 06-11-2013 · categories:food · links ·
I Fell for a Shameless Hussy | Serious Eats: Drinks. I normally stay away from wines with labels that shout like this, but these tasting notes will make me seek this one out.
Bake the Book: Raspberry Doughnuts with Vanilla Dipping Sauce | Serious Eats: Sweets. “It took her dozens of attempts to develop a method that, according to her, works every time.” This is something I’ll be learning very soon.
Lately I crave very tasty vegetable and grain salads from very pricey cafes. Can any cookbooks or blogs teach me to cook something similar? | Ask MetaFilter. I love the number of times 101 Cookbooks and Orangette are recommended here.
Spicy Black Bean Dip Recipe | Savory Sweet Life – Easy Recipes from an Everyday Home Cook.
How to Decipher the Beer List at Your Local Craft Beer Bar | Serious Eats: Drinks.
App Release: Unique Eats of the Northwest | The GastroGnome. The person who created this app just happens to be a friends of mine so I can say that this lady knows her restaurants. It covers Oregon, Washington and British Columbia and is perfect for food loving road trippers.
· comments  · 05-15-2013 · categories:food · links ·
· comments  · 04-15-2013 · categories:food · links ·
Last weekend Scott and I headed to Portland for a weekend where our main goal was to try as much beer as we could. We’d made the plans in January when it was dark and rainy and hopeless and beer sounded like a damn good idea. It turned out that the weather that weekend was one of those perfect pockets of Spring where it’s 70 and sunny and you just want to sit outside and talk about how great sunshine is. Which is basically what we did, every meal and sip of beer was done outdoors. Or at least near a really big open door. It was ah-mazing considering it was still March.
I was armed with a few places in mind and a recent copy of Beer West magazine that has an article on all the beer destinations along Division Street. Most of the restaurant recommendations friends had given me (Pok Pok being mentioned the most often) were on Division Street and I started to wish our hotel had been in that part of town because we kept returning to it.
When we arrived our first stop was at Hopworks Urban Brewery which is huge. They have outdoor seating in the front as well as an upper back deck. Right now they are doing a single hop series of IPAs, I tried a sample of the Simcoe and discovered that I don’t prefer Simcoe on it’s own. I wish I lived closer and could sample all of their single hops beers because I suspect it would be a cheap and enjoyable beer education. Hopworks has an eye towards being friendly to the environment and we’re hoping to take our bikes to Portland (maybe on the train!) and pedal our way up to their BikeBar location this summer.
That night we walked to Ground Kontrol and drank beer while playing console arcade games and it was so damn fun. The upstairs is filled with rows of old electric arcade games, the upstairs is devoted to pinball machines and yes the games take real quarters which you can get from change machines just like the old days. We had the most fun playing two person House of the Dead, with the rubber guns. We nearly made it through Chapter 3 before running out of quarters! We would have planted ourselves in front of Gauntlet: Dark Legacy (which we’ve played on our PS3) if it hadn’t been occupied.
They have all the old games I could remember, including Joust, Paperboy, and Burger Time. They also have a tabletop four-person Pac-Man (a hem: Pac-Man Battle Royale) that was very popular all night long. The lights above are reminicscent of D&D dice, the tiles in the ladies room are Ms. Pacman themed, the entry tiles (shown above) are Space Invaders. Also, on weekend nights there is a cover ($2? $1?) and there might be a line, which is good because it means the place doesn’t get too crowded. When we were on our way out I noted there was a crowd around a few of the machines but there were plenty of seats at the tables near the bar, where the tables are illuminated. I heart that place.
The next day we got brunch food from the food carts near our hotel (the standout was Liege waffles with brie, arugula and bacon) and headed out to have a picnic. Our goal was to eat under cherry trees which were blossoming in the most spectacular manner that weekend. But it turns out that was everybody else’s goal that weekend too. The area around the trees near the river (and the Saturday Market) were filled to capacity and the Arboretum was packed. So we took the great advice of Sprizee and headed out to Cathedral Park. It was perfect. An expanse of grass leads down to the water just under the Cathedral Bridge, which makes everything feel very dramatic. We had a huge area in the sun all to ourselves and sat and watched dogs playing fetch. We weren’t right under blossoming trees but we did have a view of some, which was good enough. This morning has become the Happy Place I go to in my head.
Next we headed to Hedge House which is the new-old home of Lompoc Brewing. We grabbed seats on the front porch (there are also tables in the front courtyard area) where we watched families walk and bike past. I had the Calling All Monsters IPA which was very good and I remember as worth going back for if it wasn’t a three hour drive away.
Scott wanted to show me the space where the XOXO Festival had been last year and there just happens to be Cascade Brewing around the block. We had samples of their Noyaux (almond) sour, seasonal IPA and the Oblique Black and White Stout, which has the color of an pale ale but has mellow coffee flavors. (Not shown in order above because they all looked the same and it was freaking 70 degrees and aaaawhhhhh.) The Oblique Black and White Stout was delicious and surprising and on our way out of town we stopped to buy a growler of it, which we buckled into the back seat.
That night we met up with Jenna whom I’d met at Hops Academy last summer. We met at Beer Mongers where she gifted us a precious bottle of Pliny the Elder which we can no longer get in Washington. Beer Mongers is a bottle shop that has a big door they can open in warmer weather. I love drinking at bottle shops, it’s still a novelty for me. Jenna knows what she is talking about when it comes to beer and was sipping this IPA made with brettanomyces, which I dearly wished I’d requested a sip of. In any case it was a perfect end to a beer day.
The next day we managed to made it to Sasquatch Brewery before we left. I got to meet Charlie (aka RagnarBeer) at Hops Academy who the head brewer there. I sampled a beer that is is own recipe, Celilo Cascadian Dark Ale and it was delicious. I’m normally not a fan of dark beers but this made me very happy. Sasquatch has a full menu and outdoor seating in front as well as a nice peaceful deck along the side of the building. I didn’t get to see Charlie because he was busy doing something like the Craft Brewers Conference in Washington, DC. No biggie.
We stayed at the Crystal Hotel downtown which is part of the McMenamin’s empire. It was surprisingly quiet considering it’s in a noisy part of town, though I was roused by the daily 5 a.m. garbage collection. We took advantage of the soaking pool in the basement and had it all to ourselves. Our bed wasn’t very comfortable but the hotel as a whole was good for the price and location. Most rooms share a bathroom in hall, which I’ve never found to be awkward in a McMenamin’s hotel, but I booked an ensuite room because, well, bathroom.
The staff at the Crystal Hotel seem used to asking if people staying there are headed to the music venues later that evening so one day we were asked if we were going to see Anthrax and the next day they asked if we were there to see Bob Seger. I assure you we are not people who look like we’d be headed to either. At least not any more.
Places we didn’t make it too but I want to hit next time we’re in Portland: The Woodsman Tavern, Kask, The Green Dragon and Pok Pok.
Alright Portland people, what else should I seek out next time I visit? Anything particularly spectacular in the sunshine? Or particularly comforting when it’s rainy and dark?
· comments  · 04-8-2013 · categories:drink · travel ·